Nerdy Valentines for 2017!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, folks!  One of the things I end up doing most years since I started The Crafty Nerd is collecting a bunch of nerdy valentines for people to share with their loved ones – and this year’s no different.  Here’s a selection of some fun, nerdy valentines for everyone!  Share them on Facebook, print them and leave them around the office, do whatever you like with them!

Happy 4th birthday, The Crafty Nerd!

Holy crap, has it really been four years since I started the blog?

A lot’s happened in the past four years.  And I tend to ramble about all the stuff that’s happened since I started the blog almost every time it celebrates a birthday.  (Although somehow, I manage to cover something different each year – how do I manage that?)  This year, I’m just going to focus on the awesome things – crafty, nerdy, and life-related – that have happened since the blog’s last birthday!

Since The Crafty Nerd last celebrated a birthday, I’ve…

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My knit and crochet tool kit

Every crafter has one (or more) – a tool kit they use to crank out their projects.  I’ve actually got a handful of little tool kits, for each of my main hobbies.  As I was digging around in my most frequently used one, my knit/crochet kit, I thought “hey, why not show off what’s in your yarn craft kit? Someone might find it useful to see what you’ve got!”  And this week’s blog post was born.

This collection of goodies helps me while I make yarn crafts.

It’s a random assortment of goodies, but they all help me out while I craft! Here’s what I’ve got, top to bottom, leftish to right:

  • Knit Happy bag: I got this as part of a yarn swap years ago on Ravelry.  I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use it for back then, but now it serves me well as the bag that holds all the tools I use frequently.
  • Gauge counter: I’ve had this ever since I started crocheting, back in the early 2000s, but never really used it until recently.  It’s been helpful as I try to figure out the gauge for my projects!
  • Yarn cutter: I love this.  It’s way easier than carrying a pair of scissors around, and is far more likely to be travel friendly than most scissors.  Plus, it’s fun having what my friend J calls a “yarn shuriken”, heehee.
  • Buttons: you never know when you’ll need a button.  This heart one was originally destined for a skirt I made years ago, then I almost put it on a sweater I made recently, and now it’s hanging out in my craft bag.
  • Measuring tape: This is helpful for so many reasons – measure the length of a tube sock, measure around a coffee mug for a cozy, measure myself to make sure an object will fit.  It’s great to have.
  • Hairclip: This little guy serves multiple purposes.  It can be used to hold two sides of a project together for seaming, as an impromptu stitch counter, and it can also keep your hair out of your eyes if it’s getting obnoxious while you work. 😛
  • Needle point protectors: You have no idea how many times I’ve tossed a knit project into my bag, only to find that it’s slid off my needles by the time I’ve gotten to my destination.  These things are a lifesaver – and a project saver.
  • Yarn needles and needle holder: Most projects I make are going to need to be sewn together at some point.  Having needles on hand is good – and having them all collected into one place is better.
  • Itty-bitty circular needles: Honestly, I think the only reason these are in here is so I don’t lose them elsewhere.  I’ve used them for making socks, but they’re not all that comfortable to work with, since they’re so wee.
  • Tin full of stitch markers: Self-explanatory.  Stitch markers are always needed.  I’m actually going to have to reload this with some more, as stitch markers tend to disappear easily.
  • Foldable scissors: Yeah, I’ve got the yarn shuriken, but sometimes it’s nice to use actual scissors.  They let me get a bit closer to a yarn project than the yarn cutter.  Plus, these guys collapse, too.
  • Labels, sassy and non-sassy: I’ve got these for when I make really nice garments for myself or others.  The sassy ones tend to find their way into my own clothes.

And that’s what I’ve got in my yarn tool kit!  What do you all keep in your crafting kits?

The exhausted Crafty Nerd: rambling edition

Peridot resembles how my week went, pretty much.

I apologize in advance, folks – this week’s post isn’t going to be terribly entertaining.  I’m freaking exhausted.  I went from the craziest week ever (so much stress, so many things going on!) to the most relaxing weekend ever (Ross and I spend the weekend at the West Baden Springs Resort, a little trip we do every year around the end of January), so I didn’t really have much chance to even think about the blog.  I didn’t even do any crafting this week!  Blog-wise, I’m on a roll, though, and have been cranking out at least one post a week since the beginning of the year – and I really don’t want to lose my momentum.  So, this week will be devoted to a collection of nerdy rambles, in no particular order.

  • Remember the Rose Quartz costume I told you guys I was going to work on making in last week’s post?  Well, I have the first part, thanks to my friend Kasi – she’s loaned me her uber-poofy floor-length petticoat.  It’s going to be PERFECT for my Rose costume.
  • I got to borrow a fancy tablet monitor from work to use as a second monitor with my work laptop, and guess what – it’s a touchscreen, too!  After some fighting with drivers, I managed to get it to behave well enough to doodle in Photoshop, so I’m going to test it out for some more heavy duty drawing soon.  Plus, it’s going to be awesome to be able to have that little guy in my lap to take notes on PDFs on for work.

    You know me and technology – I always love having something new to play with.
  • I’m attempting to reduce my crocheting overwhelmedness by picking one of the myriad of in-progress projects and actually finishing it.  Right now, I’ve got a number of things in the works, including a sweater, a cowl cape, a dragonfly shawl, a hat (I’m seriously three rows away from being done with that sucker), and an awesome blanket I’m working on for a friend’s baby.  I’m currently working on said awesome blanket – that’s going to be my “work on this sucker until it’s done” project.

    I’m sure you Star Trek fans know what sweater was the inspiration for this blanket… 🙂
  • I almost dug out some cross stitch today.  I have two projects in the works that I haven’t touched in years – a Sailor Moon pattern that I made myself, and a Sherlock pattern for my friend Josie.  I hope I finish that Sherlock project before Josie’s next birthday – it’s already two birthdays late. :X

I promise there’ll be a far more entertaining post next week – if I can get my hands on my camera tripod, I’m going to attempt to record a video tutorial!  I’m excited about being able to use my video development skills on something new. 🙂

New cosplay brainstorming: Rose Quartz

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!

… specifically, this version of Rose Quartz.

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Crafting for a Cause: The Pussyhat Project

I try not to mix politics and blogging, but given what’s happening in our country lately, and who’s about to become president… yeah.  I won’t go into my own feelings here, as this is a crafting blog, not a “rant about politics” blog.  However, I found a project where crafting and politics collide (thanks to my friends Josie and Kasi) – The Pussyhat Project.

Long story short: The Pussyhat Project aims to create hats that not only help keep protesters at the Women’s March on Washington warm, but also to make a visual statement to make those marching on Washington, D.C. in support of women’s rights in light of all that’s been spewed out during this past election cycle.  I’m going to try and crank out as many pink cat-eared hats as I can over the next week, and as I started crafting my first one, I ended up making a crochet pattern on the fly that might help others interested in making some pussyhats of their own.

The Crafty Nerd’s Crochet Pussyhat Pattern

What you’ll need:

  • an H hook
  • pink, worsted-weight yarn, any shade of pink will do

The pattern:

  • Foundation: Chain 40.
  • Row 1: Double crochet in fourth chain from hook and the rest of the row.
  • Row 2: Chain 3 (This will count as a dc in this and every future row). *Front post double crochet in next stitch, double crochet in following stitch*, repeat to last stitch, end with a double crochet in last stitch.
  • Row 3: Chain 3.  *Back post double crochet in next stitch, double crochet following stitch*, repeat to last stitch, end with a double-crochet in last stitch.  Back-post dc will be done around the front-post dc from previous row.
  • Row 4: Repeat row 2.  Front post dc will be done around back post dc from previous row.
  • Row 5: Double crochet entire row.
  • Repeat Row 5 until hat fabric is about 16 inches long.  (24-25 rows of double crochet)
  • Repeat rows 2, 3 and 4 to create the ribbing on the other end of the hat.
  • Fold fabric in half, sew or single crochet side seams together, and wear with pride, or mail off to the Pussyhat Project.

Bullet journaling: when to-do lists and crafting collide

I’m sure some of you have heard about bullet journaling, but for those who haven’t: it’s a combination of to-do list and daily planner that is infinitely customizable to what you need from a planner.  The “bullet” part of bullet journaling comes from the fact that most items in your journal will be in a bulleted list format (and oh how I love my bulleted lists, I swear the <ul> tag is the most abused HTML tag in my websites and my old online journals).  There are different bullets based on different types of items in your journal, and they’re typically outlined in a key at the beginning of the journal.  Certain bullets, like an “o” for events, a “-” for thoughts and non-to-do items, and a dot for to-do items, are present in all journals, and if you need more for other things you’re keeping track of in your journal, you can add them as you see fit.

My first bullet journal key!

Bullet journals start with a table of contents, with plenty of room for including new items you might want to find easily, often include a future log, and also make use of monthly, weekly, and even daily layouts.  My bullet journal makes use of all of those items, along with pages that are often referred to as “collections” – in short, a page or two that’s devoted to a specific topic.  I have collections for books that I’m reading, craft projects I’m working on, maintenance for my scooter and car, and important things for work.

I’ve long had an addiction with daily planners, which most likely started back when I was in elementary school and my dad would give me his outdated Day Timers to me to play with.  I’d use them to try and plan out the ever-so-thrilling day of a fourth grader – for a little while, anyway.  That’s always been the story with me and planners – buy something awesome with lots of features, like stickers or a fancy day marker or a nice leather cover, use it for a few weeks, and then let it gather dust for the rest of the year.

That is not the case with bullet journaling.

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Steven Universe: my new obsession

You may have seen some more Steven Universe images creeping into my blog as I’ve been posting (infrequently as its been, I know) – and there’s a reason for that, friends.

I am ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED WITH THIS SHOW.

omg omg omg

I haven’t been this enthralled with a show since I discovered Sailor Moon back in 1997, you guys. I love the characters, I love the overwhelmingly female-positive vibe of the show, I love the fact that it tackles issues like anxiety and relationships, I love the gripping and occasionally deep storyline, I love the music, I LOVE IT ALL.

I love it so much that I made it the focus of my research for a class I took last semester, Content Analysis for the Web.  (And once I polish up my papers, I’ll even post them here, for those curious.)  I love it so much that I’m considering getting a Rose Quartz themed tattoo.  I love it so much I named my new car Lapis.

She’s no longer rocking Janeway’s old plate, but there’s my Lappy!

Seriously.  I love this show.  So much.

huuuuuugs

I’ve got my desk covered in as much SU merchandise as I can find.  I’ve got a plush Steven on my bedside table.  I have Steven Universe boxers, for crying out loud, haha.  I feel like I used to back when I discovered Sailor Moon… but there are lots of others out there who like Steven Universe, too.  And episodes keep coming out.  And it’s all over awesome and wonderful.

So, yeah, in case you couldn’t tell, I like this show.  A lot. 😀

Going back to my crafty roots

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.

So much fabric!

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.

My sewing machine – happy to be used 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.

The finished product!

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.

Scooter quilt in progress!

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.

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.

peridot_toilet
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.

dscn0883
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!

tumblr_lxjkoyl5NP1r17y5o
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!)

con_collage2

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…

craftingcollage

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!