Eileen McKenna Art & Design

Watercolor Art | Creative Inspiration to help you be creative on a regular basis


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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


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A busy holiday season and how I set myself up for failure

  
After Halloween, I wrote a long list of all the creative things I wanted to accomplish before Christmas. I wanted to make paintings as gifts, do Christmas crafts, and on and on.

I thought with Christmas two months off, there was plenty of time. I was so wrong. The list was totally unrealistic. My life is pretty busy already with three kids, a husband, my own business, running, etc. During the holiday season things obviously get busier with parties, trips to the city, decorating, shopping, baking, etc. 

It’s important for me to recognize the reason why I failed to get these additional things done. Because my first instinct is to feel bad about it. When I realize there wasn’t time I feel better. It’s why most people who create for Christmas (professionally) start in July. 

I will try that this Summer, if I can get into the holiday spirit. I’ll also try to be more realistic and plan ahead – way ahead!


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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! 

 


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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! 🙂


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

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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