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:
Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.
My nutcracker pattern. Available as gift wrap, fabric, and wallpaper through Spoonflower.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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. Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.
My nutcracker pattern and other holiday patterns are available here.
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.
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!
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
Run their businesses according to their own standard of ethics
Last year I achieved a personal goal of mine by designing holiday gift wrap. Through Spoonflower I was able to have the designs printed and also made available to anyone else who might be interested in purchasing them. It was really cool to wrap gifts for the kids and family in wrapping paper I designed! Some of my supportive family bought the gift wrap and I saw presents wrapped with them at two family parties!
The gift wrap at Spoonflower isn’t cheap, but the quality of the paper is beautiful! And it’s reusable for wrapping other gifts or for crafts. Spoonflower also prints on fabric (their main business). I wish I sewed so I could make Christmas pillows to decorate the house. Maybe some day.
I’ve been going through the sketchbooks I filled last December for inspiration for a new holiday design. The elves caught my eye! They’ll probably make it into this year’s holiday gift wrap design.
I’m really proud, and happy, that I followed through on my goal to start creating surface designs. I designed the first one in January, and decided to commit to “1 Surface Design a Month.” That goal, and the end of the month deadline, really pushed me to put in the work.
I’m always asking you, “What’s your favorite?” And I would love to hear, but I’ll also tell you my favorites.
I really liked when I started using the technique of creating the ink lines and watercolor backgrounds separately and then merging them in Photoshop. I started this with the shell pattern. I think the watercolor really adds a depth that you can’t get with Photoshop brushes. I started this technique with the shells, and continued it with the leaves – which is my favorite design in this style.
My other technique is drawing the elements in my sketchbook and adding color in Photoshop. My favorite design, using this technique, is the Toy Soldiers. They are just so cute!
Will I be continuing with surface design in 2016? Absolutely! As you know, I’ve made the Nutcracker and Toy Soldier patterns available on Spoonflower, where you can have them printed as fabric or gift wrap. It is really interesting to see the designs printed and to think about how it will be used. It makes you think about the design, and what works and doesn’t. It’s a different perspective than just seeing it flat on the computer screen.
In the new year, I’ll be adding a few of the other “12 designs” onto Spoonflower. And I plan to continue designing one new one a month!