Posies Tree @ Highfield this season

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I am pleased to announce the the “Pocketful of Posies” tree has returned for another season–this year it is set up in the front entrance of Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA.  The tree, which is decorated with nursery rhyme themed ornaments/vignettes based on my book, Pocketful of Posies, will be on display during Holidays at Highfield (Nov. 29 – Dec. 8, noon ~ 4pm).  My dollhouse and 5 original fabric relief illustrations from my book, In the Heart are also on display.

I made the ornaments for last year’s Family Trees event at the Concord Museum and I was happy to bring them back for this year’s event at Highfield Hall.

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Here are closeups of some of the ornaments/vignettes.

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The 10 day event got off to a great start, with lots and lots of visitors stopping by Highfield on Friday. The building is beautifully decorated upstairs and downstairs. I feel honored to be a part of such a fun and lively event!
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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?

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Family Tree02 by Salley Mavor

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Queen of hearts by Salley Mavor

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Crooked Man by Salley Mavor

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Old King Cole by Salley Mavor

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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.

Family Trees: thread spool garland

I’ve just about finished decorating the Pocketful of Posies tree for Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature at the Concord Museum. Early Monday morning, I’m driving everything up to Concord, the day after my Open Studio, which you can find out about here. I have to remove my decorations and take the tree apart on Sunday night and reassemble it again in the museum. There will be over 30 trees set up around the museum, all representing different children’s books. All of the trees, except for mine and another illustrator’s,  are being decorated by museum volunteers, who have been preparing for months.  So the museum will be swarming with industrious volunteers. They’ve promised lunch for us all!

My tree is dotted with little vignettes  that serve as stages for the nursery rhyme doll characters. I added a garland strung with old wooden thread spools and beads. I used some J&P Coats and Star brand cotton thread that my grandmother had about 50 years ago. To supplement my supply, I bought some empty wooden spools and wound them with yarn.

Hung in loops on the tree, the spool garland breaks up the space, almost like doodles in a notebook.

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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.