That Time I Knitted a Headband for Andrea

It’s been almost a month since Christmas, and while I love the holiday season, getting a fresh start come January 1st is always a breath of fresh air. In an earlier post, I mentioned a quasi New Years resolution which I’ve set up for myself, but the other big thing I want to do more of this year revolves around hobbies. Whether that means I’m calling on my inner Bob Ross and painting some happy trees and clouds, learning to play the ukulele (which I totally plan on doing) or finally learning how to surf, my goal is to do as much as possible.

This goal of mine was spurred right before Christmas when I decided to knit a headband for Andrea. As kind of an extra artsy gift, I thought she’d appreciate my craftsmanship. Plus, since I had a weekend to myself without any interruptions, I thought I could probably get it done. So started my YouTube search…

This girl’s video was pretty much my go-to resource for making the headband.

After watching it all the way through one time, I went out to Michaels and got my knitting supplies… which by the way is an absolutely terrible idea a week before Christmas. Really, any kind of shopping is a terrible idea a week before Christmas.

Knitting the Headband

Now I’ve had a tiny amount of knitting experience thanks to my sister and my mother-in-law, but it’s never been anything more than: casting on, knit stitch and purl stitch. Never have I tried to make an actual ‘thing‘ before. Long story short, I spent pretty much all day Saturday re-learning how to knit. Granted, I got pretty far into the pattern, but then I’d make a mistake and wouldn’t know how to fix it. I essentially started over 4 or 5 times. Can I just tell you how much I appreciate the convenience of Undo, Cut and Paste?

knitting video

I ended up starting over once again Sunday morning and was finally confident enough to just finish the damn pattern. Sure, I made a couple of mistakes, but somehow got better at fixing my miss-stitches. By the time I was half-way through the pattern, it was late enough for me to not even want to consider starting over. I wasn’t going to finish in time if that had been the case.

By the late afternoon, I had gotten through the cabling section and was home free as far as stitching was concerned. Finishing the pattern was a little nerve-wracking since I was completely guessing at how big I needed to make the headband. Luckily, I knew that if it was tight on my head, it’d probably be okay for Andrea’s.

My completed headband –
knitted headband
I know it’s not a work of art, but for my very first ever project, I’m happy with it. Plus, all of those terrible mis-stitches get kinda lost once you put it on.
Opening her gift on Christmas was kind of fun in the sense that she wasn’t expecting a headband (of all things) and couldn’t believe I had even made it. I think she was pleasantly surprised. While I don’t see her wearing it all that often now that we’re back down in San Diego, I think the project as a whole has reignited a desire to do new things. Sure, we can call them hobbies, some of which could one day be passions, but taking the time to learn something new is a trait I want X and Lex to admire. Not necessarily in me, but in life in general. “Never stop learning!” Right?

Go try something new this year! You know I will be.

Building the Lego Disney Magic Cruise Ship

So yesterday, someone over on Instagram spotted my little Lego Disney Magic I had created over a year ago. Originally, I thought it would’ve been an awesome Fish Extender idea. Instead, we decided to do something different once we realized that the hundred+ pieces (I’d have to have enough to build about 25 of these) wouldn’t arrive in time for our embarkation. Oh well. Might as well put it together any way, right?

Well, because we didn’t use the idea, I never created directions on how to build the model. While I admit it’s a pretty simple model, creating and giving away the directions was going to be half the fun. So with that said, and in a response to an Instagram users who wanted to use the model as a cruise reveal (awesome idea by the way), here are the directions on how to create the Lego Disney Magic (small scale).

Lego Disney Magic (small scale)

Here is a small Lego Disney Magic cruise ship that you can build with a few parts. If you don’t have these parts laying around in and amongst all your Lego sets, check out the Lego Pick a Brick store where you can get individual pieces. In total, with shipping and taxes, one model cost me about $22.

Pieces

Description Qty Color Where it Goes
Brick 2×4
Detail ID: 3001
1 White Main Section
Brick 2×8
Detail ID: 93888
6 Black Bottom Section
Brick 2×6
Detail ID: 44237
2 Black Bottom Section
Round Plate 1×1
Detail ID: 6141
20 Yellow Life Boats
Plate 2×10
Detail ID: 3832
5 White Main Section
Roof Tile 2×2/45 Deg. Inv
Detail ID: 3660
4 Black Bottom Section
Roof Tile 2×2/45 Deg. Inv
Detail ID: 3660
2 White Front Main Section
Roof Tile 2×3/25 Deg.
Detail ID: 3298
6 White Main Section
Roof Tile 2×2/45 Deg.
Detail ID: 3039
1 Black “Duck Tail”
Plate 2×8
Detail ID: 3034
2 Red Bottom / Keel
Plate 4×6 3 Yellow Yellow Mid-Section
Brick 2×8
Detail ID: 93888
2 White Main Section
*Brick 16 W.Cross
Detail ID: 6143
*2 *Red *Stack

IMPORTANT! – *After trying to come back and build my part list, I found that these pieces weren’t available in the Pick a Brick store. I’m not sure if I’m just not seeing them or they are just not available anymore. Any ways, you can get around this by getting the following pieces: 6 Red 2×2 Plates, Detail ID: 4032. In the last step (below) instead of adding the two single piece stacks, put three of the plates together to create 1 stack. A total of 6 plates will create the two stacks shown.

In total there should be 56 pieces.

Putting it Together

Once you’ve got all the pieces together, building the model is pretty easy. While I’m no Lego engineer and don’t have the Lego Digital Designer tool handy, I put a few pictures up on how to build the ship. It’s a little tricky, but once you figure the flow out, putting it together should be pretty easy.

Step 1. Laying the keel.

1st step lego disney magic

2nd step lego disney magic

Step 2. Use the black pieces (shown above) to build the first layer of the hull. Remember, this layer uses the ‘Duck Tail’ on the very back.

3rd step lego disney magic

Step 3. Build the 2nd layer of the black hull.

4th step lego disney magic

Step 4. Make the “Gold Ring”

5th step lego disney magic

Step 5. Using the white pieces (above), build the 1st layer of the main body. You’ll use two 2×10 white plates in the middle which will house the lifeboat area.

6th step lego disney magic

Step 6. Add the lifeboats along the side and another 2×10 white plate in the middle.

7th step lego disney magic

Step 7. Finish the lifeboat section with the remaining 2×10 white plates.

8th step lego disney magic

Step 8. Finish the remaining ‘upper’ body section using the white pieces (above).

9th step lego disney magic

Step 9. Adding the 2 red stacks. Remember, if you can’t get the pieces (shown above) you can use the 6 plates to create the same effect.

last step lego disney magic

And that’s it!

It’s a small little guy, and nothing compared to this dude’s Disney Cruise ship, but it could be a nice little addition to your desk or even be a Fish Extender gift… or in the case of the Instagram user who inspired this post.. a Disney Cruise reveal!? If you want your kids to put the model together without giving it away first, I’ve made some PDF instructions you can print out and use instead.

Printable Directions: Lego Disney Magic – No Spoilers – Directions

What Can I Do More?

I’m sorry.

Sorry for the delay in publishing this post. Sorry for the delay in posting anything for that matter. With this entry being over a month in the making, it has seen approximately 7 iterations where I’ve scrapped and then rewritten the entire post. Talk about a waste of time. Talk about a lack of confidence in my blog writing convictions. Maybe it was the holiday season; Thanksgiving, Christmas and an old house with no heat that made writing at night feel like Bob Cratchit working under Scrooge. It wasn’t that bad, I promise. San Diego is not that cold. The heater thing is kinda upsetting though.

So yeah, I’m sorry. But with that apology, I’m going to take it upon myself to make up for it 100%. You might not get a blog post every day, but I’m sure going to try and do a lot better. Heck, it’s the new year! Resolutions, goals and everything else we try and tell ourselves to do come January 1st, they’re all in abundance right now. So here’s to the future!

Understanding My Priorities

It took a Thanksgiving dinner, chats with friends and family and then the birth of Mark Zuckerberg’s daughter to help push me into a new focus for my life. Yeah, I know that’s a pretty big statement, but I think it’s going to stick. Here’s the gist…

Right after Thanksgiving, Mark and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the birth of their daughter Max via a not so subtle letter on Facebook. Prefacing everything with an attempt to describe the feeling of being a new parent, Mark then goes on to talk about the world where Max is going to be growing up in.

Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today. While headlines often focus on what’s wrong, in many ways the world is getting better. Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today. — Mark

You know, I never really did give it that much thought. The idea of cultivating a world that X and Lex would be inheriting. Maybe it was because I felt my role as a contributor was small. Maybe it was because I was more worried about paying the bills and supporting my family than caring about other people’s families. In the end, I knew that at some point it may become important, it just wasn’t a huge priority.

Mark, however struck a chord. He talks about education, equality, technology and the overall advancement and growth of a world any truly optimistic person could hope for. Sure, I may not have 99% of Facebook at my disposal to reinvest and put to good use, but I have to have something, right?

You can tell I’ve been thinking about this kind of stuff with the focus of this blog. I’ve tried talking about my blogging focus from a high level on one or two occasions, but I’ve always been in a different state of mind. It’s always been about the family or my life. I’m not saying that it’s not going to be that, I just think that there’s some kind of ulterior motive that’s going on. Which now brings me to the point of this post…

We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation. – Mark

What Can I Do More?

I’m not talking about Mark and Priscilla donating their time and money to bettering the life of Max and everyone else on this planet for that matter. I’m talking about the things I can do by myself to allow X and Lex the opportunity to cultivate the same kind of understanding.

Father by example. Lead by example. The things that I show passion towards, will ultimately shape the things that my sons will covet. I think I have my own dad to thank for this. While he worked hard at his job every single day, he never wavered in his commitment to supporting his family, and he never wavered in his trust of my mom and her ability to manage our family. At the same time, he was a strong advocate for pursuing your own passion. You want to do something? That’s awesome, go do it, so long as you… do it.

So what is it that I want X and Lex to understand? What is it that I am able to do for them that will help continue to grow their beautifully childish yet optimistic minds?

I think it’s about being more present. I’ve been telling people that this is my new year’s resolution, and it seems like it’s been a popular trend. You can take that however you want, but for me, it’s a combination of things like: being more available, taking part in more things, helping X learn to read (along with Andrea who does that with her students every day) and at the end of the day, caring less about myself. Maybe caring less about what I think I want is the biggest way that I can do more. That makes a lot of sense, right?

Maybe a marathon Lego building session on Saturday morning or family jog along the California coast is better than sleeping in for 30 extra minutes. Maybe taking the family to a community service event on our free day is better than watching reruns of Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Heck, maybe giving away freelance work is better than charging for it… more on that later 😉 Ultimately, I think it’s about being available. It’s about taking a courageous leap towards a path of greater presence. That’s it… that’s my charge.

Sounds a bit overwhelming? Maybe, but in the end, I think I’m just telling myself to enjoy life.

Happy New Year!