Baby Blanket Time!

When you hit the your late twenties/early thirties, you may notice this phenomenon of all your friends having babies.  Sometimes, it really feels like all of them.  I’m a crocheter, and I like to make gifts for my friends, I feel like it’s more personal. I can’t commit to making a blanket for every baby, blankets take a long time (I have a friend who knits a blanket for each baby born in her group of friends – she cray cray).  Usually, I make a baby hat.  Hats are quick (especially baby hats!) and easy and super cute.  But for a few special friends and/or relatives, I do go all out and crochet a blanket.

This year, I took my first few steps into designing my own patterns. I created this graph for a Legend of Zelda baby blanket.  The graph shows one half of the design.  The other half is a mirror image of what is in the graph.  I did originally start out with a full-image graph, but found it too difficult to remember where I was, and which direction I was going!  Since both sides are the same, I found it much easier to repeat the graph backwards.

Triforce with Carter

I worked this blanket it single crochet, but half double crochet would also work!  When changing colors, I left both yarns attached, and ran the other yarn through the middle of the stitches.  The back side isn’t quite as nice as the front side, but I wanted to make sure there were no loose strings for baby’s fingers to catch on.

I also allowed for a border around the graph, but that’s up to you!

For just the graph: Start with a chain 71.

R1 – single crochet in second stitch from loop, 1 sc in each stitch across, changing colors where indicated in the graph.

R2-44, 1 sc in each stitch across, changing colors where indicated in the graph.

Triforce Graph

I also made some blankets using graphs I found of Ravelry!

Thanks to Ahooka Migurumi for sharing this Star Wars blanket pattern.

Star Wars blanket

 

Thanks also to kejsarinna Astrid for sharing this TARDIS blanket graph.  Note that this links to a website in Swedish, but the graphs are easily viewable and downloadable!

(pics to come)

Happy Birthday Harry, 2016

Another year, another party!  We repeated a couple of our crafts this year, since we had some leftover supplies, but we had some great new ones too!

We have a new addition (or maybe edition… since we’re a library… book jokes, I know, terrible) to our library family this year: Norbert the Norwegi-no! the Bearded Dragon. Norbert (named of course for the dragon that Hagrid hatches in Philosopher’s Stone) hadn’t been sorted yet, so we thought we’d let him try on some house colors and see where he felt most at home.

harry-norbert

He liked Slytherin.  He’s a reptile, I guess it was to be expected.

Moving Pictures

One of the most striking parts of the Harry Potter world is, no doubt, the moving pictures. This year, we created a “Have Seen This Wizard?” sign using a a big piece of thick bristol board, along with a variety of hand-held props.  We used the “boomerang” app to make quick little loops, and voilà!  Wanted posters.  (Note: in Instagram, we were able to trim the videos around the poster, so you couldn’t see our legs, but wordpress won’t embed Instagram videos – can’t win ’em all!!)

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Flying Key Chains

image1Think back to Philosopher’s Stone, when Harry, Ron and Hermione must find the right flying key to get through to the next challenge (this would be after the Devil’s Snare but before the Wizard’s Chess match).  I was able to find the cutest little key charms on Amazon, and bought a whole whack of empty key rings.  We used some needle-nose pliers to attach the charms to the rings.  Surprisingly, this was the hardest part of our prep. Once we had them attached, we provided a variety of things: pipe cleaners and craft wire, craft petals and feathers, to create the img_1782wings and let the kids get imaginative.  Some of the kids preferred to make a flying key necklace, which was great, since it removed the step of attaching the key ring!

 

 

Whomping Willows

Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that make just THE BEST crafts.  For these guys, all you need is a paper bag and a pair of scissors!  Well… and a few other bits to jazz them up – but that part is optional.

Paper bag Whomping Willow

Quidditch

Always fun.  This is a picture from my “Quidditch for Teens” program.  I always like to do separate programs for kids and teens, so that the teens can get a bit more aggressive.  This year we had a small group, and played four on four. I was never athletic. I hated team sports with such a passion. I was so afraid of being the worst person there that I refused to try anything.  There is no worst in Quidditch.  The added bonus of a broom between your legs means that no one will look coordinated, no one will not look silly. It’s amazing how quickly we can move from absolute anxiety over “sports” to absolute hilarity over running around with a broom between your legs trying to throw a half-deflated red ball.

 

Triwizard Maze

img_1343Handy, we are not.  This year, for added fun, we built a maze!  It was… not so successful.  We built the structure out of 1x2s and 2x2s – we tried to seat them right into the ground, but the ground was dry and parched and did not want to give at all.  We made the walls out of plastic table cloths from the dollar store – in house colors of course!  The bit we really, really didn’t anticipate: the wind.  It wasn’t particularly windy, but even a slight breeze img_1303threatened to pick the whole maze up and blow it away.  In any case, with a lot (and I mean a LOT) of duct tape, staples, sweat and tearsimg_1309 we made a small maze.  The kids loved it!  Even the older kids, who ran through it in 2 seconds, loved to run back through, and find all the monsters hidden within!  I guess it just goes to show: kids and adults have very different eyes.

  

DecorHarry Potter stuff

 

I have a lot of Harry Potter stuff… some might say a ridiculous amount.  But hey, I make good use of it!

Harry Potter stuffimg_1284

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Oh yeah!  What do you do with all the balloons left over after a wedding shower?  Make Hedwigs of course!!
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Harry Potter Day 2015!

Well July 31st has come and gone and once again we had a wonderful birthday party for our favorite wizard!

hp day 3

This year we had our craft activity and Quidditch going on at the same time: my plan was that people could take turns doing both activities and so neither would end up overwhelmingly busy – ha HA.

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We had four crafts this year:

Dragon Eggs

More than anything, I wanted to make these beautiful Dragon Eggs:


Gryffindor colors egg

I found the idea at this awesome blog, and started planning how I would make these on MUCH larger scale.  Last year, we had well over a hundred kids, which means I have to have enough craft supplies for that many participants.  These dragon eggs are made from Styrofoam eggs and painted thumb tacks.

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I’ve now made several: it’s super fun and I find it very relaxing; and for me, a few packs of thumb tacks and Styrofoam eggs are pretty cheap.

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Enough Styrofoam eggs and thumb tacks for over a hundred is NOT cheap.  Also not the safest.  Also each thumbtack is individually painted.  I considered buying and spray-painting some 10,000 thumbtacks, but ultimately came to my senses.

Ravenclaw colors dragon egg

So I abandoned that idea and am keeping it in my back pocket for a teen program one year, but we’ll see. The one thing I added from the tutorial was the ribbon: I used a plastic crochet needle to thread the ribbon through the middle of the egg, and then tacked over it.  Dragon Egg Christmas ornament!  I’ve tried two different egg sizes so far “hen sized” and “goose sized”.  Both are awesome, but if you’re going to make it an ornament, I’d stick to hen sized eggs, as the goose egg is bigger, heavier, and all-around too much for a Christmas tree.  I also have an Ostrich sized egg that is awaiting decoration, but I’m holding out to find something a little bit bigger than thumb tacks, as I think they will a) look too small on such a large egg, and b) take for frickin’ ever.

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IMG_0260Instead, I ordered an outrageous number of plastic Easter eggs, like you would use for your standard Easter egg hunt.  I spray painted them silver, gold, and cream, bought a TON of Sharpies and glitter stickers, and let the kids go nuts on decorating their eggs.

Paper Roll Owls

Easy Peasy Hedwigs!  It does not take long to gather up a BUNCH of toilet paper rolls, then cut some letter-sized paper in half, get some googly eyes and other decorations and owl it up!  PS – you can also make paper roll minions this way, suuuper easy!

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Golden Snitches

hp snitch

Every kid needs his own Golden Snitch!  Ours are made out of small styrofoam balls – we had 1 inch ones and 1.5 inch ones – gold tissue paper (because we know better than to trust kids with glitter EVER AGAIN), white paper for the wings (could also easily use white craft feathers!), dowels to hold the wings on and glitteries to decorate.

  1. Stick a piece of dowel right through your styrofoam ball.  You could also stick a very small piece of dowel in each side, but be careful to line them up nicely.  Toothpicks might also be a good option here, although considerably less sturdy, of course.snitch 1
  2. Attach your wings.  If you’re using feathers, you’ll probably need to add some glue.  I’m pretty sure we taped ours down and it worked great!snitch 3
  3. If you’re doing paper wings, like we did, jazz them up!  We used scissors to make the paper more flighty!snitch 2
  4. Now it’s time for the gold.  I saw a lot of similar tutorials online where they dyed the balls with glitter glue and food coloring, or painted them (don’t try to spray paint styrofoam, take it from me: it doesn’t work), but that was toooooo messy for our purposes.  We used gold tissue paper, wrapped it around the ball, secured with tape and twist off the ends. Beautiful. snitch 4 snitch 5
  5. Finally, decorate!snitch 6

Mini Marauders Maps

I think this was my favorite craft of the year.  HUGE thanks to Britta Peterson who created this little beauty AND provided it for free on her blog, Britta Blvd.

Last year, Harry Potter Day was awesome but very stressful, and very prep-heavy.  When I found this printable, foldable Marauders Map, I did a happy dance.  Ready made craft!  It is a tricky fold, so best for older kids and up (or younger kids with LOTS of help).  There’s a point in the tutorial where it actually says “this is the tricky part” – look closely at the pictures provided and you’ll be fine, it might just take a few tries.  If, like me, you’re using this for a program, make sure a few people have figured the fold out in advance, so they can help the program participants.

 Mini Marauders Map

Mini Marauders Map Mini Marauders Map

Treats

I only did one treat this year, cauldron cakes.  I used Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix, and made a ridonkulous number of cupcakes.  When the cupcakes were not quite done, I poked them with a toothpick to collapse each cupcake top, leaving a depression for the icing and making them more “cauldrony”.   I used vanilla icing with food coloring to make the “potions” for the cauldrons.  The cauldron handles are Twizzler pull-and-peels – not what I would suggest, they are not sturdy enough to push into the cupcakes or stand up nicely.  Use red vines or something similar.  Also black licorice looks better but is YUCKY!  I don’t even like the smell, so I used red.  I also made some butterbeer: it was clear cream soda (so happy I was able to find clear this year! last year I had to use pink), a dash of artificial rum flavoring, and caramel flavoring (normally I would use butter or butterscotch flavoring , but I couldn’t find any at my local grocery store – normally I would drive around looking for it, but this year I just didn’t have time – plus, the caramel ended up being delicious), and a little bit of orange food coloring.

hp day 5 hp day 4

Harry Potter Wands!

This past summer, one of my most successful library program was Make Your Own Harry Potter Wand.  I ran it in the afternoon and had over a hundred people come to make wands out of paper and glue!  So fun and so easy, although it can take a fair amount of prep time.  I’m sure I got my ideas from Pinterest, and there are LOTS of great Harry Potter craft ideas out there, but to add to them, here is what I did!

 

Materials:

  • Paper (I just use scrap paper (old lists, old flyers, etc), it’s all going to get painted anyway!)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks (it takes a lot of glue)
  • Magical wand cores (phoenix feather, unicorn hair, or dragon heartstring)
  • Small marbles (optional, for decoration)
  • Paint (heavy on the browns, but I did see a lot of pink and purple and black wands too!)
  • Paint brushes

 wand materials

How to make them:

1.  Roll a sheet of paper up tightly, so that it tapers towards one end.  Depending on how your roll it, the wand can be longer/shorter/thinner/fatter.  I roll from one corner diagonally across.

Roll the paper

2.  Add a line of glue every so often, especially as you get to the end.

gluing

corner

3.  Fill the skinny end of the wand with a dab of hot glue.

glue end

4.  Pop your magical wand core inside.

wand core

5.  Depending on the fatness of your wand, it may need some stabilizing: I’ve used Popsicle sticks, chopsticks, tissue paper, or often a mixture of several.  Stuff the wand as best you can/want to keep it from being bendy or fragile.

 

stuff wand

6.  Top  it off by filling the wand with hot glue.  Hold it fat-side up and just let the glue pour – this is where it can take a lot of glue.

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7.  Let the glue dry.  This does not take very long, trust me.

8.  Add detailing!  This is entirely up to you.  CAREFULLY use the hot glue to make swirly designs, lines, dots, sometimes I’ve made a handle.  Here also you can glue a marble on for decoration.  I usually glue the marble on the base of the wand (I like the way it looks), but many of my participants put marbles on the business end of the wand, to symbolize magic.

marble end details

9.  PAINT!

Need I explain?

painitng painting 2me with wand  wand

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Adventures in Crochet

Happy New Year!

I’m such a lazy blogger.  That should be my resolution – be less lazy.

So, last-last Christmas (as in, 2012), I decided to crochet a blanket for a Christmas present.  Early last December (2013), it was finally done!

TARDIS blanketTo be fair, it is very large.  And it just happens that I am just as lazy a crochet-er as I am a blogger.  Sorry you had to wait so long, Sarah, but you’re warm now!  The blanket took an incredible amount of black and blue yarn.  I made it from a graph that I bought off Ravelry, from here.  It is also available from Etsy.  Totally worth the $5.00 or whatever it costs – this thing is huge and unbelievably bad-ass.  In a nerdy kind of way of course.  That’s my couch in the background of the picture.  The blanket takes up my whole living room floor.  It became so big that instead of turning it, to crochet back along, I had to get up and move to the other side of the blanket.

In fact, I’ve been doing a lot of crocheting lately.  As happens when you’re in your late twenties, all of my friends have started doing the baby thing.  Babies, as it turns out, are super cute.  And baby clothes are really really super cute.  My crochet skills are still rudimentary – I can pretty much do single, double, treble, and half-double crochet stitches and that’s it.  I’m hoping to how to crochet in the round soon so I can make an outrageously colored hat (violent pink or purple, probably) for my friend Gavin, who swore he would wear it in public if he did; but currently have contented myself with making baby hats for all the numerous babies that have come into my life.  Also a pattern I got from Ravelry, these are super easy to make and super adorable! (I forgot to take pictures before I gave them away!  I will try to remember to add them once I make new ones for the new babies coming along.)

Toronto Maple Leafs scarfFinally, I’ve been working on a scarf just these past few days for a much-belated Christmas present for a friend.  We are going to a hockey game later this week, and I wanted him to be able to properly support his team.  It’s not done yet, but getting there!  If you want to make one, you can get the free pattern here!  Even if you’re not a Leafs supporter, you could make a red one to cheer on Canada in Sochi!!

By lizandsarahinthemorning Posted in crafts

Quidditch!

The greatest thing has happened!

quidditch stuffThis year, Harry Potter turned 33 on July 31, and to celebrate, we held a Quidditch tournement!  This was something I had planned to do for quite a while, but when it came down to it, ended up being rather more complicated than expected.  I mean, have you ever made Quidditch hoops??

Many thanks to these guys: http://issuu.com/kevineng/docs/theultimatequidditchhoops for posting how to make Quidditch hoops.  Note to anyone attempting it: make sure you buy piping, tubing, and joints that are the same size, as they don’t specify that in the instructions.  I used 3/4 inch everything.

<– This is all the stuff you need to make the Quidditch Hoops.  Altogether, it was about $100.00.  Also, those cement blocks are very heavy – watch out.quidditchhoops

Luckily, the nice people at Home Depot cut the pipes for me, so we only had to cut the tubing for the hoops ourselves.  I’ll be honest, I was a little worried I’d have a disaster trying to cut the pipes on my own!

Quidditch requires six hoops.  They all have to have the same diameter, and need to be three different heights.  That meant a good amount of cutting.

quidditch hoopThe tallest hoops are 5’7″ from the ground to the bottom of the hoop.  That’s taller than me!

At Hogwarts, the hoops are gold, so ours are too!

It took 3 cans of gold spray paint to get them to their current level of shininess!Hoops!hoops

hoop ball

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Briefing the Teams

Then it was TIME TO PLAY!

We had about 35 people come out, and we had a BLAST!

It was amazing.  People passing by on the street stopped to watch.  I’m surprised we didn’t cause car accidents, everyone was staring!

We started out with a  quick briefing, going over all the rules.

Seven players per team: 1 Keeper, 2 Beaters, and because we started the evening without a Snitch, 4 Chasers.

We would add a Snitch later.  We would also end up making our teams bigger and bigger, to let everyone play at once.

  Beat the Keeper!
Fly!

Battle for the Bludger!   Beat the Keeper!

Some people got VERY competitive!!

Quidditch Fall  Quaffle

Sometimes it can be a somewhat violent game.  Especially where best friends and/or siblings are involved.

A quick instruction.  Fly!

That’s me.  Not sure what we were talking about, but apparently it was very important!

The Golden Snitch

And, finally, Our Golden Snitch:

Yeah, the wings were her idea.

Trains!

At our library this summer, we are asking all the kids to color a train car, and we will see, Labour Day weekend, how far we get.  Of course, we had to add our own cars to the mix.

The train so far.  We need a ladder to put up the cars, so we only do it a couple of times per week.  This is week 3.

The train so far. We need a ladder to put up the cars, so we only do it a couple of times per week. This is week 3.

Sarah added some Whovian flare.

Sarah added some Whovian flare.

 

Anita gave us this royal crest of Hyrule car!

Anita gave us this royal crest of Hyrule car!

By lizandsarahinthemorning Posted in crafts

TARDIS shoes

So, we saw some Toms online that had been decorated, but we couldn’t afford them, so we Wal-Marted and made our own!
They’re not Toms, not nearly as comfortable, but they are damn cute!!

 

By lizandsarahinthemorning Posted in crafts

Sherlock and Wands

OK, so yesterday was supposed to be our first day of cooking… but we go distracted by other things.  Instead of Harry Potter food, we spent the evening making Harry Potter wands (photos to come once dry). Comprised mostly of marshmallow sticks and hot glue, we think our wands are pretty much the bees knees.

Oh, and we watched 4 and a half hours of the spectacular BBC show Sherlock.  If you haven’t already, check that show out.

By lizandsarahinthemorning Posted in crafts