The Slacker Nerd

I know.  It’s been almost a month since I last posted.  I swear, I’ve got good reasons for being quiet, though!

Kitties!

Kitties!

Like these girls, Sara (left) and Hannah (right).  They’re Steve’s litter mates, and are apparently experiencing selective amnesia and forgetting they’re actually related to the little guy.  Steve meows confusedly at them, and they want nothing to do with him right now.  Eventually, they’ll all be a happy kitty family again, but for now, there’s a lot of hissing and hiding under couches.  (Ross is at home right now, trying to lure Hannah out from under a loveseat at the moment…)

Steve approves of the blanket I'm crocheting.

Steve approves of the blanket I’m crocheting.

And there’s been a lot of crafting, too.  I keep finding craft projects to keep my hands occupied while I power through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I’ve finished a couple of crocheting projects, and I’ve been working on some counted cross-stitch too. My biggest project is one I’m making for my friend Josie, a cross-stitch inspired by the wallpaper in Sherlock’s (of BBC fame) apartment, and it’s coming along really nicely.  I think it might be the biggest cross-stitch project I’ve ever worked on – I think it’s going to be roughly 10 by 13 inches when it’s done.

Sketching up stuff for work.

Sketching up stuff for work.

I’ve also been incredibly busy with work, too.  I’m about to start writing three workshops and two webinars, and on top of that I’ve been working on blog posts for work as well, and I just got assigned the title of ILS blogger too.  All the stuff on my plate, work-wise, is making my head positively spin – but I wouldn’t change it for the world, as I absolutely love both of my jobs.

I’m going to make it a point to post something once a week from here on out.  Or prod Ross to fill in for me when I’m super busy.  After all, I do love my blog, and my readers, and I want to do my best to keep you all entertained! :)

March Book Madness! (and a contest!)

visioninsilverMarch seems to be the month of the year where all of my favorite authors conspire against my wallet and release books from their ongoing (or new, as in the case with one author I adore) series.  And this year is no exception – I have not one, not two, but three books from authors I enjoy coming out this month.

The first one is Vision in Silver, by Anne Bishop, which was released on March 3rd, 2015.  I’ve been following Anne’s works since 2004, when a friend of mine gave me a copy of the Black Jewels Trilogy, the start of what turned into a seven book dark fantasy series.  He said “this isn’t really my style, but maybe you’ll like them?” as he handed me the stack.  I devoured all three in roughly three days, and then got excited when I learned she was still publishing stories in that universe!  Vision in Silver is a novel set in the world of The Others, an alternate universe to our own filled with Anne’s unique take on supernatural creatures.  You’ll find shapeshifters, vampires, and prophets in the world of The Others.  The setting for the books is a modern-day society where these Others are more populous than humans – and don’t take kindly to humans trying to encroach on their territory.  Vision in Silver is the third book in the series – I’m currently finishing the first book, Written in Red, to refresh my memory before I read through Vision in Silver.

PrudenceCoverThe next book I’m excited about is Gail Carriger’s Prudence, due to be released on March 17th, 2015 – it’s the first book in the Custard Protocol Series.  Gail’s already written two book series’ in this universe, a steampunk version of our own world set in the late 19th century with a heaping dose of the supernatural.  I’m excited for this series – Gail’s first books, the Parasol Protectorate series, got me incredibly excited about the steampunk genre.  Her writing style is sassy and sometimes over the top, her characters are strong and likable (especially Alexia Tarabotti, Prudence’s mother), and there’s a liberal dose of humor sprinkled throughout her novels.  Plus, the way she writes her vampires and werewolves is refreshing – a different take than most books.  Her vampires are fashionable and almost prissy, and her werewolves are humorously rough around the edges.

With this being the first book in the Custard Protocol series, I’m not entirely sure what to expect.  What familiar characters will we run into during Prudence?  What sorts of ridiculous adventures will we get to read about?  And – the biggest question, for Gail’s fans – will everyone’s favorite vampire, Lord Akeldama, be making an appearance?  With this being a new series, readers who’ve never dipped their toes into the world of Gail Carriger’s novels can jump right in and not be lost, and then read through her other two series (The Parasol Protectorate series and the Finishing School series, a set of young adult novels set in the mid-19th century in the same universe as her other books) if you decide you want more.

Diamond-Conspiracy_finalAnd last, but certainly not least, is the latest entry into the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, written by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris – The Diamond Conspiracy, set to release on March 31st, 2015.  The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels are also in the steampunk genre, taking place in the late 19th century as well, and focus on two characters who are just about as different as night and day – Wellington Thornhill Books, the Ministry’s dashing archivist, and Eliza D. Braun, a field agent for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.  Where Books is quiet and calm, Braun is very in-your-face.  They take very different approaches when it comes to solving problems, and as you might expect, eventually opposites end up attracting… one of the sub-plots from the first book ends up working its way to a more major plot point as Books and Braun end up developing feelings for each other.  The books (of which The Diamond Conspiracy is the fourth) are full of action and adventure, mystery and intrigue, and interwoven with various subplots that help tie the stories all together, with a heaping helping of steampunky goodness thrown on top for good measure.

I’m so excited over having a month of good books to read, some of which I’ve been waiting a while for – and I’m going to share that excitement with you, with The Crafty Nerd’s first ever contest!

The Crafty Nerd’s March Book Madness contest!

The rules for entering are simple: post a comment on this entry with what book you’re excited about that’s coming out soon, and the winner (chosen randomly) will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card!  Pick up the Kindle version of that book you’ve been wanting, or put the gift card towards a hardcover copy of something you’ve been looking forward to reading!  The contest will run until March 20th – so tell me what you’re looking forward to reading soon!

Chromebooks – Yay!

So Beth and I recently purchased a couple Toshiba Chromebook 2 laptops. We stumbled upon a display at an Office Depot one day and were impressed by their design and prices (Chromebooks have come a long way since the earlier models we were already familiar with), and the next day I picked up a model CB35-B3340 during lunch, and Beth, being instantly impressed with it, purchased a model CB35-B3330 the same evening. The only apparent differences between the two Toshiba Chromebook 2 models is the 3340 has 4GB of RAM and a 1080 HD IPS display vs the 3330’s 2GB of RAM and a standard display.

I opted for the 3340 due to the extra memory and resolution, and while the extra RAM proved to be an immediate benefit (tons of tabs could remain open without bogging down my fanless sweety), it wasn’t until I realized how well pages rendered when zoomed in I ceased longing for Beth’s far more readable text (my eyes would ache reading some articles, especially those fixed-width pages taking up all of a fifth of the screen real estate). Web developers, the majority of you create wonderful sites I can browse on any device and enjoy the experience. The rest of you? To hell with your fixed-width 1990s-centric “best viewed in Y browser at CRAPxPOOP resolution” pages. I know you don’t specify such recommendations these days, but I see it in your designs… you’ll never fool me!
Ahem.
See for yourself how an “I hate anything over 640×480″ page renders on my Chromebook vs zooming in using handy keyboard shortcuts. Amazing. This feature alone made me fall in love with my Chromebook all over again! And for those wanting to take it a step further, the resolution of the entire screen can be adjusted. I won’t detail the steps to do this, simply press ctrl+alt+? (yes it’s all lower case on a Chromebook keyboard!) and mash the ctrl, alt, and shift keys to see a wealth of delicious shortcuts. No, I haven’t tasted them all.

Screenshot 2015-02-18 at 20.08.55

My layout sucks and my parents disowned me…

 

Screenshot 2015-02-18 at 20.09.33

…but thanks to zooming, you’ll soon forget my crippling inadequacies!

 

I’ve read several reviews bashing this Chromebook’s performance. In my not-so-humble-opinion, either those reviewers were out of touch and possessed excessive expectations, were using older versions of Chrome OS, or were just plain derp. Or all three.
The Chromebook has entirely replaced my Windows or Linux-based laptops, unless I’m gaming or in need of serious horsepower (e.g. transcoding video). The <5 second cold boot, instant-on from standby, and (in my experience thus far) 7 to 11 hour battery life has made using a laptop a more enjoyable experience than before. When it comes to word processors, etc. both Google Drive applications and Office 365 render beautifully in the browser, and even media-rich documents display with very little perceptible lag. When scrolling through a bunch of such pages quickly it’s evident I’m not on my speed demon desktop, but the delay never gets in the way of usability.
Oh, and being able to access and control all of my computers and servers thanks to Secure Shell (ssh in a browser whaaaat) totally sealed the deal in making the Chromebook my primary mobile device.

Eventually I’ll get bored of vanilla Chrome OS and install Linux alongside it, or, if I can manage to install a custom BIOS, replace Chrome OS entirely. But for the time being I’m happy to enjoy what Chrome OS has to offer and learn to work around any limitations. After all, I’m frequently asked to recommend laptops for friends and coworkers, and for those who can’t (rightfully so) justify spending over $300 for something they’ll use for internet browsing, word processing, and streaming, Chromebooks are a wonderful alternative. Oh, and I suppose being unaffected by viruses and malware is a stupidly awesome advantage over a Windows-based laptop as well!

Discovering Star Trek

I’ll admit, in some ways I’m a bit of a late blooming nerd.  I may have been playing video games since I was in kindergarten, in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, and I’ve been a fan of science-related things (especially anything related to the solar system) since my dad brought home the Adventures in the Solar System book and book-on-tape combo when I was six.  (And yes, that link takes you to the same audio book I listened to as a kid, although with a different book cover.  Oh, the nostalgia…)  But I’d never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer until 2013.  I hadn’t read Ender’s Game until I was in my late 20s.  And I hadn’t seen any Star Trek, aside from Generations when it was in the theaters (it was my first date ever!) and the reboot movies, until very recently. Despite having a mother who really enjoyed Star Trek, though, I never really got into it.

Now these guys all feel like my best friends, haha.

Now these guys all feel like my best friends, haha.

Ross, however, grew up on Star Trek.  He can rattle off the specifications of half the ships in the show, and tell you about all sorts of connections between the various series of Star Trek.  Heck, he just flopped down next to me with the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual and is reading it while I’m writing this.  And me, being the curious person I am, and looking for something new to watch, and having enjoyed the reboot movies and shows like Firefly and Farscape, figured I’d see what Ross enjoyed so much and jump in with Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The only knowledge I went into the show with was that there was an android in there named Data, that Patrick Stewart played Jean-Luc Picard and was generally pretty damn awesome, and that LeVar Burton was in it (I watched a lot of Reading Rainbow as a kid, and was pretty excited to see him in something else).  And Whoopi Goldberg was in there somewhere.  And that they were all on the USS Enterprise.  But that was it.

Now, a couple months after watching my first episodes of The Next Generation, I’m following the entire cast of TNG on Twitter.  All my alert noises on my cellphone are various alert tones and computer noises from Star Trek.  (I get very confused when the Enterprise gets hailed when I’m watching TNG, as I’m not sure if the ship’s just received a message or if I have)  I watch at least an episode a day, if not more, and I’m almost halfway through season six of The Next Generation – and I just started season two of Deep Space Nine.  I’m seeing what pulled everyone else into the world of Star Trek.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed about watching Star Trek is that some of these episodes really tug at your feelings.  I’ve become attached to the characters, and care about what happens to them.  I freaked out when Dr. Crusher mysteriously disappeared for the entirety of Season 2 of TNG, and was incredibly relieved when she came back for season 3.  I watched Wesley grow up from a whiny little teenager and enter Starfleet Academy.  I felt so many feels every time Data would long to be human, and would try his hardest to emulate human behaviors to become more like his crewmates.  I eventually grew to like Counselor Troi, and I can even tolerate her ridiculous mother now.  (Barely.)  Watching Worf deal with the fact that he’s got a son, and watching him be a parent, is equally touching and hilarious.  (I may have recently watched Too Many Datas, and spent half the episode laughing…)

And there’s more to it than the feels I get when watching particularly good episodes.  I’ve gotten sucked into the fandom. I spend time poking around on subreddits dedicated to Star Trek, and enjoy reading through new fan theories and interesting discussions.  I watch ridiculous videos of You Tube captions failing horribly when it comes to captioning video from a Klingon video game.  I make up lyrics to the opening theme songs.  (Just ask Ross.  They’re ridiculous, and change almost every time I watch an episode…)

And I realized, once I run out of episodes of The Next Generation, that doesn’t mean that I’ve run out of Star Trek.  I still have all of the original series to watch, and Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, and Enterprise if I’m feeling desperate (I’ve heard it’s not very good), as well as all the movies.  And there’s even more than that.  There are books, and websites, and even more to go explore.  And it’s ridiculously exciting.  I feel much like I did when I discovered Sailor Moon, or My Little Pony – absolutely hooked.  I may be a nerdy late bloomer, but I’m glad I discovered my passion for Star Trek when I did.  I think I’m enjoying it more now than I would have had I tried to watch more than one episode on my tiny black-and-white TV as a kid.  You have no idea how excited I am to watch more episodes of the show, read more crazy fan theories (like the one where Guinan is apparently a time lord), talk about what I’ve seen with friends, and learn all there is to learn.  Ultimately, the Star Trek fan in me is what grew out of the little girl who used to sit in her dad’s den, listening to Adventures in the Solar System on the surround sound, looking at the brightly colored pictures of the planets and listening to the somewhat sci-fi-esque adventures of a little boy and his robot that can turn into a spaceship.  That little girl loved learning about space and the planets, and daydreamed about going out there herself someday – and this grown-up woman, well, she still dreams about it, and while she can’t exactly hop on a spaceship and go fly around the galaxy, she can lose herself in the stories of characters who do.

Two years of The Crafty Nerd!

I can’t believe it’s been two whole years since I started The Crafty Nerd!

I believe this calls for a PARTY

I believe this calls for a PARTY

In those two years, I’ve done a lot of awesome stuff…

And there’s a lot more awesome stuff to come, of course!  I’ve got more books to review (three in March alone!), more conventions to attend, more costumes to make, more crafts to blog about, and more games to play.  I hope to do bigger and more awesome things in the coming years, and I hope you’ll all stick with me as we go into our third year!

Game Review: Pairs (or: What to do while waiting for GenCon housing access)

Well, I found myself with some unexpected time on my hands today, and I’ve been intending to review this game for a bit, so….

 

Pairs: The Review

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I’ve had this game on a shelf since September, waiting for the chance to get to play it.  I discovered the Kickstarter for Pairs through Patrick Rothfuss’ blog, sometime last spring, and eagerly backed the project and snagged three decks as a result.  (I mean, come on, Pat could put his name on anything and I’d be likely to back it.)  There were many decks available to choose from, and I picked three with artwork from Pat Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles series, as I do love those books and was curious to see Shane Tyree and Nate Taylor’s artistic interpretation of the characters I’ve enjoyed reading about.  Once the decks finally got delivered, I opened them all up, looked at the beautiful artwork, and then set them in my “let’s play this later” pile on my bookshelf.

There are even more games, but they don't quite fit on the bookshelf...

There are even more games, but they don’t quite fit on the bookshelf…

Fast forward to today – the day housing access opens up on Gen Con’s website!  I eagerly awaited the coming of 12:00 pm, to see how long of a wait I’d have to get to the housing portal…

WHAT

WHAT

So, Ross and I figured this would be a good time to pick up Pairs and play.    Based on what I’d heard about it from the Kickstarter page, and what I’d read in the rules when I’d first opened the games, it seemed pretty simple – points were earned by getting a pair of cards, and the person with the highest score lost.  So, going off of that, we figured we’d shuffle the cards (which turned into an ordeal, due to the fact that neither of us can properly shuffle a deck of cards without turning it into a game of 52 Pick-Up) and start a game!  I read off the rules while Ross and I took turns slowly shuffling the deck – and the rules ended up being a little less straightforward than we initially thought…

It took Ross and I a little while to put the rules in terms we could wrap our brains around...

It took Ross and I a little while to put the rules in terms we could wrap our brains around…

Gameplay, for Ross and I, went as follows: Whoever dealt took five cards from the deck and put them face-down to start the discard deck, as the rules suggested, and then the dealer passed out a card to each of us – whoever had the lowest card went first.  Then, we’d take turns drawing cards, hoping neither of us would end up with a pair – especially a high scoring pair.  (The deck is a pyramid deck – there’s one 1, two 2s, three 3s, and so on, making your chances of getting a high numbered card pretty large.)  When one of us ended up with a pair, that ended the round – we’d set aside a card from that pair to keep score, and the rest went into the discard pile.  We repeated that until one of us hit 31 points, the suggested “losing” score number that the rules gave us.

2015-01-25 12.29.24

A round in progress…

 

It was actually pretty fun – and once we figured out what we were doing, we enjoyed it.  I think we ended up playing three games – I lost twice, Ross lost once.  It didn’t help too much that Ross kept commenting on the artwork on the cards – it hinted at what cards he had, haha.  The artwork for the Commonwealth Deck (the one we played with), done by Shane Tyree, is absolutely gorgeous. While I wish the art focused on specific characters in the Kingkiller Chronicles, the game is mentioned to be played in the universe of the stories – and characters from the story seeing themselves on a card, well, that’d be rather odd.

Steve enjoyed the game, too.  He thought it was tasty.

Steve enjoyed the game, too. He thought it was tasty.

Overall, it was a pretty fun game, and a good way to kill time.  I think it might have been even more fun with more people playing, but for Ross and I, it was pretty good too.  I might even bring this along with me if I’m going out to eat with a group of people, as a fun way of keeping everyone entertained while waiting for food.  If you want to learn more, visit the Pairs page on Cheapass Games’ website!

Well, killed some more time...

Well, killed some more time…

And it meant a half-hour’s worth of time not spent looking at the computer, anxiously waiting our turn for housing.  (At the time of this writing, I’ve got fourteen and a half minutes left – I hope hope hope there’s still room in the JW Marriott or even the Hampton Inn…)

Convention season is upon us!

Ohhh, it’s the most wonderful time of the year… no, not Christmas!  It’s the very beginning of convention season! My favorite conventions are announcing their dates, opening up pre-registration, and in the case of Indiana Comic Con, the convention itself is rapidly approaching!

pinkie_pie_by_theponyisatrue-d56tinh

Oh my gosh this is SO EXCITING

 

This year, I’m planning on attending the same three conventions I did last year:  Indiana Comic Con, Indy PopCon, and GenCon (of course!)  And aside from knowing that I’ll be Pinkie Pie, I have no idea what I’ll be cosplaying!

I mean, I’ve got some ideas.  Some of them are more feasible than others…

  • Ross and I were thinking of going as Rainbow Dash and Pinkie in full Grand Galloping Gala gear – however, this could get expensive.  And I want to be able to do it right, and look absolutely fabulous, you know?
  • I could just buy a Star Trek: The Next Generation era scientist outfit, dye my hair red, and go as Beverly Crusher.  Because she’s awesome.  Maybe Ross could be Data… maybe… his hair might be a little too long by then, though.
  • There’s always LazyPie and LazyDash – wigs, sweatshirts and jeans.  I feel like I’m cheating whenever I wear that combination of clothes, though…
  • … I have wanted to do “Good Morning Pinkie Pie” – with a tousled wig, my Rainbow Dash bathrobe and slippers, some ridiculous pink pajamas, and a coffee mug.  I’m envisioning Ross doing something similar as Rainbow Dash but with his Star Trek TNG bathrobe.  Which could be amusing.  This could be a thing.  I’ll have to think about it.
  • My steampunk costume could always use some love… I keep adding things to it, too.  It’s going to look pretty epic, whenever I get the chance to wear it again!

And aside from costumes, there’s a wealth of panels to go to at every convention.  I’m going to try to find all the My Little Pony themed ones I can, and enjoy the heck out of them!  Last year, there weren’t many pony-related things at PopCon and Indiana Comic Con (although I did get to buy a page from the Twilight Sparkle issue of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic book micro series at Comic Con!), but there were some things at GenCon that I wanted to go do. Sadly, the lack of a hotel room (rooms sold out crazily quick last year for GenCon!) made it hard for Ross and I to make it to later events – we ended up driving from Bloomington each day, an hour and a half-ish trip, and by late afternoon we were wiped out and ended up dragging our tired selves home around 5 pm.  While I’m not sure if we’ll be getting a hotel for Comic Con or PopCon, I’m gonna try my hardest to get a room for GenCon so I can provide much better convention coverage than last year!

I’m definitely excited to get the chance to see some of the guests at ComicCon.  There’s a ridiculous amount of stars coming, including….

  • Carrie Fisher (known better as Princess Leia! OMG)
  • Jenna Coleman (Clara from Doctor Who)
  • Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo!  *swoon*)
  • Billy West (who hasn’t he voiced?)
  • Paige O’Hara (the voice of Belle from Beauty and the Beast)

Needless to say, Indiana Comic Con is looking to be pretty exciting.  I hope it’ll be a better run convention than last year!  Meanwhile, I’m eagerly awaiting the guest lists for PopCon and GenCon.  PopCon is currently asking for suggestions for guests on their Facebook page, and I suggested Lil’ Bub – I love Bub, and she’s from Bloomington!  And she’s way better than Grumpy Cat.  For GenCon, I’m really, really, really hoping Patrick Rothfuss comes back.  I have more things I need him to sign.  Like a card game I’m working on a review for, and my Kindle.  And more books of his. Plus, he’s just an awesome guy!  I’m wondering if other authors I might know will show up – I’ll have to wait and see who gets announced!

So, in short, I’m really, really excited for this year’s convention season.  It looks as if it’s going to end up being exciting and fun-filled!  I’ll share updates on my convention preparations as things happen – especially if I figure out what I’m wearing and build new costumes!

Entering the world of Etsy

I’ve been on such a huge cross-stitching kick lately.  I tend to go through crafting phases, where I’ll be incredibly focused on doing one type of craft, and right now, I’m nose deep in DMC thread skeins and Aida cloth.

by alison.anne on Craftster

By alison.anne on Craftster.  This is me right now.

I’ve even jumped into the world of making my own cross-stitch patterns.  I’ve had some mixed results with that – some images just don’t translate well to a cross-stitch pattern.  But some stuff I made has come out really, really well.  And I thought to myself, “Why not put these out there for everyone?”  Why not, indeed?

So, I resurrected my Etsy shop for the umpty-millionth time.

I’ve sold a wide variety of things in my Etsy shop, under a wide variety of names. It used to be called Bee’s Crafts, then Dreaming Pixels Crafts, and now it’s The Crafty Nerd’s Closet.  I’ve sold punch embroidery pillows through there, and plain old boring pillows made with Sailor Moon fabric.  I’ve tried to sell Doctor Who scarves out of my shop, with no success.  I even tried selling the mess of scarves I’ve made through there – nobody seems to want homemade scarves, however.  But I think I’ve stumbled on something people will actually want to buy.

I think.

I’ve currently got a bunch of My Little Pony patterns up, and one lone Sailor Moon pattern.  I’ve got some scooters in there, too (I’m pretty sure my followers will recognize Mia and Scooterlou, haha), and a couple of little finished objects too.  So far I’ve sold one pattern.  I may have very excitedly started creating more patterns once that first one sold – someone actually wanted to make something with my Crescent Moon Wand themed pattern that I put together at 6 am one day before I went to work (and ended up getting in late because I was flailing about, trying to finish the pattern).

One of the awesome things – and potentially bad things – about Etsy: finding more things to make.  Sure, you can find all sorts of “vintage” things there, and handmade objects for your every need, but finding patterns, stuff to help you make things yourself, now that is what I’m excited about.  I may have found six or seven little cross-stitch patterns that I want to make that are all coffee themed.  At this point, I’ll likely end up covering every wall in cross-stitch projects.  And I have no problem with that whatsoever.

Oh, Etsy, I get the feeling this is going to turn into something resembling my relationship with Pinterest – I visit you for what I think will be two or three minutes, and then hours later I’ve found nine things I want to do and am still sitting in front of the computer in my Rainbow Dash bathrobe, needing to leave for work in ten minutes, heheh.

Go check out my shop – if you’re a fan of The Crafty Nerd on Facebook, you’ll find a code for 15% off any order.  (And if you’re not a fan on Facebook, well, what are you waiting for? :P )

I mean, come on, how can you say no to that face?

I mean, come on, how can you say no to that face?

A crafty, nerdy holiday

Ooooooh, shiny.  (And yes, that is a fob, from Teddy Ruxpin way back in the day)

Ooooooh, shiny. (And yes, that is a fob, from Teddy Ruxpin way back in the day)

The holidays were definitely crafty and nerdy here!  With the slowdown in work, and the complete lack of classes, I’ve been a crafting maniac – not only making cross-stitch objects (which is my crafting focus of choice lately), but also making some patterns, too.  Aside from downloading the trial versions of some cross-stitch pattern maker programs and feeding in images I wanted to turn into cross-stitch projects (and receiving some mixed results), I’d never really made actual patterns.  So, after taking a suggestion from my friend Kendall, who said I should make a pattern that focused on Sailor Moon’s Crescent Moon Wand, I came up with this!

Please excuse the watermark - it's the same image I used for my Etsy store listing!

Please excuse the watermark – it’s the same image I used for my Etsy store listing!

I’m actually working on stitching it now, and it’s coming out pretty well – I’m collecting progress shots as I go, and I’ll share them with everyone once it’s done!  It’s actually really exciting, stitching a pattern that I created from scratch.  I threw together the original design (initially just the moon wand, the ribbon, and some text) in Illustrator, then when I pulled it into PC Stitch I added the little hearts and sparkles and such to make it look a little more interesting.  I’m rather happy with how the finished design turned out, pattern-wise.  (Interested in making one of these for yourself?  Snag the pattern here!)

I also had a very fun holiday, with some awesome presents from Ross and his mom – I got some Sailor Moon Figuarts figurines, which are awesome, and a Twilight Sparkle decked out in winter wear, as well as some Lil’ Bub socks, among other things. I had a nice, quiet holiday, and it was just what I needed after the craziness of the past few months.

10 Free Nerdy Knitting Patterns!

Wow!  My last post, about ten free nerdy cross-stitch patterns, was a huge hit – over 300 hits in two days!  I take it that everyone’s looking for some new nerdy projects to keep themselves occupied with, so for my knitting fans, here’s ten awesome nerdy knitting projects – that are all free, of course!

Goomba Hat

goomba_hat

Minion Slippers

minion_slippers

TARDIS Scarf

tardis_scarf

Wall of 221B Pillow

sherlock_pillow

 

Space Invaders Socks

space_invaders

Pac-Man Dishcloth

pacman

TARDIS Socks (to go with the scarf!)

tardis_socks

Star Wars Double Knit Scarf

star_wars

Chain Chomp Hat

chain_chomp

Double Knit One Ring Scarf (the one scarf to rule them all?)

one_ring

I hope that all you knitters out there find something awesome to keep your hands busy from this list of free patterns!  Next up is going to be a whole stash of free crochet projects – so stay tuned!  Oh, and here’s a handy image for those of you using Pinterest to help keep track of all your crafty to-do lists:

nerdy_knit_pinterest