Spring has arrived! And over here in Tell Me a Story, that means spring books. To name all my favorites would take ages, so I've put together a little sampling from our selection in the store that I hope you will love as much as I do!
How Groundhog's Garden Grew: One day a hungry Little Groundhog tries to eat some vegetables out of Squirrel's garden and Squirrel decides to teach his new friend all about what it would take to grow a garden of his own. From collecting seeds to planting them in the spring and nurturing the plants as they grow, this wonderful book takes you on the complete journey. Stunning illustrations and thorough research on plants and insects make this lovely story an engrossing read, as well as an amazing picture book introduction to how plants grow.
James Herriot's Treasury for Children: Herriot’s well-loved tales of his life as a rural British veterinarian hold the timeless qualities of family affection, humor, loyalty, appreciation for nature, and love of animals. In the Audio Version the farmyard world of Herriot's Yorkshire is brought to vibrant life in this collection of award-winning animal stories read by actor Jim Dale, the narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks. It includes eight short stories, each roughly 10 minutes in duration.
The Runaway Bunny: At some point or another, all little ones dream up ways to run away. In this classic and enchanting tale a little rabbit who wants to run away tells his mother how he will escape, but she is always right behind him. The illustrations are also completely wonderful!
The Secret Garden: This magical tale comes alive in the pages of this beautiful classic illustrated by Tasha Tudor. It is the inspiring story of Mary, a selfish and unloved young girl and her equally selfish invalid cousin, Colin. When they meet shy Dickon and his animal friends, their lives change. As they work together to save their garden, its healing power helps transform their lives.
Sunflower Houses: A magical introduction to gardening for children, "Sunflower Houses" celebrates the lore of a garden, the joy of interacting with nature, and the memories of childhood gardens through story-like narrative and charming illustrations.
Am I Really Different?: Celebrate the unique differences in all of us! Sweetly illustrated in soft pastels, this book gently makes the point that we are all unique and special, and those unique qualities should be celebrated. This book is perfect for helping youngsters embrace all the wonderful qualities that make them the delightful little ones they are! Happy spring reading!
And now for the winner of our Runaway Bunny and Snow White Rabbit giveaway! The winner is...
... Sarah M. who wrote:
"We love this story, and surprisingly, don't have it! Love that little bunny, too. He looks so real :)"
Thank you to everyone who participated!
*Last time in Books and Stories: The Runaway Bunny
After last Christmas,I was completely out of brown felt with all the making of fairies and fairy houses, so the first batch of dyeing this year is brown. I use Black Walnut husks/shells to get the color just right. Black Walnut trees (Juglans nigra) are native to the US and were used by Native Peoples to dye. I started with 1lb of shells covering them with warm water till they just started to float, and then soaked them overnight. I did this in Pyrex glass containers using their rubber covers to keep the dye away from interested cats we share our home with. It is also important to keep the dye safe from your little ones who may be watching you as you dye. Walnut shells will stain quickly, using tongs and rubber/latex gloves can help keep your hands from getting stained. I used this liquid for the first dye bath but continued to refill the water that was covering the shells with hot water from the sink and within a hour or two you will have more dye available to add to your dye bath. I just kept using the shells until they are done giving their stain. When you are done with the shells they can be composted, but keep in mind they have a toxin in them that can affect other plants and it takes several months of composting for it to break down (follow this link for more information). *Please also note if you are sensitive to nuts do not use Black Walnut Shells to dye for brown.
I will move my dyeing operation outside when the warm weather returns, but for now it's on the kitchen stove. My next step was to pour the dye from the overnight soaking of the shells into a stainless steel pot on low heat, letting it just simmer, if it starts to boil reduce and let it cool off just a bit. Do not place the cover on the pot, and have your kitchen vent fan on. Black Walnut Shells contain tannin a natural mordant so you do not need to add a mordant to your pre-soaking of the fiber, just soak your wool felt or fiber for several hours in warm water then place in the dye bath. *Another note, this dye is hard on silk fibers but fine for wool or cotton. Good color can also be achieved through prolonged cold steeping of hulls and fibers.
When removing the felt from the dye pot I hold it over the pot with metal tongs and let it steam dry, the natural nature of felt lets the dye drain quickly, but the art can be, in leaving a little in, here or there, to give it a natural variation. I first transfer the felt to a glass bowl and let it finish steaming from the dye bath and moving it around as the dye continues to dry, letting it settle on different parts of the felt. Above is my spring project with the first of the brown felt. This Egg Cozy Pattern can make an Egg Cozy, or a finger puppet and of course a stuffed bunny when a bottom is sewn on.
I hope you enjoy dyeing as much as I did!
Happy Spring to all!
The days leading up to the first day of spring were glorious. Filled with sunshine, warm weather and song birds. The days following that first day, stood in stark contrast. Frigid temperatures and heavy snow signaled that winter wasn't done just yet.
Yet through the wind, and cold, and snow, spring is pushing through.
Nature is full of metaphors, most of which dwell in the realm of cliche by this day and age, but then again, I don't really care. The natural world around us has dictated our survival and our way of life for thousands of years. Spring heralds both the end and the beginning of the life cycle. She is persistent, bright, and full of growth. She is also muddy and unpredictable, much like life really.
The past few years I have had the great pleasure to be an observer. To notice all the little things nature has to offer, and if I'm lucky, my camera is there with me to capture the moment. The arrival of the Meadow Lark, the first rumbles of thunder, the changing of the leaves and the first snow, within and in between these beautiful seasons countless incredible moments go unnoticed. Fortunately many do get noticed, and I'd like to think I've been there for a few.
In the coming weeks we will be switching things up a bit here on the blog. We've been brainstorming, and we are pretty excited with what we've come up with. So next Tuesday be sure to check back for something new, and dare we say... delicious!
Thank you for coming along on my journey to discover all things great and small.
*Last time in Nature: Prelude to Spring
This week's beautiful nature walk comes to us all the way from Sintra Portugal. There Carrie navigated the coast and the countryside by bike enjoying the lovely sights along the way, from castles, to lighthouses, to rich green forests. Thank you so much Carrie for sharing this great trip!!
If you would like to contribute to our weekly Nature Walk series, you can learn more about submitting photos here, or you can also visit our Nature Walk Group Pool on Flickr to add your adventures to the collection.
Thanks again Carrie for sharing!
P.S. Don't forget to enter our current spring giveaway here!
*Last time in Nature walks: Coastal BC, Canada