Getting back into sewing

I’m pretty sure you folks all know I love to sew.  I’ve rambled about it a number of times on the blog.  Unfortunately, I haven’t really done much of it lately — largely because I don’t really have space to permanently set up my sewing machine.  It’s kind of a pain in the butt to set my sewing space up in the kitchen, sew for a few hours, and then take it all back down because we need to eat.  And unless I want to try to sew standing up, with the sewing machine perched on my giant dresser, there’s not really space to set it up in my craft room.

Not pictured: the messy bed with the cat sprawled on top of it, or the huge dresser covered in a mess of craft supplies.

Eventually I’ll have the space, since I’m planning on getting rid of the giant dresser (which takes up nearly an entire wall) and getting a much more reasonably sized one from Ikea at some point, and rearranging the furniture that’s left.  However, that’s going to involve some help from friends and a trip up to Fishers to get a new dresser, and a number of other things that I can’t quite get done right away.

In the meantime, I figured out a space where I can semi-permanently set up my sewing machine!  You’ll probably laugh, but hey, it’s working out pretty well for me.

My tiny sewing studio, complete with Super Mario trash can, motorcycle, and ugly garage floor. (I never said this was a glamorous studio!)

Yes, I’ve set up my sewing machine in the garage, of all places. Sure, it smells a little bit like motorcycle fumes when it gets warm in there, but I don’t mind it.  I have both my sewing machine and my ironing board set up at the same time, and can switch between them easily — which is wonderful.  When I try to set everything up in the kitchen, inevitably I end up tripping over something or knocking something over.  I used to flop the ironing board on top of the washer and dryer, but since Ross and I got new ones last year with rounded tops, I can’t quite iron in the laundry room anymore.

It’s actually not so bad, sewing in the garage.  Sure, it doesn’t look glamorous at all, but since when do all craft rooms have to be shiny and pretty and Instagram-worthy?  And I have the added benefit of being able to enjoy lots of fresh air, since I can just open up the garage door and practically be sewing outside.

Lapis: “can I help? 😀 “

Plus, that means I can sew with New Lapis! Who I’ll probably ramble about in more detail at a later date.  After all, she is The Crafty Nerdmobile!  (And once a month, she’s Lappy the LARPmobile too.)

Anyway, I’ve managed to put my sewing studio to good use so far — I’ve started work on a disappearing 9-patch quilt, and I’m to the part where I can start sewing the completed squares together.

The start of the disappearing 9-patch square — this is before I chopped it all up.

I’m really impressed with how these squares are coming out, on most of them the seams are lining up perfectly.  I learned some new quilting techniques (or, more accurately, ironing techniques) that really helped with this.  I didn’t know until recently that when you’re working with quilt squares, you shouldn’t iron them like you’d typically iron a shirt or other sewing projects.  Instead, you just flop the iron down on the seam you want to press flat and let gravity do the work.  I’ve been setting the iron on the seam for a few seconds, then lifting it and setting it further down, and it’s working out really well for me.

And here’s the square after! Doesn’t it look fantastic?

I think once I’m finished with this quilt, I might actually get working on the Sailor Moon quilt again – which also might end up being a disappearing 9-patch as well.  This pattern is fun, and ends up looking really nice when it’s done.  Not sure what I’ll do with either of these quilts when they’re finished, as I’m starting to run out of places to put them, but I’ll figure it out eventually.

I missed sewing.

Steven Universe: whaaaaat

I think Amethyst’s reaction at the end of the most recent episode of Steven Universe sums up my feelings about the events of said episode perfectly.

whaaaaaaAAAAAT?!

Before I go into too much more detail about all the stuff going on in my brain about the most recent Steven Universe episodes, Can’t Go Back and A Single Pale Rose, I should warn everyone that there will be spoilers. Lots of them.  So, if you haven’t already watched the most recent two episodes of Steven Universe: stop reading this, go find those episodes, and watch them.  And then when you’ve recovered, come back and read with me.  Beyond the jump is spoilers, so you’ve been warned!

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May the 4th be with you! (or, happy Star Wars day)

Yes, it’s May the 4th, and as all my fellow nerds know, it’s Star Wars Day!  I figure, what better day is there to ramble about how I ended up a fan of Star Wars than on Star Wars day?

You’ll probably be surprised by this, folks, but I hadn’t seen the original trilogy of Star Wars movies until I was in high school – in fact, I watched them for the first time ever the week before Episode 1 came out.  Lots of kids I knew in school liked Star Wars, and I remember some of my fellow high school band members being really excited when our band director had us prepare a medley of the Star Wars soundtrack for a band concert. All I knew about it was that there was some guy named Luke in it, and a girl named Leia, and maybe Luke and Leia were romantically involved because all the pictures I saw were of them together.  Oh, and that the guy who voiced Mufasa in The Lion King was Darth Vader.  That was the extent of my Star Wars knowledge up until one of my friends in high school, horrified when I told him I hadn’t seen any of the movies, sat me down in his living room one Saturday afternoon so we could watch the original trilogy on VHS.  And me, being the nerd I’ve always been, fell in love with the movies.  (And felt really awkward when I found out that Luke and Leia were actually siblings, and not lovers, hah.)

If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you know that when I get really interested in something, I go all out with my nerdiness.  And Star Wars was no exception, when I first got into it.  I had a tie-dyed Yoda shirt I wore until it fell apart.  I bought plastic lightsabers and had duels in a friend’s front lawn, once all the Episode 1 toys went on sale just before the Episode 2 toys came out.  I saw Episode 1 a total of 8 times in the theater (although that was mostly due to the fact that it was the first movie of a triple-feature every weekend at the drive in for the entire summer of 1999).  I gave Yoda a standing ovation with the rest of the Star Wars fans at the midnight showing of Episode 2.  I got ragey as heck when I found out that Lucas swapped out the original Anakin Skywalker in A New Hope with Hayden Christansen.  And every Halloween, I wished I had enough money to get a Princess Leia costume.

After a while, my Star Trek nerdiness mellowed out a bit – after watching the prequels enough to realize how bad they were in comparison to the original trilogy, and after not knowing if they were ever going to make anything focusing on the story past Return of the Jedi, Star Wars took a bit of a backseat to other fandoms I was interested in.   Until it was announced that there was, in fact, going to be an Episode 7, and that J. J. Abrams was going to be directing The Force Awakens. And I got flaily again.

The Force Awakens – or, more accurately, The Flaily Fangirl Reawakens.

Folks, you should have seen me when the opening credits started to roll for The Force Awakens.  I think I almost started crying.  I got hit with such a wave of nostalgia that it was almost overwhelming.  And the new movies, both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, are the Star Wars movies I’ve needed for a long time.  Sure, people complained that they took too much from the original trilogy – but I love the original trilogy, and to see familiar stories told in a new way makes me a happy nerd.

Porg is my co-pilot.

I’m gonna take a moment to ramble about porgs here.  I freaking love the porgs, they’re so adorable – and a bit less creepy than the Ewoks.

You’ve gotta admit, they’re a little creepy.

For ages I was trying to hunt down a plush Ewok so I could have one of my very own – one of the original Ewoks, not the recently-released Build-a-Bear ewoks. Now? I want a porg.  They’re amusing comic relief for what was otherwise, for me anyway, a very emotional movie.  With Carrie Fisher’s passing, The Last Jedi was full of feels for me, as I really loved her portrayal of Leia and could identify with Carrie’s struggles with mental health – and I swear, when Luke said to Leia “No-one’s ever really gone,” I burst into tears.  Those little porgs kept me from weeping through the entire movie.

I’m curious to hear from other Star Wars fans how you ended up coming to the fandom – were you following the movies right from the beginning?  Did you end up becoming a fan, like I did, just before Episode 1 came out?  Are you relatively new to the world of Star Wars?  Tell me in the comments – I’m always curious to hear how people end up coming to like things that I enjoy too. 🙂

How to make your dragon a shawl: part 1

Recently, I finally got brave enough to try making the Wingspan Shawl – while I’ve been knitting for… gosh, nearly 25 years, I’ve never really been confident in my skills beyond the the garter stitch until recently.  Now that I’ve made a number of pair of socks, though, I figured I could finally tackle the Wingspan Shawl.  I’ve been wanting to try it for years, and so I decided to try my hand at it with some yarn I picked up at a trunk show recently.  (It’s Blackberry Brambles by Oink Pigments, for those curious!)

Shawl that somewhat resembles a dragon wing, in shades of cream, pink, blue, and green.
Doesn’t this look lovely?

Once I got into the swing of things, I found out I really love working this pattern – it’s just interesting enough to keep me from getting bored, but simple enough that I can work it while watching TV.  I chugged through quite a bit of this wingspan shawl, but then encountered a problem: I ran out of yarn.

Toothless the Dragon from How To Train Your Dragon, with a grumpy look on his face.
“… are you telling me we’re out of yarn?”

While I was working on the Blackberry Brambles wingspan, though, I had an idea: I could make a Toothless-inspired wingspan shawl, with most of the shawl being black and the last two panels being red, like Toothless’s tail.

Toothless the Dragon from How To Train Your Dragon, showing his red prostetic tail fins.
Yeah, it’s his tail and not his wing (like the shawl’s name), but hey, it works, right?

So while I waited for my next skein of Blackberry Brambles to get here from Oink Pigments, I went to Jo-Ann’s and snagged some red and black yarn and whipped up this awesome little shawlette:

Plush Toothless the Dragon, sitting on the floor next to a shawl that resembles a dragon's wing.
It turned out really well, I think! I might be biased, though.

It’s not quite finished, yet – I want to add the dragon insignia that’s on Toothless’s tail fin, but that’ll involve another trip out to the craft store for some felt.  Once I’ve got that added, I’ll share the finished product with you all, as well as the template I create for the dragon insignia and instructions for how to add it to your own wingspan shawl!

RWBY: how did I go so long without watching this?

So, sometimes I’m a slacker when it comes to pop culture – especially TV and movies.  I’ll hear about a new show or movie that’s particularly awesome, and say “oh, I should watch that!” (Which is what I’ve been saying about Guardians of the Galaxy for so long that there’s a sequel to watch now.  Oops.)  Then, my brain files that information away somewhere to be forgotten about for months or years, until I’m reminded of it again, and realize that I’ve been meaning to watch it forever.

Like RWBY.  I’d seen people referencing it online years ago, and talking about how good it was, and I saw merchandise for the show in Hot Topic (yes, I shop at Hot Topic sometimes, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine despite how pricey everything is in there), and said “oh, that looks kinda cool, I should watch that someday.”  Well, that someday finally came – a couple of weeks ago, in fact.

Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang, oh how I love you all

Holy crap, why did I wait so long to watch this show?  It’s hilarious and badass and awesome, all at the same time.  It’s like Final Fantasy meets the Blue Rose tabletop RPG I’m playing in (where all the characters are essentially learning how to become guardians of the realm at a special academy, grouped into squads, and the GM hadn’t ever seen RWBY until we were four or five games in, so it’s eerie as heck how the game parallels the show).  It has sneaky references to fairy tales and other stories, and I love how subtly it’s all worked into the story.  And one of the first things I noticed, having watched a fair amount of Red vs. Blue back in the day, was the Rooster Teeth feel to it all, especially in season 1.  I spent a lot of time excitedly flailing as I watched season 1 of RWBY, as I’d see familiar joke timings, or epic battle scenes that make me think of Final Fantasy 7’s Limit Breaks, or even just cute goofy stuff that made me happy.  I love this show.  I seriously love this show.

How can you not enjoy a show where every melee weapon is also a gun? Like this set of nunchucks, which not only can turn into a staff, but are also freaking SHOTGUNS.

The soundtrack is great, the animation keeps getting better with every season, and the storyline is engaging.  And I’m only a few episodes into season 2 at this point. I’m quite sure this weekend is going to be spent binge-watching the rest of the show while I recover from my LARPing adventures last weekend.  (I have to remind myself that I’m not exactly as young as I used to be, and running around in the forest for two days will leave me hurting if I’m not careful, hah.)  And, to be honest, trying to convince myself not to try to throw together a Ruby cosplay for Gen Con, hahah. Whenever I do finish RWBY, I’ll come back and post a more thorough review of the show, something more substantial than my fangirl flailings of today’s post.  So far, though, I’m enjoying the heck out of this show.

The eternally distracted nerd

Twilight Sparkle with a book
Imagine that book is my blog, and that Twilight Sparkle is me, happily chugging out a post a week…

I was on a really good posting streak there for a while, wasn’t I?

And then my brain got in the way and decided “hey, let’s focus on everything that’s NOT the blog!”  And silly me went and followed it down a bunch of rabbit trails.  I started three craft projects, in addition to the two unfinished pairs of socks and poor neglected Sailor Moon quilt.

Oh hey there, started-but-not-finished projects.

And then Kishar started back up again, which meant I got to don my elf ears and red dress again and run around as Ëlinyr the Sun Elf for a weekend!

Ëlinyr and a newcomer to the Adventurer’s Guild.

Then there are the cosplay ideas Ross and I have been coming up with for the conventions we’re going to.  (I’m not going to post about them, because it seems that any time I post about costumes I want to do for conventions here, I never end up actually making them, like Toothless and Rose Quartz…)  And of course I get wrapped up in those and get excited for conventions, and all the fun that comes along with them.

And then I remember my poor neglected blog, and feel bad.

That happy Twilight from earlier? Now she’s buried in craft projects and books and half-started projects and unwritten blog posts. :/

Then something else distracts me, and off I go!  *sighs*

So that’s where my brain has been lately, folks.  Lost in a bunch of ridiculous distractions.  I need to actually develop a blog posting routine – set down a day and time every week to write some stuff.  Even if it’s just “hey, I’ve got nothing this week, so here, have some pictures of dogs dressed up in costumes”.

Speaking of which – yes, it’s old, but I do love seeing Pudge dressed up as the Eleventh Dogtor.

Pudge the Corgi, dressed as the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who.
Because how can you be sad when looking at a corgi dressed as the 11th Doctor?

What this rambly post boils down to, I think:  I’m still here, I’m still distracted by everything, but I’m gonna try my darndest to put new blog posts out on a regular-ish basis.  There’s definitely no shortage of things I want to post about, like my idea for turning a Wingspan Shawl into a Toothless shawl.  Or how ideas for keeping track of my yarn tourism fun.  And don’t forget about how I managed to read through almost all the Dresden Files books this year – that merits a post of its own, I think.

There I go, getting distracted again!  Anyhow.  Expect some more regular posts from me – and feel free to pester me if you don’t see anything for a while.  Friendly reminders from readers are always welcome, hah.

The crochet-a-long, two-ish months later

Well, the Woodland Blanket crochet-a-long I posted about a little while ago came to a close a few weeks ago.  How’s my blanket looking, you ask?

Blanket in multiple colors draped over a basket.
It’s definitely a blanket!

Well, even though the crochet-a-long wrapped up recently, I’m still 11 or 12 stripes away from finishing the blanket.  I managed to keep up with the rest of the group pretty well for the first month or so, and then my ADHD caught up with me and my brain said “hey, let’s find something else to work on, we’ve worked on this blanket for like a month straight, so let’s do something new and exciting!”

So I started a pair of socks.

Beginning of a knitted sock, roughly three inches long.
This sock is much further along now, I’ve rounded the heel at this point!

And then I dug out a cardigan that I’d started a few years ago and hadn’t finished yet.

Close-up of crochet stitchwork that's part of a cardigan.
It still looks like an amorphous blob at this point, but the stitch pattern is pretty.

And then I decided to go back to another pair of socks I was working on and do some work on those.

Two socks, one still being knitted, only completed up to the heel of the sock.
This pair is actually pretty close to being finished!

And then I felt guilty about not working on the blanket and went back to working on that for a little bit, but then got distracted by socks again.  I know I’ll finish that blanket soon – I keep telling myself that I’ll finish it after I finish the socks with the zigzag pattern, that I won’t start any more projects until I get some others finished.  Will I actually be able to stick to that, though? Who knows.

Anyhow, I’ll post about the blanket when I get it finished, I promise.  And I will get that finished.  I’m determined.

Five more free nerdy cross-stitch patterns

Everybody loves free things, and especially free cross-stitch patterns!  So, here, have another collection of nerdy free cross-stitch patterns.

Rick and Morty Big Heads

Preview of Rick and Morty Big Heads cross-stitch pattern

Because everyone loves Rick and Morty, here’s a pattern of our favorite dysfunctional interdimensional travelers.

Home Is Where My Butt Is

Cross-stitch pattern with a cat on a couch, with the caption Home is where my butt is.

Oh, Pusheen.  So cute and sassy.

Navi in a Bottle

Cross-stitch pattern of a little fairy in a bottle, with the text Hey Listen.
Because sometimes, you just want to cram Navi in a bottle.

Bowie Cross-Stitch Pattern

Cross stitch pattern of David Bowie, with the lightning bolt on his face from Aladdin Sane.
A little bit of Bowie is always good.

Totoro Bookmark Cross-Stitch Pattern

Image of a cross-stitch bookmark featuring Totoro.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret… I actually still haven’t seen My Neighbor Totoro yet.  I know, it’s shocking!

Photo of different types of teas arranged around a mug, with the text The tea nerd superimposed over the image

The tea nerd

Tea: it’s what fuels all my craft projects.  And my work. And, well, my entire life.  When I had to give up coffee last year due (it’s a long story), I needed something caffeinated to fill the hole in my life.  It turns out that tea more than filled that empty space.

Photo of a crocheted blanket next to a mug of tea.
Ahh, tea. Plus, my favorite mug – an old Beauty and the Beast mug I found at a thrift shop years ago.

I almost wonder why I never got into the tasty world of tea earlier.  There are so very many different flavors of tea out there, and different varieties of the same kind of tea – for example, did you know that every variety of Earl Grey I’ve had tastes different?  Some have a stronger bergamot taste and smell, some have different flavors added, and they’re all unique and tasty.  Beyond just Earl Grey, there are so many different delicious teas out there – like Lupicia’s Rose Royal black tea, Adagio’s Cream Tea, Celestial Seasoning’s Bengal Spice tea, and my morning staple, Yorkshire Gold tea.

There are some serious tea nerds out there – like J and Kasi, who have a tea shelf that’s taller than me and FULL of different types of tea.

Photo of a shelf unit, full of different varieties of tea.
Seriously. Look at that tea shelf. And that’s not even all their tea. (and there’s even a little bit of courtesy coffee at the top left!)

Me, my tea shelf is nowhere near as impressive, but it’s definitely full of tasty tea.  I’ve acquired a variety of teas from all over the place, thanks to friends and discoveries online.  And I just keep finding more tasty tea.  And nerdy tea, too! Like the Fandom Blends from Adagio Teas, who let tea lovers make their own tea blends based on favorite TV shows and books.  It’s fun to try them out, and see what sorts of blends people come up with for your favorite fandoms.  I can vouch for the tastiness of the following teas – I especially like the Sailor Moon blend, it’s incredibly tasty.

Photo of three small tea tins, one with Rose Quartz from Steven Universe on the front, another with Sailor Moon, and the third with Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony.
The Rose Quartz and Pinkie Pie teas are really good, too.

Dryad Tea also makes nerdy teas – and plenty of them, too! (My favorite of theirs is based off of an SJ Tucker song, Ravens in the Library.)  In addition to tea, though, they make absolutely beautiful mugs and nerdy tea infusers too! Check out this lovely handmade mug I got from them at Gen Con.

Photo of a handmade mug, with a tin of tea labeled Ravens in the Library.
I absolutely love those colors together – this is one of my favorite tea mugs, for sure.

Dryad Tea is definitely one of my favorite discoveries from Gen Con last year, for sure.  I plan on loading up with more of their tea soon, and purchasing another mug from them during Gen Con – look at these beautiful mugs they’ve just finished up!

A collage of 9 different photos of different handmade mugs, some with floral patterns, made by Dryad Tea.
These mugs are so very beautiful! (Photo by Dryad Teas.)

I think you can safely say that tea is now a thing I officially nerd out over, especially given the amount of tea I have crammed onto the tea shelf in my pantry, and the amount of different mugs and infusers and tea cups I’ve got crowding up my kitchen, and the fact that I even have a travel tea kettle I bring with me to conferences and on vacations so I’m sure I can make a good cup of tea wherever I’m at…

… yes, I think I’m definitely a tea nerd. 🙂

What’s on the nerdy radar: February 2018

I’m trying out a new post series – one that details things my local geeky and nerdy friends are up to!  I figure this’ll start out with smallish posts, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to add more to these!

What’s on the nerdy radar for February?

  • My friends over at Geeking in Indiana are headed off to the JoCo Cruise as I type!  I’m incredibly, incredibly jealous – Tony gets to spend a week on a boat with Patrick Rothfuss.  A WEEK.  With Pat Rothfuss!  Maybe someday I’ll get to go – I’ve never been on a cruise before, and going on a nerdy cruise sounds like absolute heaven.  (Except for the 75 cents a minute cost for wifi.  Bwuh.)
  • Over at The Five-ish Fangirls Podcast, they’re talking about season 4 of The Librarians – given that I’ve got a masters in Library Science, I feel like I should watch this show, hah.  I’ve heard good things about it – maybe I’ll go hunt it down on Hulu and watch it this weekend.
  • Granted, this already happened, but my friend Jen hosted a learn to paint minis class at Common Room Games here in Bloomington last weekend!

    It looks like they had lots of fun – and there’ll be more painting nights coming up soon, so for those of you who are local, come out to Common Room and paint with some cool people!

  • It looks like Gen Con might sell out for the second year in a row – which is exciting and impressive!  (And a little terrifying for this socially anxious nerd, haha.)  Given that approximately 60,000 badges were bought last year, and the convention officially sold out just before the convention last year, I’m curious to see the official attendance numbers this year after the convention’s done with – and I’m definitely curious to see when badges sell out this year!  Ross and I are definitely going to Gen Con this year – I’ve got my press badge, and we’ve got a downtown hotel room (although it was outside of the housing block and ridiculously expensive), and with this being Ross’s first year staying at a hotel at Gen Con, we’re excited.

Is there anything I missed?  Do you want me to add your nerdy news to next month’s post?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Book review: Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal. But in the remote Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy—the Marat horde—return to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war…

-from the Amazon Kindle book description of Furies of Calderon

You might be more familiar with Jim Butcher’s other works, especially his Dresden Files series, but he writes more than just the adventures of Harry Dresden – more recently, he wrote The Aeronaut’s Windlass (which I’ve read and will likely review later), and back in 2004, he wrote the first book in the Codex Alera series – Furies of Calderon.  I’d been meaning to read through the series for quite some time, and started the series late last year – and I’m currently working on the last book in the series.  Furies of Calderon is the start to what I feel is a really great series – it seems like a bit of a hidden gem in the fantasy world, as I don’t really hear people talk about the Codex Alera series as much as, say, Game of Thrones.  The world of Alera gripped me more thoroughly than the world of Westeros – I couldn’t put down any of the books in this series, and Furies of Calderon is no exception.

Furies of Calderon and The Codex Alera series has some very interesting inspiration.  The series was, believe it or not, inspired by a writing challenge where, at one point, Butcher said “give me two terrible ideas for a story, and I’ll use them BOTH” – and the ideas given were the Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon.  I was a little skeptical about the possibility of the series being based on ancient Rome and Pokemon (both things I enjoy), so I did some research – and it’s apparently true. (Check out the sources at the bottom of this post – there’s an interview at Comic Con with Jim Butcher where he talks about this!)  This book series is totally based off the Lost Roman Legion trope and Pokémon.  Somehow, Butcher took those two terrible ideas and made an engaging and enjoyable fantasy series out of them – and Furies of Calderon is the first book in this series.

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Five years of The Crafty Nerd!

And you know what?  I almost forgot today was the blog’s birthday!  But I didn’t – and here I am, with the yearly birthday post.

This is a big birthday, folks.  Five whole years of crafty nerdiness, costuming, and accidental posting hiatuses.  Five years of Gen Con trips, flailing about Patrick Rothfuss, and saving My Little Pony manes from horrible tangly fates.  Writing this blog has been one of the biggest parts of my life the past five years, outside of grad school and work.  I still get excited every time I see a comment on a post, or a like on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page.  Whenever someone says “oh hey, I’ve heard of your blog!” when I’m at a convention or hanging out with friends, I get flaily.  This blog is something I’ve poured a lot of heart and soul into.  I end up feeling bad when I fall into one of those accidental posting hiatuses that happen every so often, due to getting wrapped up into a big craft project or not having the energy or focus to write posts.  (Seriously, folks, you have no idea how bad I feel every time I fall into one of those accidental hiatuses.  It’s rough.)  I love this blog, and I love what it’s helped me to do and who it’s brought into my life.

This past year, a lot of fun stuff was covered on The Crafty Nerd.  I did some exciting stuff, like…

  • joining a LARP.  Playing in Kishar has been incredible amounts of fun – during my first game, I told one of my friends that Kishar felt like what would happen if you combined Gen Con and summer camp.  It’s inspired me to try new costuming things, and make interesting little craft projects to help Ëlinyr really come to life.  I’m really excited for Season 7 of Kishar, which starts next month! (Which reminds me, there are some costume pieces I need to make before March…)
  • going to Diagon Alley!  It was like I was actually in the world of Harry Potter, and it was fantastic.  I hope Ross and I can go back soon.
  • FINALLY learning how to drive!  Do you know how fantastic it was for me, making my first trip to Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics without having to plan my purchases strategically on how much could fit into a scooter?  Now, my only limit is how much yarn I can fit into the back of a Versa Note.  (Which is probably a ridiculous amount of yarn.)  Driving Lapis has been fantastic, for many reasons – and yeah, it may not be a crafty or nerdy thing, but it enables me to do way more crafty and nerdy stuff.  This year, I might finally tackle learning how to ride a motorcycle…
  • covering Gen Con 50 on the blog!  I think this was the best Gen Con I’ve ever been to – and that’s saying a lot, since I did end up meeting my husband at Gen Con back in 2013.  I’m pretty excited for this year’s Gen Con – I’m going to try to put together some new costumes, and I might even bring Pinkie Pie back out with a new wig!

This past year has been a great year, Crafty Nerd wise, and the fact that the blog has made it to its fifth birthday is amazing.  Thank you, folks, for reading my little blog, and for helping make the past five years pretty darn awesome. 🙂

Five awesome nerdy DIY projects

Stuck home on a rainy weekend with nothing to do?  Looking for something fun to make for your home office or living room?  Check out this roundup of five awesome nerdy do-it-yourself projects to help make your home a little extra nerdy.

DIY D20 Lamp from Our Nerdy Home


This incredibly easy IKEA lamp hack would make an awesome addition to your office, game room, or anyplace else that needs a little extra light.  And with the materials costing less than $25, this is a relatively inexpensive project!  (Which is always good, so you can save some money for more games, right?)  🙂

Don’t Panic Towel Messenger Bag from Nerd By Night

Alright, this is something I’m probably going to have to make for hauling around Gen Con goodies.  I think this is quite possibly the nerdiest bag I’ve ever seen – and I need it in my life.  I mean, come on, a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy themed bagmade from a towel.  And for the cost of a towel, you can be a hoopy frood with a towel bag of your very own.

Light Up and Talking PotatOS from Portal 2, by codename-3c

Looking for something a little more complicated to make?  Why not try your hand at this talking PotatOS from Portal 2?  (Note: there are spoilers for Portal 2 in the instructions for this project, so keep that in mind if you haven’t played it yet!)  I’m half tempted to try making this for Ross.

Geek Welcome Mats from Our Nerd Home

Our Nerd Home has a lot of awesome DIY projects on their site – and this is another awesome project of theirs!  These geeky welcome mats look relatively simple to make, and you could easily do all sorts of designs with this technique!  (I’m imagining Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark as one idea for a welcome mat…)

DIY Comic Book Lamp from A Girl and A Glue Gun


I like this comic book lamp project. It looks like it’d be a lot of fun to do with not just old comic books, but all sorts of nerdy artwork – and you could easily just make a new lampshade for an existing lamp, or snag a lamp from a thrift store that needs a little bit of TLC!

Hopefully these five project ideas might spark your DIY side and give you some ideas for fun stuff to make the next time you’re bored and looking for something creative to do!  I know I’ve got some ideas, that’s for sure.

The Crafty Nerd tries a crochet-a-long

Did you folks know I’ve never, ever done a crochet-a-long before?  Ever?

Well, that changed at the beginning of January – and I’m having a lot of fun with it.  For those curious, I’m taking part in the Woodland Blanket Crochet-a-Long, led by Lucy of Attic24.  Kasi suggested we do the crochet-a-long together, and so we bought the yarn in December and waited.

This bag of yarn taunted me for weeks.

And on January 5th, the Woodland Blanket crochet-a-long started!  And I did a first for me – I made a gauge swatch before jumping headlong into a blanket.

And it was exactly the size it needed to be!

I was ridiculously excited that the gauge swatch turned out exactly as it should – and I jumped right in after that, and crocheted until my wrist hurt.  It’s been a while since I crocheted anything, what with my recent obsession with sock making, hah, and my wrist was out of practice.

Steve’s been really enjoying me crocheting, too.  A warm human, sitting still for hours while making a thing to snuggle under? Count him in.

I think he’s already claimed the blanket as his own.

And I’ll admit, instead of writing blog posts, I’ve been crocheting furiously and hanging out around the Facebook group for the crochet-a-long.  There are so many pretty blankets being showed off there, and I love seeing all the different ways people are working with the colors and following their own path through the crochet-a-long.  It’s almost addicting, working on the blanket and looking at others’ blankets as they’re in progress.  The pattern for this blanket has a nice rhythm to it, and the colors we’ve all been working with the past few weeks are delightfully warm and have really brightened up the recent string of snow days I’ve had.

The best thing to do on a snow day: crochet and drink chai.

I’ll post about the blanket again closer to when it’s finished, so I don’t end up overwhelming everyone with blanket posts like I’ve been doing on Instagram.  It’s been a great project to unwind with when I get home from work.  Especially on days like today, when I had one of the least pleasant commutes home ever – I’m so tempted to hibernate until all the snow melts.  Driving in snow is scary.  Crocheting is not.

 

A long overdue post about Patrick Rothfuss

It’s no secret around here that I absolutely love Patrick Rothfuss.  Why, though?  How the heck did this crafty nerd end up so ridiculously obsessed with some bearded dude from Wisconsin?  Why does she toss so much money at the wonderful folks at The Tinker’s Packs for merchandise focusing on a bunch of books?

It hit me that I’ve never exactly told the whole story of how I ended up being a borderline rabid Rothfuss fangirl on the blog.  And as I was trying to come up with a blog post for this week, I thought to myself, “why not make it this week’s blog post?  You need to write something, and that Sailor Moon quilt has done absolutely nothing since last week, so ramble about Pat!”

And so here we are.  So come, sit, and listen to me ramble about the long and winding road that brought me to being the huge fan of Pat Rothfuss that I am, and the wonderful stuff that’s happened along the way that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t picked up a copy of The Name of the Wind on one chilly March afternoon, back in 2013.

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