Congratulations, you’ve made it halfway through V-day, whether you like it or not! Your stomach is probably grumbling about now, and it’s probably because you haven’t had any food specifically prepared for your by Molly Weasley today. The bad news is this article won’t cook the food for you, but the good news is there are some excellent resources to help you cook like the Weasley matriarch herself! Okay, okay, there are recipes for cooking like a house elf, too. And for making butter beer. And for other delicious food so good you will likely think it took actual magic to make them. Continue reading
It’s time to turn those hours spent doodling Captain America’s shield onto the toes of your Converse into All-American, patriotic Mom pleasin’ and apple pie-eatin’”, patriotic (and kid-friendly) holiday and summer craft with tin post signs and bunting.
Okay, yes, I draw X-wings too, but they’re not round or red, white and blue. So, moving on, here’s what you need:
Sharpies or other markers
Yarn or rope
The craft is as simple drawing a Captain America’s shield on a round surface, so here’s a couple of quick tips:
- If you can’t draw circles with a steady hand, use different sized bowls, cups or coasters and trace around. Or, if you don’t already have one, buy a cheap artist compass. Big time saver.
- The hardest part is making an even five-point star. The trick here is to get a little…for lack of a better phrase…evil. Draw a “five line” star like the ones you learned as a kid inside a circle lightly and evenly so it is a good shape (this will look a little…okay, exactly…like a death-metal-ish pentagram, but lighten up…it’s just a star. Erase all the center lines…or paint over them, and its instant patriotism.
Okay, now for the easy part — the craft itself:
For the Tin Signs:
- You’ll notice the pie tin has already done half the work for you, as its pattern is the same of the First Avenger’s shield….WOW, WHO KNEW? Gently cut the walls of the tin with scissor you don’t really care about (it can cut you, so be careful), and there’s your naked shield. If you’re working with young kids, you can line the edge with a thin strip of duct tape for safety purposes. Now, use the center as a “coloring page” to paint on the shield with craft paint.
- Attach the chop stick to the back of the tin with duct tape and place in plants, gardens lawns, or anywhere you want your patriotic geek flag to fly. These do better indoors, but if you want to place them out in the elements, I suggest coat of clear spray paint to decoupage sealer to protect it.
- Want to challenge yourself a little? Make Captain’s early shield by cutting out the shield examples (clip art of these is easy to find), and following Step 2 again. Since the stars will be much smaller, it may be easier to cut out the stars on the pattern with an X-acto knife to use as a stencil.
Now, let’s make some matching bunting. I know the tin signs are more than enough for decoration, but I’m creating these on Fourth of July weekend, and I just want an excuse to use the word “bunting.”
For the Bunting:
- Flatten out as many coffee filters as you need (about five or seven will span a window pretty well), and use Sharpies or similar fine-tipped markers to draw the basic shield pattern.
- Depending on how many “shields” you made, cut the yarn or rope as long as needed and tie a loop at both ends for hanging. If you’re not sure about the length, attach the filters before cutting the rope.
- Use a small amount of glue alongside the rope and center the coffee filter exactly halfway over it, the fold the filter, using a small amount of glue to attach both halves together. Do this for all your filters, and it’s done! Already!
Now, go out and hang those buntings…you may be just a kid from Brooklyn, Cap, but you’re ready to salute you’re country! And eat more pie.
Lisa Kay TateStaff writer and your ihogeekmom
It always seems dads get ripped off each Father’s Day. Mother’s Day always hits at the end of the school year when kids have school time to make a well thought out mom’s gift complete with a tear-jerking “ode to mom” and hand prints. Dads, on the other hand, have to share their month with “grads” and get whatever generic maroon-and-hunter-green man cave specials can be found in the entrance foyer of department stores.
Ah well, who am I to fight tradition? Here’s some incredibly easy mini geeky pub signs you could throw together before lunch…but Dad won’t know because they will also be so incredibly cool.
Now, just because this is easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t thoughtful. I personally have a geeky affinity for pub signs, from both real and fictional establishments, and have actually made a few of these for my own kitchen (aka the Southwest Pirate Pub). Naturally, when the teaser poster for Edgar Wright’s latest Pegg/Frost vehicle, “The World’s End” was released I thought “I must have me one of them nifty signs, there.” Now I do…and now Dad can have one (or one from any geeky establishment of his choice).
What you need:
• Small squares of balsa wood or corrugated cardboard (balsa preferred)
• Print-outs, catalog and magazine cut outs, stickers or photographs (you don’t mind cutting) depicting your favorite fictional watering hole
• Black or dark brown craft or antiquing paint
• Craft glue and/or decoupage glue
• Yarn, twine, hemp or other ribbon
Optional: a nice cup o’ hot tea for refreshment…or have a pint if you’re of age…we’re at the pub, after all.
Step One: Cut out the pub sign to eliminate any background you don’t want shown. You can be as simple or detailed as you like here. Make sure you pick a pub that has meaning to your intended dad or dad-like creature: Mos Eisley Cantina (Star Wars), The Prancing Pony and Green Dragon (Lord of the Rings/Hobbit), Moe’s (Simpsons), Hog’s Head or Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter series), Merlotte’s Bar & Grill (True Blood, if your dad is into this), Tapper’s (from the Midway arcade game and now Wreck-It Ralph fame), One Eyed Jacks (Twin Peaks) and plenty more.
By the way, if you’ve seen the full World’s End trailer, you’ll notice a quick shot of all the pubs hit on the characters’ soon-to-be infamous pub crawl (hey, the “King’s Head” monarch looks awfully familiar). See below.
Step 2: Place the cut out on the wood or cardboard (don’t glue it yet) and use an X-acto or cutting blade to carefully score (cut part of the way through) the board so it complements the sign. Do I need to remind parents to not let younger kids do this part that involves pointy sharp things? Make sure you leave about a half-inch at the top; you’ll need that space in a minute. Remove the image finishing carefully cutting and shaping the sign how you want it. I really recommend using balsa because it is soft, light and easy to cut through.
Step 3: Paint or antique the sign and let it dry. Then use a thin layer of glue or decoupage to paste the pub image where you want it. When in place (make sure you have it where you want it before this next part), paint the entire sign with decoupage or 1:1 water/craft glue mix.
Step 4: Enjoy your libation while it dries. Still not dry? Have another.
Step 5: Use a small screwdriver or drill bit to gently poke holes in each of the top corners and attach the yarn or other twine. Ready to hang!
Here’s a tip, use the back of the sign to write a small personal note to Dad with pen or Sharpie so he will always have that reminder of how much you “appreciate him” and also so you don’t have buy a card. These are cooler, anyways.
Make one each year until he builds up a collection, leave them on random walls where he can find them throughout the year, or give him one of these with a coordinating pint glass or mug. My own Geek Test Dad, says these would make great coasters (with an extra layer or two of decoupage) or magnets, as well!
On second thought, Dad just may have it pretty good this year, after all.
Lisa Kay Tate
A dapper Armani-wearing functional sociopath haunting the streets of London, perhaps, in the style of Benedict Cumberbatch of BBC’s “Sherlock.” How about a slightly unhinged and punky intellectual slacker British transplant living in New York City ala Jonny Lee Miller of CBS’s “Elementary.” A little of both?
Either one would be a welcome sight on Mother’s Day, and a clever way to class-up supermarket flower bouquets through some homemade “Sherlock” arrangements.
Both Sherlock series have their own distinct looks, complete with images, items and quirks that fans will pick up on fast. The trick is to find the images and props you want for the exceptionally lucky recipient of the British version (I will hereon refer to as the “BBC” version) or the CBS version (I’ll call the US version from now on because it sounds cooler than CBS).
There isn’t too much preparation to this, but if you use your creativity, a few “inside jokes” and mutual affection for both your mom and Sherlock, you can put together a nice little gift.
What You Need
Small bouquet of cut flowers
Glass jar (a long peanut or instant tea jar works great)
White school glue or decoupage mix
Pipe cleaners or floral wire
Scrapbook paper, magazine clips, computer prints out or other images
Assorted small charms or other trinkets
Blue (or red) felt
Miniature photo frame
Step One: Cover the jar with the images you want to represent your sleuth, and lightly coat them with a decoupage paste or a simple 1:1 mix of white school glue and water.
My favorite image for the BBC version it the iconic black and white Victorian flowered pattern with the yellow graffiti smiley face and bullet holes. I found several computer wallpapers of the pattern off BBC fan sites, plus similar wallpaper patterns are available on scrapbook pages. Once you glue on the wallpaper, take a small craft brush and yellow acrylic paint to graffiti on the face. If you want bullet holes, use a straight in to gently scrape a few on.
The US wallpaper may take a little longer to do, but is still pretty simple. Since this version of Sherlock’s home bears no distinct wallpaper pattern, this Sherlock loves (and uses) his multimedia. Find catalogs, circulars and computer images of various sizes and shaped television screens with different images and simply collage them on the jar. Once you decoupage these on, that’s pretty much it for that version.
Step Two: Make a nice Sherlock scarf for the rim, since this is only thing both “Sherlocks” seem to agree on in their regular outerwear. Cut a slim piece of felt (about 1” in thickness) long enough to fit around the rim of the vase with room to hang. You might need to tack together two or three strips to get it long enough. The BBC Sherlock gets a plain Navy or dark blue scarf, and the NY version a nice red, plaid number. Use craft paint or a Sharpie to get the plaid design. Tie it around the top of the jar, and make a simple knot or loop as you would for a scarf. Clip the ends to the length you want and gently cut slits the ends so it resembles a knit scarf.
Step Three: Fill the jar about two-thirds with water and place your bouquet in (for those of you who have forgotten to put flowers in a vase). I think roses are in order here, don’t you? I’ll let you determine the color (s), but I went with a classic deep red-heavy scheme for the BBC vase and some brighter yellow for the apiculture-loving NY vase.
Now embellish with a few “trinkets” you feel represent the shows. Charms, small toys, buttons, novelty badges or scrapbook stickers are just a few of the small items that will work here. I chose teacups and crown icons to represent a couple of my favorite BBC episodes and little bees and key locks that seem to occupy a reference in most of the US episodes. Attach these items on to each end of a pipe cleaner (yes, I still use that un-PC reference) or easy-to-manipulate floral wire and bend it in a V-shape in the center. Once you have made about four of five of these, gently place them down inside the bouquet so as little of the wire shows as possible.
Step Four: Now that the actual bouquet is complete, create a little “card” to place at the base by penning a simple note in a cheap miniature “dollar store” frame. I used a more ornate frame with a violin scrapbook sticker for the BBC vase and a starker modern frame with some tattoo designs for the US vase.
Don’t be afraid to get funky and clever. No reference is “too obscure” as long as your or mom — or intended recipient — is in on the same joke.
Now, place this on mom’s nightstand before she gets up, with a hot cup of tea and (if she doesn’t already have these), a Sherlock Holmes DVD or book. If your mom is a big a fan of these shows as I am (and by Jove who wouldn’t be?) you’ll be exempt from chores for a month.
Happy Mother’s Day, from your ihogeek mom.
Lisa Kay Tate
Turns out, it’s pretty easy. If you don’t actually want a real fish, that is.
What You Need:
Small Beta fish bowl, votive candle holder or jar
Small, lightweight toy fish
Glow-in-the-dark paint or nail polish
Craft epoxy resin
First, find a fish. I used a 25-cent coin machine plastic fish, but any small toy fish will do. These can be found in little nature in the educational section at toy stores or crafts stores. Old broken wind-up toys (with the ‘innards’ removed) work well for a larger bowls.
Once you’ve acquired your fish, coat it with glow-in-the dark paint. Acrylic paint works best if you’re using paint, but I actually recommend nail polish over paint; it dries nice and glossy and won’t come off or run when you’re ready to put it in the resin. If you do use polish, slap on about three or four coats (letting each one dry before adding the next) to make sure you cover the fish well.
Now, that the fish is ready, mix the resin according to the specific brand’s instructions, making enough to fill the bowl about half full. I’ve said this before, but follow the resin instructions exactly otherwise it won’t harden properly. Pour the mix in, wait until the resin in a little hard (not completely hardened), and gently push the fish on top of the resin. Make another batch of resin and pour over the fish to completely encase it in the “water.” Let it dry completely. This could take a anywhere from a few hours to a day or two, depending on brand of resin.
Keep the bowl by a window or under a bright lamp so he can soak of up plenty of light during the day and glow longer at night.
Lisa Kay Tate
Staff Writer and your Ihogeekmom