Happy America Day

Echo is still trying to get her mouth around Independence Day… so often it is America Day. And ours was on the relaxing side. We actually had a bit of a celebration the day before with the Schwartz family. Full on fun – a pool, bouncy house AND we made poutine.IMG_20170703_183421_841

IMG_20170703_213119_620Ken and I brought some Molson Canadian to further meld the two holidays together. And Renee had the kids make ice cream.20170703_154632

IMG_20170703_213055_47620170703_15444820170703_154350Of course we started with photos on the 4th.

Note ZANDER is in WHITE

Note ZANDER is in WHITE

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Gavin and Zander

Gavin and Zander

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20170704_112453Then… making of the snacks we were taking to our homeschool buds’ for dinner. (don’t forget making the kids clean while they waited for our leave time)IMG_20170704_131701_901

20170704_111918Our fun was on the relaxing side. Aimee had water balloons.20170704_162648

20170704_16254820170704_162518And then there was the mini firework type fun.20170704_163703

20170704_16374620170704_16404220170704_164350Throw in computers and toys and we rarely saw the kids.

Shucking corn

Shucking corn

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20170704_164723We were done and dusted and in bed only a little after normal bedtime. PERFECT!20170704_111811

So a belated HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to all who celebrated. Our day was a calm one, just how we like it!IMG_20170704_113748_839

Anoka County Fair 2017

This is my 3rd year entering into our local county fair, and this year everyone but Ken had some sort of entry. It was a bit of a struggle to get everything done in time for entry, but we managed. I think next year we will plan in advance to include some school projects in our entries. Maybe make some pointed attempts to craft according to fair themes?

Well, from youngest to oldest… Echo! She was adamant she wanted a RAINBOW ribbon. This happens to be the participation ribbon for the children under 13. So there was a bit of a worry that she WOULD place with both of her pieces and thus get what she sees as the less pretty and therefore less wanted ribbon. Well, not a problem. While she did an amazing job, both of her pieces did not place. And she was still happy! Score! Crayon drawing was done using Art for Kids instructions (we love this site and pay for the subscription). 20170801_141417_HDRHer Legos  were a free form piece.20170801_140908

Trinity was a bit more prolific. She got a camera for her birthday (thanks again Gammie!) and wanted to send in 4 of her photos. 4 categories… animals, people, nature and flowers… all in colour. She didn’t do half bad!

Neko-Chan

Neko-Chan

Flowers

Flowers

Brothers

Brothers

Flowering tree

Flowering tree

And for her Lego piece – one with instructions.

In the cabinet since when we took it home we had to take it off the board and such.

In the cabinet since when we took it home we had to take it off the board and such.

Emanuel had 3 pieces this year. He remade his minion he had made and not entered last year with all Lego blocks, drew a picture and wrote a 4th Haiku to go with a seasonal series he had to write for an assignment. He copied out, arranged and glued down the whole written piece. Something to definitely be proud of!20170801_140932

20170801_14133820170801_141126Gavin put in 3 pieces. We tie dyed as a family, he chose to enter his shirt. Then it was a repeat of his Chinese New Year t-shirt theme – drawn on dragon! His third was, again, a dragon – this time in pencil. Not bad, not bad!20170801_141522

20170801_141611_HDR20170801_141437_HDRZander was a bit of a push. He was not motivated to make much of anything. I was really hoping he would work harder on the rug kit he got for Christmas, but we have hope for NEXT year with that one. This year it was his tie dye shirt and that was that.20170801_141641

I went all out this year trying to do a variety of pieces that will later be given out as gifts. According to the judges my top entry was my set of flower fairy dolls. They were entered under crochet dolls pair and ended up a Sweepstakes winner (I am still a little dodgy on what that means entirely, but the ribbon is pretty).20170807_143603

My personal favourite was the Haku dragon I entered under crochet storybook character. You can read all about our adventure to create this one and get the link to the pattern I used HERE. I have plans to make another in the near future.20170801_141739

I had a whole series of baby pieces this year. Many of which are slated to head over to a friend’s for her little one. Hat, booties, sweater, blanket. Not a bad little selection. I am still hunting for the perfect sweater pattern. This one was cute, but I agree with the judge, using the buttons it called for (toggles) was not quite right. So now that I have photographed it, time to remove the toggles and replace with some black buttons.20170805_142418

20170805_14234820170807_14373620170728_194446My second blanket entry this year was also a baby blanket. Just over sized to a toddler size really. Based on a blanket seen on the tv show Call The Midwife, I lucked out with a super deal on factory remnant yarn and ran with it.IMG_20170805_150002_388

I went all out with the critters as usual, Haku, the dolls… I also did a mini flower fairy as my solitary entry under doll. She is a small version of a larger one I entered last year. I also used a leaf pattern I had from another project to create a little leaf basket on her arm. 20170801_142351

For animals, my poor bunny lost out to FOUR Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (although I have to say, aren’t they more storybook than…).20170805_142327

For the first time I also entered a doll I dressed with my own creations. My 18 inch doll was done up in a fall theme. Not bad for a first go!20170805_144032_HDR

I had 2 doilies… one in yarn and one in thread. The thread was with beads and everything – a wedding ring piece that I will now have to make as a belated wedding gift. (maybe)20170805_142232

20170801_142242I did up 2 Christmas ornaments – one in cross stitch (cardboard and beading) and one in crochet.20170801_142014

20170801_141954That leaves clothing… Adult hat (which made Karyn laugh when I made it), scarf (sloth), purse (it was a challenge!), and slippers (cuz I was hoping for suggestions to improve… nope).20170801_142310

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My other category was a fun one – a mermaid sack!20170801_142117

2 of my pieces did not place – my pot holders and my child hat. Not a huge surprise. Next year I will have to go with a funkier hat!

Sailor's Knot

Sailor’s Knot

Lacy Leaf Bonnet

Lacy Leaf Bonnet

So… Ken and I went on the Friday to see the pieces first hand. We had our poutine and cheese curds, got the kids cotton candy, and enjoyed ourselves! Another year’s fair experienced, we definitely have plans for the next! Wish us luck! And if you have the chance, enter a fair near you!20170728_191706

Haku… The Process of Making a Dragon

So first and foremost… I got the most amazing idea and pattern off of DeviantArt thanks to Aphid777. Check her out, her patterns are not tested and often leave a lot of wiggle room, but if you are ready for a challenge and an amazing result – she is the best! Small-ish Haku can be found HERE, her profile link is HERE

Spirited Away is one of my all time FAVOURITE movies. And Haku one of my favourite dragons. So when I came across this gem on my random look through the artist’s fiber art, well I knew I HAD TO make one of my own (with Ken’s amazing help).

First off my supplies… I used Caron Simply Soft brand yarn and stills from the movie to pick my colours. I used white, blue mint, blackberry and soft pink. IMG_20170521_142549_579

For detail work Ken used roving wool from a variety pack we purchased off of Amazon. You really do not need much for this sort of detail work. The process he used is called felting. 

For the actual structure of the dragon we purchased 12 GA solid white insulated wire from Menards. We wanted to be sure the dragon could be shaped without snapping the wire and hold form. 

For whiskers and horns we used wrapped in DMC floss color matched from pictures and super glue for ends. (E6000 would work too, except we couldn’t find ours).

For stuffing I used the usual fluffy stuff you buy at Joann’s Polyfil.

I had Ken cut and double our body wire. We went longer than suggested so we could cut as needed. The length we used was around 62 inches… 31 inches when doubled over.IMG_20170521_142549_580

I did not place the wire in the body until I had crocheted a bit down the length, going around the wire once it was in the piece was one of the more annoying processes of the project.20170524_234055

I also varied my amount of stitches to meet the bottom center of the piece from what the artist did. Again this is all eye balling and personal preference. I found that once my head was formed putting a stitch marker on the top of the nose of Haku made it easier to eye ball my return to center.

The trick was to consistently add stuffing without over stuffing, but a long stick was quite helpful. 

Once you crocheted to the near end of the tail it was time to trim my end and cover it in electrical tape to avoid a sharp bit poking through. Then PATIENTLY decreasing until you tie off and finish.

The belly is an easy one piece. If I make this again I would consider making the entire structure longer (mostly for fun with posing) and that would change count. But her pattern was easy to read.

Ears are a quick process. Legs took more work. We used a single piece of wire threaded through the body to each leg for our assembly. And did not poke our wire through the side of the leg as indicated.20170708_174309

Feet were added after, easy enough. (and obviously legs and feet were AFTER mane, but you get the idea)

The mane and fluff at the end of the tail was hooked in like when you are hooking a rug. I made sure to face all my knots toward the front of the body and to keep them close to center. Eyeballing and what you like is key. Lengths do not matter, as once they are in you take a cat brush and brush them until they are fluffy and then trim. 

Before brushing

Before brushing

20170717_142120Message_1500517039610Ken felted in our details and BANG dragon! I am super pleased with the side view though we feel we need to work on our eyes to better get the front view. Though front on loses the body so… not the view I want anyway! 

And there you have it…. HAKU! Into the local county fair he went. (Like the next day after completion. Nothing like JUST meeting a deadline). End result – first place in crochet, storybook characters! Not bad! 20170728_194459

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