And for dog lovers, a photo of the much-discussed Sophie (finally!), the 7-squeaker toy made by Nedra Curry (a listening friend), and her e-mail in case you want to order her clever toy that allows you to replace defunct squeakers. Genius!
KAREN KINGSBURY is a busy mom of six and a wildly popular and prolific author. (I only include the info about her being a popular/prolific author for those of you who've just awakened from a 20- year slumber. Other important news: William Shatner's acting career has been resurrected, and cell phones have basically replaced cameras.) Her on-air interview focused on her latest novel, Fifteen Minutes. In this "overflow" interview, she explains why she leverages her celebrity to help children find forever homes, and why she's hired God as her publicist. Enjoy!
Listen to interview here
EMILY NEUBURGER is a huge proponent of stories. If you want to know why, catch her "Author! Author! interview on the Mid-Morning archive.
The artist, teacher, author, freelance children's crafter designer and mom has done parents a HUGE service by writing Show Me a Story, 40 creative projects and activities designed to spark a child's natural storytelling abilities. It's the perfect gift for grandparents to give to the parents of their beloved grandkids. Parents, give it your kids' grandparents. The activities will generate hours of magical make-believe fun that transform into moments to treasure. Teachers. Homeschool families. Anyone who interacts with kids will appreciate Emily's book. It also makes an out-of-the ordinary but greatly appreciated baby shower gift.
Make a set of Story Disks with your children and experience for yourself how telling stories is good for you and your kids!
Time to make: 2 hands-on hours
Ages: To make - 5+ To use - 3+
(Excerpted from Show Me a Story (c) Emily K. Neuburger. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.)
These wooden disks, decorated with pictures of nifty characters, things, and places, are compact idea generators. They serve as perfect little sources of inspiration. Make as many as you want, pass some on to your neighbor, trade them with friends, tuck them in pockets, or give them as gifts. They make people smile.
|Photography by Buff Strickland|
|John Polack Photography|
- acrylic paint and brushes
- 1 1/2" wooden disks
- plastic containers (from the recycling bin)
- paper scraps
- mini-muffin tin (for organizing collage materials)
- Modge Podge
- foam brush
- wax paper
- thin black marker
- small stamps
- black ink pad
How to Make
- Paint both sides of each wooden disk with a cheer color. (I like to make several groups of six, with each set the same color.) Hold a disk between two fingers as you paint it with the other hand.
- To dry them with the least amount of smudging, set up a few plastic containers from your recycling bin (thing hummus or cream-cheese tubs) and stand the disks in them on end, leaning against the sides. For a nice solid finish, let them dry overnight and then apply a second coat of paint in the morning. Of if you aren't worried about imperfection, one coat is just fine. While you are waiting for the disks to dry, write down a list of interesting, imaginative characters, places, and tings. Later, if you find yourself searching for ideas, you'll have this list to help direct your creative process.
- Once the disk are dry, add tiny pictures, using any of these three techniques: collage, drawing and painting, or stamping. Mix and match, or stick with the style that feels most satisfying to you. Don't get hemmed in--try them all and see which one works best for your storytelling.
- Decide how to break up your collaged image. For example, if your image is a tree, you might cut the trunk out of one color paper, the leaves out of another, and the fruit or flowers out of a third.
- Draw the image pieces on the back of each piece of paper with the pencil, then carefully cut out each piece. To keep all of the pieces of an image together, a mini-muffin tin or small paper cup works nicely.
- With the foam brush, apply one coat of Mod Podge to your disk, place the first paper piece down, and brush another layer of Mod Podge over it. Continue layering Mod Podge and paper pieces until all are applied. If it's difficult to pick up those tiny bits of paper, nudge them into place with a toothpick. Place the disk on wax paper to dry overnight.
Drawn and Painted Pictures
- With a pencil, lightly sketch your design onto the disk. Once you're pleased with the image, fill it in with paint. Place the disk on wax paper and let dry for at least three hours.
- Once the disk are completely dry, outline the image with a thin black marker to give it more definition. If your hand wobbles while drawing, don't fret; this gives your images personality!
- Very gently erase extra pencil lines, being mindful not to smudge the marker and paint.
- Choose a selection of small stamps (less than 1 1/2" wide) for the disks.
- Dip a stamp into the ink and use the tips of your fingers to press it firmly and evenly onto a disk. Its a good idea to do a few practice stamps before attempting the real deal. If you find you're missing the perfect stamp to complete your Story Disk set, use a thin black marker to draw an image. It will fit right in with the stamped aesthetic.
How to Use
There are so many engaging, creative ways to use these disks. Here are a few ideas:
- Law several facedown on a table, then flip them over, one at a time, to reveal the next piece of an ongoing story.
- Put the disks in a bag and have a child pick out three of them to be used in a bigger story.
- Lay the disks face-up on the table as visual inspiration for starting and continuing a story.
Give a set of Story Disks and a small journal as a gift. Experiment with other collage materials, such as fabric, seeds, and bits of fiber. Make a Story Disk necklace. This is a favorite among my friends and loved ones (including my daughters). Using a drill with a very small bit, make a hole at the top of a disk. Put some necklace cording through the hole, then put a clasp on the ends or tie a simple knot.
Story Disks are an engaging way to teach vocabulary. Once you have the images on your disks, print the corresponding words on the other side. (Use pencil first!)
Mod Podge Tips
Apply in thin layers. In order to avoid wrinkling, apply Mod Podge to the back of the cut-out paper, press firmly, and smooth out bubbles. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then apply a top coat of Mod Podge. This will give the paper time to set before you saturate it with the top coat. When yo first apply Mod Podge, it will be milky white and opague. Don't fret! It will dry perfectly clear, like magic. Allow the Mod Podge to dry fully before playing with or using the project.
SOPHIE SUE is my parents' beloved pug/boxer dog. She goes crazy over squeaker toys and, because of her needle-sharp teeth, can tear through any -- and I mean any -- fabric in less than thirty minutes. Several weeks ago a listening friend called to inform us that Tractor Supply sells a 19-squeaker toy. Nineteen squeakers in what looks like a flattened rabbit. I bought two. To date, Sophie has punctured 5 of the squeakers (I'm holding the second toy back as her Christmas gift.) That on-air conversation inspired Nedra Curry to try her hand (and sewing machine) at making a multi-squeaker toy. She succeeded. But what makes her version so special is the knots tied between each squeaker that allow you to remove a defunct one and replace it with a new one! As I said, genius.
|Nedra Curry's 7-Squeaker Toy|
|She looks so innocent and gentle . . .|
...until she hears the squeaker -- then she's Cujo!
To order your own 7-squeaker toy from Nedra, e-mail her at email@example.com. They're $7.50 a piece or 3 for $21.00.