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

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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)

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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

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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

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Cathryn Angel Watercolor Journal

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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

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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

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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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Thoughtful Thursday – Happy July 4th!

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Photo by Elizabeth Iris on Pexels.com

Independence Day is this Sunday, July 4th. Many will kick off the day being outside enjoying fresh air, sunshine and having a good old fashioned barbecue with delicious apple pie for dessert. At night, the skies are filled with stunning and spectacular fireworks. But how did all of this get started?

Lets go back in time a bit to July 2, 1776. On this day the Second Continental Congress declared Independence from Britain but no one signed the Declaration of Independence which was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson.

July 3, 1776, John Adams one of the founding fathers and members of Congress wrote a letter to his wife Abigail which in part read:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

Congress made a total of 86 changes to the original declaration and the final draft was completed and signed on July 4, 1776. This marked the beginning of the war for freedom and it lasted 7 long years until 1783.

Although we were at war, it was reported by the Pennsylvania Evening Post that July 4, 1777 was celebrated with demonstrations of joy and festivity. Armed ships fired a 13 gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. Festivities included an elegant dinner, military demonstration, band performances and fireworks. These celebrations continued annually thereafter.

Hope you enjoy your holiday and have the opportunity to see a beautiful firework display. Wishing you a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

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“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has places us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” ~Thomas Jefferson

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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

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