There’s nothing like the sight of a sleeping baby. I’m constantly on the lookout for natural objects that can be used as beds for my dolls. A baby can curl up in a cradle made from half a walnut-shell.
This walnut is bigger than most that you can buy in a bag at the super market. I usually pick out the larger ones during Thanksgiving season, when the stores sell them in loose bins. I am a curious sight, digging through the box, determined to find the biggest ones. To make the nuts more easy to split open, bake them in a low oven at about 200 degrees for a few hours. They start to crack along the center seam and you can then break them open with a knife. You can also cut the shells open with a fine saw. In the above illustration from my up-coming book, Pocketful of Posies (Sept. 2010), I sawed half a walnut-shell in half again lengthwise, so that the side could be seen in relief.
This blue suited baby is lying on real reindeer moss in a walnut-shell. He is part of an illustration from my board book, Wee Willie Winkie, on the page that says, “Are the children in their beds?” This image is available as a note card in my Etsy Shop. I edged the felt leaf with wire to give it a curvy, raised lip that fits the shape of the walnut. You can glue the shell in place or drill holes and sew it like a button.