Halloween 2014

ZeldaCrown

(Zelda crown tutorial here, although I only roughly followed it.) Below: I made Mark’s shield, and my Hylian apron was painted by my incredibly talented and artistic sister Natalie.

LinkandZelda

Link

LinkandZeldainlove

Advertisements

Feast your eyes!

…On the photos I took at the Payson Scottish Festival!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Scottish Festival is a longstanding Brown family tradition, and one of the things that makes summer great. We all love the traditional fiddle and sword dancing performances. We never miss the Highland Games (our favorite events are the caber toss and sheaf toss). The kids love the sword and weaponry booths. And the genealogist in me loves to explore the clan booths as my heart swells with contentment at seeing so many people getting geeked out on their Scottish heritage.

Of course, the very best part is when all the pipe and drum bands march in the grand parade and then unite to play “Scotland the Brave.”

And here are a few highlights from Scottish Festivals of summers past.

Scottish3

Practicing her sword dancing on the grand stage

Scottish4

Highland dancing at its finest

20130713_153433775_iOS 1

Logan and Mark watching the parade

Scottish1

Elihu suited up for battle

Scottish2

On the battlefield

Scottish9

Natalie vanquishes her foe

Happy summer! Long live Scotland!

 

The DIY gift that all the 8- to 28-year-old boys in your life will love.

swordpost

I have five younger brothers. Anyone who has a lot of brothers (or a lot of cousins, or a lot of sons) knows that they sometimes enjoy beating each other up. In a good way.

Mark and my brothers like to stage sword fights together, but there’s a problem with the weaponry. We’ve bought several wooden practice swords over the years, but they’re small flimsy things that snap and break too easily. On the other hand, real swords are too heavy, too sharp, and in all aspects too dangerous to really use in sword fights.

So for my brother’s birthday Mark set out to design and create the ideal play swords: something sturdy enough not to get broken in combat play but still soft enough not to do any real damage in a heavy blow.

The swords that Mark engineered fit the bill perfectly. Because of the PVC core, they are sturdy and unbreakable and feel heavy like real swords. But because of the soft foam all around the “blades,” you can deliver really hard hits without hurting anyone. Perfect for a band of backyard scalawags.

To make a batch of swords for your crew, all you’ll are the following materials:

  • A permanent marker.
  • Scissors.
  • Duct tape. With two full rolls of duct tape you can make four swords; you may want a few different colors (we used black, standard silver/gray, and red).
  • A camping pad. Nothing fancy, just a cheap foam one–you can buy them at Walmart or just about anywhere for under $15. One camping pad is enough to make five swords.
  • PVC pipe, cut to the lengths you want the swords to be. We used quarter-inch PVC and cut the swords to lengths between three and five feet long.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first step (below) is to roll your PVC into the camping pad and mark where the edge touches. This mark lets you know how wide to cut your piece of foam. Also mark where you want the blade of your sword to end and the hilt to begin (below, bottom). This mark lets you know how long to cut your piece of foam, since the hilt of the sword will not have foam wrapped around it.

beginningsteps1

Next cut out your piece of foam from the camping pad, following the marks you just made. Be sure to do this in your pajamas and then post a photo on the internet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now you have your foam piece cut perfectly to fit the size of the PVC pipe. (Except the hilt; it remains uncovered because if it were wrapped in foam it would be too thick to grip.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now you get to start making the blade of your sword! Roll the foam around the PVC and secure it with a few pieces of duct tape. Make sure to roll, wrap, and tape really tightly because otherwise the foam will slide around on your PVC. And a sliding-around-foam-sword would not be a very intimidating way to do battle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Keep wrapping tape as tightly as you can (below) until the blade is all covered (below, bottom).

tapewrap

Getting a pointy sword tip is easy–you just cut the ends of your foam and wrap more duct tape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now you’ll have a fine-looking blade! But alas, no hilt. This is where a second color of duct tape plays a part. You wrap it around the bare PVC to make a hilt. We used black (below).

hilt

And now the fun part! (Not that ripping piece after piece of silver duct tape for the blade ISN’T fun.) Time to add finishing touches!

You can use colored duct tape to add a pommel (above). You can use more foam and duct tape to engineer a cross guard, or even two (below). Let your imagination run wild. Watch Lord of the Rings to inspire you (and to keep you entertained while you rip duct tape for two hours.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Behold the finished products!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA finishedswords2

Below, a hand and a half sword

sword4

A Scottish broadsword

sword3

A Norman sword

sword2

A Scottish claymore, or two-handed longsword

sword1

I worried that there might be some arguing about who claimed which sword, but that was not the case. Each warrior gravitated to a different sword (thank goodness!). No arguments.

fourswords

The battles, however, are just beginning!

photo 2-7

photo 3-3

Avast ye! There are games afoot!

And now I’m off on a summer road trip to go enjoy Fourth of July fireworks agains the backdrop of the Tetons! Happy Independence Day!

P.S. I’ve decided that for the rest of the summer I’ll be posting once a week, on Thursdays. (Why Thursday? Because I was born on a Thursday, and married on a Thursday…it’s my favorite day of the week!)