Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Clock Project

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Can I just say I hate school projects? I love crafting, when there's no pressure.  I even like doing projects that are built into homeschool curriculum, where we have the luxury of working on them at a leisurely pace.  But there's nothing like a kid saying "I have a school project that's due this week, and I haven't started it! I don't know what to do!" Lucky for Celia that I usually happen to have random craft items around the house.  One time, it was construction paper and pom poms, another time it was a shoebox and glitter glue.   Thanks to the blog, I've even had internet memberships like Graphic Stock and Picmonkey that have saved a project or two.  Last Monday, she said, "Don't forget I have that Spanish clock project due Thursday."

Don't forget?? Did you even tell me in the first place?  I vaguely remember her saying this year's big project was the "Clock Project," but I don't remember anything about it actually being assigned.  I mean, I'm big on kids doing their own project with as little help as possible (mine always need some sort of guidance/focusing - stupid ADHD), but since she has neither a car nor an Amazon account, there needs to be at least some degree of parental involvement -- at least in the supply procurement phase.   Luke did the "Clock Project" a few years ago, and it was a two-weekend process.

He figured a clock has 12 hours, and a year has 12 months. He looked up 12 holidays - one for each month - held in various Spanish-speaking countries around the world. It was a great project, but a lot of planning and work. It involved planning, a trip to both a hardware store and the craft store, and lots of hours cutting and gluing and waiting for things to dry.  And suddenly, she needed something in three days?

I sent her back to the internet to come up with an idea...any idea.  I wasn't taking her to the craft store without a plan.  At first, she wanted to take her project from last year, learning to play Malagueña by Sarasate, and run with that.  She couldn't come up with anything that interested her, so I started googling.  I found that one of Sarasate's piece was called Zapateado, which was meant to emulate the rhythms of flamenco dancing.  I suggested something with that, and she was off to the races.  She decided to dress one of her dolls as a flamenco dancer, and discuss different styles of Spanish dancing.  Now we just needed to come up with a costume.

I think I've mentioned a few times how much I love Pinterest.  We started looking for patterns for doll dresses -- something that could be made easily but still had the flavor of the flamenco.  We actually found a pattern, and I dug through my box of fabrics to find material to make both a dress and a mantilla.  We found some coordinating fabric, but it wasn't really doing it for us.  Celia kept searching, and found a doll skirt made out of a sock.  EUREKA!!  If we pulled the sock up higher, it could be a dress bodice.

Another search, and we found a perfect dress to emulate.


I dug back through the fabric bin, and found a remnant of bright red material -- if memory serves, it's cast off from a pirate costume from when one of the big boys were preschoolers. (Ok, so I may have a slight tendency toward pack-rat-ism, but it totally paid off, so it's all good, right?) Celia ran off in search of a black sock and a doll.  At this point, I was willing to sacrifice a pair to avoid a trip out, but she managed to find one in the "Can't Find My Mate" bin, so it was all good.

We cut off the toe of the sock and shimmied American Girl of the Year Saige into it.  (Saige was the chosen one because she had the longest hair of all of Celia's dolls.) It was a little short, but we only needed a bodice, so worked. We started wrapping the red fabric around the doll, pinning and tucking. The first plan was to figure out how long the layers needed to be, unwrap the doll, and sew a skirt. However, once we were done, we decided not to mess with it -- it looked good the way it was.  We added a few more pins for security, and moved on to the most important part of any dress - accessories!

To complete the project, it needed to include a clock with moveable hands, and the words ¿Qué hora es?  We headed back to search for inspiration.  Celia discovered that the Sevillanas, another Spanish folk dance style, used castanets. Aha!  While a doll-sized castanet wouldn't hold a clock that could be seen more than twelve inches away, a construction paper-sized one could be.  She took some poetic (choreographic?) license, and made a set of large castanets, and attached the clock to them.

A ladies' fan also appeared to be a common accessory.  While we couldn't find any reference to it being traditional to a specific dance, it became necessary for our bailarina, if only to hold the required labeling.  Dad got in on the action here. Not trusting Mom with power tools (probably wise considering the damage I can do with a hand-held screwdriver),  he patiently drilled holes in craft sticks while Celia printed and colored this template onto card stock.  (No, it's not traditionally Spanish, but it had the right spirit and size.)  Some tape and some clear hair elastics, and Celia's dancer was nearly ready.

You can see in the picture above that Saige is a hot mess.  Celia combed her hair out, and braided and rolled it into a side chignon.  We secured it with a pair of Lilla Rose U-Pins.  To keep some of the gypsy flavor of the flamenco, Saige's earrings were swapped for a pair of gold hoops.  Finally, the pictures of dancers we found showed the ladies wearing either matching or black heels. Despite a wardrobe that I thought could rival a Kardashian, black shoes apparently weren't among the racks of her dolls' armoire.  At the last minute, Celia found some gold sandals that actually coordinated nicely with the fan, earrings, and hair pins. Perfect!

¿Qué hora es?  It's time for a nap!  (And to tidy up the fabric bin for the next ransacking!)

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