Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A New New Year's Resolution

Goals, resolutions, dreams…call them what you will. To me they’re almost all the same. If I set out to do something, I know with great certainty that I will accomplish it. I’ve learned that not everyone feels the same way. Goals are sometimes completely unattainable, resolutions can be broken, and dreams, for some, remain just that. That being said, I know I haven’t been the best at coming up with an idea every day during 2011 to complete my #2011ZagsIdea resolution. I tried really hard, though! Most importantly, I learned a lot along the way. More about that here.

I’m excited to announce my New Year’s resolution…#2012ZagsIdeas. Kidding.

This year, I’ve decided to more formally cultivate my puppet passion. I’m planning to take lessons, attend building workshops, see more performances, and even develop and perform my own piece. It’s a much more flexible resolution with room for interpretation. I have no idea what it will look like four, eight, or 12 months from now.

Stay tuned for the adventure…I’ll be posting about my experiences here!

Monday, December 19, 2011


The new year is fast approaching, and I can’t say I’m upset about that. 2011 was pretty insane, and I wish for more balance in the coming year. As I reflect on the past few months and think about what I’d like to change personally and professionally in 2012, the first thing that comes to mind is #2011ZagsIdeas. This is, perhaps, the craziest and most obnoxious New Year’s resolution I’ve taken on thus far. I thought that by tweeting a new idea each day, I’d be somehow be achieving a poor man’s copyright and that I’d be able to refer to them from time to time.

Awesome wall hanging via

I actually wasn't so smart about saving my tweets on Twitter. It's hard to go back and find all of them. There are definitely search engines out there that will save hashtags for you, but I was so not Twitter savvy in January 2011. If I had to do it again, I would probably post on the blog and tag them with 2011ZagsIdeas. It'd be much easier to refer to! Here's an article from Mashable about Twitter hashtags that I should have read before.

How it worked…
Inspiration is truly everywhere. Though I got a little lazy on the tweeting towards the end, each day I thought of something new through conversations with others and close observations of the world around me. #2011ZagsIdeas inspired new curriculum that I implemented into my classroom, projects that challenged me and expanded my camera and editing knowledge, and work to be completed in the future. Even the blog revamp is rooting in this year of developing inspiration. A few successfully completed Zags Ideas included:
Myrtle Video
Tree stop motion
Turn Pearl into app and get kids’ illustrations
Holiday card
Big Top Fitness screenings

Perhaps the most successful was a music box stop-motion film I made last spring. Inspired by a tinker toy, I took over 50 still images of the music box and pieced them together in iMovie. I then recorded the music box’s song in GarageBand. The film caught peoples’ eyes and inspired different members of the Tufts community to reach out to me with new ideas about using stop motion. This was a MASSIVE learning experience.

These ideas have even inspired my 2012 resolution. I'm excited to share it with you and get started. Stay tuned for that post tomorrow!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Tree Craft

Inspired by a holiday window in a Tribeca kids' boutique, I decided to make a Christmas craft with my cousin Abby using a foam base and some holiday bows.

As I was gathering the materials for the craft, I thought it might be cool to experiment with stop-motion again. This time, I had Abby manning the camera. I pinned each bow onto the foam base, and Abby took the pictures. This kid has got a smart eye! She directed much of the movement, choosing which bows were placed where and deciding to have the tree turn in the middle of the film. We had so much fun reviewing the photos together. She seemed to really enjoy watching me edit in iMovie and made the final music selection, a clip from Sufjan Steven's "Put the Lights on the Tree."

We had a lot of sunlight and overhead light to support the photographs, but they have such an awkward color. I'm so eager to get a new camera and can't help but love the Canon D7. Maybe one day!

The craft was easy to make using two straight pins on each bow. Abby experimented with sticking the bows onto the foam using their sticky backs, but they didn't seem to hold well around the shape. This craft is easy and fun, and a great way to recycle holiday bows, but definitely necessitates some adult supervision.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Craftsman Farms

At the encouragement of a family friend, I spent last Saturday volunteering at an historic site near my home. It was Family Day at The Stickley Museum at Crafstman Farms, and I thought I’d be facilitating kid crafts and handing out hot chocolate. I had no idea I would discover a treasure settled in the woods off of a local highway. The farm and its main house were developed/built by Gus Stickley in approximately 1907. Stickley was at the forefront of the arts and crafts movement. He built furniture, published a magazine, taught others, and encouraged a simpler, more handmade life. Basically, he was Martha Stewart. The house is jam-packed with original furniture pieces and tons of family stories.

In addition to taking a fantastic home tour, I helped with the kid and family games. We had ring tosses, sack races, and tin can stilts. You might think these games are old fashioned (which they are), but the kids LOVED them. The event was co-sponsored by PBS Kids’ Club, and the Berenstain Bears were present to celebrate. I was amazed at how excited kids, both very young and into their pre-teens, were to meet the duo. Those bears have managed to stick around for a long time!

Craftsman Farms is my new go-to spot to share with visiting friends. Check it out, and try to get a tour with Laura…she’s the best!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Live Colorfully

It's not often that children's media takes cues from fashion, but there's one fashion campaign that I found completely inspiring this year: Kate Spade's Year of Color. Each month, the company debuted a different color with a full line of bags, clothing, and accessories designed around it.

In addition to a fully developed fashion line, they issued an original art print and short film inspired by the color. More than any other current company, I see Kate Spade making an effort to incorporate the arts into their work. Their commissioned originals introduced me to new illustrators, graphic designers, and film makers.

Each month Kate Spade inspired me to "Live Colorfully." This is a lesson I hope to infuse into my creative work for young people. If I had a classroom, I could see myself building a curriculum around the phrase and having it up on a wall as a reminder.

This is a lesson easier said than done. Being original and colorful means taking risks, making sacrifices, and believing in yourself day in and day out. I think I learned all those things this year.

Thanks, Kate Spade!

all photos and videos via Kate Spade New York

Sunday, December 11, 2011

WiCM Holiday Party

My months back in New York have been a whirlwind, and I can't believe it's already December! Last week, I celebrated the holidays with some of my favorite people in the city, Women in Children's Media. This is the premiere organization for children's media professionals in New York. They sponsor pretty spectacular events throughout the year, and definitely know how to host a party. In addition to the silly putty and snacks, they had an awesome raffle of goodies. I was able to reconnect with a lot of great people and meet some new friends.

One of the fantastic new people I met is Miss Ashley Albert, a New York-based voice over artist who heads up the popular group for kids, The Jimmies. I am a big fan of her jewelry company Survival of the Hippest. Last night she was sporting a Twitter handle nameplate necklace. I can't wait to order mine! Though a #2011ZagsIdeas necklace is tempting, I'm most excited to sport @ChrissyZags.

There are so many exciting events and developments that WiCM will be rolling out in the new year. Stay tuned to their website and Twitter feed, and become a member if you're so inclined!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Love, Cassie & Chrissy

I've been so excited to share Cassie and my holiday card this year. It's a tradition I started up in Boston, and she insisted we do it again this year.

I debated it. I don't know how I feel about being that girl that sends out Christmas cards with her puppet. When making the decision, I thought about one of my heroes, Jim Henson. He would totally send out a card with puppets on it, and, actually, he did! The Henson Company posted this fantastic blog about some of these cards and holiday party invites. A Jim Henson holiday party? Now that's my kind of bash!

Happy holidays!

Cassie and Chrissy

Sunday, December 4, 2011

See you at: Voice 4 Vision Festival

The Voice 4 Vision festival kicks off this week! I'll be there this weekend to support Spica Wobbe's production "I Laid An Egg."

Hope to see you there!