National Storytelling Week.

This week is National Storytelling Week here in the UK. To celebrate my book “Down the Lane” has been made one of the featured stories of the week within StoriesAlive. This is a free to download app, which enables you to try out several free stories for children. If you and your children like this way of reading and sharing you can choose to subscribe. I am told that “Down the Lane” will be available free for the month of February.

I wrote and illustrated this book many years ago. Happy Cat Books first published it as a hardback and a paperback here in the UK and I have plans to add it to my Acornmoon book list. Speaking of which, the files for “White is the Moon” have just gone off to the printers so we should be able to offer both print and digital forms of the book in the next couple of months.

The weather here in Cheshire has been very wet and windy but not nearly as bad as other parts of the country. Today has been bright and breezy; I decided to see if I could find any celandines in flower. My February illustration in “Down the Lane” features these delightful shiny yellow wild flowers with blackbirds and a sleeping dormouse. There are blackbirds a plenty in the fields and here in my garden, no flowers yet on the celandines but plenty of glossy green leaves. I also found a beautiful skeleton leaf, which has survived the winter intact.

I have spent the long winter evenings finishing my crochet baby blanket. The photograph makes it look very out of shape; I don’t think it was so out of kilter in reality. By the way, I found out how to make these crochet squares on Little Tin Bird.

My hyacinth finally flowered and its perfume is a welcome reminder of spring days to come.

Ted has been feeling the cold and has taken to wearing his coat on long wet and windy walks. Now he is getting older (fourteen this July) he enjoys finding a sunny spot, preferably with a view. Isn’t it strange the way Jack Russell’s like a window seat. I wonder what tales he would tell?


  1. Your little blackbird is so sweet! I am enjoying some hyacynth bulbs as well and was just now writing about their heavenly scent as well! I love those skeleton leaves and tell kids that they are future fairy wings just waiting for the right one to come along and claim them for their own.
    I think your pup has the right idea...nothing better than a sunny window seat with a view!

  2. Dear Valerie,

    How lovely to see a blog post of yours popping up in my newsfeed.

    What a glorious illustration of a blackbird! Your baby blanket looks truly wonderful too and I see we share a love of hyacinths. After my potted hyacinths flowered and filled our home with their fragrance - so much more enjoyable in cold temperatures, I believe - I decided to purchase a beautiful, fat bundle of pale pink and white ones to offer my youngest daughter on her fourth birthday this week. I cannot get enough of their heady scent.

    Spring is on its way, slowly.

    Warmest wishes,


  3. I really wish I could crochet. I can knit but can't seem to pick up crocheting? I like how your hyacinths tone with the blanket!
    Lovely Dawg he knows how to live? Xx

  4. I yearn for blooming flowers what a treat this must be. you crochet somehow reflects the blooms!

  5. Such super photos, Valerie. I love your gorgeous illustrations.
    I see you are looking for signs of spring.
    We are in the middle of a snowstorm here.

  6. Winter's back here. Everything has stalled so it's nice to see things are better 'up North'!

  7. What a lovely blackbird illustration. I wish you much success with your new book. I enjoyed seeing your adventure in your garden.. Mine is buried under 2 feet plus of snow so no adventures for me.. Your crochet blanket is very pretty.. Hugs Judy

  8. Valerie, I laughed to think about Ted participating in National Storytelling Week! Perhaps you could help him write his memoirs? With illustrations, of course.

    The blackbird is a fine painting. How well you catch that quick moment when a bird pauses, to think bird thoughts, or to listen, or to spot the next snack.

    It's great to learn that you are doing some more multi-media publishing. Bravo!

    And, your crocheted baby blanket is a gem.

    Let's see, what else....oh, of course, the skeleton leaf! A perfect sample of these beautiful natural objects. Very well spotted.


  9. Beautiful illustrations once again, you are clever getting into all things digital, amazing! I love finding skeletal leaves, they are like little treasures, so intricate. I keep trying to get into crocheting as I'm sure it's something you can happily do while sat watching tv or something, I must get there, but you have good reason, is it a little girl? Ted is cute, I'm sure he has many tails to tell, my old pooch will be 14 soon, some of his marbles have gone, but that just makes him more endearing, I bet Ted looks smart in his coat :) Need to know what printer you have, if you get chance please? :)

  10. I so envy you your skills Valerie - your pictures are beautiful. Love the celandine leaves too - I have been looking for weeks for the first one - it is always in the same place here so when the first one appears I shall post it immediately.

  11. Dachshunds like a window seat too ... I think it's a 'little dog' thing.

    Gorgeous celandine illustration. And how lovely that your book is a featured story :)

  12. hello Valerie!

    So lovely to see all the things you have been up to! Congratulations on your book and more! Your art is such a treasure to see and enjoy.

    I downloaded the app, but seems i can not get your book until i am on wireless which i do not use at home... so soon I will get it!

    lovely week and beyond to you!

  13. Valerie, Don't those Hyacinths look perfect with the baby blanket? I am happy to hear that your books are being re-printed by you; your illustration is truly breathtaking and should be enjoyed by everyone! Keep little Ted warm in his jacket, he still has a long of life ahead, due to his breed.

  14. I miss the song of the Blackbird. It has a beautiful voice. I am from England and living in Michigan I miss the English songbirds

  15. I have been looking for some skeletons of leaves. They are amazing. I left the comment above a while ago and didnt notice them the first time