Twelve Warning Signs The Holidays Have Taken Over

The holidays are never perfect. It’s a hectic time of year and somehow they always take over my life.

Although I dream of a wonderful holiday where everything has been carefully planned and executed. Stockings hang near a roaring fire. Wrapped presents are piled high around a decorated tree. Family and friends gather round the piano and sing while the heavenly aroma of a gourmet dinner cooks in the oven. That never happens.

I’ve compiled a list of warning signs for you!

You know the holidays are taking over your life when:

Every surface in your house is sticky.

It would be easier to move than to clean. Continue reading

The Nutcracker Sweet – A Video

A few days ago, I mentioned a few of my Christmas traditions, but excluded my favorite. There were many guesses. Some readers were right. BAKING. We used to watch my daughter, Courtney, dance in the Nutcracker. I had an idea. I could combine the two!

gingerbread dancers 1

I saw an adaptation of the traditional gingerbread man on The Rachael Ray Show and had an BRILLIANT idea. I had to bake them and make a movie. It seemed like the logical thing to do after creating 80+ handmade Christmas cards, right?

With a little bit of help from my daughter, Courtney, the “show” was a success!  It’s been years since she performed in a ballet. *chuckle*

Tune in to see what I’m talking about. It’s a totally sweet production! You can hear me cracking up while making the video. Continue reading

My Project Unveiled For All To See. Yikes!

I’ve sent out all of my greeting cards, so it’s time to unveil my project. I’m so nervous. I hope you like it.

Every year an idea comes to mind which becomes a sketch and then transforms into some kind of 3-D popup creation. I know what you’re thinking. Most people don’t even take the time to buy and send ready-made greeting cards. I keep telling myself, “This year I will simplify.” HA! I don’t know the meaning of the word, “simplify.” Two things about me never change: I was born sunny-side up and I love challenges. “Bring it on” should be my middle name, but it’s not. It’s Mary which is pretty dull in comparison. Don’t tell mom. Her first name is Mary.

The front is very similar to last year’s. Take your complaints to Yelp.

So here it is. Drum roll please…………….

Front of card

Ta da!

Here are the innards skinnards. Now you can imagine how weird they would have looked with duplicated drawings. That was a close one! Continue reading

Twinkle, Illustration, and Elves

oh christmas tree

I’m ready for the next project on my long list. It’s my absolute favorite. Can you guess?

Nope. I’m not wrapping presents. I always leave that chore until the last minute. I’m not hanging the stockings. NOTE TO SELF: I need to buy sticky tack. I’m not writing my letter to Santa. I’m playing with my new Apple computer right now! I don’t need another thing. I’m not stringing popcorn or making ornaments or running out to the mall to finish my Christmas shopping. I’m done. I’m not running to the grocery store. Not my favorite thing at all although I will take my new fangled warmer jammer list next time.


2006 Christmas card. Continue reading

Leave a Comment and Win!

constructing Christmas

I’ve been busy drawing, cutting, pasting and folding this year’s Christmas card. I think I’ve listened to almost every corny holiday movie between the Lifetime and Hallmark channel.

Every year has its challenges. In the past, I sent out my cards after more than sixty hours of work and they boomeranged back for more postage! Last year I had to add extra postage for weight. This year I thought I had it handled, but the post office was closed, so I couldn’t check the weight. I was about to throw them in the mailbox, then I decided to take them home just in case.

homemade Christmas cards

Some of my older cards. The newer ones are popups. Continue reading

The Unusually Wild Gift Guide

gift giver 2 1

I’ve been surfing the net for the wildest gifts online and would like to share a few unusual finds with you. Some are wilder than others, but they are all meant for someone who has everything or a sense of humor.

The Power Nap Head Pillow can be found at Hammacher Schlemmer.

the power nap head pillow 1

Because naptime…


 The Shower Squid can be found at Uncommon Goods.

shower squids Continue reading

Jumping for Joy! Literally…

As part of our family’s Christmas traditions, I shop, bake, decorate, and create homemade greeting cards. I am always up for adding something new to the list.

My son Kelly figured he would receive a Playstation 4, but he still expressed over the top happiness when receiving his gifts. That’s when I had an idea…

Kelly jumped for joy, but what happened to his feet? His new snow pants need a hem.

Kelly jumping for joy 1

Then my daughter Courtney jumped! Continue reading

The Big Reveal, DIY and a Message

After almost sixty hours, my annual Christmas cards are done. Whew! I smiled while dropping them into the mailbox and imagined my friends and family opening up my little art project. Time is at a premium and many don’t even send store bought cards. We live in an electronic age where communication is at our fingertips. We make contact through texts, tweets and Facebook. Very few pick up the phone and actually talk to people anymore. Everyone is too busy.

I am a dinosaur in today’s world. I plodded through the week while drawing, printing, cutting, and pasting. My gift to others is not just about the card. It is about the love  and time it takes to create them. Each one  took over 45 minutes. Yep, That was a little overboard. Thanks to Timethief, I have a wealth of new ideas for next year and promise to start in July!

The Process:

First I decide on an activity. My family is found skiing in many of my cards, but I wanted to come up with something unique for 2013. It has been an exceptional year in some ways, but I was derailed by breast cancer. When I thought of the concept, Dancing on 2013’s Grave, I laughed out loud!

Yes Wild Riders. I am ready to dance once again. Did you miss me?

First I sketch my ideas. Once I have a workable drawing, I use tracing paper and a marker for a final copy. I  hope to capture the likeness of everyone. I only draw once a year, so I am always a little nervous when I start. Sometimes the illustration just works like this year when it only took two hours. Other times, I find it challenging to recreate the shape of the eyes, the nose, the mouth, and the jawline. There’s always some printing involved. Thank God for the invention of the inkjet. I used to run back and forth to a commercial printer in a neighboring town to get the pieces camera ready.

2013 drawing Continue reading

Christmas Stalkings

One year, I took extreme measures to find the perfect Christmas gift.

We used to own a wholesale toy and school supply business. On Christmas Eve, my husband Danny would come home with a trash bag full of toys. We would spend hours wrapping the little gifts. Our children grew up and we sold the business. Soon I received my children’s Christmas lists which took me on quests encompassing much of the Denver Metro area.

One year, my son Kelly asked for a Playstation 2. It was the only item on his list. I thought, “Wow! This will be so easy this year. I’ll pick it up and buy a couple of small presents. DONE!”


Not so fast. I walked into Target and stood in front of an empty shelf. I asked the salesman when the next shipment was due to arrive. “We never know when they’re coming in.”  I drove to Best Buy and several other stores. The salespeople gave me the same response.

I started to panic. Where would I find the holy grail of Christmas gifts this year if they manufactured so few of them? I compiled a list of stores and started calling every day. I started recognizing the operator’s voices. Continue reading

Guess What’s Spinning Out of Control – A Contest!

While growing up, my sister and I kept busy by creating all kinds of art projects. Accustomed to drawing, I chose an art degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. I worked at a hospital as a medical illustrator for a few years. When Danny and I were married in 1987,  I drew our first Christmas card which started a family tradition. They never took more than a day. I dashed off to the printer and picked them up when they were done.

step 7

Last year’s card. They were a piece of cake compared to this year’s.

What started out as a simple illustration  has become a complicated marathon. It all started a couple of years ago, when I paged through Robert Sabuda‘s Christmas pop-up books. I stared in wonder at the amazing crafted paper which transformed into 3-d objects before my eyes. The BRILLIANT idea of creating a moving card was born. Continue reading

Time-Saving Tips for the Holidays **wink**

Finding time for everything in daily life can be a challenge. The holidays add an extra burden to the growing list of things to do. This year marks the shortest amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Think you can do it all? You can’t. There’s no time to dink around people! You’re basically screwed unless you follow my tips:

No time to buy a host or hostess gift?

Recycle! Fill all those holiday mugs you’ve received over the years with your leftover Halloween candy. Everyone loves Snickers bars.

last minute hostess gift

Don’t judge me. The candy canes are from last year. I ate all the Snickers bars.

No time to write for your blog?

Post office party photos. Make up funny captions like, “Bob always peeks into the secret Santa gifts and slips his name on the best one.”  Then cross-post it on Facebook. Watch your Klout score soar! Don’t forget to tag your boss, Bob. Continue reading

‘Tis an Attempt to Make You Smile!

‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, the family was out.


Woke up at 6:00. Left @ 6:30 – Gone Shreddin. Love Kelly. Call meh for da plan. High 4!

The stockings were emptied, what remained were the hooks,

The only memory of Santa had been read in books. Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons Why Anyone Would Look Forward to The End of Days

End of Days

This was the sunrise on the auspicious morning of The End of Days.  Did you hear that? Never mind. It was just my stomach rumbling.

Was it a surprise to you that the Mayans got it wrong? Hey. Look at the bright side. All of those dehydrated food packages you bought won’t go bad.

Doomsayers have been predicting the end of the world since it was in its infant stage. Every time a volcano erupted or the Earth shook they ran for cover. Isn’t that what Henny Penny squawked about? “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”


She should be wearing a pith helmet.

Why would anyone relish the idea of the world coming to an end?

#1. They can’t take another season of Dancing with the Stars.

I am not a fan either, but really, you could just turn off the TV.


From Wikimedia Commons

#2. They won’t have to finish their Christmas shopping.

The real doomsday will come when you have nothing for your wife on Christmas morning.

#3. They can relate to this cat.

grumpy cat

#4. They have taken Walking Dead a little too seriously and want to star in their own reality TV show.

#5. The idea of taking down all of those Christmas lights is overwhelming.

Christmas lights

#6. They believe that the number 13 is unlucky and their compulsive nature won’t allow them to write 2013 on their checks.

Jeez! Who writes checks?

#7. Not having to worry about hair and makeup would be a welcome relief.

bad hair day

A Wild Hair day on the Wild Ride.

#8. They want to try out all of the Zombie Survival Gear they bought on Amazon.

There are 206 results!

#9. They have to be right all of the time and can’t wait to say, “I told you so.”

Come on. Where is the satisfaction in gloating if we all die?

#10. They have climbed Everest, won the Iron Man competition, and want to compete in the ultimate challenge.

Now you can face the challenge of surviving my blog in 2013! 

The Nightmare Trip Before Christmas

Christmas HearthThe cards have been sent with 20 cents extra postage, the stockings are hanging perilously close to our gas fireplace, and I ate a dozen of the cookies I baked for the last exchange of the season. Tonight I am basking in the twinkling light emanating from all of the decorations inside my house while the electric meter is whirring outside in the bitter cold.

On the 6th night before Christmas, there are presents to be wrapped, but I can finally take a deep breath and relax. As I sip my first cup of tea, a memory of a Christmas from long ago swirls back from the past.

Kelly was five-weeks-old. Danny and I lived in a Boulder apartment on the third floor with outdoor steps. It had snowed and kept snowing. It was three days before Christmas and we would fly back to Madison, Wisconsin to celebrate the holidays with our families. Our flight would take off at 4:00 PM. Continue reading