Thoughtful Thursday – Remembering Cocoa

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Cocoa (left) and Chanel (right)

I have two beautiful American Cocker Spaniel girls, Cocoa (14 yrs) & Chanel (9 yrs). They’re both sable in color but Cocoa has a brown nose and Chanel’s is black. Cocoa loved people but other dogs, not so much. She was somewhat freaked out by them. It was comical to watch when we tried socializing her with other dogs at the park. So one day I had the bright idea to get another puppy to help her get over her fear.

Long story short, it didn’t exactly go as planned. It took Cocoa a few years before she finally warmed up to Chanel. Cocoa turned 14 years old in May, but sadly she went to doggie heaven this past Saturday morning. The end came quickly but she waited for all of us that morning so we could say our good byes before crossing over.

We miss her a lot, especially her crazy antics like helping us unwrap presents, singing Happy Birthday or howling when the phone rang. She was always in the middle of family life and was a super smart pooch that was trained with very little effort on my part. I could just talk to her and she understood what I was saying. When anyone got sick or was feeling blue, she was always there to comfort you. Cocoa was my constant companion in the art studio, always at my feet the entire time I was painting.

One thing her passing has made me think about was how important it is to be in the present moment. I truly enjoyed her crazy antics and how she always had her own way of doing things. I’m so grateful that Cocoa came into our lives as she was a very special and unique girl.

Take the time to slow down and really enjoy sharing special moments with loved ones whether a furry friend or the human kind. Life is ever changing and time doesn’t stand still. So don’t miss one minute of the magic that life offers you everyday.

I know the angels have Cocoa now and it’s all good.

💖 Cocoa, you are forever in our hearts 💖

“Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.” ~ Roger Caras

Watercolor Painting – Angel of Wisdom

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This is my newest watercolor painting, Angel of Wisdom and she’s painted on 9″ x 12″ 140lb Watercolor Paper with professional paints. I had a lot of fun creating her with the owl in bright, fun colors and lots of love 💖

Available for purchase in my Etsy Shop: FlowingWatersArtShop

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“Angels descending bring from above, echoes of mercy, whispers of love.” ~ Fanny Crosby

Thoughtful Thursday – Father’s Day

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Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

Father’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, June 20th. It’s a day to remember and celebrate those great dads who are here with us today and also to honor those who may have passed.

It’s been said being a mother is one of the toughest jobs and it is, but it’s not exactly a walk in the park for Dads either. They work hard to protect their families and pass down to their kids the knowledge and skills they acquired throughout their lives. Dad’s also pass on their life long passions and hope that one day, their little ones will follow in their footsteps. So how will you honor that great man in your life?

If you’re stuck on what to do for dad this Father’s Day, here are a few ideas:

  • Make a handmade card with a personal photo.
  • Make a photo collage of memorable moments.
  • Have an outdoor celebration in the park, beach or your own backyard.
  • Take dad out on a sporting adventure of his choice.
  • Go camping for a night.
  • Cook his favorite dinner.
  • Build something fun together.
  • Spend a nice day together talking about fun memories.

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” ~Uknown

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Liza Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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I haven’t posted an angel lately and I really miss my girls. I find such peace within when I paint them. It’s pure contentment and joy when I can get them out of my mind and on paper for everyone to see 😊

This is my latest angel in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal, her name is Liza. I’m playing with different ideas on the wings to see how I like them.

What do you think? Would love to hear your feedback.

Have a beautiful week!

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Thoughtful Thursday – A Day at Lion Country Safari

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Lion Country Safari located in West Palm Beach, Florida was established in 1967 and sits on a whopping 320 acres. I remember my parents taking me when I was about 8 years old. And no, I’m not telling how many years ago that was, lol. But I remember thinking how cool it was that the animals got to roam free while we drove through the park in our car. They could come right up to us, and many did.

In March of this year, we did a family road trip and visited Lion Country Safari. It’s changed quite a bit since I was there last. Now they have an audio that we listened to through my cell phone that gave information about each group of animals we were seeing. The park is home to over 1,000 wild animals including lions, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, ostriches, and so many more.

The way it’s set up is each group of animals is in a different section, separated by a fence. This way the predators can’t get to their prey and everyone lives happily ever after 😊 Cars slowly drive through on the road and get to enjoy all the animals. As the cars exited the one section, they were all greeted by an ostrich who tapped each car’s windshield as if he were saying good bye. It was pretty funny watching him do this. Apparently, ostriches are attracted to shiny objects and the windshields were reflecting the sun that day.

Once you finish the drive through safari, you can enjoy the walk through section of the park with shops, food and more animals to see. You can even feed the lorikeets which my daughter and I did. They’re so beautiful with their bright colors.

If you have the chance to visit Florida, I highly recommend stopping at Lion Country Safari. It’s a beautiful and unique place to visit!

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“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~Charles Darwin

Spirograph Watercolor Journal Page 2

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Last week I shared my first journal page using Spirograph. This is my second journal page. I had so much fun creating these two pages. I love how they turned out and hope you do too!

I made this page the same as the last. I created the background with a watercolor wash and while that was drying I made my Spirograph designs on coordinating cardstock, cut them out and glued them into the journal. Next I drew a few doodles and inspiring words. I topped it off with a shading, highlights and stickles for a little bling.

You can have some serious fun with a Spirograph set. Just use your imagination!

Hope you’re having a fabulous week!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Memorial Day

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Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

Memorial Day is Monday, May 31st. You know the holiday is approaching when stores start heavily marketing their upcoming sales, but it’s so much more than that. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have lost their lives in service of the United States of America.

Memorial Day began shortly after the Civil War which ended in 1865. General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed it in his General Order No 11 on May 5th, 1868.

In General Logan’s order it is said “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Since May 30th wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle, General Logan named it Decoration Day. However in 1880, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day.

I’m grateful for those brave souls who served in our military and gave their lives protecting our great nation and our freedom and to those who fight for us today. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You!

Happy Memorial Day Images 2018| Memorial Day Pictures ...

Spirograph Watercolor Journal Page

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I wanted to try something different in my journal so I looked around my studio and found the Spirograph set. I hadn’t used it in years. I bought this for my kids when they were little and luckily it was passed back to me when they grew up.

I started this page with a watercolor wash for the background and set it aside. While that was drying, I searched my paper stash and found coordinating sheets to create a couple of Spirograph designs. I cut them out and glued them onto the page. Next I drew in doodles, wrote a few inspiring words and of course added stickles for a little bling. Last I added a little detailing with shading and highlights and that was it.

You can make some really interesting art and cards using a simple Spirograph set. Just let your imagination run wild and have fun!

Have a fantastic week!

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The Power of You Mini Book – Quote

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Hope you had a great week! This is the last quote from my mini 3.25″ x 4.5″ book:

“Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.” ~Unknown

Really love this quote. The author was unknown but it looks like it originated from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who said “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

Hope you enjoyed these words of wisdom. Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Benefits of Ginger

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Photo by Angele J on Pexels.com

Ginger root has been used for centuries as a spice and for medicinal purposes. The first time I tried ginger, I wasn’t too crazy about it. I loved the scent but the flavor, not so much.

Over the years, I’ve grown to really love ginger. I’ll put a few small pieces in my salad or add some to my veggie juices. I even make fresh ginger tea which is very aromatic and quite delicious (recipe below). I’ve learned and personally experienced the healing powers of ginger and I can say in all honesty, it’s truly a Superfood.

Ginger has many benefits and can help the body heal from a number of ailments naturally including:

  1. Aids in Digestion
  2. Regulates Blood Sugar
  3. Reduces Inflammation
  4. Lowers Blood Pressure
  5. Helps with Nausea
  6. Antibacterial Properties
  7. Reduces Menstrual Pain
  8. Aids in Reducing LDL Cholesterol
  9. Anti-Cancer Properties
  10. Aids Weight Loss

Before making any changes to your healthcare regime, always check with your doctor/health practitioner to make sure it’s right for you.

Ginger Tea Recipe:

  • 4-5 quarter inches pieces of ginger, slightly crushed
  • 2 Cups Water
  • Sweetener (honey, stevia)

Add ginger and water to a teapot. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes. Strain ginger pieces, add a little sweetener and enjoy.

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“Our Food should be our Medicine & our Medicine should be our Food.” ~Hippocrates

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Live Life in Full Bloom Watercolor Journal Page

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I love roses and thought I’d make one in my 5.5″ x 8″ Strathmore Mixed Media Journal. I started with a light pencil sketch, then painted it with watercolors. Once that was dry, I used colored pencils for shading and detailing and topped it off with Stickles for a little bling. Last I added my quote using a Sakura Micron Pen #03.

I’m not sure who said the quote “Live Life in Full Bloom” but I thought it was fitting for this page. It was a good warm up for beginning my day in the studio.

Have an awesome week!

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The Power of You Mini Book – Quote by Coco Chanel

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Hope your weekend is off to a great start! A quickie post today with an inspirational quote by Coco Chanel from my mini 3.25″ x 4.5″ book:

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself!” ~Coco Chanel

This is a good quote. So many of us spend a lot of time trying to be someone else and fit in. There are 7.9 billion people on this planet and each one us is unique, how incredible is that!?! It’s time to Celebrate YOU!

Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Keeping a Positive Attitude

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Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

How do you stay on the path of positivity when there is so much negativity around you? How do you find that ray of hope each and every day? It’s hard, no doubt. Not something to be taken lightly either.

I’d like to think everyone starts their day on a positive note but depending on what your day was like the day before, that may be a tough thing to do. You may still be carrying all of that luggage. But I look at each day as a clean slate, a chance for a new beginning and a chance to make a positive change. Leave yesterday’s problem in the past and focus on a better today.

A few years ago I started listening to podcasts and grew to really love them. I go for the ones that grow my mind and spirit and a few business ones. Brendon Burchard is a life coach and is one of my favorite podcasts. He came up with a mantra that he uses first thing in the morning. I slightly changed it to fit my needs but here it is:

“Thank you God for this opportunity to serve today. Grant me the strength to focus. To be mindful and present. To serve with excellence. To be a force of light and love.” ~ Brendon Burchard

These words when spoken from the heart most definitely have a positive affect on your day. They don’t guarantee nothing will go wrong, but if it does, you can get back on track easier.

The podcasts are free and are a great resource for inspiration and spreading the happy! If you don’t have access to the podcasts on your phone, check YouTube.com, you can find a lot there. I highly recommend trying them out if you haven’t done so already. You may be pleasantly surprised!

A few of my favorites:

  • The Brendon Show
  • On Purpose with Jay Shetty
  • The Highest Self Podcast with Sahara Rose
  • The Marie Forleo Podcast
  • The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley

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“Your life is simply a collection of all your thoughts and actions. Which direction to steer it in, is a choice you make every day and every moment. Be positive, live happy.” ~Unknown

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Bliss Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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Pure happiness is such bliss! I’m having lots of fun with the new turquoise blue paint I bought. It’s such a bright and happy color and it blends well with my other colors so far.

This is my newest angel in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal called Bliss. I hope you like her 😊

Have a beautiful week!

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The Power of You Mini Book – Quote by Rumi

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Here’s another snippet from my mini 3.25″ x 4.5″ book. Hope this quote by Rumi inspires you in some way:

“Love is the bridge between you and everything.” ~Rumi

Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Give Mom a Gift that Touches her Heart 💖

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching, this Sunday, May 9th. So why not give mom a gift that touches the heart. I have many fond memories of Mother’s Day celebrations but when my son baked me a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, all vegan from scratch with a beautiful design in colored sprinkles, that really touched my heart 💖 He put so much love into that cake for me I’ll cherish that memory forever. Not to mention, the cake was so delicious we polished it off in only 2 days!!

Another touching memory was when my daughter spent a very rainy Mother’s Day with me watching our favorite movies with popcorn and candy. We had lunch in between and even played a few board games which is something I’ve loved doing since I was a kid. We had such fun together as we laughed all day. She created a wonderful loving memory that I will hold in my heart till the end of time 💖

So what are you going to do for you mom on Mother’s Day that will touch her heart? Here’s a few ideas to get you inspired:

  • Cook her favorite meal and serve it on a lavishly decorated table.
  • Bake her favorite sweet treat and serve it up bistro style.
  • Take her on a picnic and spend a quiet afternoon talking.
  • Take an art class with her, whether online or in person and create something together.
  • Make a scrapbook filled with all of your favorite memories and photos of her.
  • Make her a handmade card or mini book with special photos or memorabilia.
  • If you’re computer savvy, create a video slide show of your favorites times spent together.
  • Make her a spa basket with handmade treatments (plenty of recipes can be found online).

Get creative, put a little extra thought into it and give her a gift from your heart 💖

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“When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth.” ~Mitch Albom

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Breathe Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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Sometimes when things get a little too chaotic and hectic we need to remember to quiet our minds and simply breathe. This helps to bring you back to your calm center.

My newest angel I created in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal called Breathe. One of the fun things about watercolor paints is that they sometimes have a mind of their own. I love how colors mingled at the top of her wing.

Have a lovely week!

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The Power of You Mini Book – Quote by Rumi

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I can’t believe how the month of April just flew by. Here’s another inspirational quote by Rumi from my mini 3.25″ x 4.5″ book:

“Shine like the universe is yours.” ~Rumi

Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Happy Birthday Dad

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Today would have been my father’s birthday but he passed away a few years ago. He was a talented man who could fix anything under the sun. He had a superb sense of humor and was a great artist and my inspiration for art.

Dad was very practical and logical in his thinking. He drew this pen and ink picture the day before his 21st birthday. I was lucky enough to find it mixed in with a bunch of other papers he kept. I was in awe with how beautiful it was. Funny enough, he never hung this masterpiece in the house so I hung it in mine.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t draw well. So dad took the picture I was trying to draw and drew a numbered grid on it. Then he drew another grid on blank paper and told me to copy each square, one at a time until I was finished. This made complete sense to me at the time and thus my adventure in art began. Eventually, I got better and didn’t need the grid as much. I really love this piece by dad because you can still see the numbered grid on it which reminds me of my first art lesson with him.

Dad was an oil painter but I never liked the turpentine smell, it was always very strong so I gravitated to watercolors. I started painting with my sister’s watercolor set by Mayflower with 24 colors. I was having a blast with that. Then for my birthday, mom and dad got me a big watercolor set made in England by Page of London with a whopping 80 colors!!! For a kid who was fascinated with colors, it was like I won the jackpot!!!!

Dad kept pretty much everything so lo and behold, he still had the original paint sets from when I was a kid. Sadly some of my pan colors in the larger set broke and got lost over the years but the sets are in good condition overall. I’m so glad he kept these because they bring back a lot of nice memories.

Thank you Dad for all your patience, creativity and ingenuity in teaching me art!

✨Happy Birthday Dad ✨

Bringer of Light Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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Hope your week is off to a good start! This is my latest angel, Bringer of Light that I painted in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal. I played with the angle on this one and had some fun with it. Hope you like her 😊

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The Power of You Mini Book – Quote by Rumi

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Hope you had a great week! Just a quickie post today with an inspirational quote by Rumi from my mini 3.25″ x 4.5″ book:

“Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.” ~Rumi

Love this quote by Rumi, it makes you think a little and realize how important and unique each of us is. So shine your light brightly for the world to see!

Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Earth Day

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Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre, Marco Island, FL

Earth Day started April 22, 1970, as a way to bring awareness to environmental issues and changing the public’s outlook. We are all interconnected on this planet. Every action causes an equal reaction whether it be good or bad.

Everyone chooses their battles to fight. Some battle to reduce air pollution while others battle for the forests. My battle is for the oceans because they are one of the biggest sources of life on this planet. It’s heartbreaking to see the islands of plastic that have formed as a result of dumping garbage into the oceans. Some of the plastic breaks down, pollutes the waters and eventually settles on the ocean floors. Marine animals mistake plastics for food causing them to get sick or even die.

As humans we consume tons of fish, crabs, lobsters and shrimp from the oceans every year. With the amount of plastics, garbage and toxins that have been dumped into the oceans the marine life has become toxic for humans to eat. Yet it still is a very large food source for us, so what does that say about the state of our health?

This is just one small part of a much larger problem in the oceans and I could go on and on about the issues at hand, but I think you get the gist of it. Everyday we wake up we need to be mindful of the role we play on this planet and be proactive in taking care of Mother Earth so we will have a beautiful tomorrow.

What are some of the things you do to help make a better tomorrow?

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“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~Unknown

All photos above in the slide presentation were taken by Maria Vidaurre, Bahamas.

Flower Girl Colored Pencil Journal Page

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I wanted to try something new so I decided to create a flower girl in my Strathmore 9″ x 12″ Colored Pencil Journal using only colored pencils and nothing else. This turned out to be quite a challenge.

I have a library of art books that I go to for reference or to simply get inspired. After a little reading I was surprised by the recommended color combinations. Truthfully, I never would have used these colors for the skin tone or hair but because of the all the layering, it turned out different than I expected. I was pleasantly surprised.

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Wishing you a wonderful week!

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The Power of You Mini Book

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Just a quickie post today. I created this little 3.25″ x 4.5″ mini book in an online class by Joanne Sharpe called Art Sparks 1 through Ruzuku.com. I filled it with some of my favorite quotes which I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weekends.

If you don’t know about Joanne Sharpe, she is a super talented artist and instructor. I’ve been a big fan of hers for a long time and just love her work. I highly recommend her classes as they’re so much fun!

This is my first quote:

Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday – “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich Recipe Review

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Vegan Chickpea "No Tuna" Salad | Forks Over Knives

I’ve been exploring more vegan recipes, especially the ones that don’t necessarily appeal to my tastebuds. And I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. So far, they have all been quite delicious and tasty.

My family likes to eat tuna fish sandwiches but tuna is one of the most toxic fish you can eat. They’re high in mercury and other heavy metals because of pollutants in the water. So I wanted to find a vegan alternative. I finally decided to give this recipe a try and I’m glad I did. It’s a “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich. It’s great because it doesn’t have that fishy smell like real tuna but it’s super delicious and quite filling. Plus it’s quick and easy to make.

The recipe was published in the latest Forks Over Knives, “100 Best Plant-Based Recipes,” 2021 and it can also be found on their website “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich.

Forks Over Knives  100 Best Plant-Based Recipes  2021 image 0

The main ingredient is chick peas aka garbanzo beans which is not necessarily my favorite but they work well in this recipe. I served my family these sandwiches and they were a hit! Lots of flavor, very filling and satisfying, vegan and most important, No Mercury! It’s a win win.

I recommend getting a little crazy and giving it a try. You may discover new flavors on this adventure!

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“Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.” ~ T. Collin Campbell

Snuggle Bunny Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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Hope your week is going great so far! I created this new angel in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal. I tried something new this time and added a zentangle design to the wings. I kinda like it, and then I kinda don’t.

Also, with the lighter color background, the white detailing got a bit washed out so I used gold for more contrast. Would love to know your thoughts, just leave me comment below. 

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird fledgling

I have to share with you the progress our baby Mockingbirds are making. There were 3 babies born around March 25th. Both parents have been feeding these ever so hungry little ones nonstop from sunrise to sunset. Last Friday we noticed the babies had left the nest but could hear them scattered in the bushes in the front of our house.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to witness one of the parents feeding this hungry little one. It was quite a show with the wings spread and the mouth wide open, waiting for food. The tail feathers in the front are from one of the parents coming in to feed. The babies long tail feathers haven’t grown in as of yet.

In between feedings, the parents are teaching the babies to fly. You can see them sputtering about in front of the house. They fly for short spurts and safely land back in the bushes where they’re completely camouflaged.

It amazes me how much they have grown in 2 weeks. The parents started by feeding them little worms and small insects. Now we see them coming in with large dragon flies for the babies to eat, it’s just incredible.

Have a great weekend!

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“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird fledgling

Duckling Colored Pencil

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I was going through some of my old sketch books and came upon this cute little guy. I created him in my 9″ x 12″ Strathmore Sketchbook quite a few years ago. He was made with Prismacolor Pencils and nothing else. I remember making him and thinking it would be so hard to draw fluffy down feathers. But I think I pulled it off, somewhat at least. Considering it was spring I figured it was the perfect time to share him with you.

Hope he brightens your day!

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Easter Family Traditions

Growing up, Easter was a fairly big day of celebration. I remember how excited I was to color Easter eggs with mom the night before. Easter morning we started our day with breakfast and then off to church we went. For us kids, the highlight was getting back home to the Easter baskets filled with all kinds of goodies.

Mom would always get us something new to wear. Whether it was a new shirt or swimsuit, it was always exciting. Then it was time for the infamous Easter Egg Hunt in the garden which was a thrilling event! I held on to these wonderful family traditions with my kids and we all have a lot of fond memories and more in the making!

My kids are grown now but I still make them some type of basket. I’ve switched it up and gotten pretty creative over the years. This year I was going to try making these cute wafer decorations which can be found at SmartSchoolHouse.com. My Pinterest Easter Board is full of inspiring ideas on celebrating this Easter holiday.

What are your Easter Traditions?

I wish you and your family a Joyous Easter!

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“Easter is the only time of the year when it’s safe to put all your eggs in one basket..” ~Unknown

Angel Watercolor Painting – Isabelle

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This is my newest angel, Isabelle and she’s painted on 9″ x 12″ 140lb Watercolor Paper with professional paints. She’s a little larger than some of my other ones which I think I like more. I painted her with bright, fun colors and lots of love 💖

Available for purchase in my Etsy Shop:FlowingWatersArtShop

Here’s a snippet of my creation process:

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~ Michelangelo

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird hatchlings

Welcome Little Ones

Last week I wrote about the coming of Spring and the Mockingbirds that made a nest in our topiary just outside of our front door. I still find it odd that they did this with all of the foot traffic in and out of our home, but I guess they felt safe enough.

We’ve been watching Momma coming in and out from the nest a lot from our window. One time we saw her come back with a worm so we investigated once we knew she left. When we walked outside you could hear tiny little peeps. Lo and behold, we had 3 new babies in the nest and I was able to get a quick photo before Momma came back.

Life is beautiful, precious and just amazes me at times. We were blessed to see the birds build the nest, lay their eggs and now welcome the new babies. I’m still in awe with these precious little ones.

Mockingbirds are the Florida State Bird and are here all year round. They are about ten inches in length, sing beautiful songs and are excellent mimics. We’re keeping everyone away from the nest area so the babies and parents don’t stress. We can see that Momma keeps an ever watchful eye over her babies as Mockingbirds are known for fiercely defending their nests.

Take the time to slow down and breathe in the beauty and new life all around you during this very special season.

Have a lovely weekend!

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“Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with life itself.” ~L.W. Gilbert

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The Cat’s Meow Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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Since I painted an angel with a little puppy, I only thought it was fair to also paint a cute kitty. This is my latest creation in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal. Cats have the coolest personalities. My sister once had a cat that was raised by her dogs and he thought and acted more like a dog than a cat, lol. He was an awesome cat to say the least!

Hope you’re starting your week off grand! 😊

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Spring Solstice

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Spring Equinox is on Saturday, 3/20/2021. This marks the first official day of spring in the Northern hemisphere. On this day, the length of the day and night are almost equal.

The flowers are beginning to bloom and the birds are nesting. We have a pair of what I believe are Mockingbirds that have made their nest just outside our front door in the topiary tree. We’ve been careful to keep the noise down, lights low and the gardeners away from that tree so that we do not disturb them. But it can be a little challenging since they are right at our front door. You can see the momma bird on her eggs keeping them nice and warm. I can’t wait for them to hatch! Very exciting!!

Have you checked your yard for any exciting new babies that may be coming soon? Would love to hear from you.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.” ~Charles Dickens

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Guardian Dear Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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Hope this post finds you doing well. Wanted to share my latest angel with you that I created in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal. My colors are getting a bit brighter as spring officially begins this weekend! I love seeing all the beautiful new blooms!

Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!

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Keto Day 15 – Progress Report

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Keto Day 15 – Progress Report

Okay, today is my last Keto Diet progress report. I promised to report the good, the bad and and ugly. Well, I started out good, losing weight and inches and that has now slowed down to a crawl unfortunately. I’ve lost a total of 7 pounds but my body fat and muscle mass is the same. I’ve hit a plateau and it’s a little frustrating.

Going back to my history, my body doesn’t normally respond well to eating more fat. However, one thing I did start adding to my morning shakes was Coconut MCT Oil which is a long-chain triglyceride that is easier to digest and is a good source of energy. It’s also good for brain health. You can have it everyday, but I only add it to my diet 3 times a week. I will say I’ve noticed that my mind is definitely sharper. So that’s a plus! Some of my other issues related to inflammation have also lessened, another plus!

Many people lose a lot of weight on Keto, but it just doesn’t seem to totally agree with me so I have to tweak my diet a little more. I think if I go back to cooking oil free but keep the avocados, nuts, coconuts and olives in my diet a few times a week I’m hoping I can find a good balance.

The Keto recipes were delicious and I now have a few new favorites. I’m still a believer in the Keto Lifestyle and recommend giving it a try. But eat a clean Keto Diet, not the ones that convince you a slab of bacon is healthy. Before making any changes to your diet, always check with your healthcare practitioner.

Thanks for your support on this adventure!

Recommend books for Keto Diet:

  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola

  • “Keto-Green 16” by Dr Anna Cabeca

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“If your body’s not right the rest of your day will go wrong. Take care of yourself!” ~V. L. Allineare

Thoughtful Thursday

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Daylight Savings Time

This Sunday marks Daylight Savings Time. We go to bed on Saturday night and at 12 am we are supposed to set our clocks forward 1 hour. An easy way to remember which way to set your clock is think “Spring forward, Fall back.”

But who started this and why? During World War I, President Roosevelt had the idea to follow the European model and suggested to Congress to start one standard time throughout our country. This was supposed to help us utilize our resources better. Thus they enacted the 1918 Standard Time Act which was meant to only be in effect for 7 months out of the year. After the war, the Standard Time Act was discontinued. However, some states still continued to follow it.

When World War II started, Congress imposed new legislation that was basically same as the 1918 Time Act but would be in effect for the entire year instead of only 7 months. This was repealed in 1945, and again some states kept following the Time Act.

In 1966 Congress passed new legislation that would permanently set a standard time for the entire nation. There are a few exceptions to the rule. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not follow this legislation, as well as overseas US Territories.

So don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead 1 hour Saturday night before going to bed. Hope you have a great weekend!

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Sources:

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/daylight-saving-time-instituted

https://time.com/5005600/states-without-daylight-savings-time

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Keto Day 10 – Progress Report

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Keto Day 10 – Progress Report

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I started the Keto Diet March 1st, Vegan style. So far I’ve lost a total of 6.4 pounds. My body fat dropped another .2% for a total of 1.2% while my muscle mass stayed the same for a total gain .5%.

I’m still happy with my progress. I thought I would have seen more of a change from fat to muscle by now, but it really didn’t fluctuate the last 5 days. I’m hoping to see more of a shift soon.

When I drank only smoothies made with raw fruits and veggies for a period of about 2 months, I lost anywhere from .3 – .5 lbs a day which totaled 10 – 15 lbs in a month. So considering I’m eating more fats than I have ever done in my life from avocado, nuts, olives and coconut I’m pretty surprised that the results so far are about the same.

The recipes thus far have been tasty, so no complaints there. However, I just can’t bring myself to cook with lots of oil. I still go light in that department and that’s worked out okay for me.

My energy levels are good and overall I feel great! So I’m sticking with it for another 5 days and will let you know how it goes.

Stay tuned because I will see you again on Day 15.

Thanks for your support!

Recommend books for Keto Diet:

  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola

  • “Keto-Green 16” by Dr Anna Cabeca

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“A healthy outside starts from the inside.” ~Robert Urich

Angel Watercolor Painting – Flora

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Meet Flora, my newest angel. She’s painted on 9″ x 12″ 140lb Watercolor Paper with professional paints. Flora is painted with bright, cheery and happy colors and is made with lots of love 💖

Available for purchase in my Etsy Shop: FlowingWatersArtShop

“Angels live among us. There is no disguising the hope the peace and hope they bring.” ~ Unknown

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Keto Day 5 – Progress Report

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Keto Day 5 – Progress Report

March 1st, I started on the Keto Diet, Vegan style. I’ve been doing good sticking to it for my first 5 days. It hasn’t been easy at times but I’ve managed. I’m still not in Ketosis (burning fat) but I have lost a total of 5.2 pounds.

I use the Eat Smart Digital scale to weigh myself and it also measures your body fat and muscle mass. I’m happy to report that my body fat dropped 1.0% and my muscle mass increased .5%. Although these aren’t big changes, it’s still progress, however small.

The recipes for the meals in Dr. Cabeca’s book, “Keto-Green 16,” have been surprisingly delicious! I thought with limiting my foods on keto and then limiting them even more because I’m vegan would be problem with flavor. But luckily this is not the case which makes it so much easier to continue.

I’m still doing my 30 minute weight and 30 minute cardio workouts everyday except Sunday, my day of rest. My energy for the first 3 days was a little low but on days 4 and 5 my energy increased and I feel like I have more energy than before which is another plus.

Stay tuned because I will see you again on Day 10. Wish me luck!

Thanks for your support!

Recommend books for Keto Diet:

  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola
  • “Keto-Green 16” by Dr Anna Cabeca

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“The best six doctors anywhere, and no one can deny it are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet.” ~Wayne Fields

Thoughtful Thursday

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Forgiveness

It seems there’s a lot of negativity in the world today, more than ever before. But what can you do when someone gets angry at you or says a lot of negative and hurtful things?

When you take in their negative energy you lose yours and feel terrible. You lose a precious piece of yourself like your self esteem. As human beings we have the ability to replay moments in our minds like a movie, good or bad. We can relive moments over and over again. Good moments fill us with joy while bad ones completely drain us of our power.

Sometimes it’s a loved one who says or does something hurtful not realizing how it may affect you, or it could be a friend or total stranger. But you need to take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. Usually that person is acting out of a past experience or fear where they may have been hurt in some way. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with you. As hard as it may be don’t take in their negativity. Instead forgive them and send them loving energy, in the end it will make you stronger.

“Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” ~Buddha

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Puppy Love Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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My newest angel in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal. This is my first puppy. I wasn’t sure how she would turn out, but she grew on me. Hope you like her.

Hope the rest of your week is lovely 😊

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Keto Day 1 – Kick Off!

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Keto Day 1 – Kick Off!

If you didn’t have a chance to read my Thoughtful Thursday post from last week, I ‘m starting the Keto diet today. The goal is to stick with it, no cheating and get my body into fat burning mode, ketosis. I’ll be measuring my pH and Ketosis levels with test strips. I plan on giving you updates with my progress every 5 days for the first 15 days, the good, the bad and the ugly.

This morning I started my day as usual, with a 30 minute weight workout followed by 30 minutes of cardio. I’ve done this routine for years and you would think losing weight wouldn’t be a problem, but it all comes down to what you eat. You can get away with more in your younger years, but as you get older, your body is not so forgiving.

Fingers crossed, this keto diet will work. I’m following Dr Anna Cabeca’s menu included in her book “Keto-Green 16.” She has recipes and modification tips for vegans and so that’s what I will be following. If you want to join in, would love to have you along on this adventure!

Thanks for your support!

Recommend books for Keto Diet:

  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola
  • “Keto-Green 16” by Dr Anna Cabeca

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“Nothing has benefited me more physically, mentally and most important spiritually, then adapting a vegan diet. The best decision I have made as a human for me and the planet.” ~Tim Shieff, Professional Freerunner

Thoughtful Thursday

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What is Keto?

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of publications in the grocery store and online about the Keto diet. To sum it up Keto is a low carb, high fat diet with good protein. By reducing the amount of carbohydrates you consume which turn to sugar and are used as fuel by the body, you put your body into a state of Ketosis. Ketosis is where your body utilizes stored fat as fuel and thus you drop weight, reduce inflammation, balance your hormones, get better sleep, reduce blood sugar levels, reduce brain fog and more. There are a lot of benefits to eating a Keto diet.

You may read some articles that claim it’s okay to eat as much fat as you want on Keto. However, this is Not True. The goal is to eat healthy fats like nuts, olives, avocados and some oil. But keep in mind that you cannot consume more calories than you’re burning in a day, otherwise the weight will not come off and any symptoms that you’re trying to resolve won’t get any better.

For most of my life I’ve eaten a low sugar, low fat diet. It has brought me to where I am today. I went vegan several years ago and overall feel pretty good and way better than when I ate meat and dairy. But like most us, I still have a little weight to loose, so I decided to try the Keto diet.

When I initially started the Keto Diet, I lost weight. But when I went off of Keto and then tried going back on the results weren’t the best. I’m having a harder time the second time around. Yes I’ve been cheating and that’s a big reason why it isn’t working so great. As of March 1st which is Monday, I’m going to start the Keto Diet fresh again. I will check in with you, my loyal readers, about every 5 days for the first 15 days and let you know how it’s all progressing. The good, the bad and the ugly. If you want to do it along with me that would be great!

I have a few books that I recommend if you’re interested in learning more about Keto and the effects a regular diet has on our bodies:

  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola
  • “Keto-Green 16” by Dr Anna Cabeca

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“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need”. ~ Ayurvedic Proverb

Angel of Peace Watercolor Journal Page

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My newest creation in my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ Watercolor Journal. I completely panicked in making this angel. My white Posca Pen ran out of ink shortly after starting the outlines. I had a pretty good groove going on and didn’t want to stop so I switched to my white Uni-Ball Signo Gel pen and it worked beautifully. It makes a broader line but the gel ink is also bolder. Just like the Posca Pen, if you make a mistake you can quickly erase it with a little water and a brush, but the ink has to be wet. Once it dries it’s permanent.

Wishing you a wonderful week 😊

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Esther A Howland “The Mother of Valentine”

Follow Up to the History of Valentine’s Day

Last week I wrote a post about the history of Valentine’s Day and learned we had a “Mother of Valentine, “Esther A Howland. I found her very interesting considering she was born in a time before women basically had rights and as a result the odds were not in her favor. Despite that, Esther persevered and moved forward with her vision. Below are some of the highlights of Esther’s lifetime accomplishments below:

  • 1828 Esther was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her parents were Southworth Allen Howland and Esther Howland.
  • Her Father, owned the largest stationary and bookbindery business in Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Esther attended college at Mount Holyoke Academy the same time as Emily Dickinson did.
  • 1847 Esther graduated college at the age of 19 and received a Valentine card from one of her father’s friends which was decorated with lace and cut out flowers. During this time, Valentine Day Cards were imported from Europe into the States.
  • Esther loved the card and thought she could do better. She talked to her father and he bought her supplies to make her own cards. She created a dozen designs.
  • Esther gave the samples to her brother for his next sales trip for their father’s business. She hoped for $200 in sales which would be worth around $6,380 today. But to her surprise he returned with over $5,000, worth $159,501 today.
  • Esther knew she couldn’t handle these orders by herself so she employed friends, primarily women who were said to have been paid liberally and had pleasant working conditions. She used a guest bedroom on the 3rd floor of her home for her new business. She set up an assembly line to create the cards and inspected each one.
  • 1850 The Worcester Spy published the first advertisement for Esther’s Valentine Cards and she became officially known as a businesswomen.
  • 1870 Esther incorporated her business, New England Valentine Company (N.E.V.Co).
  • In red ink, Esther began stamping the letter “H” and price on the back of her cards. She also included in red ink, the letters for her company “N.E.V.Co.”
  • Esther’s business grossed $100,000 annually the equivalent of $3,190,024 today.
  • Esther expanded her business and made cards for Birthdays, Christmas and New Years. She also created May Baskets and Booklets.
  • 1866 Esther suffered a knee injury and became bound to a wheelchair.
  • 1874 Esther moved her Valentine factory from her home to Harrington Corner.
  • Esther passed away in 1904 at the age of 76. Although she was considered “The Mother of Valentine” she never married.
Esther Howland’s Home
Assembly Line
Esther Howland Valentine Cards

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“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” ~ Estee Lauder

Sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

https://www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/esther-howland-american-valentine

https://newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/esther-howland-worcester-valentine-queen/

https://www.legacyclub.boston/esther-howland

https://bonnercountydailybee.com/news/2021/feb/10/esthers-gift-and-legacy-love/

Angel of Prayer Watercolor Journal Page

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Since I filled up my other journal, this is the first angel in my new journal, Angel of Prayer. I tried something new with her halo but I’m not sure if I like it. What do you think?

I also limited my color palette on this one. After she was all done, I took a look at her and she reminded me of Easter with these colors.

Hope you have a lovely week 😊

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thoughtful Thursday

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History of Valentine’s Day

Did you ever wonder how it all got started? I mean, who came up with this idea to celebrate love on February 14th? The roots of St Valentine’s Day go back to 270 AD. I’m sure you don’t want a major history lesson so here are a few of the highlights:

  • Geoffrey Chaucer, an English Poet was the first person to record St Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules”
  • The oldest recorded Valentine was written in 1415, by Charles, Duke of Orleans. After the battle of Agincourt he was held prisoner in The Tower of London and wrote a Valentine to his wife which is now a part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.
  • Cupid is depicted on many Valentine Day greetings as a cute, chubby little cherub. However, his roots actually go back to the Greek God of Love, Eros.
  • In the mid 1800’s, friends and lovers would exchange small tokens of affection or a hand written note. By the 1900’s, printing technology improved and printed cards replaced the handmade versions from the 1800’s
  • In the 1840’s, Esther A Howland who became known as “The Mother of Valentine” began selling the first mass produced Valentines in the United States. Her creations were beautifully made with lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as scrap. Esther’s brother took a dozen card samples to their father’s store where she hoped to get $200 in sales. But her brother returned with over $5,000 in sales!!!
  • Today approximately 145 Million Valentine Day cards are sent each year making it the 2nd largest holiday to Christmas.

Below is a photo of Esther A Howland and a few of her Valentine Cards

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” ~Judy Garland

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💖 Happy Valentine’s Day! 💖

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Sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

https://bonnercountydailybee.com/news/2021/feb/10/esthers-gift-and-legacy-love/

Angel of Love Watercolor Journal Page

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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day which is just a 4 days away, I made this Angel of Love. This was my last painting in this 5.5″ x 8″ journal. I finally filled it up, Yay!

I somehow keep making that beautiful turquoise blue color. I have mixed and mixed trying to duplicate but haven’t had any luck. Funny enough, it happens completely by accident. I don’t even notice it until it dries. I’m waffling buying a tube of paint, the hard part is finding the color of turquoise.

Wishing you a wonderful week.

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Thoughtful Thursday

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14 Ways to Show Your Love

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. We all know that we should express our love every day to those we hold dear, but Valentine’s Day is that 1 day to really shine. Without spending a lot of money, here are 14 Ways to Show Your Love to that Special Someone in your life:

  1. Make a nice breakfast.
  2. Take over and do their chores for the day.
  3. Go for a nice walk together.
  4. Do a yoga or other exercise class together.
  5. Go out on a picnic.
  6. Watch a movie with candy and popcorn.
  7. Bake a special sweet dish like the vegan brownies from last Thoughtful Thursday!
  8. Make a handmade Valentine’s Day Card.
  9. Create a surprise “Love You” display on the kitchen table with candy, flowers.
  10. Order a “To Go” meal and have a candlelit dinner at home.
  11. Create a romantic music play list and dance the night away.
  12. Leave little love notes for them to find.
  13. Give them a Spa Day at home with candles, chocolates and bubble bath.
  14. Spend quality time together talking with no distractions and really listen.

“Where there is Love, there is Life.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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Angel Watercolor Painting – Bethany

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I always believe that angels are around every minute of every day, guiding and protecting us. In these tough times we need their love now more than ever.

I painted this angel, Bethany on 9″ x 12″ 140lb Watercolor Paper. She is full of bright, fun, happy colors and made with lots of love 💖 and is available for purchase in my Etsy Shop: FlowingWatersArtShop

“May Angels guard you through the night and keep you safe till morning light.” ~ Unknown

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