Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I just want to thank all of you who visit my blog and leave comments.  Even if it's just to say "hello", I always love hearing from you!  It means so much to me that you would take time from your busy lives to pay me a quick call.  I have thought so many times about shutting down my blog because it's hard to post more than once a week, but I get inspired and invigorated by your wonderful support.  Thanks again!!!

By the way, I'd like to congratulate my friend Nancy Maxwell James on her fabulous article in the recent issue of Legacy Magazine, and Linda Harre on her incredibly gorgeous cover piece. Way to go girlfriends!  If you all haven't looked at Legacy lately, you MUST get this issue (Dec/Jan 2007).  It has to be one of the very best yet.  xoxo

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Mini" Art Squared

Here is my contribution a 100 squares collage swap I'm participating in. The squares are all collaged on a watercolor paper base (cardstock works just as well).   This was actually quite fun, if you don't have a deadline!! xoxo

100squares1 100squares2

100squares3 100squares4

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Birthday Audrey!!!

I'd like to take some time out to send BIG Happy Birthday hugs and best wishes to my buddy Audrey Hernandez in Florida.  Most of you are familiar with Audrey's extraodinary talent, but what you may not know is that she is one of the kindest, smartest and most generous people I know!...and she has a cute little boy to boot!! So head on over to her blog and send her your best wishes!

mmmmmwahhhh - I'm blowing kisses your way Audrey! Enjoy your day and thanks for being my friend....xoxo

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Faux Family Ancestor Project

This project was coordinated by the lovely Laura Duet.  Laura invited several of her art friends to create a faux family ancestor album.  She gave each of us a photo from her wonderful vintage collection, and an album page.  We each decorated the page and created a short bio for our "relative" on the back.  As you can see, my lovely lady had a forlorn look so I was hard pressed to create a believable background.  After contemplating her haunting disposition, I named her Margaret Alice Ratcliffe and began creating her story.


Margaret Alice Ratcliffe, daughter of Sir John Ratcliffe and the Lady Anne Harrison, was born and raised in Gloucester County.  At the age of 18 she left the familiar English countryside for France , where she trained for a nursing position with the Red Cross. While working in a military hospital in Lyon, she was approached by one of her patients, a widower by the name of Captain John G. Percy, and was persuaded by Captain Percy to accompany him back to America to work as governess and tutor to his three young daughters. After arriving in America, and overcoming a prolonged illness, Margaret found that she enjoyed spending time with the Percy girls…and their father.  After several months, the Captain proposed to Margaret and they were immediately married.  Unfortunately, their happiness was short-lived. While on a transatlantic voyage to meet Margaret's parents in England, the ship the Percy family was traveling on was mistakenly targeted by the German Navy and sank.  Margaret and the First Officer's wife were the only two survivors.  After a short rehabilitation she was able to safely return to England , but was never heard from again.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cabinet Card

Sweet2     My first attempt at an altered cabinet card.  I was supposed to have this done in time for Christine's swap (sorry Christine!), but was once again laid up with a horrible cold and fever so I had to pass. I decided to finish it up today since it was half-way completed anyway. xoxo

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Amazing Grace...

The recent violent attacks in our schools makes me so sad. The one that really did me in was the massacre that took place in that quaint little Amish schoolhouse.  I can't listen to anymore stories about this one.  Why would anyone want to hurt (let alone murder) those sweet little girls?  And why shoot them BEFORE he shot himself...I mean, any kind of shooting is tragic but if he had a death wish why did he have to drag innocent children down with him? I am absolutely devastated by this tragedy, yet am in awe of the love and mercy these victim's families have shown.  They put their entire trust in God and and have continued on with their lives believing that everything will (ultimately) be okay.  They have totally forgiven this man and his family.  I mean, totally -- like wiped the slate clean.  WOW.  What a testimony.  Now how many of us could REALLY do that for someone who has hurt us?  They're showing the whole world how they walk their talk.  In my heart I believe they made a bigger statement with their grace and quiet strength than this madman did with his gun.  If there's one thing I learned is that forgiveness is a gift that when received is not to be kept, but to be given again and again; it's the ultimate blessing.  But you can't give it until you receive it...think about that...wowzers...

On a lighter note I made these postcards for a swap hosted by the lovely Angie Hall Haviland.  I've never altered a postcard before so this was a unique challenge. The hardest part was deciding whether to alter the front side (with the picture) or the back side (with the writing)...seems everyone did something different, and I chose to try both!

Postcard1_2 Postcard2_3 Postcard3_1

Friday, September 29, 2006

Almost The Weekend...

Cotmsept2The weather can't make up its mind today. We've had rain, clouds, sun, an ecelctic mix of just about everything except snow!   

Anyway, Allie's home from school today with a sinus infection (and she's NOT happy -- she loves school!) so while she was napping I decided to work on a few things.  This card is for a monthly online swap.  I used 7Gypsies papers, lots of rub-ons, and some Karen Foster and Making Memories stuff.  Not sure where the image is from but it looks like it may have been from an old Paperwhimsy sheet. I tend to cut up a bunch of stuff at once to see if it will work on a piece, so I have a lot of loose images floating around. If I can nail down the source, I'll post it!  The three pages below are from a book I'm working on. Again the paper and board book are 7 Gypsies, (from one of Regi's kits), and the images shown here are from Paperwhimsy and Paper Bag Studios.

Littlewomen1 Littlewomen2 Littlewomen3

Wow..it's good to be busy. I actually feel as if I'm accomplishing something (although my house is a complete disaster as a result!)  Off to check on Allie...Enjoy your weekend:-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Findpeaceatc_2  I know it's been awhile..I've been super busy with some cool projects (can't bring myself to talk about them now, but will keep you posted). I was actually going to shut my blog down because I'm so bad about posting, but I know I'd regret it sooner or later.

So check it out...my friend Rande has her blog up and running.  That girl can do some serious art! You have to stop by and visit her. After I saw one of her collages I immediately ordered these  cool papers and let me tell you, they are to DIE for.  Awesome! Awesome!  Thanks for the heads up Rande.  And I'd love it if you'd say prayers and keep good thoughts for Nancy's son Andrew, who may be headed over to Iraq in the next few months. Why do they have to be so young?   Nancy is a talented artist and a real sweetie pie.  I'm wishing her and her family all the best.  And hopefully you all had a chance to see Traci Bautista on DIY Network's  new show "Craft Lab".   I almost missed this myself but thank goodness Audrey told me about it in a knick of time and I was able to tape the show.  Traci is incredibly talented and shared some amazing techniques.   If you missed the show, you might want to consider ordering her DVD from here.  You can also check out Barbara's blog for a few examples of the techniques she learned from a recent class with Traci.

More later when I finish up a few swap pieces I've got going...xoxo

Monday, September 11, 2006

Gone, But Not Forgotten

September11002_1 "I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land...
        God bless the U.S.A."
(lyrics by Lee Greenwood)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Learning Something New Every Day...

The internet is amazing, and while I possess no technical savvy, I confess that I am completely addicted. I have met the most amazing, friendly and talented people through my online experiences. And now with the popularity of blogging, I have been able to reconnect with old friends while making even more new ones. Totally bliss! One of these wonderful people is Regina Casner, owner of ReDdiva. Regina is a very talented scrapbooker, who has been slowly but surely turning me on to the importance and beauty of this incredibly popular hobby. I'm still exploring where I fit in with this, but I'm beginning to try things and wanted to share this "Mom Moment" with you. I made this mini-album for my daughter Amanda using Regina's August project kit.  I really struggled with this because I was in "altered book" mode and it wasn't looking very altered. Finally I was so desperate to just "get it done" that I dumped all the contents of the kit on my kitchen table and started cutting and pasting away. I also grabbed a few items from my own stash to use. Needlessly to say, I got through it (thankfully the kit comes with instructions and samples to get you going) and actually enjoyed the process, even if I still  wasn't too crazy about the results.  Well, all worries were set aside when I finally gave Mandy the album. Just seeing her reaction was cause enough for me to realize that I had this all wrong. I was so concerned about what it would look like instead of what it represented.  It meant so much to her that she had her own little keepsake of this special time with her friend. In the end it didn't matter how "artsy" it looked..what did matter was the memories it contained.  <sigh>another lesson learned from my teenage daughter!  xoxo, Cris

The flower, album, chipboard alphabet, ribbon, paper, and most embellishments came with the kit. I cut the album, as per Regi's instructions into a tiered, gatefold style, and used the kit stuff to finish it. Collage images are from my stash.

just one page out of 14! The blank squares with stamping across them are actually journaling blocks from Heidi Swapp. I left these blank for Mandy to complete in her own handwriting.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Getting into Gear...

3diamonds_2 2diamonds_5   Just completed these two cards for another weekly challenge.  The theme for the 2 of Diamonds was "Circles" -- don't ask me to explain what I came up with! This just sorta "happened" on its own.  And the theme for the 3 of Diamonds was "White" -- which is quickly becoming my faorite theme to work with.

Been busy the past two weeks getting the girls ready for school.  Mandy had orientation over the weekend and finally started 8th grade today (she was so excited!).  Allie starts starts school next Thursday (the big 5th grader!).  I was able to get Allie's school supplies, uniforms and shoes in one day, but meeting Mandy's very strict dress code requirement took a few days. She's a teenager so all she owns are blue jeans. She's not used to wearing dress pants and a blazer!!! I still have some bits and pieces to gather together, but we're gettng through the lists. After two years of homeschooling seems we all have to make some adjustments! <sigh>

It's going to be a cold, rainy day here in NY and I was hoping to work on more cards for my deck, but am not sure if I will be able to.  I have chronic disc problems in my neck (it's acting up again) and am under doctor's orders to not do too much.  Luckily I have an amazing chiropractor so I should be back to normal soon!.  I was able to at move around much, much easier after one adjustment.  I'm far behind in most of my art commitments, but need to concentrate on getting the girls settled into their school routines.

Enjoy your day:-)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Alphabet ATCs

Img357copy_1 Img361copy_4 These are for an art deck I'm participating in.  The first card is "A" is for "All Alone".  I thought this image was so cute. It looks as if this child so desperately wants to play but no one is around to keep him company.  The second image is so strikingly beautiful, there really was no other title more fitting than "B is for "Beauty.  Well, two down, 24 more to go!

Monday, August 7, 2006

Midsummer Night's ATCs!

Wow, it feels great to be posting again. I almost forgot how much fun this is!

The summer has been flying by.  I can't believe it's August already.  It's been very hot and humid on Long Island, and we've lost power a few times here on the Neck.  Sean had to call and have a generator installed last week so we'd be prepared for another outage. 

Created these ATCs for Audrey's swap. I don't use children very often in my work, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was so happy to find a few sweet images in my stash so I immediately started ripping paper and let everything fall into place. Needless to say, I had an absolute blast. I still have some finishing touches to put on them, which I will do tonight while I watch a movie with the girls.

Hope everyone is enjoying these lazy hot days of summer!


Montana2_2 Montana4 Montana3_1 Montana5 Montana1_2

Monday, July 17, 2006

Slowly getting back...

Here's a summer shocker...I actually sat down and created something! Well, I had a little help from my 10-year old. These are mini notepads we purchased from Target. They were plain kraft-paper covers (see below) and we embellished them with paper, stickers and rub-ons, which made them easy and fun for my daughter.  We thought we would send them in place of  "thank you" cards for her June birthday party. Yes, I did say June...we're a little slow over here!  Can you believe it took us two months to figure out what to do?  We knew we didn't want to  send a generic "thank you for your gift" card, so we kept waiting until inspiration hit.  Anyway, this is the result and we had a blast.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer.

Notepad  Alliethankyou1_2 Alliethankyou2_3

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Summer Time...

Criscunningham_blossom_2  I just want to thank all of you who have emailed me asking where I am and what's going on! So sorry to be out of touch, but this has turned out to be a very busy summer for me.  Between birthdays, weddings, road trips, family visits,  and keeping up with my girls, I haven't had much time to create anything or visit with my online friends (and I miss you all so much!).  I'm going to try to post at least once a week until school starts again in September.  Meanwhile, stay well and enjoy your summer!


Sunday, June 18, 2006


Transformation Finally - I've completed my first entry in Susan's online journal "Artwords".  I'm so excited because I've been looking forward to doing this for the longest time, but just couldn't get my act together. This week's theme is "Transformation".  The word immediately resonated with me and everything seemed to come together as I started working.  Transformation, to me, indicates a "renewal" or "rebirth", so I included elements which I feel symbolize this concept.

Father's Day

Fathersday2006_3 Wishing all you dads out there a belated Happy Father's Day. We surprised Sean with handmade cards this year. Usually I'm so rushed, or flustered, that I end up in the Hallmark store the day before.  This year I had fun transforming an altoid tin into a mini accordian-style card entitled "5 Reasons Why You're A Great Dad".  I think it shocked him (see below) as much as it shocked me! 

Fathersday2 Seanstin001

Seanstin002 Seanstin3

Monday, June 12, 2006

I've Been Tagged!

by my friend Susan (actually, she tagged me before and I forgot to respond...sorry Susan!)

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:

Wedding Planner
TV Actress (yes, and I actually made some money!)
Public Relations Account Executive
Commercial Writer (marketing stuff)

B) Four movies you would watch over and over:

Pride & Prejudice (movie)
Pride & Prejudice (BBC series with Colin Firth)
The Day After Tomorrow

C) Four places you have lived:

Los Angeles
New York

D) Four TV shows you love to watch:

Star Trek Next Generation
Criminal Minds
Close To Home

E) Four places you have been on vacation:


F) Websites you visit daily: (or semi-weekly)

Weather Underground
Friend's Blogs

G ) Four of my favorite foods:

Cheese (almost any kind)
Whipped Cream (should be its own food group!)
Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes
Herb Tea (Chamomile, Earl Grey, Peppermint)

H) Four places I would rather be right now:

At the beach
Locked in my studio
California (I miss it there!)

I) Four friends I think will respond:

I haven't the slightest idea, but I'm sending to Danielle, Kerrie, Deb and Laura

Thursday, June 8, 2006

15 Years!

Pretty_5   Today is our anniversary (15 years!) and I'm busy with doctor's appointments and errands.  I completed a few things in an effort to catch up on various commitments. Made the piece above for an Artchix project, and the ones below are for a private trade. Now I must scramble to make a card for Sean before he gets home!  Enjoy your day:-)

Kerrieatc3_3 Kerrieatc2

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Happy Birthday Allie!

Home157copy_3 Wow, a whopping TEN years old!  And no bubble was necessary!!!

Her "BIG 10" birthday party was this past Saturday so we're taking it easy today. Originally we were going to have it at a place where there is lots of loud music, dancing and fun games (I call it an "aerobic" adventure...the kids go non-stop for an hour before sitting down for cake and ice cream. They love it and leave their parents in awe of their stamina!), but Allie has three stitches in her knee from the bike accident which prevented her from doing any strenuous activity.  So, we reverted to Plan B which was exactly what we did for her sister...movies and pizza.  We saw "Over The Hedge" again (much to my husband's dismay!) and then walked three doors down to the pizza parlor for lunch.  Allie gave each girl a memory book kit from Target and a heart-shaped lip gloss pendant for favors, and after eating cupcakes and ice cream we headed home with two of Allie's friends and Amanda's best friend in tow. Can you imagine FIVE giggly girls in ONE car!! Thank goodness we have a big Yukon.  Sean and I kept smiling at their antics. They were just too darn cute.  Well, after all this chick has been through during the last couple of weeks, we're so happy to celebrate a quiet birthday at home tonight with big sis Amanda, Nana and Poppy, Grandma and Pop, Uncle George, Eva, the two cute little boys across the street...well, maybe it won't be so quiet after all, but it will be fun!!

PS. Trying to get some art done before our anniversary weekend. 

Happy Birthday Joyce!! After 13 years of friendship you're like a sister to me. I love you!

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Great Mail Day

Img089_2 I finally had a chance to weed through all the mail that's collected, and I'm so glad I did. I received these very lovely ATCs from the amazingly talented Kerrie; a treat all the way from Australia (aren' t they gorgeous?!). 

I also received a sheet of beautiful images from the sweetest of sweeties, Maija.  I couldn't wait to work with them and had high hopes for a very productive art day, but alas, house chores got in the way and I could only muster enough energy and time to create the simple collage posted below.  The quote by Grandma Moses reads:  "Life is...what we make it. Always has been, always will be." Thank you Maija and Kerrie!!

Img088_4  By the way, I wasn't going to mention this, but I figured you all would get a kick out of it...we were back in the ER with Allie on Monday, only four short days from our first visit detailed below. No, it wasn't a relapse. (Thank the Lord!). Quite the contrary...My little darling decided to fly down a steep hill on her new bike and attempt a non-stop "Mario Andretti" turn into our little beach lot at the end of the block. Well, needless to say, that wasn't a good idea.  Thank Goodness she was wearing her helmet. Five hours later she came home with three stitches in her knee and a very brusied nose (we actually thought she broke it!).  Her birthday party is Saturday, and she'll turn ten next week. Think I should keep her in a bubble until then? LOL...well, at least we can breathe easy about this one. Here she is two weeks ago when she first mounted the bike.



Sunday, May 28, 2006

Thank You!

I feel so blessed. Thank you to everyone who has written and posted their prayers and best wishes for our Allie. She's doing fine, as a matter of fact, she's absolutely "normal", but we still don't know what caused this, or if it will happen again. She'll be following up with various doctors next week, and we're scheduling her for a sleep apnea test at the local university hospital.  Hopefully we'll have some answers soon, but in the meantime, she's back to her happy-go-lucky self and we don't harp on it anymore.   THANK YOU so very much for all the lovely cards, blog posts, emails and phone calls!  We are all so grateful. I cannot tell you how much it means to us that you all care about her well being.

Susan, you're an angel! Thanks for giving MMCA a heads up on what was happening.

Love, hugs and blessings,

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Very Long Day

Allie_1 Yesterday was probably the longest day of my life.  At 7:00 am my youngest daughter Allie came staggering into our room. Her hand was beating mechanically against her chest, her head was jerking uncontrollably, and she sounded as if she was hyperventilating. Sean tried to talk to her and get her to tell us what was happening, but she could not respond.  He grabbed her and held her and kept telling her to take deep breaths while I grabbed the phone to call 911.  We all stood in shock as we watched her come out of it. She was completely herself within a few minutes, and actually tried to convince us that she was fine. We weren’t sure if she had a bad dream or was sleep walking, but I couldn’t get the hand and head movements out of my mind and was convinced that she had a seizure. So we rushed her to the ER where we sat from 7:30 am until 7:00pm.

Initially the doctors weren’t sure if she did have a seizure, because she was able to walk and could remember what was happening to her. They decided to do a portable EEG which showed abnormal activity in her right temporal lobe, consistent with some sort of seizure. Thankfully, her Cat Scan and MRI came back normal, so they were able to rule out the worse case scenario, which would have been some sort of lesion. Needless to say, the most tense part of the day was waiting for the test results. The current diagnosis is partial benign seizure due to sleep deprivation. Seems that although there is no familial history of seizures, adolescents can be prone to them when they are sleep deprived. Allie has been going to bed late, waking up late and experiencing lethargy and drowsiness during the day. Her seizure was local, not general, and she was able to remember what was happening…so it’s not exactly a textbook scenario. I'm also thinking that her severe allergies and sinusitis may have caused her to experience some breathing problems, which in turn may have precipitated this in some way.

Nevertheless, it all comes down to a process of elimination as to what the cause was.  They did not prescribe an medications yet because they want to investigate her sleep patterns first. She'll have to go in overnight for a sleep apnea test and to see a pulmonologist. We appreciate your collective prayers. Sean and I are doing fine, although I doubt I'll get any sleep tonight.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sweet 13

Untitled3_4  Well, it's official! I've been making a big deal out of this long-awaited event and now that it's over,  it feels bittersweet. I am officially the mother of a...a...a...TEENAGER!!!!! Amanda turned 13 this past weekend and life will never be the same.  She's a great kid, and not your stereotypical teen, but I still feel so OLD!! I remember vividly the all the "firsts" of her life: the moment she was born;  her first smile;  her first tooth; her first step; her first day of kindergarten; and now, she's 13. Unbelievable!

Her dad and I were looking forward to having a big party to mark this milestone, but my daughter, being of sound mind, chose to keep things simple and invite a few friends to the movies and a pizza dinner (pics are coming!).  We gave each girl a goodie bag with a "Littlest Pet Shop" toy (I know, not very teenager-ish, but my daughter loves them!) and a big Hershey's chocolate bar with handmade wrappers that she made herself (see below).  Afterwards we all enjoyed cake and ice cream at home, and Mandy's best friend Eva stayed over.  The girls talked and giggled (along with little sister Allie) all night long and woke up way too early. It was a very fun-filled and exciting weekend for everyone.  Love you Amanda Rae!



Thursday, May 18, 2006

Two Beauties

The weather is glorious, so I've decided to take a break and head to the beach for an hour or so.  I'll bring Gayle's book along and pray that I make some headway in my reading commitment. It is a fabulous novel, but there are only 24 hours in  a day!! I had fun completing these two collages this morning. The first one I've dubbed "Bathing Beauty". Don't ask me where the quote comes from, I just dreamed it up! The second is titled "betwitched" , but has no magical connotations. It's actually one of my favorite quotes from the new movie version of Pride & Prejudice; which by the way, is not a stellar remake according to many Austen purists, but has excellent performances. The scene from which this quote is taken appears at the end and is one of the most beautiful moments in the entire movie.  Ah...I love romance. Enjoy your day!

Bathingbeauty Bodysoul_1

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What's In a Name?

The kids are in bed and DH is busily preparing for work tomorrow, so I thought I would take advantage of this "alone time" and finish a canvas I started last week.  My oldest daughter is reading Shakespeare's early tragedies for a school assignment, so I took my inspiration from there. The image is a Waterhouse painting of Juliet.  The quote is from the second act of the play:

" What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet."


It's simple, but it's DONE!