Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy sloth-y birthday to Sophie



The t-shirt we made her for today, which matches the cardboard doodles we still have hanging in the kitchen. The Sophster is a sloth fan from waaaay back (remember the sloth Christmas painting?) so we knew she'd love it. Happy birthday, you awesome kid.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Now with TEN YEARS OF VALENTINE PHOTOS! (and then Sophie walks over and says, no, actually, it's our 11th. She's right, but whatever.) Go check out these adorable kids and have a happy Valentine's Day!


















And now let's have a trip in the wayback machine!



(2014)





(2013)





(2012)






(2011)





(2010)





(2009)





(2008)





(2007)





(2006)





(2005)

Friday, January 09, 2015

Illustrative Portraits: Cole

Last but most certainly not least: the super-talented Cole! I was a little worried when I was sketching him out that he was going to be too Bieber-y, but in the end, it all worked out. Props to Angela for being my fake drummer model so I could get the hands. 

I have to say the most rewarding thing about this whole process has been the reception. They were totally fun to paint, but to hear a kid say "I love it!" and actually mean it is a reward in itself. 

There are going to be more illustrative portraits in the future..... 



Thursday, January 08, 2015

Illustrative portraits: Jude

My awesome nephew Jude is a huge fan of baseball. The request was to incorporate blue and white,  and the number 85 if possible. My son got his bat and posed for me to help out - my kids are used to me grabbing them and posing them. 


Original pic: 





Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Illustrative portraits: Mandy

Joe's little sister is my niece Amanda, who loooooves herself some glitter! I used some of my favorite glitter watercolors on her portrait. And pink. Lots and lots of pink.


Original snapshot:


And now with a little glam:





Monday, January 05, 2015

Illustrative portraits: Joe

I tried something a little different for the holiday paintings this year. I asked everyone if they'd like a portrait (yes) and how they'd like to customize it. They were such great fun to do! Here's my favorite oldest nephew, Joe. 





Friday, January 02, 2015

Nailed it! (or, Elena screws up)

The plan.

The reality.

You know those funny pictures where someone posts a photo of some amazing craft from Pinterest, and then posts their not-so-perfect attempt underneath it, and then writes, "Nailed it!"

I used to laugh at those, because my efforts pretty much always looked like the before pictures. One, because I'm a perfectionist, and two, because I am a darn perfectionist, didn't you hear me the first time?

So I had this absolutely brilliant idea for Christmas that we were going to make a pretzel log cabin as a family. It was going to be freaking adorable and way better than gingerbread, which none of us likes very much anyway, but we do all like pretzels. And chocolate. And pretzels with chocolate attached.

I found perfectly adorable houses on Pinterest. Namely, this one: incredibly squee-worthy and something I thought would be both charming and tasty. So what if the person who made it used hot glue to hold all of the pieces together? I could use chocolate and we could eat it afterwards. Martha Stewart even had one (for Lincoln's birthday) that was much smaller and was glued by frosting to cardboard to hold it together. But clearly, I knew more than Martha, because I decided we didn't need to do any of those silly things. I was going to use chocolate!

Can you see where this is going yet?

I drew plans.
I photocopied the plans.
I did math.
I put the plans under waxed paper on cookie sheets.
I melted chocolate.
I spent tons of time sawing away at pretzel logs to get them all the perfect sizes for windows, doors, and the right pitch of the roof.
I made the cutest four walls of a log cabin you ever did see, while my kids went through leftover Halloween candy (yes, Virginia, there is such a thing) to decorate it with.
I put all of our work into the freezer so that we could easily frost all of it together with some vanilla frosting, which would not only harden but would look like snow too.

The next day, I gathered the family together, and we set out to raise us a barn! Or a log cabin. In the first two minutes, I managed to completely break the first wall in two. After Paul put down the camera, he tried to come up with a better way to remove the waxed paper from the walls instead of the walls from the paper.... which worked until I tried to get three walls together. I actually was so frustrated I got teary and suggested we just quit. Angela looked up from the wall she was holding up for me, and said, "Mom! Remember our family motto! Nazzaros never give up."

What can you say to that? There's only one thing to do! Fail. Fail miserably, and eat the results, because they taste great no matter whether it worked or not.

So we revised our grandiose plans. Paul took a photo for the one minute our broken down shack lasted in an upright position. And then we took the whole thing apart, and dipped most salvageable parts into frosting and crushed candy canes, and saved those for later. There was tacit approval never to repeat this whole thing again and just go straight to the chocolate and pretzels instead.

Lessons learned? Failure can be tasty. Someday when you need it, your words will come back to you. And never, never think you know more than Martha Stewart.