Monday, December 22, 2014

Nativity paper puppets - FREE printables

I'm pretty excited to share this with you!!

I tried last year to make nativity blocks. I didn't like how they turned out. They needed to be a little wider to fill out the space. So this year I sketched several versions and finally made these cute little "round" nativity people. 

I never found the time to put them on blocks, perhaps next year. :) 

In the meantime here are your free paper puppets printable!

Click here for Nativity paper puppets color in jpeg
Click here for Nativity paper puppets color in pdf

Click here for Nativity paper puppets color 2 in jpeg
Click here for Nativity paper puppets color 2 in pdf

Click here for Nativity paper puppets black & white 1 in jpeg
Click here for Nativity paper puppets black & white 1 in pdf

Click here for Nativity paper puppets black & white 2 in jpeg
Click here for Nativity paper puppets black & white 2 in pdf

Here is a black & white version your children can color, or you. :)

When I was looking at different nativities trying to gather ideas I saw one that had the inn keeper. I was so intrigued. The inn keeper is not mentioned in the nativity story. It simply says, "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7. That's it, we don't know anything about the inn keeper, but I don't like to think of him as a mean man kicking Joseph & Mary out. If he knew Mary was carrying the son of God I know he would have given them his own room. 

I feel like the poor inn keeper many times. I am so busy trying to run all my errands each day that I miss what is right in front of me. I miss the opportunity to serve and show love. 

So little innkeeper man, I don't know who you are, but you are apart of our nativity. 

I love our little shepherd, sheep and one giant sheep. Hum . .sizes are not perfectly accurate.

Mr. wobbly knee camel, I love you.

My 9 year old daughter asked me "Who was the first to see baby Jesus? . . . . the animals!" 
I agree. The most important person in the world was born in a humble stable, with his first visitors humble shepherds and animals. 
So we added as many animals as possible to our nativity. 

How to make a paper stand. . . . super-duper easy.

Cut a little strip of paper & cut 1/4" up in two spots on the puppet

and slip paper in. Ta -Da!! Done!


Paper puppets for a puppet show!

You need cute kids to color your puppets, sorry you can't have mine. 

And tape to popsicle sticks. 

My mom made this puppet theator to insert in a doorway. I have no idea how she did it. Sewing machines put me in a cold sweat. Way too many buttons and sharp needles. 

 This little love bug had way too much fun rearranging, playing and destroying our nativity. 

 She had to line them up. 

And then admire baby Jesus. 

This sweet video touches me every time I see it. I am filled with joy, love and hope. 

Each time I held one of my new born children I was filled the most awe-inspiring feeling of pureness and love. I can only image what Mary felt when she held her son, but also the son of God. 

It is small in so many ways, but these paper puppets are my gift to you to share with your family & friends. That we might remember the first gift of Christmas, our Savior. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

FREE Christmas Don't Eat Pete

I have become known as the "Don't Eat Pete lady", and I can't think of a better thing to be known for. 

A wonderful gal Katie asked me if I had a Christmas version and I'm happy to have finally finished it. 

A couple things I love . . . Mrs. Claus's glasses, took me several tries to figure it out. And I love my elves and snowman, and penguin. Okay, I love them all. 

This would make a great neighbor gift too. Print and laminate (if you want), tie with a bag of M&Ms or other candy. Done!

Click here for Don't Eat Pete game in jpeg
Click here for Don't Eat Pete game in pdf
Click here for Don't Eat Pete instructions in jpeg
Click here for Don't Eat Pete instructions in pdf

You can also click on this image and save to computer

I'm almost done with my nativity paper puppets. I am so excited to share them soon!

Monday, November 17, 2014

How I draw a custom family portrait

I am often asked how I draw my pictures. 

Short version . . .

A regular custom detailed family portrait takes between 3-8+ hours. Usually one or two hours sketching and re-sketching. Then I scan the picture into my computer and start the editing process (about 1 to 2 hours) where I clean up the picture and add color. When complete I e-mail the picture/proof to my client and we discuss any changes they need. A simple color change only takes a few minutes but sometimes the changes require a couple more hours of redrawing and tweaking. Sometimes depending on the research I need to do for a picture it can take longer. 

I can sit and crank out a picture in one very long evening, but I like to take several days to work on it. I sketch it in one sitting and then come back to it another day with fresh eyes and I see changes I want to make. I usually ask for a week to finish a picture, so there is enough time for the customer and I to correspond a couple times, but I can speed up the process if needed. 

Long version . . . 
(I would love any input on better programs or tools to use!)

First I sit at my desk in my new office . . da . . da. . . daaaa . . . doesn't it look great! Painting stripes on the wall are not as easy as it looks, whew. My wonderful friend made this custom frame for my logo. She did an amazing job. 
 (note: my desk never looks this clean. I had to take piles and piles of paper and random stuff off the desk first, but we'll pretend I'm always this organized. And see those cute paper roses? That's from my hilarious husband when he forgot Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, can't remember now, and hurried and made these flowers in the middle of the night. Yep, paper doesn't wilt and die. My favorite flowers yet - thanks hun.)

 So I sit at my desk.  Actually, I can't draw at my desk. What? It's just a simple folding table but it has a rough texture so . . .  I'm back at the kitchen table drawing. But it's the best place to be. I do edit the pictures in this room. I'm on the look out for a long table with a smooth texture.

My tools are, paper, pencil, nice pen (the expensive $3.00 kind that are hidden away from my little children), my macbook (I love my mac) and a stylist (Monoprice professional tablet). My older brother gave me this stylist and it is awesome. But even though I have tried I can't get the detail the same as I can on paper and pencil. So I only use the stylist when I am editing on the computer.

When I receive an order (usually on I ask for descriptions but sometimes the descriptions come as "mom, dad, blond daughter and son." hum . . . that doesn't help me draw the family. Even a list of descriptions always leaves something out, like heights, hair styles, facial hair, etc, so I have started to ask for family photos and it helps TONS. I look at the photos and still ask for as many details as they can give me, the more the better and then I try to fit in as many as I can. 

This example comes from Megan in Australia. She sent wonderful pictures of her family that helped. She wanted her horse in the picture, their adoptive lamb that thinks he's their dog, her son loves super hero stuff, cute little girl and their sheep dog. 

I start off with paper and pencil. Yep, old school. I draw the heads and try make sure the picture looks symmetrical. I got ahead of myself with this picture, and drew the whole horse first. Usually I sketch everything and then add detail. Dang cute horse, you distracted me.  

Once I figure out where I want everyone then I start adding detail

I add faces last. That always makes the picture come to life.

Then my least favorite part. After all this time I still get shaky hands when I pull out the pen. One wrong move with the pen and it doesn't look as good. I have to make sure no one is eating cheerios at the table or even running past me to make the table bump. So that usually means I whip out the pen late at night when the babies are sleeping.

Then I erase the pencil marks and scan the picture into my computer. My scanner is just a simple all in one, scanner/copier/printer Cannon MP250. I'm guessing a better scanner would scan better, or are they pretty much the same?

From there I insert the picture into Sketch Book Express. It's a program I found that I like for now. I lose some of the quality of the picture when I insert the photo. Hum . . . I would love to try something different. This is where I would love input on a different program to use. I feel very limited with this program, but now that I am use to it I haven't looked at any others. 

In this program I can enter colors with the click of the mouse. People often feel bad asking me to change a shirt or hair color, but that is probably the easiest change. This is where I secretly pull out my awesome little stylist to help with shading. If the children see it they go bananas asking to use it. 

I have learned that colors look different on every computer. I once colored a lady's dress a beautiful sage color and when I e-mailed the proof to her she was so very nice, but asked if her dress could not be NEON green. Ha Ha. But who doesn't love to wear neon green. I try to use subtle colors and always ask for color preferences. 

From there I insert the edited picture into The Print Shop 2. This is an old program, something I have used probably since high school but I love it. It is more for projects like cards, but I like to use it to center my pictures and add text. From there I can export the picture in several formats, jpeg, png, pdf, and a few more.

Here is the picture exported in jpeg. I e-mail the file to my client/customer and we discuss any changes they need. Then after I e-mail them the final picture they can print it from home or send it off to be printed at a print store. (It doesn't have this grey background, but for some reason all my pictures on blogger have this grey back ground. hum . . . )

And here is the picture displayed a couple different ways. 

Here are my struggles. Once I draw the picture with pen it's really hard to change details, like make a person taller or even change a hair style. I have to go back to the original physical drawing and sometimes I can draw a change on top of the original picture, scan it in and then edit it, but sometimes I have to draw the whole picture again. It's especially hard to make changes when all the family members are touching, like in this family picture. If they are separate and not touching I could just redraw one family member, but it looks more realistic when the family members are touching, hand around shoulder, etc. So my tip to customers is to give as many details as they can, I'm never offended when someone sends a paragraph of details or 10 pictures of their family. The more the better. 

Another struggle: I've already mentioned this, but I would love to learn to use different programs. I wish I had studied graphic design in college, I have even thought about taking a couple night classes offered at the local tech school. I would love input on different programs and tools you have tried and like. 

So there you have it. How I draw a picture. It has changed over the past 3 years, and I'm sure it will keep changing. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lego men coloring page

Lego fever has hit my home, and my poor feet are trying to recover from stepping on them. Also the song from the movie is stuck in my head "Everything is awesome . . " Rad, now I'll be singing it all day.

I found this lego man clipart on flicker. This guy has awesome pictures of star wars lego men. I give him full credit. I can draw stick figures, but don't have lego skills. :)

My kids always wanted to draw more than one, so I made multiple ones on one page.  

Click on image and save to computer or click here to download

Click on image and save to computer or click here to download

Today's cold-yucky-thank-you-Idaho weather turned into hours of coloring awesome lego men. They plan on cutting them out into paper puppets and taping to popsycle sticks. 

Let me retract that last statement . . .  not just lego MEN, but also lovely lego WOMEN!

Is it just me or does the "good" guy look more evil than the "bad" guy? 

Our son has a thing with drawing angry faces. I found this picture he colored in Sunday School and when I questioned him he replied "What? My teacher said Jesus doesn't care what your face looks like." Later that night my husband and I laughed until we cried and then high-fived. We got this parenting thing down. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

family portriats

Here are some more family portraits I did this summer. 

This pregnancy announcement holds a special place in my heart. Jill found me on etsy and asked me to draw her whole family (her husbands and hers) to announce their first baby. This baby will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family, therefore making a lot of HAPPY people grandparents, great grandparents and aunts & uncles. Through our communications I loved getting to know Jill & her family. Her husband's family owns a pizza restaurant (none of this Pizza Hut stuff) and if I'm ever in their area I plan on stopping in. So happy for you Jill!!

I haven't drawn a simple stick figure family in a long time, and I really loved it. Sometimes I love things more simple. 

The Hansen family are great friends of ours. We briefly met them when we were both first married at college. We moved on with our lives and families and then just a couple years ago we ran into them again and said "Hey, don't we know you!?" Crazy coincidences, we were neighbors again and had a great time with them. 

Lisa Hansen is also a very talented photographer. Beautiful, beautiful work. 
I will forever be grateful she was able to capture this moment in time of my sweet baby and me. Check out more of her wonderful work here on her website

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer PIRATE Reading Chart (free printable)

Oh my oh my. It's half way through the summer and I'm finally unveiling my PIRATE summer reading chart. But hey, let's not chalk this up as pure laziness. I planned on doing it this way!!

This is a remake of last year's summer reading chart.

We're in full summer mode and our reading has slacked, our cleaning has slacked, our cooking dinners in the heat has slacked, okay let's be honest, my cooking is always slacking.

This is the chart to motivate your little ones to get cracking on their daily reading.

Here's how it works:

1. It's a board game. Let me rephrase that, it's an awesome PIRATE board game. Rad looking huh?
2. Each square/shape counts as a day of reading. It can be 15 or 30 minutes of reading for older kids, or one book a day for younger children.
3. Mark off each day with a check mark, sticker, etc.
4. When he or she lands on a square with a reward, they get to do that awesome reward. Do these rewards not work for you? What if you live in Antarctica and you are thinking "Um . . . Spring we don't like ice cream here. Duh?" I would say, "That's just ridiculous because ice cream tastes good anywhere." And then I would tell you to scroll down and look at the charts that are blank and you can fill in your own goals/rewards.
5. There are 31 squares so hypothetically you could do this every month (mark off an extra square on the months that have only 30, 28 days in a month). Or just start today, who cares!
6. What if you miss a day? It's the summer, don't stress too much, try again the next day.
7. Did I really need all these steps? Of course not, it's pretty self explanatory.
8. Just checking to see if you are still reading this.

 After a week my little boy (age 6) loves to run over and put a sticker on the chart each night after he reads a book. He will do anything for a sticker. So far so good. 

The first day of their reading chart challenge. We took this just before they headed out to play in the water. 
I love love love my son's face. I laughed so hard!

Do you need more cheesy ideas for the summer? Here is an "I'm Bored" chart and service chart. 

So here ya go! 
Boy pirate reading chart with goals/rewards. This is the only boy one. Sorry, even if you have amazing flowing red hair, this is your only option.

Girl brunette with goals/rewards 

Blond girl with goals/rewards 

Boy chart blank for you to fill in with goals/rewards

Brunette girl chart blank for you to fill in with goals/rewards

Blond girl chart blank for you to fill in with goals/rewards

NOTE: If I don't have your skin or hair color please feel free to contact me and I would love to email you a chart that has your child's skin/hair color. Thanks! Spring