Book review: Anything Goes by John Barrowman

I’m going to preface this review with the following: I need to read more.

I’ve fallen into a sad habit of watching too much television lately.  Sure, there’s lots of wonderful television shows out there!  Doctor Who, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Farscape, Firefly, Archer, 30 Rock, Mad Men… but I used to read so very much!  When we moved to Bloomington, I signed out a giant stack of books and read through them in a week!

So I’m going to challenge myself to read more – and I’m also going to talk about the books I’ve read, too, in hopes people discover new books to read.  And I’m going to start with a favorite of mine.  (A favorite that I should really buy my own copy of.)

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Anything Goes by John Barrowman

This was an incredibly quick read!  And an incredibly enjoyable one.  If you’ve watched Doctor Who or Torchwood, you’re familiar with John Barrowman – he plays the incredibly awesome Captain Jack Harkness in both shows.  (He’s also in Arrow, but I haven’t seen that yet – I don’t have cable, and live off of Hulu and Netflix, and missed out on the start of it, sadly)  This book tells his story – from when he was a kid, to his experiences as a teenager, all the way through to his time on Doctor Who and Torchwood.

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I’m a writer over at Geek Crafts!

This is a short little update for you all – I just want to let everyone know I’m writing over at Geek Crafts!  I’ll be posting a new geeky craft every Sunday afternoon, and today I’ve posted my introduction.  (I go by Beth Lynn over there, since there’s already a Beth there!)  I hope everyone’ll go check it out!  I’ll be sharing links to my Sunday posts over on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page – so if you’re not already a fan, go hit the Like button in my Facebook widget over on the right side of the page!

 

The Best and Worst Parts of Being A Nerd

Being a nerd sure seems like a lot of fun.  You get to play lots of games, go to conventions, watch all sorts of awesome movies, and so much other stuff.  However, with great awesomeness comes great responsibility, and occasionally great downfalls.  This was actually one of the most requested topics on a recent poll I posted on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page, and I’m going to go into what I feel are the best parts, as well as the worst parts, of being a nerd.

This is what happens when I'm in full-on nerd mode.  This picture is ancient, but even now, 13 years later, I still do this when I get fangirly.
This is what happens when I’m in full-on nerd mode. This picture is ancient, but even now, 13 years later, I still do this when I get fangirly.

The Best Parts of Being a Nerd

  • You get to dress up in fun costumes on days besides Halloween!  I’ve dressed as Princess Peach in March, Pinkie Pie in August, and all sorts of other costumes for fun occasions.  Plus, if you’re skilled enough at it, you get to make those costumes, too.  I think the best part is making the costume, and then putting it on and marveling at all your hard work come to life.  
  • Games.  SO MANY GAMES.  Board games, video games, tabletop RPGs.  Fluxx, Cards Against Humanity, Dungeons and Dragons, Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros., Munchkin, the Ace Attorney series, and those are just the ones I can list off the top of my head.  There’s always something fun to play, something to stimulate your brain with.

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Beth’s Craft Picks of the Week! – 4/15/13

Hello all!  I hope your Monday went well – mine was a bit of a mixed bag.  Ah well.  I’ve got a fresh batch of crafty picks for everyone this week!

Case of the Mondays Cross-Stitch Kit

hatemondaysSpeaking of Mondays… this would be a hilarious addition to anyone’s cubicle, haha.  It’s in a handy dandy kit, put together by Purple Hippo Stitches, and also part of their Tax Day Sale!  I’m half done with my own set, and plan on sticking mine in my cube once it’s done.  It’s really simple, and an easy intro to cross-stitching if you’ve never done it before.

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The Crafty Nerd Plays Video Games: Sailor Moon S Puzzle Game

I love playing video games.  It’s one of the first nerdy things I’ve ever done – play games on my Atari when I was 5 years old.  I especially love retro video games – the older, the better.  After a friend of mine posted about the Sailor Moon games that came out for the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom back in the height of Sailor Moon’s popularity, I figured I might as well see if I could find some of my old favorites to play with.  And I wasn’t disappointed!

lunagame_00000Here we’ve got the Sailor Moon S puzzle game!  I have no idea what the actual official name of it is, as I can’t read Japanese much more than identifying the kanji that stand for Sailor Moon, but this is my favorite of all the puzzle games that were released for the Super Nintendo.

lunagame_00003Most Sailor Moon fans of a certain age on the internet will definitely recognize these sprites – they were on Lycentia’s Sailor Moon Graphics Site!  She’d lovingly pulled all the sprites from all the Sailor Moon Super Nintendo games, and animated some of them too.  This is the character select screen – you can play as pretty much any character in the series up to the S season.  I picked Jupiter, as she’s one of my long time favorites.

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Beth’s Craft Picks of the Week! – 4/8/13

I’m going to try something new for the next few weeks here, and see how everyone likes it – I’m going to do a nerdy craft roundup, of four of the most interesting nerdy crafts I’ve found out on the internet!  Here’s hoping it brightens everyone’s Monday, and gives everyone some inspiration for some cool craft projects to make.

Books and Tardises bookmark cross-stitch pattern

il_570xN.256727710This looks like a fun project for cross-stitchers, and would also be a great gift for any Doctor Who fan!  It would also be a great weekend project, for when you’ve got some episodes of Doctor Who to catch up on.  You can find it at The Crafty Companion on Etsy.

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Making the best of a sick day (or two)

You know what’s worse than being sick?

Being sick on a weekend.  A beautiful weekend, no less, where it’s finally warm enough to open all the windows and sit outside on the porch, and enjoy the beautiful flowers.

I hate late season colds.

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The beginnings of a TARDIS blanket

However, I did make the best of this cold – yesterday I decided to jump in on the Worsted for Wear Knit/Crochet-a-long on Ravelry (it’s Doctor Who themed!), and am working on a TARDIS blanket.  It’s small – I suppose I could make it a lot bigger if I upped the hook gauge, but I figure I should stick to the pattern for right now, since it’s my first time working with filet crochet.  You can’t really make much of it out, but that’s totally the bottom of the TARDIS. I swear. 😀

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How to Make Your Own Dragon

2013-03-24 22.09.21I’ve noticed that people keep coming to my site to look at all the various Toothless plush that I’ve made (well, the one plush, and the one crocheted Toothless) – and I just now realized I don’t have any links to where I got the patterns or inspiration for these awesome dragons!  So,  this post is dedicated entirely to where to find out How to Make Your Own Dragon.

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Scootering: Best antidepressant ever.

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The Crafty Nerdmobile! (Or, as she’s more commonly known, Scooterlou)

I think, if I were to assign my website a mascot, it might just be Scooterlou.  She may not exactly be the nerdiest mode of transportation – I mean, come on, scooters are for everyone! – but she is decked out pretty nerdily.  She’s got a nice little Nyancat on one side, and a sweet “Engineered by Firefly” sticker on the other, and she’s rocking some My Little Ponies on her trunk (not pictured here – this is before I installed the trunk on her).  She enables my nerdy crafting pursuits, too – if not for her, it’d be a lot harder to get to and from craft stores, as my hubby’s not exactly always keen on schlepping me back and forth to craft stores around town.  I’m rather attached to her.

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Random Project Roundup – 3/24/13

Well, the weekend’s almost over, and I did tell myself I’d be writing a blog post this weekend – since nothing exceedingly nerdy happened this week, I’m going to do a roundup of the projects I’ve been working on recently!  I’ve got three that I’ve been working on over the past week, and here they are.

The Schweet Cowl

2013-03-24 22.03.45This shawl earned its name from the little colored speckles in the yarn – it bears a bit of a resemblance to Vanellope Von Schweets’ hair!  I started working on this on the flight to San Francisco a few weeks ago, and have been working on it in classes since I got home.  It’s getting pretty long – once it’s finished, I’ll sew it up, and then it loops double for wearing.  (It’s the Holy Cannoli pattern, on Ravelry.)

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Camp NaNoWriMo: Noveling when when it’s bright out!

For those of you who’ve known me for a while, you know that every November I drop everything and attempt to write a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month.  There’s something about spending the long, dark, chilly nights curled up in my computer chair, typing furiously to capture every detail of a story before the plot bunnies interfere.  Some years turned out better than others, especially 2010 and 2011, where I actually hit my word-count goals (and, in the case of 2010, blew past them!), but no matter what the word counts, no matter how early I ran out of steam, I enjoyed myself.  I’m ridiculously passionate about NaNoWriMo.  Which is why, this year, I find myself checking into a cabin at Camp NaNoWriMo.

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San Francisco: The Experience (sans video blogging)

Well, I’m back from San Francisco, and adjusted to being back in the right time zone finally, and figured I’d share the tale of my vacation!  Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to video-blog the entire trip, but I took plenty of pictures – and I’ll share the highlights here!

Day one was nice – although I was absolutely exhausted from not sleeping much the night before (remind me never to go to the drive-in the night before an early cross-country flight!), I still had plenty of fun.  I met some of Bryan’s friends, we all nerded out together, and it was awesome!

The view outside the front door of the place we stayed.
Trees in San Francisco are green already!

We stayed at a place we found on AirBNB – it’s located here, if you’re curious.  (If you want to stay in San Francisco and be within walking distance of practically everything, I can’t recommend Lorraine enough!)  After two days with no sleep, I ended up crashing pretty early – so I could be energetic for Day Two.

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San Francisco: The Nerdy Video-Blogging Experience

No, I have not dropped off the face of the planet, in case anyone was wondering (although apparently dreamingpixels.net did, sadly, I didn’t renew my domain name in time and I think I may have lost it, we’ll see when HostGator processes my payment), but I have been incredibly busy.  Not only was this week the middle of the semester, but it’s also….

golden-gate-bridge…the week before spring break, and my trip to San Francisco!  And Bryan, wonderful husband that he is, suggested I video blog this trip and post it all here!    After some thinking, I decided “what the heck, why not?”  So, over the next few days, expect to see a video a day about my San Francisco adventure.  There’ll be a nerdy twist to it, as there is with everything on this wonderful blog, and hopefully everyone will enjoy watching my adventures!  (And it’ll be a great place to keep things for myself, too!)

 

 

Quick afternoon project: No-sew fleece blanket!

I will admit – one of my favorite simple crafts to do that involves very little effort is making no-sew fleece blankets.  Just about anyone can do them, even kids, and you can make them any size, with any fun fleece you can find, and they don’t take terribly long at all to make.  You can get no-sew fleece blanket kits at Jo-Ann Fabrics (or probably many other places, I’ve only seen them at Jo-Ann’s) – or you can make something a little more personal and do it all yourself!  If you take the do-it-yourself route, you can even pick the size of your blanket, and make it as big or as small as you want.  I’m sure there are already lots of no-sew fleece blanket tutorials out there, but maybe someone out there will find this helpful, and I’m hoping you’ll all enjoy my tutorial!

As you might remember from my Startitis post, I have some My Little Pony fleece that’s been waiting for this project.  My blanket is going to be big enough to cover the bed in my craft room/home office – this way, I can wrap myself in pony goodness if I need to, and I can use it to cover the bed as well!  That’s my main reason for doing this – considering nerdy comforters are nearly impossible to find, I may as well make my own.  I should have bought that Sailor Moon comforter off eBay ages ago when I saw it for $40…

What you’ll need

  • two pieces of fleece, as much as you’ll need for the desired size of your blanket (I purchased two yards of each)
  • scissors, sharp ones preferably
  • pins – these are optional, but they’ll help keep the two layers of your blanket together
All trimmed and ready to cut.
All trimmed and ready to cut.

Anyhow!  Step one is to cut your blanket down to the size you need.  I tend to wing it with stuff like this, instead of measuring it, but the standard size for a twin sized blanket is 66 in by 90 in (and I found this information here, for those curious!).  I picked up two yards of each of my fleeces, so I only needed to trim the edge of the pony fleece so the two pieces of fabric are roughly the same size.

Step 2

Step two is optional – while fleece tends to stick to itself pretty well, you might want to pin the two layers of fleece together just for an extra bit of security – this will make sure the two pieces don’t shift while you’re flipping it around as you cut and knot the blanket.  Don’t pin too closely to the edge – you want to leave enough room to cut the fringe around the edges! 🙂

Step 3.1

Step three: cut the fringe!  This is where the sharp scissors will come in especially handy.  You’ll want to make your fringes 5 inches long, and about an inch and a half wide – this way you’ll have enough fabric to tie in knots and have a fringe that’s not too stubby or too long.  However, also keep in mind that fringe-making is not an exact science – they won’t all be perfect, and that’s alright.  It won’t be noticeable when you’re all done!

When you get to the corners, just cut the corners right out – it’ll leave you with a couple of nice 5-inch squares of fabric.  (Which you could maybe use to make a matching pillow!)  If your scissors are really sharp, you might be able to cut through multiple layers at once – that’s what I did in order to cut doww on my cutting time, haha.

Step 4

Step four is the long part.  Now you have to knot all these fringes.  This is where you might want to put on a good tv show or movie and zone out while you knot away – my show of choice was Lost.  The total time it took me to knot this thing was about an hour – it may take more if you’re working on a larger blanket.

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And now we’re done!  This took a total of maybe an hour and a half to two hours from start to finish – it’s a perfect project for a lazy Sunday afternoon, or for a quick gift for someone!  And if you can find the right fabric, it can be delightfully nerdy as well.

 

Tiny Review – Vanellope von Schweets talking doll!

I will proudly admit that I am a huge fan of Wreck-it Ralph.  I’m pretty sure that’s no surprise at all to anyone who follows my blog.  I’ve got quite a few Wreck-It Ralph figurines – there was a set of them I received as a holiday present from a close friend, and there’s a couple of Vanellope figures I picked up, and I’ve also got an awesome Wreck-It Ralph poster – and a Vanellope plush as well!  I’m eagerly awaiting March 5th, when the DVD comes out – of course I’ve got it preordered.  So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that when I found out Disney made a talking Vanellope von Schweets doll, I had to have one of my own.

It took a while to actually track one down – before the holidays, every Disney store I visited was out of talking Vanellopes.  I visited three stores in two different states, and no luck!  (I did manage to get the plush Vanellope in Syracuse, NY, however, so it wasn’t entirely a waste!)  Then, when I finally did find a talking Vanellope…

Vanellope from Toys R Us…she was $50.00.  And talked a lot about getting her hair done, and had some ridiculous hair extensions.  Granted, yeah, this was the Toys R Us version, and not the Disney Store version I’d initially been looking for, but I was definitely shocked by the $50 price tag.  I’m not going to lie – I almost bought her, but realized $50 would also buy a lot of My Little Ponies, and talked myself out of the purchase at the time.  I’m glad I did, because I found the version I was looking for on the Disney Store’s website, for half the price of the crazy hair-extension version, and I had a 25% off coupon too!  So, I picked her up, because it was a lot easier for me to justify dropping $20 on a talking doll instead of $50.  And on my sick day at home earlier this week, she came!

Vanellope, boxedI’m not going to lie, I de-boxed her almost immediately.  I am a horrible toy collector, I de-box all my toys.  It saves space, and honestly, why collect if you can’t have a little fun with your toys?  So yes, I freed her of her box (which was a very nice box, definitely made for displaying, if you’re into that) and instantly started poking her to make her talk.  She says around 10 different phrases, and they’re all straight from the movie, I think – definitely in Sarah Silverman’s voice.  I recorded her talking a little bit, for those curious…

She’s definitely nice and loud, as you can tell, and she says some of her catch phrases from the movie.  (Bryan and I are a little disappointed that she didn’t make any doody jokes, though.  Yes, we are apparently eternally 10 years old, haha.)   She’s put together really well, and stands on her own pretty well too.  She’s got a lot of styling product in her hair, though, and some parts of it are tied into place – I guess that’s to help it keep its style?  I’ve got no idea.  I do know, though, that I thoroughly enjoy this Vanellope doll, and I’m definitely glad I picked her up!  If you collect Disney memorabilia, or loved Wreck-it Ralph, you should definitely get one for yourself – you won’t be disappointed!