My visitors today

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Franz Rupert Humpeldink: the dinosuar

Thank goodness for sheds

Sadly, I have never had a proper shed but I have had the next best thing since I moved to a flat in the city. I have a huge bathroom and half of it I use as my shed. I even have a “SHED” sign on the door.

For what, you may ask, do I need a shed?

I have several boxes, no, let us say many, many boxes, full of arty-crafty material. It is the sort of stuff that really needs to be out in the shed. Some of it, however, is quite expensive, bought from various craft shops, some I have collected from grandmothers’ and great aunties’ sewing baskets, some I have gathered along the way from sources long forgotten. There are paints, brushes, crayons and lots of paper, serviettes and glue, beads galore and all the trimmings for making necklaces, wool for knitting, wool for felting, clay that needs firing, clay that dries in the air, silk and silk-painting gear, lino and lino-cutting gear, felt for toy-making, ribbons for trimming, buttons, sequins, and numerous other treasures for making things pretty, and lots, lots more.  

I have all the kind of stuff that could really do with a shed, but I am, however, pleased that my collection of things that I may one day need is inside in a make-do shed. I am sure that I use it all much more often having it to hand and not at the end of a traipse down the garden in the rain.

So when I get a bright idea like I had this week I am more likely to get on with it when all my arty-crafty boxes are handy.

And get on with it I did!

It is almost exactly three years ago now since I created and named Stinky Stig the dinosaur.

Stig was my companion on a working trip to Norway in December 2008, he was often featured on my blog at that time:

Stig went down like a house on fire in Norway and also in Germany before I took him travelling.

The Norwegian lads loved working with Stig just as much as I loved working with them. These were the boys who motivated my love for dinosaurs and taught me so much about them. It was because of their interest that I now have a large collection of books about dinos. This is the first one I ever bought:

The latest addition to the dinosaur-shelf in my library is one that I picked up when I had an hour to spare at the airport as I was leaving England last month. It is called That’s not my dinosaur. It is so simple and the children in my group in Germany just love it.

When I went back to work after being away for so long there were hellos all round and calls of “Susie is here” to the other conductors. As requested, all children had their own dino on the plinth in front of them so we were all ready to set out on our dinosaur adventure. The children were keen to see what I have brought with me and later to create their own personalized dinosaur out of paper and unusual bits and pieces, so they could say “That’s my dino because it is fluffy”, or “That’s my dino because it has flowers on it”.

We were deep into dino world, talking about the vegetarians amongst them and the meat-eaters, about the hatching of eggs and the size of their bodies, when one of my colleagues remembered Stinky Stig and wished that he was with us. Alas, when I had returned home to Germany, Stig remained in Norway where, I hope, over the past three years he has entertained many more little boys with Angel Lil in Hamar.

But what about our little boys? And one little girl?

My colleague was very disappointed at the time, when Stinky Stig did not return in my suitcase from Scandinavia and she has often suggested that I create another. When we began our new dino project she was even more persuasive with her remarks.

Up until now the motivation to get sewing had been missing but last week with the littlies so enthralled by all the talk about dinosaurs I was hooked, just as my colleague knew I would be! We definitely needed a knew Stinky Stig.

The bathroom at home, my shed, was bright and sunny on that long bank-holiday weekend, so it was transformed into a workshop for a few hours. I searched through the shelves and quickly found all the materials that I needed. I also went through my wardrobe and found a fleece pullover that I rarely wear.

To the outsider my shed probably looks like utter shambles, but I know where just about everything is. I opened only two or perhaps three boxes before I was ready to start, with scissors, needle and thread, felt and stuffing all at the ready to start creating.

I sat there for two hours in the Saturday-sunshine chopping, pinning and sewing, wondering what I could add and where to make this work of art something special. I wanted to create something that would make the eyes of four little boys and one little girl open up wide in wonder. What more motivation could I wish for?

The unfinished dino accompanied me on a visit to a friend and while we chatted I sewed on claws, teeth, eyes, spines and spots until our new visitor to the group was complete.

All he needed now was a name

That was not a problem for long. My friend’s family all turned up with their friends in tow and, as we sat around the table, one by one they had a turn at being the voice and the movement of dinosaur mark II. Several incredibly long dino-type names were used to introduce him, all totally unsuitable for our children from many lands to pronounce, so we ended up with Franz Rupert Humpeldink, a very distinguished name indeed!

Starting the week with a new friend

Franz Rupert went down a treat, the children loved him. They stroked him from head to tail with arms stretched high and arms stretched low.

For some reason there all wanted to put their fingers into his mouth, perhaps testing out how friendly he is.

Franz Rupert spoke to the children about where he had lived and what he had eaten and why he did not really exist anymore. He answered the children’s questions, explaining very clearly that, no, he had never trampled on buses as there had been no motor-transport when he was really alive. Franz described to the children how dinosaurs hatch out of eggs and later they searched for their own dino-eggs around the room, that they put in a warm place to hatch out. There my colleague Évi has had to leave them for a few days as she had got herself a bit stuck, having no baby dinosaurs to bring into play!

The weather turned cold, this, Fortunately for Évi, this meant that the dinosaurs needed longer to hatch. This in turn gave me time to get sewing again. Five baby dinosaurs, created from the fingers of a single glove (I lost the other on the tram), will be hatching out of their shells by nine o’clock tomorrow morning.

Watch this spot for the photographs!


That’s not my dinosaur, by Fiona Watts, Usborne Books -


Kasey Gray said...

How fun, Susie!

Susie Mallett said...

Yes, it was a lot of fun and not only for the children at work!

As I have now caught the bug again for making puppets I am saving old jumpers in appropriate colours for other creatures.