San Diego Comic Con 2014

I will admit that I am a bit of a geek and I am not ashamed of it!! I love collecting action figures of my favorite things like Movie/TV properties and Gaming Properties. So, when my husband said that I could go to Comic Con with my friend Loren (Pandora’s Craft Box) without the kids, I was super excited and jumping for joy! Yes, going with the kids is fun too but sometimes it’s good to break away and “Recharge” a little bit. I am sure that everyone, that is a parent, will agree with me.

Whenever I go there I NEVER park near the convention center because it is to be expected that the parking will be slim since there is a HUGE amount of people at Comic Con. Instead I actually park past the Convention Center and take the trolley up since it stops right in front of the building. Another perk to this is that parking is free and I only had to pay $6 for a one day trolley ticket.

Any who, we got to the Convention Center around lunch time so after picking up our badges we snagged some food to fill us up a little. When we headed inside I went straight to the Blizzard booth to check out their goods. Got a nice picture of the unpainted Kerrigan from Star Craft.

While I was there I snagged a picture of an awesome Diablo Demon Hunter Cosplay!

Next up was the awesome stuff over at Sideshow Collectibles… They had some great Blizzard statues over there that I wanted to check out. Diablo from Diablo 3, an awesome painted Kerrigan and the HUGE Deathwing from Warcraft.

They had a new “room” in their area that was filled with some really coooool sculptures! The set is called “Court of the Dead” they are amazing in every way! I wanted to take pictures of each one but I there were too many people in the room at the time. I was able to snag a couple of pictures of some of my favorites though. Can’t wait to see some more stuff come up for these.

Another booth that I had to head over to was the LEGO booth!!! Who in their right mind doesn’t love playing with/looking at Lego sculptures?! They had HUGE bins of Lego pieces that you could make stuff out of and their were young kids and older adults digging in the bin to find the right piece for their creation! Believe me it was pretty hard for me to fight the urge to get my build on!

The Weta booth wasn’t that far away so we had to check out the sleeping Smaug from The Hobbit. The head was pretty cool just sleeping there but what made it even cooler was the fact that that dragon’s eye would open and he would kind of look around before falling back to sleep.

Tried to get some good pictures of the Warcraft props at Legendary‘s booth but there was a little bit of a glare on the glass. Still these were pretty impressive. Can’t wait until the movie comes out!

I took a picture of Sideshow’s Delorean and the Hover Board from the Prop Shop too! Just had to geek out on some Back to the Future stuff!

And of course who could forget all the Cosplay Characters walking around! I snagged a few pictures of some of my favorites!

All in all it was a great day! Loren and I enjoyed our time away from the hubby’s and munchkins. We checked out a bunch of artist as well… I even bought a signed copy of the My Little Pony Vol. 1 for my girls while I was there. Didn’t get anything for myself… Guess that you can’t completely leave the kids at home with Daddy.

 

(Please Note: All photos were taken by me which is why my logo is on them. I am not claiming anything in the photos as my work or anything my property)

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Learning to knit one step at a time with Melody’s Makings

I have been crocheting since my Mom taught me at the age of 10. I wasn’t that great at it in the beginning but every time that I took it up again (took a few years off from it here and there) I just got better and better at. When I was first learning I was just making simple single and double crochet blankets. I have way surpassed that now.

I have thought about taking up how to knit numerous times over the past few years. But I just couldn’t seem to find a good teacher (book or video) that I was comfortable learning from and showed signs of progress. That has all changed since Melody but up her first How-to Video.

Let me give you a little back story on how I can across her wonderful patterns. Back when we first moved to California I didn’t really have much to do. All of our stuff was on a moving truck going across country. I was 8 months pregnant and had a 18 month old daughter chillin’ with me at our little temp apartment. One day I packed her up in the van and decided to get some supplies to make the baby a blanket to help pass the time. After that I moved onto many other things; hats, scarves, cowls, photo props… you name it I was making it! About a year later I joined a giveaway that had a bunch of pattern designers that were participating. So, I figured why not enter…. sure enough I won a pattern pack for  Melody’s Makings. When looking at her site I noticed that she had many more knitting patterns then crochet so I picked all of the crochet ones and then a couple of the easier knitting ones (just in case I learned). I then liked her fan page and followed her blog. Since then I have done a bunch of pattern tests for her and have chatted with her over the internet.

When she posted that she was going to be putting up a How-to-Knit series up on her site I was super excited! I just knew from working with her crochet patterns that I was going to like her tutorials. Boy, was I wrong… I LOVED them!

The first two videos that she posted: Beginning with the Basics & How to Cast On, had me hooked! Her method of casting on was so easy and related to me since I am originally a crocheter and she taught how to do it with a crochet hook! Awesome right?!20140722-154659-56819813.jpg

Well, I have recently passed her Tutorial on The Knit Stitch and lets just say that I have mastered that as well!20140722-154523-56723573.jpg

I tried to move onto her next Tutorial which was The Purl Stitch but for some reason that one seems to keep eluding me. I chatted with her a little bit about it tonight and she offered to help me with it over the phone! How awesome is that! She is going way beyond any of the How To Videos or Books that I have found in the past that’s for sure!

I really can’t wait to get past the hiccup that is the purl stitch so that I can get into making stuff with this new found knowledge! Oh and did I mention that she doesn’t just teach you how to do a scarf or a swatch? She teaches you how to make one of her patterns! So she has you putting your newly acquired skills to use right away. I find this a good way to keep it in your mind and keep you working with it!

She just started writing up some awesome business advice for anyone that is in the crafting field too! But that will be in another post!

Here is all of Melody’s information so please: Like, Share, Sign-up and Follow!

Melody’s Makings
Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/MelodysMakings
Website: http://melodys-makings.com/

 

 

 

Toddler Sleep… Wish I could solve the mystery.

I don’t know about anyone else but things at my house have been pretty crazy. Both of my girls (Peanut will be 4 in September and Mushy turned 2 in April) don’t take naps anymore. I have been noticing some aggression, moodiness and down-right grumpiness from them lately. I chatted with my sister-in-law about this and she mentioned that it might be because they are not getting enough sleep.

So, I looked at the sleep requirements on the National Sleep Foundations website and sure enough they were not getting the amount of sleep that they say the girls need at their ages.

According to them 1-3 year olds need 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24 hours period and 3-5 year olds need 11-13 hours (information can be found at http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep). My kids come no where near that amount! On a good day they will both go to sleep around 9pm and get up around 7:30-8am. Whenever my little Mushy gets a nap in (no matter how long or short the nap is) she ends up staying up longer. A good example: Yesterday she actually fell asleep on the couch and took an hour nap. Then when it came time for bed she didn’t fall asleep until almost 10:30pm which is 1.5 hours after we put them to bed. Even though she went to bed that much later, she still got up at her normal time.

So, with this kind of thing happening how do you get her to sleep longer so that her attitude isn’t horrendous anymore? Right now I am working on “quiet time” after lunch. When they are done eating they get cleaned up and then head upstairs to their room. I then put the gate up and explain to them that it is “quiet time” and they should lay down and relax while reading a book or playing with their lace-up cards. Of course I hope that they take a nap but that never happens. Instead they usually just end up fighting and bickering… the usual “sisters that share a room” stuff I guess.

The only good thing that comes out of that one hour of “quiet time” is that I get to “recharge”, make phone calls if I have to, do laundry, empty the dishwasher… you know get all of the wifey stuff done.

Do you have any advise on how to solve this kind of problem? Are you dealing with this kind of stuff? I like to hope that I am not the only one that has to deal with this kind of thing. If I figure any of this stuff out I will be sure to share the info with you!

Fun with the Kids – Re-Purposing Tin Cans

We do a good job with recycling all of our cans, plastic, paper and glass but I just thought that there had to be another way to get some good use out of some of those things.
So I decided to do what anyone would do and spend some time on Pintrest looking for cool ways to re-purpose our tin cans. I have to say that I found some pretty good ideas but I decided to just pick 2 of my favorite ones to share with you because I think these will be a big hit with the kids.

1.Tin Can Stilts

I think is my favorite! It reminds me of the stilts that I used in gym class although those were real wooden stilts instead of these but these are still such a good idea! It’s a pretty easy one to do to… all you really need to do is get two big cans and some rope. Preferably you will want to make sure that the cans are the same size so that the kiddos can learn how to balance on them and walk with them easily.

Click the image above to take you to Happy Hooligans blog for the How To on this fun idea!

2. Strawberry Planter

I picked this one because I know how much kids like to watch stuff grow and develop, plus who doesn’t like strawberries! This project needs a little more time/work put into it but it’s a project that the kids can really get into! Not only can they watch the plant grow but they can also get their hands dirty by painting/decorating the outside or the can and by digging in the dirt to plant the strawberry!

I don’t know about you, but living in Orange County we have a lot of ant issues. So, planting these in the ground would be pretty pointless since they would probably get eaten by the ants before we even get to pick them. This makes this project even better since they will be hanging up which will give these little strawberry plants a greater chance of hitting the bottom of our bellies.

Click the image above to take you to We-Made-That.com for the How To on this yummy idea!

 

Do you have any other ideas for what you can do with your empty tin cans? Then please let me know in the comments below!

Pattern Test for Sweet Potato 3 Patterns – 01

This is by far not my first pattern test that I have done for Sweet Potato 3 but apparently it is the first one that I have put up on my blog! This pattern test was to make something that I really haven’t made before. Something that I have been wanting to make but I just never got around to making one. So, I was glad when she sent the email asking if I wanted to test this Swaddle Pod!

First thing first, this pattern is reversible (which is also my first time making a reversible item)! Both sides have a fun texture to them. One side has a nice raised strip pattern to it and the other looks like it is nicely woven. When I was done with the test, she asked which side I preferred. I told her the raised strip side because I haven’t really made anything with that kind of texture to it, but the more I looked at it the harder it was for me to decide which side I liked more. I feel that with the reversibility, this prop has endless possibilities for newborn photographers.

I actually sent mine out to my friend Shannon Mulligan who is a photographer on the east coast and can’t wait to see what she does with it! I will be sure to share with you when I get the photos so stay tuned!

You can use it by itself or you can pair it with a cute headband or hat. You can make it multicolored or a solid color. The tie can be crocheted or you can use a ribbon for a softer look! Just think of the things that you can do with this!

Did I mention that this pattern was super fast to make too?! You could easily make one in a day and have a photographer photograph it on a cute little model the very next day!

Find this pattern by following the links below:

Reversible Swaddle Pod – Photo Prop – Crochet Pattern

Etsy: Pattern Reversible Swaddle Pod – Photo Prop – Crochet
Craftsy: Reversible Swaddle Pod – Newborn Pattern
Ravelry: Reversible Swaddle Pod

Also, if you want to check out her fan page and blog feel free to check out these links and tell her I sent you!

Facebook Fan Page – Sweet Potato 3 Patterns
Blog – My Sweet Potato 3

July Guest Blogger – Annie Ciszak Pazar – Free Knitting Pattern

I have been dabbling with the idea of having guest bloggers write on my blog for some time now. After some thinking & planning I have decided to try to showcase one fellow crafter a month. I put out a feeler on my FB fan page and was lucky to have the wonderful Annie Ciszak Pazar jump on board as my first guest!

Annie and I go way back to our High School Orchestra where she played the String Bass and I played the Viola (It’s pretty much a slightly bigger and deeper toned Violin for those of your who have never heard of it). We also took part in Mr Coppin’s first ever Clay Olympics back in 1999.

Many years went by before our paths crossed again, but when that happened Annie’s work did nothing but wow me! Her creativity, determination and awesomeness is very inspiring! She has her own online personal shop for her handmade jewelry and knitted goods and she has a storefront in Alaska called Bella Boutique. When asked what her shop has in it she simply states, “Almost everything is handmade, the majority locally.” She is a big advocate for anything handmade and the people behind those goods.

Without further ado, here is my first guest blogger with a FREE knitting pattern just for you!

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Annie Ciszak Pazar Owner of Annie’s Arts & Follies & Bella Boutique:

It seems everyone I know is expecting these days, and I have been a busy, busy knitting bee working on blankets for those special people and their soon to arrive new babes. In the past I have worked up some funky fan and feather pieces, but decided to switch it up this time with a little checkerboard action.

This is a super easy pattern requiring knowledge of only 2 stitches (if you can knit, purl, & count to 8, this is for you!), but looks far more complicated (as all knitting patterns do). Now, this is the pattern I loosely followed for this blanket:

Using size 9 32” circular needles, C/O 136 sts
Rows 1-16: sl 1st stitch of each row, k across
R 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27: sl 1, k across
R 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28: sl 1, k7(edge stitches), p8, (k8 , p8 ) 7 times, k 8 (edge stitches)
R 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39: sl 1, k across
R 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40: sl 1, k7, k8, (p8, k8) 7 times, k8
R 41-208: repeat rows 17-40, 7 more times for a total of 8 pattern repeats.
R 209-224: sl 1, knit across
R 225: B/O in K.

Now, I say loosely as I wanted this blanket to be a rectangle and not a square, so I repeated the blocks for a few extra rows – hold it up and see what you like. On the next go ‘round, I would also like to use a smaller needle (I think an 8 would do just fine) and then add another block or two to the width to even it all out. But that’s the beauty of this pattern – it’s so simple that it’s in turn easy to tweak to make your own. I could actually see myself adding several more blocks and making a new blanket for our couch. But that would mean my friends need to take a baby break first!

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You can check out just how awesome Annie and her creations are by checking out the following links!
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Annies-Arts-and-Follies/265865906211
Blog: www.anniecraftypants.com
Instagram: @Msanniepants