Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Concerning Hobbits

 I thought I would just post a video of the song "Concerning Hobbits" by Howard Shore from which this blog gets it's name.  This is one of my favorite songs from the movie.  I loved it so much I learned the Irish whistle part on my own whistle.  You can see this part in this video.  I think I might use this song with a powerpoint for an end of the year presentation.  I could take pictures all year of my 7th graders and put it to this music.  After all... they are little hobbits.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Making an Elvish Costume

Last Halloween my son told me it would be the last time he went trick or treating.  He was 12 at the time and I thought he was appropriately giving the Halloween tradition up.  However, he wanted a costume that was the best elvish costume ever!  That meant I had to do armor!  There are some great websites that use materials other than metal to make elvish armor.  The websites below are wonderful resources for making armor and other costume elements for elves.
Haldir's Elven Archers
Craft foam tutorial

These sites have templates for armor which I used for my son's costume.  They have pictures of the actual costumes from the movies as well.  These are very detailed sites.  I actually used the craft foam tutorial to do my son's armor.  It was a lot of work but looked amazing.  I spent the majority of my time covering the craft foam with a glue mixture so it would look shiny like metal.  I made the elvish writing on the hip armor  by using a metallic fabric paint to create the raised areas.

The chest armor was the most difficult to create because it had to fit him exactly.  I also used metallic paint to create the designs on the chest armor.

This was an exciting project for me because I am such a LOTR fan.  I will say that sewing velcro onto spandex material is horrible!  I only completed that task with a lot of colorful metaphors!  The armor on the arms was done in this way because I did not have time to make some kind of gadget to attach the armor to his arm any other way.

I also made Haldir's pin that can be seen on his cloak in The Two Towers.  I also made this out of craft foam.

The other clothing was researched using the above sites.  I tried to make all closures authentic to the time period so no zippers, or buttons for that matter, were used.  I mostly just used laces to close the garments.

There are some side panels of armor under the hip armor on the Haldir costume.  These look like they are made of scales in the movie.  I chose to use a fabric that looked very metallic and had a scale-type design imprinted on it.

It turned out pretty well for a final Halloween costume.  I think he looks great.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why J.R.R. Tolkien Loved Trees

I always wondered why Tolkien wrote about trees so much.  He gave life to them and obviously cherished them.  Coming from the dry western United States, trees rarely impressed me.  Not until I went to England myself did I understand about the trees.  They are most wonderous!  I spent a week in the Lake District in the summer of 2010.  The trees there are just like they are in Tolkien's writing.  They are huge!  They have tangled roots that stretch across the ground and look like they could grab you at any moment.  It would not be hard to write about trees coming to life in England.  The picture below was taken in a village called South Nutfield.  My son tells me it is just like the scene from Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo calls out, "Get off the road!"  I think he is right.