Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bippity Boppity Boo, and Avengers, too!

Well look at that - it's been a full year since a post - since last Halloween and with staying on trend, and before I lose motivation to do so (argh, like I did with the awesome brick staining jobs I've taken on that have yet to make it to the online world...) I thought I best 'just do it.' So here we are, the day after Halloween and Keener Karen blogging away. Swoosh. Just to keep your interest up to encourage you to keep reading - here is a photo of the famjam from last night, the fruits of my labor, and add another "swoosh" here.


This year I took on a slightly larger costume undertaking than I have in previous years. Evan was very adamant that his little sister should be Cinderella for Halloween this year. I originally had thought I'd make her a martian and then do up the big stroller as a spaceship (spoiler: a good chance this is what she may be next year if I still have any input on her costumes) - as trick-or-treating with a REALLY long legged almost 6 year old and shortie 2.5 year old seemed it could be a big of struggle managing everyone, so I really wanted to keep up with building wheels into her costume as it has worked so well in the previous years, so when he suggested Cinderella, I immediately thought "dingdingding, we have a winner - I could totally make the joyrider into a carriage! Great idea, Evan!" - and so that is how Bethanny's 2015 costume came to be decided.

Then things kind of snowballed from there. A girlfriend of mine asked me to do up a fairy godmother costume for her to wear to a fundraiser she was going to. I'm such an amateur sewer that I was very reluctant to take on that task knowing how long it would take me, and how painful the project would be... but then I realized that I could totally use the costume too, so selfish Karen decided "okay, surrrrrre." It's all about Karen, you know? Do I have a blog post titled that yet? I really should rename this blog from iwishiwasakeener to allaboutkaren.

ANYWAYS!! Now for Evan. He's still a little #craycray for the superheroes, especially the Avengers, and currently Hawkeye is his super favorite, so he REALLY wanted to be Hawkeye. Hawkeye is gaining a lot of popularity with the kiddos these days, but he isn't mainstream enough to be able to really find/buy costumes for him yet. He's just making it into the action figure world, really. Mark my word, next year there will be 1000s of Hawkeye trickortreators running around. Anyways, initially I was pretty excited you couldn't buy a Hawkeye costume, because that meant that for once I would get to make Evan's!! I later came to really regret that enthusiasm and excitement because once I got him all jazzed up on the idea, he was holding me to it. It worked out in the end, and I just ate through all my feelings (anxiety, frustration, anger). The great thing is, chocolate solves all problems... well, other than the problem of tight jeans. (Diet starts Monday.) For Daddy - He took a bit of convincing to participate - but in the end he choose to wear the hulk mask/hands from Evan's tickle trunk. Easy!peasy!

Okay enough with the blahblahblahhing, and onto some pictures and basic guidelines of what I created.

I'll start with Fairy Godmother, because I did it first. I'm not doing to get into too much detail on it, because, trust me, I am not the one to tell people how to sew. I fucking hate sewing. I'm way more about the glue gun. You know how some people are "clickers" on the computer - click randomly and don't wait for the computer to respond, before clicking somewhere else, and then when the computer catches up it goes bizerk trying to like 10 tasks at once? Well, I basically do that sewing - I'm soooo not patient enough to be a sewer....

Now, to prove that point. Some people make, and follow patterns. Not me. There is no instant gratification with doing that… so what I did instead was bastardized this:


That is a Christmas tree skirt. I basically sewed an oversized Xmas tree skirt, and added a hood to it, and made wide strings to tie up into the big bow. Clever, eh? The skirt was a basssssic skirt with a tie up waist. Oh and I used a blue flat sheet (King) from Walmart, to save on some material costs. They didn't have pink sheets dammit. Bedsheets are way cheaper than fabric.

Final result:


AMAZING, right?

Okay, here it is:



Next, I did Cinderella. If I could remake that costume, it would be killer. I made SO MUCH extra work for myself putting this one together, I could kick myself. It was frustrating. I tried to attach the top to a body suit so it would be less scratchy and did several attempts which did not work out - in the end, it passed for a costume, but if I could do it again, I would just use a blue body suit, and attach the sleeves to it, or, if I couldnt find one, a blue tank, add sleeves, OR, as a last resort MAKE a blue tube top, and attach the sleeves. I would NOT suggest using a body suit as a base. What a pain in the ass that decision was.

here are some photos of what DIDNT work... Only adding them because although the dress was ugly, the model IS ADORABLE:



This version was such a disaster - it bunched up, and moved around, and you could see through it, etc etc etc. It was a wreak.

I basically ended up sewing a tube top to the body suit, again hoping that the body suit would shield Beth from some of the scratchiness - which I'm not convinced it actually did, and what it saved in scratchiness wasn't worth the trade of the awkwardness of putting this on her. Then attached tulle to create some cap sleeves... Finally, I made a tulle skirt for the bottom half. (sooo many posts/videos online to show how to make these, just google "how to make a tulle tutu" End result was super cute, despite the pain of the learning curve to create it..


Finally, I did the carriage. The carriage was the easiest of all the costumes I did. SO EASY and it certainly had a punchy end result.

I literally just covered it in a queen sized white flat sheet we already had and used clear packing tape to secure it in place. Added another pink flatsheet (again that we already had) to make the tied back curtains... I used a zip ties to separate the gathered areas, and to attach to the stroller. Next, I covered it with 3 packages of battery opperated twinkle lights that my inlaws leant me (thanks mom and dad)... again, taping them in place... I then covered it with 2 tubes of silver sheer tulle like material that I found at dollarama which - you used it, I taped on. To finish it off, I covered the stroller wheels with foamboard (dollarstore) that I had cut and painted to look like the cinderella carriage wheels, and attached them with zip ties again and added a crown on top which I made with my cricut and then laminated give it some sturdiness... I added another bunch of lights into the center of the crown, and taped er all down.... The whole thing cost me like 5 bucks and it was super functional and ridiculously cute.



It started looking a bit rough by the end of the night, but considering I had a toddler climbing in and out of it all evening, and we cut through a narrow path with bushes on each side... it held up very well.


And. Just these ones are because I'm a keener: BIPPITY, BOPPITY BOO



Monday, October 27, 2014

Quick, Easy and CHEAP Homemade Little Old Lady Halloween Costume


Well. I loved making Baby B's Halloween costume so much last year that I was really excited to make both of my kids' this year - I was all geared up to make them Pebbles and BamBamm - I had the hippy blonde boy and cute little toddler with the full thighs - I thought it would be soooo cute! Well. Mr. E-Man nixed that plan. He was adamant that he wanted to be Captain America. And he was adamant he wanted the Captain America costume that was at Costco.... My husband reminded me that Halloween was for the kids and, so be it, my little monster will be Captain America for Halloween 2014. As a little side bar: It was the end of August when Costco brought the costumes out so the boy and I had a serious discussion about how he had to be 100% sure he wanted to be Captain America because after the costume was bought, there would be no changing his mind. He was sure and confident he would not change his mind and was sooooo excited for the costume.

...

Until a month later when Costco brought in Transformer Bumblebee costumes - Then he desperately wanted to be bumblebee. I reminded him he wasn't allowed to change his mind and he sat in the cart with a big suck on his face and everyday since he he reminded me he really wants a bumblebee costume for Christmas. (note: he gets a bumblebee Halloween costume for Christmas) - What a boy.

OK. Back to the Halloween costume. I was going to shove her back in the #ohsocute Cabbage Patch costume I made her last year, but then realized that I only have a few more years before she can adamantly fight me on her Halloween costume choices too, so I best take advantage now if I want to use Halloween as an excuse to be crafty for a while longer. My cousin (same cousin who sent me the Cabbage Patch costume to copy last year) sent me a little old lady costume to copy for her this year.. See below.


I thought this was totally cute!! But when I realized that our son would be leaving her in his dust running from door to door and how nice it was last year to build wheels into the costume, and how handy it was, I decided to do the same this year. We have a push and ride buggy that we use constantly in lieu of a stroller and thought I'd utilize that and instead of B being an old lady with a walker, she'd be an old lady driving a car.

In the spirit of making the halloween costume from scratch I opted to make her wig. Since our winters are #ohsofuckingcold I chose to use a toque as the wig base. For bonus points, the toque has strings to tie on - so helpful since the Miss B is NOT a fan of the wig. HA. Solution: tying on her wig, and placing thumbless mittens on her hands so she can't pull it off - ha ha - Mommy: 1. Baby: 0.

(Testing out the cotton ball wig theory)

The wig was insanely easy to make (as was the rest of this costume) I just pulled and stretched a schwack of cotton balls, then I did a light spray painting job (grey paint) over the cotton balls (just on one side) and then glue gunned them to the toque until it was fully covered.


Because my girl hated the wig, I used Ev as my helper so that I could determine where to place the bun. Again, I just glue gunned the cotton into a a bun shaped pile, and then put a ribbon around the base and glued it in place.


Next came decorating the car. I thought it would be fun to make an Alberta licence plate for her ride. I used google images to find some Alberta licence plates and resized the writing of 'Alberta' and 'Wildrose Country' on microsoft word. I also used Word to make the lettering for the licence plate numbers and to create the registration stickers. I printed them off, then cut them out, and glued them to a white piece of card stock that I had cut to size. I used my cricut for the screw holes, and did a layer of modepodge for good measure. I then used glue dots to mount it to the car.


I used the cricut to make the front bumper sticker entirely, and again - modepodge + glue dots.


The poor car was looking pretty sad and weathered from spending the past 4 years outside year around and most of the stickers had faded or pealed off. So I went to the dollarstore and got a couple closet push lights and stuck them on. They were perfect size!! They only had clear, so I used red acrylic paint to paint the break lights. Resourceful, right?


It paid off that we haven't taken care of the car and lost the hood... We filled the open hood area with old lady swag: Bingocards (oops, missed mentioning I made those too - I used word to make the bingo squares and the cricut to spell out BINGO and then glued it all onto some cardstock), ball of yarn and knitting needles, and of course a stuffed kitty for good measure.


Next came the challenging part: Dressing the Missy in all of this... I did it in stages so not to overwhelm her and send her into the throws of a meltdown (again). Luckily, daughter like mother and the girl just LOVES food, so I distracted her with goldfish crackers along the way and in no time she was far too preoccupied with begging like a dog for another goldfish that she forgot she was wearing glasses and a wig. HA: Mommy: 2: Baby: Full of goldfishes!!

(doesn't suspect a thing)

(getting warmer)

And here it is! The final product! On real Halloween I will stuff a kleenex in her sleeve and add a teacup to sit in her cup holder. I still can't get over how easy this one was to make! - Maybe took 2 hours in total to put together and was super cheap to make! (I had most of the supplies kicking around the house already (minus the push lights). I love that it will keep our girl nice and warm on the big night and that the car will help us keep up a good pace on our candy retrieving mission.


(trial run)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Being a mom is hard. Now, stop bitching about it!

You know what I get sick of reading? Those "woe is me I'm a mom.. It's a thankless job" blogs where moms complain about how hard their job is and how only other moms can relate... The ones where they complain then give themselves pats on the back because they are woman/mother/awesome enough they wouldnt have it any other way...

I'm not talking about the hilarious "sometimes I loose my shit bc I'm a mom and its a thankless job" honest and relatable blogs (those, I love).. This rant is solely targeted at the blogs and posts written by women who complain about how hard their job is and how they don't have time to wash their face in the morning and how nobody says thank you for driving them to school or getting stains out of their shirts...

I've worked a full time job while having one child at home and I've been far more grateful for my maternity leaves and being blessed with being at home fulltime with my babies. Yes it's so exhausting sometimes and some days I want to (or... actually do) have total hissy fit breakdowns... but there were days at my real job when I wanted to have total hissy fit frustration induced breakdowns too... (And couldn't... Because that girl is fucking crazy)...

My point is, every job can be emotionally taxing and although my day job wasn't as emotionally taxing, it wasn't as emotionally rewarding either. It's all relative.... I think. No pain no gain. Yeah, my kid may not always say "thank you mommy"... But my engineers and coordinators didn't hug me either.

Monday, February 3, 2014

RE: WE CAN'T BE FRIENDS.

This evening I came across a blog shared on Facebook titled "We Can't be Friends". The title caught my attention and I gave it a read through. To summarize, it is written by a woman who announces she cannot be friends with anyone who is not understanding that her house is a mess because she has children and she describes how she will not spend hours cleaning in attempt to give the illusion of having it together before her friends stop by. Her message is simple: If you have issue with my messy house, then, we can't be friends.

I absolutely agree… Kudos!!

If someone doesn't want to come to my house because its a mess, then seriously: we can't be friends… But, you know what?… when I'm frantically tiding up my house before a friend comes over, it's not because they'll have a problem with my messy house. It's because I have a problem with them seeing my messy house… But here is the kicker… up until VERY, VERY, VERY recently, I was convinced that people did care… That they did judge the mess… and as a result, because of MY insecurities, I'd frantically and thoroughly clean before any guests came over, and would become a grumpy, miserable bitch if my husband dared to leave an empty glass on the counter or wore his shoes from the front door to the back door because "I JUST CLEANED AND WE HAVE COMPANY COMING!"

Now, think about it.... When you go to visit a girlfriend, what is the first thing she says, pretty much every single time???? : "Sorry, my house is a mess." (and usually it fucking isn't and you roll your eyes at her half hating her for saying something so stupid, and then half hating yourself as you compare her mess to your mess. Point is, EVERYONE (with a vagina) is constantly hiding and apologizing for their messes and the problem isn't our asshole, judgemental friends. The problem is our asshole judgemental FEMALE selves who have set impossible standards for ourselves to live by. I don't know where the hell we got them… from our mothers? Who got them from their mothers? Who knows? What I do know, is I never hear a man apologize for their house being a mess - even when it is a fucking wreak. But then again, I don't hear men on a regular basis gossiping and bitching about their friends either… so maybe they don't feel the need to defend and apologize for the state of their homes because they don't expect others to talk negatively about them for something so petty. Jes say'n!

Now, just to further make my point… (wait a minute, didn't I predict I'd be ranting like a lunatic about something totally unrelated to kids crafts in my last post? yes. yes I did)… anyways… Social media… how many of you are guilty for taking a picture, going to upload it to Facebook or instagram… then realizing "fuck, the basket of laundry in the back?? Shit." … moving it, re-snapping, then uploading. [If nobody is nodding to themselves right now, please let me know so I can pour myself another glass of wine…] Point is, we care FAR too much about what others MAY think of us and how we are portraying ourselves. ANNNNNDDD… on that note: guilty confession time. I snapped this picture of my living for this post so I could be all like "whoa. that lady thought her house was a mess. Check out MY mess."


Then, I looked at it and thought "whoa. fuck. no. Im not posting that!"… resnaped the photo and felt a flicker of pride: "yep. THAT mess makes my point, but I won't have TLC banging down my door to approach me to star in their next reality tv show titled "PIGS"


Okay: Time to get to my point, as I clearly have laundry to fold:

Living is messy and high maintenance, and kids can be shitheads. (unrelated to this post, but still true) - And just like I'm always going to throw on a bra before company arrives, I'm going to tidy up and it's not because I think my highbeams or messy house are going to offend my guests… (and if they are, then, we can't be friends) but it's because I feel uncomfortable being exposed… Chances you will continue on the same too, and that's cool. But… Why don't we at least try being honest about it… Instead of making the excuse "we had a crazy weekend here" to justify the overflow of dishes in the sink (I used this one today) - fess up and admit "Thank god you were 20 minutes late because I was able to hide the laundry baskets AND brush my teeth!!" (This also happened today, minus the confession) - Lets stop pretending and apologizing - and hell, while we are at it, how about we stop talking shit about other peoples' "shortcomings" and maybe eventually we won't feel so defensive of our own.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Easy Homemade Cutesy Valentine's Day Cards

(to give to those who still find hand/foot prints of your kids cute)

Because I have a binge type personality - binge eating, binge cleaning… binge drinking… here is yet another crafty post… NOTE: I know I seem like I'm on a bit of a roll with all this cute crafty stuff, and although I wish I was a keener like that... I feel it's important to warn you that it is just a matter of time before Im posting about decorating "human dog houses"(see previous post)… or ranting like a lunatic about something completely unrelated to children's crafting ideas.

Part of my eagerness to post stems from the fact that I'm on maternity leave, and enjoying every minute of it*.. but at times, I feel a bit lonely and just want to chatter. My husband thinks I babble too much (even though he never says as much. Mostly, because I am usually talking too much for him to get any words in, giving him the opportunity not to vocalize what I CAN TELL he is actually thinking)… but, anyhow. Hi there little blog, you are now my sounding board, and, Ohh.. you want to hear about my latest DYI Valentine's Day card decoration session. SURE!

*especially those minutes like right now, where both kids are napping. FOR THE WIN! Booyea! Oh, and by "every minute of it"… that was a lie.**

** It's mostly good though.


***

Okay, here we are… They are pretty self explanatory… but I thought the result was totally cute. Very amateur like, which is fine, because I'm new at card making and am no Heather Donnelly*, thats for fucking sure, but also, because I get to pawn the work off as the children's' and, hello, they are amateurs!

*Heather is my friend who is insanely good at making handcrafted cards.

I have two kids, Evan is four, and Beth is… 9 months. I had Evan make the hand print heart on the front, and had Beth do the hand/footprints on the inside. I don't know who was harder to get to cooperate… probably Evan, actually. But only because I felt he should be able to understand and listen to "DONT MOVE YOUR FINGERS" which he didn't listen to… Both were tricky. As a tip for the baby though… I laid her on her tummy and put a clean paint brush down in the neighbourhood of where I wanted her hand print to be... and when she opened her hand to grab for it - WHAM! I slammed* her hand straight down and TADAAAA!! I learned this little trick after 4 botched attempts. Evan… I never did learn a trick for.

*pressed

Some close ups:


I just love, love love cute hand/foot print stuff… probably because I have skeletor hands and huge clown feet (for a 5'3" tall woman=size 10 feet… cough:since grade 5, and that's what they called me back then) with a strong family history of bunions… I figure I best capture the kids' cute hands and feet as much as possible while I still can, that is, before their genetics catch up to them

Friday, January 31, 2014

DYI Spiderman Valentine Cards

Look at me, on a roll… Another crafty post, already!

Today, the kiddo and I spent the chilly day indoors, making homemade Valentine's Day cards he will give out to his friends at preschool at their Valentine's Day party in a few weeks.

My four year old is obsessed with spiderman these days - well, actually, any superhero, but especially spiderman. And. Iron man… and Batman.. and Captain America... He is actually so obsessed with superheros that he has given everyone he loves their own superhero names… for example, Grampie is THE HULK, Gramma is Black Widow, Daddy is Superman… Mommy is Superstar (although, its weird, he can pronounce SuperMAN no problem, but Superstar, sounds eerily like "LiquorStore" - True Story.) The best is Great Grampie, who was so proud when he was dubbed 'Batman'… that was, until he realized he misheard and Evan actually said "Antman" - "ANTMAN?!" - Anyways! Circling back, I like to do some arts and crafts type things with Ev-man a few times during the week, so that I can feel better about the amount of time he spends watching TV the rest of the time. Usually our craft projects are pretty lame (see decorated "human dog house" below), but, they keep us busy for a few hours doing something fun and show as justification on how our day is spent to account for the unfolded laundry baskets everywhere. Circling back, again, and getting to the point this time: I saw Valentine's Day Cards as an opportunity to get our craft on and have something legit and truly purposeful to show for it. When I asked Evan what kind of Valentine's Day cards he wanted to give out to his friends at school, it was a big shocker (not) when he said "Spiderman".

By the way, basically every photo I ever post, is like a "Where's Waldo: Laundry Basket Edition" - I wish I was a keener, and prompty folded and put my laundry away… but I rarely do, instead we seem to live out of laundry baskets and I have a strong bond with my Tobi steamer. (Thanks MIL, Love!)

As mentioned in my last post, I was gifted a Cricut paper cutter for Xmas a few years back. When I first received it, I thought it was really cool, but didn't know what kinds of things I could use it for… Well, as a mommy with a flare for crafts and shortcuts, it's found itself it's very own designated seat at the family dinner table. It's glorious. Thanks MIL!! Love!

When I googled "spiderman Valentine's" - a bunch of store bought ones showed up, and well as some heart shaped spiderman decorated cookies - I thought that would be easy enough to copy, paper style… and thus my vision was born.

I used the cricut to cut 4 inch hearts on red, and white card stock paper (I chose this size so I could get 4 hearts per page to limit waste) and printed black hearts in 4.5 inch sizing - I could get 3 hearts cut out of a 8.5x11 sized sheet at this size. We made 25 cards total. I used the circuit Plantin SchoolBook cartridge for the hearts. On the red hearts, I drew a black outline, with a felt marker, and drew a web design on them. On the white, I used a Valentine's Day stamp. I would have let Evan do this part, but… it really needed even pressure to apply well… and being the control freak I am… I delegated that duty to myself.




Next came the hell of the eyes… 25 cards=50 eyes, each eye has two parts to make it=100 - Using the same cartridge, I used the round brackets for the eyes, then I just had to trim the corners, vs trace out and hand cut 100 eyes. For the whites of the eyes, I used 3/4" size, and for the blacks, 1". It was painful and time consuming. I placed a glue dot (I'm new to glue dots, they are actual thing, and, awesome) on each black eye and then secured the white on, before cutting out the blacks, for ease.


Once this stage was over, it was FINALLY time to involve Evan! Thank god! Watching me get everything ready all morning and into the afternoon was making him bat shit crazy (and annoying), especially since I did a completed card first thing in the am to show him what was in store for the day.

First, I had Evan stamp a spider onto each white heart - the stamp came from one of his marvel colouring kits - followed by a valentine stamp of his choice - on each of the white hearts… helped him write his name on each one… (I added the the To/From parts because his focus was dwindling at that point), then, had him put the eyes on the red hearts.

(Note: I place an old bedsheet on the floor to protect the hardwood from any mishaps.. I do this after encountering a mishap. And, by mishap, I mean "Superman" still complaining about the spot where the modge podge still hasn't worn off the floor from the Halloween Costume)

Next, we placed some foam double sided stickers on the back of the red hearts, to give the card a bit of a 3D feel, and then I had Evan stick them to a black heart. I REALLY had to resist doing it for him, or "helping" him by firmly holding his hand while I "guided" where two the two hearts make contact... because it was making me bat shit crazy to see him not stick them on perfectly after all my work. He actually did do a really good job for a 4 year old with (momy diagnosed) ADD though… Although, admittedly, I did make him fix a few that were just ridiculous.

Finally, I added some glue dots to the backside of the black heart, and had Evan put a white heart on… Same story re: me watching in horror as some of the white over hung past the black edge of the black "outline" heart.

Close up of the finished product:
(sidenote: My husband thought it was a little "crazy" that I had XOXOs and the signature sign listed as "Love: Evan" on the cards - He thought this should be reserved for family only and I was told that evidently I give out my love freer than him. Thoughts? Am I teaching my son to be a slut with his love?)