First, let me apologize for not offering my typical, babbling, mid-week post for the past few weeks. I am in the final planning stages of a pretty big author/reader event to be held in Alderson, WV on April 25th. We are calling it Lions and Authors and Books... Oh My! and if you take a minute to check out our Facebook event page, you will find that it is a day long extravaganza featuring 24+ authors with a wide variety of books, games and interactive activities, presentations, food, a Cub's Corner for the younglings, and an evening of music and poetry by internationally loved artists. It is going to be amazing! The problem is that it is also requiring quite a bit of my time and energy, so this blog has been suffering. I am hoping that my brain will not feel quite so much like oatmeal by mid-May and I will be able to get back on track with some (hopefully) helpful hints and information that will go well with the warming weather!
In other important news, I also (FINALLY) stopped putting off moving Fiddlebug to a new publishing option. I should have done this quite a while ago, but hated giving up the cover. Luckily, this 2nd edition gave me the opportunity to fix a few embarrassing errors (I'm sure there are still a few in there, so no fear of perfection!), size the book so that it will fit in better with my future plans for Fiddlebug and his friends, and get the price down considerably. I know that I still can't compete with the big guys as far as price goes, but I hope you understand that I do try my best to be affordable while dealing with color illustrations and postage increases. As things stand, the new Fiddlebug book - whose cover turned out adorable in my very biased opinion - is just over half of what the 1st one cost, and if you order through me, that cost covers your tax and postage as well. I think it's a definite improvement!
So, I hope you will forgive my quiet for a little bit longer. I look forward to getting back to normal soon! Here's to spring and all the promise it brings!
Bart made a very special flower pot. He got the giggles when he showed it to his friends because instead of his flowers being planted INSIDE the pot, they are glued all over the OUTSIDE of it! He’s planning to give it to Mother Bat so she can enjoy some bright daytime flowers that don’t need any sunshine inside their cozy cave. The best thing is that it’s just the right size to hold a small plant or Mother Bat’s crafting supplies. Bart is sure it will brighten his mother’s day no matter what she decides to keep in it. Here are Bart’s directions if you would like to make one too:
What you need:
1 empty coffee can (the one used here is the cardboard variety)
Felt, craft foam sheets, construction paper and/or heavy card stock in a variety of bright colors
Green fuzzy pipe cleaners
Glue (I admit, I used a hot glue gun, but any glue will work with time and patience)
What you do:
1) Remove the wrapper from the empty coffee can and paint it a nice bright color.
2) While the paint is drying, cut flower shapes from the felt, foam sheets, or paper you chose. They don’t have to look like real flowers, and you can choose to make them all the same shape or experiment with different shapes.
3) Cut leaf shapes from green felt, foam or paper too
4) Glue your flowers together.
5) When the flowers are dry, glue a green pipe cleaner to them like a stem.
6) When the paint is dry on the coffee can, glue the stems of the flowers around the can so the bright flower faces are at different heights.
7) Glue the leaves to the can as well.
8) You can add the coffee can lid to the bottom of the can if you plan to keep a plant in your new flower pot. You can also add the coffee can lid to the top and poke holes in it to hold paint brushes if you’d like. Or you can just leave it off entirely.
9) Last but not least, brighten someone’s day with your latest creation!
Mother Bat’s preschool class has been learning about weather. Last week they learned that clouds are made of drops of water that are so tiny they get caught up in the air. If a lot of tiny drops get caught up in the same place and rise way up into the sky, they form big puffy clouds. If they go even higher up, the air gets so cold that they freeze and make feathery looking clouds. Sometimes they even hang out very close to the ground and make fog. This week Mother Bat will be teaching that when a cloud gets too many tiny drops of water, those drops will start sticking together and getting heavier. When the bigger drops are too heavy for the air to hold up, they fall back down to the ground as rain. Since it’s been raining a lot in Fiddlebug’s Forest lately, Mother Bat thought of a fun project for her class to celebrate the rainy weather. She will show them how to make a rain gauge so they can see how much rain has fallen during a storm! If you would like to make one too, just follow her easy directions below.
What you need:
1 clear plastic container with smooth, straight sides (I chose an empty sugar free drink mix container) NOTE: To be accurate, this clear container should be exactly 1 inch in diameter. My rain gauge is more for fun than for accuracy.
A permanent marker (and a big person to help keep it off of anything it might stain)
A craft stick
Water proof glue (and a big person to help)
A sheet of star stickers
Clear nail polish
A notebook to keep track of your rainfall (optional)
What you do:
1) Place the ruler inside (or next to) the plastic container with the 1 inch mark closest to the bottom. Make sure the ruler is pressed tightly against the inside wall closest to you and that you can read the marks through the plastic.
2) Ask your big person to help by making a mark on the outside of the plastic at each inch mark on the ruler. This is so you will know where to put your decorations in order to be able to read your gauge.
3) Stick 1 star on the bottom mark. Mother Dragon is using the two side “arms” of the star as her inch mark. That way she will know when the rain water is right at each inch.
4) Put 2 star stickers at the second mark, 3 at the third, and so on. If you add a star at each mark you will be able to easily see how many inches of rain water are in the container.
5) Now paint a coat of clear nail polish over your stars to help them stay waterproof.
6) When the nail polish is dry, ask your big person to glue the craft stick onto the back of the container so it sticks down about 3 inches on the bottom. That part will poke into the ground or a potted plant and hold the rain gauge upright.
7) Now all you have to do is find a nice place that is out in the open where rain can fall into your container during the next storm. After the storm, take your big person outside with you. Check your rain gauge carefully. You will be able to see how full of rain water the container is just by looking through it to see which line of stars is closest to the top of the water.
8) If you are keeping track of how much rain has fallen in your area, have your big person help you mark it in your notebook. An easy way to do that is to draw a picture of your rain gauge on each page. You can color in the same amount on your picture as the container is holding and fill in the date and time of your storm!
Being a homeschooling parent for 13 years and an independent author/illustrator makes a person learn quite a bit about a lot of things. Now it's time to pass it on!