"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Festivities and Future Traditions

The Baxter family stepped away from the traditional ho-hums and re-addressed a tradition they had years ago. Instead of decorating gingerbread houses, they used to make candy trains. How fun, right? Here are some pictures of the variation on a theme that I came up with, complete with aerial view:

We really had a lot of fun doing this and hope this tradition carries on next year. (At least in our branch of the family, even if the whole Baxter clan doesn't want to make these next year.) Since Kirk and I aren't huge sweets fans, we gave our train to little Miss K., who we thought might enjoy all that candy a little more than we would.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Angel Lily

My sweet cousin lost her 14-month-old baby earlier this month after an 8-month fight with leukemia, and Kirk and I weren't able to attend the out-of-state funeral. We felt so bad, especially because we know how hard it is to lose someone dear around the holidays. So, I drew this picture of my cousin, Keri, and her daughter, Lily, from a photo she posted on her blog, and sent it with my family.

It's been a bittersweet experience, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose a child, but their little family has been so brave! I'm glad Lily isn't suffering anymore, and I'm sad that everyone who misses her will have to take on a different kind of suffering.

This holiday season, I'm thankful for my family and will squeeze them a little tighter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Latest Project

This is the big fatty project I've been working on for the last week and a half: a photo album for Spencer, who just celebrated his big one-six. The best part of the book is the last page, which includes happy birthday wishes from everybody in our family--even the ones not living around here.

The following are a few highlights:

Monday, November 15, 2010

San Diego Zoo

Our awesome relatives took us to the San Diego Zoo last weekend, and I always make sure to bring a sketchbook along with me whenever I go to the zoo. Surprisingly, the animals were pretty active, which was enjoyable as well as an artistic challenge. I usually only had time for a 10-30 second sketch per animal, and thought I'd share some of my favorites with you:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gift Tag-o-rama

I got the fantastic opportunity earlier this week to teach a group of ladies and girls how to make this set of 9 coordinating gift tags: 3 large, 3 medium, and 3 small.

I wanted to make the color scheme a bit different from the traditional, and I've been seeing a lot of holiday color schemes with purple in them, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Jenni helped me assemble all of the kits and I couldn't have done it without her help. Now...on to the next project!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some photos from last month that I've been meaning to share for a while

At the beginning of October, we went with our good friends for a drive and photo shoot in the gorgeous autumn colors. We found this breathtaking valley off of a dirt road, and snapped some photos of each other.

Here are a couple of photos of the beautiful area we were in:

The following are some photos of a couple of scalawags in love and joking about rent-a-kid, which is what it felt like taking family photos with our friends' children:

And finally, here is the beautiful Christiansen family with their rightful offspring:

Friday, November 5, 2010

More and More Projects

Here is a set of 16 thank-you cards I made that I wanted to show some quick pictures of. (All papers, inks, and stamps are from Close To My Heart.) I like the light and breezy happiness of them all, and I think I'd be pretty thrilled to get one of these. Maybe I'd just better do something nice to myself so I can get one of these cheerful cards!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bon Voyage, Scott!

Tomorrow Scott leaves on his two-year journey with lots of thoughts and prayers from our family. Earlier this week, I snapped a few photos of him at a favorite park. Here are a few highlights:

Anybody who knows Scott for more than two hours probably knows that he keeps a supply of gum on him at all times. He's always willing to share whatever he has with other people.

Look at that pristine reflection, How lucky was that? ...and the dude in there isn't too bad-looking either.

A pretty sweet reflection in a stagnant pond. At least from the photograph you can't smell what we did when we were taking the picture.

He's looking pretty snappy in his new suit and trench coat, don't you think? I've always been a huge fan of that particular item of clothing because it makes a person seem classy and more intelligent than the average bumpkin.

I think we lucked out with the lighting and the fall colors that hung around long enough to get some rich-colored shots. I bet all of the pretty leaves will be gone in the next week or so. As per usual, Scott was really accommodating and easy to work with. Good luck, bro!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Those Crazy Nielsons!

This year, Kirk and I hosted what has become a favorite annual tradition for the Nielson Clan, our Crazy Halloween Dinner. Each year, Mom has made a theme, and we couldn't stop that fun this year, so our dinner theme was "Dr. Quack's Laboratory: Specializing in Experimental Concoctions." Of course, what is a Halloween without T-Bones and his well-dressed self? Looks like he chose the wrong elixir, poor guy.

Mom made favors and personalized epitaphs for each dinner guest, and some of them even rhyme!

Jenni re-decorated our blackboard in preparation for the event, and made a sufficiently spooky scene for a background for photos. I liked her use of a washcloth to get her ghostly effects. Very, very nice!

And believe you me, there were photos! Everyone's costume gets better and more elaborate every year, and Dad even smudged makeup on his face, whoa! Here's a mini fashion show of the great characters that showed up to our dinner: First up, Dr. Quack, of course...after all, it was quite the laboratory.

Next up, a frightening chainsaw murderer with a weed whacker instead...the mask glows in the dark, it turns out. How cool is that? I love things that glow in the dark!

Next, who could resist giving alms to this poor blind beggar man? It tugs at your heartstrings, doesn't it?

Following is the Queen of Nice, well-known and well-loved if not throughout the world, at least in our family.

This hairy man seems to show up in one form or another each year...wearing different disguises each time!

Presenting the fat family who got caught in the rain on the way over to the party, so they ended up being a fat soggy family with a sad wee one.

This colorful duo are aptly named Sacre Bleu and Gang Green. It even says so on their labels.

We has a special guest appearance of Richard Simmons, who kept accidentally popping out of his robe all night long to do outrageous aerobics. I heard someone say, "That shirt is too small!" To which Richard replied, "It's supposed to be!"

Lastly, but by all means, not leastly, Dan Druff decided to crash the Crazy Halloween Dinner as well. Those flakes were dehydrated potatoes, and I want to know...who comes up with this stuff? It was pretty clever.

We had a blast, and it was such a fun evening, rainstorm and all. Now all of the Halloween decorations are put away, which kind of makes me sad. It's such a fun holiday, and we're already planning things for next year!