The Bunnies of Grand Manan

Taking a little Media Break for a month, but am going to leave you with this picture of the bunnies of Grand Manan, from the Anchorage Trail. There were actually many more bunnies than these. MANY MORE! Golden ones, black ones, white, brown:

And on that same trail, a little bird fussed and fussed at us, almost every day. I finally used the Cornell Bird Sound ID app on my phone to identify it–a winter wren. We finally saw it–very small and very fierce.

Kimono Exhibit at the Met

Ainu Coat (Ruunpe), 1868-1912, cotton, applique and embroidery A traditional garment of the indigenous Ainu people from northern Japan

This Kimono show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has kimono through the ages and also clothing that is influenced by the form. Really wonderful! Here are some of my favorites. I think the Ainu Coat (above) has so much in common with Northwest Coast indigenous artisan work from North America.And I am looking forward to sharing the spider and Mount Fuji with my classes at FIT and Purchase. 🙂

Man’s under-kimono with Spider and Web, 1912-1926 Crepe Silk with freehand paste resist dyeing

Thom Browne, 2016, Ensemble, wool, cotton, silk, wood, mother of pearl, leather, metal

Man’s under-kimono with Mount Fuji, 1926, silk with stitched dyeing

Issey Miyake, 1985, Seashell, cotton, linen, nylon

There’s a Decorator in Your Dollhouse

Patty Reider at StencilGirl recently asked the stencil designers “What Made You Fall in Love with Art?” The answer could have possible inclusion in a newsletter that is shared with the StencilGirl clients and followers. It got me thinking!Maybe more than falling in love with art was becoming enamored with Making Things. When I was ten years old, I discovered a book in our local (Huber Heights, OH–our little town, New Carlisle, didn’t have a library) library called There’s a Decorator in Your Doll House by Melanie Kahane (Galahad Books,1968). I checked it out every two weeks for years. A few times a year, the librarian would make me leave it in the library for a whole week in case anyone else might want to check it out—an eternity. But in its pages, I learned to capably make dollhouse furniture out of cardboard, wooden spools, cupcake cups and pipe cleaners. I cobbled together mismatched earrings to make a chandelier, I used a perfume bottle lid to make a pretty vase. Repurposing found objects as things for my dollhouse made me look at my world differently: Everything around me became a potential art supply. Every spare minute was devoted to making things, and in the time I wasn’t doing that, I was daydreaming about what I might make next when I was back in my “studio” (the basement). I still do this today, but its art I make now, and not dollhouse furniture, and not in my mom’s basement!

I don’t have any picture of the things I made for my dollhouse so long ago, but I have ALWAYS made little chairs out of champagne cages. I did NOT make these–they are courtesy of Martha Stewart and Pinterest. They also represent a higher class of “champagne” than I ever had my hands on 🙂

Back cover…fun things to make!

Mister Doggo

Miss Seitner’s PreK3 Classes Write a Book!

I was invited to speak to my pal Miss Seitner’s PreK3 classes last Friday via Zoom. They are learning about books–that picture books have an illustrator and an author, that sometimes that’s the SAME person. They are learning that a picture book doesn’t have an elf drawing a picture on every page of their books, but that there is a printing process that happens that allows multiple copies of the same book to be in homes and libraries and bookstores.

I showed them actual illustrations from Crow Made a Friend, and then we looked for those illustrations printed in the book:

We also showed them a book (my favorite–that hammer page still makes me laugh–Cowboy and Octopus, written by Jon Scieska and illustrated by Lane Smith) that had an author and an illustrator who were two different people. To clarify the author-illustrator process a little, we played a game where the students were the authors, and I was the illustrator of our book. Our collaboration. Our Hero is a dog-cheetah-cat hybrid who lives in a dark forest, and he is lonely…In the dark forest (I was told enthusiastically), there was a path. When I asked, “Does Mister Doggo go down the path to look for a friend?” they all said NOOOO!!! (like I was CRAZY). But he did see a lake…and there was an alligator…and it went on from there. We even talked about compromise, and what that means when artists are collaborating. 🙂

You’ll have to wait for another installment to find out what happens…

All the Things I Wasn’t Allowed to Pick Up in Virginia

This cool hip bone–a deer? And it even has the ball that would go into the socket next to it. Like Lego.

On a wintry Shenandoah VA walk with my Niece, Nephew and Son, there were several things I wasn’t allowed to pick up and take home with me…

This absolutely cool snake skin. I particularly regret not getting to pick this up…

More of the same snake skin…the snake didn’t want it! Seems like I could have had it…

I didn’t really want to pick him up…but I did want to move him off the road so he wouldn’t get squished. We stood and made sure he got across. It wasn’t a very busy road.

These were just neat…but deemed to be possibly poison. Sigh…

And I didn’t want to take this guy at home at all…but I love him!

TLC Book Tour!

TLC Book tours has arranged a great lineup in celebration of the publication of my new book AT NIGHT (Muddy Boots Books, December 2021)! See below for all the tour stops.

Follow the tour!

Monday, January 17th: @celiamcmahonreads

Wednesday, January 19th: @littlelilacpreschool

Thursday, January 20th: @storytimewithshelbs on TikTok

Friday, January 21st: @silver.lining.reader

Friday, January 21st: Bookworm for Kids

Monday, January 24th: She Just Loves Books and @shejustlovesbooks

Tuesday, January 25th: @girlsinbooks

Wednesday, January 26th: @wonderousreads

Thursday, January 27th: @lyon.brit.andthebookshelf

Friday, January 28th: View from the Birdhouse

Monday, January 31st: @rachellelovesbooks

Wednesday, February 2nd: @literannie

Friday, February 4th: @megsbookclub

Monday, February 7th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Wednesday, February 9th: @wereadlikethat


Society for Illustrators Annual Best of Kids Books Illustration

Sue and I took our annual trip to 63 and Lexington to the Society for Illustrators Annual Best of Children’s Books Illustration. It is always inspiring! Thankfully, the artwork was the Real Thing–last year it was all printed and framed by the Society because of Covid. There were still no books to sit and look at, but seeing the artwork in all its luscious glory was *almost* enough. It was especially cool to see my colleagues’ (we share a wonderful agent, Anna Olswanger) work–Yevgenia Nayberg’s Mona Lisa in New York and Kunal Kundu’s Wildlife on Paper: Animals at Risk Around the World.

Here are some more of my favorite ones. The Tiffany Bozic one with the tromp l’oeil painting might be my very top fave. Dang. Check these out:

Getting Ready for the December 12 Hudson Coop Sale in the 187 Schoolyard

I am gathering and printing, stamping and sorting, and getting everything ready for the Hudson Coop Sale. Hope you can join Sam and I! I will have copies of all my books available for purchase, including my new book AT NIGHT (Muddy Boots Publishing) (all about nocturnal mama and baby animals and what they are getting up to while we are sleeping.). AND, I’ll have printed tea towels (including two new ones–one with a honey story–with bears and bees and hives, and one Christmassy reindeer), printed cards, stencils, ornaments and more.

We will be in good company with so many other vendors, selling socks, Washington Heights merch, candles, cookies (the amazing Dutch Baby Bakery will be there–yum). Join us! Come hang out and chat–the warm holiday vibes are FREE.