Closeups (sleep)


This close-up of a wee milkweed baby is also pictured in my newest card, which you can see in my Etsy shop here. She’s less than 2″ long.

ITHmoonnightWMThe best bedtime stories end with a sleeping child. This is a detail from the last illustration from my 2001 picture book, In the Heart.

gotobedWM“Go to bed second, a golden pheasant.” detail from Pocketful of Posies.

birdasleepWMThis sleeping bird is from my first book, The Way Home. Read about the making of this book here.

PFOPpg37WMLittle Boy Blue is asleep under the haystack. detail from Pocketful of Posies.

PFOPpg55WM“To bed, to bed”, says sleepy head. Detail from Pocketful of Posies.

sleepingonstoneWMA slumbering fairy on the warm rocks. He’s 2″ long.

PFOPsleepWMOne shoe off, the other shoe on, deedle, deedle, dumpling, my son John. Detail from Pocketful of Posies.


Are the children in their beds? Detail from Wee Willie Winkie board book.

Family Trees: more ornaments

Jack and Jill by Salley Mavor

Before we leave on our trip, I want to show more pictures of my Pocketful of Posies tree. To see these ornaments in person, visit the Family Trees event at the Concord Museum, which will continue until January 1st, 2013. Time is limited, so I’m just going to post pictures. Can you guess which nursery rhymes are depicted in the individual ornaments?




Family Tree02 by Salley Mavor


Queen of hearts by Salley Mavor



Crooked Man by Salley Mavor


Old King Cole by Salley Mavor


Polly is going to Antarctica!

Congratulations to quilt designer Erin Russek, who not only answered correctly that Polly is going on a cruise to Antarctica, but was the first person to write in an answer! She will be getting a personally autographed copy of Mary Had a Little Lamb. There were some great guesses for places all over, including several countries along the Andes. I hope that Polly’s new outfit keeps her warm in Antarctica–she insisted on wearing her skirt, though!  We will be going through South America and stopping in warm Santiago, Chile for a night on the way to the tip of Argentina, where we will board a ship. We’ll try to send pictures from down under, depending on internet excess. If not, see you in a few weeks!

Where is Polly Doll going next?

Polly Doll is going on a trip next month and her regular outfit will not do! She loved Oregon (see here) and San Francisco (see here), but missed the flight to Ireland. For this next excursion, she is determined to go along. She will need to bring  some warm clothes to wear. Can you guess where she’s going?

She’ll be leaving her straw hat at home and will wear her new red coat and hat, warm mittens and Ugg style boots (size 3/4″).

This is a clue: Polly will be heading south from her home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The first person to answer correctly (on this blog) before she leaves in a week, gets a prize. International contestants are welcome!

The prize is…

an autographed paperback copy of my book, Mary Had a Little Lamb. Good Luck! Oh, and I will be tagging along, too. That means my Etsy shop will be on vacation from Dec. 6 to 20, so order early for Christmas!

Family Trees: Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…in a Christmas tree? This was one of the first ornaments I made for the Family Trees event at the Concord Museum. And, it is one of the few that I remembered to photograph during the process. The tree is covered with decorations based on my picture book Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. This sketch of Humpty Dumpty is originally about 1 inch tall.

While working on it, I figured out how to make a wooden shelf for the wall to sit on. Every thing is covered in stitched felt, including the wood shelf, wall and the teardrop shaped wire frame. I bought an egg sized wooden egg at a craft store, painted it and dressed the round body in embroidered striped felt “pants”. A white belt made of antique trim finished off the waste band.

I drilled holes for the arms and legs and wrapped the wire hands and pipe cleaner limbs with thread. A bow tie seemed appropriate for this dandy!

I sewed some wee felt shoes onto his feet, with chain-stitched soles.

I’ve had the little brown metal bowler for ages and decided it would be a perfect hat for Humpty. White glue holds it aloft his pointy head. I made the stone wall from an appliqued felt covered piece of wood.

Humpty Dumpty waves cheerfully from his stone perch, unaware of his impending fall! See all of the posts about the Pocketful of Posies tree here.

A total of 38 decorated trees inspired by classic and contemporary children’s books are on display at the Concord Museum until January 1, 2013.

Family Trees: setting up the tree

This is what the Pocketful of Posies  tree looked like in my studio before it was taken all apart and transported to its next destination, the Family Trees exhibit at the Concord Museum in Concord MA. See blog posts about making the Posies book  here.

On Monday, I drove up to Concord, through morning rush hour traffic on Rt. 128 with my Subaru full of  artificial tree limbs and Pocketful of Posies felt ornaments. By the time I arrived at the Concord Museum, dozens of volunteers were already setting up their trees for the Family Trees exhibit. There will be over 30 decorated trees throughout the museum, all based on classic and new children’s books.  The museum describes itself as the gateway to Concord’s remarkable revolutionary history. I was led through a maze of narrow, winding hallways, past the Emerson Room and the Thoreau Room, to my assigned location, the blue room.

I got right to work, assembling the tree and hanging the larger parts, including the thread spool garlands and felt-covered wire book title. A volunteer was nice enough to take my picture during the process. Below is a page from my sketch book from last spring, when I started jotting down ideas for the tree. I wanted to make vignettes, that would act as hanging stages for the different nursery rhymes.

I hung dolls and felt purses that I had made years earlier, too.  Some were sample projects from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. I also scattered yellow painted wooden stars around the tree. Many other tree decorators came by to see what I was doing. They couldn’t believe that I had made everything by hand. One woman asked, “Are you crazy?” To tell the truth, I think working this way prevents me from going crazy.

I really like the way the tree looks in the blue room with the antique furnishings and bright museum lighting. It also has a security fence, so I don’t have to worry about ornaments walking away.

If you live in the Boston area, go see this exhibit! It opened on Nov. 21st and will run through January 1, 2013.  All ages will enjoy a visit to Family Trees this holiday season (it’s held every year). If you want to see more about the tree on my blog, stay tuned, because I’ll be writing several posts, with close-ups of the individual ornaments.

Open Studio Nov. 18th

Everyone is invited to come to my studio in Falmouth, MA (Cape Cod) on Sunday,  November 18th, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Every few years, I like to open my studio to the public when there’s something special to show, usually when a big project is complete. That way people in my area can get a preview before my work is delivered elsewhere. I’m almost finished making decorations for a tree based on my book Pocketful of Posies, which will be included in Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature at the Concord Museum, Concord, MA. Several friends have asked if they can see the tree before I bring it to Concord, so I spontaneously decided to invite the world over, too. The picture above was taken a week ago and I’ve made more decorations since then, so by the 18th, the tree will be full of dolls and strung with garlands made of thread spools!

Oh, my, what have I done? This means I have a week to finish the tree and clean up the studio! Not too much fixing up, though–it will still look like a busy work place. Birds of Beebe Woods will be in the studio, too, before it is delivered to the Plymouth Antiquarian Society’s Hedge House Museum for their Fairy Christmas celebration. By the way, the Pocketful of Posies traveling exhibit will be there next summer.

Mimi visits!

My friend and maker of wonderful things, Mimi Kirchner drove down from Arlington on Monday and we spent the day together. For those of you who haven’t discovered Mimi, visit her blog, Doll, as soon as you read this post. She  inspired me to write my own blog and just recently, to open an Etsy shop. We met 30 years ago, when we were members of the Christmas Store, a seasonal craft coop in Cambridge, MA. We always have a lot to talk about because we’re interested in the same kind of things and our lives have taken us in similar directions, both personally and professionally. Mimi brought a Tattoo magazine that features her tattooed dolls in their Christmas gift guide. She also showed me the new Land of Nod catalog that includes several of her doll designs. It was a glorious fall day and we talked about art and our lives as  we walked from my house, through Beebe Woods and into Falmouth center to have lunch. It was great to see you, Mimi!

Self Portrait in Cotuit show

Self-Portrait detail, 2007

One of my fabric relief pieces, Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion is on display this summer at the Cotuit Center for the Arts in Cotuit on Cape Cod. It’s included in the PORTRAITS show upstairs through July 22, 2012. The Center’s main floor gallery is showing portraits by super realist painter Jon Friedman. I hope that summer visitors to the Cape will stop in to take a look!

FREE Felt Wee Folk Fairy Poster (left) with the purchase of a signed SELF PORTRAIT: A Personal History of Fashion Poster (pictured below) from my Etsy Shop. All posters are 18″ x 24″.

ALSO- Fairy poster is included with the purchase of my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects from my Etsy shop.

Self Portrait Poster

Mom’s look-a-like doll

When I visited my sister Anne this past spring, she brought out our mother’s look-a-like doll. Mom’s doll was made by our great-aunt, Alma Salley.

Here’s a picture of Mom with her father in the early 1930′s. Mom described him as a kind, gentle man and I love seeing photos of them together. We never knew him, as he died before his grandchildren were born.

 Anne and I remember receiving exquisite doll clothes made by Alma when we were young. We didn’t see our Salley relatives very often, as they all lived in South Carolina and we were in New England. This is an old painted photo of Alma, who was born in the 1880′s and lived through a lot of changes, well into her 90′s.

This photo shows my great grandparents and their five daughters. My grandmother, Louise (second from the left), was the only one who left the south. After 8 years of courting, she finally gave in and moved north to Rhode Island, to marry my grandfather. By that time, she was 35 and he was 45, old newly weds for their era, but common by today’s standards. The “Salley girls” were famous in Orangeburg, SC for their spirited independence and all five of them went on to graduate from college. Even though there weren’t any males to carry on the family surname, subsequent generations have several first named Salleys, like myself. We are descended from Henry Salley, who came to America along with a group of other French Huguenots who founded Orangeburg, South Carolina in the early 1700′s.  

Dr. Michael and Adele Salley and their daughters, circa 1900