Pom-Pom Wreaths

I’ve been storing leftover pom-poms from my canvas art from a few years back, as well as several wreath forms I had bookish plans for (which fell through out of laziness).  What’s a girl to do? Pom-pom wreaths!

I created two very easy-to-do wreaths made out of wreath forms and leftover pom-pom balls.

I got out my hot glue gun, pom-poms (thrown in an empty casserole dish to get maximum pom-pom containment/sortability), and my wreath forms.  Then I settled down to glue like crazy while watching cheesy holiday flicks.  I was also making Chex Mix for the first time while doing this, so I was forced to get up every 15 minutes for two hours…so this project took about two hours.

My large front door pom-pom wreath with a sparkly green door hanger.

I was using the smaller leftover pom-poms (eagle-eyed readers might note that there’s a lot of blue pom-poms in the mix that weren’t used in the canvases – this was because I bought blue pom-poms for a Doctor Who craft that never happened), so I had plenty of hot glue burns on my left pointer finger since I’m not always the most careful of gluers.  I tried a quick-dry tacky glue, but the drying time was an issue in terms of being able to move quickly without knocking of previously-placed pom-poms.

I went ahead and covered the entire wreath in case I ever hung it in a window (I also wanted to use up all my pom-poms).  To finish it off (i.e. to make a hanger), I cut about a 2″ piece of ribbon, hot glued one side, and then pushed a push-pin down through the ribbon/glue and into the form.  I then repeated this process on the other side of the ribbon.

A cute red ribbon with white trim is a neat touch to this fun and unconventional wreath that no one may ever see, but I'll know is there.

I found some sparkly door wreath hangers at a dollar-type store and hung them up. Behind one, I sticky-tacked to the door a special “Season’s Greetings” special round card that Bruce had from his childhood.  Both Bruce and I really enjoyed having the old mixed with the new.

The second wreath (out of four that I plan on completing) with a round glittery illustrated card in the background.

My Almost Insta-Flannel Board

Ever since I found a love of felt (see here), I’ve been wanting to invest in a flannel board.  However, we’ll hopefully be getting a new children’s librarian soon ::crosses fingers:: and I have no idea if s/he is even interested in using felt in storytimes.  So, to spend the library’s money on something that may or may not be used is just wrong.

Enter ingenuity!

I have no idea if other people have done this, but this idea came to me because I’ve used various frameworks (from bulletin boards to empty frames) for other random crafty things and I was like, “hey, we have these extra unused picture frames at the library that I could totally use! It’ll be on the small side, but it should be quick, easy, and cheap.”  It was indeed all of the above!

Basically, I took out the glass from one frame and carefully discarded it.

A picture of a very sad picture that no one wanted to look at. Also the cardboard I used for later on in the project.

I then glued two pieces of black felt to the backer board (and trimmed the excess).

Empty frame, and the cheap cardboard backer partially covered with one of two black felt pieces.

It was on the flimsy side (this needs to stand up to curious toddlers who I hope will interact with the board), so I took a cardboard box lid and cut it to fit the frame. I then folded down the little metal prongs – and BAM! I was done.

The back of the frame with the bonus thicker cardboard backer - showing off my lazy cardboard-cutting style.

I now have a pretty snazzy gold-framed felt board.

That's it! A completed flannel board for storytimes using things that we had lying around the library.

The gold paint had flecked off a little bit in the lower left-hand corner of the frame (you can see the black splotches in the above picture).  I had a gold leaf pen at home, so I brought it in and used it to cover the damage – and it looks great! (refer to the top image of this post)

This truly was a fantastic instant gratification project.  I’ll be sure to let you know how well it holds up.  And if it does hold up well, then I may even think of making a few more with different colored felt backgrounds for different stories.  It would also be fun to add a hanger to the frame and hang it up somewhere in the library where we could switch out what was in the frame(s) to go along with the decor each month.

I showed my boss this project and she was so excited about it that she’s offered to bring in a much larger picture frame of hers to be converted since the glass was cracked.  I’ll be sure to post about that board as well if we do indeed flannelize it.

Side Note: I made the turkey from the top image from using the template found here.  I plan to use this in a toddler storytime, so I wanted to make only the large feathers, and didn’t embroider the feathers since I wanted sticking power.

May Flowers

This is one of those projects where I can only take a tiny-bit-o-credit for anything but putting two other peoples’ ideas together, and then asking the amazing Mary to make it happen.  If anything, I actually hurt the project a bit when I tried to help and discovered the best way to attach the 3-D flowers to the ceiling if our main goal was to have them randomly drop and startle both staff and patrons alike.  But the end results are absolutely lovely and just brighten my day every time that I come into work.

Here’s where I got my core inspirations:  Our 3-D Flower Inspiration.  Yes, this first one’s in Bulgarian – if your browser can translate, then great! Otherwise it’s pretty clear what to do based on the visuals alone. (Gosh, I love the internet!) Instead of sewing, Mary used quick-dry craft glue.  This second inspiration for our 2-D flowers made my mind go “gosh, that paper looks like it was color-washed with paint.”  It was a shazam-moment, because up to that point I was planning on using tissue paper again.  I excitedly called Mary when she was working at the Main Library and had her gather some larger picture books from our Book Sale that had been sitting there for months.  I explained to her that we could color-wash the pages pretty colors and then make all of our flowers, both 3 and 2-D, out of them.  She took those ideas and totally ran with them with magnificent results.

Basically, she used some liquid watercolor paints, a spray bottle of water, and a good paint brush.  She removed the pages out of some large outdated junior non-fiction books and she would add color, spray water, spread the color over the paper and sometimes spray one more time to create interesting patterns.  After the first side dried, then sometimes she’d repeat on the other side – usually using a different color.  Many times she left the other side as-is, which was equally pretty.

Once the pages were painted, then she either used a paper cutter to cut out strips of various sizes for the 3-D petals, or would freestyle the large 2-D petals.  Then lots of gluing.

Finally, minimal tape was used to hang-up the 2-D flowers.  She added a fun and unexpected 3-D element to the flower stems with the leaves naturally drooping over.  LOVE it.

The silly way that I had tried to hang the 3-D flowers? I poked a hole in one of the flower petals and stuck one end of some fishing line through it and taped the heckie-pooh out of the end.  Then the other end of the line was looped over a wooden beam and tied with a knot.  The majority of the flowers fell off the end of the line.  We had to go back whenever a flower fell and just loop the line around a petal (similar to the original inspiration blog) and tie a knot or two with the one end of line.  For good measure we’d also tape down the end of the line onto the petal.  We had the doors open the other day to let in the springtime breeze and the flowers looked so pretty twirling in the breeze – and NOT ONE fell down with the secondary tying method.

Mary also made a “May Flowers” sign in the front door (I couldn’t get a good pic of it due to all of the crazy reflections on the glass).

My favorite part of this whole thing?  I was checking out books to a boy (around 7 years old), and he was looking at one of the giant window flowers.  Suddenly he said in a somewhat awed tone “that’s like Eric Carle.”  That was never our intention, but it was one of the best compliments we’ve received about any of our displays.

Oooh! Shiny!

I’m veering back into personal-land here with a post that I’ve wanted to do since Hafuboti’s beginning: my shiny art!

If you recall my blinged-out Vader that Peaches shared with the world, well, when I was finished with that project I had quite a bit of leftover bling.  I couldn’t let those glittery jewels be stored away in some dark corner of the apartment!  I had an extra canvas laying around and I know that I had to have seen some sort of super-cool text art somewhere which must have been my inspiration.  I had the sparkle, the canvas, and a hot glue gun, and an idea – all I needed was something to spell-out in rhinestones.  It had to be short so that the wording would be visible and easy-to-read.  Enter my love of the show Firefly.

Shiny.

It is what it says it is.  Boom.

I eyeballed the lettering and wrote it out using a pencil and then it was a matter of patience.

This sucker is heavy – but it’s home is leaning up against a wall in my living room (so I don’t have to worry about drywall support for it).  There still is a lot of the hot glue webbing all over it, but I hadn’t tried to clean it too much since I had been planning to add more bling to it to make it even more dramatic (you can sort of tell that I was starting that process around the “S” and the lower portion of the “H”).  Once it was officially done, then I would go back and clean it up (but from a distance it looks perfectly fine).

The only reason that I’ve never posted it before is that I never could get a good picture of it.  The lighting in our apartment is atrocious, so anytime I attempted a picture, it looked more sad than sparkly.  But I realized last night that I had plenty of light at work – so I brought in my Shiny work this morning before work and finally was able to capture some good pictures.

I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory, but please let me know if you have any questions about this process!

April Showers

I know that I wasn’t being super-original at all when it came to deciding how to decorate the  Children’s Library for April.  I was mostly excited to try out paper mache on a much larger scale than I ever have before in my life.  I’d also seen several cool things on Pinterest that I wanted to try.  Here are the two things that got my wheels turning: 1. The Farm Chicks’ How to Make a Cloud tutorial, and 2. Minieco.co.uk’s Craft for OKIDO Magazine.  I basically took the core ideas, mashed them up, and put a few spins on them. And of course I wanted to take another crack at using spray starch and tissue paper on the windows.  Spoiler Alert: the spray starch didn’t work again and tape was deployed.

We had several snow days over the past few months and I put them to good use with making the clouds (since it is a rather messy process).  Somewhere online I stumbled across the recommendation that after the initial newspaper layer, the final layer should be basic white paper which would help in the  painting stage (and it did – it was awesome)! I also thought ahead (woohoo!) and attached some ribbon between layers for attaching the raindrops.  The only other thing that I would have done differently is used more masking tape to fill some of the spaces which would have made it a tiny bit easier to cover.

I found a simple line-drawing of a raindrop online and made four separate sizes as templates – another variation that I made.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted random sizes dropping, or if they should go from smaller to larger as they got closer to the ground.  Thankfully Mary argued for the latter, and it was definitely the right call.  We continued that consistent perspective shift even on the window 2-dimensional raindrops (and using the same templates too).  She also suggested that we go from the lighter shades of blue on the smaller drops, to the darker blues on the larger/lower drops.  We only had two shades of blue in tissue paper, so those were randomly applied.

I had known from the get-go that I didn’t want to cover the clouds in cotton – I wanted Mary to use her amazing art skills to paint them (and she totally rocked them).  I really wanted them to look like a child’s drawing of a cloud had come to life.  I also hope to re-use the clouds in our decorations for our Summer Reading Program, but not as clouds – you’ll have to wait and see what we do with them (tee-hee!).

The final adjustment I made from what inspired me is that we used fishing wire to attach the raindrops.  And I wish that I had video to show you, but whenever we have an air current going through the building, the drops twirl and look absolutely amazing.

As I mentioned above, the spray starch just doesn’t work.  It flaked off even faster on the inside windows that were close to the air vents.  I finally figured out that I could use a tiny bit of spray to hold the cloud circles in place and then I’d tape over them – which eliminated the dripping mess.  Next time we try tissue paper on the windows, I think that I’ll try liquid starch.

On the tissue paper raindrops, we only put three smaller pieces of shipping tape on them to attache them to the windows.  Then I’d cut the tape (using a box cutter) to echo the shape of the raindrop.  We completely covered the drops that were at curious child-level with tape to keep them from being damaged.

Basically, every window in the building (even the office windows) had a rainy day on them. One other team member made up a fun sign for the front door.

We’ve had a lot of really fun reaction from both children and adults.  Many of the younger children either try to count the raindrops, or ask why it’s raining inside.  I ask them if they’ve ever heard of what people say about April.  Most chime in “April showers bring May flowers!”  I then ask them, “So if we’ve decorated with rain showers this month, then what do you think that we’re going to fill the library with next month?”  The realization that dawns in their eyes has been precious as they excitedly answer “Flowers!”

I’m also really pleased to say that even with the display having been up for about a week, that we’ve had a lot of interest from the community.  We’ve had at least half a dozen people come in to see what we were all about and ask questions.  I didn’t ask them if it was the decorations that caught their attention, or if it made them curious, but we haven’t had a reaction like this since when we first opened the Children’s Library.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this process – I’ll happily answer them as soon as I can!