Nutcracker Pattern – and it’s available as fabric and gift wrap on Spoonflower!

nutcrackersrepeating
I’m so excited to announce that this Nutcracker pattern is available on Spoonflower and can be ordered as fabric or gift wrap! I just received some Nutcracker fabric and I’m excited to make something with it for the holidays!


You all know how passionate I’ve been about surface design this year! I’ve been wanting to take the next step, and see these patterns in action. And make them available to anyone else who is interested in them. I plan on adding some of the past year’s pattern designs to my Spoonflower shop too. If there is a particular one you are interested in, please let me know (links below).

This Nutcracker pattern is my “November” design. I know it’s jumping ahead of Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t help myself! I’ve already uploaded another holiday design and am waiting to see it printed. I’ll share with you, once I have it in my hands!

My surface designs this year:
January – August
September (includes a tutorial on making a repeating pattern)
October

What’s next?

 
The day after Halloween, I felt like a kid whose birthday had just passed. I was so disappointed it was over! I really got into it this year, posting over 20 illustrations, on Instagram, within the Halloween theme. And there were more in my sketchbook! “What now?” I wondered. Thanksgiving didn’t seem especially inspiring, although I love Thanksgiving. But then it hit me! Christmas! And I was off and running (for my sketchbook). 🎅🏼

Merry [day after] Christmas!

dioramafinal
I was feeling guilty that I never finished a Christmas diorama, as I promised you. Posting one today or tomorrow seemed too late. But, as I cleaned up all the scraps of wrapping paper, boxes, and ribbons, I realized today is the perfect day to finish a Christmas diorama and use some of those leftovers. The rush of shopping, baking, and wrapping is over. Today is a lazy day – the perfect day to work on a project and those leftovers had inspired me. In my last diorama post, I went over all the problems I was having with my diorama. The main thing I realized was that I was thinking too literally. This time I didn’t fuss about a realistic floor – I just created and I’m so happy with the results! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

wrapping

Mom’s present has entered the ugly phase. Can it recover?

ugly

The picture below is what fear looks like. The pressure is on, as I mentioned in a recent post. I want to add ink, but I’m afraid I’ll ruin the painting. Once the ink is on, it can’t be erased. So I do a couple of practice benches and go for it. Immediately I regret it, but I keep working. I continue to add benches. Did I mention I hate working in perspective? The benches look more like Chinese characters, but I keep going. I add ink to the boards of the boardwalk. I was terrified to add the lightpost. It’s too tall – maybe I can use a mat to crop it out and lower it? I add more detail to the benches and they start to look less like Chinese and more like benches.

Fear:
scared
Where I started from:
start

Where I am now:
After I soften the water (by wetting the watercolor pencil) I start to think, maybe I can get this to work. I have to keep working at it. Mom’s Christmas present may be a little late! Next steps – add watercolor to the benches and shadows. Add the rail.

boardwalk4

 

 

Christmas Diorama – in progress

diorama1
I haven’t forgotten about my Christmas diorama project. I’m learning that (like anything worth doing) it isn’t a quick, easy thing.

I’m using a tea box and realizing I need to cover every side – inside and out.
diorama2a

Unfortunately the craft tape thingy isn’t strong enough and is showing through the vellum. I’m also realizing that all the corners need to be tight or it looks sloppy. Or I need to trim all the corners and edges in garland. And my watercolor background and sides buckled a bit and aren’t flat.
diorama2c

I started with a “floor” that I tried to mimic real wood. Then I realized the carolers were outside, so I created a cobble stone look.
diorama2b

I think the depth of my box is too large for the pieces I have. I need to add more elements to it or cut the box.

I often think very literally. I created a sky and cobble stone floor for the carolers. Maybe I should try to change my thinking and use Christmas patterns for the inside sides or background.
diorama3

It’s a work in progress. I’m hoping to have a finished diorama to show you by Christmas Eve!

 

Giving my artwork as a gift.

housesdoors
I’ve been playing around with the idea of giving whimsical house (or door) paintings as hostess gifts (either framed or made into ornaments). I’ve come a long way this year, in terms of my confidence as an artist, but there is something scary about giving my artwork as a gift! Regardless of whether or not I’ll get up the nerve – I’ve started painting. The house is my brother and sister-in-law’s. I definitely want to try another version!

Here are my steps:
brothers1brothers2
brothers3brothers4

 

Dioramas – the planning stage

christmasdiorama1
I’ve wanted to work on a diorama for awhile now. I haven’t worked on one since the kids made shoebox sized ones for school. Even then it wasn’t my project and they wouldn’t let me take over! I’ve been pinning Christmas diorama projects on my board like crazy lately. When I remembered the illustrations in my dad’s old Christmas music book, I thought they would be perfect! I could plan my dioramas around them. Imagine – vintage illustrations, right at my fingertips. How lucky and out of character. We are not the family that ends up on Antique Roadshow! We didn’t even have an attic!

I looked through each illustration and figured out how I could create a diorama around it. Then I wrote a list of all the things I need. I measured my box to know the sizes. I want the dioramas to have one 2D element (where the illustration is brought forward from the background) and one 3D element – a miniature tree for example. I’ve planned on five dioramas, but we’ll see! I’m an ambitious planner.