Fall, Fairs, and Finding Items for Set Design

Today, the air was cool, giving us a slight sneak peek into fall! It’s one of my favorite seasons, when fall weather begins to grace our early mornings. Another fall favorite is community fairs and my favorite is the Cracker Barrel Fair in Wrentham, MA. I think I like it, because it is small and homey. The highlight is 4-H clubs showing their chickens, ducks, bunnies, goats, and sheep. They often sell cookies or raffle tickets to help fund the clubs.

I don’t know why I get excited seeing the children’s animals, but it’s so sweet to see these kids being so proud. One young girl was sitting with a chicken in her lap and had the chicken’s head in one hand and stroking it with her other hand. At first, I thought it was a duck, because the neck was so long. She smiled at me and said, “Chickens have long necks, but most of the time it’s compressed. When they get relaxed like this, then you can see the fully extended neck.”

The Cracker Barrel Fair has one very unique event, a huge yard sale. I found a prop to use in my latest craft project. Currently, I’m working on the next book in the series, Destiny Has Two Grandmas. I’ve been working on this book for several months. The children’s easy reader book is as illustration-heavy as a picture book. Instead of drawing, my artistic talents lie in creating 3-D puppets and props. With the new book, I’ve kicked it up a notch. I’m building sets for each of the six unique settings. There are 12 characters and 12 individual puppets to represent them. The classroom scene has posed the biggest challenge so far.

What has this got to do with community fairs? Well, the large yard sale helped me find another piece for one the scenes. I came home to make carrots for the bunny that I made last night. The bunny, of course, has a bunny hutch to live in, which I made out of craft sticks. A classroom full of kids needs carrots to feed the bunny, so I made cute felt carrots for my classroom of puppets. The school desks will be another challenge. The chairs are done. I made them from Dollar Store plastic tubs, which I cut in half. I used clear plastic jigger cups for the base. The champagne glasses did not have a tall enough stem on them. The long stem part is connected to the cup part, so the stem that is left is only a fraction of an inch, which meant that the puppets appear to be sitting on the ground.

I also enjoyed seeing the variety of bunnies that the 4-H clubs had brought. I checked out their eyes. Did you know that bunnies can have brown, pink, blue, or green eyes? I never knew it either. For my bunny, I chose brown. This prop of bunny and bunny hutch will go into the classroom.

My puppets are 18-inches. The scale for all my props and sets are for this size doll, which is the size of the popular, American Girl Doll and the American Boy Doll. It is roughly a 1 to 3 or 1/3 scale.

See link below for directions on how to make the bunny hutch.


Stay tuned. As I work on the illustrations, I will share more craft projects with you.

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