Friday, January 25, 2013

Valentiny Prints

 Here's a new batch of Valentine freebies, just for you.
Right-click on the image, and print, willy-nilly.
Add a page of Valentines to color, for your crayon-happy crew.

This is original art, by me.
It's free for your own personal or classroom use,
but not to be resold.
If you're sharing this, please credit me and/or link this page as the original source.
Thanks for the respect!

This post is linked to Tatertots and Jello.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Got Mail?

Because everyone needs a reason to hide secret notes...

I made a mail kit.

It's our Narnian Lamppost.
Our Portal.
Our place where the real world transforms into the magical one.
See, Pip and Winnie haven't exactly been excited
about writing time.
They moan and whinge when it's time
to pull out notebook and pen.

But now they have a reason to write.

All manner of small letters, notices and lists
have been appearing in the mailbox, begging for a reader. 
Secret message makers, word lovers in the making, I hope.
And if we're not so concerned with punctuation just yet,
still Something is being kindled,
and that Something is what we're going for - 

getting so lost in play so that the unseen world
shines brighter within us,
and the ordinary world shines brighter on our return...

This is what I want for myself, too.
To take more time to play
with my words, with art, with the kids
without focusing on how much I get done.

I have a choice every day -
wear myself out trying to blast through my goals,
or find the sweet spots and savor.

Relish the revision. 
   (thank you Gail Carson Levine and
     Molly Blaisell for your great advice.)

if you need a reason to play with your words,
or an incentive for young heel-dragging-writers,
may I suggest a mail box?

Our kit is compiled of:

A domed box (thrift store find)
Mod podge.
A cardboard swing arm fastened with a nut and bolt.
I added a mail sack, felt envelopes and flannel stamps
plus a thick stack of paper
for good measure.

My dad's old mail carrier hat tops the cake.

Any mail today?

Books of Note:


The Dove's Letter by Keith Baker

The Jolly Postman, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie
Letters from Father Christmas - J.R.R. Tolkien
Love, Mouserella by David Ezra Stein
 Writing Magic
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly - Gail Carson Levine

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
The Enchanted Chocolate Pot - Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer

And an experiment. 
I've been trying to set up some freebies for my small writer friends, so here is my first attempt. Drag the image below to your desktop, and it should be ready to print.

You are welcome to use this art as long as you credit the artist (Hey, that's me - Faith Pray!) and as long as you don't try to pass it off as your own work, or sell it (That would be illegal). If you are going to pin or webshare this, please credit me as the artist, and link back to this original post.
Thank you for the respect.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Put the Hammer Down

Who gives heavy, blunt instruments to toddlers for Christmas?
I'm pretty sure this is what inspired "The Lord of the Flies."

My Making-Merry-on-the-Mini
Geoboard Kits are a hit.

And as far as homemade gifts go, how simple is this?
A block of sanded wood.
A bag of screws and nails.
Yarn and rubber bands.
All packaged up and ready to be assembled.

We wrapped a hammer and screwdriver kit for Sugar Snack, too.
He's in Fix-It Heaven,
stomping around the house,
adjusting all the screws.
I keep waiting for the doors to fall off
with the next

I don't know how safe a gift of nails
and screws is for the preschool crew.
I've tried to remind them to keep the sharp points
away from mouths, noses and electrical openings,
but you never know.
It helps to have ample adult supervision
when you're dealing with all those hammers.

So, let's just have a proviso here:

For crafty, writing, or artsy tips,
visit me with gleeful abandon.
For safe parenting tips,
go to
someone else.

Happy New Year, my friends!
May it be gloriously rich in the simple joys
and surprisingly glad in all the rest.


Tools by Taro Miura 
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (Safety tips AND cuteness)


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