Merry Moosmas & the Flying Moose

A Wish for a Merry Moosmas!

Red criss cross ornamentMy flying moose began as a sketch by Darrell over a year ago. I think he was still laughing when he got out his paper and pencil.
While watching a promo for Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them, he heard the moderator refer to photographer Moose Peterson as the “Flying Moose,” a nickname the  pilots gave him for his many flights to photograph the noble planes.
So, visions of a flying moose leaped into Darrell’s head and onto paper. Darrell added runaway sleigh bells to the sketch for me because I was in a Christmas state of mind.

I copied the sketch to my iPad and used it as my layout in Inkpad to wish you a Merry Moosmas!

A flying moose is better than a goose! -D. Wiskur

A Fireplace, a Hallmark Movie, and an iPad

Snowman ornamentI binged on Hallmark Christmas movies while on vacation. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and I was feeling rather festive.
I don’t know how the Hallmark Channel has eluded me all these years, but it was perfect for my holiday, particularly since it rained the first three days of vacation.

Watching Christmas movies in front of a fireplace, overlooking the lake, at Big Cedar’s five star woodland resort, with my husband, is hard to beat.

gingerbread tree cookie
Gingerbread tree

When you check into your room at Big Cedar, you are welcomed with freshly-baked cookies, waiting on your night stand. Each evening during your stay, cookies magically appear to your room, thanks to the Cookie Lady. So, I ate cookies and drew cookies.

Angel cookie covered in frosting with stars on her wings
Frosted Angel Cookie

I worked the hardest on the angel cookie because I wanted it to look like it had piles of fluffy icing on top.

Of course, I made snowmen and stars and bells and a row of penguin cookies, each a little different from the other.

Continue reading Merry Moosmas & the Flying Moose

Christmas Ornaments and eBay

Bell Christmas ornaments, made in Japan
Porcelain bell ornaments, made in Japan

Are you busy digging out Christmas ornaments like me?

I’ve decided mine have grown either more precious or more ridiculous with age. Sometimes I have to laugh over the things we’ve hung on our tree.

For years we hung a parking ticket on our tree. We got the ticket on Christmas Eve, one starry night in the 70s. We were busy with Christmas when Darrell looked out the living room to see a  parking ticket on the windshield of our car, which we had parked on the street and not in our driveway.

When Darrell spotted the ticket gleaming brightly in the street light —on Christmas Eve — he marched out the door and down the sidewalk, huffing and puffing all the way to the car. Minutes later, he came back in the door dancing a jig.

Our friend, Lieutenant Ed Sweeney on the Aurora [Illinois] Police Dept., had left us a ticket, and the ticket read, “Fine $40,000 – Merry Christmas! Ed!” We hung the ticket on the tree that night and laughed about it for years.
Funny parking ticket left on car window

Continue reading Christmas Ornaments and eBay

Early Snowfall and Pillowcase Art

Snowy art for pillowcases by Darrell Wiskur to color
Snowfall in the Ozarks

 A dreamy, deep snow came early to Arkansas, 2013.

We hope for snow in the Ozarks

We woke one morning to a mid-December snow, 10-inches deep, over a slick layer of ice. We were glad for the surprise snowfall.

It is always super nice not having to fret about if or if-not we will have a Hallmark snow before Christmas Day … always a quandary in the Arkansas Ozarks.

Snowbound and off school, the grandchildren went sledding, built snowmen, and decorated gingerbread houses … putting everyone in a holiday state of mind.

School buses, parked. Our world stood still.

As we were on the verge of cabin fever, the sun came out and melted the snow. Alas, we were as happy to see the snow go as to see it come.

How To Tutorial

Pillowcase art for a snowy Christmas

The snowy woodland scene is an illustration by hubby Darrell Wiskur for a book daughter Wendy O’Dell wrote and designed.

The book, Mommy’s Days, Planning Daily Activities with Infants and Toddlers, was published in 1998 by Heir Press.

Darrell’s illustrations were pencil line-drawings. The book was printed in black & white. I wanted to color it, so I scanned the art and turned it into a vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator.

I created shapes, which I filled with color, then added a gradient to the background in Photoshop.

I love the art and the verse:

Stars shining brightly
Soft snow on the trees
The ornaments of God
All nature can see!

Art for a pillowcase

So much in love with the art, I printed the snowy woodland scene on pillowcases for our grandchildren to color.

Our family likes a calming craft for the children before Christmas dinner. I thought this wonderful verse and snowy woodland scene would make a perfect Christmas craft.

I had the line-drawing printed on pillowcases at a specialty printing shop.

Oops, didn’t think that through

Grandchildren paint pillowcases on Christmas Day
Drew coloring a pillowcase with washable fabric pens.
Grandchildren paint pillowcases before Christmas dinner
Stephanie loves art and working hard
Painting a snow pillowcase on Christmas
You would have to be a surrealist to paint snow anything but white.

Coloring snow is less than a perfect idea. After-all, snow is white. Fortunately, we have creative grandchildren.

Merry Christmas to All, and to All, a Good Night!

Merry Christmas‘Tis the joyous Christmas season

A favorite Christmas quote from A Christmas Carol, says …

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.
-Charles Dickens

The key to happiness is to hold on to that child-like wonder at Christmas.

Bah Humbug! cross stitch needlework
Bah Humbug!

Alas, the holiday season can bring a mix of good and bad memories. Once, during my  Bah Humbug! period, I cross-stitched another Dickens quote, Bah Humbug! And beautified it with a gilded frame.

Foremost this Christmas, cherish the simple things of the heart.

Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes. -Charles Dickens

Merry  Christmas to all, and to all, a good life!

How To TutorialMy digital how-to artwork for story illustration:

In Adobe Illustrator, I penned a blue gradient for my snow bank.
rolling_snow300x
I created layers of art in Photoshop. On top of the snow, I layered my Santa art, created in Illustrator.
Then, I duplicated Santa and skewed him, dialing back the transparency for a red shadow on the snow. I imagined Santa’s suit would reflect a jolly red on the snow rather than gray.
Santa and his Shadow
To complete the illustration, I added a lens flair above the snow for a heavenly light.

Christmas Greetings illustration of the nativity
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.” -Dickens

And cropped line work of the Nativity by hubby Darrell Wiskur  from a Merry Christmas letter he designed years ago, commissioned by a dentist for his office Christmas letter. 

Read Luke 21:1-40, a Biblical record of the incarnation of Christ … Emmanuel, God is with us.

 

Christmas Stockings Hung With Care

 Dear Santa ... Christmas stockings‘Tis the season to be merry!

Christmas stockings are a tradition in our family, and Santa, with the assistance of Mrs. Santa, fills the stockings on the Eve of Christmas while our children are fast asleep. It’s a lovely tradition.

Of course, we like our stockings brimming with good cheer. In my childhood, we were delighted with a stocking filled with an apple, an orange, a popcorn ball, and a candy cane.

As the acting Mrs. Santa one year when I was on a health kick, I baked cookies with a sugar substitute and attempted to bring back the apple, orange, popcorn ball, and candy cane idea from childhood.

While the children were all snug in their beds, with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, I, unfortunately, filled their stockings with fruit and trinkets.

Imagine the children’s dismay Christmas morning waking up to fruit.  No chocolate Santa wrapped in foil, no sweet and sour gummy worms, no M&Ms, no Reese’s PBCups — none of the children’s favorite candies.

And this naive act of mine took place at a time when stores were closed on Christmas morning. Nothing was open. There was no way to reprieve myself.  Mr. Santa couldn’t sneak out the back door and run to the candy store.

Santa had cautioned me about no candy, but I thought an old fashioned Christmas stocking would be as endearing to my children as it was to me as a child. Looking in the rear view mirror, I was clueless.

This is a cautionary tale: Never underestimate the power of  a well-filled stocking!
decorative flourishMy How-To Method for this graphic includes one paper and one frame from my Zany Design Kit on Etsy. There are 21 elements in my Zany Design Kit and two of those are gold, cut-out frames. The frames are easily modified in Elements or  Photoshop so that they can be any color you need to suit your graphic.

In Photoshop, I added a blue Adjustment Layer to a frame. Next, I threw on a Santa vector image I completed a few years back and three photos of Christmas stockings my daughter had painted for an open house.
The final touch was the text, Dear Santa … stuff it!

Surprise Me! And Wrap It With a Bow!

Surprise Me Art TagThe official gift-giving season draweth nigh, which threatens to be stressful, but then I remember the best gifts are the little, unexpected surprises from friends and family who simply know what you like and love you. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, although, extravagant gifts have their place.
Often, it’s the journal, the mittens, the pens, the slippers – those comfort gifts that linger on after all the wrappings and ribbons are in the trash. Or, something no one else can give, like a piece of  art or other personal workmanship.
So, surprise them! It’s always the best gift.

For this graphic, I took two silver elements from my Glitz collection. I colorized one and gave it a blue hue and added a Layer Effect to the other for a gold look.
Also, I made my first Chevron with a Shape layer in Photoshop, which I put over a vector created from a brooch I had scanned. The yellow duck is in my Swim Yellow Duck collection, and the sun is from a personal Illustrator tutorial.
And, my iPad travels with me at all times, so I doodle words and phrases in the Inkpad App because I love the pen tool in InkPad. I can save or send my doodles from Inkpad to my computer.

Then I open the text in Illustrator and make any edits I want with the pen tool.
Surprise me started in Inkpad. Next step, Illustrator. Then, in Photoshop, I treated Surprise me like a graphic and added a bevel, outline and drop shadow.
My How-To elements for this graphic, before adding layer effects in Photoshop!
Design components for Surprise Me graphic