The North Wind & The Sun - Illustrations by Brian Wildsmith

I was really pleased to come across this book at the local op-shop, because it features the wonderful lively and quirky illustrations of one of my favourite illustrators, Brian Wildsmith, who I've blogged about previously with his books The Owl and the Woodpecker and Python's Party
The book is called "The North Wind and The Sun" and is a fable by La Fontaine, first published in 1964. The fable centres around the Northwind and the Sun, and how they compete by different methods to get the horseman to remove his new cloak.  
The fable has a great moral lesson (see below) but it's the whimsical and playful illustrations that transform this story into a delightful book to look at and read.  Using a multi-media approach Wildsmith's imagery mixes gouache, some kind of crayon or oil pastel (I imagine the latter), collage and inks to create his trademark expressive illustrative style full of energy and movement. 
"The North Wind and The Sun" - A Fable by La Fontaine:

One morning the North Wind and The Sun saw a horseman wearing a new cloak. 

"That young man looks very pleased with his new cloak" said the North Wind.  "But I could easily blow it off his back if I wanted to"
"I don't think you could" said the Sun.  "But let us both try to do it.  You can try first."

The North Wind began to blow and blow and blow.  People had to chase after their hats.  Leaves were blown from the trees.  All the animals were fightened.  The ships in the harbour were sunk.  The North Wind blew with all his might, but it was no use, for the horseman just pulled his cloak more tightly around him.

"My turn now," cried the Sun.

And as he gave out his gentle heat, insects hummed and flowers opened.  The birds began to sing.  The animals lay down to sleep.  And the people came out to gossip.  The horseman began to feel very hot, and when he came to a river he took off his clothes and went for a swim.

So the Sun was able to acheive by warmth and gentleness what the North Wind in all his strength and fury could not do.

A great lesson for us all I think!

Recycled paper baby bunting

3 years ago I wrote about making some bunting out of recycled fabrics, in preparation for our first baby...... well, the time has now come to make some more bunting in preparation for our second baby (eek!) but this time I've made the bunting above out of recycled paper.
The inspiration for the paper bunting came after a visit to one of our favourite cafes Red Beard Bakery in Trentham.  Red Beard had some paper bunting which had been made from old books, and I thought it was a great idea and a perfect way to use some of the collection of second-hand Little Golden Books I'd been collecting.     
The illustrations from the books have been perfect to make the bunting and I love the vintage feel it captures.  I also like the way the mix of stories and images used aren't specifically 'girl' or 'boy' but a nice mix of various illustrations and themes.   
Here's how I made the paper bunting:
1.  Drew a triangular shape onto an old piece of cardboard - making sure the triangle would fit onto the Little Golden Books I was going to use for the bunting.  I also added on a 2cm rectangular top section to the triangle shape so I had some excess to fold over and secure to the ribbon.
2.  Cut out the triangle to make a template.
3.  Selected the Little Golden Books and tore out all the pages and illustrations I wanted to use for the bunting. 
4.  Used the triangle template to trace the shape onto the torn pages, and then carefully cut each page.
5.  Folded the rectangular top section of the triangle in half (so 1cm was above the triangle and 1cm folded to sit over the ribbon) and stuck double sided tape to the back of it. 
6.  Select the ribbon to use (I used 3 different patterns, or you could use string) and hook the folded part of the bunting over the ribbon and stick to the double sided tape to secure.  I also added some sticky-tape on the back as well to fully secure in place.
7.  String bunting up to your wall using removable hooks.
8. Stand back and admire your crafty work!