Tag: crafting

Gen Con Online: Day one

Day one of Gen Con was a lot of fun! So much fun, in fact, that I didn’t have enough energy left after the Quilting 201 workshop last night to actually post this, so there’ll be two posts today! I doubt anyone will mind, though.

Opening ceremonies

The Gen Con Online Twitch channel, showing the opening ceremonies for Gen Con Online.
From the Opening Ceremonies – even Genevieve the Dragon joined in on the fun!

Day one of Gen Con Online was a lot of fun! I spent the morning excitedly waiting for the opening ceremonies, listening to music, and writing out questions for the folks I’m interviewing this year. While the energy was a little different this year, it was still exciting to watch the opening ceremonies. They even did the ceremonial charity dice roll! (It’s not Gen Con without the ceremonial opening dice roll.) I enjoyed the added benefits of actually being able to see and hear all of what went on this time – which isn’t always possible in person at the opening ceremonies, with so many people crowded into one space.

The online exhibit hall experience: The Looking Glass

Once the convention officially began, I spent some time browsing The Looking Glass, Gen Con’s creative way of replicating the exhibit hall experience online.

Screenshot of The Looking Glass, which displays logos for vendors at Gen Con in a cloud format.
It’s fun, scrolling through The Looking Glass and seeing what vendors I recognize – and discovering new ones, too!

I love the way the folks at Gen Con put together The Looking Glass – I think it’s the closest you can get to replicating the exhibit hall experience in webpage format while making it easy for everyone to access. You can either scroll around through the field of logos for each vendor and click on one that catches your eye, or use the search and filtering tools to find a specific vendor. I’ve already done a little shopping thanks to The Looking Glass, and I’ll likely do more before the con is done.

Favorite Gen Con experiences still happening online

One of the things I wasn’t sure I’d experience this year was the fun of running into folks I know at the convention. While the Gen Con Discord server has a lot of people hanging out there, not everyone who’s participating in the con is on Discord. I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone I knew on Discord – so imagine my surprise when I ran into my friend Daniel! (He and Kasi and I ran a City of Heroes LARP together back in 2018.) We were both excited to bump into each other, and we talked a little bit about Gen Con Online and me possibly joining his Wednesday Dungeons and Dragons game. Sure, it might not be the same as running into my Kishar buddies while hanging out with my co-worker Rachel, but I’ll take what I can get!

One of my favorite things to do at Gen Con involves wandering around the Indiana Convention Center. Whether I’m checking out everyone’s cosplays or just enjoying the atmosphere, I love wandering around the convention center. And while I may not be able to do it in person this year, I was able to do it in Minecraft!

One of the hallways in the Indiana Convention Center, recreated in Minecraft.
Oh hey, it’s the escalator that leads up to the skywalk to the Marriott!

It might not have been full of people, but I was still so very excited to wander through the convention center in Minecraft. It’s an amazing and detailed re-creation of the convention center, and I won’t lie, I almost cried while walking through it – I miss the in-person Gen Con experience so much. My regular readers know this is the highlight of my year, and the online experience isn’t quite the same. I’m glad I got to enjoy a few of the things I love about Gen Con, though, even though they were a little different this year.

Quilting 201: I swear I’m going to finish this quilt during Gen Con

The event I was most excited about this year was Quilting 201 with Toni of Quiltoni!

Screenshot of the camera feeds of everyone participating in the Quilting 201 workshop on Thursday evening.
I’m sure you all can figure out which quilt-in-progress is mine, haha.

While I didn’t get quite as far as everyone else did (I was running out of steam by the end of the workshop), I did get some of my quilt laid out and ready for piecing! (And ran out of table space in the process, haha) I had a lot of fun working on my quilt, and I’m going to try my hardest to get the top pieced together before the end of Gen Con. I really want to make this quilt, and I’ve finally got it started – I can’t let it sit unfinished now, can I?

And that, my friends, was my first day at Gen Con Online! I hung out online with fellow con-goers, bought a bunch of stuff, and even got some crafting done – I’d say it was a good day.

Gen Con 2019: The Haul

One of the big reasons people go to Gen Con is to buy games – lots of them. And this year, I definitely bought some games! Not as many as some folks, but I did bring home a couple new additions to my game collection. Of course, I found some not-quite-game-related goodies too! My Gen Con 2019 haul is a little smaller than it’s been in previous years, but here’s just about all of it!

Photo of my Gen Con 2019 Haul.
Some – but not all! – of the haul.

Want to hear more about what I got? Read on!

Read More

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…