Sunday, June 26, 2011

Noah's Ark Picture Book

I've confessed before to being an accidental collector of Noah's Ark themed picture books. They say if you have three items you are a collector.  My Amazon Wish List has had this Noah's Ark version (by Heinz Janisch illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger) it for some time and when thrifting Friday I found a like new copy for less than three dollars.
It was better in person than I could have imagined.  This was a New York Times notable picture book and the reason is the illustrations.  Lisbeth Zwerger is an Austrian and she is revered for her quirky but quiet pen and ink and watercolor illustrations that gentle commentary to the text.

Her people are not dressed any way typical of what weary usually think of as "Biblical". They are almost contemporary but tall mens' hats and lots of long coats tweak the image and make me feel the people are from a timeless place.

I love how she plays with size and perspective.  This is the picture that illustrates the wickedness of the people.
Her finished Ark is a beauty.

I loved the small picture of  people trying to escape the flood (Yes I know it's sad).
This picture shows the rain coming and unicorns being left behind.  I don't think you can see in my scan but a satyr is also being left behind.  
I'm completely smitten by Ms. Zwerger.  She mostly illustrates fairy tales and classic stories.  I want many of her titles but the top of the list is her illustrated version of The Wizard of Oz.  I can't believe what I find at my local Savers!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On the Workbench

There are but two seasons for many of us - The Holidays, and preparation for the holidays.   If you are like me the approach of July reminds you that there are too few months (weeks really) to get the shop stocked.  As a result my work table is full of camels. 

These are all bound for Nativity Scenes.  Yup, it's over 90 and humid enough to melt any body but here - It's Christmas.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Here in Arkansas summer is in full swing, the hedge roses are done and the ditch daylilys are in full bloom. I'm getting a bit wilty already.   Summer isn't my favorite season but it has its joys.  One is that we usually get to see more of the Best Loved kiddlets and plans are in full swing for coming visits.  As a child I was allowed to be pretty feral as soon as some chores were done.  One of my favorite activities when I ran out of books to read and no friends were around was to make hollyhock dolls.  I confess I will pick a flower or two and make some whenever I find hollyhocks. 

If you search the web you can find lots of pictures and directions on how to make these fleeting beauties but I think there is only one true construction method - forget the toothpicks.

For each dolly, pick one full opened flower and one bud that shows a lot of color.  The open flower should have a bit of stem left on it.  Pick the green leaflets off the bud and remove all of the stem.  You now have a white end on the bud with six holes spaces  around the stem end.  Push the stem of the opened flower into one of the holes and Wooot.  You have a little lady.  Magically, two of the holes are now positioned above the stem end on the bud to look like a little face.  You can poke little twigs or leaves in between the green leafy part of the blossom for arms (as shown above) but I never did.  I was sure these were medieval ladies and their hands were tucked into their gowns.  Toys and entertainment all provided by nature.  What's your best summer memory?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Three Little Pigs - And the Wolf

I finished a Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf play set and posted in in the Shop recently. I was amazed that BLHubby had such strong opinions about how the Piggy Brothers should be illustrated.  He thinks I got them wrong, but I'm sticking with my Pig Psychology.  He thinks the first two pigs were lazy no accounts that built with straw and sticks because they were easier.  I don't disagree, but my first pig is in a straw house because he would rather surf. I think he built it on the beach.

The second pig built his house of sticks.  He's very environmentally aware and spends his time fishing, watching birds and reading  Thoreau and Walton.

 The third pig is a builder and built a fine sturdy house of brick because he loves to build quality stuff.

I didn't want the wolf to seem too scary but he is Big and Bad after all.

After I designed and made the set I found a wonderful Golden Book title of The Three Little Pigs.
there have been several Golden Book editions of this title, but this one is from 1973 and is illustrated by ROFry.  I found a few other Golden Books illustrated by him/her? but no information at all about this illustrator.  I wonder if it's a single person or if a combination of in house illustrators?

The colors throughout are subdued but I think this makes mes feel as if I know this landscape. I'm sure I used to know where this brick house was located.

I think I love this edition because of the wolf.  He is so elegant and wicked.  At first he is charming.

Then he becomes a bit discouraged by huffing and puffing,

Then he gets angry.

The picture of the third little pigs after he opens the cooking pot so the Big Bad Wolf falls in and comes to a well deserved end is priceless.
This edition isn't in print anymore and the one I have was printed for Chick-fil-a to give out with kids meals.  That's a great prize with lunch.  How do  you picture the Three Little Pigs?