Mar 6, 2011

Inspired by: the great outdoors

It's a day late, but this Saturday project took us 2 days to complete! :) This month (as well as last month) Alaina's class has been studying desert landscapes/animals. Each student got to pick a 'native' desert animal and Alaina decided on the little hummingbird. She's written her report and all that was left to complete was a shadow box project.. the first one in her short school career!

So yesterday, Lainy, Chase and I all took a discovery walk out into the desert right behind our home. I really wanted to use this opportunity to show Alaina how to look at the many different types of cactus's and to try and see the shape and colors of each plant. I took lots of photos for her to use as a reference once we got back home.(We're also really lucky to live higher up in the desert where so many cactus plants grow wild.) We stopped at each plant and talked about the shape, the thorns, the colors and alot of our cactus's are growing buds and getting ready to bloom shortly! It made them a little more interesting to her.

(yep, it's real. starting on Jan 1st the skies light up and AZ has some of the most spectacular sunsets you'll ever see.)

When we got back to the house, we looked at all of our photos and discussed how each cactus could be recreated using paper. We spent the afternoon making big Saguaro cactus, an Ocotillo, some barrel cactus's, a prickly pear, and few succulents and one cactus that I can't, for the life of me, remember it's name.. but all 3 of our neighbors have one growing in their yard. :) It will probably come to me sometime in the middle of night!!

Alaina went through 2 rolls of Glue Dots piecing together all of the cactus's. She's especially proud of her Saguaro's. Lainy can be a bit of a perfectionist, so art projects always take a little more time and patience because she truly believes that it has to be perfect. That each piece of paper has to be positioned in the exact spot or else it's ruined. I made it a point to show her one very old Saguaro in the neighborhood whoose arms grew downward and across and that even in nature things aren't always created perfect.

I always hope that she'll enjoy the process of creating something, rather than to worry about the outcome. I often find myself wondering: "How could my careless creative attitude have created such a young perfectionist?" I honestly have no good ideas, but then today, on our trip up to the park she kept pointing out things like how the color of the mountains fade the further away they are and she noticed that the skyline faded towards the horizon.... maybe I am rubbing off on her after all? :)

After the park it was right back to work on our shadow box. Want to see it? I couldn't be happier with it and neither could Alaina! After using many glue dots, scrapbook papers, and watercolors, the home to my favorite pair of black heels was transformed into a spring desert scene, perfect for any little hummingbird!

Our flat rocks were made from a diaper box and the rocks we used for the dry creek bed were borrowed from our neighbors yard. The sand we had to purchase as well as the hanging hummingbird but we really tried to use up as much scrap paper as possible. Lots of cactus layers! :)

and what desert scene would be complete without a couple of tumble weeds. :) Alaina's idea to stick them to the top of her box... She said 'the wind blew them up there.' :))

Well, that was what we did all weekend! Next week we'll be putting together a craft tutorial for Saturday.. now that the school assignments are out of the way. :))


Danielle said...

WOW WOW WOW!!!!!! She's soooooooooooooo creative ~ just like her Momma <3 xoxo

I just adore her shadow box and I'm in love with all of the cactus that she's made ~ they are sooooo beautiful :)

I'm so proud of her!!!!! WTG Alaina <3

Rachel M said...

Beautiful shadow box! :)

Christine said...

You must be one proud Mumma, she has done a truly magnificent job, I bet she absolutely aces her assignment!

Ania said...

Dang, your surroundings sound so exotic and wonderful :D And thats one awesome shadowbox, such a fun recreation! :D

Thinkie said...

it looks fab!

Elisa1 said...

I'm pretty sure she's going to score an "A".

jomymother said...

I love how beautiful you make the desert look. great job!

Rachel Chieppa said...

I'm sooooo impressed! That desert is the most beautiful one I've ever seen!

Karey said...

Alaina has created such an eye catching project. It is the best dioarama I have ever laid my eyes on.
Being a perfectionist has been dirricult on me also. My problem though is because I can't make it perfect (in crafts) 70% of the time I don't try. So she is doing pretty well if you ask me.

Bonnie said...

I am so amazed!!! The talent oozes out of every pore in your body!! You and your daughter create beautiful things and I must say I find it such an inspiration when I am looking for things to do with my 7 year old daughter. Thank you! This is one amazing project. I LOVE it!!!

Mary Gunn FUNN said...

What great photos - is that sunset real?
The shadow box is terrific, too.