20 May 2013
The head children’s librarian at my library loved the story Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler and asked me to make a little flannelboard for it, since the pictures in our copy were a little small for our storytime.
Sylvie is a little pink flamingo who is tired of being pink.
When she asks her mother, “Why are flamingos pink?” her mother informs her that it is because the shrimp they eat are pink.
This gives Sylvie an idea. She eats all sorts of different colored food and turns all sorts of silly non-flamingo colors!
First Purple as a Grape, then Blue as a bluebell and Red as a Kite…
…and of course she shares my love of polka dots and stripes.
I have some serious sympathy for Sylvie. Eating what’s best for you isn’t always what you want, and sometimes like Sylvie, I have the maturity of a five year old when it comes to nutrition choices. “But I don’t want vegetables, I WANT CHOCOLATE! LOTS OF CHOCOLATE!” And then I start to feel a little like this:
Shrimp and the color pink aren’t so bad after all, and besides, you can always occasionally save room for desert!
I like to tell this story right after Halloween, when my storytimers are all a little green around the gills from the sugar fest the night before. Healthy eating and indulgence in moderation. Who knew?
18 May 2013
My life partner, Levin, and I bought a sweet little 1920′s house a few years ago, and occasionally I post about house projects I’ve been doing. Up until this winter, we were having a problem that I’m sure many of you can relate to: Bookshelf space was at a premium. I would come home from work with piles of books for my personal collection (The friends of the library were having a booksale! It’s John Green! I couldn’t NOT buy it), and Lev would throw up his hands (but not say anything, because I’ve got that boy trained) and give me a disbelieving ‘Where are we going to put them all?’ look. When it’s just the two of us, we’re practically non-verbal, and can communicate in a series of grunts (him), squeaks (me), and raised eyebrows (both of us). So I gave him the arched brow that said, “Listen, buddy, when we got hitched one of our vows was that you would build me bookshelves. ” A few months ago, he made good. Above is a photo of our living room when we bought it. This is what it looks like now:
And from the other side of the room!
I can’t tell you how good it feels to have EXTRA(!) bookshelf space. It has solved so many of my problems. I sleep better, I laugh more, I’m more energetic and fulfilled with my life. These bookshelves have saved my marriage. Ok, so I may be exaggerating a bit, but still, it is a GOOD thing. I wasn’t crazy about the color of the walls, so I painted my craft room that dark blue color and I painted giant flowers on the walls in the room with the fireplace.
Here’s a fun fact of home ownership: If you don’t prune the wisteria every year, it will start trying to eat your house. I’m ok with it, because even though it’s monstrous, it is sooooo pretty. Anyway, death by huge flowering vine isn’t such a bad way to go.
13 May 2013
Played around in Publisher with some of the graphics we got for the Summer Reading Program this year. Here’s the little poster I made to take to the schools using the Line and Color Art by this year’s illustrator: Scott Nash.
All of these graphics came on the Collaborative Summer Reading Children’s Manual for 2013. I just added some speech bubbles and went WordArt crazy. Not too heavy on the info, I like my posters simple, and to the point. DIG INTO READING!
09 May 2013
Let me preface this post by saying: The way I made my paper dragon may not be the easiest way to do it – I just kind of made it up as I went along. Lots of trial and error. This was a very High Maintenance craft and during construction, my Dream Dragon fought me every step of the way. The reason I made her the way I did has a lot to do with the building space I had to put her in, so my process may not work for your building if you are thinking of installing a giant flying lizard as well.
That being said, far be it from me to discourage anyone from taking on a massive craft project. So let’s talk construction. Those body segment circles of hers? Heaviest paper you have will work best. I used cardstock, and I doubled it – in other words, I glued 8.5×11 sheets of cardstock together, end to end, and then glued another layer on top of that, and then glued it into a circle. I made the circles anywhere from 6 sheets to 2.5 sheets in diameter (66-23 inches), because I wanted her neck and tail to be thinner than her middle.
After a circle was dry I punched a hole in the top, and hung a wire clothes hanger inside. I had to bend the hangers a bit to make them more circular.
After the circles were up, I could glue the scales on. One. at. a. time. It did give me time to read each scale – there were some reeeeaaally cute ones. I got pretty fast at gluing them on, but still. I didn’t like how much of the ‘rigging you could see, so I set about covering the hangers and strings with red spines.
If you’re into making paper dragons, I hope some of these tips help! Keep in mind that even though it’s only paper, I ended up using over a reem of cardstock. And about 25 hangers. Her head and arms are old board boxes. The wings are dripping with glitter, not to mention dried glue. She’s heavier than you might think. Probably weighs as much as your average first grader. Structurally, can you hang a first grader from the ceiling? Food for thought.
08 May 2013
I know that Dr. Seuss’s B-Day is old news in May, but whatevs, this was a cute program, and you can use any picture book character or mascot that you want!
We went around town and took a picture of the Cat in the Hat hanging around at a few of the more kid-friendly places in town. The movie theatre, the giant indoor playground, the sports center, the climbing rocks at the park, the statue in the city center, etc.
Then we posted one photo per week (in the photo above he is visiting the movie theatre) in the display case with a caption along the lines of: The Cat in the Hat is visiting Lacey! Can you guess where he is this week? Kids would then write down their name and contact info and where they thought the silly Cat was and drop it in a fishbowl. We drew a name from all the correct answers each week and gave them a Seuss book prize the next time they visited the library. Easy, cute, passive program.
Climbing the boulders in the park wearing heels was probably the hardest part of this kid’s activity. I look REAL concerned. But I’ll take fanciness over practicality any day – admittedly it’s not the most comfortable life philosophy to have. Life is so much more sparkly this way, though! ;)
03 May 2013
Love this simple Story from Ruth Krauss. So I made a shoe box theatre story for it.
Once upon a time there was a little boy who planted a carrot seed. He watered it every day and pulled up the weeds around it.
His Mother and Father and Brother all said it probably wouldn’t grow.
But he watered it anyway. And he pulled up the weeds all around it. Until one day…
A Carrot Grew!
Just like he knew it would.
I find ways to make the story a bit longer, of course, and the kids help me water and pull weeds. Here’s what the back of the Characters look like with their little clothespins:
30 Apr 2013
Cardboard Dad is a genius. More specifically, he is a toy designer and architect and his medium is cardboard. If I wasn’t hitched4lyfe to the best guy ever, if Cardboard Dad didn’t already have an adorable family, if I lived in Russia instead of Olympia, if we spoke the same language… the list goes on, but the bottom line here is that I’ve got a mini crush and I feel the need to tell the internet about it.
Anyway, Evgeny Kudryavtsev (Cardboard Dad – follow him on pinterest!) builds fairy tale lands of corrugated awesomeness and after hours of pinterest stalking and more than a little craft drooling (note: drooling+keyboards=grossed-out coworkers), I was inspired to give it my own, humble-but-best, almost-librarian attempt at a life-size cardboard maze. Remember that little teaser from a few posts ago, that ginormous pile of cardboard? Here’s what I did with it:
You can order sheets of packing cardboard from any large packaging company. I bought mine from U-Line in 30″x30″ sheets and I needed 3 packs of 50 in order to make an 8×8 maze, or 64 unit square. It took up our entire meeting room. Who says you never use middle school math?
I connected the sides together with colorful ductape and zip ties. I didn’t want to use glue (drying would take too long) or staples (kids could hurt themselves if there were any sharp parts sticking out). Duct tape alone wasn’t strong enough, but it helped reinforce the cardboard in the spots where I was stringing the sheets together with zip ties.
Before entering the maze, kids were handed a treasure map and given their objectives:
1. Make it to the five different treasure spots: The Rainbow, The Thunder Cloud, The Waterfall, The Forest and the Castle. These 5 goals were raised above the rest of the maze so kids could crawl through all the doors, but then pop their heads over the side to try and figure out how to get to each location.
2. Once they arrived at one of the goals, they had to look at their treasure map and write down the hidden object that they found there.
3. Having figured out how to get to all the different points in the maze, they then had to find the exit and escape!
4. Upon presenting their completed treasure map at the exit, each child was given a goody bag.
I love my job <3
27 Apr 2013
The Fairy Tale Scavenger Hunt was such an easy, passive program that we decided to do it again. I had laminated all the characters I made, so all I had to do was dust them off and hide them in new locations around the library.
Kids dropped by the library and picked up a numbered clue sheet to help figure out the character’s names once they had found them. Ex: #7 Locked in a tower and named after a salad.
Much as I enjoy Disney movies, I think it’s nice to have images of Rapunzel and Snow White that aren’t those classic animated characters. Papercrafting is my jam, so getting a chance to imagine my own designs for these classic stories was a lot of fun. I also enjoy throwing in world folk tales as well. Living in the Pacific Northwest, it seems wrong to me if kids who grow up here don’t know about that magical trickster, Raven.
I make sure to put up a book display of all these stories during scavenger hunt week. It makes it easier on the kids who have never heard of Anansi or Mother Goose. Brer Rabbit, The Little Mermaid and the Three Bears were a few others who made the list.
22 Apr 2013
Anime Club had a candy sushi making party this past week – as if a teen comic club wasn’t wired enough without massive amounts of sugar. Yikes.
This picture came out really badly, partly due to the fact that I dropped my poor phone on it’s noggin (again), and am not in possession of a real camera. But you can still see the candy and comic induced excitement in their grainy, blurry eyes.
The sushi itself came out rather well, I think. It actually looks like sushi!
Set up for this one was pretty epic, because making all those sheets of rice krispies took forever, but it was worth it.
15 Apr 2013
You guys. I know I posted about my animal mask making program last year, but I had to talk about it again, because after repeating last year’s program this week I was reminded that it is soooo much fun! Added Bonus: It is a great way to use up weird odds&ends craft materials. Feathers, sequins, pipe cleaners, buttons, tissue paper scraps, felt- It doesn’t matter! Kids will figure out a way to use it.
I hope you are also noting the backdrop to my little bird mask… that is A LOT of cardboard. You know how I love cardboard.
heh heh heh
I’m not even gonna tell you what it’s for – just know that I am SUPER excited. You’ll just have to ponder upon that until May.
Ok. I’m going to end this post on a selfie w/mask. Happy Crafting!