Pirate Pals

When one of your students realizes their school librarian loves pirates *almost* as much as they do… And you have matching costumes. Best day of kindergarten. Ever.

As soon as this picture was taken, we talked pirate-y to one another and then I pulled a pile of pirate books from the library. Some of my favorites are:
 

Dr. Seuss Shirts

Orange Lorax Shirt
Supplies for the Lorax shirt: brown craft fur (I found a panel of the fur in the aisle that has pom-poms and felt sheets), white, black and tan scraps of felt, orange cotton t-shirt and matching colored thread.
Let me just say, this mustache was a huuuuuuuuge pain! The fur was really hard to work with and it took me a few tries. The first time I cut the fur, I was left with a mess and fur everywhere! For the second try, I slid the blade of my scissors under the fur but above the mesh. It worked! It cut the shape, but helped the fur to keep that “scruffy” look. Otherwise, it looks way too manicured. Play with it and you’ll get the look you want. But, prepare to be covered in fur.
I stitched the mustache in place and then added the eyes (I forgot to stop and take pictures). Done! Adorably done. And the best part? I got the shirt at Value Village so the entire project cost less than $4!
Blue Truffula Tree Shirt
Supplies for the Truffula Tree shirt: colored craft fur (I bought 1/8 of a yard of each color), non-shiny yellow ribbon, blue cotton t-shirt and matching colored thread.
This is the messy part of the project, prepare to look like you gave a muppet a haircut.
Here are the completed circles.
I cut varying lengths of ribbon and then sewed them onto the shirt. I used a black permanent marker to make them look more authentic. (I don’t think the tree tops can withstand being washed, so I’m not worried about what would happen to the tree trunks in the laundry. It will be a special occasion-only shirt).
I did a simple overcast stitch to adhere the tree tops to the shirt, it worked quite well!
The final product, I love!!!

 

Richard Scarry’s Huckle Puppet

I posted my precious Lowly Worm plush a few days ago and today I finished up his good buddy, Huckle.

 
As I mentioned in my original post, fellow blogger, Suzy Fairchild shared these 1977 Richard Scarry pattern pieces on i heart fabric:
Huckle actually ended up taking longer than Lowly because I lost interest. He just isn’t as cute. Granted, is there anything as cute as a 14″ felt worm wearing a bowler’s hat? I think not.
I veered from the original pattern a little because, while comparing the pattern to the modern pictures of Huckle, I couldn’t help but notice that he is a different color and always wearing the Oktoberfest-y suspenders:
Even though I’m not entirely in love with my Huckle, I am debating making matching Sally Cat and Goldbug puppets.
Goldbug would be particularly fun because I could hide him in different places around the library, you know, like Richard Scarry does on all the pages of his books? Ahhh, the things school librarians find entertaining.
 
Last, but not least, I need to get my hands on an adult-sized Richard Scarry shirt:
 

Lowly Worm Plush

Spending my last days of summer freedom checking off more items from my Pinterest bucket list. Richard Scarry is one of my favorite classic authors, I can remember many a trips to the public library, paging through What Do People Do All Day? and Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. A few months back I found that Scarry had published patterns (and lots of other fun projects) in his 1977 Best Make-It Book Ever!
One of the projects is a pattern for Lowly Worm and I’ve been dying to make it ever since I laid eyes on that cute little guy. Unfortunately, the closest library that has a copy is almost 1,000 miles away (according to WorldCat) and used copies are pretty spendy.
 
Fortunately, there are some wonderful bloggers out there and Suzy Fairchild happens to be one of them. She posted the pattern pieces on her i heart fabric blog and so I was able to finally assemble my little worm friend.
 
I printed the pattern and directions on just plain ‘ole printer paper and got to work using cheap crafting felt sheets.
  
I was so excited about assembling Lowly that I forgot to take pictures along the way. I followed the book’s directions pretty closely and he turned out adorably. I did do a lot of hand-sewing. A lot.
I didn’t have a tiny yellow feather on hand, so I trimmed down a small feather and colored it with a yellow permanent marker. Worked like a charm!
The gluing of the eyes didn’t work so good, so I stitched them in place.
Isn’t he adorable!
Have fun making your very own Lowly. I’m in love!

Travel-Size Felt Board

My current felt board is huge. Seriously, it’s gigantic. It’s as tall as I am.
While this is great for some projects, it can be a bit of a pain and it’s really hard to store. I decided I needed to make a portable felt board that was also magnetic. But, you know me, Miss Frugality, I needed to do it for as cheaply as possible.
 
I found a magnetic dry erase board on clearance for $3.97 at Joann Fabrics (they have everything there). Check it out, you can still find it at Amazon, but for MUCH more expensive! I’d suggest finding a cheap-o alternative.
Next, I took some light flannel, wrapped it tightly around the board and duct-taped it in place. Done!
14″ x 14,” incredibly lightweight, and magnetic!

Sophie’s Squash and Friends

If you have yet to read the adorable Sophie’s Squash by first-time author, Pat Zietlow Miller, stop whatever you’re doing and go find a copy. I promise, you’ll swoon over the sweet story and Anne Wilsdorf‘s darling illustrations!

A heart-warming tale of friendship, this book is the perfect addition to any library storytime. I’d fallen in love with Sophie and her beloved squash, Bernice the moment I discovered it last year.
 
Imagine my delight when I came across stuffed versions of Sophie’s darling friend (the butternut squash, of course). And then try to imagine my horror when I realized those cute little props cost over $50 with shipping. It looked something like this:
Image from the talented, Monster Wrangler Mike on TPT
 
So, I did what any frugal Pinteresting, DIYing educator would do… I made it myself. And for a fraction of the cost, I might add.
 
I purchased one yard of butternut squash-y colored broadcloth (otherwise known as light tan) and one-fourth of a yard of stem-y colored broadcloth (otherwise known as dark tan). I walked out of the fabric store having spent a grand total of $3.87 (coupons and teacher discounts are a wonderful thing). Because I’m a frugal Pinteresting, DIYing educator, I already had plenty of thread, stuffing and paint. I was all set to start my squashes (or is it just squash? Like gooses versus geese).
I headed home and was excited to get started when it hit me… I had no idea, whatsoever, how to make fabric squash. And so I did what any normal person would do; I put the fabric in my craft closet and left it there for three weeks. And then when my art-student sister came to town, I asked how one might go about making fabric butternut squash. Fortunately, (I have no idea how) she knew:
 I folded the cloth over, make a tube shape that angled out towards the middle and left the top and the bottom open. I forgot to include a picture, but I hand-stiched a loose seam along the bottom of the squash so it could be cinched together (brilliant sister’s idea, of course).
 I flipped the squash tube inside out and stuffed it with batting. I was very impressed at how “squashy” it looked! And I loved the cinched bottom. As you can see, the neck of the squash was far too long so I just cut off the excess fabric.
 Time to add the stem. Easy-peasy. Sew, flip, stuff.
 I did a loose running stitch along the top neck of the squash, cinched it just a little, added my stem, and sewed it all together. Aside from jabbing myself with the needle several times, it worked brilliantly and feels super secure!
 Viola! I painted on the face with some black acrylic paint and sat back to admire the cutest squash I’ve ever seen. Or caressed.
 I then repeated the process three times for a total of two large squash and two baby squash.
 Aren’t they just the cutest things you’ve ever seen?
 One more step… In the book, Sophie’s squash starts to feel a little under the weather and develops some dark spots and squishy areas (ahhh, he’s rotting). So, I pulled out all the rotting squash colors I could find and gave him a little makeover.

Too cute. And for waaaaaay cheap. I can’t WAIT to debut these little munchkins at storytime!

Lois Ehlert’s “Color Zoo” Flannel Set

This project has been a long time coming. And, boy, I’m glad I finally did it. First, I love Lois Ehlert. Reading is Fundamental has a wonderful (very kid-friendly) interview with Ms. Ehlert, if you’re interested in doing an author study. She has so many amazing, classic books and many of them can be incorporated into a ton of units. Her books are particularly great for science themes: seasons, winter, summer, fall, spring, life cycles, animals, insects, plants, trees, fruits and vegetables.
 
If you are looking for project and activity ideas to use with Lois Ehlert’s books, check out the collection of possibilities The Educators’ Spin On It has compiled, it’s great!
 
Or, how about an author interview? Check out the Reading Rockets video.
 
And now, on to the fun stuff…
I made copies of the pages from Color Zoo and then used the pages as cutting patterns.
 Like the book, each panel turns into the next panel. The ox becomes the monkey, the monkey becomes the deer, ect.
 And last, but not least, this interview through BookPage is beautiful and a must read.

Author Study Brainstorming

After passing my very last math exam needed for licensing (yaaaaay!) today, I am now thinking I better get started on planning for the year. Now, one might ask why I feel the need to do curriculum planning at 11:30 at night on the 23 of July? Ummm, well… Your guess is as good as mine. Like I said to a teacher friend the other day, “And to think, people say we have summers ‘off.’ Ha!”

In my late night crazy brain, I have decided to organize my primary lessons a little differently this year. Last year I tried to plan my lessons thematically, based on what was happening in the school, as a whole, and what was being taught in the classroom. While I still plan to continue on that path, I would also like to attempt to incorporate regular author studies into my kindergarten, first and second grade library lessons. There are various authors and illustrators that I think all young readers should be exposed to and I thought this would be a great opportunity to create that exposure. But, therein lies my conundrum… There are too, too, too many to choose from.

This is only after one session of brainstorming:

Ezra Jack Keats
Audrey & Don Wood
Mercer Mayer
Mo Willems
Lois Ehlert
Jan Thomas
Tedd Arnold
Frank Asch
Marc Brown
Don Freeman
Tomie dePaola
Helen Lester
Rosemary Wells
Maurice Sendak
Margaret Wise Brown
Jonathan London
Laura Numeroff
Cynthia Rylant
Eric Hill
Jan & Stan Berenstain
Jan Brett
Joanna Cole
Barbara Cooney

Leo Lionni
Arnold Lobel
James Marshall
Robert McCloskey
Dr. Seuss
Chris Van Allsburg
Vera B. Williams
Jane Yolen
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jack Prelutsky
Jon Scieszka
William Steig
Sandra Boynton
Kevin Henkes
Beatrix Potter
Shel Silverstein
Alan Katz
Robert Munsch
E.B. White
Eric Carle
Mary Pope Osborne
Barbara Park
Steven Kellogg

Sigh. Too many books, too little time.

And just because they’re too wonderful not to share:

 
 

Monster Book Bags

My summer break is not at all a break… It’s a flurry of crafting and sewing and making deliciously healthy meals. It’s the best kind of “break” I could possibly imagine. This project started as a birthday gift for one of my favorite three-year old monsters. He is a big fan of monsters and a big fan of reading (yaaaay!), so I wanted to combine the two into a fun birthday gift.

I purchased this adorable downloadable Library Tote Bag pattern from Shiny Happy World on Etsy.
The best part about the pattern? The darling little library card pocket inside of the bag.

I ended up wanting to make bags for a family of little kiddos and so I started “mass producing.” The first bag I made (the lime green one), I followed the pattern exactly, but because I was making so many, I wanted the pattern-cutting process to go faster, so I changed the dimensions just a bit. So as not to give Shiny Happy World‘s pattern for free, I’ll let you buy it on Etsy and then make your own adjustments.

 
 Getting everything laid out
 Assembling the inside pocket
 Assembling the outside pocket
 Putting it all together
 Adding some google-y eyes
 Assembling the handles
 Finishing it all up
 Before flipping it inside out
  And viola!
Aren’t they adorable?
Now, on to the next project…
 

Summer of Reading

Summer of Reading
With school ending, many parents ask, “What can I do to keep my kids reading this summer?”
 Below you’ll find resources, both locally and nationwide, to encourage reading over the long summer break. Check out local libraries, bookstores, recommended summer reading lists and information just for parents!

Seattle Public Library: Kiddos of all ages can keep up with their reading, earn prizes and attend free programs throughout the Seattle area.
King County Library: Earn badges online and keep track of the books you’ve read with this cool chart! Stop by any King County Library location to get started!
Everett Public Library: The Everett Public Library offers summer reading programs for both children and teens, with a suggested reading goal of 24 hours.
Sno-Isle Library: Enter to win a new bicycle by participating in the summer reading program at Sno-Isle Libraries.
Pierce County Library: Kids win prizes for every five hours they read, including a free pass to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek and a Round Table Pizza coupon.

Do you need book suggestions for summer? Check out UW Bookstore’s site. Earn cool prizes and get your All Access Pass!
The Elliott Bay Book Company is hosting its summer reading program. All kids between the ages of 6 and 14 are invited to help recommend some great books for other children.

The Feed Your Brain Summer Reading program at Half Price Books, for kids ages 14 and younger, includes reading at least 15 minutes a day (or getting read to, if your kids are still learning).
Earn a free book AND find all the latest book recommendations at your local Barnes and Noble!
Do you want to help break a reading world record? Visit the Scholastic Summer Reading site, log your minutes and help to make history!

American Library Association
    
Grades K – 2
    
Grades 3 – 5
    
Grades 6 – 8
New York Public Library
    
Grades K – 1
    
Grades 2 – 3
    
Grades 4 – 5
    
Grades 6 – 8

San Francisco Public Library
    Children
    Teens
    Adults

The Horn Book
    
Overview List
    
Picture Books
    
Middle School Fiction & Non-fiction

Education World
    
Kindergarten
    
1st Grade
    
2nd Grade
    
3rd Grade
    
4th Grade
    
5th Grade
    
6th Grade
    
7th Grade
    
8th Grade

Scholastic
    Overview List


Seattle Public Library
    
Coming soon!

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