Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Roooarrgh ur roo! (Wookie Time)

::Grr, this post was supposed to go out like a week ago, but various things have kept me from posting anything (including getting my wisdom teeth out) so here it finally is::

In case you're wondering, the title translates to "I have a bad feeling about this" in Shyriiwook or Wookiespeak.

Why have I titled this post in Wookiespeak? Because I made a Wookie. Or at least a toy wookie. A while ago I thought it would be fun to make a Chewie doll that doubled as a pillow, so I finally decided to get on that. I decided to go with a sort of stylized design rather than a really accurate version. If you think he looks a little like Domokun, well, you're not wrong.

Concept Design Phase

I got some faux fur at the fabric store. They didn't really have great options so the fur is a little shorter than I would have wanted, but it works.

I started by folding the fur over into the size rectangle I wanted, cutting off the excess, and then cutting that piece into two halves.

Getting an idea of size and placement

I tried to get an idea for how I wanted the face to look by drawing it on paper.

I cut up the drawing and used it as a pattern for the parts of the face. I've got the background for the mouth plus the tongue and teeth. I decided to use buttons for the eyes.

I went ahead and sewed the eyes on and then started sewing the parts together. First I sewed the tongue on. It's made from some scrap red flannel. I left extra fabric on so it would be secured under the teeth.

I sewed the teeth on next. They're white felt. This was all hand stitched because I don't feel like I'm good enough with the sewing machine to do these tiny parts... not that my hand stitching looks much better.

Next I sewed the mouth in place. Then I cut out a piece of black felt for the nose and sewed it in place.

Once the face was done I sewed the bandoleer together. I used a strap from a tote bag and silver ribbon for the little boxes. I'm not doing a bag like Chewie has because I still want this to be a pillow.

Okay so technically I did the bandoleer before I did the nose, but I like this order better.

 I secured the bandoleer by hand stitching it in a few places and let it overhang the edges so it would get sewed into the seam. Then I layed the other half over top, pinned it in place so that it was inside out and sewed it together leaving a small hole at the bottom for stuffing.

I flipped it inside out and Ta-Da!

Now for the stuffing.

Chewie looks terrified.

 Once he was all stuffed (it took the whole bag) I sewed him shut.

All done!

Stuffed Chewie activate! Form of PILLOW!

Now I have a stuffed Chewbacca AND a nice brown faux fur pillow! This pillow is going to my son for Christmas, but I cut out two of everything and if you like it I can make another one. I'm thinking about selling it for $25, so if you, or the Star Wars nerd in your life, have a hankering for a wookie hug shoot me an e-mail at joseph.landrum(REMOVETHIS) and we can talk business.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Aftermath

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I think I'm a little late on this, but the holidays are just totally throwing off my blogging schedule. I took my little family to celebrate Thanksgiving at my parents house. Everything was incredibly delicious. With two of my siblings married we now have three couples bringing extra food. My wife made Tiramisu and then roasted brussel sprouts, beets, parsnips, and sweet potatoes together. My sister and her husband brought a dish with brussel sprouts and bacon. And my brother and his wife brought pasta salad and butternut squash. They were all excellent additions to the usual fare. I tried not to over eat, but it was hard.

For Black Friday we went to Best Buy, Target, and Shoe Carnival. We went to 5 Below and JC Penney as well, but nothing happened there worth retelling. At Best Buy we picked up a few things. We got Season 2 of Fringe. I liked the show when it first came on but ended up missing enough of it that I just gave up watching it. I bought season 1 forever ago and hadn't ever gotten around to watching it until my wife suggested it not long ago. We both really enjoyed it so we figured we should take any opportunities to pick up other seasons on the cheap. $9.99 was definitely on the cheap. We got Season 5 of Big Bang Theory. Somehow we missed about half of that season while it was on TV. We made it through the first two discs by Saturday. We also grabbed Super 8 because we really enjoyed that movie and picked up Assassin's Creed Brotherhood for $7.99. My wife has been pestering me to play it ever since. She even moved the X-box back into the bedroom so I wouldn't have any excuses. I keep telling her I have to finish Fable III first. Gosh. Hahaha I know, who's got two thumbs and is extremely lucky? This guy.

The wife got a sweet pair of Jedi boots at Shoe Carnival for $20. No, they're not actually Jedi boots, but they could be and for that I am jealous. Why aren't there cool boots available for guys?!

At Target I got two argyle sweaters. We might have gotten something else, but I don't remember because I'm psyched about my sweaters. They were half price. I got a green one and a grey one.

They look kind of like this but less grainy.
 We also finally activated our new phones that we've had for a week and part of me really hates talking on my iPhone while wearing an argyle sweater. The other part of me says, "Shut up, you look good."

Now that we've definitely entered into Christmas territory I'm looking forward to all of the Christmas present shopping and the general Christmas festivities. There's far too much to do to pack it all into one tiny month, but hopefully we can squeeze in all of the ice skating, cookie making, tacky lights touring, and etc.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Holidays are Undeniably Here.

This past Thursday I took my little family to the Christmas Tree lighting at Short Pump Town Center. We weren't there for the ceremony itself, we just came afterwards to see the tree, walk around in the brisk evening air, and enjoy some hot chocolate. A lot of other little families were there so our boy had fun trying to climb onto the fountains and running around with all of the other little kids in the grassy areas. It was funny seeing everyone dressed to impress even more so than usual. Each parent had all of the appropriate accessories (scarves, glasses, big watches, etc.). They were all snapping pictures with their iPhones. Their kids all had tiny versions of an adults fashionable winter wear. Of course I say this as if I wasn't at least in some ways doing the same thing.

*begin internal monologue*
"How close should I stand to my son to look like I'm a good parent but I'm totally not overprotective? Does everyone see how cool our kid is? Look how personable he's being. Maybe he'll hit it off with some kid who has cool parents and they'll want to hang out with us. That would be awesome. I'm glad I didn't dress up too much for this, I don't want to look like I'm trying to impress people. Those parents look pretty cool, their kid looks too old though. Wait a minute, where's my son?"
*end internal monologue*

He did have a blast though.

Considering that it's the holidays my project posts might start to wain. It's not that I won't be doing them, it's just that I might not be able to post anything about them so as not to spoil the Christmas morning surprise. In fact, there may be surge of "new" projects immediately following Christmas. One of the projects I'm working on right now is actually for my son. Since he's not likely to read my blog I'll be posting it as soon as I'm done. I was going to write about it this past Friday but Photobucket decided to freak out and I wasn't able to link any pictures. I wasn't finished it anyway so it's fine. Now I'll just do one blog about it, instead of two. I will tell you what it is in the mean time. It's a Chewbacca pillow! I've had this idea for a while, in fact I've had the material for a while, and just kept bumping it back in favor of other projects. Now with Christmas on the way I thought it would be the perfect time. It's coming along really well and assuming nothing goes wrong should be done tomorrow. I'm pretty excited to get this done because I think it's pretty cool, but it's also been on my list for a while and I can finally check it off.

Ever have one of those projects that you're not sure why you put it off? Doing any DIY presents this Christmas?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holly Jolly Weekend!

Okay, so you know those scrooges who think that the Christmas holiday should stay in December and not spill into everything else? Well... I'm one of those scrooges. I just feel like Christmas is really special and it starts to lose some of that if it takes over two full months of the year. I mean come on people, there are only twelve months!

That being said, I very much enjoyed going to Lakeside's Holly Jolly event. Every year all of the businesses on Lakeside get together and have a big holiday bash. This year I think they had it a little earlier than usual, but I could be wrong.

They had trolleys running up and down to all of the shops so you could park anywhere and still get to everything. They even go up to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, though we didn't go that far this year. Lakeside has a lot of cool little antique and consignment shops, as well as a farmers/craft market and various food and beverage places. Everything is decorated and festive and every shop does something cool as part of the Holly Jolly. Some of them had hot chocolate or hot cider, some had cookies and other treats. Several places had fire pits and Feathernesters was using theirs for smores. One place had beer and brats. They also have live entertainment scattered along the event. The best part is it's all free! Sgt Peppers was even giving away free slices of pizza and Consignment Connection was giving away coupons for free hot dogs at one of the food trucks.

We had dinner with some of my family at Umami's. It's actually a little tea shop, but they do breakfast and special occasion dinners. They had a turkey dinner with turkey, stuffing, gravy, ham, corn pudding, potato salad, green beans, jalapeno cranberry sauce (yes you read that right), corn bread or a roll, and tea. It was delicious.

Alas, this was the only picture I took.

It's a big bear!

I'm pretty sure we will make this a tradition for as long as they do it.

Anyone else indulging in a little early holiday cheer?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sharing Time

I'm so sad.

I have no project. I have been so lazy this week. Well I haven't been totally lazy, but I've felt directionless on my lunches (which is normally my crafting time). I measured and marked some boards that I'm planning on using to make an end table. I also made a pattern for kids shoes out of craft foam, but I haven't progressed to actually making the shoes because I'm not sure what I'm going to use for the sole. The rest of my lunches this week have mostly been spent watching stand up comedy on Youtube. It makes me happy.

Since I didn't make anything I decided to link to someone who has! Sort of.

Marvelous Things Photo Blog: Handmade Happiness Giveaway

You could win something from A Girl and Her Balloon! It's all really cool and handmade. Also you can check out her Etsy shop.

I guess I should say something about the blog too, not just the giveaway. I've never been to Marvelous Things Photography's blog before but it looks really nice. I poked around for a bit and the photography is really good. I think a lot of the site is geared more towards women (fashion and stuff), but it's put together really nicely. You should check it out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Self Healing Sidewalks

I happened upon this today:
Concrete Repairs Its Own Cracks

Or here's another site's take:
For those who don't feel like clicking the links, it's concrete with little pellets inside filled with dormant bacteria. When small cracks appear water seeps in and activates the bacteria. The bacteria pulls out their pre-packed lunch of calcium lactate that the scientists gave them and munch away. That turns into limestone and seals the crack back! Isn't magic science awesome!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Politics Schmolitics

I don't generally like talking politics with people. Around this time I don't even really like hearing about politics. That being said I'm going to talk about it for just a minute here.

It's not necessarily what you might think. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. There's a reason for that. I'm not even going to tell you to vote. There's a reason for that. I just have a couple thoughtful ideas that I want to share with you.

If you aren't registered to vote, or you don't plan on voting I have this to say to you:
Don't listen to the people trying to guilt you into voting. People say things about all the men who died to give you the right to vote, but they died so you would be free to vote not so you would be guilted into voting for a candidate you don't want or don't believe in.So if you don't want to vote, don't. I know that's not a popular opinion, but I'm okay with that.

If you are a die hard *insert political party here* I have this to say to you:
It's not that big of a deal. Seriously, I'm a pretty young guy (still in my twenties) and I have already been alive for five different presidents. They all did different things. They all spent money in different ways. Some of them got us into wars, some of them didn't. I'm not saying that it's not important. I'm saying that if your candidate doesn't win the election this country isn't going to immediately explode. In another four years you'll get another chance to have things go your way.

Which brings me to my last thought:
If YOUR favorite candidate doesn't win, then guess what? Someone else's did. Some people tend to have this idea that there is some insidious political party that gets into office by fooling everyone and then making a bunch of laws no one wants. Did you know there are people out there who don't agree with you? Sometimes there are more people who think differently from you then people who think the same as you, and when that happens the government tends to represent those people more because there are more of them. That's kind of how it's supposed to work.

My point is not to validate some sort of political apathy. My point is that the results of a day at the polls is no reason to freak out, hate or judge people, lose hope, rub a win in someone else's face, be filled with regret at the outcome, etc.

Be better than that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Anime Boots

So, this weekend my brother-in-law is going NekoCon. If you're not familiar with NekoCon, it's an anime convention in Hampton Roads, VA... though I guess if you are familiar with NekoCon it's still the same thing. I don't think it changes based on your knowledge.


He wanted to dress up like a character from the anime Code Geass. I don't remember the character's name and I can't seem to find it anywhere but I have a picture so here you go.

I just love Japanese to English translations

The guy on the right is the target character. Now this character was pretty much a scratch build costume, but he enlisted several people for help. I volunteered myself to help because I thought it would be a fun challenge and I had some ideas I thought I could implement. The boots were what I was responsible for making, and as you can see I didn't have too much to go on.

We had this second picture but the boots on this character were slightly different so it's only so helpful.

We started with a knock off pair of those slip on Vans. ($10 at Wal-Mart). From there I bought some craft foam, duct tape, spray paint, velcro, super glue, Elmer's glue, and I also used a hot glue gun.

I started by wrapping the end of a piece of craft foam around the shoe and then bending it upwards. I taped it in place and drew on the sides to see where to cut the shape out that I needed. This is the template I came up with.

The piece on the left is the front and the piece on the right is the back. I also had to cut out a strip to close up the top. Once I had my template I traced it onto the white foam and cut that out.

To attach it I started by wrapping the bottom tabs around the middle of the shoe and super gluing them to the bottom of the shoe.

Then I super glued one side of the back piece inside one side of the front piece. I left the other side open to make it easier to get them on and off. I did the same thing with the top strap across the back.

I wanted to reinforce them so I covered the inside with white duct tape. I wish I had used something else because it's nearly impossible to glue anything to duct tape.

I painted the whole thing with a few coats of a mixture of water and Elmer's glue to seal the foam so that it would paint better. If you don't, it just soaks up the paint like a sponge.

I hot glued strips of velcro on them so the back flap and top strap would stay closed. I actually had to cut the duct tape off the back where I glued it on to get it to stick.

Once everything was together I hit it with a couple coats of white spray paint and voila!

No pictures of him wearing them yet, but hopefully he'll get some at the Con. I'd like to see them with the rest of the costume.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Random Acts of Craftiness: Knob Block Knick Knack Thingy

This month I decided to participate in a craft challenge put on by Erin at His & Hers.


She's doing a different craft challenge each month. Last month's challenge was to make something using game pieces, but unfortunately I ended up being too busy to participate. This month's challenge is Odds and Ends from the Hardware Store! (Click here to see October's entries)

I can't think of a more perfect challenge for me. It requires me to wander around in a hardware store, which I love to do, until inspiration hits me. I settled on the knob section as my area of inspiration. At the Home Depot near my work they have at least 12-16 feet of aisle devoted to drawer knobs. After I had picked up some knobs I liked I got together some other supplies.

This is what I came up with.

In the end my parts and supplies list consisted of:
-4 miscellaneous drawer knobs
-A length of 2x2
-Black and White spray paint
-Wood glue
-Hemp twine

My tools were a dremel and a handsaw.

Step 1

Cut various lengths from the 2x2. I just kind of free handed this one. I wanted a somewhat random look.

Step 2

Drill holes for the knobs. I tried to get them in the center, but once again I just free handed it.

Step 3

Glue them together. Make sure the bottom sits flat.

Step 4

Paint. I just used masking tape to block off different sections.

Step 5

Put the screws into the knobs and cut the heads off. I also used a wooden knob which I had to paint. The screw on that one is difficult to work with so I'm just gluing that one on.

Step 6

Screw heads into the pre-drilled holes.

Step 7

Tie your bow. I might change this to a purple ribbon later. I suppose as long as I don't glue it in place I can change it as often as I want. Other materials you could use are ribbon, strips of fabric or burlap, lace, etc.

Well there you have it. My random knob block knick-knack thingy for the October Random Acts of Craftiness Challenge.

Thanks to Erin of His & Hers for the challenge.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Back from the Beach

This past week was wonderful! After several weeks of extended overtime and covering for missing people at work a week at the beach was just what my family needed.

We were there from the 20th to the 27th and it was very relaxing. My wife's dad rented two bikes last year and everyone liked that so this year he got four and got a child's seat on one of them. Our boy liked riding on the bike, but what he loved was wearing the helmet! After our bike rides he wouldn't take the thing off. He ran all around the house with it and even took a nap in it.

On our bike rides we found sand dollars, a two and a half foot long sand shark, and two horse shoe crabs.

Beach Hair


We built several sand castles which I neglected to take pictures of, but they were pretty impressive. They had drawbridges and moats and walls and keeps. One of them was tiered like a ziggurat. They stayed up all week until the end when the tide was coming all the way up to the dunes because of hurricane Sandy.

We watched movies, played games, and I put together (with the help of Grandma Sylvia) a puzzle.

Of course it's a Star Wars puzzle.

I also worked on some boots I'm making for my brother-in-laws costume for NekoCon. I'll post pictures of those when I finish them.

On Thursday Meredith and I got fresh salmon from the docks and made dinner. I did a lemon dill baked salmon.

Meredith made corn bread muffins, couscous and quinao, asparagus, and some other assorted roasted vegetables. It was all delicious.

Yes. That is exactly how we rock a beach trip.

As a side note there was this massive bug on our deck.

I included my hand as an attempt to show scale, but it didn't really work. This thing looked kind of like a stink bug... if multiple other stink bugs had voltron'ed together to form a super ultra mega stink bug.

Aside from anything we did there we mostly just enjoyed time watching the sun come up and go down, and the tide come in and go out, without having to worry about being somewhere, or even what time it was. It was nice to not be surrounded by responsibilities and to just take it easy and relax.

I should be back to a more normal blogging schedule now, barring any crazy Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations. In the mean time I'll leave you with adorable toddler pictures.