Saturday, July 30, 2011

Polly parrot: A pirate craft

This post was submitted as part of the July “Families, Create!” Carnival, hosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

Polly want a cracker?

Arr, maties! The theme for Families, Create! this here July be Swashbucklers, and here it be, one day before the end of the month, and there were no piratey craft in sight. Blimey.

I have this, erm, tendency not to do things unless there's a deadline — and then to wait until the last possible moment to make the deadline. So last night I was wandering around the house asking Sam things like, "Do we have any empty paper towel tubes? No?" And then muttering, "Hrm. That would have made an awesome telescope."

A parrot! I (finally) decreed. We could do it out of paper, which we had. We would make a parrot. Just as soon as I found out what one looked like.

Our inspiration, a macaw we met at the recent Seafair Pirates Landing

So I needed red construction paper. I made Sam look for it. He was strangely incurious about my pronouncement that I was making a parrot. He later told me, "At first I was surprised you were doing a project with Mikko, but then I figured it must be something for your blog." It probably didn't help that I kept asking him to photograph the proceedings.

Yes, fully shameful mommy-blogger disclosure: I get this ambitious only if there's peer pressure like a carnival involved.

I started brainstorming — maybe I should create a carnival or meme for every task I want to do. Mondays could be "Get Up and Play" days, and Tuesdays could be "Make Music," and Wednesdays could be…um…"Take a Shower and Clip Your Toenails For Crying Out Loud."

Fortunately, Mikko's not fussy about from whence the inspiration springs. He was game to start the craft and soon took over directing me. But, first, I cut out the body. I have no artistic skill, and I didn't feel like, I don't know, being accurate or whatever, so I was just winging it. ("Winging it"! Get it? It's a parrot craft! Oh, the hilarity.) You can use the leftover paper pieces for the long tail feathers.

I cut out a crappy beak and used some discarded foam sticker insides (if you've ever had foam stickers, you know that they have random pieces you have to pull off) for the eyes. Note that it's plural. Mikko wouldn't let me stop at just one side of the parrot. That was far too two-dimensional for him.

Mikko started pulling out our clearance bin "Gift-Tye Ribbon" to make tail feathers. Sounds good to me.

Then he cut little pieces for shimmery feathers on the body. You can use stickers, coloring, painting, collage, glitter — whatever you have available. Listen to me, acting like someone's going to replicate my eleventh-hour parrot craft!

Mikko concentrates on gluing. It takes a steady hand to wield the purple glue stick.

You know, robot and safari stickers make colorful feathers as well. Why not! Mikko told me involved stories about the names and characteristics of the sticker animals. ("This one called a 'High Monkey' because it climbs up so high! This purple one called 'Abubu Monkey.'" He sounded very certain of himself, so I'm sure it's all true.)

Make the tail long and glamorous. Any pirate would want it that way.


Sam tries to get Mikko to pose with the parrot on his shoulder by distracting him with Elefun. He becomes way too distracted.

This is me pretending Mikko's saying "Arrr!" He's really saying, "Let's play Elefun!"

But later he gets back into it, and wouldn't you know it — he has us make a whole family of parrots, including a big brother, a "yittle baby brother," and a baby sister. (Does he know something of the future that we don't know?) We then had to "play birds." I should start half-hearted projects with him more often.

Real parrot. Mikko pointed out that we forgot the legs on ours. I asked what we should make the legs out of. He said papier-mâché. I gave him points for creativity. Our parrots remain legless.

Our parrot family. Nearly the same, yes? Shiver me timbers!

Stay tuned for a post of the piratey goodness of the Seafair Pirates Landing. I will try to write it all in pirate, too, just for the impressiveness of it.

Our theme for July's Families, Create! Make and Play Carnival was "swashbucklers." Check out what our participants created this month:

With cat-like tread, upon their way they steal, Zoie at TouchstoneZ's sons are inspired to perform a little dramatic piracy as captured in pictures.

Brittany at Mama's Felt Cafe shares a tutorial for making an easy hand sewn felt pirate crown. No fancy stitching required!

Argh, mateys! Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written ye a tutorial to make easy pirate eye patches.

Lauren at Hobo Mama presents parrot play (sprinkled with humor) for your petite pirates.

A trip to a local botanical garden turned into a dinosaur safari at Living Peacefully with Children.

Shiver me timbers! If you have a pirate lover, check out "How to Make a Pirate Treasure Hunt Plus Other Fun Pirate Crafts and Activities" from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

Be sure to join us for August's carnival, our theme is "Weird and Wonderful."


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

"At first I was surprised you were doing a project with Mikko, but then I figured it must be something for your blog." It probably didn't help that I kept asking him to photograph the proceedings.

Anytime I ask Tom about doing something super creative, he's always all, "when's the deadline for the blog?"

We're just being HELPFUL to other people who need creative ideas!! Argh!

Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe said...

What a beautiful footless, crappy beaked parrot! You are brave to let your son sit in an upholstered chair with said purple glue stick. I think my boy would have glued everything but the parrot ;-)

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

Thank you for sharing this post. May I also thank you for not setting the bar intimidatingly high like most crafty blog posts are? That's not an insult to your parrots at all. I feel like I'm back in 7th grade art class whenever I see one of those perfect-crafty-mom-art posts. I enjoy those, too. But, the 12 year old in me remembers my creativity not being valued as much as skill and I never try. I may still not take photos of my crappy art projects with the kids, but we do get messily creative daily. Tomorrow, we're making parrots!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe: Ah, this couch is beyond ruined after four years of parenthood. ;) Maybe some purple glue would jazz it up!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Zoie @ TouchstoneZ: Every time I post a craft tutorial, I get a thank-you for not setting the bar too high. I choose to take it as a compliment. ;) Because I agree, I can't compete (and never have been able to) with the perfect artists, as much as I admire their work. We have to find our own crowd to run with, right? :)

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

@Lauren @ Hobo Mama

Oh good. I was nervous you might feel I wasn't appreciative of your post, which I am. We did, indeed make parrots today and I have to say that they didn't turn out nearly as good, but we had fun and that was the point.

I find it amusing that I'm unconditionally love whatever form of creative expression my kids create, yet I look at my own with a critical eye. I would prefer it if I remembered to bring my "beginner's mind" with me more often :)

Unknown said...

I love these age appropriate projects for toddlers! I try getting a new and exciting project ready for my toddler at least once or twice a week but lately I've been lagging... thanks for the great idea!

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