Much-needed blog facelift!

You’ve noticed it.  I’ve noticed it.  I’ve neglected The Crafty Nerd pretty seriously during the second half of 2016.  And some of it has been due to good reasons, like moving to a new house, celebrating a wedding, grad school, work, and so on.  Some of it has been due to sheer laziness and a little bit of depression mixed in.  I want to change that, though!  I’m coming out of my unintentional hiatus with a much-needed blog facelift.

The site really hasn't changed all that much over the years...
The site really hasn’t changed all that much over the years…

Now it’s got a fancy Material Design-inspired theme, which I enjoy, and will likely have a header image added soon – haven’t decided on that yet, and if I do stick a header in, I’m not sure if I’m going to create a new one or use one of the old ones.  Either way, hopefully a shiny new blog theme will encourage me to post more.  And I have plenty of blog post ideas – just have to actually type them up!

Not dead. I promise.

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This is what life feels like right now: spinning around uselessly, heh.

Lots of stuff has happened, and I simply have been too swamped to really post about it.  Which is frustrating, because I want to post about it, y’know?  But between work, and grad school, and celebrating a wedding (yep, Ross and I finally celebrated getting married!), and buying a house (that’s some high-level adulting right there!), I just haven’t had time.  At all.

But that’s gonna change!  Things are finally calming down.  So expect some more regular posts again, starting with next week’s crochet showing at the Statewide IT Conference’s Artists Showcase!  (I’ll also be singing Beatles songs, too.  If there’s video, and I’m not feeling too shy about sharing it, then I’ll post it here.)  For now, I’ll leave you guys with the nerdiest, craftiest picture from mine and Ross’ wedding.

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Yep, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow (Factory) Dash got hitched.

Yes, we donned the wigs at the tail end of photo-taking. 😀  I made the shawl and many of the flowers in my bouquet (I had help from friends and family!), and Ross’ aunt Jeannie and I put together the arch in the background and decorated it!  It was a fun ceremony, even though we got rained out and were stuck indoors, and nobody batted an eye when we whipped out the pony wigs and tossed them on for photos. 😀

So now that the craziness from wedding and moving is done, I can devote more time to my poor, neglected blog!  Which is always a good thing. 🙂

Why yes, I did crochet myself into a repetitive stress injury.

At least, I’m pretty sure that’s how I messed up my shoulder a few months ago: too much crocheting.  Who knew there was such a thing as too much crocheting?  Then again, I was cranking out a cardigan like a madwoman for a little bit, and even tried crocheting some socks… (which is a different story for another time, my adventures in sock creation) So, yeah, The Crafty Nerd was out of crafting commission for a while there while I underwent physical therapy and tried (and sometimes failed) to give my shoulder a rest.

"You don't get it, Fluttershy, I have projects to finish!  Blankets to make!  Hats to craft!  I can't not crochet!"
“You don’t get it, Fluttershy, I have projects to finish! Blankets to make! Hats to craft! I can’t not crochet!”

The good news: I can now do yarn-crafts again without being in stupid amounts of pain!  The bad news: I’ve been a slacker of a blogger in the meantime.  I’ll make up for it, though, I promise.  I’ve got some cool nerdy things to show off in regards to creating a personalized start page for your browser (yes, I am that nerdy), and I’m making socks!  With double pointed knitting needles. Which used to terrify me.  And I have a new favorite show to share my thoughts on: Steven Universe.

YAAAY STEVEN UNIVERSE
YAAAY STEVEN UNIVERSE

I swear, I love that show SO MUCH.  It may have knocked My Little Pony and Sailor Moon out of the top spots of my favorite animated shows ever.  I’ve rewatched the entire series at least three times.  It’s amazing.  But I’ll ramble about Steven Universe in a later post!

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.

costumecollage

 

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:

bowie_eyes

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.

button

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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