We have a winner!

Lucky Frog Kite by Wayan Suteja

Can you believe it is almost July? 
The summer is flying by here.

I am amazed that is is already time to announce the lucky winner of a $50 gift certificate to Novica.com. Let's take a peek into the magic mirror.....

'Carenlian Butterfly Sky' reverse painted glass mirror by Gelacio Giron

drum roll please.....

wood djembe drum 'Sword of Justice' by Ernestina Oppong Asante

Actually, the winner was selected using random.org.... 

And the winner is....

Heather Christopher

Congratulations, Heather! I will contact you today with instructions for claiming your prize.

Many thanks to he folks at  Novica for sponsoring this fun random drawing! 

And great big thank yous to everyone who entered. Be sure to check back soon for a new prize announcement. (hint, hint: it is a good one - something for you crafty types!)

Disclaimer: Novica.com is giving me a $50 gift certificate for hosting this random drawing. All opinions expressed here are my own. 


Inking continues & Etsy shop interview

Just a quick phone snap or two - sorry for the poor quality pics. Finished up the Leviathan inking today. It will cure overnight and then get several lacquer coats tomorrow if the weather holds

If you have a few minutes, my Etsy shop has a fun feature over at the Time Traveler's Shops blog. In a fun series of interviews Jill Merrill (no relation), owner of etsy shop Creaturositiestalks to Etsy shops (not the owners, the actual shops) and teases out their personalities. She is a perceptive host and entertaining writer, and it was a lovely surprise to find out about this blog post today - Thanks , Jill! 

I've got to run but 1st a quick note - there is still time to enter the random drawing that I am hosting for Novica.com. 1 lucky winner will be picked to receive a $50 gift certificate on 6/30. Entries are low, so your odds are pretty good. Just leave a comment to enter once. (Please leave an email if it isn't in your profile.). For a second entry, share the drawing on Twitter or Facebook & then return here to say that you did. Here is the link to the original giveaway post that explains everything.


WOYWW - pyrography tattoos & sea monsters

Whaddya know - it is What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday! I'm still tinkering with items for the steampunk undersea cabinet of curiosities. 

Today I'm coloring  in this wooden artist hand with beasties inspired by Jules Verne's classic book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

"The monster did exist, and he had sworn to rid the seas of it."

Photo below was taken before coloring. I like to use a wood burning tool to draw the lines first.

Next up will be some armor and accessories for this sculpey mermaid.

... and she glows in the dark!

Thanks for checking out my desk. Want to share what you are playing with? Or get a peek at other folk's works in progress? Hop on over to the Stamping Ground blog where you will find links to all kinds of crafty goodness.


Before you go - leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing for a $50 gift certificate to Novica.com. Winner to be selected on 6/30. (Please leave an email address if it isn't in your profile. Novica needs this to issue the gift certificate.)

Want a second entry? Click here to find out how to get your name in the hat twice. You'll also find more info about Novica with links to all sorts of goodies.


Mellow Musical Monday - feeling sleepy

Winding down this Musical Monday night with some Ferraby Lionheart. Here's Pocketknife:

Wooeee - I am soooo behind on blogging. Been super busy trying to pull some projects together. Sharing a few sneak peeks here today. These steampunk undersea themed elements will come together soon for inclusion in a cabinet of curiosities.

starting a new 'tattooed' wooden hand

While I haven't been around here enough, I have been talking to myself over at twitter. You can find me at http://twitter.com/ArtsnarkTampa. If you leave me your handle, I'll check it out.

tearing apart innocent pocket watches to feed steampunk jellyfish

I caught this next Azure Ray tune, The Heart Has Its Reasons on Revenge the other night. I've been vegging out to old episodes this month - fun stuff! Someone in one of my book groups suggested this modern twist on The Count of Monte Cristo. You can stream season 1 on Netflix Instant, but watch out: it is addictive.

And this is my son's contribution to a mellow Monday night, The Brunswick Project's Lullaby For A Kitten Sleeping In A Cup. He's right - it is pretty cute.

Looking for some more tunes? Pop over to Xmas Dolly's and check out her weekly blog-hop. There is always a fun variety to choose from.

Well, I am off to bed. I really need to pull together my projects tomorrow - no more time to lose. Hope you are off to a wonderful week!

glow in the dark mermaid needs some armor

P.S. - I am hosting an awesome giveaway for Novica.com right now. One lucky winner takes home a $50 Gift Certificate to their online shop! It has crazy low entries, so leave a comment and put your name in the hat. You can get more than one entry - click here for original post with details and links to some fun finds.


Enter to win $50 Gift Certificate to Novica.com - what a great start to summer! CLOSED ENDED 6/30

Disclaimer: Novica.com is giving me a $50 gift certificate for hosting this random drawing. All opinions expressed here are my own. 

Indonesian Sea Batik strapless dress by Galuh Kenanga

Cool blue hues

Golden Java Peafowl Kite by Wayan Suteja

Balmy breezes

A gift from the sea cultured pearl earrings by Desi Antari

A dip in the sea

Naturally Modern cotton maxi dress by Belarmino Alvarez

Hot nights

Happy hour margarita glasses by Javier & Efren

Cold drinks

Brazilian summer hammock by Hammock Artisans of Ceará

Summer is here! 

And Novica wants to help you enjoy it 
with a $50 gift certificate for one very lucky winner!

The folks at Novica "...want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values..."  

Their online store offers a vibrant selection of clothing, jewelry and home decor items that have been created by artisans worldwide. When you are looking at an object, scroll down the page to find a photo and information about the maker. You will also find links to their other pieces.

Jaipur summer by Anant Jain

Today, I'm thinking "summer"while checking out these super cute cotton dresses and breezy short skirts. By the way, all photos are courtesy of Novica. If you want a closer look at anything featured here, just click the link under the picture.

Wouldn't this Jaipur summer dress would look great with any of the colorful pieces featured in their Peruvian Silver 950 Jewelry collection? I really like this bracelet. What do you think?

Search for hope chrysocolla link bracelet by Gilda Vega

I love these guys! If you have been visiting this blog for a while, you might remember that I've participated in their Artisan Loan program, where you make an interest free micro-loan to makers worldwide who need some cash to keep creating. They might need new tools, materials, etc. - whatever it takes to finish their pieces. When your loan is repaid, if you choose to spend it at Novica, you get an extra 15% off your purchase. (Click here to see my original micro-loan post.)

They also have a fun Curation section, where you can create collections of your favorite pieces or see what other folks are grouping together - this can be really handy when shopping for gifts in specific themes or colors.

And they often pop by with generous giveaways like the one I'm sharing here today! Want to enter the random drawing for a $50 gift certificate to this fun online store? It is easy-peasy and there is more than one way to enter:

1) simply leave a comment on my blog before 6/30 - that will get your name in the hat. Please leave an email address if there is not one in your profile. This is needed to redeem your prize.

2) for a second entry promote this drawing on your favorite social media site(s): twitter, facebook etc. and then pop back here to let me know

You have until 1 a.m. (EST) on June 30, 2013 to enter this random drawing. I will announce the winner later that day. Good Luck!

Disclaimer from the sponsor: Please keep in mind that when purchasing a product you have to consider the price of shipping as the Gift Certificate has to pay for shipping as well. Please also note, taxes and duties are not included in the costs of freight if your order is being shipped outside of the US.  Taxes and duties will need to be paid to the shipping company at the time of delivery.  Please check with your local customs bureau for more information regarding taxes, duties and importation fees.

Who gets a free lunch at Little Greek?

Little Greek Gyro Pita

Well that was fun! Yesterday I hosted a flash giveaway for the Little Greek fast casual restaurants - plus shared some thoughts and yummy photos from a recent blogger event at their South Tampa location.

I know you all are hungry, so lets find out who won.... 
And the winner is.....

Congrats, Joseph Rose! 
I'll contact you with instructions for claiming your free lunch

A hearty thank you to the folks at Little Greek for sponsoring this tasty giveaway! And thanks to everyone who got the munchies and entered this random drawing.

If you did not win and still have a hankering for some Greek-American goodies, Little Greek is running their 9th anniversary special through Saturday 6/15: $6.99 gets you a gyro or chicken pita, fresh cut fries and a drink. And if it is after 6/15, you can still enjoy this combo for less than $10 on the regular menu.


Looking for another chance to win some free stuff? Pop back later today to enter the random drawing I am hosting for a purveyor of global home decor, clothing & jewelry items. Here's a hint, they've generously sponsored giveaways here in the past.


Little Greek Restaurant + a FREE LUNCH flash giveaway - ends 6/14

Disclaimer: The Tampa Bay bloggers were invited by Nick Vojnovic, President of Little Greek, and  Carlos Hernandez from CarlosEats.com to enjoy an evening of fast casual Greek-American cuisine in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own. Photos are by me unless otherwise stated.

Whoever said "don't play with your food" obviously never had a macro lens for their iphone. I was shooting with no tripod, so closeups are not crisp ... but these veggies are! Can you guess what you are looking at?  

Here's a hint - they are ingredients in these tasty treats from the Little Greek Restaurant. These were some delicious dishes - one ginormous gyro

and a gargantuan Greek salad from their South Tampa location (on 1155 S. Dale Mabry Blvd.). 

Last week the Tampa Bay Bloggers were invited to stop by and eat our way through the menu. Just kidding - although that is what it felt like as we waddled away at the end of the evening. 

We were greeted with plates of grilled and fried pita and hummus. The contrasting textures of the pita successfully complimented the creamy hummus. Whether you like soft or crispy, they've got you covered.

We also tasted the falafel which had a nice light texture, crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. I love these falafel and can not tell you how many times I have been served dense nasty hockey pucks at other restaurants. The chick pea balls we were served was a welcome change ... especially when topped with their spicy tzatziki (cucumber/yogurt sauce). While tzatziki is a greek staple and already available, the  spicy sauce is a test item that I hope they add to the menu soon.

photo by Frank DiLorenzo (Eater of Tampa Bay) on Urbanspoon

There was a selection of sangria, soda or beer with our munchies. The Mythos beer was refreshing on a hot evening and perfect with the briny and spicy accents, olives, peperoncini etc.  The beer and wine are a nice touch for a fast casual restaurant. 

chicken souvlaki platter with rice and salad

What is fast casual dining? Basically you get good quality food at a fair price, without full table service. However some f.c. places only serve soft beverages, so the beer was a pleasant surprise - especially while sampling the spicy tzarziki!

founder Sigrid Bratic - image provided by Little Greek Restaurant

What is the story behind the Little Greek Franchise? In 2004 Estonia native, Sigrid Bratic purchased a struggling Greek restaurant in Palm Harbor, Florida. She freshened up the menu while listening to her customers needs - adding healthier items, tweaking traditional Greek dishes to suit a broader American audience. Over seven years she completely turned the place around and caught the attention of Nick Vojnovck, former president of the Beef-o-Brady's restaurant chain. Since then several Little Greek restaurants have opened throughout the Tampa Bay area, plus a few in Texas. They also now bottle some  of their sauces and salad dressings for customers to enjoy at home. 

But back to our foodie-fest ; we also had shots - no, not that kind! We sampled soups and sweets shots. I'm not a baklava fan so I skipped it, but everyone else said it was fantastic. It is the only menu item not made in-house and comes from a Greek bakery in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

The rice pudding was yummy - even my husband who usually hates rice pudding said it was delish.  The avglomeno (a lemony chicken soup) isn't shown since I devoured it before shooting - oops. The bottom right image is a tomato-feta soup, which was quite good. I think it would be fabulous served gazpacho-cold with a splash of hot sauce. Can you tell I like things spicy? We also received parting gifts including spicy garlic sauce, which I've already cooked with twice & bottled Greek salad dressing. 

We also had a lesson in making dolmades. Love those little green cigars! 

No, they are not cigars - I'm just messing with you. Although they did disappear almost as fast as smoke. These dolmades are "tender grape leaves stuffed with beef, rice tomatoes and herbs" and are made in-house, something you wont always find when eating out. 

There was so much food food coming out of the kitchen that it was not possible to taste it all - although we certainly tried.  Everything I sampled from crispy veggies, to fluffy breads and tender meats was fresh and well made. We ate chicken souvlaki (yum), grilled chicken salad, a signature salad topped with potato and beet (I enjoyed the chicken but was too full to sample the salads), Greek sausage (left me ambivalent but received rave reviews from everyone else, especially the gents), gyros, drool-worthy  fresh cut fries, and..and.. and...

spinach pie photo from Little Greek

There was too much to try so I missed tasting one of my Mediterranean favorites, spanakopita (spinach pie). I was busy stealing a photo of Denise from RunDMT enjoying the moussaka. The spanakopita must have been amazing as it vanished before I could hurl myself across the crowded room. I will be back again soon to test it out.

A fun crowd and too many tasty treats made this a great time!

The hardest part was decided when to shoot 

& when to eat! 

The Little Greek Restaurant has a friendly staff, clear menus and large photos of the food (with names & pronunciation) to make ordering easy... 

and I'm about to make it even easier:

If you leave a comment on this post before noon on Friday 6/13/13 (EST) you will be entered in a random drawing for 1 FREE chicken or gyro pita with fresh cut fries and a soft drink. As I write this, that is less than 24 hours away so hop to it! Be sure to leave an email address where I can reach you, if it is not easy to find in your profile. 

Obviously this drawing is only open to folks who can easily visit one of the Little Greek locations. Want to find out if there is one near you? Click here and then press the "locations" tab.

So, How Hungry Are You? And how fast can you type? 

If you are near one of these restaurants and can not wait for the drawing - or just have a hankering for the food - Little Greek is offering this same meal for $6.99 through 6/15/2013. This special price is to celebrate their 9th anniversary. And if it is after 6/15, you can still get all that for under $10 - a great price for a huge tasty lunch.


Buried Treasure 2013

'digging for gold' with Seth Apter

What fun! It's time again for Seth Apter's Buried Treasure blog hop. Each year the Seth asks bloggers to share a favorite post from the past. And every year many creative, inspiring individuals answer the call! This is not your average blog-hop & you might be surprised by the variety and quality of posts that people share. Additional blog links will be added from June 12-16th - click here to see what everyone is sharing

Today my time machine is taking us back to the summer of 2010. Dr. Laura Koniver (artist, author, physician, mother) popped by to share her thoughts on creativity and health. Dr. Koniver had shared her art and home here before in an interview and studio tour and kindly agreed write a guest post. 

A quick note before we blast to the past, a couple of the links shared (those to her art/etsy shop, blog and facebook) are no longer active. You can now find all of this info and more at Dr. Koniver's website IntuitionPhysician.com

How The Simple Act Of Creating Must Create Physical Health by Laura Koniver, MD

I met Laura on Etsy last fall when she offered to sponsor a Thursday Giveaway Saturday Studio Tour on this blog. (Click the links to visit those posts. Also, if you have a moment, stop by her online shop http://www.koniver.etsy.com)A kind, talented and very interesting person,  Laura describes herself as "A former physician turned artist and homeschooling Mama..." She is also a thought provoking writer. If you get a chance check out her blog, http://heartsongfineart.com/blog. It is  a peaceful place full of insight and eye candy. 

Lucky for us Laura stopped by to share her thoughts on creativity & health. After you've read this piece please take a moment to leave a comment. I think we could get a fascinating dialog going here. Now I'm going get out of your way. I'll meet you at the bottom of the post where I have some info about a new random drawing. (By the way, All photos are courtesy of Laura Koniver MD.)

How I view health now... 
or... how the simple act of creating must create physical health.

I took the scenic route in becoming an artist.  The really looooong way around.  The kind of path that took me through medical school, residency, and a bit of clinical practice as a physician before I had children and realized my heartsong was to be a mommy and an artist.  That kind of long way around.

For many years, I tried to merge my two lives... there must be some way (I kept banging my head against the wall) to be an artist who can still heal people medically.  Right?  It should make sense.  I thought about becoming an art therapist.  Maybe medical illustrating?  I invented some new medical/art therapies including casting the human body and then painting it as a work of art mounted on a canvas.  Labels... labels... Must. Label.  Myself.  Something.  Am I a physician-turned-artist?  An artist with a medical degree?  A temporarily side-tracked doctor?  

 And finally, FINALLY, I realized what I intuitively knew all along... creating *is* healing.  Cut out the middle man, no need to invent a new medical therapy...  To create at all, in any form, is to create health.  The very act of creating allows health to flow.

 Creating is life.  Being alive is to create.  There just isn’t any other way around it.  All you have to do is sit there and breath, and you are creating.  

Because never, in the history of ever, has there been another person like you, living this moment of time, breathing this breath of air that you breathe... so everything you do is new and unique.  And never, in the history of ever, will there be another being exactly like you, living this moment of time, breathing this exact breath of air... So the very act of being alive is to create something new and irreplaceable.  

But, you can take it a step further and a step further every moment.  Because the more you create, the more life force you draw through you.  So even though just taking a breath is a creative act, creating something more out of the moment will draw more life in you and through you, and more health to you.  

The healthiest thing you can do is to create and allow your life force to flow through you. 

One form of creating is no better or superior at creating health then another form of creating.  Being a painter or an author or a poet is no more healthy or creative then creating a new meal, decorating a room, cutting your son’s hair.   All work can be creative.  All work can be meaningful.  

In fact, classic artists like painters and sculptures can be the worst at using creativity in their daily lives.  As pointed out in the book The Path Of Least Resistance, Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life by Robert Fritz, artists typically sequester the act of creating to just their chosen art form.  But creating is something we all do, we need to do, just as naturally as we need to breath.  It can not be sequestered away.  It can not apply to only one area of our lives.  It is life.

Most people live with a problem solving mind frame.  And even though this is extremely effective at what it does (solving problems) what you are left with is the absence of a problem.  This is far different then creating something that wasn’t there before. 

To create is simply to make something new where there wasn’t anything before.

If you are going around problem solving your life... you will be left with a void... no problems, everything solved... but nothing created.  

 And what usually happens when you have an empty space to fill?  Our minds are great at jumping right in with *helpful* things like nagging suspicions, nit-picky chatter, jealousy, gossip, finding something else to be dissatisfied with... even a new symptom or a re-emergence of an old disease pattern comes back once the problem is solved, because you have not actively *created* something to take it’s place.  In short, you are creating a new problem to have something else to solve.  

What if, instead of solving a problem and getting rid of something, you decide instead to create.  To make something new that wasn’t there before.  To bring into your life, and this world, a new situation that is exactly how you want it to be.  

This is not staying still, battling off problems, living in the defensive.  This is taking a step in the direction you want to go.  This is creating.  This is art.  This is filling a blank canvas with what you want to fill it with.   This is healing.  This is the flow of health.

Creating allows life to move with you and through you and allows health to flow.  

 Back to basics.  You can’t *not* create.  You being alive fulfills that contract.  If you are alive, you agree to be creating in every moment of your life, every fiber of your being.  

So what do you want to create?  If you block creation by problem solving, your energy stagnates and creates dis-ease.  If you create instead of problem solving, you allow the flow of life to sweep you off your feet and into the future of your dreams.

So, what do you think about Laura's ideas? Please leave a comment - I'd love to hear your feedback. Also, your comment will enter you in the newest random drawing (to be announced here tomorrow). So, be sure to pop back & check out the new prize donated by Laura. You'll also be given a chance to have a second entry in the random drawing (which will be held on 7/15). 

Laura, thank you for stopping by today with these intriguing ideas. I have one last question  before you go:  What are you creating now? 

LK: I'm finishing up a new children's book on this topic, the flow of health and joy, geared towards younger children.  It is a picture book, written and illustrated by me. It is called Jake. A Guinea Pig Finds Adventure. and will be released this fall.    

To stay informed of this book, sign up for Laura's Facebook fan page - http://facebook.com/heartsongfineart.   

Other places to see what Laura is up to next include: