Sunday, January 25, 2015

Our Little Knit Wit

Life is just one, constant, arts & crafts project with Bea. 

If I try to throw away an empty Kleenex box, she says "Wait! Can I have that?" And 30 minutes later, she's turned it into the Taj Mahal for our backyard birds. Or, she'll take all of our recycled newspapers, cut them up, and weave a basket for her teacher at school.

Such was the case last weekend, when she asked for some yarn. She said she wanted to make me a scarf. The only problem with that is, she doesn't know how to knit. And neither do I. But I let her play and experiment anyway. It kept her busy for a while, and she presented me with a wadded and knotted tube of yarn that was held together with 3 yards scotch tape. Naturally, I applauded her effort (as any supportive mom would do.) But I decided it was time to channel her creative energy into something I might actually be able to wear. So we went to Michael's and purchased a Quick Knit Loom kit. It was so easy to figure out. Especially with the help of some YouTube videos we found online.

Within 24 hours, Bea-the-Craftmaster had made the most adorable knit hat. And it fits our cat, purrrrrfectly! Whether Cake likes it or not. (P.S. She does not.)

We've already purchased some larger circle looms and Bea's now working on a hat for her dad. Hey wait a second, wasn't she suppose to be knitting me a scarf? Guess I'll have to put in another order.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hungry Hippo Soup

I originally had the idea for this bread roll hippopotamus back in 2006. I was working on some cookbook designs for the Sedgwick County Zoo, but the project never got past the concept stage.

Fast forward nine years... and my hippo is finally emerging from his soupy slumber. Some ideas just take a while to surface, I guess.

Bea and I had a great time making these last weekend. She made the babies, and I made the moms. It was like working with Playdoh. But better, because we actually got to eat them when we were done. 

Our hippos are wading in a bowl of tomato bisque soup. But you can choose whatever kind you like. I think they'd look pretty hilarious in a bowl of chili too.

You can find my simple, step-by-step instructions for bread roll hippos at Handmade Charlotte.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hot Cocoa + Candy Critters

It's 7 degrees today. SEVEN.

The only thing that can soften the blow of temps in the single digits, is a steamy cup of hot cocoa. And the only thing better than a cup of hot cocoa on a freezing winter day, is a cup of hot cocoa topped with one of these cute candy critters.

I'm especially fond of the little ski bunnies, swooshing down a mountain of whipped cream. But the penguins on iceberg marshmallows and the cardinals on snowy pretzel branches warm my heart too.

Make some for a hot chocolate bar at your next winter-themed party. Or make some just for fun. You can find my tutorials for these sweet treats at Handmade Charlotte.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Do The Shuffle

I've been helping my brother decorate his house for a few years now, and 2014 was all about creating a chic (and only slightly geeky) entertaining space in the basement. 

Like most guys, he loves TV, movies and gaming. So his must-haves included: a giant flat-screen TV, some serious theater seating, and a shuffleboard table to fill his long narrow basement. Check. Check. And check. After he purchased those items, I was given freedom to decorate around them.

I've said it before, but my brother is the perfect interior design client. He enjoys fun, interesting, and slighty-quirky d├ęcor. I don't think he's ever said "NO" to any of my wacky ideas. (And I only had to veto two or three of his video game-themed suggestions.)

Here are a few photos of how the basement has come together so far. I especially love the posters and knick-knacks that really bring out his personal interests.

The basement is long and narrow. Perfect for a 14-foot shuffleboard table.

Massive, comfortable, theater seating - with Mario Brothers pillows, of course.
Eric built this custom "Shuffle" sign to hang over the shuffleboard table.

I love this awesome, white credenza and the movie & TV series posters on the wall.
Kurt's always wanted a dog, so I got him this decorative bulldog at Target.

Quotes and accessories from his favorite movies - Caddyshack & Christmas Vacation.

Modern poster designs of some of his favorite TV shows and movies.

Illustrated posters of the Super Mario Brothers series by Christopher Lee.

He ordered these cool floating acrylic frames from Wexel Art Displays.

Some funky, multi-perspective, fractal mirrors from

I found these little silver men (holding the movie quotes) on Amazon.
Eric made the "Shuffle" sign out of a sheet of MDF board and painted it white.

The nieces and nephews love playing at Uncle Kurt's house.

A few, colorful, modern accessories on the white, glossy credenza.
Hanging glass orbs he got from

Some modern Nintendo controller posters on the wall and a bar table with chairs.

The perfect, comfy theater seats to sit, relax and stay a while.


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