Doodles with an Artist’s Heart



Doodles with an Artist’s Heart

The nostalgia I feel about my childhood comes through in watching my grand-daughter at play.

She’s five and has a younger brother. She’s growing up knowing how to be passionate and speak up for what she believes in. Her drawings reflect her interest in animals; especially Maine wildlife. Natalie has an artist’s heart.

I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s. As the oldest child, I enjoyed playing with my siblings and neighborhood friends, but I’ve always valued time spent alone, to explore and create worlds of my own. I feel a closeness to animals that I write about whether they’re communicating with each other, nature, or as a pet with a person. In my writing, an idealized sense of home and place shows up in much of my work. I grew up in NY, NJ, and CT in homes that had access to natural habitats; big backyards, a barn, plenty of places to run, walk, and ride my bike. These suburban locations tend to show up in my writing, however, I prefer to write about seaside cottages by the ocean or shingled homes in the forest that feature members of my family and some of Maine’s notable wildlife. I think I am continually creating a world that is safe, kind, and calm and plan to deliver it to Natalie as she continues to doodle, scribble, and make note of her natural world.


Creating with an Artist’s Heart

It has been a wild couple of weeks. My workday world is currently coming to a close as virtual teaching/learning ends for an eagerly anticipated summer break. During this time something that has continued to be a struggle for me is to make art; to create, write, draw, or doodle! It is hard right now. However, I remain optimistic as I begin to rediscover a sense of calm, the freedom of time and space in which to recognize what fuels my creative spirit. Several writer friends have often commented to me on how their writing has suffered or taken a back seat while our overactive minds process what’s happening in the world around us. So, I asked them, “What helps to calm your mind? Or unlock those creative thoughts?” Each of them replied, “TEA!”. Read more

Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards – 2019 – Silver Medal Award – What Makes an Opossum Tick?

On October 4th, 2019, I opened my email inbox to find the following announcement:

Congratulations on being a Moonbeam medalist!

Attached to this long letter was the following link. (see below)

So, I clicked on it; doubting that this had anything to do with me and was probably SPAM or sent to all of the authors who submitted books and an application. I had sent my paperwork into the committee in late May and frankly had all but forgotten about it! So, much happens between May and October! Read more

Opossum Paper Bag Puppets

Opossum Paper Bag Puppets

Grade Levels: Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4

Resources: Markers, Pink PomPoms, White paperbags, Construction paper in colors; black, grey, & pink, plastic bugs, large googly eyes, pipe cleaners or thinly cut strips of black construction paper, glue.

Preparation: Pre-cut black construction paper ears, pink mouth, & grey curly tail. Order googly eyes-large, plastic bugs, glue. Create!

Time: 20 minutes

Description: Color white paper bags with grey & black markers. Glue on eyes, nose, mouth, & ears. Add whiskers. Glue on a curly tail. Insert one plastic bug into opossum mouth. Glue in place.

Porcupine Puppet

Download Here

Subjects:  Science, Art, English Language Arts
Grade Levels:  Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3
Resources:  Cardstock, Scissors, Glue, Crayons, Colored Pencils, Watercolors, Q-tips
Time: 35 minutes
Made byTeachSmart Creators
Description:  Make the desired number of copies of the Porcupine Puppet on cardstock.  Using crayons or colored pencils, color the porcupine.  Use scissors to cut out the porcupine.  A circle punch can be used to make the finger holes.  If desired, make “quills” by cutting Q-tips in half and dipping the cotton ends in watercolors.  Glue the quills to the body of the porcupine.
Insert pointy finger and middle finger of one hand through the cut-out holes. These two fingers become the legs of the porcupine.  Using the porcupine puppet, retell the story A Porcupine’s Promenade or tell about the life of a porcupine in its habitat.

Paperplate Porcupines

Subjects:Science, Art, Math, English Language Arts, Vocabulary
Grade Levels:PreK, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd
Resources:Dinner size paper plates, markers, glue, brown, black, grey, and white construction paper, scissors, glue. 
Time:30 minutes
Made by:Susie Chadwick
Description: Cut paper plate in half. Use a black marker to draw a semi circle on one corner of the back of the paper plate for the porcupine’s face. Add an eye and nose. Color the rest of the back of the plate brown. Cut construction paper into strips with one pointy end. These are the quills. Glue quills on the plate.
Additional Information to Support Completion of the project: This activity is fun and easy!