A Happy Retirement Candy-Gram


A Happy Retirement Candy-Gram.

A friend of ours recently retired.

Instead of just a card, I thought it would be fun to do a Candy-Gram.

It is fun to pick out a bunch of candy bars and try to make them into a message.

Great fun for special birthdays and holidays.

And the best part is – it’s a card and gift all in one!

Happy Retirement Bob!  We are so happy for you.  Enjoy the candy and enjoy your free time!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lucas the Lucky Lion

Lucas the Lucky Lion OriginalWatercolor Painting – 11×14

Lucas the Lucky Lion.

In a faraway land that was known as Zion,
lived Lucas, the exceedingly lucky little lion.

No matter the game – played morning or afternoon,
Lucas the lion was always the most opportune.

He seemed to be blessed
with the very best success.

And never did he possess
even the teeniest bit of stress.

Lucas knew he was king
of kickball and juggling.

This extremely lucky lion was tops at kicking balls and batting.
He even stole the show when dribbling, dunking, and passing.

But the thing that made Lucas the luckiest of all –
the skill that made him so very exceptional…

Was Lucas the Lucky Lion’s quintessential charm.
For there wasn’t a friend or foe he couldn’t charismatically disarm.

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Lucas the Lion is a special surprise for one of my BFs.  I was looking for recommendations on what to paint after taking a little break for the holidays, and she requested a Lucas the Lion and Harper the Hippo for her two grandchildren, who are fans of Klaus the Mouse.

I thought you might like to see a bit of the process I go through for a painting.

First I draw a pencil sketch.

Once I am happy with a design, I either redraw in pencil on watercolor paper or use a light box to trace the basic outline.

If the pencil markings are too dark, I then use a kneaded putty eraser to lighten up the lines.  If needed, I use some masking fluid to preserve any areas I want to assure stay white.

I then consider colors using my watercolor swatch charts, choose a few brushes I may use, fill my water bucket, and assure paper towels and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge are handy.

I am then ready to put on my first wash of paint.

After the first wash is dry, I rub off the masking fluid, and I begin adding layers, allowing to dry as necessary until I am happy with the painting.

Once my original is finished, I take the best photo I can of it for printing.  Most all of my paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Design Etsy shop in prints (sizes 11×14, 8×10, and 5×7 – matted or not) and greeting cards, like below.  For those friends who are local, my daughter-in-law (who makes beautiful rustic wood pallet signs) and I also have our art on display and available at Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.  You can find all of our information here.

  

Look for Harper the Happy Hippo in my next post here at The CreativeLifeInBetween, which is scheduled to post Tuesday.

By the way, if you are interested in a custom watercolor painting of an animal character for a child you love, you can order via our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop at this link.  Let me know the child’s name and the animal you would like.  It will be an 11×14 original watercolor painting.  If you would like an original rhyming poem to go with it, that can also be ordered for an additional charge.  It will come printed on an 8.5×11 sturdy cardstock sheet that can also be framed.  Please allow two weeks for any custom orders.

My artwork can also be made into pillows and clocks and coasters and mugs and tote bags and a lot of other fun things – all available at Society6.  Let me know if there is a piece you like that I should add there.

Lucas the Lion Pillow

I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of this new year and settling back into your normal routines after the busy holiday season.  It was good to undecorate from the holidays yesterday and find time to paint again.

Happy Sunday!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Grandma’s Bleeding Heart – A Mother’s Day Flower

The Best Mother’s Day Gift.

When I was a young, extremely naive, stay-at-home mom
to two energetic and spirited little boys,

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” would have been
an hour or two of peace and quiet all to myself to do whatever I pleased.

But now that I am an older, experienced, working-outside-the-home mom
to two amazing and independent young men,

and have gained two “daughters”
and a granddaughter too…

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” has become
an hour or two of time together

to love and laugh and appreciate
the greatest gift of all…

The gift of
being a Mom!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Bridal Shower Money Gift: A Champagne Bottle Wedding Dress

Bridal Shower Money Gift: A Champagne Bottle Wedding Dress.

Money is always a welcomed gift – right?

But it is also BORRRRING to give.

When going to a bridal shower, one of the main events is the gift opening, so I often try to figure out a creative presentation.

My daughter-in-law hosted a bridal shower this weekend for her sister.  What an amazing job she did, and what a beautiful day we were gifted with.

I created this champagne bottle money wedding dress as my gift.  It was so easy to do, and I had everything to make it on hand.

I took a bottle of champage and wrapped it in white tulle and lace.  I embellished it with paper flowers, pearls, and crystal gems and created a veil with additional tulle.  Everthing was glued on with a hot glue gun or Tombow glue.

I then pinned the money on with straight pins all around to form a layer of the dress.

Several years ago, I made a Happy Birthday Money Cake for one of my sons.  It has been the most popular blog post ever here at TheCreativeLifeinBetween.com.   Seems lots of folks are looking for creative ways to give gifts of money, so I hope you all enjoy this one too.

Cheers &  Hugs,
Jodi

 

Own – Embrace – Explore

Owning our story can be hard, but not
nearly as difficult as spending our
lives running from it.  Embracing our
vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly
as dangerous as giving up on love
and belonging and joy – the experiences
that make us the most vulnerable.  Only
when we are brave enough to explore
the darkness will we discover
the infinite power of our light.

Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness

 

One of my favorite Christmas gifts (heck – every gift is my favorite), but this one really speaks to my heart and was from the heart of someone who really gets me.  It is a quote from a favorite book – Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown.

It is hanging in a place where I will read it every day, and this will be my mantra – to own my story, to embrace my vulnerabilities, and to not be afraid to explore the darkness, so I can discover my authentic light.

Will you make a New Year’s Resolution?  Do you have a mantra or a life verse?  Do you choose One Little Word each year?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

S’More Cookie Bars

S’More Cookie Bars.

What S’more fun than S’mores?!

And what s’more perfect with hot cocoa or coffee than s’mores.

And what s’more delicious than campfire s’mores?

S’more cookie bars any time of year!

I love these adorable little cookie treats I learned from my daughter-in-law, Colleen, who first served them at a holiday cookie exchange she hosted a couple years ago.

They are simple.   They are fun. They are beautiful.  And best of all, they are SCRUMPTIOUS!

The teeny tiny miniature dehydrated marshmallows totally make them!  I purchased them locally at Make a Cake, a local, charming little cake and candy decorating shop, but they are also available online if you can’t find them near you.

Here is how to make them.

S'more Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

Directions:

After breaking all graham crackers and chocolate bars into rectangles, place one chocolate rectangle between two graham cracker rectangles forming a sandwich.

Melt Merckens milk chocolate one pound at a time in microwave.  Heat for 1 minute on high.  Stir well.  Heat 20-30 more seconds.  Stir well until smooth.

Dip each graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich into chocolate – coating 1/2 – 2/3 of cookie.   Let excess drip, and place on sheet of wax paper to cool and harden.  Dip 4-6, place on wax paper, and sprinkle with marshmallows.  Working in groups allows the marshmallows to stick to the melted chocolate before it cools to harden.  Continue until all are coated and sprinkled with marshmallows.  Allow to cool and harden.

They are ready within 20-30 minutes to enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  If you are local, I made these to share at the Berry Vine Gifts Christmas in the Woods Open House, which starts today, Friday, November 17th (10-6).  It also runs through the weekend, Saturday, November 18th (10-6) and Sunday, November 19th (12-4).  Come munch on one with a cup of cocoa while you browse the beautiful holiday handmade crafts, antique furniture, and gifts in this one-of-a-kind shoppe (including my art and Colleen’s rustic pallet signs!) 

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree Watercolor - 11x14 - 140lb Fabriano Artistico

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree Watercolor – 11×14 – 140lb Fabriano Artistico

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree.

Is anybody else starting to think about Christmas?

When my boys were young, I loved getting ready for the Christmas holiday.  I would often start playing Christmas music in October… much to Hubby’s dismay.

We prepared letters to Santa, and I shopped and put carts full of toys on “lay-away” months ahead of winter.

My best friend and I went to craft shows and stores and bought santas and snowmen and other holiday decorations, as well as things to make decorations – often while pushing strollers and carrying diaper bags.

I would prepare for “Sammy” the elf to make his arrival at our house and plan out his adventures each night when the boys went to bed to surprise them in the morning.

I created homemade Christmas cards for the boys to color (and later they drew them) to send to friends and family.

I stocked up on sugar and flour and baking supplies when they were on sale and collected festive tins to make hundreds of cookies and dozens of sweet breads and nut rolls to share with friends and neighbors.

As the boys got older, the excitement of Christmas dimmed a bit.  We still enjoyed it, but the excitement leading up to it was not the same as when they were young and the magic existed.

But now….. I’m a grandma!  And that just makes me absolutely giddy for Christmas again!

And since my daughter-in-law, Colleen, and I have created our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop and have started also selling our art at a local gift shop, Berry Vine Gifts, it is so fun to get excited about preparing for Christmas again.  And it seems there are others like me out there, because holiday cards and paintings have already sold!

So I’m having fun creating Christmas and holiday art… like this classic red truck with a Christmas tree.  Doesn’t it just make you so nostalgic about Christmas?

So even though we are still experiencing 80 degree Autumn days, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.  It’s so fun to dream!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A DIY Rainbow Clock

A DIY Rainbow Clock.

My BFF Jill is an “all the colors of the rainbow” kinda gal.

She loves color – bright, bold colors.

So when I came across this idea on Pinterest for a colorful clock made out of a wooden plant stand, I knew this was the gift for her birthday this year.

I found this approximately 12″ diameter circular plant stand on line at Ikea for under $10!  It came with wheels that could be attached so that you can use outdoors and move your plants around I suppose, but I just tucked the wheels away to save for some other use some day.

I simply divided the circle into 10 pie shapes from the center with a pencil and ruler and painted them with bright beautiful colors of indoor/outdoor grade acrylic paint I found at Walmart (Waverly Super-Premium Plaid).

I hit the whole thing with a spray of Krylon UV Resistant Clear Spray after the several layers of paint dried.

Then hubby came to the rescue to cut out a piece in the back and drill a hole in the center to add the battery-operated clock works.

And Voila!  A fun rainbow bright colorful indoor-outdoor clock!  It’s TIME to celebrate YOU Jill!  Where has the TIME gone?  I love our TIME together!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

 

 

A 30th Birthday Money Flower Card

A 30th Birthday Money Flower Card.

If you are looking for a creative card and/or gift for a special 30 year old in your life, how about making them a money flower card?

I needed a special card for a very special young lady (my daughter-in-law, Colleen) who turned 30 this past weekend.  I was trying to think of something creative like the Happy Birthday Money Cake I made for my son (her hubby!) a few years ago.

For the card, I started with a piece of black (any color will do) poster board cut to approximately 20 inches wide by 10 inches high that I folded in half to form a large card.  I also used two pieces of white 8.5 x 11″ card stock, 30 $1 bills and 1 $20 bill, approximately 33 dimensional adhesive dots, Tombow Mono Multi Liquid glue, a small piece of ribbon, and some colorful Sharpie markers.

I rolled all of the dollar bills tightly and adhered the loose end of each with a dimensional adhesive dot to the first piece of white card stock in the shape of a flower.  I used the $20 as the flower stem rolling it the long way.  I then drew around the flower with colored Sharpie markers, added two leaves with “Happy” written in one and “Birthday” in the other.  I drew a big bold “30” in the center of the flower, tied a bow on the stem, and then glued it to the front of the folded poster board using the Tombow glue.

On the inside, I listed 30 things we love about Colleen.  (That was the really easy part!)

You could use this for other milestone birthdays too and create different shapes.  It might make a fun wedding, anniversary, or graduation card too.

It was really fun and super easy to make, and even more fun to give to her.

Make giving the gift of money fun and creative!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi