happy accidents

Unleash the Penguins!

For a while now,I’ve wanted to create some all-purpose characters that could be used in storytimes, parties, walkaround entertainment, workshops, etc., but I could never quite settle on one type of puppet that could handle everything. While watching a clip of Muppetvision 3D, it finally came to me; penguins. The Muppet penguins have always cracked me up, and I sort of like the idea of having a small mob of characters only I can tell apart. So far I have plans to make four;that way several penguins can all have costumes on and ready to go, and friends and husband can operate them for a group scene if anything were to be filmed or for a live presentation of some sort and it would be great.

The first one made is Hester Jane; she made her debut yesterday reading a book of
“Rapunzel” to some kids at a preschool, and she was a huge hit in her long blond wig that she wore for the first half of the story.

Next up penguins are: Winifred,Neville, and Algernon.

Puddle Sprite!

I found this funny little toy animal(?) at a vintage store. I have no idea what he is. I cut off his lower half, which only had miniscule feet anyway, and unstuffed his torso. He makes a pretty darling little puppet, although he does need his lower section redone to extend down past my wrist. I also put the two funny pompoms on his forehead. Isn’t he cute? He sort of goes along with this funny squeaky voice my husband and I use around the house. Tentatively calling him a Puddle Sprite for now.

Puddle Sprite2

Choo Choo Kachoo!

This is a project I began for a former employer, but now that I no longer work for this employer,I thought I would continue it myself. The idea was to have a puppet show about trains, both model and real. Having grown up in a household with my Dad’s  large O-scale layout,I think this sounds like fun. It will be on the back burner for a while,but I thought I would share the characters I came up with; a bear and/or dog engineer(s), and a dragon fireman, who may sneeze a lot, helping the coal-burning process along.:)

Hello, my name is Al.

I use this picture as an icon in a couple of places, and now I’m getting rather attached to it. It might be fun to dress up the ol’finger and film a few clips of it and see how it looks.

But there’s an interesting (well, okay, at least to me) story here. The photo was taken at the assisted living facility where my grandmother now resides. An entire houseful and lifetime of stuff was sorted, sold, given away, etc.and my grandmother is down to one room’s worth of her possessions. How this little metal hat survived the great cull I have no idea, but I posed the question to my dad where the heck this hat comes from, and it’s much older than I thought!

Dad asked Grandmother about the hat (which used to always sit next to a tiny figure that was a cigarette-smoking dog–I thought the hat belonged to the dog). However, her memory of times and places is now very strange, and she insisted that it had something to do with Huey Long, who was  the Governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a U.S. senator from 1932 to 1935. We live in and are from Georgia, and I’m not even sure if Grandmother has even been to Louisiana, so this story didn’t quite check out.

Dad happened to run into someone over the weekend who seems to have had an iPhone, and the story about the hat came up. Long story short, young tech guy with iPhone managed to Google the little hat and discovered that it is most likely a collectible from the 1928 election in which Herbert Hoover was running against Alfred Smith. Smith’s trademark was apparently brown bowler, or “derby”  hat,and various campaign favors were given out in the shape of hats.

So if the hat ever falls into my possession, we’ll call the resulting character Al. It’s great to finally know where it came from!

Vapor, completed!

vapor3sm

I decided to go ahead and finish Vapor, and I am very pleased with the result. My sewing was kind of erratic,but since he was completely experimental, I don’t feel too bad about it.He’s mine, so no big deal. But it looks like I’ve already got a ghost puppet commission in the works, and that one will of course be much tidier and neater. This is the first time I’ve made a puppet that replies on drapery to make it’s “body”, and it worked out well. He has two layers of blue sheer fabric that I got out of the formalwear section at JoAnn Fabrics, and it matches the color of the fleece used for his face and hands PERFECTLY. Between the layers of sheer is a layer of cheesecloth, which may or may not be necessary–I put it in to give a tad of body and texture, but I’m not sure it was needed.

vapor4sm

My favorite thing, though, is his gnarled little hands–in sewing his impossibly skinny fingers with just a whipstitch, I accidentally made them twist and turn, which is one of those happy accidents again.:) Photos don’t really do this fellow justice; I need to make video of him so you can see how nicely the drapery flows.