puppet play made our day!

we love puppets in our house. i've been known to rock a pretty mean paper bag puppet as well as some finger puppets in my time so when i heard about the new book "puppet play: 20 projects made with recycled mittens, towels, socks and more" by diana schoenbrun i got excited! when you put repurposing and crafting your own puppets together in one book you've got a happy momma, happy kidlets and a fun day of crafty excitement in our house.

puppet play is filled with imaginative ways to repurpose items and objects in your house into adorable puppets. as you can see by my daughters reactions we're pretty happy with this book. we've been having quite the time trying to actually narrow down which one we are going to start with. she thinks (for the moment) that we should start with the cat puppet and i think i agree. the book is filled with easy to follow instructions, bright, colorful photos, illustrations and even a chapter on how to present your own puppet show!

how cute is that cat puppet?

i love that diana infuses the green movement into her teachings to children (and families) throughout her career and in her book. she uses puppets as a way to inform them about repurposing and recycling items by using their imaginations. i'm always trying to show mackenzie how to see things as having more than one purpose and this book takes it one step further by helping her to envision fun critters in her mind and then learn how to make them from an old glove or sock.

diana is a published illustrator, author and crafter. she also teaches puppet and playwriting classes to kiddos as well as works at a unique puppet design studio - puppet heap. how's that for a fun career hey?! the author of "beasties" and "puppet play" is one creative lady! i couldn't even imagine how exciting it would be to design and make puppets all day so i couldn't resist getting a chance to ask her a few questions mommyhood style :)

When did you first develop a love for puppetry and all things puppet? When you aren't making puppets & other fun creatures what is your craft of choice?

As a child I enjoyed watching shows that included puppets such as Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Sesame Street, The Muppets, and Dinosaurs. I was captivated by the imaginary world that is created using puppets. The tactile quality and animated characters always intrigued me.

When I’m not crafting or sewing puppets or 3-D characters I enjoy drawing and painting. This is usually the starting point for many of my ideas. I enjoy creating art through collage. I even have a paper collection that I organize by color.

If you could be a puppet which puppet would you be?

I would be a marionette artist puppet. My hands would be paintbrushes and my legs would be pencils. This is a puppet that I have been wanting to make for a while. When the puppet dances the feet draw and when the puppet swings its arms it paints beautiful images with its hands.

You also teach puppet making to children. Do you find this a successful way to incorporate more knowledge to the younger generation on how to reuse & repurpose in a fun and imaginative way?

Yes, I think teaching new ways of making puppets is just one way to show children how to repurpose something. Children can learn how to reinvent their toys or create new ones with resources they already have. Repurposing materials pushes children to experiment more. Art projects such as making masks, sewn dolls, and using found objects can add new life to the toy box. Learning how to reuse and recycle will help children in other areas.

Tell us a little bit about the design process you have & where you draw inspiration from when it comes to puppet making. What tips do you have for moms looking to craft puppets at home with their kids?

Sometimes I may start with a particular idea in mind or character, while sometimes an object may inspire me. I often like to sketch out an idea. Sometimes a puppet will evolve as I work on it. For example, I was quite lazy one week and I let my recycling pile up which was actually a good thing. I used the cans to make the robot puppet called Bean-Bot. While the Five Little Pigs puppet was made from a glove that I had lost the mate to during winter. I thought it was perfect to go with the children’s nursery rhyme.

Parents should look no further than their homes. Search the recycling and trash cans(if its not too stinky). Try to use whatever you have at home such as string, rubber bands, cardboard, holey socks, old board game pieces, or even a pet’s toy. Parents and kids can be inventive together and have fun making their own puppets and coming up with new ideas. This is a great hands-on opportunity that gets kids and parents involved with a DIY project that is rewarding.

One of my dreams since I was a little girl was to have my own craft book one day. What advice do you have to other women looking to successfully develop a career in the creative field & in publishing?

I think publishing is a very rewarding and competitive career. There are many different aspects that go into the publishing process. It’s important to develop and strengthen your skills by taking classes or workshops in art or writing. Receiving feedback and criticism about your writing is important in publishing. I suggest doing extensive research for your book ideas to make sure your book stands out from others. Be bold and original!

thanks for letting us kick off your book blog tour diana!!! we love it!!!

you can find more about diana schoenbrun and puppet play on the following...

here's a fun trailer for puppet play: 20 projects made with recycled mittens, towels, socks and more and...

don't forget to join in on the rest of her blog book tour at these other fantabulous sites!