Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A wonderful New Years Give-a-way!

Over at "Creating from the Heart" with Melissa, she is having a wonderful give-a-way! Be sure to visit her blog for your chance to win!


I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Special Christmas

We spent last evening at the nursing home my mother-in-law now resides in. They had a Christmas party for the patients and their families. There was a young gentleman who played the piano and sang various songs. They had a vast array of hors d'oeuvres in the formal dining room. Everyone had a wonderful time. It becomes so difficult at times knowing that Catherine will continue to decline and one day be as empty of a shell of her former being as some of the other Alzheimer's patients are.

This evening we attended another Christmas party. The lady who owns the shop where we have one of our bead group meetings had an open house. She also owns a Foursquare Craftsman Victorian home. She decorated it beautifully and everyone had a memorable evening.

While we were at the Christmas party this evening, I received the news that I am a grandmother again! Ethan was born early this morning. Mother and baby are doing well. That truly is a blessing. She has had a difficult pregnancy so just knowing that all is well, certainly is a gift from God. I can't wait to see a picture of him!

This holiday season has been so very busy. I think everyone is aware of all the health issues I have been dealing with. I am still dealing with the issue that I can't wear my glasses but the bifocal contacts are helping out. I'm finally at the point where the pain from the fractures and the surgeries is subsiding. I did want to pass along the latest news. I had my breast MRI last week. The results are once again another gift from God. After going through the surgical biopsy and partial lumpectomy on the left, the MRI does not show any signs of cancer. We have to be diligent with follow-up visits but for now, prayers are answered. I will still be seeing the breast surgeon in January. She may still want to do more surgery to remove the suspicious areas that they feel will eventually make that turn to cancer, that they have cautioned me about when they gave me the results. I will cross that bridge at the time, but I would rather have the surgery than to go through what my mother, my best friend and many others have gone through.

This Christmas will be very special in so many ways. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to celebrate. We will have our family Christmas Eve dinner, then will attend the service at the Church. We will celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas day with my in-law's from morning to mid-afternoon, then over to our daughter's home to celebrate with her family. Even though Skylar and Hunter have been with the family for three years now, the adoption was official late summer, so this will be the first Christmas together as an "official" family. Since the last few months have been a time of healing for me, it will be such a blessing to spend time with family.

I almost forgot to mention something we did this year for the first time! When my brother was in town, we took him, my mother and my grandson to see the Hartwood Acres Celebration of Lights! There is a three and a half mile drive filled with lights and amazing displays. I think we will go back when it snows, to see how differently the lights look in the snow. As we were driving through the area where they lights are sequenced to look like the deer are jumping over the cars; I paused to take yet another photo when a family of four real live deer crossed the road ahead of us! I didn't get their photograph, I was too concerned about not hitting them! It was just a little ironic that they crossed our path at the same place that the deer lights were jumping over the cars! We really enjoyed our visit to Hartwood and look forward to going back again.

May everyone have a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wooden Block Christmas Tree

Wooden Block Christmas Tree

This is something I made many years ago, however it still comes out every year as a centerpiece on the coffee table in the parlor. This is the first one I ever made, back in 1999.

I can't begin to count how many of these I have made over the years. I thought that I would share how to make them with all my blogger friends!

I started with a wooden plaque as a base. You could use just about anything that is flat. You need a good supply of the 1" square wooden blocks. Sometimes you can get lucky and find them at the dollar stores. I begin by figuring out what I want to spell out. Each layer of this tree spells out something. I have the names of the children, the pets and different words that relate to Christmas. Each tree is personalized for whomever I make them for. Once you have your words figured out, arrange them from the longest word to the smallest. You want the larger words on the bottom and then you work your way up.

You can use hot glue, however I find that E6000 stands the test of time much better. Hot glue tends to allow items to fall off over time. I've never lost anything yet with the E6000!

Build your first row by creating a circle with your longest word on the plaque. If you have extra space, just use the side of the block that has a shape on it. Each row gets added by making them smaller by one or two blocks, depending on how tall you want the end result to be. Try to space them a little off-center so that you will have a lot of little cubbyholes to glue your miniatures to. Once you reach the middle of the tree, start stuffing crumpled paper, shredded paper or whatever you want, in the center, in order to help it keep its shape while drying. You "can" use a styrofoam cone shape however I find that the natural color of brown paper bags is less conspicuous. Add the final top layers and let the tree dry for several hours.

Once the blocks are dry, start to add your miniatures wherever you want them. If I have miniatures that relate to hobbies of the person's name on a particular layer, I try to put them there. I find my miniatures in the hobby shops, doll house shops, craft stores and floral stores. You can find tons of them on eBay and Etsy as well. Try not to use too much of the E6000 glue, a little goes a long way.

Once it is all done, sit back and enjoy the many compliments you will get. There is always something different for people to look at and admire. When the holiday season is over, I put a plastic bag over it and store it carefully.

I hope you enjoyed the "tutorial" and have fun making your own special holiday tree!

Merry Christmas to all my friends around the world!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish I would have had my camera downstairs this morning. When I looked out the kitchen window, I saw this amazing sunrise. By the time I got the camera out, it was already fading as the sun started to shine. The colors were so brilliant. It was another beautiful painting by God.

I'm hoping that this note finds all my friends and extended family in good health and spirit. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. It is always so special to have family and friends close at hand this time of the year. We were especially happy to have the extended family home from Iraq this holiday. To all my friends and family here and abroad, I am thankful for your love and support.


Our beading group recently had a wonderful Kumihimo class taught by Carolyn. She is a very knowledgeable teacher and everyone went home with beautiful bracelets and materials for a second one! I had wanted to learn this Japanese form of braid-making for some time now. It was apparent right from the start that working with both hands was the best way to keep the cords going where they should. There are a few beads out of place on my first two bracelets but I am thrilled with them! I can't wait to make some of the other types of braids and perhaps even build my own marudai! I have a collection of obijimes that I want to make braids for. It will keep me busy when winter comes!

Thank you Carolyn for such a wonderful class!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another MVA

Just another day on Main Street in the small town I live in. We have an average of 4 accidents a month in front of our home. We live at a busy intersection. We know that "sound". That certain pitch and quick crunch. I keep shoes at the door and call 911 on my way out.

Today is rainy and just one of those days you wish you could have stayed in bed. I guess I am getting nervous about the upcoming appointment with the orbit specialist. I'm afraid of having the surgery to correct the fractured orbit, my eyesight is precious to me and I am so afraid of losing it.

The accident sure jogged my mind in the right direction and away from my trivial problems. I ran out to find the guy in the truck was okay, but the girl in the car wasn't doing so well. Her head went into the front windshield and frame of the car. She had several deep head wounds. I made sure an ambulance was on the way and kept her immobilized and kept the pressure on the wounds and worked to stop the bleeding. I engaged her in conversation to calm her down and try to reassure her that everything would be okay. We talked about her daughter Sidney, how she works at the hospital...all the things you want to do to make sure she was cognizant of who she was, where she was, the day it was...the typical drill.

Traffic is still tied up but the ambulance came and we got her in a neck brace and on the gurney and she is on her way to the hospital.

So, for today, my problems aren't that bad. Someone else has something more going on than I do. She will be okay. She'll need some sutures and will be sore, but it could have been much worse.

Just remember that angels are everywhere and they come into your life and work their miracles to keep you going one day at a time. Never stop believing. My faith has carried me through a lot of things in life. I guess sometimes I just need reminded that God has a plan for me even though it doesn't always seem like it used to be, I'm still needed.

Have a sunny day and may God and the angels in heaven look upon you and bless you with health and happiness.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Altered Art Shrine

Isn't she beautiful? In a creepy way of course! I just love this. It is a gift from a dear friend in Brighton that knows how much I love the macabre, Poe, skulls and all things creepy! She did a beautiful job on it. The picture really does not do this justice. The dress is made of a black crinkled tissue type paper. It is very delicate looking in person with so much detail. I love the little roses and skulls...all the little touches that make it so special. Thank you Rachel for taking the time to make this beautiful Altered Art Shrine just for me. I'm so glad it made it across the pond safely!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crafting with Cricut!

My grandson and I recently had a day of crafting and enjoyed making bottles of "Octopus Slime" and Bat Garland just to name a few. His bedroom will be creepy and ready for Halloween now! It is so enjoyable having him in the studio working with me. I love him with all my heart and soul.

RAK from Glo

RAK From Glo~

Gloria sent me the cutest steampunk altered art tin. It is filled with a beautiful book filled with nature pictures and three vials with specimens. Thanks so much Gloria for making my day sunnier!

Fractured Nose Society

Friends have a way of making some of life's most awkward and painful moments bearable. I have a dear friend Glo, who made me a wonderful certificate and fractured nose statue to commemorate my /not so graceful/ nosedive over the coffee table and into the Oak ball and claw foot of the couch. I quickly learned several lessons, especially the meaning of comminuted fractures of the nose. It was a painful surgery and has been a less than enjoyable recovery, but I am finally turning the corner and beginning to feel human again. I have a new admiration for anyone having to do through that kind of ordeal. It happens easily but it not such an easy fix. Thanks Gloria for making the whole thing not only memorable in a good way, but most of all for making me laugh and smile.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween RIP Tombstone SVG

I wanted to share my first Halloween SVG file. Hopefully everyone will be able to get the file okay, please let me know if you have any problems.

Here is the link for the SVG file for Scal or MTC.


Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Alice in Wonderful Altered Tin

There were many things in October that were very good for me, exchanges were one of those things! This is my wonderful collection of Alice in Wonderland items that Holly made for me for the Altered Tin Swap on AlteredStart! The tin is fantastic but of course she did not stop there. She created some ATC cards, a little flip book, an altered Domino necklace with Alice on it and some silk bags of goodies that I can't wait to use! With all that has happened in September and October, swaps like this really have helped to brighten my days and see me through. Thanks SO much Holly!

Halloween Charm Exchange

It is that time of the year again! The bats are flying, the ghosts are ghastly and the pumpkins are adorning all the porches in town. I LOVE this time of the year. We have a big Halloween parade in town each year and it is so much fun to see the ingenious costumes that everyone comes up with. our neighborhood dogs and other animals get into the act as well.

Recently on the AlteredStart Yahoo group, we had an Altered Art Halloween Charm swap! I love the charm swaps and the Halloween swap was so much fun! Here is a picture of the charms I received, each is adorable but the most important thing is the love everyone puts into their work. I will be sure to post a pic when I get my bracelet made with the charms. Thanks to everyone who participated in the swap!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crafty Secrets Heartwarming Vintage Stamps

This post is LONG overdue! In July I won a blog contest from Crafty Secrets for three sets of their Clear Art Stamps. If you haven't tried their products, they are wonderful! I loved them before winning but can honestly say after using these for several months now that their stamps hold up beautifully and give nice crisp detail lines. I just love the little fairies and the ATC sized stamps. I have thoroughly enjoyed my gifts and can't thank them enough for their generosity. If you haven't checked out their site, they have much more than just stamps! They have a really cool selection of vintage papers, stickers and more. Their blog is really great, and their gallery gives you a bunch of ideas to check out. Check out the website and then take a look at the blog as well. http://heartwarmingvintage.blogspot.com/ Thanks again for the wonderful gifts!

Another bracelet done!

This time of year means a lot of time being spent making skull charms, bracelets and earrings. This bracelet was a little deviation from that. My September Mini-Swap partner, a dear friend, on the AlteredStArt group is also receiving this special bracelet. It is all silver, black and white. There are some black onyx, obsidian, mother-of-pearl and several other precious gemstones. There are three custom miniature "painting" charms of JW Waterhouse paintings, one of her favorite artists. I hope she enjoys it! Just in case she peaks at this blog, the rest of her gifts shall remain secret! ~smile~

Sept. Mini Swap

I received my September mini-swap gift from Beth W. of the AlteredsArt group. It was awesome! Some of the goodies are obvious in the photo but what you can't see is that there are beautiful ATC cards in the book with the pages in it. Each one is beautiful. She also included a bag of steampunk things like pen nibs, gears and other trinkets for that Tim Holtz admirer in me! She made me a beautiful bookmark which will come in handy as I recuperate from surgery tomorrow. I will have a lot of fun with everything she sent! Thanks Beth!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Call from Brighton

I received a wonderful surprise call from Brighton Friday night. Rachel received her bracelet. As you can see, it differs a bit from the other one. I decided to make it with all black and red, bone, crystals and silver. She loves it and it made it all the way to the UK in one piece, safe and sound. Three cheers for the USPS! It is so delightful to talk to her, I love her accent. We were at the local Irish Pub having chicken wings (yes, there went the diet) so I had to cut it short sadly. Thanks for the call! You brightened my day!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Brighton Goth

"Brighton Goth"

Sometimes designs just fall into place and other times I stop and think far too much about what I am working on. This design is special, it is a custom order for a friend from across the pond and she is special. We have more in common than many would think so it was important that she enjoy this piece but that nothing was offensive to her. Sometimes the less you know someone the harder it is to design a piece. Some things are sometimes contradictory and yet by now, I should know to just go with the gut instinct and things will be fine.

So, the "Goth Gurl From Brighton", here is your special gift. There are crystals to delight the tiara princess in you and skulls from every point in the globe to satisfy that Goth side. Everything is hand-wrapped and won't come apart unless you use wire cutters. ~smile~

I think Wednesday Addams would love it. She really needs one in her jewelry box. Some things aren't apparent in the photograph like the silver skull with a "clacking jaw", the many black and deep red crystals. There are skulls hand-carved from wood and bone (nothing killed in the process just for the bone), hand made porcelain, unique charms, some Cinnabar, some black onyx, amethyst chips, black obsidian and much more. There are stones with healing properties. Some talismans but the most important thing is that it is completely hand made from the start to finish, no pre-made charms, all were custom to delight the senses and keep you busy for hours when bored with surroundings. There is even a special wrapped sparkly crystal charm with an "R" for personalization. The size is adjustable with a tail with suspended skull, of course. If you would like any changes or additions, just say the word.

I hope you wear it in good health and I look forward to the next challenge, a necklace suitable for Morgan Le Fay. I dare say that will be much easier!

Across the pond it will fly on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Painted Tin Plate

I belong to a wonderful group on Yahoo groups called Altered_stArt. We have wonderful swaps within the group, but it is the camaraderie of the group that is unbeatable. Usually we have about 4-5 swaps to choose from every month. We make everything from Artist Trading Cards to altered charms, tag books, altered books, altered tins, you name it we have probably swapped it. If not, we just may next month! lol

Kristal is a member of the group who started something this summer called "Kristal's Challenge". She challenges us to create something special in the style of an artist we admire and we may either keep it or give it away. This month, I chose to paint a tin plate with a design by Maureen McNaughton MDA. I love her techniques and designs.

Since I finished the plate at the time I would need to in order to enter it in our local fair, I did just that. I was thrilled to win a second place ribbon on it. I owe many thanks to Kristal for inspiring all of us to keep on creating and to do something special for ourselves now and then.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Selfish Swap

I joined in a swap on Swap-Bot called "My Selfish Swap". I rarely take the time to make jewelry for myself, it is usually something I am working on for others. The ladies in my beading group were learning coraling so I took the opportunity to learn the technique and make myself a pair of earrings in the process. I used a Swarovski crystal at the top for a little extra sparkle. The beads are an iridescent brown with matte brown beads for the picots.

I had a lot of fun with the technique and really enjoyed making something for myself for a change.

It has been a lot of fun to see what the other ladies did for themselves as well. I hope everyone enjoyed the swap as much as I did.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Best of Show


It certainly has been one of the worst weeks of my life; however showing up at the fair today certainly put the spring back in my step. I entered 5 projects in the fair. This is the first time I have entered our local fair and the first time I have entered any fair in about...31 years! So, imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw that my "Shades of Green" (original design by Kelly Hoernig) won First Place and Best of Show! I was so shocked and so excited at the same time that it is surprising I didn't just pass out.

I want to thank everyone for pushing me to enter it and giving me the support I have needed in the last week to get through all the family drama. I hope you will keep our family in your prayers, it will take a lot to repair what is broken.

Thank you Kelly for your wonderful instructions and designs!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Altered Baby Shoe

I belong to a wonderful group of ladies and gents called "Altered Start". We have swaps all the time and recently I hosted an Altered Shoe Swap. Occasionally someone is unable to fulfill their swap obligation and the hostess will step in and help out. It was my pleasure to fulfill the obligation and create yet another cute shoe for the swap. They are fairly simple but so much fun. I used the Ranger Ink Tim Holtz Distress Ink and alcohol inks; the butterflies were made with an awesome design by Penny Duncan http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com/ She has an awesome tutorial on her blog. I changed it up just a bit to suit my needs but her insects were the inspiration for the shoes. I have had so much fun using them in so many ways! The shoe pattern is by Cute as a Fox Creations http://www.cuteasafox.com/2010/04/paper-baby-shoe-template-with-download.html
The paper used was by DCWV and I used a Cuttlebug embossing folder for the polka dots.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Altered Shoe Swap

One of my groups, the Altered Start group on Yahoo groups recently had an "altered shoe swap" that I hosted. This is my pair of altered shoes. I had a little fun with them, a little whimsy, some elves, dragonflies, butterflies and flowers and lace. I used the Ranger Ink Tim Holtz Distress Ink and the butterflies were made with an awesome design by Penny Duncan http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com/ She has an awesome tutorial on her blog. I changed it up just a bit to suit my needs but her insects were the inspiration for the shoes. The shoe pattern is by Cute as a Fox Creations http://www.cuteasafox.com/2010/04/paper-baby-shoe-template-with-download.html
The paper used was by DCWV

I love the Altered Art exchanges. You never know for sure what you will get but I have yet to be dissatisfied with anything I received.

I hope my exchange partner likes them as much as I do!

Have a sunny day!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Skull Appreciation Day

Skull Appreciation Day, June 4th, 2011

This Saturday, June 4th is a celebration of cranial proportions that not that many people really know about. It is "Skull Appreciation Day". According to Wikipedia, Skull Appreciation Day is a result of an artist by the name of Noah Scalin who created an artistic skull a day for a year back in 2007. The website has dubbed June 4th as the official International Skull-A-Day celebration.

The website http://smearedandsmudged.ning.com is hosting a blog hop in recognition of the day! So to all my fellow cranial admirers, be sure to show your appreciation for that wonderful thing that rests upon the top of your body. This is my first blog hop so hopefully by the time it is done, I will have learned how to post the links to the next site to visit!

Skull jewelry is a custom order. Please inquire at linjmarino@gmail.com if interested.

Thank you for looking and reading! Have a sunny day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bunny relocation program

As much as I have loved watching this poor little guy as he wanders around eating clover from the neighbors yard, it is time to put him in the "Bunny Relocation Program". He is no bigger than the palm of your hand and his mother was killed out on the front road, but sadly he is eating every plant I put in my flower garden. I hate to send him where he will have to fend for himself against the big cruel world, but alas, my flower garden will not have a single flower at this rate. If only he weren't so darned cute! My cats (indoor only) have enjoyed watching him through the screen windows as he quietly makes his way from one plant to another. Thankfully my son has a humane "trap and release" trap that we can use to catch him and release him into the woods somewhere hopefully safe. We deal with rabbits every year but this little guy is afraid to roam into the neighbors yards for food (we have no clover or weeds) so he is just a little too happy to roam in the flower garden. I wish I had another choice but if I ever want to see any of my investments bloom, he has to find a new home. At least the cats will have the birds to watch and won't miss him too much! I will though.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Blog Candy!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blog Candy!

You will want to check out this awesome blog candy and help her celebrate!


Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm going to be a grandma...again!

I have three beautiful grandchildren and I was just advised this bright Easter morning that I am going to be a grandma again!

My son got remarried last June and his son just turned 8 in March. My grandson has wanted a baby brother or sister for quite some time now. I know this news will warm his heart as much as it has mine, as he gets his wish.

I am so happy for my son and his wife. It is so nice to see the smile return to his face that had long been lost after his divorce. His new wife has made him so very happy and I truly do believe that the one thing a parent (myself) longs for most in this world is to see their children truly happy. Watching the love reflected within their eyes when they look at each other is both breathtaking and heartwarming.

So from the pains of years past, he is now reborn with a vibrancy and love for life that I have not seen in so very long. His wife is a beautiful intelligent woman who challenges him mentally and physically. Their intellectual levels compliment each other so well.

My son has always been the perfect father to my grandson. From the day he was born, my son has attended to his needs and taught him to be the brilliant young gentleman he is today. He has listened to him when his heart ached and held him for no other reason than to let him know how much he is loved. I have no doubt that he and his wife will teach the new baby everything they possibly can and open the universe to challenge yet another young life as they have my grandson.

I hope all my followers will pray with me in hopes that there may be no problems with the pregnancy. I wish for my daughter-in-law to have a safe and comfortable pregnancy filled with laughter and love.

"Dear Father, I pray that you will lay your hand upon Rachel and help her through the next several months. Watch over her health and that of their unborn child, may they both be healthy and live a long and prosperous life. I pray that you will help my son and grandson to be sensitive to their needs and help them to be the men I know they are; loving, gentle and calm.

In Jesus name, Amen

Thank every one of you for your support morally and emotionally. I appreciate each and every one of you in my life.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Crystal Blue Skies Shed a Dichroic Tear

"Crystal Blue Skies Shed a Dichroic Tear"

For a very long time now I have admired the work of Sherry Serafini, Karen Thomas, and Mary K. With Karen's help, I took that initial step and joined the ranks of those who find such a release for their creativity with beaded embroidery.

One of the many groups I belong to had a challenge this month. Kristal, on the Altered Start group posted a personal challenge to create something for ourselves. Usually we create artistic pieces and swap them with others; so this challenge to create something special for ourselves was the perfect opportunity for me to finally jump feet first and attempt to create my own beaded embroidery cuff bracelet.

This bracelet centers around the inspirational dichroic glass teardrop shaped cabochon. I added a lot of Swarovski crystals in deep green, deep sapphire blue and some aurora borealis purple Czech glass rondelles. I added some antique cobalt blue glass beads I had been saving for just the right project. With some silver, matte purple, and multi-colored glass seed beads, it all came together. I couldn't be more happy with it. None of my photos do the colors justice.

I am very happy with the results. I know where I have made some errors and where I need to work on certain things; however I cannot wait to begin my next piece! I can see where this will turn into a fun artistic addiction!

My Mother-in-law (who many of you know suffers from Alzheimer's and numerous other problems, has requested that I make her a cuff bracelet. I want to make her a special religious cuff as her faith has certainly brought her from death's door back to life on more than a few occasions.

Have a Sunny Day

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Shades of Green"

This past summer I had the distinct honor to take a class with Kelly Hoernig. We used colored pencils and created great works of art. The one project was called "Shades of Green". I'm happy with how it turned out. I plan to enter it in the local county fair this year. It measures 16" x 20"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cricket in the box

Cricket is my pica kitty. She loves eating/chewing on wood and cardboard. From time to time we will give her a box to satisfy her dietary cravings and of course, make her feel at home. She is an abnormally "hot" kitty. She does not like to lay anywhere that is warm and thus stays away from cat beds, comforters, etc. The cool cardboard seems to make her very happy.

Christmas was a sad time for us this year. Many of my friends know my MIL had been ill for a time now. Christmas day we had to take her to the ER for a DVT in her left leg. Ironically it is the same leg that I had mine in. From there all things went downhill. While performing additional tests we learned she has thyroid cancer, heart disease and what we already knew, Alzheimer's. She is now in a nursing home and most likely will remain there. Because of the other illness and her age (87) we are not treating the cancer. When needed, if needed, she will have pain meds but nothing more. It has made the holiday a difficult time for the family and of course has meant spending a lot of time in the hospital with her. I'm sorry for not keeping in touch with my friends but hope you will all understand what the family has been dealing with.

All my best,