As Catalina the Mouse Girl rambled about the lake meadow, picking sweet mugwort, she heard her friend Lewis Toad in his stilt house in the marsh. He was singing a song about "The Flowers of Winter." Catalina was filled with curiosity, so she rang her froggy friend's doorbell.
Before long, Lewis came scampering down his front door ladder. He had beautiful flowers stuck all over himself. "These are no ordinary flowers," he told the mouse girl. "They are everlasting flowers, because they are made of paper. I thought the other animals might like something cheerful to look at when winter comes."
Naturally, Catalina was eager to help with this effort, because she loves cheering up her friends. Also, she loves paper crafts. Lewis explained how it was done.
"See those sheets of tissue paper spread out in the meadow? I painted them with watery paints, in all the delicate colors of flowers. The designs are not so important because the paper will get cut into little pieces. Now I am waiting for the water to dry."
"These other pieces are already as dry as can be," remarked Catalina.
"Just so! Now, there are many ways to make them into flower shapes. For these fluffy ones, you cut two long strips, like this."
"Stack them up and fold them into an accordion."
"Trim the edges diagonally."
"Wrap a piece of wire tightly around the middle to make a stem."
"And then very carefully, fluff up the petals until the flower is fluffy. This part takes the longest. I like to sing 'The Flowers of Winter' and 'Froggy's Travels' to pass the time."
"Now for these flat dainty flowers, I cut three layers of round blobby shapes, like this."
"I stack them on top of each other and poke the stem wire through two little holes in the middle."
"Then I twist the two ends of the stem wire together. And I fluff up the petals, just a little."
"You could also do a different version by snipping some of the petals into a fringe, and curling them up a little. Variety is the spice of life, you know."
"I know," Catalina assured him. The mouse girl was most delighted. She asked him, "What about this one?"
"For this type, you cut blobby bow tie shapes, like this. Each bow tie will make two petals. So as you can see, I have six bow ties cut. And that will make..." Lewis seized a pencil so he could do math.
But Catalina spared him the effort, crying "Twelve petals! Six twos is twelve! How do you make a flower, though?"
"You stack the petals up, and crunch the centers together, like this."
"Then you wrap a wire around all the centers, as tightly as you can."
"And you fluff up the petals." By now all the tissue paper was as dry as could be, and the friends made it all into everlasting flowers.
They put their flowers in little glass vases. They knew the other animals would love these charming table decorations during the dark days of winter.