Critter of the Month: Archaeopteryx

Meet Tango. This bird likes to party, and loves being the center of attention even more!

Last year I wrote a little story about Tango and Twig, but it was posted in two halves. Tango and Twig would be much happier if I posted the whole story in one place, so enjoy this silly little tale about Tango the Archaeopteryx and Twig the Compsognathus.

Making progress…

This month has been a whirlwind!

I got involved planning a Halloween party this year, and when I get into party planning I just can’t help myself- I have to go all out! So most of my month has been filled to the brim with spooky crafts like potion jars, floating candles like the ones in Harry Potter, and chandeliers with fluttering bats. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve been having a blast painting newt eyes, cutting out bats, and designing vintage apothecary labels for all my potion ingredients, but all the diy decorations I’ve been making doesn’t leave much time with prehistoric critters. I did have some fun with Ornitholestes and Macelognathus this month for our Fossil Fridays though, so I’m glad I could squeeze in a little time for them.

I also got everything finished for the book! I have all my files submitted, and I’m just waiting for my personal copy to come in for the final approval. I just got the email today that it was shipped, so I’m super excited to finally be able to hold my book in about a week or two!

With all the DIY projects, party planning, final book preparations, and Fossil Friday, I never got the chance to to make anything pretty for this post or schedule it in advance, but I won’t let next month’s COTM be late! I hope you enjoy a few spooky tidbits I made for the Halloween party. The pictures didn’t really turn out, since most things looked best in the dark, but I have a lot of the vintage labels for you to enjoy. The first set were all the labels I had for the adult potion ingredients. Adults could have a little fun mixing a few drinks, and I had a blast coming up with potion ingredient labels for the various alcohols and juices we could mix. The kids had some “dragon blood” they could safely enjoy. ๐Ÿ˜€

The cover for the “potion book” I made, so the adults could mix their drinks.
Labels for the adult potion ingredients.

These next labels were made for display on the mantelpiece over the fireplace. My kids helped me gather all the “ingredients”, and my eldest helped me decorate the jars to make them look the part. Vintage apothecary labels are a lot of fun to look through! Most things I made for the party were from things I already had on hand, like the beads, ribbons, and raffia I used for the jars here. The brown “lids” are just unbleached coffee filters. I made the newt eyes out of simple polymer clay balls, that I then painted and coated in a clear varnish for the shiny wet look. A thick layer of varnish over just the iris and pupil first really gave them a lively sheen. Of course I looked at plenty of photos of newt eyes to make sure they were as close to the real deal as possible! I had 20 balls, but I ran out of steam (and time) at 16 eyes lol. (these are magical newt eyes of course, or else they’d be cloudy dead eyes) The awesome skulls and a few of the jars are things I borrowed from my sister-in-law, and one came to me already dripped with wax.

I have a close up of all the labels for your reading pleasure if you want to know what Unicorn horn dust is used for. Oh, and the fact that no Dryads were harmed when collecting clippings of their mossy hair.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the pictures, even if they aren’t dinosaurs. Keep an eye on the front page for the calendar I’ll be posting by the end of the week!

Coming Dec. 1st…

She’s a bird! She’s a bat! She’s a…ok seriously, what on earth is she?

Share your guess in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

12 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Archaeopteryx

  1. Okay I got a lot to say here (okay maybe not really a lot but still, you get what I mean).

    So, it is nice to see Tango and Twiggy paired up for that story. After all, the two dinosaurs would likely have been contemporaries to one another when they existed.

    The Halloween event sounded like a blast! I did do much for the holiday but perhaps thatโ€™s okay with me since I had school the next day and having to wake up at around 6:00 AM is a pain to me. At least I can share you some good news: My birthday is coming up and Iโ€™ll be a year older than now in about a week.

    As for next monthโ€™s critter, Iโ€™m excited!! The description suggests a member of the Scansoriopterygidae family, and the addition of a newbie is always a good thing. I think Yi is the best-known member of the family, so that is my guess.


    1. Hi Angel, I’m glad you like the story! Both Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus can be found in the Solnhofen Formation, as well as Rhamphorhynchus and Pterodactylus. I actually have a little story idea that features all four of them, I just haven’t drawn it yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Halloween was a lot of fun! It was good to have friends and family over, and I much prefer it over trick-or-treating. Hubby and I were so worn out we were in bed by 9:30! Early wake times are pretty hard, so it’s always good to get to bed earlier instead of celebrating late anyway.

      Happy early Birthday! I won’t be posting this week, but I should be able to get a calendar up on the front page. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Yay, throwback of Tango’s story! The first of many mini-stories. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That is so cool!! I love all the decorations! All the beads, together with the antique labels, candles, and jars, add so much to the look. ๐Ÿ˜€ Haha, my favorite is “no unicorns were harmed in the harvesting of this dust.”

    Woah, that must be such a surreal feeling. Just think–in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to hold a physical copy of your own book. Can’t wait to see it!


    1. The kids keep telling me I need to make more little stories like this one. So many ideas, but so little time! ๐Ÿ˜€ Now I’m deciding which project I’ll be focusing on next. What will the next book be? Finish the picture book once and for all? Make a little Field Guide with the Fossil Friday Critters? More easy-reader stories like the adventures of Tango and Twig? More “grown-up” short stories that take a peak at dinosaurs’ lives? There are just so many to choose from, and those are just the dinosaur-related ideas!

      Whichever one I choose I’ll need to stick with for a series, because the saying goes that it takes 20 books to $50,000 income. The caveat is that those 20 books all need to be in the same genre, and each of those ideas is technically a different genre! Decisions, decisions…

      I still don’t really feel that the collection is truly done. Until it is physically in my hands, it’s still a kinda vague collection of files on my computer lol.

      Thank you! Those decorations were fun! I loved painting the newt eyes. They’re so shiny and turned out amazing! Hehe, I had a ton of fun with the labels. The unicorn one is one of my favorites. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Speaking of mixed drinks kids can have, once I took half a can of Mtn Dew Livewire and half a can of Mtn Dew Code Red into a mixing cup steered it, then into a drinking cup it went (note best for older kids) and I will call this โ€œpotionโ€ Basilisk venom


          1. I think it could be very cute! Most people reconstruct it as more dragony than I would like, but I’ve seen some really beautiful ones. Emily Willoughby’s reconstruction is nice, and there’s an artist on DeviantArt that has a beautiful “taxidermy” of one. I follow an artist on Instagram who has a beautiful reconstruction too. ๐Ÿ™‚


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