desk after

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challenge complete

I managed to finish my dining room desk overhaul and whoa what a difference it makes!  A main benefit is supposed to be when I work on my next project… having all my supplies organized and at-hand… but an important EXTRA benefit is that now the desk is clean… which means Yannick no longer tries to avoid looking in the dining room’s general direction.  ;)

The before can be seen in my previous post…and here’s the after:

desk after

What a difference, no?  All that space… just waiting for me to pile stuff on it… hehehe


messy desk dining room

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self-imposed challenge, accepted

So many blog drafts, so little time.  :( I have so much I want to share and yet keep finding my nights kept busy by more projects that require my hands… which means they can’t be on the keyboard, editing pics and writing up posts.  However, one project is trumping all the others today.

I recently tackled cleaning my office, and have been greatly enjoying the convenience of being able to walk in, immediately grab what I need from it’s appropriate, labeled container, and then leave, without having to trip over supplies or dig through stacks.  Craft stuff lives (mostly) downstairs, but cake stuff hangs out in assorted places in the kitchen and dining room.  When I first started, 7 years ago, a small tupperware sufficed.  Two years ago that tupperware grew into a toolbox, but now, sadly (?) I’ve outgrown that as well.

I always decorate cakes and cookies in my dining room, and quite a few times I’ve looked up at the hutch right in front of me and thought how great it would be to transform it into some kind of giant decorating center.  It’s a convenient space and Yannick and I each have our own ‘sides’, plus it’s where we keep drawing and craft materials for the kids, so converting my side into something useful would make sense.  Plus, until recently, my side was crammed full of books, old magazines and photo albums, none of which had been touched in at least 5 years.

The books were moved somewhere more appropriate and the magazines donated, and the craft supplies that should be moved down to my office were tucked into a Costco box with the intent to (eventually) bring them downstairs.  Since then, with each new food project, I’ve slowly moved assorted containers and supplies up into the now-empty shelves.

Not organized, of course.  THAT would have been to easy.

Well, that’s my plan for today.

messy desk dining room

Organize this space.

And drink coffee.  Lots of coffee.


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on the way to Hogwarts

Those who follow me on Instagram/FB got a sneak peek at Henri’s Hallowe’en costume this year.  The boys fell hard into the world of Hogwarts when we began showing them the films this year, though we stopped after the 5th one because they were getting a bit too dark.

Jakob wants to be Draco Malfoy.  It was his original costume choice, now possibly swapped out for a Minecraft Enderman, but in general, he wants to be a Slytherin.  He thinks Harry was put in the wrong house, and that Slytherin is where it’s at.  It’s less to do with the negative traits or a penchant for the color green, than it is that, as he likes to remind me, “We love snakes, Mom.“.  Yes.  Yes we do.

Jakob, age 4, with friend.

The Snake is my Chinese sign and a long-favored creature of mine, and that love transferred down to my oldest.  In fact, we’d have a pet snake at home if it weren’t for 2 things: 1. I would be too heartbroken to feed it mice, and 2. my father-in-law would never visit again.

In any case, if ever he were to dress up as anything from the Potterverse, it would be in Slytherin colors.  But Henri?  He’s Gryffindor all the way.


Doesn’t he even LOOK like a young Harry???

We bought those glasses and wand last weekend at the local Hallowe’en store, and my mom lent us a black grad gown that is PERFECT for his robes.  I’d like to find time to make a crest for the robe, but the main finishing touch for his costume is the scarf, so I decided to get on that last night.

The burgundy isn’t quite right, but I’m working with stash yarn and I don’t think he’ll mind too much.  The pattern is my own, such as it is.

CO 30 sts with burg yarn.  Work 1×1 rib for 30 rows.  Change to yellow, work 1×1 rib for 30 rows.  Repeat, ending after a burgundy section.  Add fringe.

I decided against working stockinette because I really didn’t feel like taking the extra time to make it doubled or in the round, and a flat panel of st st would curl like crazy.  1×1 rib contracts enough to look almost like stockinette and won’t curl, making it quicker and easier for a 6yo’s Hallowe’en costume.  :)IMG_8044


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SuperBaby, revisited

The boys keep talking about what they want to be for Hallowe’en this year, and it has me reminiscing about Jakob’s first Hallowe’en, 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!!


From November 2007: May I present…


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?



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


He wore the outfit again for Purim too.  :)



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!


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.

how to make minecraft steve and creeper heads

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How to Make Minecraft Steve and Creeper Heads

It’s October!  That means it’s okay to start talking about Hallowe’en, 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 Hallowe’en.”

‘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 headsThe boys decided for Hallowe’en 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.

minecraft heads wip 011. 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 dollar store 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 dollar store 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.

minecraft heads wip 02

5. Once the boxes were plotted I used an 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.minecraft heads wip 03

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.minecraft heads wip 04

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).minecraft heads wip 05

Same goes for our buddy Steve here.  I’d only had three shades of brown 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.)minecraft heads wip 06

I had them both on the counter while I cleaned up the dining room table of all my painting gear.  Couldn’t resist this shot.  Look out!  He’s behind you!minecraft heads wip 07

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 Hallowe’en 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.  minecraft heads wip 08

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.  Hallowe’en 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!

Hallowe’en night they posed for a quick picture inside…

minecraft heads wip 10

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


minecraft heads wip 11

Can’t you almost hear the tick…tick…tick…BOOM? minecraft heads wip 12The 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 ‘Hallowe’en Day’ at their camp this summer.

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


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you say it’s your birthday…well it’s my birthday too, yeah

I’ve been complaining lately about not finding making the time to post.  I have a backlog of images that I want to share, tutorials and baked goods and crafty things of all sorts.

Today’s my birthday.

IMG_7172To celebrate, I’m gonna do it (post, you pervs LOL) and share some of the things that have been keeping me busy the last month.

IMG_5997Henri finished his first, then his second chapter books.

He won’t go to bed without a book and a flashlight.  (He gets that from me).IMG_6067Jakob discovered Grumpy Cat.

IMG_6262I’ve been hooking.  (Heh).

IMG_6446I caught a toad and the boys got to hold it.

IMG_6449Doesn’t it look like he’s almost posing?  (The toad).

IMG_6612We finally assembled the boys’ beds into a bunk bed in Jakob’s room…

IMG_6642…and Henri got bunk beds too (I forgot to take a better ‘after’ pic)…

IMG_6628…so of COURSE the first thing they did was have a sleepover.

IMG_6635They became ninjas (or rappers, I can’t quite tell which)…

IMG_6739…and climbed trees…

IMG_6818…and did shadow-puppet shows…

IMG_6821…and dressed themselves with no regards for color or pattern.

Finally the summer drew to a close, and they had their first day of school.IMG_6881They kissed each other goodbye (I couldn’t resist this pic!!)…

IMG_6886…and then Mr. Grade 3 went off on his way…

IMG_6891…followed not long after by Mr. Grade 1.

In what may be the BIGGEST surprise of the summer, I managed to transform my office from this:

IMG_6952(Don’t judge me)

…to this:


(I KNOW, right???)


Funny, I always thought he was priceless.

And that works us back to today.


This is what 38 looks like.

Have a great weekend!

Photo 2015-07-23, 5 47 43 PM

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In this post: the cast of an NBC sitcom surrounding me as they hold stitched samples of their likeness.  In other words, just a normal Thursday…


First, a brief apology.  After the rush and whirlwind of finishing my Sprocket costume I took a little break from crafting, and blogging.  Took advantage of not needing to stay up until 3am to crash early, or do other things that didn’t involve math, or thinking.  Couple that with an onslaught of weather-induced migraines, and I’ve been getting a lot more rest lately, but it means the blogging has suffered.  :/

So.  A few weeks ago I got word that I’d be able to attend a Just For Laughs panel involving the cast of Undateable.


I knew that since it would be a con-style panel, vs a stand-up-type comedy show, there was a chance the audience might be able to meet the cast.  And I decided I wanted to do something for them.  While I enjoy the show, I didn’t do it because I’m the ohemgee number one fan!!! nor to get a chance to potentially meet them.  I just thought it would be nice.  :)

I hit upon the idea of doing something in cross stitch right away.  I knew it was easy and portable and something I could likely finish in time (I had less than a week until the panel).  I’ve had transactions in the past with an etsy vendor called weelittlestitches and I absolutely love her work*, and immediately I thought of contacting her to commission a custom pattern of the cast.  Unfortunately I didn’t think the timing would work out, so I ended up designing them myself.

I did an image search for each character and put together a little file for each one, giving me the gist of that character’s ‘look’.  At the same time I also pulled out some quotes from each episode so I could add a funny line for each character.

“Justin”, played by Brent Morin

undateable justin pic

Photo 2015-07-23, 11 29 44 AM“I’m kind of like Spanx.   I’m there to support you wherever you need it.”

  “Burski”, played by Rick Glassman

undateable burski pic

Photo 2015-07-23, 11 31 06 AM


“Leslie”, played by Bianca Kajlichundateable leslie pic Photo 2015-07-23, 11 30 21 AM

“One-night-stands are like fast food- sure you feel guilty the next day

but sometimes you just need something cheap you can enjoy in your car.”

“Danny”, played by Chris D’Elia

undateable danny pic Photo 2015-07-23, 11 32 21 AM

“Change is hard, Baby Bird, but I’m gonna help mend those broken wings.

I’m gonna be the father bird and just feed you knowledge.”

“Candace”, played by Bridgit Mendler

undateable candace pic

Photo 2015-07-23, 11 33 50 AM

“All I have is a scrawny little white-girl butt… There are people out there who like those too, right?”

“Brett”, played by David Fynn

undateable brett pic Photo 2015-07-23, 11 33 16 AM

“I’ve had sex with a lot of ladies.”

And finally “Shelly”, played by Ron Funches… who wasn’t there, but I hope his got to him anyways.

undateable shelly pic

Photo 2015-07-23, 11 31 45 AM

“I identify with piñatas.  I’m also adorable and full of candy.”

Once at the panel my mom and I were seated pretty close.  Like…

Photo 2015-07-23, 3 52 27 PM

My feet were about 2 feet from the stage.

…really close.  So close in fact that when the cast came out and Rick was using his phone to stream the panel for Periscope, I jokingly offered to hold it for him and he leaned over and handed it to me.  (So if any of you reading this were watching the panel, I’m sorry for swinging it around and possibly making you nauseous before I realized where it was actually aiming).Photo 2015-07-23, 4 45 52 PM

Brent answering a question, possibly about the little gnome in his butt (you had to be there), while David, Rick, Bianca and Bridgit look on and feign amusement.

Photo 2015-07-23, 4 45 47 PM

The other side of said gnome-butt convo, egged on by Chris and more feigned amusement on behalf of Adam Sztykiel and Bill Lawrence, along with the panel moderator (who I think was from Mashable?).

Towards the end of the panel they took audience questions and I got the last one, asking, rather awkwardly, “I, um, made you guys something.  Can I give it to you?”  (Not my finest moment).  Luckily they said yes, and I got to give each one their framed portrait.  At one point Chris asked if it was called needlepoint, and started calling out, all Oprah-esque, “YOU get a needlepoint!  And YOU get a needlepoint!  Aaand YOU get a needlepoint!”.

Photo 2015-07-23, 4 59 58 PMThere was a funny/sad moment towards the very end when they were all looking at each others’ and then Bill put out his hands and looked around like “Where… where’s mine?”  I offered him a hug instead but he didn’t take me up on it.

Then the panel was over, and I thought that was the end of it.  Instead, however, David jumped right down and came and gave me a hug and said thanks.  Bianca did too, before walking away.  Brent came by, and suddenly I turned around and the whole cast (minus Bianca and the absent Ron) were standing right behind me.  My mom had been taking pics the whole time, so I wound up with this:

Photo 2015-07-23, 5 47 43 PM

Yep.  That’s me looking all dork-tastic.  :)

Mom and I had barely made it to the elevator when my phone buzzed, and I saw this Tweet:

Photo 2015-07-23, 5 42 47 PMPhoto 2015-07-23, 5 42 43 PM

Awwww! :D

* If you’re into cross stitch, or pop culture, or any combination thereof, go check her stuff out, it’s amazing.  :D


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