crafts

DIY Ghostbusters Halloween Costume

October 31, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

At some point I may do a write up of how I turned my occasionally mild-manners son into Egon Spengler, the nerdiest of those superhero/super-scientists known as the Ghostbusters. But for now I’m just going to share the photos of my very happy little boy. And go take a nap…

DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume

Who you gonna call? THIS GUY, striking an impressive pose in his Dad-DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume. And next year he’s going as Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire.
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Six Silly/Spooky Candy Corn Crafts

October 5, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Candy Corn Crafts for Halloween

Gun control, gay marriage, abortion…candy corn?!? Who knew Halloween’s perennial kernel-shaped snack could be so divisive?

I took a poll to find out how folks felt about candy corn, and the results were quite polarizing. None of the replies were of the “I can take it or leave it” variety. Certainly some sang its praises, and a few rode the fence with a love/hate relationship. But the most entertaining and creative answers came from the haters.

“I would rather write an essay on a blackboard using nothing but a fork.”

“My teeth hurt just reading this.”

“Insipid confections spawned from hell.”  

“Rather eat corn in sh*t.” 

“I would like to feed All of It to Dick Cheney, staple him to Donald Rumsfeld and launch the whole lot into the sun.”

“HAAAAAAATE”

Alrighty, then. There seems to be some seriously deep-seated loathing of this defenseless little sweet. Yet according to the National Confectioners Association, 25 million pounds (9,000+ metric tons) of candy corn are sold annually. I imagine there must be more than a few metric tons lying around somewhere, uneaten and unloved, serving no purpose but to populate our landfills and choke our dolphins.

So for all you candy corn abhorrers — and for the admirers that also love super silly crafts — here are some ways to put that bumper crop of corn to good(ish) use.
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Conversations With My Son: Anatomy of a Birthmother

September 18, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

conversations with my son - birthmom anatomy

CONVERSATION COLOR CODE:

Daddy  •  Jon  •  Daddy’s Internal Narration

“Hey buddy, come show me your button guy you made at school.”

Jon runs into the kitchen and squats down beside Button “Guy,” who is magnet-ed to the fridge. He starts pointing to buttons, starting with two (a dark red and a blue) clumped in the middle…

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Proud Papa Gallery of Greatness 2014

June 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS DAD DIGS

Father’s Day has come and gone, and yet those of us who are dads are still dads, and still have dad stuff to do. One of the most important is instilling self-confidence and a sense of achievement in our children. Stereotypes dictate fathers only appreciate the physical accomplishments of their children — especially for their sons. But the best dads appreciate the artistic as well as the athletic — and man have I found a great bunch of art-loving dads for this year’s (POST) FATHER’S DAY PROUD PAPA GALLERY OF GREATNESS!

Welcome to our virtual fridge, take your time, and please visit the gift shop on your way out.

Please note that many of the images can be enlarged if clicked on. So click and enjoy!

Artwork credits key:
Title of work

medium
Artist name, age
Father of artist (links to their website/blog)
Artist’s (or artist’s dad’s) description

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THE CLASSICS

 

GADDIS-MONET
Monet

tissue paper, construction paper
markers on paper
Chris, 5
Carter Gaddis
Based on the Water Lilies series.
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Mother’s Day Crafts: Eggceptionally Easy Tulip Garden

May 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

If you’re looking for some quick and easy Mother’s Day crafts to do with your kids this week, here’s one that fits the bill on all counts. Plus it recycles all those plastic eggs you’ll probably end up throwing out before next Easter.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
large plastic Easter eggs (long halves only)
green straws (forage through your trash or recycle bin and wash; or snag a few extra the next time you’re at everyone’s favorite coffee shop)
foam paper or construction paper
Elmer’s glue (if you’re working with kids)
hot glue (if you’re in a hurry)

Mother's Day Crafts: Tulip Garden 1

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The Macaroni Incident

March 29, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

As I’m thick in the throes of wedding planning, I thought it would be a fun to share some witty words from a fellow dad and superhero lover. Yet Charles Baserap is more than your average fanboy. He writes comic reviews at Nerdtopiacast.com, regularly attends cons (he can grow some killer Wolverine mutton chops) and he named his second child Alexander “Lex” Xavier. That kid is destined to be powerful…and bald.

Yet this tale is about Charles’ daughter, who’s the same age as JJ. They too share a love of superheroes, and of being a source of both wonderment and worry for their parents. Enjoy!

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macaroni

When my first child, Anastasia, was about three and half, I picked her up from daycare and it was like any other day. Sure, she was acting a bit moody, but that’s what toddlers do. Terrible twos? That’s just an alliterative smokescreen. That phase starts before they’re two and continues well after. I think I finally outgrew mine at about seven…teen. But the point is that I was able to see something wasn’t quite right with her and she told me her nose hurt. I asked if she bumped it and she meekly said yes, and I thought that was the end of it. Kids bump their noses—and feet, and heads, and everything else they can—all the time. It happens. Then we got to the car and I could tell she wasn’t being completely honest so I asked her about her nose again and she finally fessed up—“I put a piece of pasta in my nose and it got stuck.”

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Designer Daddy’s Greatest Hits of 2013

January 1, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

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2013 was a pretty monumental year, both personally and blogally(?). So for all of the awesome, new readers I’ve met recently — as well as longtime loyalists — here’s a recap of my favorite posts from the last 12 months!

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Holiday Decorating Ideas: Christmas Terrarium

December 12, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Last year about this time I was suffering from my usual Holidays Over-commitment Burnout Lethargy (or HOBL), but was determined to muster some of that elusive Xmas Spirit and do at least one creative thing. I discovered my muse in the form of a Christmas Terrarium (yes, I realize how gay that sounds) made from all sorts of “found objects” and a bit of late-night Christmas Eve gumption.

To me, the best craft/art projects are simple and straightforward, especially when it comes to Holiday decorating ideas. If I have to learn to use a soldering gun or wear protective gear or mix any kind of potion, I haven’t got the patience. The fun for me comes from the spontaneity of pulling together unrelated items, creating something new and hopefully bringing a smile to someone’s face…even if it’s just mine.

So here’s what I used (with links of where to purchase, if available)…

  • Cake pedestal: Received as a gift ages ago — we’ve used it for actual cake maybe 2 times. But it’s gorgeous as hell and was the perfect base for my Christmassy masterpiece. I couldn’t find the same one, but Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel have some nice options.
  • Miniature trees: I’ve been collecting Christmas trees for the last 15 years, but was short on the super shorties. So I hit the baking shop (cookie cutter) and toy store (model train set pine tree) to fill out my forest.
  • Paper Easter grass. Regular Easter grass was too shimmery for my taste.
  • Miniature LED lights. I snatched these up at our local hardware store even before I knew what I’d use them for. I used white, but they come in pretty much any color full-size Christmas lights do.
  • Small glass ornaments. I toyed with using white felt or something to make snow, but it just looked goofy. These kind of imply snow…or just a bunch of shiny balls. Either way, I thought it looked purty.

I know it probably looks like I just laid all this stuff on a platter and called it a day, but it did take a bit of trail-and-error (and a rum & coke or two) to get it looking magical and not monsoon-ical.

The trees are kinda flimsy, so put down lights and grass first, covering the bottom of the platter evenly. The lights come with a little battery pack, which you can hide under grass or let hang out the back. Keep the lights on while you’re arranging everything, so you don’t cover too many up. Wiggle your trees in place, pushing aside the grass and lights so they’re resting directly on the pedestal, then place the balls around to fill in the gaps. Gently put on the cover, trim off any extra grass, and voila! A Winter Wonderland Under Glass!

Helpful Hint: Wash the pedestal and cover before beginning. If you forget and get it all together, smudges will only look worse when backlit. TRUST ME, I KNOW.

tererium1

Serve covered…

tererium2

…or uncovered.

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And for the craft-averse who thinks this is WAAAYYY too precious for your cynical sensibilities, I whipped up something silly and snarky just for you…

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Okay, maybe it’s a little sacrilegious, too. Click to view detail — you know you want to.

For my Nerd Nativity™ I used a small cheese platter (again, it’s had cheese on it maybe ONCE). It didn’t work with the cover, so I hot glued a star-shaped cookie cutter to the top and put it on a red salad plate to make an even mini-er tree terrarium.

trees2

trees3

This is a great activity to do with the kids, either for putting it together or having them run all over the house looking for things to include (JJ loved dumping every last figure out of his toy box). Put them on the kitchen counter, as a Christmas dinner centerpiece or in the kids’ room as the coolest nightlight ever.

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If you try one, be sure and send me a pic and I’ll share it on the Designer Daddy Facebook Page!

Happy Crafting and Happy Holidays!

 

Halloween Highlights: Creepy & Creative

November 8, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Halloween is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. All the decorating, crafts, food and fun of Christmas crammed into a shorter period of time and without having to log all that extra church time. PLUS COSTUMES!

We had multiple events, all of which were an opportunity to put on my Designer Daddy hat (or horn, as it were) and we had a blast! Here are a few Halloween highlights…

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The first event was the Saturday before Halloween – a fundraiser/fair at JJ’s preschool, the “TODDLER BOOOOGIE!” For this occasion, JJ went as Batman. Yes, there were multiple costumes. You were expecting different from a super-hero obsessed toddler with two gay dads?
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batman

Batman’s still figuring out the fit of his new costume.

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Paintin’ Punkins

October 10, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Maybe you’re tired of seeing all the cool and creative ways to decorate for Halloween. I know I am — but only because I won’t have the time or energy to do any of them. Don’t get me wrong — I love Halloween for it’s wonderful mish-mash of adorable and terrifying. And I had grand plans for our family costumes this year. Papa and I skipped dressing up last year, so I wanted to make the extra effort to do it all together, while JJ still wants to be seen in public with us. There are only so many of those years left. But on our trip to Target to get JJ’s initial costume request, they didn’t have his size. So he wore me down asked politely, and we got something different. Back to the drawing board for Papa and me…

My Halloween mojo had been dealt a mighty blow. Yet JJ was helpful putting out our gargantuan pumpkin collection, and even assisted in picking out real pumpkins at the local nursery a couple weeks ago. We were getting back on track to the true Trick-or-Treating Spirit.

And then the other day, out of the blue, he asked, “Daddy, can we paint punkins?”

Quicker than you could say “I’d better take advantage of this before he starts asking me to play basketball or fix a car” we were down in the basement, rummaging through Craft Mountain, hauling supplies upstairs, and embarking on our little project.

I’ll tell you up front — these aren’t the most creative pumpkin painting or decorating ideas out there. I didn’t consult Pinterest or click through a slide show on iVillage or pick up Martha’s latest mag. I had to grab this opportunity by its ornery horns and make do while JJ was in a crafty mood!

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We set up in the kitchen, covered the table with newspaper, got out all our (acrylic) paints, brushes, cups of water, paper towels for cleanup, paper plates for mixing colors, and turned our shirts inside out and backwards. These little pumpkins and gourds you can get from any supermarket or nursery are a great size for toddler hands. And the painting part is great because no cutlery is involved.
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