7 Awesome Things

7 Awesome Things

7 awesome, geeky, eye-candy-ish things to enjoy. Happy Saturday!

Let the Holidays Begin! PLEASE!!

This week, I have been having some serious deja vu moments harkening back to last December.

Like how the last week of school in 2013, I had all three school-aged children home sick at various points for most of the week, rounding it off with my husband catching it too (which he now denies), just before the holidays. What a lovely way to begin time off. This year, Jabin has had a weird stomach-cramping lethargy all week, and Jude is now home with the bug, too. Last year, Jude and Noah both missed their school Christmas concerts--after I had stayed up into the wee hours making angel and shepherd costumes for them. This year, it looks like Jabin gets to miss, since his is tonight. I am praying that Noah and Levi and the parents all manage to stay healthy. This bug looks like a nasty one.

(I don't think I ever got around to blogging the story behind these costumes, or even posting photos to the blog, so here is what kept me sewing instead of blogging last December--photographed several months later, obviously!)

Last year's shepherd costume - at least I'm not making another one of those this year!

Cool "Boy Angel" costume. Right?

Last December I spent the better part of the month writing the first draft of The Friday Night Date Dress. (Then did nothing with it for months and months. Ha!) Well, I got the revision back from my editor this past Sunday, and have been going through it and "fixing" things ever since. Given that it is my first real novel (okay, okay, it's only a novella), I am quite pleased that the suggested changes were mostly grammatical, with only a few comments about strange turns of phrase and one or two scenes that needed heavier revision. There were no comments about major plot points that needed revision or anything, so I am just thrilled. This is my first time through the process, so everything is an estimate at this point, but I am hopefully only weeks away from publishing this baby!

And, as is typical in December, I am working to finish a knitting pattern to put out by Christmas (don't think that will happen) or immediately after for the "holiday bored knitters rush." I was trying to hit the "last-minute gift-knitters rush" with a quick, bulky bootcuff-and-mitten-set pattern, but with everything else I am trying to juggle this week, I think that might be pushing me beyond my limits. (No photos of that yet, sorry.)

Sure, there are some differences between Decembers 2013 and 2014--like, instead of being in the minus thirties for three weeks straight at this point, with only a few hours of sunshine here and there, we have had a remarkably mild and snow-free December. It was actually above freezing for a few days! We can't see green grass like they can in Calgary right now, but not having to shovel twice a day has been wonderful!

Hanukkah began last night, and with its much later arrival, I am feeling much better prepared for it. I am looking forward to using up some garden potatoes to make latkes once this stomach bug flees the house!

The other major difference, at least to me, is how busy I still am in the office. December is the month I usually relax, escape my chair, and do crafty stuff that I want to do, not have to do. Last year, I made myself a summer dress. I was hoping that I might manage a winter dress or even a sweater for which I've had supplies for a year during this month's hiatus.

Except, I don't think I'll get the hiatus. Between revising my story and getting it publishable, finishing a pattern, revising the musical, and--this is the big one that has me totally freaking out--finishing with building my new Winters Distributing store (which, although it will be lovely and customer-friendly when I am done is a huge. freakin'. ALBERTOSAURUS of a project that there is just not enough time to finish before Magento Go closes my other one down in 6 weeks), my butt has been glued in my office chair many more hours than I wish it to be. And when I'm done all that? There is always my office work to finish so I can do taxes! Whee!!

(Plus, my next story to work on, my next pattern, my next...)

And here I am, blogging. :-)

Happy Hanukkah, friends! I'll be sure to check in any time I need an escape for sanity's sake! (Among other reasons, I'm sure.)

Stay warm!

Using the Force

Remember how Jude had a Star Wars party in November?

Remember how I was making Jedi robes for all my boys? (Except Levi, who gets to be an Ewok?)

Well, three of the planned robes are complete, for Jude, Noah, and Jabin. Other than the foam-and-duct-tape light sabres we made for the party, though, they do not have any other part of the costume as yet.

That's okay. The robes look great. And yesterday, I took advantage of all my boys being home for Easter break to get an impromptu photo shoot in.

The robes were patterned after the one that Obi-Wan Kenobe wears in the second trilogy (episodes I-III--it took the boys a while to figure out how that confusing order worked. :-D)

The design of these was aided greatly by a tutorial found at I altered the design to have a rounded bottom edge so that it would be the same length all around, and also drafted each robe to the corresponding boy's measurements.

I did quite a bit of math to figure out the formula for making each robe perfect, as I hate waste, and didn't want to be cutting off and throwing away the great deal of fabric that the linked-to tutorial suggests. Perhaps I will get my own version of the tutorial and how to draft a Jedi Robe to fit posted on my blog someday.

These turned out awesome, and my boys love them.

Star Wars Jedi and Sith robes on boys
Star Wars boy Sith

"Give me a Sith Snarl!" I said. And he did... kinda. What IS that, anyway?!!

Star Wars Jedi robe

Jason and Jude made the Light Sabres out of foam plumbing pipe insulation and coloured duct tape. They get daily use around here.

Jedi boy, blue light sabre
Jedi boy with light sabre

Young Obi-Wan. :-)

Noah got a double-ended Light Sabre.

Jedi boy using the Force

He is also proficient in using The Force. :-)

While I was at it yesterday, I also photographed the costumes I made for their Christmas plays, neither of which they got to use. (Jude and Noah both got sick and missed their plays. Jabin was in his, but his costume was supplied by the school. Oh, well, there is always this year.)

I wanted Noah's angel costume to look a little more masculine and modern than the traditional "robe and sash and wings" look. So I bought an oversized white T-shirt, cream knit carf, and women's size small military-inspired jacket in cream from the thrift store, then made the felt top hat and bought the gold cord. Presto! Boy angel!

Modern boy angel
Boy angel costume

Noah wanted a "jumping shot"--so he could look like he was flying, I think.

Jude was supposed to be a shepherd. I had some tweedy-looking striped fabric and some nubbly-looking polyester "linen" fabric in my stash that I had intended to turn into a shepherd costume for years, so he got the whole shebang--right down to the kippah. For design inspiration, I looked at the costumes from the movie "The Nativity Story", from which I copied details like the reversed seams whip-stitched down, and yarn whip-stitched onto the sleeves for a piping detail.

Shepherd costume

Jude had the robe inside-out for this photo, unfortunately. The wind is whipping the hood over his right shoulder, which makes it look even more wonky.

Kippah detail

While most of the kippah was machine-stitched, I added hand-stitching details by top-stitching in contrasting thread. I am really happy with how this turned out.

Little shepherd boy--with glasses?

Detail of cuff with yarn "piping". I miscalculated the neck size on the tunic an had to correct my error by deepening the gash and stitching the edges under--but it turned out okay, for the most part.

Love this face!

You see that snow that is just hanging around in the shadows of the trees in these photos I took yesterday? You see those dark clouds behind Jude's head in that last photo?

Yeah. They proceeded to turn into rain clouds, then snow clouds. It's been snowing since some time last night, and hasn't stopped since. Today, there has to be at least four inches sitting on the ground. Grr.

Not so bad in November... but it ain't November.


The Superhero in the Family

I know I have referenced these before, but I don't think I have actually posted photos. Jabin doesn't usually wear pyjamas to bed, being a little hot-body--even in the dead of winter, undies usually do the trick. However, for his birthday, he requested that I make him some pyjamas that double as a costume of "The Flash".

So, of course, I did.

I soon discovered that The Flash's own mom must have loved him a lot to agree to put all those lightning bolts on his costume. Because the only way to do them is to stitch them by hand.

Jabin's uncharacteristic seriousness in these photos is because he was trying to look all heroic. :-)

Super-Jabin turns 8

Nearly two weeks ago, my third-born son celebrated yet another birthday. Hard to believe that it's been eight years since he looked like this:

Jabin at 7 months. Ain't he cute?!

For his eighth birthday, Jabin decided he wanted a superhero party. Since this seems to be the year for big birthday celebrations, I said okay. Then he said he wanted to invite everyone in his class, and then some. Given that we already had one big (read: expensive, even if there were only two guests) birthday in November, I said not okay. As it was, we ended up with seven extra boys in our house for the party last weekend.

It was loud, and wild, and crazy, and totally fun. I did not get Jabin's "The Flash" pajamas/costume finished in time for the party, so he improvised a Superman costume from a blue shirt, a printed logo pinned on the front, a yellow fleece belt cut out and pinned on at the last minute, and a red cape from our "Tickle Trunk". Several of the guests came dressed up, too. Noah opted to be a Jedi Knight, and Jude created some kind of Untitled Dark Hero costume from sunglasses, a cape, a mask, and some cool gelled hair. Dressing up is one of life's little pleasures, I think.

Some balloons, a bright tablecloth, another birthday party kit purchased from SimoneMadeIt and several hours of printing, cutting, and prepping (which Jason helped with a great deal, thankfully) made the decorating easy, and meant inventing more fun food names--"Spidey Soda", "Green Lantern Go-Juice", "Green Goblin Grapes", "Super-Food Platter" (veggies), "Pop!-Corn", and more.

More icing than cupcake, I think...

Guests got to shoot Nerf gun darts at three super-villain posters Jason downloaded from the internet, and had to guess their super-hero or super-villain identity (taped to their back) using "yes" or "no" questions. They also did a good job in coming up with their own entertainment. With a houseful of eleven boys, there was wrestling, racing, and when we got tired of that, mild temperatures meant they got to play outside for awhile.

Jabin and his guests all had a great time, and we had a fun time planning and executing the party--but Jason and I were very glad that the next day was much more relaxed! We needed the recovery time!

And I am also very thankful that I have a couple of months before I have to worry about the next round of birthdays... :-)

Costume Diary: Captain Jack, part Two

Well, the pants are done. They turned out okay, if strangely saggy in the backside. The only problem is, as Jason said, "I don't feel very piratey."

I have to agree with him. So, our costume titles may be reduced to "18th-century gentleman and lady going to a masquerade ball." :-D

Of course, that is making the major assumption that my gown will be done by then. Which is not looking extremely likely at the moment, since I am still working out the kinks in the first and simplest part of my costume--the chemise.

To be Continued again...

Captain Jack, Part One

It's All Good

It's All Good

It struck me today that in one week's time, I will be the mother of a kindergartner. In a panic, I thought "I can't have a kid in school if I don't make some cookies!" These quick-and-easy Coconut Macaroons were the answer.