This Is So Bessie Will Stop Standing On My Foot And Telling Me What To Do

My first big goal for the new year is to make a two-year anniversary revision to my first-ever book, “Seasons Of Friendship.” Although I love that first book because it’s something I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to do, I have learned so much since 2019.

This revision started as only an update of the inside illustrations. Below you can see a comparison.

The drawing on the left is from “Seasons Of Friendship.” It was made using the Sketches app on an iPad Mini (with my finger).

On the right is a newer style drawing using the Affinity Designer app on an iPad Pro (with an Apple Pencil). This updated drawing uses the same line and fill techniques as “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.” The lines are much lighter even though most of the colors are the same.

There are also more color pictures throughout the book. This was at Bessie’s strong recommendation.

“If people are going to pay for a book that is in color, then there needs to be color on almost every page,” she told me while standing on my right shoe. (She does this whenever she really wants to make a point.) “People want to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.”

I did not argue with this, but I did wonder how she ever found out about money.

I should also add that Bessie pecked my shoe as she told me, “And don’t try making it anything except sweet and wonderful just like Little Bunny because that’s what the readers want too.” (They do love Little Bunny, and this was Bessie’s even stronger recommendation.)

Another big change has been with the writing itself. “Seasons Of Friendship” was written as a story collection based on many of my blog posts. They were loose and rambling but all centered on some aspect of friendship.

Writing “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” helped me to learn more plot-related skills. So the revision now has a plot. Just like Pearl and the others learned what Christmas is about through a series of events, I will learn what A Most Wondrous Place is about.

All of these things make it an almost completely different book, and so the title has been changed to “How To Find A Most Wondrous Place.” (You might remember how last week’s post ended with “You know, Gracie, this really is A Most Wondrous Place just like you have always said.”)

What started as a one-time collection of stories just may be developing into a little series of books! But that will require some continuity throughout the series so the books look like they belong together. Back in 2019, I had not seriously thought of doing a series. It seemed just too monumental for me. But now, I want to give it a try with these 64-page full-color “How To” books.

If you have any feedback concerning the draft version of the cover for “How To Find A Most Wondrous Place,” please let me know.

You’ll notice the font has been changed to a more “chicken-made” style. I’ve reworked the background to one that can be more consistent but different by changing just the colors. (This one is green because spring is a great time to start raising baby chicks. But blue would be good for the book about Christmas.) The image on the front also appears within the pages of the book.

I would truly appreciate your thoughts about the font, overall design, color, and whatever else you may want to share. You are our loyal readers, and I want to hear from you. (And it will keep Bessie from standing on my right foot and telling me what to do!)

Pearl’s Snowy Friends Ornaments (Christmas-Time Or Winter-Time!)


This weekend, we will finish up our decorations for Christmas. We are a little late this year, so we may need to leave everything up a little extra long after the Christmas season is over!

We designed more printable pages to share with everyone who would like to decorate along with us. Those are much more “Christmasy” than the ones we shared last week. One is in full color, and the other is in black and white outline, so you can color them any way you’d like. You can use these for garlands, ornaments, gift tags or anything else you might imagine.

And don’t think that these are just for kids! (We know some of you adults like to color and decorate too!) So, it’s time to get out those coloring pencils and crayons and markers and get ready to decorate!

In case you’re wondering about The Big Blue Hippopotamus that appears in “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” there is a song titled “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” sung by Gayla Peevey in 1953. Check it out on YouTube if you’d like! At first, Pearl thought Christmas was about The Big Blue Hippopotamus because people in our neighborhood had them as decorations in their front yard. That’s why it appears in the story and illustrations…and in this ornament collection as well!

Click this link for Pearl’s Snowy Friends Black & White Ornaments!

Click this link for Pearl’s Snowy Friends Color Ornaments!

These will both download through Dropbox, but you do not need to have a Dropbox account to access them!

We are using cardstock paper for ours. Both of these will print out as full letter-sized pages with generously sized drawings for those who may not be quite the best at staying inside the lines. (Don’t worry, some of my chickens have a hard time staying inside the lines too!)

Today is the last Sunday of Advent, and we hope it will be a good day for you and yours. Happy Decorating!

SPECIAL NOTE: Bessie has been worrying about being able to share a new Christmas baking recipe with everyone because nobody is laying any eggs right now, but her best friend Gracie has come through for her. She laid two eggs this week and is working on another one this morning. Be on the lookout for a new recipe soon! I’m not sure what Bessie will come up with, but I’m sure it will be good! 

Gracie’s Ballet Ornaments (Christmas-Time Or Any-Time!)


This weekend, we will be decorating for Christmas. We are a little late this year, so we may need to leave everything up a little extra long after the Christmas season is over!

We designed some printable pages to share with everyone who would like to decorate along with us. So far, there are two pages. One is in full color, and the other is in black and white outline, so you can color them any way you’d like. You can use these for garlands, ornaments, gift tags or anything else you might imagine.

And don’t think that these are just for kids! (We know some of you adults like to color and decorate too!) So, it’s time to get out those coloring pencils and crayons and markers and get ready to decorate!

Gracie has been fascinated by fancy glitter, so whether you use the full color ornaments or color your own black and white outline ornaments, you can add lots of beautiful glitter to their ballet tutus if you would like! (Regular glitter makes Gracie sneeze, and so we are using glitter glue.)

Gracie is hoping we will be able to leave them up year-round since these aren’t particularly “Christmasy.” Unless you add your own Christmas elements, they really can be used any time during the year too! (Some of our readers don’t celebrate Christmas so we wanted to start with these which can be used just because they are fun!)

Click this link for Gracie’s Black and White Ballet Ornaments!

Click this link for Gracie’s Color Ballet Ornaments!

These will both download through Dropbox, but you do not need to have a Dropbox account to access them!

We are using cardstock paper for ours. Both of these will print out as full letter-sized pages with generously sized drawings for those who may not be quite the best at staying inside the lines. (Don’t worry, some of my chickens have a hard time staying inside the lines too!)

We hope to have more designs to share with you soon! Happy Decorating!