Reindeer

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Day 9 of the Christmas countdown. I started my painting this morning with a pencil sketch of 8 reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. First I painted the night sky, then I added shapes for the reindeer that looked like blobs. But I wasn’t giving up – even when my 11 old said, “Want some advice? Don’t post that.” I added ink details, then I gave up, and started drawing one reindeer. It’s so much easier to add detail and work at something when you are working big.

For the night sky I used the same technique as my first attempt. Salt. If you’ve never used salt with watercolor before  – you sprinkle the salt on the painting when it’s wet. The salt absorbs some of the paint causing this cool crystal like effect. When the paint is completely dry, brush the salt off.

Marion has been drawing along with me. Here is her reindeer. On Instagram Teri is painting along. See her reindeer here. If you’d like to join in, tag adventmcr when posting.

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Gingerbread

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Day 8. It’s a tradition in our house to decorate gingerbread houses. My kids love it – mostly for the candy. They give me a hard time for trying to out do their decorating. What they don’t know is that I aspire to make a gingerbread house that’s a replica of our house. But every year December is too crazy to even think of starting a project like that! Hmmm, maybe over the summer.

Here’s our setup this year.

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My house 😂

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Marion has been drawing along with me. See her gingerbread post here.
It’s not too late to join in the creative countdown. Tag your post “adventmcr”

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Christmas cookies

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but boy is there a lot to do. I wasn’t able to finish painting my cookies (day 3 of my Christmas countdown) yesterday because the day was filled with Christmas preparations – buying a wreath and tree and other outdoor decorations, decorating inside, shopping for gifts, and seeing the Nutcracker at a local college.

I was very excited to see the Nutcracker as I’ve just designed my first pin – a Nutcracker – and I didn’t remember that much of the story. The production was a blend of amateurs and professionals and I really enjoyed it.

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Interested in buying a pin? Click here to purchase through PayPal (U.S. only). I appreciate the support!

Today’s prompt is ornaments which is perfect because today we will be decorating our tree. Want to paint/draw along with me? Here is my prompt list. All mediums are welcome! Use #adventmcr when posting.

Marion is doing a great job, see her adorable day 3 drawing here. On Instagram see moxiemisfitblues’ posts here. Jill Kuhn created mixed media sugar cookie sprinkles.

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The History of the Nutcracker

I’ve been drawing and designing Nutcracker patterns and now a Nutcracker enamel pin, but I realized I knew little about the history of the nutcracker. I set out to change that and am sharing with you what I learned. The following information is from the website of the Nutcracker Museum, located in Leavenworth, Washington.

“Standing wooden nutcrackers in the form of soldiers and kings were shown in the Sonneberg and Erzgebirge regions of Germany by 1800 and in 1830, the term “Nussknacker” appeared in the dictionary of the Brothers Grim. It was defined as often in the form of a misshaped little man, in whose mouth the nut, by means of a leaver or screw, is cracked open.

In 1872 Wilhelm Fuchtner, known as the father of the nutcracker, made the first commercial production of nutcrackers using the lathe to create many of the same design. The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum shows an 1880 miner of Wilhelm Fuchtner along with a miner presently made in the Fuchtner family workshops.

Image courtesy of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
Image courtesy of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

Today many wooden toy soldier nutcrackers are manufactured in Germany to meet the demands of the many collectors in the United States. This interest is renewed each year by the many productions of the Nutcracker Ballet. Collectors can now find designs in the characters from the ballet as well as hundreds of other designs.”

To read more on the history of nutcrackers click here.

You can purchase my new Nutcracker enamel pin by clicking the buy button below.
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Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.

My nutcracker pattern and other holiday patterns are available here.

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Nutcracker Enamel Pin {and the story behind it}

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I love working in my sketchbook. There’s no pressure, I’m just playing around and having fun. The more I work at it, the more I love these loose fun illustrations. I’ve been using illustrations from my sketchbooks to create repeating patterns. And now for the first time, I’ve turned one illustration into an enamel pin! Click here to order a Nutcracker Pin.

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Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.

For awhile I had been was thinking, “What else – besides patterns – could I make with my favorite illustrations?” Years ago I thought about buttons, but I never moved forward with the idea. Then, a few months ago I began seeing enamel pins on Instagram. I loved the idea! My nutcracker seemed like the perfect illustration to use.

I had no idea where to go for a pin and wanted a recommendation so I emailed an organization I belong to – Craft Industry Alliance – and inquired about having pins made. One of the founders, Abby Glassenberg, has her own pin, “Sewist.” The other founder, Kristin Link, emailed me back and said, “Check tomorrow’s journal.” How coincidental that the following day the CIA journal included an article about having pins made, that included a list of vendors. It seemed like my nutcracker pin was meant to be! I hope you like it!

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Craft Industry Alliance is a new kind of trade organization for makers, suppliers, designers, and pro bloggers. Their mission is to be a trusted source of industry information, creative inspiration, and community for craft professionals.

They’re working to help their members:

  • Stay current on industry news, trends, and opportunities
  • Make connections with other small business owners
  • Develop viable business models
  • Achieve profitability
  • Run their businesses according to their own standard of ethics

Gingerbread houses

It was a lot of fun decorating mini gingerbread houses with the kids tonight. It’s nice to do something together especially since 2 of my 3 are teenagers. Traditions are really nice. We’ve been doing houses together since the oldest was 2 or 3. 

I remember when I was home from college and my sister said we were going to make gingerbread houses with my niece – who was the first grandchild. We baked everything from scratch, and then struggled to put the houses together. Finally we were ready to decorate. My niece ate a few gumdrops, put a few on the house, and yelled, “done!” As she hopped down from her chair. I couldn’t believe it. Kids are too funny! 

 

Only 16 Days til Christmas!

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I had a list, a mile long, of all the creative projects I was going to work on this month. The best laid plans and all that! Instead, (in addition to everyday life), I’ve been going to parties, decorating the house, and shopping, with a little creative time squeezed in.

Since, I’m starting to feel like I have the Christmas preparations under control, and there aren’t any parties this weekend, I’ll hopefully have more creative time. Whatever I don’t get done this December, I’ll have to pick up over the Summer. Although I don’t think I’ll be in the Christmas spirit then!

When I was younger, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I wasn’t particularly good at drawing or writing cartoons (my 10 year old son is awesome at them), but I loved reading them – Cathy, Ziggy, For Better or Worse. Here is my cartoon, to show you what’s been going on in my world.

Hope all is well with you! 🙂

Toy Soldier Pattern

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When I was a kid I watched the March of the Wooden Soldiers every year. Maybe that’s what inspired the design of my second holiday pattern. (The first was nutcrackers.)

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I’ve ordered the Toy Soldier pattern as gift wrap from Spoonflower and I can’t wait for it to arrive! This year I want to be especially crafty and creative with my wrapping. And I plan on sharing my creations on Instagram – I hope you’ll follow along! 🙂