Month: December 2013

the christmas wrap-up

Hello from a scheduled post!  While I’m away I thought I’d document the last bits of Christmas knitting.

Annie got a Tuesday Night Cowl and a Gwen Stacy hat (sans bobbles).


Mom got a Growing Leaves cowl,


and Dad got a Vanilla beanie.


David’s are the only gifts that are half-finished (of course): I’m still working on his cabled cardigan and I started an impromptu gift of mittens (a modified version of the Manly Mitts pattern on Ravelry – I’m adding a flap for him once I get more yarn). Please note how only one hand is shown in this photo – that’s because there’s only one mitt to show. Whoops.

Slide4  I hope you all had a wonderful relaxing holiday, and happy new year!



voy y vuelvo

This is it, everyone – David and I are off to Costa Rica TODAY for a week and a half of 80+ degree weather, rain forests, beautiful Caribbean beaches, and most importantly, SLOTHS. This trip (really, mostly the idea of getting to meet real live sloths) has been sustaining me through the past few months of school. I am so ready. Really:

photo (2)

The one thing you won’t find in this backpack is (unfortunately) knitting.  Something about super high humidity + fiber doesn’t really seem like it will go together (also, after extensive Googling I discovered that Costa Rica doesn’t appear to have much of a yarn scene – alas, alack).  So the knitting will be stowed away in favor of outdoor adventures. In the meantime – Happy New Year, and I’ll try to limit the sloth photos when I return.

merry christmas, ya filthy animals

The past few days have been incredibly busy with holiday prep, vacation prep, knitting, and of course, that med school thing.  David and I are headed to my house TOMORROW for a delicious six days of pure unadulterated laziness. Before we say goodbye to our cozy apartment, Christmas decorations, and sadly, our KITTY, I thought I’d share a few pictures.

Behold: our Christmas tree, complete with CeeCee licking her butt in the background. She has been nowhere near as destructive as I originally anticipated.



Christmas cookies! While my baking often looks like cat vomit, luckily it doesn’t taste like it.

IMG_5617I want to include some knitting photos, buuuuut I’m knitting only Christmas gifts at this point and I want to pretend that at least some of them are a surprise. But hey! I’ve made (very minimal) sweater progress since my last update. I anticipate finishing the back and hopefully a sleeve by Christmas.

Photo on 12-20-13 at 12.31 AM


i’m just a beard: a dwarf hat tutorial

I think I’ve already done a sufficient job establishing my nerdiness on this blog, so little introduction to this tutorial is required.  To celebrate the release of the Desolation of Smaug (and also because my excellent friend Shelley inspired me with her own crafting) I decided to make a dwarf beard hat not unlike the ones that you might have seen floating around the internets.  Mine is a little different than the Ravelry version in that there is no knitting or crochet involved.


To get started, you’ll need: a hefty chunk of yarn in your desired beard color (I bought a Red Heart Super Saver package, which was 324 yards, and I only had a bit left over), a sheet of felt in a flesh color (or the same color as the beard hair), a pre-knitted beanie (like the ones you can buy at CVS for $2), and if you wish to decorate the beanie like a dwarf’s helmet, then some gray/gold/etc scraps of felt.  The only tools you should need are scissors and some sort of adhesive (or if you are really gung-ho, you can sew the chunks of hair on).

First, cut out the first flesh (or beard)-colored felt in the shape of a very general beard template. This will be the base to which you attach all the beard hair.  Leave some extra room at the temples or sides so you can glue this into the beanie once the beard is glued on.


Then, determine how long you want your beard to be.  Don’t make the hairs too long, or you’ll run out of yarn, but I recommend cutting a little bit longer than you think you’ll need and you can just play barber later.  I made mine long enough to reach the middle of my stomach. Once I decided how long enough I wanted it to be once on the beard, I doubled that length and made that the length of yarn I would cut out. (You’ll see why in a second.)

Now get to cutting out your beard hair. Cut a LOT. You basically want the finished product to be like a Tresemme ad slapped onto your chin. I paused partway through the process to form the hair bundles to gauge my progress.  When you want to make a hair bundle, take another, smaller piece of yarn and tie the bundle of yarn (as thick as you want it to be) in the center. Here are some of my yarn bundles shown below.


Once you have enough for a luscious flowing beard, arrange the chunks onto the beard with the knot in the middle.  I did two layers of hair bundles on the chin and cheeks for maximum beardiness. Glue these bad boys down (make sure that the center knot is not visible). To make the mustache, I did two smaller hair bundles and glued them right at the center flowing outward.  To make sure the mustache didn’t fall down, I glued the chunks a bit down along the path of the mustache template.  Leave a little bit of room on the felt template so you can glue the beard into the beanie.


yes, crafting in swants – i’ve truly reached my final form.

Now, the most fun part (that can also turn into a Google Images wormhole): look for some dwarven beard braiding inspiration. This is like Pinterest, but about 8 million times more interesting because your (beard) hair is finally long enough to put in all those crazy elaborate braids you see in the pictures (short hair bitterness moment over).  I went with a Gimli-inspired look, because he is my main man (only sort of kidding). 


Once the braiding is done, glue the beard template to the inside of the hat.


all alone in my apartment, post-workout and crafting. this is my idea of a wild party.

Excellent!  You can stop here, because honestly, most people are going to recognize this as a dwarf beard hat.  However, if you are all about dat life of cosplay verisimilitude, you can continue onward to make some dwarf helmet decorations to put on your beanie.  Again, I’m drawing my inspiration from Gimli (not Hobbit accurate, sorry folks), who wears more of a war helmet compared to the little winter caps we see modeled by Bombur, Fili, and Kili in the movies.  Anyway, good old Gimli sports some very interesting geometric designs on his helmet. I cut out some metallic-ish felt, puffy painted some designs, and glued them to the beanie to create some sort of brow and sideburns protection.


Here I am modeling the finished product. And yes, before you ask, all dwarves just laze around in their pajamas holding their cats on a Tuesday afternoon. They only pick up their axes when Peter Jackson is around.


Woohoo! You’re all done. Congrats on possibly making it through this whole tutorial. Stay tuned for next week when I instruct you all how to make hairy hobbit feet (just kidding, those things are gross).

it’s christmas! a homemade stocking.

Hooray December! Hooray three weeks until Christmas! David and I put up our Christmas tree and celebrated with sushi, hot chocolate and homemade peppermint marshmallows (courtesy of his cousin).  I felt so into the Christmas spirit that I decided to post about a Christmas craft.

C9 Christmas lights are one of those things that make me feel all warm and fuzzy and Christmasy. After having grown up with these lights decorating the outside of our house every year, I feel a comfortable and happy when I see their familiar shape. It doesn’t just mean that it’s Christmas, it means that it’s Christmas with my family. Anyway! Cheeseball moment over. David recently started spending Christmas with my family, so he needed a stocking for our family Christmas mornings.  I picked an image that, to me, was the very epitome of our Christmas: the C9 light.  I brought the stocking home before photographing the fully finished product (whooops), but here it is in its beginning and very-nearly-done stages!


nothing goes together quite like christmas and a TI-83

Photo on 12-6-12 at 10.51 PM