Monday, December 31, 2012

So Long, 2012!


One last little last minute drawing to close out the year.  By now it's part of my New Year's Eve tradition to churn out one last little piece before the new year, no?

Speaking of traditions, I've got my grapes ready.  So does this grape loving lady.  Do you?

We're playing it mellow tonight and being homebodies. Nothing that requires fancy hairdos like the one above. I'm about to bake some cookies. Soon enough it'll be supper time. Later tonight, it's champagne cocktails. There will probably be cat cuddling somewhere in there. And then it's so long, 2012!  Adios! Goodbye! Get out of here! Scram!

Bring on the 2013. Tonight!

Happy New Year, one and all!


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Bake Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


It's Christmas Eve, which means I finally have time to do some good old' fashioned baking (complete with modern appliances! Seriously, I think I used half almost every item we received from our wedding registry over the past two days...).

This year has been the busiest Christmastime in recent memory (for me, at least), which meant I never did get around to working on all the Christmassy crafts and goodies I wanted to do. Ho-hum, boo!

But today... Today I got to bake, and baking is relaxing and a general pleasure to me.


So I made some pignoli. And some seven layer bars. And some tiramisu. And candied pecans. And I made some pound cake loaves the other day. Yay!

The great thing about baking at Christmas is that there is almost never a gift conundrum that can't be solved by baking. That, and there are plenty of people around suddenly willing to share and indulge. Hooray for sharing! Hooray for indulging!

So, I'm happy. I hope you're happy too. Merry Christmas!



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Monday, December 10, 2012

Family Tradition Time: DIY Christmas Cards

Time to make the Christmas cards!

It's already December 10th! That means I need to hurry up and decide what this year's Christmas card is going to be, but sometimes that decision can be torturous. I thought on all it all day yesterday, and I have (virtually) nothing. Even looking upon my collection of previous years' cards for ideas and inspiration has left me blank.

I reckon one could tell me to just take it easy and just go print up a photo card with a ready made template at the store/pharmacy/whatever. To them, I say, "No!" Sure, that's cool for other folks, but I must draw and make my own Christmas cards.

Why?  Well, 1) I'm an artist, so I kinda have to draw my own, right? and most importantly, 2) it's a family tradition going back decades and decades (well back into the 50's that we can tell) that I will not allow myself to be the first one to break by not drawing my own card.

A smattering of my previous Christmas Cards

So, of course, I draw my own cards. As my mother did before me. And my grandmother did before her. And as I hope at least one hypothetical child I might have of mine own might do after me.

Cards drawn by my Mama, colored by little ol' me back in the day

See, I even dredged up a couple of the cards from my childhood that I "helped" color in. Look how cute they are! That's a drawing of my brothers and ours dogs and little me, in case you couldn't tell, (anda card featuring some Christmas mice, also drawn by my mama). I love how I colored in our shaggy mutt, Med-Med. Cute!

Anyway...I should just be thankful that I don't have to hand color all of my cards like my mom did. Or hand trace them all on a homemade lightbox like both she and my grandmother did before the time of Xerox. Or, even harder yet, hand carve multiple linoleum blocks for a multi-colored print! How did they do it!?!?

Ok, so maybe I shouldn't think of deciding on my Christmas card design as torturous.  I have it pretty easy what with my fancy dancy home printer and all.  And I know from my family's multi-generational knowledge that sometimes Christmas card inspiration ccomes to you at the very last minute.

Besides, I am more than happy to keep up the tradition!


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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tree Trimming Treats: Pinterest Pretzel Bites


Tonight, it's tree trimming night at our little casita. Hooray! Typically, this means we forego a normal night's dinner in favor of treats and tidbits to munch throughout the tree trimming tasks, err, festivities. It helps that we like to wash it all down with a nice mulled wine. Mmmm! Mulled wine!


This year, I decided to give these very-popular-on-Pinterest-pretzel-plus-candy snacks a try (they're so popular in fact, that lots of the pins of them are spam, so be careful what you pin! The link above takes you to the actual blog post I referenced).

They look simple and yummy enough, right? But we all know that sometimes, well, Pinterest just flat out lies.

Not so this time. It worked!


They consist of pretzzel squares (some pinners show them with pretzel rings, but they did not have pretzel rings at the store to which I went), Hershey's Hugs or Kisses topped with an M&M (actually, mine are topped with Hershey-ets which I didn't know existed, but I like they they are blank on both sides, unlike M&Ms which have M's printed on them). There's another variation of Rolos topped with pecans to make a turtle of sorts, but I made them the same way.


I heated my oven to 200ºF, and baked the candy topped pretzels for about 4 minutes (until just melty). I then plopped the candy or pecans on top – I had to push them down on the Kisses and Rolos, but the Hugs just spread easily on their own as soon as I dropped the candy on top.

Except, with the second batch I made the Hugs had a kind of a light bleemus (a bit of a skin) to them, which did not make for as pretty a treat.  Maybe I should have left them in there a few seconds more for a smidge more melt? I popped them in the fridge for abit after they had cooled off to help set them.

And I will say they are kinda difficult to handle. Maybe it's my big ol' hands or something, but a cookie spatula or the like would be great for moving them around. Those pretzels just love to slip out from your fingers (and thus ruin your perfectly melted chocolate).

They were pretty good! My husband and I liked the Hugs version the best, and we were split on whether we preferred the Rolos or the Kisses next best (me = Rolos! him = Kisses!).

I think I would still prefer some home made candied pecans, brittle, or cookies instead, but these are good for munching.

Plus, it's the easiness of it all is so very appealing.  And they're festive besides!


And one needs festive snacks when digging out festive faces such as this one for the year.  So!  Excited! For! Tree time!

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Monday, December 3, 2012

New Mews - Bitty Kitties




I know, I know, everyone and their mother makes cat softies. Ho-hum!

However, for a person such as myself, who really does love cats, it's kinda been painful to not have an official Alicia Policia cat plush of my own design.

Over the past few years, I've drawn up and sewn up many prototypical cat softies, but none were ever to my liking. They were too intricate, too blobby, too slim, too time consuming, and too not-just-right.

But I have to say, I'm really liking the latest cat softie incarnation. It's simple and sweet, colorful and cute. I like it! I like it enough that I went past the prototype phase and started making more of them.

The above is my favorite (could be that it reminds me of my childhood siamese cats, perhaps). I think I'll keep her for myself.



And here are some of her litter mates (my apologies for the crap photos, but a girl is busy these days!).

So, I'm psyched to finally have a plush of my very own pattern to represent my favorite animal. Hooray for kitties! Cats rule!
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Shop Is Open! Also, BEER!



Yay! it's time to celebrate! The new etsy shop is up over at aliciapolicia.etsy.com!

Go check it out for new prints, cards, sugar skulls, and these way cool, way cute beer themed magnets.


I hope to list even more stuff throughout this week - remember to check back here for shop updates.

As for now, I need to go grab some refreshment. These magnets are making me thirsty!

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Our Lady of the Rebellion, Princess Leia


Virginal, pure, and brave of heart, her people look to her for salvation from the powers of evil.

Yes, I'm talking about Princess Leia.


Here's the latest Star Wars related piece I've worked up. Actually, I have technically been working on getting this done and out there for well over 2 years now. Seriously! Remember how I wrote about have scads and scads of artwork and sketches in these stacks of sketchbooks that never gets any further?  Yeeeaaaaah...


I thought it up and had even drawn up sketches of a Virgin of Guadalupe Leia way back in the spring of 2010 (or was it 2009? I cannot remember...) in what I was hoping to make a Star Wars Day post (that's May the Fourth as in"May the Fourth be with you" for those of you who don't know). But despite multiple sketches, and even a start to an actual gouache painting, it never got finished.

 Then, about a month ago, I decided to revisit my abandoned work, but this time with a digital approach. I am not disappointed – I think she turned out quite pretty in fact!



The current and final version employs Obi Wan Kenobi himself to help keep Leia aloft amongst the stars (and helps her to overpower the Death Star in the background), but that is only after playing around with the idea of her guardian angel being played by Luke, Chewbacca, and even a jawa.


But in the end, it was the famous Leia line of "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. You are my only hope," that made my decision for me. In particular because the blue and aqua Virgin of Guadalupe aura surrounding Leia put me in the mindset of her holographic plea to Obi Wan.

I hope y'all like it as much as I do.  I have to say, it feels so nice to finally see her all finished and in the flesh!


And if you like her enough yourself, she'll be for sale in my BRAND NEW ETSY SHOP, aliciapolicia.etsy.com, with its grand opening tomorrow, Saturday, December 1st (I'll post here again tomorrow once everything is up!). I'll have lots of prints, Tom Selleck Cake cards, new and improved sugar skull softies, and some other gifties, too.

And for those of you in Austin, of course, you can always swing by the Blue Genie Art Bazaar.  She's already there! Pin It

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's That Time of Year...

New and improved Texases (Texi?)!

...Blue Genie Art Bazaar time!

This will be my sixth year joining the awesome and talented folks at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar, which is my favorite of any and all holiday craft shows I've frequented. It's funky, but friendly; it has juuuust the right balance of gallery artsy and low brow, pop culture-y, geeky fartsy. And the folks who run it are pretty damn fabulous themselves!

New and improved Bat City Bats!

This year I have lots of new (and improved!) goodies over there: softies, prints, stationery, original art and more gifties. If you're in the Austin area, be sure to check it out.

Be on the lookout for new and improved sugar skulls at the bazaar AND in the new store.

And for those of you who are not able to stop by Austin, don't fret!  I am working to get a brand new etsy shop open on this Saturday, December 1!

Gifties!

I decided to move it all to a different shop all together, and now it will all be located at aliciapolicia.etsy.com (I have realized that The Small Cat Club, while cute and dream inspired, is just too plain confusing a name. Boo!).

Softies and stationeries

Just in the nick of time for Christmas goodies, woo hoo! Be sure to check back on Saturday for all the new details.

Back to work with me, now! Maybe I can meet some of you Austin folks at the wonderful opening night happenings for the Blue Genie Art Bazaar going on tomorrow night (Thursday 11/29 from 7-9pm at the Marchesa). Two words: Invincible Czars.  I'm so there!

New Christmastime in Texas cards

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful...

...for many things.

But as always, today I'm pretty thankful for the pies I am about to eat. Always with the pies, Thanksgiving and I. Yup. Pretty much!

Hope you all have had a lovely Thanksgiving Day (pies, no pies, or otherwise)!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Last Minute Kitchen Cleaning


This is my first year hosting a Thanksgiving with anyone other than my husband and myself at our own home (usually we head to other folks' homes or it's just the two of us).

And it so happens that this time of year is notoriously busy, busy, busy for me. Like, for reals.

Thus, I am in a frenzy cleaning up the house, especially the kitchen, mere hours before our guests arrive.

But that frenzied cleaning won't stop me from taking a minute to walk down nostalgia lane when a tidying up of my recipes yields these cake sketches.


Awww, my Hank cake sketches! How thorough! And my super detailed thought process* that resulted in the Wampa cake!

So if you ever wondered how I go about planning and decorating a cake, somewhere between these two sketches lies your answer.

Ok, back to cleaning now.  There're pies to be made!


*sarcasm

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Tom Selleck Cake Birthday Card



Why, it's my old friend, Tom Selleck cake!

I decided to cutesify my infamous creation into a birthday card in anticipation of this year's Blue Genie Art Bazaar. Jus' a li'l sumpin' sumpin' for those of you who might want to wish a friend or loved one a hairy birthday, but who might not be all up in there with the custom cake making thing.

Which has me thinking, why should I deny folks outside of the Austin area of this convenience?

Maybe it's about time I reopen my etsy shop, or rather, open a brand spanking new one. Filled with new stuff (and maybe some classics)! Like a Tom Selleck Cake card drawn and made by the very same hands that drew and made the original.

What do y'all think? I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, I can get this done in time for the holidays. I'm looking at you, December first!


Stay tuned for details, but just know that as of now, I have a fever. A fever for some new and improved Alician etsy (and/or some other storefronts, too - Redbubble? Society6? Threadless? What do y'all think? Seriously, I am old and I do not know what is preferable...)!

Feel free to comment to let me know what you think, or if there is anything in specific you wish I had available for purchase, lemme know. I might be oblivious! I might be able to make that happen! Pin It

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jackalope Joe


Yeehaw! Just a little companion for yesterday's 'Dillogirl - a Jackalopeboy! Hooray for cuteness! This time around there's a slightly different palette, a different animal, different cacti, and instead of cacti blooms, the stars at night are big and bright.

*clap*clap*clap*clap* Deep in the heart of Texas!


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Monday, November 12, 2012

Git Along, Little 'Dillo!


Whoopie-ti-yi-yo, git along little 'dillo!

Just a cowgirl, an armadillo, a coupla cacti, and some super cuteness.

You know, it is kinda hard to make an armadillo look cute. Opossums, sure, no problem!  But armadillos? They aren't so cute.

However, I feel cuteness has been achieved.  The key to it all is the eyelashes, says I. And a rainbow band of stripes doesn't hurt, either.

I think I'll have to do this one up as a print, too. I should get on that, shouldn't I? I should (adds item number one million to the list).

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Shy Violet


I don't know why it is always late on a Thursday afternoon that I get a hankering to check out the theme for that week's Illustration Friday, but for some reason, that's what I always end up doing.

Usually that means I end up missing out on that week because there is not enough time for me to get something done between finding out the theme and making the deadline.

I was, however, able to crank something out right quick for this week's theme of "shy."

Being a girl child of the 80's means that my brain associates the word "shy" with the Rainbow Brite character of Shy Violet. So that's what I did!

She was my favorite color kid, incidentally, namely because she was the nerdy one. The nerdy cartoon characters were always my favorites it seems: Donatello, Lisa Simpson, Simon the Chipmunk, and even his female nerd counterpart of Jeanette the Chipette were all preferable to their "cool" friends and siblings.

But not Brainy Smurf.  He wasn't nerdy.  He was just annoying. Go smurf a hike, Brainy.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay - Cielito Lindo!


The other day, my neighbors had some jackhammery work going on at their place and it was giving me a splitting headache. Ay, ay, ay, ay!

That quickly resulted in my going to my neighborhood coffee shop to get some work done, and of course, like a good little illustrator, I brought my iPod.

I was working away when, of all the songs I have in my collection, Cielito Lindo popped up.  Suddenly, I found myself completely uninterested in what I was working on and I doodled out what was to become this piece.  I couldn't help it.  The song is just so catchy!

If you are unfamiliar with Cielito Lindo, it's a Mexican song that I would think that just about everyone in the world knows, but considering that I grew up hearing my dad sing it all the time, and I now live in Texas (you know, neighbor to Mexico and all), maybe my perspective is a bit skewed, so here is a clip for you just in case.



I chose this version of it to post, as opposed to many other excellent mariachi and non-mariachi versions, because I just love, love, love the audience singing along here. They look so happy! That is what this song does to you.

In case you don't speak Spanish, the lyrics basically translate to, "Sing and don't cry, because singing cheers hearts, my lovely little dear ("cielito lindo" being a term of endearment as well as literally meaning "pretty little heaven" or "pretty little sky"). 

Thus, I was inspired to draw the sun, clouds, and rainbow, playing around with the literal meaning of the song's title, with the raindrops tying back to the crying part of the lyrics. I also tried my hand in working in a slightly different style that is a little looser and more doodly at heart than what I might normally do, and I hand lettered in the lyrics to accompany it all.

I love the result. It makes me almost as happy as the song does.

I think I'll have to make some prints of this one - wouldn't it be super cute in a nursery or a colorful kitchen? I think so.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote! Voting! Voted!


Election Day is almost over (actually, by the time this posts, it may be over already in some states on the East Coast...), which means if you haven't already done so, please go vote!

I hope you vote for whomever you feel best represents your beliefs of how this country should be, be they a candidate from the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Green, or Tea Party (all pictured above).

Or if none of those will suffice, write in your vote. That's what voting is for.

Also, every vote (and I do mean every vote) counts! 

Just wanted to add a note to say that not knowing offhand what the mascots for the Libertarian, Green, and Tea parties were, I did some research:

• The Libertarian Party's official color is gold, and the official mascot is the Statue of Liberty, but some folks also use a porcupine, which is cuter and more in keeping with animal mascots, so I opted for the latter. 


• The Green Party does not have an official mascot, so I went with a leaf, because why not?

• Likewise for the Tea Party. I went for the obvious: a teapot.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Hallowitchy!


Happy Halloween, everyone! Just wanted to stop by with a li'l witchy illo, and wish everyone a safe but as-happy-as-it-can-be Halloween.

Also, I wish I could take my cats out for a walk on a leash. That would be the cutest.


Instead, they stay indoors where they like to lick the pumpkins I carved.


Speaking of which, as an added Halloween bonus, here are some pumpkin (and cat) filled pictures that went unposted due to yesterday's technical error.


Enjoy, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Cat


This morning, I carved up a whole bunch of pumpkins for tomorrow. I had some help (as you can see). I took a bunch of pictures, too, having had the plan to write up a nice blog post all about pumpkin carving.

But for some reason (I'm guessing it's the horrible Sandy's fault?), the pictures just won't upload, and my computer, with its ancient processor, is not supported by the handful of other picture uploading methods I have.

And time is of the essence, given the seasonal subject. And we could all use a cute cat to look at today, right?

So, a cruddy, single-picture pumpkin-post from my phone it is. It's ok. My kitty's cuteness makes up for it. Pin It

Thursday, October 25, 2012

La Calavera: Take Two


So we meet again, La Calavera! And this time I am digging your color scheme much, much more than the last time around.

First you met her here, right before I started up a color scheme willy-nilly and ended up disliking it (she was blonde, for starters, and it was a yellow, orange, purple, and red scheme that ended up drab and muddy). 


So I decided to try again, this time with some more planning on my part. I did not forget, and it worked! I am so digging the pink, purple, and yellow palette.  It's daintier and prettier than what I had the last time around, going along with the whole "pretty, but a bit creepy" thing I mentioned in the La Llorona post.

And now, it's time for something else (my guess: it'll be something Halloweeny). Pin It

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Plush Pumpkin Trio


Sitting in my studio the other day, I decided, on a whim, that I needed to make some plush pumpkins.  For decoration!  Why not? So I did.  And here they are.


What's odd about this to me is that, despite my absolute love of Halloween, I didn't used to be one for doing much in the way of Halloween decoration. And yet, nowadays I find myself in the midst of Halloween decor projects (when I most definitely should be doing something else) just because. I have a hunch on the why of this sudden interest in Halloween decorating, though...

Growing up we had our jack o'lanterns and maybe a couple of cardboard cutouts to hang up, but that was pretty much it. We would always head over to a friend's house for Halloween. In my apartment dwelling days, I considered myself festive if I carved a pumpkin or two.


However, I would like to point out that we never had trick-or-treaters at the house I  grew up in (too far removed from the neighborhoods teeming with kiddos), nor at any of my apartments, despite my buying candy each year and hoping they would show up.


But ever since we have been in a house in an actual neighborhood, there have been trick-or-treaters! And where there are trick-or-treaters, a festive Halloween spirit follows.

How can I open my spookily decorated door to dole out candy and not have any display of Halloween funnery on the inside of my home? Being a candy giver-outer means all the fun sights and sounds of Halloween are on the other side of the door.

Which means, I find myself sewing up pumpkins to make my environs for Halloween night a little bit Halloweenier.


So that growing Halloween collection that rivals our Christmas things collection (which is fun, except for the storage space part)? That's all the trick-or-treaters' fault.

But I do love it all. I love our spooky yard, I love our skulls and black cats filled home, and I love my little, for-no-real-reason-at-all, plush pumpkin trio.

And for those curious as to how I made these guys, I simply used a standard ball pattern cut from fabric with a bit of stretch and cut proportionally for each different size, and then faces are just cut black felt that I then appliques on. That was it!
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