Home of a web & design adventurer and
general purveyor of awesome.

Merry Christmas 2016!

Civil War Christmas Card

Click to expand images

2016 has been a whirlwind of a year. Our previous card got sent a few months late in February, so you may already remember that the family relocated to Flushing, Michigan in January to start some exciting new jobs.

Geoff is now working as a web developer for Kettering University (a top-tier automotive engineering school in Flint, MI formerly a part of General Motors) in charge of designing and implementing new internal websites from the ground up. The combination of loving the company you work for and the work you do is just about all you can ask for.

Dianna is now working as the Cub Scout Camping Director for Michigan Crossroads Council. This means she oversees all Cub resident camps and outdoor adventures through the entire ‘mitten’ (the lower landmass of Michigan). The position is a great opportunity to really make an impact on scouting in the state and get more families involved and enjoying the benefits scouting has to offer.

Winchester started daycare this year, which was nerve-racking at first but he took to it immediately and we love the staff who take care of him. It’s amazing to see the exponential growth the past year and all he’s picked up from the staff and the other children.

The house we’re currently renting backs right up to the Flint River, which has led to an enormous number of aquatic adventures this summer. Despite what you may have read, the Flint River is actually a gorgeous nature retreat. From reeling in walleye and rock bass in the back yard while watching deer and bald eagles to tubing, canoe, and kayak trips to general splashing and playing in the water, it’s been the highlight of Michigan so far.

Geoff’s automotive hobby has been in full swing lately with 5 motorcycle projects having cycled through this year. Additionally, we’ve officially joined the minivan life courtesy of our Honda Odyssey now sitting in the driveway. Good thing, too, as we’ve racked up over 200 hours of road tripping this summer to New York, Boston, and Pennsylvania to see friends and family. Our kids are quickly becoming iron-butt champions.

Other fun projects this year included a hand-hewn log bed for Winchester, an Arduino-powered dog food dispenser, 3d-printing and modeling, and picking up sewing and quilting skills from both our mothers.

All of these projects pale in comparison to the ‘project’ Dianna has been working on since February or so. After nine months of getting judo-kicked from the inside, she gave birth to our second son, Rutherford Parisi Marsh, on October 6. He is an absolute delight and just a laid back eating machine. Dianna has been enjoying her maternity leave and sadly will have to head back to work soon at which point Rutherford will get to hang out with his brother at daycare!

Back to top

The Characters

CapDad America

Iron Ma'am

Winn Machine

InfAnt Man

'Because She's Black' Panther


The Incredibun Hulk

Nick Furry

Buc-ee Barns

Because the source material isn't as well know as Star Wars or Ninja Turtles, and especially because some of the costumes parody the silver-age comics instead of the movie versions, I thought it would be helpful to include a primer on the characters featured for those who are less familiar!

Geoff - Capdad America

Captain America: Obviously the most recognizable character and costume in the lineup. I'm a huge fan of the character and to keep in line with my policy of making costumes instead of purchasing them, I actually enlisted the help of my mother to sew together the cosume! Combined a sleeveless hoodie, a long-sleeve t-shirt, and a few red t-shirt scraps and voila! My poor mother had to work around my many demands from dimensions to reverse applique to embroidery, but she taught me as we went along and I now have a hoodie that I love and can wear!

The shield was created from a snow saucer sled. I flipped it inside out, trimmed the outer edges, painted it up, and riveted arm clasps on the inside. Again, more work than really needed for just the card, but Winchester loves it and plays with it around the house all the time.

Dianna - Iron Ma'am

Iron Man: I was very concerned at to how this costume might turn out and played with a couple different ideas of how to create the armor. We were always planning on doing the silver age armor with the yellow and red, but trying to get the red armored portion was a concern. We debated carboard, a Roman costume breastplate, aluminum pans, etc. Eventually I hit upon the idea of using hockey pads and decided it was the right mix of cost and looks. Turns out you can grab used hockey pads on eBay for under $10, so I grabbed a set for both Winchester and Dianna.

Winchester's painted up pretty easily, but Dianna's just sucked up any paint I put into it. It took almost 4 full cans of spraypaint to finally fill up the mesh and foam enough to change the color to actual red. It's a child's size, as well, which mean as it filled up with painted and hardened, the already tight fitting neck became quite a challenge to pull on and off. Regardless, it looked better than I was expecting and adding a some additional sports pads, a battery powered touchlight, dish gloves, and a moved-in-post LED and the costume was complete!

Winchester - Winn Machine

War Machine: It's amazing how much easier it is to spray paint hockey pads black than red. Similar to Dianna's costume, War Machine's costume was made from eBay hockey pads, elbow, shin, and knee pads, and another unidentifiable hockey pad for the abs.

For the shoulder cannon, I found a $1 clearance toy shotgun at Walmart that I dissasembled and stuck the barrels into the stock in a manner that actually lets it pivot! Winchester somehow had the impression that it was a water cannon, and we haven't corrected him, ha ha. He loves to run around the house with his costume on going "pshhh! pshhh!" and spraying those around him. The chest light has also been a favorite to switch on and off constantly. I spent a while wiring a red LED inline with the normal light, so I was happy he was getting enjoyment out of it.

Rutherford - (Inf)Ant-Man

Ant/Giant Man: So those of you familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be wondering who Rutherford is supposed to. This is actually the silver-age version of Ant-Man. Getting a helmet on a baby offers a whole bunch of issues. We tried putting aluminum foil over bowls and couple other solutions, but eventually decided to do most of it in post-production. We actually just shot him wearing a silver spray-painted beanie covering his eyes, then shot the same pose without the beanie and photoshopped his eyes/mask into the beanie. I also added the black emblem on the chest in post, but the Attack-of-the-60-Foot-Baby pose was all him!

Letzty - "Because She's Black" Panther

Black Panther: I really wanted to paint Letzty for this, but Dianna wouldn't let me. The necklace was an afternoon arts-and-crafts project and the silver lines were puffy paint (Poor Letzty). I didn't think turning her black in post would look good, but I was very pleasantly surprised with how it looked! She just looks like a black lab and I'm sure some people will think we got a new dog, but I love it.

Bean - Falcorgi

Falcon: His goggles are actually the ones I normally wear when I take the top and windshield off the Jeep, and the harness is Bean's normal harness. All we needed to was make some spraypainted cardboard wings and have Bean take a nap!

Bunbun - The Incredibun Hulk

The Hulk: Easiest costume, hardest to pose! Just a scrap of purple fabric draped over and some color adjustment in post. The hardest part was actually getting the green rich enough that it would show through the desaturation filter.

Opie - Nick Furry

Nick Fury: I love photographing Opie. She doesn't move and her fuzz always covers her eyes anyhow, so she doesn't care what costume you put on her. Thow on an eyepatch, set her down, *click*, done.

Buc-ee - Buc-ee Barnes

Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier: Buahahahaha, there is only a small cross-section of people who will get this joke. That cross section is specifically people from southeastern Texas familiar with the beloved gas station chain, Buc'ees and who are also familiar enough with Marvel to know it's a reference to the civilian identity of The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes. Only like 5 people will get this (I'm looking at you, Chris/Brian/PJ/Vicky/Eddie, but it was too hilarious to me not to put in.

Back to top