or: Gen Con: the day I officially ran out of spoons.
But it’s okay that I ran out of spoons today, because it was the last day of Gen Con, and I didn’t really have anything planned! So I went and did the one event I was signed up for – a crocheting event.
Do you know how hard it is to attempt to crochet at 9 am on a Sunday at Gen Con? My sleepy brain spent a few minutes thinking “does this pattern use American or UK crochet terms?” before I realized I was being silly, this pattern totally uses American terms, the image at the top of the pattern uses the same double crochets you’re used to. Then I spent some time trying to get all those double crochets where they needed to be. Eventually, after an hour of talking to my yarn and telling it to behave, I got two rows of scales done.
The rest of my day, outside of packing and loading stuff into the car, was spent wandering the dealer’s hall – I won’t lie, it was a little overwhelming with so many people crammed in there. I got some tea and some dice, and Ross went on a bit of a wild goose chase looking for a fancy leather writing/sketching book. We eventually found something close to what he liked at the Medieval Collectibles booth, and so he’s perusing their website as we speak to find the book he wants.
Around 1 pm, we finally gave up and decided to head home – we were both exhausted (especially after 6 straight hours of cosplay photos, wandering around the convention center, and participating in the costume parade), and I almost fell asleep in the car on the way home. Now, I get to unpack, spend time with the cats, and slowly rehydrate myself. Plus, I get to spend tomorrow writing up blog posts, reacclimating to normal life, and guest-starring on another episode of The Five-Ish Fangirls Podcast where Rachel and I (and the other podcasters) ramble about the past four days.
I swear, I had a real post written up for yesterday. It was only missing some photos, ones I had to take as I do the tutorial I’m hoping to share with you all soon (probably next week at this point, though). I got it all written Wednesday night. I was going to take the photos on Thursday, and post it on Friday, and keep up my posting streak of one post a week. I had this.
And then my brain intervened, and said “oh we’re not going to do that, we’re not going to do anything but knit when you’re not at work, knit and feel miserable.”
Thursday ended up being a pretty rough day, and Friday wasn’t much better. So here I am on Saturday morning, at 7 am, not wanting to break my posting streak. So, instead of a tutorial, or cosplay planning, I’m going to share some of the good things that happened this week. Because this week wasn’t just full of my brain being ridiculous like it tends to be at times. There were some cool little things that happened that made me smile.
First off, I got my Sailor Moon boots in the mail this week. There was a little bit of frustration with them at first – they didn’t come close to fitting my calves – but the owner of the Etsy shop I bought them from told me how to stretch them so they’d fit, and it worked! (Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take this picture.) They look so fantastic, and I can’t wait for Gen Con so I can wear them around the convention on Saturday.
I also finally got a Peridot decal to go with the Lapis decal on the back of my new car! (who is also named Lapis – that’s a story for another time though) A friend of mine from work, Jake, makes vinyl decals, and when I couldn’t get the original decals I’d bought for Old Lapis because the seller’s Etsy store was on (seemingly permanent) vacation, I sketched up some stuff in Illustrator and had Jake make me some decals. They came out really well!
And it’s not exactly a nerdy thing, but I can’t help but show off one of my kitties, Hannah, who was trying to make me feel better last night when I hit a rough patch:
Isn’t she beautiful? She curled up next to my feet after this and slept there all night. (And then decided to use me as a landing pad early this morning when she jumped out of the window above the bed, oof.) She doesn’t often snuggle with Ross and I, especially not in the summer, so it was an extra special treat to get Hannah snuggles last night.
Here’s hoping next week will be better. At the very least, I’ll have more than enough time to get that tutorial I’ve been working on finished by Thursday or Friday.
This has been hanging on my craft room door since last Halloween, reminding me that this is going to be probably my one big cosplay for Gen Con this year. I’ve actually been a little afraid to ramble about the costume on the blog, because every time I say “oh hey I am SO GOING TO COSPLAY AS THIS” on the blog, it never happens. (Like Toothless. And Rose Quartz.)
This one is actually going to happen, though. I mean, I’m too close to having a completed costume for this to just say “eh, maybe next year”. I’m remembering how I felt at Halloween when I put on this costume, when my inner sixteen-year-old let out a near-constant fangirl squeal every time I looked in a mirror. I saw myself and said “I am Sailor Moon.”
For me, this is huge. I’ve done a bunch of Sailor Moon costumes over the years. I made one by hand during my senior year of high school (and I do mean by hand, I lost sewing machine privileges during the middle of that project and some parts were held together by staples). I found a pre-made Sailor Moon costume at a Spencer’s back during my sophomore year of college — it was a child’s XL, I had to cut the bodysuit out to make it fit and wore it all over a white t-shirt. I made a Sailor Jupiter costume for I-CON 2006 that turned out really impressively, and I wish I’d hung onto it because it was the best hand-sewn costume I’d made up to that point.
This year, I’m going to have a costume that’s well put together, that I won’t have to worry about falling apart because of my iffy hand-sewing skills. It won’t have staples in it. It won’t be a cobbled together collection of whatever I can find that’s “close enough” to certain costume pieces that I can’t make on my own or afford to buy somewhere.
There are three pieces I still need to get for my costume — one I just bought and am waiting for it to be shipped, one I’m pestering a friend for on Tuesday, and the third I think I could get away without if I need to.
The first thing, and something I’ve never actually had for a Sailor Moon costume before: the boots.
I found these boots on Etsy, in the shop Catzia’s Collectibles. This shop is full of beautiful Sailor Moon cosplay accessories, and I can’t wait to get the boots and see how they feel. I’ll definitely want to break them in before Gen Con, so I don’t accidentally destroy my feet like I’ve done with just about every costume I’ve worn that involves heels. (I wonder if I could get away with wearing these under jeans for work, haha.) I’m ridiculously excited about these boots, you guys. I’ve done Sailor Moon costumes with plain red heels, with black flats, even with a pair of grey and black Mary Janes with Sailor Moon socks. I’m gonna have actual boots for this costume. Sixteen-year-old me could cry happy tears right now.
The next is the wig.
I’ve told you about my wonderful wig-making neighbor before — and Oriana is hopefully going to start work on my very own Sailor Moon wig soon, which has me ridiculously excited. (You need to see her Queen Beryl – I’m really hoping she brings that to Gen Con, it’s such a fantastic costume! At the very least, maybe we can throw on costumes and do a photoshoot in our neighborhood. I’m pretty sure most of our neighbors won’t even bat an eye.)
The last thing I need is the wand.
There are lots of places I could get a Sailor Moon wand. I’m kind of kicking myself for selling my old Cutie Moon Rod years ago, and I miss my old Crescent Moon Wand (which had an untimely demise due to a friend accidentally stepping on it, it’s my fault for leaving it on the floor). I could hope to win an auction on eBay for an older Sailor Moon wand like the one I had in high school, or I could spend a stupid amount of money on a Proplica wand. (And if I did buy a Proplica wand, I’d be terrified to bring it to Gen Con because what if something happened to it? Then I’d be out $100, and I’d be a very sad Crafty Nerd.) The pictured wand is one I might get, if I do decide to go with a wand. It looks pretty close to the original wand. While it’s a little expensive for something that’s not an official Sailor Moon item, it’s still better than worrying about breaking a Proplica wand on accident or going with modifying a bootleg toy to look a little more official.
You guys. This costume is actually happening. I am actually going to wear a Sailor Moon costume to a convention and not be slightly embarrassed by it because it’s not perfect. Because this costume is going to be just about perfect. And I can’t wait to wear it.
I was on a really good posting streak there for a while, wasn’t I?
And then my brain got in the way and decided “hey, let’s focus on everything that’s NOT the blog!” And silly me went and followed it down a bunch of rabbit trails. I started three craft projects, in addition to the two unfinished pairs of socks and poor neglected Sailor Moon quilt.
And then Kishar started back up again, which meant I got to don my elf ears and red dress again and run around as Ëlinyr the Sun Elf for a weekend!
Then there are the cosplay ideas Ross and I have been coming up with for the conventions we’re going to. (I’m not going to post about them, because it seems that any time I post about costumes I want to do for conventions here, I never end up actually making them, like Toothless and Rose Quartz…) And of course I get wrapped up in those and get excited for conventions, and all the fun that comes along with them.
And then I remember my poor neglected blog, and feel bad.
Then something else distracts me, and off I go! *sighs*
So that’s where my brain has been lately, folks. Lost in a bunch of ridiculous distractions. I need to actually develop a blog posting routine – set down a day and time every week to write some stuff. Even if it’s just “hey, I’ve got nothing this week, so here, have some pictures of dogs dressed up in costumes”.
Speaking of which – yes, it’s old, but I do love seeing Pudge dressed up as the Eleventh Dogtor.
What this rambly post boils down to, I think: I’m still here, I’m still distracted by everything, but I’m gonna try my darndest to put new blog posts out on a regular-ish basis. There’s definitely no shortage of things I want to post about, like my idea for turning a Wingspan Shawl into a Toothless shawl. Or how ideas for keeping track of my yarn tourism fun. And don’t forget about how I managed to read through almost all the Dresden Files books this year – that merits a post of its own, I think.
There I go, getting distracted again! Anyhow. Expect some more regular posts from me – and feel free to pester me if you don’t see anything for a while. Friendly reminders from readers are always welcome, hah.
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.
Goodness, quilt pattern making is hard. I never realized just how hard until I started work on the Sailor Moon quilt.
First off, trying to figure out how much fabric I needed for this quilt has been… an adventure, to say the least. I started off with very uneven amounts of old Sailor Moon fabric, and thought to myself, “okay, I’ll try out making a pattern where the main squares have a moon pattern in them, and then alternate them with 9-block squares!” I roughed out a pattern based on 12-inch quilt squares, made up of 9 pieces, and figured I’d at least have enough Sailor Moon fabric to make that pattern work.
It was a great idea, and I was super excited – however, I’d actually ordered the fabric I was going to use for the quilt before I actually built the pattern. Which was not the smartest idea I’ve ever had. However, I cut my existing fabric into squares while I waited for the fat quarters I’d ordered from Spoonflower to come, and did some research to figure out how many 4.5 inch squares I could get out of a fat quarter. Turns out, you can theoretically get sixteen 4.5 inch squares from a fat quarter!
If the fat quarter is appropriately sized, anyway.
For those of you who’ve never ordered from Spoonflower before, they custom print your chosen design on whatever fabric you choose at the time you order it. Which is pretty darn cool, I think – but with the fat quarters, they’re not exactly a standard size – and on top of that, the printing was a little off, size-wise, resulting in some quilt squares that have a white border on one edge. (I’m sure it’ll be hidden when I start piecing things together, but still, it’s annoying.)
I did, however, make a quilt pattern. And I think it’ll look pretty cool, once made – but I’m not even sure I want to make it with this fabric, given all the ridiculousness with different amounts of different fabric patterns and all. I might end up doing the disappearing 9-patch pattern I’ve seen around the internet, though – I’ve been wanting to try it for a while, and with a couple solid fat quarters, I should easily be able to make it. What I will do with that pattern, instead, is polish it up into a nice PDF and possibly post it here for people to test out, if I’ve got any followers who are nerdy quilters who’d want to beta test a pattern for me…
And you know what’s really sad? I finally got the solid colored fat quarters I needed to help break up the crazy patterns, and I still haven’t cut them up yet. I’ve had them for a few weeks now and haven’t touched them. Maybe when I’m on vacation, I’ll finally tackle this quilt in earnest…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
The very first crafting obsession I ever had was sewing. I learned how to sew by hand in Sunday school, back when I was 8 years old, and I turned out to be pretty good at it. And on top of that, I really enjoyed it. Really, really enjoyed it. So much so that I was shortly begging my dad to take me to the nearest Jo-Ann Fabrics, two towns over. And when he did take me, it was like walking into craft heaven.
And thus, my crafting addiction was born, with scraps of fake fur fabric from the remnants bin, a couple of sewing needles, and some thread. I made a rather homely looking bear, and then another homely looking animal, and then kept on sewing until my skills were passably good. I even made a tiny doll quilt with the help of one of my neighbors! I went on to make bigger and better things – clothing for dolls, clothing for myself, Halloween costumes, another quilt, and more stuffed animals.
The last sewing project I embarked on, until very recently, was my giant Toothless plush that I made back in 2012. You’ve all seen pictures of him. I’ve posted about him a bazillion times. And aside from sewing on the odd button on a shirt, or patching up the antique quilt I picked up in the Adirondacks years ago, I haven’t really sewn anything since. Crocheting and cross-stitching and many other crafts got in the way, unfortunately, and my poor old sewing machine languished at the bottom of closets or in the garage for a while, waiting for me to pick it back up again.
And thanks to the need for curtains, combined with a gift card for Jo-Ann Fabrics from my little sister-in-law, I broke out my trusty Brother sewing machine and picked up the fine art of stitching again. I’m not amazing with a machine yet – I can do straight lines, and I know the basics of how to operate my sewing machine, but all the fancy options this guy has are kind of intimidating. Curtains don’t need fancy stitching, though.
Aaaaand I made myself some curtains! They’re pretty, and perfect for my craft room. It feels more lived-in in here, far cozier than it used to.
During the process of making those curtains, I realized how much I missed sewing. As I said, it’d been years since I’d picked it up, and I had fun doing it, so I was looking for other sewing projects to do – and one fell into my lap during a trip to, you guessed it, Jo-Ann’s. My friend Kasi and I had headed over there so Kasi could get some thread and we could drool over yarn, and we almost walked out with little stacks of their Sweet Roll yarn, when we wandered over to the quilting section and found fabric we each fell in love with. Neither of us had done any sewing projects in a while, and Kasi found so many beautiful collections of bright fabric she wanted to make a quilt from. Me, I found fabric with scooters on it. SCOOTERS. I took it as a sign, gathered up both bundles that had the scooter fabric in it as well as some other pre-cut fabric, and set out to make a scooter quilt.
I’m using a Jelly Roll strip bundle in various black patterns, as well as a bundle of quilt fabric with roses, scooters, and the Eiffel Tower, oddly enough (I thought scooters were big in Italy, not France), and I’m doing a combination of strips and squares. This is what I’ve got so far – and I’ll post updates as I go along. The scooter quilt, as I’m calling it, is going to be mostly hand sewn – I might get lazy and do the actual quilting on the machine, but we’ll see. So far, I’m still piecing things together. I’m glad I got back into sewing, though – it’s something different to occupy my hands with, and it’s also something I’ve missed doing.
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.
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!