Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I took a day to design and illustrate an instructional tag to accompany our puppet card this year. I am really happy with the way it turned out. Taking the FREEDOM to simply play for that many hours, which I don't normally allow myself when working on a deadline project, allowed me to learn new exciting texturing techniques within Photoshop that I really dig! I will use what I learned doing this in other projects!

In a display of brinkmanship that made even me blush, I was frickin' STILL MAKING THESE ELVES AT A CHRISTMAS EVE EVENT LAST NIGHT. Can you believe it?! Himself had to go and find the people sitting in the audience listening to the music at the show as I would finish each one! It was a Hail-Mary-Last-Ditch-Effort to get these very time-sensitive fellows to their destinations before Arbor day! We did it though. With his help, I was able to complete the 80 I set out to make (plus 5 more for special blog/crafter friends I thought might enjoy it too). It was either the elves or me at one point. But I'm pleased to report to you that I was able to pull up enough grit and tenacity to get the job done. Which means that after this the Halfland cottage will be easy.

One of the best parts of making these was the absolute enchantment I experienced in watching a woman I didn't even know sitting next to me at the Christmas event. When I gave her the last elf, an extra I was saving for my craft scrap book, she was so delighted to have it, it was completely adorable to see. She giggled and played with it endlessly and was so captivated by its creativity and old-fashioned charms (a touch from another century as another good friend kindly put it). I was overjoyed to get to see the woman and her husband's reactions. I saw him walking around with it later, holding it carefully with the tag so it was unharmed, as if it were a treasure. Wow, what more could we want to have happened?!

In case you hadn't received your own Christmas card from us this year, I thought you might like to see what I've been working on (and on and on) for several weeks. Our first fully-articulated, paper-puppet elf to brighten your jolly holidays.

I laughed. I cried. I had real fun. I had my own personal elf hell. I loved making them quite a lot at times. And I was shocked at how loooooong it took. All these emotions swinging at 5-minute intervals. Here again, the link to the "Making of" slide show that tells the tale of this Christmas 2006 elfin friend of ours, Webster.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An Intense Day For God

It was an intense day for God when he created Hila Rosenberg Arazi. He took the rest of the day off to relax a bit after she was born on December 21st because He felt so satisfied with creating such a beautiful work of art, so filled to the brim with sweetness, strength, artistry and brilliance as she. That's why it's the shortest day of the year, in case you had ever wondered.

I'm celebrating today in the U.S. because she's living all the way on the other side of the earth in Australia--and it's already her birthday there! Our mutual friend, Ulla, hooked us up a few months ago and my admiration for Hila grows as I am able to appreciate the mastery of her model set construction as time goes by. You can't tell from the resolution in the card tribute, above showing her peering through one of the windows in the Agora set's room (stolen from a great shot taken by her husband, Gilad), but the detail in that is astonishing. The carved wood surrounding her is one example of her astounding level of loving features she puts into all her projects. Treat yourself to a proper look at her site at some of the great photos there.

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Dear Hila. May this New Year be the best so far in your life!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yes, Sir, Yes, Sir, Three-(er, seven actually)-Bags-Full

Sacrifices. A deeper-than-normal cut made whilst slicing out tags for the Christmas card puppets.

Two of the seven sacks of cards went out to the foreign and out-of-state folks last week. Two more sacks are complete and will go out with the last three-bags-full in tomorrow's mail. Some of the more exotic locations these little blokes will be arriving to shortly are Australia, Greece, UK, Argentina, Japan, and Brooklyn.

Santa's Workshop will Officially Close Wednesday and I'll be free to enjoy living in my Halfland once again. I've been thinking a lot about details for various aspects as I cut/snip/glue on the couch with great old movies (have you seen Carol Reeds' The Third Man?! So wonderful, very Citizen Kane-like!), a blanket during my "ladies" distresses.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Prosaic Mosaic

It's pretty weird to have washing the dishes be akin to an archeological dig. I mean, when I get down to a level of food that I don't recall cooking, that's hardcore unkempt. I tend to wait to do dishes until every single plate, pot, pan, and utensil is used, including the extra, emergency picnic cutlery. Then I have fun with creative stacking, making precarious temporary sculptures out of the squeaky clean metal and china shapes. Yesterdays' is in the upper left corner. They rest are "works" from other days.

On the All-Consuming Holiday Card Project: I haven't stopped snipping. I kept pasting cheerful papers back to back and cutting out many shapes and aging their edges since Friday rather than stopping yet to assemble. Some quantities are all cut out, 320 needed of some pieces, some parts are pre-assembled, enough to make 50 puppet cards. I now have enough of everything to put together at least 25 ready to go on their way to friends. I plan to take the farthest flung stops to the post tomorrow because time is sneaking up very quickly.

Thankfully, my hands are in fine shape thanks to a sharp pair of Singer scissors I bought for the project (about $3.50 at Target). I knew I'd need some cushioning on the handles to avoid blisters. There are so many wonderful tools available today to make life more comfortable.

If all continues to be on schedule, I should have all the little packages out by Friday and be ready to dive headlong back into my precious Halfland work.

Cheers to you, Herself

Friday, December 08, 2006

If I Did Do Math

Now, If I were able to do math, as many of you know I am not, I would have run a little ol'calculation and determined that the total amount required of the twenty separate pieces to complete eighty of our fully-articulated Christmas card/puppet toys would have had me hand-cutting over sixteen hundred intricate pieces of paper. That isn't even counting preparation of the papers with paints, aging, and varnishes, or the time needed for assembling them into a toy, and finesse finishing.

I've been painting, gluing, cutting, and snipping away for many, many hours over the last few weeks and should have fifty cards ready to send out by the end of this weekend. It really is enjoyable work and while unlikely to be worth the amount of total time spent making them, they will be carrying our sincere love to each recipient. Isn't that what it's all about in the end?

It always seems to come down to a issue over time with me, no matter what the job, my joy to stress ratio runs high. Ironically, I'm pretty sure time doesn't really exist in quantum terms, so, the only real impediment to my thorough enjoyment of life is a complete illusion. Hmm.

Happy Holiday Preparations to you and yours as well.
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