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<<December 2017>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: crafty projects, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 9 of 9
1. Poet Tree

Apparently, it's Poetry Month.

Only, I've been a little distracted.
I skipped off to the city
for my local SCBWI meeting -
an art show,
a lecture from book-wise and witty
editors Mary Kate Castellani and Caroline Abbey,
and then a consultation and workshop with
art director, professor, and story genius Joy Chu.

This is the same Joy who guided me over the last two winters
in visual storytelling classes through the UCSD online extension program.

I'm still reeling with inspiration.
I could have listened for days. Months. Years.

Now I'm home, all bright and hopeful,
waiting for my brain to shape so many beautiful tips
and ideas into working order.
Time to let the front thoughts simmer.  
Time to play with poetry.

We started with a poet-tree.

The wildebeests and I cut out branchy trees and labeled each branch with simple word:
sky, go, sea, etc.
Next, we cut out dozens of leaves - in all flutters of color,
because it just looks more exciting that way.

Each branch grew rhyming leaf words:
sky = cry, my, pie, etc.

Because we like to make life even more thrilling, and sometimes complicated,
I thought it might be fun for the older wildebeests to thread their leaves on yarn.

Winnie added a button.

Pip used gold pen. She's really into gel pens lately.

And their finished masterpieces.

I'd love to meet a tree like this someday, shimmering with colors, yarns, and words!
I think I'd move in.

I'll share more poetry play next time.

Until then, here are a few favorites:

A Kick in the Head, An Every Day Guide to Poetic Forms - compiled by Paul Janeczko, ill. by Chris Raschka
The Random House Book of Poetry - edited by Jack Prelutsky, ill. by Arnold Lobel
Switching on the Moon - collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Peters, ill. by G. Brian Karas
Chicken Soup With Rice - by Maurice Sendak
When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne, ill. by Ernest Shepard
Now We Are Six By A.A. Milne, ill. by Ernest Shepard

0 Comments on Poet Tree as of 4/27/2016 10:38:00 AM
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2. Do You Mask Merry?

We like to masquerade in these parts.
Especially when learning our Pacific Northwest animals.
Especially when all fuzzed up about pumpkins and costumes.
I started with a few sketches, 
the kids made their own beautiful batches, 
and Voila!
Wildebeests, unite!

Need a quick costume this week?

I'm offering a few freebies for your personal or classroom use.


  {Please note that these images are my original art.
    They're not to be sold or passed off as anyone else's work.

To use, just drag the image to your desktop,
print on card stock,
color at will!
Crayon, colored pencils or watercolor work just fine.
We also tried gouache and acrylic gel medium, for hoots.

Birdie asked if she could change her name to Owly-Whoo.

When you finish all that lovely color,
cut out and fix for wearing! 

Our salmon puppet has a popsicle stick taped to his back.
Did you know sockeye salmon turn red when they spawn? I did not. 
The wildebeests told me. 
I guess this means they are learning something in the midst 
of my art diversions.
Yarn or ribbon is an easy tie for the masks.
Hey, anything for a party, right?
Anything for a printable, coloring, educational, masquerade party!
That's right. We mask merry around these parts.  

Happy hoots!


S is for Salmon - Hannah Viore
123 Moose! by Art Wolfe, ill. by Andrea Helman
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray, ill. by Kenard Pak
North - The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration, by Nick Dowson, ill. by Patrick Benson
A House in the Woods by Inga Moore
Leaves  by David Ezra Stein
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, ill. by Jane Chapman
Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden, ill. by Renata Liwska
Kiss Goodnight by Amy Hest, ill. by Anita Jeram

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd


0 Comments on Do You Mask Merry? as of 10/22/2014 10:05:00 AM
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3. The Fairy Door

Pip and Winnie's fairy door.

Do you ever find portals while reading?

Lucy Pevensie's wardrobe
Alice's rabbit hole
Harry's Platform Nine and Three Quarters
Dorothy's tornado
Meg Murry's tessaract

Characters in these stories are ordinary people, 
minding their own perfectly normal business
when whoosh! -
in zips a talking rabbit, a parliament of owls, an envelope in emerald ink, 
bag ladies spouting Latin -  

and the next thing they know
they've been carried away into a gloriously different world - 
and life is never the same.

Children, lunatics and writers 
live on the edge of that line between fantasy and reality. 

Life is good here.

It takes less work to believe in books,
to look for fairy doors 
and hang out near them, hoping for a way in.

At least, that's my excuse when I find myself 
wishing for Diagon Alley,
an invitation to Camp Halfblood, 
2 Comments on The Fairy Door, last added: 11/9/2011
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4. What To Do With Windfalls

sometimes whirlwinds blow in
intrude on those carefully crafted goals
send sacred mud
in spades 
and shovels

do i sigh and grumble over my lost tasks? 
truthfully? too often. 

but when i'm paying attention, 
i stop and look at my happy wildebeests, 
soak them up with my eyes
douse them with kisses

and then we go play in leaves 

gather up our thankfulness by the armful

press them flat in big books
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5. 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.

6 Comments on When Elves Visit, last added: 1/12/2012 Display Comments Add a Comment
6. Wings and Winners

I am Icharus. 

Except instead of wax and feathers,
I'm patched together with glitter glue,
writing morsels and
cups of hot tea.
Struck by a blaze of new story lightning,
I'm going down.

That's a good thing, right?

Muttering at walls, scribbling
"Words are my wings!" on sticky notes,
covered in ink smudges,
I'm delightedly doomed.

But not too doomed
to help with peg dolls.
And Ancient Greek peggies at that.
Athena, patron of wisdom, and arts and crafts!

She's an owl lady.
Aphrodite, patron of love.

Posiedon. Sea guy. And that's his trident.
Hera, wife of Zeus, patron of marriage.
Peacock lady.
Also compared to a cow in some circles.
Now you know.


Ruler. Cardboard. Scissors. Tape. White glue. 

And now for the drum-roll, please...
we'd like to announce a winner!
A hearty thanks to all of you who entered
Margaret Bloom's Making Peg Dolls giveaway,
and thank you to Margaret for the fantastic blog tour.

Our winner is... Barb Davis-Pyles. Congratulations, Barb!

I hope you will all go out and find this beautiful book.
You are going to LOVE it.

And did you know SACRED DIRT has a facebook page?
"Like it" to get posts on the beautiful mess of artsy writing,
daily dirt, and parenting sent directly to your facebook feed.

Ancient Greece on the page:

Greek MythsA Gift from ZeusThe Adventures of Odysseus
Greek Myths For Young Children, by Heather Amery, ill. Linda Edwards
Explore Ancient Greece!
Greek Myths - Ann Turnbull, ill. by Sarah Young
A Gift From Zeus - Jeanne Steig, ill. by William Steig
The Adventures of Odysseus, by Hugh Lupton, Daniel Morden, ill. by Christina Balit
Aesop's Fables - Lisbeth Zwerger

4 Comments on Wings and Winners, last added: 2/28/2013
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7. Failure Floats

Sinkers and Floaters.

This summer we made an entire fleet 
of homemade boats.
We wanted to see which would be the most seaworthy.

If you're an artist or writer, you may be able to relate.

How do you view what you've made - 

as experiments, 
or tiny pieces of your soul?

Too often as a writer, 
I send out tiny pieces of my soul I like to call 

My manuscript souls wobble out into the blue -

some of them proud and brave, 
others nervously checking their rigging,
desperate to sail smooth waters.

But when those manuscript soul pieces,
(dare I call them horocruxes?)
hit bad seas 
or... or...


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8. Writing is Magnetic

Why Speed Scrabble is good for writers...

Every Tuesday,
I visit the classroom
and play "literacy sort" with six and seven year-olds.

We cut words from paper 
and shuffle them around 
to find out how they are similar or different. 

Most of the kids are okay with this sorting game, 
but one of my new friends 
is traumatized. 

He wants his little word scraps to stay in one place, 
straight as soldiers, unsullied by battle.

As a writer enamored with my first drafts, I sympathize. 

It's painful to step back from your work. 

A good pair of pruning shears can help.
 Or a few rounds of Speed Scrabble. 


5 Comments on Writing is Magnetic, last added: 10/29/2011
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A wise old owl sat in an oak
 the more he saw, the less he spoke
the less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why aren't we all like that wise old bird?

Pip's owl costume.
Remember our birthday tree?

Well, it turns out birthday buntings 
double as owl suits. 


Whether she's recognizable as an owl, whoooo knows, 
but she's happy.  

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