Monday, November 23, 2009

28 days later.

Last year around Christmastime, I made some holiday wall hangings for Liam's room. They turned out really cute and I had so much fun making them I thought, "If only I had started this earlier! I could have made an entire book of pictures, like the ABCs of Christmas!" As soon as we took down the tree I forgot all about it, of course. But when I dove back in to the construction paper at Halloween, I remembered. And, there was enough time before Christmas to make it happen!

Well, sort of. I mean, once I decided that this was the year to do it, I had just enough time to maybe get it done. I looked at the calendar on November 2nd and realized if I made 3 or 4 pictures a day, every day, I would just barely get finished in time for Christmas. It seemed like a long shot but when I told my friend Erin about it later that night, she told me I should totally do it. Then we ordered one last pitcher of beer (always the one you regret the next day) and that sealed the deal.

I was making a children's book.

So, the next day, I got started. And then, four weeks later, I sent a big PDF off to be made into a book and thought, "Holy crap! Where am I? What happened to November? I missed my birthday and my sister and mom visiting and Thanksgiving and... wait, where's my son? Do I have a husband? Whose house is this? What the F happened!?!"

Okay, so I didn't completely miss out on everything. I still experienced November, just in a very abbreviated, one-track mind sort of way:

I (quickly) celebrated my birthday...

And (sort-of) hung out with my sister...

Go team Snuggie!

And spent (a little) quality time with my mom...

I was thankful on Thanksgiving...

He cooked the entire meal (for 12!) and it was soooo goooood...

And my son is doing really well.

Self portrait: "Two Liams in a circle"

Who said I couldn't multi-task?

Once I got started, the project took on a life of its own. Initially I wanted to make pictures for each letter of the alphabet - you know, like C for Candy Cane, T for Tree...inanimate, easy-to-draw stuff like that. I was trying to avoid people all together since I didn't know how to draw faces and didn't even want to think about making hands. But once I was knee deep in scraps of paper, I don't know what happened. It was like suddenly I was making things I had no idea I knew how to make.

For example, I made a Gingerbread House for the letters G and H. And it was fine. But it just wasn't doing it for me. So I went back to the drawing board and the next thing I knew I was working on a tiny paper Bill and Liam making a gingerbread house:

Then I got all kinds of crazy. Not only did I make a tiny little gingerbread house but I made really, really tiny candy to decorate it. And I needed somewhere to store the candy so I made itsy bitsy mason jars! (My first attempt at suckers is on the right; my second more perfect looking attempt is on the left. Who knew I was like this?!)

And, finally, the finished product!

(Or, at least what I thought was the finished product until I realized I still had to scan and Photoshop and re-size and mess up a few hundred times before finally, hopefully, fingers crossed, getting it totally finished and ready to print.)

This whole thing still comes as a bit of a shock to me. That I started it and finished it for sure, but more that I was so focused and detail oriented in the process.

I mean, this type of careful, perfect work is just not something I knew I was capable of. I'm used to this kind of stuff.

And, 90 seconds later, this kind of stuff.

And then, having no idea how to clean up such a mess, this kind of stuff:

I don't even know what Borax is or why I have it in my house. Why the hell I let my child dump it all over his coffee-covered toys and carpet is beyond me.

Now that's my style.

So, who the heck cut out all the tiny holly leaves to make a wreath?

I don't know, but I like her. She's focused.

So, anyway, that's where I've been ALL MONTH LONG. And all I have to show for it is a book! A real, honest-to-goodness BOOK that I wrote and illustrated and made from scratch. Amazing! I'm kind of in shock and really, really excited. And, fingers crossed, it should be ready soon. Like, before Christmas! If everything goes as planned it will be available on Amazon and probably Etsy and maybe even right here on this blog (if I can figure out how to make that happen, I totally will). I have a printed out copy that Liam asks me to read to him at least a couple of times a day - I'm hopeful that your kids will enjoy it just as much.

I'll tell you all about it really soon. I promise!

(Oh, and in case you're wondering, the Borax totally worked! Goes to show, just because you don't know what you're doing doesn't mean a thing. Go ahead and do it anyway - the results just might shock the pants off of you.)


jen scaffidi said...

I am really REALLY proud of you and excited to see the end result. Well done, you.

Sara said...

Maggie your book looks awesome - I'm sure it will be a hit!! Congratulations.... And, Borax is a wonderful product - if you happen to have a lot of spills - a wet/dry shop vac is amazing - they have mini ones - but if you stick that sucker (no pun intended) to the liquid it sucks it right out of the carpet!

Callie said...

wow...that looks amazing! please keep us informed!

hezza said...

woohoo! congrats!
and nice birthday cake!

sunT said...

maggie was being modest and forgot to mention she is superwoman and my 2 year old is at her house randomly throughout the week on top of all of that!!
great job maggie! i am so proud of YOU!

Delaney Mae said...

This is AMAZING! I can't wait to see the finished product, what a cool project!

Amber said...

I want one!!

Celina said...

AWESOME!!! I'm so stoked to order a copy of your book, Maggie! Congratulations on having a great idea and seeing it through to completion. And by the way, the images you teased us with look adorable. Sign me up for a copy! :D

Katie said...

Maggie!!!!!! I am so proud of you and excited to add this to our collection of book favorites!!
lots and lots of hugs!

Courtney said...

You're so inspiring! You go girl! Can't wait to see it!

Annie said...

I heart Maggie. Way. To. GO! Can't wait to order it.

Mama B said...

That is AMAZING and has totally motivated me to GET OF MY BUTT. I can't wait to see the book, buy it and pass it on to everyone I know!

Great Job!

Jessie said...

I was going to say - you should have this published! Maybe you're actually a children's book author but just didn't know it yet. You certainly have a talent for paper crafts. I could never manage to make tiny little candy suckers like that!

I'll be waiting to check out the finished product when it's available.

cazz said...

maggie! you never cease to amaze me! i am so impressed! and seeing as i have a niece/nephew on the way, looks like i'll be needing a copy of this little gem!