Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Army of caterpillars!

 I made these for Eloise and she loves them so much (although currently four of them are missing and we've searched everywhere and can't find them-- they're here somewhere....). She carries them around and loves hugging them. Harriet is obsessed with rainbows so it is a perfect mix for both of them. I got the pattern at a yarn shop (here it is on ravelry) and happened to have a bunch of cotton yarn that worked perfectly.

I made this bigger one, now also lost, out of rainbow striped yarn. So much hugging.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Homemade geode

A few months ago we made these geodes and I forgot to write about it until now. Harriet loves doing science experiments so I have been looking on youtube and found this guy. The cool thing about this experiment is that it only takes less than a day, unlike rock crystals, which can take weeks. 

Basically you paint some elmers glue in half an egg shell that is dried out and then sprinkle some alum powder (pickling salt) in there, mix 2 cups of hot water with 3/4 of a cup of alum powder in a jar and then 30 drops of food coloring. Dissolve the alum powder, drop the egg shell in and wait 14 hours.
Its fun because the crystals are giant. (Not in the top pic that the blue doesn't have the giant crystals anymore because Harriet stowed it away in her pocket when she wasn't supposed to bring it somewhere and essentially crushed the side crystals).

We decided to experiment some more with these berries things that were on our climbing spinach plant. The egg came out kind of brownish even though the juice was purple.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Knit snail

Another one from the same Amigurumi book. The directions on this left a bit to be desired, but it turned out ok. I like the ombre effect on the sheet. I realized after I had finished that I had affixed the shell incorrectly and debated ripping part of it back and redoing it, then realized it was just a kid's toy and that was just ridiculous.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Knit octopus!

I made this fun octopus recently from a new book I got called Amigurumi Knits. It was a different way of knitting stuffed animals than I had previous done, but once I got the hang of it, it was a lot of fun! The legs kind of look crocheted but they are actually knit and then whipstitched together. Give it a try, knitters!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Star Wars holiday card

Our family and friends should have received our 2015 holiday cards by now. We're very happy how they came out and everyone seems to love the idea. Pretty much since we finished last year's cards I've thrown different ideas at Christina and every single idea was Star Wars related. With the new movie coming out, I just knew it would be fun.

When the idea of making our own custom figures came up, even Christina seemed excited. Since I have a lot of vintage figures, I had plenty of ideas. In fact, not surprisingly, Star Wars fans have been making custom figures for a long time (ago in a galaxy far, far away....) and there was a ton of material online to help execute things.

We wanted the holiday card to resemble this...
Actually we decided to make holiday cards, plural. One for each member of the family. First step was finding photos that highlighted an event from 2015. It was such a fun year it actually wasn't that difficult. Then I sifted through all the differnt old Star Wars figures to find one that would resemble us, at least generally.

We started with an Obi-Wan, Yoda, Ugnaught, and three princess Leia figures. Obi-Wan was a perfect pick for me (beard, formal attire, Jedi master). I shaved down the robe a bit with an X-acto knife to match the outfit from the picture we selected.

We "popped" off  two of the heads on the Leia figures using a boiling water trick and placed them on the smaller figures for the kids. We used some toothpicks and modeling clay because (fun fact!) Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi figures have different head connections.

Christina primed and painted each figure by hand. We made a gown and little hat for Harriet, as well as a microphone and speech for my figure's props.

All finished with the figures.

We then ordered replacement plastic bubbles on eBay and Christina made a template using an old card back I had. However, she ended up finding it easier to use high-res scans other Star Wars fans had loaded on the internet. She then printed off a full-sized version, then placed the figure in the bubble on top of it and took a photo of the complete package. With a bit more photoshop magic, we had four different holiday cards fronts. 'Tis the season for being excited for Star Wars and remembering a crazy, fun, memorable year.
Harriet (Graduation Gown). Photo from her Temple Israel preschool graduation ceremony last spring.

Eloise (at the Plaza). On our trip to NYC we visited The Plaza Hotel off of Central Park. Eloise was excited to hear about the rambunctious book character with whom she shares a name.

Christina (Hawaiian Outfit). So many great photos from our trip to Hawaii, but none of just Christina. The print on her dress was a good challenge for this project and turned out great. She did a great job with all of the figures – she's so talented!

Stephen (Best Man). Picture taken mid-speech at Adam and Ari's wedding reception.

Limited by space and USPS rules, we kept the backside of the postcard as simple as possible. Collect all four! To virtually everyone, we only sent out one of the cards, so we wanted people to see the full set.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Garden fall wrap up

A little late to be doing this post in December, but here goes...this summer I didn't spend as much time in the garden as you usually do because we were just crazy busy, but despite falling down on the job, the garden seemed to do ok. I learned a few lessons like put in one kale instead of two, more green beans, no climbing asian spinach. Steve did peppers has he always does and they turned out great. Tomatoes this year were just ok and I think we need to change the location for a year and amend the soil more.

I put Harriet to work getting the soil off the beets.

Every year I forget to cut the top off the brussel sprouts stalk so that the energy can be spend making the brussel sprouts bigger. Next year I will nail it. 

A pic from the end of October of the ghost Steve and Harriet made as a Halloween decoration. She was quite proud of it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Halloween and fall activites

This fall was a little crazy because we were in Hawaii during the height of it so we smashed a lot of stuff into about two weekends. Here is a recap. Above is a gumball machine and a chicken on Halloween.
 About to go out trick or treating with some neighbor friends.

 We went to the annual Southwest Community Ed. halloween party with Lauren.

 Out at the Arboretum to see the fall decorations and scarecrows.

This was a fun activity that I had never heard about until this year - Barebones. It was out at Hidden Falls Park on the river and was kind of a May Day-ish production. It was packed and a little hard to see, but I would go again. It had aerialists, fire throwers and light up float-like costumes.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The rest of the trip

The last part of our time in Hawaii were a bit less fast paced, but we still did a few things of note. My mom took Harriet to the Honolulu Zoo so that Steve, our friend Zac and I could go hike up Diamond Head. The day was a really hot and humid, but we toughed it out and enjoyed the beautiful views from the top. Since it is the very beginning of the tourist season it wasn't very packed on the trails, which was great.  It took about 45 mins to get up. It was very amusing to see some of the attire "hikers" wore on the trail. One Asian tourist was wearing high heels. Parts of the trails had very uneven rocks under foot, she was clearly not prepared.

A view of Waikiki.

A partial view of the crater at the top.

This picture cracks me up. It looks like Steve and I are traveling with our shirtless Australian cabin boy or something.

Later we spent some more time at the beach and we even got a rainbow sighting.

One night, my mom stayed back with Harriet and we met at large group of people from the wedding at the Elk's lounge because someone in the group was a member. Probably the more picturesque elk's lounge in the country! No windows and right on the water.

One day Steve and I went to Rainbow Drive In for lunch on the recommendation of our Hawaiian-native neighbor Esara who said this is where all the locals eat. Grease-a-ific, but there were a ton of locals there.

We saw some street art on our way over and back.
We came upon this vintage Hawaiian shirt store. They had shirts for as much as $60,000.

Phone booths seemed to be everywhere.

On our last day there I decided to take surfing lessons. I have always wanted to do it and this seemed like the perfect place. First you practice your form on the beach and then you had out in the ocean and the instructors yell at you (nicely) and tell you to paddle and then when to get up on the board at the perfect time to catch the wave. I really enjoyed it even though it was truly exhausting and my body hurt for an entire week afterwards. I, shockingly, had pretty good luck getting up and staying up on the board.

Harriet wrote this note the last night we were there (with some help on spelling). "Harriet Hawaii. We had the best time." That pretty much sums up the trip. 

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Matt and Amber's wedding

Wedding time! There were 50 of us who all came for the wedding from all over. The night before everyone gathered for the welcome dinner at the Shorebird and it was fun to see a lot of people for the first time in Hawaii. It was a fun place and a bit different because you order and then they bring out raw meat and you have to go cook it yourself on these huge grills. So I guess if the meat isn't cooked right, it's your own fault!
On to the wedding... Amber and Matt hired a coach bus to take all of us to the other side of the island to Kualoa Ranch where there is this private "island" for the wedding ceremonies. Island is in quotes because it is actually a peninsula when you look at a map, but you take a boat (below) over there. Pretty fun. As it happened, it was pouring rain leading up to the wedding and things weren't looking good. There really wasn't anywhere else to have the wedding so, as luck would have it, the rain stopped about 20 mins before the ceremony. Perfect timing.
We entered the island and walked through this beautiful forest of strangely-shaped trees that canopied the winding path and then come out at the beach.

Our friends Deb and her son Zac came from Australia for the wedding we had a great time hanging out with them during the week.
Flower girl inspecting her bouquet before the ceremony. Harriet walked down the aisle muttering to herself about how she was not sure what she should be doing or where she should be sitting. It was pretty funny.
Jonny, Becky, Matt, Amber and Raymond after the wedding.

Professional pic at the reception.

Every Friday night there are fireworks (not actually pictured here) after the sunset at Waikiki and so we were able to watch them while we were having dinner since we all sat out on a balcony with this view. Harriet had never seen big fireworks before so it was a big thrill for her. The reception was a lot of fun and enjoyed the cool breeze high up on the balcony. We loved being a part of this wedding and we are so happy for Matt and Amber.