A Christmas Repair

Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year! It's a special time of year, with giving, celebrating, family, and also extra stress. I try not to give in to the stress and the feeling that I have to get everything done just right, but sometimes I fail or feel inadequate. As much as possible though, I try to embrace the holiday spirit for the good things that it brings, and be ok with my human failings at the same time.

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Here's our Christmas tree with Tessa showing off her new fancy dress! Most of the ornaments on our (fake) tree are handmade by Tessa, me, or my mother. They cover the whole range from messy toddler art to professional quality- a microcosm of the rest of our messy art-filled house. The flow of life, the creation of art, play, meals, friends, and changing seasons- it never stops! I like having ornaments that remind me of a moment in time from my own childhood, or now from my daughter's. I wouldn't want to edit those, to take out the not-so-pretty ones made by my little girl, or to try to make them look more traditional. Those funny looking ones show off her greatest skill and hard work at the time she made them, and they are special because of that.

Fixing and editing this book is another story entirely! Making Our Home is such a long draw-out process, that several times I've realized that I'm a better artist than I used to be, and I start over and redo everything. Drafts and rewriting are an important part of creating a book. But when you have a deadline, there's a limit to how many times you can start over. I don't have a deadline, and so I keep giving myself permission to redo things. I intend to finish, though, so I'm keeping changes to a minimum now. It's ok if I keep growing as an artist and one day look back to think how I could have made this book better. This is the moment in time for this book, and I'm the imperfect artist making it right now.

HOWEVER--- Mom and Dad dancing in the house on the cover have bugged me ever since I printed that linocut! So I made them better. And it's important that everyone look consistent throughout the book- and not consistently bad. So here's how I did the repair.

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First I redrew them on tracing paper- top right. The painting and block are the original version.

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The scary and messy part was completely removing them from the window.

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Mom and Dad have left the house! I like to think Dad may have gone to the grocery store while Mom is enjoying a book under the tree in the yard.

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A new piece of linoleum has been glued in place and ready to go.

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Then I drew them back into the picture.

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They are carved and ready to print.

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And printed!

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While I was painting the print, Tessa joined me and painted one too.

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Here's how Tessa's painting turned out!

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And here's how my version turned out. The little girl is now going to be wearing red and white throughout the book. And you may notice that Dad has gotten a lot darker. He is now hispanic, making this little family a little more multicultural. Dad is my kinda guy- not afraid to wear purple and dance!

Back to my real life family- we are not perfect, but generally happy. Sometimes we dance, and sometimes we need a repair. We are all growing into ourselves every day, learning about the world and how to be in it. 

We wish you Happy Holidays and hope you have lots of love and happiness and not too much stress! xo