Decemberley 2016

The Children's Library's annual Decemberley celebration where we celebrate picture book illustrators. This year we celebrated Jan Brett's The Mitten. It's a great alternative to holiday decor that can alienate our public | hafuboti.com

Yes, I got behind on sharing on my blog near the end of last year. But let’s just say that I felt that writing some other things in December mattered more than this particular warm-fuzziness. And our December was chock full of the warm fuzzies. Like, it has been one of the most reacted-to-by-adults theme that we’ve ever done.

But lemme back it up a sec.

When we were trying to figure out the second Decemberley celebration, we realized that Ed Embereley’s work could only go so far. So we knew that the next time we’d still call it Decemberley, but focus on other famous children’s book illustrators. And in 2016 we decided to pay homage to Jan Brett’s The Mitten.

With that choice we inadvertently tapped into some major nostalgia for many parents. I mean, we want adults to feel just as inspired when they enter our space as the children are, but this time? I think the parents enjoyed Natasia’s work more than their kiddos did. One dad, as he was walking in, excitedly said “I remember this book! I LOVED this book!” I also suspect that Brett received a bit of a bump in sales as a result of our decor. Tee-hee!

Without further ado, here’s our The Mitten homage:

A beautiful homage to Jan Brett's The Mitten at the entrance of our Children's Library | hafuboti.com

Looking at it again almost a year later, I still get the warm fuzzies.

The animal faces are actually masks that Jan Brett provides for free on her website – Natasia just printed them larger than a typical child’s head. She drew/colored everything else: Jaw. Drop.

I failed to get a nice picture of the cool giant pair of mittens that Natasia made for above the reading bench. There was one in each window, and the paper mittens were embellished with braided yarn. And then a large braided piece of yarn attached the two together. It was striking.

Despite my lack of photos, I hope that our annual December celebration inspires you to think outside of the holiday box. It truly frees you to tap into some unexpected ways to cheer others up during one of the coldest months of the year.

KNOWvember

Jennifer, our kick-booty Children’s Librarian, had a great request for some of our monthly themes: throw more non-fiction into the mix. And we have! And it’s been more fun than I thought it’d be! And yes! I am exclaiming a lot! But that’s mainly because of our first super-focused on non-fic theme: Celebrating "KNOWvember" in November can be a lot of factual fun! | hafuboti.com

As a child, I totally recall thinking about how both no and know sounded exactly alike. Hooray for homonyms! It was probably the first time I enjoyed linguistics and stuff like that there. So seeing this theme made my inner child pretty happy for the entire month.

Natasia did a beautiful job on decorating our front windows:

"Knowvember!" A theme for the Children's Library where the focus was on non-fiction and facts! | hafuboti.com

Each section of the window had its own theme: history, science, math, and the arts.

She also turned our whiteboard in the activity area into a jumble of facts:

A whiteboard with "Did You Know?!" at the top, and then a mix of facts printed out and taped up for kids and families to read and learn. | hafuboti.com

Natasia also made a cool non-fiction book display with the word KNOW spelled out as a sign. Sorry that I failed to take a photo of that. I also failed to get a photo of Ashlynn’s nerdy scavenger hunt. I really need to make a monthly list of photos that I need to take before we switch out themes. You’ll have to trust me that those things were pretty cool.

But I hope I was able to share enough to inspire you to create your own non-fiction and factual displays!

SeptZENber

It turns out that I got some of my themes/months confused. I had thought that our Pokemon Go decor had been in September. Nope. It was a bonus August theme (thank you to my team for pointing this out to me – and I’ve gone back and corrected my earlier posts as a result). Basically for September’s theme we wanted something relaxing and peaceful; thus SeptZENber was born.

Natasia made a stunning tissue paper mandala in our front windows:

The front windows and door at our Children's Library featuring a lovely tissue paper and Mod Podge mandala in celebration of SeptZENber | hafuboti.com

I would find myself gazing at it when I needed a mental break from the tasks at hand. It looked especially beautiful in the morning sunlight since our building faces east. We also received a larger-than-normal amount of compliments and questions on the application technique from our patrons.

Natasia further continued the loveliness with our reading bench display:

Beautiful "Relaxing Reads" library display with a simplified flowery mandala | hafuboti.com

HUGER THAN NORMAL thank you goes to Natasia for this picture. I absolutely failed at getting good pics of all of her hard work which I hope to have corrected for future posts. It’s worth noting that this display was quite popular with parents who were in the midst of back-to-school stresslandia.

If you look closely at the above pic, you’ll notice a smallish peace sign with something on it on one of the window frames – that was part of our monthly scavenger hunt. It was one where the kids had to find the different colored peace signs and put it on their worksheet. Then they had to unscramble the letters to spell out a simple word like peace or love – depending on the week (or their age – we didn’t make preschoolers do the word scramble).

We also had special classes with Two Keys Creative Studio on stone mandalas and stone painting. Thank you to the instructor Sarah Fettin-Kuester for providing this pretty cool picture from one of our classes:

Image of library class attendees showing off their painted stone mandalas. Photo courtesy of Two Keys Creative Studio | hafuboti.com

It was during this class that Sarah discussed cultural appropriation and what a fine line it can be while giving a lesson about mandalas and what they meant in Hinduism and Buddhism. As a result, I had an “OMG I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS THAT WAY ” revelation. And because of this realization, I do not plan to repeat this exact theme, class, or use mandala coloring sheets for any of our passive coloring programs. I’d much rather err on the side of respect.

We also had a local yoga instructor come in and host classes for both young ones and their families. They were a big hit, and I only had to handle one complaint that “yoga is demonic and anyone who does it invites demons in to possess them.” True story. I believe that the patron and I had a good discussion about this since I try and do yoga to help with my chronic pain, and not once have I been possessed. In the end she was grateful that I took the time to listen and thoughtfully respond. Again – erring on the side of respect.

And that was really the biggest lesson I learned during SeptZenber:

Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we all erred on the side of respect? 

Have a Beautiful Day

I could bore y’all with the origin story of how I got this idea, but I’d rather just get to the good stuff: the sharing!

Look at what I did:

Mister Rogers and friends are featured in our activity tables' window featuring a monthly Fred Rogers quote | hafuboti.com

I created the minimalist yet diverse images and quotes to go in our activity tables’ window. The idea is to swap out the quotes every month for an entire year. I also made sure to include the reverse images so that this display could be accessed from the outside as well so that our entire neighborhood can enjoy it:

Exterior photo of our new Fred Rogers window display that will feature a new quote every month | hafuboti.com

I printed my designs out on card stock, cut them out, then double-sided taped the mirrored images together. Then I trimmed the edges until they looked a bit cleaner. Finally, I used matte contact paper to adhere them to the window.

Now it’s your turn to share Fred Rogers’ wisdom! Feel free to download and use these images and quotes however you’d like. Clicking on an image will give you the option to download the pdf (or a zip file in the case of the 12 quotes) that contains the original images and the reverse images.

A simplified "universal man" version of Fred Rogers free to download, remix, or use in any way | hafuboti.com A set of four diverse neighborhood children available to download, remix, or use in any way | hafuboti.com A second set of four diverse neighborhood children available to download, remix, or use in any way | hafuboti.com

Update: I should have included the font I used in my original post – sorry about that! It’s this one from dafont, and I used a combination of the regular and the swash versions.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have. Also, I do love to see how you’re using any of my designs/ideas. Comment here, send me an email, find me on Facebook or Twitter; I’m always thrilled to hear from you!

Partial bust of a minimalist Fred Rogers with the soft blue wording that says "Have a Beautiful Day!" | hafuboti.com

Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts

October 2016 written out with the "O"s modified to look like patchwork pumpkins | hafuboti.com

Long story short: I am WAY behind on sharing with y’all all the fun themes we’ve had over the past (counts on fingers) five months or so.

So.

Lemme start catchin’ y’all up!

This year we decided to focus October’s theme around pumpkins! After all, the area’s most popular pumpkin patch is part of our community. And considering how cheesy it is, I likely came up with the idea of making it sound like a Wheel of Fortune Before & After puzzle category: Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts.

Natasia, our awesome artist-in-residence/team member, took the theme and ran with it. I wish that my photography skills were better so that I could really show off her talent.

These were the best pics I’d taken of the tissue/scrapbook paper pumpkins she’d made to go along the bottom of our front windows:

Tissue and scrapbook paper "quilted" pumpkins | hafuboti.com

THEY ARE SO ADORABLE!!!

I regret to inform you that I never did get a good exterior shot of those pumpkins – you can get a glimpse of them in this interior shot. And yes, there are other fun things that you’ll see that I’ll show off more in a moment:

Paper lantern pumpkins suspended from the ceiling with tissue paper and scrapbook paper pumpkins in the window of our library | hafuboti.com

And here are the special pumpkins that she made out of scrapbook and poster board:

Scrapbook and poster board pumpkins for our reading bench display | hafuboti.com

These pumpkins were all that we used for our reading bench display’s sign. We kept it simple and neat without using any words, and people completely got that autumn-themed books were featured – with some football thrown in to keep it interesting…ier. Interestingier. I’m going with it.

And yes, I’m going to make you wait to see more of the adorable pumpkins that Natasia hung from our ceiling. Instead, I’ll show you the cute Five Little Pumpkins sign that she made on our whiteboard. I believe that Jennifer, our fantastic Children’s Librarian, made the cute and very popular worksheet:

Five Little Pumpkins rhyme featured on a white board behind our passive "decorate your own pumpkin" worksheet | hafuboti.com

And here’s my favorite pic by far. It reminds me of when I left for work one evening with everything zen, and walked in the next day to a pumpkin wonderland:

Pumpkins made out of orange paper lanterns with paper leafs and painted scotch tape over newspaper for the stems | hafuboti.com

These paper lantern pumpkins feature paper leafs and stems made from rolled newspaper wrapped in masking tape and painted a dark green.

You can also see more “patchwork pumpkins” on the wall in the back. We made pumpkin counting into our passive program – so if kids got within five of the correct number, they’d earn a special coloring bookmark featuring our dragon mascot carrying a big pumpkin.

And there you have it: our cheery October theme of Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts!