Just For Fun is my way of sharing all the little things I like to do... from crafty things to thoughtful things!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I've been a busy chipmunk!

Look!  It's a bird... it's a plane... it's SuperNick!

My favorite nephew turns 21 tomorrow, and being as weird as I am, I couldn't just buy him the traditional first legal beer.  No, I had to remind him of his early childhood when he wore a Superman cape every day under his clothes - you know, just in case.

As you can see, this cape will pull double duty.  When not saving the planet, Nick will be able to nap in peace and comfort.

Steve laughed so hard when i showed him this next pattern, I had to make one for him. 

It's a reversible hat, where one side tucks into the other depending on whether he is feeling naught or nice!  We'll see who pays attention when hockey starts next week.
I made a few things for me as well... the dragon scale gauntlets I thought would be just for Potter-y fun are actually comfortable.  I'll be making a matching bag and hooded cowl in October.

I really want it to be cold so I can wear my new Little Green Riding Hood.  What can I say, I don't wear a lot of red!  It has a great cabled edging too.

I'm also working on a few items I hope Christy and Andrew might be able to use in their respective classrooms... with a few more ideas up my sleeve as well.

Andrew loves space... but teaching kindergarten this year means he probably won't be able to delve into it as much as he might like.  Hopefully this model of the solar system will fit in to his classroom decor and always remind him "To Boldly Go".  I'm still working on the Jedi knights for his desk.
Christy loves ancient cartoon characters.  I hope this mischievous pair brings some holiday cheer to her classroom.  I'm working on items to replace the pumpkin once the season changes again!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Huzzah Hufflepuff! (Quidditch!)

This week marks the start of quidditch season at the House Cup.  Since I'm playing for Hufflepuff this term, I decided to get in the spirit of things.

I made a set of quidditch fan accessories in Puff yellow and black and then Steve helped me with this 'rabid fan' photo.  Great, right?

I enjoyed coming up with the colorwork chart for the hat, but kept the fingerless mittens stripey. 

I also tried a traditional origami coin purse.

It actually worked pretty well as I made the foundation chain the diagonal folding line (since folding is what foundation chains like to do naturally).


The coin purse is really a cube that is missing the 6th plane on the top... like an open box. Each of the 4 sides is folded diagonally in order to allow the sides to collapse in on each other, making the final object a flat square... see what I mean? 

It was fun to play with yellow and black, but it was also fun to make these sushi scarves.  Twinkie Chan has an imaginative eye for foodie fashion!

These scarves have a lot of small pieces though so as cute as they are, I worry a little about wear and the yarn ends popping out...   we'll see.

I'll be back soon with my quidditch projects and my latest TriWizard Tournament task soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Crochet basics - stitches

My one page reference for crochet stitches.  If you have a question, let me know!

I personally find I have more control holding my crochet hook like a pencil.  Here's the difference between the 'pencil hold' and the 'knife hold':

Basic stitches (US):

 Foundation chain (ch):

Foundation row in back ridge of chain:
Slip stitch (ss):

Single crochet (sc):

Single crochet increase (sc inc):

Single crochet decrease (sc dec):

Invisible increase/decrease:

Half double crochet (hdc):

Double crochet (dc):

Triple crochet (tr):



Yarn color changes:

Starting a circle:

Magic Circle:

Other helpful information:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pottermore - You've put a Spell on me... or was that Flobberworm Mucus?

How do I love Pottermore?  Let me count the ways.  Ok, perhaps I won't wax poetic, but I will say for a first go I think they are doing a great job over in the Wizarding World.

In my first report, I talked about wands and sorting.  I'm not sure I was clear that you get your wand in the same chapter as Harry.  As you go through chapter by chapter and see highlights, when there's something you can do, you do it.  You get sorted when Harry gets sorted, learn Potions in Harry's first Potions class, etc.  And I will let you in on a Potions secret...  Even though we all remember Professor Snape's "there will be no foolish wand waving in this class" lecture, you're potion will fail if you don't wave your wand.

Potion making is one of the games available in the beta version of Pottermore.  Your book give you the recipe, and you have to put the ingredients together just right.  If not, your potion might fail, or your cauldron can explode and you'll have to head back to Diagon Alley to buy a new one.  House points won and lost in a puff of smoke, as some of them are actually quite complicated!

The serious wand waving is in Charms class of course.  There are actually three books for spellcasting.  Besides the Standard Book of Spells (grade 1) there is The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection and Curses and Counter-Curses.

I love that the Spells books outline the shape of the motion you are to make with your wand.  I've been practicing all week!  Only a few casualties around the office.  :oP  One of the other games open to beta users is Wizard Dueling - where you can challenge another student to a duel for house points.  Sadly, this function has been offline this week so I have yet to participate in any duels.  I've been practicing though so I'll be ready.

There are some grumbles here and there about Pottermore but from my perspective, they are from people with very specific expectations.  The site is meant to be kid-friendly so there are some identity-safe features that might be annoying for some.   There are glitches here and there and times when  the site is not available, and that's all part of the testing process!

All in all I think it was well thought out and I look forward to seeing the rest of Harry's story unfold.

Sneak peek just for my friend Steampunk Addie... here's what the Potions lab looks like:

And... here's the empty hallway where I practice my spells!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pottermore - Wands and Sorting Ceremony!

For those of you who haven't heard (where HAVE you been?!)  JK Rowling is working on a new Potter adventure.  It's an interactive web site called Pottermore.  Right now, it is in the beta testing stage.  They found testers by staging a Magic Quill challenge for 7 days.  I was lucky enough to find a Magic Quill... and this morning I received my Hogwarts letter!

As you might expect, the site is done simply enough for the younger crowd… which I think is great. Not all sections are open for testers of course but I will take you along on my journey of discovery!

You walk through the story chapter by chapter highlighting several moments in that chapter. There are objects to collect, and tidbits to read, including details written by JKR that didn't make it into the books, like chacarater backgrounds and background plot lines. (I LOVE that you can add things to your favorites to read later and that favorites are divided by characters, places, objects, and so on.) For example, when I got to Diagon Alley, I had to find my shopping list before I got go to Gringotts to get my galleons in order to start shopping.
 I purchased my supplies and books as well as a cute barn owl to take with me.  I also visited Ollivanders for my new wand! I had to answer 7 questions in order to help Mr. Ollivander. Interestingly enough, none of them had anything to do with wands or magic… and were similar to Myers-Briggs personality quiz questions.
My wand supposedly has a couple of rare components so I am curious as to how it will work as I move along. (and whether it is just telling me they are rare to make me feel special!)

My 14 1/2 inch wand is made of spruce, with a phoenix feather core and the flexibility is ‘hard’. According to Mr. Ollivander, here is the description of my wand:

Spruce: Unskilled wandmakers call spruce a difficult wood, but in doing so they reveal their own ineptitude. It is quite true that it requires particular deftness to work with spruce, which produces wands that are ill-matched with cautious or nervous natures, and become positively dangerous in fumbling fingers. The spruce wand requires a firm hand, because it often appears to have its own ideas about what magic it ought to be called upon to produce. However, when a spruce wand meets its match - which, in my experience, is a bold spell-caster with a good sense of humour - it becomes a superb helper, intensely loyal to their owners and capable of producing particularly flamboyant and dramatic effects.

Phoenix: This is the rarest core type. Phoenix feathers are capable of the greatest range of magic, though they may take longer than either unicorn or dragon cores to reveal this. They show the most initiative, sometimes acting of their own accord, a quality that many witches and wizards dislike.  Phoenix feather wands are always the pickiest when it comes to potential owners, for the creature from which they are taken is one of the most independent and detached in the world. These wands are the hardest to tame and to personalise, and their allegiance is usually hard won.

Most wands will be in the range of between nine and fourteen inches. While I have sold extremely short wands (eight inches and under) and very long wands (over fifteen inches), these are exceptionally rare. In the latter case, a physical peculiarity demanded the excessive wand length. However, abnormally short wands usually select those in whose character something is lacking, rather than because they are physically undersized (many small witches and wizards are chosen by longer wands).

Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair - although, again, this factor ought not to be considered separately from the wand wood, core and length, nor of the owner’s life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.
 The Sorting Ceremony in the Great Hall was pretty cool. Some of the questions were quite thought proviking and some very simple, leading me to believe that I actually scored quite close for more than one house.  (My last question was "right or left?".)

And without further ado, the most official Sorting Hat ever says… GRYFFINDOR! Here’s my welcome message from Percy the Prefect:

Congratulations! I’m Prefect Percy Weasley, and I’m delighted to welcome you to GRYFFINDOR HOUSE. Our emblem is the lion, the bravest of all creatures; our house colours are scarlet and gold, and our common room lies up in Gryffindor Tower.

This is, quite simply, the best house at Hogwarts. It’s where the bravest and boldest end up – for instance: Albus Dumbledore! Yes, Dumbledore himself, the greatest wizard of our time, was a Gryffindor! If that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is. 

I won’t keep you long, as all you need to do to find out more about your house is to follow Harry Potter and his friends as I lead them up to their dormitories. Enjoy your time at Hogwarts – but how could you fail to? You’ve become part of the best house in the school.

(It sounds horrible to say, but I was kind of hoping for a different house as I understand you only get extra details for your house - and we know so much about Gryffindor already. BUT - The hat knows best!)

Next, I have to practice potions and spells... I'll be back with a report soon!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oh Sweet Hufflepuff!

My term at Hogwarts has begun and I'm having a little identity crisis!  At Hogwarts on Ravelry (Hogwarts) I have been in Gryffindor for some time.  Unfortunately for me, the Lions aren't all that chatty so I wander the castle a bit.  I particularly enjoy teasing the Head Mistriss about the trouble I can find using my invisibility cloak and the marauders map.

At the Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup (House Cup) the Sorting Hat sorted me into Hufflepuff.  The Sorting Hat is wise, because at least for this particular group, Hufflepuff is really my home.  (I can see Greta smiling!!!)  In fact, when asked to turn in a project that represented my new house, I submitted this Gingerbread Scarf and explanation:

I realized am truly Hufflepuff. Oh, I could hold my own in other houses… I have a high IQ and read science books for fun, I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in and take chances, and I have to admit a certain competitive desire to crochet ALL THE THINGS and win. But, in reality, the ability to fit in everywhere is ultimately a Hufflepuff gift… as well as the ability to work hard, play fair, and accept things as they are. 

This gingy scarf represents House Cup- House of Hufflepuff in several ways. There is of course the obvious baked goods connection. :oP Hufflepuff is warm, sweet and a little spicy (Come on, hottie gingerbread men! You know you want one!). The differences in our gumdrop buttons or crafting styles don’t matter because we are tied together. Hufflepuff makes everyone feel special, like Christmas. We are the holiday comfort food of the house cup, the dish that warms, comforts and nourishes your heart as well as your body. Huzzah!

I've received very nice responses from Puffs and other students alike.  Thanks all!  Of course, my Pottermore beta access should come through any moment, and then we'll know what the 'official' Sorting Hat says.

I can't share photos yet of some of my projects since they are gifts... but I surprised myself having fun making a wand and wand holder.  It's hard to see the belt loop but it's designed to be worn that way.  The wand is Sequoia/Redwood, and the secret mark on the holder will let me in to magical places.

I also enjoyed making a Piranha Plant for Herbology... Steve took it to work and I understand it has already been adopted away from his desk. That was fast!

Next week, I'll be making Hufflepuff-y sorts of things so I can switch from red/gold to yellow/black in the blink of an eye.  Good thing I have that time-turner or watching Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff quidditch matches could be tricky...