Sometimes, you just have to spend three hours of your evening helping a friend out with some speed crafting.
In this case, my friend J (who runs the Kishar LARP I’m part of) was feeling a little panicked by the fact that he’s got a Game of Thrones LARP to go to this weekend, and didn’t have time to make a tabard to go over his leather armor to match his house’s colors. With all the other things he had to tackle before Saturday, what was he to do?
Enter the Crafty Nerd and her trusty sewing machine! I volunteered to put my new Janome sewing machine to work and see if I could possibly crank out a tabard for him before Saturday.
You might have noticed from my post in March that I started LARPing recently, and oh how fun it is – it’s like Gen Con meets summer camp! It really is. There were two big things that were a little intimidating to me as I got started, though: costuming and fighting.
Fighting is something I can probably get better at with practice, but costuming? Most of the costumes I have in my closet are either My Little Pony, steampunk, or renaissance faire appropriate – and Kishar has an Asian/Arabian Nights mix of costuming and setting – how do I get myself costumed for this? And how do I get myself costumed in a way that everyone’s not going to look at me with pity because I’m a newbie who has no idea what she’s doing? I’m so used to just regular cosplay – I’ve got a character that I can then make a costume for, whether it’s an existing outfit that a character’s established as something they wear, or something inspired by a character (like Pinkie Pie – she doesn’t often wear clothes, heh.) Starting from scratch was intimidating as all heck.
I ended up tackling this in a couple of steps, once I got over being so overwhelmed by the daunting prospect of not only creating a character, but costuming one too.
The first thing I did: asked for help. Lots of it. J and Kasi were extremely helpful in determining what would make good costume pieces, but then again, since they run the game, they know what’s good for costuming!
Next: I cruised Amazon, Etsy, and other places to find things that I might not be able to make on my own, like elf ears. There’s a lot of places out there where you can buy LARP gear – and again, I asked J and Kasi for suggestions on where to shop, so I made sure I was getting quality stuff.
After that: I dug through my existing costuming to see what would work. The results: a fair bit of my costuming was easily repurposable for my character’s costume. Even stuff I didn’t initially think would be good, like some of my steampunk stuff (the little bag I showed off in this post about my steampunk gear works crazily well!) and a lovely bag my mom-in-law bought me for my birthday, ended up being pulled in as costuming bits.
Lastly: I made some stuff. (I mean, come on, I’m The Crafty Nerd, after all!) like my spell packet bag (which is ugly but functional) and my overdress bits (unsure what to call them, but we’ll stick with overdress). And as I went through all that, I started to come up with a fair idea of what I wanted to wear.
When figuring out my costume, I had a couple of criteria for what I’d be wearing:
one: it had to look good. I didn’t want to be the one awkwardly dressed noob at my first game.
two: it had to be somewhat comfortable. I’d be wearing this for hours, likely, while walking through the forest.
three: I had to be able to run in it. No ifs, ands or buts. I knew I was gonna have to run from monsters at some point
With those three things in mind, and a giant list of ideas added to my Amazon Wishlist, I ended up emerging with two costumes – one of which I wore to my first game!
I ended up deciding on two main costume styles: one with a dress, one with pants.
The dress outfit:
The dress, obviously: I chose this because it was light, flowy, and would probably make it so I don’t overheat while playing outdoors. Plus, it was easy to alter to make it shorter, so I wasn’t tripping over it – I ended up taking off the bottom tier of the dress, because I’m short.
Corset vest: wanted some sort of corset, but wasn’t sure I’d want one that was super-sturdily boned – turns out this one is a little long for me, but I was able to get some corsets from Kasi that work that I can also wear with this dress!
Overdress bits: I made these myself, they’re the black pieces in the photo above that look like they’re extending from the corset. I thought it’d make a nice touch to a fantasy costume – and it’s a work in progress, as I might add some embellishments to it such as embroidery.
Leggings under the dress: gotta keep my legs covered, because poison ivy/ticks/brambles are no fun. These were a pair I’ve had hanging around for years.
Boots: My good ol’ scooter boots. They handle tromping around in the forest pretty well.
The pants outfit:
Harem pants: oh lord these are comfy. They haven’t made it out to an official game yet, but I bet these’ll be fantastic for running in. And they’re light, too, so I won’t overheat in them.
Scarf: this can be used as a belt, or a wrap, or to keep one’s hair back – the uses are endless! love how versatile this is.
Corset: planning on using one of the corsets I got from Kasi.
Shirt: I have a couple options here: a peasant shirt I made myself, or a peasant shirt I got from Kasi, or I could even use a tanktop if I wanted!
Kimono top: light, breezy, and setting-appropriate. I can wear the scarf as a belt over it, or wear it loose over a costume.
So there you go! For someone who’s never really done a LARP before, once I figured out how to get started, it was really easy to try and find costume pieces that were readily available, so I’ve got something to wear while I try and craft my own stuff from scratch! Hopefully this will help out other new LARP players as you get geared up for your first game!
I recently finished my second quilt. It’s nothing super fancy – I ordered a sampler pack of 10-inch squares of the Luna Sol sampler from Connecting Threads, cut them all in half, and stitched triangles together until I had a quilt. Hand-quilting sounded like an amazing idea when I first finished it, and while I was absolutely tired of this quilt by the time I got to adding the binding, I am pretty happy with the hand quilting.
This quilt is not without its faults. As you can see in the picture, I stitched one row in the wrong direction – and didn’t realize it until I’d finally pieced the sucker out and laid it out for this picture. I almost gave up on the darn thing then, to be honest, but then I took a closer look at that picture, and plotted out how I’d hand stitch things. I ended up going with a sort-of lightning bolt arrangement of geometric shapes for the quilting. It still looks a little awkward, but hey, I made it a beautiful sort of awkward.
Shortly after starting the hand quilting, I found another issue in the quilt – two squares weren’t exactly stitched together, and were coming apart in one corner.
It was at this point where I said “screw it, this quilt is already imperfect, I’m just going to stitch the hole closed and carry on, maybe patch over it when I’m done.” And I did the patch you see above, and then went on about my quilting.
But the more I worked on this quilt, the more I saw it as something of a self-portrait. It was imperfect, just like me. It’s got some rough patches and parts that were hastily fixed. It’s got some awkward bits. But in the end? It turned out beautiful.
It’s a perfectly-sized little lap quilt, and I absolutely love how soft the fabric is. Plus, the little bunnies are adorable. (One of my nicknames is Beth-bun, so that may have highly influenced the choice of fabric, heh.) Despite all the hiccups in making it, I love how it turned out. And it really is a self portrait, in quilt form. Awkward, not quite perfect, but wonderful all the same.
I’ve only got a short post for you all this week, what with being wrapped up in work, and homework, and crafting (I’m sewing a quilt, you guys! It’s kind of lopsided but it’s a quilt!) and all. However, I wanted to share something that I discovered while looking up ways to keep your seams straight while sewing.
Yes, that is a quick-and-dirty fabric guide made with WASHI TAPE, of all things.
Why the heck didn’t I think of this before?! It’s resulted in a much better visual measuring guide than just trying to line up the edge of my fabric with the edge of the presser foot.
And of course I get that figured out when I’m 90% done with the quilt top. Of course.
Anyhow, figured I’d share this with everyone, especially those of you who machine sew – washi tape really can be used for everything! 😀
I can’t think of anything to write this week, so instead, I’ve lovingly curated a collection of ten free nerdy crafts for you all. (If my Facebook friends come through with cool post ideas, there may be a second post this week to make up for this one!) It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I figured, why not? So, here we go – seven nerdy free crafts!
Maybe I just like to dress up as pink haired characters. Maybe I really am obsessed with Steven Universe. Either way, it’s led me to my cosplay idea for this year’s conventions (yes, I’m actually going to make it to at least ONE convention this year, if it kills me or not) – Rose Quartz, from Steven Universe. Finally, someone I can cosplay as who has a similar body shape to mine! (Although I don’t think I’ll ever be 8 feet tall…) Someone I can cosplay as and not feel so self conscious about!
The very first crafting obsession I ever had was sewing. I learned how to sew by hand in Sunday school, back when I was 8 years old, and I turned out to be pretty good at it. And on top of that, I really enjoyed it. Really, really enjoyed it. So much so that I was shortly begging my dad to take me to the nearest Jo-Ann Fabrics, two towns over. And when he did take me, it was like walking into craft heaven.
And thus, my crafting addiction was born, with scraps of fake fur fabric from the remnants bin, a couple of sewing needles, and some thread. I made a rather homely looking bear, and then another homely looking animal, and then kept on sewing until my skills were passably good. I even made a tiny doll quilt with the help of one of my neighbors! I went on to make bigger and better things – clothing for dolls, clothing for myself, Halloween costumes, another quilt, and more stuffed animals.
The last sewing project I embarked on, until very recently, was my giant Toothless plush that I made back in 2012. You’ve all seen pictures of him. I’ve posted about him a bazillion times. And aside from sewing on the odd button on a shirt, or patching up the antique quilt I picked up in the Adirondacks years ago, I haven’t really sewn anything since. Crocheting and cross-stitching and many other crafts got in the way, unfortunately, and my poor old sewing machine languished at the bottom of closets or in the garage for a while, waiting for me to pick it back up again.
And thanks to the need for curtains, combined with a gift card for Jo-Ann Fabrics from my little sister-in-law, I broke out my trusty Brother sewing machine and picked up the fine art of stitching again. I’m not amazing with a machine yet – I can do straight lines, and I know the basics of how to operate my sewing machine, but all the fancy options this guy has are kind of intimidating. Curtains don’t need fancy stitching, though.
Aaaaand I made myself some curtains! They’re pretty, and perfect for my craft room. It feels more lived-in in here, far cozier than it used to.
During the process of making those curtains, I realized how much I missed sewing. As I said, it’d been years since I’d picked it up, and I had fun doing it, so I was looking for other sewing projects to do – and one fell into my lap during a trip to, you guessed it, Jo-Ann’s. My friend Kasi and I had headed over there so Kasi could get some thread and we could drool over yarn, and we almost walked out with little stacks of their Sweet Roll yarn, when we wandered over to the quilting section and found fabric we each fell in love with. Neither of us had done any sewing projects in a while, and Kasi found so many beautiful collections of bright fabric she wanted to make a quilt from. Me, I found fabric with scooters on it. SCOOTERS. I took it as a sign, gathered up both bundles that had the scooter fabric in it as well as some other pre-cut fabric, and set out to make a scooter quilt.
I’m using a Jelly Roll strip bundle in various black patterns, as well as a bundle of quilt fabric with roses, scooters, and the Eiffel Tower, oddly enough (I thought scooters were big in Italy, not France), and I’m doing a combination of strips and squares. This is what I’ve got so far – and I’ll post updates as I go along. The scooter quilt, as I’m calling it, is going to be mostly hand sewn – I might get lazy and do the actual quilting on the machine, but we’ll see. So far, I’m still piecing things together. I’m glad I got back into sewing, though – it’s something different to occupy my hands with, and it’s also something I’ve missed doing.
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.
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.
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’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.
Well, it’s wintertime, and for a lot of people, that means some extra time to work on craft projects! (Especially me, with the break between semesters.) And there’s nothing better than finding free craft patterns to do – so I’ve got a collection of 10 awesome, nerdy, and free cross-stitch patterns!
I hope you found something here to keep you busy! Also, I’m working on getting my stuff on Pinterest more, so for those of you who love pinning awesome things, here – have a Pinterest-friendly image to keep track of all these goodies with! (Featuring a finished Rainbow Dash heart pattern that I just finished stitching yesterday!) And for more craft ideas, check out my board Crafts I Need To Do!
“Hey, Beth! You seem to have fallen of the face of the Earth entirely! What the heck happened?”
Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what you’re asking right now. Yes. So I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to, in glorious picture format!
Taking pictures of sleeping cats! Because kitties are cute, and I now have one living with me. His name is Steve. He likes to watch Battlestar Galactica, enjoys kicking the carpets in the bathroom around, and his favorite pony is Pinkie Pie.
Playing with my new smartwatch. Bryan says it’s a fad, they won’t last, but honestly? I love it. I partially justified the purchase by saying that it’s research for when I re-write an old NaNoWriMo novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Since it’s set in the future, I gave the characters wrist communicators, and, well, HERE IT IS ON MY WRIST RIGHT NOW. Granted, it needs a cellphone to work with, but we’re getting closer!
Punch embroidering, because I haven’t done it in years. I’m making a couple of Christmas stockings, and then I might see if anyone wants to commission me for anything, because gosh do I enjoy doing this and I forgot how fun it is. Plus, it’s getting harder and harder to find punch embroidery stuff (apparently the place I shop from online is now the ONLY online store selling punch embroidery supplies!), and I may as well do it while I can, right?
Doing homework. And yes, my most recent bit of homework involved reviewing an online digital archive of comic book art. Have I mentioned how much I love library and information science? Because I do. I really do. 😀 My next bit of homework, for Representation & Organization, involves writing a script of how a typical grocery shopping trip goes, and then comparing it with the actual process of shopping in order to spark discussion about mental models and how they match up to the actual process or task that one is trying to complete.
Drinking lots of coffee and feeling rather homesick. This is the time of year I really miss Potsdam – even though the stupid lack of sunlight and the near-constant dreary grayness made my seasonal affective disorder crap way worse than it needed to be… I miss the trees changing color, the nights getting downright chilly, and the hint of winter in the air, even in September…
Getting minis ready for painting! It’s been entirely too humid out to prime minis, but that doesn’t stop me from scraping off the extra plastic bits and filing the rough spots down so I can prime and paint when the weather is good.
And that’s what I’ve been up to, in illustrated form! Now that I’ve settled in for the semester, posts will occur more regularly, and I do have some exciting things in the works! Have an idea for a topic you want to see on the site? Leave a comment on this post, and chances are, I’ll cover it. 🙂 I’m always looking for new crafty and nerdy things to talk about.
Four more days until I move! Oh, you have no idea how happy this makes me. Not only will I not be limited to wearing whatever clothes I didn’t shove into vacuum sealed bags and toss into the treacherous cave that is the storage unit, I will also have access to ALL my crafting stuff. Not just one crochet hook and a blanket that’s too warm to sit under while I crochet it. And there are a number of things I want to be making…
Amigurumi Toothless – yes, I want to make another one of these little guys. The one in the picture here, I ended up giving away to a friend – and they’re so quick to make, too, so why not make another one? (or six, or eleven, why not a whole tiny Toothless army?)
The Modern Poncho – It’s no surprise that I have a fondness addiction to making shawls and ponchos. And I think this one would look very lovely in a nice warm shade of brown or combo of browns and reds. It’s a good thing I’m moving closer to my favorite yarn shop…
I’d really like to finish the third Fourth Doctor scarf I’m working on – I’ve got less than a third of the scarf to go, and I was hoping it’d be done in time for GenCon this year, but no luck. Plus, the only part of my Fourth Doctor costume I can locate at the moment is the coat… so unless I can magically find all the other parts in the week before GenCon as I unpack, no Fourth Doctor for me this year… :/
Crocheted Scooter – In seafoam, naturally. Or I could make four of them – red, blue, seafoam, and red/cream, one for me and each of my housemates… And having at least one of these would be pretty cool, considering the theme for the living room in the new place is going to be scooters…
And finally, last but definitely not least, the first project I’m probably going to work on as soon as the dust settles and I can find my various costume pieces is the Cupcakes Pinkie Pie costume (the video above is the least violent reference I could find to it, hahah). I’m not going to lie – I’m afraid it won’t be done in time for GenCon, but Ross says he’ll help me out, and this is the only costume I’m really working on, so here’s hoping I can pull it off…
Have you ever wanted your own t-shirt with your favorite My Little Pony’s cutie mark on it? (Or a t-shirt with a simple cartoon symbol, like Super Mario’s 1-Up mushroom or other relatively low-detail images) Well, here’s a tutorial for you – and all you need to know how to do is operate an iron!
A printout of the cutie mark (or image) you want to use
A pen or marker
Fabric in each color used in the cutie mark
Heat ‘n Bond
A pair of scissors
The first thing you’ll want to do is cut out pieces of fabric a little larger than each different area of color in your image. I ended up with four pieces of fabric – blue, red, yellow, and white. While you’re working with the scissors, you’ll also want to cut apart your image – I cut mine into different sections based on the colors in Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark, and ended up with a cloud and three little lightning bolts. You’ll also want to get out your Heat ‘n Bond, too – and cut out pieces that are slightly smaller than the pieces of fabric you’re using.
Next, it’s time for the iron. Lay out your piece of fabric, then lay the Heat ‘n Bond, paper side up, onto your fabric and follow the instructions on the package to iron your Heat ‘n Bond to your fabric.
The next thing we’ll do is get out our marker and trace our cutie mark pieces onto the Heat ‘n Bond paper.
The next step has us cutting out the fabric shapes. It’s also not a bad idea to re-assemble the shape to make sure everything fits together – if not, you can trim things a little bit to make them fit.
This is where the fun stuff happens. Peel off the paper backing from your pieces of cutie mark, and lay out the pieces on your t-shirt where you want them to end up when you’re finished. Iron them onto your t-shirt according to the directions on the Heat ‘n Bond package – you may want to pay special attention to pointy ends that might come up if not properly adhered to your shirt.
Once your shirt’s cooled off a bit, and you’re sure everything’s securely ironed onto your t-shirt, now you can wear it!
This is a pretty fun way to make a unique looking t-shirt – I’ve worn my Pinkie Pie t-shirt to conventions and received lots of compliments on it, and some people even thought it was screen printed – when I told them I did it with fabric and Heat ‘n Bond, they were amazed! And as I said earlier, you can do this with any sort of simple graphic that doesn’t have a lot of detail to it. If you follow these steps to make a t-shirt, show me the results!
Edit 10/30/14: Thelma followed my tutorial to make a Rainbow Dash shirt for her daughter (and she also made some very cute wings and ears, too)! I’ve got her pictures below – the shirt turned out awesome, I love it! 🙂
It’s been a while since I’ve done a craft roundup, and I’ve missed scouring the internet for cool craft project inspiration! So, without further ado, here are five awesome craft projects to add to your to-do list!
Minecraft Creeper Afghan
For those of you who love Minecraft (much like myself), or know someone who does, here’s a treat for you! This Creeper afghan looks pretty simple to put together, and would look cool in a geeky guest room or would make a great gift for someone who’s super obsessed with Minecraft! You can find the pattern here.
Charmander Amigurumi Plush
Here’s a cute little Charmander amigurumi plush that looks like it would crochet up pretty quickly – I love his happy little smile! I might add this little guy to my to-do pile, myself… The pattern for Charmander is on Ravelry, right here.
Nintendo Controller Purse
Next up is a Nintendo controller purse! I’ve never seen anything like it – and it looks like it’d be fun to put together, too. You could probably up the size of the pattern and make a large book tote, too. Find the pattern here!
Nintendo Controller Wallet
And how about a wallet to go with the purse? This looks like the best use ever for a dead NES controller – and could be a fun afternoon project for a rainy day. The tutorial for making a controller-wallet of your own is here.
Fifteen Doctor Who Cross-stitch Projects!
This isn’t just one project, but a list of fifteen! Find some inspiration for your next cross-stitch project here.
Hope this gives you guys some inspiration for your own craft projects, or gives you some cool ideas of things to try! 😀
Well, I went on vacation to Florida for a week – which was a welcome respite from the crazy end-of-semester busy-ness. However, I came back to probably the coldest weather I’ve experienced in a decade! (And brought a cold home with me, to boot.) It was pretty, that’s for sure, but not the type of weather I enjoy…
What’s a snowed-in nerd to do?
Well, lots of things, actually. I may have spent the day listening to NPR on the radio, since the internet was out most of the day. And believe me, a snow day is the worst time to have the internet die on you. Thank goodness for the radio – I listened to classical music while working on some craft projects!
This winter break has been lovely for working on projects – I’ve got a shawl in progress that I started on the way to Florida, I’ve got a counted cross-stitch project I started just after Christmas, and I’ve got my new Doctor Who scarf to boot! So while the snow blew around outside and the temperatures plummeted, I stayed warm on the couch and worked on nerdy crafts. (It was pretty much all I had the energy to do, anyway. Stupid chest cold.)
I also took some time to clean out my closet a little bit, and may have dug up some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic goodies I might give away in a contest during this week… so stay tuned, pony fans! I promise I’ll start blogging more regularly, too.