Wednesday, November 29

A Generous Winter's Picnic

Work in Progress: Stringing Gingerbread Surprise!

Our Thanksgiving break was truly just that! Not taking any work with me—no computer even—and arriving back here Tuesday morning (2:30 am) means I'm still catching up with things! So, as with last week, please check back here later to see the finalized version.

Sitting in front of the fire, Santa's been musing on how truly incredibly smart and delicious these gingersnaps are that Mrs. Claus bakes up this time every time year, helping fortify him for the long journey ahead. His trusted staff of jolly helpers can always be counted on too. If it wasn't for them, he'd surely be in such a peppermint pickle! So, why not surprise everyone with a little something completed unexpected? They love decorations after all, and while Santa's certainly generous, he's not exactly known for sharing his delicious morsels of fresh baked ginger joy. That is, until now! :) (I'm sure the reindeer will enjoy reaching down from the rooftop for some energy snaps too.)

Time now to show us how you've been generous!


Wednesday, November 15

Gift-wrapped or not, what a gift!

OK, it's a wrap! Pretty much completed. Yes, definitely inspired by Lissa here while thinking exactly what gift would this girl get to unwrap? (Funny, as when first illustrating her a few months ago, I had actually pictured that she was sending something to someone else.) Anyway, I like the look of surprise on her, and perhaps some delight too, as she watches this gift of winter wonder love keep growing and growing! You never know what you might unwrap if you'd just give it a chance...

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I want to start by saying that the 15th would have been my mother's 87th Birthday. Writing this tonight (on the 14th), I'm reminded that this day last year was the last time I saw my mother. We had taken her out (with much difficulty) to celebrate her birthday as Alex and I were leaving our stint in the UK and heading back to Colorado. Saying goodbye, as with every time over the last 15 years or so, was poignant, understanding it was likely to be my last. This time of course, as expected, it truly was. I told her how much I loved her; thanked her for all her sacrifices over the years raising us a single mother; prayed for her, and whispered that she would be loved and remembered forever.

So, why this photo with my younger sister and I flanking our mother? I believe it was my cousin's wedding at HTB and therefore one of the few times we got to really dress the part and even get a photo with our mother! She hated having photos taken and as such, apparently my older sister in England now has endless photos where Mama had cut herself out. Ha. So this photo is rare indeed and shows her a bit older than those black and whites I've shown on Instagram from her younger days before thyroid kicked in, etc.

Anyway, whilst thinking of my mother and the gift of parenthood, I got quite mixed up, being tired from an already long week that began Sunday, and started drawing something for "gift UNwrap" not "gift wrap!" Rather than not show anything at all, I've decided last minute to add the former as one of the prompt options — call it creative license if you will, or more so, the advantages of being the host! :) My hope though is to have my drawing coloured in and up here (at the top) later in the evening. Please stay tuned!

In the interim, what lovely wrapped gift-wrapped or unwrapped presents did you have to bring to this Scribble Picnic? Come join us and let's celebrate those good things in life that continue on even in the midst of our sorrows, loss, tragedies, etc. You know, some of the greatest gifts we can give is simply to acknowledge unexpectedly another relative stranger or colleague for something unique that they offer. Genuine, thoughtful kind words can never be over-stated. We all need it! We all have hearts that need continual filling, no matter what our circumstance or personality. So, let me start by saying THANK YOU to each of you who make this art co-op what it is — an extended on-line family of sorts. Each one expressing works differently encourages us all to tap into that creative muse, considering all the different ways we can express any one theme. I'm delighted we have this group to keep our creative mind muscle alert and flexing... getting in shape before the holiday nosh, as it were. And let me tell you, I love Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas! :)

P.S. Preferring that we try to keep our posts succinctly focused on our art piece for the week to help us get through everyone's, my apologies for this long heartfelt ramble!

Wednesday, November 8

Did you say, "Cookies?"

Moove on over, peeps, I've got the milk and cookies! 

It's time once again for our weekly Scribble Picnic meetup group. I'm so looking forward to seeing what kind of cookie (or biscuit perhaps) each of you chose.

For myself, I wanted to put on my Graphic Designer hat and do something a little more corporate, less hands-on than the Inktobers, and certainly more mainstream... cute, even! From my initial pen sketch to the final Illustrator vector art above, I must have rendered at least 5 versions of this cow, simplifying each time and making it more child-like/friendly until getting it to where I wanted.

You know, the funny thing is, waaay back when I was still fresh off the boat, so to speak, it seemed disgusting to me that anyone would actually want milk with their "cookies," let alone dunk it (as few admittedly do here). No doubt, in part, it was because I detested the creamy, clumpy, often spoilt milk we used to get delivered by the milkman each day back in London. To me, of course, the perfect compliment to any biscuit was a hot, strong yet milky cup of tea but as one couldn't easily find electric kettles or "real" English tea then, I didn't have that either for yonkers. Needless to say, imported tea is now in abundance (thank God) and whilst still loving to dunk a good chocolate digestive in a hot cuppa, I have now been known to enjoy cookies with milk... and yes, even dunked! Shocking, I know. What can I say, but one learns to rightfully, thankfully, adapt! (Well, OK, I still am not into camping and hiking, endless beerfests, and most things typical Coloradoans yearn for but, hey, I'm getting there... sloooowly!)  :)

So, that's my cookie story, what's yours?

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Wednesday, November 1

The Toys are Having their (own) picnic!

Sorry for this rather creepy toy doll. Does it spook you at all? Perhaps old dolls in general or those that "talk" or even mannequins possibly frighten you? If so, you just might suffer from Pediophobia, an actual disorder that, while it can be easily cured, is commonly left untreated since those afflicted consider it unique and silly themselves. Yet, they are gripped with fear enough that it secretly can keep them from visiting even a sibling, say, in fear of seeing a nephew's or niece's dolls, let alone going into a clothing store! It can be more debilitating than you might imagine.

This particularly unfortunate doll is inspired by one my daughter had for many, many years, named "Annie," after her "Grannie Annie," all the way in England who she only met twice very briefly. We didn't have much money as a family on one income and I think had found this at a thrift shop or yard sale or something. Nevertheless, Rachel adored it, carrying it around with her wherever she went. Eventually, it started literally falling apart, its stuffing coming out, an arm that would fall off and either an eye that would roll back or the others' eyelid usually half way shut. To make matters more traumatic, the poor thing's head kept falling off and even with multiple attempts of sewing it back on, it never lasted!

I'm not sure whatever happened to poor old Annie, but it certainly showed us all early on that Rachel was made for unconditional love and nurture and has found her calling as a mom in her own right, taking care of twins and a brave husband who himself is a an injured (triple amputee) Marine veteran. Like him, she takes it all in her stride and never ceases to amaze us just how incredible she is at making everything whole. Her love knows no bounds and, of course, we love her no end! So proud of her. :D

So, what doll did you bring to our picnic this week? Time for show and tell...