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.
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!
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.
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. 🙂
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 bag – made 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.
Gen Con is usually packed full of all sorts of awesome events, and Gen Con 50 was no different. I only ended up going to a couple of events this year – I might have done more if we had a hotel, but I didn’t want to end up overwhelming myself, so I went event-lite. (And even then, I ended up skipping two events because I was exhausted, bleh.) The ones I did get to go to were fantastic, though – I did some crafting, some book signings, and got to introduce Ross and J to my favorite Gen Con event ever…
An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss
Of course the first event of Gen Con 50 that I went to was An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss. It was a great way to start out the con – two hours with one of my favorite authors! I brought Ross and J along – Ross has heard me ramble on about Pat and how awesome he is, both as an author and in general, and while J’s a fan of Pat’s (in fact, that’s how we met – J saw my talent pipes while we were at an academic conference together, and said “hey, are those talent pipes?” and I got all flaily and excited), he’d never actually been to An Evening With Patrick Rothfuss before. So we all went, and oh, it was even better than when I went in 2013. We all filled up a ballroom this time – the 2013 event only had 200 people, but this year there were 1200 seats with a line of people waiting outside! It was super exciting, and Ross and J and I couldn’t wait for Pat to get on stage.
It was run similarly to the 2013 session, with him giving us the option of having a session we could record, where he’d be less candid about things and a little more censored, or we could put our phones and cameras away and we’d all get to pretty much hang out with Pat. I don’t think anyone raised their hands when he asked if we wanted to record the session, hah. Pat broke the session up into a couple of different chunks – he’d answer questions from the audience, with mix of notecards with people’s questions and people asking out loud, and he also read us both of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle books. (If you haven’t read them, you definitely should – but don’t let your kids read them until you’ve seen what’s in them, haha.) While answering questions, Pat rambled on about great things – mental health, raising kids, silly random things, and life in general. I especially appreciated his discussion on mental health – as someone who deals with anxiety, depression, and ADHD, it’s good to hear one of my favorite authors publicly encouraging people to go to therapy – even if they don’t really think they need it. Having someone to talk to about life and all that goes on in it, someone who’s not currently connected to everything you’re experiencing and can provide an outside perspective, is pretty much essential to keeping yourself emotionally in good shape. I love that Pat cares about us all enough to tell us “go to therapy!”
Things weren’t all seriousness, though. He told us some adorable stories about his kids, and even sang to us in the process! He sang a couple of songs, very briefly, from the Rankin Bass version of The Hobbit, which was great. (And reminded me that I really need to see that version of The Hobbit. I’ve got it on DVD somewhere…) The questions from the audience were great, and the more amusing ones that stuck out in my mind included “Can I go to dinner with you?”, “Could you have Lin-Manuel Miranda call my wife?”, and “If you had to choose between breaking both your legs and eating 10,000 Go-Gurts, which would you choose?” J asked a question that made me giggle – “If you were to cast a live action version of Slow Regard of Silent Things, who would you cast for the inanimate objects?” Pat initially responded with Nathan Fillion, which got us all cheering, then he thought about it, realized we were cheering because we all love Nathan Fillion, and changed his mind to Keanu Reeves, which was actually way funnier, hah. (Oh, Keanu Reeves and your uninspired acting…) Much like the 2013 event, the evening ended with all of us singing together – which was delightful. I’m really glad I managed to get tickets to this event.
Featherweight Armor for Costuming
This was a great workshop, put on by the fine folks at …And Sewing is Half The Battle! I learned so much about new materials for making cosplay props and armor, and new ways to use materials I’ve worked with before, like craft foam. And I picked up some techniques to make things look their best, and also learned how to be safe while working with some slightly more hazardous materials. I even got the chance to work with some Worbla, which I’d never used before! I also found out I probably need to add a heat gun to my crafting arsenal.
The folks at …And Sewing is Half the Battle did a fantastic job with the workshop, and were really thorough – they showed all sorts of materials to work with, talked about the pros and cons of each, and detailed any safety measures you might need to take when working with certain materials. I hope Gen Con gives them a bigger room next year – this one definitely needs more space for everyone to work in, especially when we’re trying to use heat guns, haha. It was overall an awesome session – and it’s given me lots of ideas for next year’s costumes!
Brandon Sanderson book signing
I only recently got into Sanderson’s books, and have been reading them pretty much since May – I tore through all six books of Mistborn, and then the two books of The Stormlight Archives. (I’m now very eagerly awaiting the third Stormlight Archives book!) His books are pretty darn awesome, and his writing style pulls you into the story and just won’t let go. When I found out he was going to be at Gen Con, I knew I’d have to get a book of his signed – so I grabbed a hardcover copy of Mistborn: The Final Empire and on Saturday, I made my way over to his book signing. I had lots of fun geeking out with other fans in line, especially over the end of Words of Radiance (don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything!). It’s always fun to talk to people who share common interests with you! When it was my turn to get my book signed, Sanderson was incredibly friendly, and he even commented on my Denna costume, from Pat Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, with all of her names on a name tag, haha. He told me to tell Pat Rothfuss that he doesn’t have to worry about releasing the third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles anytime soon, as he’s got a 3rd book in a fantasy series coming out this year so Pat can take his time, which made me giggle. I really like how friendly Sanderson is – he was very approachable, and really warm and welcoming! I’ll definitely get more of his books signed if he comes back to Gen Con next year. (Which I’m pretty sure he will.)
Harry Potter Ornament Painting
This was a nice, relaxing event. I’m really glad I signed up to do this. I got to sit and paint for a little while, and chat with other Harry Potter fans, which was lots of fun!
These are some really nice ornaments – they’re made out of clay, and were fun to paint, albeit a little fiddly in some spots. My painting job was… less than stellar in some spots, hah.
Pat Rothfuss Book Signing
This turned out to be such an epic event for me that I’m going to make it into its own post. So stay tuned.
In short, I had loads of fun at all the events I went to this year – and I’m seriously pondering hosting some sort of crafting event next year…
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.
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.
As I’m sure many of you have heard last week, David Bowie passed away – his music had a profound impact on my life, and was the soundtrack to my early college years. When Ross shared the news last week, I thought he was kidding, to be honest – but my Facebook feed said otherwise. I spent the rest of the morning trying not to burst into tears while I got ready for work. As I went through my day, I saw the reactions of my friends on social media, and wished there was something I could do to help them, and to help myself feel better. We were all hurting.
And then I saw this tweet from my friend Josie:
I wish I had any sort of graphic design skill, I have an idea for buttons to hand out at “Lazarus” tomorrow but alas :-/ #DavidBowie
I have graphic design skills. And I wanted to do something creative as an outlet for my Bowie-related feels. So I responded to Josie’s tweet, and together, we took her idea and turned it into a button. She told me she had an idea for a button with the lightning bolt from Bowie’s makeup from the Aladdin Sane cover, behind the letters RIP – and that the spaces in the R and P were Bowie’s eyes. I took that idea, and turned it into the following design:
Josie thought it was great, and so I shrunk it down into a button-sized graphic, which she printed and turned into buttons with her button making machine.
Josie came up with the idea to make more of these buttons, and sell them on Etsy to raise money for the New York Theater Workshop, which is currently running Lazarus, a musical written by David Bowie, as well as to raise money for cancer research – and I thought it was a great idea, so she’s selling the buttons we’ve made. If you want to pick up one of your own, you can get one from Josie’s Etsy store for $3.
Josie’s got a little something to share about the process, too:
Anyone who knows me knows I love buttons. I have a bag covered in them and am planning a button-covered dress to debut at New York Comic Con (or an earlier event, if I complete it before then). I got a button-making machine for my birthday, but had not yet designed or created any of my own pins by the time David Bowie died a few days later.
I’m not ashamed to say I was devastated by the death of my idol, and creating this button with Beth gave me an outlet to do something with my grief. Even if nothing comes of it, even if I only sell a few, turning my grief into something proactive and positive helped me to heal. I hope it did the same for her.
And it did help me heal. Together we ended up crafting for a cause, with my design skills and her button maker. Making the design felt like a good creative outlet for my feelings, and helped me process them in a productive way, and it helped Josie as well.
“Hey, Beth! You seem to have fallen of the face of the Earth entirely! What the heck happened?”
Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what you’re asking right now. Yes. So I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to, in glorious picture format!
Taking pictures of sleeping cats! Because kitties are cute, and I now have one living with me. His name is Steve. He likes to watch Battlestar Galactica, enjoys kicking the carpets in the bathroom around, and his favorite pony is Pinkie Pie.
Playing with my new smartwatch. Bryan says it’s a fad, they won’t last, but honestly? I love it. I partially justified the purchase by saying that it’s research for when I re-write an old NaNoWriMo novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Since it’s set in the future, I gave the characters wrist communicators, and, well, HERE IT IS ON MY WRIST RIGHT NOW. Granted, it needs a cellphone to work with, but we’re getting closer!
Punch embroidering, because I haven’t done it in years. I’m making a couple of Christmas stockings, and then I might see if anyone wants to commission me for anything, because gosh do I enjoy doing this and I forgot how fun it is. Plus, it’s getting harder and harder to find punch embroidery stuff (apparently the place I shop from online is now the ONLY online store selling punch embroidery supplies!), and I may as well do it while I can, right?
Doing homework. And yes, my most recent bit of homework involved reviewing an online digital archive of comic book art. Have I mentioned how much I love library and information science? Because I do. I really do. 😀 My next bit of homework, for Representation & Organization, involves writing a script of how a typical grocery shopping trip goes, and then comparing it with the actual process of shopping in order to spark discussion about mental models and how they match up to the actual process or task that one is trying to complete.
Drinking lots of coffee and feeling rather homesick. This is the time of year I really miss Potsdam – even though the stupid lack of sunlight and the near-constant dreary grayness made my seasonal affective disorder crap way worse than it needed to be… I miss the trees changing color, the nights getting downright chilly, and the hint of winter in the air, even in September…
Getting minis ready for painting! It’s been entirely too humid out to prime minis, but that doesn’t stop me from scraping off the extra plastic bits and filing the rough spots down so I can prime and paint when the weather is good.
And that’s what I’ve been up to, in illustrated form! Now that I’ve settled in for the semester, posts will occur more regularly, and I do have some exciting things in the works! Have an idea for a topic you want to see on the site? Leave a comment on this post, and chances are, I’ll cover it. 🙂 I’m always looking for new crafty and nerdy things to talk about.
It’s not terribly often that I take up a new hobby – especially one that I can easily incorporate my nerdiness into. (Or actually encourages my nerdiness.) However, a couple of my friends are also into this specific hobby, and it piqued my interest…
Yes, that’s right – I’ve picked up the fine (and expensive) hobby of painting minis. And it turns out I’m actually pretty good at it, too!
When I first heard about mini figures, it was through some friends who played Warhammer 40K – that was my only exposure to minis for many, many years. All I knew about it was that it involved lots of tiny figurines, and the game wasn’t quite my thing, so I largely ignored it. Then a friend of mine reintroduced me to the hobby last year – it turned out minis weren’t just used for Warhammer, they were used in lots of games – like Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons, and more. I admired his intricate paint work, but didn’t think I could manage such tiny details.
Hello all! I hope your Monday went well – mine was a bit of a mixed bag. Ah well. I’ve got a fresh batch of crafty picks for everyone this week!
Case of the Mondays Cross-Stitch Kit
Speaking of Mondays… this would be a hilarious addition to anyone’s cubicle, haha. It’s in a handy dandy kit, put together by Purple Hippo Stitches, and also part of their Tax Day Sale! I’m half done with my own set, and plan on sticking mine in my cube once it’s done. It’s really simple, and an easy intro to cross-stitching if you’ve never done it before.
I’ve noticed that people keep coming to my site to look at all the various Toothless plush that I’ve made (well, the one plush, and the one crocheted Toothless) – and I just now realized I don’t have any links to where I got the patterns or inspiration for these awesome dragons! So, this post is dedicated entirely to where to find out How to Make Your Own Dragon.
Okay, in all honestly, this should be named “How To Make Your Dragon: Part Four” – however, the other three dragons haven’t really been mentioned here – I’ll give them all a quick passing glance right now. First, a little backstory – my best friend Morgan showed me How To Train Your Dragon over the summer, and I absolutely fell in love with Toothless, one of the main characters. He is a hilarious dragon, and I love him to pieces. Morgan loves him too, so I made him a giant plush Toothless – the first of many iterations of everyone’s favorite dragon that I’d make.
The second Toothless I made was a crocheted one that I made for myself, over the holiday break – I wanted a Toothless of my own, darnit, but I didn’t want to go to all the work I did for the first Toothless – after all, it did take me a week to make him, and I sewed every moment I had that I wasn’t asleep or at work. Crocheted Toothless took a lot less time – maybe a few evenings over the course of a week.
He’s small, but absolutely adorable! The third Toothless, I made as a Christmas present for Morgan – it was made out of Sculpey, and it was a bit of an ordeal – the Sculpey that I’d picked up to use was almost dry, and while I figured out how to revive dried Sculpey, it was tough – I spent 45 minutes massaging baby oil into some chunks of black Sculpey, and made a mess of my hands. It was all worth it, since in the end I came out with this little guy.
And tonight, I made a Sculpey Toothless of my own! He turned out really well. First off, I picked up fresh Sculpey, which helped immensely. It was much easier to mold him. I followed the tutorial here, from LightningMcTurner on DeviantArt – they made the tutorial I used for the first Toothless. I made him a bit bigger this time around, and improvised a bit as well, but had a ton of fun making him.
As I said, fresh Sculpey made all the difference – it was much more easy to manipulate, and easier to assemble all the pieces, too! I’m really happy with how he turned out.
Here he is just before going into the oven – isn’t he adorable? I ended up giving him bigger, unfurled wings, instead of the small tucked wings the tutorial suggested. I’m happy with that choice – I love his wings. Take a look below at how nice he looks after coming out of the oven!
So, if you love Toothless as much as I do, you should go check out the Sculpey Toothless tutorials that LightningMcTurner has up on DeviantArt, and make some dragons of your own!
Since Valentine’s Day is about a week away, I thought it might be a good idea to make my own valentines for the special people in my life! (I mean, I do have a stash of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic valentines… but those are collector’s items! I can’t use those!) And it came to me – why not make some Wreck-it Ralph valentines? There aren’t any currently out there on the web anywhere, and Wreck-It Ralph is such an awesome movie – so why not make some Wreck-it Ralph inspired valentines?
These are all about 5 inches square, or 5 by 6 inches for the bigger one, and should print out really nicely on cardstock! There are tiny little watermarks in the images, but hopefully they’re not too obtrusive. I did draw the images used for these cards, in case you were curious! 😀
I hope everyone enjoys them – and if you use them, leave me a comment and tell me how you used them! 😀 I’d love to see how everyone likes my valentines!