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Category Archives: Holidays and Observances

2013 – Blogging in My Own Voice

Christmas is behind us! I hope whatever you celebrate was very merry, even if all you aimed for was a relaxing Tuesday and the end of Christmas countdowns.

Oldest nephew got an Iron Bear (Iron Man bear) from me.

ironbearxmas

Youngest nephew was also on my list this year. He got a bear hat that he wanted no part of wearing, but he’s not quite two years old yet and his mama says he needs a hat.

g3bear

Princess niece (and do NOT argue with her about that because she is not one of those wimpy, helpless princesses!) was on Mr. Knitter’s list. She has a new pair of ballerina house slippers. They immediately went on her feet!

slippers4lyr

My mother has been a huge source of encouragement, as well as having given Mr. Knitter a big boost in getting needles and other supplies when he started knitting. I hear from her that you’re never too old to enjoy your kids making something for you, so she was also on my list. I made a couple of pairs of wine glass flip-flops from The Crochet Dude’s pattern for her. They slip onto the bottom of a wine glass so that you keep your coaster with you.

wineglassflipflops

And that’s it for our Christmas crafting for this year! Almost. I do have one other gift I still need to get sent out, but that one wasn’t expected by Christmas and is considered more of a “winter celebration” gift.  I’ve also got projects to get back to that were put on hold while I prepared for Christmas. I could happily clear all the other chores and responsibilities from my life and just crochet. Ahh… one can dream!

I’m not making a list for 2013 the way I made a list for 2012.  I have other lists. I share lists with Mr. Knitter. There’s a lot more “doing my part within the collaboration” that goes on these days, and I just can’t make the same kind of list for that. I am setting a goal to hold myself to, though.

I will blog more in 2013. I will blog in my own voice.

I’ve fallen into a rut where I’m not getting posts written as often as I’d like because it’s really taxing to do it. I just don’t have the energy and mental focus when I do have the time. Why not? Why does writing a post here take so much out of me when I am able to turn out posts now and then for another blog? Why does writing a post here drain me so much more than a few hours of online socialization? I asked myself these questions and kept coming back to one answer.

It’s exhausting to maintain an illusion of something that’s not really yourself.

I’ve talked a lot about the importance of an artist being themself with their art. Finding your own style, doing work that is meaningful to you, etc. I’ve tried really hard to avoid using my own voice on this blog, though. I’ve tried to sound more “professional” by making a forced attempt at writing in a way that my old English teachers would find acceptable for striking a balance of casual tone in “serious” writing. The last bell rang for those classes long ago. I’m not writing for them. Sometimes knowing the rules makes you qualified to break them.

I look at how Amanda Palmer writes her blog and think to myself, “Oh, honey… you are not Amanda Palmer!” Okay, that’s true. But if there’s a rule that says you have to wait until you’re a star before you can do anything a star does, that’s a stupid rule and needs to be broken. Stars are passionate people. In that way, I am exactly like Amanda Palmer!

I love the excitement I feel when I read posts by Steph Cortés on the nerd JERK blog.  Her passion for what she does really comes through! I’m pretty good at getting people excited about things I’m excited about, too. I don’t think I’ve done a good job of showing here just how much I love creating. I do that well when writing for blogs where I’m more relaxed about writing style, though.

I will be more relaxed about my writing in 2013, and that should allow me to write more. More writing means you get to see more of what’s going on before we get it finished. I will never be able to blog for Mr. Knitter, though. He and I have very different approaches to our crafts. Maybe I can squeeze in a post now and then about how jealous I am of his knitting skills and my confusion when I look at a box full of double pointed needles.

Being Thankful and Reviewing the 2012 “To Do” List

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for those of us who live in the United States. I’m not sure the history of the holiday ever really mattered to me. We were told stories of the pilgrims and native people celebrating together, and I know I really got into the crafts and plays. I just always saw Thanksgiving as two things… one was the holiday I was told everyone was celebrating, and the other was what was actually going on at our house. The latter was the real Thanksgiving for me.

It hasn’t been the real Thanksgiving for me since my grandmother died, which was about eight years ago by now. She wasn’t a big eater, but she cooked and loved to feed her loved ones. I guess it’s because she grew up in a family with a lot of kids during the Great Depression. It seemed to make her someone who showed she loved you by doing things like feeding you, or buying you a book you wanted. She didn’t shower us with gifts non-stop, but she did a lot to quietly “take care of us” maybe a little more than we really needed. Thanksgiving and Christmas were something of a month-long celebration in my mind, and she and my mom were the driving forces.

My grandmother died just a few days before Thanksgiving the year we lost my grandfather in the spring.

Things change with time. My sister has children now. I’ve divorced and remarried. Pets have gone out of our lives, and different pets have come in. We still celebrate Thanksgiving. Christmas is different, too, but it does feel like a real Christmas. I’m trying to accept the new Thanksgiving.

In some ways, it’s not really a new Thanksgiving. It was always about family for me, right? My family may have changed some, but this is still a family holiday. And it is still a time to think about all the things I’m thankful for. I try to do that a little each day, but Thanksgiving reminds me to sit down and look at the bigger picture.

I’m thankful for my family. I am especially thankful for my sister’s kids. They are all still very young, but I am not exaggerating to say they are some of my favorite people.

I’m thankful for friends, even if they do tend to live way too far away. The Internet keeps us connected and makes being close while far apart possible in a way other generations would have been very thankful for. I have to remember not to take that for granted.

I’m thankful for the friends and family members who have supported my husband and me in getting  Craftypodes  started. It’s been difficult for me to make the change in my work, but I do believe it was the right decision.

I’m thankful for finally having a doctor who took my complaints about pain seriously, did the tests, diagnosed the arthritis, and is treating me. I still have more bad days than I want, but not as many as I was having… and not as bad! We’ve made some adjustments at home, and I don’t feel as knocked out by this as I did earlier in the year.

When life gets really frustrating and unhappy for me, I try to think of one thing I’m thankful for to balance one thing I’m aggravated about. I can’t erase all the pain in my life, but I choose not to let it dominate my life. I can at least look at it, acknowledge that it exists, and say, “But good still exists, too.”

Boris the Turkey

It is also time to look at my “To Do” list for this year. I’ll be writing next year’s list next month, and it’s late enough in 2012 that my remaining projects for the year are already in progress. If it’s on the list and hasn’t been done by now, it’s just not happening this year.

Do a fabric design on Spoonflower.

I did this! In fact, I did two designs. There is a feathery fabric and floral fabric Both are black and white fabric designs.
Find out more about how Storybird works.

I did this and found out it wasn’t really for me. I still think it looks like a great idea… just not for what I had in mind at the time.

Make my Zazzle stores connect to each other better visually. There are many good things about not having everything in one store, but I’d really like it to be easier for people who want to see all my stores.

The exact way I wanted to do this wasn’t possible, but I did link all the front pages to each other, as well as getting the designs categorized better by adding Positive Space.

Make progress on a fairly long-term collaborative project that was recently proposed to me.

I’m still not revealing yet what this collaboration is, but progress was made! When I said “fairly long-term”, that means “a couple of years”.

Finish any three things on my Ideas and Inspiration list.

This did not happen. I’m not unhappy about it, though. Making the switch from drawing to crochet as my work meant making a lot of other changes, too. The Ideas and Inspiration list has been going through some revisions. I’ll talk about that more when I write the 2013 “To Do” list.

Put together a calender in time for 2013.

This is the only thing on the list that did not happen and I’m not okay with it. Even with all the other changes this year, I still wanted to do this. While I’ve been able to make adjustments to keep crocheting even when I’m in mild pain, I couldn’t make similar adjustments to my workspace and tools for drawing. It’s very frustrating to feel the arthritis took this away from me. With the treatment I’m getting, though, I’m not giving up on this. I will be carrying it over to my list for next year.

Not everything on the list worked out the way I wanted it to, but I can look at it now and see that I accomplished more of my goals for the year than I thought! I’m glad I made the list. I’m thankful for being able to share it with all of you to keep myself accountable. I’m thankful for your support  through this year.

Skulls, Zombies, Witches, and Monsters!

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

— H.P. Lovecraft

It’s almost time for Halloween! Some folks enjoy playing dress-up. Others enjoy the wild feel of Halloween night. Some people just love to decorate their house, going from haunted graveyards at Halloween to the biggest light show on the block at Christmas.

Some part of us still recognizes that this is when the year truly ends… not when the calender runs out, but when the Earth settles down for a long nap. Unless, of course, you live in a climate where winter never really comes or the seasons run the other way.

Collectively, this is when we drag our fears out of the shadows, give them form and name the demons, band together against what might be a creaky board or might be an angry ghost, and try to banish as many of them as we can for another year.

I admit to asserting dominance over my fears by taking all the “scary” out of them once I’ve given them form. Cuddly monsters can’t do much harm.

Pretty Little Monster, by Craftypodes

Pretty Little Monster is part whatever Brobee from “Yo Gabba Gabba” is, and part Little Miss and Mr. Men from the books for children. She’s currently available from the Craftypodes shop.

Knitted Kitties

Also available in the shop – Have you seen the knitted kitties Mr. Knitter is making? They are adorable! I’ve made my fair share of dolls, and even I get excited when he finishes one of these. I’m trying to talk him into kitting a full battalion of them once Christmas projects are finished. The orange and black cats are sold separately in the shop, but they do look fantastic together. They’re stuffed with soft stuffing, but the bottoms are weighted a bit so you can set them on a desk or shelf and they won’t fall over.

While I have been focused on getting Craftypodes going for a good chunk of this year, I have not taken any of my other work down. Pieces that were available in the past are still available for purchase.
Zombie Portrait Poster / Print

The portrait of Annabelle the Zombie is available on a variety of products from my Everyday Myth store.

Witches Stitches MugWitches Stitches H.A.G. Mug
Everyday Myth is also where you’ll find the Witches Stitches goodies. They are available on a variety of products, and there are two designs to choose from. One advertises the services of the fictional Witches Stitches – poppets, curse-stitching, and quilt binding. The other proudly proclaims that Witches Stitches is part of the H.A.G. Guild (Handmade Arcane Goods). Just a bit of crafting humor.

I’ve never actually done any Halloween skull pieces, but the Day of the Dead – Día de los Muertos – does follow Halloween, and the sugar skulls I’ve done become very popular around this time.
Sugar Skull Poster

This bright, colorful sugar skull has been available for a few years now, but I’m seeing more sales this year for my black and white skulls.
La Bella Muerte Poster La Bella Muerte II Print

Black on white, or white on black, “La Bella Muerte” is one of my favorite pieces. It’s diffuclt to describe what the process of creating it was like for me emotionally, but there was something beautiful about getting lost in the details of the work and then stepping back to see what I had created. Both versions are available from Positive Space. You can find the black on white options here. Or go here if white on black is your preference.

Whether it’s a mug from a witches’ shop to drink something hot from on chilly mornings, or a cuddly monster to help you fight back whatever is going bump in the night, make sure you’ve got what you need before the end of October. It’s a long night, even if all you face is an endless stream of trick-or-treaters at your door.

A Little Love

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Many people don’t like the holiday. It’s not much fun to see everyone else gushing on and on about how in love they are when you’re not in a relationship, even if you’re generally happy that way the rest of the year. Love isn’t just about romantic love, though, and Valentine’s Day cards and gifts are often given to a variety of people in our lives who are so near and dear to us that we consider them “someone I love”.

My Patchwork Heart is available mostly on small gifts. Things like stickers, keychains, magnets, and mugs.  These aren’t particularly romantic gifts, and are appropriate for giving to everyone from your mother to a teacher.

This is a design won in Zazzle necklace design contest last year, and it is available as a necklace, but between you and me I’ve always liked it more as a shirt and a mug.

The Many Languages of Love design is available on a variety of products, including tote bags, aprons, and keepsake gift boxes.

This postcard has been one of my more popular products for the past few years. I made the piece available on a few other products, but only when it would fit well. You can get it as a necklace, postage stamp, magnet, or mousepad, as well still being available as a postcard. It can be a romantic gift, but also makes an appropriate gift for a mother or grandmother.

And if you do want to tell a special someone just how much they mean to you, but you’re not really a “flowers and teddy bears” couple…

The mug has “You fill my life meter” written on it. I suggest the “morphing mug” option (which is what I’ve set the default to, but you can certainly change it before ordering if you’d rather not have it)  so that the design appears and your life meter fills as the mug is filled with a hot drink.

 

Don’t give in to the idea that Valentine’s Day is either a holiday full of chocolate and roses, or a day you avoid all human contact. Spread a little love in your own way!

Finding a Place in The Future for Paper and Ink

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  One of the gifts I was given made me think about art, how it is delivered to us, and whether or not that’s part of the overall piece.

Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered just a couple of years before I started middle school, and one of the coolest things about it was the little pads they read things on. Going back and watching the original series, I think those pads existed there, as well. We often saw them being handed off. Yoeman Rand and Her Hair (the basketweave beehive on her head is the most memorable thing about her to me) would pass one to Captain Kirk, he’d glance at it and hit a button, then hand it back. But it was in the new series where we often saw characters sitting back and relaxing to read from one of those gadgets, or doing their own writing on one. I couldn’t wait for the real present to catch up to that fictional future so I could have one!

I’m being forcefully dragged, with a bit of kicking and screaming, toward that place where the real present and fictional future meet. Adult Me sometimes wants to sit Child Me down and say, “I know it looks really cool when you’re just looking at the one thing, but it’s different when the whole world is plugged in like that. You have to look at the bigger picture.” But I’m pretty sure my parents said things like that to Child Me, so I know the response would be something along the lines of, “No, you don’t understand! You can put all your books in it and carry a whole library in your pocket!”

Maybe that’s why we experience time in a linear fashion. It prevents us from wasting so much time and energy on not listening to ourselves.

I was given a Kindle for Christmas. It’s not a gift I would have chosen for myself. It is, in fact, something I would have avoided getting for myself.  My mother, having the benefit of 30+ years of being a mother in general and my mother specifically, bought me exactly what I did ask for… a Stephen King book. It’s being held hostage on the Kindle, though.  She didn’t get me the newest model with all kinds of strange bells and whistles. She got me one of the first models. It doesn’t have too many buttons. It doesn’t have a backlit screen. She did this because she knows I’m not as quick to adjust to a wagonload of features shoved in front of me as I once was, and that I’ve complained about the idea of spending even more hours a day with my eyeballs glued to a screen than I already do. I’m not just being stubborn. I have some medical issues that make things like this very intimidating for me, for one thing.  And with my work and entertainment happening on a computer, I really should give my eyes and brain a break now and then.  I am being at least a little stubborn, though.

I did say I’d give the Infernal Machine (my husband laughs every time I call it that) an honest try, though, and I am. Twitter buddies helped by pointing me toward the free books and making some suggestions. I also have a Kindle gift card and remembered that Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orlando is something I’ve been intending to get a copy of.  It is on my Kindle right now, and the first couple of chapters have been every bit as helpful and encouraging as I hoped. I highly suggest that every artist read it, and possibly let some of the people closest to you read it, as well. The ones who are part of your support system, but aren’t artists themselves.

My mother has good reasons for pushing me toward the Kindle. I have good reasons for running away from it. These can all be reconciled and I can learn to enjoy the Infernal Machine. This isn’t just about books, though.

One of the books she gave me on the Kindle is Ur, also by Stephen King, though not the one I asked for and was given. This is an example of something I think really should be read on a device like the Kindle, if not the Kindle itself.  It reminded me of a Halloween article written by Neil Gaiman that has the greatest impact if you read it yourself, rather than having it read to you.

There are times when the delivery system matters very much. It becomes part of the completed piece.

That’s actually part of my problem with the Kindle, Ur being an exception. Books aren’t just stories to me. They’re an experience. I love the covers. I love the paper and ink. I love the binding.  A physical book becomes something of a character itself to me. Is a very old book in pristine condition because it was loved and cared for? Was it treated like an object to be collected rather than a story to be enjoyed? Or was it left alone on a shelf where no one opened it because no one cared? Is the binding on a book broken and it’s cover worn because it was carelessly abused? Or was it a friend, carried everywhere and re-read many times? New paper with fresh ink has a certain scent. Old paper has a scent just as distinct, though it’s a very different scent.

I’ve thought about this sort of thing before. I work with digital tools in creating my art. I’ve written before about depending too much on my eraser and Undo button. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to see Van Gogh’s The Starry Night when it was temporarily on display in my area. It’s my favorite painting, and seeing the actual piece was an amazing experience! It’s quite a bit smaller than I always imagined it being, and there are places where the paint doesn’t completely cover the canvas and sketched lines show through that aren’t noticeable in prints. It’s the same piece, but so different. You haven’t really seen it unless you’ve seen the original. Things that would often be recognized as flaws in the work are part of what makes it so amazing.  What are we losing when we distance ourselves from the physical object?

I’m not going to get rid of my Wacom tablet and buy paints and canvases to work with. It is a question that turns over in my head now and then, though.

I’m not worried that digital books will replace physical copies. Some of the Twitter buddies who have been helping me adjust to my Kindle agree that some books are worth buying as paper and ink. My mother has also said she wouldn’t want to see physical books be replaced, but that something like the Kindle is a useful tool when you just can’t have a physical copy of every book you want to read. I think we could reach a point where physical books become a nostalgic luxury. I’m not sure that people are quite as happy with the speed technology moves at as we often think we are. We cling to the old things. We spend a lot of money to sew clothes in a time when mass production is cheap, whereas sewing clothes used to be something people did because they couldn’t afford clothes from a store. We customize new gadgets to look like clunky, outdated gadgets. Maybe we’re on a quest to prove that “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too” is just another stupid rule that should be broken.

After all, even in the future world of Star Treka book made of paper and ink is a treasured gift.

Finding Joy in Christmas Crafting

Crocheting gifts for my sister’s children has become something of a tradition for me over the past few years.  Whatever gift-giving holiday you celebrate at this time of the year is probably supposed to be about just that… giving. Not necessarily buying. If buying the gifts works for you, go forth and shop! Sometimes we all just get too caught up in the buying.

I suffer from Chronic Grinch Syndrome. I hate Christmas every year. Hate it with a passion. Not because I hate what the holiday should be, but because I hate what we’ve turned it into. My heart shrivels up somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving and I start to resent everyone who is looking forward to Christmas. I force myself not to make rude gestures at bell ringers. I’m disgusted by other people simply because they are enjoying the holiday.

I call it “Chronic Grinch Syndrome” because, like a chronic illness, it gets better and then comes back the next year.  And my turning point comes when I remember what the Grinch learned.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

— Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I was blessed with grandparents who lived until I was almost thirty years old. After more than fifty years together, I guess they just couldn’t be apart. We lost my grandmother the week of Thanksgiving in the same year that we lost my grandfather on Memorial Day weekend. I’m sure that’s part of how my Chronic Grinch Syndrome developed. The holidays just haven’t been the same without them. It was never the presents that made it Christmas. Just as Christmas can come without packages, boxes, and bags, it didn’t feel like Christmas was really coming anymore even with them.

The holidays really never will be the same in my family, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a joyful time again. My sister’s children have added a lot of joy! I get to experience the other side of things now. Instead of being one of the kids, I get to see their faces light up! Christmas comes because they giggle it into being. The presents are just something we adults use to trigger it.

They don’t exactly get “normal” gifts from me. Pictured above is Chubi the Cuddly Chupacabra. You won’t find a pattern for him. I put together and modified a couple of basic doll patterns for Chubi, then modified a pattern for a mouse to make the goat. Unlike others of his kind, Chubi loves his goat friends and would never hurt them!

I sometimes worry that the gifts I give don’t match up to the toys they have that come from stores. That’s an adult worry, though. It’s about trying to “keep up” and has nothing to do with what Christmas is about. My sister tells me they love the toys. I crocheted toy food for them last year (How is anyone supposed to have a decent tea party with no food?) and loved watching my nephew run around using one of the carrots to tickle people.

Cookies from the set of crocheted food.

You can find the patterns for the food. They came from the book Tasty Crochet by Rose Langlitz. This year, I’m making a stacking toy for the newest member of our family, and his older brother and sister are getting crocheted versions of the plants from the game Plants vs Zombies. The plant patterns came from Deadcraft, and I recommend her patterns for beginners who want to make some awesomely geeky stuff! The instructions are well written and have very helpful pictures.

It’s not really about not spending money. Many patterns cost money. Materials cost money. When it comes down to it, though, I get more joy out of spending my time purposefully creating a gift with the kid I know is going to get it in mind than racing around town to grab things off shelves and stand in long lines.

If your inner Grinch has taken over and made the way you approach the holidays something you hate, maybe it’s time for a different approach.

Being Thankful

Pies - Episode art for Drabblecast #105

This is a cover art piece I did for an episode of The Drabblecast. The story isn’t about Thanksgiving, but I was looking at the piece last night shortly after going over my mother’s menu for Thursday and realized it does make me think of Thanksgiving and harvest festivals. (If you enjoy pie, odd stories, or especially odd stories about pie, go ahead and give the episode a listen.)

It’s time for Thanksgiving here in the United States. It gets a little easier each year for me to just say, “I’m thankful that I made it through another year!” It sounds a little cheap, but it’s the shortest way to say what I may be most thankful for… that I still have so many new things to be thankful for each year.

It’s not always easy to be thankful. It may be hard to see many of the things happening in the news and still come up with a list of ways you feel your life is better this year. Some people may feel guilty that they can have a Thanksgiving meal when others have so much less. I can’t imagine how difficult it might be to keep being thankful when you’re one of the people categorized as “the less fortunate”.

I’d like to share some of the things I’m thankful for with you.

Last year, I was an aunt to a beautiful niece and awesome nephew. This year, I am an aunt to a beautiful niece and TWO awesome nephews!  I’m thankful for all three of my sister’s kids, and for the experience of  being at the hospital when he was born.

I haven’t been in the best of health this year, but it’s been managed better.  This has been a reminder to me that, no matter how weak I may feel some days, it won’t last forever. It also reminds me to take stock of the way I’m doing things from time to time. Habits can become clutter in one’s life, and having to adapt to health issues now and then means clearing out that clutter. Facing the challenges my health has thrown at us has been an important experience for my husband and myself as a couple. Even some of the hard times can be something to be thankful for.

I’ve grown as an artist. I’ve tried new things this year with my art. My list of projects to do has grown a lot. I shouldn’t find myself running out of ideas for a long while.  Not every piece works out just the way I want it to, but I am happy with my work.

It’s not as easy for me to socialize as it used to be, but I have found a regular group of people I enjoy talking to on the internet. They keep me from pulling too far into my own shell. I’m closer to some of them than others, but I’m thankful for all of them.

I am thankful that one of the best friendships I have ever experienced has grown over the past year.  I finally understand just how much of a treasure That One Friend can be.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Zombies, Witches, and Skulls… It must be Halloween!

I love Halloween! Besides the fun of costumes and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, I love spooky stories. I love the traditions. I am drawn to the idea that the dead may not be as “dead and gone” as we tell ourselves. I once tried to find the ghost of the pirate Jean Lafitte on Galveston island. I didn’t have any more success than the year I tried to find gnomes in the woods (which means, no success), but I was drawn to the idea enough to try. Halloween appeals to that aspect of me. Admittedly, it also appeals to the part of me that loves tiny chocolate bars.

I’d like to introduce you to a new friend of mine this Halloween. This is Annabelle.

Art PrintsPlease do go over to Fine Art America and say hello to her. There are quite a few details, such as the spider webs clinging to the picture frame, that aren’t clearly visible in such a small preview.

A dear friend agreed to pose for the reference I used to get Annabelle’s expression right, so I’m not surprised that she turned out to be rather pretty. For someone who is neither truly living or truly dead, of course. I suspect she hasn’t been a zombie for long. Her hair hasn’t completely fallen and become matted and tangled. Her flesh isn’t showing advanced signs of decay yet. Even the flower in her hair still has color, though it is looking a bit dry and wilted. Annabelle seems to have developed a taste for blood, and I can’t help but wonder whether or not she still has memories of the friends and neighbors she feasts on.

I would like to thank everyone who voted for or suggested a name for her on my Facebook page. Even though I didn’t know what her name would be until I’d finished the art, knowing her name changes the way I look at her. You all helped complete the piece by naming her for me.

Prints of Annabelle’s portrait are available at Fine Art America (just click on the picture above), Society6, or RedBubble. You can also find a die-cut sticker that follows the shape of the picture frame at RedBubble.

If you’re looking for something a bit more functional, Annabelle is available on a variety of products through my Everyday Myth store.

Everyday Myth is also the best place to find my Witches Stitches line, and you just can’t have Halloween without witches!

There are two designs available in the Witches Stitches collection. The art is the same, but one advertises “poppets – curse-stitching – quilt binding” and the other proudly proclaims that Witches Stitches is “A member of the H.A.G. Guild (Handmade Arcane Goods)”.  It’s all about putting the “craft” in “witchcraft”.

Day of the Dead follows Halloween, and my sugar skulls can be found over at Graphic Content by Rosa Amarilla. The collection grew a bit this year when I added my La Bella Muerte piece, but you can also find a more colorful and whimsical sugar skull there. Don’t be scared off by the name of the store… neither the graphics nor the pun will bite. ;-)

Happy Halloween, everyone! May you always have a lantern on hand when you find yourself in strange dark corners, and may the Great Pumpkin always find your pumpkin patch to be the most sincere.

La Bella Muerte

I declared the start of Zombie Season several weeks ago. Oh, sure… zombies are there all year long, just waiting until you relax so they can eat your brain. The closer it gets to Halloween, though, the more I think about zombies.

I’ve been working on a zombie portrait. I needed to take a break from it, but I didn’t want to let my focus stray too far from the Halloween season. No problem! I’d just draw a nice, creepy skull. Like zombies, I think about them more around Halloween but they stay popular year-round with some folks. What I ended up with isn’t exactly a creepy Halloween skull.

La Bella Muerte by K. Martinez

I love working in this style! It’s very relaxing. My usual way of working is to either have the house quiet or put on instrumental music. I have trouble focusing on words that I’m hearing as well as the piece I’m working on. When I work in this style, I can let my mind rest. It’s a good time to put on some music with vocals or listen to a podcast. I get lost in the repetitive patterns and nearly always end up surprised by just how things turn out in the end.

I saw early on with this piece that it could be a bit like the sugar skulls for Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead. It’s an observance that has never played a significant role in my life, but I see a lot of beauty in the traditions. I can also see this piece as being something like a tribal mask, but it’s the sugar skull inspiration that really resonates with me so I’ve titled the piece La Bella Muerte – the beautiful death.

The “black on white” isn’t going to work for everyone. I know some of you will insist that a skull should be white. I was thinking of you! This piece is available as either “black on white” or “white on dark”. I say “dark” because the backgrounds can be customized in many cases, so you might choose navy blue or a rich dark green. You won’t find all the same options in both cases, but most things are available with either choice. I try not to judge what people may or may not want to buy my work on. At the same time, I don’t want to put it on something where it just doesn’t fit well.

La Bella Muerte is available as prints from both Society6 and Fine Art America. I encourage folks to look at pieces on Fine Art America even if you’re not looking to buy or if the prices there are a bit high for you. I like the square-by-square full resolution previews they have. It’s fun to get a close view of different areas in a piece.

You can also find this piece in my Black and White Art gallery on RedBubble. Both versions are available as prints, cards, and on shirts. The “black on white” option is also available as a die-cut sticker

Both versions of La Bella Muerte are availble from Graphic Content by Rosa Amarilla on a variety of items. Mugs, postage stamps, cards, shirts, iPhone cases, necklaces, keychains… there are a lot of choices! If nothing else, stop by to see the picture of my cat at the top of the page. She’s investigating the mug with art she was the model for on it.

Midsummer and Fairy Day

I’ve been made aware that Fairy Day falls during Midsummer celebrations. I’d never heard of this before, but it does make sense. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of my favorites among Shakespeare’s plays!

I haven’t drawn any faeries yet. (And yes, I’m odd in that I prefer to spell it “faerie” even though I grew up in a culture and time where it was almost always spelled “fairy” when I saw the word.) I have made my fae dragon available on several products, though.

You can find her as a sticker on RedBubble.

On baby clothes at Graphic Content on Zazzle. This baby onesie won a Today’s Best Award on Zazzle in February.

And for folks who’d love a fae dragon but don’t have a baby, or want something for themself…

A few small items in my Everyday Myth store on Zazzle.