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Chanel our cocker spaniel was pretty sad when Cocoa passed away last summer. She got her happiness back to a certain extent but not like when Cocoa was here. So we’ve been waffling the idea of getting a new pup. We finally decided to go for it and this is our new baby. Welcome Rosie, a Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel from Orlando Cockers.

I know our lives will be turned upside down with this new little bambino in the house but she’ll be good medicine for Chanel and all of us, because life is just RosieπŸ’

Wish me luck!

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Cocoa (left / 2007-2021) & Chanel (right) – Sable Cocker Spaniels

Custom Keepsake Ornament

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 πŸ˜‚

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 Happy Thanksgiving

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

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

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 πŸ˜…

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 5.5β€³ x 8.5β€³ 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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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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Thoughtful Thursday – Happy July 4th!

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

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Thoughtful Thursday – Remembering Cocoa

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.

πŸ’– Cocoa, you are forever in our hearts πŸ’–

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

Liza Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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 5.5β€³ x 8.5β€³ 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

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