A Book Fiesta for My Birthday

Alison Morris - January 29, 2009

Today happens to be my 33rd birthday, and with that in mind I thought I ought to post something festive. Two weeks ago I was trying to come up with a contribution for the "Yankee Swap" at our store’s annual post-holiday party and thought it’d be fun to throw in something handcrafted (though not too time-consuming). Having enjoyed Gareth’s and my last birdhouse project I had purchased another cheap, unfinished birdhouse that now awaited my creative touch and thought it would fit the "$10 or less" spending criteria," so I took out my glue and scissors and got to work.

An hour and a half later Gareth comes into the room, eyes what I’m working on and says, "Oh. You can’t take that to the Yankee Swap." Puzzled, I asked why not. "It looks too good. WAAAAY too good." As only one side of the birdhouse was completed at that point I thought he might be making premature assumptions about the end result, so I kept working. An hour later I was putting the finishing touches on the thing and reluctantly agreeing with him. While I hadn’t technically spent much money on this birdhouse, it now looked like it was worth a LOT more than $10… And I wasn’t exactly eager to give it away.

Most of the credit for this birdhouse’s beauty goes to illustrator Rafael Lopez, as it was an F&G of the forthcoming Book Fiesta! (Harper Collins, March 2009) written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael that I took apart and glued to the walls and roof of my avian abode. I love its bright colors and energetic images of people (what else?) enjoying books — perfect for celebrating El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, Children’s Day/ Book Day.

Inspired by Dave Vissat’s Wild Wings Literary Lodgings I wrenched out the cheap little perches that came with the birdhouse and replaced them with colored pencils. Much more fun, I think.

Yes, it took some doing to get the star to line up RIGHT over the hole for that top perch, but it was sooo worth the effort.

I think the hardest thing about this project might have been choosing which images to use from the book. They’re all wonderful, and size-wise most of them fit the walls surprisingly well.

The biggest stroke of luck, though, was the fact that this book’s title (and exclamation!) consisted of just two words, each short enough to fit on one side of the birdhouse roof.

The day after I assembled this beauty I made a quick trip to Paper Source, two blocks from our store, where I purchased a $10 gift card that made a much more suitable Yankee Swap contribution in that it didn’t lead to fisticuffs among my coworkers. AND as luck would have it that gift card landed in the hands of our store’s biggest Paper Source fan (second to me, that is). With it she can buy enough fun material to cover her own birdhouse or… do whatever it is OTHER people do with pretty paper.

If I was a bird, I’d like to attend a party in this house, be it on my birthday or at any other time of year!

14 thoughts on “A Book Fiesta for My Birthday

  1. Samantha

    Happy birthday, and I’ve got to say, you are very talented with creating beautiful pieces with book illustrations. Great job. Hope you kept the birdhouse!

  2. lisachellman

    WOW!!! I am totally blown away by how beautiful that birdhouse is. Incredible! The colored pencil posts are cute and clever. What kind of glue do you use? Do you use anything to seal it afterward? Happy birthday, too! 😀

  3. Debbie

    So…do you actually use the birdhouse outside for the intended purpose or do you use it as a decoration indoors? It’s really cute! Happy Bithday!!

  4. EM

    Happy birthday! For your present, I’m going to come to your house and steal that gorgeous thing. (Oh. That’s not much of a present, huh. Sorry.)

  5. ShelfTalker

    Thanks for the all kind wishes and birdhouse compliments! This birdhouse is definitely NOT suited for outdoor use. (In other words, it’s not one for the birds!) I used Yes Paste to adhere the papers to the birdhouse but have used acrylic matte medium for this type of project in the past and that’s worked well too. Likewise Mod Podge. I know others who like using Nori Glue or PVA for the same purpose. I usually seal projects like with with either Matte Medium or varnish.

  6. el (elloh)

    Happy Belated Birthday! The colored pencils are a great touch. The bird house definitely has character. 🙂 Perhaps it’ll become a bird’s soon-to-be art/writing studio. Just think of the books it’ll create!

  7. Pat Mora

    Happy Birthday, Alison, and thanks for sharing your creative ideas and for exciting us about “Dia.” I love what you created and am so grateful to Rafael Lopez.

  8. Meg

    I absolutely love these birdhouses and the new ones! I love both books and birds! How lovely. You can make these outdoor usuable by applying a non-toxic glue like coating that makes them waterproof and safe for the birdies. You can find it at model craft shops and at places like Michaels. Great work!


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