Category: Life in general

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. 🙂

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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Mia and Lapis: or, how I finally got my license

This post isn’t even remotely crafty or nerdy, so for those of you who follow the blog for my craft projects or nerdy rambles, I’m sorry.  If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll notice that I do occasionally talk about my life here – and, well, some pretty big stuff has happened in my life recently.

The biggest thing: I GOT MY DRIVER’S LICENSE.

holy freaking crap I DID IT OMG OMG

Yes, after seventeen years of anxiety, terror of piloting a vehicle at speeds faster than 20 mph, three scooters, one moped, and two cars, I’ve finally got my driver’s license.  At the ripe old age of 35.  But I did it.

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The return of Startitis

Well, to be completely honest, it probably never left in the first place.

Ah, here we are again, making lists of unfinished projects…

As part of me trying to get some craft projects actually finished instead of lurking around my craft room or piled in the closet, I made a list of what I know I’ve started and haven’t finished yet.  And I gave myself an ultimatum: no spending money on craft supplies until I finish a good chunk of these projects.

Yes, that’s right – The Crafty Nerd isn’t going to buy craft supplies.  It’s scary, right?

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The quilt self-portrait

I recently finished my second quilt.  It’s nothing super fancy – I ordered a sampler pack of 10-inch squares of the Luna Sol sampler from Connecting Threads, cut them all in half, and stitched triangles together until I had a quilt.  Hand-quilting sounded like an amazing idea when I first finished it, and while I was absolutely tired of this quilt by the time I got to adding the binding, I am pretty happy with the hand quilting.

The quilt-in-progress – before I added the batting. And when I realized I stitched one row together with the triangles in the wrong direction.

This quilt is not without its faults.  As you can see in the picture, I stitched one row in the wrong direction – and didn’t realize it until I’d finally pieced the sucker out and laid it out for this picture.  I almost gave up on the darn thing then, to be honest, but then I took a closer look at that picture, and plotted out how I’d hand stitch things.  I ended up going with a sort-of lightning bolt arrangement of geometric shapes for the quilting.  It still looks a little awkward, but hey, I made it a beautiful sort of awkward.

Shortly after starting the hand quilting, I found another issue in the quilt – two squares weren’t exactly stitched together, and were coming apart in one corner.

It was at this point where I said “screw it, this quilt is already imperfect, I’m just going to stitch the hole closed and carry on, maybe patch over it when I’m done.”  And I did the patch you see above, and then went on about my quilting.

But the more I worked on this quilt, the more I saw it as something of a self-portrait.  It was imperfect, just like me.  It’s got some rough patches and parts that were hastily fixed.  It’s got some awkward bits.  But in the end?  It turned out beautiful.

The finished quilt, held up by Ross.

It’s a perfectly-sized little lap quilt, and I absolutely love how soft the fabric is.  Plus, the little bunnies are adorable.  (One of my nicknames is Beth-bun, so that may have highly influenced the choice of fabric, heh.)  Despite all the hiccups in making it, I love how it turned out.  And it really is a self portrait, in quilt form.  Awkward, not quite perfect, but wonderful all the same.

And good at snuggling cats.

Living the Harry Potter dream: Visiting Diagon Alley

One of my earliest entries into the world of fantasy novels was the Harry Potter books.  (The other was Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince series, which ties into this little story…) I remember trying to find something to read one day (mom had told me I was forbidden to read the Dragon Prince series, because there was a dragon on the cover, I’m not even kidding), with a huge limitation – “NO DRAGONS on the cover, they’re associated with the devil!  And none of that fantasy crap!”  I scoured the bookshelf in the room I shared with my sister, trying to find something remotely fantasy-related, as I’d been bitten by the fantasy bug hard and my seventeen-year-old self wanted to lose myself in a world of magic and mysterious creatures.

My eyes widened when I came across a new-looking copy of the first Harry Potter book.  I don’t remember when we got it, and I don’t think it’d even been opened at that point.  I looked at the front cover leaf, determined it was about wizards, and thought to myself, “hah – I can’t read a fantasy novel with dragons on the cover, but this one has a WIZARD.  And mom must have bought it, since it’s here on the bookshelf, so I’m gonna read it!”

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The State of the Nerd: May 2017

I know, I’ve fallen into that pattern of not posting again.  It’s been a crazy month or so here in my little corner of the world – there have been work changes, life changes, and all sorts of other things going on.  For those curious, let me break it down for you:

  • First off, I was diagnosed with ADHD last month.  It answers a lot of questions I’ve had for many, many years about why my brain operates the way it does, and now that I’m getting help for it, things are getting better.  With the meds I’m on, my focus has improved, my anxiety is greatly reduced, and it feels like my brain is finally working properly for the first time ever.
  • Work has changed.  LOTS.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.
  • I graduated!  With TWO Masters degrees!  Yep, I finally finished my dual masters in Library and Information Science, and while I didn’t walk in graduation, I had an epic gradu-birthday party that was probably much more entertaining than sitting through a lengthy commencement ceremony.

With grad school done, and my brain finally working properly, I’ve now got the time and energy to update the blog more regularly, with more than just status updates about how crazy life is.  I’ve got so much in the works, so many half-finished blog posts that I can finally wrap up and share with you all, and I’m hoping to finally settle on a new blog layout soon that’s a little more organized and less cluttered.  So, stay tuned – there’ll definitely be more of the crafty nerdiness you’ve all come to enjoy soon!

The Overwhelmed Nerd

I know, I know – I didn’t post last week.  And here it is, Wednesday, and I’m just now getting around to this week’s post.

Long story short, I’m pretty overwhelmed at the moment.  Changes at work, combined with nearing the end of my final semester of grad school, with extra anxiety thrown on top, has made things a bit of a mess for me lately.  And trying to keep it all together lately is a bit of a struggle.

This pretty accurately describes how I feel right now. Overwhelmed Peridot, attempting to hide in a toilet… although I wouldn’t necessarily choose that as a hiding space…

I’ve been trying to find ways to calm my brain down, and reduce my stress – mostly they involve crafting.  I picked up quilting recently, and the intense focus quilting requires has done a good job at not giving my brain any room to process anxiety.

I made this quilt over the course of a few weeks.

That’s been helpful on the anxiety front, but not quite so much for the schoolwork front.  I’ve been trying to balance it all, and I’ll admit, I’m not doing a very good job of that.  And on top of it all, with so many work changes going on, things just are a discombobulated mess for me right now.

So, I apologize for not having anything of substance to share the past couple of weeks.  I’ll at least try to share some nerdy stuff next week, and post any quilting stuff I’m doing to help keep my brain sane, but bear with me if it doesn’t end up being as awesome as usual.

Thanks for sticking with me, readers – I do all this for you.  And a little bit for me, because I don’t want to overwhelm poor Ross with my crafty ramblings. 🙂

Sick week

This week’s post isn’t going to have too much substance to it, I’m afraid.  I got sick last Sunday, and ended up in bed for half the week. You know how long it’s been since I’ve caught a cold, even a teeny one?  Two and a half years.  It was a rough week.  I was hoping I’d just be down for maybe a day, but nope – it turned into a sick week.

I was even too sick to crochet for a few days there.  Can you believe that? Too sick to crochet!

whaaaaaaat

Yeah.  It was rough.  I wanted to, and I even tried a few times, but after a few minutes I’d flump back down, exhausted and bleary-eyed.  I did end up spending all that time laying in bed like a useless lump somewhat constructively, though: I binge-watched two seasons of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Set in the late 1920s in Australia, the show follows the adventures of Phryne Fisher, a female detective who works with the local police (even though early on they’d rather not have her assistance quite so much) to help solve murder mysteries.  And oh, this show is fabulous.  It passes the Bechdel Test in the first 30 seconds of the first episode!  The show is full of strong female characters, and it seems like more and more keep showing up.   There are only three seasons of it out currently, all on Netflix (if you’re in the USA, at least, not sure about other countries), and while it’s unsure about whether there’ll be a season four, I’m guessing there will be once Essie Davis (who plays the amazing Miss Fisher) is done with filming for Game of Thrones.  (We can hope, anyway!)

The majority of my week was spent curled up under a pile of blankets, watching Miss Fisher, downing mug after mug of tea (earl grey, of course), and whining about how miserable I felt.  I’m still not feeling amazing (stupid sinuses just don’t want to unstuff themselves!), but I feel a little more alive than I did through most of last week.  That’s good, right?

I promise there’ll be a more interesting post next week.  Maybe I’ll finally get around to finishing that crochet pattern I’ve been working on writing…

Happy 4th birthday, The Crafty Nerd!

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

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

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

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The exhausted Crafty Nerd: rambling edition

Peridot resembles how my week went, pretty much.

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

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

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

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

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

Bullet journaling: when to-do lists and crafting collide

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

My first bullet journal key!

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

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

That is not the case with bullet journaling.

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Much-needed blog facelift!

You’ve noticed it.  I’ve noticed it.  I’ve neglected The Crafty Nerd pretty seriously during the second half of 2016.  And some of it has been due to good reasons, like moving to a new house, celebrating a wedding, grad school, work, and so on.  Some of it has been due to sheer laziness and a little bit of depression mixed in.  I want to change that, though!  I’m coming out of my unintentional hiatus with a much-needed blog facelift.

The site really hasn't changed all that much over the years...
The site really hasn’t changed all that much over the years…

Now it’s got a fancy Material Design-inspired theme, which I enjoy, and will likely have a header image added soon – haven’t decided on that yet, and if I do stick a header in, I’m not sure if I’m going to create a new one or use one of the old ones.  Either way, hopefully a shiny new blog theme will encourage me to post more.  And I have plenty of blog post ideas – just have to actually type them up!

Not dead. I promise.

peridot_toilet
This is what life feels like right now: spinning around uselessly, heh.

Lots of stuff has happened, and I simply have been too swamped to really post about it.  Which is frustrating, because I want to post about it, y’know?  But between work, and grad school, and celebrating a wedding (yep, Ross and I finally celebrated getting married!), and buying a house (that’s some high-level adulting right there!), I just haven’t had time.  At all.

But that’s gonna change!  Things are finally calming down.  So expect some more regular posts again, starting with next week’s crochet showing at the Statewide IT Conference’s Artists Showcase!  (I’ll also be singing Beatles songs, too.  If there’s video, and I’m not feeling too shy about sharing it, then I’ll post it here.)  For now, I’ll leave you guys with the nerdiest, craftiest picture from mine and Ross’ wedding.

dscn0883
Yep, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow (Factory) Dash got hitched.

Yes, we donned the wigs at the tail end of photo-taking. 😀  I made the shawl and many of the flowers in my bouquet (I had help from friends and family!), and Ross’ aunt Jeannie and I put together the arch in the background and decorated it!  It was a fun ceremony, even though we got rained out and were stuck indoors, and nobody batted an eye when we whipped out the pony wigs and tossed them on for photos. 😀

So now that the craziness from wedding and moving is done, I can devote more time to my poor, neglected blog!  Which is always a good thing. 🙂

Why yes, I did crochet myself into a repetitive stress injury.

At least, I’m pretty sure that’s how I messed up my shoulder a few months ago: too much crocheting.  Who knew there was such a thing as too much crocheting?  Then again, I was cranking out a cardigan like a madwoman for a little bit, and even tried crocheting some socks… (which is a different story for another time, my adventures in sock creation) So, yeah, The Crafty Nerd was out of crafting commission for a while there while I underwent physical therapy and tried (and sometimes failed) to give my shoulder a rest.

"You don't get it, Fluttershy, I have projects to finish!  Blankets to make!  Hats to craft!  I can't not crochet!"
“You don’t get it, Fluttershy, I have projects to finish! Blankets to make! Hats to craft! I can’t not crochet!”

The good news: I can now do yarn-crafts again without being in stupid amounts of pain!  The bad news: I’ve been a slacker of a blogger in the meantime.  I’ll make up for it, though, I promise.  I’ve got some cool nerdy things to show off in regards to creating a personalized start page for your browser (yes, I am that nerdy), and I’m making socks!  With double pointed knitting needles. Which used to terrify me.  And I have a new favorite show to share my thoughts on: Steven Universe.

YAAAY STEVEN UNIVERSE
YAAAY STEVEN UNIVERSE

I swear, I love that show SO MUCH.  It may have knocked My Little Pony and Sailor Moon out of the top spots of my favorite animated shows ever.  I’ve rewatched the entire series at least three times.  It’s amazing.  But I’ll ramble about Steven Universe in a later post!