Monday, June 30, 2008

Unplugged Challenge - Garden

Unplugged Challenge - Garden

bah - there must be something crazy about this unplugged project. I too had a lovely post half written and came in to edit it and poof it was gone. That sure is maddening.

We participated in this week’s unplugged challenge to much success. The crying of two weeks ago was nary to be seen! We have an awesome victory garden rambling though our property and if you look through past posts you can read all about it. So I decided that for the garden challenge we should come up with something new. My first thought was to create something artful for our garden. We decided on a toad house.

While I created a shopping list LittleA had hands that were busy at work in the craft studio. One of her favorite things to do when she keeps me company in the studio is to play “pims”. She takes straight pins from my magnetic cup and then sticks them into a pin cushion. This time after she was done she said “look mama I made a pim garden”. I looked and smiled – she was right the pins looked just like little budded flowers peaking from the ground. This garden challenge was already under way!

Before we could build our toad house we had to run a couple errands. We had to stop at the hardware store to purchase our clay pot and saucer for the project and we also had to run to the farmers market. When we go out and about LittleA likes to play a color matching game. We learned this one at a nature preserve. The docent guide handed each child a paint chip card strip with the instruction to look around in nature for things that matched their card. After the fun we had at the preserve I was ready to raid the paint chips at our local hardware store and put them on a key ring. However I was able to re purpose a color chart I had from work. This one was used to show us the new color offerings in a particular shirt line. The best part is that the cards are clear coated and came bound together on a ring. Now I keep this in my purse to play whenever we need a little activity. We brought is along hoping to find garden colors at the farm market. Since LittleA has an interest in Spanish we sometimes look for items by their Spanish color names.

As a variation on this there are many crafty mamas out there who have made a similar activity using an egg carton with colors painted inside for the kids to match items to as they collect them.

Once we returned home we had a fun time mixing our paints to get a more varied choice in colors.

We painted together

After the surface colors dried I applied a layer of mod-podge to protect our painting from all this rain we have been getting.

We decided that while this layer dried we could read some books that were garden like. We got half way into A Seed Is Sleepy and LittleA sprang from our picnic table and ran to go find plants in our garden that matched the seeds in the book. As a mama I sure loved the connection she had made between planting the seeds and then seeing them in the book.

We scoured a nice location and each got out our garden shovels and dug a nice hole to fit the unpainted half of our pot.

We thought that our toads would also prefer to have a bedazzled home so we added some glass marbles. LittleA also thought the toads should have a swimming hole!

We collected all kinds of pebbles from the yard to finish the look. LittleA was so proud of all her work and was sure to point it out to all who would show interest! Now when we are out we always need to peek in to see if we have any guests.

Here are some places I found help/inspiration in creating this project:

Toadly Easy Toad Houses - Photo images and step by step instructions along with great information on toads as well.

Toadville Photos - this was a link that was included in the above post and is worth a mention all on its own. Photos of toad villages.

Toad Houses - mosaic handmade toad houses posted on flicker by toadhouselady.

Etsy also has many lovely toad houses listed for sale.

We are ready for next weeks challenge: SKY – won’t you join us?


Gottfredsen said...

What a lovely Toad House. Great Job. Oh and a very beautiul Pim Garden to.

Candy Cook said...

That is adorable. I think I'll borrow this one, but call it a lizard den - since we have tons of little green anoles and my boys are fond of catch and release. :D

Nature Mama said...

What a great project and your toad house looks great. Love the glass rocks :)

Gift of Green said...

Oh my!!! I am seriously one underachieving mom! Thanks for the idea and for pointing me to the unplugged site. You have inspired me!

Tina said...

We love making toad homes each year. They really work! I hope a toad moves in real soon. Great artwork!

Heather said...

Very cute! I bet she had a ton of fun building the toad house. We used to have one and I forgot to take it in for the winter and it cracked so maybe we'll have to copy your idea soon.

Bobbie said...

I have never heard of such a thing... we have lots of toads in australia and people go around killing them as they are pests... :)

very creative.. I wonder if a frog would live in it?? That would be good as they are endargered species here...

anyway very good idea.. love the stones

So Smrt said...

Funny! We did this two weeks ago, and I love the way they look nestled in the garden. We didn't landscape ours, though. How cute!

Michie said...

I love your project - it looks great! And I love the paint chip matching activity idea too - I'll have to try that one!

Anonymous said...

That is so lovely! The nicest toad mansion I have ever seen!

We don't have garden toads here in AZ, but in NM they lived in our wood pile.

I really like your paint chip idea too. Very inspirational, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the "pim garden" is totally adorable too. It made me smile!

School for Us said...

I love your "toad abode!" :-)

Liz said...

The best toad house I've ever seen!