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March 22, 2012 / ebretzel

The Mupeeps take Minnepeepolis!

Finally, I present to you the long awaited peeps diorama reveal!

Say hello to The Mupeeps take Minnepeepolis! Please vote for us in the 2012 St. Paul Pioneer Press Peeps Diorama competition!


That’s right folks, we recreated a scene of downtown Minneapolis from the view of the Stone Arch Bridge. Each peep was painstakingly created to resemble most of the main Muppet characters while somewhat retaining some of their delicious, sugar-coated, marshmallow Peep origins. We used a variety of fabrics (mostly felt) for the clothes and the inside of the Mupeeps mouths. We also used many other crafty products including feathers, beads, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and ribbons. Pretty much everything is held together with hot glue or double-sided tape.

Read on for details on construction and close-up photos!

Kermit T. Frog was made out of a Christmas tree peep, which happened to be the perfect color green. His eyes are small painted beads, his necklace, a ribbon, and his arms and legs are, of course, pipe cleaners.

Miss Piggy was originally a pink bunny Peep, and we found special eyelash googly eyes for her. Her hair is craft doll hair, the necklace was a small string of plastic beads, and her dress? Barbie tank top. That’s right, Barbie’s tank tops can double as Peep dresses. Take note, future diorama makers.

Waldorf and Statler are probably my favorite of the characters that we created. Mostly because of the incredible detail that went into them. They each have very distinctive, marshmallow-sculpted facial features and hands. Their hair was created from bits of yarn that was pulled apart, and suits constructed out of felt. Waldorf uses a pipe-cleaner cane, but it’s hiding behind the railing of the balcony. I also love that their theater box is on the endless bridge of the Guthrie. It just seems like a fitting place for them to hang out heckle all the other Mupeeps.

Animal is hanging out King Kong-style on the clock tower of the Minneapolis city hall. He was made out of a tasty, strawberry-creme, heart peep. His face was made out of felt, pipe cleaners and feathers. Animal has an unusual outfit; his pants are ragged leather and his shirt is red fabric with yellow sleeves. He is too primitive to mess around with buttons so he finds it easier to keep his clothes on by tying them with a rope.

Camilla and Rowlf were both made out of chick Peeps. Obviously, one had less feathers than the other. Like Piggy, Camilla has fancy eyelash googly eyes. And yes, that is a delicious chocolate coating on the bottom of Rowlf.

Fozzie is probably the cutest of all the peeps we made. Seriously, how can you resist that adorable sugar-coated face? He has a tiny felt hat, felt eyebrows, marshmallow eyelids, a micro pom pom nose, and a hand-dotted ribbon bowtie. He was originally an orange bunny peep, a color that is scarce around these parts! Scooter was an orange chick, and he has a little green jacket on over a yellow felt shirt. His googly eyes were turned into glasses with the help of a Sharpie marker, and his orange hair is made from bits of yarn.

Here is a close-up shot of our FIMO clay streetlamps. We were working with about a foot of space between where the mupeeps stood and where the city started, so we had to cheat to make the perspective by making each one smaller than the next. Neither Briana or I had ever used FIMO before – we must have missed out on that craze – but they really turned out nice. You probably can’t tell from the photo, but as a bonus, the red clay has glitter in it.

On to the skyline! We chose some of the most distinctive buildings of Minneapolis for our backdrop. Here they are from left to right: Guthrie, Capella Tower, IDS Tower, Mill City Ruins, Minneapolis City Hall, Wells Fargo Tower, North Star Lofts (we did cheat and added a “fake” blue building on the right )


It was quite challenging to figure out how to replicate them using cardboard boxes and scrapbooking papers. I would say the two most difficult features were the halo on the Capella tower and the yellow Wells Fargo top. With some trial and error, makeshift origami, and tape (lots and lots of tape), we managed to make them look pretty decent.

Our diorama took many hours to create, and is our 3rd entry into the St. Paul Pioneer Press contest. We felt that our past 2 entries were quite worthy, (Click here to see our 2011 entry) but unfortunately we have yet to take home a prize or honorable mention. Maybe this year will be our year! We are hoping that our detailed peeps will win over the judges. While we wait for their decision, please vote for us in the Peeples Choice competition!

-Emily, Briana and Dana

November 21, 2011 / ebretzel

Archer’s first snow angel

We were being spoiled by a never-ending fall, but this weekend, winter decided to really settle in! Archer enjoyed looking at the white stuff from our living room window, but wasn’t so sure when it was landing on his face outside. Austin and I bundled him up into his snowsuit and let him wiggle himself a little baby snow angel on the hill in our front yard. As you can see at the end of the video, little Archer was pretty proud of his accomplishment!


May 30, 2011 / ebretzel

Happy (or sad?) Memorial Day!

I’ve always thought it seemed a bit contradictory to say “Happy” Memorial Day, when it’s a holiday to remember people who have given their lives serving our country. It’s really kind of a sad holiday when you think about it. On the other hand, today is not just about remembering people who have been lost, it’s also about celebrating our freedom, and giving thanks to the soldiers past present and future who have dedicated themselves to doing one of the most difficult jobs you can do. I, for one, do not envy them of it.

I personally do not know many people in the military, but I do have one good friend who I would like to say thank you to. Katie Zoller, one of my oldest friends and one of my favorite people. She joined the Navy Reserves in 2009, braved boot camp, and became a Master-At-Arms. Since then, she’s been doing her duties with the Navy, and recently went on active duty. While she may not ever see live combat (let’s hope!!!), she does know how to handle a gun, which to me is rather incredible since Katie is one of the sweetest, friendliest people I know. Thank you Katie for everything you’re doing for our country!

For many of us who are not intimately involved in the military it’s simply a time where we can enjoy a nice spring day with our friends and family. A premiere to summer – if you will. It feels very summery here in MN today. Those who had an early picnic planned (like my family) got rained out, but it’s now hot and muggy – a nice change to the cold, rainy spring we’ve been having so far.

The day mellowed out to be a beautiful, breezy evening and we did get out to enjoy a small picnic of our own on the patio this evening.


April 24, 2011 / ebretzel

Happy Easter from Bluebird and Mr. Ducky!

Mrs. Bluebird and Mr. Duck

Today is Easter, and we couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day – especially considering the gloomy, rainy, cold days that have preceded us this week. This morning we woke up to the sun shining and the birds chirping. To celebrate this glorious occasion I will be heading over to my parents house for the traditional Easter Basket Hunt and dinner, most likely followed by a walk around the neighborhood.

Above are a little bluebird and ducky that I made for a friend for her 2 kids as part of their Easter baskets. They may look familiar to you if you have read my blog before, but I added a few extra accessories. I also added a little knitted Easter basket for each one.

I borrowed a book of crochet patterns from the library and I’ve been trying out a few different techniques, especially the things like flowers and other embellishments. I’m so used to knitting that it’s a bit awkward trying to pull yarn through the hooks, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually.


April 13, 2011 / ebretzel

CamPeeping in the Boundary Waters

It’s that time of year again. Time for sugary goodness in the form of syrupy eggs, gelatinous beans, and of course marshmallows covered in sugar. But these glorious Easter goodies are not just for satisfying our sugar cravings. They have a second, loftier purpose. Dioramas.

The above photo is the fabulous entry that Briana and I created for the Pioneer Press Peeps diorama contest. (Vote for us!!) We are pretty proud of our work.

Here’s how we incorporated the peeps:
• Clouds – snowman peeps
• Trees and Shrubs – xmas tree peeps
• Sun – marshmallow surrounded by yellow bunny peep ears
• Loons – painted chich peeps
• Bears – bear peeps (no altering necessary!)
• CamPeepers – yellow bunny peeps with felt shirts and toothpick props

I have to give a shout out about the sign as well, since Briana hand cut all of those pretty little letters. The rocks are real rocks, and the sand is made from crushed graham crackers.

Close-up images below.

Impressive, no? We thought we had the competition in the bag. That is, until we saw this entry. That’s right folks, someone recreated THE ENTIRE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR out of peeps. They even carved mini peep butter-heads.

We’re going to have to step up our game next year if we want to beat them. We’re thinking about starting a committee.

For other fabulous peep creations check out the Washington Post Peep Diorama contest. They have neat little videos that explain the diorama-making process.


April 2, 2011 / ebretzel

Pocket Monster

I made this adorable pocket monster for our friends baby. It’s from the Knitting MochiMochi book. I modified the baby monster pattern so that he had feet, and also gave him a little pocket to match the big monster. I think they turned out so cute, and I love the MochiMochi patterns. Check out her website here!


February 20, 2011 / ebretzel

Plate Date

Last weekend Briana and I decided to try our hand at “painting” plates. I got the idea from this blog, which highlighted all sorts of amazing doodles on plates. I thought, how cool would that be! So we took a trip to goodwill and picked out some used plates (and a few other goodies) to experiment on.

We figured that we could just stop in at a craft store to pick up some porcelain pens, but the employees had NO idea what I was talking about. “uh, what do you want the pens for?” and then they would radio someone: “This lady here says she wants some kind of pens that will write on plates.” Then they would inform me that they had no such item.

So, we ended up buying Sharpie paint pens. They write on plates just fine, but are not permanent and you can’t really use the plates. Still, it was a fun activity. Here are the final results:

My plate was inspired by a Scandinavian bird design by Jane Foster that I found through a google image search. She has a lot of amazing screenprints and fabric designs that you can peruse on her site. I hope she doesn’t mind that I hijacked her design for my plate and turned it into hypercolor for this project. They only had crazy colors in the Sharpie pens. Anyway, I think it will look interesting hanging on my wall. Can anyone guess what Briana’s plate was inspired by?

Next time I’m going to order some real porcelain pens online first.