Thursday, May 20, 2010
Fun in the woods: Alphabet Trees!
I'm a lazy hiker and an avid crafter. Okay, I'm not really lazy, but I do tend to wander along the way inspecting bugs, touching plants, taking photos; I literally stop to smell the skunk cabbage (I would prefer roses, but I take what I can get). It reminds me of my youth as I explore and get inspired. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely something to be said for "getting there," but as a hiker I am all about the journey.
So to help those of us who have become a bit destination-obsessed take a breather, I've come up with a fun hike-and-craft project that helps you enjoy the ride and achieve a goal. I call it Alphabet Trees.
To start this adventure all you need is a camera, a trail and some willing wanderers (young or young-at-heart). As you stroll take careful note of each tree, each plant, each nook and cranny, and find where the crosses and sweeps create crazy typography. Yes, you'll find way too many L's and I's, but look closer for those Z's and O's. Branch out to numbers if you see them.
Once you've accrued your alphabet there are endless crafting possibilities. Of course, write your name! Make an alphabet poster for a young friend by printing each letter out and connecting them with tape. Decorate it with dried forest fodder you gather from your trip. For a more elaborate project, create a reusable calendar. A tutorial from Photojojo uses numbers in the city, but it could easily be switched to nature with a little inspiration. Check it out here: www.content.photojojo.com/diy/perpetual-photo-calendar.
For a crafty project that becomes a gift that keeps giving, try creating a memory game. To start, print out two sets of letters that are 2"x2" in size. Cut out the squares. Using laminating sticker sheets (found at the local craft haunts), reinforce and protect the paper. Flip over the card and decorate the backs with markers, glue and glitter. Now you have a quick matching game for on-the-go. Hole-punch the cards in one corner and carry them on a jump ring. If you know a wee one who is new to the alphabet, give the game as a gift.
Use your new alphabet anywhere you need a little jazzier typography. Create an outdoor adventure scrapbook, a surprising "I love you" card, a dynamic beach party invite, or even use them for craft-room labels. String together printed happy birthday trees. Find unique and interesting ways to bring the outdoors in with these natural letters by labeling a babies room or enlarging initials to use as giant art prints in the living room. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
Have fun with this project as it lets you and your young ones have a chance to meander, get inspired, and get crafty.
This article originally published here by The Capital City Weekly . . .