Thursday, October 30, 2014

She's Crafty | Trick or Treat? Here's Something Neat!

The other day I stumbled across a series of tutorials on YouTube that completely blew my mind O.O

And if you can believe, they all involved craft foam!

Craft foam: Colorful and Squishy


I never thought in my whole life I would ever be as excited as I am at this moment to work with craft foam. Sure it's colorful and squishy, two modes of being which I completely adore, but I haven't found much of a use for the stuff within the areas of which I'm usually crafting. Until now.

I can see it now, craft foam will completely revolutionize the way I make costume accessories. And it came to my attention just in time for the number one costuming event of the year, Halloween.

Steampunk Goggles
This story of craft foam goodness truly begins with a pair of steampunk goggles I purchased at a Halloween store. When I put them on over my short, spiky hair and looked in the mirror I immediately thought of a comic book/movie character that was popular when I was in high school known as, Tank Girl.

True story.

The next thought that came up: How can I merge these two items?
Tank Girl + Steampunk goggles = ???

"Poster girl for the Apocalypse"
With research mission in mind I jumped on the internet to find more pictures of Tank Girl to find out if I could actually come up with a costume for Halloween in time that incorporates the new goggles. I found pictures of Tank Girl wearing a flight helmet, a fur-lined aviator hat, and a combat helmet. I wanted to go for something I could actually make so I choose the aviator route instead of choosing the hardcore combat helmet.

Well, now what do I do? Do I try to find a pattern for an aviator hat online and sew one? Do I have the time? Maybe there's a video tutorial on YouTube.

Whoa wait, what is this...

Steampunk flight hat?
Wait, from foam? 

I clicked on the video (which you can find here.) and watched with jaw dropped and eyes wide.

It has earpieces, wires and tubing?!
And looks like it's made out of leather?

My internal craft geek exploded into a billion screaming fans of incredibly, awesome things. Yes, I was that excited. I knew what I wanted to make and I was embarking into uncharted craft territory: one of my all-time favorite activities.

I downloaded the pattern from the creator of the video tutorial, LostWax. And I got to work.

So, shall I share with you how it's coming along?
Yes, I think I shall...

Here are pictures of the flight helmet pieces glued together but before paint and earpieces. 

This helmet is held together with rubber cement!

The leathery texture is made by placing a wad of scrunched up aluminum foil onto the craft foam and carefully heating it with an iron. You can watch a tutorial on how to apply this leathery texture to craft foam here. This part took a lot longer than I thought (like, forever). However, it came out so cool looking that it's worth the time and fuss. Once paint is applied you can really see the effect.

Now for the finale, some pictures of the helmet with earpieces added, buckle attached, paint applied, and a spiffy metal plate *winkwink*. I still need to add some wires and tubing, but that's about it and I'll be done and ready to pilot my very own post-apocalyptic airship!

"Metal" plate, future home for wires.
Can you believe it's not Leather?

Have a fun and happy Halloween!

Malia & Kaye

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning | Breadboards

Here's an engineering term for you: breadboard.  What do you think it is?  

I would understand if you guessed that it was a wooden board used for slicing bread.  

Fresh Loaf 5023, 
from Andrew Menage's photostream on
Some rights reserved.

But in this case, it isn't. Read on, and I'll get to the explanation, after the definition.

Engineers use the noun breadboard to describe a board used to make an experimental model of an electric circuit.  

It's usually plastic, with a whole bunch of holes in it, like the one in the picture below. 

Portable GPS decoder - breadboard,
from Steve's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
Breadboard is also used as a verb, meaning to build an experimental circuit.

Learning to Use a Breadboard, from Bryan Kennedy's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
The use of the word breadboard in this way came from the days when electronic components were much larger.  Electronic hobbyists would actually nail copper wires to a wooden board when they were making prototypes. Some of them actually borrowed their mothers' breadboards from the kitchen to do this. (Shame on them!)

If you're interested in building experimental circuits, you may be interested in some of these books on electronics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ms. Suzy Reads | Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

"Moonshine is flummadiddle. Real is the opposite." So explains Bangs, the cat, to Sam, short for Samantha, in the timeless treasure Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness.

Samantha, or rather Sam, has a problem telling the difference between what is real and what is not. She claims to have a mermaid for a mother, a fierce lion, a baby kangaroo and a talking cat. Sam's father admonishes her to tell the truth: "Today, for a change, talk real, not moonshine. Moonshine spells trouble."

And trouble might be just what Sam gets when she sends her friend Thomas to Blue Rock where she claims her baby kangaroo has gone. Thomas dutifully follows instructions, but then a sudden storm threatens everything.

I won't say anymore, except that this is a beautiful little story that gently teaches the reason why truth is better than falsehood. It's appropriate for a family reading time, or for an independent reader to read on his own.  

This book was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1967. The Caldecott Medal is presented annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Click here for a list of Caldecott Medal winners over the years. SSJCPL branches own most of these distinguished books; check them out and share them with your family!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Just Life| Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite Holidays. I love candies, I love to go costume shopping for my daughter and for sure, I love to give away candies to our neighborhood kids. 

And I am proud to say that I give away good candies. Who wants to get stuck with bad Halloween candies for months right?

Since I love Halloween, we have two Halloween programs at Margaret Troke Library in Stockton. Our address is:502 West Benjamin Holt Drive, Stockton.
Our Halloween programs are:

  • Halloween Preschool Story time & Craft On Tuesday, October 28th at 10:15am. For this program, we are going to read scary stories, and kids can decorate pumpkins to take home. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and there will be a costume parade in the library.
  • Halloween Arts and Crafts on Thursday, October 30th at 6:00pm. For this program, we are going to have a costume parade, pumpkin decorating, and of course a candy give away.

Hope to see you at Troke on these two days. If you live in another library, click on: Library Event Calendar for more fun programs.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha