Watercolor Boats in Marina at Sunset

Boats in Marina at Sunset Watercolor 11x14 Fabriano Artistico 140lb Cold Press

Watercolor Boats in Marina at Sunset.

The other evening, I felt like painting something different.  I found a very talented watercolor artist on Youtube, Tim Wilmont, from the UK, who generously shares his talent via Youtube demos,online classes, and workshops (if you are fortunate enough to live near him or be able to travel to Venice or Tuscany to attend one of his week-long workshops).

Well – since Venice or Tuscany are not in my near future, I settled for watching Tim's live demo of boats and tried my hand at it.

The painting above was my second go at it.  The first is torn in half, and the back will be used for warm ups or color testing.  This second one, though nothing near the talent of Tim, feels pretty good for me.

I learned a lot watching Tim (twice)!  I long for the day when I will have the natural gift to know where to leave white and light so instinctively and how best to balance blending colors.  And drawing is the first challenge for me, but I did it.

Thanks, Tim.  I look forward to watching more of your tutorials, and maybe someday – just maybe – I'll see you in Venice!  (A girl can dream can't she??!!)

My painting is for sale in our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop, and if it doesn't sell before September 9th, I'll be taking it to our FIRST EVER McKinneyX2Designs booth display and showing at the Lake Latonka Fall Festival!

Colleen, my daughter-in-law, (who makes extraordinary rustic signs and crafts from reclaimed pallet wood – like these autumn signs and adorable pumpkins!)

and I are excited to participate in this Festival, which is in it's 38th year.  If you live anywhere nearby, we hope you will come visit!

What I did with this painting (and what I do with most all) is make it available for sale as an original and in 8×10 and 5×7 prints, which are printed on soft, 100% cotton watercolor rag paper that look almost like an original.

Boats in Marina at Sunset Watercolor 11x14 Original Matted and Framed

I also make my watercolor prints into cards on Solar White 80lb Super Smooth Card Stock and box them in sets with envelopes and tiny gold bows.

Check us out on Facebook or Etsy or visit us in person at the Festival next month!  We'll be the ones who are laughing loud and having fun!

Cheers & Hugs,

Beauty in the Desert

Pink Flowering Cactus Watercolor - Beauty in the Desert - 5x7 140lb Arches Cold Press

Pink Flowering Cactus Watercolor – Beauty in the Desert – 5×7 140lb Arches Cold Press

Pink Flowering Cactus Watercolor – Beauty in the Desert.

On our recent trip to Arizona, I was really blown away by the beauty in the desert.

I’ve heard some say it is brown and dry and “ugly.”  I disagree.

Though it is so very different from the lush green that people who live in the Eastern U.S. are accustomed to, there is so much beauty in the foliage and the terrain.

Many of the cacti were blooming when we were there, and I was so drawn to the pink flowering ones.

Here is my version of Beauty in the Desert – a pink flowering cactus.

Cheers & Hugs,


#McKinneyX2Designs ETSY Shop

Paints used:  Rembrandt Quinacridone Rose, Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold, Olive Green, and Perylene Green.

Child Gift-Giving: WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ

Becoming a first-time grandma recently, along with several of my besties, has caused me pause to consider child gift-giving.

It is sooooooo easy to get carried away and spoil – especially these first ones.

So I was thinking it is time to establish the “trend” for hopefully lots more grandie gifts.

I have read several places a good rule of thumb to simplify child gift-giving is to consider four categories:

  1. Want
  2. Need
  3. Wear
  4. Read

Consider gifts in the four categories – buying one of each:  One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read.

Well – let’s see if I can stick with this…

In the meantime, my bestie’s first grandchild turned one, so going with a fish theme (just because I thought it was fun), I made the above little T-shirt for him (to WEAR), bought him some bathtub fishing toys (I think he would WANT to play with), some socks (I’m sure his mama could say he NEEDs), and the Dr. Seuss Book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” (to READ).

Happy Birthday Ben!  I hope the years don’t continue to go as fast as this first one did!

Cheers & Hugs,

Pallet Love in the Dining Room

palet wine rack

My daughter-in-law, Colleen, and I are slightly obsessed with things you can make out of pallets.  I look at sites, pin things to Pinterest, oogle and swoon, but don’t seem to get around to ever doing anything about it.

So how surprised and excited was I when my son, Jake, and Colleen presented me with this beautiful handmade pallet wine rack for my birthday?!

I found a cozy little corner of the dining room to hang it and just love it.

wine rack corner

And if that wasn’t enough, I got a text from Jake the other day asking if I would like this pallet table he made for Colleen’s cookie exchange party (remember that amazing post?!).

Uh – let me think about it…..    YES!!!

palet table

So I found a home for it in another corner of the dining room.  I love that it gives me more room to display some fun collectibles and special antiques.

dining room

Our dining room is one of my favorite rooms.  (Charlie doesn’t mind hanging out there too when I’m nearby.)

Many a holiday meal have been eaten here. Countless party games have been played around this table.  Innumerable stories shared, gifts opened, wine drank, laughter echoed.

There are actually very few things we have purchased ourselves in this room, but many things that we have been gifted with, that are handmade, that have been passed down, and that are very special to me.

This cow creamer has a long history in hubby’s family with many happy and humorous memories.  (and I know my boys will never forget the year I filled it with questions on pieces of paper for “conversation starters” at the Thanksgiving table – I’ll never live that one down!)


Colleen knew just how to “butter me up” with this knife and butter dish!

butter knife

And I was so honored to receive this family heirloom cutter this past Christmas when I mentioned to Aunt Gwen that I would adore having something from my paternal Grandmother’s home.

antique cutter


antique tools

A very prized possession is this handmade heirloom Noah’s Ark set passed down to me from my sweet cousin, Joyce, and my dear Oh Rob.

china closet

It sits atop the most beautiful “china closet” that was an old beat up, painted, book case hubby resurrected from a run-down barn that we had refinished and filled with hand-me-down Pfaltzgraff stoneware – also from Joyce and Rob – and full of happy memories.

Noahs ark

And as if they haven’t shared and given us enough, they continue to give and grow our collection, with this new pair of deer in honor of hubby’s big buck this year.


And in memory of our sweet Mikey last year.


Another miniature Noah’s Ark set was made by Great Uncle Carl and sits on a “dry sink” made by him too!  (The only thing missing is one of the sheep, which Charlie enjoyed during his early days in his new home with us.)

small noahs ark

Two different antique sewing machines sit in corners of this room,

sewing mackine

and a very cherished treasure box sits on the trundle of one.

treasure box

My BFF, Jill, gifted me with this beautiful memory box for my birthday this year.

treasure box open

We have shared so many memories in this home for the past 15 years, as well as our home before this one.

And I know we will cherish many more in the years to come – no matter where the brick and mortar takes us.

treasure box contents

Because, as you can see, my home is not filled with extravagant, expensive, fancy furniture and decorations, but it is overflowing with cherished gifts and wonderful memories.

The thing I love most about this room – and my entire home – is the people I share it with.

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,



Rubber Ducky Diaper Cake

rubber ducky diaper cake

Looking for a fun baby shower gift?

How about taking a box of disposable diapers and making it into a “cake!”

Yesterday, I shared my Rubber Ducky Watercolor Card.  Here is another part of the gift that goes with it.  A gift bag full of baby hooded towels, and I am ready for the shower.

This is so simple to make.

I re-purposed an aluminum serving tray and hot glued a cardboard paper towel holder to the center.  I then took an 88-count box of Pampers Swaddler Diapers, rolling each diaper and holding it together with a rubber band.

Begin by placing the rolled diapers around the center paper towel tube.  Tie together with string, and then surround with another ring outside that.  Repeat four times for the bottom layer.  Then make the middle layer with two circles and the top layer with just one circle around the paper towel tube.  Cover the string/rubber bands with ribbon and make a decorative bow.  Decorate your cake with various rubber duckies and/or any other “theme” you choose to complete your gift cake.

Those of you that have been “lifeinbetweeners” for a while might remember the Birthday Money Cake I made for my son a few months ago.

Isn’t it fun to find creative ways to bake make cakes?!

What are you baking up today?

Cheers & Hugs,


Through the years – Making Christmas Cards

Christmas2014 1

I made my first Christmas card one evening this week.

Don’t go all hater on me.

I love Christmas.

Our little family has had a long-standing tradition of making homemade Christmas cards.

It is one of the many wonderful things I learned from my friend, Jill, who carried on the tradition from her Mom.

Every year around the middle to end of October, we would come up with a Christmas card idea.  Through the years either I drew it or, most often, one of the boys would draw it for the year.  We would have them printed, in black only, and then spend countless hours together in the evenings coloring them with markers.

When the boys went off to college, the homemade Christmas card tradition ended.  For a couple of years I sent boxed Christmas cards.  Then I just quit sending them all together.  Seems the tradition is dying.

Then last year I began my stamping hobby, and I was excited to be creative and make Christmas cards again.

I don’t send as many as we used to, and now every card is it’s own unique creation.  I don’t like to make a bunch of the same card.  In fact, I’ve barely ever made two of the same.  The joy to me is in making each unique and individual and the process of creative creation.  So if you get a Christmas card from me these days, it was made just for you and it’s the only one like it.

But as a special memory of all the sweet cards we’ve made through the years as a young family, I now have a collage hanging in my office.  I bought an old window sash at Construction Junction and modge podged the cards and the photos that went with them on it.  It is a sweet memory as I work from my home office during the day or craft in the evenings or on weekends there.

Christmas Card collage

Here are a few of my favorites through the years.

I adore this one Nick made when he was six years old of the family in the living room – Dad in his chair, the lights on the mantle of the fireplace (if you were wondering what that is across the top 🙂 ), the coffee table on the bottom, and how he labeled everyone.  I love that we all have big smiles.  It took us countless hours to hand color this one as we sent at least 100 cards out every year.

Christmas 96

Another fave is this one Jake drew when he was six years old of Santa and his reindeer flying through the starry night over the houses below.  I love these plump smiling reindeer and Rudolph’s red nose.  (anyone that knows me knows how much I LOVE Rudolph!)

Christmas santa reindeer

And there is this one Nick made at 9 – we laugh now looking at this interesting Santa face.  But look how Santa is waiting to give you a hug!

christmas 99

And this more simplistic, primitive angel he drew at 12.  (they were growing tired of coloring by now…)

christmas 02

Another favorite is this one Jake drew at seven years old.  This one makes me smile seeing the blue marker line “blooper,” and the hearts colored in on the people.

christmas peace

And each year I would put a photo in the card – often times corresponding with the card “theme,” like this one that went with Peace on Earth.

christmas peace on earth

or when I made homemade nutcracker tin soldier outfits for them to pose in…

christmas nutcrakers

And then they became a bit more sophisticated, like this one Jake drew at 16 years old.

Christmas 07

Such sweet memories and reflections.

So you may be seeing some Christmas cards I make this year here.  Each will be made with love and with fond memories of Christmases past and the anticipation of the joy in Christmases to come.

Cheers & Hugs,


Girlfriend Camp 2014 #GFC2014

Oh what a glorious TWENTY FIVE hours I got to spend from 11 am Saturday to 12pm Sunday with some of the best of besties at our Annual Girlfriend Camp 2014!

What started like this…

Morning Toast GFC2014

Toasting the beginning of Camp with Prosecco, Limoncello and Fresh Raspberry Cocktails

GFC2014 police

What happens @ #GFC2014 stays at #GFC2014

…ended like this…

but I skipped a few things in between….

So first – Meet the campers:  Camp Host – Yours truly… “Tipsy”

GFC2014 Jodi Tipsy

Our Amazing Activities Director “Chitfaced”

GFC2014 Pam Chitfaced

the Baby – or should I say “Babe” of the group – “Bombed”

GFC2014 Renee Bombed

Social Media Director “Buzzed”

GFC2014 Jill Buzzed

The tart “Pickled”

GFC2014 Joan Pickled

The Lovely “Loaded”

GFC2014 Aline Loaded

And the Terrific “Toasted”

GFC2014 Janet toasted

Every camp has to have craft time – right?

GFC2014 Painting

GFC2014 Aline Painting

GFC2014 Janet painting

GFC2014 Pam Painting

GFC2014 Jill painting

GFC2014 Joan Painting

And goody bags and gifts from friends….

GFC2014 wine glasses

Silly glasses and blowing bubbles…

GFC2014 bubbles


And Camp Activities…

GFC2014 Minute to Win It

Minute to Win It Buzzed Whippin’ it good

GFC2014 Minute to Win It 2

Minute to Win it Top Technique!

GFC2014 Minute to Win It 3

Minute to Win It Loaded with …. errr…. Vaseline on her nose

GFC2014 MInute to Win It 4

Minute it to Win It Cotton Ball Challenge

GFC2014 Minute to Win It 5a

Minute to Win It TEAMS!

And #Selfies…

GFC2014 Aline and Renee Selfie

And Smart A$$es…

FU GFC2014

And “Take our Picture!” s…

GFC2014 glasses

to refreshments….

GFC2014 Wine Tasting

and group photos….

GFC2014 group glasses

GFC2014 group

and when in Mars, PA – you must visit the infamous spaceship in town square ….. go there in camp jammies….. in the rain….. and find random (somewhat sober) people to take your picture…

GFC2014 Spaceship

GFC2014 spaceship 2

And the best Chef Merv made us an amazing Morning After Breakfast – and this is the only photo we will share of the morning after…

GFC2014 morning after

Because some things that happen at Girlfriend Camp, need to just stay at Girlfriend Camp!

Thanks for a great time “girls!” Love ya!!! Couldn’t have had more fun – Until GFC2015….

Cheers & Hugs,



A Bevy of Butterflies – Sheer & White or Bold & Bright

sheer white flourishes and butterflies

I’ve been trying to capture some photos of butterflies lately, but have not had much success – – – YET that is – stay tuned!

So instead, I decided to create some butterfly cards..

I think this sheer white one might make a pretty wedding card.  (And it is that  time of year!)

It is done with white paper stock and white embossed SU Flowering Flourishes on clear vellum and vellum-punched out butterflies. with some pearl accents.

I think it is sheer and delicate and dainty.

sheer white flourishes and butterflies closeup2

And this is one of Nick’s favorites that I’ve ever made (he tells me).  I’m kinda partial to it too.

Though I made it months ago, I haven’t mailed it to anyone yet.  This one is made using SU’s Best of Butterflies with a water coloring technique.

best of butterflies

These butterflies are bold and bright and glittery and sparkly.  The colors just spoke “JOY” to me.  I’m saving it for something and someone special someday.

best of butterflies close up

Which one do you like better?

Sheer & White?


Bold & Bright?


Wishing you a day filled with Joy – – – and maybe a few beautiful butterflies too.

Cheers and Hugs,



Hello Friday! Friday the 13th

Hi There Gorgeous Grunge and Kinda Eclectic

Oh Friday – How we look forward to you each week – so Hello!

Hello Friday!

And it’s Friday the 13th!

And it’s a Full Moon!  (also called the Strawberry Moon and the Honey Moon – which is not supposed to occur again for 5 years – so check it out!)

Woooohooo – what excitement may come our way?!

Friday is #FreebieFriday in the StampinUp Where the Rubber Hits the Road Group I belong to.  It’s the day we all share a card we made this week to inspire each other.

I love seeing all the creativity and crafty, artistic inspiration from my fellow stampers.

This week, I’m sharing this Kinda Eclectic/Hi There/Gorgeous Grunge Card  (those are the names of the three stamp sets I used, but funny how they “kinda” name the card!)

I had a BLAST making and seeing how this turned out.  A little off my usual path, but I just kept adding…

Lots of bright colors combined with the contrast of black inked on vellum….

A silver embossed ray of sunshine…

A cut-out starburst cog to go under it and lift it off the paper….

Some gold cord swirled under that and on top of the sliver sunburst…

Then topped it off with some sequins.

I saw something done with some similar techniques on Pinterest and couldn’t wait to try.

I hope it made you smile…

Or brightened your day…

Hello to you – and Hello Friday!

Wishing you all a wonderful Father’s Day weekend ahead.

Enjoy doing all the things you love to do…

with the people you love…

at Life in Between.

Cheers and Hugs,