Author: Beth

The Crafty Nerd tackles the Hue Shift afghan

I’ve been wanting to make a Hue Shift afghan for years. Many, many years. Before I got back into knitting and started getting better at it, I was a little intimidated by the mitered squares, and also by the prospect of knitting an entire blanket. I’ve never knit a blanket before, and the Hue Shift afghan looked like it’d be a heck of an undertaking.

However, last week, I went and bought the pattern and headed over to Michaels to find the closest colors I could to what Knit Picks called for in the pattern. I think I came pretty close, but some of them are a little different — and that’s okay. I want to make this blanket my own, since there are so very many other Hue Shifts out there. Why not try to be a little unique?

I do love how these colors look together.

I just started the fifth mitered square – only 95 more to go, haha.  I was originally thinking “hey, if I crank out a square a day, I could have this blanket done in 100 days!” But I know me too well. You folks know me too well. If I try to crank out the blanket on a deadline, it’ll end up taking me three years.

The blanket so far.

Instead, I’ll work on it at whatever pace I can manage (and try not to give myself repetitive stress injuries in the process!), and post some updates on its progress from time to time.  I want to enjoy making this blanket, instead of feeling guilty about it like I did with the Woodland Blanket. I’ve been wanting to make this blanket for so long, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Sheet of paper with the words "Fountain pens: My new obsession" written on it, with a fountain pen laying on top of the paper.

Fountain pens: my new obsession

I’ve fallen into a new… hobby? obsession? Whatever it is, it ties in nicely with my bullet journalling hobby (yes, I’m still keeping up with that!), and given my love for pens, color, and fancy paper, I’m not surprised I fell into this hobby.

Calling it a new obsession isn’t exactly truthful, though – I was always really intrigued by my dad’s fountain pens when I was a little girl. They were so fancy! And my dad would do silly things like draw smiley faces on my fingers and toes with his fountain pens. It always made me laugh when he’d do that.

Pointer finger with a smiley face drawn onto it.
Just like my dad used to do, haha.

When I was a little older, maybe in my teenage years, I decided that someday, I’d own a fountain pen, just like my dad. And, well, now I own six!

Photo of six fountain pens - two Pilot Metropolitans, a TWSBI Eco, and three Pilot Kakunos.
From left to right: two Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop pens, a TWSBI Eco, and three Pilot Kakuno pens.

What’s interesting about writing with fountain pens is that they all feel slightly different – it’s almost like they have personalities of their own. My green Metropolitan Retro Pop feels like it’s grumpy, and isn’t always the smoothest to write with. (That might be because when I first bought it, I only used it a little bit, then let it sit for two years to dry up… At least I learned how to clean fountain pens, thanks to Green Metro!) My clear Kakuno feels precise, peppy, and energetic. The purple and white Kakuno feels welcoming, friendly, and stable.

Oh god, I’m ascribing personalities to my fountain pens. Please send help. 🤣

More seriously, though, they make writing much more fun, whether it’s for work, in my bullet journal, or in a letter to a friend. I have a different color of ink in each pen, and even more colors to choose from if I want to switch out the ink I’m using. (The Goulet Pen Company’s little ink samples are perfect – I get to try out lots of different colors, and if I find one I love I can buy a big bottle of it.)

It’s been really hard resisting the urge to buy more pens and ink.  My wish list on Goulet Pens just keeps growing and growing, haha.

Screenshot of part of my Goulet Pens wishlist, containing a couple of different pens and bottles of ink.
This isn’t even my entire wish list!

I’m looking forward to seeing what other things I can do with fountain pens aside from writing a lot and playing with different ink colors.  Having fancy pens to write with might actually get me working on making my handwriting neater, at least. 🙂

Finally got a Kickstarter I’ve been waiting for!

I think I got a little burned out on everything after Gen Con – hence the lack of a post last week.  Don’t get me wrong, I tried to get the last of my Gen Con reports put together, and there’s a start to it in the pile of half-finished blog posts I’m accumulating, but I just couldn’t nudge myself towards getting it done.  I’ll try to finish it soon, though, as there are some pretty cool vendors and artists I want to share with you all that I discovered at Gen Con.

So that this week’s blog post isn’t all just me being down on myself for not posting last week, I’m going to talk about a Kickstarter whose rewards I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a little while now.  Those rewards showed up on my doorstep the other day, and I can’t help but share them with you all, because they’re so beautiful!

Yep, that’s right – the Name of the Wind Art Deck Kickstarter started shipping last month, and I finally got my goodies.  They were definitely worth the wait, that’s for sure.

Now, this isn’t the first deck of cards that’s had artwork from Name of the Wind on them – a deck was released a few years ago (also the product of a Kickstarter, if I remember right), with artwork by Shane Tyree depicting the characters we all know and love. I’ve got the Shane Tyree deck as well as the new ones with art by Echo Chernik, and it’s really interesting to see how each artist envisioned the characters.

From left to right: Auri, Denna, and Kote, with Shane Tyree’s art on top and Echo Chernik’s art on bottom.

The coin that I got as part of the rewards is beautiful – and pretty hefty, too!  I’d be afraid to flip it and accidentally dent a table with it when it lands, haha.

The prints are beautiful, too – I can’t wait to get them framed.  I’ve been especially excited about them, since I love Echo’s work, and it was really exciting to get to meet her at Gen Con.  All in all, I’m really happy with the quality of everything – the cards feel great in your hand, and the artwork is absolutely wonderful.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with four decks of Name of the Wind playing cards. 😛

Gen Con 2018 Report: the LARPs

This post is part of my Gen Con 2018 Report series – you can find the whole collection here!

As I mentioned briefly in some of my daily Gen Con posts, I took part in two different LARPs this year at Gen Con, in very different roles.  I’ve never actually LARPed at Gen Con before, so being involved in two different games might have been a little ambitious, but in retrospect, I had a heck of a lot of fun.  Both games I was involved in were put on by Phoenix Fire LARP, a group that my dear friends J and Kasi run with some of their friends. Since convention halls don’t really lend themselves well to boffer LARPs (or, LARPs that make use of foam weapons for attacking others), J developed the FIRE System, which uses a deck of playing cards to determine damage dealt to characters, help add an element of chance to certain actions, and to help with determining initiative for the players.  It’s a really neat system that’s pretty quick to learn.

While both games made use of the FIRE System, they were about as different as things can get – and I had completely different experiences in both games, what with running one and participating in another.  Read on to learn more about Return to Paragon City and Showdown in Sacramento!

Return to Paragon City

The three main storytellers from Return to Paragon City – Daniel, Kasi, and myself.

Return to Paragon City was the game I helped run – it’s based on the beloved MMO City of Heroes, which I didn’t get to play for long before they shut the game down back in 2012.  The game was run as a hybrid tabletop/live action game, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. However, to be honest, when I first volunteered to help run Paragon City, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t expect I’d be running part of the game by myself, but that’s what ended up happening. And given that it was my first experience running any sort of game, I was anxious as heck about it. I’ve played in tabletop games for years, and I’ve got a year and a half of LARPing experience under my belt, but running a game?  Telling a story and keeping track of where everyone is in location to the bad guys and keeping track of the bad guys’ health ended up being a really overwhelming prospect for me.  I was so worried I’d mess something up, and then freak out about messing things up, and it’d all spiral out of control.  Each playtest we did helped me feel a little better about things, but not much.  I ended up showing up to the game in the middle of a massive anxiety attack. Oh, brain.  Why do you do this to me?

Some of the fine superheroes from my table at Return to Paragon City.

Anyhow, I told J that my brain was conspiring against me and that I had no idea how I’d be able to run my section of game, so we tag-teamed my section of the event – I’d do the storytelling, while J handled the combat parts.  That combination worked out well – during combat I focused on keeping track of where people were on the map and how many hit points the bad guys had, while J handled the actual logistics.  And our group had loads of fun!  We had some great superheroes in our group, including Professor Photon, Cameraman (who had a camera prop and involved it in all of his attacks), and The Spicy Taco (whose attacks were, of course, taco-themed).

All in all, I learned a lot – and learned that maybe I need training wheels, so to speak, for a little bit longer when it comes to running a LARP.

Showdown in Sacramento

Showdown in Sacramento was an entirely different experience.  In fact, the only thing Showdown and Paragon City had in common was the FIRE System – everything else was incredibly different.  Instead of being set in a fictitious city full of superheroes, Showdown is set in Sacramento during the gold rush era, and is full of supernatural beings- mages, werewolves, vampires, and fey (in addition to regular plain old humans).  In last year’s game, an event happened that caused all the supernatural beings to glow with a specific colored aura around them, based on the type of supernatural being they were.  This made things a little… interesting for this year’s game, especially when it came to the political elements.

I like how J and Kasi handled character creation, although I know it resulted in an immense amount of work on their end.  Instead of creating our own characters, we were each assigned a character and given a fair bit of backstory for them as a starting point for this year’s game.  I ended up playing Lucina Finch, a relative newcomer to Sacramento who’d recently purchased a mine and was planning on using her abilities as a mage to construct machines that would work in the mines, to lessen the potential harm to humans.  Having the character information to start from made things much easier for me, especially since I was new to the game – once I got into character and started interacting with others, I had a great time.

Lucina Finch with J (who played many roles during the game, haha).  And yes, that’s the mole from my Marco costume earlier in the day – I’ll have to remember to add that for next year’s costume, haha.

Lucina partnered up with two other mages (Isadora and Adelia) to work on making more machines to work in the mines, which was one of Lucina’s main goals for the game.  There was also a lot of mining (Lucina had to pay Adelia for the rights to her gold-detecting machine somehow!), a marriage market where Lucina got matched up with a friendly werewolf named Thomas, a number of fights with thugs attempting to raid the mines (Thomas protected Lucina from one such attack by transforming into a werewolf, which Lucina thought was pretty awesome), and even voting on political issues that would affect the supernaturals living in Sacramento both immediately and in the years to come.  And with the help of a couple of others, the lady mages found out the source of the auras that were affecting the supernatural folk of Sacramento!

 

The cast of Showdown in Sacramento!

I had a heck of a lot of fun in Showdown, and I’m really glad I decided to jump in and play this year.  Granted, doing two 6-hour LARPs over the course of two days was exhausting, but I really enjoyed it.

 

Gen Con 2018: The Report

Well, Gen Con 2018 is all done – which I’m rather bummed about, I had an absolutely wonderful time this year!  Thanks to staying in a hotel in Indy, I actually had the energy to post something little each day of the convention, but I’ve got a heck of a lot more to ramble about – so here goes! To keep this one post from getting too ridiculously long, I’ve split out the long and rambly parts into their own posts:

My experience this year was pretty good in general – I kept up on what was going on with the Fans of Gen Con group on Facebook, which was full of good information.  From where to find certain games to how long the line for Will Call was, the folks in Fans of Gen Con posted about it all – and it helped me feel a little more connected to the convention in general.  I’m hoping I can actually make it to their pre-Gen Con event next year, the Stink, so I can meet more of the great folks in that group.

Speaking of Will Call – what the heck was up with Will Call this year?  The lines were insane, from what I heard – this year I ended up getting my press badge with my friend Rachel (of The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast) on Wednesday, and then hopping into the Will Call line – which stretched almost entirely across the convention center.  It moved pretty quickly, though – Ross, Rachel, and I were only in line for a half hour.  However, Thursday was an entirely different story.

This photo was taken by someone in the Fans of Gen Con group on Facebook, at around noon on Thursday.  That was the end of the line – snaking almost to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Apparently the line was really, really bad on Thursday – so much for Will Call being such a well-kept secret!  I think Ross and I are going to plan on getting my press badge on Wednesday of Gen Con from now on, so we don’t feel so rushed trying to get things taken care of early Thursday morning (and so we avoid the potential horrors of the lengthy Will Call lines). 

I don’t know about everyone else, but it felt like some parts of Gen Con were ridiculously packed compared to last year.  It felt almost impossible to navigate the Block Party, where all the food trucks were congregated, during meal times (and forget about finding a place to sit!) – and the dealer hall was insane on Sunday.  I get easily overwhelmed when there are too many people somewhere, and while most of the time I was fine, there were some spots where I just got so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people crammed into a small area.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to alleviate this outside of finding a new place to do Gen Con or expanding further into the surrounding hotels – it’s just something I guess I’m gonna have to deal with.

I will say, watching the crowds enter the dealers hall on Thursday morning was fascinating.  I actually recorded the tail end of the opening ceremonies for Gen Con this year, and at about 4 and a half minutes into the video, you can see the crowd start pouring into the hall (and hear my silly commentary on it, too).

One of the things I love about Gen Con is the fact that I can run into friends from pretty much every part of my life here – over the course of the convention, I ran into a bunch of folks from Kishar, friends from work, my wonderful mom-in-law and brother-in-law, and even folks from SIGUCCS (a professional organization I’m a member of).  It’s like one big geeky party that all your friends are at, and it’s fantastic. I always love running into friends and family at Gen Con.

Star, Marco, and Steve from Blues Clues! (Or, Ross, myself, and Ross’s brother Damion.)

Overall, I had a great time – I got to eat tasty food from the food trucks (including some pierogies from Pierogi Love, and a rainbow cupcake covered in glitter called “The Mike Pence”, haha), I got to wear a Sailor Moon costume I’d only ever dreamed about wearing before, I got to play in some awesome games, and I spent a ridiculous amount of money in the dealers hall (I bought a Utilikilt this year!).  All in all, this was a great year, and I’m looking forward to next year’s Gen Con!  Here’s a little taste of Gen Con 2018, in photo form.

Keep an eye out for the more specific Gen Con Reports! 🙂  And if you want to listen to a more detailed (and much more tired) report about Gen Con, I guest-starred on the most recent episode of The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast, where Rachel and I talk about our Gen Con experience!  

Gen Con 2018: the cosplay

This post is part of my Gen Con 2018 Report series – you can find the whole collection here!

Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for – the cosplay post from this year’s Gen Con! First, I want to show off mine and Ross’s costumes from Gen Con, since I’m really proud of how they turned out.  First off, our Friday costumes – Ross and I dressed as Star and Marco from Star vs. The Forces of Evil.

Not many people realized who I was until I pointed out the mole and the fact that I was wearing a red sweatshirt, haha.  I think next year, I’m going to have to dress as Princess Marco Turdina if I want to do Marco again.

Saturday was the really big day for cosplay for Ross and I – he wore his Star costume again, and I got to wear my dream Sailor Moon costume.

Ross is best Mewni princess. (Photo taken by TheMOX on Flickr.)

 

I had SO much fun getting to dress up as Sailor Moon for the day.  (Photo taken by TheMOX on Flickr.)

In general, there were loads of great costumes, and I really wish I’d been able to take more pictures – however, it’s incredibly hard to manage a cell phone with gloves on, so Ross was my photographer for most of Saturday.  

Without further ado, here are the pictures!  Click on the photos to see a larger/uncropped version – and if you’re in any of these photos and want a larger resolution version, leave a comment and I’ll link you to the high-res versions on Google!

And for those of you who are interested in watching the Costume Parade, check out this video from Naptown Buzz – Ross and I are about a minute in, after Gandalf the Dog. 🙂

Gen Con: day 4

or: Gen Con: the day I officially ran out of spoons.

But it’s okay that I ran out of spoons today, because it was the last day of Gen Con, and I didn’t really have anything planned!  So I went and did the one event I was signed up for – a crocheting event.

Soon to be a dragon scale scarf.

Do you know how hard it is to attempt to crochet at 9 am on a Sunday at Gen Con? My sleepy brain spent a few minutes thinking “does this pattern use American or UK crochet terms?” before I realized I was being silly, this pattern totally uses American terms, the image at the top of the pattern uses the same double crochets you’re used to.  Then I spent some time trying to get all those double crochets where they needed to be.  Eventually, after an hour of talking to my yarn and telling it to behave, I got two rows of scales done.

The rest of my day, outside of packing and loading stuff into the car, was spent wandering the dealer’s hall – I won’t lie, it was a little overwhelming with so many people crammed in there.  I got some tea and some dice, and Ross went on a bit of a wild goose chase looking for a fancy leather writing/sketching book.  We eventually found something close to what he liked at the Medieval Collectibles booth, and so he’s perusing their website as we speak to find the book he wants. 

Around 1 pm, we finally gave up and decided to head home – we were both exhausted (especially after 6 straight hours of cosplay photos, wandering around the convention center, and participating in the costume parade), and I almost fell asleep in the car on the way home. Now, I get to unpack, spend time with the cats, and slowly rehydrate myself.  Plus, I get to spend tomorrow writing up blog posts, reacclimating to normal life, and guest-starring on another episode of The Five-Ish Fangirls Podcast where Rachel and I (and the other podcasters) ramble about the past four days. 

I miss Gen Con already.

Gen Con 2018: day 3

My feet are killing me, I’m definitely a little dehydrated, and my hair is full of Ross’s styling clay to keep all the little annoying hair tendrils from escaping out from under my wig, but it’s all worth it, because…

This seriously made my entire convention.

That’s right, the costume I’ve been working on putting together for months, and have been so very excited to wear, won an award. I was so worried something was going to go wrong with this costume – that it wouldn’t fit me properly anymore (I’ve lost some weight since I last wore it), that the wig wouldn’t be done in time, that I’d sprain an ankle in those heels… but no, everything went together amazingly, and I am so, so happy.  And I got an award for my costume!

But I’d still be my happy exhausted self even if I didn’t end up winning that  awesome little award. You know why?

I saw so many faces light up today when they saw my costume, because they love Sailor Moon as much as I do.  I saw a little girl get excited and flaily and scream out “SAILOR MOOOON” when I walked by during the costume parade, and she got even flailier when I waved.  I love making others smile with my costumes, and I love finding other cosplayers from the same show who get excited when they notice that we’re all dressing as characters from Sailor Moon, or My Little Pony, or whatever fandom we’re representing in costume that day.  

That’s the main reason why I’m a happy nerd right now – because I got to make others smile.

Like Usagi here, who got really excited to see someone dressed as Sailor Moon.

Gen Con 2018: Day 2

Today was full of cosplay, LARPing, and suppressing fangirl flailing.

First off, Ross and I dressed as Star and Marco today! I look exhausted. XD

We had lots of fun, and it was a good test run for getting Ross into his Star cosplay for tomorrow. Plus, there was a fair amount of people who recognized us (and gave Ross some strange looks when they realized he wasn’t a girl), which made me happy.

I also got to play in my first LARP at Gen Con! Showdown in Sacramento was today, and I had an amazing time. J and Kasi sure know how to tell a good story. I’ll have pictures from the game soon – likely in time for my post-con write-up.

The best part of today, though, was getting to meet Echo Chernik (note: there is some NSFW artwork on her site), the artist for the Name of the Wind Art Deck playing card Kickstarter I backed last year. I really enjoy her artwork, and we talked about the Kickstarter a bit – and then she pulled out her sketchbook and let me look through some of the sketches she did for the Kickstarter.

And yes, I asked if I could take a picture of this page, and she said yes. I am so ridiculously happy that I got to meet her. She even signed a card with artwork for me (she’s doing that for all the Kickstarter backers who haven’t gotten their rewards yet!) – I’m going to have to find a tiny little frame for it.

So, that was my day two! Tomorrow is going to be crazy and awesome – I’m dressing up as Sailor Moon, finally! 😀

Gen Con 2018: day one

I survived day one of Gen Con! And I’ve had lots of fun (and spent lots of money, haha), and am so exhausted. I wanted to ramble a little bit about today, but expect better and less rambly posts after Gen Con is done. 🙂

The two highlights of today were pretty big things for me – first off, I got to wear my Sailor Moon wig today.

Isn’t it beautiful? Oriana did an amazing job with it, especially in such a short time. It’s heavy as heck, with all the hair in the pigtails, but it’s freaking amazing and I love it.

The second big thing: I helped run my first role playing game. Ever. Like, I wrote plot and did storytelling and panicked about how to handle doing all the things at once. But I did it (with some help from J), and people really enjoyed it.

The epic group of heroes from Return to Paragon City.

It was great to run a game based on a game that so many people enjoyed and miss. And I’m really glad I didn’t mess anything up – I’ve been anxious about this game for weeks. But hey, I did it (with the equivalent of training wheels, heh), and everyone had fun.

Daniel, Kasi, and I – the gamemasters for Return to Paragon City.

Now, it’s time to rest up, since I’ve got another big game tomorrow and a fun bit of cosplaying that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. 🙂

Gen Con 2018: it’s almost here

I apologize for the lack of a post last week and the week before — I’ve been swamped with Gen Con prep.  And oh, there’s a lot of it this year.

For example: did you folks know I’m helping run a LARP this year?  Return to Paragon City (based on the old MMORPG City of Heroes) is going to be my first stab at running a simple LARP, and I’m really excited for it (and more than a little anxious, I’m not going to lie).  It’s been awesome, revisiting the world of City of Heroes as my friends and I put together the story for Return to Paragon City.  I really hope it goes well!

In addition to helping run Return to Paragon City, I’m also going to play in a LARP too – Showdown in Sacramento!  Which actually sold out on the first day event registration was open, which was awesome and slightly frustrating, haha.  Thankfully, the friends running Showdown are the same friends running Paragon City with me, so even if Gen Con hadn’t increased the amount of available tickets, they’d have found a way for Ross and I to get in there and play (probably with a lot of generic event tickets, hah.)

I also spent most of last weekend making Ross the last piece he needed for his Star Butterfly costume – a star purse that came out far better than I expected it would.  And yes, I lined it with My Little Pony fabric.  Would you expect anything different from me? 😉

On the left is the purse in progress, and on the left is the finished product! He looks a little silly, but that’s kind of the point, I think. 🙂

I’ve only got two days of officially planned costumes this year, Marco Diaz from Star vs. The Forces of Evil and Sailor Moon. I’m excited to be Marco Diaz (and even more excited to see Ross in his Star Butterfly costume!), and every time I think of my Sailor Moon costume I get ridiculously flaily. (As I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now.)  Depending on how I feel on Sunday, I might throw on my “stealth dress” and wander around Gen Con as my Kishar character, Ëlinyr. Or I might wear my Sailor Moon wig and my Crafty Nerd t-shirt!  Who knows.

For those of you who are going to Gen Con, say hi if you see me!  Following is a breakdown of what costumes Ross and I are planning to wear on what days (when we’re not LARPing), so you know what to look for.

Day Beth’s costume Ross’s costume
Thursday Sailor Meta Moon
(or, Usagi in a Sailor Moon dress)
Ravenclaw student
Friday Marco Diaz Star Butterfly
Saturday Sailor Moon Star Butterfly
Sunday maybe Ëlinyr?  maybe Usagi? exhausted congoer?

And for those of you who can’t make it, don’t worry!  I’ll be posting here and on Twitter daily while I’m at Gen Con, in addition to my usual Gen Con wrap-up posts after the convention.  I’m so ready for this, folks.  SO READY.

Here’s hoping I see some of you awesome folks at Gen Con!

 

State of the nerd: July 2018

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, and I can’t really think about much else to post about for this week that I haven’t already rambled about recently (considering both Star vs. the Forces of Evil and Steven Universe left me going AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH for a few days with their season finales), so here we go!

I mentioned this in a few other posts recently, I think, but I GOT A NEW CAR YOU GUYS. Her name is Lapis 2.0 (or Lapis for short), she’s a 2018 Subaru Impreza, she’s actually BLUE (unlike old Lapis), and I love her dearly and I’m gonna drive her until she dies.

Here she is, all dirty after a weekend of LARPing a few months ago.

I’ve been doing a lot of fun nerdy stuff at work, involving two of my favorite things: making research posters and making videos. The big thing I’ve been tackling this week is learning how to use Adobe Character Animator a little better, and using it to make some videos for the Creating Research Posters course I’m updating. I showed off some of the stuff I’d been working on to my friend J, and he thinks I should make an animated version of my LARP character, Ëlinyr. (Challenge accepted.)

At some point I’ll make a less work-related animated video, but for now, here’s a screenshot from a video I was working on!

Speaking of Ëlinyr: she’s no longer an elf! Long story short: she decided to give up her elven-ness to anger her mother. I wrote a long rambly in-character account of how she initially dealt with being human, and if you’re interested, you can read it at Ëlinyr’s blog.

I’ve been knitting like crazy lately. I found a shawl pattern that I love so much, I’ve actually started on a second shawl with that pattern. It’s Drachenfels, and you can find it on Ravelry here. There’s also a kit on Craftsy that has the pattern as well as the yarn needed – I got the kit in the Energy colorway, and I love how it turned out.

Here’s the first Drachenfels, made from the kit I bought from Craftsy.

I had to move my sewing studio out of the garage due to the ridiculous amount of spiders in there lately. Ugh. I’m making some progress with making enough space in my craft room to actually use it for sewing, though, so hopefully I’ll have a permanent home for my sewing machine soon.

I’ve been playing a lot of Pokémon Go lately, and I’m really enjoying the new features they added to the game. Plus, it helps me get away from my desk at work and get active every so often.

I love how Pikachu and I match, haha.

So, that’s the State of the Nerd right now! Next week should bring us back to our regularly scheduled blog postings, I’ve got quite a list of ideas to write about, including a special series of posts for Gen Con!

Star vs. The Forces of Evil: the new obsession in the Crafty Nerd household

It’s no secret that Ross and I like our animated shows. I mean, come on, we met dressed as My Little Ponies, as evidenced by the following slightly blurry photo of us from Gen Con 2013:

How many people can say they met their partner thanks to a cartoon? 😛

Not only do we share a mutual love for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but we also both really enjoy Steven Universe (in case you hadn’t noticed, hah) — in fact, if it weren’t for Ross stumbling onto the show while I was busy one weekend, we probably never would’ve ended up becoming such huge fans.

I named my car Lapis, and stuck Lapis and Peridot decals on the back of it.  And have a plush Lapis as a permanent passenger in the car.  I think it’s safe to say I’m a huge Steven Universe fan.

Ross and I are both pretty big anime fans, too, although Ross might be more into it lately than I am. Plus, I like my old-school anime a little more, while Ross watches more recent stuff. (More recent than Sailor Moon and Cowboy Bebop, anyway.)

So, it’s only natural that when Ross stumbled across Star vs. The Forces of Evil, we’d both end up obsessed, right? I mean, it’s silly, upbeat, with a great storyline that really pulls you in, which is starting to become more of a thing in animated shows lately.  How could we not love it?

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The crochet-a-long: finally finished!

Well, it only took me six months instead of the two that the Woodland Blanket crochet-a-long was originally planned to last, but I finally finished!

Holy crap, it’s done!

I’ll admit, some of why it took so long to finish was because I kept getting distracted by other projects.  Which happens a lot to me, and which is why I’ve got piles of unfinished stuff all over the house. (From what I can think of off the top of my head, I’ve got two unfinished cardigans, two unfinished pairs of socks, one shawl I’m actively knitting, one I’ve got stashed in a box until I feel like working on it again, a third that’ll be the focus of a blog post next week, and a pile of stuff in the “Corner of Shame” that will probably never get done.)  And the more I let the Woodland Blanket sit forlornly in my craft basket, the guiltier I felt about not finishing it, especially with so many other projects I wanted to do.  And I only had 8 stripes and the border left to do.  So I sat down one weekend and cranked it out.

The border came out really well – I’ve never done a border like this before, it’s simply a couple of rounds of slip stitches.

It’s not a hard blanket to do at all, especially once you get the hang of translating UK crochet terminology.  The wave pattern is soothing and rhythmic to work on, and I absolutely love the colors.  The whole blanket looks fantastic, and I’m glad I resisted the temptation to just stop a few rows short from the end and call it done.  It’s the first big thing I’ve finished in a while, and I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it.

I especially love the gradual change from warm tones to cool blues.

If you’re interested in making one of your own, the pattern is free on Attic24 (there are plenty of pictures included that walk you through the pattern) and if you want to create it in the same color scheme, you can buy the yarn pack here.

How to stretch vinyl boots (carefully)

A couple of weeks ago, I rambled about how I was so incredibly excited that I was finally going to have a pair of Sailor Moon boots to call my own.  The boots showed up on Monday, and I excitedly went to try them on, only to find out…

…that my calves were a little too muscular for these boots.  Curse you, muscular calves! (Well, not really, I like my calves.)

I ended up messaging the seller (Catzia) telling her the boots didn’t fit my calves, and I asked if I could exchange them for a larger size in hopes that they might fit my legs better.  She said she’d be happy to exchange them, but before doing that, I should try to stretch the boots out using a hair dryer to see if I could get them stretched out enough to fit. And it worked!  They were snug, but I could zip them up all the way!

While I was waiting to hear back from Catzia, I found a number of “how to stretch shoes” tutorials out there. When I came across the hair dryer method, I figured it’d work for the boots (but didn’t want to try it until I’d heard back from Catzia) – but most of these methods focused on making the foot area of a shoe wider, not necessarily the calves.  And they all focused on leather shoes, and not vinyl boots.

Enter The Crafty Nerd, armed with a hair dryer and a pair of epic Sailor Moon boots.

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