My New Yellow Rubber Boots

My New Yellow Rubber Boots Watercolor 8×10

My New Yellow Rubber Boots.

It was great to get to spend some time in my art studio this weekend after getting through a handful of “have-to-do” tasks.

After recently painting some loose portrait-type figure paintings like this and this, I felt inspired to try some more “character” type illustrative work.  I was inspired by some beautiful work I found on Instagram done by an artist in the Netherlands, Marleen Kleiberg.

My granddaughter got her first little pair of yellow rubber boots from the Easter Bunny last week, and even though they were two sizes too big, she fell in love with them.   Her Mommy sent a picture on Easter morning of her wearing her new boots.  She was decked out in a denim ruffle-bottomed top and peach/orange knit leggings with a matching bow in her hair (and a mouthful of jelly beans!).

I used some artistic liberty to create this painting, but Pap Pap and Mommy and Daddy knew just who it was when I showed them, and got a kick out of it.

A little over a year ago, I painted this little portrait of her.  I can’t believe how much she has grown and changed in a year!

Oh the joy this little one brings to my world!  And what a fun subject to inspire paintings.

Cheers & Hugs,

A Valentine Couples Camp Party


This past weekend, a gang of our bestie couple friends got together to celebrate love and friendship.

My McHendy “sister,’ Jill, and I collaborated to plan what we called “Valentine’s Couple Camp.”

Those of you that have been hanging around here at TheCreativeLifeinBetween for a while might remember our first Couple Camp Weekend Retreat that I posted about here.

Unfortunately, we missed a year… I guess weddings, babies, life… got us too involved.  But when Jill called a couple weeks ago and said we should do another Couples Camp for Valentine’s Day, I was all in and offered to host at our home.

And so we did.

Bubby and Glenn were assigned appetizers, and boy did they rock the theme!  Check out all the ways you can make food into hearts!





I created a special “Love Potion” cocktail to toast the beginning of our time together.  I mixed 1/3 Grand Marnier Signature Collection No. 2 Raspberry Peach with 2/3 champagne and garnished with a fresh red raspberry.  Yum!



Jill is our illustrious “camp” activities director.  After a silly group photo,


Jill and I sent the rest of the gang to the bar, while we laid out the all the materials for everyone to create their own “Love Shack” out of chocolate graham crackers and candy (a Valentine gingerbread house of sorts).  Everyone was given a flag to name their Love Shack and 20 pennies to distribute into shot glasses after everyone finished and presented their masterpieces to vote on the best.


We had some serious creativity going on.  Check it out!



Hubby made his into “Camp Happy Beginning” reminiscent of the early days of love and not having much but feeling like everything is a rainbow …. or something like that… if you can imagine…


Mary made hers into “Mary’s Cozy Cottage” decorated with a comfy couch and chairs and a big colorful outdoor patio…


I was much busier laughing and taking pictures under the guise of “hosting” to focus too much on mine, but came up with this pretty lame “McKinney Love Shack.”


Bubby lovingly created the “McKinney B&B.”


and her Glenn created “Glen’s Gang Bang Getaway.”  No explanation here.  You can use your own imagination.


Jim cracked us up with his creation. Simple, but with a funny and politically-inspired statement.  His “American” themed love shack had three characters involved…  “I’m a Russian” on his way to the love shack, “Himalyan” in the love shack, and “He’s a Finnish” leaving the love shack…


Jill’s was a fabulous “Jill’s Sweet Shack” with a candy paved lane.


But Todd stole the show with his outhouse-themed love shack complete with cut out crescent moon doors.


We assigned Mary the entree knowing she would make all of our tummies happy, and she did not disappoint!  In fact, we were so into her amazing stuffed shells, meatballs and spare ribs in homemade Italian sauce, I forgot to photograph it!  Thankfully, she left a few for us to enjoy for dinner the next day, so I took a quick photo of our leftovers.  Which, by the way, tasted just as magnificent!  Thanks Mar!


I made a simple salad and sliced up some fresh bread to accompany Mary’s entree,


and we gave another toast to friendship!


I had fun preparing for our guests by tidying up the guest rooms,



including a quick convert of the nursery with an air mattress bed,


and placing heart-shaped Dove Red Velvet Chocolates on pillows.


I set the table with red plates and chocolate heart treats…



and even little heart shaped spoons!


Aren’t they adorable!

I was assigned dessert,  so a chocolating I went.  You already know about my chocolate-dipped wafer cookies and Ultimate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies which I had out, but I also made a bouquet of chocolate-dipped strawberries,


and the most amazing and simple No Bake Chocolate Ganache Cookie Crust Tart I saw on another blog.



I’ll share this recipe soon.  It is seriously amazing and uses only a couple simple ingredients!

We talked the guys into playing Couples Scattegories and had fun staying up late drinking and talking until later than any of us ever stay up.

Hubby made omelets to order the next morning after we all awoke… later than we usually get up.


What a joy to have such wonderful friends to share time and our home with!

And quoting Jill from last time, I once again share:

“I recommend that all of our friends coordinate a Couple’s Camp weekend. Great fun. Lots of laughter. Many life stories shared. And the realization that life long friends and connections are priceless! So go make some memories!”

Thanks for the memories dear friends!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jack of Many Trades, Master of None

I wonder what those of you that happen upon my blog must think…..

Do you say – what the heck is this blog about?

One day this Jodi chick is baking and sharing recipes…

smore cookies

S’more Cookies Please!


Homemade Haluski – Peasant Food Fit for a King

Another day stamping and gluing and cutting and sewing and card-marking…

child birthday card punch art birds on wire The paper players

Birthdays are for the Birds!


Friends Make the World a Better Place Mojo Monday

Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a Friend!

I also love to take photos and consider myself an amateur student of photography…

Hummingbird Photo

Hummin’ the Hummingbird Tune!

polar bear pittsburgh zoo & ppg aquarium

Sunday at the Pittsburgh Zoo

and writing and telling stories gives me such joy.

Remembering Grandma - Stella Star

Remembering Grandma – Stella Star

I thrive on encouraging people – it’s in my DNA (or at least my DISC profile – LOL!)….

Remembering moments

Remembering Moments

Always be the last to let go of a hug


and if I just could find the time to make 1/1,000,000th of the DIY ideas I’ve pinned on my Pinterest boards for decorating or gift-giving…

Wedding Survival Kit

Wedding Survival Kit

I adore spending time with my family and friends…


The Day We Almost Caught a Fish

Girlfriend Camp GFC2014 Mars, PA spaceship

Girlfriend Camp

I tinker with gardening…

gardening, tomatoes

The Great Tomato Caper

and I truly seek to discover and learn new things always – it keeps me (ahem) young and alive…

Alpacas  Four Points Alpacas

A Visit to Four Points Alpacas

I enjoy doing so many things (and am so fortunate to work a full-time job I love too!) that I just wish there were more hours in the day…

or at least wish that I was one of those people that only needed 3-4 hours of sleep a day (tried it for a while – didn’t work out – dangit!)

I sure am a jack of many hobbies and master of none.

But it is fun to be that way – eh?!?

And I love sharing the journey with you – my  supportive friends that have encouraged and continue to encourage me to write my blog – and those that have become new friends along this journey.

Global Mudder Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder

It is so exciting to see new friends subscribe, and comment, and “like” daily.

So on this Labor Day Holiday – I just thought I would share some of these faves from the 100+ posts I’ve shared so far from this labor of love blog I call

It was really hard to pick favorites, as I have LOVED writing and sharing every single one of them.

What is your favorite thing I write about?

I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Labor Day!  Make every thing you labor over a labor of love!

Cheers & Hugs,


The tomato caper

garden 4

This weekend, I planted my little vegetable garden. It was such a beautiful day on Sunday and prime planting time here in Northwestern PA.

A couple years ago, I decided to turn this tiny little plot in the side yard right off the driveway into a little vegetable garden instead of planting shrubs and mulching like the rest of it that is wrapped around the back.  I just planted a couple of tomato plants and a few herbs the first year to see how it would go.  It was so exciting watching the yellow tomato blossoms turn into little green tomatoes, then grow and turn yellow, then pink…. but then POOF! – before I could get a red one – they were gone!  Never got even one red tomato that first year.

You see, I didn’t have a fence around it that year.  Didn’t think we needed it.  You know – we do have guard dog Mikey to chase away any deer or critter that comes close to the house (that is his job and he is very diligent about it as he flies in and out of his doggie door – unfortunately baroofing on his way out – even when I am on a conference call during the work day!) when he spies any movement from his slumber-filled days.

garden 3

But nary a tomato I got that year, and I couldn’t figure out how the deer or rabbits got them all without Mikey chasing them away.

Then one day, after going into the office, I pulled in the driveway and caught the culprit….  It was MIKEY!  He was sprawled out mid-garden nibbling away and feasting on a few plump red tomatoes that happened to ripen that day.

So the next year, up went a fence around my little garden – not to keep the deer and rabbits out, but to keep Mikey out!

Mikeys tomato plant

I do, however, plant one tomato plant each year on the OUTSIDE of the fence…. just for Mikey.


He might be just a teeeeeensy bit spoiled….

But – that is what’s so great about Life in between…

Cheers and hugs,