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Secret, Secret, I’ve Got a Secret…

You guys.

YOU GUYS.

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There is so much going on behind the scenes for this little blog, and I had all the plans to get it all going in the first half of this year but – YOU GUYS

Something came up. I was already falling behind because of other commitments I’d taken on, and then I was approached with an opportunity that was just… magical.* And I know – I KNOW – that is the LAMEST of excuses, but trust me when I say THIS WAS WORTH IT. I feel so very lucky and could not pass it up, even if it means shuffling other things a bit later down the pipeline.

I CANNOT wait to tell you all about it, but I’m under legal contract ** and can’t talk about it just yet. Just trust me that as soon as I can, I will. And in the meantime, you can follow glimpses of what’s going on with me via my Instagram, either through the link in the sidebar or directly here.

*Was that a hint?  Maybe.  <<innocent eyes>>
**Yup. 


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Halloween projects you’ll still have time to make

Halloween is in two weeks, so you know what that means- time to start scrambling for (not quite) last-minute costume ideas!  To help out, here are some costume-related projects from my archives that are short enough to get done before the 31st.  🙂

how to make minecraft steve and creeper heads

Still my most popular post- for those with some boxes and paint lying around: here’s how to make Minecraft Steve & Creeper heads.

enderman-costumeIf you’d prefer instead to teleport in out of nowhere and swipe your candy, here’s how to make a Minecraft Enderman costume head complete with his very own Minecraft diamond block trick-or-treat candy holder.

henripotter02

Speaking of apparating- for those who need an easy addition to their Gryffindor robes, here’s a quick free Gryffindor house scarf pattern.

viking vest how to square

For those with a young’un eager to train a dragon, here’s how to make a viking vest.

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Easy props for your budding buccaneer made from dollar-store items.

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And finally, here’s a quick and easy Pikachu costume!

I hope you enjoy the links!


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Crafty Compilation – w/e 01/28/17 – w/e 02/25/17

Ugghhhhh.  Is February really almost over?  Is that a thing?

Sigh.  When there’s nearly 4 weeks of everyone in your household getting back-to-back gastro, time can really get away from you, y’know?

I’m obviously behind on these little compilation posts of mine, so rather than upload a bunch of weeks’ worth of recaps in quick succession here’s an overview of the non-own-post-worthy stuff that happened during these last few weeks:


Knitting

  • Comfy Socks

My travel knitting socks have become my sit-on-couch-watching-Supernatural socks because I’ve only been back to work part time as yet and there hasn’t been much need for a travel project.  No pics, but the first one is about mid-foot.

  • V-neck sweater progress

The sweater was moving along at a great pace, as stockinette projects tend to do, until I was nearly finished the front.  You split the front at the v-neck, working each side individually.  I’d finished one half and held it up against me to see how it was gonna look…and noted that the v-neck began roughly in the middle of my rib cage.  I’m not one to shy away from a low-cut top but that’s a bit much to wear without an under layer, even for me.

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I calculated the height I wanted it to start at and ripped back, making notes so I could add that many rows before the split.  I have ripped this yarn back so many times I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen apart by now!

Crochet

  • Kitchen soap cozies

As part of my massive cleaning kick (see ‘other stuff’ below) I threw together these liquid soap bottle cozies for my kitchen.

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The counter used to be a giant mess (pic censored to spare your eyes) and the cleaning supplies weren’t hideous but the kids (and I) had a hard time remembering which pump bottle I’d refilled with dish washing liquid and which one was hand soap.  The ‘dish’ one used to say ‘DISH’ in scrawled black Sharpie but it kept wearing off the bottle.

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I didn’t use a pattern.  It took longer to keep casting on, starting then ripping to get the correct number of stitches than it did to actually work the two pieces.  In the end they took 30 sts, and I worked 4 rows of single crochet for stability, followed by 3 of double crochet (so it wouldn’t take as long to make), then 3 more rows of sc to have a more closed-in area to embroider on, another 2 rows of dc and then finished with a row of sc to stabilize the top.  I embroidered the words and then sewed the cozies together in place on the bottles.  They do stretch enough to be removed and since they’re dishcloth cotton when they get dirty or covered in soap drips I can wring them out a few times and they’ll be good as new.

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Coloring

I’m not going to keep showing the coloring for each day… I tend to do them in batches as the images can start getting repetitive and I’m not always in the mood to work on them.  I’ve got them mostly completed through til February 12th or so, but I haven’t taken pics of them all yet so here are the last few I did photograph:

  • The Princess Bride coloring book

I have been ADDICTED to the new coloring book my brother got me for Hanukkah.

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This book is gorgeous.  It’s the entire movie in coloring book format!  No matter what your favorite scene from the movie might be, there’s a page ready for you to get to color it!

I always use the pages in the back of the book to swatch the supplies I plan to use.  I knew the pages were thick enough to allow water applications for my Inktense, but the little swatch sample I keep with the pencils is on beige paper.  I want to try to go for screen-accurate colors when possible, so I decided to swatch out ALL the Inktense colors.

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I gridded it out with a ruler then scribbled a tiny bit of color on one side of each cell.  Once it was dry I added the color numbers next to each but didn’t photograph that.

I’ve since begun working on some of the pages.  I’m going in order and have 4 pages in various states of completion.  It’s become my reward each night after I get the kids settled and tidy up and do laundry or whatever.  Chores done = coloring time LOL

Other Stuff

  • Cleaning!

Oh.  So.  Much.  Cleaning.  (…she says, pretending it wasn’t her own craft supplies making the mess in the first place!)  The house is long overdue for a big, thorough clean, and the first thing I’d tackled was the hutch in our dining room.  As you can see in the ‘before’ pic below, it was a massive jumble of an ill-organized mess, so crammed full of unnecessary things that there was no room for the things we DID need to store there.  During the brief lull between the kids’ gastro sessions I revamped the storage to better handle the things we needed.  My cake decorating supplies are still there, with the closed containers now spanning the top sections, and the open boxes and packages hidden inside the center.  Now the unit has become more of a central home art hub, with my drawing and coloring supplies on the left, and all of the home’s coloring and instructional drawing books on the right.  I’d grown up leafing through drawing books from a very young age and I didn’t want the boys to miss out just because mine were hidden away in my office.  The center square thing has become a homework depot (rather than homework remaining piled on the table or chairs during the week) with space for their binders and duotangs, as well as now being pre-stocked with construction paper, looseleaf, bond paper and cardstock, and the horizontal storage unit is all set up for them with glue sticks, scissors, erasers, sharpeners, etc.  All of their colored pencils and markers and such are in the top drawer right under the coloring books, so whether they’re up to some crafting or sitting down to homework, everything they need is right there.

I also did a similar complete overhaul to the den (I think that was between mine and Yannick’s bouts… ughhhh…), and am currently on a break with the kitchen about 85% complete to work on my office.  No pics of the rest cus there’s only so much of my mess I want to make public LOL

  • My hair 🙂

In the middle of all the illnesses I returned to work for the first time since roughly August.  Finally getting to be around people again was reason enough to treat myself to a little salon time, and I redid my crazy colors once more.me 2017-02-09 2.png

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If interested in any of the items I mentioned in this post, you can check them out below:
The Princess Bride coloring book
Derwent Inktense pencils
  • these are affiliate links.


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Crafty Compilation – w/e 01/13/17

Last week felt so productive, and yet I don’t have much in terms of photos to show for it (yet).  The primary reason for that is because those pics are being saved for individual posts, so here’s what else happened:


Knitting

  • Sierra Socks

I looked at my records and they showed I started these in July 2015.  I thought that was a typo until I remembered I’d been knitting them during the Neil Patrick Harris gala with Maaike during the Just For Laughs festival…in 2015.  D’oh.  Guess I haven’t been carrying my travel knitting around with me as much as I should have been.

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(Photographic evidence of when the first sock was but a wee babe)photo-2017-01-16-8-42-09-pm

It’s always so satisfying when the strips line up perfectly.

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I do make note to cast on each sock at the same place in the yarn’s repeat, so it should line up… but there’s always the chance of finding something a bit ‘off’.  (Though I suppose that’s more of an issue with hand-dyed yarns vs machine-dyed commercial yarns like Regia).

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I’ve worked on them off and on over the year and finally cast off the last stitch last week.  Now my travel bag is free to take on a new pair of socks.  🙂

Other Crafts

Over the holidays we’d received this Create A Treat Hanukkah House set from my mom.  The decorating was done right before New Years’, but this week I finally threw out the remaining pieces after the boys finally got to smash it to gobble it up, so I figured I’d share some of the decorating process.
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They had a really good time decorating it!  Yannick and I took turns applying the icing in small sections, and then the boys took turns putting candy on before the icing had set.

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Going in, I was doubtful that there’d be enough…of anything, really.  I fully expected to run out of icing and had a small tub of Wilton’s Fluffy White on standby just in case.  I’d also opened up about 20 packs of Rockets (if you’re Canadian…’Smarties’ if you’re American) into a little bowl but honestly I needn’t have bothered.
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There was so much leftover icing that I was able to cover the entire board the house was icing-glued to, and even blob it up to make small bushes.  I used up all the leftover snowflakes to cover the ‘ground’ but still have nearly half the little blue candies.  I included it in this post because while we didn’t DECORATE it during this week… we did SMASH AND EAT IT muahahahahaha.  It was surprisingly tasty…for a cookie that had been sitting in a box for who knew how long and then on our table exposed to the air for about two weeks!

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Henri received this 3D pen for his birthday, and we spent a fun afternoon trying it out.  I’ve got a full review about it coming, and will update this post once it’s up.

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If interested in any of the products I talked about in this post, you can check them out here:
Create A Treat Pre-Built Hanukkah Gingerbread House Kit
3Doodler Start
  • these are affiliate links.


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Skylanders Sprocket Cosplay – Wrench Part 3

In my last post I explained how to calculate yarn yardage needed for plastic canvas stitching.  Here’s the breakdown of how that applies to my project, Sprocket’s wrench.

The following chart shows each piece I’ll need to stitch, its dimensions, and what the resulting area is (in ‘holes’).

wrenchyardage All that figuring tells me I need 189.18 yards of yarn to stitch the wrench NOT counting any edging or whipstitching to join.  Sadly I only had 160y of my first choice yarn, a skein of gray acrylic from my stash.  I went stashdiving (virtually, thanks to a long weekend spent entering everything into Ravelry) and discovered 2 other possible gray yarns.  Briggs & Little’s Tuffy in Smoke, of which I have 10 skeins, and the gray localspun wool from my frogged Linden.  I went initially to the localspun but in the light the natural wool, blended from assorted animals, was overall too creamy for this project.  There were a lot of beige tones that wouldn’t work well to represent metal.  I’d been hoping to avoid breaking into the Tuffy so I could keep the lot for some other project, but I realized that I’d been holding onto it, unused, for about 10 years now.  Time to use it.

I’ve been toting around my bag of project pieces everywhere I went, using every minute of available time to stitch.  It’s dawning on me just how close July 4th is, and how ambitious my version of this costume is, and I’m realizing I might have to cut corners somewhere, but using spare time wisely will help me get the most done.  So whether I’m waiting for my kids at daycare or sitting in a waiting room or in line at the grocery store, I’ve been pulling out a piece of canvas and stitching wherever I was.

And it paid off.  As of yesterday, June 12, the wrench pieces are complete.

skylanders sprocket wrench parts

All that remains now is to stitch them together into the assembled, 3D wrench/purse.

And then make a vest, goggles, wig, gauntlets, chest plate, belt and boots.

In two weeks.

 


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mmm wasabi peas

Work was very swamped so I couldn’t post this earlier.  We had a guild exec meeting at my place tonight, so I couldn’t post this evening, so I’m posting now, even though I’m very tired.  I only got a row or two done but at least we accomplished a lot, guild-wise.

Very good outcome of tonight- I discovered a new brand of wasabi peas.  Mmmmm….wasabi-y.  Not only are these yummy, but they’re also salted, so they’re twice as good.  And every now and then you get one that makes you dance up and down and pound your foot on the floor because it’s so hot and you’re trying to distract your brain and your nose from the power of the green goodness.

I normally don’t like spicy foods, but there’s something about wasabi peas that’s got me hooked.  And my sinuses have never been clearer.

Oh- and I came up with an idea on how to save the original KAL Vegas scarf!  Stay tuned…

 


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this love is strong

Today we’ve got an appointment to visit one of the two elementary schools we’re zoned for.  Jakob will be starting school in Sept and we’re still torn about whether to put him in the French or English sector.  (Please don’t lecture me in the comments, both sectors have very strong pros, and very few cons, which is why we’re going to the open houses).  The English school (immersion until grade 2, then bilingual for 3-6) is very well rated.  The French school (all French, all the time, except about 30 min/week as of grade 1) is supposed to be good, but I don’t know anything really about it and they don’t do open houses until after the registration period, so it’s only for the parents who are enrolled.  I know they’ve redone the building and the playground, but that’s all I know.  There’s an excellent French school in my area, but their zone ends LITERALLY 3 houses down from me.  The whole rest of my street is zoned, except for the 20 houses at this end.  It’s kinda stupid.  Anyways, they do have an open house coming up on Thursday, so I’ll be going to check them out and find out about transfers, etc.

My plan for the rest of the day, once I get home, is to knit.  And knit, and knit, and knit.  I’m loving this scarf so much that I don’t want it to end, I want to keep seeing how the colors mix and mingle.  (And I need to finish it so I can get to another commission with a deadline).  (Ok technically I don’t NEED to finish the scarf first, but this new project will take about a month of knitting, it’s due in just over a month, and I want to wear the scarf in the winter…not wait until spring).

Oh, and I’m going to bake a quiche too, ‘cus my neighbor had a dozen extra eggs and I’ve got broccoli and bacon and cheese that really want to find a convenient way to get into my stomach.


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so sleepy

I think everyone in my house is tired today.  Last night Yannick, Jakob and myself went over to Jakob’s girlfriend’s house for dinner.  Yes, Jakob’s girlfriend.  They’ve been in the same class for 3 years, and unfortunately won’t be together any more as of Sept (different school districts) so we’ve been making extra efforts for playdates outside of school.  We had her family over for a nice raclette dinner right before Christmas, and now that our exam was over they invited over to repay the favor.  I deliberately left Henri at home with my sister because a) we were only going there for 7pm and he’s asleep by 7:30, and b) their place has a big central staircase and I’d worry about Henri falling on a good day, I didn’t want to worry about him being overtired and trying to keep up with Jakob and E.

It was a good thing I did!  We ended up having such a good time, great food and even better conversation, that we only left there at 12:30am- and the kids were STILL UP!!  I couldn’t believe it!

It turned out that Henri had only fallen asleep late himself too, so when this morning rolled around and I woke up in time to get the house up for swimming lessons…I totally bailed.  All 3 boys (Yannick included) were sound asleep, and I couldn’t wait to rejoin them, so we played hooky today and had a lazy, sleep-in morning.

I didn’t get much knitting done, partly from the late start, then partly from having to go into work for a bit, and once I got home I was still exhausted to called it early.

Since there’s nothing else to share, here’s a pic of Jakob, Henri and my brother Mike from yesterday, playing with our new lightsabers:

[insert Star Wars joke here]*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*bonus points if instead of Star Wars, it’s a Spaceballs quote!


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now is later

Ever since my last post I’ve had little ideas for blog posts.  Tiny snippets, each not worthy enough to be a whole post, but part of a larger entity.  A photo of some wound cakes of yarn.  A picture of my funky nail polish.  An “aha!” or “oops!” or “groan!” moment that I wanted to capture.

So I make a mental note to do a blog post later, and use that little nugget.

Usually I’m at work, or feeding the kids, or driving, when these thoughts come to me.  Usually they are forgotten once I get to the next thing I’m doing, which, more often then not, isn’t a blog post.

I don’t think I need to save up for a big post.  I don’t think anyone’s checking their blog aggregator eagerly in the morning to see if I’ve come up with a 15 page treatise on let’s say cables.

I’m going to try to post these little things as they happen, maybe from the computer, maybe from my phone.  Each individual post might not be much, but as a whole they’ll probably add up to a lot more.

Kinda like knitting.