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Ikea LATT Hack

As Myla grows up, she is loving more and more activities such as colouring, playdough, kinetic sand, stickers and crafts.  I really wanted to get an inexpensive kids’ table and chair set so that she could have a suitable place to do all these activities!  While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I noticed a cute table and chair set in one of babybellykelli's photos.  I immediately asked her where she purchased it and was delighted when Kelli told me that it was actually from Ikea!  I quickly looked it up on-line and found out that the Ikea LATT was a great bargain ($19.99 USD/$26.99 CAD) as it comes with a table and two chairs.

While researching the LATT on-line, I discovered that this set is a very popular item to modify/hack with its simple base design and inexpensive price.  Without modification, the LATT is made of solid pine in a natural wood finish with a white fiberboard table top and seat (see original product and dimensions HERE).  There are tutorials on how to convert the table top into a chalkboard and a lego table, how to add cushioning to the seats, and how to add storage along the sides.  We decided that we wanted to add some cushioning to the seats so that it would be more comfortable for Myla and to add a fun print to this simple set.  We went out to Ikea to purchase the LATT and Ryan began building it…

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Ryan beveled the edges of the wood seat with a utility knife since we needed to accommodate for the added thickness of the fabric that would wrap around this piece later on…

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We purchased some 1/2” thick foam from a fabric store and ordered this beautiful chevron fabric from Spoonflower (called "BlueChevron" by "mrshervi").  We ordered it in the “Linen-Cotton Canvas” so that it was thicker and hardier.  

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Ryan measured out how much foam and material we needed for each seat and began cutting away…

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Next, he folded and hot glued the fabric over the foam and cardboard as depicted in the pictures below.  He also added white duct tape for added support.

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And here we are with a beautifully padded cushion!  I love how no sewing is required and how simple it is to add this modern chevron design to our chairs!

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Ryan also wanted to add plexiglass to the table top so that it would be very easy to wipe down and we could add pictures underneath for different themes or seasons depending on what we were working on with Myla!  He bought some plexiglass from the hardware store and cut it to the appropriate size.  

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Our modified LATT with cushioned chevron seats and a plexiglass table top was soon complete!

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There are tutorials on-line showing some beautifully painted and stained LATT’s as well (grey stains, gold-dipped chair and table legs), but we decided to keep it in the natural wood finish since it matches so well in our house.

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We had a blast choosing the fabric and are really happy with the one that we ordered.  You can have so much fun choosing coordinating paint colours and fabrics to really customize the LATT for your family!

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Here is a close-up of the corner of the table top!  Ryan cut tiny notches in the corners of the plexiglass so that it fit perfectly flush on the surface.

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We’ve placed our table and chair set near our window so that we get plenty of natural light, and it is a wonderfully bright space for Myla to work and play in!

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Myla’s eyes widened with delight when she first saw these little chairs and little table that were her size!  It’s adorable whenever we see her climb up on the chair by herself to get ready to do her activities.

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Right now she loves playing with playdough and using cutters to make different shapes and patterns!  I love how cute Myla looks with her feet dangling above the ground :)

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We love playing in this area, and in the future, Myla’s little sibling can sit on this other seat instead of me :)

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If you’re in the market for a children’s table and chair set, check out the Ikea LATT!  It’s inexpensive and lends itself well to being modified- just google or search for “Ikea LATT hack” on Pinterest and a multitude of tutorials will come up.  Adding the padded chevron cushions to the seats and plexiglass to the table top was quick and easy, and Ryan assembled and modified it all in one sitting!  Let us know what you think and if you have any other ideas of how the LATT can be modified :)

I attended my cousin’s wedding over the weekend and made this card for the newly married couple!  I always turn to the free simple heart pattern on “Little Birdie Secrets" found HERE when I want to add a touch of crochet to my cards.  I simply use hot glue to attach the crocheted heart to the cardstock (I used hot glue to attach the lace as well).  There are so many fun free crochet appliques out there (cupcakes, moustaches, snowmen), and I think they add such a beautiful surprise to cards!  Check out this list of free crochet appliques HERE and start dreaming up what kind of handmade birthday, wedding or Christmas cards you can make ❤

I attended my cousin’s wedding over the weekend and made this card for the newly married couple!  I always turn to the free simple heart pattern on “Little Birdie Secrets" found HERE when I want to add a touch of crochet to my cards.  I simply use hot glue to attach the crocheted heart to the cardstock (I used hot glue to attach the lace as well).  There are so many fun free crochet appliques out there (cupcakes, moustaches, snowmen), and I think they add such a beautiful surprise to cards!  Check out this list of free crochet appliques HERE and start dreaming up what kind of handmade birthday, wedding or Christmas cards you can make 

I’ve reached a big milestone on my Facebook page as I’ve surpassed 10,000 likes!  To celebrate and say thank you, we wanted to do a little GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]!  In light of all the recent cosplay and Anime-related posts I’ve been doing, we thought it was fitting that we gave away this adorabe “Tea Time Totoro Keychain/Necklace”!  

We picked it up this past weekend at the Artist Alley of our local Animethon!  One side shows Totoro enjoying a cup of tea while the other side shows the little white Totoro sitting in a teacup with the soot sprites along with the Japanese characters “Tonari no Totoro" ("My Neighbor Totoro").  It was designed by Canadian artist Angela P. (check out her deviantart HERE) and it also comes with a ball chain necklace so that you can wear it as a piece of jewelry too!

In order to enter, please head over to my Facebook page, “Like" it if you haven’t done so already, and comment on the giveaway post stating what is your favourite anime, anime movie or movie in general!  This contest is open worldwide and will close on Monday, August 18th at 9 PM, MST. If you are under 18, please ask your parents’ permission before entering.  The winner will be announced on my Facebook page!  [GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!  Congrats, Pauleen Potter!!!]

Anime Expo 2014

Hello, everyone!  I am very excited to share about our experience at Anime Expo 2014 in Los Angeles last month!  It’s been our dream to attend one of these big anime conventions, and we thought going to Anime Expo (AX) would be perfect since we could also visit Disneyland in Anaheim while we were in California :)  Anime Expo is the largest anime and manga convention in North America, and we excitedly bought our 4-day badge months in advance and were so excited to attend it!

As we drove up to the Los Angeles Convention Center, we saw a MASSIVE line-up that seemed never-ending as it winded its way around the building.  We hoped that this was not the line-up that we would have to wait in since we had already purchased our badges on-line, but sadly, it WAS the line-up to pick up our actual badges.  It was a scorching day as the sun beat down on us and we knew there was no way that Myla would be able to wait in this line-up.  Thankfully, the AX staff let Myla and I wait inside the convention center as Ryan and my brother Corey lined up to pick up our badges.  In total, they waited a whopping 3.5 HOURS!  Here is a glimpse of the line-up and all the people waiting to get inside…

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Many people were cosplaying in the line-up, such as this Wolverine Joker - this was Ryan’s favourite cosplay of the day! 

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Towards the end of the line, people were getting excited that they were finally approaching the entrance to the convention center, so they were giving each other high fives!

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Myla and I rewore our Mei and Totoro costumes from last year on Day 1 of AX!  Check out my blog post HERE to see how I put together this very simple costume and crocheted the cherry balls for my hair.  Last year Myla couldn’t even walk, so it was sooo sweet that I could hold my little Totoro’s hand and have her walk around in her cute costume complete with a leaf headband!  Just look at that adorable smile :)

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Now Myla actually knows who Totoro is as she enjoyed the movie and likes to play with the Totoro stuffies we have at home (last year she was oblivious to who Totoro was)!

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On Day 2 of AX we wore another matching mommy-baby cosplay outfit as we dressed up as Togepi and Misty!  I loved playing and watching Pokemon growing up, so it was fun dressing up as these two.  I bought this yellow tank and jean shorts from H&M and made the suspenders out of ribbon.  We bought Myla’s white dress from a gently used kids’ clothing store and glued these blue and red felt triangle shapes onto it.

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Notice the pokeball I’m holding in the picture above?  It was fun adding a touch of crochet to this costume by using Makayla’s free pokeball pattern found on her blog “Planet Yarn" HERE!  It was very quick and easy to work up, and Myla really enjoyed throwing it around!

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Myla was ecstatic to find this big Totoro!  Too bad we weren’t dressed in our Mei and Totoro costumes that day that we encountered this giant cutie :)  As you can see, Myla is clutching her pokeball as she stares at Totoro!

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On Day 3 of AX, Myla dressed up in her “Attack on Titan" Mikasa costume that we worked so hard on!  It was amazing seeing her wearing it after all the hours we put into this costume!

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To read more about how we made this costume and to see plenty of step-by-step pics, check out the blog post I wrote about it HERE!

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Here are a couple of other cosplay photos that Ryan snapped!  It truly was amazing seeing all the effort and love that people put into making their costumes and showing them off to everyone.  People spend the whole year working on them, and it was so neat seeing people’s creativity in their costumes.  

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Besides seeing all the cosplayers, I was VERY excited to explore the exhibit hall as it had the largest collection of Japanese culture goods in North America with over 240 vendors and exhibitors.  I knew I would be able to find tons of kawaii and unique items!  Check out these adorable panda, Ariel and bunny socks I picked up :)  I can’t wait to wear them and see Myla’s face when she sees my feet, hehe…

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I immediately fell in love with the adorable jewelry designs by Faheema of “Unicorn Crafts”.  For starters, check out this extremely cute packaging!

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I ended up buying these kawaii “Milk and Cookie Earrings”!  Faheema has other cute earring sets such as “Bacon & Egg” and “Mac & Cheese”, so be sure to check out her Etsy store HERE!

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I loved this Cat t-shirt by “Lokisa" when I first saw it!  It has so many cute cat expressions, and the colour is very vibrant.  Myla enjoys pointing to the different pictures as we talk about how each cat feels. Lokisa features originally designed and handmade items manufactured in the US- you can check out their site HERE!

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I connected with Stephanie of “The Steppie" last year when I discovered her extremely cute clothing line (see me wearing her "Arrow x Heart Flowy Tank Top" in my "Fluff Bears" blog post HERE).  Stephanie is a very talented designer and entrepreneur, and it was such a pleasure being able to meet her in person!  Her booth was packed full of panda and ninja goodies, from tote bags and onesies to tank tops and phone cases.

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I picked up this “Panda Bums Racerback Tank" and let me tell you, it is one of the comfiest tanks ever because of its very soft material.  The racerback and flowiness of the tank is very flattering, and I’ve already worn it many times!

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I was also really excited to pick up this “Nerdy Panda Gradient Tank Top”, Stephanie’s new summer tank!  The pretty rose pink to baby blue gradient is gorgeous, and I couldn’t resist the cute nerdy panda face too!

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The last Steppie item I brought home is this “Panda Face/Nerdy Panda Ceramic Soup Mug”!  I love how huge this mug is and how one side has the normal panda face while the other side has the nerdy panda face :)  I use this mug when I drink my milk tea in the mornings, and Myla loves seeing the different faces!

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As you may know, I am a huge “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" fan (see the amigurumi Link I crocheted HERE), so I got really excited when I saw this “Triforce of Courage Tank Top" by Geeky U!  I had actually seen this shop on Etsy before, so I was really happy to see them in person since I wouldn’t have to pay for shipping.  Shipping to Canada on this tank would’ve been a whopping $15, almost as much as the tank itself!  Sigh…so sad when shipping costs are so high…

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One of my favourite items that I picked up from AX are these “Kawaii Star Wars Group Leggings" by "WeLoveFine”!  I used to watch the Star Wars trilogy a lot growing up, and these chibi Star Wars characters were too cute to resist!  I really can’t wait to wear these comfy leggings to an upcoming convention :)

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We had a blast exploring Artist Alley as there were so many incredibly talented artists showcasing their artwork and crafts.  I was very excited to meet Sharon of “Ami Amour”, a fellow amigurumi artist who is a staple at AX’s Artist Alley.  She started selling her plushies and patterns five years ago in her shop HERE.  Sharon is incredibly kind and gracious, and it was such a delight meeting and chatting with her.  She was the only amigurumi artist in the whole Artist Alley, and she gifted me with the cute amigurumi Soot Sprite that I’m holding in the picture below!  Be sure to check out Sharon’s facebook page and blog to see more of her work and access her free patterns as well!

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We purchased two prints from Artist Alley, the first being the gorgeous one below by Jo of “My Rolling Star”.  We immediately fell in love with all of her dreamy, whimsical, ethereal pieces, and it took us a while before we decided which one to take home.  I love this beautiful piece depicting a girl bringing her imagination and creativity to life through her artwork.  We can’t wait to frame it and find a place for it in our home!

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As soon as we saw this stunning piece showing Studio Ghibli characters on a trek through a mystical and mysterious forest, we knew we had to take it home!  Unfortunately, I put the artist’s business card in the pocket of my jean shorts- I then proceeded to wash said shorts at home forgetting that I had anything in the pocket.  Needless to say, her card has now disintegrated.  If you know who the artist of this piece is, please let me know so that I can give her credit and update this blog post!  Thank you to Christine who helped direct me to the artist!  This gorgeous piece is by Brigitte of “Relatively Serious" and you can see the process gif for this print HERE!

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Overall, we had a wonderful time at Anime Expo despite the rocky start during registration (I saw some people on Twitter calling AX “linecon” since so much of the convention was spent lining up!!!).  There is a certain camaraderie and spirit present during conventions such as these, and everyone was so friendly and kind.  The love of anime, manga, and Japanese culture was such a unifying factor in bringing people together from all different backgrounds and ages.  We really enjoyed seeing all the creative cosplayers, meeting all the exhibitors and artists of AX, and also preparing costumes and dressing up ourselves!  We hope you enjoyed reading about our experience there and seeing what we picked up (I thought that chances are if you like kawaii amigurumi, you’ll probably enjoy seeing some of the adorable items I picked up too :D).  Hopefully we can attend another Anime Expo in the future!  Let me know if you’ve ever attended an anime convention and if you like any of the items that we brought home with us :)

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DIY Yarn Storage

Thank you so much for all the love and encouragement you’ve shown us since we announced that our family is growing!  We are truly touched by each and every comment we received through the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, and we are so excited that we can share these special moments with you!

This blog has not only been a portofolio of my crochet projects, but also a journal documenting things that I love and what I’ve experienced.  In addition to my crochet projects, I’ve also blogged about my love of food and travel, and also topics such as maternity and nursing fashion since becoming a mom.  I created a special tab in the navigation bar called “OTHER" to help document these blog posts and to organize them a bit better so that they don’t simply get lost in the Archive!  To access ALL my previous posts, click the "ARCHIVE" tab where they are organized chronologically by month and year.  

The new “OTHER" tab has the following sections:

  • Food: I’ve blogged about some of my favourite recipes I’ve found on-line (e.g. the Red Velvet Cake pictured above) as well as some of our own recipes!  My Lychee Frozen Yogurt and Layered Fingered Jello seem to be pretty popular :)
  • Travel: We love visiting new places, and it’s been fun sharing our favourite restaurants and sites from destinations all over the world (e.g. the Black Sand Beach in Maui above).
  • Maternity/Nursing/Family: On my journey to becoming a mom, I’ve adapted my style to accommodate my growing pregnant belly and need to nurse a baby (e.g. nursing tank above)!
  • Cosplay & Craft Tutorials: We love making our own costumes and blogging about other crafting projects we’ve worked on (e.g. our DIY Yarn Storage).
  • Reviews: I’ve enjoyed blogging about shops and products that I love (e.g. Clover Amour Crochet Hooks) and hosting giveaways as well!

Check out this “OTHER" tab in my navigation bar to see some previous posts that you may have missed before!

Our Exciting News

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We have some exciting news to share with you all!  Myla is 21 months old and I’m……….21 WEEKS PREGNANT!!!  We are overjoyed that our family will be expanding again as the new little addition to our family will be arriving in mid-December 

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I am so thankful that this pregnancy has been similar to my first with Myla as I haven’t experienced any nausea or morning sickness!  However, once again, I did feel extremely fatigued in the first trimester, but this time round was different since I couldn’t simply nap whenever I wanted to.  Chasing an active toddler around and trying to keep my energy levels up was challenging, but I napped whenever Myla napped.  That meant little time for blogging, crocheting, and designing, so thank you for sticking around even though there haven’t been too many new projects as of late!  Now you know why :P

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It’s so surreal that there is another little one growing inside of me, and that Myla will be a big sister!  I was re-reading the blog post announcing my first pregnancy HERE from two years ago, and it brought back so many memories.  When I look at Myla now and how much she’s grown, it reminds me to cherish each and every day since she is growing up so quickly.  Sometimes the days seem long, but as they say, the years are short, and they really do go by so quickly.  Ryan and I have learned so much since becoming parents, and we’ve been able to experience a joy unlike any other since Myla came into our lives.  She sees the world with such wonder, and we love hearing her laugh and seeing her eyes widen with excitement with every new experience.  To think that we will have another special little one to share our lives with brings us to tears, and we thank God each and every day for our blessings!

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We know that our lives are going to change drastically again in a couple of months as we navigate life with a toddler AND a newborn….and adjust to the lack of sleep again!  Thankfully, I’ve had more energy recently and I’ve been having a blast designing some fall/winter crochet projects.  I also want to crochet some items for Baby #2, so feel free to send me cute baby projects that you’ve come across :)  It feels good to pick up my crochet hook again!  Thank you for supporting and loving our family so much, and we appreciate your prayers for us and this pregnancy!  

"Attack on Titan" Toddler Cosplay

When we first heard about a new anime called “Attack on Titan" last year, we were intrigued because everyone was raving about how great it was.  Ryan and I enjoy watching anime together, so we decided to give this series a try!  We were immediately hooked by the premise of the show, the fast-paced action and the suspense and mystery of it.  Some parts were a little gruesome for me, so I admit that I covered my eyes at times (this is also how I watch "The Walking Dead" haha).  

When we were brainstorming cosplay ideas for our very first time attending Anime Expo 2014 in Los Angeles, we had a good laugh imagining Myla dressing up as a cute chibi Titan (giant humanoids who terrorize the populace), running around and wreaking havoc.  My brother Corey then made the observation that Myla should actually dress up as a soldier and pretend to fight the adults dressed as Titans since the proportion would be correct!  We thought that would be so adorable, so we set off making an “Attack on Titan” costume for our toddler!

If you are unfamiliar with the series, this is how the soldiers dress with a cropped jacket, belt, straps, boots, harness, and 3D maneuver gear attached to their sides and back to help them swing through the air.  We wanted to dress Myla up as “Mikasa” pictured below, a very strong and skilled soldier who also wears a burgundy scarf.

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We began looking for a toddler trench coat and were ecstatic to find this one at a gently used kids’ clothing store for only $8!  This is what the trench looked like from the front and the back before we heavily modified it!

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We also picked up this white t-shirt from H&M and some white leggings from Old Navy.  From a local fabric store, we purchased some brown canvas material, silver buckles, thin brown straps and faux brown leather.

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And now for the modifications!  We severely cropped the trench by cutting along the black line…

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Ta da!  This is quite the cute cropped trench, is it not?

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We also ended up releasing the ruffled/ruched bottom, reattaching it to make it straight, and cutting off and hemming the sleeve cuffs.  In addition, we removed the pockets from the bottom of the jacket so that we could reattach them to the top part, and we replaced all the buttons with gold buttons.  It’s amazing how changing the buttons can give a jacket a completely new look! 

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Here is the cropped jacket with the gold buttons and pockets sewed onto the front.  We also sewed some velcro backing onto the sides of the arm, the front pocket and to the back.  

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These velcro spots were for the Survey Corps emblems!  Ryan found some high resolution pictures of the embroidered emblem, so we simply adjusted the size, printed them off and glued them onto the velcro.  

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Thus, it was extremely simple to attach these emblems to the jacket since we just had to slap them onto the velcro!  Don’t they look great on the jacket?  You may also note that we modified the lapel of the jacket as we found that it overlapped too much when Myla wore it.

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Next we sewed the straps and small pieces of the faux brown leather onto the white shirt.  We wanted to secure as much as we could in place so that this would seem like a normal shirt to Myla, not a fancy costume that had too many intricate and complicated parts that she might end up refusing to wear.

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We also added some of the brown straps to the leggings and also used the faux brown leather to make the 3D maneuver gear harness.  We designed the harness so that it attached onto the leggings with velcro.

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This is what the leggings with the harness looked like from the front and back!  To make the belt, we sewed the brown canvas material around the faux leather harness and threaded it through the silver buckle.  

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We also sewed on velcro pieces to the sides and back of the harness so that we could attach the 3D maneuver gear later on!

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Making Mikasa’s burgundy scarf was simple as we purchased some material, hemmed the edges and cut some fringe along one side!

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To make the sides of the 3D maneuver gear, Ryan looked around for objects that were the perfect shapes and sizes!  We ended up buying some boxes of “Hawaiian Punch” and using some Fragonard perfume atomizers that I had lying around.  He glued them together, spray painted them silver, and then glued some of the faux brown leather around it.

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For the back part of the 3D maneuver gear, Ryan used the top and bottom part of a glow stick container.  I thought it was hilarious how Ryan found these random objects to make the maneuver gear!

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The finished 3D maneuver gear, all spray painted beautifully and ready to be attached onto Myla’s costume!

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During the week leading up to our trip, Ryan and I worked relentlessly on this costume, staying up till the wee hours of the night.  One of our worries was that Myla would refuse to wear it at the Anime Expo and all our hard work would be to no avail!  20-month-olds can be unpredictable, and we weren’t sure how she would handle the crowds or the heat.  Thus, we decided to try and take some pictures at home before we left and to make sure that the costume fit.  We were so incredibly excited when we put all the costume components on her as it looked so good, and she loved wearing it!

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We hoped that she would be just as happy to wear it in Los Angeles!  

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Thankfully, Myla had fun wearing her costume for a little while at Anime Expo!  I held her hand the entire time, and she enjoyed walking around the lobby- just look at that darling smile :)

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It was amazing seeing her wear the costume that we had spent so much time on, from the jacket and the maneuver gear to the shirt and the leggings.   In case you’re wondering, we purchased these cute little brown boots at the same gently used kids’ clothing store for only $4! 

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We happened to see someone dressed as a Titan walking around the lobby, so we asked if she would take a picture with Myla!  Ryan was actually thinking of dressing up as a Titan, but all the costumes we saw on-line were expensive and I feared that Myla would be traumatized seeing her Dad as a Titan.  Thankfully Myla was not scared of this Titan, and she was a very nice lady :)

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Myla was very popular as everyone who saw her would squeal with excitement when they saw our tiny toddler Mikasa!  You can see some adults wearing the same costume as her in the picture below on the left side.

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Myla got a little hungry so she started munching on a croissant as she happily posed for people…

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After about half an hour, Myla was done wearing her costume as she started taking off her jacket.  She couldn’t sit comfortably in her stroller or be carried by us with her maneuver gear and harness, so we changed her back into a comfy dress and continued to explore the rest of Anime Expo that day!

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If cosplay and anime is new to you, check out this music video that “The Cosplay Scene” made showcasing Anime Expo 2014.  You can see some really intense costumes that people spend the whole year working on, and you can also see our little Myla Mikasa appear in it for two seconds (0:14-0:15)! 

Thanks for all your lovely feedback and excitement about this costume!  Ryan and I had a lot of fun working on it together, and I’m so glad that I could put my sewing machine to use after it was in hibernation for almost two years (it took me a while to learn how to thread and use the machine again!).  The entire costume was inexpensive to make, and we were so proud of our finished accomplishment since we tailor-made each component just for Myla!  We hope you enjoyed seeing the making of this costume and that it inspires you to get crafty and try making some costumes for yourself or for your little ones!  To read more about our whole Anime Expo experience, what we bought, and who we cosplayed as on the other days (Mei & Totoro, Misty & Togepi), check out the full blog post I wrote up HERE!  Happy crafting and cosplaying!

Cover of Dragon Feature

Hello my crafty friends!  As you all know, I love amigurumi, and it was my pleasure being featured in a wonderful amigurumi article found in Issue 20 of “Simply Crochet" magazine.  "We Love Amigurumi”, written by Judy Darley of Future Publishing, is about the joys of making amigurumi toys, and I am so honoured and happy that I could be a part of it!

I was interviewed alongside fellow amigurumi artists Maike van den Dries of the Netherlands and Mei Li Lee of Malaysia.  I really enjoyed reading this delightful article, seeing all the beautiful pictures, and hearing what Maike and Mei had to say as well.  In this “We Love Amigurumi" article, we talk about why we think amigurumi stands out from other kinds of toys, advice on getting started, amigurumi challenges, and what we all love about amigurumi!  It makes me so happy to see features such as these that promote amigurumi and introduce this beautiful art to people who may have never heard of it before!  Yay for amigurumi  

I am so honoured that Dragon is the cover photo of this article and that they included pics of my “Knotted Headband”, “Spring Bunnies”, “Cotton the Lamb”, and the “Fluff Bears: Coco & Mochi”!  If you’re interested in reading this article for yourself, you can buy digital copies of Simply Crochet magazine HERE and also find hard copies in Barnes & Nobles and Chapters Indigo stores!  Let me know if you end up picking up this issue and what you think!

[Note: When I first blogged about this feature, I had initially posted the entire article, but I have now taken it down since we don’t have legal permission- sorry about that!]

Yarn Ball & Crochet Hook Pin

During our California Blog Meet Up (read all about it HERE), we had a delightful pin exchange in which we prepared crafty pins ahead of time for each other!  As soon as fellow amigurumi artist Jo suggested that we do a pin exchange, I knew exactly what type of pin I wanted to make!

I love perusing Craftgawker, and there was a particular project that had caught my eye from December of last year.  Francesca of “Fall for DIY" had made some beautiful "DIY Monkey Fist Knot Earrings”, and I absolutely loved how they looked like little yarn balls!  For our pins, I thought it would be so cute to make a little yarn ball with a crochet hook similar to the one pictured in my blog logo!  In Francesca’s blog post on how to make her earrings HERE, she includes step-by-step instructions, and she also filmed an extremely helpful video entitled “How to Tie a Monkey Knot” HERE (I’ll embed the video at the end of this blog post too!).  Rather than reiterate her instructions, we recommend that you visit her blog post and watch the video to see how it’s made!  

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We searched for the perfect pink yarn, and we ended up going with Lion Brand Yarn’s “Martha Stewart Extra Soft Wool Blend in Gerbera Daisy”.  Ryan is actually the one who mastered the monkey fist knot, and to keep the yarn balls consistent and similar-sized, he made them all!  It was such a whirlwind leading up to our California trip since we were making our costumes for Anime Expo as well, and I am so thankful that I have such a supportive husband who helped me make these pins!  Here are some step-by-step photos showing how Ryan made our little yarn balls and crochet hooks :)

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We bought some brass jewelry pins from Michaels (came in a set of 10) and hot glued the little crochet balls onto the pins after tying the ends of yarn into a knot.  To make the crochet hooks, we used these ornament hooks that we purchased from Walmart a couple years ago (we have a large stash of these since we use them to hang the baubles from our white Christmas tree every year)!

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Ryan used pliers to shape the ends of the ornament hooks to resemble crochet hooks!  You may recall that we made a similar crochet hook for Mochi our Fluff Bear to hold (read about the making of our amigurumi Fluff Bears HERE)!

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Ryan placed the crochet hook through the yarn ball so that the yarn ball was at the bottom of the hook.  He then added some hot glue to the middle of the crochet hook and then slid the yarn ball upwards into the glue in order to secure the hook in place.  After each pin was complete, we mounted them on cardboard and were so excited to give these out at the meet up!

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To see the making of a monkey knot in action, please see this wonderful video below filmed by Francesca of “Fall For DIY”!  We paused this video many times as we followed along to learn how to make this special knot!

Here are some notes about making your own yarn ball:

- Instead of wrapping the yarn around the hand three times, we did it four times to make a bigger yarn ball (depends on thickness of yarn).

- Towards the end, try and pull each strand of yarn evenly and with consistent tension to make a uniform yarn ball.

- Don’t pull the strands of yarn too tight or else the yarn ball will be squished.

- Ryan made many “failed” monkey knots/yarn balls before getting the hang of it and achieving the right look, so just keep trying and practicing and don’t be discouraged!

These little yarn balls are so cute, and once you’ve mastered how to tie this special knot, they are inexpensive and relatively quick to make!  Wouldn’t yarn ball earrings or a yarn ball necklace pendant be the perfect gift for us yarn lovers?  The addition of the little crochet hook helps us proudly display the love of our craft too!  I hope you enjoyed reading about the making of our “Yarn Ball & Crochet Hook Pin" and I want to extend a big thank you to Francesca for inspiring this idea!  We are giving away one of these pins on my Instagram page (@AllAboutAmi) since we reached 5000 followers recently- if you would like to win one, just follow me on Instagram and leave a comment on the picture of the pin to enter!  Happy monkey knot and yarn ball making :)

Homespun Cover Siu Mai Amigurumi Feature

Remember the amigurumi siu mai I crocheted three years ago?  Recently they were featured in the July issue of “Homespun Magazine”, Australia’s leading monthly craft title!  Click on each pic above to get a closer look at each page :)  It’s neat how my little pork dumplings are getting some time to shine in the Land Down Under- have any of my Australian readers checked out “Homespun” before?  If you want to crochet your own expressive siu mai, be sure to visit the step-by-step blog post HERE and the very easy free pattern HERE!

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