Because our kid’s birthday is right at Christmastime, we decided when he was an infant that until he insists it’s dumb to do so, we’ll have parties for him at his half-birthday.
Which is how we ended up with twelve 5- to 8-year-olds in our house yesterday after the cold, rainy weather made us ditch holding his half-birthday party in a park.
The kid loves – LOVES – baseball, so we decided each of his friends would leave the party with a pack of baseball cards. I wanted to make it a bit more like a goody bag, without the crap or candy, so I decided to tag each pack of cards with a thank-you for attending the party.
Fifteen minutes in my graphics program, scissors, my beloved laminating machine*, a hole punch, and some scrap yarn later, and we had a more celebratory goody to give to kids as they left. Hm. Writing that out makes it seem like it was a big deal, but it really wasn’t. I got it all done between bouts of frantically cleaning house after we realized the park just wasn’t gonna happen.
So much fun!
* This machine is one of my favourite things in the world. I’ve used it to preserve small pieces of kid art, and these tags are not the first I’ve laminated. I don’t use it very frequently, but when I do I’m so happy I have it. (That’s an affiliate link; I use them only for things I truly recommend. Thanks for your support!)
Last year, we were on our big road trip when the annual Vancouver Mini Maker Faire was held. It was the fifth annual one, and the first I’d missed. I was especially excited, then, to bring the whole fam to the event this year.
I was impressed and delighted by how many varied activities there were for kids. For adults, too, obviously, but it was just so much fun to be there with my kindergartener.
We came home with a couple of robots – one of the light-seeking ones shown above, and another that involves taping markers to a solo cup, which I’ll pull out on a rainy day.
There was a Textile Village featuring the Modern Quilt Guild, weavers, spinners, knitters, paper-dyers, and screen printers. Unlike at other maker events I’ve attended, where fibre people are sequestered away in a small back room, this area was prominent and inviting. I was so happy to see it.
I’m resurrecting my ridiculous dream of making a huge animatronic crocheted robot/statue, and I’m determined to participate in next year’s event as a Maker again!
Do you have a major Maker Faire or a Mini Maker Faire in your area? Have you participated as a Maker? Enjoy going just to play? If you’ve never been, I urge you to check one out!
Between the Saturday-night timing and the rain stopping around 5PM, Halloween this year was one of the best and busiest ever. We saw around 350 trick-or-treaters!
Back in August, the kid declared that for Halloween, he wanted to be Chewbacca… driving the Millennium Falcon. Then we all fell in line and were assigned or chose our own Star Wars costumes. He told me I should be Darth Vader, and that was so perfectly obvious that I was happy to go along. Greg decided the morning of Halloween to be Han Solo, then emerged a couple of hours later encased in carbonite. Such is Greg’s aversion to ever doing the expected. My parents arrived with their Yoda and Leia costumes ready to go (okay, those weren’t DIYed).
Greg worked so hard on the cardboard Millennium Falcon, and this photo is the only one I got, because Owen refused to wear it at his school parade and on Halloween proper. Kids, I tell you.
Obviously, I bought my Vader mask, but I made the rest of the costume myself. For the cape, I followed these instructions, including the hood since I figure I can use a black cape for a hundred costumes into the future. For the rest, I wore black leggings, socks and gloves. I turned a printed t-shirt inside out and made the computery part with duct tape using these photos as reference. (Google auto-generated that .gif up there, you guys.)
It’s taken me many years to get used to Halloween being a fireworks holiday, but this is how we roll here in Vancouver (across all of Canada?). Our neighbour put on a huge spectacle for half an hour!
So tell me, did you DIY your Halloween? What did you make? How much fun did you have?
So this happened yesterday.
PS Today’s the last day of Craftsy’s huge back to school sale. My crochet classes, and so many others are up to 50% off. Stock up, my pretties!
PPS I use an affiliate link whenever I link to Craftsy.
The night we spent in the maternity ward nearly five years ago with our tiny, tiny son, we sat on the bed with that bundled-up baby in our arms and wondered aloud, now that we were, for real, parents, what might happen if this tiny tiny kid didn’t end up liking Lego.
Now those nearly five years have passed, and our kid loves Lego more than any other kind of toy. It’s exactly what we envisioned when we’d fantasized about being parents – kissing boo-boos, reading great books together, and lots and lots of Lego. When Owen fills up his marble jar with kindness and helpfulness and good listening, he turns those marbles in for Lego. If he doesn’t have time to finish assembling a complex kit before bedtime, he’ll skip watching a cartoon the next morning in favour of Lego. When a Lego catalog arrives in the mail, he’ll sit with it as he sits with his favourite books.
Last week, Owen announced to Greg that Lego Friends, the line of kits the company launched in 2012 in an attempt to draw girls into the fold, are just for girls and are boring.
Lots of people have decried Lego Friends as a wrong-headed idea, insisting that Lego are, at least in their before-Friends existence, for everyone, and that Lego could have put its energy into featuring more female mini-figs and superheroes in its existing lines (this comic nails it, in my opinion). And that now it seems like there’s Lego “for girls” and Lego “for boys” and that that’s just playing into the horrific trend of manufacturers divvying up kids’ culture along gender lines in a toxic, terrible way. Lego itself said it developed the line because 90% of its sales were to or for boys, and they wanted to draw girls into building.
So Owen declares that Lego Friends are boring, and this is what Greg did. Greg whipped out the well-worn Lego catalog and proclaimed his love for all the cool pink and purple kits, and Owen discovered there’s a jet plane kit. Which is why, a few minutes later, Greg came upstairs and informed me that he would be spending a lot of money at the Lego store for feminism.
A hundred and twenty bucks later, Owen spent an entire afternoon putting the kit together (it comes complete with an airport that has a cafe and gift shop, and a baggage carousel), muttering under his breath about it being a perfect choice and oh my gosh it’s so awesome.
In related news, there’s a Lego croissant, you guys.
PS I do very much wish, regardless of how successful Lego Friends is at drawing in girls – and apparently it is very successful at doing just that – that Lego had used its standard mini-fig design for the characters, so they’d be compatible with all the other Lego kits. Friends figures don’t have moveable legs or hands. It’s weird, and limiting in ways it simply shouldn’t have to be, considering the standard mini-fig can be any gender at all.
PPS Some of this post came from my initial posting of this photo on Instagram. I revised and expanded it because I want it to live here on the blog, too.
Over the course of the third week of my second year of making, my days ranged from one extreme on the make-o-metre to the other. On one day I spent a couple of hours making soap; on the next I spent a few minutes cutting that soap. One day I made cookies with my kid. The next day I spent an hour making bath fizzies with him (not pictured, but a post on that is coming) and I also spent an hour and a half making dinner (and I didn’t hate making it, and it was freaking delicious – both of which are rare for me). The deodorant was a quick thing to make, but I’m thinking about it daily as I assess how effective it is. The knitting is for a soap experiment (more on that when it comes to fruition). And yesterday’s making has no picture, for I spent the day in a pain-free haze of weird migraine aftermath, so my making yesterday consisted of acquiring some ink pads for stamping.
How’s your making going? I just re-read a great post by Austin Kleon on focusing on doing something small every day. That’s what a #yearofmaking is all about, and he says it better than anyone.
(For some worksheets and nudging along the way, the Year of Making ebook is always available. A yearlong project can start on any day at all!)