Jellybean’s Closet Is Live!

jelybeanscloset-BSS-front

Attention all dog lovers!

Attention all dog lovers who dress their fur babies in the latest four-legged fashions.

Jellybean’s Closet, my fourth picture book about my precocious little pup is now live on Amazon!

Jellybean is a little dog…with a BIG closet.

She has outfits for all kinds of weather.

One snowy Friday morning, Jellybean looked in her closet.

“Hmm, what to wear, what to wear?”

“I see a snowsuit that’s perfect for me!”

And so it goes.  Jellybean romps through the days of the week and seasons of the year making sure to choose just the right outfit.  This was a story that just had to be written.  Those who have been following me for a while know that Jellybean…errr…her Mama, is obsessed with doggie apparel.  Our hall closet is a doggie’s fashion dream come true…errr…once again; it may be her Mama’s dream come true.  Fortunately Jellybean is very accommodating and proudly struts around the neighborhood wearing the latest sweater, hoodie, jacket, pajamas, t-shirt, snowsuit…well, I think you get the idea.

This is the perfect book for the young crowd, as it reinforces the days of the week, seasons of the year, and weather-related clothing choices.  My very talented illustrator, Shana Morrow, has outdone herself this time.  The detailed and brightly colored illustrations have brought my simple little story to life.  I can’t thank her enough! Demi Stevens, my publisher extraordinaire, oh how blessed I am to be able to work with you.  Can you believe it?  Book number four!!  It could never happened happened without your support and belief in me.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my book order from Amazon.  Jellybean will certainly have lots of pawtographing to do for friends and family who have already requested copies of the book.  Then of course there are the school visits. We promised our local elementary schools we would return to share Jellybean’s Closet, when it became available.  Oh dear, just what will Jellybean wear for all those school visits? I guess it’s time for me to go.  I’ve got shopping to do.  Spring is just around the corner!

Please click on the links below to check out Jellybean’s Closet, as well as our other stories.

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

 

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

 

Yappy New Year Everyone!

IMG_4516 (2)

Hi friends, Jellybean here. It is already the second week of 2020 and on this snowy day I had some time to paws and reflect on my resolutions for this year.  You’re probably wondering what kind of resolutions a cute little pup like myself would make.  First and foremost I need to stop rooting in the bathroom trash and shredding the tissues all over the floor.  Next, I need to take at least three less naps a day and also make sure I get my furry little butt moving more.  I also planned on convincing my Mama to stop buying me all that cute doggy apparel.  My goodness, my closet is overflowing!  Something else I planned to do was stop begging for an after dinner treat before I have eaten my kibble.  There they are, five New Year’s resolutions.  I think I’ll just curl up in my little pink bed and ponder how I am progressing so far.

Whoops!  I didn’t mean to fall asleep.  I was just planning on pondering.  Here is what I have concluded; nine days into a new year and no bones about it, I am failing miserably.  About the rooting and shredding, I’ve done it at least three times in those nine days.  I just can’t help myself.  Those tissues are so soft and easy to shred.  They look so pretty, like little snowflakes scattered all over the floor.  Maybe my Mama should just get a trash basket that has a lid.  There you go!  Out of sight, out of mind!

About those naps!  Well, uh, guilty.  I can’t help myself.  I find a sunny, comfortable spot and the next thing you know I am puffing away.  Although I must admit, I have been moving more….when I’m not napping that is.  My Mama and I have been going outside to play fetch with my hedgehog.  I love it when it bounces up high and I have to jump up to catch it.  That really gets me energized, until we come back inside and I realize I need another nap.

I haven’t been very successful in convincing my Mama that I really don’t need any more outfits.  As a matter of fact, she spent an afternoon trying sweaters and jackets on me and purging those that are a bit snug or are no longer fashionable.  She did mention they would be donated to a local shelter so that other pups can be fashionable as they prepare for their forever homes.  Did I really see her add to the closet two red hoodies, a gray sweater, and a yellow fleece K-Pets jacket that is just for our therapy outings?  Let’s not even mention the skeins of yarn she bought for her friend to crochet several sweaters for me.  Oh my, I sure am a pampered pooch.

Then there’s that begging thing.  I really do try to eat my kibble at meal time.  I always start chowing down with gusto, but then I get a vision of the treats in the jar on the counter.  Just like that, the kibble just loses its appeal.  Wouldn’t you know it, I find myself sitting on my haunches doing that “sit pretty” thing and whining and crying like a baby.  In reality though, my Mama is the one that gives in.  I could sit and whine all day if I need to, but she looks at me and her heart just melts.

There you have it.  The good news is that I still have 357 days left to get myself on track.  Like they say, “Snoot to the grindstone, and paws to the fire.”  But in reality, I think my Mama might be the enabler.

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

What’s In Your Closet?

IMG_1031 (3)

Jellybean is a little dog with a BIG closet.  She has outfits for all kinds of weather.  One warm sunny morning, Jellybean looked in her closet.  “Hmm, what to wear, what to wear?” 

And so it goes as I work to prepare the digital file for my latest children’s picture book,   Jellybean’s Closet.  I continue to be blown away by my talented illustrator, Shana Morrow.  This is her fourth venture into storybook land with Jellybean. Her ability to bring my simple little stories to life using watercolor pencils as her chosen medium is beyond amazing!  With an ISBN number set for 2020, Jellybean’s Closet will be available early in the New Year.  There are still files for me to finesse and front and back covers to be created by my wonderful design team, but we are getting close to being ready for publishing.

My last picture book, Sloppy Kisses was released in 2017 and I must admit I am a bit rusty as I work at putting the illustrations in place.  Although each time I sit down at my laptop, it feels a little more familiar as I tweak the placement of the pages, adjust the contrast and brightness and add the text to each page.  I thank the stars above for Demi Stevens at Year of the Book, my publisher and inspiration, who has also become a dear friend.  When I have questions or struggle with confidence issues she responds with “Hello, my amazing one.”  Somehow, that little phrase, or “warm fuzzy” causes me to sit up a little straighter, become a bit more focused, and yes – even believe in myself a little more.

In the meantime, Jellybean’s Closet, is turning out to be a wonderful little story that is just perfect for the young crowd.  The premise of the story is that each day Jellybean goes to her closet so she can decide what to wear  – and yes, she really does have her own closet.  Just like any fashion conscious little pup, she knows to check the weather before she chooses her outfit.  This little story takes Jellybean’s readers through the days of the week, different types of weather, as well as choosing appropriate seasonal apparel.

As we continue to move toward a January release, Jellybean just has to ask, “What’s in your closet?”

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

One Lucky Lady

IMG_4875

What an exciting time!  Back in July, I blogged about my latest children’s picture book endeavor as I prepared for the initial meeting with my illustrator in which we were to discuss my vision for the story.  A week ago I met again with the wonderfully talented Shana Morrow for a sneak peek at the sketches for the book, appropriately titled Jellybean’s Closet.  This simple little story finds Jellybean sitting by her closet every morning with a big decision to make.  “What to wear, what to wear!”  Being an avid weather watcher, Jellybean makes good use of the window in the front door to determine a suitable outfit for the day.  Days of the week, weather and appropriate clothing choices make this a great concept book for young children.  The repetitive pattern promotes immediate engagement in the story.  (Hmmm, perhaps I learned a little something along the way as a kindergarten teacher for twenty years!)  As Shana pulled sketch after sketch out of her folder and shared her thoughts on perspective and placement of items on the page, I could hardly contain myself.  Actually, if you know me, I do most of my dancing on the inside, and let me tell you there was some jitterbug, a little tap, and perhaps a tad of cha-cha going on! I am humbled by Shana’s talent and the way in which she is able to make my vision come to life.  Over the next two months Shana will work her magic with her watercolor pencils to make each illustration jump off the page.  Oh, what a lucky lady I am to have this opportunity to share my stories inspired by the little pup that I love so much.  I am looking forward to a late fall release of Jellybean’s Closet.  I can’t wait to share it with you!

IMG_3693 (1)

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

Jellybean’s Closet – The Book

IMG_E3380

Jellybean and I have been enjoying the success of the three children’s picture books I have written since retiring from the public school system.  These books star none other than Jellybean, my own diva dog extraordinaire.  The trilogy highlights Jellybean’s playful and rambunctious personality through simple story lines suitable for the young crowd.  Thirty five years working with children, ages three to six, made it a rather predictable genre for me to choose.  Having a puppy with such a big personality made for some great story lines.   I guess you could say it was a match made in heaven.  Naughty Little Puppy, The Perfect Hiding Place, and Sloppy Kisses are simple, predictable and easy to read books that portray positive messages such as unconditional love, problem solving, and perseverance.

I thought the trilogy was it.  Three is a nice number.  The books bring opportunities for some Amazon sales and many author visits to local schools, libraries and community events.  Sharing my stories and seeing children react with laughter at Jellybean’s antics or by recognizing repetitive patterns in the stories that encourage audience participation, brings more joy than you can imagine.  Having the real life character right in the classroom as the stories are being read is a big deal to young children who are just beginning to understand the concepts of print, characters in the story, parts of a book, and the role that the author and illustrator play in creating the book.  I have truly been blessed to have this opportunity.  Like I said, I was happy with three stories, until one day I was standing in front of Jellybean’s closet and thought, “Oh, this is a story just waiting to happen.”

You’ve heard about Jellybean’s closet in previous blogs.  I should be embarrassed at the amount of doggy apparel that Jellybean’s perfectly organized closet is able to hold.  But I’m not.  I’m happy she is such a good sport when it comes to showcasing the latest canine fashion trends and that I am able to keep her in such adorable doggy attire.  You have to admit she wears it well, right down to the fashionable swimsuit she is modeling in the photo at the top of the blog.  This photo was snapped when Jellybean was taking a break from water play on the deck with her best bud.  I am fortunate that my very talented illustrator is on board as well.  As a matter of fact, I just finished texting lots of pics to her of Jellybean’s infamous closet and the outfits that will be highlighted in the new book appropriately titled, Jellybean’s Closet.  It is such an exciting time!  Over the next months, I will be anxiously awaiting to see Shana’s sketches  as she expertly uses her watercolor pencils to make her drawings come to life!  Children can expect to see Jellybean wearing outfits that are a perfect match for the weather during a week in the life of my precocious little pup.  Goodbye Jellybean’s trilogy! See you soon Jellybean’s quadrilogy, tetralogy, or would it be quartet?  Book number four, here we come!

 

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

Spring Has Sprung

IMG_3764 (1)

Spring has sprung – or almost.  Technically I am a day early.  That being said, Jellybean and I welcome the warm sunshine and the longer, brighter days.  Our walks are becoming a bit more leisurely.  The cold, bitter air that stung my face and chilled Jellybean’s little paws has become gentler and kinder to my skin and Jellybean’s sensitive foot pads.   Jellybean once again has her nose to the ground following the scents of squirrels that recently scampered along our path.  The furry little rabbits that zig-zagged their way across the grass left a trail of bunny “delights” for Jellybean to savor.  Finches, blue jays and robins sing their sweet songs as we pass underneath the trees in our community.  Jellybean lifts her chin and looks up into the trees trying to determine the source of the beautiful songs.  The honking of geese as they return from their winter flight stops Jellybean in mid step.  She is very curious as to the strange honking sounds that seemingly come out of the sky.  Her stance is absolutely beautiful, with three feet solidly on the ground and one drawn up with paw in perfect point formation; her big curious eyes look skyward.  She intently watches the honking geese as they make their way to a nearby stream.  I must admit that as spring begins to make its’ appearance, I am a bit sad about one thing.  It’s time to put away Jellybean’s ridiculously large wardrobe.  Into her closet go Jellybean’s hoodies, jackets, snow suits, snow boots, sweaters, and pajamas. I will miss watching my little fashionista strut around the neighborhood in her fashionable garb. But alas, as much as I enjoy showing off her extensive wardrobe, I am quite cognizant of the temperature changes that are forthcoming and recognize she needs to go all natural in order to be comfortable.  But all is not lost.  She still has her hat collection, ball caps to be exact;  there is her pink floral cap, a pink cap with white polka dots, and a beautiful lilac print cap to name a few.  What little puppy doesn’t need a cap complete with a visor to keep the sun out of her eyes while tooling around in the car?  I breathe a sigh of relief as I realize that although her closet will be virtually untouched until next fall, she will still be that loveable, fashion forward little pup that proudly prances her way through life.

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

 

A Home Well-Loved

I recently hosted the Winterfest Potluck Dinner in my condo community.  Having just bought the home this past June, I was not only honored to host, but also thrilled to show off my farmhouse/country décor and have an opportunity to share fellowship and a plethora of tasty dishes with my new neighbors.  Jellybean was in heaven!  She received so much attention throughout the evening.  By the time the festivities wound down and the house was still and quiet, Jellybean was ready to snuggle and catch up on her missed naps.

The next day I sent a text to a very dear friend, noting that the Winterfest gathering was a huge success.  Just so you know, her mother is the former owner of the condo and also served as host for this particular celebration many times throughout her twenty some years in this condo.  My friend was amazed at the timing of my message.  She had just returned her mother to her new home, a local assisted living residence.  It seems that on the ride home, her mother asked, “Does Bev still like living in my house?  Does her little puppy like it too?”  My friend was amazed at the clarity at which her mother spoke of both Jellybean and me, especially with the severity of her memory loss.  She assured her mother that indeed we do love it here.

I was really touched by this.  I have known Del and her family for years.  When I was a classroom teacher, I babysat her grandchildren every summer and also many a Saturday night.  Now that I am retired I babysit her great-grandson three days a week.  Del’s daughter was also my hair stylist for over thirty years.  Fast forward to this summer and I became the owner of the home that Del lived in and loved for over twenty years.  As you can see, the connections to this family run very deep.

As the week went by, I kept thinking that I should do something for Del so that she can see how much Jellybean and I enjoy living in her home.  I decided to create a photo book for her.  I spent an afternoon looking through pictures on my laptop and gathered the ones I thought represented how comfortable we are here.  I began with how infatuated Jellybean is with the cows that appear at the fence outside our sunroom window.  Jellybean spends hours on the sofa looking out the window.  It is one of her favorite spots.  I am so lucky to have a sunroom that is a total wall of windows.  It faces the field on a neighboring farm.  The cows come down and hang out by the fence.  Several ground hogs play in the brush.  Birds in a variety of colors frolic in the thick bushes, squirrels perform high wire acts in the tree right outside the windows.  We’ve even had a stray cat reach its little paws up and peer in the window.  Needless to say, Jellybean did not tolerate that very well and looked at it more as of an invasion than nature at play.  I have many pictures of Jellybean lounging here or sitting at attention, depending on the activity outside our windows.

I also included pictures of my big farm table, where my entire family can be seated together for meal time, my late husband’s barber chair – a cherished piece of furniture – which found its’ home in a corner spot of the sunroom, and pictures of baby Jay and Jellybean as they went from getting to know each other to becoming best buds.  I often refer to them as Peanut Butter and Jelly, as you don’t see one without the other.  I also included a picture of the infamous Jellybean’s closet, which now houses Jellybean’s ridiculous collection of coats, sweaters, jackets, hoodies, snowsuits, pajamas, etc.  I’ll bet Del could not have imagined that the closet system she had installed for organizational purposes would be so perfect for my spoiled little puppy.  I’m sure Del will get a chuckle out of the pictures of Jellybean frolicking in the yard as the snow gently falls.  The pictures of her snow-covered face are absolutely adorable and speak to the high level of comfort and complete abandon she feels when playing here.

So, when Del inquires if Jellybean and I still like living in her house, I respond with a profound YES!!  YES!!  YES!!  We love everything about it.  Most of all we love that the house came already filled with love.  Del left some of that behind for us.  I am forever grateful for the opportunity to make a home for Jellybean and me in a home that permeates the love bestowed upon it by its’ former owner.

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

 

My Little Snow Bunny

Have you ever read the children’s book by Robert Munch titled Thomas’ Snow Suit? The adorable little boy is reluctantly bundled up to the max in preparation of having an afternoon romp in the snow.  His snowy day outfit is complete with snow jacket, snow pants, boots, scarf, hat, and mittens.  Every time I bundle Jellybean up for a romp in the snow or a potty walk, I am thankful that the people who design dog clothing are quite in tune with the needs and habits of our four-legged friends.  A quick squat and it is business as usual, then back to romping and playing in the snow, no worries about the outfit.

Aside from allowing Jellybean to potty as needed, her new snowsuit is really quite ingenious. It allows her to dive in head first, bulldozing the snow-filled yard as efficiently as any Troy Bilt Storm 2410 model without getting snow and ice balls packed on her legs and in her pits.  Her face, on the other hand, is a different story.  She looks up and it is literally packed with snow, eyes barely visible. She gives a shake and back she goes for another round.  She then rolls on her back making a line of snow angels.  As her back digs into the snow, the resulting imprints resemble a line of giant hotdogs.  Suddenly her tail takes her by surprise.  She begins to spin circles, snow flying around her as she chases this mysterious, silky creature.  When the chase is complete, the yard looks like someone has been here spinning donuts on a snow mobile.

Did I mention that Jellybean also wears snow boots?  Maybe I should say Jellybean has snow boots.  It is quite the effort to get them on her.  But for goodness sake, with the recent bone-chilling sub-zero temps, what is a poor little puppy to do?  So we try.  If she is walking, just taking care of business, they are quite effective.  They protect her feet from the cold and salt-covered sidewalks and roadways.  However, when she is bull-dozing, rolling, and zipping around in circles, I can count on at least two of her red and black Muttluks flying off her feet sailing high in the air.  It must be the kindergarten teacher in me that never went away, but I find myself counting throughout her snowy day follies to make sure all four paw coverings are accounted for.  “One, two, three, four.  Yep still on.”  A few minutes later, “One, two, three, four.  Oh, good.  We’re on a roll.”  Once again, “One, two,  wait a minute.  Where are numbers three and four?  Is that your boot all the way across the yard hanging on the snow-covered bush? Oh, I see number four over by the driveway.  My goodness, Jellybean, you really know how to have fun in the snow!”  That’s my girl; my snow-loving, rambunctious, silly little puppy!

Halloween Quandary

Jellybean - Halloween quandary 5

Another Halloween is upon us, which means another quandary for me.  What costume will Jellybean wear this year?  In previous years she has been dressed as Minnie Mouse as well as a cute little lady bug.  Both costumes were darn cute if I must say so myself.  And only as Jellybean can, she sashays and struts around showing off her tutu, wings, or whatever the current ensemble might be.  She is quite incredibly the most accommodating dog ever.  I say accommodating because the costumes are really all about me.  It’s not like she marks her calendar each year and starts shopping for outfits.  I get the biggest kick out of seeing people smile when they see her all decked out.   So…back to my quandary for this year.  We will be participating in two Trunk or Treat events, a costume contest at doggie daycare, as well as Trick or Treat night in our neighborhood.  Obviously, she needs a costume that makes her look super cute.  It is well-known that I tend to overthink things that pertain to my precious little pup.  Reading over my notes for this particular blog, even I have to admit that the time and effort I put into the hunt for her annual Halloween costume is a bit over the top.  It goes something like this:

  1. Spend hours on Pinterest looking for ideas to spark your creative side.
  2. Narrow the search to three or four possibilities that stand out.
  3. Bingo! This year Jellybean will be a clown!
  4. Head back to Pinterest and peruse a few more clown costumes.
  5. Next, go to Amazon and begin a search for a toddler-sized tutu.
  6. Once the tutu has been chosen, begin a search for toddler-sized suspenders.
  7. Submit the order.
  8. Once the items have arrived, place them in Jellybean’s closet until needed.
  9. Now head to the local craft store and search for a brightly colored toddler-sized Tee shirt, 3T to be exact.
  • Purchase the Tee and place it in Jellybean’s closet until needed.
  1. Take advantage of someone who is an expert on the sewing machine. In this case it would be my mother.
  2. Discuss the possibility of making a clown collar out of colorful fabric.
  3. Take a trip together to the local fabric store to find just the right fabric that will coordinate with the tutu.
  4. Purchase the fabric.
  5. Send it home with your favorite seamstress, who by the way would do anything for her grand dog.
  6. While waiting for the clown collar to be sewn, go back to Pinterest and start looking for ideas to decorate the car for Trunk or Treat with a circus/clown theme.
  7. After making some notes as to the items needed, head to your local party store and purchase said items. Once again, place the items in Jellybean’s closet until needed.
  8. Don’t forget to purchase the candy and treats needed to hand out at the various events.
  9. At this point, Jellybean’s closet is a bit too full, so store the candy and treats in a large bin in the garage.

20.Pick up the collar when finished.

  1. Go home, retrieve all items from Jellybean’s closet and have a dress rehearsal.
  2. Looking at this adorable get-up, you realize the next decision is to decide what to do with her hair.
  3. Knowing that this particular puppy will not wear a hat, unless she is riding in the car, determine that a mix of colorful curly ribbon barrettes will be a good option for clown hair. At least these will stay in place for the duration of the event.
  4. One last dress rehearsal is in order before the events, this one with the car fully decorated.
  5. Be sure to take several pictures. These are needed of course for bragging opportunities.
  6. Place all items back in Jellybean’s closet until needed.
  7. You are now ready for Halloween 2018!

Whew!  That was a lot of work.  But you’ve got to admit that Jellybean has got to be the cutest Halloween clown ever!  Well….at least this over the top pet parent thinks so!

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

Jellybean’s New Closet

IMG_1800

You all know by now that Jellybean is one very lucky and spoiled little puppy.  You also know that her mama is a bit over the top when it comes to ensuring that she has everything she “needs.”  I wrote about Jellybean’s closet in a previous blog, in which I introduced you to her many outfits and accoutrements.   I’ve also written about the items this little diva “requires” when we travel, right down to her little doggy pajamas.  Today, I am excited to tell you about Jellybean’s new and improved closet.  This is a closet that will be the envy of every well-dressed pup.

In June, I purchased a beautiful, spacious condo.  We both love it!  I have lots of room for my “stuff” and Jellybean has room to run, chase her tail, hide her treats and all the things that rambunctious little puppies do.  I am so fortunate that the lovely lady who previously owned the condo was particular about her living space and made sure there was ample storage throughout.  Call me one lucky lady in that every closet in the house is custom, each with compartments for hanging clothes and organizing shoes and various accoutrements.

This brings us to the hall closet, heretofore known as Jellybean’s closet.  What a beauty it is!  It is the perfect space for storing and organizing her amazing wardrobe.  There is a compartment for her sweaters, a compartment for winter jackets, one for fleece doggy jackets made with love by her “Grandma” and also a compartment for T-shirts (holiday and event related).  We are not done yet!  There is also a combination compartment for her pajamas, holiday wear, hoodies and raincoats.  The organization doesn’t stop at her wardrobe.  There is storage for her lunch boxes, because every well-dressed puppy carries her own lunch box into doggy daycare, right?  Well….this well-dressed puppy proudly prances in the door to daycare, lunchbox clenched tightly between her pearly white teeth with her tail held high.  She actually has the choice of several.  I leave it up to her.   Treats, dog food, and bowls have a special place.  Grooming necessities, such as brushes, rubber bands, hair bows, washcloths, doggie toothbrush and toothpaste, towels and puppy shampoo are readily available.  Leashes and collars are neatly stored on hangers.  There is even a special spot for the book bag we use when participating in therapy dog visits with our KPets group.

Over the top?  Perhaps, but when I signed on to be Jellybean’s mama, I promised that I would love her and care for her.  If that means I get to spoil her too, I’m all over it.  What’s that you say?  A box from Amazon Prime was just left at the door?  What could it be?  Yippee!!  Her colorful tutu has arrived! Shhhhhh… Jellybean is going to be a clown for Halloween this year.  I can’t wait to see how this year’s costume comes together.  But for now, this rainbow-colored tutu is going….you guessed it….in Jellybean’s closet!

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here!