Advent Calendars

Finally… my Advent Calendars are available to the public! The debut at Oceanside Gallery last night was FABULOUS! A great big ‘Thanks’ goes to owner Marguerite and Jennifer of JB Couture Cupcakes for the opportunity… AND for lighting a fire under me to move this business from an idea stuck in my head… to fruition.

What makes these Advent Calendars different from all the others on the market are the fresh modern designs, and exciting surprises hidden behind each flap. Three cover designs are available… Graphic Ornaments, a Nutcracker, and Snowman. Actually the snowman was last year’s design, just freshened up a bit (you can read all about THAT adventure HERE).

Ornament, Nutcracker, and Snowman Advent Calendars

Ornament, Nutcracker, and Snowman Advent Calendars

The idea is to begin on December 1st and each day lift a flap to reveal something really cool. Then continue each day until Christmas!

The inside designs are a tad unusual. You can choose between cute Holiday drawings, Christmas Riddles (and believe me when I tell you they are corny), and Random Acts of Kindness (most of which don’t cost a penny). Here’s a sneak peek:

Choices for inside Advent Calendars

Choices for inside Advent Calendars

For availability and TO ORDER… please go to my etsy shopEach calendar comes with a mailing envelope… and is ready to ship NOW.

I’d like to take a moment and mention a few more talented people who have influenced me greatly and really got me drawing again… Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene. Danny wrote a book titled Creative License many years ago. Basically he inspires you to forget about all the reasons you think you CAN’T draw… and just sit down and put pencil to paper. Call yourself an artist, don’t compare yourself to others, forget that your elementary teacher said you don’t have talent… silence the negativity and DRAW!

I ran across a few hundred of these books in a warehouse where I was shopping for my business… and bought each and every one!! My daughter thought I was nuts… and challenged me to sell each and every one. I did… and kept one for myself 🙂 I read it… then promptly stuck it on a shelf to be forgotten, along with the pencils, sharpener and paper I purchased.

A few years later I was surfing the Internet in a fit of boredom when I stumbled upon Danny’s blog… and life has not been the same. I dug that book out from the far reaches of the bookcase, read it cover to cover, then pulled my pencils out and began to draw.

Along comes Koosje. Actually I stumbled upon her website through Pinterest. I fell in love with her carefree easy drawing style. Her blog offered hundreds of inspirational posts. All of a sudden *POOF*, Danny mentions he his going to visit her AND discuss a new exciting business venture… Sketchbook Skool is born! The classes look amazing… but are not a budgeted item, so I instead stalk the site and visit all the instructor’s pages and drool.

So here i am… I have an idea to design and make Advent Calendars. I’m doodling around with my pencil on paper as encouraged by Danny and Koosje (in my dreams we are on a first name basis)… Sketches evolve. Then doubt begins to creep in. Who am I to think I can draw something people will spend their hard-earned money on?? I have no talent. My drawings are amateurish. WHAT AM I THINKING???

Cue Brene Brown. I found her TEDtalk on Vulnerability. To be honest… I have never heard any one say the word VULNERABILITY so many times in a 30 minute span! But she got through to me. Creative people are putting themselves ‘out there’ all the time. We are vulnerable. People will judge us, maybe even say mean ugly things about our work. So what? According to Brene Brown (not on a first name basis yet) we all need to be vulnerable to make connections.

So… I’m connecting with you all. I’m putting myself ‘out there’ and hope you like what I have to offer. It’s not perfect, I’m certain I will improve and grow with my next designs, but at least I happy and proud of today’s end result. Isn’t that what really matters???

It takes a village my friends… an entire village!!



Exciting News…

Fall is upon us and the leaves have been swirling down to the ground. My yard is littered with the multi-colored, crunchy leaves, yet I still refuse to rake them. I have one huge sugar maple in the back yard absolutely refusing to give up its leaves!. If I rake now… I will only have to rake again in a few weeks. Typical lazy me would rather paint, draw, quilt and read instead of doing a job like raking, twice. So, for those of you who live near me, I apologize for not keeping up with lawn care, but hope you understand.

backyard leaves

Now… on to the exciting news!

Exciting News #1… Last month I mentioned I was releasing stories of people I have met in my travels. Originally this project was set to begin October 1st. The learning curve with publishing e-books was more than I anticipated, so delayed the launch until November. Well… giving more thought to the workings of this adventure, I felt delaying the launch date to January 1, 2016 would make much more sense.

I have a total of twelve stories. Some are of real people I have met while criss crossing the USA, others are my interpretation of a life I imagined while scouring local Estate Sales, and the rest are pure fiction. Twelve months, twelve stories… one released each month.

These stories will be available in e-book form and sell for .99 each. The idea is for you to read each one then vote if you think the story is real or not. At the end of the year, the readers with all correct answers will be entered in a lottery. The winner of this lottery will receive a $200 Amazon Gift Card!!!

Comment below if you would like to be contacted when each story is published.

Remember… the fun begins January 1, 2016!

Exciting News #2… Last year on a whim I designed a paper Advent Calendar… you know, the kind with flaps you lift and see a picture or saying under it. Well… they were such a huge hit, I decided to actually sell them this year. My first two designs are debuting this Friday night, November 20, 2105 at Oceanside Gallery in Belmar, NJ. I will be displaying them from 6 to 9pm during Belmar’s first ever Main Street Experience.

Sneak peek Advent Calendar #1

Sneak peek Advent Calendar #1

Advent Calendar for Kids

Advent Calendar 2015 #2

If you can’t make it to Belmar Friday night… then check back here on Saturday the 21st where I will post photos, what inspired me, the process, and how to purchase if you are interested.

This is only the beginning of a new venture. My head is spinning with creative ideas based  on the countdown calendar theme, in addition to offering kits to make your own… and the service to die cut the window flaps on your own provided art. All of this will be available in my etsy shop (uniqueandnovel) after the New Year! Instructions and information to follow later.

Just THINK of all the possibilities… a countdown calendar to an upcoming vacation, wedding day, graduation, favorite holiday, or when your loved one returns home from a deployment. The list is ENDLESS!

What ideas do YOU have?