Fairy Furniture, Part 1

What’s more magical than fairy houses? Fairy furniture!

Indoor fairy furniture was formed using wood, rope, mushrooms, cork, burlap and pebbles. Some of the pieces must have come from old-fashioned doll houses. All of it is oh-so-cute! Click here to learn more about the Fairy Trail in the South Mountain Reservation.

Mushrooms, moss and corks make up this tiny dining set.

There’s room for lots of fairies at this table.

Fairies would have sweet dreams on a burlap bed with cork pillows.

Twigs and rope make a cute canopy bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this comfy couch and traditional floor lamp.

A tiny toilette!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My nieces on the Fariy Trail.

Want to learn how to make your own fairy furniture? Click here for a link for some great ideas. Happy creating, hon!

Fairy Trail

Fairies in the Forest

I’d heard mention of a Fairy Trail in the South Mountain Reservation, but didn’t know much about it until recently. When my sister and her three daughters visited, we found a whole village! I went a little crazy taking pictures of the tiny houses, so I’ll share them over several posts.

Happy fairy house hunting, Hon!

My sister, nieces, daughter and dog ready to search for magic!

 

 

Add a roof to the door and the house takes shape.

Set a door against a gap in a tree and–voila–a fairy house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moss, bark and branches create an organic structure.

Check out the tiny furniture inside this fairy home.

Homes are under trees and on top of logs.

Want to make your own fairy house? Click here to find out how on wiki How

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway

My daughters outside of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in Manhattan.

Looking for a show to see? Are you a Roald Dahl fan? Both?

“Unwrap a world of pure imagination.”

My youngest daughter loves Broadway shows, so what better way to celebrate her birthday than to surprise her with tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical in Manhattan?  We appreciate Roald Dahl’s dark humor and twisted characters (We loved “Matilda the Musical.”), not to mention that Willy Wonka is played by Christian Borle who was excellent as Shakespeare in “Something Rotten.”

One of my favorite childhood movies was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I saw the newer version, and didn’t mind Johnny Depp playing a deeply disturbed Willy Wonka, but Gene Wilder’s Wonka stuck in my psyche.

The musical is wonderful! The set design is clever, interesting, colorful and illusional. The larger than life characters are modern, and each has his/her own “voice.” The humor is both timeless and relevant to the times, and, of course, of course, the story is evergreen. The messages that imagination is valuable, dream big, and work for your passion makes me–sniff-a little weepy.

Oh and, hon, the Oompa Loompas are hysterical!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical

I thought most people knew the story, but at the Broadway show the woman sitting behind us seemed genuinely surprised when Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teavee, and Augustus Gloop met their sweet rewards, and when Charlie Bucket was the last child standing. The show’s website describes the story like this:

Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s wondrous world. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.

Birthday girl.

Have you seen a good show lately? I’m always interested in what else is on stage.

 

 

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe

Teen Daughter at exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Prada's Flame wedge sandals, 2012

Prada’s Flame wedge sandals, 2012

Do you live near New York? Do you love metaphors in material? Are you a fashionista? A shoe-aholic?

If so, I highly recommend the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibit “Killer Heels:  The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe.” Interestingly, curator Lisa Small didn’t arrange the shoes chronologically but, rather, in categories. In doing so, visitors learn historical contexts for modern inspiration. (exhibit runs until February 15)

As a writer, I didn’t just see shoes; I saw characters. One grimaced as she rubbed her bound feet. One strutted down the runway in her silver, architectural heels. One cantered alongside Mr. Tumnus in Narnia. And me? I stomped atop Horse Shoes, hand-on-hips, then swished my black velvet cape rimmed in red as I turned my back on the Demons and galloped into the forest where the fairies and elves awaited my return.

(Please excuse the poor photo quality. Shoes were behind glass in dark rooms.)

Jean Paul Gaultier (French) Nude Tattoo Boots, 2012, leather, plastic, metal

Jean Paul Gaultier (French), Nude Tattoo Boots, 2012, leather, plastic, metal

Manchu Woman's Shoe (Chinese), Qing Dynasty 19th century, cotton, embroidered satin-weave silk

Manchu Woman’s Shoe (Chinese), Qing Dynasty 19th century, cotton, embroidered satin-weave silk

Prada (Italian) Fuoco Silk and Lizard Platform, 2013

Prada (Italian), Fuoco Silk and Lizard Platform, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winde Rienstra (Dutch), Shutter Heel, 2013, Laser cut PerSpex (Plexiglas), screws, elastic, wooden beads

Winde Rienstra (Dutch), Shutter Heel, 2013, Laser cut PerSpex (Plexiglas), screws, elastic, wooden beads

Shoise, Matilda Maroti and Petra Hogstrom (Swedish) 2013, "Mother of Pearl:

Shoise, Matilda Maroti and Petra Hogstrom (Swedish) 2013, “Mother of Pearl:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zaha Hadid X United (Iraqi) "Nova", 2013, chromed vinyl rubber, kid napa leather, fiberglass

Zaha Hadid X United (Iraqi), Nova, 2013, chromed vinyl rubber, kid napa leather, fiberglass

Christian Louboutin (French) 2011-2012, "Deja Vu", patent leather, suede, ornamental eyes

Christian Louboutin (French), Deja Vu, 2011-12, patent leather, suede, ornamental eyes

George Sakier (American), 1930's-1940's,  "Glass"

George Sakier (American), 1930’s-1940’s, Glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolce & Gabbana boots (Italian)

Dolce & Gabbana boots (Italian)

Sputniko! (Japanese/British) 2012, "Healing Fukushima"

Sputniko! (Japanese/British), 2012, Healing Fukushima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoes for Women's Bound Feet (Chinese) 19th century Qing Dynasty, embroidered satin, wood, paper

Shoes for Women’s Bound Feet (Chinese) 19th century Qing Dynasty, embroidered satin, wood, paper

Christian Louboutin (French) 2011-2012, "Puck", goatskin, leather

Christian Louboutin (French), 2011-12, Puck, goatskin, leather

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masayakushino (Japanese) 2013, "Stairway to Heaven", goatskin, baby lamb, crow feather

Masayakushino (Japanese), 2013, Stairway to Heaven, goatskin, baby lamb, crow feather

Iris Schiefertein (German) 2006, "Horse Shoes 3", horse fur, horse hoof, wood, zipper

Iris Schieferstein (German), 2006, Horse Shoes 3, horse fur, horse hoof, wood, zipper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Horse Shoes 3"

“Horse Shoes 3”

 

 

Day Trippers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hon, have you seen the exhibit? What did you think? Which shoe on display here is your favorite? 

My Writing Process (Bunny Hop) Blog Hop

A Florida bunny.

A Florida bunny.

Tween Daughter dressed up as the Easter Bunny.

Tween Daughter dressed up as the Easter Bunny for Halloween.

Thanks to Laura Sibson, I am participating in a “My Writing Process” Blog Hop. I added the Bunny Hop part as a nod to Easter, Spring, and my own beautiful Tween Bunny who is my first reader.

Laura Sibson

Laura Sibson

Laura earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts after discovering a passion for writing novels geared toward teens. Laura’s a fellow runner (she runs much longer distances than me), dog-walker, coffee-drinker, “ingester-of-pop culture,” and mom of teens. She lives in suburban Philadelphia and has impressed me with her knowledge of “Bawlmor” accents.

Laura describes the paranormal young adult novel she’s writing on her blog, Laura Sibson, A journey toward writing dangerously. Her novel sounds spooky and fascinating, and it involves the Black Aggie, a real statue that used to reside a stone’s throw away from my parents’ house, in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

Do you think its a coincidence that Laura connected with a Bmore girl? I don’t know, hon. You’ll have to ask her!

My Writing Process Questions and Answers:

What are you working on?

Coco, the main character in my chapter book is based on a true story and a real dog. An article describing how a dog ended up on a NJ Transit train headed to Manhattan appeared in my local paper. We had recently adopted a puppy. A story was born! Coco’s inherent doggie abilities and desire to find bones will, hopefully, lead him on many adventures (meaning more chapter books).

In the picture book series I’m writing, my five year-old main character wanted to become a superhero just like his big brother. In the first book, he did it! Now he’s off to conquer the world (and his fears) as the fastest superhero ever.  I’m working on books about the day he thought his mommy was a zombie and about the time he battled deep sea creatures at the town pool.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Guess what one of my goals is? Hint: it’s in the name of my blog.  ENERGY!

I hope my writing grabs readers from the get-go! My manuscripts are populated by relatable characters, alliteration, funny phrases, and a dash of silliness. The universal theme underlying all of my manuscripts is family.  Whether the action revolves around siblings or parents and their children, the action happens between the humor and heart.

Lucy, the model for Coco Mercado.

Lucy, the model for Coco Mercado.

In my chapter book, Coco stays true to his doggie characteristics, but his impulsivity takes him to unexpected places. He meets a zany cast of characters along the way and, inadvertently, saves the day while on the search for the perfect bone. This chapter book (and the others I plan to write), will fill the gap for elementary school kids who are one step beyond First Readers but not yet ready for longer chapter books.

My nephew, my muse.

My nephew, my muse.

Logan, my latest picture book‘s main character, is just like real little boys. How do I know? Because he’s a compilation of my “superhero” nephew, my son, and the boys I teach at pre-school and at the elementary school. My nephew says, “Activate! Pshht! Pow!” So does Logan. My nephew says things are “mega.”  So does Logan. Sibling rivalry amongst my triplets plus one more was rampant.  My hope is that kids will love Logan and his brother’s vivid imaginations while parents will appreciate the heart of the story.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because ideas pop into my head, words and phrases tumble off my tongue, and characters stand in front of me, tail wagging and arms crossed, begging to be brought to life.

I write because the child inside of me connects to children from toddlers to teenagers.  I still love playing in a sandbox, climbing to the top of the swingset, and sledding down a hill at lightning speed.

I write because I believe stories are magical.

How does your writing process work?

An idea or a character or a turn of phrase will start off as a wisp of thought. The ideas, characters and turns of phrases that stay in my head like a song-on-the-radio-you-can’t-stop-singing must be written down. If scenes start appearing in my mind’s eye, while I’m driving, running errands, walking Lucy and, always, when I try to go to sleep, then I have to get my thoughts on paper. The process has begun.

First drafts go to my wonderful critique group. I revise. Second drafts are critiqued. I revise.  Etc!

My most important revision tools are a thesaurus, dictionary, rhyming dictionary and critiques from my group (or an editor or agent, if I’m lucky). More importantly, I take my watch off, don’t answer the phone, concentrate on listening to how my characters would speak and inhabit the world I’ve created.

Last November, I signed up for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo challenge to come up with a new picture book idea for a month.  Thirty new ideas are now residing in my Idea Box.

Joining the My Writing Process Blog Hop, I’d like to introduce you to (drumroll, please):

Michelle Karéne

Michelle Karéne

 Michelle Karéne

Michelle and I connected on Twitter (Michelle on Twitter, me on Twitter).  Michelle not only has a blog called Michelle Karéne, Children’s Author, is a member of SCBWI and an aspiring children’s writer, she earned her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering, works for a biotechnology company, and has published fifteen articles in various scientific journals. Michelle’s short story, “Magnolia Fall,” will be published in the 14th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection. Michelle, who lives in North Carolina with her family, blogs about her chapter book and young adult works-in-progress, funny things her three daughters say, nature photographs and dinner ideas.  I hope you’ll check out her blog.

Thanks for reading, hon!

 

 

 

 

 

Icy Compostions

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Nature creates its own composition of Winter ice and Fall leaves.

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The ice magnifies the brick’s texture, creating a pointillist-type palette of colors.

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In my imagination, this piece of ice is the head of an Ice Creature.

IMG_1011The ice is all angles and edges.

IMG_1010Was Mother Nature inspired by Piet Mondrian?

“I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects.”

Mondrian