Butterflies, Bees and Bats! Oh my!

Did you know that June15-22 was National Pollinator’s Week? While this post comes to you a week late, I thought it might be fun to do a few crafts in honor of our favorite pollinators — the butterflies, image image the bees, and imagethe bats!

First, however, a little bit about pollination and why it’s so important to all of us. Here is a diagram about how  “pollination” occurs!. Pollen is made by the male part of the flower,  the anther. It is the powdery substance you find on flowering plants. Pollinators love to drink the sugary-sweet nectar that is made by the flowers at the base of the pistil or female part, as they move from flower to flower. When they go in to suck up the nectar, they brush against the anthers and get the pollen on their bodies. When they land on a flower, the pollen will brush off their body into the pistil. If it’s close to the opening, at the top of the pistil, it will make it’s way down to the egg. When the pollen and egg meet, a seed is formed. The seed makes a new plant! Without the seed, we would not have any fruits, vegetables, trees, grass or flowers. This is extremely important to maintain life on earth.File Jun 22, 1 11 10 PM           Now that you know the importance of these three creatures, I can tell you that each of them, the bat, the butterfly and the bee are in the Phillip’s Quest books! So, here we go — First: Let’s make a bee! This comes from our friends at Crafty Morning  and is made from egg carton containers. A great recycling craft for those cardboard egg containers.

Materials needed:

  • Yellow paint,
  • Black paint or marker,
  • Paper plate,
  • paint brush,
  • 2-egg carton cups,
  • Scissors,
  • Black and silver pipe cleaners ( 2 black and 1 silver),
  • Googly eyes,
  • Hot glue gun or glue dots.

Cut off two attached egg carton cups and neatly trim excess paper and stuff. This may be something that your mom or dad may have to help you with.

Next, pour some yellow paint in a paper dish and paint both of the egg carton cups bright yellow! When the paint is dry, poke two holes on the top of one the cups. These are where the black antennas will go.

Take a glue dot or hot glue gun, and glue the head and body together.

Pour some black paint in a plate or use a black marker to make stripes around the head and body. Let the stripes dry.

While they stripes are drying, fold one of the black pipe cleaners into a “U.” This will be pushed up through the head, for the antennas. You can leave them straight, or make them squiggly.

Cut the other black pipe cleaner in half and twist together to make an “X.” This will be the bees legs — or knees!

Use the silver pipe cleaner and bend it into a figure “8.” These are the “wings.”You may want to squish it together a bit so that the wings are not so fat.

From the underside of the cup, push the antennas through the holes on the top of the head. If they are very long, you can cut them off or twist them into squiggles.

Using a glue gun or dot, glue the legs to the underside of the body and form the legs.

Glue the wings to the top of the bee.

You can make six from each container! and hang them in your room! File Jun 22, 2 59 52 PMFile Jun 22, 1 54 54 PM

Next week, the butterfly and the bat!

Hint!!! Do you know what origami is?

Hope you enjoyed this week’s craft! As always, be sure to leave me a comment! Get your folding fingers ready!

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Describe YOUR Favorite Gnome!

 I must admit that ever since I was a little girl, I have believed that gnomes and fairies were real — and still do! I must admit, that my favorite one is Phillip! No surprise there! He lives in the village of Twistedoak, has a squirrel friend named Edward and wellllllll, a bunch of other friends.

Phillip, as you know, if you’ve read Winterfrost, has gone on a very to save his brother, Phallow, but before he left, he had time to spend in his garden with Edward. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of Winterfrost.

Describe your favorite gnome and his or her garden, and where they live! Twistedoak? Brokenfell? Or a place of their own! As always, don’t forget to leave me a Comment!

If you haven’t read WINTERFROST, you can click on any of the pictures and buy it through Amazon.com.

CHAPTER I: Phillip’s Garden

A blue, summer sky smiled upon Phillip’s garden. Colorful butterflies danced from flower to flower as crickets chirped and bees buzzed along herb-filled windowsills. Rows of neatly tended plants lined the soft soil and stretched their hungry leaves towards the warm, mid-morning sun. Lush plants cradled shiny, red tomatoes and yellow squash grinned from beneath curly vines. Phillip puffed from his carved pipe as he stood between rows of taters and onions.

“A beautiful morning,” smiled Phillip.

Phillip was a little gnome who lived in an old oak tree on the side of a grassy hill. He stood about two feet tall and wore purple pants with an orange patch on the right knee. His favorite red suspenders  fell neatly on top of a bright blue shirt. A pointed, green-rimmed hat sat atop his bald head and a long flowing brown beard hung down to his belt and ended in a curly point. Streams of purple smoke rose from his pipe as he surveyed the progress of his garden. A brown squirrel named Edward hopped along the fence that bordered his yard.

“Good Morning, Edward.”

“Mornin’, Phillip,” replied the squirrel as he picked a juicy tomato from one of the large, green tomato plants. “Your garden has really come along this summer. It looks great!

“Yes indeed it has! Thank you!” exclaimed the gnome. “I’m very pleased with it’s progress. We had a bit of trouble with the squash and cucumbers early on in the season. Some nasty little critters were eating them to pieces, but thankfully Mr. Curlyvine showed me how to get them under control with a special type of vegetable oil. I still see an occasional bug from time to time.”

Edward hopped down from the fence and disappeared under a few of the broad, green leaves of the squash plants.

“Found a few!” he proclaimed when he finally popped back up. As he flicked the bugs over the fence, he noticed that Phillip was deep in thought and staring out into the distant hills.

“Thinking about _________________ ?

YOU, Complete the Story

For the next weeks, until the beginning of the first craft, Phillip and Roscoe suggested that I give you an excerpt from one of the four books: The Ragwort Chronicles; The Beginning, Along the Way or Phillip’s Quest; Winterfrost or Above the Stars and YOU complete the story!

Remember, these are actual paragraphs from one of the books, but you can complete the rest — and maybe, draw a picture! So, here it goes!

Excerpt from “The Ragwort Chronicles, The Beginning: The Ragworts of Brokenfell:”
Chapter I: The Master Carpenter of Brokenfell Village

A blue autumn sky grinned upon the gnome village of Brokenfell. Cheerful voices danced amidst the mid-morning breeze. Busy towns-folk hustled and bustled along cobblestone streets and by crowded storefronts. Thomas Toadstool, the town’s blacksmith, clanked away with his iron hammer while wisps of steam hissed up from his bucket. Across the street, under the colorful blue and orange tents of the town’s market, argued two farmer gnomes, ______________ and ________________.(fill in names) Arguing about nothing was a normal activity for these two. They just enjoyed the art of arguing. 

You can make this into your own story or draw a picture, or both! Don’t forget to send your story or pictures to me by filling in the comment space on my page! And, be sure to subscribe, “Boots ‘n’ Britches,” happy writing and drawing!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM WINTERFROST!!!

Can I just tell you that the gang at Winterfrost is beyond ecstatic about the New Year! Edward celebrated on mulled acorn juice and, well … Anyways, he’s just waking up! There are so many new adventures that the village is eager to tell, and right now, everyone is talking at once. Oh, my head! But, I’ll let them all get a word in through Phillip and Dreamspinner.

Phillip: Boots ‘n’britches! Another year in a gnome’s life is like ten in human years, so I feel happy and honored to be able to tell you my stories in Phillip’s Quest! That lovely lady, Belinda, is taking the most painstaking care to make sure that she tells about my quest, correctly. We wouldn’t want her to be struck down by a wizard! But..

Dreamspinner: Enough about you, Phillip, MY turn! So, we still are in Winterfrost where it’s terribly cold, but we are moving on with our quest — and yes, Miss Belinda is doing a splendid job! We still have a very long way to go until we find the castle but, we’ll find it! So many new friends to tell you about, so be sure to read the new book, “Above the Stars,” and thank you for letting us be part of 2014! Now onto 2015! Happy New Year! Oh. by the way, that’s Phillip and me going to Chaspere’s  castle, above the stars!

IMG_0654

Thank you, Phillip, and Dreamspinner.

The next book in the Phillip’s Quest series is “Across the Elusive Sea.” I am very please and proud to announce a new member of the Winterfrost team.  She is my cousin, friend and the new illustrator for book three! Her name is Lorraine, and I know that you will love her artwork as much as I do! Welcome, and thank you, Lorraine!

I have not forgotten about the Ragworts, either! While Rawlink is busy defending Twistedoak, his brother Roscoe, is on his way to the Diamond Mines. A very treacherous journey, indeed. Roscoe’s story will be published in June! The Ragwort Chronicles, Along the Way: Roscoe’s Journey. 

The Ragwort Chronicles, The Beginning: The Ragworts of Brokenfell

The Ragwort Chronicles, The Beginning: The Ragworts of Brokenfell

If I can get the fairies, gnomes, squirrels and pirates (did I say pirates?) to cooperate, am hoping to get a Tuber Family and Other Magical Creatures’ Cookbook out! But, in the meantime, if you would like the human consumption version of any of the recipes in the back of the books, let me know! Fill in the request form on the page at this website!

Don’t forget that all books are out in ebook form! In January, Above the Stars is on SALE for $2.99 on Amazon, in ebook!

Winter-time is reading time! Happy New Year!

Live and in Color! Preorder “Above the Stars” on KICKSTARTER, NOW!

ATS KS Live Now

Phillip took a deep breath, and rose to his feet. He wiped his eyes with his sleeve and turned towards his companions.  With a stern, and focused voice, he said,

“LIVE from KICKSTARTER, it’s  “Above the Stars!”

Dear Friends,

Boots and britches! I am excited to announce that Book II of Phillip’s Quest: Above the Stars is available for pre-order on KICKSTARTER, today!

THANK YOU to everyone who has supported Phillip and myself on this journey to publication. Phillip’s Quest is a series of beautifully illustrated Middle Grade books of the tale of an ordinary garden gnome, Phillip Tuber, on an extraordinary quest and is the inspiration of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Lewis’s Narnia.

You can preorder your copy of Above the Stars on the KICKSTARTER site, until September 30–but, if you want to give Phillip, the book, and me a SPECIAL boost, please consider buying your copy today, on launch day, and help build an early momentum. And remember, if I do not reach my goal, I do not get one dime! All you have to do, to get to my KICKSTARTER page is click on the picture or the links embedded at the end of each paragraph!

In addition to the books, there are all kinds of great perks available at the campaign. They range from the original artwork of Dean Kuhta and Louise Goodchild to my own jewelry and an Italian dinner for four! Please check out the campaign for more details.

Again, many thanks for your support. I will be back in touch with campaign updates throughout the month of September! Ciao, grazie.

Love,

Belinda

PS – In case you’ve never visited KICKSTARTER before, or you don’t even know what it is, I’ve attached a little example that shows how to order something there.

KS pledging instructions 1KS pledging instructions 2KS pledging instructions 3

It’s a few easy steps. KICKSTARTER is the largest crowd funding platform in the world, having raised over $1Bn for creative projects like Above the Stars. They process payments through Amazon, the largest retailer in the world. So, preordering Above the Stars on KICKSTARTER is a snap!

And, just in case you missed the link, here it is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1907899413/above-the-stars

Boots ‘n’ Britches, Phillip is Above the Stars!

Phillip Tuber

Phillip Tuber

Wait to read in October, 2014

Available, November 25th, 2014

Houston, we have a tentative lift-off date of November 25th, 2014 for Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars! Phillip is over the moon! Just in time to buy for Christmas! in December, 2014, he and his friends are planning “launch” parties all over Manassas. So watch the skies! You might even see a blue fire-drake! They hope that they can invite you all to attend. I keep telling Edward, “Party Animal Extraordinaire,” we’re on a tight budget, but he already has Llemura making wiskits like crazy!!! I guess we’ll have to get funding all these events–Llemura ain’t cheap, y’know.

So, on September 2, 2014 a Kickstarter Campaign will begin so that the gang in Phillip’s Quest, can keep partying on! The campaign will defray some of the costs that we have incurred for this publication and allow the Phillip Phollowers to read more about his adventures. It takes a whole village, larger than Twistedoak, of gnomes and humans, to put this book together. The funds raised by Kickstarter will help to pay my teammates, and for us to travel to different events and schools. Dinosaurs and dragons are tough to transport. We already are scheduling going into schools and teacher events, for the 2014-2015 school year. Then, there are always Edward’s parties–he likes to do it right!

The Phillip’s Quest crew is excited to be able to offer some cool rewards at all levels of contributions, starting at just $5.00! There will be discounted, as well as free books and ebooks, the fabulous “Winterfrost” and tree necklaces; original art, Oli Warrior Squirrel and Dreamspinner (who’s Dreamspinner?), an Italian Gnome dinner, cooked by yours truly, and so much more! They will all be listed on the Kickstarter site.

OR during the campaign, you may wish to reserve copies of the whole series; Winterfrost, Above the Stars and Across the Elusive Sea (to be released in 2015) and the remaining four titles.

Ultimately, our goal is to raise $3000.00 on Kickstarter. With Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing and Phillip and his friends have until September 30th to do it. So, please pre-order your copy on Phillip’s Kickstarter Campaign

Please look for the “Above the Stars” Kickstarter Campaign beginning in September, so that Llamont, Llemura and their spotted goats can leave the cold Ice Cave Canyons to the pages of “Phillip’s Quest, Book II.”

Thank you so much from me, Phillip and the team of Phillip’s Quest!

Follow all the updates, information and offers through this newsletter and all The Winterfrost Updates on http://belindamiller.me.

August is almost halfway gone…

“Good grief, Charlie Brown, it’s almost time for school!” Certainly, that phrase was said over and over again, by the wonderful Peanuts’ kids. And here we are again, almost mid August.

I don’t know about you, but my summer has definitely been eventful–in a good way. Every time I look at my blog page, I am more and more aware of how far the internet stretches. I see people from all over the world that have looked at my page. I wish I could meet them all. Regardless, thank you!

I think it takes a year for things to really start to percolate for a writer. As some of you know, my year–Phillip’s one year anniversary was July 7th. Since then, things just started to rock ‘n’ roll. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/061593739X&quot; title=“Phillip’s Quest, Book I: Winterfrost”>Winterfrost” has received new energy and new followers. The Gnome Gnewsletter was published and accepted by most. Personally, I would recommend a newsletter for any author. It allows one to get the word out to those who are not a fan of social media–yes there are some “un-fans.”

It certainly takes a village to market a book. So, I was able to put together a team of unbelievably professional women to help me out. From one of the sweetest and most brilliant ladies I know–Ms. Katherine Gotthardt, who helped me when I was a floundering guppy (floundering flounder?), to the amazing Bethany Joy Carlson, of The Artists’ Partner (my personal cheerleader and marketing guru), to the wonderful Jessica Parker and her team, at BookLogix Publishing Services, I couldn’t be in better hands.

So, Phillip will be ready for his next adventure without the bumps and bruises he suffered before. Can I just tell you how important it is to find the right people!

Our next endeavor happens September 1, 2014. The Kickstarter Campaign begins for Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars. Don’t let anybody kid you, it is definitely laborious. But, with the support of a great team, it can be done. We have put in many pledge rewards. There are different rewards listed for the level of pledge you make. When I say “pledge,” I mean MONEY! As I said, producing and marketing a book takes some outgo of cash to pay the team members and help defray other costs, so anything you can spare to keep Phillip’s Quest, on the shelves is very much appreciated.

September 18, 2014 will be the closing night for Virginia’s <a href="http://fallforthebook.org/2014/08/10/haute-cuisine-at-the-hylton/&quot; title="Fall for the Book”>Fall for the Book festival. The event starts in Fairfax, Virginia on September 11th at George Mason University and ends at the Hylton Center for the Arts in Manassas, Virginia–you can follow all the activities on their app. The event is a Haute Cuisine event and will have food tastings, demonstrations and discussions by a variety of chefs, foodies, cookbook authors and Cluadia Lefeve, a fellow author and friend. Oh! And me! From the recipes of “Winterfrost”, and “Above the Stars”, to the recipes from my Mom’s table. I was and am honored to have been chosen to participate and will be serving; Ivy’s Tater Dumplings, Phillip’s Mater and Hazlenut Sauce and one of the recipes from the new book!

This week, I was able to start scheduling my signings for the Christmas season and was thrilled when the owner of <a href="http://www.thethingsilovemanassas.com&quot; title=“The Things I Love”>The Things I Love, an exquisite shop in Old Towne Manassas, allowed me to do that on December 5, 2014, during the Tree Lighting Festival. This store and the downtown area comes alive and turns into a Winter Wonderland. I am thrilled, to say the least. Then, on Sunday, December 7th, I have another signing at <a href="http://www.flowergallerymanassas.com&quot; title=“The Flower Gallery”>The Flower Gallery. Another magical shop where I will be part of their Holiday Open House. Such a special opportunity and I am grateful.

Not to leave out one of my favorite events for November! I will again be reading to the children at Mayfield Elementary School–as I did last year.

So, this summer has flown by, but what a great summer it has been. Thank you to all my gnomes, fairies and angels! I’ve loved every minute.

2014-06-05 20.02.16