This Star Wars: The Force Awakens painting is so quick and easy, you might end up with a BB-8 art gallery in mere minutes! Plus, it’s so fun that you don’t have to leave the painting just to the kids: Grab a paintbrush and make one yourself.
“No, I prefer Quarterest. I don’t gallonterest because they charge.” – my witty fourteen-year-old.
I could browse through Pinterest for hours, and have. It’s a great place to waste time, to find oodles of inspiration. As a mom and writer, I love Pinterest. And now that I can keep some boards secret, I love it even more. In addition to being the keeper of the family schedule, I also coordinate our teacher gifts, Halloween costumes, and meals. As a writer, I could use a little inspiration to get me back on task, while keeping track of all the ideas that gradually coalesce into a writing project.
I am by no means a Pinterest pro. But other than the usual Food, Fashion, and Fun Boards, here are a few ideas on how to use Pinterest to organize our crazy lives: Continue reading Do You Pinterest?
The Star Wars universe’s newest hero, Rey, struck a nerve with many viewers of all ages and demographics. Everyone has their own reason and theory of why she is so popular.
For me it was simple. Rey was someone’s daughter, and I couldn’t help but see in her the strong, intelligent, and fiercely independent person my own two daughters are growing up to be. One little detail in particular cemented this perception for me: Rey’s doll.
“Why” is a common question in our home as I’m sure it is in yours. Right now, the kidlets still think I’m a genius because I can read more easily and faster than they can, though I know those days are rapidly coming to a close. And thank goodness for the internet and the quick Google… I think their tiny little heads would explode if they had to wait for me to look something up in a book.
One of the activities we enjoy most is baking and both kids, but Stinky 2 especially, is starting to express an interest in why things happen the way they do in the baking process. So, this is really me crib sheeting various answers before the fact. Hopefully, they’ll come in handy for you too.
Why Does Yeast Make Things Rise?
Yeast is a single celled fungus. That’s right, a fungus. For those of you who hate mushrooms but love bread, I have news for you.
Subscription “boxes” are popping up all over the internet these days! From makeup to nerd gear, there are so many out there! I looked into yarn subscription boxes but most of them were $32+ a month like Yarnbox, Fiberista Yarn Club, and Yarn Crush.
These boxes are definitely appetizing, but as a mother of three small children, I just don’t have the money for that. In September, I saw a suggested post on facebook featuring the Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bag. Beanie Bags debuted in October, and I was lucky enough to grab one before they ran out. For $10 a month, this sweet little bag of yarn and goodies is a steal! ($10 USA, $15 international.)
As 2015 comes to a close and we prepare for 2016, take a look at some of your top viewed GeekMom posts from 2015.
What does this list tell us? That you are a diverse group of readers, interested in everything from creativity to conventions to coding to knitting to Lego to pop culture discussions.
What’s ahead? There’s sure to be more about women in the world of geekdom, DIY articles putting geeky spin on clothing, knitting and baking, more tech and more strong opinions about everything from Marvel movies to the comics.
Thanks for joining us in 2015 and here’s to a great 2016!
If you like any of the below articles, let us know why in the comments.
You just worked your creative butt off and finished the final touches on your amazing project only to show it to a trusted friend, family member, or blog community and this is the response you get:
You have too much time on your hands.
In her article, Ruth discusses how this phrase can take on dual meanings. She also addresses how one should respond to such comments, with or without snarky retaliation when dealing with friends, family, or anonymous commenters working on their troll skills.
Have you ever thought about showing some of your favorite cult classics to your tiny human?
Check out Laura Weldon’s article about showing Blazing Saddles, Airplane, or Sleeper to her kiddos.
Also, check out some of the comments other geeky moms have faced when watching movies that are inappropriate for kids. Pop some popcorn, scroll through the hilarious comments from fellow GeekMoms and enjoy this article one more time.
Wizard World-branded Convention, is it a Fandom gathering or Fan-exploitation.
In her article about the pros and, well, cons, Ruth takes on the Wizard World convention and how they move in after other major conventions come to town. She even explores several instances when Wizard World feigned ignorance when prize winners stepped forward to claim their prize, only to receive blank stares from the Wizard World officials.
Explore Ruth’s hard hitting article about disappointed fans as they get slapped in the face by Wizard World Convention and its dark secrets.
Whichever flavor of geek you fancy yourself, there’s a gathering for you. We all love to be able to mingle among our own people, to learn from them, to get ideas from them, and to make friends that will last beyond the week(end). Who doesn’t love the idea of being somewhere where everyone gets you?
If you’re a knitter or crocheter (I’m the former myself), then the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY is just that place for you. It is the ultimate pilgrimage for anyone with a fondness for yarn, making yarn, making things with yarn, buying yarn, and/or the furry animals from which the yarn originates.
In our house, the annual holiday tradition is to make ornaments for all the family members. Every year, I scour Pinterest and various websites to find an age appropriate ornament craft that we can do quickly, without a lot of trauma to the stubborn child’s sense of free will. This year, inspired by Chris McVeigh’s ornament tutorials, I decided to design something that would be easier to find pieces for and easier for my six-year-old to build.
Since we have a Lego store nearby, we have the opportunity to specifically buy the pieces we needed. When looking for pieces, I tried to find ones that would be easy to find if you, like I, have a house filled with random tubs of Lego. If I had prepared more, I would have been able to locate the pieces needed just by sorting through our current gigantic plastic tubs of used and abandoned Lego.
Manicures and Star Wars. Nope, this isn’t a “which one of these is not like the others” puzzle. When I randomly ran across the the Cover Girl Star Wars makeup collection of nail polish, I bought them all. OK, well, FIRST I bought the lipsticks because I also really love lipstick. Then I went back and bought all the matching polishes. Because LIMITED EDITION. I mean, that’s the nerd equivalent of a dog whistle.
The problem was that I had sort of become tangentially addicted to nail wraps because they were so much prettier! And there were designs! And it was EXCITING. However, my cheap self decided that if I had just dropped a ridiculously obscene amount of money on nail polish, I couldn’t just let it sit in a drawer. They needed to be used in a way that incorporated as many polishes as was humanly possible at one time.
This led me to my mortal crafting enemy, Pinterest.
How do you cook and serve a human? Hopefully, this is not a question you have ever needed to answer, but it is one that Janice Poon—food consultant and stylist for NBC’s Hannibal—has spent much of her time considering. This holiday season, Janice has teamed up with Freddie of Tattle Crime to produce a batch of cookie recipes that even the fussiest of foodies will love.
I was able to try out some of the recipes myself, and to speak with Janice about her work on Hannibal and her advice for any aspiring chefs who have been inspired by Hannibal‘s culinary command.
After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. Here in America, the number of tea enthusiasts is growing every year. Chances are there is someone on your gift list this holiday season that geeks out about tea. So here are some ideas to make them squeal like a tea kettle in delight.
A Whole Buncha Bags: This is a good one if you are planning on giving out a tea present to several people. Buy lots of different kinds of tea that come individually wrapped. Then give each tea person on your list an assortment. The fun of this present is presentation: inside a pretty teapot, clothes-pinned on a wreath, tucked in a knitted cozy, or nestled in an elegant box. You can expand by including a tea mug, jar of honey, spoon, and a book like the classic: The Book of Tea.
Weekly Tea Gram: Who doesn’t love getting real mail? And so sweet if you have someone who lives far away. Each week, mail this person a different kind of tea. Tea bags are so light and thin, you won’t need more than the normal postage stamp. Make it a seasonal gift lasting three months, buy a 12 pack of pretty greeting cards, and put it on your calendar so you don’t forget to do the mailing!
Personal Tea Blend: For teaists on your list, nothing but loose-leaf will do. Go to your local tea shop, or if you are not lucky enough to have a teashop, buy some online. Your grocery store should have the rest of the recipe items in the spices section. Put some thought into your tea person and what they might like. Put the blend in a Mason jar decorated with ribbon and label with their name as the blend, along with a teaspoon and tea brewing bags. Here are some examples. They make about 20 cups of tea.
Ayla’s Healthy Zen:
1.5 oz green tea
1/4 cup dried berries
.5 oz raspberry leaf
.5 oz nettle
2 oz Rooibos tea
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 Tablespoons cacao nibs
2 Tablespoons coconut flakes (unsweetened)
After mixing these together, be sure to let it air dry before packaging.
Peter’s Night Cap
2 oz chamomile flowers
2 Tablespoons cinnamon pieces
1 Tablespoon ginger
.5 oz anise hyssop (or dried licorice pieces—not candy)
Tea-infused Salts. These go for about $20/lb in the store, but are really easy and inexpensive to make yourself! The recipe is 1/2 the amount of flavoring to the salt. Again, packaging makes all the difference in a gift. Small glass bottles are the best for this one so you can see the pretty colors. The salts can be used as a finishing touch for soups, stews, grilling, or just some scrambled eggs. Any salt will do, but coarse salt looks nicest. Make all three for a colorful presentation:
Even though paper coffee cup sleeves are biodegradable, they still create unnecessary waste and use needed resources. Most of the time these sleeves end up in the trash instead of recycled. Why use a boring paper sleeve when you can rock a piece of geeky art work instead?
These projects are very quick to finish and require only a small amount of yarn. They make good stocking stuffers or birthday gifts. They are practical, unique, and sure to please. I use mine on both disposable and reusable cups. Here are six free patterns for coffee cozy sleeves you can knit and crochet:
My daughter and I are cat people. We have four at home and every Wednesday we volunteer at our local cat shelter, Cat Tales. We spend up to ninety minutes feeding, grooming, and socializing the approximately 100 cats who live there, including the two in the image above.
On the right is Sundance who strongly resembles Captain Marvel’s flerken cat, Chewie, and on the left is Bruce, named after the Batman. The shelter is made up of four rooms, all with access to the fenced-in outdoors. In the last month more and more cats have come indoors due to the colder weather. But what about the cats who live outside the fences?
Aeris and I decided to build a cat shelter for feral or free roaming cats to take refuge in this winter. It’s what Catwoman would do.
WHAT YOU NEED
A large plastic bin, with a lid
A foam cooler, with a lid
Straw, shredded newspaper, or batting for insulation
Measuring tape or ruler and an X-acto knife or like cutting tool
Throughout October, leading up to BlizzCon 2015, one hashtag ruled them all as far as Blizzard games were concerned. The tag #ifoundpepe took off as players tweeted images of their characters with the beloved bird on their head.
When the Blizzard Gear store released a plush Pepe, the frenzy around him reached a fevered pace. But while there were dozens of Pepes to be seen throughout BlizzCon, another character also seemed to have caught the eye of crafters throughout the fandom. So I would like to propose a new hashtag, #ifoundmurky.
Murky is a murloc, a small creature that most World of Warcraft players would recognize as one of the many mobs that characters plow through in their quest for experience and gear. Heroes of the Storm players might recognize him as a niche character that shocks everyone when a player selects him.
Graphic designer Anthony Herrera has been creating snowflake patterns for Star Wars fans since 2011, delivering a fresh batch of designs each year.
For his 2015 set, Herrera celebrates the release of the seventh film in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens, with seven new character designs featuring Rey, BB-8, Finn, First Order Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren, Kylo Ren Lightsaber, and Poe Dameron.
This latest bunch brings the total to 57 different Star Wars patterns from which crafty fanfolk can get cramped fingers, crossed eyes, and a big smile making.
When I was pregnant with my second child, we figured out the perfect theme for decorating the baby’s room: a Totoro nursery!
When we found out the baby was our second girl, we figured out the perfect middle name: Mae—different spelling, but same name as the little girl from My Neighbor Totoro. So when the first movie she actually watched end-to-end was My Neighbor Totoro, it only made sense. And when it came to letting her choose the theme for a second birthday, again, it only made sense that she would pick Totoro. Continue reading How to Throw a My Neighbor Totoro Birthday Party
In the United Kingdom, November 5th is known as Bonfire Night. Across the country, bonfires are lit and firework displays held to commemorate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot way back in 1605.
There are many different foods associated with Bonfire Night although few of them could be called healthy. Among them are toffee apples, treacle toffee, and baked potatoes cooked within the fire itself, but perhaps the most classic Bonfire Night food is parkin.
Have you ever looked at a stark stormtrooper and thought, “That guy could use a splash of color!” If so, this is your chance to put your own spin on a stormtrooper with this creative watercolor painting perfect for you and the kids.
The air cools; fall begins, and out come the sweaters! I love knitting and crocheting, but as a mother of three small children I don’t have the time for large projects like sweaters.
This year I thought I’d spend my autumn months knitting and crocheting some geeky holiday ornaments! Here is a list of both knitted and crocheted ornaments you can make. Keep them for yourself or gift a bit of geek to any nerd on your list! Some of these are actual ornaments and some are amigurumi that you can add a simple yarn loop or a hook to for hanging. Continue reading Geeky Ornaments to Knit and Crochet
My girls have enjoyed their dolls…a little too much.
Their Barbie-sized dolls have enjoyed tea parties, but have also flown the Space Shuttle into a planet, with the help of a sling-shot and wall, fought crime and overly-playful dogs, cliff dove into a pile of cactus, and been strapped on the back of remote control cars like little NASCAR racers.
These dolls are no sissies in our house, which has led to a few plastic mortalities. On more than one occasion, we’ve gone to put away dolls, only to find one or two surviving pieces left, often the head.
I can’t pretend this isn’t one of my favorite times of the year. When else can you offer someone a skull full of almond flavored witch fingers and not expect screams?
But whether you have signed up to bring the classroom treat, are throwing a Friday-night-fright-fest, or just feel like serving something creepy for dessert, finding the perfect, easy, recipe can be a chore.
Allow me to help! I’ve collected seven of my favorite creepy concoctions. I do not take credit for creating any of these ideas, but I’ve kitchen- and kid-tested each of these and know they are sure-fire hits, whatever your event.
Sticks (either lollipop sticks or actual Q-Tips with the cotton heads clipped off)
Ear Wax (butterscotch, caramel, or cookie butter—see below)
This is one of the simplest treats to make. Simply place one mini-marshmallow on each end of the stick and dip in the “ear wax” of your choice. Store bought butterscotch and caramel don’t always set up completely and can cause some stickiness between “Q-Tips” on the tray. Homemade caramel usually sets up harder and is a nice option—email me for my recipe and instructions. Or, Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter works wonderfully. Continue reading 7 Perfectly Spooky Halloween Treats
We are one week out from Halloween, and if you’re still thinking about costumes then you need to strategize. This article really deserves a sub-heading: Costumes to Guarantee Extra Candy From Crying Geeks (On a Budget and Short Notice). Because we all know that’s the primary goal, right?
If you truly want to make the most of your Geek Parent status, you need to think beyond the standard costume. We’re talking fine detail. We’re talking characterization. We’re talking props. Trust me—the props bring the feels, like Moffat to a flame.
Each of the following suggestions stays true to the nature of Halloween—Everybody’s dead, Dave (well, kind of). There may be spoilers ahead, although all of these characters are at least 12 months old—you have been warned.
Carl (from UP)
You’ve seen the cosplays of Old Man Carl, carrying balloons and his zimmer frame. Amateurs. Do the old man costume—suspenders; bow tie; talcum powder in the hair; glasses. And add a photo frame or scrapbook with Ellie’s picture poking out of the top. Whenever anyone looks at the costume, just glance down at the picture and sniff.
Hiro (from Big Hero 6)
Now, the obvious choice would be the brother, Tadashi—but that might be a little obtuse. Instead, go for a simple version of Hiro (cargo pants, red t-shirt, blue cardigan) with props: A slightly deflated Baymax balloon. We all know he survives at the very end, but after the tearjerker with Tadashi… I just don’t think the candy-rich geeks could handle the feels from Baymax’s sacrifice *sniff*.
When I first saw Shirley Bovshow’s “Man-Eating Monster Plants,” I knew I had to make some of my own. If you haven’t been to gardening maven Shirley’s blog “Eden Makers,” please visit! She’s the go-to for all things growing. Or, in my case, all things dying. My thumbs are mostly black, not remotely green. But as this craft only requires inanimate objects, I figured I had a shot.
For full disclosure, I feel I should start by telling you that crafts can be difficult for me. First off, I’m not innately “crafty.” I’ve met those types of people. The folks who can tie a bow perfectly every time, or wrap the perfect present, or artfully put together a bouquet of grocery store flowers so they look like a hundred bucks.
Not me. My grocery store flowers look, well, like grocery store flowers. But, I am also a tad bit of a perfectionist. Okay, more than a tad. I’m a total and complete type-A perfectionist.
Generally, those two personality aspects add up to several days of stress when any craft project is undertaken.
This was no exception. The fabulous Bovshow only required an hour, plus drying time, to make her version.
It’s a cool feeling when your own children embrace some of your memories, and make them their own. My six-year-old has discovered the pop-punk trio Shonen Knife.
Whether it’s their catchy beats, colorful homemade-looking videos, or their Ramones-meets-Hello Kitty look, they are her band, and she wants to dress like them. Specifically, she wants the two-tone heart dresses they wore in their sugar high of a video, Riding on the Rocket.
Per her request, I created a way turn two cheap t-shirts into one retro and colorful Shonen Knife-inspired costume that can be worn year round.
What you need:
Two inexpensive t-shirts (one white, one another bright color)
It would be wonderful if we could each buy a shiny new car the second the old one started to look shabby. Even if you’re careful, scratches, dents, and general wear and tear can take their toll on your precious. One solution is to take it to a detailer and have them buff and polish until it looks like new, but that can be expensive. I recently discovered how easy it is to bring a car back to life and here’s why you should try this, too.
I write about cars all the time. It’s my day job to know about horsepower and torque and wheelbases and all those numbers the engineers love to quote. I know a lot about cars, but I have never once tried to do any cosmetic work on my car to reduce the effects of age. Awkwardly applied touch-up paint, yes, but buffing and polishing, never.
Recently, I found myself caught up in the tree of life phenomenon. Specifically, I took a real interest in wire-wrapped, handmade tree of life pendants. I had an opportunity to take a three-hour class, held by Wattle Tree Designs, at a local gift shop. Boy, was that a lot of fun! Women, beads, laughter, and the age-old art of passing down a craft from one person to another. I was hooked! Read on for inspiration and instructions on how to make your own tree of life pendants.
DC Comics has now declared Batman Day to be an annual event, celebrating what they boast in their publicity as the “World’s Most Popular Superhero.”
It’s only proper to accessorize accordingly.
Here’s a way to make some unique bat jewelry out of those cheap plastic novelty rings that I’m assuming are now a legal requirement for most birthday goodie bags and carnival game prizes. All it really takes is some paint, rhinestones, and ambition.
When my daughter was a toddler, one of our favorite activities was making handprint paintings together. She loved feeling the cool paint as the brush tickled her fingers, and I loved having a small keepsake of her little hands. Add a Star Wars theme to the handprints, and you’ve got a perfect painting to hang on the fridge or paste in a geek mom’s scrapbook.
Here are three Star Wars handprint painting ideas crafted with small hands to make happy memories.