Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375*F about 5 minutes, until warm and fragrant. Cool and set aside.
Unwrap caramels and place caramels, cream and vanilla in the top of a double boiler and heat until the caramels have melted (this will take a while). Stir as needed.
While the caramel melts, heat the chocolate chips in another double boiler, or in the microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals. Stir between intervals and stop cooking when the chips have almost melted, but not fully. Be careful not to over heat the chocolate, it can easily burn. Stir chips until smooth and fully melted.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner. Spoon a small amount of chocolate onto the baking sheet, using the back of the spoon to smooth it into a small circle (about 2" diameter). After you've made 3-4 circles, arrange 5 pecan halves on to of chocolate, creating the "turtle" head and four legs (as pictured), or a flower. Continue making circles of chocolate, then adding pecans until the baking sheet is full (I usually fit 6-10 on a baking sheet). Set entire baking sheet in the fridge for a few minutes, until the chocolate has set up a bit.
Once the chocolate has set, (remove from fridge) and add about a teaspoon or two of melted caramel onto the center of the pecans (as pictured). The caramel should be just melted enough that it will fall off a spoon, but not so liquid that it just rolls right off the pecans into a puddle. If the caramel is too thin, remove from heat and allow to cool just a bit. Once caramel has been added to each turtle, place baking sheet back into the fridge for a few minutes.
When the caramel has set up just a bit, spoon a bit of chocolate on top, covering as much of the caramel as possible. If desired, add a bit of fleur de sel sea salt on top.
Place turtles back in the fridge for just a few minutes to set up.
When fully cool and set, remove from baking sheet and store in an airtight container at room temperature. See notes below about shelf life.