Sunday, June 26, 2011
Make your own Muppet!!
For anyone who doesn't already know, I am MAD crazy about the Muppets. They were a huge part of my growing up and the Muppet Show was the only television program that got my parents to make an exception to their "no tv during dinner" rule. I am super excited that there will be a new Muppet movie next fall. And my best friend is just as much of a Muppet geek as I am. So when she had a big birthday recently I knew the perfect gift...
I took her to FAO Shwartz in Manhattan and we made our own Muppet Whatnots!
For anyone who hasn't heard about this, you can go to the toy store and custom design your own Muppet! If you don't live near New York City (which is the only in-store location), you can actually go through the process online and they will ship your Muppet to wherever you are. But I have to say, at least half the fun was being at the store and seeing all the crazy cool decorations and all the extra little Muppety silliness.
So, here's how it works... We walked into the Whatnot Worksop area of the store and after ogling the awesome environment for a while (I took so many photos that I can't possibly post them all here :) we went up to the counter and asked to make Muppets. We each received a booklet with all the choices for bodies, eyes, noses, hair, clothing, etc. as nifty peel-and-stick labels. My friend and I then spent a good while playing with all the stickers and putting together our ideas like paper dolls.
Once we were finally happy with the awesomeness of our proposed Muppets we filled out the checklists and gave them to the very nice folks behind the counter. And being the geeky puppet-making theater types that we are, she and I just hung out and watched as they built them. Most of the face-assembling was done on the counter facing away from us so I couldn't get decent photos of that, but watching them attach the fluffy feather hair was especially amusing. To put it all together, they used that most reliable of crafty must-haves: a hot-glue gun. (who knew, right?)
It only took about 20 minutes from when we turned in our paperwork to when our wonderful new Muppet Whatnots were finally done. And we had a BLAST from start to finish. I'm totally jealous of the really sweet staff who worked on them... Making Muppets all day has to be one of the coolest jobs in the world. They were even cool enough to point out that while extra outfits are for sale, that baby clothes can also often fit them just fine. Now I'll have an extra excuse to look at cute frilly dresses in the baby section of my favorite thrift store.
Now, my more observant readers may have noticed that the "studio shot" I posted at the top of this post looks a little different, and not just because she's on a white background. Her hair is definitely PINK! No, I did not take her home and dye those feathers a different color.
Here's the story... after we left with our muppets, we headed out to catch up with another friend. While we were showing them off I was looking at her and suddenly realized that I thought I had chosen pink hair. Sure enough, looking through the packet of paperwork that also came with each Muppet (I get to play paper dolls with them as much as I want! Yay!) it was clear that the hair had indeed been done in the wrong color. I wasn't really upset, but these are not inexpensive and I really just wanted it to be the way I had designed. A quick phone call to the store and I was assured that if it was indeed built differently from the sheet I had submitted they would absolutely be willing to correct their mistake. So we headed on back to the store. And since the afore-mentioned hot-glue really isn't removable, they actually made me a whole new muppet. (So if you head to the store to make one yourself, please let me know if you see the blonde bombshell here up on that wall display... and send me a photo!)
The staff were totally sweet and apologetic and even gave us both very cool 50th anniversary pins as an extra little "we're sorry you had to come all the way back in". The fact that those pins were handed to us by a very cute blue muppet just made it all the more awesome. I have to give lots of extra credit for such creative customer service skills.