Doodles 'n' Drawings, On Blogging

My Crafting Crisis

Ho-Ho-Holy cow I don't have the strength for this.
Ho-Ho-Holy cow! Crafting is really hard!

Susan Rocan over at mywithershins is a lovely person and a fantastic creator of homemade greeting cards. Every Wednesday she posts whatever craft she’s working on and I, without fail, am dazzled by what I see.

It wasn’t long before I decided that just had to have one of those cards. So on one impulsive day this past fall, I begged Susan to put me on her Christmas card list. She, being lovely and Canadian (but I’m being redundant), happily agreed. I was delighted.

It then dawned on me that by asking Susan for a homemade card, I was agreeing to make a homemade card for her. This didn’t delight me so much. I haven’t made anyone a card since I was a tyke. I didn’t know where to begin.

So I did what I usually do when I need to shove an unsettling fact out of my mind; I repeated my time-honored mantra:

“I’ll come up with something.”

This mantra hasn’t failed me yet. But my confidence wavered when my birthday approached and I got this in the mail:

Holy schmoley!
Holy schmoley!

The photo doesn’t even begin to do the card justice. The level of detail is incredible. The subtle color blends, the textured papers… I was amazed.

I was also touched, for Susan didn’t just make a card and send it to me; she made a card specifically for me. To construct this card, Susan used paper made out of elephant poop. (Perhaps I should explain: Once upon a time, Susan mentioned on her blog that she bought some sheets of elephant poop paper. Ever since, I have repeatedly commented on how I would loooove to get some elephant poop paper of my very own.) Also, I don’t know if you can see it in the photo, but the lower right corner of the card sports a tiny goat! Oh, how I love goats!

After receiving this card, my mantra changed slightly:

“I’d better come up with something.”

I played around with the idea of a pop-up card. It didn’t work. Not even close. I tried a collage. It looked terrible. And as I continued to experiment (and fail) precious time slipped away.

By the time my despair tank was about half full, Susan sent me a note asking what color my eyes were. “Oh, Dear God, what is she working on?” I asked aloud to no one in particular.

I had no choice but to jump back into my comfort zone. I doodled. I didn’t know what to doodle or how my doodles would work in a card, but I doodled away and hoped for a Christmas miracle. The miracle never came, but I eventually found myself with an appealing Santa sketch.

That’s was when Susan’s Christmas card arrived:

Oh, you gotta be kidding me!
Oh, you gotta be kidding me!

Can you believe it? And, much to my surprise, inside was an apology.

“I looked all over for brown googly eyes, but I couldn’t find them. Hope black is okay!”

This is what happens when you exchange cards with a Canadian. They do something amazing and they still think they need to apologize.

Just look at it! Those gingerbread men are my wife, my son, and me!

It should also be noted that, somehow, Susan made the card smell like gingerbread. I have no idea how she did this, but if you told me she took a trip to the Serengeti, fed elephants Christmas cookies, and then loitered around the area with a shovel to collect their droppings, I’d believe you.

The pressure mounting, my time almost up, I finally came up with this.

Here it is!

It looks simple, and compared with what Susan gave me, it is. But making this thing was far more involved than I ever could’ve imagined. After making a satisfying Santa doodle, I polished it up and photocopied it onto a piece of résumé paper – which gave me a nice enough texture to add color. Then I cut out the jolly fellow out with an x-acto knife and pasted him onto a sheet of Bristol vellum. Then I meandered around an A.C. Moore for what felt like 96 hours puzzling over Christmas-themed papers. Then, using my beloved Royal – and its very Christmas-y red ribbon – I typed out my greetings on the Christmas-themed paper and pasted the paper in the card.

I have always been impressed by Susan’s skills, but now I am impressed to the tenth power. Thanks again, Susan, you amazing crafter, you! I will hang onto your cards always. Do forgive my modest effort; it wasn’t due to lack of trying, that’s for sure.

My Christmas Card inside

Here’s hoping all of you fine bloggers (and blog readers) had a happy holiday! See you in the new year!

Book News, Doodles 'n' Drawings


Meet Corky. Suitable for framing.

My first Sarah Gives Thanks public appearance is on October 28 at 2 pm at Well Read, a charming, independent bookstore in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

I figured it wouldn’t be much work; I’d talk a little about Sarah Hale and Thanksgiving and then I’d read the book and sign copies.

But, Bill, the owner of the place, wanted more.

“You have a craft?” he asked.

“I’m sorry, a what?”

“It’s easier to get kids in the store when you also offer a craft.” Then he added – I assume to be helpful – “You know, something crafty.”


Now, I am not a crafter. My skills don’t go very far beyond writing and doodling. But, lately, I also find myself becoming more and more skilled in the art of lying. So I assured Bill that I did have a craft. “A good one,” I said with a confident nod.

And then I floundered around for the next couple of weeks trying to think of something.

What I came up with was this guy at the top of my post. Meet Corky the Turkey. He needs your crayon skills. Coloring is the first part of the craft.

You may have noticed that Corky does not have any tail feathers. Well, fear not. I cut a bunch of tail feathers out of orange and yellow construction paper. Each child takes a handful of these feathers and writes something that he or she is thankful for on each one. Then the feathers are glued onto Corky’s butt. And that’s the second part of the craft.

Now Corky can shake a tail feather.

Ta Daaa! Just call me crafty.

I know, I know. It is a far, far cry from what can be found at the incredible pillows a-la-mode and mywithershins. But it certainly beats tracing your hand and sticking a beak on the thumb.

So, onward!


On another note, The BCCBA Acronym Contest is almost over! Don’t forget to submit your entry by October 31 for a chance to win a free, signed copy of Sarah Gives Thanks!