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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

storymaking at the spectrum

a pop-up hello kitty cafe opened down in the OC recently, at the irvine spectrum.  it's scheduled to be there for a whole year, and i'd seen reports during the first few days of business that told me that it would definitely be a while before i attempted going.  they would sell out of things within a couple of hours, the lines were insane, pretty much what you'd expect from anything hello kitty-related.  i don't really get how they don't anticipate that and realize that they need to prep appropriately, but hey...i'm not in charge.

anyway, one day we found ourselves with nothing to do and decided to head down to check things out.  there's always other fun stuff to do at the spectrum anyway, so even if we didn't make it to the cafe i knew we'd find other distractions to keep us busy.

just as i suspected, there were some crazy long lines for good ol' hello kitty.  but the cafe was super cute, and the offerings were pretty simple and reasonably priced.  it's mostly a bakery, with cakes and donuts and macarons with a handful of beverages to wash them down with.  you order on one side, pick up on the other and if you're lucky, you find a table to sit down and enjoy.

then i remembered that i'd seen something on one of the OC real housewives' instagram (shut up) a few months ago.  i slipped away to check it out, leaving the girls and MIL to see how quickly that line moved, and made my way around the corner a short distance away.  i found the storymakery shop pretty easily, and was happy to see that they weren't very busy.  i texted the others to tell them where to meet me, and then i went inside to see what it was all about.

this is basically a fun kids' creative writing activity - they start in the character studio to create their main character:

then they can come to the idea trees for some storyline ideas.  there are lots of suggestions here to get those minds working:

in the writing studio section, they sit down with their "author," who helps them flesh out their story.  they come up with their plot, conflict, resolution - well, you remember all that stuff from english class, right?  anyway, this is where most of their time is spent.

then while the author is putting the finishing touches on the written portion, they get to sit down and work on illustrations.

all that thinking and creating and writing is exhausting, and the other staffers in the shop are always willing to play a game with the mini authors to get them up and moving a little before they sit back down to finish their stories.

after they're completely satisfied with the story and the illustrations and the whole bit, it's off to the printing room to assemble the book.

the entire process takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half, and when you're done you get to take home a poster of the character you created, plus a copy of your very own story.  look at my little published author!

with big crowds waiting for tables at pretty much all of the restaurants, we put our names in at one with an hour-long wait.  to kill time, the old lady and i sent the bean and MIL over to take a spin on the ferris wheel.

while they did that, we thought we'd give the hello kitty cafe line another try, since it was a bit shorter than it had been before.

alas, this is the closest i got before we were called back to the restaurant to be seated for dinner.

oh well.  i figured it was a long shot anyway.  after all, i've got till next july to make it happen!

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