Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Elephant No. 170: Ribbon Garland

This has been another crazy day, so I looked for something simple to do, and thought it might be fun to make a ribbon banner with tiny elephant cutouts.

A couple of years ago, a close friend gave me this cute elephant paper punch from Martha Stewart. For awhile I've thought that it would be perfect for making a little ribbon banner.

I started by cutting out a series of elephants from purple bristol board that I had lying around. I ended up with 29 of them, all measuring about 2.5 cm (one inch) in length. One thing I really liked about these was that I could fold the ears out a bit, which gave them some extra dimension.

Next, I took a length of cream-coloured satin ribbon measuring 0.3 cm (1/8 inch) in width. Applying a simple blob of white glue to the ribbon, I glued the individual elephants nose to tail, leaving a gap of about 2.5 cm (one inch) between them. I didn't bother measuring anything, so it's not precise, but I've decided that that's part of its charm.

By the time I was done glueing the elephants—a rather fiddly and tedious business, truth be told—I had a length of about 1.2 metres (four feet).

It looked a little bare with just the purple elephants and the cream-coloured ribbon, so I decided to add something in between each pair of elephants. I had originally thought of using a blob of glitter glue, then remembered that I had quite a lot of sequins.

Rather than use something metallic, I chose pastel pink sequins, which blended nicely with the purple and cream. I used a blob of glue to secure these as well, using the dull end of a bamboo skewer to push them into place. This had the added advantage of forcing some of the glue up through the hole in the centre of each sequin.

This only took me about 45 minutes, but I don't think I would want to do a longer piece. I found the process far more fussy than suits my particular temperament, although I'm quite happy with the final result. It's very girly and rather sweet and, if I were of the right temperament, something like this would make a really cute decoration for a little girl's birthday party.

Elephant Lore of the Day
One of the most ruthless gangs in London, England during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the tough all-female gang called the Forty Elephants. According to the 2010 book Gangs of London by Brian McDonald, for at least eighty years, and perhaps longer, the Forty Elephants ran a shoplifting operation in London and a number of other cities.

The first newspaper mention of the gang occurred in 1873, although police records indicate that it may have existed since the late eighteenth century. Dressed in specially tailored coats, skirts, hats and bloomers—all with hidden pockets—the women of the Forty Elephants raided fancy West End shops, making off with goods worth many thousands of pounds.

Taking advantage of the Victorian reluctance to frisk well-dressed females, the Forty Elephants became so well known that shopkeepers panicked whenever one of the women was sighted near an expensive store. By the early twentieth century, they had expanded into other towns and, with the advent of the automobile, started making raids by car.

In addition to robbing shops, the women worked as housemaids then ransacked employers' homes. They even allowed themselves to be seduced, then blackmailed their seducers. They guarded their territories jealously, and demanded a percentage from anyone who stole on turf considered to "belong" to the Forty Elephants. They were also not above arranging beatings and kidnappings.

Most members of the gang remained in the Forty Elephants for decades, even returning to a life of crime following time in prison. They also lived lavish lifestyles, throwing big parties, and spending heavily on entertainment, clothing and jewellery. Interestingly, they never wore what they stole, preferring instead to purchase couture clothing and expensive jewellery with the proceeds of their criminal activities.

The name of the gang actually had nothing to do with elephants. Originally an offshoot of a vicious gang known as the Elephant and Castle Boys—centred, as the name suggests, around that part of London—the Forty Elephants was simply a play on Ali Baba and his Forty Thieves.

Elephant and Castle in London in 1948, where the Forty Elephants gang began.
Photo: Bert Hardy
Source: http://rachaelgibson.co.uk/2010/12/31/serving-time-for-something-i-cant-do/

Elephant's World (Thailand) 
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Elephant Nature Park (Thailand)

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