Happy Holidays!

Painting, Gift-wrapping and Wishing

I am happy to say that my gift-hunting and wrapping is all done, except for one person, who I will finish shopping for tomorrow. What a nice feeling to be able to sit back and not have to worry about navigating through the huge last minute crowds.

I did three watercolor paintings, all pet portraits, and I think they turned out pretty well. The pet quartet is for Jose's grandma, and the silly Holmes and Watson style pair are for his cousin.

I also tried my hand at some pretty packaging today, and I'm very pleased with the results! I particularly like the mini-bunting on my aunt's gift, a portrait of her two crazy cats, Phoebe and Jack.

I like how everything goes together but each one still looks nice on its own.

There are a few things I'm hoping for this year; I've never had a robe before, and our house gets so cold, a nice fluffy one would really come in handy. Other than that, I'd love some new art supplies. My Crayola watercolors are not the greatest, so an upgrade would be nice, and I'd also like to try using gouache. What's on your list?

Rainy Days

This weather is driving me crazy! It rained for three days, non-stop, which I don't remember ever happening here before. And now it is starting up again! I don't usually mind the rain, but this constant downpour is making me a bit grumpy. Mostly, we've been staying inside, piling on the layers, cuddling up with the cats as much as possible, and watching every season of Saturday Night Live on Netflix.

Luckily, I received an early Christmas present of a $100 gift card from Jose's grandma, and I have stocked up on some cold weather attire. Plus I still have almost half of the money left!

I don't normally like hot drinks of any kind, but the one thing I do love is Mexican hot chocolate, so I've been curling up with some of that for the past couple of days. I hope it won't rain a lot in Las Vegas next week, because I can't stand much more of this nonsense!

The Agent Lover Puppet

One of my all-time favorite bloggers, the fabulous Marie, is giving away three copies of Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris. I actually bought Amy's book I Like You a long time ago, then had to give it away the same day as a last minute present. I had been wanting it ever since then, and as luck would have it, I spied it at a thrift store for $3 just this past Monday, so I snapped it up! It is amazing of course, and I can't wait to see this new book. As soon as I read that Marie is giving two extra entries to anyone who makes a craft inspired by her, I got an idea to make an Agent Lover puppet. Well, in a perfect world, I would have made a corn cob version of her, but alas, I have no corn on the cob at the moment.

I drew Marie, used watercolors, cut the shape out, and then I taped a stick to the back. Nothing too complicated. There we are, the illustrated versions of ourselves, with Sweeney trying to bat at the corn cob of course.

You knew she was there at the birth of Jesus, right?

The Agent Lover puppet would be a great stocking stuffer. And why not use her as a book mark? If I had a cake, I could also show you how she would be a fab cake topper as well. I'm sure you can come up with plenty of other uses.

If you'd like to make a little Marie of your own, you can print this image out onto cardstock. And if you want to enter for your chance to win the Amy Sedaris book, be sure to check out this post.

Christmas Bits and Pieces

I dug our Christmas decorations out of their boxes at the very beginning of this month, and yet the house is still pretty holiday-bare.

We got a little white tree, since I thought it was time to retire the pink tree for a while. I really love the look of white and silver decorations, and the pink doesn't go so well in our living room.

Sadly, the tree is back in the closet for now, as are the glittery silver branches used to decorate the shelves. Only a few holiday trinkets remain out, until I can figure out what to do about our problem.

This cat has made it impossible for me to leave anything out. He knocked our tree down at least once a day before I hid it, and he chewed the tail off of the dove perched in the tree. It is official: Sweeney has destroyed Christmas in this house. At least until I can figure out how to put things up where he can't reach. I know someone who is getting coal in his teeny stocking this year.

Also, there is still time to order from my Etsy Shop and have the order delivered in time for gift-giving! I have a number of prints for sale, as well as the "Cats in Costumes" zine.

If there is any artwork of mine that you would like to have as a print and it is not up on my Etsy, just ask, I am open to making prints of pretty much anything!

Win Books from Chronicle!

I found out about the Happy Haul-idays giveaway from Chronicle Books quite a while ago when Jennifer posted about it. I put my own list together so long ago, some of the books are now back ordered or out of stock! But I'm finally sharing it, right before the deadline of course.

In order to participate, all you need to do is post your own list of Chronicle Books that you would like to have, up to $500 worth. If you win, one blog reader who commented on the winning post will receive the entire list of books as well! So even if you don't have a blog, you may still have a chance to win by commenting. The last day to submit entries is December 10th.

It was kind of tough to narrow it down; there are so many gorgeous books to choose from! I am really a sucker when it comes to art books, so I think my list is pretty art-heavy. It's not like we can fit anymore books in this house though, we already have four bookshelves filled to overflowing! Mostly thanks to my historical-political junkie husband.

Silhouette Art by Vana Chupp
Paper + Craft by Minhee and Truman Cho
Let's Bring Back by Lesley M. M. Blume
Porch Parties by Denise Gee
Witch Craft compiled by Margaret McGuire and Alicia Kachmar
Weirdo Noir by Matt Dukes Jordan
On Tender Hooks by Isabel Samaras
Frida Kahlo: Brush of Anguish by Martha Zamora
Handmade Hellos by Eunice Moyle and Sabrina Moyle
Anna Sui by Andrew Bolton
Shag: The Art of Josh Agle by Shag
Cartoon Modern by Amid Amidi
Ramayana by Sanjay Patel
The Art of The Princess and the Frog by Jeff Kurtti
Pirate's Log by Jory John and Avery Monsen
Vunce Upon a Time by J.otto Seibold and Siobhan Vivian
Chuck Dugan Is AWOL by Eric Chase Anderson
Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations by Jeffrey Brown
The Kittens of Boxville by Ryosuke Handa
The Villain's Guide to Better Living by Neil Zawacki

Grand total: $499.29

Good luck to all of us! Also, as you can see above, my hair is now sadly pink-free.