Posts tagged ‘art’

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin

Talented artist and Barefoot Books illustrator Rachel Griffin now adds Christmas tree designer to her list of credentials! Her unique decorations (like the one pictured above) are inspired by her gorgeous illustrations from her picture book The Twelve Days of Christmas. By using memorable icons from her book, Rachel’s array of materials and vibrant colors help weave a story throughout the tree.

Rachel traveled all the way from England for this special event! The tree is now available to view at the Concord Museum.*

While she was here, Rachel delighted us by sharing her insight on the finished product:

Now that you’ve finished, do you have a new favorite ornament, or is it still the three French hens?

The French hens are still my favorite individual ornaments, but as a whole I really like the way the “three geese a laying” have been displayed on the tree—the blue eggs look good where they hang! Instead of painting them, I drew on dirt which give them a more natural look. And everyone seems to love the Indian elephants!

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin

What has the entire process felt like for you?

I’ve really enjoyed it! Now that it’s all done, it’s wonderful seeing the final product, though it took longer than I thought to get here.

What are you hoping viewers will get from your Family Tree experience?

I’m really hoping that way people look at the tree will be the way they look at my book. That they will then look more deeply at the details of the pieces. When you see the French hens, for example, you can then examine it up close and see all the fabric and beads that go with it.

Were there any challenges throughout the process and if so, how did you overcome them?

When I finished decorating yesterday, I felt fine about it but not brilliant. Taking it down today and then doing it all over again was a little overwhelming because there was so much work to do! Especially when rehanging the pears for the fifth time. I feel really pleased with it now. It reads just like the book—people can stare at each section and take it all in and then move to the next one. Its eye catching and familiar to the story and the song.

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel GriffinDo you have any favorite Christmas traditions in your family?

We go out to the moor and find an amazing branch—it takes a lot of time—everyone has their own opinion on what it should look like. I like to decorate it very simply.

Questions from Ambassadors:

Which page of Twelve Days is your favorite and why?

The first one because it was done in France when I was there for three months. I sketched the tree and added a French twist to it.

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin

Rachel, your artwork is gorgeous! How did you develop this unique style?

It took a long time. When I was very little I was always collecting things and I still collect things. When on holiday and traveling, I just collect pieces. The creation of the Oxford calendars is where I really developed my style.

*Each year, the Concord Museum located in Concord, MA fills its galleries with over thirty uniquely decorated trees featuring artwork inspired by acclaimed children’s storybooks. If you’re in the area between November 25 through January 3, be sure to check out the exhibit for yourself! For more information about Family Trees or the Concord Museum visit

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin

Read the book that inspired the decorations!

The Twelve Days of Christmas

A sparkling version of the popular Christmas song, in a new edition embossed with silvery-gold foiling and beautiful fabric illustrations by Rachel Griffin. This book includes an insightful note from the illustrator, information about the celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas (history, including the pre-Christian tradition, and customs), and the history and meaning of the song itself.

For babies to 10 years; Hardcover ($14.99)

A craft to make you say “Ahhh!” Bring the friendly monsters from Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail to life with a paper plate mask! While you’re creating your mask, think about a Monster Story for your own monster. How will your monster sound? Is your monster friendly or misunderstood, like Grizzle-Tail? Let your imagination shape your mask and the story to go with it. Ages 5+


  • Paper Plates
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper cut into small pieces
  • Glue, tape and a stapler
  • A small bowl with some water
  • Construction paper
  • Popsicle stick
  • Any additional art supplies you have


1. Sketch out the monster you’d like to make on a paper plate. Have an adult help you cut out holes for the eyes.

2. Put a small amount of craft glue into a dish and add water in equal parts. Stir together and paint the surface of the plate with the glue mixture. Layer your cut tissue paper onto the wet glue. Secure any loose ends or overlapping pieces with additional glue where necessary. Set aside to dry.

3. Use construction paper to cut out features for your monster, like big eyes, a nose and mouth. Create pointy teeth by cutting out lots of triangles. Add ears and horns to your creature by glueing them on the back of the plate. Use paint, pipe cleaners, puff balls and your imagination to make your monster unique.

4. Glue a popsicle stick to the bottom of your monster and reinforce with tape. Make your mask sturdier by stapling another plate to the back. Have an adult use scissors to make sure you can still see out of the eye-holes.

5. When you’re finished, walk around the house and pretend you’re a monster! Then, share your masks with us @barefootbooks on Instagram!

Ready to scare? Download the activity here.

Check out these Monster Stories perfect for the Hallowe’en season!

Meeting monsters on the page helps children realize that many of the scary things in life are less frightening than they appear — and that monsters can have feelings too! Inspire young readers with these adventures that teach courage, compassion and kindness.

Buy Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail here or get the six book set and save!

Are you looking for a fun craft to create with your children this festive season? All you need is some felt, card, ribbon and glue to make these simple decorations in the shape of a bird, dreidel, star and tree.

Our best selling illustrator, Clare Beaton, was kind enough to create an activity just for us. It is such a treat to see her hand-drawn instructions!

Try this craft from Micha Archer, the illustrator of Lola’s Fandango, and make your very own Lola doll! This craft suggests using red and white materials to recreate Lola’s costume from the book, but feel free to get creative with your colors and patterns. Let your duende move you!

One of my favorite things about working on Chandra’s Magic Light has been learning so much about Nepal. We tried to capture the essence of this incredible country while also telling a compelling story about two resourceful big sisters working together to help their sick baby brother. We did a lot of research to integrate the culture, beauty, and some of the challenges facing Nepali people today into this book. Here are some Nepali details in Chandra’s Magic Light:

2013 was an action-packed year for us at Barefoot Books. Here are some media highlights:

Boston Children’s Hospital provides health care for children who come from all over the world to be treated by its world class medical professionals. In addition to top-rate medical care, the young patients at the hospital have access to a team of professional artists or Artists-in-Residence to help them express their feelings.

Last month we shared with you the exciting news about Micha Archer, illustrator of Lola’s Fandango and The Wise Fool, and her magical decorations for a 10 foot tall Christmas tree, bringing Lola’s story to life. True to the story, big sister Clementina makes an appearance on the tree as well.

Debbie Harter Barefoot Books

Debbie Harter, illustrator of Barefoot Books classics such as The Animal Boogie and the Bear series, talks about her art, her family and her love of storytelling! Debbie is a much-loved Barefoot artist who lives in Falmouth, England.