I have not had time to post lately with the holidays, my son’s birthday party coming up and a million other things that I have to write about! I did have a chance to quickly scan in a painting I did for Christmas- enjoy!

Watercolor and Pencil
Watercolor and Pencil

Tomie dePaola Illustration Award

Now that school is over and done with for the year, I can concentrate on Christmas and Art- two of my most favorite things <3 sigh. Excuse me, I’m in bliss right now. The house is decorated (almost) all of the gifts are bought, and plus I get to have my adorable niece over for a sleep-over. It wasn’t always like this for me- it used to be waiting for that elusive and mysterious christmas bonus to start shopping. How much would it be and when will I get it? Will I even get one this year? Ever get a bonus on Christmas Eve? I have.. What time is the mall opened until on Christmas Eve??

Its kind of a good thing to go through that-not only am I (and my boyfriend) extremely thankful, but as a business owner he hands out those bonuses before the worry sets in ;)

Ok so onto some Art! I promised myself that the time that was spent on schoolwork while at home shall now be spent on my portfolio. Its a law punishable by self-loathing and regret. So yesterday I sat down while my son was napping and went onto the SCBWI site to see what the illustrator’s intensive prompt was for the winter conference. Something caught my eye about the Tomie dePaola Illustrator’s award so I clicked it. According to the site: The Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award, is given annually to an illustrator of promise chosen by Tomie himself. The award consists full tuition, transportation and accommodations to the New York Winter Conference held in Manhattan. The winning piece of art will be featured at the annual winter conference in New York.

Sounds awesome right? The deadline is…today! Of course, I work best under pressure so I got right on it! I used pencil and watercolors- thoughts or comments? I kind of love it-its weird like me :)

Here is the prompt for the 2013 award:

Over the past few years, the picture book seems to be geared more towards the very young crowd. With this in mind, here is this year’s task:

Illustrate a poem (see below) in full color for a book of poems that will be “pitched” to parents to read to their babies, toddlers, etc.



A sneeze

Is a breeze




Watercolor -Submission for the Tomie dePaola Illustration Award
Watercolor -Submission for the Tomie dePaola Illustration Award



Ka-ching! That is the sound of boxes being checked off, and lists being crossed- or is it ka-chink? Either way, it the end of the semester, another three classes checked off, final assignments crossed off-things moving along and wrapping up. I’ve made a million (or was it just six?) christmas elves to sell on Etsy, and they’ve all sold! Ka-ching! My brain is all over the place so please excuse my crazy. I would love to add an elf pattern (which I’ve started) to Etsy but I cannot find the time. I would love to finish decorating for christmas and bask in the clean decorated christmas house for more than one week this year. I would also love to finish some more art! Two more finals next week, plus a trip to Manhattan to see the tree and windows. A bit more shopping, then on to the glorious cleaning/wrapping/baking part of the holidays that I love! So close, so so close- how can I possibly study? I’ve just got to push through, like I always do and think about how there are only two more semesters until student teaching- just a few more boxes to check off…

No laminator? No problem!

I used to love love love Highlights Magazine. I remember when I was little reading the stories and comics, and especially loved the games and puzzles inside. When I recently cashed in all of my Pampers Rewards (since my son has been out of them for about a bajillion years)- I had to order High Five magazine by Highlights, I love that it still has all of the same goodies that I used to love, but in an age-appropriate way.

One of the things that he’s really into is the games that they include on the last page. Last month it was a memory style matching game, and this month it’s a three player board game, which is perfect for me, him and his sister. ( I am a ‘work widow’ so its usually just me and the kids for stuff like this)


Its the cutest game- perfect for the cold weather that has come on full force lately around here. The artist is Kevin Zimmer- you can find him at . Its just yummy to look at and play with.


The game is easy too- there are a stack of cards that each player takes turns flipping over. The player on the card gets to move up a space. Of course my 3 year old wants them to “catch up” to each other, so it usually ends in a tie ;)


For our game, I decided to use a teacher trick and seal them with contact paper. You just expose a little contact paper, lay down the game pieces, then cut out the row. Expose more contact paper and lay the game piece contact paper row sticky side down on top of the new contact paper. Press, seal, and cut out all of the pieces. Now you have a laminated game that should last!


For the game players, I added some washi tape to the bottom to keep them standing up.


Make sure your little one is occupied before starting :D


Have fun!

SCBWI and PiBoIdMo

So two steps in the right direction to become an illustrator- I was finally pushed into joining SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) by my boyfriend. I already feel more professional! I now have access to all of the articles and interviews on their website as well as a place for people to search for me there. I also can go to conferences and workshops- its very exciting stuff ;) I also signed up for PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) on
I feel like I belong to a secret society with fancy words like SCBWI and PiBoIdMo :D
So even though I have a LOT to do for school right now, I am going to do what I can to sketch ideas, I’ve already got a few cute ones! Instead of zoning out on Facebook or whatever, I’m trying to draw on my iPad or jot down ideas. I also had my first observation teaching a science lesson yesterday which was interesting ;) I’ll post about that later this week, and possibly write about the lesson plan too- it really was a good one! Classroom management…not so much.

Jack Skellington Costume

Update: Hey Guys! I’ve improved this post with new pictures, explanations, and even a template :)

I’m a huge Tim Burton fan-there is something so special about his art and movies that I love. His characters are usually a little dark, a little strange and always relatable (to me anyway).


(P.S. Check out his awesome interactive website . It’s Ok, I’ll wait.)

I love that my kids are also into him. I actually let my daughter skip school a few years ago so that we could see the Tim Burton exhibit at the MOMA- I think that experiencing art is just as important as any of the other subjects! It was awesome in the truest sense of the word. It was cool to see the actual props and puppets from his movies, but the most interesting to me was his installation art and his scribbles on newspapers.

His mind is so strange and brilliant and humorous at the same time.

Ok enough gushing! One of our favorite movies in my house is The Nightmare Before Christmas, so when my son said that he wanted to be Jack I jumped at the chance to make the costume! I searched around pinterest for a little bit to get some ideas, then decided what was important for us. Number 1- comfort- I knew that he would not be too happy with face makeup on, so I decided to make a hat for Jack’s head.

I know how quickly a three year old can change his mind, so I wanted to get him excited about the costume right away so I made the hat with cheap-o white yarn that I had in my stash. Let’s just say there is not much stretch in there ;)

His bat bow tie was my favorite part. The materials needed are : black felt, poly-fil, and white puffy fabric paint. I even included a handy tutorial at the end of this post for you!

The bow tie is attached to the shirt with a safety pin.

For the costume, I bought an inexpensive black Garanimals sweatshirt and sweatpants, and white puffy paint from the craft aisle. I actually thought that it was glow in the dark, but I’m a spazz and always grab the wrong thing. I think the glow paint was greenish, so its probably better off to just use white :)

 I pulled up a buch of pictures of Jack’s suit on the computer, and just went for it. The lines are supposed to be sketchy so dont go crazy trying to make it perfect! I began with the edges, following the shirt itself to make the lines seem as straight as possible. Cleaning the paint off of my coffee table was probably the hardest part-oops! Sorry for the cell phone snapshots, but I didn’t plan on making a full tutorial-lesson learned.

I think he digs it
Also, I am a dork and dressed up with him :)
Here is the Bat Bow Tie Tutorial for you- just print it out full size and the template should be the right size. Please share your Jack costume, I want to se how awesome they came out!


Hello, I’m Alison and I have a confession…I’ve been an absentee blogger my entire online life. Even in the days of Livejournal I was more of a commenter than a post-er, or even worse a lurker! I think the reason might be that I don’t actually like to write about myself or my feelings- I prefer to bury them deep deep inside ;) I do like to post my art and my crafts, and used to be really into even doing craft swaps which are so fun! (I really need to get on another one of those soon!) I’ve realized that I really need to get my stuff together if I am serious about art- and a web presence is a biggie in the art world! I haven’t even really had one place for my art on the web in years, I have been concentrating on other things (school, crafts, kids, moving) and now its time to do this for real. There is one lonely picture in my portfolio as of today, but my goal is to have a complete ready to show by february. There is a conference for writers and illustrators in NYC in february, joining SCBWI and actually attending and showing it is a different story! Between school, two children and my obsession with making everything myself it is a big task, but somehow it has been working for me. I have to be a little stressed out to give my best, ya know? So tomorrow will be less about me and more about how I made my son’s Jack Skellington costume for Halloween!