Out with the Old

I've never been so happy to take down a Christmas tree before. It was really unbelievable having had cut it fresh. I should have video-taped the constant shedding of needles and random loss of ornaments. A tree really does make the sound of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree during that transformation.

As for the new...
I thought about stating some sort of New Year's Resolutions, but I never really make them. Of course we all intend to exercise more, lose the holiday pounds, start better habits overall, be more self-disciplined in all the areas we would like to be. Every day is a new beginning. I go through cycles of attempting to keep it all together and constantly having to begin again throughout the year. January is an exciting new time though. I love it.

I've been thinking of all the personal commitments I would like to renew at this exciting time. So many - I cannot list EVERYTHING! As one would happen to be "to simplify," here is my simplified intention:

I intend to create for myself
the same I wish for all -
Health, Prosperity and Joy!

With each new day I shall question if my thoughts and actions are aligned with this intention. In addition to that - I hope my blog will continue to delight or inspire others.



Winter Fun

I am very grateful that the girls coaxed me outdoors yesterday.  The ice storm made our tiny little hill extra slippery and the trees exceptionally beautiful. Usually Daddy takes them out while I try to accomplish a bunch of stuff  - cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc - or sometimes just enjoy a little quiet time. Being on vacation allows me to do all that plus have a little time for play.


Christmas Break

We thought we would have to wake up early to box the cookies this morning. Turns out school was on a 2 hour delay this morning because of a nasty ice storm. I was worried that school was going to be canceled completely because - what would I do with all those cookies? Well, I would have taken them to my friends at the office, but sorry guys, I took the few leftovers to dinner with the family tonight. We're so glad that school wasn't canceled because the girls would have missed their holiday party and the whole-school-christmas-carol-sing-a-long. The weather report says more nasty weather is coming this way. Looking forward to relaxing with the family. I've scheduled two weeks off to be with the kids and my teacher hubby. So let it snow!


Cookies: Tradition or Obsession?

If you've been reading my blog for a year, these cookies might look familiar. They were baked today, but by golly they look exactly like last year's. With little deviation, I've made pretty much the same 5 or 6 cookie recipes every year for 15 years. Now, I don't think I could stop. Last year and this year I decided to give a small tin of cookie to the girls' teachers. Turns out between the two of them they have 8 teachers! Next year I think I'll come up with a small project for them to create because I am exhausted! I won't be starting over for Christmas Eve. I'm going to a cookie exchange on Sunday.

This year has become the year of the gingerbread! For Sunday's cookie exchange I will be baking the fifth batch of gingerbread this year. I've made them for the Girl Scout tree decorating event, the Daisy Girl Scout Christmas Party, the 1st grade school party, my little dinner party, and the teachers. No wonder my pop-up card turned into a gingerbread running away and then jumping out of the bushes.


Rambunctious - Illustration Friday

Two Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

This began as strictly a paper collage, but after I photographed it – I pretty much reworked the whole piece digitally except for the bed.

Run as fast as you can!

Pop-up handmade Christmas Cards.

Last night I attended the Annual Gift Making Workshop at Uncle Freddy's Gallery. I had tons of fun making these two cards as I was forced to work quickly and spontaneously. Basic templates for a figure, a bird, or a Christmas tree were provided. Within 3 hours I had to cut, fold, design, draw, paint and assemble the cards. No time to fuss, procrastinate or get distracted as I usually do. I didn't try the bird or tree because I thought of the little girl in a snowsuit making a snow angel while I was painting the gingerbread man.


Friends, Food, Fun, Gingerbread and Origami

A lovely time had by all. We reconnected with old friends by hosting a little dinner party. Sue, Steve, and Mark like to buy Girl Scout cookies. I let them know if they ordered and drove down from the city to pick them up, I would cook dinner for them. We enjoyed vegetarian lasagna eaten off of fine antique china and the first round of Christmas cookies for dessert. Sue entertained Maya and Ellie with some dazzling origami projects and we happened to have some origami paper lying around the house. If you would like to make an origami flapping bird you can refer to this youtube link. We had so much fun, at the end of the evening I almost forgot to give them their Girl Scout cookies and collect my $16.



Everyone needs a good friend. And, Maya needed a puppy as Ellie quickly claimed the kitty for herself. I was planning on making accessories for my friends, but they found this sofa and end table in the Sweet Streets bin. I guess I won't be able to pass that on anytime soon.


Felt Fun

Inspired by Ellie and so many incredibly cute little things on Etsy - this is my first attempt at a tiny little handmade toy. I could imagine little felt friends enjoying one of Ellie's tiny treasure pies and a little house made from a cardboard box. She's only 2-1/4" tall. Two little baskets I've tried to crochet with cotton string and raffia. Neither quite what I wanted, but it's a work in progress.


The Ballet

We took the girls to see "The Nutcracker" this week. It's really something I've looked forward to for years. Going out with my little ladies who do not whine and fidget (too much). They very much enjoyed and appreciated it. What's more - they both have recently taken an interest in dance and started lessons just this summer. Maya has proven to be serious and quickly advanced to Ballet III. She informed me at intermission that by this time next year she could earn her pointe shoes!

On the way to the performance I asked if they were familiar with the story of "The Nutcracker". A little background knowledge makes every experience a little more enjoyable. Maya's vague synopsis sounded something like this...

This girl named Clara has a godfather who is a little creepy because he wears and eye patch and has wild frizzy hair and a peg leg - or maybe a bad limp with a cane. He gives Clara a nutcracker for a gift on Christmas Eve. It comes to life and has to fight the king of the rats in a sword fight - oh! and the rat king has three heads! And I can't remember what happens next. ... ... ... Oh yeah. When the Nutcracker wins the sword fight he becomes a prince – and Clara become a princess – and they go to candyland and all the Christmas Eve goodies dance – like sugar plums – and coffee – and chocolate. [Mmmm. Coffee and Chocolate... My inner voice sometimes sounds like Homer Simpson]

Side note: The godfather in the performance we saw did not fit Maya's description at all. Although, I have seen that guy before. This guy looked like a very young Nicholas Cage.

It was a delightful evening. It inspired this attempt at an illustration. And with that, the realization that I am inspired to illustrate the little joys in my life, but I seriously need to develop some discipline and drawing skills so that I may become proficient.


Bird, Bear, Cheetah

I have become Ellie's assistant as she has recently been inspired to design and cut out animals from felt. She hands them over to me with a little stuffing and asks me to sew them up for her. She gifted the bird to me and the Cheetah is for a friend at school. She made a great dolphin for Daddy, but he promptly took it to work with him before I could photograph it.