Happy New Year!

"I pray my wish
will come true
For my child
and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day
when men of good will
Live in peace,
live in peace again"

(Lyrics from Dani's favourite piece of Christmas music, "Peace On Earth - Little Drummer Boy.")

Wishing you and yours all the very best in 2008!
The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.

[With thanks to this tutorial for creating a METALLIC WIRE FRAME SPHERE in Photoshop.]


2007 doodles in review

Readers' choice

The plan vs reality
[originally published 2007-06-30]

Motivation and happiness
[originally published 2007-02-25]
(Items with a variation of this image can be purchased at Cafe Press. )

Out of the loop
[originally published 2007-04-02]

My favs
When writers strike
[originally published 2007-11-05]

Mobius hopscotch
[originally published 2007-09-15]

RIP Naptime
[originally published 2007-07-03]


Merry Christmas!


The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Best present ever - parent of pre-schooler edition


The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Christmas hand print tree


(This idea came home from school.)

Instructions for creating a Christmas Hand Print Tree can be found at Craft Day.


Canadian Blog Awards - Nominations Now Open

Nominations are being accepted until January 11, 2008.

All blogs written by persons living in Canada or by Canadian citizens living abroad are eligible for nomination. In the case of group blogs, the aforementioned persons must be significant contributors to the blog.

Organizers of the awards must abstain from making any judgment as to eligibility of other participants in only the categories they have also been nominated for.

(2006 & 2007 Awards) Two rounds of voting will take place with each round lasting 7 days. The first round of voting will include all nominees. The second round of voting will narrow the list of nominees in each category down to the top 5 from the first round of voting.


Best Blog
Best French-Language Blog
Best New Blog
Best Group Blog
Best Blogosphere Citizen
Best Blog Post
Best Blog Post Series

Best Political Blog
Best progressive Blog
Best conservative Blog
Best Non-Partisan Blog

Best Personal Blog
Best Photo/Art Blog
Best Humour Blog
Best Entertainment/Cultural Blog
Best Business/Finance Blog
Best Religious Blog
Best Sports Blog
Best Activities Blog
Best Media/Celebrity Blog
Best Family Blog
Best Local Blog
Best Sci/Tech Blog
Best Sexual/Gender Issues Blog
Best Podcaster/Vlogger
Best Military Blog
Best Education Blog

Honour your fav blogger by leaving a comment in the appropriate category. The folks over at the CBA's are trying to get a bit broader participation this year ... so spread the word!

[h/t to Dani and Kate]


Vote for me!

Voting for the 2007 Chewing Pencils Christmas Cartoon Project “People’s Choice” award closes on December 20th.

The voting system is easy. Chose your three favourite cartoons and then email your choices to Matt at mkglover (at) optusnet.com.au

Your email should read like this:

  1. The name of the artist of your favourite cartoon, and the title of the cartoon itself
  2. The name of the artist of your second favourite cartoon, and the title of the cartoon itself
  3. The name of the artist of your third favourite cartoon, and the title of the cartoon itself
Your favourite gets three points, second favourite two points and third favourite one point. The one with the most points wins! You can only vote once.

Here's my submission: Best Present Ever

The rest of the submissions (in no particular order):
  1. Rich from The Cartoon Days of Christmas submitted the Bethlehem Census.
  2. Val from The Cartoon Days of Christmas submitted some Holiday Shopping.
  3. Terry from A Touch of Terry Lou submitted A Not So Wise Man
  4. Robbay from A Side of Cartoons submitted A Mouse Christmas Party
  5. Teddy Tietz submitted a German Santa
  6. Mick Ward submitted a Request for Santa
  7. Frank Dutton submitted a Mauve Nosed Reindeer
  8. Sheree from Sheree Bradford-Lea Cartoonist submitted Santa on Stress Leave
  9. Dale from the Cartoon Days of Christmas submitted a Little Matt
  10. Ron Atkinson submitted a present that Fits Like A Glove
  11. A Chopra submitted a Nobel Prize Christmas Cartoon
  12. Greg from EEight submitted a Polite Santa
  13. Peter Naismith from the Nut Bank Files submitted a Runway Matt
  14. Lee from Lee’s Things submitted the Best Present Ever
  15. John from JDCartoons submitted a Christmas Protest
  16. Henry from The Cartoon Days of Christmas submitted a Snowman’s Christmas Wish
  17. Jason from Twisted Musings submitted a God Father Christmas
  18. Andre submitted a Fishy Christmas
  19. Rob from Rob and Jods submitted some Christmas Spirit
  20. Bill Lumley submitted a Stocking Filler (PDF File)
  21. Matt from Wickerdoodle submitted Santa in Space


Southern Ontario

After 18 hours, we had over 25cm (10 inches) of the white stuff yesterday afternoon. How'd you fair in the big storm of 2007?

The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Best present ever - new parent edition


The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Do you cartoon?

Applicants must be college students in the United States, Canada or Mexico that will be in their Junior or Senior year of college during the 2008-2009 academic year. Applicants DO NOT have to be art majors to be eligible for this scholarship.

The applications will be judged by the National Cartoonists Society Foundation (NCSF) and the number of scholarships given out and their amounts will be at their discretion of the NCSF.

For more information, visit the National Cartoonists Society Foundation website.

[With thanks to Sandra Bell-Lundy for the tip-off!]


Best present ever - toddler edition

Here's my entry for the 2007 Chewing Pencils Christmas Cartoon Project!

(And boy do I miss the days when empty boxes provided hours of enterainment!)
The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Reindeer treats


This was created with Santa's elves at our local mall.

Instructions for creating this Reindeer Treat can be found at Craft Day.


Getting through the holidays

In order to get everything done, I seem to spend this time of year running on catecholamine C9H13NO3 (epinephrine).


The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Rerun: Decorated moose

[Orignally posted May 20, 2007.]

No matter how you decorate it, a moose is still a moose!
(Items with a variation of this image can be purchased at Cafe Press.)

The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Notes to self: building a better gingerbread house

Things I learned about building gingerbread houses:

  1. gb_house_02If you're short on patience, buying a gingerbread house kit is a real sanity saver!

  2. Try and find the type of kit that has grooves / ruts / slots in the base which tell you where to put the walls and make assembly easier.

  3. gb_house_03Have a look inside the kit to see if the types of candy decorations included are the sort you feel comfortable having your helper children eat. (Some are choking hazards for pre-schoolers and toddlers.) Assemble some candy you don't mind your children eating to swap in when you remove the offending confections. (Leftover Hallowe'en Smarties and Rockets proved popular.)

  4. Feed your children a healthy meal or a healthy snack prior to starting this activity. Even the best behaved child cannot resist the sugary sweetness of gingerbread house decorations!

  5. While you're unpacking the kit and trying to figure out the instructions, have little hands free Smarties and Rockets from their packages and put them in a bowl or plate. To stall for time, have them sort the decorations by type, size or by colour.

  6. gb_house_04If the instructions tell you to kneed the icing in the bag prior to using it, do so before you cut a corner off.

  7. The big bag of icing provided is much too big for little hands to manage.

  8. gb_house_05Get yourself a sandwich bag and cut a tiny corner off to make a mini-piping bag. Put some icing sugar in the cut corner of the sandwich bag.

  9. gb_house_07Have the adult use the large icing bag to place pipe the thick beads of icing sugar acting as glue for the major house components.

  10. gb_house_06Little hands can practice piping with their baggies on the interior walls of the house.

  11. gb_house_08Pipe a thick bead of icing in the grooves in the base for the four walls of the house.

  12. Assemble the four walls in their grooves and apply pressure.

  13. Ensure that the four walls are stable prior to progressing. (Very important!)

  14. Pipe a thick bead of icing along the walls where they meet the base. (Inside and out.)

  15. gb_house_09 Little hands can put decorations in the icing along the base of the house, while larger hands are assembling the roof.

  16. gb_house_10It's VERY important that you wait the designated time (it was 15 minutes for us) holding the roof in position, prior to trying to decorate! It's not much fun trying to decorate a house where the walls keep caving in and the roof keeps sliding off!

  17. I'd recommend having little hands decorate accessories (gingerbread men, gingerbread snowmen and gingerbread trees) on a level surface prior to assembling perpidicular to the base. (In contrast to the photoevidence.)

  18. gb_house_12Little hands can be decorating one side of the house while big hands are working on the other side.

  19. While it's possible to pipe icing onto an already vertical wall (see photo below) it would have been much easier to put the decorative icing on the wall if it were flat. (Which, of course, would mean you'd have be be very careful while assembling the walls, not to smear icing all over the place.) Alternately, one could wait until the house was firmly cemented by the icing and then tip the house 80 degrees or so to do the decorative piping. (Not a likely option with anxious little hands!)

    gb_house_16 gb_house_13 gb_house_14 gb_house_17

  20. When everyone's finished decorating, put a tablespoon or so of icing sugar in a seive and shake over the project to give the appearance of a fresh snowfall.


  21. Now your challenge is guarding the house to make sure it doesn't get demolished overnight!

    gb_house_20 gb_house_21

Materials for above project:
  • table cloth for getting dirty (or easy to wipe table-top)
  • drop cloth (old table cloth or shower curtain) for floor if you plan on using sprinkles as a decoration (or easy to vacuum and mop floor)
  • gingerbread house kit (with slotted base)
  • alternate candy decorations (Smarties and Rockets)
  • plastic sandwich bags
  • scissors
  • plates, bowls and spoons for organizing decorations
  • seive
  • icing sugar (about a tablespoon)
  • spoon
  • patience
  • vacuum cleaner
  • wet clothes for cleaning little hands

[Cross-posted at Craft Day.]


Dear Santa

Dear Santa:

I've been very good this year. If you have any extra lying around, I'd really like a Cintiq 12WX for Christmas.

With thanks to Drawn.ca for the tip!


Potty training manual

For kids, by kids

The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Fresh drama during U.S. writers strike

Dark, homegrown miniseries worthy prime-time watching
Thriller delivers fresh drama during U.S. writers strike

So says the The Winnipeg Free Press review of "Across The River To Motor City," co-created and written by Denis McGrath.

It airs on CityTV in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton tomorrow night at 10pm.


Life lesson learned through making peanut brittle

This is what I recently learned while trying to make peanut brittle:

"If it's hot enough in the pot to melt sugar, chances are it's hot enough
in the pot to melt a plastic spoon."


So we started again and made a fresh batch:


and it was yummy!

I've published the Mixed Nut Brittle recipe here. [orginally from Dani]


Christmas crush

Is it just me, or did the Christmas decorations appear in the stores earlier than usual this year? I could have swore there was a time when Christmas-y things didn't appear until after American Thanksgiving!

The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Parallel parking


The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


DIY: coat stand

[Edited to add: Welcome Parent Hackers! Have a look around, I hope you enoy your stay! And thanks for the link, Asha.]

stand_05_complete Tired of picking up your litte one's outer wear? Is your child too small to hang up their clothes in the closet? Are you unable to install coat pegs in your wall? Can't find a child-size coat-tree that isn't an eye-poking hazard, or with a non-tip base smaller than Newfoundland?

That's where I was was when I created this simple child-sized coat-stand. The parts cost me less than $30 Cdn (including tax) and it took me 10 minutes to assemble.

Now little hats and coats are off the floor and hung up with no effort (other than a little reminding) from me!


  1. Get a clothes horse. I used the HOPLAND Valet Stand from IKEA.


  2. Select some "hook" accessories. The top one in the photo below is a tie organizer designed to be screwed into a wall. The one in the bottom of the photo is a series of hooks designed to fit over a door.


  3. Add the hooks to the clothes horse as desired.


  4. I used the 'twist-tie' fasteners, annoyingly found fastening toys to their packaging, to add the tie organizer to the stand.


  5. Voila! A child-sized coat-stand! No power tools required!
    (If you're concerned about tipping, weight the feet down.)



Paper plate poppy


This was created at our local Ontario Early Years Centre.

Instructions for creating this Paper Plate Poppy can be found at Craft Day.


What makes a face, a face?

I love the work of Al Hirschfeld. I've never quite figured out how to do caricatures, but I want to learn. I'm starting with the baby-step of line drawings.

It's easy to make a face -- two eyes a nose and a mouth. But how do you make a face, THAT face, with just a few lines?

I'm experimenting by 'tracing' (via Photoshop) photos* to see what to add and subtract to make the face become the person.

[Edited to add a big "mahalo" to skeet for being supportive of my practice and providing the inspiration for the first two images below!]




If I get some free time, I'll post some line drawings of days gone by, for entertainment!

*If you think I'm using a photo of you and you're offended by the likeness (or lack thereof), let me know and I'll take the image down.