This is just great. I give you people a couple dozen sketches, doodles really, to pick from and what do you do? You go for the most complicated one. Thanks loads. I have a life you know, lots of "liking" and "sharing" to do, ooo look, another Elmo video... What?

Oh, right, right, right, the contest!

The doodle that garnered the most votes was this one, December 17











with December 13 and 18 coming in second and third.



















I am very happy with the picks. They were three of my favorites too, and it is always nice to know that despite outward appearances, one is not completely clueless about what works.

Now for the big news. My winner is...Bryan Ballinger! Applause, applause!

But wait, there's more! I plan to do finishes of several of my HoHoDooDa doodles and will post them here and on Twitter and Facebook, and as a giant Valentine smooch to all of you who took the time to vote, I will happily send you an archival ink and paper print out of any one that strikes your fancy, OR a high res digital file for you to print out yourself (international peeps, it sure would be SWELL if you picked this option). When you see one you like, just pop me your address via Facebook or e-mail. I will even put it in a professional plastic sleeve because I am THAT professional.

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to vote and for all your wonderful comments and suggestions.

It's Not Over!

The dismal stretch between the holidays and summer has gotten quite a bit better since I moved from Ohio to Arizona. No more slopping through grey slush under grey skies with a grey pallor matched  by an equally grey mood. Now I have fresh citrus and balmy days lulling me into a false sense of smugness right before I am rudely brought back to the reality of living on the surface of the sun. Life is good, and happy as I am to have all the glitter-encrusted frippery of the holiday season safely stowed, my food sensible and my house free of the inevitable family gathering flu epidemic, part of me can't wait until next year. So let's not! In the interest of getting a head start on the 2012 holiday card (so, you know, I might actually finish it in time to mail out) I am asking for your help. Do a quick run through of the sketches I posted for the month of December's sketch challenge, HoHoDooDa, and vote for the one (or two or three) you would like to see as a full blown illustration. Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook and at the end of January I'll pick a winner and that lucky, lucky participant will win an archival print of the piece that garners the most votes. Voice your opinion, possibly win free art--it's win, win!

HoHoDooDa- December 29

O.K. Yes, I took a week off from HoHoDooDa. Sometimes a family holiday is all one can manage. My big, girl dog had a lot of fun bounding through the snow, laughing with the ravens. Little guy dog, not so much. He prefers ottomans and cookies by the fire.Please check out the HoHoDooDa fun from Linda Silvestri and Marion Eldridge.


HoHoDooDa- December 21

One of the traditional holiday decor items of my childhood was a plastic candelabra with orange bulbs. Each window of our house got one and it was my sister 's and my job to run around turning them on at dusk and then off before bed. Every Christmas Eve, we were allowed to leave our candelabra on during the night. As a neurotic child prone to insomnia, I loved this. The warm orange glow in my room was the bonfire that kept back the scary creatures of the night that were for sure lurking just beyond its light, ready to spring. I'm a neurotic adult now, prone to insomnia, and have to keep my bedroom pitch black or sleep eludes me. But tonight, this winter solstice night, I will keep the tree lights burning, my own ancient bonfire holding back the darkness.

Please be sure to check out more HoHoDooDa with Marion Eldridge and Linda Silvestri.

HoHoDooDa- December 19

Hubby and I came home to such a scene frequently during the holidays with our last dog. He was very well-behaved all year long, but once Santa was watching he turned into Destructo Dog. The first time it was our fault--what kind of morons decorate a tree with popcorn and candy canes with a dog in the house? He ate eleven feet of popcorn, string and all. We eventually also lost several paper mache ornaments, ironically fake gingerbread to satisfy my longing for a cookie strewn tree, and paper bows off of presents. Not the cheap shiny kind you buy by the bag at Walgreens, but those delicate fancy paper bark-like ones. We guessed they were coaxed to hold their shape with some sort of animal-based glue. The day we came home to find almost an entire felt stocking consumed, the holidays moved into the spare bedroom with the door closed. Nowadays we are savvy, decorations are rated by possible toxicity if consumed and nothing is dog-accessible. All holiday flair is relegated to tabletops and mantels and armoires. Please be sure to check out more HoHoDooDa fun with Marion Eldridge and Linda Silvestri

HoHoDooDa- December 14

Our household was always a "wrapping paper saver" house. None of this tearing into gifts. First off that was greedy, second that paper was so pretty we were going to re-use it. Everyone took their turn at opening a present, and we would carefully slide our fingers under the one sliver of tape my mom had sealed the ruler-sharp folds with. Never mind that my parents always hit the after-Christmas wrapping paper sale down at the card and gift shop in German Village, and stocked up on pretty paper for the next year. I feel certain that my inheritance includes, along with a gazillion slides and the twenty bottles of dish washing soap on the shelf in the basement, a closet full of pretty, neatly folded and minimally tape-scarred wrapping paper. For more HoHoDooDa fun please check out Marion Eldridge and Linda Silvestri

HoHoDooDa-December 13

I recently entered into a debate on the merits of fruitcake. There seemed to be two camps: those who had only ever had bad fruitcake and hated it, and those who rhapsodized on and on about the divine confections they had known, full of fruit and nuts and rum. I was in the latter. My grandfather had a recipe that was mostly nuts, a bit of candied fruit, and just enough butter and flour to hold it together. He would transfer the baked cakes to metal cookie tins, and they would spend the next six weeks atop the washing machine being soaked in rum. As soon as the cakes had absorbed all the liquid, they were re-filled. As you can imagine these were heady treats indeed. For more HoHoDooDa fun please check out Marion Eldridge and Linda Silvestri

HoHoDooDa-December 6

Every seasoned freelancer knows, if you want work, make other plans, preferably ones that involve non-refundable fares and no internet access. Or plan to do a month of holiday sketches. I am persevering even if it Here is what some of them have to say: The cleansing I experienced while using the Drops was extremely beneficial. means my house must remain cookie-less for another week.


Be sure to check out HoHoDooDa from Marion Eldridge and Linda Silvestri!