Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm – Notebook Showdown

Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm 1917

Whistler and I took my long-standing favourite notebook and tested it against a new competitor: Check out the Notebook Showdown, Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm! I’ve been drawing in Moleskines for ages (see here when I used it to design paddles for the girls, here where I updated my bonhommes a while back, or here where I was drawing spaceships, for example) and it was time to see if it was still the best option for me or if there was a new best choice in town. Watch the video for a…

Productivity Guilt

productivity guilt

Two holidays in a row, I’ve gone back to work more tired than I left. No matter how productive I’ve been, I can’t shake the feeling that my level of productivity was just way too low. It’s not like I haven’t enjoyed myself. March Break with the kids was excellent. We had some decent weather, one last snow, we got outside and did activities and made art and crafts and watched movies and played games and generally just had a great time. But this break, in spite of the fact…

Seven Things We Learned Making a Video Game

7 Things We Learned Making a Video Game

There is no reason, in 2018, not to make a video game. The kids and I made their mom a pretty awesome Christmas present that I haven’t taken the time to tell you about until now. It turns out that it’s a story that’s longer in the making than I realized. Some years back I made a bold claim, as I’m known to do from time to time. It was made on this blog, publicly, in an attempt to keep myself honest. 2012 is the year I make a video…

We Unbox an Adafruit PiGRRL Zero Parts Kit!

Adafruit PiGRRL Zero Parts Kit

We’re getting into electronics! When the Raspberry Pi Zero W came out, the kids and I tried to set up a Raspberry Pi to play games. As a console attached to the TV it never quite worked the way we wanted. The kids like the idea of the Game Boy Advance I’ve got kicking around the house, but there aren’t a lot of games for it that strike their fancy. So instead, we’re going to build our own handheld! We ordered the PiGRRL Zero parts kit from Adafruit, plus a…

The Long Tale of “Backyard Jedi”

The kids and I have been doing videos about working on our Star Wars movie. I think it’s high time to tell that story. In April 2013, NJ and I had been dating for about two years. I had effectively moved in, and I had been interacting with the kids for about 18 months, but still hadn’t fully shifted into “parent” mode. It was very much NJ and the kids, and me. We had just brought Leo to live with us a matter of weeks earlier. Our little fstar waramily…

Many Roads Lead to Rome

droid make kids craft hot glue

True to the name of this blog, we frequently make things as a family. Often I’m part of the process, but when my eldest, 8, came to me the other day, I encountered a new angle that I hadn’t expected. “Trevor, I want to make a craft with you,” she said. “I need your help.” “Okay, little fish,” I said. “What do you want to make?” Her eagerness turned into despair. “That’s why I need your help. I don’t know what I want to make.” This is an experience I…

Stop motion film: J. Felix Faces his Fears

stop motion animation j felix faces his fears

The kids and I had a blast doing this one. The story of encountering your own insecurities and finding the strength to push past them to create something cool is one that resonates, I think, with people of all ages. Especially since my Little Fish is such a perfectionist — and a very sensitive kid, too — I saw a lot of recognition in J. Felix’s story that she had. The kids designed the Fears, they designed, directed, and assisted with the construction of the set (though I took it…

Kids’ Sabine Wren costume, part 2: Blasters

Read Part One, in which we make most of the upper-body armour. One of my favourite techniques as a classroom teacher is project-based learning. As it turns out, it’s becoming one of my favourite things about being a parent, as well. Tonight, Little Fish and I began work on patterning Sabine’s blasters while NJ prototyped Whistler’s Jennifire makeup. Our main job was scaling the design to fit her tiny hands. We started by measuring Sabine’s hand in a screen capture. As it turned out, her hand, measured across the knuckles,…

Kids’ Sabine Wren costume, part 1

sabine wren armour pattern

My Little Fish announced her Halloween plans for this year with much the same gusto as last year’s Quorra costumes: she wanted to be Sabine Wren, one of the main characters in last year’s new Disney cartoon, Star Wars Rebels. The Mandalorian armour worn by Sabine means that I will need to learn at least two new skills for the build (foam fabrication, fibreglassing) and much better develop a third (sculpting) and a fourth (mold making). It’s a little daunting, but I’m all in on it. And we’re buckling and…