So FLUFFY

so fluffy

He’s big. He’s soft. He’s…so…FLUFFY. This simple box kitty is also incredibly stylish.

We read Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty by A.N. Kang (Disney Hyperion, 2016). Papillon is a big, fluffy kitty. In fact, he’s so fluffy, he can float on air! Miss Tilly fears her cat will fly away and get lost, but then she discovers that clothing keeps Papillon on the ground. She begins designing costumes for Papillon, each outfit more ridiculous than the next. Papillon finally puts his paw down and refuses to wear anything. And, just as Miss Tilly fears, he floats out the window and gets lost in the scary woods. Papillon tries fashioning a hat, scarf and belt out of leafy vines so he can walk home, but they don’t work! Luckily, a friendly bird tows Papillon home. When Miss Tilly meets Papillon’s new friend, she has her best design idea ever…a birdhouse hat to keep the friends together, and Papillon somewhat grounded.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large box (ours was 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
  • White poster board
  • Cotton balls
  • Black construction paper
  • 1 paper cup
  • Hat decorating supplies (more on this below)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Hot glue

cat box

Basically, each kid started with a cat box, as shown above (it’s remarkably similar to this one, but we used a box instead of an oatmeal container this time). Definitely use hot glue to fix the pieces down, and use poster board for the hind legs, front legs, tail, and ears. Anything less sturdy is going to buckle under all that glue and cotton balls. Because you’re going to use lots and LOTS of glue and cotton balls…

fluffy catBasically, just cover the box with cotton balls! The fluffier, the better! For the face, we used large, 1.5″ eyes stickers from Oriental Trading Company (a roll of 100 pairs is $2.50), and a bit of self-adhesive foam for the nose. You can just use construction paper to make these, though. The whiskers are construction paper as well.

Once the fluffy cats were finished, the costuming portion of the project began. We made hats. The basic hat was a 5.25″ circle of white poster board with a paper cup hot glued to it. Kids could choose the color, and height, of their paper cups.

cat hatThen, out came the Bling Bin, as well as sparkle stems, duck quills, patterned paper, and fabric flowers. And things got FANCY.

When the costumes were finished, each cat received his/her very own bird friend. This was a little wooden bird whistle, left over from this epic robot story time. Tweet tweet!

cat hat bird

Historical Hairdos

historic hairdosVC Salon, you are amazing. Last week, 5 stylists donated their time and significant skills to give 6 girls totally historic makeovers. And we don’t mean “historic” as in slang for “awesome” (even though the results were awesome). We mean historic as let’s-go-back-in-history-and-do-a-Marie-Antoinette-updo historic.

Located in Robbinsville, New Jersey, VC Salon & Spa (now renamed Coterie 17) was founded in 1995 by Angela Pantaleon. A quick peek at the salon’s about us page confirms the dedication, playfulness and fun they bring to their workplace. Also, look how gorgeous it is!

vc salon and spa 1vc salon and spa 2vc salon and spa 3The collaboration was lead by stylist Delia Salguero. We provided her with the models and pages of historic photos, and Delia recruited the stylists. The stylists then selected the model, the hairdo, and also put together costumes and accessories for the photo shoot.

vc salon and spa 4The models were volunteers Cotsen Critix, our children’s literary society. You might recognize one of the faces below. Yes, that’s Hope, our blog’s teen tester and Cotsen Critix alumna!

modelsAlong with the costumes and the hair came makeup, including one wicked pair of fake eyelashes. So…are you ready to see some historic makeovers?


model 1

Hair: Jennifer Bossert Graziani
Makeup: Delia Salguero


model 2model 2 side

Hair: Bailey O’Brien


model 3

Hair: Tatiana Rivadeneira
Makeup: Tatiana Rivadeneira


model 4model 4 back

Hair: Brenna Roth
Makeup: Tatiana Rivadeneira


model 5

Hair: Tatiana Rivadeneira
Makeup: Delia Salguero


model 6 side

Hair: Delia Salguero
Makeup: Delia Salguero


Many thanks to VC Salon for hosting historic hairdos! A big round of applause to stylists Jennifer Bossert Graziani, Bailey O’Brien, Tatiana Rivadeneira, Brenna Roth, and Delia Salguero for sharing your talent with us. Thank you to our models, who patiently sat in chairs, got fogged with hairspray, and in some cases wore eye makeup for the first time, all in the name of style. Finally, much appreciation and gratitude to Delia Salguero for coordinating the event.

delia and the girls

Delia and the girls. You rock!

Monster Class

monster class photo

Even monsters need to learn their ABCs! These easy monster mask / hat combination costumes made it easy for terrifying young scholars to brainstorm ideas for their very own spooky alphabet books.

We read My Creature Teacher, written by Laura Leuck, and illustrated by Scott Nash (South China Printing Company, 2004). It’s your typical day at school…monster school that is! Hang up your spider sack, raise your paw in class, spell spooky words, and take the fire-breathing class pet out for a little fresh air. Teachers, no matter where they are, or how big their fangs are, all deserve our respect and gratitude.

You’ll need:

  • 1 plastic hat
  • Poster board
  • Mask decorating supplies (more on this below)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

The thing I like best about these masks is that they’re attached to a hat. This makes it easier to avoid the dreaded “mask sag.”  And let’s face it, hats are awesome, especially on werewolves!

werewolf maskWe offered 3 different types of hats, all purchased from Oriental Trading Company:

  1. Top hat ($7 a dozen, item #13743494)
  2. Fedora ($10 a dozen, item #31/243)
  3. Derby ($7.50 a dozen, item #25/562)

Cut a mask from poster board, then curl it a little and tape it to the inside front of a plastic hat. In the below image, you can see where we attached the Creature from the Black Lagoon mask to the plastic fedora:

creature from the black lagoon maskHowever! It’s best to decorate the mask before you attach it to the hat. Just make sure you leave some empty space at the top of the mask so it rests flat on the inside of the hat.

For decorating supplies, we offered curling ribbon, paper crinkle, crepe paper streamers, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, sparkle stems, craft ties, mesh tubing, iridescent cello, patterned paper, foam beads, pom-poms, dot stickers, goose quills, cone water cups, fabric flowers, and self-adhesive foam. And the Bling Bin of course.

The crepe paper streamers were INCREDIBLY popular for making braids down the sides of the masks. The more streamers, the thicker the braids. We secured the braid to the hat with tape, but we secured the bottom with staples.

skeleton maskOnce the transformation to monster students was complete, we gathered in the “classroom” to learn the monster alphabet. Basically, I created a template with space for illustrations (see mine below). I had the class recited the monster alphabet with me (even though it was hard not to giggle).

monster alphabetWe also printed and stapled together a set of alphabet letters for kids to take home a illustrate themselves. And yes, Z is for ZOMBIE!

z is for zombie