Marissa Creates

My admiration for Marissa the Dyslexic Librarian is endless. Also apparently endless? Her creative energy! Recently, I learned that while finishing library school AND working full time, she crafted a children’s literary exhibit just for, you know, fun!

Intrigued, I grabbed my camera and headed to The Gallery at Chapin School, a private elementary and middle school in Princeton. The school regularly welcomes community artists to exhibit and teach students about their artwork. In her exhibit statement, Marissa’s described her inspirations for the exhibit, beginning with brainstorming and crafting story time projects at our library:

Part of my job at the Cotsen Children’s Library was to help develop story time projects. Once I started thinking about art and books in 3 dimensional ways, I couldn’t stop. I progressed from construction paper and card stock to eventually cardboard and paint as my projects became increasingly larger. I began to think about how I could turn the world into cardboard. I think there is something so charming and captivating about normal everyday objects being turned into art using unexpected materials.

Animal Talk: Mexican Folk Art Animal Sounds in English and Spanish, by Cynthia Weill, featuring wood scupltures from Oaxaca by Rubí Fuentes and Efraín Broa (Cinco Puntos Press, 2017).

These beautiful stick puppets are just toilet paper tubes, dowels, construction paper, and pen. Look at the lips on the cow!

This is the one piece in the show that was not directly related to a book. However, I am officially awarding it the “Golden X-Acto” award for the incredible detail work around the legs.

Miffy Dances by Dick Bruna (Big Tent Entertainment, 2010).

You might not be able to tell, but behind Miffy is a rack of cardboard clothes. The clothes and the figurine have little velcro dots so you can change her outfits and hats!

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, written by Elsie Broach, illustrated by David Small (Atheneum Books, 2007).

I will use this dinosaur sculpture technique for a story time project. It will be so.

Gerald and Piggy, as seen on their 10th Anniversary poster, from the Mo Willems series (Hyperion Books).

The photo doesn’t quite capture it, but this adorable portrait is almost 6 feet tall!

Goldfish Ghost, written by Lemony Snicket, and illustrated by Lisa Brown (Roaring Brook Press, 2017).

This is my favorite piece in the show. I want to hug the upside-down ghost fish.

Characters from the Hilda series by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books, 2015).

Again, the scale! That’s a bench at the bottom of the photo. Marissa went big with these beloved characters.

At first glance, these might look like simple framed illustrations. But they are actually shadow story panels Marissa created for a story time. While the book was being read, she would shine a light through the various scenes.

Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett, and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Balzer + Bray, 2012).

Above you can see the details of one of the shadow story panels.

Niños Mask, by Jeanette Winter (Dial, 2003).

Right. Now it’s GAME ON for all those summer reading bulletin board displays!

Melissa Warren’s work was exhibited at The Gallery at Chapin School Princeton. Many thanks to the school for allowing us to visit and photograph!

Meow, Dahling

meow dahling

Bring on the bling! This glamorous feline is festooned with rhinestones, bangles, and brilliant bobbles. But that’s not all. She also has her own designer blanket, jewel-encrusted water dish, and solid gold mouse toy. Meow, indeed.

We read Glamourpuss, written by Sarah Weeks, and illustrated by David Small (Scholastic, 2015). Glamourpuss lives with Mr. and Mrs. Highhorsen. She has everything a cat could want – a diamond collar, attentive servants, a lavish private room, and total adulation from her owners. Then Mr. Highhorsen’s sister Eugenia visits with her pet chihuahua, Bluebelle. In addition to having a stunning array of outfits, Bluebelle can do tricks. Glamourpuss soon finds herself upstaged, and vows revenge. However, whilst stalking Bluebelle, Glamourpuss discovers that Bluebelle hates her outfits and tricks – she really dreams of simple elegance. Well. Glamourpuss can certainly help Bluebelle with that! They become close, and very glamorous, friends.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • White construction paper
  • White poster board
  • A strip of gold poster board (approximately 1.5″ x 17″)
  • 3 pieces of twisteez wire (approximately 7″ each)
  • A small, rounded triangle of self-adhesive foam (approximately 1.25″ tall)
  • A pair of wiggle eyes
  • Cat jewelry & accessories (more on these later!)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

Wrap the oatmeal container with white construction paper. Use extra paper to make the ears. Attach wiggle eyes with hot glue, then use a marker to add a smile (and maybe some eyelashes!). To make the nose and whiskers, curl the ends of 3 pieces of Twisteez wire, then bunch them in the middle and tape them to the container.

cat curled whiskersPeel and stick a triangle of self-adhesive foam over the tape.

cat curled whiskers with noseTo make the cat’s hind legs, cut a 4.25″ x 6.25″ rectangle of white poster board into the shape you see below. Hot glue it to the bottom of the oatmeal container.

cat hind legsThe front legs are two, 1.75″ x 4.5″ rectangles of white poster board. Round the rectangles at both ends, then fold one end to create cat paws. Hot glue or tape the legs to the front of the container. And don’t forget to add a tail!

finished cat legsNow to fancy things up! We crafted paper bangs, a little gold poster board crown, and a gold poster board collar embellished with large gemstones. We also offered small gemstones, gold embossed foil paper, and gold star stickers. The final touch were self-adhesive rhinestone stickers Katie found in a discount bin after Easter

meow dahlingIn a stroke of crafting genius, Katie cut one of the rhinestone flowers into little bits and gave the cat a fancy feline pedicure.

kitty peticureYour cat is finished, now for the accessories! The blanket is a 7″ x 11.5″ piece of fleece trimmed with gold tape. The water dish is a be-jeweled gold paper cup (cut down to 1.75″), with 2 blue cotton balls.

glam accessories The gold mouse toy is a 2.25″ x 3.25″ rectangle of gold mirror board trimmed into a mouse shape. We added ears, a gold craft tie tail, a diamond nose, and finished with a pair of eyes drawn on with silver metallic Sharpie. Absolutely fah-bu-lous dahling!

gold mouse toy