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The End of the World

Today, the Mayan Long Count Calendar ends.

Today, the world ends.

We couldn’t find a definitive time to let you know exactly how much longer you have to spend with your loved ones, so we’re going with midnight like WeWillBeHere.com. There is some good information there on how to prepare for different apocalyptic events and also survival tips in case of a zombie attack.

Seriously though, if the world doesn’t end today, you’ll still need a calendar for 2013. Calendars.com still has a great selection, and we offer a money back guarantee in case the world does end. What do you have to lose?

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Look for an Evergreen Day

December 19 is Look for an Evergreen Day!

If you opt for a real Christmas Tree in your household, this may be your last chance to find the perfect pine, spruce, or fir. If you have already tracked down your tree, then this can be a day to simply admire those evergreens you pass on your daily commute.

The tradition of decorating a tree for Christmas dates back to 16th century Germany. The town would gather to decorate a single tree in the market square with candles and wax ornaments. Nowadays, you can find a decorated tree in almost every house that celebrates Christmas and the decorations are a bit more ornate.

If you have been procrastinating, today is the perfect push you need. Go Look for an Evergreen!

Sources: National Whatever Day, The Ultimate Holiday Site

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Gifts That Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Long-Distance Love During the Holidays

In the case of long-distance love, all those miles can make your heart grow fonder— or, tangle it up in a frustrating knot. Either way, sending your long-distance love a thoughtful gift is a must this holiday season. There are more than 14 million long-distance relationships in the U.S. right now, and 3.75 million long-distance marriages, according to Statisticbrain.com. That’s a lot of late-night Skyping and frequent flier miles!

If you are determined to make it work, then it’s time to dive into the world of intimate, heartfelt gifts (note: gentlemen, “intimate” does not mean “erotic”) for that lovely lady you miss curling up with every night.

For the Traditional Trend-setter

No matter how much the lady doth protest, women love flowers. They might say they’re cliché, but that’s generally code for, “I’m used to not getting flowers.” If that’s the case, make this the year that changes— send roses.

In this on-the-go era of cell phones, traffic jams and back-to-back meetings, chances are good your special lady needs some good old-fashioned romance. Flowers will enchant her.

If she’s worth going the extra mile for all year long, consider sending a seasonal bouquet about once a month. Flowers symbolize love, growth and beauty, all the things she embodies. Flowers are the ultimate gesture of chivalry and care.

For the Sweetly Sappy

This gift is enough to melt any heart. When you’re visiting your long-distance love this holiday season, arrange for a photographer to meet the two of you at a park or your favorite hotel for an afternoon photo shoot. This will testify to your desire to see her lovely face every day and commemorate your special time together. Her heart will sing.

Next, frame your favorite image of the bunch in matching frames and hang them up over your respective fire places. Every time one of you walks by and the other isn’t there, each will fondly recall your afternoon photo shoot – and, each other. Ah, love.

For the Organized

Or is that the disorganized? Either way, calendars and planners make a thoughtful and useful gift. They make them for every personality type out there, from animal lovers and tea drinkers to unicorn aficionados and food-o-philes. With 2013 stretched out before her like a wide open field, they’ll help keep her on track— not to mention, she’ll think of you every day of the year. Not that she doesn’t already, of course.

For the Avant Garde

If your lady loves to learn new things and explore the finer things in life, aim to transcend distance and time apart through art or literature.

Find out her favorite author or artist and do a little investigating. If she digs Victor Hugo or Charles Dickens, then the likelihood of finding or affording a signed copy or first edition of their work is slim. If, however, she has a slightly less well-known favorite book, you’d be surprised by some of the great deals on first editions and signed copies you can find on local auction sites.

The same goes for her favorite artist. Look around; you may be able to nab a signed print from someone local. You most likely can’t afford an original Picasso, but you can probably afford a high-quality Picasso print and a custom frame job. She will be elated.

Whatever you decide to get your long-distance love this holiday season, make sure it is reflective of who she is and how much you care for her. Whether she lives across town or across the world, give her something special to remember you by when you can’t be there.

A big thanks to our guest blogger, George Brown, for this article!

 
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The Mayflower Docks at Plymouth Rock

The Mayflower was a ship that transported 102 Pilgrims from England to the New World. The passengers sailed from London in September 1620 and spent more than two long months at sea. The trip was very rough, with constant waves threatening to destroy the ship.

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower anchored in Cape Cod and the Mayflower Compact was signed. Several passengers formed scouting groups to explore the snow-covered land in search of a suitable spot to settle. The groups returned to the ship and had found a harbor on the western side of Cape Cod Bay that they liked.

The Mayflower docked in modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 18, 1620, and its passengers prepared to begin Plymouth Colony.

Sources: History.com, Wikipedia

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National Maple Syrup Day

Syrup grades largeHappy National Maple Syrup Day!

December 17 is a day to celebrate, appreciate and enjoy maple syrup. Pure maple syrup, that is; not pancake syrup, which contains no maple syrup at all.

Celebrate by sweetening oatmeal with maple syrup, topping vanilla ice cream with warm maple syrup, or drizzling syrup over a delicious stack of pancakes, waffles or french toast.

If you’re feeling extra festive about National Maple Syrup Day (and have maple trees in your backyard), celebrate maple syrup by making your own! Learn how.

Did You Know…You can use maple syrup as a healthy sugar alternative in baked goods and desserts? Simply replace the sugar with an equal amount of maple syrup, then, for each cup of syrup you use, reduce the quantity of liquid ingredients a recipe calls for by 1/4 cup. Replace liquid sweeteners with an equal amount of syrup. Find out the health benefits of maple syrup.

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, purecanadamaple.com
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An Interview with Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman

Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman  are the creators and producers of the popular comic strip, Baby Blues. They have been writing it together since January 7, 1990, and it was picked up by King Features Syndicate in 1995.

Jerry, you work on Zits with Jim Borgman and Baby Blues with Rick Kirkman—that’s a lot of time with kids/adolescents. Do you ever go see rated R movies just because you can?
JS: You bet. But I cover my eyes at all the appropriate times.

What was the last really great movie you saw?
JS: Moneyball, Super 8, Rango, Hugo, The Help, Midnight in Paris… is that more than one?
RK: The latest would be Midnight in Paris. My list of recent ones would be about the same as Jerry’s, except I haven’t seen Rango, but I’d put Tangled up there.  I have to say, I find more compelling work on TV these days than in movies.

Can you tell us a little about your creative collaboration with Rick? How did the two of you become partners?
JS: We met when we were both living in Phoenix in the mid-seventies (gasp!) and discovered a mutual interest in cartooning. Rick was doing magazine cartoons and taught me how to make submissions to magazines. Neither of us made much money at it, but we never got tired of it and just sort of naturally drifted toward comic strips. Creating and producing a syndicated comic strip is a lonely job, so we decided to do one together so we’d have somebody to talk to (and to blame whenever the strip wasn’t funny).

Baby Blues has been in syndication since 1990, yet the material is as funny as ever. How do you come up with so much new, funny stuff?
JS: We have agreed that one of us is to always have at least one funny kid in the house at all times.
RK: I finally had to draw the line with a twenty-something in the house, deal or no deal. Luckily, my niece just had a baby. But she’s NOT moving in with us.

You both have children—how influential are they in your work?
JS: They might classify themselves as victims, but influential is a nicer word. Rick’s kids were the models for early Baby Blues, then mine came online. It’s a great thing to be able to make every embarrassing moment, disaster and frustration in the house into a profit.
RK: Best of both worlds: you get to shamelessly exploit them while they’re young, and then hold it over them about how you supported them with it—that is, until they get smart and figure out that you actually owe them for all the material they provided.

If you couldn’t do this as a career, what would your second choice be?
JS: I’d be a painter. A ridiculously successful one, if possible.
RK: Rock star, if I was any good, which I’m not. Professional tennis player, if I was any good, but I’m not. So, that leaves writer…

What kind of material do you read in your spare time?
JS: I read a lot of fiction – all types. I’m a fan of John Irving, Donald Ray Pollock, Chuck Palahniuk, Michael Chabon and a lot more.
RK: Fiction as well—John Irving, Michael Chabon, Stephen King, among others. I like suspense-genre novels and the occasional non-fiction book. I also read magazines—including articles about Apple products—and newspaper articles.

Wanda is a stay-at-home mom, which can elicit opinions from both other stay-at-home moms and moms who work outside the home. Do you get a lot of feedback regarding this? Does it influence her character?
JS: I wouldn’t say that we get a lot of opinions about Wanda’s career choice, but it seems to me that it’s a pretty even mix between women who think stay-at-home momming is the ideal, and those women who believe that working outside the home is the way Wanda should go. That said, Baby Blues isn’t a comic strip run by committee. We let the characters do what they will do.
RK: I think there was more feedback about it in the beginning as Wanda struggled with her decision more. As time went on, that became less of an issue. It’s a personal dilemma, and every mom (and dad) deals with it her/his own way.

Are there any big happenings coming up for the MacPherson family?
JS: Nothing planned, but that’s the way life works most of the time, isn’t it? They’ll never see it coming.
We will be publishing a hardbound Twentieth Anniversary book this fall that’s a must-read for Baby Blues Fans. It’s called BBXX. Rick has been working on this book for quite a while, and it’s going to be awesome.
RK: There’s no master story arc, just the way it is in life. I like being surprised…unless it’s another child. There’s just no more room in the panels. We’d have to take over another strip’s space if that happened.

When you look back over your long, successful career, what would you consider to be your “lucky break”?
JS: There have been several. I would have to say that meeting Rick Kirkman at a time when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life professionally is a big one. After that, I think it’s been a matter of making my own luck through hard work and preparation.
RK: Ditto, meeting Jerry. Meeting my wife, because having a child that deprived my wife and me of sleep at just the right time was, believe it or not, a break. Our other child deprived us of sleep, too, but the timing wasn’t quite right. 

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5 Awesome Personalized Calendar Ideas

You’ve heard about our Custom Photo Wall Calendars, and you’ve seen how easy it is to create one. If you’re struggling to come up with a theme or choose worthy photos from the hundreds you’ve taken over the years, have no fear – we’ve put our heads together and we’re ready to share our ideas with you. Go ahead…pick one (or two, or three) and get customizing!

1. Baby’s First Year – Your best friend welcomed a little bundle of joy to the world just about a year ago, and you want your gift to outshine all others at the upcoming 1st birthday bash. So, gather a picture of the little guy/girl from each month of the first year of his/her life and help your bestie relive that precious year all over again. Don’t forget the bathtub and spaghetti face moments. The other party guests have no hope (mwahaha).

2. My Best Instagram Photos – You’ve spent way too much time choosing the right filter and the most promising hashtags for those oh-so-artistic cell shots just to let them fall off the feed and never be seen again. You have like 200 followers and National Geographic ‘liked’ your #bestnatureshot for crying out loud! Put them together into a calendar and enjoy them on your wall all year long. Or better yet, try our new Personalized Social Photo Booksand let our app pull your Facebook or Instagram photos into a photo book instantly!

3. Best. Vacation. Ever.– You love vacation- everyone does. Whether it was that long and torturous road trip from New York to Florida, or that Mediterranean cruise that left you on cloud nine, there are memories from vacations you don’t want to lose. A calendar with your best vacation photos would make the perfect gift for your travel buddies.

4. My Favorite Dishes– You’re a regular ol’ Bobby Flay. The only reason you watch the clock all day at work is because you can’t wait to get home and heat up the kitchen. Because you’re such a culinary genius, you obviously snap a shot of every single one of your mouth-watering creations. Now those would make a perfect kitchen calendar!

5. I Am the 12th Man – You’ve held season tickets for the past 8 years, your tailgating parties attract everyone parked in lots A and B, and your closet looks like a team store. Everyone says it, but you really are the biggest fan. We know you’ve been to way more than 12 or 18 games, but put yourself at the stadium every day with a calendar featuring photos from the most memorable ones. Sure, you and the mascot can go on two months.

If you have another awesome personalized calendar idea, please share it by commenting below! Remember: You can start a Custom Photo Wall Calendar on any month of the year, and they are printed on quality paper stock. So, you don’t have to throw those calendars away when the 12 or 18 months are up. Consider framing each image to create a wall collage, for example. Hmm…perhaps another blog post for the future?

A big thanks to our guest blogger for the day, Christine D., for her awesome ideas!

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Interview with Sherri Buck Baldwin

Sherri Buck Baldwin’s studio, Heart in Hand Ltd., is located in Madison, Wisconsin. Here she finds inspiration in the beauty of the changing seasons.

Buck’s favorite subjects are her gardens and the birds that visit the feeders and houses. For the past twenty years, Buck’s artwork has appeared on many Christmas and greeting cards, calendars, and a wide variety of kitchen, decor, and giftware items. She is also a published illustrator of children’s books such as Special Friends and What’s Inside Miss Molly’s Locket?.

See all of Sherri Buck Baldwin’s 2013 calendars.

Please describe your art style and technique.
I have been an artist for most of my life and I enjoy creating artwork in a variety of mediums, which include primarily ink, watercolor, colored pencil, soft pastels, and most recently, relief printing. I have also just begun to experiment with combining digital art with my hand drawn imagery. I enjoy drawing more than painting because I like the control it allows so I usually prefer to combine watercolors with ink or pencil rather than painting with them alone. I majored in printmaking in college, specializing in etching and stone lithography due to my love of linework. Drawing with soft pastels gives me the opportunity to loosen up my highly rendered style.

The birds you include in your art are incredibly detailed and lifelike.  What’s your inspiration for achieving such realistic depictions?
For several years now I have produced a calendar with birds and flowers as the theme. It started out as “Birds in the Garden”, but is currently titled “Birds and Blossoms”. I am an avid gardener, but no garden is complete until it is populated with all variety of birds. I put out feeders which entice several bird species to visit, and place birdhouses in several areas of my large yard to entice them to stay. I look forward to each spring when the wrens return and their song fills the summer days. I am fascinated with photographing birds and my camera is always on the tripod pointing out my studio window directly at my feeders. With a remote control shutter I can be quite successful at getting shots of birds coming and going from the feeders. My biggest challenge is capturing them in flight since I like to draw them with their wings outspread. It is often surprising to see how much they look like they are swimming through air. I have created extensive photo files of birds which I study when I work on my bird art. Two years ago I was rewarded with a visit for several days from a Varied Thrush which is native to the Northwest, but somehow found itself in Wisconsin one winter. It became a subject for my 2012 Birds and Blossoms calendar.

Your paintings have amazing depth and a rich pattern-upon-pattern effect.  How do you accomplish that?
My bird calendar images are actually two layers of artwork. The top layer is drawn in colored pencil on frosted Mylar, while the layer underneath is a collage created from vintage paper ephemera I collect. I like the resulting transparent, layered artwork. The combination of printed materials, especially antique maps, underneath the bird’s bodies and wings is quite evocative. It’s hard to believe that a creature as small and fragile as a hummingbird can fly all the way from Wisconsin to Mexico, so I like to place a piece of map from both their summer and winter destinations underneath the body of the birds. Bits of lace, vintage writing, and words like ‘fragile’ have also been tucked underneath my bird drawings. It’s subtle, but an interesting added dimension to the artwork.

How do you come up with ideas for your art?  Please describe your creative process.
My ideas come to me most often when I am outdoors, especially when walking my dogs or working in my gardens. Whenever I feel stuck, I grab their leashes or my garden gloves and head outside. I’m lucky to live in Wisconsin, with its beautiful lakes and rolling hillsides.

Please describe the environment where you work.
My studio is located in my home and the room was added onto our house by my husband. I have been able to work at home for the past 24 years while my children were growing up and that is something I have been extremely grateful for.

You’re also an avid gardener.  Please tell us about your favorite plants and experiences in the garden and the role they play when you create your artwork.
Gardening is a passion of mine, one that I discovered after I married and moved to Wisconsin. I grew up with a gardening mother and realized I had absorbed much more about the subject than I thought I had when it came time to contend with a yard of my own. Now, most of my entire front yard is a garden, with only a small amount of lawn. Not confining my gardening efforts to the backyard is something I learned from going on several garden tours throughout England, one of my favorite destinations. I enjoy practicing the art of fruit tree espalier and have trained two pear trees into flat candelabra shapes against a wall of my house, with six additional dwarf apple tree espaliers trained in a cordon around two curved rock walls in front of my house. Espalier is a technique for training fruit trees against a wall in order to conserve space. I created a deep perennial border along the entire length of the lawn in my backyard. In addition to my home garden I tend a local park’s garden on the lake where I have created ‘drive-by’ garden borders in 3 medians in the road for a total of 150’. Each year I try to plant surprises for the village residents, like tall sunflowers mixed in with the perennials. My favorite flowers are the simpler shapes like tulips, sunflowers, poppies, and hollyhocks. The patio outside my studio is filled with containers of all sizes in the summer, which are planted with annuals that hummingbirds are attracted to, like lantana, abutilon, and salvias of all kinds. I also grow herbs in pots as well as a few vegetables.

Tell us what a typical day for you is like.
I’m an early-riser so my day begins soon after dawn. Once my pair of Border Terriers is walked I head into my studio for most of the day to put pen, brush, or pencil to paper. I also spend time emailing with my designer in Texas on projects we are working on for my own line of paper products. I am excited about finally realizing this dream after spending nearly 25 years in the world of art licensing.

How long does it generally take you to complete a painting for your calendars?
I try to complete a calendar drawing or painting in a week, but sometimes it takes a bit longer due to the detailed nature of my work.

Are you as good at cooking and preparing food as you are painting it?
I enjoy cooking with the herbs and vegetables I grow myself, as well as the produce I get each week at Farmer’s Markets in my area. My efforts are usually well-received by my family. My teenage son is the resident tomato-growing expert and a pretty good cook, too.

How did the ideas and paintings for your new Field to Market calendars come about?
Madison, Wisconsin, has a weekly Farmer’s Market with a national reputation for the quality of the produce for sale and I am fortunate to live only a few minutes away from this weekly event around the Capitol Square. I head there early on Saturday mornings with both my bag and camera in hand. The tables laden with vegetables, fruits, breads, jams, and flowers are stunning to behold and wonderful subjects to photograph. With the growing trend for buying local organic produce it seemed a good time to combine these colorful wholesome images into a calendar called Field to Market. I enjoy painting the rich colors of blue-black eggplants, red strawberries, orange carrots, all the various shades of green lettuces, and the sunlight shining through jars of jams, honey, and vinegars. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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Interview with Mary Engelbreit

In 1977, Mary Engelbreit took her portfolio to New York and received a suggestion from one art director that she try illustrating greeting cards. Mary took the advice and quickly found that the single-frame illustrations for greeting cards were ideal for her style and sense of humor. Once Mary focused her talent on greeting cards, success came quickly. Today, thousands of retailers sell Mary Engelbreit calendars, T-shirts, mugs, gift books, rubber stamps, ceramic figurines, and many other  products to her countless fans.

Be sure to read our heartwarming story about a customer and how much Mary Engelbreit’s work meant to her and her mother.

See all of the 2013 options in Mary Engelbreit’s calendar line.

What was the first picture you drew?
I drew a picture of my parents when they were all dressed up to go out one night — I was so impressed with their finery I had to get it down on paper!

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Probably from that moment! Really, as long as I can remember.

Is Ann Estelle a fictional character or is she based on a real person?
Her personality is based on me, but I named her after my maternal
grandmother.

How do you pick the quotes to go along with your art?
Before I settle down to do a calendar or a big batch of greeting cards, I take a couple of evenings to go through my quote books and/or troll the Internet quotation sites for quotes that really inspire me.

What inspires you?
Daily, everyday life inspires me, the situations that we all find ourselves in at one time or another.

What are a few of your favorite pieces of art that you’ve drawn over the years? Why?
I always tend to like the drawing I’m working on at the moment, but I do have some favorites. “Life Is Just A Chair Of Bowlies” is one of them. I also really like a calendar drawing from a couple of years ago– “The World Is Full Of Cactus”, and another called “Must. Change. Attitude.”

What do you like best about being an artist?
Just being able to express myself and reach so many other people by doing so is really great!

Do you draw all new art for your calendars each year?
Yes, I do, although I do have help coloring them all in. If I had to color in all those skies by myself, I think I would pack it in.

What is your family life like?
Chaotic, fun, frustrating — just like everybody else’s.

Do you own a Scottie dog?
No, we have a half shitzu, half poodle, all cute little puppy who goes everywhere with us, named Sophie.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to embroider all manner of things, and I read quite a lot, mainly mysteries and fiction.

How long does it take you to complete a new piece of art?
I would say a calendar drawing takes anywhere from 10 to 15 hours depending on how detailed it is.

Does the décor of your house resemble your artwork? Do you have cherries and fried egg flowers throughout your house?
I don’t anymore, although I used to. Our house now is very light, done mainly in yellows and oranges, and it’s a lot less cluttered than my earlier homes.

Do you ever get tired of drawing?
Never.

Which artist do you admire most?
I love William Joyce, Lizbeth Zwerger, Johnny Gruelle, Arthur Rackham — I could go on and on!

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An Interview with Shelly Reeves Smith

 

Shelly Reeves Smith began her career in 1988 when she and a friend co-founded a greeting card company, Among Friends. Twenty years later, her illustrations of home and garden can be found on cards, stationery, books, gifts and home decor.

Smith lives in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri with her husband and son where her surroundings provide plenty of inspiration for her work. When she is not painting or spending time with her family, Smith dedicates her time to her bluegrass band, Lonesome Road.

Take a look at the Shelly Reeves Smith calendar line at Calendars.com.

Tell us about your musical talents and your band Lonesome Road.
I grew up in a musical family. My father, mother and brother all sing and play. During my high school and college years, I was fortunate to get a job performing at a country music show in my hometown in Missouri. I also met my husband through those music connections.
The Lonesome Road bluegrass band started in 1997 as a group of friends who enjoy playing together. We all have full-time jobs, but we get together about once a month to perform at local and regional bluegrass events in the Midwest.  After 15 years we’re still going strong and having fun.

How does it inspire you?
As artists know, paintings need to have a place in them where the eye can “rest”. As a visual person, I guess I need that in my surroundings, too. Our little community in the country is the perfect place for that. We live in a farmhouse built in 1915. It’s surrounded by springs and creeks, fields and woods. My parents were both raised on farms, so I guess I’m naturally drawn to farmhouses and everything about them. Everyday things like tables and chairs, porches and windows, kitchen and garden tools can be so expressive. They, and the signs of our use on them, tell stories all by themselves.

What else provides inspiration for your art?
I’m inspired by my family, especially my son, Ison, who is now 2 ½. I also find endless inspiration when I study the Bible and when I read the work of talented people like Kerry Boone.

How long does it take you to complete a typical painting that appears in your calendars?
It takes me a couple weeks from start to finish…from concept, to pairing the idea with the verse, the rough sketch marked up for color, the final sketch, the finished watercolor painting, plus the verse and border art that accompanies it. Of course, that is if all goes as planned!

What makes watercolor your preferred medium?
I started out with colored pencil, but I like watercolor because it can be either soft or bold and it allows the painter to build up to brighter colors gradually. It also provides opportunity for “happy accidents” – like the unintentional splash of color that ends up looking purposeful. Unlike most other mediums, watercolor allows one to see through to the sketch beneath. That glimpse of the graphite sketch behind the color is charming to me.

Are they real places, or do they spring from your imagination?
I sure hope they are inviting. That is my goal. They are sort of an amalgam of real and imagined places, from either my current surrounding or from memories.

Do you begin a painting with a Bible verse in mind?
Yes, it is a big part of the equation. I have a little book that I keep with my Bible where I record verses that are meaningful. When making decisions about the calendars images, I usually look first to that book for inspiration.

Tell us how you work with Kerry Boone, who writes the sweet, secular verses that complement your art so perfectly.
Kerry is one of the kindest and most talented people I know. Because we are friends, we appreciate the same kinds of things – the simple life and the value of close relationships –so working with her is like working with a sister. She is a prolific writer with a large body of work from which to choose. We often select verses for the calendars from her existing work. At other times I’ll send her a sketch of calendar ideas for a certain year and ask her to either pull a line from work she has (that I haven’t seen yet) or write something specifically for those images. She always comes through with some little thought or phrase that takes my breath away.

Is your home as comfortable as the interiors we see in your artwork?
I want my home to be comfortable and enjoyable. It’s often easier to create that in a painting than in real life, but it’s always the goal.  For variety, I try to paint interiors in various decorating styles, but I always end up coming back to the traditional American style. I guess we’re drawn to what speaks to our hearts.

Are you a good cook?
I’m clumsy in the kitchen, so I’m not a natural cook. But I love to cook and I really enjoy painting images that involved good food and gatherings like in the cookbooks I designed with Roxie Kelley. While working in her restaurant and bakery while in college, I personally served and prepared most of the dishes in those first two books, so they were like old friends. I also learned a lot about baking and gracious entertaining from her. The most important part of meal preparation, however, I learned from my mother…simply love the people you’re serving. That’s something we all can do well!

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