Happy “Fractured*” Valentine’s Day!

*From “The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales:”

Fractured fairy tales are traditional fairy tales, rearranged to create new plots with fundamentally different meanings or messages. Fractured fairy tales are closely related to fairy-tale parodies, but the two serve different purposes: parodies mock individual tales and the genre as a whole; fractured fairy tales, with a reforming intent, seek to impart updated social and moral messages.”

I couldn’t let this holiday go by without a nod, although I usually would. What can I say, I don’t think pink and red are a good color combination. We know how full of romance all tales are, but the army of Disney princesses has managed to take over that romance and turn it into something sweeter than a cup of hot chocolate with three spoons of honey, two lumps of sugar and a swirl of caramel.

So as much as I love the original stories, it’s refreshing to read from time to time something like “Falling for Rapunzel” by Leah Wilcox, illustrated by Lydia Monks, a picture book for children with a silly sense of humor (they need to be able to understand the word-play, so recommended ages are 5-8).  For those of you familiar with Rapunzel’s story, it’s not exactly that…


Once upon a bad hair day,

a prince rode up Rapunzel’s way.

From up above he heard her whine,

Upset her hair had lost it’s shine.


And so starts a funny story full of misunderstandings, with a surprising ending.

Have a great day, whether you celebrate Valentine’s or not!

Talk soon,


A Tale Worthy Nursery – The Willow Wren and the Bear

The second story and the second nursery decor list from our series: “The Willow Wren and the Bear”.

A curious bear wants to see the house of the Bird King, the wren, but, disappointed by the simple nest, he ends up offending the young wrens. The princes of the flying kingdom will not let this pass without some serious consequences for the bear.

This time, I chose earth-tones, with a some yellow gold to honor the King of the Birds. A lot of fun to put together!



Nursery decor inspired by Brothers Grimm tales

1. Three Trees Leafy Birch Trees wall decal by ARTWALLPROJECT

2. Vintage Blossom in Citrine Drapery Panels from Nena Von

3. Mid-century Petite Upright Dresser by The Velvet Branch

4. Bamboo Baby Organic Blanket by Sewn Natural

5. Bamboo Mobile Bird Trio by Petit Collage

6. Waldorf Felt and Wood Toy The Birds Nest by Apple n Amos

7. Cashmere Bear by Yarn Miracle

8. Woodland Baby Bird Nest Bookend by Graphic Spaces

9. “The Willow Wren and the Bear” giclee print by Picture a Tale

Vintage Brothers Grimm

The theme of the blogging lesson I learned today: using images from the web.

I wanted to post for you some very old illustrations of Brothers Grimm tales, but it turns out that I cannot under punishment by the internet copyright police. I hear you copyright police, I wouldn’t want images of my artwork used without my permission either.

And then I came across this collection of old German postcards from wackystuff with beautifully simple story illustrations that rest the eye and stimulate the imagination. Like this one:

Little Red Riding Hood

Or this:

The Bremen Town Musicians

Or this:

Hänsel und Gretel

If you are looking for more great vintage illustrations, here are some more. This Taschen edition of “The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm” was named one of the Best Picture Books of 2011 by The Atlantic. The book features “a selection of charming vintage illustrations from the 1820s to the 1950s by true masters of pictorial invention-—the legendary Kay Nielsen, bestselling children’s books author Gustaf Tenggren, British artists Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham, and giants of nineteenth century German illustration Gustav Süs, Heinrich Leutemann, and Viktor Paul Mohn, as well as many new discoveries […]” Only $25.86 on Amazon and “1-click ordering” has never been more useful.

Talk soon,


The Story with Storytelling


Here’s a little paragraph from the About page:

Storytelling (both listening and creating a story) has been proven to be at the foundation of healthy child development, strengthening imagination, awareness, empathy and self-esteem.

It seems like a lot of merits to attach to storytelling, but if you think about it, it makes sense. As long as humans have been around, there has been storytelling. Some of the oldest literary creations are a proof that, very early on, stories were the main way of teaching others about the culture, values and history of the society they lived in.

Many recent studies demonstrate the strength of storytelling as an educational tool, but also as a way of building cohesion between the person telling the story and the listeners. This is especially true when the child is the one imagining and telling the story. Kerry Mallan’s book “Children as Storytellers” makes the point that through storytelling, children make sense of the world and of their own emotions and they learn to communicate that to others. Add to that the benefits to their vocabulary (how many words are there to say “brave”?), problem solving skills (how does that princess get herself out of the dungeon?) and memory (what did that fox say to the first prince again?)

I could not encourage you strongly enough to use our pictures as a starting point for new stories. There are so many possibilities! The Brothers Grimm were great storytellers and it is worth reading their version of old Sultan’s tale, but we can all be just as good. An old dog, a sleepy dog, a dreaming dog, a white dog…Where does he live? What does he dream of? Who are his friends? What does he do with himself all day long?

And lastly, I wanted to mention this study with a sigh of wishful thinking:


Now, if you tell the child a story about going to sleep and your “going to sleep” area of the brain activates, would it activate the same area in their little brains? I’ll keep trying.

Talk soon,