Life at Kettle Cove Newsletter

kettle cove newsletter, illustrator, maine

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Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning, miss elderberry, illustration artist cheri

Miss Elderberry

Artist, Blue Ribbon Illustration | © Cheri Cottrell

YoYo's for quilts, floral print, © artist cheri cottrell

reading quotes, spring cleaning, artist cheri cottrell

floral curtains, spring cleaning, artist cheri cottrell illustrator

  spring cleaning, wicker chair, cheri cottrell artist and illustrator

Artist, Blue Ribbon Illustration | © Cheri Cottrell

It was wonderful to wake up this past Saturday morning with the sun shinning and the warm spring air. After such a cold harsh winter it was wonderful to open the windows which gave me just the right amount of encouragement to do some early spring cleaning. Just like my character Miss elderberry with her hand knitted sweater and arm full of Elderberry Jam that she sells at gull square in Kettle Cove Maine. She lives in the prettiest cottage made in a Beach Plum Bush where she tends to her creative spirit and domestic crafts, a true entrepreneur at heart. Miss Elderberry’s character was influenced by a wonderful woman named Florence a friend of the family. When I was a little girl I would stand outside her kitchen window of her old white farmhouse just hoping she would ask me in just so I could take a peek in all the nooks and crannies these old homes possessd. Once inside it was a treasure trove of ( yoyo quilts how to), knitted sweaters and beautiful hand-made rag rugs, antiques decorated every part of her home. The most exciting adventure was when we would go into her root cellar to fetch her strawberry jam and some veggies. Florence was to be an inspiration as I grew up and it has carried me throughout my life.

So just like Miss Elderberry, I donned my apron and set to work. I washed the quilts and curtains, aired the mattress out, vacuumed up the dust bunnies that have collected over the winter and gave the windows a fresh cleaning. Put up a pot of potato soup, a recipe from The Tasha Tudor Cook Book…yummy! After I was done I celebrated by taking a delightful shower and then went about filling my basket with good reads. Climbed into bed and before I could reach for the book my head fell onto the pillow and after a few yawns it was lights out…just like a kitten on a soft feathered comforter I fell into a long slumber of exhausted sleep.



Spring Flower

Spring Fower, Illustration, by cheri cottrell

” Spring Flower “ 

Spring Flowers is just one of my favorite things, there is inspiration everywhere I look…flowers truly make my heart sing! As the warmer temperature starts to creep in (Warm for me right now is about 35 degrees.) I get this happy feeling. I have to warn myself that it is too soon to pack away ALL my winter clothes and replace them with my spring, summer clothes. It is so wonderful to have daylight savings, even now the days seem so much longer, the light pours in from every window and fills the house with warmth and a happy glow! 

I was going to put up the picture that inspired the painting, but it seemed so sad in comparison to the watercolor illustration. ” Spring Flower ” was painted on a whim, I was about to throw out the bulbs that were planted in a pot which were straggly and a tangled hot mess when I said to myself…” You were such a pretty little flower.” And that was it I went off and sketched and painted until the sun went down last night. Funny isn’t it how inspiration hits us, it seems to come when we least expect it!




~ Cindy ~ Skip To My Lou

Spring Purple Flowers

Spring,cheri cottrell illustrator,flowers, gardening

“Sing like no one’s listening,


love like you’ve never been hurt,


dance like nobody’s watching,



Spring purplish purple cheri cottrell illustraot flowers


live like its heaven on earth.”


~ Mark Twain ~

Spring purple flowers cheri cottrell artist and illustrator

Spring purple flowers purplish

Spring purplish purple cheri cottrell illustraot flowers

spring purple things flowers

Spring purple flowers cheri cottrell artist and illustrator

Saturday felt like Spring…I opened several windows. I felt like Julie Andrews in the “Sound of Music“, you know the song…”The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Not warm enough for flip-flops but were getting there.

I went to the Boston Flower Show with my daughters this week. I saw beautiful flowers it was just enough to waken all the senses. I couldn’t wait to get home and put flowers everywhere! In the midst of my spring mood I wanted to paint something purple in the honor of spring. Sometimes if I am out and about town and I have an idea I will grab anything and sketch it out on a piece of scrap paper, napkin – just about anything. I remembered I had put it in a safe place so I wouldn’t lose it…I think you know where I am going with this. I couldn’t find it. Do you ever do that ? I  searched everywhere, cleaned out draws, went through closets, looked in all my coats and pants pockets, etc. Nope nowhere to be found. Eventually I gave up defeated. Yesterday was a full work day starting a 5 AM. I took out all my supplies and was ready to start, when I opened up a sketch pad and between the papers…UREKA!!! I found it. Yes it all makes sense now! I had put it in the sketch book so when I wanted to sketch something I would have found it! At the end of my day yesterday, I pulled out a small box and labeled it “Scraps Thoughts and Sketches.” I even gave it a honoray place in my art room. Now all I need to do is remember to put them in there when I get home…

Spring purplish purple cheri cottrell illustraot flowers

Have a wonderful day full of spring purple flowers!



Winter Story

Winter Story childrens story cheri cottrell watercolor illustrator


Bean produced three berries from his pocket, but seemed disappointed with the result.


Without letting Coco see his worried eyes, he reached in for more and was alarmed when his small paws felt nothing but the seam of his coat pocket.


“The berries! The berries are gone!” exclaimed Bean.


Coco watched her friend search his coat. In the bottom corner of his right-hand pocket was a small hole.


Coco looked at Bean with sympathetic eyes and then at the three small berries in his hand.

Winter story cheri cottrell illustrator  children's story


“At least we have something.”


But Coco, what are we going to do with –’ however before Bean could finish his thought, Coco let out a loud squeal.


“Look!” yelled Coco enthusiastically. In the distance was a fallen tree. “We can use some of the bark to build a shelter.”


The two Hammies trudged through the snow to investigate the tree. At the base was an old wooden door.

Winter story, children's story, cheri cottrell illustrator


“I think someone lives here,” cautioned Bean. “We shouldn’t intrude.”


Coco was less polite.


“But where else can we go?”  Coco asked as she curled her tiny paw and rapped on the thick wooden door.


The door creaked open, revealing an empty chamber. The floor was covered in dry grass and beach rose decorated the dry dirt walls.

winter story, children's story cheri cottrell illustrator


It’s an old root cellar!” shouted Coco.


Protected from the cold wintery elements, Bean carefully placed each berry in a chipped seashell and offered them to his friend.

winter story, children's story, cheri cottrell illustrator


“You have them, “ said Bean.


“No, we’ll have them.” Whispered Coco, the joy of sharing with her friend made her nose wiggle and her whiskers bounce with happiness!



That night the wind whipped and the snow blew, but Coco and Bean were none the wiser. Exhausted and drowsy from the trek, the two fell asleep easily in spite of their hollow tummies.

Watercolor illustrations Cheri Cottrell


The following morning, Coco and Bean were awakened – not by a Boondoogle – but by the sound of Papa Dubois and Papa Higgins banging on the wooden door.


“Hello, is anyone there?” bellowed Papa Higgins through the great door.


Coco and Bean awoke from their makeshift grass beds and ran towards the door. Coco reached for the doorknob but before she could turn it, the door swung open.


Papa Dubois and Papa Higgins scooped up the little Hammies in their arms and hugged them tightly.

“How did you know we were here?” asked Coco.


“We followed the trail of berries,” said Papa Dubois. “We found one by the snowman and then another and another and another, until they led us here.”

Cheri Cottrell storyteller chilrens illustrator


The weather had become much nicer and the sun was shining high in the sky. The four Hammies went back home. “Mama is making a berry pie,” said Papa Higgins in a loud, cheerful voice. Bean and Coco looked at each other. “Berry pie!” The two Hammies could hardly contain themselves and started laughing.

~ The End ~

winter story, cheri cottrell illustrator, children's stroyWarmly


To read ” Winter Story ” in it’s entirety click on the link


March Springtime
Weddings & Babies

march springtime babbies weddings

“The March wind roars

Like a lion in the sky,

And makes us shiver

As he passes by.

When winds are soft,

And the days are warm and clear,

Just like a gentle lamb,

Then spring is here.”

~ Author Unknown ~

March is one of those months that just puts a little spring into my step. I get all excited about crocuses and tulips. Oh yeah! And the anticipation of a little warmer weather!!! It has been a brutal winter here on the East Coast! We still have snow and snow and lots of snow! I want to dig out my flip-flops so they are all ready to go…just in preparation for when that beautiful spring day comes I can don my sweater and flips-flops and feel that beautiful warm breeze and the sweet air that flows off the coast…it just gives me that lift I need to say spring is on its way!



Winter Story
“Lost In Snow”

 Tracking paw prints in the snow was hard work and they were growing cold and weary.  It was the sound of branches breaking off in the distance from the crisp and frosty air that broke the silence between friends.

Children's story Cheri Cottrell,betrix potter


Suddenly, Coco grabbed Bean by the hand, squeezing it tightly.


“I can’t see anymore paw prints,” said Coco anxiously. 


“Neither can I,” said Bean.


At that moment they both looked around and noticed the snow was coming down heavier. The wind blew hard across the hills covering the paw prints as well as their own tracks in the snow. 

kind childrens story, cheri cottrell


 “How will we find our way back? I’m so hungry and cold,” whispered Coco.


Bean put his paw around his friend. “I have extra berries in my pocket, once we find some shelter, we’ll have a feast!”

Cheri Cottrell storyteller chilrens illustrator


Warmed by Bean’s words, the two went off to find some relief from the bitter cold.

Watercolor illustrations Cheri Cottrell

 Come back next Monday to see the continuation of

Coco & Bean’s


The Story From The Beginning



Children's Winter Story Cheri Cottrell

Did you notice Bean shared something with his friend?







A Winter Story
“The Beginning”

The snow fell all morning covering Kettle Cove in a thick blanket of fluffy white snow. Coco and Bean were busy building a large snow hammy, hoping theirs would win the prize at the Winter Festival.

Children's Story Illustration Cheri Cottrell

“Let’s go and find some twigs for his arms and seashells for his eyes!” said Coco.


“I don’t know,” replied a hesitant Bean. “My mama said not to stray far from home.”


Coco, who was busy catching snowflakes in her mouth, didn’t bother to look at her cautious friend. “We won’t go far, I promise,” said Coco in a muffled voice. A snowflake had just settled on her small, pink tongue. “We won’t even go past Gull Square.”


Bean considered Coco’s words. “Okay, Coco. Let’s go hunting!”

Children's Winter Story Cheri Cottrell

As they collected their twigs, Coco noticed small paw imprints around large paw imprints in the snow.

“Do you think that belongs to a Boondoogle?” whispered Coco.

 “Maybe. I’ve never seen one before! Have you?” replied Bean as a cold shiver went down his spine.

Coco shook her head and after a brief pause, grabbed her friend by the hand and ran off in the direction of the paw prints.

“Let’s follow the prints. Maybe we’ll see a Boondoogle!”


They both shouted out “What an adventure!” 

Watercolor illustrations Cheri Cottrell

 Come back next Monday to see the continuation of

Coco & Bean’s


Continuation of Weekly “Winter Story”




Joining Cindy’s blog at Skip To My Lou