When worlds collide

While I don’t ramble about work often here, I’m sure most of you longtime followers know I work for UITS at Indiana University – and every year, UITS hosts the Statewide IT conference, which is a fun few days of seeing what colleagues are up to, learning new things, and for me, teaching a workshop or two.  This year, they’re doing something a little different.

There’s going to be an Artists Showcase.  And I’ve submitted a “proposal” to show my crochet!

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Cue the excited flailing.

I’ll likely hear back in a few weeks about whether or not I’ll actually get a table there to show my work, but here’s hoping that I do.  For the most part, my colleagues don’t really know about my crafty nerdiness, and tend to be surprised when I’m wearing something I made or have something flopped in my cube and realize I made it myself. It’ll be fun to get the chance to show things I’ve made, as well as hopefully make some new crafty friends who work for UITS as well.

I’ll keep everyone updated as to whether or not I get a table – given that my convention schedule is far lessened this summer due to wedding things, being able to show off my crafty goodness is probably going to be one of the high points of the Crafty Nerd’s year here. If I do get to show off my work, I may put up a poll to see what everyone thinks would be good for me to show off!  (I may have to borrow my crocheted Toothless back from Morgan, to show off some of my awesome amigurumi skills…)

Things I have been doing instead of blogging

This is me lately.  But with far more yarn and other things on the pile as well.

This is me lately. But with far more yarn and other things on the pile as well.

What I’ve been doing lately:

  • I have been crocheting.  A lot.  A LOT.  I’ve made a shawl to go with my wedding dress, a baby blanket, and have another baby blanket, a corner-to-corner blanket, and another shawl in progress.  SO MUCH YARN.
  • Oh yeah, and I’ve been planning mine and Ross’ wedding.  We eloped a while ago (surprise!), and we’re having the celebration later this summer.  Which involves lots of planning.
  • Grad school.  I swear I’ll eventually finish.  At least I’m almost done for the semester.  I’m making a My Little Pony metadata schema for one class! 😀
  • Scootering.  Lots and lots.  Mia and Max both got baths yesterday!
  • Helping my friends J and Kasi with their farm.  They have Angora bunnies!  Someday I shall make their fluff into something awesome.
  • Riding with Ross on Garnet, his new motorcycle (named after Garnet from Steven Universe!), and Worf, J’s scooter (an honorable scooter!).  I’m helping both Ross and J get used to ferrying around passengers.  I am far less terrified of this than I used to be!
  • I’ve been doing work things, like putting together video trainings and such.  It’s awesome.
  • I may have bought a ton of Star Trek figurines and spent some time putting them into silly situations.  I call them my Space Friends!
Worf, Dr. Crusher, Troi, and Jadzia, along with Kira (who's not pictured here) make up my Space Friends.

Worf, Dr. Crusher, Troi, and Jadzia, along with Kira (who’s not pictured here) make up my Space Friends.

What I haven’t been doing:

  • Writing blog posts.

I’ve been a horrible blogger.  I was so good earlier this year, making sure I had regular posts every week, and then life exploded and I got distracted.  And then I actively avoided the blog, because I didn’t want to think about how long I’d neglected The Crafty Nerd.  But here I am, dragging myself back in shame, the horrible blogger back to funnel some content into this site. With this essentially being my finals week, I’ll actually be able to post regularly all summer without getting too overwhelmed.  But will I actually do it?  Who knows.  At least I have no shortage of things I’ll be able to blog about coming my way this summer.  Like learning to spin my own yarn!  And planning my wedding (and crocheting a gazillion roses for it).    So, here’s to a summer that’s hopefully full of blog posts, and hopefully not full of a quiet blog.

Three years of The Crafty Nerd!

Wow, it’s really been three years!  (Well, almost three years and one week at this point!)  Three years since I started blogging about my crafty, nerdy adventures.  In the past three years, I’ve…

From left to right: Mia, Max, and Scooterlou!

From left to right: Mia, Max, and Scooterlou!

… owned three Crafty Nerdmobiles – Scooterlou, the original Crafty Nerdmobile, as well as Mia, and the newest little scooter in my family, Max – he’s a 1989 Honda Elite.  (I also call him The Spaceship, because to be honest, he looks kinda like a little spaceship!)

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I also went to lots of conventions, and met lots of amazing people, including Christian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones), John DeLancie (Q/Discord), Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Peter Davison (The 5th Doctor), Joel Hodgson (from Mystery Science Theater 3000), and of course, Patrick Rothfuss (author of Name of the Wind, Wise Man’s Fear, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things). I also met Ross, who is probably the best person I’ve ever met at a convention, but I might be biased.

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Of course, with conventions there’s also costuming fun – and I’ve done lots of different costumes, including various variations on Pinkie Pie, a gender-bent version of the 4th Doctor, a glasses-wearing Twilight Sparkle, a steampunk lass, and an exhausted nerd at all those conventions I’ve been to over the past few years. I’ve met many fantastic people, played awesome games, seen many amazing costumes, and picked up loads of nerdy stuff.

I’ve also finished quite a few craft projects, my favorites being highlighted below…

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I’ve done lots of fun stuff over the past three years, and I’m hoping to keep on doing more awesome stuff this year!  I’ve got plans to go to three (maybe four) different conventions, I’ve got lots of new cosplay ideas, and of course I’m going to keep on crafting up cool stuff to share with everyone!  Here’s to many, many more years of The Crafty Nerd!

The Crafty Nerd’s Workspace: At The Office

Like many people nowadays, I spend a LOT of time at the office.  More of my waking hours are spent at the little desk I’m parked at right now than anywhere else – and being the crafty nerd I am, of course I decorated my cube to make it feel a little bit more like home.  Take a peek into my working world, and see what I surround myself with 40 hours a week!

Central Command!

Central command!

This is where I spend the most time: in front of these monitors (and the laptop that’s barely off screen.)  I’ve got my big Fluttershy to one side, my little Twilight Sparkle to the other, and assorted other goodies as well to brighten up the space – like mini-Mia and some ponies.  Another favorite piece of my cube is the Star Trek 50th Anniversary calendar – every day has another interesting tidbit of Star Trek knowledge to absorb!

Bunny! Rawr.

Bunny! Rawr.

To my right, I’ve got my unwieldy jade tree, complete with tiny Monty Python bunny.  He’s somewhat of a mascot for myself and my co-worker, and sometimes he travels around the office to nibble on random computer monitors and desk chairs.

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My Funko Pop collection, led by everyone’s favorite Klingon…

Over on my left, I’ve got my collection of Funko Pop figurines.  I’ve got a rather random assortment of them, ranging from My Little Ponies to Star Trek, and I love them all.  I’ve also got a Toothless coin bank perched on top of my extra computer – he tends to get a lot of attention, as everyone seems to love Toothless.  And we can’t forget my little bit of motivation from Captain Picard, stuck to the side of the second computer…

"You'll have to get through me first."

“You’ll have to get through me first.”

And a little bit of fun – I’ve got a tiny cut-out of Steve hanging on my makeshift cubicle wall. Not many people have noticed him yet, but he gives me the giggles whenever I catch sight of him.

Stay tuned – tomorrow, I’ll be showing off my home office!  It looks wildly different from the last time I posted about it

Classy Crafting and the Ugly Blanket

I apologize for the goofy picture, Siobhain!

I apologize for the goofy picture, Siobhain!

First off, I’ll say this: I miss my classy crafting buddy, Siobhain.  She graduated last May – but before that, whenever we were in class together, she’d knit and I’d crochet.  And it was awesome.  It made classes a little easier to pay attention in, and crafting together was better than awkwardly crocheting in the back corner of the room, like I do in Public Library Management nowadays.  (I still proudly crochet in the front of the room for Metadata, though, as the professor for that class only remembers me because I used to do yarn-craft-stuff at the front of the room with Siobhain!) I’m the only one still doing any sort of yarn craft in my classes – unless I try to encourage people to craft with me, I guess.  And that’s if they’re even interested in doing yarn stuff.  I get a little bit of a social crafting fix when I crochet with Ellie on rainy Thursdays instead of going for our weekly walk, though, so that’s good!  And this May, I’ll be graduating too, and then I won’t need a classy crafting buddy because I won’t be crafting in class! (Unless I go for the Specialist in Library/Info Science degree…)

But yes, classy crafting is in full force.  And this semester, so far, I have made a pretty blanket (which lives at my desk), and I’m working on a delicate shawl to go with my wedding dress and the focus of my post today, an ugly blanket.

An ugly blanket, but oh so soft!

An ugly blanket, but oh so soft!

This blanket came about due to having a huge mess of Mighty Stitch yarn at home left over from the corner-to-corner blankets I made for Ross and myself – it’s so soft, and I love working with it, but the mess that’s left is an odd arrangement of blues and greens with some purple, gray, pink, and white thrown in.  So, the only thing I can think of to do with all that yarn is to use two strands of it together and make a thick, snuggly, small, and ugly blanket.  It’s actually a rather sentimental ugly blanket, considering it’s a combination of the yarn I used for both mine and Ross’s blankets, and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, figuratively as well as literally, to work on it.

I haven’t done much work with two strands of yarn before – it’s a little trickier to work with, that’s for certain, but it results in a really unique look.  One of my classmates in Metadata, Samantha, said that Ugly Blanket kind of resembles some of those woven rugs you might see in specialty shops, and I think she’s right.  It doesn’t really stop it from being somewhat homely-looking, though – some of these colors don’t quite go together well, heheh.

I’ve never actually worked on a blanket in class before.  I figure at some point, it’ll get unwieldy, and I won’t be able to cart it along with me anymore. Until I get to that point, however, I’m gonna load it into Mia (or into my backpack, which I shall take on Mini-Mia, my new bike!), and drag it to Metadata and Public Library Management every week this semester, and keep adding onto this semester’s big classy crafting project: the ugly blanket.

Crafting for a Cause

As I’m sure many of you have heard last week, David Bowie passed away – his music had a profound impact on my life, and was the soundtrack to my early college years.  When Ross shared the news last week, I thought he was kidding, to be honest – but my Facebook feed said otherwise.  I spent the rest of the morning trying not to burst into tears while I got ready for work.  As I went through my day, I saw the reactions of my friends on social media, and wished there was something I could do to help them, and to help myself feel better.  We were all hurting.

And then I saw this tweet from my friend Josie:

I have graphic design skills.  And I wanted to do something creative as an outlet for my Bowie-related feels.  So I responded to Josie’s tweet, and together, we took her idea and turned it into a button.  She told me she had an idea for a button with the lightning bolt from Bowie’s makeup from the Aladdin Sane cover, behind the letters RIP – and that the spaces in the R and P were Bowie’s eyes.  I took that idea, and turned it into the following design:

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Josie thought it was great, and so I shrunk it down into a button-sized graphic, which she printed and turned into buttons with her button making machine.

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Josie came up with the idea to make more of these buttons, and sell them on Etsy to raise money for the New York Theater Workshop, which is currently running Lazarus, a musical written by David Bowie, as well as to raise money for cancer research – and I thought it was a great idea, so she’s selling the buttons we’ve made.  If you want to pick up one of your own, you can get one from Josie’s Etsy store for $3.

Josie’s got a little something to share about the process, too:

Anyone who knows me knows I love buttons. I have a bag covered in them and am planning a button-covered dress to debut at New York Comic Con (or an earlier event, if I complete it before then). I got a button-making machine for my birthday, but had not yet designed or created any of my own pins by the time David Bowie died a few days later.
I’m not ashamed to say I was devastated by the death of my idol, and creating this button with Beth gave me an outlet to do something with my grief. Even if nothing comes of it, even if I only sell a few, turning my grief into something proactive and positive helped me to heal. I hope it did the same for her.
-Josie

And it did help me heal. Together we ended up crafting for a cause, with my design skills and her button maker.  Making the design felt like a good creative outlet for my feelings, and helped me process them in a productive way, and it helped Josie as well.

David Bowie Rest in Peace button – $3.00, Etsy

Evolving Collections

And no, I’m not talking about Pokemon here, heheh.

One of the things I’ve noticed as an emphatic collector of things that relate to my most loved fandoms is that my collections tend to evolve, especially the longer I end up in the fandom.  When I’m building my collection, I tend to buy anything and everything relating to my favorite show or game.  Sailor Moon hairbrushes?  Sure, I’ll buy six!  Twilight Sparkle toothbrush holder?  This would be amazing in my bathroom!  Princess Peach change purse?  Doubt I’ll ever use it, but Princess Peach stuff is so freaking rare that I’ll buy anything I see with her face on it!  Toothless coin bank?  You’re coming home with me, buddy.  Anything with a scooter on it?  I MUST HAVE IT.  And so on.

But after a while, I get overwhelmed with the largeness of my collection.  At one point, I must have had about fifty little brushable My Little Ponies.  And my Sailor Moon collection, back in its heyday, was absolutely ridiculous.  I had such silly things like a Sailor Moon birthday party set – cups, plates, etcetera – still in its original packaging.  And six Sailor Moon hair brushes.  I’ve got a couple pictures below of the Sailor Moon collection, circa 2005, along with other assorted anime goodies – forgive the quality, the photos were taken on a digital camera that was old in 2005…

I also used to own a Princess Toadstool cookie jar.  (Oh, the stories I could tell about wanting that silly cookie jar, and my excitement when I finally got it…)

The Princess Toadstool cookie jar, with me in my first foray into costume-making, circa 1997.

And don’t even get me started on the My Little Pony collection…

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Spoiler-Free Review! Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

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It’s the movie everyone’s been talking about all over the internet the past few weeks: the new Star Wars movie.  After the mess that was the prequel trilogy, I know a lot of us Star Wars fans (myself included) were wondering what J. J. Abrams would do with the series.  Would he ruin it or change it beyond recognition, like the Star Trek films?  (Don’t even get me started on the Star Trek films by J. J. Abrams – I like them, but… yeah.  Don’t get me started.)  Would he fill it up with lens-flares?  Would it be more of the unpleasantness that was the prequel trilogy?

I’ll admit, I was nervous about seeing this movie.  I’ve seen the prequels.  I’ve watched Episode I too many times to count, mostly because it was the first movie at the drive-in every freaking week during the summer of 1999.  I didn’t see Episode II and III more than once, though, because they were mediocre.  They felt weird, compared to the original trilogy.  I was worried that The Force Awakens would be more of what happened in the prequels.

However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Very pleasantly surprised.

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Crafty New Year Resolutions

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Happy New Year, everyone!  I’ve got a good feeling about 2016 – I think it’s gonna be a great year. And I want to make sure it’s great, too.  I’m not normally the type to make resolutions, but I think it feels right for this year – so here’s The Crafty Nerd’s Resolutions for 2016!

The Resolutions…

  • Post at least one new blog post a week.  Even if it means spending a bunch of time wracking my brain to put together new ideas for blog posts.  I’m creative.  I’ll figure out something to write about!
  • Actually talk about my craft projects regularly.  Did you guys know I crocheted three blankets between August and Christmas?  Three blankets. I think I’m about ready to swear off crocheting for a while.  But you guys haven’t heard about that because I haven’t really been talking about my craft projects!  Which is sad, considering the blog I write.
  • Make at least one new costume for convention-wearing.  I’m pretty sure the regular Indiana convention-going crowd recognizes my tutu-and-little-blue-jacket Pinkie Pie costume (and is probably bored with it by now) – so for this year’s conventions, I’m going to make at least one new costume.  Will it be Grand Galloping Gala Pinkie Pie?  Will it be Captain Janeway?  Who knows!
  • Keep up with my tasks and to-dos with Habitica. For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might remember HabitRPG, the website that turns keeping up with your habits into a game.  Well, the crew over there changed the site’s name to Habitica, and things are looking pretty awesome!  A new mobile app was just released, and it looks really slick – and of course the same old “complete tasks, fight monsters, and level up” gameplay is there.  (If you’re on Habitica and want to join a guild for crafty challenges and friendly chatter, check out the Crafty Nerds guild!)
  • Experiment with a new type of craft project. There’s gotta be something out there I haven’t tried yet.  I’ve just barely dipped my toes into the Tunisian crochet pool, and could try making a blanket or a scarf with a fancy design… And there’s way more out there to experiment with, and even more crafts that I haven’t done since I was a kid, like making a latch-hook rug!  (Although given the massive amount of little yarn pieces that ended up exploding all over my room when I was a kid, maybe latch-hooking isn’t the best craft idea…)
  • Organize my craft room! You don’t even want to see my craft room right now.  It looks like Jo-Ann Fabrics and KnitPicks exploded in there.  There might be a bed in there somewhere, too, and a ton of ponies.  So, massive organization is in order.

That’s my crafty plan for next year!  I hope all of you have a wonderful and crafty 2016! 🙂

10 More Free Nerdy Cross-Stitch Patterns!

Last year, I did a collection of free cross-stitch patterns – and everyone loved it!  I think that’s one of the most viewed posts on the blog.  So, as a holiday treat, I’m going to share ten more awesomely nerdy cross-stitch patterns that are completely free!  Simply click on the image for your desired pattern, and it’ll take you to the pattern’s website.

TARDIS Quote Pattern

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