Wednesday, December 28, 2011


To my blog kindreds, my stars and garters, my stellar pals:

Here's to words and worth,
Joyful dirt,
Bright, hoped for things
and clean pages.

Happy Holidays!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gifts for good monsters, and other brainstorms from Santa's workshop

What do you give your good monsters?

Here's what mine will find beneath the tree:
The bag is inspired by Tickle Monster, by Josie Bissett, illustrated by the talented Kevan J. Atteberry.

I got happy-growly about monsters when I won the art lottery recently - Kevan J. Atteberry sent me a gorgeous monster print which I'm framing up for Sugar Snack's room. Thank you, Kevan!

More of our monster book stash:

The Sea Serpent and Me, by Dashka Slater, ill. Catia Chien

Sylvia and Bird, by Catherine Rayner 
(of my delicious fave Augustus and His Smile, raved about here.)

The girls helped me sew up the book bag.

See that red pom-pom tail?

They say you teach a man to fish and he feeds himself for life, right?
Well, I taught them how to make pom-poms.
They are set for life.
They can make fake snowballs and luggage tags
and monster tails.  Who needs college?
And we are deluged by little ball-y pom-poms and yarn bits
on every surface.
ad infinitum.

The elves have also been helping to make gifts.

Gifts for our paleontologist pals: 
dinotopeancils. pencilausoars...

...dinosaur pencils.
(involving plastic toys, pencils, a drill and glue.)

Gifts for our writerly / readerly crowd:

button clips 
(paper clips meet buttons. The girls also made some to sell for "market.") 

Gifts for our dolled-up gals:

Hair button-ups. 
(same idea: buttons meet bobby pins.)


personalized paper doll cards. 
(I will put up a link for the free printable version of this soon.)

Gifts for lonely doors:

an art project I did with the girls' class - 
Holiday Wreath, Revisited
(involving sticks and yarn. shazam!)

Here's to happy, lovely, contended growl-y moments
this holiday season for you and yours!

More beast-y books, and what we're reading around the house:

The Friendly Beasts, illustrated by Tomie dePaola
The Nutcracker, by E.F. Hoffmann, ill. by Maurice Sendak
One Candle - Eve Bunting, K. Wendy Popp
A Little House Christmas, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, ill. Garth Williams
The Shine Man, Mary Quattlebaum, ill. Tim Ladwig

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When Elves Visit

When elves visit,
be they wee bairns,
or white-whiskered and jolly

it is best to
provide snacks

and woolly stockings. 

Might I also suggest
a means of documentation -

for doubters, and writers alike.
How else will people believe us?

I've started keeping a notebook and pens at the ready, 
in case elves, or story lightning strikes.

from How Six Found Christmas - Trina Schart Hyman

Story lightning is what happens to writers
when they are competently going about their business, 
holding a conversation perhaps 
and without warning, they stutter to a stop 
and stare off into space. 

The muse has hit,  
a problem with the novel has clicked into place,
fresh inspiration has upended over their heads, 
or ...

I am pretty sure that Clement C. Moore
had his handy Moleskine notebook
tucked into a pocket of his pajama gown
ready for such a visitation.

The shoemaker and his wife, as well.

The Elves and the Shoemaker - Freya Littledale, Brinton Turkle

The Elves and the Shoemaker - Jacob Grimm, Jim LaMarche

How do you prepare for elves
and story lightning?

Birdy's bonnet is my latest whim. 
I cut up a red sweater that never wore right, 
stitched it and added flower ribbon. 

More visitation stories I love:

How Six Found Christmas - Trina Schart Hyman 
What Men Live By - Leo Tolstoy
The Rainbabies - Laura Krauss Melmed, Jim LaMarche
Tom Thumb - Richard Jesse Watson
One Wintry Night - Ruth Bell Graham, Richard Jesse Watson




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