Monstrous March

It's Monstrous March at the Gretna Children's Library | hafuboti.com
Monstrous March came about as a result of reading Bryce’s Cryptozoological program, and Rebecca’s Draw a Yeti passive program. I was like “I should do a crypto month!” And they were like “YES!” (after I shared my thought with them – they’re not psychic…at least I don’t think that they are…).

This has been an unbelievably fun month, and I’m super-excited to share all that we did. And we did a lot – mainly because we had a fantastic practicum student helping us out whose focus was on children’s programming: yippee!  (Thanks, Sami!)

We found out that we could get a Wild Thing costume, and so the big finale of this month is a Wild Rumpus. I made a fun flyer, and wanted to share the bare bones of it so that you can use it if you’d like:The front windows were a mashup of Davide Cali and Gabriella Giandelli’s Monsters and Legends‘ cover art, and Maurice Sendak’s style. I then was then greatly inspired by Aunt Peach’s Heart Punch Garlands in terms of how to make the scales.

We have very little space to work, therefore we got a bit creative while making the dragon scales. Behold! Insta-coffee filter drying lines! It’s just string held up by big gobs of sticky tac in one of our office window:
We went through two packs of the smallest coffee filters that we could find (so, 250 filters were colored). Once they were colored and dried, we chopped them in half using the paper cutter, and threw them into a basket:

Then, we used a full roll and-a-half of packing tape to tape the scales up in the windows. The face, tail, and fringe are all tissue paper, with a small section of black poster board for its face.

It’s always a challenge to try and get a good picture of the exterior. I used this shot because you can see the office window to the far right. You can sort of make out the end of the dragon’s purple tail, which extends to both the upper and lower windows.
Since the scales were within kid-reach, we went ahead and tried to take an angle where we actually encouraged the kids to touch them, but gently:

I’ve only seen two kids be a bit rough, but the moms intervened pretty quickly and explained what to do. And this window display has gotten a BIG reaction – usually, and I didn’t expect this: “Are you open? It looks like you’re closed.” I’d think that if we got shut down, then we wouldn’t take hours to do an elaborate/colorful “shuttering” of the windows. But I’ll keep this reaction in mind with future displays.

It’s also been really fun watching both kids and parents gently pet the dragon, then go up to his head and whisper. A lot of parents have also complimented us not only on the window, but on all of the work that we do to make our library a fun place to visit every month. Yay!

Brittany knocked the Great Wall-O-Pun out of the park this month:

Both the book and the monster are 3D. I brought in my personal stash of extra fake fur scraps for her to sew into the cute monster. Lots of kids were excited about her sewing, and wanted to know what was happening. These guys are pretty heavy, and I we’ve had to re-stick them up on the wall several times throughout the month.

We put up a simple “monster-type” display at our reading bench:

Then, taking a cue from how fun the life-sized Clifford the Big Red Dog feet were, I created Bigfoot feet:
 I’ve heard a lot of parents stop and read what I wrote about the debate of whether or not Bigfoot is real, and how we came up with the estimated size and stride of these feet.
Sami created both a fun name generator and our scavenger hunt this month!


Get your own Monster Name Generator!

Several kids have complained that the Bigfoot that they find is very small. We’ve gotten pretty good at explaining how he had to shrink down, otherwise he’d smash everything up, and so he wanted to be extra-careful and might have overdone the shrinking. Heh.

I made a cute version of our dragon mascot for some marketing, trying to make him as Maurice Sendak-ey as possible:

I brought in my three Wall Monsters that I made in the very early days of Hafuboti:
 These have gotten a great response from both parents and kids.
Then, we made our own Draw A Yeti book and coloring sheet:

This has been popular! The one thing that I didn’t anticipate was how creative the kids would be (you’d think that I would know by now). I used the outline of our library’s logo to create the “drawing space” for the yeti.

But only two kids have used it that way. The majority use the space as a face or even the body! Here are a few of my favorites:

The one on the lower right might be my most favorite because the little boy who brought it up to us had his imagination on overdrive. He explained how the yeti was holding a guy and was going to eat him up in one bite. There was much more to that gruesome story, but needless to say, I think that we all hid our smiles pretty well.

That about covers Monstrous March. I thought that it would be fun, but it has been wildly fun!

 

 

Caddy Monster!!!

As I transition more and more over to the Children’s Library, I’m slowly making my desk my own.  I still will, on occasion, share it with my boss – but it’ll be my desk more often than not. (tee-hee!)

For my sanity I like to keep things organized (plus the public can clearly see back into our office, and sometimes the kiddos will wander back there), and I also like to personalize my space. So as I wandered through a store the other day, I swung by their small organization section and found a plain black-wire supply caddy.  In my mind I thought of some cool things I saw online with people treating these sorts of mesh items as a canvas for cross-stitching or embroidery.  I do neither, but thought that it would be fun to try.  So I picked up the cheap (if not boring) caddy.

After I arrived home I set the caddy by the door to remind me to take it to work the next day.  Several hours later I had a SHAZAM moment when I realized what I wanted to do with my caddy: make a caddy monster!  It had a fun monster-head shape and a “monster mouth” already built-in!  I also still have plenty of leftover fake fur from other various projects.  And googly eyes too.  And a hot glue gun.  And scissors.

To succinctly go over the supplies needed again:

  • A boring supply caddy
  • Fake fur
  • Googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun/glue

And that’s all!  I trimmed the fur to fit along the bottom of the caddy, and then I left about half an inch of extra fur over the top to fold the fur over and give it a better-looking, easier-to-do finish.  I used three separate pieces of fur: one for the largest portion of the head, one for the “upper lip” and one for the “mouth.”  I glued the fur around the solid borders of the caddy.  Then I sliced tabs into the fur at the top to make it go smoothly around the curved lines, and glued those down.

I then trimmed the fur down where I wanted the eyes and hot glued them on.  I had some leftover red fur and I trimmed that down into a tongue-shape and glued that on too in the little notch in the mouth.  So he looked like this:

Within minutes of completing this super-simple/fast craft (my favorite kind), I decided that I hated the tongue.  It looked rather bizarre.  So I ripped it off.  I may eventually try a different mouth set-up using card stock for teeth or red felt for a tongue, but for one reason or the other I did not like the look of the tongue I’d created.

I still wasn’t completely happy with it, but couldn’t put my finger on why.  It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning that I had a flash realization: I didn’t like how low the eyeballs sat – they’re too tough to see!  So I got back out my hot glue gun and my bag of googly eyes and made one more addition:

MUCH better!

So I took Mr. Caddy Monster (I shall call him George) to work today and had the best time rearranging items on my desk and bringing some items out of drawers and within reach of my seat.  My teammates squeed and enjoyed how soft he is.  Then my boss came over from the Main Library and we were chatting when she suddenly stopped mid-sentence and said “what the heck is that?”

“That’s my George!”

Let the Right Monster In

Back when I was a young tyke, my most favoritest book that I made my mom read over and over again was Jon Stone and Michael Smollin’s There’s a Monster at the End of This Book (sadistically forcing her to do Grover’s voice every single time).  I believe that I fell in love with reading and thinking outside of the box because of that book.  In other words, it warped my widdle mind.

Years later, my brother and I were home alone watching Unsolved Mysteries. It was one of their freaky-as-hell ghost shows.  Specifically, this one:

Now, if you don’t have time to watch the entire video, then let me sum up what happens: These kids get this bunk bed that turns out to be evil, possessed, or both (I’m not sure – I refuse to re-watch the episode).  After the bunk bed is moved into their room, spooky things begin to happen and the kids keep panicking about “the witch behind the door.”  One night their uncle stays over to prove that there’s nothing wrong when something scares him so badly that he flees the house and refuses to ever talk about what he witnessed.  Needless to say, it scared the bejeebus out of both my brother and me.  It also killed my desire to have a bunk bed.  Or own an old-timey radio.  Or to sleep with my bedroom door shut because if there was a witch, then I didn’t want to see her in that corner like those kids did.

Where am I going with all this?  I think it’s my attempt to figure out why the hecky-pooh I did what I did behind my bedroom door in my apartment.  I think.

When I moved in to my apartment I quickly realized what my least favorite feature is – it’s what’s behind my bedroom door.  No, not a witch, but this:

Why?  Why put the fuse box back there?!  Not that I shut my bedroom door a lot, but if I do, then do I want to see that ugly thing?  The answer is no.  No I do not.

So when I had bought fake fur for some reupholstering projects, I had been sure to purchase some extra just in case I came up with something fun to do with it.  What I ended up using some of it for was to make a monster to hide behind my bedroom door to scare away any potential ghost-witches that may or may not want to hide out there.  Okay, so I made him just to cover the fuse box and it wasn’t until later that I thought he made a handy ghost-inhibitor.  I mean, if I were a ghost I’d be like “I’m gonna scare the hell outta some living people by hiding behind this-HOLY MCNUGGETS!!! IT’S A MUH-MUH-MUH-MONSTER!!! I SHALL HAUNT ELSEWHERE BECAUSE THAT SCARED ME SO BAD!” Or something.

Check him out:

I really hope that if the maintenance man has to come over and access the fuse box, then I get to be there to see his face when he gets to it.  Heh.

I also think it would be freakin’ adorable in a kid’s room to have a bunch of smaller “monsters” in all different colors and shapes on a wall.  I know that I would’ve loved it as a child.  It’s also soooo very easy to do!  And here’s how to do it:

What you need:

  • Fake fur (enough to wrap around the front of a frame)
  • A framework of some sort – whether it be an ugly bulletin board (for my tutorial), or a canvas from an earlier artistic failure (like for my blue monster)
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • At least two ping-pong balls (more could be used for monster variety)
  • Sharpie or other permanent marker
  • Hot glue gun

1.  Wrap the frame with the fur.  You’ll need just enough to staple on the back of the frame. For this tutorial I found some yellow scrap fur that didn’t get used in an older project. Turns out I had to use two separate pieces to cover the frame – which was a fantastic development: it makes a mouth!  You could also use two or more colors to make a striped monster!  Squee!  I love happy crafty accidents!


Anywho, I stapled the first side so that there was trimming needed.  Then I stapled down the opposite side and trimmed that side.  The stapling helps keep the fur taut and easier to cut:

2.  Staple the fur to the frame going all around – you’ll need to do some trimming on the corners so that the fur doesn’t bunch up too badly.  You might be able to just hot glue the fur on – I didn’t try it since I had the staple gun:


3.  Then cut back the fur a bit to the base where you want the eyeballs to go (it helps them to be stable).  I used my mad Photoshop Skillz to circle where I trimmed back the fur since it’s almost impossible to see in the picture.  I was sure to leave some normal length fur between where the eyeballs would go:


4.  Use your Sharpie to draw pupils onto the ping-pong balls:


5.  Glue those ping-pong eyeballs onto the fur:


Hang it up on the wall, and there you have it:  a loveable furry monster to call your own!  

But wait!  It gets better!  As I was putting together this tutorial by building another monster I had a SHAZAM moment of how much fun I could have with its layering. I realized that I had leftover red felt from my Muppet Coasters – so I grabbed it and cut it into a tongue-shape.  Then all I did was tuck it up under the separate fur parts:

Next time I’m at the craft store I plan on picking up a variety of felt to make various accessories to switch out with the tongue – like funky teeth!  If I’d made more fur strips then I could have made little arms or other various body parts to deck him out for various holidays or if I became bored with how he looks.  This guy reminds me a bit of Invader Zim‘s Gir – so much so that I’m considering making a “Gir Wall Monster” – I think it’s pretty doable!  I mean, I’ve already got some leftover lime green fur… ::begins plotting::

Initially I had so much fun making my blue monster that I had made a green one too. Currently it’s hanging out in the linen closet since I have yet to find it a new home on the wall after Bruce moved in and its former spot was taken with storage stuff.  But I think it looks cute just leaning against the wall keeping any ghost-witches out of our linens:

Coming up Next:  Giving Hafuboti a hand. ::wink-wink-nudge-nudge:: I’m totally using a play on words there!