Handmade Christmas 2014

Our kids are 11 and 13 so every year Christmas gets just a little more…expensive. (iPads and laptops and Kindles, oh my!) This year was a long, hard road in a lot of ways and I didn’t want Christmas to be another burden – on my pocketbook or my psyche. So, we decided 2014 would be a Handmade Christmas – each child making a gift for their parents and their sibling and the same rules applying to us. (Dr. Rossman eventually got a pass because he picked a super industrious project of carving a chess set. He gets point for starting.)

After initial rumblings (and I’ll admit, some tears) from the kids they got in the mood and made some truly great (and thoughtful!) stuff.


I made her a Little Free Library.


She made her dad some office art.


Her brother made her a cat pillow.


She made me a cute little vintage trailer.


He made me coupons for car washes, scalp massages and cups of coffee.


I painted a portrait of his favorite pitcher and had a decal applied to a blank skate deck. (In my defense, I started this before the broken elbow.)


He made his dad a baseball terrarium.


I made Dr. Rossman a chess table.


Even the cats got some homemade treats.

And while we didn’t go full-on handmade for the stocking stuffers (Santa’s elves, you know) I did make a few little trinkets like these “survival kits” in Altoids tins.




  • One cigarette
  • Matches
  • Carabiner
  • Bandaids
  • Pencil
  • Beard oil
  • Sunscreen
  • A stack of favorite quotes




  • Pin cushion top
  • Sewing kit
  • Facial cleanser wipe
  • Q-tip
  • Cotton ball
  • Emery board
  • Hair pins
  • Safety pin
  • Finger moustache temporary tattoos
  • Bandaids
  • Hair band



  • Carabiner flashlight
  • Sewing kit
  • Lip balm
  • Bandaids
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Paper clip
  • Loose change
  • Pressed penny
  • Kaiser Permanente ID card (see broken elbow, above)

Dr. Rossman got some killer handmade stocking stuffers, including a cat sling which no one would be photographed in.


Lavender massage oil


Woodsy beard oil and etched jar


An etched 16 oz “single serving” growler for imperial stouts

I must admit, Mod Podge and etching cream are like two of my new favorite things. I think we’ll do this again next year.

Rachael Rossman


Etsy Shop Open For Biz

This website keeps me so busy with orders that I rarely have time to 1) paint anything that’s not on commission; or 2) list anything for sale in my Etsy shop. Well, my current underemployment now allows me to do both! Check out my Etsy Shop for notecards, art prints and two new original paintings.

Deck the walls!

Christmas Horse med

Mini Donkey 1 sm


Rachael Rossman



We name all our animals with human names (currently: Ron and Francis) so of course I dig Ree Drummond’s dog, Walter. Our family also has a long tradition of taking those human-pet names and contorting them into ridiculous versions of themselves. For example, Francis is Frank, Frankenstein, Frank N Beans, Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give a Damn, and so on.

We’re easily amused.

Drummond sm

Rachael Rossman


With One Arm Tied Behind My Back

Last week I was doing the dishes when a glass broke, resulting in a nasty cut to my left arm. My sister drove me to urgent care, where I received five stitches and a dismissive bandaid which hardly prompted the kind of sympathy I was looking for at home. The thing is, this isn’t my first rodeo. I had stitches as the result of a previous dishwashing incident and I’m at the point where I’m pretty sure the doctors are going to start doubting my story.

“You say it was another dishwashing accident? Uh huh.”

Not to get too graphic, but this cut was on a meaty part of my arm that doesn’t hurt at all so it’s business as usual in the studio. Plus, I’m right-handed and both of my jagged dish-related scars are on my left. The stitches come out at the end of the week and Dr. Rossman has gleefully offered to remove them with his fly-tying scissors so I have that to look forward to.

In the meantime, I painted this.


Rachael Rossman


Christmas Unplugged

DSC_0530My kids are at that age when everything on their Christmas list has a power cord and costs at least 200 bucks. These are kids that live in a house with three tablets, two iMacs, a laptop and Kindles galore so what new gadget they could possible want/need is beyond my comprehension. It’s a tough age though, because all their friends are getting the latest and greatest (my kids don’t even have phones yet) and there will be the inevitable gift show-and-tell after Christmas break. Dr. Rossman and I started thinking: maybe it’s time to take advantage of this impressionable age by being the ones making the impression.

So we’re having a handmade Christmas.

After the initial eye-rolling and panic, the kids have accepted their fate and are even a little excited about planning out what to make for their sibling and parents. I found that I was the one having the hardest time deciding what to make since I am banning myself from giving the expected: paintings. I was telling my son this morning that I had been on Pinterest looking for ideas and he scoffed, “I think we should have to come up with ideas without the internet.”

Mission accomplished.

Rachael Rossman