winter in Woods Hole

I rode the bike path to Woods Hole today. The path is plowed and mostly clear of snow and ice, so I bundled up in a ski mask and mittens and joined the walkers on the path. Didn’t see one other bicyclist.

view of Vineyard Sound from the bike path

The day was so crystal clear and calm!  Some people who just come to the Cape in the summer can’t imagine what it’s like here off-season.

Fishmonger's Cafe, Water St., Woods Hole

The sidewalks are empty and the drawbridge hardly ever goes up.

Row boats rest upside down.

Eel Pond dock, Woods Hole

The color palette is blue, gray and red.

Millfield St., Woods Hole

It was a lovely ride around town.  Happy New Year!

School St., Woods Hole

patiently waiting for books

“George’s Chair” fabric relief mid 1990’s

OK, here’s the situation— basically, my books, both Pocketful of Posies and Felt Wee Folk, are sold out. The publishers are out of stock, distributors have none and Amazon is out. They are both being re-printed, with shipments scheduled to arrive from mid to late January. This situation has only come up in the past week or two, so I think that most people were able to buy copies for Christmas. This is a new experience for me. After 20 years in the book business, I’m used to the opposite problem–getting a letter from the publisher saying my book is declared OOP (out of print)  because there have not been enough sales to justify reprinting. So, I’m not complaining about reprints, it’s just that the timing is all off!

According to C&T Publishing, Michaels bought a large quantity of Felt Wee Folk, so they might have some. With their discount coupon, that can be a good deal! After 7 years and 50,000 copies sold, it’s nice to hear about people who are just discovering it. I know that I’m way overdue for another how-to book, but just can’t bring myself to take on such a big project right now. For one thing, I’m having too much fun with this blog!

If you’re trying to get a copy of Pocketful of Posies, some might still be in book stores scattered around the country. As I’ve mentioned before, my local book store, Eight Cousins stocked up ahead of time and has some signed copies available (508.548.5548).

If you already have my books, I hope that you can curl up in a comfy chair this cold January and enjoy them!

AMAZON UPDATE 1/9/11: Pocketful of Posies is now in stock, Felt Wee Folk is still unavailable. Update 11/13: Autographed copies are available in my Etsy Shop.

Close-ups (foliage)

This series of close-ups shows the progression of my stitching technique and style over 20 years of illustrating children’s books. The first picture shows a detail of the banana trail that Savi the elephant follows through the jungle in The Way Home (1991). Read the story about making The Way Home here.

from "The Way Home" 1991

I made a stencil and painted grass on the velveteen background in The Way Home‘s sequel, Come to my Party (1993).

from "Come to My Party" 1993

Jump ahead a dozen years and I’m embroidering blades of grass and sewing glass beads to a wool felt background in the board book, Hey! Diddle, Diddle.

detail from "Hey! Diddle, Diddle" 2005

And still obsessing over french knots in Jack and Jill.

detail from "Jack and Jill" 2006

This one shows a small section of the illustration from the song One misty moisty morning in my most recent book, POCKETFUL OF POSIES . If you are having difficulty finding a copy of the book, it’s because the first printing has sold out. My local bookstore, Eight Cousins, stocked up, so they might still have some (508.548.5548). The situation will soon be remedied, as the second printing will arrive from Hong Kong in mid-January.

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

Yuletide wreath

I recently picked some rose hips and other winter berries along the bike path to Woods Hole.

They were thorny and nasty to pick with wool gloves. I loaded them into my bicycle basket.

I cut off the thorn tips before making a wreath.

To add some greenery, I pruned a holly bush in our yard. More sharp points to deal with.

I used green wire to tie the holly and winter berry branches to a wreath form.

It’s now hung on our front door. Welcome Yule!

Pocketful of Borders: Little Jack Horner

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner/Eating a Christmas pie/ He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum/ And said, “What a good boy am I.”

Little Jack Horner from “Pocketful of Posies”
I made this illustration toward the end of the three-year Pocketful of Posies project. I was never happy with the original sketch and by the time I started working on it years later, had changed the design entirely. At first, Jack was sitting under a Christmas tree in an interior domestic scene. The next thing I knew, the wall had disappeared and Jack was half way inside and halfway out. He was still sitting with his pie, but he had let in the wintry outside. I never seem to be satisfied with a design, until nature bursts in.

After the artwork was photographed for the book, I stitched a felt border and framed the picture, which is now touring in the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit.

I like using variegated embroidery floss whenever possible. It adds a range of hues and a vibrancy that solid colored threads lack.

The snow on the roof top and in the sky is made from circular sections cut out of lace. Inside the driftwood house, the area behind Jack and the tree is textured with tiny stitches of different colored threads.

Little Jack Horner from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

Favorites: Mimi’s ceramic ornaments

Decorating our Christmas tree is a trip down memory lane. We have some really old decorations and ornaments that I showed last year (here), but some of my favorites are ones we’ve added more recently, like 27 years ago, when I bought these ceramic ornaments by Mimi Kirchner.

I got this baby one in 1983, the year my son Peter was born. Mimi and I met each other about 30 years ago, when we were both members of the Christmas Store coop (now Sign of the Dove).

At this time, Mimi worked in ceramics, making wonderful hand painted bowls, dishes and ornaments. Years later, after her studio was destroyed by fire, she changed mediums and started making her distinctive dolls. I can see her style carrying through to her present work, which you see on her blog here. Also, see her Tiny World pin cushions on an earlier post here.

Jakob and the ring around a roses book

Last week I heard from a mother whose 2-year-old son has latched onto his copy of my new book something fierce. I’ve heard a lot of compliments from grownups, but the account of this little boy and the “ring around a roses book” made me feel tingly inside, like the whole project was worth it. His mother, Kitty Flynn writes, “At 26 months, Jakob can recite most of the rhymes from Pocketful of Posies. Not surprising, since he went on a Pocketful binge for a few weeks. That’s the only book he wanted to look at, the only book he wanted read to him.

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

“Baa Baa, Black Sheep” was the first one he regaled us with. (there were about 3 days straight when that’s pretty much all he said. Over and over. Really, Really fast).


Next was “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” delivered in his own cadence: “up above the world SO high/ Like a diamond in THE SKY.”


detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

I’ve lost track of how many he knows. We hear them when he wakes, we hear him them when he’s falling asleep. We read the book during meals, he brings it with him for diaper changes (TMI? Sorry).

from Pocketful of Posies"

from “Pocketful of Posies”

I’ve found him a couple of times sitting quietly (you have no idea how bizarre it is to see him sitting quietly) looking intently at the book. He’ll look up and say, “Reading a book. This a good page.” And I have no doubt that the lightning fast recitations are being soaked up by his 13 month old sister, who is just beginning to say words. I want you to know that your collection has made a real and lasting impression on one language-loving little boy and his family. So, if anyone asks, why do we need another nursery rhyme book, just tell them to come talk to me.”

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Jakob and his family live in the Boston area, so they are planning on visiting the Pocketful of Posies original art exhibit at the Danforth Museum in Framingham. I wish I could be there to see his reaction!

Book supply update: Pocketful of Posies has been selling so well that the publisher and all book distributors have sold out of the first printing. The new print run isn’t scheduled to arrive from Hong Kong until mid-January, so whatever supplies bookstores and online retailers have in stock is it for now. When I first heard about this, I thought about the Cabbage Patch doll craze in the 80’s and imagined customers fighting in stores for their copy of “Posies”! Luckily, my local bookstore, Eight Cousins, planned ahead and stocked up. There are some autographed copies still available at 508.548.5548.