My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Christmas Countdown Day 6/25 – Nutcrackers

Christmas Countdown 6/25 Nutcrackers #nutcrackers
Have you seen my nutcracker pin? Click here to purchase a Nutcracker pin ($9.00 + shipping) through Paypal.
Nutcracker enamel pin

Christmas Countdown 6/25 Nutcrackers #nutcrackers

Christmas Countdown 6/25 Nutcrackers #nutcrackers

Paint/draw along with me!
Creative prompts for Christmas countdown #Christmas #creative #advent

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek! The perfect gift for beach lovers.

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Nutcracker painting

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Day 6 in the Christmas countdown. I was excited about this prompt because so far this Christmas season, for me, has been all about the Nutcracker. I had my first enamel pin made, based on an illustration from my Nutcracker pattern design. That little pin has inspired me to learn about the history of the Nutcracker, and explore other unique Nutcracker products. And when a friend mentioned a local college was putting on a production of the Nutcracker, I took the family (with pins on of course).

My Nutcracker pin:

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My nutcracker pattern. Available as gift wrap, fabric, and wallpaper through Spoonflower.
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If you’d like to join me in the creative Christmas countdown here are the prompts. All mediums are welcome! Tag “adventmcr ” when posting. Marion has been drawing with me. See her nutcracker here. See Moxiefitblues on Instagram here. She even included the nuts!

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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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15 products you’ll love if you’re nuts about Nutcrackers!

15 products you'll love if you're nuts about Nutcrackers! #nutcrackers #christmas #holiday
1. Nutcracker Enamel Pin. My first pin design! The perfect way to show your holiday spirit on your hat, scarf, sweater, coat or bag! 
7cf60d45-e0e1-4084-8eea-87499dd2f017-13176-00001234aac66115_tmpNutcracker enamel pin
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Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.

2. Nutcracker patterns available through Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap. I used gift wrap to line the shelves in the photo above! Click here.
screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-53-25-am show_imageNutcracker pillow. Fabric by Eileen McKenna

3. Finished products available through Roostery. Don’t want to sew? Order finished pillows, tea towels, placemats, duvets, chairs, and more through Roostery.
34-80-52-52-2600-2600-1024-1024-l-1 34-80-52-52-2600-2600-1024-1024-lNutcracker sheetsNutcracker duvet cover

4. Nutcracker canvas by Ryan at Native Vermont Studio. Elevate your decorating this holiday with this gallery wrapped canvas.
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5. Nutcracker cookies by Heidi. Beautiful sugar cookies made with the finest ingredients.
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6. Paint your own Nutcracker Kit. Create your own nutcracker!

7. Nutcracker Nesting Dolls. A unique spin on nesting dolls.

8. Nutcracker Glass Ornament. This Kurt Adler ornament is a beautiful addition to any tree.
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9. Nutcracker WreathPerfect for your holiday door.

10. Nutcracker Pint Glass. Eat, drink, and be merry with these adorable glasses from World Market.

11. Nutcracker Stocking holders. Perfect for your mantle. Click your favorite to purchase.
  

12. Nutcracker Party Supply Bundles. Plates, napkins, tablecloth!

13. Nutcracker Card. 
Nutcracker Holiday Card by Eileen McKenna

14. Nutcracker Candles Holder. Perfect for lighting your holiday meal.

15. Nutcracker Table Runner by Teri. A fun and festive quilted Christmas table runner.
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Note: Items 1-3, and 13 are my own designs. This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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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!

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PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
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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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