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It's the Most Wonderful Time . . . OK, Is it Really?

Truth be told, I have a really hard time with the holidays. I feel like we spend October through the beginning of January under capitalistic pressure to buy, buy, buy.

I like to be surprised, but I'm also picky. I don't need or want candy, smelly candles or scented creams, I'm allergic to corn, so many foods are a challenge.

I also love to surprise others when I give gifts. I want to make sure I have spent time thinking about the person I'm giving to and make the gift unique to their likes.

The joy of seeing a genuine smile that comes when a gift is opened and it sparks a memory, it shows that the friend or family member is seen and understood, is the best gift that I receive during the holidays.

I created a little gift giving guide that offers something unique, provides financial support to people who work hard and don't have the big bucks to make fancy commercials, and will make fun surprising gifts for the person who will receive them.

I am a writer, librarian, and illustrator so my gift recommendations come from this perspective.


You won't find this in a bookstore, but it should be on your shelf. No, it should be in your hands with a child on your lap while you read it together. It's a little Zine created by a wonderful group of people.

Susan Andrews, Jerrold Connors, Laura Cooney, and Jennifer Thomas met on Twitter and started collaborating with poetry and ultimately created this Zine of children's poems about all the invisible things we see in the world when we let our imaginations free. Buying the Zine will likely put visible smiles on their faces and yours. (Click on the image to get to their Ko-Fi Shop).


I watched a Webinar with Ryan Claytor. He was talking about how to keep going with art after you finish a big project and are burned out. To relax, he began making mirror drawings. (Something I want to try.) All of his drawings became so popular, he turned them into a book and created a Kickstarter to fund the project. He fulfilled his goal and now you can buy his book from his website.

This book is not only beautiful, but you can color the pages. You can also learn how to make your own mirror drawings at the end of the book. A wonderful gift for someone who likes to color or just look at cool images.


Skillshare is a teaching platform that has classes created by people who work and teach in their field of expertise. There are all kinds of classes (see the image on the right). It's a wonderful platform that allows creators to teach online through pre-recorded videos and make a little money. When you join through a teacher's link, you are not only paying money to Skillshare, but you are paying to support a teacher. You get one month free access to all of the classes, and the membership fee is very reasonable.

I created a class on making collage papers to play and experiment with making art. Here's my intro. Even if this isn't the class you are most interested in taking, by using my link, you support this aspiring writer and illustrator. And you give the gift of learning to someone you care about.


I joined Lisa Bardot's Art Maker's Club when she started it back in May. Each month within the club there are two live get togethers and everyday there's a huge group of people sharing their art, talking about art, and lifting each other up. It's a fantastic place to learn how to use the Procreate App on your iPad. I made that logo above with Procreate. You can create incredible art with the program and Lisa's tutorials not only teach you skills, but you get artwork when the class is done.

If you have a budding artist, know someone who wants to learn how to use procreate or improve their skills, get free brushes, and be a part of a fun community, this is a great gift.

This is the fun project we made today. Calorie free cookies for the holidays!


I have affiliate accounts with both and Amazon. This means that if you click through my links, I get a little bit of that profit. Even if you don't buy what I recommend, going through my link or any other person who is an affiliate, we make a little bit of money. If you click through to my Bookshop store, you will discover several lists of books from board books to books for adults. Fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels for all ages, and lots of wonderful picture books. Buying through Bookshop not only supports me, but supports independent books stores too.


Some of my favorite art supplies of 2022

I have used these paint sticks for making blob sketches, painting quick dry backgrounds for sketchbook art, and making collage papers. The paint dries in 90 seconds, you can draw over the colors with pens including Jelly Roll Moonlight Pens, and Pentel Sparkle Pops. (Click on the images to follow the links.)

I love these pens. I happened upon them one day and tested them out. I can lay in bed and write my gratitudes for the day while laying on my side and the ink still flows. The pen writes on top of lots of textures and glues and paint. I still like the Uniball Vision Micros but, these Sharpies are my current favorite. I keep them in my purse, by my bed, in an art pile stash. And I saw that they have a set of multi-colored ones too. COLORS! I love colors, all the colors!

This is my favorite sketchbook. I couldn't find a link for it on Hobby Lobby's website, but they have it in the sketchbook aisle. I usually buy 2 at a time when they are on sale and get them for around $4.00 each.

They are a no guilt, heavy duty sketchbook. They also comes bound and in a variety of sizes. I like the 5.5"-x 8.5" because it fits in my purse and backpack easily and I can take it everywhere I go.

They take watercolor paint well, I have used acrylics, and done lots of collages in them. I have filled almost 6 sketchbooks this year. Three of those are this brand. The others were a lovely gift from my husband from our visit to the Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit last December.

Well, I'm feeling a little bit better about the holidays. I hope you are too.

I learned how to do this style of art through another tutorial with Art Maker's Club too.


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