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Just to the left of this track is a little neighborhood of tiny bungalows and cottages and apartment complexes where university students live.
And then I got to have that huge once in a lifetime Helen Keller-Anne Sullivan "the word for water is . First we brainstormed for everything we could think of that was routinely thought of as red, yellow, brown, or green, etc.
I asked them to find a picture from the catalogs or workbooks and write one sentence describing the color of their chosen object with a color simile. There was a big flurry of finding the pictures, pasting them on their papers, and hunching over to write their sentences. Yonder, by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Lloyd Bloom, is a gentle peek into the olden days and olden ways. This is a brand-new version of my guardian gypsy, made from long thin strips of rags, blowing in the wind. The sleeves and bodice of her dress are cut from this fabric, which is the same fabric I used in my header for my blog. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes seems like a perfect book to put here among the gypsies, for it is about understanding people who are different from us ~ before it is too late. This is an extraordinarily luminescent children's picture book, The Big Big Sea, written by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Jennifer Eachus.
I spent ten years of my life living a nomadic existence, sometimes very similar to this scene, but without the horses.
There are only seven remedies in The Secret Remedy Book, because it's a story, and a story has to have its own boundaries. I made this particular scrapbook, featured in recent posts, as a prop to be used with children with my picture book, The Secret Remedy Book. We often frame a piece of work like this and hang it in a place of honor on a wall, or maybe we attach it to a refrigerator with magnets. If you have ever fed geese, you know that wonderful feeling of joy you get from feeding wild things. This is from the cover of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and illustrated by Tasha Tudor. My passion for Traditional Chinese Medicine’s natural healing and whole body renewal all started with my own quest to find a remedy for my rapidly declining health back in 2005. One unforgettable night in 1785, in a theatre in Drury Lane, the heady alchemy of love and murder suddenly fuses the lives of Mimosina Dolcezza, a Venetian actress, and Valentine Greatrakes, prince of London's medical underworld.The Remedy is a ravishing love story that seamlessly weaves fiction with historical fact in rich and details prose.
The Remedy ePub (Adobe DRM) can be read on any device that can open ePub (Adobe DRM) files.
But when her mother and father leave her alone with Auntie Zep for a whole month, a great sadness develops in Lolly and she can't make it go away.
Sometime in 1995 I decided to try to make a replica of the book that Lolly and Auntie Zep found in the attic, the very book that contained the secret remedy. I erased both chalkboards, and asked them to write a description of our classroom, using at least three color similes. I was in the portables so I had the luxury of having a teacher in the adjoining portable who could keep an eye on my class while Jewel and the little brown dog and I went outside.We sat down on the bottom step of the stairway to the portable and looked at the world. I would like to tell you what happened.One September I introduced similes to my third-graders by using crayons. For example, clockwise from the top left are mini-carrots, a potato, a very tiny iron skillet, two broccoli florets, one tomato, three plums, and a lemon. The brainstorming words from the day before were still on the chalkboards.Everyone went to work. We were strangers who had come together because of a flyer thumbtacked to a bulletin board in some university hallway, a flyer with its own rumors of a war I barely knew was happening on the other side of the world. I saw her breaking away from the group as if she were the moon breaking away from her orbit around the mother earth. I bought two pieces of this paper about ten years ago, and I keep it under lock and key, for I want to use every last piece of it in my art work. It is a poignant story for children, a Newbery Honor Book, 80 pages, available in paperback, and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin with such gently-colored little sketches.
This particular illustration of the rhyme is by Blanche Fisher Wright from The Real Mother Goose. It is written and illustrated by Madeleine Winch who lives in New South Wales in Australia. I am quite sure there are Chinese and African variations on this theme, though I don't know what they are. It must have taken many small great steps and missteps to finally make a fire bow that really worked.
But when I had completed the pages showing the seven remedies from the picture book story, I did not want to leave the impression that there are only seven remedies in this vast and bountiful world of ours.
After my mother died, I found it inside a large brown envelope that she kept right beside her chair.
My husband and I like to camp out in a park called The Lost Pines of Texas ~ just the name is magical enough! It is a preface, or a prologue, or perhaps it is more along the lines of a premonition.For the secret remedy is a kind of magic spell. It shows the moment when Mary has entered through the ivy-hidden doorway into the inner sanctum of the long-lost garden. So Auntie Zep finds the perfect remedy for Lolly's sadness, the Great-Great-Grandmother's Secret Remedy Book.
I live in a fixer-upper in Austin, Texas with my husband, and a cat named Boo, raccoons, opossums, and owls.
I went alone, leaving from my parents' home with one brown-woven suitcase and one large blue bag with long straps that I carried over my shoulder.
They could use their crayons if they wanted to.But I knew that Jewel needed some kind of special magic.
If you haven't thought it about recently, I can assure you there is a great quantity of brown in the world at large.
I hope children nowadays are able to use creative spelling more easily than when I was teaching.
And, bless her little heart, she tried and erased and tried and erased and tried and erased until she had dug a little hole right through her paper.
I did not know her, but it was rumored that she would not marry the father of her baby, that he had left her because she would not marry him, and that she and her baby were quite alone in the world.
This is the kind of doll that children grew up with during the Depression days and back, back, back to the 1800s, in the wild west, on the prairies, in the deep south, in little hamlets in the mountains, and back before then, too.She is made entirely of strips of rags and tied with string at her wrists, her neck, and her waist. She has a vine of stars and I managed to keep the new crystal ball from rolling off her mittened-hand just long enough to take this photo.I do love that very dark flowered-forest fabric.
I myself lived in a Volkswagen camper when I did not live in a cabin or a cottage or some little room somewhere.Once I lived in a tall narrow house on the edge of a cliff just above the Pacific Ocean.
Today, because I found myself paging through My Book House books, which hold a treasure-trove of memories for me, I came upon this illustration of a houseboat.I was quite taken by surprise to find this houseboat is in a whole chapter from David Copperfield! I very much love this old woman knitting a sock in front of what looks to be a cave entrance into the hill.
I wanted to be able to show children the kinds of odds and ends that I gather together, a phrase or a title, plus the things that I cut out of magazines or make with my own hands, before words ever go onto paper.
They bring into play something that must be held in a state of high suspense, a thing open to belief or to disbelief.
I love the kind of repetition that Dickens likes to use, and I often try to capture this same repetition when I write for children, or when I write for myself, or when I write for you. But The Lost Pines comes with wildlife, too, among which are the most exuberant and downright gossipy geese you will ever find anywhere. It works the way a magician keeps your eyes upon his left hand while his right hand is making the magic take place.
My blog will be about writing, storms, teapots and wolves, fabric-paper art, greeting cards, children's picture books, and the deep dark woods of my imagination.
If I were to make this scrapbook today, I would try very hard to echo her version of the secret remedy book. I didn't set out to live a vagabond life, but it would be ten long years before I finally found a way to stay in one place again. Jewel's birthday was in the summer, and there had hardly been one day since school started that she had not asked me when, exactly, were we going to celebrate her birthday, with that look of glorious expectation that very young children get about their birthdays. Suddenly, Jewel lifted up her face to me with a smile brighter than the sun, and slowly unclenched her little fist so that I could see the treasure in the palm of her hand: a handful of dirt from her hole to China. Eureka!I really have no earthly idea of what happened that day, but something bigger than one little simile clicked for Jewel. We used the 8 colors above that come in both large and regular sizes in 8-color packets of crayons (plus we added white and gray).
In the springtime, the plum-tree blossoms are strewn upon the page in a hundred tiny pink and white splashes, and in winter, snow spatters everywhere, both inside the house and outside on the trees. She was a tall gypsy-like girl with a cloud of dark hair, in a wisp of a dress, and barefoot. Michael and his wife and their six-year-old daughter are expecting a new baby in the family.

It makes me want to find a way into that forest, to push those flowering vines to one side, and step into the deep dark heart of its interior. The family who rented the house, a very gypsy kind of family with four or five kids, could no longer afford the rent. I love her mobcap and those granny-glasses, and her intense concentration upon her knitting, and the way in which she has plunked herself down on that bench with her feet planted onto the earth.
I made this card for my students, but honestly, I made it just as much for myself, or for any friend who has reached that point in life where the top of the hill seems too far away.This was the easiest card to make. Here is the two-page spread with just a few words and pictures out of which a story (eventually) was written. A gaggle of long-winded chatty little souls.We always take old bread and chips and sometimes popcorn just for the geese. Especially since Tasha Tudor spent a lifetime planting seeds and growing things and making things, not to mention baking things, and all the while simply adoring the natural world all around her.I grew up with The Secret Garden illustrated by Nora S. Together they slowly drink fresh apple juice, plant a seed, feed a wild thing, read poetry, and much more.
I taught first, second, and third graders, and our favorite time of day was always story time.
But in 1995, I did not know that I was going to be blessed with Wendy Anderson Halperin as the illustrator.So I proceeded with my own version. For there is no lonesomer sound, is there, than the long, mournful cry of a train on its way from here to there.
I took out a clean piece of writing paper, but then I saw right away she wasn't ready for that yet.
And I had only recently begun to see young men with long hair ~ were they trying to look like Shakespeare, I remember wondering.Perhaps Sylvania and her baby and those young men just back from war and that long-haired graduate student were some kind of tipping point for my trying to set my own feet upon my own path. Michael's wife wants to have the baby at home with a midwife, and he is trying very hard to accept this, however much it worries him. I suppose I want to find the clearing where the gypsies are staying for the night, where their caravans are encircled around a campfire and their folksong encircles the darkness.Anyway, I submit my gypsy guardian as a part of The Hundred Somethings Project that Tollipop started.
The illustrations are done with colored pencils, although it is very hard not to feel that they are photographs, Jennifer Eachus has so completely captured this little girl, the sea, the seashore, and the moon, and other details throughout, like the mother's hands in the very last picture. So they sublet the house for the summer to four of us who were traveling together at the time while they lived in the woods. A fire bow seemed like a perfect image to put on an extra page in my scrapbook to show a class of children how I was working on making one particular dream of my own come true. This document above is the 1786 description of the historic Montgolfier Brothers' 1783 balloon flight. And I guess I have spent most of my own wondering, not alone, exactly, but with my nose in a book, reading words written by someone else.
There's a pond where they live, and when they see people coming down to the shore, they swim right over, waving their wings and honking hysterically like long-lost relatives. She cannot spend one minute thinking about feeling lonely or sad, for she must try to do all the remedies before the first hoot of that owl.If you should open up my secret remedy scrapbook, the first thing you will find will be the warning about the hoot of the owl. In order to make a book that might be found in a much-weathered old trunk, I decided I needed to use some very special kind of crumpled brown paper, with torn edges, and with a feel to it that was somehow both water-logged and sun-drenched.
She picked up a stick (a brown stick, mind you) and began continuing the hole in the paper phenomenon by digging a little hole to China right there in the ground at her feet. And then it was as if doors in her mind that were keeping phonics in one room and reading in another room and writing in another room suddenly began to open up into each other, letting an intermingling take place that hadn't been happening before.
She smiled all day long, jumped headfirst into any project, was always the first to raise her hand even when she didn't know the answer, and, in early September in third grade, she was not yet reading or writing, although she had perfect penmanship and could copy anything ~ letter-perfect. Today she could not write one single simile, partly because she could not write a sentence in which to put it, but also because she could not go from the picture she had chosen of a dog to a simile about the dog. There is one really wonderful two-page spread where the mother is sewing a patchwork quilt on the left-hand page that perfectly mirrors the father on the right-hand page who is plowing his field in front of a patchwork of land like the one show above.
I have a clear glass marble that looks like the perfect crystal ball but it refuses to photograph as anything that remotely resembles clear glass, so this white marble with its cloudy insides was the next best choice. They took off in an old pick-up with the most fragile of shelters rigged up in the back, nothing but a handful of boards and ropes and cardboard and rags blowing in the wind.I had a little room in their house with a window that looked into the ocean. Here is the most sublime depiction of my sixth remedy I can imagine: a little girl truly lost in reading, in a safe, comfy place, alone with her book. A few shy ones will stay in the water, doing water-ballet exercises, but most of them will waddle right up to us, just the way these geese are sauntering right up to this little girl. I have to bow my head to make my way beneath its overhanging greenery, but if I were nine years old, it would be just perfect.
But when I went looking for gently-used copies of The Secret Garden to give to my little third-graders, it was Tasha Tudor's illustrated version that I found. This gypsy has paper hands, and I was able to fold the paper to hold the marble in place.Her halter top is three short pieces of ribbon with three tiny bells hanging from the waistband. Later, inside the houseboat and after tea, David (or Dickens) says: To hear the wind getting up out at sea, to know the fog was creeping over the desolate flat outside, and to look at the fire, and think that there was no house near but this one, and this one a boat, was like enchantment. I positioned it with double-stick tape on the card so it left enough space on the card for the train. Here is the full two-page spread inside the scrapbook on the brown-bag paper made from old grocery sacks.I used pushpins to hold some of these bits and pieces in place, but then, in order to actually close the book, I had to remove them. Here is my two-page scrapbook spread, and I realize, looking at it now, that there is more writing on it than graphics.
And, I'm not sure, but I almost think that she is reading out loud just to herself, just to hear the sound of the words, this word followed by that word and then that word .
And could it be that this colorful message above represents that magical time in child development when art and literature are one and the same, before they diverge, and one goes one way and the other goes the other way? I had fallen in love with Tasha by that time, and since this is the book that I gave away to so many of my little students, it has the dearest place in my heart, and that is why I have featured it here. I cut 16 grocery sacks in order to make my pages, and tore each edge by hand to further make the paper look olden and handmade, rough and primitive. But those kids were busy, for the moment, writing descriptions without similes, or drawing pictures without words, or cleaning out their desks. But then Jewel started writing instead of drawing in her journal in the mornings, and it was obvious that all those perfectly-copied phonics lessons in her perfect penmanship had been sinking in. Such a tiny book, only 32 pages, to carry the whole story of one family, from the first bride and groom to the first children to the first grandchildren to the first death, in and out of years, and through all the seasons. We really need to make sure that no one is left out in the cold, that no one is turned away from the table.
I was so tired at night that some nights all I could do was get out the paper, the scissors, the fabric.
Her journal pages almost always started out about a brown dog and then proceeded immediately to her birthday and all her birthday wishes. And I added the little pointy parts of her garment at her waist to give her an extra layer of fabric that was like an apron but not an apron. But I added one more remedy to the scrapbook because the scrapbook is a prop for me to use with children in connection with The Secret Remedy Book, and I did not want children to think that there are only seven remedies in all the world. But then the next night I might make a tracing, the next night cut out the paisley dress, and by the end of a week I might have one illustration pieced and patched together into a very rough draft. She happens to be Heidi, from the 1922 cover of the classic children's book by Johanna Spyri, illustrated by Jessie Wiilcox Smith.
I thought my idea to make her skirt out of those strips of rags was my idea, but then I remembered where it came from. Sometimes I would put the flats of my hands on those crib-boards that had held their sleeping babies and watch the fogs roll in.We left at the end of the summer, and they came back again, all those little brown bare feet running up and down the stairs and in and out of rooms. I found myself taken aback at how innocent Dickens is in his writing.This little chapter is slightly abridged, but every word is so sweet, so simple, so very childlike. A herd of buffalo could travel over the top of her hill, and she would keep on knitting her sock. I mixed and matched the colors to make sure I had a blue engine and a red caboose ~ I couldn't imagine my little train any other way. And the other is of a wood fire in an olden fireplace in a setting that seems to have been created just for the story that I had in mind. So I added a few quotes that seemed to me to fall into that realm of words that are so simple and yet so mysterious that they are both reachable for a child and yet unreachable at the same time. Each page spread was folded into two, to make two pages, and these folds of pages were glue together until a book had been created. But, as a child at age three or four, I simply could not make sense of the words to the rhyme. You know how a dog's ears perk up or lie flat or stand out like a pair of airplane wings? It turns out that perhaps I was remembering this 1954 version of the story by Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could. It was as if some stranger in the world knew just what I needed for a story I hadn't even written yet! I find these quotes to have the same effect upon myself, but then I love ideas that are almost within my reach ~ because they make me reach for them. Those were the parts I loved the best, when she was in the mountains with her grandfather, drinking milk out of a wooden bowl.

A couple of weeks from now, I will try to make a tutorial for you to show you how I did it, although I am really quite sure there is an easier way, if only I had known it!
I am touched beyond words that the artist took the time to honor the author's words in such a wonderful way.
If I have time enough in my life, I'd like to work on becoming more of an artist someday, but I might love words too much to make the time for it.
We had some wooden salad bowls, and I sometimes used to insist upon drinking my milk out one of them.
No child ever raised her hand so eagerly to answer questions she did not know the answer to. No child ever asked me so many times when were we going to celebrate her birthday as my sweet little Jewel. For these words seemed like some kind of trickery, and they have often come back to tantalize me. I would have put more of these on this scrapbook page, but at the time these were the only ones I could find that were in full color and small enough to fit on my page.
I wanted to live in the wilds with wild animals, and that is probably how the fourth remedy came to be about the feeding of wild animals.
It is made of brown corrugated-box cardboard cut to size and covered with flowered flannel. Sometimes a thing gets done or not done for the most obscure or the most simple of reasons.
I wanted a map of the earth in my scrapbook to pay homage to the old saying about walking to the ends of the earth to find the beloved, to prove our love, to fulfill our destinies.I love how these old maps added such wonderful artistic flairs, or flares, too, for sometimes there is both flourish and flame. It is a big, big sea experience in itself, but it is also a perfect bedtime picture book, too.I hope you will give it a try!
Then a traveler comes, bringing matches to the village, and no one thinks that they need the old ways anymore. Here Aer, or Air, is represented by a woman with a halo of stars and what appears to be a moon-shaped tiara.
And I also chose this flannel because my grandmother had a set of elderly books, some long-lost volumes of a history of the world, whose hardback covers had deteriorated, and over which she had sewn a very similar flowered flannel cloth, so it seemed like the thing that a lady in the early 1900s might use in creating her very own secret remedy book. In this picture, she is standing outside her doorway with a walking stick in her hand, ready to take off.
I can just see my old woman sitting on her wooden chair with its woven seat, tending her fire among her homey things, her clay pots, her tools, with her old straw hat hanging from the mantle. The rest of the map (not shown here) includes Ignis (Fire), Aqva (Water), and Terra (Earth). The tray was kept from falling down, by a Bible, and the tray, if it had tumbled down, would have smashed a quantity of cups and saucers and a teapot.If you love Dickens as much as I do, I have added below how in such a tiny handful of words, he invokes the whole character of Mrs. The four elements.I find it sad that we can map out the whole world in the 21st century and never once make mention of air, fire, water, earth.
Perhaps we should put these elements back into everything we create and think about and contemplate.
Children do not always say out loud what is bothering them ~ often they do not know how to put the worrisome thought into words. As a matter of fact, I have written several versions, I have sent it off to several publishers, and it has come back as many times as it has been sent. And, right after the title page, I put photos of myself and my husband when we were about nine years old, for I planned to use this scrapbook with classes of children as a special prop when reading aloud The Secret Remedy Book. It teaches children that understanding the written words on a page goes hand in hand with everything that surrounds those words.
I could pull it out of, oh, say a grocery sack, and surprise them with what would appear to be a real relic of the past, complete with photos of myself and L as we were when we were their age.Oh my! Later they will need to know that understanding a single word inside a sentence goes hand in hand with understanding all the words that come before it and all the words that come after it, and maybe a whole lot of other things, too. The intricate thought processes that take place when children gaze at the adult in person to the same adult as a child in a photo ~ you can see their little minds teeter-tottering on the edges of total disbelief and awe and downright suspiciousness.
So I made a hill out of black Canson paper, and I tore a little cave entrance into the hill with my fingers, attached it to the lens of my camera, so I could peek into my box room as if it were a room inside a cave.
They are like little computers into which an unsolvable mathematical problem has just been entered, their little minds whirring away into eternity, trying to spit out an impossible answer. You reach into your pocket for your trusty vial of smelling salts only to realize this is the year 1995 (or 2009 as the case may be) and no one carries smelling-salts anymore. Gummidge in our repertoire of characters of the world, to put a name and a face to these sad forlorn feelings?
And isn't it particularly wonderful to find that doorway in that boat and walk around inside, if only for a little while? It's a mystery to me from beginning to end how, for most children, reading simply miraculously takes place. I keep a lucky penny in it for now, but I can always change its contents to suit the occasion. But if I can put my finger on even just one tiny little thing that helps anyone in helping children with reading, or with anything else, I would so love to find a way to do it. But in The Secret Remedy Book I made Lolly go a step further: I let her find something she had never noticed before, a piece of railroad track that was partly buried. If you have read The Secret Remedy Book, you will recognize all the steps, and if you have not, you will have a better idea of what my children's picture book is all about.
And, of course, it's easy to pass out a lucky penny to everyone!But, to me, the important thing about adding this page is to find a way to let children know that you must start somewhere, some small great somewhere, in order to make your dreams come true. But then I made her mind stretch out into the universe to make a connection between the way in which the ends of the track disappeared into the earth with the way in which the ends of a rainbow also disappear from view. To begin a story, maybe all you need is a title, a magazine clipping, and an empty matchbox. I just go spinning into infinity when people toss out words like that.The photographer is Joseph Barillari. She has been cut out of the face of a greeting card, so I no longer have any information about her, the artist or the greeting card company. Someday the perfect art project will come along, and then this ribbon will find its true home!You see, there is this huge part of me that wishes art and literature could be more entwined, the way they are in that first image on this post, when writing and drawing are all one and the same thing, once upon a time.
Or check with your local bookstores to see if they have it or if they can order it for you.
And while I was contemplating art and literature and the fate of my ribbon in one part of my mind, another part of my mind found this painting of two women on WikiCommons, sharing a letter. Also, Madeleine Winch has her own website here, if you would like to see more of her prints, drawings, and paintings. And now that I think about it, scrapbooking is like a looking-glass that tries to keep the onward-rushing future from losing sight of the fast-receding and oh-so-precious past .
It reminds us that there was a day when letters were sometimes the only view into the outside world. It comes with its own interior ribbing, with a swirling pattern of color that looks like galaxies whirling around in space. And if the letter was not a love letter, it must have been passed around from one person to another, and read over and over. She and the plants and all the seeds in the dry earth must have loved that unexpected drink of rainwater.
It's called a supernumery rainbow, which means (I think) that it contains some inner rainbow bands and that its colors do not fit the usual color pattern for rainbows. It is like the kind of lace curtains that shy people peek through before daring to go outside, but those curtains are always antique-white or dove-gray or biscuit-brown, and this one, if it were a curtain, would be a very unshy, kaleidoscopic, gypsy curtain. The image has been enhanced and given to WikiCommons by Andrew Dunn so that we can marvel at it. Can we possibly finish all the remedies in time?Oh, I do so hope you will join me next week to see what the third remedy will be!
Together, they make it possible for us to see ~ visually ~ the curves that these two completely different things can make, rainbows and railroad tracks.
I know it seems a far cry from Andrew Dunn's rainbow to my cut-paper tracks with the little train made out of stickers added below (and off-center, by the way).
But children are natural geniuses at making transfers and connections, if we will only listen to what they are saying. If you should be reading The Secret Remedy Book while you are reading these scrapbook posts, you'll see that Lolly has forgotten about the owl, too.
And I have found this to be true in my own life, that the tiniest little creature can distract me from a whole host of troubling thoughts and important errands and household chores.
Tiny things that fit in pockets have a way of enlarging the universe for children, for they make it possible for children to begin to imagine the world in new and wonderful ways. There is a secret world inside that pocket, and they can put their fingers inside and feel the edges of it, the infinite possibilities of it .

Prayer and meditation pavilion in soba
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Comments The secret remedy book a story of comfort and love

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