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Create This Book August Challenge

It’s the last day of the month, so once again it’s time to share mine & Henri’s year-long challenge of doing one page from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1) each month. There’s a link to all past posts at the bottom of this post. For this month Jakob decided to pick for us, and picked the “unusual combo” theme on page 35.

Henri loves food, so it was no surprise at all that he used foods in yet another page in this book.

He decided to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the Cronut and Krispy Kreme hamburger, and created a donut made out of pizza. Not gonna lie – I’d eat it.

For my own post, for some reason I kept thinking about pompoms. (The fact that I was literally surrounded by yarn while working up samples for my mask lanyards probably has something to do with that). The first “odd combo” that came to mind was a lamp made from pompoms, so I ran with it… even though it’s not all that crazy and is probably already a product that exists for sale.

I started with a quick pencil sketch, then loosely blocked in where the pompoms would go.

Then I went over the design with a 01 Micron fineliner, drawing in every little line of fluff.

Once the outline was in, I colored in the page with my Marco Raffiné colored pencils.

They’re oil-based pencils (as opposed to wax-based like Prismacolor Premieres), and have a harder core than the also oil-based Faber-Castell Polychromos, which make them great for holding sharp points.

They’ve got a lovely pigmentation but I find they often appear “softer” than Polys, as if the colors are more muted, or desaturated. I still love them, however, and they work beautifully on the paper in this book.

The soft color worked great with the pastel look I had in mind, in any case, and it didn’t require much pressure to apply color to the page.

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Ear Saver Mask Hook Lanyards

Just in time for Back To School, I’m pleased to share my ear savers / mask lanyards! Mask are an important part of life these days, but they can cause more harm than good when you’re constantly fiddling with them to relieve pressure on your ears or keep them from slipping off your nose. And then there’s the issue of where to put it when you take it off to eat (or in class). Enter the ear saver / lanyard / mask buddy / mask mates / mask hooks (and I’m sure another half dozen names for them!)

There are many options and designs available online, from knit to crochet to sewn or 3D-printed. When my kids asked for something custom, I decided to try my hand at designing my own, in a medium I saw ill-represented – my favored plastic canvas. It’s soft, flexible, washable, and I knew would be excellent for this purpose.

Jakob asked for a Creeper, Henri asked for a Boom Slime from Slime Rancher, but I didn’t stop there.

Want something neutral, to match your hair and not stand out? Got it!

Want something bright and colorful? Got it!

Want to rep your favorite team’s logo? Got that too!

There are currently 13 designs, with more being added as custom orders come in.

All hooks are soft, flexible, made with anti-pill yarn and are completely washable.

All the designs are available in my shop page or here on Etsy. Local Montrealers who arrange for pick up (vs shipping) can contact me for a discount code good on any order!

NOTE: For those of you who’d prefer to make your own, I’ll have a PDF coming for that soon! If you’d like to be notified as soon as it’s available, email me or leave a comment down below.


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Create This Book July Challenge

Those of you following along know that every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). It’s getting too long to list each month’s challenge but they’re all linked for you at the bottom of this (and each month’s) post(s). This month he picked the “create an ad” page on page 99 …of which I again forgot to take a blank “before” pic.

It’s been fun figuring out ways to interpret the challenges, but by far my favorite part of each month’s task has been seeing how Henri completes his pages. This month he’d been watching a lot of Captain Sauce’s Slime Rancher playthroughs, and that led to this:

I love it! ❤

He made his ad for one of the pink slimes from Slime Rancher, and all the details just crack me up, from the star callout behind the grinning slime, to the “Pre-order today at slimeplush.com” at the bottom LOL

He even drew a cartoon page on the facing page so it would look like a magazine ad! He picked a few of his favorite asdf gags and drew them out as comic panels.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t as creative. When I knew I had to draw an ad I went for the first thing that came to mind… (sorry Kelis!)

First I did a quick pencil sketch.

Once the sketch was done I erased the whole page to leave only a faint outline, and then went over it with my Derwent Metallic watercolor pencils. I put a sheet of plastic-backed cardstock (saved from a package of bedsheets) under the page to protect the rest of the book from water damage. I could have Gesso’d the page first, to seal it for painting, but tbh I was really busy this month and put the page off until the last minute, so didn’t think of it until it was too late. 😉

The paper really isn’t made for water media, so instead of spreading the paint, it absorbed the water and nothing blended. I ended up having to go in with a 2nd layer on the damp paper, and would have kept going until it looked as intended if the paper hadn’t started to tear. My plan was for a blended watercolor background but obviously that didn’t work out.

Without waiting for the paper to fully dry, I went in with some Micron fineliners and inked in the details.

I used thicker Sharpies for the bold text…(immediately regretting the pink squiggles smh)…

…then finally added outlines again with the Microns.

And here’s the final page. It’s not quite what I had in mind, but that’s the risk you take using permanent media. Oh well. I still plan to use paint and watercolors in this book, but at least now I know that the paper doesn’t like it at all so I can adapt.

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book June Challenge

It’s going to be a fast one this month – literally! (In fact, it took me longer to create this post than it did to create the page it’s based on).

Every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January he choose page 163 (create an empty setting), for February it was page 208 (the “food” page), March was page 207 (the “something different” challenge), April was page 23 (the “folds” page), May was page 47 (the “bumpy” page) (links to all previous posts in this series below), and for June he picked the “quick sketches” page on page 39 (of which I completely forgot again to take a “before” blank picture).

This month’s task is to “Create Quick Sketches” – specifically to draw something in 1 minute or less. Henri wanted to draw Peely, one of his favorite Fortnite skins.

What an appealing fella.

Specifically, he used this reference image, saying “he’s so cute and derpy!” (Lol)

Here’s his quick sketch:

Full confession- he REALLY underestimated how fast 1 minute really is, and the first time he tried he was going for accuracy and only got as far as an eyeball and maybe one side of the banana. So we let him start over (his big brother Jakob was manning the timer).

CAPTION
CAPTION
CAPTION

I brought my book with me to my mom’s and when about to start I noticed the “repeat” directive that Henri had missed during his attempt, and since I was stuck for ideas I just did some quick sketches of the various parts of the yard as shown above.

And that’s it for this month! Nothing much to show but another page down and another month’s challenge fulfilled. 🙂

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:


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Create This Book May Challenge

There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes, but all I have to currently show for it is this month’s Create This Book Challenge, yet again coming in just under the wire.

Every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January he choose the “create an empty setting” on page 163, for February it was the “food” page on page 208, March was the “something different” challenge on page 207, April was the “folds” page on page 23, (links to all previous posts in this series below), and for May he picked the “bumpy” page on page 47 (of which I completely forgot to take a “before” blank picture).

We both wound up completing the page with similar themes of fun and playfulness. In Henri’s case it meant mixing his two current obsessions – LEGO and Minecraft. He used a LEGO plate for the texture and then drew two LEGO minifigs, one regular and one in a Minecraft-style.

This close-up really shows the texture in the page. I thought using a LEGO plate was a great idea!

I’ve been planning a bunch of plastic canvas projects and decided to use some scrap strips as my texture base. While the page does say to “try to write or draw something” I’ve been working on detailed items lately and was really craving the opportunity to color and not really think. I decided to relax and have fun with this page and simply rub the texture of my own current obsession.

Once that idea took hold, there was no alternative but to grab some crayons and really let my inner kid come out to scribble-scrabble. I dove into the crayon bag and came out with these Crayola Fun Effects Mini Twistables – multicolor twist-up no-sharpen crayons .

This wasn’t a page that took long, nor does it look like anything special beyond a riot of irregular color… but it was FUN. For the first time in a few months I didn’t have to think about what I was doing or plan the next few steps. I just sat and scribbled and watched the bright colors mix and blend and honestly? It felt really good.

A few days later I watching one of Moriah’s current videos within which she responds to a question about saving art supplies to combat the feeling of wasting them by using them up, and was reminded of these glitter pens I own. The white one is gold glitter in a clear base by Wink of Stella, and the black one is silver glitter in a clear base by Spectrum Noir, and while I love them (and ADORE glitter) I just… never use them. I never consider a project “worthy” or “appropriate”.

So I glitter-bombed my bumpy page.

I always forget how pressure-sensitive these glitter brushes can be, so accidentally saturated that middle block with the silver. That whole square was covered with silver glitter, the one to its lower right was covered with gold, and then I randomly did a few stripes and individual squares of each color around the page.

I was trying to limit how moisture-warped the page got so rather than let it dry naturally I broke out my heat tool and quickly dried the page. (Amazon seems out of the identical model but this one looks the same and is inexpensive).

Unfortunately because this is regular paper it did stay warped even once tried, but it didn’t tear through so I’m not mad about it. (Possibly the wax from the crayons protected the paper from actually ripping, though, so be cautious using very watery media in this book.)

Here’s the final page. Nothing polished, nothing professional or fancy. I didn’t even follow the instructions.

It’s chaotic and crazy and loud and sparkly, but it makes me smile. 🙂

It’s a sparkly rainbow, how could it not? 😀

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book April Challenge

Another month, another Create This Book Challenge! All month I’ve had the time to work on it but found myself working on other projects instead, and now once again I find myself composing this post on the last day of the month. But- it’s still April, and so this is still on time!

Every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January he choose the “create an empty setting” on page 163, for February it was the “food” page on page 208, March was the “something different” challenge on page 207, (links to all previous posts in this series below), and for April he decided to pick the “folds” page on page 23.

We’d been watching art videos on Tiktok and Henri was inspired to try this one by owelboi:

What’s up TikTok? New drawing trend!

(Note: all bolded/italicized text is transcribed from the audio of the original video)

First take your paper and fold it any way you want. The crazier the folding, the better. Mine looks something like this:

Now take your pen and draw a face… or animal… or whatever you want, all over top of your folds. I’m gonna do a face.

I blocked in my face with pencil first. Wasn’t really liking the sketch but I needed features that were wide and low enough to overlap the folds as much as possible, seeing as we were limited in folding possibilities by the paper being bound in the book on one edge.

This is Henri’s version. He’d been doing the challenge from memory and didn’t remember that he had to make the folds have the inside on the outside, so that when he opened the page all the drawing was on the original page. So instead he just recreated the same image on the original page and stopped there. (So when you unfold his page 24, it’s the same full drawing on page 23).

Here’s my version. After penciling I went over the image with a Copic Multiliner and a bit of Sharpie for the inside of the mouth. I wasn’t concerned about bleed-through on the reverse of the pages as they were already a write-off because of the folding.

After you have your face drawn you’re going to do something really crazy – take your paper and unfold it like this:

It looks really weird but stick with me! This is where it gets WACKY. Connect the lines where there is space.

Before I show the grand reveal I need to show a revised folded version, because I didn’t pay close enough attention to my folds and wound up with some extra drawing showing through under the left eye. This resulted in me adding the lines under the eyes to try and camouflage… which was still messed up by the extra eyelashes. Oh well 😛

Aaaand here’s the results. I couldn’t say it any better than owelboi himself:

Then you get some wacky, crazy drawing you can have nightmares of for years to come!

#Truth

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book March Challenge

I haven’t posted since my February Create This Book Challenge post, and I spent a lot of time in the last few weeks debating posting this, or other planned projects. With so much going on in the world, it hardly seems important to share silly doodles.

Or so I thought, until I watched my kids spend an entire afternoon at the table, elbows-deep in my art supplies. Creating is important. It feels good. It can bring peace and calm amid chaos, and it gives a sense of accomplishment that can be difficult to find when schedules and routine are in upheaval.

So I asked Henri to pick the page for this month, and we both set to work.

For those who haven’t been following along, every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January we choose the “create an empty setting” on page 163, for February it was the “food” page on page 208, and for March he decided to go with the “something different” challenge on page 207.

Henri has 2 current obsessions – LEGO and The Legend of Zelda – and since he draws/makes/sculpts Link and the Master Sword incessantly, he decided to draw a LEGO minifig on his page, as he’d never drawn one before.

I love how the minifig looks resolute. Like “meh”. LOL

It took me a little while to come up with an idea for my page. I’ve been drawing/etc since I was very young, so it’s hard to come up with an idea that was truly new and not break the spirit of the challenge. In the end I decided to follow a YouTube drawing tutorial. I’ve watched many craft tutorials on everything from bookbinding to watercolors, but I’ve never actually followed a drawing/sketching one.

A quick search brought me to Shayda Campbell’s “Twelve Easy Flower Doodles You Need To Know” video. Shayda has a TON of help for new artists and tips and tricks on her channel, which I highly recommend. I almost never draw flowers so this seemed like a great fit. (At least until I was finished and turned to see if my ink had bled and saw the page on the back is “draw a nature scene”… oops!).

I settled down with a mechanical pencil from the dollar store, an 05 Micron fineliner, and an eraser pencil from Faber-Castell (the Perfection 7056).

I followed along with the steps in the video while listening to Jonathan Kellerman’s The Museum of Desire (an Alex Delaware novel) on loan from my local library. I admit I really wasn’t feeling my sketches until I was dne and looked at the page as a whole. Seeing them all together makes me happy, they look better than I’d thought! While nose deep in the book they really didn’t look as good 😛

This morning I realized it was the last day of the month, thus my last day to post this on time. I’d planned to merely take pics in sunlight and post them, but last-minute I decided to add a bit of color to the pages, so I pulled out my Polychromos and quickly finished off each flower.

Here’s the final results! I don’t think I’ll remember how to draw any of these by heart, but I’m really happy with how they turned out.

In particular I’m fond of the lilac…

…the hibiscus and the rosehips.

You can see some shadowing on page 207… that’s the fineliner doodles of “food” that I did for Februrary’s page. I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t interfere with completing this page, and I’m glad to see that it didn’t get in the way at all. It’s more apparent in the pictures than it is in real life – I didn’t even notice it while sketching.

Keep creating, stay indoors, stay healthy, and stay safe. ❤

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book February Challenge

Good thing it’s a leap year, because that means I can get mine and Henri’s February Create This Book pages posted on time!

As I mentioned in my intro post, every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January we choose the “create an empty setting” on page 163, and for February Henri decided he wanted to do the “food” page seen here on page 208:

This is no surprise to anyone who knows Henri. It’s a running joke that my almost-13-year-old son Jakob’s favorite food is “bananas”, while Henri’s favorite food is “food”.*

Henri completed his page first, working on it over a few evenings while watching The Masked Singer.

He started with the little taco near the top and worked his way down the page, but I’m showing his close-ups in reverse order. For reasons.

Even though he’s just turned 11 Henri has been drawing for years, and I’m always impressed with the thought he puts into his art. The cheese, popsicle and donut are clearly meant to look 3D, and he even drew the complete bite with teeth marks in the popsicle instead of merely a chunk missing. The donut is especially well done, where he didn’t capture merely the glaze dripping down the top, but his rounded bite went through the donut to expose the hole in the middle- something I probably wouldn’t have thought of, tbh.

The top of the page is where he really went wild with the imagination. As I’d mentioned, he’d started with the taco, and before it got page-smudged it was really, really well done. Next came the hamburger, then the pineapple got a few minutes of detail work. Then- the apple. Oh boy that apple LOL

I’m not putting a more detailed close up because I’m already smh’ing that I’ve included it twice in this post…but what happened is this: Henri drew the apple. Then he decided that the bottom of the apple looked like a butt. So he made it pooping. Then, for dramatic effect, he added a pair of undies to the apple, with a torn flap of fabric hanging off the back because the apple’s poop was so explosive that it ripped right through the undies. His words. (Which is good, because I have none.)

When it came time for my own run at the page, I was stumped. I wasn’t in the mood to attempt something photo-realistic but nothing cutesy or cartoon-y was coming to mind. And then I looked at Henri’s page again and noticed his cheeky “FOOD” lettering at the bottom. He’d pointed that out to me joking “it says decorate with ‘food’, so I did!”. And so did I.

While Henri had used a regular pencil for his art, I switched over to Micron fineliners for mine. I swatched both a 01 and 05 tip on a blank page at the back of the book and while they both worked well on the paper, I think if I’d tried to color in any areas the 05 would have bled through to the page on the other side. So I stuck with the 01 and doodled my way randomly around the page, filling it in with the word “food” over and over.

It was really relaxing to tackle the page with no ideas in mind and allow myself to doodle the word however I wanted.

I listened to an audiobook (The Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver **) and kept a sheet of cardstock under the page while I worked. As previously mentioned, I do this not only to prevent ink bleed-through but also to keep the pages beneath from getting pressure impressions.

I usually didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do until I started drawing the letter “f”, though every now and then I’d turn the page a different way and try to remember to keep some areas light for some white contrast.

The only exception to this was the empty FOOD at the top of the page, in the dotted area. I had to consciously work the dots around the letters without an outline (I didn’t use pencil at all) and then fill in enough background dots to keep the word legible.

It was fun filling the page with swirls and loops and lines!

Periodically I checked the back of the page for bleed-through and was happy there was none. There was clearly shading of the dark areas to the back side, but I don’t believe this will interfere with future coloring of that page, especially if I work that one in color.

And that’s February done! On to March!

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

*Jakob is almost 13. He’s in high school. This… does not compute.

**I’m a big Jeffrey Dever fan, and have been watching the new show Lincoln Rhyme: The Search for the Bone Collector. Fun show, but I can’t believe I’m about 6 episodes in to a LINCOLN RHYME project and haven’t heard the words “walk the grid” A SINGLE TIME.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book January Challenge

We did it! Coming in just under the wire, here are mine and Henri’s completed Create This Book pages for January.

As I mentioned in my intro post, every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January we choose the “create an empty setting” page seen here:

Henri used colored pencils for his page, creating a beach scene. He made it a double-page spread, with a multi-colored sunset over the water.

I love the little details I can pick up of how he went about planning his page, like how he clearly sketched out his ideas in pencil before outlining in fineliner…

…or how he blended the sun’s reflection into the water.

For my page, I went with a bit of a more literally definition of a setting – an actual stage set LOL.

First I sketched it out in pencil. Whenever I’m working in a coloring book with regular paper I always use a sheet of cardstock underneath the page. This prevents any impressions from affecting the following pages and ghosting through when I try to color them. This time I used a remnant of bristol board that has seen many, many coloring pages… though most obviously the one where I colored an entire background with black Sharpie.

After that I put on a podcast (HDTGM FTW), pulled out my Polychromos and colored until I was happy(ish) with the image. I did a few base layers of brown and green into the black back wall to prep before going over it with a black pencil, and roughed in the colors for the wooden stage, then later did the same for the red curtains and seats.

I say “happy-ish” because I’m not 100% thrilled with how the lights came out. I’d planned to color the background solid black and then erase the light paths but when I tried it looked just… I don’t know. Meh. I wound up coloring over most of it and leaving only the spotlight on the stage floor.

And there’s my final image. I decided against making it a two-page spread like Henri because I didn’t feel like coloring nearly two solid pages of red. In the end I’m mostly happy with it, though I see a lot of flaws that make me cringe. That said- my goal with this monthly challenge was NOT to create perfect, ideal art. It was simply to CREATE.

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Harry Potter: Knitting Magic (including a design by ME!)

I’ve been waiting so long to share this wonderful project with you, and I’m delighted that I finally can, because the book is officially out today!

Harry Potter: Knitting Magic – The Official Guide to Creating Original Knits Inspired by the Harry Potter Films

Featuring more than 25 projects, the 192-page book includes patterns for clothing, home projects, and keepsakes pulled straight from the movies – and even includes a few iconic costume pieces as seen on-screen.

There are projects designed with the movies’ actual costumes in mind, like the House Scarves:

…and the Beauxbatons students’ capelet:

…as well as projects inspired BY the movies like this gorgeous sweater based on Hermione’s time-turner:

…and this adorable hanger featuring the Sorting Hat and the animals that represent each House:

Even the staging and photography of the book is incredible- I mean COME ON-

This entire Umbrage scene is perfect!!

The book also includes fun facts, original costume sketches, film stills, and other behind-the-scenes treasures.

The book has already gotten really good press reviews (Martha Stewart, The Nerdist, Mental Floss, House Beautiful, Apartment Therapy, among others) and I’m seriously honored that I got to be a part of it, and thrilled to finally present my pattern: The Order of the Phoenix Lace-Knit Throw Blanket.

It’s a circular blanket knit from the center out in alternating strands of a beautiful orange/red hand-dyed yarn that reminded me so much of Dumbledore’s cherished phoenix Fawkes.

The center of the blanket features flames to represent the phoenix’ fire, and is separated from the next section by a jagged dividing line that is actually Harry’s lightning bolt scar.

The middle section proudly proclaims the title of the fifth HP book (and blanket inspiration) in an eyelet font.

Anyone who’s knit my Lullaby blanket pattern can attest that while it might seem daunting, the text charts are really easy to follow and work up pretty fast.

Finally the border section features Fawkes’ feathers, elongating in rows until finally ending in individual feather tips.

I loved every aspect of designing, swatching and knitting this blanket, and I truly hope you enjoy it too.

You can click HERE to get your own copy.