Take My Advice – NO ELF ON A SHELF BEFORE DEC 15th!

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I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but for me, the elf on the shelf is a struggle!!!

There is nothing worse than your kids waking up and finding the elf in the same place as the night before.  We tell our kids Charlie our elf must have gotten trapped in a snow storm traveling to the North Pole the night before, but this only works so many times before they are crushed.

The reality is my husband and I can’t manage 25 days of hiding an elf.  Simply put, ten days is pushing it!

I made the mistake of having our elf come to the door packaged from the North Pole each year.  This in itself is getting hard to keep up!

So our elf has gone from coming on Dec.1st to slowly making his way to arriving on December 15th… This means Mom and Dad only have to make it through ten days of hiding and still we struggle!

Sadly, my poor kids keep asking and asking where our elf is when everybody else from school got their elves three weeks ago!

And here I am dropping the ball yet a little bit further…Charlie our elf is coming on Dec 18th… an all time low.

So how do I curb my kids disappointment?  With creative writing of course.  Now my kids get amazing letters with their elf or should I say amazing excuses :)

This year Charlie the elf was in charge of South America.  Next year he might only be responsible for half of the state of Rhode Island which will free him up to come closer to Dec 1st… but then again, next year he may be in charge of China which means he might not make it until December 23rd…

Either way I’m covered :)

You know if you are going to lie to your kids about mystical figures, why does it matter how much you lie?

A lie is a lie.  I still don’t even know why we do this to our kids?  I only know it’s been passed on from generation to generation and there is a small bit of satisfaction in doing to others that which was done to you…

So there it is.  I stink at following up on these crazy traditions.  My kids are lucky if the tooth fairy remembers to drop some bit coin…

So to all of you out there…LIE.  Lie your pants off…change the tradition to fit your schedule and lifestyle.  You’ll thank yourself and the kids won’t ever know what was real to begin with.

But it’s all good….because remember…


Taking the Christmas Out of the Cardinal Motif


My title sounds very humbuggy doesn’t it?  Well it wasn’t really my intention.

It all started with a dream.  I was dreaming about designing fabric.  Thanks to Spoonflower I can actually do that without spending another ten years in school!  In my dream I wanted a cardinal fabric, but I wanted a cardinal fabric for all year round, not just a holiday fabric.  What I mean by this is if you look at notecards, fabrics and wrapping paper they generally only use cardinals in the winter or Christmas season.  Cardinals are usually depicted in a blue background with snowy trees, or with red ribbons, pines and berries –you know Christmassy. In my dream I made a fabric that showed my love of these birds during the other seasons of the year.

I particularly love to watch the cardinals in spring.  This is when the parents take their babies hunting for food and show them all different survival techniques.  I can get lost in my back yard for hours.  I almost always see the cardinals in pairs, always looking out for each other and I thought this was important to depict, even if the brown female isn’t as “picture worthy” as its male iconic counterpart.  They are all beautiful.

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So I woke up and got busy.

I did a little homework to figure out what cardinals like best (besides my bird feeder and fencepost!)

I made a list of cardinal favorites and tried to find ways to incorporate them into my design.  Here were some of the items:  wild grapes, mulberry, sumac, hack berries, dogwood, Hawthorne, native cherries, elder berries and Spiraea.

Instantly the dogwood flower stood out visually.  I knew I wanted branches.  The reason the birds like the trees mentioned above is because they are dense and twiggy allowing the birds some wonderful hiding places.  I also know that cardinal eggs are a pale green with brown specks.  I wanted them and I also added wild grapes, a Hawthorne leaf, a dogwood leaf and a nest.

It took me a day or two to map it out.  I chose gouache paint for its opacity.

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I spent a bit of time thinking about the color scheme…I’m still debating the color scheme though…

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and now I’ve started painting… I totally understand how using a computer to create fabric makes WAY MORE SENSE, but I thoroughly enjoy the process and the painting…so I’m gonna do my own thing regardless…

Plus I get a beautiful painted panel when I’m done.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.

I’m getting pulled every which way with my kiddos and the holidays.  I try to block out the multitude of people who ask me what I’ve created this year and why this year isn’t as prolific as last year.  I know the answer.  It’s because being prolific came at a price.  For each thing I was not doing in order to “Be Creative“, someone near and dear to me was doing.  Everyone around me rallied with pitching in with all the daily chores and special events in our lives.  That was an amazing gift from my friends and family, but it wasn’t something that could be sustained.  I went on a “Creative Trip” which had a beginning and an end.  Now I’m back from my trip and have to make time for all things, not just art.

Boo Hoo.

But actually I’ve made my peace with it.  I still devote a big chunk of my week to art and being creative.  It’s just not as flashy and easily visible.  Thanks to my blog I can see my path. It’s slow and steady and I’m still learning something new every single day, along with being a mother, wife, teacher and 40-year-old woman whose metabolism has disappeared and forced her to have to actually get out an exercise a few days a week (<— that’s been the worst thing this year. I can no longer get away without exercising!)

It’s all good actually.  Really good!

About to Get My Craftin’ On!

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I made this flyer for a special event this Sunday.  I met with the store manager yesterday and we created samples of the 6 different cards people can make at our workshop.  The owner of the store said to “do whatever we wanted”.  We scoured Pinterest and found cards we’d love to make and receive!  I sure hope people come and join us.  They will have the opportunity to make some really cute holiday cards and it’s free.

  You can’t beat that!

Pottery Ready!

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I’m starting to pack up my pottery goods for a local holiday fair.

Here’s some of my latest finished pieces:

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The crosses are ornaments.

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I made key chains too.

So I have quite a bit.

I do have another 30 some-odd pieces of jewelry awaiting completion, but unfortunately they missed the kiln (relatives you’re in luck!)

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These are my two favorite mugs…I’m REALLY thinking of gifting the one on the left to myself.  I LOVE it!

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I took this photo with a standard diner mug in front to show just how large my mugs are.  I fill them with tea and sit down for an hour without having to continue to go for refills. Plus they keep your hands warm. You can’t beat that :)

Enjoy your weekend everybody.  My kids and I have reserved this weekend to decorate our home from head-to-toe for Christmas.  That will get us into the spirit. I think we need to make some cookies too.  Yum. I hope you all get the chance this weekend to get into the spirit too!