The Fashion Nerd: clothes to show off your fannish side

Since I got full-time at IT Training, I’ve been working on beefing up my professional wardrobe.  And, well, my wardrobe in general.  For those of you that know me, while I can be professional when I need to be, sometimes I want to have some fun with what I wear.  And after doing some searching, I’ve found that there’s no shortage of work-friendly clothes that show off my nerdy and geeky side.

Star Trek TNG Sweater


This is one that I’d been wanting for quite some time.  A comfy, casual Star Trek sweater? That I could wear to work? YES.  I’ve worn this one to the office quite a few times, and every time I get compliments on it.  (It doesn’t hurt that I work in the IT field, surrounded by Star Trek fans.)  My boss calls it my “Picard sweater”.  To be honest, though, I call it my Janeway sweater – I can totally see her wearing this when she’s off duty, drinking a large mug of coffee, maybe chatting with Neelix…  One of the awesome things about this sweater is that it’s unisex, so it has sizes that fit anyone!  Which is always awesome.

Star Trek TNG Sweatshirt


I actually snagged this one before my Command sweater, but it’s a bit more casual – something to wear to work on Fridays, as opposed to something I could show up to teach a workshop in.   However, it’s still incredibly comfy, and after a few washes, it’s now the softest sweatshirt in my collection.  I get compliments on this too – and a ham radio friend of mine says he’s using the Star Trek sweatshirts for Halloween for he and his wife. 😀  (He’s going as Riker, and she’s going as Troi from Season 2, episode 1 of The Next Generation, considering she’s having a baby herself!  Now, that’s an awesome costume idea. 😀 ) Sadly, this sweatshirt does not come with a comm badge, but it’s not too hard to find one online to adorn your sweatshirt with.

Star Trek Command Insignia Skirt


This is one I don’t own yet, but I’m going to have to snatch up soon – I love the pattern, and I love that it has pockets.  How many skirts out there proclaim they have pockets?  Not many.  I don’t think any of the skirts I own for regular use have pockets.  Which is a bummer.

Captain Picardigan


This is a far more subtle Star Trek sweater that I’m going to have to add to my collection.  I found this on Her Universe (a site I only recently discovered!), and I love that it includes the rank pips as well as the communicator badge.  I do have a thing for cardigans, and I’m quite sure this one will end up in my collection sooner rather than later…

Union Jack TARDIS Skirt


You thought this entire post was going to be of Star Trek clothes, didn’t you?  Well, I found a skirt on Her Universe that would also be office appropriate, but it’s got the TARDIS on it!  And you can never go wrong with the TARDIS.  Bigger on the inside, travels through time and space, makes a delightful skirt pattern…

Tiny Pinkie Pie Bracelets


I actually found these wee little ponies at Walmart, for $1 each!  They’re so tiny that unless you look up close, you’ll never notice that they’re Pinkie Pie beads.  You can find these at the jewelry counter, in a little box of all colored pony bracelets – I tried to find them online for everyone, but had no luck.  (Plus, Walmart’s website kept crashing on my Chromebook, which is annoying.)

My Little Ties


For those of you who are of the tie-wearing persuasion… you can now wear pony ties, thanks to My Little Ties! Toothless is modeling the Pinkie Tie for me here, and there are plenty of others at My Little Ties.  Ross has a few of these in the bow-tie version, but they make regular ties as well.

Hopefully these can give you some inspiration for showing your inner geek while you’re out and about!

Fixing up a Comm Badge, the Crafty Nerd way

Earlier this week, I was wracking my brain, trying to find a good idea for a blog post.  Should I write about yarn?  Nah, too boring.  Should I show off the blanket I just finished?  Eh, also boring.  It wasn’t until yesterday evening, when I was working on patching up a piece of a costume I’d ordered, when the idea flopped into my lap, almost literally.


I’d ordered a Star Trek: The Next Generation costume off Amazon (my costume crafting skills aren’t quite up to making Starfleet uniforms yet, sadly), and while the costume itself fit, and the rank pips were beautiful, the comm badge was… less than stellar.  Granted, the picture above is after I’d started sanding it, but there were large chunks of paint that had flaked off and stuck to the costume package, which left a lot of big black spots where you can see the plastic.  Being the crafty nerd that I am, I didn’t let the sorry state of the comm badge get me down.  Instead, I grabbed some of my mini painting tools and set to work!


After sanding the loose paint off the badge, I took it outside and sprayed it with primer – the good stuff I use for my minis is possibly packed in a box somewhere, but I did manage to find some other primer in the garage, so I worked with what I could find.


Post-primer, it already looked lots better than it had when I’d gotten it, haha.  I let it dry overnight, and then before my workshop this morning, I broke out the paints!


The paints I have are old, and a little lumpy, but they worked for what I needed them for.  (I need to get a new set of paints one of these days…)  I worked with some Chainmail Silver and Glorious Gold paints from my mini painting stash, and managed to get the badge all painted before I got to work!  I primed it after I got home, and the results were pretty good.


It’s not super glossy like the replica Starfleet communication badges you can get from places like ThinkGeek, but considering the whole costume cost $35, my paint job got the job done.  Ross has a comm badge lurking around somewhere, and if he can’t find it, I may splurge and get one of the fancy Voyager ones, even though it doesn’t match the TNG era uniform, since the main reason I got the costume is so I could dress up as my favorite captain…


Okay, so it’s a dress uniform, but close enough, right?

Granted, it’ll be Janeway in a TNG era uniform, but in order to get a proper Voyager uniform made for me, I’ve gotta spend $80 to order it from FanPlusFriend, the place I used to get my frilly Japanese gothic lolita clothes from, and I wanted something quick for Halloween.  However, if I do end up going to Starbase Indy, I might splurge and get the more show accurate costume…  Once I get some pictures of me in my costume (I’ve got to get my hair cut and freshly dyed first!), I’ll happily share them here! 😀

I’ve been a very bad blogger lately.

Yes, I know. I fell off the face of the internet again. For a long time, too. A lot of things conspired to tear me away from my beloved blog, leaving The Crafty Nerd looking like a ghost town…

  • I got a full time job. And it’s the one I’d been hoping for, too. I am now a Senior IT Education Specialist at IT Training! And for the two months that have passed since I started, I’ve been incredibly busy, and loving every minute of it.
  • Ross and I moved to a new townhouse. In the middle of Gen Con. Which made Gen Con 2015 a bit of a bust, sadly. However, I did get a few good pictures, and plan on hosting my own mini Gen Con at some point soon, now that my games are all unpacked and I’m not tripping all over boxes.
  • I started my last year of graduate school ever a few weeks ago. It’s been a little rough, socially, because 90% of my graduate school friends graduated this spring, but I can deal with it. I’ve got yarn and motivation. I will power through the next two semesters and emerge victorious.
  • Crafting itself has kept me away from my blog! Strange, right? Well, I discovered the glory of Knit Picks’ yarn sampler packs earlier this year, and since they came out with Mighty Stitch  (a fabulous yarn that deserves a review!)  I’ve been cranking out blankets with some of their samplers. Which, of course, leaves less time for blogging.
  • I’ve also gotten into amateur (ham) radio. It’s an exciting hobby, full of interesting people, and it’s been filling my head with all sorts of project ideas. Like how to mount a radio antenna onto Mia and turn her into a little ham-mobile.

I promise to post more regularly, though, now that things have calmed down somewhat and I’ve adjusted to all the changes to life that July and August threw at me. Expect a post every week from now on!

And I did promise some Gen Con photos, so here they are!


This year’s badge and program book! I think I’ve had smaller textbooks than this year’s program…


My wonderful mom-in-law, Connie, dressed up as Derpy Hooves! I swear, she’s the best mom ever.


My favorite item from this year’s Gen Con haul – a Star Trek TNG science officer sweatshirt! Just need to get a comm badge and it’ll be perfect.



And that’s the little slice of Gen Con I got to enjoy! I’ll talk more about games I saw that I want to play in another post. Right now, though, it’s time for me to start crafting some more post ideas!

PopCon 2015: A Very Late Report

I have been so ridiculously busy lately that it’s not even funny.  With two conventions within a month, and moving during one of those conventions, plus finally getting a full time position at IT Training (wooo!), I haven’t had much time to actually post about my fun experiences at Indy PopCon last month!  So, here are my thoughts, in no particular order, along with some photos!

The biggest thing about PopCon this year was getting the chance to meet one of my favorite actors.  He’s been in Star Trek, Breaking Bad, Invader Zim, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, to name a few of the many things he’s been a part of.

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Yes.  Ross and I got to meet John deLancie.  And I completely forgot how to form words, haha.

I ended up having him sign one of my favorite Discord-centric issues of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic, and I think pretty much everyone I know who’s a Star Trek/MLP fan hates me a little bit for getting to meet him, haha.  (Although if you guys want to hate me more for meeting famous people, remind me to tell you my Ian McKellan story…)

Anyhow, we also got to see plenty of lovely cosplayers, including Yamino of Yamino Cosplay/GeekGasm Boutique!  She was dressed as Faye Valentine on Friday, and Morticia Addams on Saturday – both very well done costumes.  You should check out her Facebook page and Etsy store – she’s done some amazing costumes!

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I also had the pleasure of running into one of my awesome IT Training co-workers, Rachel of the Five-ish Fangirls Podcast!


And yes, we were both dressed as Pinkie Pie on Friday at the convention.  I also attended part of her My Little Pony panel, and she did a great job with it!  I’m hoping that The Crafty Nerd and The Five-ish Fangirls can get together to do some nerdy awesomeness later on. 😀

Overall, PopCon was even more awesome than last year.  They were still incredibly organized – even when the line to meet/get photos with Markiplier ended up being a mile long.  Photos and autographs with media guests were just as organized as ever, there were all sorts of interesting panels, and they upgraded the badges for this year too to nice plastic ones!

All in all, I was incredibly pleased with PopCon this year – and I can’t wait for next year!

And, of course, here are a number of awesome cosplayers and other nifty things I saw during both days of the convention!

And now… to get ready for GenCon.  Which is today.  Ross and I are leaving in ten minutes, in fact.  AND PATRICK ROTHFUSS WILL BE THERE.  *flail*  So, expect the annual Gen Con Report over the next few days!  It’s going to be… interesting this year.

Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

127455 After my vacation in Florida towards the end of May, where I tore through a ton of books rather rapidly, I found myself lacking in the books-to-read department.  I’d finished the last of the new books that came out earlier this spring, I’d read through a couple of my favorites by Stephen King, and even read through the first book in the Mercy Thompson series – and couldn’t think of any other books I had been interested in reading.  So I took to Goodreads, and looked for suggestions based on the books I’d read (that I’d actually entered into Goodreads, anyway.)  And as I was poking through the suggested books, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch popped up.  I’d heard it mentioned around the internet as a good book to read, and so I figured, what the heck, I’ll go to Amazon and buy it.

And then I saw this review on Amazon, and absolutely knew I’d enjoy it.

“Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

If Pat Rothfuss, whose books I absolutely adore, says the book is good, then by gods, I should probably read it, right?  So I picked it up.  And I couldn’t put it down.

Continue reading

Classy Crafting: Spring 2015

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Classy Crafting post – and I was particularly productive last semester when it came to crafts!  I finished two shawls and started a third, and worked on a couple of other random projects that have ended up stuffed in my “in progress” pile in the basement…  Here’s the crafts that I finished this semester, though, that I worked on during my spring classes!

Rarity’s Shawl



I made this shawl as a birthday present for Ross’ mom, and draped it over Rarity (who was also part of the gift)! She absolutely loved it.  I had a great time making the shawl – it was my first knitting project in a very long time, and my first project with sock yarn.  The way the yarn striped as I worked on the pattern was awesome to see, too!

Pattern: Pretty Basic (Ravelry)

Cozy Rose Shawl

IMG_20150524_114937The idea for this shawl was born from a Knit Picks sampler pack of yarn I bought – I fell in love with the colors, and had been wanting to make this wrap for a while, and after some creative splitting up of the shawl so it could work with four colors instead of two, I got to crocheting.  It ended up coming out beautifully, and the yarn is incredibly soft.  I wore this with a matching dress to Ross’ mom’s wedding a few weeks ago, and got lots of compliments on it!

Pattern: Ocean Splash Wrap (Ravelry)

Sunset (Shimmer) Shawl

IMG_20150520_145927This one I didn’t end up finishing during class, but I did finish it up during finals week.  This was the result of another pattern lingering in my Ravelry queue matching up with a Knit Picks sampler – and I think this is my most favorite project yet.  While I wasn’t sure about the colors at first, I kept chugging through, and as it came together I fell more and more in love with it.  I originally called it the Sunset Shawl, but then jokingly ended up calling it the Sunset Shimmer Shawl, due to it having a similar color scheme to the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls character of the same name…



… yeah, I do suppose I have to work some pony into everything I do, don’t I? 😀

Pattern: Perfectly Elegant Shawl (Ravelry)

I’ve got some more projects I’m working on, including some crafty nerdiness for my new car (yes, I’m finally learning how to drive) that I’ll show off when I’m done! 😀



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!



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!
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.

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My layout sucks and my parents disowned me…


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…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!