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SuperBaby, revisited

The boys keep talking about what they want to be for Halloween this year, and it has me reminiscing about Jakob’s first Halloween, and one of my very first designs.

Here’s a repost, coming to you from all the way back in 2007.  Lookit how wittle he was!!

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From November 2007: May I present…

SuperBaby!

SuperBaby’s special powers include drowning his adversaries in massive amounts of drool, and the ability to shove anything into his mouth. Foes are often foiled in their plots by his awesome cuteness which requires all who pass to stop, come closer, and kiss him.

SuperBaby also managed to stand by himself (leaning on the sofa) for the purposes of taking this photo.
His detachable cape is this season’s “in” accessory. No SuperBaby would be caught dead without a cape this year, and we hear that shiny red is the new black.

The pattern is my own, for both the outfit and the cape. I had Yannick’s help in creating the baby, and the Superness is all his own. 🙂

By the way, these are the pumpkins that Yannick bought for outside our house. Should I be insulted that the “Daddy” and “Baby” pumpkins are perfect, and the “Mommy” pumpkin is all lumpy and deformed?

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Heh.

My brother Aaron edited that pic up there and now SuperBaby looks right at home, defending the city.

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He wore the outfit again for Purim too.  🙂

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A little while later I’d contacted DC inquiring about permission to write up and publish the pattern.  (They, duh, refused me).2746347727_708f81ccb0_n

So… I modified it into a generic superhero instead, and now anyone who wants to can knit up their very own!

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The pattern is written for ages 6-12 months [12-18 months], and includes full instructions and charts for the costume, the two shown chest shields, and the cape.  There is also a blank chart with instructions on how to design your own shield, in case you want to personalize it with your favorite SuperBaby’s initial.

It’s on Ravelry here.


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How to Make Minecraft Steve and Creeper Heads

Update: This tutorial is now also available as a downloadable PDF here. More details at bottom of this post.

It’s October!  That means it’s okay to start talking about Halloween, right?

It is according to Henri- when I woke him up for school this morning he gazed up at me sleepily and grinned “It’s October 1st.”  When I asked why that mattered he smiled even more adorably and said “Because now it’s almost Halloween.”

‘Almost’ is relative.  (He clearly gets his awareness of time from his father).  However his mention of it reminded me that I never showed last year’s costume.  So.  Now, with plenty of time to get ready for this year’s holiday… here’s how I made the boys Minecraft Steve and creeper heads, and how you can too!

how to make minecraft steve and creeper heads

The boys decided for Halloween they wanted to dress up as their favorite Minecraft characters.  They do sell ready-made cardboard heads in stores but they are expensive, and there are a ton of tutorials online.  I looked at a few, then worked things out with what I had on hand, and what I was able to find at the dollar store.

What you’ll need:

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1. Yannick came home with 2 small boxes he’d found somewhere.  Grocery stores often have ones you can ask for, or as a last resort you can buy boxes.

2. I used two-sided tape to tape the outer flaps to the inner ones (not shown) so the inner flaps wouldn’t drop down onto the kids’ heads.  Then I used masking tape to fully tape over the top seam, both to securely close one end of the box, and to make the seams less visible once they were painted.

3. I cut the lower flaps off the boxes and then used the same masking tape to cover the exposed edges.  It would gave a cleaner look, vs the rough look of cut corrugated cardboard, plus was less likely to catch and tear, which could potentially pull off the paint.

4. I divided the 4 sides and top into even grids.  I looked at pictures of the characters online and mapped out roughly how many squares per color/face, and then used a ruler to divide the front (face side) into the grid.  Once the face was set, I carried the markings around the sides of the boxes, and finally the top.  Because the boxes are taller than wide, the top has fewer squares than the sides do.  That’s not what the characters SHOULD look like, but I didn’t think the kids would mind.

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5. Once the boxes were plotted I used a cutting blade (also from the dollar store) to slice out the eyehole sections.  For Steve, only the dark pupil area was cut out.  For the creeper it made more sense with where Henri’s face was to cut out the larger nose/mouth section.  After removing those areas I covered the exposed edges with masking tape.

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6. Finally it was time to start painting.  The paints and brushes were from – you guessed it – the dollar store.  The advantage with the Minecraft characters is that if you have to custom mix your paints to get the right colors, it doesn’t matter as much as it would in most projects if you have enough to complete your painting or if you need to mix more and risk not matching quite right.  The goal is to have an assortment of shades, so blending colors works perfectly.

That said, if you prefer a more accurate version, I have compiled this tutorial into a downloadable PDF (linked at the bottom of the post) which includes full-color screen-accurate charts for both characters, including the hex codes for each color so you can color-match accurately.

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Here’s the four sides of the painted creeper head.  I set the boxes to dry on a paper towel roll to hold them off my counter until the lower edge was dry.  (I held them up the same way while painting too).

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Same goes for our buddy Steve here.  I’d only had three shades of brown paint on-hand to work with, so I blended them together with some black for the hair, and then lightened with some white and a touch of red for the face.  (I’d actually done the face/neck/ears first, so then I could re-use the same paints but darken them for the hair.  That avoided any waste and kept the same unifying overall color tone for the head.)

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I had them both on the counter while I cleaned up the dining room table of all my painting gear.  Couldn’t resist this dramatic shot.  Look out!  He’s behind you!

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7. The next step was to seal the heads with an aerosol can of clear sealant.  I didn’t know what the weather would be like on Halloween and didn’t relish the idea of my hard work being ruined by a few drops of rain or thick snow settling on the kids’ heads.  I moved the heads into the garage and set them on some newspaper to protect the floor as I sprayed, and did a few coats, allowing each one to dry for about 20 minutes in between.  If you have a dry, open area outside or good, even weather you could do this next step outside, but here there was nowhere I could leave them unattended, so I had my garage door open the entire time I sprayed, and then left it about a foot open during the drying time between coats.  Once they were properly sealed and dry to the touch I brought them inside and allowed them to dry for a full day before the final steps. 

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The last bit in getting the masks ready to wear was to block out the open areas.  I bought a gauzy sheer black scarf (also at the dollar store!) and cut off squares large enough to fully cover the open areas.

8.  Using the same double-sided tape I secured the black fabric down around the cut areas.

9. Finally I covered all the exposed edges of the cloth with masking tape, making it doubly secure and hiding any rough, cut edges so they wouldn’t catch or fray.

With that, the masks were complete!  The black gauzy fabric looks opaque from the outside but from the inside it’s so sheer that it’s quite easy to see through it, making it perfect for this project.

From idea to finished product this project took about 4 days.  Halloween was on a Friday last year and Yannick brought me home the boxes on Monday night.  Tuesday I did everything up to/including painting.  On Wednesday night I sprayed the clear coat, and then on Thursday night I stuck the black fabric in.

They were pretty darn excited!

Halloween night they posed for a quick picture inside…

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…then it was time to go trick-or-treating.

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Can’t you almost hear the tick…tick…tick…BOOM? The heads held up beautifully and the boys felt like mini celebrities as they walked down the street and people from all over, even in passing cars, yelled out “Steve!” and “Creeper!” and gave them high-fives.  The heads have now become part of our dress-up box and are still in great condition, and they wore them for ‘Halloween Day’ at their camp this summer.

*Update in 2020: the heads are still going strong! The boys outgrew them of course, but we keep them as nerdy shelf displays and they look exactly the same as they did back when I made them.

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I hope this post shows you how easy and fast it can be to make your own Minecraft Steve and Creeper heads!

You can adapt the tutorial to make any Minecraft mob, and I’ve got an assortment compiled for you here.

As mentioned above, if you’d like an easy-to-print-and-save PDF version of this tutorial, I have made it available on Etsy here. The 9-page PDF includes full instructions with additional details, clear photographs, as well as game-accurate full-color numbered charts for all 5 sides of both character’s heads along with their hex codes for perfect color matching.

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More Minecraft-themed fun:

How to make a Minecraft Enderman head and diamond block trick-or-treat basket

How to make Minecraft Lootbags

How to make Minecraft Mob fondant cake/cupcake toppers

How to make a Minecraft cake

Throwing a Minecraft birthday party

Minecraft Zombie Charts

Minecraft Jack-O’-Lantern Charts

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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how to make a viking vest

Henri has wanted to be a viking for a while now.  Not for Halloween, I mean he wants to be a viking in general.  (It’s either viking or pirate, depending on the day).

Jakob got a light-up viking helmet at the How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, and unfortunately when we brought Henri the next day they were all sold out of helmets, so he got a Toothless plushie instead.  (Jakob, you’ll remember, got the one I knitted for his birthday…which I think I never blogged.  Oops).

The kids share the helmet, and last month when it was time to pick costumes for ComicCon (which I think I also forgot to blog…crap) Henri REALLY wanted to wear the helmet and be a viking, but a quick search through the closets revealed that we didn’t have any viking clothes.  All we had even close to a viking vest (like Hiccup wears in the movie) was a gray zippered sweatshirt-style vest.  The kids dressed as Avengers instead but Henri had it stuck in his mind that that was his viking vest and he has worn it non-stop ever since.  He’s worn it to school on back-to-back days, he’s worn it over his fall jacket, he wears it around the house, and on more times than I can count I check on him at night to find that he’s put it on over his pjs and worn it to sleep.

(Something about a 3 year old with tousled sleep hair in footie-pjs, amirite?)

He stops strangers to point out his “viking vest”, but commented a few weeks ago how “it’s not a REAL viking vest, Mommy, because it has a zipper and REAL viking vests have buttons”.  Oh.  Right.  ‘Cus vikings didn’t have zippers.

I promised I’d make him a viking vest, and yesterday I did just that.  I took photos throughout so if you want to make one, you can too.

I used some fur fabric my neighbor gave me, a sheet of newspaper, a sharpie & a pair of scissors, plus a sharp large-eyed needle, black acrylic yarn and white cotton yarn.  The only other thing you need is a vest that fits your child (or you!).

I started by laying the vest on the paper and traced half of it.  I used my finger to push down then traced to know where the neckline in the middle lined up.

I knew I wanted to add some length to the bottom and the armhole so it would fit him longer, as well as lowering the neckline to a v-neck, so I made those changes on my template.

I cut it out and checked against the vest.

I decided I wanted to make the neckline more sloped so marked off the changes on the pattern…

…then cut it out and checked again.

I was happy with the shape so I traced it onto my fabric.  It’s hard to see, but I traced out the half-vest pattern, flipped it and traced again for the other front, then traced it back-to-back, flipped, for a piece to fit the back.  The only thing I didn’t realize is that the fur fabric had a direction to it in which the fur laid flat.  I tried to be as economical with the fabric as possible so didn’t have a choice, but you would probably rather make sure you’re lying the pieces with the fur running from up to down, like natural fur.

I cut the pieces out on the porch which was a great idea because there were bits of fur flying EVERYWHERE.  I used my fingers to fluff up and pick at all the edges to make sure I’d gotten as many stray cut bits as possible before bringing it into the house.

I used a sharp needle and black chunky acrylic yarn from a big-box store to work a blanket stitch edging around each piece.  I eyeballed it, placing the stitches roughly 0.5″ apart, and 0.5″ down into the fabric.

The simple edging really gave the pieces a finished, yet still “handmade by Vikings” look.  (In this light you can see my fur runs in the opposite direction from how the vest will be worn, oops!)

This is the inside of the pieces, for those who like that kinda thing.  🙂

I used the same black yarn to seam the two sides and the shoulders together.  I did something similar to mattress stitch, butting up the two pieces to be joined and catching a loop from each edge all the way along.

Almost done!

Inside shot.

For a finishing touch I used white worsted-weight cotton yarn (dishcloth cotton) and made large stitches across the joined pieces.  This is purely decorative, but makes it look like Vikings really made it! according to my 3 and 5 year olds, and I trust them.

This is Henri’s final costume- a green long-sleeved tee, brown cords, his new vest and the light-up plastic helmet.  I may make a Viking axe if I have time/remember by Halloween.

Henri the Brave!

Back view.

He thought he was dancing for me.  I just wanted to see the decorative stitches.

That’s one happy Viking!


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My First Costume: SuperHero

Presenting my latest pattern, now available both through Knit Picks or Ravelry.

My First Costume: SuperHero

Some of you may remember the Superman costume I’d knit for Jakob when he was a baby.  This is my update of that pattern.

The pattern is knit toe-up, in (mostly) one piece.  The legs are knit first then joined for the briefs, then the sleeves are knit and finally the body, which is knit in one piece from the yoke up.  I included short-row shaping in the diaper area to give more room and a better fit.

There are photo instructions on how to make the optional cape.

The Power Princess chart is included…

as well as the chart for your little SuperStar.

Not only that, but I provided a blank chart and instructions on how to personalize the pattern, so you can put your own image, your child’s initial or anything you like!  (That’s how I made the original Superman version…I’m just saying…)

I was very lucky to have my friend’s daughter Maya model for me, and her father Avi take the photos.  (If you like his work, he is an amazing Montreal-area photographer.  You can see more of his work on his website).

I hope you like the pattern.  I have been having requests for it ever since Jakob’s version came out, but life got in the way and it wasn’t until now that I was able to get it out into the world.  I would have loved to have had it ready in time for Hallowe’en this year, but at least now it is out there and ready, early enough for next year.  (So you’ve got a whole year to knit!)

Enjoy!


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how to make a poodle skirt

On Tuesday afternoon, my sister Laura called me up out of the blue and asked if I could make her a poodle skirt. No rush or anything…she only needed it by Thursday morning. Being the wonderful, amazing, loving, insane sister I am, I agreed.

The total cost for this project is minimal, about $8 CAD plus the cost of your fabric. I was lucky and happened to be at my cousin Robyn’s place Tuesday night, and she had a huge bolt of pink fabric and I bought some off of her (to be paid for as soon as she tells me how much she wants for it). Your costs may vary depending on the fabric you buy, but the other supplies were cheap. If you already have them at home, it will be even cheaper.

All sewing was done by hand, and the total time for this project was 3 hours.

MATERIALS

1. Fabric. I like the pink poodle skirts with a black poodle, but you can choose whatever color pleases you. White with blue is a nice combination too. The width of your fabric (not the length) will be the diameter of your skirt. Cost- variable. (Here’s something similar on Amazon).

2. Felt. The felt is for the poodle. Choose a piece that is at least as big as the size of the poodle you would like to make. Cost for 1 piece of felt- $0.25 at Dollarama, or get bulk packs

3. Trim. This is for the edging. You can choose whatever kind of ribbon you want, but the wider it is, the easier it will be to apply (it will be used to hide the cut edges of the fabric). The one I chose is slightly elastic, with sequins. It was perfect. You need to buy enough to outline the outside edge of the skirt. To figure out how much ribbon you need, do this formula: measure the diameter of your skirt. Mine was 56″ wide. Multiply this number by pi, or 3.14. I get 175.84″. Convert this amount (inches) into meters or yards, depending on how your ribbon is sold, plus a little extra for insurance. I needed something like 5.6 yards, and my ribbon is sold in packs of 3 yards each, so I bought 2 packs. Cost for 2 packs of trim- $2.00 at Dollarama, or get by the spool

4. Elastic. This is for the waist band. I didn’t buy the really skinny kinds of elastic because I didn’t want the waist band to flip. Buy whatever kind you like, long enough to go around the intended wearer’s waist. Cost for the elastic- $1.99 at BouClair, or get by the spool

5. Thread. For sewing the waist band. I didn’t buy black because I already had, but I didn’t have a pink to match the fabric. Cost for the thread- $1.78 at BouClair or buy an assortment

6. Cord. This is for the leash. You can find all sorts of funky cords at fabric and notions stores. I chose a cord that is actually two thinner cords twisted around each other like a rope. Cost for the cord- $0.39 at BouClair or get a collection of colors

7. Beads (not shown). I chose to make a beaded collar for the poodle, because I have a stash of beads already. Cost for the beads- n/a but if you don’t have any on hand, you can get started with a beading kit

DIRECTIONS

Step 1- Get a Square: Lay out the fabric and find a square. To do this, fold one corner of the fabric up against the other side in a triangle. Cut away any excess fabric, and you will be left with a perfect square (as perfect as the fabric is, anyways).

Step 2- Find the Center: Fold the square back into a triangle, and in half (as a triangle) again. Find the corner where all the folds have in common. With your scissors, make a very small snip off the end of this corner. When you open up your square again there will be a hole in the center of it. This will help you make your circles centered.

Step 3- Trace your Circles: Using 2 pencils and some string, make a homemade compass to trace your circles on the fabric. There are plenty of tutorials on how to do this (here’s one) but long story short is to tie the string to the ends of both pencils, put one on the center hole, and, keeping the string taut, use the other to draw a big circle on your fabric. You want the length of the string to be the length of the radius for your skirt.

For example, my fabric square was 56″ across, so my skirt could have a radius of a maximum of 28″. You can check the length by swinging the pencil around and making sure it doesn’t go off the fabric anywhere. If it does, shorten the string a bit. Once your length is good, draw your outside edge circle. It helps to have someone help you by holding the center pencil in place while you draw.

Repeat this process for the waist band circle. The intended wearer has a 27″ waist (color me jealous) so I calculated what the diameter would be of a circle that was 28″ around (28/3.14=8.917). I added an inch because I wanted the waist band to have a gather. If I would have had wider fabric, I would have added more than an inch so it would hang in nice folds. Anyways, once I knew that my diameter was roughly 9″, I shortened the string to 4.5″ (the radius, or half of the diameter) and drew another circle in the center. At this stage my fabric looked like this:

Step 4- Cut it Out: Using your scissors, cut out both circles. You will be left with a doughnut of fabric.

Step 5- Sew on Trim: I used black sewing thread, and used a simple running stitch to attach the trim around the outside edge of the skirt. This worked great because I didn’t have to hem the edge. All I did was, working on an inch or so at a time, was line up the ribbon over the edge of the fabric with the ribbon centered over the edge. By centering it, even if the edge flipped up a little, no one would see the jagged cut edge of the pink fabric. Don’t worry if your edge is uneven, causing your ribbon to not make a perfect circle around the edge. No one will ever know. Mine wasn’t even at all, and you really can’t tell.

Step 6- The Waist Band: I cut and sewed my elastic into a 28″ circle. I folded the edge of the inner circle over it and sewed it down with the pink thread. I made perpendicular cuts into the fabric at 2″ intervals to give me some slack in turning the fabric back to sew it over the elastic. It gets tight at the end, but simply gather the fabric away from where you are sewing and it will work fine. Once the band is sewn in, adjust the gathers so they are even around the skirt.

Step 7- Poodle: Find a poodle shape that you like, and adjust it to the correct size on the computer. Print the poodle and cut it out. Use a contrasting color (I used an orange colored pencil) and trace the poodle onto your felt. Cut out the poodle from the felt. Find a nice area of the skirt to place the poodle. I used the black thread and a running stitch again to sew down the poodle. I didn’t pin or baste it down first, but you can if you are afraid it will move. I made sure to tuck the end of the cord under the neck first for where I wanted the leash to attach. This hides the end under the poodle.


Step 8- The Leash: There is no set pattern for how to place your leash. You can make it as curvy or as straight as you like. I laid out the cord in a pattern I found pleasing. I used tiny stitches to catch the cord at various spots to hold it in place.

Step 9-The Collar: The collar can be as fanciful as you like. There can be no collar. If you have glitter pens, you can use them for both the collar and the leash, if you like. I had spare beads so I made a beaded collar the width of the poodle’s neck, and sewed that in place.

Et voila- the finished skirt. You can jazz it up with some music notes if you like, and can wear a crinoline underneath it too. For the complete look, wear your poodle skirt with the following:


-white t-shirt, preferably with a collar
-short white socks
-tennis sneakers
-black wide belt over the skirt and t-shirt
-ponytail (you can use some of the excess skirt fabric for a hair bow)
-light pink lipstick
-pale or no eyeshadow
option: tie a short scarf around your neck

Have fun rockin’ around the clock at your next sock hop!

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.