Christmas With Heart



My mother and I years ago!

illustrated holly © cheri cottrell 2015The holidays are my favorite time of the year. It’s a time to wrap gifts and sing carols…to send holiday cards and bake cookies with my daughters…to string lights and hang garland.

Christmas 2015 ©chericottrrell

Then there are those impromptu nights when a friend stops by to say “hello,” and the minutes pass unnoticed, turning into hours. By the end of the night, my kitchen table is covered in candles, crumbs, cheese plates and empty wine glasses-and my heart is full of love and gratitude for having such people in my life.


Baked and drying !

illustrated holly © cheri cottrell 2015


Sprinkle with a little cinnamon…now all they need is some red ribbon for hanging!

©cheri cottrell Christmas Mistletoe Illustration | © Cheri Cottrell

The simple evenings can be just as enjoyable-wrapped in a quilt, reading a good book on the couch, while colored lights on the tree intermingle with the warm glow from our wood burning.

christmas 2015 820151217_4806

And, sometimes, it;s those less than perfect moments that we recall year after year. Like the time my husband had to wire the Christmas tree to the wall to keep it from falling over. Or the time my daughter spilled red wine on the white couch and tried to cover it up (unsuccessfully). Or the holiday dinner that was pushed back three hours because the turkey needed to cook longer than originally planned. These are the moments I remember. These are the memories that can’t be placed under the tree.

illustrated holly © cheri cottrell 2015




Newsletter and Free Paper Dolls

Holiday Greenery Illustration | © Cheri Cottrell

Hoping you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I had the most enjoyable time with my family. The only thing I missed about not hosting Thanksgiving this year at my house was the smell of turkey roasting in the oven and filtering through all the rooms…yum!

Winter Berries and Branches

It’s that time of year!

When we send out our new holiday Life at Kettle Cove Newsletter! I have received several emails requesting more paper dolls, I have whipped up a special Coco paper (wait a minute for it to download!) doll for the holidays!

free paper dolls

If you haven’t signed up already, just click the link below to receive your own!


Also anyone interested in the previous newsletters you can email me at

Happy Holiday’s!



Wind In The Willows

wind and the willows

Wind In The Willows

By Kenneth Grahame

Illustrated by Ina Moore

The Wind In the Willows is one of my favorite books, so much so that I could read this classic over and over.

Apples cheri cottrell illustrator print

When I was young I was inspired by the pictures, but as an adult I appreciate the cadence of the author’s words and the timelessness of his characters. Out of all the stories, Dulce Domum is my favorite tale. It embodies the love and empathy between Mole and Ratty.

Wind in the willowsMole wants to visit his humble home knowing it can’t compare to the likes of Rat and Toad’s. It may appear shabby to some, but to mole it’s an oasis of comfort.

Apples cheri cottrell illustrator printAs our lives change throughout the years, there is always that one place that remains constant, where the warmth and a familiar smell bring us back to a time when we felt safe and loved. It maybe our childhood home, a grandparent’s, or just a safe heaven. The tale offers a reminder that there is always a warm place of refuge, even if only you can visit the memory in your heart.

wind in the willows 4I would love to hear about your favorite book and what made it special to you?



Autumn Home


Autumn. Is it the sound of rustling leaves? The smell of apple pie in the oven? Or the excitement I feel when I take my boots out of storage? For me, fall means all three and more.

I love filling my wood stove and cozying up on the couch while watching “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow.” Pumpkins, fall decorating, hayrides – my favorite time of the year.

Autumn Decorating








Warming Up


 Sketching with a watercolor brush

After being under the weather for several weeks, I am happy to say I have a clean bill of health and am ready to get back into the groove of things. When I woke up yesterday I could hear the autumn rain. The first thing I did was make a cup of coffee. The second thing I did was go into my studio, my private space. A feeling of pure delight washed over me. I took out my watercolor paints and a piece of watercolor paper and thought of something that inspires me. Obviously, the first thing that came to mind was pumpkins and sunflowers.

Autumn Watercolor Pumpkin | © Cheri Cotttrell 2015

No sketching with a pencil that morning—just a brush and some paint. With a little effort, mistakes become flowers or a vine, as splashes of paint flowed from the brush in beautiful, warm autumn colors.

Happy Autumn Day!



Summer Newsletter

Summer Newsletter

The Summer Newsletter will be on it way this week!

The  beautiful summer breezes of Maine tempt me daily…my morning walks on the beach never seem to be enough, but it has to be. I work in my studio diligently like a ochrestra of blowing reeds swaying in one direction. My to do list grows daily with tasks that I know I can’t get to. I just say to myself, “Get one more page done and I will tend to my obligations,” but one more page turns into one more page and what was once was a mole hill has now turned into a mountain.  

Then sometimes I just hit a wall when the creative juices just aren’t flowing and I find myself dissatisfied with my progress of the last picture…it’s time to take a break, and tend to all those whispering responsibilities that we all hear when things get out of hand…and all dabble in a few pleasures of summers harvest before it’s all disappears. 

This year’s summer newsletter is filled with some gentle tidbits of what you will see in the book! and yes all of you lucky ducks are the first to know the title of one of the first books in the series of Tales of Kettle Cove.

I will be staying in touch much more often and sharing my progress!

For I have missed all of you sooo much!



When I Wake Up…


whale tale progress tea time cheri cottrell

tea time book progress cheri cottrell writer and illustrator

eggplant pram sauce

eggplant pram sauce

YoYo's for quilts, floral print, © artist cheri cottrell

 When I wake up thinking about the book illustrations and I go to bed thinking about the book illustrations. Every day is anew and I feel so lucky and privileged to be doing what I love. I start my morning with a walk on the beach (it clears my head: the smell of the sea air, fog horns, sand beneath my feet) and it inspires me so much that when I sit at my studio desk, it’s as if the pencil has its own mind and whatever I am feeling pours onto my paper as if by magic. And yes, there are those days when nothing is working and that’s when I take some needed time to take a tea break in Portland with a friend and do some serious catching up! An amateur at heart, I love to cook – especially something with sauce and garlic. There is just something wonderful about the delicious smells of garlic, olive oil and basil, mmm…just heavnly! I take look at my yo-yo’s that I had started for a quilt and with a sigh I put them away knowing that there will be absolutely no time for finishing this project. But, it is on those days when nothing is working that I fill myself with all the warm comforts of home, such as friends, family, food, candles and the feelings of gratefulness. It is amazing what a day off can do for the spirit and how one can see the day with a new fresh set of eyes!

So it is back to work and I am delighted to be back in my happy place!