Taking the stress out of your child's annual celebrations!

Posts tagged ‘Puppets’

Diamond Jubilee : My tribute to HRH

It’s Ma’am like spam

I’m  not much of a Royalist to be fair, but I do enjoy the pomp and circumstance that goes with the British Monarchy. As a very proud Londoner, I couldn’t imagine  not seeing the Horseguards with their big bearskins guarding St James’s palace, or witness the changing of the guard. I do enjoy a Royal Wedding too, I must admit.

So, this year we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen. Whilst I am sick to the back teeth of all the Union Jack stuff everywhere, ( talk about overkill) I’m not going to be a total killjoy when it comes to the Jubilee celebrations. I’m going to be really busy this June 4th, with a street party plus a stint at a really lovely local pub that are putting on a mini beer festival and including a puppet show and facepainting. (that would be me).

Tiger Facepainting Diane's Puppets

Rarrrrrr!

London Children's Entertainer

Diane, the London Children’s Entertainer

Years ago, I’m talking probably 25 … I made a bunch of Marionettes. Here is my tribute to HRH, my puppet of the Queen.

Queen Marionette puppet

HRH waves at you

Queen puppet

One is having a lie down.

Does one like one’s crown?

Close up of Queen

One has very lovely clothes and shoes

Just to end this on a balanced note, here is my tribute to God Save the Queen ( and her fascist regime) I loved the Sex Pistols.

Portrait of a Punk Puppet, check out that bobble nose!

He looks so camp. I like that!

Check out the hairy armpit!

Both puppets are working marionettes, but need restringing and a control. They are old, so they have some wear and tear, but I think this adds to their character. They are both for sale and cost £60 each. Both characters stand a full 70 cm tall and feature hand carved wooden hands and feet and the heads are made from sewn and painted fabric.

Puppets: An emotional connection

Kevin Clash and Elmo, 92YTribeca 8/18/11

Kevin Clash and Elmo, 92YTribeca 8/18/11 (Photo credit: 92YTribeca)

Being Elmo : an inspirational film

Last night I went to see the wonderful documentary Being Elmo at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. I had booked a ticket to go and see this film ( and Q & A session ) a week previously and I had been eagerly anticipating this event. I wasn’t to be disappointed.

I laughed, I connected emotionally with the puppeteer and star of the documentary Kevin Clash  and yes, I cried but not from sadness but from sheer joy.  It was a truly marvellous film.I wasn’t alone, the cinema was packed and everyone there was clearly feeling the love.

To witness a film respecting the silly, regarding the seriousness of the craft and paying tribute to the massively important role that puppets and a good puppeteer can play in imparting a basic human connection ( in Elmo’s case giving out hugs) was genuinely moving for me. So moving in fact, that when it came to the Q & A session with the wonderfully human and totally charming  director Constance Marks and her husband/ partner in crime and Cinematographer James Miller, I could barely get out my compliments without bursting into tears. In any other environment that would have been rather embarrassing but after viewing this very human movie, no-one was surprised at this reaction. In fact the director  related how they had received Twitter messages from Hells Angels who had confessed to ‘blubbing like a baby’ when viewing the film. So I clearly was not alone in my emotional outburst. Phew!

Here is the James Miller, the cinematographer talking about making the film:

Here is the trailer to the film. Go and see it. You won’t be disappointed. You may even cry, but in a good way!

In a Videojug Puppet Making Frenzy

After having been approached by Videojug,Image the video production company to make a series of how to puppet making videos for Youtube, how could I say no? Anyone who knows me a little or indeed reads this or my Diane gets Crafty blog knows I’m an avid maker. Plus the opportunity to have 20 short professional videos made for me that I could use was just too tempting.

London Kids entertainer and puppet show provider Diane

Me, an expert? Who'd have thunk it?

So I signed up to make a series of 20 short 3minute videos on the most Googled puppet making searches and become Videojug’s expert puppet maker. Gosh. I like that title. I set a date for filming the 20 videos ,worked out my list of makes and got all excited.

Then, like so many other people in the UK I went down with the flu.

Cue lots of days not being able to get out of bed , loss of voice , coughing, spluttering and generally not feeling very well.

Add to this scenario normal work commitments : children’s parties that were booked well in advance. I had to fulfill those despite a barely audible voice and not feeling very well at all. In fact I was faced with one of my busiest periods of booking for a long time. Yey for success, boo for illness and bad timing.

This was my nightmare scenario: having so many opportunities and struggling to live up to them. But I soldiered on. Somehow.

Then I woke up one morning to find my top lip covered in fever blisters where my skin had cracked from the flu and I was facing being filmed just a week later.

I rescheduled and pushed back the filming a week. It’s now due in just a few days time and I’m on my last few puppets. I can’t make most of them completely as it is for demonstration purposes, so I’m in a situation of having to make multiple stages of each puppet so I can do a Blue Peter style ‘here’s one I made earlier’ moment. There are so many restrictions when trying to fit everything into a 3 minute video.

Punch and Judy puppets made by Diane's Puppets

Here's some I made earlier , 20 years ago in fact.

So I’m almost there.

Did I mention getting some terrible 24 hour gastric bug as well ? Oh I forgot that one. My lip is now healed. I’ve stopped being ill and I’ve almost got my voice back, and I’ve four parties to complete before finishing the final 6 makes.

Time is ticking , so what am I doing writing blog posts?

 

Here is a quick preview of some of my makes:

Cat hand puppet made by Diane's Puppets

Cute kitty easy hand puppet

Dog sock puppet made by Diane's Puppets

Silly sock dog puppet

Mr Punch paper puppet

Mr Punch paper puppet in progress

Judy paper puppet made by Diane's puppets

Judy all finished

Felt finger puppets pig cow

Felt farm fingers

Ballerina finger puppet

Paper ballerina finger puppet

Mouse paper finger puppet

Cute mouse finger puppet

making papier mache puppet heads

The stages in making papier mache puppet heads

Well those are just a taster. Many of the puppets have to be made on camera. So, if you’re looking for a place to find out how to make simple puppets for and with your children or just for you ( puppets are for everyone!) then do come back and see my videos on Videojug.

Coming soon, just for you.

A Birthday Party to Remember

Having fun with Dee Li, Diane and her Puppets.

One big cuddle for Dee LiSay Cheese!

Diane's facepainting at a Diane's Puppets birthday party

Diane's Puppets meets Waybaloo

Happy children at a Diane's Puppets birthday party

Dee Li and the happy throng

I thought I’d share  a few pictures of a birthday party to remember. Way back in 2011, just before the rush of Christmas I entertained at a very lovely and lucky girl’s party. Her mummy had won a Waybaloo party in a school raffle but she still wanted a puppet show, hence she called me. I was privileged to meet Dee Li , the pink character from top CBeebies program Waybaloo and so did all the lucky party-goers. After I had painted the children’s faces and arms as rainbow butterflies, vampires , monsters and flower fairies, we had to be very careful that the hugs didn’t print the paint on to Dee Li’s pink fluffiness. Just look at those adorable faces. Don’t you just love the shy vampire on the far left?

It was a joy to be assisted by big sister and her best friend. I painted them both as sunsets. They were very thrilled with the result.

Sunset facepainting at a Diane's Puppets birthday party

Big sister and her best friend

A great time was had by all, even Dee Li, who managed to leave without any extra colours on her pink fluffy self.

For fabulous face painting and fantastic puppets and a great time  at your child’s party, get in touch with me, Diane at Diane’s Puppets

Getting back to the business of entertaining

Lion - Louisville Zoo

Image via Wikipedia

Summertime is almost over and it’s time for me to put my children’s entertainer hat back on.

It’s been lovely to have a break and concentrate on other aspects of myself for a while, but to be honest I’m itching to get back to what I love best: entertaining London’s children.

The telephone has started to ring again and bookings are coming in. Birthday parties are back on the agenda and I’m gearing up by making a few new puppets and working on some new stories.

Tomorrow I’m tootling off to one of my favourite schools where I have been made part of the ‘family’ so it seems. I’ve been booked to work at their holiday club and tell some stories with puppet illustration. I’ve done a few in the last few weeks, Thumbelina, Space Mouse

and now I’m looking forward to telling tales from the Jungle.

The jungle forms a large part of childhood mythology, and whilst I’m happy to declare the lion the King of the Jungle, I also like to point out the inaccuracy of this statement and do my bit to tell the children real facts about lions as part of the fun entertainment. Mrs Lion does all the work and Mr Lion just lies under a tree all day, that’s why they call him a lion, because he’s always lying about . Well it works better when spoken…

I’ve made a brand new 5 foot long  knitted snake for the occasion and I’m really excited about introducing him to the children. He’s rainbow coloured and drapes really nicely around my neck. Sometimes I forget that the children see my puppets for the first time and whenever I make a new puppet, I share in the children’s excitement when they are first introduced to  them.

Meet Hissy the Snake

So Mr Snake will join Mr Elephant, Mr Lion and Mr Giraffe , Jaffa the monkey and wee Ms Mouse in my Jungle tales tomorrow.

I like to sniff you to see if you've washed your clothes!

Walking in the Jungle with a beat in your feet, tell me an animal that you’d like to meet.

I’m a lucky woman. I look forward to going back to work.

Entertaining London’s Children

Watching Mr Punch , age 5

As a London Children’s entertainer, my work consists of entertaining London’s children, from babies up until around 8 years old. By then they’re all too grown up for the simple joys of puppets, apparently. It’s funny, I first encountered puppets as a child on the beach front in Skegness. It was Mr Punch, hitting Judy over the head with his slap stick and shouting THAT’s the way to do it! I was dressed to match my dolly who watched with her still glassy eyes from my lap as I cradled her gently. She enjoyed it as much as I did. I remember her telling me so.

Despite the clear domestic violence and the real lack of story and plot line,from that first crude puppet show, I was hooked. I’ve been hooked on puppets ever since and now , 42 years later, I’m still in love with the magic of puppetry.

My, how things have changed since those days.
But I still believe there is a constancy in the simple joys of puppets and the journey into imagination that they facilitate. No electronic game or fancy doodah can replace this simple joy.
And for that I am eternally grateful.

That’s the way to do it!

Pirates aren’t just for boys you know!

Children's entertainer Diane makes all of her own puppets

My beautiful mermaid Marina is a feisty lass. She dons a fake beard and pirate clothes to outwit my pirates and steal back the treasure. She uses her brains to bamboozle the pirates and her considerable fighting skills to engage in hand to hook combat with the other pirates .

She can certainly hold her own with the boys.

She is a girl after my own heart.

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