Saturday, December 15, 2012

Year in Review - April-June


- I made Psyduck while listening to General Conference

Psyduck the Pokemon 

- I got a surprise Easter package from my in-laws, and then made chocolate covered Oreos with the supplies it contained

Easter package

Chocolate covered Oreos

- I finished my steampunk goggles!

3 sets of steampunk goggles: one for me, one for Nathan, and one for my friend Amy.

- I also made a corset belt and a vest with no patterns, only my sister-in-law's help

You can see the corset, goggles, and vest in action

- My brother-in-law took some amazing steampunk photos of Nathan and I and my friend Amy

- We tried Buffalo Wild Wings for the first time

- I made little monsters and earrings for a fundraiser my sister-in-law (different one) held to raise money for Autism Speaks

- Nathan wrote a book in 2 weeks, just to prove he could

Busy, busy month, in retrospect...


- Our retro game collection started expanding at a much faster rate

Now we have THREE shelves instead of one. 

- I got free tickets to a Clay Walker concert

- We drove to California for my brother-in-law's farewell

- While we were there, we watched the solar eclipse

- Nathan took the GRE

- We held a retro gaming tournament to celebrate the GRE being over and the fact that we had a lot of retro fighting games...

Some of the prizes for the tournament

- I made strawberry freezer jam (just like I do every year)

- I tried these awesome granola bars for the first time

That's it. I'm making more tomorrow.


- We got our new piano!

- We went to my family reunion

- While at the family reunion, we tried silk painting

The finished product

- We discovered perler beads... and I pretty much just went crazy with those the rest of the month.

One of my first perler projects, Dr. Mario


- I read 14 books according to Goodreads, falling short of my 25 per quarter goal... but I stayed busy doing other good stuff, so I'm okay with that.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Year in Review - January-March


I started blogging more consistently, making a goal to post every day. (And I did it for a long time, too! I made it through mid-May before I started skipping days...)

I began teaching 5-6 yr olds at church with Nathan, which has been a lot of fun this year.

Nathan finished his 8th book.

I joined Twitter. (My handle is @WombatWife, but I don't post on there a whole lot... mostly just lurk.)

Nathan began the Nathan vs. Video Games blog.


I threw a steampunk birthday party for my friend Amy.

Decorations for party
To prepare for said party, we took apart clocks to cannibalize them for gears. I highly recommend this activity even if you don't care about the gears. It's great fun.

My brother-in-law got his mission call to Ukraine.

I got a raise at work.

I bought (and started using) a WaterPik in the hopes that it would keep away the cavities. We'll just pretend that my teeth would have been even worse without it... which is a scary thought, indeed.

We got free tickets to a monster truck event.


My newest niece was born.

I made her tiny Converses, which I had been wanting to do for a while anyway and now finally had a good excuse to sit down and do it.

I began making steampunk goggles with Amy.

As part of making steampunk goggles, I scoured DI for things that I could dismantle for parts. (The things I found came in handy later in the year when I made our Halloween costumes, too...)

I held my first giveaway on this blog! (And only giveaway, thus far. I hope that changes soon.)

We put an awesome Zelda decal on our car.


I tried lots of new recipes, with generally favorable results.

I read 22 books from Jan-Mar (according to my records on Goodreads), almost on track for reading 100 this year (that would be 25 per quarter, so I was three off). If you want to know what they were, look at my Goodreads 2012 shelf.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Perler Beads: Holiday Wreath

All right, how many of you have seen ThinkGeek? Am I the only one who wastes hours on that site drooling over stuff that you never even knew you needed but is SO AWESOME that it's now on your Christmas list?

Anyway, we saw this wreath over there last week, and within minutes we were inspired to recreate it in... what else? Perler beads!

Aside from being a beast to iron, I am pleased to say this project was a complete success. We did modify the slime to be more true to the actual sprite, and modified the coins since we didn't rig ours up with LEDs (as awesome as that would have been, it seemed to be a little more ambitious than I was willing to take on just yet). 9 trays later and probably about 3-4k in beads, I present the final product:

Perler wreath 

Best of all, it spawned an entire idea for what to do with our Christmas tree... but more on that later. :P

Monday, December 10, 2012

Perler Beads: Baby Mobile

I apologize for the dearth of updates recently; luckily for you, though, this means I have lots of new projects and stuff to show off! I'll try to crank out a few posts this week to showcase it all and hopefully keep you mildly entertained.

So my friend Amy (who is my steampunk buddy, if you recall our steampunk photo shoot from back in April) moved away soon after said photo shoot, but she and her husband came back to visit over Thanksgiving break. She's also expecting now, so I got to go to a baby shower for her while she was here. Baby shower for someone who loves geeky stuff as much as me? This calls for something particularly awesome...
Perler mobile

And thus the perler baby mobile was born: fully customizable and 100% awesome.

To make your very own perler baby mobile, you will first need two embroidery hoops - any size you want, really, but it works best if one is smaller than the other. I got an 8 inch and 5 inch. You can get them for about $1.50 apiece at Joann's or a similar craft store if you get the cheap wood ones.

Remove the inner hoop (the one without the little metal bit) from each one - that's the only piece you really need. Then get some yarn in an appropriate color. I had some variegated blue-green Baby Bernat yarn (which you can get at WalMart) but really any color you want is fine. Tie one end around an embroidery hoop and start wrapping it tightly around, covering the hoop as much as possible. Find something to listen to or watch while you do this because it's kind of tedious... but it goes surprisingly fast; I'd estimate it only took an hour or two to do both.

When you finish wrapping one, tie it off and hide the knot inside the hoop. Now the fun begins.

Figure out which perler sprites you want to use. Try to pick smallish ones, and also ones that are all approximately the same size, or you'll have a headache trying to get it all to hang straight when you're done. I chose a Mario mushroom, Mog from Final Fantasy VI, a chocobo (overworld sprite from Final Fantasy IV), a slime from Dragon Quest/Warrior, fairy from Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, baby Yoshi from Super Mario World, the cat from ChronoTrigger, and a Cluckle from Zelda (the sprite used in Minish Cap). Once you finish making your perlers, you'll need a lot of string or crochet thread.

Mario mushroom, Chocobo, Mog, slime, Yoshi, Cluckle, Zelda fairy, ChronoTrigger cat

For the hanging step, the first thing you'll want to do is tie 4 strings to the big hoop (evenly spaced) and then tie them all together to form your base to hang the mobile from. You can do this a number of ways, but I ended up attaching them all to a ring (like the kind you use for a keychain) and then tying them to the hoop. To avoid lots of ends sticking out, I folded each string in half, put the ring on the folded-in-half-string, then stuck the ends through the loop where it folded over and pulled tight. Then you tie the ends to the embroidery hoop and hide the ends under the yarn. It looks much tidier overall.

Next you'll tie the small hoop to the large hoop. Get 4 strings the same length and tie them to the hoops, hiding the ends under the yarn again. The tricky part here is spacing them evenly and also keeping them the same length when you tie them - I found that sometimes my ends were longer than they should have been. You get to decide how far apart your hoops will hang; just pick whatever looks good to you.

Last, you'll tie each perler onto the mobile. I did 4 perlers per level. You can use the same trick doubling up the string and poking it through a hole in the perler beads to avoid string ends hanging all over the place; then it just becomes a matter of tying the perlers to the mobile in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. You can vary the heights if you want, so long as it stays balanced. Also, be sure to stagger the perlers so that they hang from a different area than where the strings you use to tie the two hoops together are, otherwise they will tangle up more easily.

Once you have arranged that all to your liking, and hidden all the ends under the yarn, then hang your new mobile up and enjoy!

And who am I kidding really? This is not really a baby-specific project. It would be awesome in any room.

(Project inspired by the mobile instructions found here.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Perler Beads: Christmas Ornaments

Rather than put up our usual eclectic assortment of Christmas ornaments this year, we decided to go for something a little more... themed. In all actuality, after last Christmas, I fully planned on making Mario plushes to cover our entire tree with crocheted goodness, but... you know... that's a lot of hours. A lot. And then... there's perlers. 20 minutes and you have a finished sprite.

It doesn't take a lot to connect the dots here.

Here's the final assortment gracing our tree from two angles. It includes a Bubble Bobble guy with a Santa hat, Mario carrying a gift, skiing Yoshi (from Yoshi's Island), Ice Man (from Mega Man 2), ice climbers (from Ice Climbers, oddly enough), Link with a candy cane, Chilly (from Kirby Super Star), Mario in a boot/stocking, and of course a Mario 3 star on top.