the adventures of scouter, 2014

It all started innocently enough. I’d found a string of TARDIS lights and, well, it was just too perfect.



Image is a photo of Scouter the elf, hanging onto a lit Tardis on a stringof lit Tardises (Tardi?) that we just strung outside Katie’s door. I’m not sure I can make it til morning until she sees this.


But then, well, things got a little out of control.



“And then, last night, Katie raised the stakes. She started talking not just about her favorite books, but her favorite SCENES from her favorite books. “Oh, and that scene in The Fault in our Stars,” she said, “where Augustus is staring at Hazel with her oxygen tank and she’s like, “Why are you looking at me like that?” and he says, “Because you’re beautiful,” and, OhMyGod I LOVE that part.”

The little imp knew exactly what she was doing.

You want to challenge your mama, kid? Game on.”

– from today’s post, “Scouter Raises His Game” –>

{image is a photo of Scouter as Augustus and short-haired Barbie (score!) as Hazel where they sit this morning. Hazel has her oxygen tank(a blue and white foil-covered lipstick with a piece of wire) and Augustus has a “cigarette” in his mouth (a piece of paper that reads, “METAPHOR.”)

John Green
The Fault in Our Stars

And then this.




{image is a photo of Scouter and a friend, acting out a scene from oneof Katie’s favorite stories, The Gift of the Magi. Scouter is holding out ahair comb (a 99c tiara I borrowed from Brooke’s dress up box). His friend (played by a random Barbie) is offering up a watch fob. Her hair has been cut. Off to the left is a sign that reads, “O’Henry’s Pawn Shop,” under which we see a counter (an empty paperclip box covered in white paper) displaying a pocket watch and a hank of hair for sale. In the background is a bare Christmas tree.}

And, um, this.



I give you … Divergent. 

{Image is a photo of tonight’s elf tableau. It is Scouter’s recreation of an iconic scene in one of Katie’s all-time favorite books, Divergent. In the scene, the Dauntless crew are playing a game of Capture the Flag. Tris (played here by one of Scouter’s doll pals, dressed in all black) climbs to the top of a Ferris wheel to get a better vantage point to look for the flag. Her team leader, Four (played by Scouter) goes with her. In our Ferris wheel, there happen to be cupcakes, because well, no one really needs a reason to have cupcakes. Sticking out of the cupcakes are the symbols of each of the five factions: Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity, and Candor. Atop the Ferris wheel, Tris is holding a sign that reads, “I am divergent. And I can’t be controlled.” For the record, I’m pretty sure that Scouter has peaked on Day 5. #IDontThinkICanTopThis}

Veronica Roth
Divergent Series

And then, well, this.









May the odds be ever in your favor. 

{The first image is a photo of tonight’s literary elf tableau in which Scouterplays Peeta and his buddy (formerly Tris) plays Katniss from the Hunger Games series. The other images are close ups as follows:

Katniss, wearing a Mockingjay pin and, of course, carrying her bow and arrows.

Katniss’s sign, reading, “I volunteer as tribute.” She is sitting beneath asign reading, “District 12.”

The noose on the hanging tree. I thought making it out of rainbow ribbon might make it a little less creepy, but distopian novels are distopian novels, people.

The mockingjays in the tree along with the clock atop it showing midnight.

Peeta, who lost part of his left leg in the 74th Hunger Games (see: creepy distopian fiction). Next to him is a basket of poisonous Nightlock berries. I didn’t have time to paint them blue; use your imagination.

Peeta’s easel and a blank canvas along with two loaves of bread. (He was a painter and his family ran a bakery in District 12.)

Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games

And then, uh, this. It was becoming clear that I was in need of an intervention.









Ok, so I think this is my favorite so far. Sadly, it was impossible to get into one photo, so there are a few. Or kind of a lot.

Images are:

Scouter‘s Tableau du jour, The Wizard of Oz. On the table in my living room, the wicked witch’s legs stick out from underneath a(n advent) house. Nearby, Dorothy, Toto, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow are all getting ready to hit the Yellow Brick Road with their buddy the Tin Man, played by a tin foil covered ScouterA sign reads, “We’re off to see the Wizard.” In the background, the Yellow Brick Road leads to Oz.

* The witch’s legs under the house.

* Dorothy, Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man Scouter and Toto.

* The Yellow Brick Road, which starts on the cocktail table and extends to the piano behind it. Engineering, people. I did that. Yeah, it’s construction paper but I’m having a MacGyver moment and I plan to revel in it.

* Oz, which is just a cool picture I found online and printed. Cause I’m tired.

* Toto in a basket. Which we happened to have in a random toy box in the house, as you do.

* The view of the whole kit and kaboodle from the entryway.


Sticking to Katie’s love of the classics, there was this.



It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I give you … Madame Defarge. 

{Image is a photo of today’s elf tableau in which Scouter is playing the role of Madame Defarge, the infamous villain of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. Madame is knitting, of course, as she did throughout the French Revolution, quietly sealing the fate of many with the pattern of her needles.

On her lap is a basket of yarn and two knitting needles. Next to her are tiny scissors and a basket holding a book entitled How to Knit. On her left is the rocking chair that I planned to seat her in, but alas, her elf tush was too big and it looked really silly. Behind Mme are the flags of France and England along with two signs. One, bordered in black, reads, “The Worst of Times, Poverty, Hunger, Disease, Unrest, Revolution.” The other, bordered in colorful stripes, reads, “The Best of Times! Let them eat cake! Woo hoo! Awesome! Celebrate! Yahoo!”}


And then there was one just for Brooke.


Tonight’s elf tableau is an homage to Brooke’s long abiding love of Godspell, with some help from her favorite “guys.” 

Tonight, Scouter the elf is playing the part of Victor Garber playing the part of Jesus (you with me?) being carried through midtown Manhattan by the “Godspell workers,” as Brooke calls them, played by her Playmobil friends. If you followed that, give yourself a cookie. Here goes ..

Images are:

Scouter as (Victor Garber’s portrayal of) Jesus in one of Brooke’s favorite scenes from the 1973 movie production of Godspell. Like his doppelgänger, Scouter has a Superman ‘S’ on his shirt and a red heart on his forehead. He is being carried by the disciples, to whom Brooke refers as the “Godspell workers.”

A wider shot in which we can see the backdrop (a photo of askyscraper that I printed and taped to the wall behind them) and two signs, which read, “Godspell” in the movie’s iconic font, and “Long live God,” the refrain that the Godspell workers sing as they carry Jesus off the fence and into midtown.

* The workers

If you’re not familiar with Brooke’s love of Godspell, this might be a bit confusing. Or a lot confusing. If you’re interested, you can read about it here –…/…/the-harvest-part-two/

And then it was back to the classics.










In this evening’s performance, the role of Mr Darcy will be played by Scouter the elf. 

{images are photos of tonight’s elf tableau, the scene from Pride and Prejudice in which Mr Darcy proposes to Elizabeth (again.)

Scouter as Darcy, on bended knee, his top hat in hand. A pin on his hat says, “Mr Darcy.”

A wider view in which we see Elizabeth as well.

* Mr Darcy’s sign reading, “Do you know how many times she’s told me to marry you?”

* Elizabeth’s sign reading, “She has? Oh my. She’s such a perceptive girl.”

* Elizabeth, played by a cardboard cut out of Miss Austen herself.

* Her pin, reading, “I love Darcy.” My plan had been to put it on her dress. Which is made out of paper. So when I tried to attach it, she fell over. When I tried again, she fell over again. Because .. paper. Clearly, engineering is not my forte. I then thought I’d put it on her sign. Which is also paper. It fell too. So yeah. I’m awesome. On the table it is.


And then it was time for a little Harry.







Here he is, in one of Katie’s favorite scenes from Harry Potter.

{images are photos of Scouter the elf as Harry Potter, as follows:

Scouter as Harry, wearing his black robes, Gryffindor scarf, scar and glasses, his arms out to his sides as he rides Buckbeak the Hippogriff into the clouds.

A wider view in which we see that they are flying in midair. Or suspended from the ceiling, whatever. Also now visible is Hogwarts in the distance, far below.

A side view.

A screenshot of the scene I attempted to recreate. Yes, I see now that Harry is wearing his tie and not his scarf. ‪#‎DamnIt‬

A closeup of Hogwarts.


And then came the sad news that Norman Bridwell had passed away. It seemed fitting to honor him.



Found Scouter hanging out on Brooke’s bookshelf with an old friend this morning. Thank you, Mr Bridwell, for so many years of joy. May you rest in Big, Red Peace. 

{image is a photo of Scouter the elf with his arms around a stuffed Clifford, the Big Red Dog. They are reading his book together.}

Finally, on Christmas Eve, there was this.


On Scouter’s last morning, I assumed that we’d be finding him hanging out with the angel atop the Christmas tree or dangling from a chandelier or doing something equally uninspired (but happily traditional.)

Until Katie looked at me half an hour ago and said, “Is Scouter going to do something SERIOUSLY cool for his last night here?”

Game on, kid.

{image is a photo of Scouter in the tree, trying to come up with a plan.}

Which is how we got to this.







All right, my dears, here it is.

Editor’s note: Throughout the beginning of Advent, Scouter the elf had been creating tableaux from Katie’s favorite books. After a couple of weeks, Katie told me that as much as she loved the scenes, she missed having to find Scouter just plain old hiding around the house. In her own way, Brooke had “said” the same, so I abandoned the tableaux in favor of finding hiding spots so that the girls could search for him each morning.

Last night, however, Katie said, “Is Scouter‘s going to do something SERIOUSLY cool for his last night here?”

We talked about it a bit, and I asked if she wanted a book series we hadn’t done yet. 

“No,” she said, “I really want him to do Harry again.”

The kid’s had a hell of a week so I was happy to have a mission that I knew would make her smile. And, honestly, I kinda like a challenge.

That said, I give you Scouter facing a Dementor, all made from stuff I could find in the house at 4am.

Images are:

*The Dementor – a Katniss figurine covered in what was left of the black material I bought for Harry’s robes. I shredded the fabric and tied it off with rubber bands. He is hanging from the ceiling by fishing wire.

Scouter as Harry. A little secret? We have three elves. It’s a long story, the short version of which is that we lost the first one and replaced him. Twice. Therefore, I actually never dismantled Harry. Cause I’m lazy, I just replaced him with the other one and tucked Harry away intact. Therefore, it took no work to create Harry this morning. Hooray for my lazy butt!

A closeup of Harry’s wand (a piece of a chopstick), coming off of which we see a golden thread on which is written the charm he is casting – Expecto Patronum. For the record, the golden thread with the charm written on it is a necklace that I couldn’t resist at the mall yesterday that was supposed to go in Katie’s stocking. Instead it became the inspiration for this mess.

* Harry’s patronus, a stag. Or one of Brooke’s half-painted model horses with pipe cleaner antlers. Whatever.

* The whole scene: Harry casting the spell to bring the patronus to fight the dementor, all in front of a (recycled) picture of Hogwarts in the background.

And now, if Santa could come and take over from here, I’d really appreciate it.

Merry Almost Christmas, friends. I’m going to sleep.













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