So I made myself an Easter basket..

I am one of those eternal, materialistic children that still loves getting an Easter basket. My mother used to put together the most amazing, fun little Easter baskets that it was like having a second Christmas. There was nothing big or stupendous or expensive, but she has always had a keen sense of fun and would put the most nifty items in the ones I received all my life.

So, I made a little Target and Five Below trip and assembled a few things I love, and only one thing was over four dollars(the basket). Let’s take a look! (click on the pics for descriptions)

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Post-Christmas..pondering my traditions…

Over the years, I have developed little traditions of things that are usually toys to find myself or ask to receive at Christmas. I am a toy fanatic all year round, but that fanaticism really gets ramped up at Christmas. There’s other things I like, too, as you’ll see….:)

 

1) A Pony for Christmas.

Yep,I was one of those horse-crazy girls as a pre-teen,but, after learning how much space and expense a horse would take up, I thankfully was able to channel that desire elsewhere: Breyer Horses. I have many happy memories of checking off particular models in the Breyer foldout guides that came in each model’s box, planning my “stable” and thinking up names for the new arrivals.

I still have many of my Breyers and I have found older ones from my collecting era on eBay that I always liked but never got around to getting. A true discount buyer, I gladly take the dinged, scratched models that are offered for cheap. And at Christmas, I have found a bit of joy in looking specifically for Breyer ponies– usually older models– and either asking for them or getting them with Christmas money.

Breyer didn’t make a whole lot of ponies, though, especially in my collecting years of 70s—80s. So in looking for old ones, I often have to be satisfied with the same mold of pony, repainted as another release. Breyer’s old Shetland Pony, for instance, comes in many many colors on the same mold, and my 2016 Christmas Pony was one: a 1970s bay I named Cinnamon Roll.

On occasion, though, the Christmas Pony takes a different form and I find it as a plush toy. In 2017, for instance, when I visited Tractor Supply Company to get a gift card for my stepdad, I looked at their Breyer selection, but they were all new models, were horribly expensive, and did not pique my interest at all. I am just not into the new sculpts(not that they are not exquisitely done) done by the artists who took over after Breyer’s original sculptor, Chris Hess, retired.
However, on the way out, I stopped by the stocking stuffer bins and…

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Pizzelle, my 2017 Christmas Pony!

….there he was. My Christmas Pony. A huggable,flopsy “dolly” sort of pony,bay with white socks and a face full of mischief. On sale for half off the original price, the pony was ripe for the taking and I left the store with a gift card and a happy little roly-poly bag-of-beans pony cuddled under my arm.

2)Rescued Teddy Bears.

I usually “rescue” several teddies each year from Goodwill and thrift stores and take them home and give them a good hot wash in the machine. Some I keep, and others I donate. Where I donate them is a closely guarded secret.

My favorites of these are JC Penney’s teddy bears, made in the 90s and sold in their stores at Christmas. They are large, terrifically burly,and cuddly. They also represent some of the last great teddy bears before they all began to be made with much more cheap-feeling plush, became spindly and “beany”, and their eyes all became too close together.

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Steve, me and Big Cinnamon. I got Cinnamon by winning a gift certificate at the flea market holiday event we were enjoying.

 

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Christmas 2017 Aftermath: The Christmas Fun Box!

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Christmas is gone, and in years past, a crushing depression would befall me this time of year. Taking the tree down is almost too much for me to bear; I am a Christmas junkie, through and through, and I don’t like it one bit when my fix is over.
Luckily, I belong to a couple of Facebook groups who are composed of Christmas kitsch collectors, and they have assured me that it is totally okay to want Christmas all year round in some way. They’re a fun bunch.
This year I am doing something new, and I wish I could grab a time machine and go back and tell my 20-year-old self to do it, too. I assembled a “Christmas Fun Box”.
See,I LOVE looking at old Wish Book catalogs,seeing what styles of decor were the thing, and seeing what toys were hot. What were the popular foods for the main Christmas dinner or snacks? And best of all, what sort of fun novelties and toys were the stores carrying that people bought for stocking-stuffing and party favors and last-minute gifts? This is what I wanted to curate; I’m already doing it with Halloween, and I got ready for  my Christmas collecting by getting a small, Christmas-decorated box…..

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Once Upon a Challenge, Days 1–4

I love looking for month-long art challenges online, and filling up new sketchbooks with them. Drawing every day has immensely improved my drawing within the past year; however, with so much drawing going on I had to slim down the products I draw in.

I am a blank book and notebook hoarder. I love, love, love blank sketchbooks, notebooks and journals, and I know I am not alone as I have found dozens of websites of people with similar afflictions. I have a lot of small hardback sketchbooks which I thought were going to be perfect for my art challenges, and I may still use them, but…saving them afterward is the hard part. I also archive everything, and all those hardback sketchbooks take up a lot of real estate on the bookshelves after a while. It was a difficult switch, one I took kicking and screaming because I loooove looking at my shelves and seeing actual books I filled up, but in the end I have switched mostly to booklets. The main ones I use are Fabriano(made in Italy) notebooks. They are slim and staple-bound, with forty pages–just the right size for a month-long challenge without a lot of pages left over. The paper in them is acid-free and a nice shade of ivory, and the binding, even if stapled, seems very well put together. A very nice brand of notebook to be so inexpensive.