Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing out the old year

I've spent the last week of the year with my family, baking, eating, playing games, and hiking in the desert:

...and you cannot beat coming home to warm your feet in front of a toasty fire.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night

(watercolor illustration by Edith Blackwell Holden, 1906,
from The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady)

I've been listening to an old recording of Truman Capote reading his story, "A Christmas Memory," written in 1956. It is sweet, funny, nostalgic and sad, as the best Christmas stories are. This American Life has a slightly abridged version of the 1959 recording on their site, which you may listen to here.

Wishing you visions of sugarplums and a very merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas illustrations...

One of the great joys of my childhood was receiving Cricket magazine in the post. Cricket was (and is) an amazing literary magazine for children, full of stories, poems and beautiful illustrations. At a young age it introduced me to some of my favorite authors and illustrators. I still have most of my back issues, many worn from reading and re-reading.

Cricket's covers were always glossy and beautiful. When I was little and living in Hawaii the snowy, wintry pictures made it feel like Christmas despite the balmy temperatures and palm trees. Here are some of my favorite illustrations from winter issues of Cricket, spanning from 1985 to 1993 (click images to view larger)...

"The Little Fir Tree" watercolor, pen and ink drawings with numbered captions by Erik Blegvad from the story by Hans Christian Andersen, from the December 1991 issue:

"The Ice Maiden" pastel, watercolor, and acrylic painting by Leo and Diane Dillon, from the February 1993 issue:

Old Kris oil on canvas by NC Wyeth, 1925, from the December 1985 issue:

"Stellar Angels" watercolor, tempera, and colored pencils by Tomie dePaola, from the December 1989 issue:

"Dragons and Gargoyles of Princeton" pen and ink, watercolor, colored pencil, and magic marker by Lynne Cherry, from the January 1986 issue: