Talula’s Barefoot Books Blog

A running commentary on life as an online bookstore owner after 25 years in Early Childhood Education.

Posts Tagged ‘children’

Talula’s writing room – Not much here but drudgery, folks!

Posted by Talula on June 13, 2009

Olympic Paint Sample Room

Olympic Paint Sample Room

OK, OK! I know that I have been AWOL from “my” blog for a while. Although I have been reading other’s blogs and commenting in the few stolen moments I have had to write anything. I still don’t have much to report on my writing room. I have been making some attempts to work on it, although not making much headway. Here is a synopsis of my progress so far:

Have cleaned out some more piles of  ‘old life’ materials, in between taking care of my ‘grands’ and I have made 4 trips now to the paint store to get samples and attempt the “dragging” effect that will make my walls look like a waterfall design. And that does not include the 3 trips looking for the perfect color swatches. I have bought the aqua bay flat wall paint – although the secondary color to drag on top is not coming together well. I decided the turquoise mist might be too light – so i went and got a sample of a greenish turquoise to use as a top color- but that seems TOO soft looking – so I’m going back to the original choice. I used a section of wall behind the bedroom door to try the different effects, since when it is done – that area will be covered with a tall 5-drawer chest. I found that i don’t like the look of the type of brushes suggested for the dragging design – so I’m trying some tools of my own. Once I come up with a design & color combo I like – it shouldn’t take long to finish the walls.

I haven’t given up on the waterfall look on my walls just yet – I’m still trying to catch the paint store with a supply of the right base for the sample color I need. I guess todays trip was probably dumb to attempt – since it was the first Saturday of summer (after graduations ) here in our town. The week many folks take off work to get projects done around the house while our weather is mostly clear skies and warm, with nary a hurricane in sight.  Of course, many; if not most are still completing repair projects from last September’s hurricane IKE damage. The insurance companies really shafted most folks with that storm. The only folks who got any real payments for the damages were the ones who protested the insurance companies original payout offers, some by threat of  lawsuits. the insurance companies were only offering 10 cents on the dollar – across the board; no matter if you had complete replacement policies or not! Which we did and so we fought the original offer; with good and appropriate results. But of course – that means the money is slow in coming and then you have to do the projects when you can fit them into your schedule. Most of ours is done now; although some just finished – and it’s been 9 months since the storm, and June 1st began this year’s Hurricane season!!!

Anyway! Back to my original remarks – yeah! it was a dumb idea to go today for samples. But there was some good to come of it, and yesterday’s trip to the paint store. Yesterday I found a quart of beige to match my furniture so I grabbed it from the ‘return bin’ and will use it to repaint a bookcase that is now black (I was going to donate it to my daughter – but she didn’t want it. Then I was going to send it off to Goodwill store; but now I don’t have to — I can paint it to match and re-use it).  Trust me; I still have plenty of books to go on that bookcase when it is done. Today I found a tiny sample can of the deep purple (Blackberry Jam) that i wanted to use as an accent somewhere in tiny doses, like on a lamp or in my own original art (also in the return bin – although for the life of me – I can’t understand why someone would return the tiny little sample can of paint!) They must not have kids – Any leftover paint was always fair game for kids school projects or their budding  ideas for a fort, birdhouses, etc in the summertime to keep them busy. Hey! Somebody’s stupidity/er! thriftiness is my gain. I paid a dollar for the small can and $3 for the quart – a savings of over two-thirds off the original price of both! 

So now that I have made more work for myself with my ‘bargains’, (paint a bookcase & a couple of lamps & maybe picture frames) I just have to keep on working on the wall design until I come up with a great solution.   I am pretty creative when I have a goal to focus on, like this writing room. It seems to come naturally when it pertains to color — maybe I was a great artist in another lifetime! 🙂

Ok – that is about all I have on Talula’s Writing Room!

Unless of course ; you want to know about the actual act of writing!

Seems that the first actual samples of paint on the wall of the Aqua Bay color triggered lots of mind racing on my idea for a middle grade historical fiction book that I have had floating in my head for many years. Sooo- I have begun to do the research to tie the details of actual events together with the voice & action of the main charactor.  I think I’m on to something big here with the turquoise choice for my writing room! Put the color on the wall and BAM! I’m writing! And yes; I am already writing in the UN-finished Writing Room!

I have actually spent time as a child in the area where the events happened, plus relatives still living there who are descendants of the original players; although it occured about 130 years prior to my time spent there. I have the memories of the space to tie the two time frames together – so perhaps the whole thing will not be so hard to construct.  My plan is to create a simple time schedule of actual events, then write the full story in the main voice – and then go back to co-ordinate the two, adding more details to flesh out the story.  The secondary charactors have much written about them in our state history already, so it should be very easy to fit the main voice into that time period and place them in situations with those historical figures. Texas has had some very colorful ACTUAL people in our history (and still does today) and I believe that this will make it very easy to show how often many of them crossed paths regularly; to add to the texture of the story I want to tell.  And to add an extra benefit to my timing, the locals in the area of the setting; are trying to start a proper archeological dig to showcase their little known part in Texas’  War of Independence from Mexico ( the exact story I want to showcase).

So stay tuned – Talula’s Writing Room is being created as we speak!


Posted in Children & Grandchildren, Children's Books, childrens writer, Families, kids | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ta Da! Talula’s Writing Room Now Has A Color!

Posted by Talula on May 5, 2009

Ok; folks – I knew that i would have to make some actual progess on this project; even though I was drawn away from the project for a couple of days  (and resting sore muscles & back from moving furniture).

So Ta Da! I hear the trumpets blaring here! I have picked the colors to use in my writing room. They are ~ Drum roll please, Maestro!

Turquoise Mist (for the pale base color) and Aqua Bay (for the highlights) From Olympic Paints  at Lowes.    And I will use an accent of Blackberry Jam! Doesn’t that sound yummy? But that will probably be in lampshades or fabric, small touches.


OK – Now I have a sample of the Aqua Bay walls with the accent color in Blackberry Jam. This room sample would only show 2 colors – but I used this one to show the cream colored furniture & if you look close in the background,  the wood floor is close to the clay pot color of my actual room’s rug.  this is NOT MY OFFICE – but as close as I could get to the actual color combination to show you.

Olympic Paint Sample Room

Olympic Paint Sample Room

This was a much harder task than i thought it would be. I took one trip to 2 home improvement stores to scour their paint sample aisles. took about an hour altogether to choose samples. Then in Monday’s morning light – I sat with my main art piece, the furniture (creamy white) and rug (clay pot color) and tried approx 40 different shades of the mixture of blue & green. I wanted two shades – one a deep turquoise to bring out the main color thrown all over the Native American art pieces. And the second one for a very pale compliment, with the exact same color tone to make the main wall color and set off all the combination of colors (sort of like the canvas of the artist’s work).

One thing that most people don’t realize; is the fact that Desert Southwest colors are not originally the faded-out muted version that most think of in SW art. The original colors are very vivid (think Spanish/Mexican influence) like the very flora and fauna of the desert actually are in reality. the beauty in the desert comes fast and furious after a quick rainshower. However the Blazing sun & unbearable heat take turns blasting the colors and then they begin to look faint & washed out over time. The same as any old paint – it just happens faster in the arid SW.

So I now have my jeweled color pallete of  Creamy White (like the color of the Adobe), Orange/rust (clay pot), 2 shades of Turquoise (the sky color and the most famous jewel-stone of the area), and   a touch of deep purple/lilac accent (some of the desert flowers and the color strewn about in the artwork/native weavings/stone colors/dawn colors).  I hope the walls turn out to look a little like the swirls of the open ocean.

Edit here: I think it may end up like a waterfall design! We will see if I can translate that to canvas (wall, that is).

It shouldn’t be too hard – as I have already done a similar room for my grandkids to have as a play room.  I painted a mural around a very tall narrow window to make the (faux) door of an adobe house, with the distant background showing cliff houses like the ancient Anastazi dwellings on one side and central plains scenes on the right side. Turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself! The funny thing is that this is my Mom’s Country French Design house –so I have now taken two rooms to place my individual stamp on!

Ok if ALL that was confusing let me say it this way:

Carpet = Clay Pot color

Furniture = Creamy White color

Wall & Trim = 2 shades of turquoise colors Aqua Bay & Turquoise Mist from Olympic paint

Accent pieces (maybe fabric, lamps, or my own art) = Deep Lilac

Pottery, weavings & Misc. Art pieces = All of the Above!

Lest you think me wacky – the clay (orange) and lilac (purple) are the opposites of the turquoise on the tri-color wheel for balance! I may be a writer; but I have always had an artist’s inner color sense. ( I can carry exact tones of color in my mind’s eye all during shopping trips for decorating, crafting or sewing.)  The creamy white of the furniture then becomes the room’s neutral balance. See ~ I like strong colors but do use them with an artist’s hand.  

Oops – I think you are supposed to wait to actually inherit a house before you start re-designing it, aren’t you?? Oh well — I do enough for my Mom that she deals with it, to a certain extent. And I doubled the square footage when I helped finance the expansion in 1978. And due to some (un?) fortunate stormy hurricane weather back then – my losses paid for the rest of the remodel and eventually paid off the morgage. Yay! So even though  the house is really part mine, as long as it mostly still says HER HOUSE, she’s ok with it!

This is the what i will be working on for the next month; Hey! Now don’t grumble. it takes awhile when you are the only one moving each piece of furniture by yourself AND doing the painting a section at a time.  Will try to let you in on the progress with photos, but I don’t own a digital camera. I have to borrow one to take them, then upload. So I will get them when i can. 

Ok, have to go do my shift with the ‘Grand’ baby that is staying with us today, while her mommy is sick; see you later. Talula

EDIT: Well I have now added 2 more “Sick Kid Days” this time with one of the same little guys who was sick last week. What we thought might be Swine Flu last week, turned out to be very Bad case of strep throat; but this week he spent with a stomack virus! Poor little fellow only had 2 and a half days of school in 2 weeks.  Only this week was his grade’s field trip and outdoor play day ~ he missed both! Plus his beloved baseball games. Granny tried to play video games to help him pass the time (Lego Star Wars) but only succeeded on one level before he just told me to ‘drop out’ and let him do it all.  Yeah Right kid — I used to hold my own with his uncle’s Dungeons & Dragons – so “NO WAY!”  and then he got smart and shut off my controller. Smartypants 6 year old! At least he could have been polite about it — but I guess I deserved it for challenging him and draggin him into battles.  Welll…I will just have to practice without him knowing and get him next time. No..our family is NOT at all competitive! HEH HEH!

Second Edit: I spent almost 3 weeks with various sick grandkids, one sick virusy & and down-in-her-back mommy, and one afternoon watching 2 little ones while their house was being rid of  honey bees who had recently taken up residence in their outer wall. This had to done immediately upon discovery as the daddy is allergic to bee stings of any kind and the girls may also be allergic. Thankfully they have never been stung so we are not sure yet.  So now the planned Dual Tinkerbell birthday party can proceed on schedule for this weekend. Yay for the 3 yr old “Grands”, not so much for the fat Granny’s & Grandpa’s as its a pool party!

Posted in Children & Grandchildren, childrens writer, Families, Preschool | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Post #2 of “My Confession” to become a published children’s writer

Posted by Talula on April 27, 2009

My Desert Inspiritation

My Desert Inspiritation


Part #2 of my plan to become a published writer in the children’s genre.  Part #1 was finally admitting in print that it was my dream to be a writer. (See  march 15, 2009 post on ‘ a little confession’  or ‘following a dream’ in the tags)

Still reading, organizing, and sorting in my office/studio. I don’t really know if anybody is listening (or reading as the case may be); to catch my venture on the road to becoming a children’s book author.  But just in case someone is; here is my second post on my progress.

I have joined a writers group in an online ‘clubhouse’ which is a new site from Write4Kids. I am searching out all my notebooks with half-formed stories, and trying to collect all of them in one place. I am sure that many will be different angles of the same theme; and once I have had a chance to sort them – I will probably have at least 50 ‘starts’ to begin a few really good ones from.  So a lack of material is not an issue, finding it and polishing it is!

At this point; I have to paint a picture of what I have to do while accomplishing that ‘collection’ of story starts! To be brutally honest; I have been beginning stories, or at least writing down the main ideas of stories since I was about 9 or ten years old. Before that I would tell outlandish ‘fairytales’ made up by me; to the very thin air – sitting in a swing or in my favorite perch – the limb of a young chinaberry tree in my yard. My brother & uncle would tease me un-mercifully much of the time – so that was my escape from reality. Funny; now that I am thinking back – I also sang songs in made up languages to my dolls or to imagined babies, as I swung in my seat in the wooden swing with my arms wrapped around the chains and looking down at the ground. I sang them quietly, as one might sing to a baby, and often in a lullabye kind of sing-song.  Perhaps in  a modern psychological viewpoint – I was singing to my inner little girl; or perhaps in a spiritual viewpoint – I was singing in a language from a previous life to a baby from another time & place. Well it is time to move from imagining to action.

Back to the present for now. In order for me to find all those half-written stories, I had to begin the herculean task of cleaning out my office. Moving furniture has always been my first step to spring-cleaning, sort of a ‘biggest task first’ thing I guess.  So to that end – I am completely rearranging the whole 20′ x 20′ room; to make it much more functional for researching, planning & working on several different  projects at once. 

Here is the PLAN!  A little more than half the space available is to be my office space (about 200 sq ft).  About 1/4  is for my sewing & craft area.  And the last fourth is for the twin bed & a nitestand with a rocker/recliner for reading which is to be my grandchildren’s guest bed area.  They LOVE being in the middle of Granny’s craft materials, digging around in there even when I would rather they not sometimes – because then I can’t get them out to take a nap, a bath or eat their dinner, until they have finished searching for treasure! :()  So I decided to include them in the planned space, then maybe I can take back some control in how & when they use it.

It is a great sized big room for separating into functional spaces. I have a LOT of furniture in there – but now it will all serve new purposes for at least one of those new functional areas, with some pieces serving two purposes.  A large dresser with a tri-mirror will house all my craft supplies and some sewing items. The mirror will help to reflect light onto the table & chair area right in front of the dresser  for sewing or crafting.  An upright 5-drawer chest is now the main sewing items repository.  They flank a wide but shallow closet where I have stashed my Barefoot Books business equip & materials, plus my camping gear.

The office section is going to really be expanded from what it was previously (was about a third). I am going to bring the main desk into almost the center of the room to take advantage of the great light from the wide east window,  with the north window becoming the backdrop for my file cabinets and two tall towers with a light bridge surrounding the file cabinets. That used to be with a queen-size headboard (which I have now re-purposed to be a side bar behind the twin bed for books and a nightlight for the babies), it has a great pull-down for a little table height space for their snacks and drawing on. Then of course my computer desks (I have two) will set on the east wall  beside the window ( big computer desk – to block the glare from the main window ) and small one in the NE corner respectively. The small one will probably be changed to be a printers space, once I have dumped some stuff from my old compter to the new one. then of course I have one tall bookcase ( today I emptied, moved it into the new spot  and re-filled it with more appropriate child development, business, and writing parapheniela [sp?] volumes).  This should make a very large l-shaped production area for the business of writing, with the best use of  natural light in the room.  I have a couple of more pieces which will serve for office supplies and more files. Then I have a large tall entertainment center, which I haven’t decided what to use it for – at least for now – since I took the tv to my bedroom when we hooked up another dish antenna for movies.  I think I’ll just let it simmer for now.

As soon as everything is in place — then I will tackle 2 more phases.

1) Re-painting the room for the display of all my Native American collection of art pieces.

2) Sorting & organizing all the papers (30 years of teaching materials, cookbooks, craft books and collecting stuff from my now-grown children’s lives)

Will report later — major storm is crackling all around me!

I’m BACK! Last night’s storm was loud and messy; caused several electrical & cable outages – none of which lasted very long.  The lightning show went on for about 5  hours. So I didn’t try to bring the computer back up till this morning, although more thunder storms are forecast for later today and it is very overcast right now.  Just saying cause I might have to jump of the air again. Methinks lightening and computers don’t mix very well –   how about you?

Back to the plan! PHASE 2 – Painting the room – will be done to surround me with soothing colors to accent my collection of Native American art pieces.  My native pieces are my creative inspiration and I have never really displayed more than a piece or two at a time. It is going to give me great pleasure glance around my office and see the beauty of my ancestors for dancing with my muse. And since i have such a strong spiritual connection to both my Native American and Irish ancestry ~ I expect they (all of them) will feel totally welcome to visit, and of course give me advice; as usual.    I haven’t totally settled on a color yet – but I will be letting that simmer, also as I finish setting up the room.  My color pallet wiil have to include the existing carpet (a burnt orange/desert sand mix) the furniture is a cream white-wash finish.  Before i started on the room – I had thought to use a pale nature’s misty green – but now I am leaning to a pale turqoise or the same color as the furniture (to just let the furniture secede into the background) and let the art work speak more clearly. Many of the pieces have a strong balance of turquoise in them, some just a touch of it.  

PHASE 3 ~ sorting, organizing, and dispensing of my papers. This is no week-ends work! I could probably fill a dump truck with all the papers I have in there. Left overs from classrooms I have taught in, conferences I have attended, workshops I ran for teachers, research for parents on their child’s issues, games I have created for classrooms, craft books for classrooms and many I still use for my grandchildren,   half-finished sewing projects & materials, drawings my children did, report cards from their school days, photos of children in my classes & of my children and grandchildren (I will be hanging many of those)…but I think you now can picture it quite well!!!! My plan is to sort last, since I can do a small box at a time while watching a movie, etc. ,  once it is down to what I cant just throw out.

OK – I guess that is enough stalling for today – I’d better go make some of the above happen!

Funny little note here; I was clicking categories to tag this post and I saw “Teacher’s Gifts” – and I thought about what all I have stored in those papers & books — It really is a “‘Teacher’s Gift”  that is in all those papers — my gift of knowledge to thousands of children over the years! That makes me smile, although it may make it harder to part with some of it. Alas; it must be done to move into the next part of my life – becoming a writer!

Watch for the next report soon; as i will have to take a break from all the dust & sneezing! Ta – Ta from Talula.

Posted in Families, Small Business, Teacher's Gifts, Teachers, Early Childhood ED. | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Darwin!

Posted by Talula on February 19, 2009

boy reading reclinedHappy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you — You belong in a Zoo! Happy Birthday Charlie!

Err…if it weren’t for you, we probably wouldn’t have zoos so kids could marvel at the wonders of the animal kingdom! Or kids who excitedly want to grow up  to be botanists, biologists, earth scientists or veterinarians!

If you haven’t guessed already, today is the 200th worldwide celebration of Charles Darwin’s birth! And if you are still clueless — he is the renowned English naturalist who traveled the seas; exploring, cataloguing, & documenting with notes and illustrations, new species of plants and animals. Many folks around the world study his work at some time in their academic life, especially if they take biology class in high school. Much of the details of his work on animal life in the Galapagos Islands; still stands as reputable facts today.

And we have just the book to introduce young children to his scientific facts. Sailing to Galapagos , written by Laurie Krebs with vibrant illustrations of exotic wildlife and the islands that are home to his most renowned studies, done by Grazia Restelli. See facts about the most famous resident of all – the Galapagos Tortoise; and other species in the endnotes at the back of the book. Use this book to introduce science to your young children, provide them with a few props and then watch them sail away to dream about all the exotic new animals and flora in their imagination. ‘Sailing to Galapagos’ on their own little homemade boat. And don’t forget to pack them a snack; they will certainly be hungry during all that exploring!

You can find Sailing to Galalpagos at the Barefoot Books/Talula’s Wagon link in the blogroll on the right. >>>

Enjoy science again with your little ones! Love, Talula.

Posted in Barefoot Books, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Children's Global Issues, Early Childhood ED., Early Literacy, Picture Books, Teachers, Early Childhood ED. | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Best [Spanish-language] Children’s Books of 2008”

Posted by Talula on January 25, 2009

El Mundo

El Mundo

Award winning Books  CLICK “BAREFOOT BOOKS” in the blogroll AT RIGHT to purchase El Mundo.

Another fantastic award for Barefoot Books has just been announced!

Criticas Magazine is the one stop source for English reviews of new adult and children’s titles published in Spanish for national and international Spanish readers.

“El Mundo”  is Barefoot Books recently released Spanish version of  our best-selling “Whole World” and has been named one of Criticas Magazine’s ‘Best Children’s Books of 2008′ in the Audio-Visual category; and comes in a mini-hardcover version with its own Spanish Audio CD right in the cover!

Use it to help your children learn about global environmental issues in a fun and musical way! Click the Barefoot Books Winter Sale banner above to purchase your copy today! And go read all about it in Criticas Online magazine here…Criticas Review <<< Click Here for review and scroll down to Audio-visual at bottom of page for El Mundo!

BEAR IN A SQUARE (bilingual Spanish/English)
BEAR IN A SQUARE (bilingual Spanish/English)


Posted in Barefoot Books, Book Reviews, Books with CD, Children's Books, Children's Global Issues, Early Literacy, Families, Multi-Cultural, Spanish | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Happy Winter Holidays For Whatever You Celebrate!

Posted by Talula on December 22, 2008

White Rose of Peace

White Rose of Peace

Edit: Not a week goes by that i don’t see someone coming to visit my site picture of this white rose (7 in the last two days); so I wanted to mention that it is a stock photo available at yahoo. It came with my installed computer software and I use it for several things. It is beautiful though, so I can understand why so many folks want to see (and I assume copy it). 

P.S. It DOES NOT have anything to do with the German youth group called “White Rose” that is a modern day anti-Nazi movement, it is just a coincidence that I chose it for its beauty & peace symbol.


Yesterday was Winter Solstice, and Hanukah, Christmas & Kwaanza are all on the calendar this week. El Id was just a few weeks ago. So today I thought would be a good day to send warm wishes for winter celebrations in cultures all over the globe! May the blessings of your culture be visited upon you this season!

I know there are various wars and conflicts going on in far-flung corners of this beautiful earth and I hope that there will soon be peace in all of them; and soldiers everywhere will soon have no ‘war-work’ to do. I wish with all my heart and spirit that Peace will break out in all the conflict-stressed places of our fragile Mother Earth.

I also hope that children everywhere will find love in their family relations, with a gentle touch to rock them to sleep at night. For I have seen too much in my life cycle of children who have too few (if any) gentle touches and soft hugs; not to mention the horrors of abuse. It breaks another piece of my heart every time i run across those children (with neglectful or abusive parents) in my lifetime of work with children and families. May there be peace in all children’s hearts this world-over soon!

My future is looking a little brighter this month, since I have chosen to go back into the Early Childhood Education field and accepted a job offer just this week that will send me back into other’s children’s lives. I have been out of this field for almost 5 years; so there will definitely be an adjustment period for me. I will be posting here a little now and then about my trials & tribulations as I re-learn the finer points. (Translation: I’m rusty & need to read up on all the regs in our state that were implemented last year, plus have a newly required Homeland Security check.) Gee – I hope you can’t be failed for bad credit. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from having myself and 3 semi-adult children in college at the same time!

Well here we are again at the end of this post, cause I’m about to sneeze from my allergy/cold whatever — jeez — I know that lady in the mall store REALLY does get a bonus for spraying Chanel No. 5 right in my face! No matter how hard I try to stay away from those stores — I always end up caving-in and going to help with at least one set of grandchildren — and those perfume ladies get me every season! AAACCHOOO! Sorry! Couldn’t hold it in!

Meddy Chris-mas and Hoppy New “Achoo!” Year! May everyone have a blessed year in 2009! And for Pete’s Sake — read a bedtime story to a child near you!

Posted in Children & Grandchildren, Children's Global Issues, Families, friends, Multi-Cultural | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »