Jayme Woods

Writer. Geek. Adventurer.


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Make Your Own Mary Poppins Hat

In celebration of a jolly holiday (i.e. the release of Saving Mr. Banks), I’ve decided it’s time to unleash this on the world:

If you’re looking for a craft that’s practically perfect in every way, this Mary Poppins hat takes about 40 minutes (including time to obsessively photograph for the blog). You’ll need:

*Cardstock (black and white)
*Scissors
*Tape
*Hot Glue Gun
*Optional: any other decorations you’d like (plastic cranberries, etc.)

A compass is useful for drawing circles, but two pencils with a string tied between them will also do the trick.

(1) Tape two pieces of cardstock together (one side only).

tape cardstock

(2) Draw one circle as largely as you can on the paper. Draw a second circle inside the first, leaving a couple of inches for the brim. Now is the time to make sure your head will fit the hole. The hat I’m making is perfect for a large teddy bear. If you want to wear it yourself, reduce the rim width and voilà! Person-sized hat. 🙂

circles

(3) Cut out the inner circle. It’s best if you use the tape bend to start the cut. If possible, leave this inner circle in one piece. It will become the top of the finished hat.

Admit it. You have scissor envy right now ;)

Admit it. You have scissor envy right now 😉

(4) Cut out the larger circle. If possible, leave the blank areas on either side of the circle intact. They will become the body of the finished hat.

What you have should now look like this:

pieces

And this:

pieces2

(5) Remove the straight edges on either side of the remaining black cardstock. These pieces will connect the brim to the top of the hat. I call them the “body” of the hat.

body pieces

(6) Fold the body pieces along their longer edges to make lips of about half an inch. Make sure the folds face opposite directions (outward for the brim and inward for the top). Don’t listen to the picture below! I initially made these lips a quarter inch and the finished hat turned out WAY too tall.

folds

(7) Tape the body pieces together. Make sure the folds match up (outward/outward, inward/inward).

body taped

(8) Snip approximately every half inch along the lips. This will make them easier to tape into place.

(9) Tape everything together, making sure all tape faces the inside of the hat. This will hide the tape when the hat is worn. I suggest starting with the top and moving to the brim.

tape

(10) Flip it over and press the top into the sides a bit so it doesn’t look so angular.

Before:

before

After:

after

(11) Print or sketch a few daisies on the white cardstock. Don’t worry about making them perfect. Real flowers aren’t perfectly symmetrical. I also prefer to layer two “flowers” on top of each other for a 3D effect.

flowers

(12) Hot glue decorations as desired.

hat

Let everything dry, grab an umbrella, and you’re good to go!

bear

Wishing everyone a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

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Greetings from the Revision Cave!

I’m happy to report my first draft revisions are all wrapped up. I actually finished a few days ago *just* in time to meet my self-imposed deadline – the October 8 release of The House of Hades. If you’re wondering, “deadline” means I refused to let myself buy HoH until I finished. Motivation thy name is Percy Jackson.

With the revisions now in the hands of my trusty CPs, I’ve also had a bit of time to catch up on things like scrubbing my bathroom (joy) and throwing a proper viewing party for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

If that tablecloth looks familiar, it’s because it’s the playing card from my sister's Now You See Me  party butchered into what were supposed to be checker squares. Just go with it.

If that tablecloth looks familiar, it’s because it’s the playing card from my sister’s Now You See Me party butchered into what were supposed to be checker squares. Just go with it.

Unfortunately, my brain’s still in revision mode. While watching Wonderland, all I could think was, “Man, this could’ve used some editing.” I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it. I’m sure as heck not saying I’m not tuning in next week. I think we all know I am.

What I’m getting at is this: the Wonderland pilot gave me clearer perspective on my own revisions. It was hard, painful even, to bring the ax down on some of my “darlings,” but most debut authors don’t have the benefit of an established world like Wonderland (or a franchise like Once Upon a Time). We’re inviting readers in for the first time. If we take a lengthy detour into the Mallow Marsh readers might not wait for us to get unstuck.

mallow marsh 2

Sometimes these little detours, while dear to the author, are more like speed bumps for the reader. They kill the momentum when the audience just wants to know when the heck Jafar’s going to show up.

While we’re on the topic of villains, one of the most common complaints I’ve read online is that the Red Queen on Wonderland was trying too hard to be the Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time. Don’t sell your characters short trying to make them the “next” Hermione Granger, Percy Jackson, or KHAAAAAAAN (sorry, couldn’t resist). Give us someone new to love/hate/ship.

But that’s enough shop talk for me. I’m going to enjoy the rest of these lovely white chocolate coconut bars…

If you're wondering why these aren't on a cute serving tray, it's because it is impossible to pick one up without eating it. Seriously good.

If you’re wondering why these aren’t on a cute serving tray, it’s because it is impossible to pick one up without eating it. Seriously good.

…before I hear back from my CPs and attack the Mallow Marshiest bits of my revisions with the ferocity of a feral Cheshire Cat.

Are you wrestling revisions? Did you enjoy Once Upon a Time in Wonderland? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


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Tysinion!

I wasn’t sure what to blog about this week – and, really, who has time to read blogs with Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters in theaters?

So I decided to doodle. This is what happens when you leave me unsupervised with colored pencils. I give you Tysinion!

Tysinion

One half Minion. One half Tyson. Clearly, I’ve got Sea of Monsters on the brain. If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Wishing everyone a great weekend!


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Warm Bodies and Writing: The Importance of Secondary Characters

When I mentioned zombies in my last post, it was just to give my sister a hint about her birthday gift:

kayce's gift 3

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized writers can learn a lot from Warm Bodies. An entire post could be devoted to the differences between the book and movie, but for this post I’m going to focus strictly on the movie. Specifically, I’m going to focus on the importance of its supporting characters: Nora, M, and Perry.

At first blush, it’s easy to think the magic of Warm Bodies is all about R and Julie. They are, after all, the main characters. However, I’d argue it’s the characters around them who really sell the story and, in many ways, endear R and Julie to us.

***WARNING: SPOILERS***

Take Nora. Sure, she fulfills the stock role of sarcastic best friend, complete with zippy one-liners and a makeover scene for poor unsuspecting R.

makeover edited

But Nora’s most important scene, to my mind, is one of her very first, when R and his zombie buddies ambush Julie and company. Why does it matter? Because, later in the movie, when Julie tries to fight her way out of a zombie infested airport with nothing but a weed eater, we might ask ourselves: why now? If she’s such a fighter, why not fight earlier, when she was much less outnumbered? One quick pan to terrified Nora, cowering under a desk, and we understand.

Nora edited

Julie goes with R to save her friend. This sacrifice immediately makes her more sympathetic without compromising the tough-girl side that makes her so awesome throughout the rest of the film.

Much like Nora, R’s best friend, M, instantly ups the humor ante. He also lays the groundwork for the ultimate redemption of the zombies. One scene in particular always kills me. In it, M talks about regaining his memories. His mom. Summertime. Then, like it’s some profound revelation, he adds:

cream... of wheat edited

The first time I saw it, I died laughing. Let’s be real, I still do. But, as trivial as it sounds, this was a profound revelation for M. He’s been so lost for so long that he’s completely forgotten what it is to be human, right down to the tiniest (and most hilarious) details. It’s this reignited glimmer of humanity – something we’ve already seen blossoming in R – that allows us to forgive the zombies for the otherwise unforgivable things they’ve done. Like eating people. Which brings us to…

perry edited 2

I’m probably going to catch some flak for this (yes, I’m talking about you, sis), but in my opinion Perry is the linchpin of Warm Bodies. Our opinions of R, Julie, and their entire romance rest squarely on his shoulders. Why? If he’s too unlikeable, we’d never believe Julie would put up with him. She’s tough. She’s hot. It’s the end of the world. She’s got to be getting other offers. We have to believe she and Perry have something special enough to fight for. Even though Perry is broken and pushing her away, we see him in flashbacks being a boyfriend worth having, possibly the first guy to ever tell Julie he loved her.

BUT – and here’s why I say Perry could’ve ruined the whole movie – he can’t be too likable. As the audience, we have to believe sweeter than pie Perry is gone, replaced by an apocalypse-wearied soldier. We have to be able to forgive R for, well, eating him – and we have to believe Julie would too. Otherwise, the whole movie falls apart. Ten minutes later, when Julie’s falling for R, we wouldn’t feel warm and fuzzy. We wouldn’t want to root for them. We’d be outraged.

retail therapy edited

That, my friends, is the magic of supporting characters. Sometimes they cower under desks or muse about breakfast foods. Sometimes they get eaten. But through it all they hold the story together and, in the case of Warm Bodies, make it an incredibly fun ride.


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Now You See Me, Now You – OOH, CAKE!!

I like theme parties. A lot. So when my sister’s birthday rolls around I don’t play around. Our place has been transformed into everything from Hogwarts (complete with floating candles and boggart cabinet) to an Avatar Day celebration:

avatar

Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, and this year I had no clue what to do… until we went to see Now You See Me. For those of you who don’t know, Now You See Me is pretty much the best heist movie since 2003’s The Italian Job – only with magic! I’m a sucker for classic stage illusion, so this was pretty much the perfect movie.

Thankfully, my sister agreed, so I *finally* had a theme to run with. This is what happened:

****WARNING: SPOILERS****

table

That giant card in the background was inspired by my sister’s favorite part of the movie: Atlas’s opening trick. Shout out to the ladies at work, who gave me the tablecloth I used to make it! 🙂

Here’s a close-up of the falling money inspired by the Four Horsemen’s final trick (note: it’s been photo bombed by Beauty and the Beast):

falling money

You know that Canon commercial where all the photographers do crazy stuff to get the perfect shot? That’s pretty much how my sister looked when she snapped the picture above. Here’s another one from top-down (taken on her tippy toes from a chair) because she’s thorough like that:

falling money 2

Thankfully, what I lack in photography skills I make up for with baking prowess:

cake

Okay, not really. That’s from Costco. But it was seriously delicious. If I ever have to plan a last meal, I’m going to order a barrel of the chocolate mousse they put in the center. *drool*

Where was I? Right. The party.

Here’s the rose and note that greeted the Four Horsemen in that creepy abandoned apartment:

flower

Fun fact: not only can Jack Wilder turn playing cards into deadly weapons, apparently he also keeps them arranged in Fibonacci sequence:

cards

Again, not really. But it’d be really hot if he did.

Moving on. Here’s some Merritt McKinney swag:

merritt

Last but not least, here are some Minions. Everyone knows it’s not a party without Minions:

minions

Again, we’ve been photo bombed by a Disney character. That’s life in the fast lane.

So there it is. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS!! Love ya like a zombie loves brains…

And, yes, that might’ve been foreshadowing for my next post. 😉

Wishing you all a lovely weekend and a great big slice of Costco cake!


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A Long Time Ago in… Space: the Final Frontier

Okay, I’m probably going to catch all kinds of flak for that title, but here’s the thing. I love Star Wars. AND I love Star Trek. In my perfect world, Scotty, Chewy, Chekov, and Lando would hang out Big Bang Theory style. When Kirk gets flirty Leia would call him a scruffy-looking Tribble herder. Han Solo would give Spock a great big live long and prosper high-five. Because, really, how awesome would that be?

This has made the last week fairly exciting. Why? For starters, I finally rounded up the gang to go see Star Trek Into Darkness. And it was just as mind blowingly awesome as everyone said. Spock putting the smackdown on Sherlock – I mean, Khan. Priceless. Sulu taking the captain’s chair. Scotty realizing just how much damage Kirk can do to his ship in a day. I could go on and on. And on.

But never fear Star Wars fans. I didn’t trick you into this post just to gush about Star Trek. The past several weekends have also happened to be Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I couldn’t actually make it this year, but I’ve been in years past, and it is something to behold. Stormtroopers patrol the park gates. You can meet awesome celebrity guests. And the Dark Side really does have cookies – and cupcakes. Deliciously evil cupcakes.

Living vicariously through all the pictures and videos on Facebook just wasn’t cutting it, so my sister and I whipped up an awesome office supply X-wing. Check it out:

office-supply-x-wing

If you want to make one of your very own, we found our inspiration here.

Now, please excuse me while I imagine R2-D2 piloting said X-wing to a robot speed dating mixer hosted by Lieutenant Commander Data.

Until next time, may the Force be with you as you boldly go where no one has gone before. 🙂