Not exact­ly like Kevin from Up, but since I was wear­ing blue when I took the pho­to it kinds of remind me of him :D

More craft­ing with kids last week. A rather large group of kids. What’s sim­ple and straight­for­ward and costs next to nothing?

The ani­mal masks from Rice­Ba­bies remind­ed me of the mask-mak­ing work­shop from school. The masks we made were less “sculpt­ed” than the Rice­Ba­bies masks, but still three-dimen­sion­al. Last time I pre­sent­ed the idea to oth­er kids they were pret­ty impressed, so I decid­ed to go with it. I even found a pack of 200-sheet con­struc­tion paper at the dol­lar store for $2. The cashier would­n’t believe me until she scanned the bar code.

This is the tem­plate we used. See? Pret­ty sim­ple. I sup­pose one could refine its shape more by hav­ing 3 cuts on each side instead of 2. And it does­n’t have to be per­fect either, since it’s going to be dec­o­rat­ed and shaped. This is just on a piece of 9“x12” con­struc­tion paper, and it’s large enough for an adult’s head, like mine. I just esti­mat­ed the posi­tion for the eyes; I think plac­ing them slight­ly above the mid­dle and 3 fin­gers apart gen­er­al­ly works well.

And then it’s build­ing and draw­ing the fea­tures of the mask — the sky’s the lim­it! We weren’t going to be able to use paint, so I made this test one with con­struc­tion paper and drew on it with pen­cil crayons. It worked out fine, though it need­ed to be dec­o­rat­ed first before shap­ing and sta­pling the mask togeth­er. Def­i­nite­ly bet­ter to use card stock.

I think it’s a pret­ty good project for a rainy day, like today. Hap­py Sat­ur­day, everyone!

favourite things friday


Amaz­ing­ly sim­ple to make and so pret­ty in pink! I have these ring blanks lying around from the resin cabo­chon project, now I know what I can make with them :D How-to for these rick-rack rosettes on The Craft­ing Chicks.


Origa­mi bun­ny cups! A time­ly East­er craft, but I think it would also make a per­fect minia­ture bun­ny lantern with those bat­tery-oper­at­ed tea lights inside! Demo video on Origa­mi Spir­it. (via How About Orange)


What a clever way to make a bun­ny hand­print! From Fru­gal Fam­i­ly Fun Blog.


My old room­mates had one of those small fon­due pots that are heat­ed by tea lights, and we’ve had both cheese and choco­late fon­due on a num­ber of occa­sions — but this! This is the best dessert fon­due yet! It’s cup­cake fon­due! Isn’t it just bril­liant? Per­fect for a tea par­ty. I imag­ine it would also work well with those cake pops that are all the rage right now. I’m rather intrigued by how one could form a sphere out of cake bat­ter, though I’m more of a cake-slice or at least a cup­cake per­son myself. Eat­ing a sin­gle bite of cake just does­n’t make sense to me. Unless one is sup­posed to enjoy mul­ti­ple cake pops in one sit­ting? What is the prop­er eti­quet­te when cake pops are served? … any­way, I digress. Cup­cake fon­due recipe on Mod­Cloth Blog.


This pup­pet the­ater by Sarah Jane brings back fond mem­o­ries of my childhood. When I was real­ly young — prob­a­bly in kinder­garten, I used to lis­ten to the Peter and the Wolf sto­ry on tape all the time. The stage is down­load­able for free, and all the char­ac­ters are avail­able on Etsy. (via Bloe­sem Kids)


How cool are these? They would make such a cool gift! Per­fect with the Poladroid appli­ca­tion, which makes a reg­u­lar pic­ture look like a Polaroid pic­ture (and it’s free!). Tuto­r­i­al for Polaroid mag­nets on Ambrosia Girl.


Build a super fun super Mario mag­net board for some real life super Mario actions! All the char­ac­ters and props are avail­able to down­load for free! From the gen­er­ous and awe­some peo­ple at Lab­o­ra­to­ry 424.


And how about a Super Mario dio­ra­ma, made with marsh­mal­low peeps? Just one of the many entries in one of the many peeps dio­ra­ma con­tests. The ones in the Wash­ing­ton Post con­test are just hilar­i­ous. Can’t get enough marsh­mal­low peeps? See the list of con­tests on Ohdee­doh!


And final­ly, an epic ceram­ic Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle! Be sure to watch the video of the incred­i­ble raku fir­ing process! By liz­zomarek on Instructa­bles.


Hap­py Fri­day! :D

make a plarn betta!

This real­ly isn’t a “pat­tern”, per se. The only “pat­tern” part about it is the cro­chet­ing of the body. Even that is pret­ty free-formed. After the body is made you can form the fins and tails to make it into any fish you like.

I orig­i­nal­ly made the plarn bet­ta as a trib­ute to Sushi the bet­ta fish (you can read more about Sushi here, if you like), and to try my hands on plas­tic bag yarn (aka plarn).

I made the plarn out of the thin plas­tic bags found in the pro­duce sec­tion in the gro­cery store, main­ly because we don’t get free plas­tic bags from stores in Toron­to and the pro­duce bags are the only plas­tic bags I have on hand. But I think the pro­duce plas­tic bags work real­ly well for the fish because of its translu­cent and del­i­cate qual­i­ty; its soft­ness gives the fins and tails a nice drape. The reg­u­lar plas­tic bags would work too, it would just be a tad more stiff.

And of course, one could make it out of yarn of the wool­ly and fuzzy vari­ety. It might be neat to make the fins and tail out of pat­terned fab­ric, you think?

If you need instruc­tion on how to make plarn, here’s a fan­tas­tic one on goose­flesh.

I used a 3.5mm cro­chet hook, plarn, anoth­er plas­tic bag for stuff­ing, some shiny sil­ver mate­r­i­al for eyes, and white glue.

Here comes the “pat­tern”!

ch 3, 6 sc in third ch from hook, 2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc, [2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc] around and around until piece mea­sures about 2″ in diam­e­ter, end with a sl st in next sc. Don’t fas­ten off.

You’ll get a shal­low cup shape.

Fold piece in half, with the stitch on hook on one end of the fold line, like so…

Here comes the last bit of cro­chet­ing: ch 1, cro­chet togeth­er the top edges with slip stitch through back loops only, like so…

When half way across, stuff with bits of a plas­tic bag, then con­tin­ue cro­chet­ing edges together.

Final­ly, leave a 2″ tail and fas­ten off.

I made this one with seam side up, but I think I like the shape bet­ter when it’s seam side down, like the first orange/white one I made.

For fins, cut a 4″ length of plarn, hook it halfway through a stitch on the body where you’d like to posi­tion the fin, then glue the 2 halves togeth­er with a dot of white glue in between. Before the glue dries one could shape the fin a bit and trim it.

Repeat for all the fins. One could also add more plarn to the tail to make it look fuller, using the same method.

For the eyes, I looked for shiny sil­ver mate­ri­als, like this Toot­sie Roll wrap­per here. I then cut a tiny cir­cle out of it and drew the eye with per­ma­nent mark­er, and attached it to the fish with white glue.

C’est fini!


Have a fan­tas­tic day, friends!


What do you call a fish wor­shipped by oth­er syn­thet­ic fish?

The one true cod!

- Mike

syrup festival!

We caught the last week­end of maple syrup fes­ti­val on Sat­ur­day :D It was­n’t cold enough to driz­zle maple syrup on the snow and eat it on a stick (there was no snow), but all in all we had a love­ly time.

There was a very busy-look­ing sheep in the pet­ting zoo…


And a beau­ti­ful lla­ma, one of my favourite ani­mals on earth.


I tried to take a pic­ture of the rab­bit, but the crazed chick­en butted in front of the camera.


Beside the crazed chick­ens was a thought­ful don­key, schem­ing syrup monopolization.


There were sap-col­lect­ing buck­ets on many of the trees in the area, but the tour guide told us that met­al buck­ets are no longer used for com­mer­cial maple syrup pro­duc­tion. Plas­tic pipes are the tool of choice. But it was fun to check each buck­et and see how full they were as we strolled by.


Sap drip­ping into buck­et. Appar­ent­ly, tree sap tastes pret­ty much like water, and has only 3–5% of sug­ar con­tent. So to make one buck­et of maple syrup one would need to boil down 40 buck­ets of sap.

I must admit, I enjoy maple syrup on pan­cakes much bet­ter than on its own, but I def­i­nite­ly have a bet­ter appre­ci­a­tion for maple syrup by the end of the tour.

Have a ter­rif­ic start to your week! Cheers!

sunday video

When I was a kid my fam­i­ly used to rent a movie to watch togeth­er every week­end. It was a tra­di­tion that start­ed when we lived in Hong Kong (the LD), and con­tin­ued when we moved to north­ern Ontario (the VHS), and then to the city (the DVD). So I thought it would be fun to bring back this tra­di­tion here on the blog, to share videos that I find inspir­ing (usu­al­ly the heart-warm­ing, or the ridicu­lous­ly cute). I may not be able to find a video to post every week, but I will sure­ly keep an eye out. If you have videos to sug­gest for Sun­day video or inter­est­ing stuff for favourite things Fri­days please feel free to send me a note!

This week’s video is sup­posed to be a com­mer­cial for a smart phone, I think. But still, I find it quite mov­ing. (via Swiss­miss)



Thank you for tak­ing a moment to enjoy this with me. Wish­ing you a day of peace and rest.

favourite things friday

I nev­er knew that one could knit with­out nee­dles. But yes, fin­ger-knit­ting — a skill I must learn! Tuto­r­i­al by V and Co. (I imag­ine this would be a good project for t‑shirt yarn, and here’s a great tuto­r­i­al on how to make that.)


Anoth­er recy­cled project, this time with a dis­pos­able cup! Looks like they’re not so dis­pos­able any­more. Well, at least the kind made with #6 plas­tic, because appar­ent­ly they shrink in the oven, just like shrink plas­tic! I can’t wait to try this — this very flat pen­dant start­ed as the bot­tom half of the cup! I can only imag­ine the fun of watch­ing it shrink and go flat in the oven. How-to on Dol­lar Store Crafts.


Also from Dol­lar Store Crafts — this tea duck just quacks me up. (sor­ry, could­n’t help it.)


Here’s some real crack­ing actions on Not Martha — East­er sur­pris­es hid­den in real egg shells. Like Kinder Eggs, but home­made and there­fore extra spe­cial. I think these make great par­ty favours anytime.


Speak of sur­pris­es, I just spot­ted this on Rav­el­ry the oth­er day — a fish-to-sushi-to-fish amigu­ru­mi! A free pat­tern by Irka.


More spring knit­ting on my project list. I like this leaf scarf. Pat­tern by Spud & Chloe.


And this leaf top by Bernat, in grey.


But for now, I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and con­tin­ue on that cardi­gan I start­ed in February…

Hap­py Fri­day! :D

city of light


One of the best things about mak­ing crafts with chil­dren is that I get to try it out first :D

Fru­gal Fam­i­ly Fun Blog has a bril­liant idea for mak­ing sun­catch­ers, with con­tact paper (or clear shelf-lin­ing) and bits of tis­sue paper, or this self-adhe­sive doc­u­ment pro­tec­tor I found at the dol­lar store, for $1/roll.

I built my “city” on one sheet of plas­tic, sticky side up, and then cov­ered it with anoth­er sheet of plas­tic. And there are so many oth­er things one can make with the same idea, like this love­ly fall tree, and snowflakes.

When I was a kid I liked to make sun­catch­ers with wax paper and cray­on shav­ing, like these, and these. I loved to mix dif­fer­ent colours and watch them swirl and blend togeth­er under the heat of the iron.

Any­way. I thought the con­trast between the tis­sue paper city and the real city makes an inter­est­ing pic­ture. And I hope the kids enjoy mak­ing this as much as I did. We’ll see…

I’m def­i­nite­ly enjoy­ing get­ting more sun­light each day as we approach sum­mer. How about you?

plarn betta

A trib­ute to Sushi the bet­ta fish.



I had a pet bet­ta fish named Sushi. I guess that’s not the best name for a pet fish. But he was white and orange, so I thought Sushi would be a cute name. We spent sev­er­al hap­py months togeth­er. I would watch him swim hap­pi­ly up and down the fish bowl and eat hearti­ly the food pel­lets I drop into the water. It was so delight­ful to watch his long flowy tail trailed behind him as he swam, and sud­den­ly the hun­dred-page spread sheet that I had to parse through did­n’t seem so dread­ful. Then he start­ed eat­ing less and less, and mov­ing less and less. And then one day, he passed away. I’m not sure what went wrong. He was a good fish.

I had been want­i­ng to try mak­ing things with plarn for a while (plarn = plas­tic bag yarn). But gro­cery stores here in Toron­to no longer offer free bags so we always try to bring our own reusable ones. So I don’t have lots of plas­tic bags on hand; the only bags I have are those flim­sy ones that come in rolls in the pro­duce sec­tion. But then I thought the translu­cent qual­i­ty of the pro­duce bags might trans­late nice­ly into wings or fins — and Sushi the bet­ta fish came to mind.

So then I set out to work, first spend­ing one night mak­ing plarn while watch­ing TV. It was lots of fun, strings of plas­tic sprawl­ing everywhere…

If you’re inter­est­ed, here’s a handy instruc­tion on how to turn plas­tic bags into knit­table or cro­chetable plarn. And here is my ball of plarn. I for­got to count how many bags I used, but I think there were around 10… and some I could only use half of the bag because they had green writ­ing print­ed on them.

I stuffed the fish with a bit of an orange plas­tic bag, because Sushi the bet­ta fish was orange and white. And I added bits of plarn with some white glue for the tail and fins. The plarn did­n’t turn out as translu­cent as I thought after it was cro­cheted, but I liked that it has a pearly sheen to it. I then cut out a tiny cir­cle from a sil­ver Won­der Bread bag and drew on it with a Sharpie for the eye.


So it’s a fish made entire­ly out of plas­tic bags! :D


I’m hav­ing a bit of a busy week this week, but per­haps next week I will do some test cro­chet­ing and write up a how-to for the plarn bet­ta. I also have plans to make a back­ground piece for it so it can be part of a wall-hang­ing / art piece, will keep you post­ed :D

Thank you for the inspi­ra­tion, Sushi. You will always be remem­bered fondly.

Have a won­der­ful day, everyone!

new day


Final­ly some warm weath­er and sun today. And look! Flower buds! I walk by this shrub every week and I know that these are going to turn into large pink flow­ers in the com­ing weeks! Can’t wait!

Had a bit of a dif­fi­cult week­end. Many things did­n’t go right — or they just did­n’t go the way I want­ed them to. But hey, today is a new day, and a new week! It can only go up from here, I’m sure.

Have a won­der­ful Monday!