I Can Knit

I decided shortly before Christmas that I wanted to teach myself how to knit.  I have always wanted to learn, but I don’t really know anyone who does it other than family who live 4 hours north of me.

So I got on youtube and found some great videos that taught me the very basics.  I started out by making three different dish cloths, using three different knitting techniques.

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My next project was a pair of slippers.  I found the easiest pattern that I could on ravelry.com   This was my first time following a pattern, and it turned out I had questions, and encountered some new stitches.  For help, I have found an amazing website that I highly recommend, it has videos for just about anything knitting to show you how to do it.

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I am currently working on a scarf for B that he asked me to make.  But I wanted to share something else that I learned how to do recently, arm knitting!  I saw a video on Pinterest on how to knit an scarf in half an hour and thought I would give it a try.  I have made three so far and they are so easy!

It took me a little longer than the half hour to do it, and hour and twenty minutes to be exact, but the results are so pretty, and I have had requests from people already. Here is the video if you want to learn how to do it.  All you need is two skeins of bulky yarn, your arms, and an hour of spare time.

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A Simple Minecraft Party

O had his sleepover birthday party this past weekend.  The theme he wanted…..Minecraft.  No surprise there, the boy is obsessed (remember the Minecraft mask post?).

Well, let me tell you, there are NO Minecraft decorations to be purchased in store.  There are some invitations and other small things that can be purchased from Etsy, but I was not willing to go that route and I also found them rather expensive for what you were getting.

So, I took to trusty Pinterest to see what I could find to do myself.  I managed to put together a nicely decorated and inexpensive party room, make a nice cake, and a huge success with goodie bags.

First I will show you decorations.  I kept it simple, the boys would be in the dining room (party room) for pizza, cake and gifts, so this was the only room I decorated.  The rest of the time they were up in O’s bedroom playing Minecraft on their devices, or watching a movie in the living room.

I know nothing about this game (still) as I mentioned in my Halloween mask post, but I managed to get some good ideas both from Pinterest and by questioning O about certain aspects of the game.

These are my TNT decorations.  They were as simple as wrapping a couple of boxes in red wrapping paper.  I used a hot glue gun to attach white ribbon, but you could also use construction paper if you didn’t have any ribbon.  I used a sharpie for the writing, and black ribbon on the top for the “charge”.  Again, you could use any black materials you have laying around for the charge part.

I hit up the Dollar Store for tableware.  I got a green and a blue table plastic table cloth, green square plates, green napkins, and green cups.

For the cups I grabbed my trusty sharpie and drew Creeper faces (some sort of bad guy) on them. 

My best find was square pieces of grass, perfect for the middle of the table.

I served homemade pizza, cut in to squares of course.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that part.

The cake was a hit!  It was a chocolate dirt clump cake, iced with a chocolate buttercream frosting.  I used Oreo baking crumbs over top of the icing on the sides to get the dirt look.  The grass part on the top is vanilla buttercream icing with green food colouring.  I used a Wilton grass tip to get the grass effect.  For the cake I used this recipe from housewife2hostess.  It really is a good chocolate cake, and easy to make.  The recipe will make two layers, I ended up wanting a third layer as it wasn’t quite tall enough.

And the goodie bags!  I was quite pleased with myself on this one.  O is 10, and I didn’t want to do a goodie bag with the typical little toys that always get thrown out, and seriously, what ten year old really wants those?

The bags required a morning of trip in to town.  I got green paper bags and hit up the bulk food store for supplies.  On the bags I drew another Creeper face, and filled the bags with candies that represent items on Minecraft!  Here is a link that tells you different items used in the game and what they represent.

I put more candy in than what you see in the picture!  But there are gummy fish, and sour melons which satisy hunger in the game.  There is chocolate rocks/gravel which is used for mining or building in the game.  And last but not least, gold wrapped mini chocolate bars.  Gold is used for crafting, and currency.

There you go, I hope that this post gave you some easy, inexpensive ideas that you can do on your own!

Minecraft Costume (and a successful attempt at crafting)

So anyone who knows me knows I am not all that crafty.  I would like to say that I am but I can’t.
I cannot draw, heck, I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler.

With Halloween coming, B decided he wanted to be a Ninja Turtle.  Easy, there are costumes to buy.
O decided that he wanted to be Minecraft Steve.  If you are not familiar with this game, Steve is the main character.  This game is all the rage with kids now, but I really know nothing about it except that you build things and you get rid of “creepers”, which are zombies.  The game is old school graphics and pixellated.

Well, great idea O, but there are no costumes anywhere.  I did find a head on Amazon, but it was a painted cardboard box, at the grand cost of $30cdn plus shipping.  There was no way I was going to spend that on a piece of cardboard!  After looking it up online and studying the pictures, and reading a couple of other blogs, I thought that I would be able to make him the costume.  I kind of combined a couple of ideas from a couple other blogs to get to my final result.

Step 1 was to make the head.
Materials needed:
cardboard box
different colours of fleshy toned paper cut in to squares, plus a black or dark brown for the head
hot glue gun
paper cutter (for cutting a LOT of squares)
ruler or measuring tape

My inspiration for this part came from this blog .  I got a box proprtionate to the size of O’s head, bought A pack of cardstock paper from Michaels, plus an extra pack to get the right colours.  The head seemed to be layed out in an 8×8 pattern, so I found the centre of the box and split the box in to a four part grid.  I then figured out the size I would need to cut the squares in order to fit eight across.  This will depend on the size of your box, but for me it meant a 1.5″x1.5″ square.

After that I laid out the pattern, picked up the hot glue gun and proceeded to glue the squares on to the box, leaving an empty space where I needed to cut out the eye holes.

Step 2 was to make the sword
Materials needed:
Foam poster board
Black, yellow and brown paint.

I was lucky enough to find a template for all the weapons used here.

I printed off the template for the sword (found at the bottom of the blog post in the link) cut it out and painted it.  He wanted the gold sword, hence the yellow paint.  I painted the outline first, then the middle, and finally the handle.

Step 3 was to paint the body.
Materials needed:
Larger cardboard box
spray paint (teal)
exacto knife to cut out head and arm holes

You don’t need to do this step.  Minecraft Steve wears a teal shirt and jeans, so your little Minecraft guy could go out like that.  However we live in Canada, and need to bundle up for trick or treating, so I needed something that he could wear his jacket under.

Using O as measurement I cut the flaps off the bottom of the box, and cut out the holes needed.  I then spray painted two coats on the box to get Steve’s body.

The end result turned out really well.  O was ecstatic with his costume, he was the only Minecraft character in the neighbourhood, and everyone (kids) knew who he was.  A crafting success for this mom!

The Best Homemade Playdough

What a strange day today.  First it was raining, then thundering, then the sun peeked out for a little while, and now it is back to rain again.

B and I took advantage of the little bit of sunshine, and went out for a bit of puddle jumping fun.  Once the rain started again it was back in the house for us, with the idea of getting the playdough out.  Unfortunately, someone had snuck in to the playdough at some point and left the lids off, so it was all hard and crumbly.

Never fear, Mom to the rescue!  I make all the playdough for B’s playschool. Every time I bring in a new batch all the moms are amazed at how fresh and fluffy it feels.  So we set out to make a batch of homemade playdough for home.

This is a cooked playdough recipe, and very simple to do, it only takes about ten minutes.  I have tried uncooked recipes that I have found as well, and this yields the best result.

Your Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil

**If I am making a batch for school I double the recipe, one batch is enough for home use, but if you want to make a larger amount make sure you double!

Combine your flour, salt and cream of tartar in a pot.  Add your liquids.

At this point you want to add your colour.  You can use either koolaid crystals or food colouring.  I have tried both and the food colouring gives you a stronger colour.  This is the job of my little helper.

Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until a ball forms.  It will look like this.

Remove from heat and knead until smooth.

And there you have it, a quick and easy playdough that will provide hours of fun.