Mini-Makers – Build a Birdhouse

Sometimes I think some programs are just doomed from the start. I happened to find some birdhouse kits in a cabinet when I was cleaning and thought that might be a fun program. Well it turns out a lot of people are interested in birdhouses because a ton of people signed up for this. It also turns out there were only 3 kits in the cabinet…

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So I ran to the craft store to see if they had more kits and nope, no luck. So I got a huge piece of foam core, took the pattern from the birdhouse kit and made 30 sets out of foam core. It felt like I was tracing and cutting for hours.

Then I found out the program room was double booked, the little meeting room was booked too and I would be doing this program in the room with the periodicals. Well, quite a few people showed up, everyone had a hard time gluing the birdhouses together and all the kids cared about was the painting part. Oh also those kits were for a birdhouse that was too small for an actual bird so it was for decorative purposes only. There were some snarky comments by patrons and I spent a good 20 minutes cleaning up paint from the carpet when it was all done.

If I ever do one like this again I will probably just get something like these birdhouses on oriental trading.

Attendance: 22+

Cupcake Decorating

I have been doing mostly kid programming but I did want to do a little bit with adults so I proposed a cupcake decorating program. I actually ended up having some adults bring teens and smaller kids to it, which ended up okay as really everyone had about the same level of experience with buttercream frosting.

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The funny part about this program is that I am not a huge fan of cake or cupcakes to eat. I mean I won’t turn one down, but I am much more of a brownie or pie person. I love the aesthetics of cupcakes though and followed several cupcake and cake blogs for a few years.

I started the evening with a presentation about the history of cupcakes from the first mention of cupcake to the rise of cupcake culture. I also shared a recipe for buttercream frosting, instructed people on how to dye their frosting with food coloring, and set up a photo area for their completed cupcakes. Then I set them free to decorate for the next half hour and they really decorated until the frosting was gone.

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This starry cupcake was one of my favorites.

Overall the program was a success and I still have people come in to ask when I will do cupcake decorating again. I would like to do it, I just need to think about when and how.

Attendance: 28
Presentation: A History of Cupcakes
Activity: Cupcake frosting & photography

Teen Makers – Lip Gloss & Sugar Scrub

Teen programming is a thorn in my side. First you must decide what you are actually going to consider a teen and the ages of your program. Are tweens okay, or is it going to be completely age 12+? I wanted to test the teen programming waters with a tween/teen program. I generally try to shy away from super gendered programming, but I thought a program making DIY beauty supplies might work well. I think I had 16 registrations for this and only 4 patrons actually showed up. Of the 4 that came I think they were all actually under 12.

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For the first activity we made a sugar scrub out of sugar and tea. I let the kids pick the tea leaves and instructed them how to mix the scrub. They did all of the measuring and decorating their jars.

The second activity was to take coconut oil and mix in a few drops of koolaid mix. Different flavors had different colors so it was up to each girl how they wanted to mix things to get the colors they wanted. The finished products were put into lipgloss pots I found on amazon.

I don’t think my test went over well, and I will probably stick to family programming which covers the same age range that showed up for this program anyway. I am not sure what to do about actual teen programming.

Attendance: 4
Activity: Sugar Scrub
Activity: Lipgloss