OTTUMWA — Kids and parents made the most of a Saturday rainy afternoon by getting crafty at the library’s Crafternoon. They colored, made paper penguins and snowmen or pursued other crafts.

Crafternoon has been going on for four years, usually on a Wednesday. But Library Director Sonja Ferrell said library staff wanted to have one on Saturday to give parents a chance to get out with their kids and have some fun away from electronics and video games during their winter vacation.

“It gives them something to do that’s not electronic and get their eyes of the machines and gives them something fun to do and take home,” Ferrell said.

Saturday’s crafternoon was self-directed which gave kids and parents the opportunity to design their craft however they desired.

Trisha and Leela Gregory came with their mother Alair and two brothers. Trisha and Leela have done some crafts at the 4-H Expo and Alair is a craft enthusiast, so coming seemed like a no brainer.

“I love art,” Trisha Gregory said. “I love doing artistic things.”

Alair made a hanging Snowman and Trisha and Leela made glitter snowmen and penguins.

“I like these glitter ons, but they take forever,” Leela said with a sigh.

Leela sighed a couple more times, while adjusting her glasses, but was happy once she completed her craft.

6-year-old Emilee Engle sat next to the Gregory sisters coloring her paper tiara before having her grandmother Cece Engle adjust it. Once Emilee had the tiara on, she did what she called her “happy dance” and said she felt like a pretty princess.

Emilee and Cece have been coming to crafternoon for the last year. Cece said Emilee gets excited once she steps into the children’s center to do crafts. It showed as Emilee had a wide grin the entire time she was there, working as best as she could on her paper snowman, her tiara and her unicorn coloring page.

Cece loves the joy on Emilee’s face, choosing to come back because it gives them a chance to do what they love and spend quality time together.

“It gives us good quality time together outside of the house,” Cece Engle said, “and get to look at books and movies, so we make a whole thing of it here. We like it, it’s something fun to do, something different and play with all the other kids.”

Ferrell loved seeing the positive responses during the Crafternoon. Periodically she cleaned up any messes and refilled the bucket with crayons. The responses, she said, is what motivates her to continue Crafternoon.

“It really is fun,” she said, “it gives them a reason to want to come down to the library. These programs have a craft component to them or a theme.”

Ferrell said Crafternoon will continue as long as monetary support keeps coming in.

“The money is used for our materials and our staffing and building,” she said, “then it’s used for extras like these. We have a lot of support in the community and we’re grateful for that.”

Chiara Romero can be reached at


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