Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been away. I had lost my voice a bit. I needed to take a little time to remember WHY I was making art, because for some reason social media slipped in, and I started rating myself against others, and feeling down because of it. A little inspiration and competition is healthy, but when you start basing your entire self-worth on what other people think of you, that’s when it gets sticky.
So I took some time, and reminded myself that I love making things. I’d make things even if no one was looking, because it makes me feel good.
So I’m back now, and I’m happy for it! And I thought I’d share a bit about what I did while I was gone.
We went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
I’ll do a full post on this next week, but it’s safe to say I LOVED IT THERE. We had a day to travel, and two full days scheduled at the park. But thanks to some MAJOR messups on the part of American Air (not helped by their VERY bad attitudes), we had to spend the night at the airport and didn’t get to Orlando til the late afternoon of the first park day. Yes, that’s right–we had TWO DAYS to enjoy the park, and one of the days was spent getting there. Anyway, we had so much fun while we were there. We’ve decided we’d like to live there. Not in Orlando specifically, but in Harry Potter World itself. No one would notice us, I’m sure. We wouldn’t bother anyone. We’d dress in wizard robes and carry wands around, and people would just assume we were part of the ambiance. Please, can we make this happen?
We had family time.
My husband’s family came for the holidays, and we had such a great time! My little niece Sophie (who is 3 years old) even doodled some “magic” in my sketchbook drawing of Dumbledore.
It seemed we had Potter on the mind, as Myla turned herself into a wizard in this doodle, surrounded by several characters from the various wizard movies. (Can you tell who they all are?)
Here’s Myla using a stick as a wand while she holds her pygmy puff (which she got at the Harry Potter park), while we wandered around our favorite walking area back home (which is also Bigfoot’s stomping ground, we’ve decided).
Here’s another little doodle we did together, of Myla the animal adventurer, taming some wild sloths. Like one does.
Myla and I also entertain ourselves back home by making on-the-spot stories about a long-bearded goat named Clyde, and his best goat friend Amie, who came from a science lab and can teleport.
We filled our patch shirts.
Myla and I have been collecting patches, and we’ve finally decided these shirts were fairly full, and we each started another jacket, both of which are olive green.
I made tiny Mandrakes
You know those ideas where you just have to run directly out to the craft store to buy all the supplies to make them happen? That’s where these little mandrake seedlings came from.
This first batch had loose dirt inside, which I found got sort of stuck on their tiny faces so you couldn’t see their grumpy expressions, which didn’t work for me.
It took some tweaking, but I finally figured out to put glue in the bottom so the sand would stay put, and sealed the corks so they wouldn’t come loose. I made them mostly for friends & family, but once I make a few more, I was thinking of putting a few in the shop. They have real dried plants on their heads and rough string “roots” on their arms and legs. They’re frustrating but so much fun to make!
I sewed. A LOT.
Okay, I always sew. But this time, I’ve got a goal. I think I’m going to try for a large convention this year, and sell the Dream Creepers. It’ll be fun.
I put some things in the Etsy shop.
I even painted a color version of the Newt doodle from Fantastic Beasts…
They’re all in my Etsy shop…have a look, if you like!
I did some projects I’ve been waiting to do.
Since I was busy with commissions and requests and gifts, I didn’t have time to do a few “me” projects. So I used this time to do projects like this Tiefling plastic sculpture kit by Dark Sword Miniatures that was sent to me by Tony DiTerlizzi. It was so much fun gluing the tiny pieces and painting them. I finally displayed it by gluing it to a clear frame with a print of the painting the sculpt was inspired by. So much fun!
Hm. Jury’s still out on this one. Just because I learned how to needlefelt by watching YouTube videos doesn’t mean I’m an instant pro. I’m not sure I even have the patience for it. But it was fun trying! After finally learning not to jab myself repeatedly, most of the things I needlefelted I wanted to burn with fire afterward. Thankfully, Myla’s not as critical, and was excited to wear the moth clips I had made for her. (Hopefully my terrible felting won’t traumatize her for life.)
I learned a new (old) thing.
You know how I hate pencils? Maybe you don’t. I always HATED the way rough pencils felt in my hand, and on the paper. Somehow, the grating of graphite on paper was like nails on a chalkboard with cold hands–it’s a textural thing that’s always made my spine shiver.
Aren’t they BEAUTIFUL?!? From time to time over the years, I’ve keep TRYING to enjoy pencils, but I just couldn’t get past the feeling. But when I got these, I decided to give it a really real try. I got a blending stump and an electric eraser (thank you, Christmas gift cards!), took a deep breath, and gave it a go.
And can I tell you, it was like realizing there was a little magic door right in front of you that you hadn’t noticed before, and you happened to have a little proper key, and it opened up into a lovely little forest fairy pixie world you always suspected was there.
It was so much fun, I filled a sketchbook full of little doodles of Myla with monsters, and decided I’d make a book of it, calling it Making Friends With Monsters.
It’s just in the doodle phase for now, and it won’t be anything fancy, but maybe I can make something fun of it. In any case, these pencils have been the magic keys I needed to open up that little door and I’m so grateful to Mab that she sent them to me. So I’m going to keep visiting this little world. I like the things that live there.
But never fear! I will never give up my trusty ballpoint pen. Ballpoint is and will always be my “true love” of art supplies. It’s not going anywhere. It’s been my loyal and faithful magic wand for the doodles I like to make.
So that’s what I’ve been doing! The break has been quite nice, and I’m happy to be back. It’s been such a gift not to place so much mental value on sharing with others, and just draw and create what makes me happy. I need that from time to time, and I need to remember that for the future. So thank you for sticking by me, and giving me the time to grow, and the time to rest. I appreciate that you all read these words and look at my doodles, and I’m so glad to have you around!
❤ ❤ ❤
The thanksgiving holidays got me thinking about Hogwarts.
Oh, that’s weird. I should explain… Maybe it’s because of the full-scale Hogwarts my dad built by HAND in his garden train village off of their back porch…
Or maybe it’s because for the first time in our 14 years of marriage, we’re going on our very first REAL VACATION to HARRY POTTER WORLD in Florida!
What? You mean we’ve never gone on a vacation in fourteen years of marriage??? Nope. NEVER. And Professor McGonagall is silently judging me for it.
Being an army family, finding time and planning for a vacation is very tricky. The husband has been deployed three times in our daughter’s seven years. There are field exercises and training to work around. Most of our leave has been used relocating to new duty stations, trying to squeeze in visits to family along our way there. Fun, but not a “vacation.”
Once, when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, he got two weeks of R&R, and we met up in Hawaii with our 2-year old Myla (who was in her very “terrible” phase then)… and then I returned with Myla to the frozen temps of Alaska, and the husband went straight back to Afghanistan. But I’m not sure that counts as a real “vacation,” does it?
Yeah, I didn’t think so either, Mad-Eye.
My husband and I have been pretty big Potter fans for ages. Early in our marriage, when we were kidless and waiting for our new home to be ready to move in, we spent hours in the hotel room, devouring all of the Harry Potter books. We didn’t do much else. But we had so much fun reading them all. Because we’re adults and we CAN.
Thank you, Professor Trelawney. I don’t think it sounds crazy at all, either.
Myla is seven now, and has excitedly braved her way through the entire series of Harry Potter movies (despite our warnings that they get darker and darker), and she LOVES them. (Snape is her very favorite…)
Honestly, it’s been a rough year, this year. A terrible, no good, very bad year. It seems to have been unusually unpleasant for a great deal of people.
I know, Voldemort. I get a headache just THINKING about how rough this past year’s been.
So I decided that now was the time. We were going to go. I was going to plan it. We’ve had the money saved for ages. We’ll need money for the bumpy road ahead next year, sure, but THIS money has always been saved for a vacation we’ve never taken. So we’re taking it, and we’re not going to feel a stitch bad about it at all.
(Don’t worry, Dumbledore. Don’t worry, McGonagall. We’ll be okay. We got this.)
We’ve only got a couple of days there. And we’re not going to Disney. We just want to go to Harry Potter World. We’ll get wands. We’ll get butterbeer. We’ll do all the fun “hidden” trivia things my friend Cathy told me about, since she goes all the time. I can’t wait! Just a couple of days there, but we will be wizards, and we will have so much fun. We deserve a little fun.
(I know, I know–Don’t worry, Dumbledore! Don’t worry, McGonagall! We’ll be okay! …I’m sure we’ll be okay…)
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of wonderful characters. And it seems JK Rowling has filled this magical, wonderful wizarding world full of them. I love to draw them. I love to paint them. I’ve done tiny portraits of them. I’ve done larger portraits of them.
And I think our love for that world has spread to Myla…and I’m okay with that.
The husband and I recently watched Fantastic Beasts, and loved it. (Myla hasn’t seen it yet–a few things in there she’s not ready for, but she’ll get there at her own pace.)
So we’ve only got a couple of weeks until our Harry Potter vacation. Our first REAL vacation. I’m so excited! Aren’t you?
So I’m going to celebrate. See that Newt Scamander doodle above? He was so much fun do draw! So I’m going to put 20 signed and numbered 8×10 fine art prints up in the Etsy shop. They’ll be waiting for you there, if you think one should live at your home. Or at a fellow Potterhead’s home. Just because.
So enjoy your fantastic beasts, and I’ll try to patiently count down the next couple of weeks until our Harry Potter Vacation! It’ll be difficult, but mischief will be managed…