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Posts tagged ‘fairy’

Don’t judge a fairystory by it’s cover : A story about self-esteem

It’s been a while since this happened, but it’s  now time to tell the story.

me and Fifi

Here I am with probably my most important puppet, Fifi the Baby Fairy. Fifi is a baby in that she says what she sees with no filters and innocent eyes, but she has pretty sophisticated communication skills and a wickedly silly and irreverent sense of humour. This combination of silliness and honesty makes her a very popular character, loved by both girls and boys alike. Actually, I’d probably go as far as to say that boys love her just a little bit more than the girls.

But that is for a different post.

I made this fairy puppet around 20 years ago. She is a permanent baby. Such is the magic of puppets.

You may notice from the picture that Fifi the fairy puppet isn’t exactly a Disney style fairy, looks wise , although she has a naughty character that would rival any Tinkerbelle.

Firstly she has a coffee coloured complexion rather than the ubiquitous pink and pale that fairies usually have. This is deliberate. I’m proud to say I live in probably the most multicultural city in the world ( London) and my little clients are often of beautifully varied shades . Some children will suggest that she has a dirty face, this gives me an opportunity to discuss diversity in an open and honest way. One thing I know about children is that they aren’t born bigoted.

Next she has large iridescent purple eyes with no pupil. This can seem freaky to many adults but children ( and those adults with a playful soul) understand the magic in those eyes.

She is a sewn puppet and sometimes the seams can look like scars. This was not intentional, but it has become a very useful jumping off point to be able to talk again about diversity and disability in a non judgmental way.

Her mouth is permanently upside down, giving her a permanent sad expression. Again, this was not intentional but has proven to be useful. We don’t always have to smile ( especially girls) to be taken seriously or be friendly.

She doesn’t wear trendy clothes or designer labels or trainers . She wears a fairly bedraggled dress that is pretty in a Lady Haversham way.

For all intents and purposes, this fairy should be a disaster. She should be rejected by modern children for not looking like a fairy should look.

But I believe in children. I know that they don’t judge books by their covers, even weird , freaky fairytale books.

 

So, are you ready for a story that will gladden your heart?

Come closer and I’ll tell you what happened at a school workshop with children in Year 6, top juniors , on the cusp of going to Secondary School.

Firstly, there is a whole bunch of educators out there who would think that my working with a Baby Fairy Puppet with children of this age is highly inappropriate. They will tell you that it is patronising and age inappropriate.

I vehemently disagree. Do not throw the baby out with the bath water, it’s all about how you approach things.

In this instance, I was very lucky to have done lots of work with Southwark Council with my close working with Scary Little Girls Theatre Company. I’m proud to say that they believe in the power of fairies. Good folk to be sure.

Well, there I was, with a bunch of ‘challenging’ children who were from a behavioural support unit at a Southwark school about to embark on a fact finding session to feedback to the council the children’s experience of the councils service. On the surface this could’ve been a very dry exercise indeed. But I had brought my Fairy Fifi with me. Things were about to get interesting.

I introduced myself to the children as a puppeteer and explained that I was going to introduce my favourite puppet to them . As usual, I told them in my own silly way that of course she wasn’t a real fairy, ( this is the not patronising stuff, it’s all about the approach) but she was a real puppet. This approach always works a treat, as the children start to realise I’m not going to try and convince them that anything silly was going to happen. Then I told them that she was a special fairy and pulled her out of her bag.

Cue a few screams and a few boys made a very melodramatic dash out of the door ( but of course still hovered round the doorway as they weren’t going to miss this for anything).

As the fairy starts into her routine, singing silly songs and making me look very silly ( there has to be a fall guy for comedy, and for this act it is always me. Sigh) the recalcitrant chaps subtly shuffled back to the group and their initial disdain turned very quickly into intense concentration and hilarious interaction. Soon the children were eating out of Fifi’s hand, she had them all in fits of giggles and they were all swearing to be her best friend forever.

Then I put her into a ‘sleep’ and had a chat with the children . The warm up was over, now it was time for the fact finding part of the exercise.

I asked the children what concerned them about moving from Primary School to Secondary school and what would make things easier for them.

Their answer was simple and unanimous: being popular.

So I asked them what did being popular mean to them, and how do you become popular?

The answer made my Feminist heart weep.

The girls all chorused : “Being pretty” . The boys nodded in agreement.

I challenged them, asking ” Are you sure? ”  They all nodded, yes, being pretty was the answer to being liked.

I then asked them to consider if they thought Fifi was popular.

They all shouted out that they loved her and of course she was popular , everyone wanted to be Fifi’s friend, she was the essence of popular.

So I then asked the children an obvious question.

“But is Fifi pretty?”

Cue a stunned silence. Then some children started saying , yes of course she was.

I reassured the children that Fifi was asleep and that telling the truth wouldn’t hurt her feelings. I told them that I was glad that they thought she was pretty, that they weren’t looking at her outside but her inside. I then reminded them of the initial shrieks and shocked reaction at first seeing her. Then I asked them again: `”Really and truly, is Fifi pretty? ”

There was a mumbling amongst the group and eventually the consensus was a reluctant , no . Fifi wasn’t exactly pretty.

Then I asked: ” But is she popular? ”

I didn’t have to say any more.

The children were smart enough to work out that it was personality not prettiness that wins friends.

Fairy puppet Fifi

Fifi eating her wand

Fairy puppet Fifi

Look at her pretty hair!

Sometimes our imperfections can be our greatest strengths.

 

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When Two Worlds Collide ( in crochet)

Sorry sorry sorry sorry! I haven’t blogged in such a while, I simply haven’t had the time. All my spare time has been tied up with hooking. I’m crochet crazy!

 

Anyone who has been following my blog /s can’t fail to notice that I’m not only a kids entertainer, but I’m an avid maker and my medium of making at the minute is crochet.

Since taking up the hook a mere year and a half ago, I’ve not stopped ! It started off with granny squares that looked like circles to begin with and has now ended up becoming  something quite special.

I’ve combined my love of sculpture/ crochet and puppetry and have been making a series of portrait dollies, mainly for very glamorous burlesque performers on a commission basis. It’s been quite a venture, the success of which is almost overwhelming me.

I’ve recently been featured in an alternative ezine , The Independent Voice ,the link here : http://www.theindependentvoice.org/2012/Edition_26/index.html#chinwags_anchor 

and am soon to be featured in a really fancy alternative glossy magazine called Et Alors! in a three page spread. All because of my dollies! Who’d have thunk it?

 

While making dollies for people, it struck me that it would be really fun to make one of myself in my work outfit, the very lovely colourful outfit that I wear as Diane from Diane’s Puppets .

So I did.

 

Here she is .

Kids entertainer Diane crochet dolly

Me holding my puppet Fifi the Fairy

I’m really proud of how I turned out! Even my glasses are the right colour ( I’ve got new ones recently) and my necklace is almost perfect to scale.

Such a joy to make me . 🙂

I tried to capture every last detail of my costume and my faithful funny fairy puppet , Fifi. Even down to her wobbly wand and sparkly purple eyes.

 

Me from behind. Careful not to burn your bottom!

I even managed to recreate my ‘story skirt’ that has lots of images of things on it, including a fire breathing dragon.

The whole outfit in it’s glory.

The only piece of poetic license is the shoes. I don’t own a pair of sparkly pink slippers. I wish I did. I usually wear a pair of faithful trainers that make it easy for me to walk from gig to gig. I rather be barefoot when working.

Having a chat with my puppet

 

This dolly is smaller than the ones I usually make. She stands around 12 inches high rather than the usual 14 inch dollies that I’ve made previously. She’s rather dinky, unlike myself, who is of a substantial nature. 🙂

 

If you’d like your own dolly made, head over to my online market stall called Devil and Angel on my Shoulder .  I make cute things and not so cute things, some for children and some strictly for grown-ups.  Hence the name.
Do pop over to my facebook pages CROCHET BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

and CROCHET DARK AND DECADENT 

and DIANES PUPPETS and hit those ‘LIKE’ buttons if you’d like to keep up with all that’s going on in my world. It’s probably easier than waiting for the next blog post…

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Puppets : See you Later Alligator!

Yesterday was a very special day. In my previous post I shared with you my granddaughter’s very special second birthday moment.

But what was I doing earlier on in the day?

Well, I was helping a very lovely client find closure for her daughter through the power and play of puppets.

Like a few of my clients, this lovely lady and her family had decided to uproot and move her family to Switzerland. She had called me and asked me to perform a puppet show for a goodbye party where her daughter had the opportunity to say goodbye to her school friends and have fun at the same time. Could I perhaps include references to saying Goodbye in my show?

I considered it for a brief second and my answer was ‘of course!’

With my 20 years of working with children as a children’s entertainer, I’ve encountered many a child who has trouble with saying goodbye. Goodbye  is hard for the adults, so why shouldn’t we expect children to be upset at the prospect of saying farewell?

I’ve had my fair share of tears after a puppet show where children have burst into tears the minute a puppet show has ended .

The reason? They didn’t want me to go, they didn’t want the fun to end and most importantly, they didn’t want to say goodbye.

My own way of dealing with this outburst is to gently reassure the distressed child that you have to say goodbye otherwise you can’t say hello another time, and hello is the most wonderful, exciting thing to say!

Ending with a ‘ See you later Alligator , in a while Crocodile , (Bye Bye Apple Pie!) ( Fifi the Fairy’s own invention) is a sure fire way of using the power of silly to put the smile back on those tear stained faces too.

Snap! Snap!

So I tootled off to Belsize Park yesterday and set up my puppet theatre outside in the very welcome sunshine. ( It made a brief appearance yesterday, we just had to make the most of it before it rains again).

Bobby Bunny was sad that  Tabitha cat was going to Australia and had lost his will to hop. The children were encouraging him to hop and have fun and reassured him that Tabitha would still be his friend even though she was going to Australia.

In between the silly behind-you’s and the silly slapstick humour and chases, I inserted lots of chat and references about using Mummy and Daddy’s  Internet to keep in touch and spoke about having friends to visit. Rather than focusing on the leaving aspect, I stressed the new adventures ahead. Tabitha cat was excited to be going, it was her friend that was sad. This allowed the little girl in question to be able to chat to the rabbit about her leaving in a safe and reassuring way; indeed it was a little bit of a therapy session without anyone even knowing it! Lots of hugs were given to the girl in question from the puppets and she said goodbye with a smile on her face- which was painted just like my lovely puppy puppet Toby

Traditional Toby dog to start the show

So bye bye lovely Taya, we will miss you here at Diane’s Puppets. Don’t forget to send us a postcard from Zurich ( some chocolate would be nice too! ) Only joking. Silly Sausage.

Let’s hope that fun and laughter and puppets have eased the pain of farewell.

The power of puppets never cease to amaze me.

 

Related posts:

The Power of Puppets for Change

Silly is a Serious Business

Puppets: An Emotional Connection

 

A Case Of Mistaken Identity…Or Was It?

It’s been a busy few days.

In my job as a children’s party entertainer, puppeteer and face painter, I do get to meet lots of lovely children. Today was no exception.

I spent the morning in  sunny Kensingtonat a lovely party for Eva. She is a delightful little girl with very lovely, caring parents. We spent a good forty five minutes giggling with my puppets, in fact one young boy was laughing so hard he could hardly get his breath. Twinkle the Baby Monkey

Twinkle, my very cheeky baby monkey. A dear friend.

charmed the children with his refusal to say hello and his banana trumpet,  Bobby Bunny

Bobby Bunny puppet for birthday parties

Diane's favourite puppet bunny, Bobby.

played Sleeping Bunnies with 20 or so chuckling children and naughty bunny that he is, snored when he was supposed to be sleeping and kept shouting out Tuna fish! (You have to be there to understand). Trust me, if your sense of humour is like mine, it’s all hilarious.  Fifi the naughty baby fairypuppet

Fairy puppet Fifi from Diane's Puppets

Look at her pretty hair!

got all the words wrong to Twinkle Twinkle and Baa Baa Black Sheep but managed to give lovely twinkle toes wishes to sweet 3 year old Eva and sing Happy Birthday in her own inimitable style. Hilarity was all topped off with a good old jumping on the bed session with Jaffa the Monkey.

During the lunch session, I was on duty face painting. I painted numerous butterflies with twinkly noses , flower fairies, a lion, a tiger , a bunny and a few kittens. Face painting little children is so rewarding. It’s all about that moment when you show them their completed painted faces in the mirror. That magical moment when their faces light up and the smile crinkles across their cheeks, it’s just the best feeling . The last child I painted today was a sweet, shy girl who didn’t put herself forward for face painting immediately. In fact, I wasn’t sure she wanted her face painted, but I was ready to pack up and needed to make sure that she didn’t want to have a go first before I made my way to the next party. After all, no one likes to disappoint children. So I smiled at her and gestured towards my chair, asking her gently if she would like her face painted. She was a little reticent but after  a little cajoling she had her face painted as a very delicate flower fairy.

It was time for the big reveal. I picked up the mirror and held it in front of her face.

There it was, that wonderful smile that made the eyes twinkle.

She ran off to her mummy, clearly very delighted with the result and maybe just a little bit proud of her courage.

” Mummy,Rosie painted my face!” she kept exclaiming, over and over again.

“But that lady’s name is Diane”, said mummy.

“No mummy, Rosie did it” insisted my little flower fairy.

I decided Rosie was a lovely name and accepted it with grace.

At the next party in the afternoon, also in Kensington , after painting rainbow butterflies, spiderman and a host of flower fairies, princesses and notably for the very first time of my 18 years of face painting, a volcano(!) another child referred to me as Rosie to her mummy. I mentioned to this mummy that that was the second time today and did she know why ?

Rosie is on CBeebies. She is a ragdoll character who wears ribbons in her hair.

AAAAAh! So that’s it!

Spot the difference.

This is Rosie

This is me.

 London Kids entertainer and puppet show provider Diane

Rainbow on my head

I know,  I know. Totally indistinguishable.

I love my job. The life of a children’s party entertainer is just full of surprises!

If you’d like “Rosie” ( aka Diane aka me ) to come to your child’s party, just pop over to my website www.dianes-puppets.co.uk to find out more about my party entertainment service.

Diane’s Puppets: Children’s puppet parties to remember with fantastic facepainting and giggles galore.

Fairy Make Over

I love fairies.

I have a pathological hatred  and fear for plastic surgery . Duchess of Alba. Need I say more?

Today I combined my passion and my fear as I gave my darling Fifi a drastic make-over.

 

First a bit  of background about Fifi the Fairy.

 

I think my love for fairies stemmed from a very young age. I remember way back in my childhood, a very special book that was so large it was kept in the airing cupboard. I must’ve been around 2 or 3 years of age and I remember distinctly that this magical book was bigger than me. Opening these precious massive pages revealed a magical world of fairies that I could totally immerse myself in. I think it must have been about that age that I decided that I was going to be a fairy when I grew up.

Let’s just say I didn’t really have the right body type for the job. Fairies are distinctly delicate and I have farmers ankles.

Genetics , what can you do ?

Well, undeterred I did the next best thing. I made a fairy puppet called Fifi and lived out my fairy ambitions vicariously through her. That was about 15 years ago. She’s been through a few phases in all that time. She started out looking like this:

Fifi

She’s never been the prettiest fairy, but she does manage to win over hearts with her special charm.

Like all ladies, time took it’s toll on the fairy and constant use wore her down. She went through another make over and ended up looking like this:Her face was starting to twist and although the children still adored her, it was starting to become very difficult to take a still photo of her without her looking decidedly past her best.

So  today I decided to take Fifi in  hand and to reconstruct. Yes dear readers, I did some fairy puppet plastic surgery.

Out came the eyes, the nose was reconstructed, a new skin was stretched over the face and the eyes were repositioned and new hair ( extra feathers and crochet ringlets ) were fastened in place. She was finished off with a new hair clip and butterfly and a few fresh flowers.

Now Fifi the Fairy feels good. She also looks younger.

Fifi in her new found freshness

Look at her pretty hair!

Pretty ringlets and wings

So Fifi is rejuvenated and ready to go. Her newest adventure will be pretending to be a mermaid.

But more about that soon.

Why not have a Fairy themed birthday party for your next daughter’s party? Fifi can come to your home or venue and enchant the children with her silly songs and giggly chat before beautiful fairy face- painting during tea time ( with fairy cakes?) ending off with a puppet show in a booth all about Fifi the Fairy’s first day at school.

Fairy nice!

 

Fairy Pretty

I love fairies.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a fairy.

As a child, my favourite book was an oversized picture book ( probably about as big as the 4-year-old me) all about fairies. I would sit for hours on end, pouring over this magical book , dreaming of being a fairy.

I was never dainty. Despite this, I still had ambitions of growing up to become a fairy.

It never really came to pass. Well not exactly…

I now become a fairy through the magic of puppetry. When I take Fifi the Fairy out of her bag, she borrows my spirit and in the words of the lovely Spice Girls “Two become One”.

I did also, in a moment of post divorce/thirty somethingth madness, acquire a dodgy fairy tattoo. Children seem to love it though, but I always tell them it was a bad idea. Even though it is a fairy.

I have also crocheted two fairies. One of them I have named Fifi. I do hope the original Fifi the Fairy doesn’t mind. The other one is an amigurumi fairy, cute and dumpy ( a little like my fairy self). They’re both on sale on my new Folksy site .

Dumpy cute amigurumi fairy and her toadstool.

Isn't she pretty?

Fifi the crochet fairy in her box

Wings and curls detail

Anyone that knows me, knows I have visits from a real life fairy every day.

She is the cutest one of all.

 

 

 

Fifi the baby fairy and her tutu. Cos she’s two!

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