Tidings of Joy

Art

Combining my love of nutcrackers and their representation of good luck, I thought it only fitting that my last embroidery of 2017 be a nutcracker.

I’ll admit – I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to get this guy done in time for Christmas day! BUT that being said, I love how he’s looking thus far.

Just a little over a month ago he was nothing but a sketch…

Nutcrackers are also said to be messengers of good luck and good will, so from my family to yours, I’m sharing this nutcracker to wish you the merriest of holidays. May your heart and home be full of peace and love this Christmas day!

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P.S. Only 2 days until Christmas!

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Holiday Book Review: “Hiddensee: The Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker” by Gregory Maguire

Review

In the past, I’ve been pretty upfront about my love for nutcrackers. I love the story, their ties to folklore and the belief that they can be used to ward off evil and bringing good luck (I may be a tad superstitious).

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A fan of fantasy novels, you can only imagine how excited I was to hear that Gregory Maguire was taking on the story of the nutcracker in his most recent novel “Hiddensee: a Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker.”

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That being said, let me make one thing clear: Like most of Maguire’s novels, this book is absolutely not the story that you think you are getting when you pick it up. This story does not focus on the nutcracker, but rather, his maker, Heir Drosselmeir the toymaker.

Without giving too many spoilers away, I will say that the book follows Drosselmeir through life, beginning with his youth as a young boy named Dirk. While at first you suspect (and maybe hope) that Dirk will grow into the nutcracker, that theory is quickly dashed when his mentor dubs him Drosselmeir.

There’s no getting around it: this book is odd. It’s quirky, dark and at times requires your complete concentration. It is not a cheerful rendition of German children dancing around the Christmas tree, plagued by the wretched mouse king.

the mouse king

It’s a highly symbolic journey into the human subconscious, with its theme for longing for childhood innocence making it relatable. It is, first and foremost, beautiful. I’m not sure I realized just how much I enjoyed this book until after I was done reading it.

Like all Maguire novels, this book makes you think. This is probably why I loved it so much. I’d recommend this read to nutcracker fans, literary nerds and fantasy enthusiasts alike. An absolute must-add for your holiday reading list!

P.S. 17 Days Until Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Holiday

Happy Holidays from the Perpetual Creator! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with peace and joy. Keep your holiday spirits high as we prepare for New Year’s Day this weekend and be on the lookout for some perfect holiday recipes!

Sketches from the Nutcracker

Art, Holiday

For whatever reason, I am fascinated with nutcrackers. They are one of my favorite Christmas themes and I have acquired several in the past year (the beginning of what I hope will one day be a large collection). Naturally, I also love the “Nutcracker Ballet.” It is a story that I loved as a child and continue to adore to this day.

Inspired by this time of year and this play, I recently drew some Nutcracker-themed sketches. So, in light of the holidays, I thought I would share these sketches with you and some insight on their creation.

The first sketch is my own personal rendition of the Mouse King. When I began this drawing I was not intending for it to be this well-known character, I simply wanted to draw a rodent. However, bored with my simple rodent I decided to give him a crown and scepter, making him my own (perhaps friendlier) version of this famous mouse villain.

the mouse king

This drawing was done with an average, every-day pen on glossy sketchbook paper and probably only took about 15 minutes. These things considered, I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

The next drawing is of a nutcracker. After googling different kinds of nutcrackers, I started to piece this one together, drawing imagery from multiple sources and making the nutcracker my own. While he is drawn using ink and a nib pen, he is colored in using colored pencil.

the nutcracker

He is definitely very flat and cartoon-y, and posed as a nice break from creating realistic drawings. He is also (obviously) unfinished. But then again, most sketches are “unfinished work.” If I had had the time, I w0uld have loved to have made more of them and turned them into Christmas cards.

Making these two drawings was both fun and nostalgic, two characteristics true to Christmas. Whether you are drawing or partaking in some sort of Christmas event, it is difficult not to reminisce back on the magic you felt as a child. So whether you or not you find Christmas magic with pens and pencils, I just hope you find it.