Custom Keepsake Ornament

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With the loss of my little Cocoa this past summer and being stuck in bed this entire holiday season, my thoughts were on her a lot. She was quite a character and loved to rip our presents open. You can see her ears flying madly as she shredded the paper on this gift. This was serious business for Cocoa, she made us all laugh 😂

So to keep a reminder of Cocoa at Christmas, I made this ornament. It’s a beautiful way to remember those we’ve lost whether our furry kids or family and friends. It’s also a great way to create a custom keepsake for special moments. This started as a simple paper mache circle ornament, but wood would work just as well.

Round Paper Mache Ornament - Christmas Ornaments ...
Paper Mache Ornament

Supplies

  • 3.75″ Paper Mache Circle Ornament or Wood Ornament
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic paint in coordinating color to match photos
  • 3.5″ circle photograph of your loved one
  • 3.25″ x 2.5″ rectangular/freeform photograph of your love one
  • Golden Matte Medium
  • Posca Paint Marker .7mm
  • Sakura Pen .005 or other Waterproof Fine Tip Marker
  • 14″ Trim of your choice
  • Stickles – Star Dust
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue

Instructions

  1. Paint your paper mache ornament with gesso and let dry.
  2. Paint your entire ornament, including the edges with the acrylic paint using a 3/4″ flat brush. Let dry. Give it a second coat if needed.
  3. Print and cut your photographs to fit the ornament. The approximate sizes are listed above.
  4. Using the matte medium, adhere your photograph to one side of the ornament. Apply a coat of matte medium over your photograph to seal and protect it. Let dry. {Note: depending on the ink you use to print your photo, you may want to test the matte medium on a sample photo to make sure the ink doesn’t bleed.}
  5. Follow step 4 with the 2nd photo on the other side. Let dry.
  6. Add any names, dates or sentiments with your Sakura pen.
  7. Using the your Posca pen, add little stars and doodles. Let dry.
  8. Accent one side of your ornament with Stickles and let dry. Then repeat on the other side if desired. Let dry.
  9. Last, using Aleene’s Tacky Glue, adhere your trim to the edge of the ornament and cut off any excess. Now you have a beautiful keepsake of your loved one or that special moment.

I hope you enjoy creating your custom keepsake. Keep in mind, these would also make great gifts too 😊

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Thoughtful Thursday History of the Christmas Tree

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

For those of you celebrating Christmas, hopefully you’ve set up your tree by now. The tradition of Christmas trees began in Germany in the early 1600’s. When German and other European settlers immigrated to America in the early 19th century, they brought this beautiful tradition with them. Although Americans found this tradition a bit odd at first, it became popular.

The first trees were decorated with apples, candy canes, cookies and pastries in assorted shapes of flowers, hearts and stars. Dyed popcorn also became popular as pieces were strung together with nuts and berries into large strands and hung on the tree.

The trees were originally lighted with with candles but this presented problems like keeping the candles on the branches for starters, not to mention accidental fires. But in 1878, Frederick Artz invented a clip on candle holder. This worked well, but you still couldn’t leave the tree unattended or lit for a long time. Luckily with the introduction of electricity into homes, the candles were replaced with electric lights that could keep the trees glowing for days.

The first Christmas tree farm in America was opened in 1851 by a woodsman named Mark Carr. He cut down trees in the Catskill Mountains and sold them in New York City’s Washington Market.

This tradition of displaying and decorating a Christmas tree has grown in popularity over the years and has become a cherished tradition by many. I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of history. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!

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“Christmas is doing a little something extra for everyone.” ~ Charles Schulz

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Thoughtful Thursday Happy Thanksgiving

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Photo by Sasha Prasastika on Pexels.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again. The weather has gotten a little cooler, thank goodness and the leaves are changing. But this is a time of warm gatherings and welcoming family and friends into our homes with lots of love. It’s a time to reflect back on the year and give thanks for all that we have.

More importantly it’s a time for you. This is the time to slow down and take in the beauty around you. Catch your breath and nestle in for the winter with warm soups and hot cocoa. Take time for yourself this season to recharge your energy. Find happiness in the simple, small everyday moments. Allow your soul to linger in the joy and peace of the season.

I want to extend a sincere heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you for your love and support. It’s greatly appreciated!

Wishing you a Very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

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“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F Kennedy

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Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

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Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre

Summer is officially coming to an end on September 22nd as we welcome the Autumn Equinox. Here in South Florida, we don’t really experience a change in scenery. The weather cools a bit but there is no major change in season visually.

This was a photo I had taken while hiking 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia with my husband. The air was cool and crisp on the morning we embarked on our hike and the scent of wet leaves permeated the air. Mother nature had graciously painted a stunning canvas of yellow, red, orange and brown for us to enjoy. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking on the trail.

It was a magical hike where I found myself again and remembered what I was made of. There were parts of the trail where I had to dig deep to find courage and endurance to push on. One section had a small brook covered with leaves which were very slippery. Even though I was super careful, I ended up taking a fall but luckily it was nothing major and just ended up with a bruised knee.

The most treacherous part of the trail was a section that was covered with large boulders from an avalanche that wobbled and moved as we crossed them. This part slowed us down considerably and the sun was setting soon.

To say the least, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting stuck on the mountain, at night, out in the cold. I much preferred my warm bed that was calling my name back at the lodge. So with all the grit and determination I could muster, I forged on to reach the end of our hike.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, the temperature began to drop pretty fast and darkness was setting in. Just when I thought we wouldn’t make, we came to the end of the trail. I was so happy and soooo relieved. We did it 😅

Looking back on our hike I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was quite the adventure and I loved every minute I spent with my husband. Time on the trail renewed my energy and sense of wonder. It was a great recharge for my mind, body and soul.

We’re going on another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail this fall but it will be at a different section of the trail and a shorter hike. Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful colors again!

What do you like most about autumn?

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“Notice how autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~Freidrich Nietzsche

Photos taken by Maria Vidaurre

Angel of Promises

My latest angel from my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ watercolor journal, Angel of Promises. I tried a playing with the wings a bit more. I kind of like how they turned out. What do you think?

Would love to hear your feedback.

Have a wonderful week!

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Save Our Oceans and Turtles Journal Pages (Part 2)

The other week I posted Page 1 of this journal spread. For my focal point on the second page I used a tag that I made a while ago and stashed away for later use. I love this tag because it was embossed with a stamp that reads “My heart is at home by the Sea” which really resonates with me.

I made the little turtles using the same stamp as in the tag, colored them, cut them out and glued them into the journal. I wanted a little texture for the turtle shells so I used Inkssentials Glossy Accents.

I had a lot of fun creating this journal layout and hope you will too!

Supplies

  • 9″ x 12″ Journal
  • Torn pieces of tissue paper or pages from a book
  • Gesso
  • Mod Podge or Gel Matte Medium
  • Acrylic Paint: Aqua and Royal Blue
  • Fiber Paste
  • Wave Stencil
  • Palette Knife
  • Assorted ocean themed stamps
  • Staz On Black Ink
  • Inkssentials Glossy Accents
  • Assorted ephemera and embellishments
  • Ranger Distress Ink – Black Soot
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Paint your pages with gesso. Let dry.
  2. Tear small pieces of paper and glue them to the journal pages with Mod Podge or Gel Matte Medium. Let dry.
  3. Paint your background in your favorite acrylic paint. Allow the torn pieces of paper to show through the paint a little. Let dry.
  4. Mix fiber paste with a darker contrasting acrylic paint and apply using a palette knife and wave stencil. Let dry.
  5. Stamp sea life images to the pages with the Staz On Ink and add ephemera you have that will go with the ocean theme. You can also stamp or draw images, color them with paint, cut them out and glue them to the pages like I did with the little turtles. I also added a little Glossy Accents for more texture.
  6. Distress the edges with Ranger Black Soot.
  7. Add your quote.
  8. Add any shading and highlights where needed. Add a little sparkly glitter and that’s it!

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Thoughtful Thursday Vision Boards

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Vision boards are a way of putting your goals and dreams into one place so you can focus on them everyday and bring them to fruition. There are no rules for creating vision boards. They can be big or small, neat or messy, on a wall or foam board. You fill them with photos, words or both, it’s entirely up to you. Personally I like to use photos from magazines or the internet. They help me visualize my goals more easily.

Think about what you really desire in life maybe it’s better relationships, a better job, more time with the family, finding love, etc. Then find photos that relate to your desires and put them on the board. For example, if I’ve been dreaming about taking a cruise, I’ll look for an ad with a cruise ship and the destination I want to go to and put that photo on my board. If I want to get healthy and in shape, I’ll find a photo of an athlete and put that on my board.

The vision board will help you to attract the right circumstances in your life to make your desires a reality. It will also help keep you focused and on track. The photos will help you to visualize yourself in the circumstances you desire. But what is even more important is that you feel the positive emotion related to your desires whether it be joy, elation, happiness or any other strong positive emotion. And I don’t mean just think about the feeling, I want you to really feel the emotion in every cell in your body. Imagine yourself attaining your goal and think how good you’ll feel when your desire becomes a reality.

You want to keep the vision board in a place where you can see it everyday so you stay focused and have clarity on your goals and desires. The vision board will help keep your passion and energy fueled so you can attain your goals. Imagine the possibilities. The sky’s the limit so dream BIG!

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“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~Walter Elias Disney

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Cathryn Angel Watercolor Journal

A new angel I finished in my Strathmore 8.5″ x 5.5″ Watercolor Journal. Her name is Cathryn. Still playing with the colors and having lots of fun! 😊

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

Have a beautiful week!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Happy Birthday Chanel

Chanel

I want to introduce you to Chanel, my other Sable Cocker Spaniel who is turning 9 years old today! She is a very special little girl who is my daily inspiration.

At 3 years old, Chanel went completely blind. At first she was upset and frustrated but a few days in, she mapped out the house by following the walls with her nose. She went around again mapping out where the furniture was and used her sniffer to determine what room she was in.

Chanel maintained her status as the alpha and learned new commands like follow me, stop, turn and listen to name a few. She had every reason to wake up unhappy with the hand that life dealt her, but she chose happiness. You see, Chanel never got the memo that she was blind and life should be over because of her disability. The only thing she knew was that life was going to be a little different from here on out. She still plays fetch but instead of looking for the ball with her eyes, she uses sound and smell to find it. It’s incredible to watch.

I know that if this would have happened to me I would’ve had a very hard time adjusting. Everyday I watch in awe as she navigates her day with courage and a heart filled with love. Chanel has a super wonderful attitude that gets her through life.

I wish we all had more of Chanel’s positive attitude. Life will always throw you curves balls and even knock you down sometimes. But you always need to find the positive in every situation, especially the challenging ones. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it just means it’s time to adjust to something new and see where that takes you on this incredible journey we call life. Remember, it is your attitude that determines your altitude.

Happy Birthday Chanel!

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“A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.” ~Joyce Meyer

Rosie Angel Watercolor Journal Page

My latest angel from my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ watercolor journal. Her name is Rosie. I tried limiting the colors in this one. I really like the iridescent blue that I used around the stars, in her hair and clothes. It has a beautiful shimmer. But looking at her, she reminds me of an Easter or Spring Angel.

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

Have a wonderful week!

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