Ten years of The Crafty Nerd!

Holy crap, y’all. The tiny little blog I started on a whim one cold February morning because I found out the domain thecraftynerd.com was available is officially ten years old.

I was thinking about it this morning too – I knew that the blog’s birthday was soon, but as always, I spaced out on the exact date until I checked my Facebook memories and saw all the previous “Happy birthday to the blog!” posts from prior years.

It’s actually hitting me pretty hard, realizing it’s the blog’s tenth birthday. Like, I was sitting at my computer on my lunch break on one of the rare days where I’m actually in the office, fighting back tears because of how emotional I felt over keeping this blog going for ten whole years. Sure, I haven’t been doing a great job of that over the past few years (thank you pandemic for throwing my entire life off the rails), but I try to post when I can. There have been many times over the past few years when I came close to just giving up and closing down the blog, but I didn’t – I stuck with it. And now here I am at the blog’s tenth birthday.

The Crafty Nerd has witnessed a lot during its ten years – including 261 blog posts, eight Gen Cons, 20 Kishar games (give or take), countless craft projects, two divorces, a pandemic, a whole lot of loss-related grief, at least 10 posting hiatuses, and a complete overhaul of the blog’s branding and logo.

What this year holds for the blog

Last year, I ended up doing a “new year’s resolution” sort of thing on the blog’s birthday – and while I didn’t really follow through on posting more or playing more games, at least I finished a bunch of craft projects – which is something!

This year, I’m going to give myself some blogging goals that I’m gonna try my hardest to meet.

  • Write more. About anything. Even if it’s only tangentially crafting or nerdiness related, if I feel vaguely inspired to write, I’m going to write. I need to get back into the habit of adding content to the blog regularly again. I thought about revisiting some old posts, like the one about the ugly blanket I made a while back and the one I wrote about Magic: Puzzle Quest, and doing a follow-up of sorts on those posts – maybe that’s a good place to start. If I can get at least one post out a month for this year, that’d be amazing.
  • Go to more events this year. Whether it’s just making sure I get out to all the Kishar games this season or re-entering the world of attending conventions, I need to get out and do nerdy things again. Going to the Kate Mulgrew event last October was amazing, and reminded me of how much I missed being out and about and going to conventions. So, I’m going to try to do that more this year.
  • Make more of a dent in the Corner of Shame pile. I managed to finish quite a few things in the Corner of Shame before getting distracted by new cross-stitch projects, and I want to go back to that pile later on this year and see what else I can get finished. Maybe someday I’ll manage to completely eradicate the Corner of Shame pile!

I’m not going to be too hard on myself if I don’t meet these goals, and try to celebrate any sort of wins that happen in the process. Even a little bit of progress is better than none at all, right?

So, here’s to ten years of craftiness and nerdiness – and hopefully many, many more.

The Crafty Nerd gets a new look

You’ve probably noticed it by now – things look slightly different around here. After nine years of the site being magenta and gold, and five years with the yarn and classic gaming console controller, I decided it was time to switch things up a little bit.

… and yes, I made a video showcasing the new logo. I’m ridiculous, I know.

Why change things up?

Well, with everything going on lately, I felt it might be time for a bit of a change. For one thing, the old color scheme is something I heavily associate with Rana, and all the time we spent working on the site together – and while I miss her so much, I feel like changing the colors is going to help give me the jumpstart I need to get working on the blog again. When it comes to the actual logo itself, I’m not that much of a console gamer anymore, so the Super Nintendo-inspired controller isn’t really a good fit anymore. All in all, it’s time for something new.

So, I made a couple of changes to the logo and site colors. Teal has been one of my favorite colors for a while now, so I wanted to find some way to work that into the logo. Additionally, while I may not play many console games now, I have always enjoyed playing tabletop RPGs. Switching out the magenta controller with a teal twenty-sided die sounded like a good change to me, and so I made the switch. Making that d20 was a bit of a process, though. (I learned how to skew objects in Illustrator in order to make the numbers look right, which is something I previously only knew how to do in Photoshop!) I almost changed the logo font as well, but it just felt wrong seeing The Crafty Nerd’s name in any font but Lobster 1.2. I wanted some change, but not that much change.

As it turns out, my office décor is turning out to be mostly teal, which works out nicely with the color scheme changes for the blog. I originally planned on painting the walls in here blue, then briefly entertained the idea of painting a wall or two purple… but now, it’s looking like teal is the dominant color in here. I’m totally fine with having my blog match my office – it kinda makes everything feel a little more professional. And I’ll admit… the new desk chair I bought in a lovely shade of mint green may have influenced my logo color choices, too. (I’ll talk more about the desk chair next week, though.)

Looking back: the original logo

While I’m talking about the logo: for those of you who haven’t been around since I started the blog, did y’all know that my original site logo was very, very different?

The original Crafty Nerd website header, with the text in a font that looks like scrawled handwriting and a cartoon version of my head and hands. My hands are holding knitting needles, and it looks like I'm knitting a very long scarf.

The original site header for The Crafty Nerd. Pretty sure I sketched that out while I was working on one of the Doctor Who scarves I knit way back in the day.

Much like the newer logos, I made this one from scratch as well – it originally started out as a sketch I doodled on some scrap paper during a meeting at work. Instead of putting together the digital version in Illustrator, though, I did it in Photoshop. And I didn’t really think about how well it would translate to things like business cards or stickers or other things I might use to market the blog. (Then again, back in 2013, I wasn’t really expecting the blog to last more than maybe a year or two, so the possibility of making stickers to pass out at conventions wasn’t anything that had entered my mind yet.) I did use the “me knitting a scarf” logo on some of my very early business cards, but it didn’t really work out well in a small format.

Picture of four mini business cards, half the height of a typical business card, in orange, blue, purple, and pink. Each business card has white line art of the old Crafty Nerd logo, and it's hard to see over the bright colors.

I can’t believe I still have some of these laying around – these were not the best business cards I’d ever made.

I could go on and on about the evolution of my site’s graphics, but I’m probably the only one who’d find that interesting. (If anyone’s curious as to what the site’s looked like over the years, check out The Crafty Nerd on the Wayback Machine starting in 2013 – before then, the domain name wasn’t actually mine) For now, I’ll just say that back in 2017 I realized I should probably have some coherent branding, and finally settled on Lobster 1.2 for the main font and created the yarn and controller logo that everyone’s likely more familiar with.

Of course, now that I’ve changed the logo and the site’s colors, I’ll need to order some new business cards, and maybe some new stickers, and maybe update the designs in the Crafty Nerd Redbubble shop and link to it from here again… I’ve already gone and ordered a new desk mat from Inked Gaming (they make beautiful custom game and mouse mats!) – I can’t wait to see how the new desk mat looks when it gets here.

New branding = more blog excitement

I’m actually excited about the blog again, for the first time since Gen Con 2020. This is a big thing for me, folks. I mean, come on, I wrote two blog posts this week, and wrote outlines for three more posts. I think that’s more than I wrote for the blog in all of 2021. I am so, so excited to finally have some energy for the blog again.

Stay tuned for what I hope will be the start of weekly blog posts, starting with next week’s review of the fancy gaming desk chair I bought!

Nine years of crafting and nerdiness

Facebook kindly reminded me yesterday that it was the blog’s birthday. It’s been nine years since I started The Crafty Nerd — a project I originally thought I would tire of in a few months, sparked by my desire to have a blog like EPBOT where I could ramble about life and nerdy craft projects.

I realized I haven’t celebrated the blog’s birthday since 2019. In 2020, I think I posted about it on Facebook, but that was all. In 2021, I was still recovering from the dumpster fire that was 2020, and hadn’t posted much in general in a while, so I didn’t feel much like celebrating. To be honest, I don’t feel much like celebrating this year either, but the fact that I’ve kept The Crafty Nerd going for almost ten years deserves celebrating.

What’s next for The Crafty Nerd

A screen capture from Star Trek: Lower Decks showing Rutherford, Tendi, Mariner, and Boimler looking excited.

The Lower Decks crew is excited about what’s in store next year for The Crafty Nerd!

In past birthday posts, I’ve shared some stats about the blog, or rambled about things that have happened in general during the year since the last birthday. I’m not sure how interesting everyone finds that information, though — so instead I’m going to talk about what I want to do during the blog’s 9th year.

This year, I want to…

  • …post more regularly. I fell out of the habit of writing regularly due to the pandemic and the ensuing depression/anxiety mess I found myself in. I don’t want to feel guilty anymore about the blog just sitting here gathering dust. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll write about, but I’m sure I’ll find something. I’m going to try to get something posted every other week for the foreseeable future, and if it turns out later on that I have more energy to write, I’ll go back to the weekly posting schedule I stuck to before the pandemic.
  • …actually finish some craft projects. I think I can count on one hand the amount of craft projects I’ve finished in the past two years — I’ve made two blankets and finished two cross-stitch projects (one of which was a bookmark, so of course I finished it quickly).
  • …play more games. I haven’t actually done much gaming — tabletop, video, LARP, or otherwise — in the past few months, and I kind of miss it. The next season of Kishar is due to start next month, although omicron may have an impact on that, sadly. I’d also been playing Final Fantasy 14 pretty regularly, and I really enjoy it, but after everything happened with Rana I haven’t had the energy to play. I’m starting to feel a little better, though, so I might start playing more.

I’m thinking I can meet these goals for the blog’s 9th year. Hopefully this year turns out to be a good year for The Crafty Nerd, and I’m actually pretty excited about the blog’s tenth birthday next year. So, here’s to nine years of The Crafty Nerd — thanks for sticking with me this long, folks. I’m hoping to have more fun and interesting content for everyone over the next year.