Vintage children’s book’s illustrations















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The making of an art kit, journal, and polymer clay transfers


This month we celebrated hubby/daddy’s birthday and it took me FOREVER to finish his birthday present, but here it is in all its glory! It is a field kit to carry his artist materials. The front is the coolest part, in my opinion. I took our five-year-old’s rendition of dad and embroidered her original drawing onto the fabric. It was a lot of fun!

I simply made a photocopy of her original drawing and then placed the copy on top of the fabric where I wanted it displayed. I then placed the embroidery hoop over the paper and the fabric and proceeded to embroider the pattern. In the end, I simply tore the paper away from the stitches and “voila”! I intentionally angled the picture because I think it added great character. The orange button was a must because it is his favorite color.


The kit unbottons and folds open to a snap flap, that when opened reveals a three-panel-pocket for his art pencils, homemade art journal and art supplies tin. the journal was a lot of fun to make. I learned about gutting, binding, painting and decorating a journal. It was bound in coptic stitch and the round, white, photo you see is actually a photo transfer onto polymer clay. That worked SO well! I know I will be using that technique on future projects.


I will be adding links to some of these techniques soon so please remind me if you are interested and I haven’t yet.

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Camping in a fairy wonderland

We went camping over the Labor Day weekend and it was wonderful to get out of the heat wave of the valley and into the green pine trees up north. Somehow the two hour trip managed to take us nearly eight hours in the midst of holiday traffic and car accidents that brought traffic to a literal stand-still on the highways, but it was worth it.


We went on a walk to see how many different types of mushrooms we could find. All the mushrooms you see here were within something like one hundred yards of our tent.


We pulled into the campsite after nine at night so we set up our tent in the dark and crawled into bed.


We met a couple who have lived in their RV in the area for at least the last six months. They were a nice couple but a few things about them couldn’t hide the fact that they were the kind of people that could live out in the wilderness for lengthy stretches of time. The advice she gave me that included dumping the body of anyone you might have to shoot in the wilderness because “you are not innocent until proven guilty and you will be sued for everything you have by the deceased person’s family” told me that I didn’t wanna be on her bad side.


However, they were full of very useful knowledge as well. They informed us that the ranger could ticket us for setting up camp within a quarter mile of a man-made watering hole that is meant to serve the local wildlife. I think they are called water tanks, but they aren’t tanks at all so don’t be misled by the name.


It rained for a bit each day – only a tad. However, on the last night there was a downpour. Thank the Lord our tent was watertight and the baseball-sized moths couldn’t get inside while we slept!


Doesn’t this all just make you think of a land of make believe? The angle of these photos makes it rather easy to imagine we are just a few inches tall. It makes me think of fairies and fanciful tales of flight.


It makes me think of Fern Gully!

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Healing rain: awakening soul survivors

While driving yesterday I was reminded of the power music wields in its rising and falling waves of notes.

You know what I’m talking about.

Those songs…the ones that transport us to the past and bring us face to face with who we once were, as if that person has been living within us all this time without so much as a whisper. It’s as if those pivotal ages/times in our life jar us to the point that they burn a copy of our very being into our soul and there they lie in wait; in a coma-like state, that 15-year-old forever remains in the recesses of our soul…until.

Until we are stirred. Until we are pierced. Until we cry.

Those are the tears that heal us. Those are the tears that wash away another layer of the substance that forgotten child clings to. Those are the tears that eventually leave them with nothing to hold fast to of what once was. Those are the tears that reveal the rainbow of what is and is to come.

So this begs the question – how many tears does it take to wash away a painful memory? How many soul survivors are living within us…

the five-year-old who said goodbye to their mother, not knowing it was the last time

the eleven-year-old left in the chasm of two families torn apart by divorce

the thirteen-year-old having lived through the screaming silence of sexual abuse

the fifteen-year-old trapped in the prison of physical and mental abuse

the twenty-five-year-old enduring the divorce that they swore would never plague their own children with

the thirty-five-year-old facing a seeming lifetime of singledom

the fifty-two-year-old hearing the word “cancer”…again.

The younger we are when a soul survivor is burned within us, the deeper the etching…the deeper the scar…the deeper the sleep…and the more intense the awakening. These are not the moments for strength.

These are the moments for weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:10

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

These are moments for tears.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance”

These are times for healing.

Psalm 6:6, 9

“I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.

The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.”

The soul would have no rainbow, had the eyes no rain.

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Reinventing the dress: recycling clothes

In addition to my other current projects, I am recycling a dress of mine to appear in a family photo sitting (FINALLY, Mom!). It is being transformed into three skirts for the girls and a top for myself. My vision is that each of the skirts will also have a colored crochet embellishment – perhaps unique crocheted flowers.


The itty-bitty-baby-sized skirt will be decorated with some frilly lace and cheery yellow flowers.


The medium-sized skirt has a longer hem and it will be growing some in-your-face red flowers.


The largest-sized skirt (thinking Goldilocks and the Three Bears yet?) will be adorned with some head-in-the-clouds blue flowers. The flower color choices are meant to be a reflection of the girls’ personalities which is a part I really love about designing, or rather, redesigning clothing.


I’ve pinned a knit waistbandish element to my top and I LOVE the contrast it adds to the lighter fabric. Also, because I am long-waisted, it really benefits my shape – practical and oh-so-cute – gotta love that!


I’ll leave you with a glimpse of some of the beautiful lace I was given last week. These are amazing treasures and I am so excited to use them! Thank you so much for unloading them on me grandma!

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The incident of the naughty…knotty yarn


That sweater looks so pretty…so serene there hanging on the chair. I was so excited to be nearly finished with it until I decided to take out one of the sleeves because I needed to lengthen it and I had missed a few stitches in the pattern that I didn’t understand until I got to the second sleeve. I was inspired by the fact that our five-year-old was actually really excited that I was crocheting her a “pretty sweater” and so I started ripping out stitches, only to discover that it was actually the front panel and not the sleeve as I had thought. So, I continued pulling the yarn thinking that I would just take out the sleeve but it actually started unraveling the back panel! I was so frustrated, that what remains of the kinky yarn lies in a pile of knots; a pile that could easily resemble my body due to the stress of it all.

It got me to thinking that if I were a knitter, I am sure it would take me a lot longer to thrash my yarn in a fit of frustration because the work would have taken me so much longer to complete to that point. Flying knitting needles also seems a more dangerous vision than crochet hooks. I really wouldn’t have been so emotional if I had *made a choice* to rip out all the stitches, but I was really happy to know that the sweater was going to be eagerly received that it made it that much more painful, and a tantrum on my part ensued. Well, I will be back to crocheting it again in a day or two and I am hoping that by the weekend I can be closer to the finish line than I was before today – before the incident today, that is.


On a happier note, I am also sewing up this adorable dress for the babe. It is a really simple pattern but I have been putting it off because I had to make up my binding. Tonight I got that done and I am going to finish up pinning it tomorrow. I haven’t touched my sewing machine in about a week and it feels strange. I am looking forward to getting this doll of a dress done. Isn’t the vintage pattern just precious?! Can you see the price up there in the corner – yep, that’s right .35. Now that was back in the day!

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Hey Willy, See the Pyramids by Maira Kalman


If you are a fan of children’s books, you should definitely check out Maira Kalman’s world. We bought this book at a library box sale (fill a box with as many books as you can fit for a grand total of $2). The artwork is wonderful and if it doesn’t inspire your children to write/illustrate, it will inspire you!



The dialogue is quirky, as if someone were taking notes of the random thoughts that decorate our consciousness throughout the day. The illustrations are reminiscent of people in my family…and a circus act at the same time. Hmmm, probably the kind of things one shouldn’t admit so nonchalantly!


The author has created many wonderful pieces of art with words to boot. I added What Pete Ate to my wishlist. So what’s your favorite children’s book author?


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