Category: Media

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.

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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The Crafty Nerd gets her nerdy crafting on, finally (and rambles a lot in the process)

Or at least I will be, once Spoonflower ships out my latest fabric order.

So, there’s a bit of a story behind this latest crafting endeavor.  Maybe two stories, actually, that converge into one – but they both focus on my favorite anime ever, Sailor Moon.  The first story is from about… gosh, ten years ago.  (It really doesn’t feel like that long ago!)  A close friend of mine, Katie, bought me some Sailor Moon fabric for my birthday – at least I think it was for my birthday, it’s been so long ago that I’m not entirely sure.  I ended up using some of it for craft projects, a little of it for some Gamma Sigma Sigma shirts (yes, I was in a sorority, but not your typical one!), and then stashed the rest away because I couldn’t think of a good project to use it in, and I didn’t want to use it all up.

Fast forward about ten years, and look what’s still lingering in my fabric stash…

These are the oldest pieces of fabric I’ve got right now – I’ve managed to hang onto them through a LOT of life changes!

Now, recently I’ve had a resurgence of Sailor Moon fangirling – mostly because I got hit with the best idea for a Halloween costume ever.  I remembered seeing a Sailor Moon costume at my local costume shop about a year and a half ago, and while I didn’t have the chance to look at it too much when I’d seen it, I figured if it was a decent costume I’d snag it and maybe make some modifications to it after Halloween to make it fit for cosplaying.  Shortly before Halloween, I went over to Campus Costumes to go seek out that Sailor Moon costume – it was a long shot, as it’d been a while since I’d seen it, but maybe I’d be lucky, right?

Well, after a half hour of searching, one of the store clerks asked what I was looking for, and I told him.  And he said “Well, we’ve got one in rentals – I don’t think they ever sold very well, so we only hung onto one.  I bet if you ask the owner, she’ll sell it to you, though.”  And he walked me over to the rental costumes, and there it was – a store-bought Sailor Moon costume that actually looked halfway decent.  I brought it to the counter, trying to suppress the squeeing of my inner 17-year-old (who tried and was marginally successful at making her own Sailor Moon costume), and politely asked if I could maybe buy the costume.  I’d been looking for it forever, I told her, and I’ve been a huge Sailor Moon fan since forever, and I’ll totally pay the $60 price tag on the front, if you’ll please sell it to me.  I’ll admit, I probably got rambly.

She took one look at the costume, said “eh, I can probably order another one… For $60, it’s yours.”

And I walked out the door with a Sailor Moon costume that actually looked GOOD.

Then I had another dilemma: the wig.  There was no way in hell I’d be able to get a cheap store-bought wig to look remotely close to Sailor Moon’s trademark odango.  I flailed around with the cheap yellow wig I’d bought for about a half hour, unsuccessfully trying to get it into pigtails or even just some buns, when it hit me: I knew someone who might have a Sailor Moon wig I could borrow.  And they lived right across the street.

Yes, I asked my neighbor if they still had a Sailor Moon wig, and if so, could I borrow it.  And the answer to both questions was yes.  (I have some of the best neighbors ever, I swear.  I’m not even going to get into the fangirl flailiness that happened when I went across the street and saw all the Sailor Moon posters hung up at my neighbor’s house, haha.)

So I totally dressed up as Sailor Moon this Halloween, and loved every second of it.

I couldn’t stop squeeing whenever I walked past a mirror and caught sight of myself, haha.

So that finally brings me to this nerdy craft project I’m going to start, which will probably be the first of many Sailor Moon themed craft projects I’ll be working on until convention season starts next year.  You all know I’ve been obsessed with making quilts since the beginning of the year, and when I came across that little stash of old Sailor Moon fabric I’d been hanging onto, it hit me: I should make it into a quilt.  And with the help of some awesome artists on Spoonflower who made some delightful Sailor Moon themed fabric, and a handy sale on fat quarters, my Sailor Moon quilt will be a reality.  (Once I get the fabric, anyway.)

My first challenge will be to make a pattern that’ll work well with the fabric I’ve got – I’ve never actually designed a quilt before, but it shouldn’t be hard.  (The hard part’ll probably be putting it all together correctly!)  I might just design a couple of squares that I can then put together to make the quilt, or find some existing patterns that I could take parts from and reuse as I need to.  I’m actually really excited about having a nerdy project to work on – it’s been entirely too long since I made a nerdy craft project.  The closest I’ve come recently is making a pair of socks with some yarn that’s Twilight Sparkle colored, but that almost feels like it doesn’t count, because it’s socks…

I’ll be posting pictures and rambling about my progress on the quilt from time to time – hopefully it’ll encourage me to start posting regularly again, too.

Gen Con 50: The Events

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

Yes, I started out my Gen Con with some Pat Rothfuss. Did you expect anything different?

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.

Even Ross was excited, and he’d only read The Princess and Mr. Whiffle and the Thing Beneath The Bed, hahaha.

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

I got to learn about making costume armor from Agent Peggy Carter and her friend, haha.

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.

Bracers in progress!

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 did not actually get to take a photo of Brandon Sanderson, so here’s one from the internet.

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!

Ornaments before painting.

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.

Here they are, freshly covered in Mod Podge!

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…

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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Steven Universe: my new obsession

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

I am ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED WITH THIS SHOW.

omg omg omg

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

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

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

Seriously.  I love this show.  So much.

huuuuuugs

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

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

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!

Crafting for a Cause: The David Bowie Button

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 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:

bowie_eyes

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.

button

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.
-Josie

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.

David Bowie Rest in Peace button – $3.00, Etsy

Evolving Collections

And no, I’m not talking about Pokemon here, heheh.

One of the things I’ve noticed as an emphatic collector of things that relate to my most loved fandoms is that my collections tend to evolve, especially the longer I end up in the fandom.  When I’m building my collection, I tend to buy anything and everything relating to my favorite show or game.  Sailor Moon hairbrushes?  Sure, I’ll buy six!  Twilight Sparkle toothbrush holder?  This would be amazing in my bathroom!  Princess Peach change purse?  Doubt I’ll ever use it, but Princess Peach stuff is so freaking rare that I’ll buy anything I see with her face on it!  Toothless coin bank?  You’re coming home with me, buddy.  Anything with a scooter on it?  I MUST HAVE IT.  And so on.

But after a while, I get overwhelmed with the largeness of my collection.  At one point, I must have had about fifty little brushable My Little Ponies.  And my Sailor Moon collection, back in its heyday, was absolutely ridiculous.  I had such silly things like a Sailor Moon birthday party set – cups, plates, etcetera – still in its original packaging.  And six Sailor Moon hair brushes.  I’ve got a couple pictures below of the Sailor Moon collection, circa 2005, along with other assorted anime goodies – forgive the quality, the photos were taken on a digital camera that was old in 2005…

I also used to own a Princess Toadstool cookie jar.  (Oh, the stories I could tell about wanting that silly cookie jar, and my excitement when I finally got it…)

The Princess Toadstool cookie jar, with me in my first foray into costume-making, circa 1997.

And don’t even get me started on the My Little Pony collection…

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Spoiler-Free Review! Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

starwars

It’s the movie everyone’s been talking about all over the internet the past few weeks: the new Star Wars movie.  After the mess that was the prequel trilogy, I know a lot of us Star Wars fans (myself included) were wondering what J. J. Abrams would do with the series.  Would he ruin it or change it beyond recognition, like the Star Trek films?  (Don’t even get me started on the Star Trek films by J. J. Abrams – I like them, but… yeah.  Don’t get me started.)  Would he fill it up with lens-flares?  Would it be more of the unpleasantness that was the prequel trilogy?

I’ll admit, I was nervous about seeing this movie.  I’ve seen the prequels.  I’ve watched Episode I too many times to count, mostly because it was the first movie at the drive-in every freaking week during the summer of 1999.  I didn’t see Episode II and III more than once, though, because they were mediocre.  They felt weird, compared to the original trilogy.  I was worried that The Force Awakens would be more of what happened in the prequels.

However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Very pleasantly surprised.

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10 More Free Nerdy Cross-Stitch Patterns!

Last year, I did a collection of free cross-stitch patterns – and everyone loved it!  I think that’s one of the most viewed posts on the blog.  So, as a holiday treat, I’m going to share ten more awesomely nerdy cross-stitch patterns that are completely free!  Simply click on the image for your desired pattern, and it’ll take you to the pattern’s website.

TARDIS Quote Pattern

tardispattern

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Books to Keep Warm With this Winter

Well, the weather here in Bloomington isn’t exactly super wintry, but it definitely is a bit rainy here – and one of my favorite things to do when it’s rainy and wet out, aside from crafting, is reading – as I’m sure you’ve all figured out by now. 🙂 And since most of us are probably enjoying some much needed time off, how about picking up one of these books to keep warm with while enjoying the holidays?  I’ve read all of these, and they definitely rank as some of my favorites.

The Finishing School Series, by Gail Carriger

D1Q5RERz1OS._SL250_If you’re interested in steampunk, you might want to read the Finishing School series by one of my most favorite authors, Gail Carriger.  The entire series is out now, with the last book only having been released in November.  Follow the adventures of Sophronia Temminick as she enters into a finishing school that’s not quite what she’s initially expecting… There are plenty of exciting adventures in the series to keep you reading for hours!  I’m currently re-reading my way through the series.

The Finishing School Series on Amazon

 

The Explosionist, by Jenny Davidson

explosionistIf you’re an alternate history fan, or interested in a good murder mystery, give The Explosionist a read.  Set just before World War II, in Scotland, the story follows a sixteen year old girl named Sophie who ends up pulled into an investigation of the sudden death of a spiritual medium that had a strange message for her…  The book was a little odd at points, but it was definitely a page turner, and I’d recommend it for a good afternoon read.

The Explosionist on Amazon

 

 

 

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

notwHow on earth have I not recommended this book on my blog yet?  This book pulled me out of a depressive funk years ago, where I hadn’t read a single in an entire year (!!) – I tore through this in a week.  This is part one of a three-book series, following the story of Kvothe, a magician and musician with quite a storied past.  I’m not sure how much I can say about this without giving away too much of the plot, so all I will say about this book is that you won’t be able to put it down – everyone I’ve talked to who’s read it has said the same thing.

The Name of the Wind on Amazon

 

 

Written in Red, by Anne Bishop

writteninredAnne Bishop is an author whose books I’ve been enjoying for years – her first books were very good, and as she’s written more and more, her stories and writing style just keep getting better.  I’ve mentioned The Others series on my blog before, and Written in Red is the first book in the series. It focuses on Meg, a young woman who can tell the future when her skin is cut, and her escape from her handlers that ends with her seeking safety in the Lakeside Courtyard.  However, that’s only the beginning of the story – trouble ends up following her to the Courtyard…  For those of you who like fantasy novels and supernatural creatures, such as shapeshifters, this book (and the series it’s part of) will definitely catch your attention.

Written in Red on Amazon

 

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

fortuneFortune’s Pawn was the first of many books read in Gail Carriger’s book group – it’s a sci-fi story set mainly in outer space, focusing on the story of Devi, a mercenary, as she takes up a new position on an allegedly cursed trade ship, the Glorious Fool.  Along with Devi, you’ll meet an interesting cast of characters, including the strong and attractive Rupert, the daydreamy Nova, and Ren, who proves to be quite a mystery.  If you like Firefly, Star Wars, or other space dramas, you’ll enjoy Fortune’s Pawn.

Fortune’s Pawn on Amazon

Fixing up a Comm Badge, the Crafty Nerd way

Earlier this week, I was wracking my brain, trying to find a good idea for a blog post.  Should I write about yarn?  Nah, too boring.  Should I show off the blanket I just finished?  Eh, also boring.  It wasn’t until yesterday evening, when I was working on patching up a piece of a costume I’d ordered, when the idea flopped into my lap, almost literally.

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I’d ordered a Star Trek: The Next Generation costume off Amazon (my costume crafting skills aren’t quite up to making Starfleet uniforms yet, sadly), and while the costume itself fit, and the rank pips were beautiful, the comm badge was… less than stellar.  Granted, the picture above is after I’d started sanding it, but there were large chunks of paint that had flaked off and stuck to the costume package, which left a lot of big black spots where you can see the plastic.  Being the crafty nerd that I am, I didn’t let the sorry state of the comm badge get me down.  Instead, I grabbed some of my mini painting tools and set to work!

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After sanding the loose paint off the badge, I took it outside and sprayed it with primer – the good stuff I use for my minis is possibly packed in a box somewhere, but I did manage to find some other primer in the garage, so I worked with what I could find.

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Post-primer, it already looked lots better than it had when I’d gotten it, haha.  I let it dry overnight, and then before my workshop this morning, I broke out the paints!

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The paints I have are old, and a little lumpy, but they worked for what I needed them for.  (I need to get a new set of paints one of these days…)  I worked with some Chainmail Silver and Glorious Gold paints from my mini painting stash, and managed to get the badge all painted before I got to work!  I primed it after I got home, and the results were pretty good.

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It’s not super glossy like the replica Starfleet communication badges you can get from places like ThinkGeek, but considering the whole costume cost $35, my paint job got the job done.  Ross has a comm badge lurking around somewhere, and if he can’t find it, I may splurge and get one of the fancy Voyager ones, even though it doesn’t match the TNG era uniform, since the main reason I got the costume is so I could dress up as my favorite captain…

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Okay, so it’s a dress uniform, but close enough, right?

Granted, it’ll be Janeway in a TNG era uniform, but in order to get a proper Voyager uniform made for me, I’ve gotta spend $80 to order it from FanPlusFriend, the place I used to get my frilly Japanese gothic lolita clothes from, and I wanted something quick for Halloween.  However, if I do end up going to Starbase Indy, I might splurge and get the more show accurate costume…  Once I get some pictures of me in my costume (I’ve got to get my hair cut and freshly dyed first!), I’ll happily share them here! 😀

Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

127455 After my vacation in Florida towards the end of May, where I tore through a ton of books rather rapidly, I found myself lacking in the books-to-read department.  I’d finished the last of the new books that came out earlier this spring, I’d read through a couple of my favorites by Stephen King, and even read through the first book in the Mercy Thompson series – and couldn’t think of any other books I had been interested in reading.  So I took to Goodreads, and looked for suggestions based on the books I’d read (that I’d actually entered into Goodreads, anyway.)  And as I was poking through the suggested books, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch popped up.  I’d heard it mentioned around the internet as a good book to read, and so I figured, what the heck, I’ll go to Amazon and buy it.

And then I saw this review on Amazon, and absolutely knew I’d enjoy it.

“Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

If Pat Rothfuss, whose books I absolutely adore, says the book is good, then by gods, I should probably read it, right?  So I picked it up.  And I couldn’t put it down.

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