Merry Christmas 2023!

 Happy holidays from the deRosier family!

I will be taking my annual blog break and will return on January 1. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. 


The Best of 2023

Each December, I look back through all the projects I've made that year and pick my favorites. I'm always surprised by the wide variety of things I've made over the course of a year. My favorites usually represent a little bit of everything I do. 

These are my favorite kids crafts from 2023: 

These are my favorite scrapbook layouts from 2023:

2023 was a good year, creatively speaking. I'm particularly happy with the scrapbook layouts I made. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2024 brings!


Rabbit Adoption and Speed Dating

Brayden, our foster rabbit, has been with our family for 10 weeks now. Our job is take care of him and give him the best possible life until he finds a Forever Family. We are committed to keeping Brayden for as long as that takes and are not ruling out the possibility that we may be that family. For now, Brayden belongs to Contra Costa Rabbit Rescue (CCRR). 

Part of our foster agreement with CCRR says that we will bring Brayden to adoption events, like the one where we adopted Trouble in 2011. On Saturday, Brayden attended his first at a Petco about 30 miles from home. Having the adoptions in a pet store means that it's easy for new owners to get everything they need, with help from the CCRR volunteers.  

The space was set up with pens for each of the 12 adoptable rabbits, plus one large pen that was empty. More on that later. There was also a pen with the adorable Butterscotch Babies who were there for socialization only. They're too young to be adopted yet. 

We found Brayden's pen and put him in it. Grisham immediately ran over to Brayden and they sniffed each other for a long time. 

Grisham and Brayden were extremely interested in each other, while the rabbit on Brayden's side never gave him a second glance. That's King in the back corner of his cage behind his litterbox. The cage with the red blanket has his two sisters (Melody and Duchess), who spent the whole time hiding. 


The adoption showcase ran for 3 hours. People who were interested in adopting a rabbit through CCRR were vetted ahead of time, then given appointments to meet the rabbits. If they found a good match, the adoptive family would fill out adoption paperwork, pay a fee, and bring home their new family member. Members of the public could meet the rabbits, but CCRR does not do same-day adoptions. Adopting a rabbit is a 10-year commitment and not something that should ever be done spontaneously. 

Back to the big cage. Its purpose is speed dating for rabbits, as many rabbits are happier living with a fellow rabbit instead of just its human family. "Dating" is a bit of a misnomer, as all rescued rabbits are neutered. Rabbits who go through speed dating are looking for a companion, not a mate. 

People with a single bun can make an appointment for that bunny to meet many potential companions. The black bunny below is Bun-Bun. She's 8 years old and has outlived two companions. She lost her most recent husbun three weeks ago and has not been eating well since. Bun-Bun's parents took her to an adoption event that morning closer to where they live. But she didn't enjoy any of her speed dates, and they were hoping she'd pick a companion at our event. 

That's Julie in the cage with Bun-Bun. Julie is with CCRR and is an expert at bonding rabbits. One at a time, she had the adoptable rabbits brought into the cage with Bun-Bun to see how they would interact. The first two didn't go well. Bun-Bun snapped at King immediately. She sat with Grisham for awhile. Things looked promising until she chased and nipped him. Brayden was Bachelor #3. 

Bun-Bun and Brayden were interested in each other and sat together for awhile. Then they shared some botanical hay with lavender and camomile. They happily ate while Julie supervised. 


Steve and I had spent an hour or so chatting with Bun-Bun's family and we were so hopeful this would work out. They are amazing bunny parents and I know Brayden would love his life with them. But after enjoying their time together, Bun-Bun suddenly lunged at Brayden and the date ended. She went on to have a few more dates. None were love at first sight, but Mario was the most promising with Brayden #2. Typically, people looking to bond their bun will do this first round of speed dating, then return a few weeks later for a second round. So we might get a call to bring Brayden back for a second date. Or we might not. There's a lot of uncertainty being foster parents. 

The whole experience was very emotional. We've grown quite attached to Brayden and want what's best for him. A loving bond with a fellow rabbit and wonderful human parents would be perfect, but the more time we spend with him, the harder it will be to give him up. We would like to keep him, but we would also like to be foster parents for the next bun who desperately needs to be rescued. It's tough. 

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about rabbit adoptions, speed dating, or life with a house rabbit. Just ask in the comments!


Edible Christmas Wreath

Three years ago, I shared an edible Advent wreath that was super fun to make and turned out really cute. Today's craft is another wreath. But this time it's a Christmas wreath and it's made from different items. See if you can guess what I used, then scroll down to find out! Affiliate links below. 

Edible Christmas Wreath



Cover your work surface with parchment paper, then melt the Dark Green Candy Melts following the instructions on the package. 

Coat a pretzel ring with candy, then use the skewer to set it on the parchment. Sprinkle some nonpareils onto the pretzel, then add sugar sprinkles. If you have a partner to do this, that is very helpful. Working alone, I dipped three pretzels before doing the sprinkles for each. (By the way, you can make your own colored - and flavored - sanding sugar very easily.)

While the mini wreaths are hardening, use a sharp knife to cut a Rice Krispie Treat into thin slices. Use these to make a bow. I took three strips of the same length, curved two to make the loops of the bow, then cut the third in half to make the tails. 

Once you have the basic shape, smoosh the parts together. Then curl the ends slightly. 

Melt the Red Candy Melts, following the instructions on the package. I tried multiple techniques for coating the bows. What worked best was to pour the candy over a bow while it is flat on the parchment paper, then pick it up with skewers, briefly hold it vertically, then set it down on a clean area of the parchment. As soon as you set it down, add the red sprinkles. 

Coat Kix with the melted candy, then place them on the parchment in clumps of three. 

When everything is set, it's time to assemble. You have two choices: either keep everything separate for easy eating (people can grab a single pretzel or two from the wreath) or adhere everything together. I chose the former. The only difference is that you will need melted candy "mortar" to act as glue between everything. 

Arrange one layer of pretzels on a plate (mortar optional), then add three more layers, off-setting each layer from the previous one. Add the Kix-clusters and the bow. 

So how does it taste? Fantastic! A thin candy coating adds just the right amount of sweetness to the salty pretzels. This showstopper will be a hit at any Christmas celebration. 


Christmas Stocking Drawing

I prefer Christmas cookies over Christmas candy, but it was still fun to do a quick drawing of candies tumbling out of a classic red stocking with white trim. 

Start by drawing a stocking in the lower left corner. 

Then start drawing candies. Overlap them and turn them every which way. 

Then color it in. I used Ohuhu markers for everything except the writing on the plumes. I used a light blue fineliner for that. 

Two weeks until Christmas! 


Christmas Tree Thank You Cards

When Trevor was little, we had great fun making Christmas-themed thank you notes together. I think these handprint reindeer from 10 years ago were my very favorites. Trevor is no longer interested in making cards with me, but he knows that mailing thank you notes to people who send him gifts is non-negotiable. Now I make the cards by myself. I had a lot of fun with this design, using inks in so many different ways! Affiliate links below. 

Christmas Tree Thank You Cards



Cut a piece of cardstock in half, then fold each half to make two 4.25" x 5.5" card bases. Use a separate sheet of cardstock to make 4" x 5.25" card faces. Repeat until you have the desired number of card bases and faces. 

Use a blending brush and several shades of green inks to color the card faces. Work on a piece of scratch paper and go all the way to the edges. 

Stamp the tree onto the left side of the paper. My stamp isn't as big as the paper, so I stamped at the top first, then stamped lower and lower to extend the tree to the base of the card. 

Stamp the sentiment in the upper right quadrant, then use the same gold to ink the edges. Add dots of gold Stickles all over the stamped tree. 

When the ink is dry, adhere the card faces to the bases. 


Pantone 2024 Color of the Year

Today Pantone announced their 2024 Color of the Year. I attended their seminar this morning, eager for the reveal....

After reading Pantone's Trend Report for Spring 2024, my prediction for Color of the Year was Capri... 

... but I was totally wrong. 2024 is the year of Peach Fuzz!

Peach Fuzz "captures our desire to nuture ourselves and others. It's a velvety gentle peach tone whose all-embracing spirit enriches mind, body, and soul.... that echos our innate yearning for closeness and connection..."

My thoughts - I like it and think it makes sense as the 2024 Color of the Year. It will be interesting to see where it shows up. Fashion for sure, and home decor makes sense, but will we see it in the craft industry? Probably. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Peach Fuzz! Let me know in the comments. 


How to Draw a Sleigh Filled with Presents

Christmas is just around the corner. Celebrate by drawing a sleigh packed full of beautifully wrapped presents. I drew my sleigh with a Micron pen on Bristol Vellum and colored it with Ohuhus (affiliate links), but you can use whatever you have on hand. 

Start by drawing the body of the sleigh toward the bottom center of your paper. It's basically a smile with a hook on one end. 

Use a straight edge to draw parallel lines below the body of the sled to make the runners. 

Curve the ends of the runners upward on one side, then draw the pieces that connect the runners to the sleigh body. 

Now load up your sleigh with presents! Start by drawing three rectangles just inside the sleigh, then work your way backwards adding rectangles. 

Now add the details. Add wrapping paper patterns, ribbons, and bows to the gifts. Add some dimension to the runners by turning each line into a cane. 

Add some color and you're done!

Still have Christmas shopping to do? If you're looking for ideas, check out my Gift Guides! You'll find ideas for almost everyone on your list. And when you do buy, I appreciate you using my affiliate links. Happy shopping!


The Most Difficult States to Visit

The first time it happened was in Nebraska in 2017. I'd just told someone that we were in Nebraska as part of our goal to visit all 50 states before our son turned 18. She said, "Oh, I bet Alaska will be your 50th state! It's the hardest state to visit." She was very surprised to hear that Alaska was actually the second state Trevor visited. It happened again and again over the years. When people learned we were visiting their state on our way to seeing all 50, they guessed that Alaska would surely be last. Nope - not even close. 

From where we live in California, Alaska is one of the easiest states to visit. Not the cheapest or the fastest, but the easiest. We only have to drive 45 miles to San Francisco in order to get on a cruise ship to go to Alaska. That's exactly what we did, just after Trevor's first birthday, making Alaska his second state after California. We did the same thing for Hawaii in 2009, Trevor's fourth state. Those are colored in blue below. The states colored red are the ones we first visited by driving directly from home. I consider these 7 states to have been the easiest for us to visit. 

The next easiest group of states includes Washington, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Nebraska. We can get to each of them with a nonstop flight in 3 hours or less. 

I've mentioned many times that one of the best things about where we live is that we have three major international airports within 45 miles (San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento). Between them, we can fly nonstop to 33 different states. Also interesting to note: a nonstop flight from SFO to Alaska takes just under 5 hours, while flight time to New York is just under 7 hours. That means it's easier for us to visit Alaska by plane than to fly to New York, Washington DC, Florida, or anywhere else on the east coast. 

Of the 17 states we can't reach by a nonstop flight, some are easier to visit than others. For example, you can reach any part of Delaware within an hour after flying nonstop into one of the surrounding states, as we did in October 2017. After flying to Massachusetts, it's only a short drive to Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire. We made that trip in June 2023. I'd argue that Maine, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Dakotas are the most difficult states for us as Californians to visit. Flying there means multiple flights, often to tiny airports with only a few flights a week. Driving from another state takes many hours, driving from home takes multiple days, and there are no options for sailing. Even train travel (which also takes multiple days) is not a convenient option from where we live.  

Obviously, the most difficult state to visit is going to depend 100% on where you live. I'm not surprised that someone in Nebraska, or elsewhere in the midwest, would consider Alaska the most difficult state to visit. I'm glad that isn't the case for us. I've been to Alaska on seven different trips, far more than any state besides Washington, Oregon and Nevada. Alaska is one of my very favorite states. Even if it's the most difficult state for you to visit, it's well worth the effort. Go!