One afternoon when I went to pick Kaelyn up from school, her teacher came over to the car and told me that the class was going to be making an "animal museum". Each student chose which animal they would like to make using 3D items around the house (I guess she didn't want anyone to cop out and draw a picture on poster board. No worries here since I can't draw worth a dime!) Kaelyn chose an African elephant. "That's the homework for this week. Have fun!" was how Kay's teacher ended the conversation. :-) My first reaction was panic honestly. But within about four minutes of pulling away from car line, the wheels in my brain started turning and I began to get excited as I talked with Kaelyn about how we could make it. I thought we could get a milk jug and paint it gray and somehow turn it into the body and I figured toilet paper/paper towel rolls would make good legs. The rest we would figure out as we went. By the time we got home, we were both pretty excited about the project and an issue was ordered in our household that NO ONE was allowed to throw away any tp rolls once the paper was gone. :-) Since we had just opened a new gallon of milk, I didn't thing we could glug it down as fast as we needed to be able to get started so I asked Betty if she thought that they might finish a gallon soon. (They go through a bit more milk in a week than we do with seven people in the house.) Luckily they had just finished or were about to finish one so we got our empty milk jug that night. So here is our somewhat wobbly African elephant from start to finish.
I had Kaelyn do as much as she possibly could. She painted the milk jug first and I just went through and did some
When she got down to the last side, I spread my fingers out inside the rim of the jug and held it up so she could paint it without the rest of the jug touching anything.
Then I held the rolls for her to paint.
You can only use so much toilet paper in a couple days no matter how enthusiastically or how often you try to use the restroom for the cause. :-) Thankfully, we used up a roll of paper towel during that time so I was able to cut that to get two more rolls.
The four "legs" drying.
The "body" drying.
Trying to attach the legs.
If you have never tried to get an elephant's legs to stay attached to its body, you have no idea how difficult of a task that is. "Cause see, if his body gets smashed in a little bit, then it makes some of his legs too short and some too long... and then he wobbles, which isn't a good thing! :-) Trust me, I know all about these things now! :-D
I could never be a doctor/therapist who helps people get fitted for a prosthesis. I would be like, "Sir, here is you new leg. I know that it is 4 inches shorter than your other leg but it didn't come out right even though I tried to measure so carefully. But hey, it's better than no leg right?" I have serious issues with measuring and cutting and drawing straight lines. I am totally on a pre-school level with that. All that to say, we had very uneven "leggage" and the poor thing was quite unstable the first evening. :-)
I took two Dixie plates and drew ears and cut them out. I really wasn't sure that idea was going to work because, remember? HORRIBLE at drawing! After getting one to look okay, I flipped it over and traced it so that at least the ears would look somewhat proportionate.
The good thing about seven-year-olds is that they don't care if the legs are uneven and wobbly and if the ears don't look great. They are just excited that a milk jug is looking like an elephant - and that they got to paint lots of stuff with gray paint. Unfortunately, it wasn't just seven-year-olds seeing it! :-/ Turns out, all the animals were displayed on the top of a bookshelf in the school library.
I think Kaelyn was the most excited about this - googly eyes. We purposely chose a smaller size because elephants have quite small eyes, especially when you consider how large the rest of the parts of their bodies are. (We learned that in a book Kay has about elephants. The elephants in her book do NOT have googly eyes, however.)
She put the eyes on all by herself. In an astonishing moment where she was not anything like her mother, she stuck them on perfectly - exactly at the same height in proportionate distance from the ears. :-)
By this point, Kay was so excited. She was dancing around saying, "This is going to be the best elephant ever!" :-)
We went to Lowe's and bought a small piece of rope. I bought the cheapest kind which meant that our choices were red and white or blue and white. It was actually kind of pretty - for a rope anyway- but I did't take into consideration how hard it would be to hide the color with the paint. It took going over certain spots several times and even then, you could still see a bit of red.
Kaelyn really enjoyed all the painting - I'm still working on getting gray paint out of a couple of items of clothing - both hers and mine. We were so enthusiastically gung-ho over the project and the painting that it never crossed either of our minds to put older clothes on or try to cover our clothes. Oh well, all for the cause I guess.
The trunk - what to use for the trunk.
We wandered the aisles of Lowe's one afternoon looking for the perfect thing for a trunk. I decided that the aisles that were the most likely to have something were the aisles with plumbing supplies. So we wandered up and down the aisles looking for various pipes, hoses, etc that were not $20. (No way a wobbly elephant is going to get a $20 trunk!) :-) Well, I looked and Kaelyn stuffed her pals up the giant pvc pipes and let them slide down time and time again. I finally found the perfect "thing", and by "thing" I do mean "thing" because I had no clue what it was or what it was for. But I knew it would fit inside the mouth of the milk jug and it was long and it could be painted gray! :-)
So as I already mentioned, our elephant was quite wobbly. I was going to just leave it that way at first, probably mostly because I was about "elephanted out" at that point. But the next day I decided that there was no way that I could leave it like that. So I performed surgery while Kaelyn painted the rope and trunk. I'm happy to say, the operation was a success and his limp was so minor when I finished that you wouldn't even know he was once handicapped unless you saw him before.
I frayed the end of the rope and we attached it. I thought the legs were difficult but we about never got the rope to stay attached to the hind end. The combination of the rope already being kind of heavy plus not completely drying normally made it almost impossible. It finally stuck enough Friday morning for us to get it to school.
The words of Eeyore come to mind, "It's not much of a tail, but I'm kind of attached to it." All except in our case it was the opposite: it was an adorable, perfect elephant tail but it wasn't attached to the elephant.
I put the tube thingy trunk in the mouth of the milk jug and it fit in perfectly just tight enough to hold it in place without having to try to stick it on somehow. All things considered, mostly how NOT crafty or creative I am, it turned out okay. Not amazing but you could tell that it was an elephant at least and Kaelyn was just thrilled!