Things I have made

My knitting and crocheting has been a constant this year, often with miss Cherry Bo by my side while I count rows and track patterns.  With autumn a week away (at least on the calendar, since we are gong to hit 80+ degrees this week) I started working on my family’s cold-weather accessories.

Despite my constant feeling that I need more hours in the day to work on my projects, I am pretty happy with the items I have been able to make so far this year.

What was supposed to be a Christmas 2016 present ended up being a January 2017 gift instead when the original was ruined due to being much too over sized and my own frustration – in the end, however, both Steve and I were happy with the results:

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This is a very comfortable sweater, in the squishiest yarn ever (Knit Picks City Tweed) and he’s worn it proudly several times.

For myself, I made a sweater by one of my favorite designers – I had bought the yarn at Michaels and the sweater is just lovely to wear, very cozy.

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However, I will say that two of my favorite pieces are the sweaters I’ve made for my boys in their beloved green.

I love the fact that living in Wisconsin as we do now, I can make them these sweaters that will actually get worn.

I’ve also made some lighter tops as layering pieces for myself:

as well as various hats, scarves, and mittens.

I’m currently working on a cardigan for myself and have made a couple of winter hats but I’d like to make a few more scarves and hats for the boys and Steve. I usually have three or four projects that I work on at any time, and wish for more hours in the day to finish them!

If you’d like to see all my projects and works in progress, I track them all on Ravelry.

 

A little Winter Wonderland

Now that we live north of the wall, I wanted to have one of our rooms full of sparkling, snowy adornments – and our library is small enough that I could put up a few things and not compete with the red and plaid madness of the rest of the Christmas decorations.

I mean, when your boys look like this while waiting for the school bus
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— aren’t they rocking those double layers?  ha — then you have to bring some of that snowy loveliness inside.  Just not literally.  We have a shoe brush thing my husband built so if you have snow on your shoes please leave that snowy loveliness outside.

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I bought the two glittery deer on the right last year, with the thought of adding some more this year.
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The dignified fellow on the left is from Target, and all three of them spend their days keeping an eye on the neighborhood.  Neighbors have left, new neighbors are moving in, they can tell you all about it.  The center candleholder we’ve had for years, and I got the white wreath at JoAnn’s to hang opposite the outdoor wreath we have on that window.

I don’t style my bookshelves because we actually read the books we have, but I did have this spot with a huge yellow vase in it.
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The vase got relocated and I stuffed some snowy greenery we had into a Target dollar spot galvanized vase.  FYI, those things are NOT waterproof, so my awesome husband had to seal it for me so I could put flowers and not end up with an indoor lake.  And then, of course, I went and stuck fake stuff in it for Christmas.

The beautiful houses on either side are part of a collection Steve has, he got them and the others he has from art festivals and renaissance faires, and they’re works of art.  They fit perfectly in that spot so I didn’t move them, just added an old little lantern and a fleur-de-lis I found at WalMart, and a glittery little house from Michaels.

Finally, the spot where I can wait for the school bus in the afternoon – our youngest is only let out of the bus if one of us is waiting for him and these days I’m not waiting outside, so I can hang out with our Cherry girl and knit while I wait.
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Although when I’m sitting there, it looks more like this
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The JOY and NOEL signs are from World Market, our Sussex sign is by LulaRue and purchased at Roost.  The blue throw, A.K.A. Everybody’s Favorite Blanket, is from ZGallerie, the white birdcage is Partylite and the delicious pear candle inside is from Rosy Rings.  The monogram mug is Target and the coffee inside is made in my beloved Nespresso.

We’re having our second annual FriendsGivingMas this weekend so I’ll be sharing some pics next week – have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

Our Halloween Bash

This is the first time we have a) thrown a Halloween party, and b) co-hosted an event with another couple.  Our friends J & H are pretty awesome people — and she knits, like me, so you know she’s cool — and we decided to combine our party lists and have a joint bash at our house.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen several of the details Steve has made, and it was pretty cool to see our decor “in action” during the party.

Now, let us welcome you to our party:
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We chose a pretty iconic couple as our costumes:
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Our boys were Sans from Undertale and a (not so) terrifying T-Rex:
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Our guests ranged from Futurama characters to the villainous Joker, to Luigi and Diet Coke to Khal Drogo and his beloved Khaleesi. We also had Egyptian royalty, Indiana Jones, Nemo, Harry Potter, mad scientists, Frankenstein and his bride, groovy chicks, Miss Scarlet in the library with the rope, the Tardis, Walter Sobchak, Rosie the Riveter, and many other friends who made our party so much fun.
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Word has it that the mysterious Lord Stonehouse, ancient owner of our home, made an appearance at midnight, but it remains a rumor.

Steve worked super hard to transform our home and I think he did an amazing job, and H made delicious food for everyone to fill their bellies – thanks to everyone, friends old and new, for coming to our party!

Meet Cherry!

It took me a few months after we lost Foxy to even consider getting a new dog.  Oh, I was always torturing myself by looking at the Humane Society pages, but to actually get to the point where I would go in and look at the dogs . . . nope, that didn’t happen for a while.

Finally, at the end of this past winter, Aidan and I headed over – we’d seen a dog named Cherry (for her cherry eyes) on the website, and we wanted to meet her.  She was a Southern lady, one of the many dogs that have little chance for adoption in some Southern states and get sent up here in hopes of finding a forever family.

Cherry was very sweet from the first moment, we don’t know what her background was, but she has been a loving girl and constant companion.  She does have separation anxiety and when I got a part-time job during the summer, she made her feelings known every time I would leave, even though Steve and the boys were home.  Having made the commitment of being with her, I felt that I needed to honor that and I quit my job (where I spent more than I made, so probably not a bad thing) and she is much happier now.

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She puts up with modeling the dog sweater I made for her and keeps me company while I knit, do laundry, clean house, etc.  She just wants to be with her mama.

If you come visit us she will greet you with lots of barking until she sniffs you – she just wants to make sure you’re not a meanie and once she gets to know you, she’ll bring you her toy to play.

She was described as a puggle – a mix of beagle and pug – but some people with more dog knowledge believe she also has some Mountain Cur or Boxer in her makeup.

We are happy to have welcomed Cherry – her official name is Cherry Cherry Bo Berry – into our family and hope she knows how much she is loved.  She recently went through some surgery to remove some teeth and fix a little bump on her eyelid that kept irritating her eye – our local vet staff is amazing and our girl is more comfortable than ever, we hope.  We just want her to have a good life with us.

How Steve made the Gipsy Danger costume

A few of you have asked how Steve made our son’s costume from the movie Pacific Rim – I asked him to write down an overview of the process.

Disclaimer 1 – he’s not a newbie. He’s been making costumes for a few years now and while some of the techniques were new to him, he’s always been good at putting things together. There is no way I could make something like this. I can sew and knit and make jewelry, but I’ve never made stuff like this.

Disclaimer 2 – he’ll be traveling for work in the upcoming days and won’t be available for any further or more detailed explanation. There are a lot of good tutorials on YouTube for building armor like this out of foam, and some cosplayers are very good at sharing their techniques as well.

Here it goes:

I started the build using a program called pepakura that ‘unwraps’ 3D images into their component sections. There is an artist on http://www.therpf.com which is the Replica Props Forum – a home for cosplay and movie prop reproductions. He ‘built’ the model for Gypsy Danger and I used this to print out the helmet. I printed it on cardstock and assembly was pretty easy with hot glue.

Once I had a basic shape and size for the helmet, I then used EVA foam mats which are the anti-fatigue floor mats that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes or other home-improvement stores. If you find these on sale, STOCK UP! They aren’t cheap and you will go through them… I cut the foam mats into parts and bits and used hot glue to bond them. Almost all of this was done by eye. I wasn’t going for an EXACT duplicate of the movie, but a close approximation.

Here is someone that did a complete screen-accurate build – http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=191528&p=3267895&viewfull=1#post3267895

I followed many of the online tutorials for cosplay armor of Master Chef (Halo), Iron Man, and a few others. The real key is using a heat gun (not a blow dryer or embossing tool but the actual ~$30 one you buy at the hardware store) to heat mold parts into curves.

For the lights, I bought some very cheap book-lights from a Dollar Store. I glued these in place with hot-glue.

I sealed the foam with a glue wash (50% white glue / 50% water) for some sections and spray rubber (FlexiSeal or equivalent) for other spots that I needed to cover some bad seams with filler. Then I painted the entire thing in a base coat of exterior latex paint. This gives the armor a consistent and smooth coating. Over that, I used auto-body spray paint that had a slight metallic reflection. The movie Gypsy Danger was more of a naval battleship blue, but my son wanted it more metallic.

The visor was a bit of yellow plastic sheeting from the old-school notebook dividers that one uses in primary school – Like these – http://www.staples-3p.com/s7/is/image/Staples/s0204755_sc7?$splssku$

Under the entire suit, he wore a black turtleneck and black stretchpants that I picked up at the sporting goods store. While I was there, I spotted some Lacrosse gloves that were close to Gypsy Danger’s gauntlets, so I grabbed them (most expensive part of this build) and painted them the same way as the rest of the costume.

Also for the chest, I used an old CPU fan and powered it with a 9V battery so it would spin. 🙂

The build took me about 50 hours over the course of 2 weeks and I didn’t finish until the Halloween Morning. But I was learning through trial and error and that cost me a lot of time.

All the best!!!

Steve

A yarn-aissance in the making

I learned how to crochet and knit and embroider when I was very little, around four years old. I’ve gone through periods of making things and moved onto other crafts at times, but I gotta tell you that right now I am in a hardcore yarn-obsessed mode.

I made a few hats and scarves last year but have jumped headfirst into making larger garments – I made my first cable cardi and then vowed I would never do so many cables again. Ha.

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I’ve already had the chance to wear my cardi and it is so cozy that I’m sure it will be a staple this winter. Both the yarn and pattern were from KnitPicks, if you’re curious.

Since then, I have made a few shawls, but I do have another cardi in the queue for me, and am working on something for Steve. With lots of cables.

A New Milestone

Last night our youngest accomplished something for the first time in his ten years of life.  He went to the movie theater.

Because of his sensitivity to noise, he was never able to tolerate the loud sound of a movie theater and has had to wait until movies he wanted were out on DVD or available online to see them.

Only one giant, terrifying creature, the King of the Monsters himself, could get Alexander to try this new challenge:

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Alexander has been waiting for this new movie, a Japanese release called Godzilla Resurgence, or Shin Godzilla; has learned to write the title in Japanese, and has made his own video trailers in anticipation of the movie.  Needless to say, this was a big deal for him.

The four of us booked our tickets and got ready to support Alex through his first movie theater experience.  He was thrilled to see the poster inside the theater and had his picture taken, he kept looking at me and smiling, thrilled to be watching his favorite movie character, and he was polite and quiet during the whole movie.

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This morning, he was still raving about the experience, calling it “the best thing I’ve ever done.”

We’re proud of Alex, and of Aidan for being such a supportive brother, encouraging Alex and reassuring him so his little brother would have a good experience.

And yes, we will be getting the DVD when it comes out.

 

 

A year later . . .

It’s been a while since I last updated the blog.  In fact, it’s been just over a year.  The main reason is, a year ago (October 7) we lost our sweet Foxy girl.  She was killed in a car accident and I could not write anything without writing about it, and writing about it sent me into a bad, bad place emotionally for a long time.

It is now October 2016 and within the last year we have lost a parent (my mom), lost two jobs (Steve, now happily employed again), thrown two birthday parties (one TARDIS, one Lego/Dino), and adopted a new member of the family – Miss Cherry Cherry Bo Berry.

It has been a tough year but we are looking forward to the future, are getting ready to enjoy the holidays in beautiful Wisconsin, where the trees are changing color every day and there is a chill in the air that I love.

See you soon!

Cozy boy’s bedroom

My youngest has a few must-haves for his bedroom. His collection of stuffed animals, for one — it actually fills two hampers but he usually only plays with a few at a time.

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He also loves dinosaurs, his books, and has already started a collection of globes. I sought to add some fall color while retaining the things our boy loves the most.

Warm plaids will play nicely with the muted yellows and greens Alex loves. Baskets and containers are always good, and in a neutral color will coordinate nicely with whatever changes Alex makes to his color preferences.

Our oldest’s bedroom has had some, uh, Super additions, and I will be posting some pics in the next couple of weeks.

Casa de Berry: TNG

Extra point if you got that reference.

Both Steve and I have musical backgrounds – he played various instruments including the contrabass in a Drum & Bugle corps. I used to be a high soprano in various school and church choirs, but don’t ask me to hit any remotely high notes nowadays.

After expressing zero interest and never before having mentioned it, our oldest came home saying he was joining fifth grade band, playing the tenor sax.

Wha-what?

So we think this is pretty cool, and yeah, I realize this might be a passing thing, which is why that sax is a rented one, but for now we are looking forward to recitals and shows. Our youngest, who has noise-sensitivity due to his autism, might be needing some noise canceling headphones, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.