Friday, February 1, 2013

Dreaming of Elephants

I had to order some books for my upcoming field exams (I'm a full time doctoral student) and I just couldn't help myself.  I found myself browsing the kids book section looking for more elephant books for Aria. I stumbled upon Elephants: A book for children by Steven Bloom and just had to buy it for her. I'll never know what drew my little girl to elephants when she was just a wee two year old but I have to say the more I learn about them the more I fall in love with them myself. 

The photography is simply gorgeous and the information is presented in such a kid friendly way.  Did you know that elephants are excellent swimmers?  Or that that their trunks are longer than the tallest person you know and weigh more than two normal-sized men?  Perhaps the sweetest little elephant fact from the book is that when an elephant dies, his/her family members will stay by the body often for days as if they are willing the elephant to live again.  And if they pass the same spot, they will stand still and silent for several minutes to pay homage to their lost loved one.  When I read that to Aria I seriously choked up.

I admit I am extremely sentimental and it doesn't take much to get my tears flowing but the timing was impeccable as just days before Elephant Family posted about the murder of 14 elephants in Sabah, Borneo. One tiny 3 month old calf was found near its mother trying to wake her.  Heartbreaking.  These majestic animals need all the help they can get from us.

*Photo from the Elephant Family page* Seriously, how sad is this?  Poor little elephant.
I do not imagine anyone can see this picture and not be moved.  I debated posting this picture because of how heartbreaking it is but ultimately decided to because I believe we truly need to understand the brevity of the situation.  Elephants are endangered because of humans and its up to humans to do something about it. 

Yeah...I can't even look at that picture without crying.  In more uplifting news, I am excited to announce that I will be attempting to make the most awesome wool felt LED elephants.  What in the world is that you ask?  A long time ago, I pinned an amazing felt momma and baby elephant kit designed by Syuzi Pakhchyan of Fashioning Technology.

Salt 'n' Peanut.  *Photo by Syuzi Pakhchyan.*

Seriously, how cute is this pair?  Syuzi writes, "Salt n’ Peanut were inspired by the exuberant display of love in elephant society between a mother and it’s calf. In elephant social customs, the mother and its calf always remain in constant touch.When the trunk of Salt (the mother elephant) and the trunk of Peanut (the baby elephant) connect, the LED in Peanut’s chest illuminates, signifying love and joy."  I stumbled upon the sweet little kit again while searching for elephant crafts for Aria.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make some for Aria's Elephant Saver Fundraiser but when I went to purchase the kits I discovered they were discontinued.

I messaged Syuzi and inquired whether there was any way that I could find a kit somewhere or attempt to make them on my own for the auction.  You know what I love about the creative community?  The absolute generosity that I have found within it.  This fundraiser is teaching not only my child but me as well about the depth of human hearts.  Reaching out to others is sometimes scary but so far its been an amazing experience.  Syuzi not only gave me permission to make my own little LED elephants but she also gave me some construction tips.  <3

I'll leave you with this awesome little elephant craft that Aria and I did together.  I go the idea from Red Ted's Art Blog.  It was super easy and Aria enjoyed turning her little hand prints into a small family of elephants.  Okay, I admit it...I rather enjoyed turning my hand prints into elephants as well. 

My favorite has to be the one on the left.  She looks like she is laughing.  :)  All prints are Aria's except for the elephant on the right in the top right photo.  That would be my hand print.  We collaborated to create a mommy and baby elephant picture.
*X-posted to*


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