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!

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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.

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2006 Christmas card. Continue reading

The Unusually Wild Gift Guide

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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…

ostrich-pillow-portable-power-nap-micro-environment-xl

 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

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.

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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