Thursday, December 20, 2007

Penguins for Christmas

Evelyn Lines loves chilling with the penguins in her Valley Stream living room. There's the penguin with a plate of fresh-baked cookies, two waddlers toasting marshmallows, snowboarding penguins, even a pair having a snowball fight.

All are the creations of Lines' children - Tim, 21, and Kerri, 17 - who have indulged their mother's passion for penguins by sculpting them for her for the past 12 Christmases.

"The first year I was shocked and I thought they were so cute," says Lines, 50, who works as an art teacher's aide at an elementary school. "And then the next year I was even more surprised because I didn't think that they would keep doing it. "

Since then, the penguins have become a gift tradition; they've also become more elaborate each year. Last Christmas, Kerri managed the happy feat of sculpting a penguin Nativity scene. "Usually it take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to make the penguin, but the manger I made last year took a little longer," Kerri says.

To create the penguins, Tim and Kerri work with clay that comes in the colors they want. Once sculpted, their creations are baked in a toaster oven. After the penguins have cooled, their dad sprays each one with a clear acrylic for a nice sheen.

Lines, who admits she can't wait to see what penguins she'll get this year, wonders if her children will stop making her Christmas penguins after they move out.

No need to fear. Kerri says she'll keep on crafting them: "Oh, of course I will."

(Photo by Howard Schnapp, Freelance / December 1, 2007)

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