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Frolicking Frogs: Ballet Cosplay, Part 2

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Scout and Briar have quite a workout during their routine. They must stay in “froggy” character, using their legs to jump in order to get around.

Last week, I wrote about our involvement in a ballet recital and how I had the opportunity to actually make costumes for 3 of my daughters for the recital. The post discussed  Zoë’s skunk costume and gave a bit of information about actual skunks themselves.

As stated in the previous article, my twins were cast as frogs in the recital. Upon hearing that she got the frog part, Briar immediately took to drawing and created a sketch of what she wanted the costume to look like. It resembled Mario, in Super Mario Bros. 3, when he wore the frog costume. The instructor saw the drawing and agreed that it was a wonderful costume concept. I told her that I could sew and would love to undertake the task of making the costume.

First off, it’s difficult to find a froggy-green leotard. I scoured the internet; Amazon had one available through a seller, but the brand wasn’t to my liking and neither was the price. I decided to buy a white leotard and ::gasp:: dye it myself.

I had never dyed anything before (besides my hair) so this was a bit of adventure for me. I picked out a color that I thought would most closely resemble a forest frog; it was “hunter green”. I chose to do the stove top method over the washer machine method. I mixed the liquid dye with the water, boiled it, added the white leotards and white tights, continuously stirred for 20 minutes, and hoped for the best. The girls said it looked like I was cooking a witch’s brew because of the roiling-boiling green water.

I was concerned about this process for a few reasons:

  • I was worried the dye wouldn’t take
  • There were numerous fabrics listed on the bottle of dye that said which fabrics were okay to dye and which ones not to dye; the material of the leotards were on neither list
  • That the color would be blotchy
  • The leotards’ elasticity would be ruined because of the boiling hot temperature and that the entire endeavor would be an utter waste of money

Turns out, the leotards and dye worked well together. I love the color and the leotards are fine.

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Briar Rose (L) and Scout Finch (R)

My next step was making the caps to cover their hair. I knew I wanted froggy eyes on the top of the caps, but the problem was that they have to do a somersault during their routine, so the eyes had to be made of a material that wouldn’t break (I originally wanted to use Styrofoam, but it was out of the question due to breakage) or hurt their head when they did the somersault.

My solution was to buy big, white puffballs. I then hot glued Kermit-style pupils to them.

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Kermit and frog-suit Mario were my inspirations.

Enough about the costumes! Let’s discuss frogs {via Wikipedia}:

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Spotlight on Scout

  • Frog fossils have been discovered all over the world, except in Antarctica, though it is believed that they once inhabited that land when the climate there was warmer.
  • Frogs are able to absorb oxygen through their skin via water so when they’re under water they can “breathe” and the oxygen goes directly into their blood supply.
  • The slime most frogs exude helps prevent water evaporation. Some frogs have more of a waxy secretion than slimy for even better evaporation prevention.
  • Frogs have lungs similar to humans. Instead of a diaphragm or ribs, they puff out their throat, take in air through their nostrils, and then compress the floor of their mouth, which sends the air into their lungs.

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    Spotlight on Briar

  • Frogs’ eyes actually are used to aid in their digestion; they retract into their skull and assist in getting the food down their throat.
  • The visual field of a frog is almost 360 degrees, but they see things that are a long distance away better than things that are closer.
  • Most calling frogs have a vocal sac that puffs out when croaking to help amplify the sound and some frogs’ croaks are so loud that you can hear them up to a mile away
  • Frogs take the top prize for  “Best Jumpers” of all vertebrates. In fact, with some frogs {to quote Wikipedia}, “the peak power exerted during a jump can exceed that which the muscle is theoretically capable of producing. When the muscles contract, the energy is first transferred into the stretched tendon which is wrapped around the ankle bone. Then the muscles stretch again at the same time as the tendon releases its energy like a catapult to produce a powerful acceleration beyond the limits of muscle-powered acceleration.” Too cool.
  • Tadpoles are also known as “polliwogs”.
  • Though frogs are thin-skinned, small, and slow, they actually have some pretty good defensive measures. Most excrete toxins through their skin making them taste yucky, they are good jumpers so they can skedaddle out of a situation in one jump, some are toxic, and others use deceptive tactics such puffing themselves up to appear larger or by “screaming” to distract the predator.
  • More than 1/3 of frog species today are threatened and 120 are believed to have become extinct since the 1980’s. These extinctions were most likely due to deforestation, pollution, and climate change.
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Frog meets Frog

Let’s help protect these wonderful creatures, as they are solid indicators of how healthy or unhealthy an ecosystem is. For more information on frog conservation, please visit the SAVE THE FROG website and find out what you can do to help.

 

 

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Gigi Chickee

Gigi Chickee

All photos are taken by me, Gigi Chickee, unless otherwise noted.

Photography Correspondent here at Mad Art Lab. Wife to my gorgeous husband, Rob. Mother to my four girls. Proud Secular Homeschooler. Photographer when the occasion arises. Seamstress in training. Skeptic always.

Follow me and my musings on Twitter: @gigichickee

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