Author Archives: sarahchipley

Leaf People completed projects


Leaf People

While searching for a fun and easy fall craft to do with two 3-year-olds, I came up with a fun idea. The kids were playing in the backyard when I started to observe the lovely display of leaves around me. I gathered some of my favorite shaped leaves. With a few simple craft supplies, the leaves magically turned into people! You could go crazy and add yarn hair, glitter, popsicle sticks, puffy paint, sequins…and the list goes on and on! I would recommend using tape to hold the twig arms and legs in place. All purpose white glue (ie. Elmer’s glue) was not effective in securing the twigs to the paper. After constructing the leaf people, have your child tell a story (or write a story for older kids) about life as a leaf person.

DIY Interchangeable Burlap Wreath

After perusing on Pinterest, I decided to make an interchangeable burlap wreath. I am planning on using a burlap wreath as decoration for our front door year-round.  I will replace the accessories as the holidays change. That way I only have to make one wreath, but still have the benefit of decorating for different holidays and seasons. 

Picture 1:Image I wrapped a spool of burlap ribbon around a straw wreath (both products I found at Michael’s). You can use Michael’s coupons to cut down on the cost of burlap ribbon. The one I found cost $10, but I had a 40% off coupon which I used to cut down on the price. I hot glued the ends of the burlap to the straw wreath. I would recommend putting something beneath the wreath to keep it from leaving straw all over the place. I chose a bed sheet for that purpose.


Picture 2: I wanted to add color to the burlap wreath as the base for the year-long decoration. I would recommend a color goes well with different seasons. I debated on a medium lime green, or milk chocolate brown as a choice. My husband and I love the color maroon, so that is what I chose to use. I just wrapped it around and hot glued the ends of the ribbon to the burlap.


Picture 3: I found 2 fall berry decorations for 60% off each, which I slipped beneath the maroon ribbon and under the burlap ribbon. You could secure the decorations with hot glue, but I wanted to be able to exchange it later. You could also make a burlap pocket, or wrap the decorations with ribbon and then glue to the wreath.


Picture 4: I looped the extra ribbon into a bow, and sewed the ribbon in the middle to keep it together. I just added a few stitches with each pair of loops to keep the bow intact. In all, I made 3 ribbons. I want to exchange these ribbons later, so I taped the ribbons to the burlap. You could hot glue the ribbon for a permanent look. I will add the first letter of our last name to the side of the wreath, and it will be done!


I drew my inspiration from:

Ginger Snap Crafts 

Little Lovely Leaders 


Happy Fall! 🙂

7 Things Editors at Children’s Book Publishers Wish Writers Knew

ImageGreat article from

I’ve heard these suggestions mentioned at writing conferences. At the SCBWI conference, several of these were mentioned by editors. A good reminder for us authors who write for children.

Just Write Something

I read this great article from Jeff Goins at I’m posting this to inspire you when you are having “writer’s block” or “resistance” or “the feeling you can’t write anything worth reading”. Just keep writing.

My favorite parts of his article:

  • “So what do we do when this happens? What do I do? And what should you do? Just write something. Anything. Creativity lives off momentum — and it dies from lack thereof.”
  • “The point is that the creative life is more about repetitions than revelations. It’s about going to work every day and trusting the mystery.”
  • “So, no. I don’t think writing is mystical. I think it is very simple and ordinary, and like most things of that sort — relationships, work, parenting, and so forth — it’s hard. Very hard.
  • “But it’s not complicated or impossible to comprehend. All you have to do is begin and then trust the process.”

Jeff Goins gave a great reminder. Just keep writing. I feel that way with running. Some times I feel like going, other times I would rather go back to bed or take a nap on the couch. However, when I decide to go run instead, I am so glad I did. I never regret it. It was worth the effort. So is writing. I won’t always write something extraordinary, but at least I wrote something. Who knows? Perhaps that little bit I wrote will turn into my next book.

Remembering the Moment

Trying to keep up with 2 preschoolers is a full time job. They have energy coming out their ears. My (mostly) neat house at 8am becomes a tornado zone in the amount of time it takes to walk from the living room to the kitchen. I’m continually amazed at their imagination and their curiosity. I like to listen to their conversations and the stories they make up as they play. I love that my kids are close in age (16 months apart). For the most part, they are best friends. They fight like any other siblings do, but I’m amazed at how well they play together. Sometimes I just want to pause time and enjoy the moment. Try to soak up as much as I can while they are 3 and 4 1/2. School starts in August, and our lives with be dictated by school schedules for the next 15 years. That alone makes me feel old (which I’m not).   

So how do I capture this time? I’ve tried several ways to capture their memories in writing.

Baby books: Goodness knows, I’ve tried writing things down in their books. However, more often than not, I am not able to write down the memory before it’s forgotten. Will it really matter how many words they said at 20 months? Or how long it took to potty train my daughter? Or my son’s height at age 2? Truthfully, I don’t even look through the baby book my parents kept for me. My kids probably won’t look through theirs either.

Memory Jar: My friend has a memory jar for her daughter’s memories. She keeps it in her kitchen. She’s carefully placed colorful pieces of paper and a fun pen beside the jar. Whenever her daughter does something funny, or a special memory occurs, she writes down the memory on a piece of paper and drops it in the jar. The last time I visited her house, the jar was full of colorful paper. So I thought it was a good idea. I had a large jar, and plenty of paper. Why not? Well, despite my true intentions to write every little moment I have with my kids down, it hasn’t happened. Maybe it’s because I’ve kept the jar on my bedroom dresser. Perhaps it’s just me needing to invest in pretty paper. Whatever the reason, that didn’t work for me.


Here is my memory jar with a grand total of 3 memories in it!

Facebook: I’ve learned that I like to use Facebook. It’s almost an addiction. Quick! Post the picture of my kids making a face. Quick! Type a post about how my daughter’s latest achievement. It’s fun for my extended family (who all live several states away) to enjoy watching my kids grow up through pictures and posts. My husband and I race to see who can post the best photo of our kids first. He usually beats me with a quick post about the latest event that has occurred in our family. I’d say that using this form of social media has been one of the best tools for me to keep up with memories. Thankfully I’m not one of those parents who go overboard and post every little event or word my kids have said. Just most of them. 😉

Tell a storyOne of the best ways I’ve found to remember the memories and moments that happen with my kids is through telling a story. Sharing the stories the old fashioned way. By word of mouth. My running buddy and I share memories of our children 3 days a week while we run. Other stories are shared during playdates and visits at friends’ houses. The more I tell the story of a moment or memory with my children, the more it burns into my brain. It’s like having the chance to relive the moment again when sharing it aloud. It also allows the chance for others to relate to what I’m experiencing. I hope to tell as many stories to my children as possible when they grow up. 

Keep your memories. However works best for you-baby book, memory jar, online scrapbook, paper scrapbook, journal, blog, or whatever… But remember the most important part- living in the moment with your children and making the memories. That’s the best part.