Yes, it really is a tray of pine needles and a shredded wheat, and yes, I really did use them in my lesson on Making Little Books at Newark Library this week!
They made great visual aids to help with my description of how paper is manufactured. For those who would like to know, machine made paper tends to have all the fibres lined up in one direction (like a shredded wheat) which means it's much stronger in one direction than the other. This applies from the thinnest papers up to thick card. A good way of seeing this is to get 2 sheets of newspaper - tear one page vertically and the other horizontally - you will find that one tear is much neater because it is running in the same direction as the paper fibres. The other tear is like trying to neatly break a shredded wheat in half lengthways!
I'm Janet Smith, a calligrapher who loves to experiment with lettering and calligraphy.