The Crafty Nerd finds a new hobby

It’s not terribly often that I take up a new hobby – especially one that I can easily incorporate my nerdiness into.  (Or actually encourages my nerdiness.)  However, a couple of my friends are also into this specific hobby, and it piqued my interest…

2013-08-04 16.01.19Yes, that’s right – I’ve picked up the fine (and expensive) hobby of painting minis.  And it turns out I’m actually pretty good at it, too!

When I first heard about mini figures, it was through some friends who played Warhammer 40K – that was my only exposure to minis for many, many years.  All I knew about it was that it involved lots of tiny figurines, and the game wasn’t quite my thing, so I largely ignored it.  Then a friend of mine reintroduced me to the hobby last year – it turned out minis weren’t just used for Warhammer, they were used in lots of games – like Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons, and more.  I admired his intricate paint work, but didn’t think I could manage such tiny details. Continue reading →

You know you’re nerdy when…

Oh yes.  We all have our moments when we do something and then think “Yikes, I’m nerdy!”  Here’s a little list of my nerdy moments – feel free to share yours in the comments!

You know you’re nerdy when…

  • … you write a love note to your husband in Python code – and he responds back in Python as well.
  • … you spend an entire weekend (or two or three or four) working on costume pieces for a convention.
  • … instead of cutesy little knick-knacks decorating your living room, you have a K-9 bobblehead, a couple of large My Little Ponies, and a bunch of Princess Peach figurines all over your entertainment center.
  • …your desk at the office is covered in noticeably more action figures than, well, everyone else’s.
  • …you’re on edge, waiting eagerly, for an important announcement regarding one of your fandoms.  (Doctor Who fans, you know this feeling well, what with the announcement of the 12th Doctor recently!  And the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fans, don’t tell me you don’t eagerly await the announcement of when each new season will start, haha)
  • …you get excited about getting a package of USB cords in the mail.
  • …most of your t-shirts come from places like shirt.woot, Teefury, Threadless, and RIPT – simply because there’s no better place to get nerdy shirts (I swear, most of my non-work wardrobe consists of Doctor Who shirts thanks to sites like them)
  • …you get excited when you figure out a way to nerd up an otherwise not-incredibly-nerdy craft project.  (Princess Luna crocheted cape, here I come!)
  • …you get excited by the smell of new books.  Or new computer parts.  Or new action figures.
  • …you get so into a hobby (playing a new video game, reading the the newest book in your favorite fantasy series, learning to paint minis) that you forget to eat lunch… and have to be reminded to eat dinner.
  • …you have more computers in your house than you do people.  (Or laptops, or cellphones.  I think the tally here in the Crafty Nerd House is three desktops, three laptops, two tablets, and four smartphones, two of which are not in active use.  And it’s just me and Mr. Crafty Nerd here.)

And these are just the ones I’m guilty of – again, if you have your own nerdy moments, share them in the comments!  I may add them to an updated version of this post. 🙂

How To Detangle Build-a-Bear My Little Pony Manes

Edit 7/2/14: I’ve had a couple requests for help when it comes to terribly tangled manes – and now I have a tutorial for that!  You can find it here!

With the very recent release of Princess Twilight Sparkle at Build-a-Bear, and my very very recent (as in, this afternoon) purchase of Twilight Sparkle and her buddy Spike, I figured I may as well get all three of my Build-a-Bear ponies together for a picture – they’re some of the nicest quality ponies I’ve got in my collection, and I do love taking pictures of my ponies!  However, when I took Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash off the bed in my office, I noticed their manes were a little less than perfect looking… Pinkie had a few knots in her mane, and Dashie had some flyaways and looked a little messy.  I figured it might be a good idea to brush and detangle their manes – and then got the bright idea to post a photo-laden tutorial of the process here!  (Granted, this idea hit me halfway through Pinkie Pie, but still…)

So, without further ado…

How to Detangle Pony Manes

First things first, you’ll want to pick up a wig brush (or at least a brush with metal bristles) and some wig detangler.  I use an old American Girl doll hairbrush, and recently picked up some Brandywine Wig Detangler off of Amazon for detangling the wig that goes with my Pinkie Pie costume.

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Wig brush and detangler!

Have a look at Pinkie’s mane – I’ve brushed it a small amount at this point, but you can see it’s still kinda messy – even for Pinkie!

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Pinkie after a little bit of detangling – but not much.

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The Crafty Nerd Goes On Vacation: Part 1

No no no, not a vacation from posting – although I did unintentionally take one of those, and I’m sorry!  I’m going to stick to a schedule from now on – Wednesdays and Sundays will be my posting days, with an occasional Roundup here and there.  And since today is a Sunday…

WE HAVE A POST!

Now, I really am on vacation – back in my home state of New York, in the lovely Adirondack Mountains.  Bryan’s grandparents have a cabin here, and I’ve been coming up here with Bryan and his family for about six years now.  We’re close to Lake George, which is a very touristy place, but far enough away from all the busy-ness of the town, which is wonderful.

2013-07-26 17.09.25I mean, come on, look at this beautiful view of the Hudson River.  Absolutely wonderful.  I’ve been looking forward to this all summer – and I am incredibly happy to be here.  All my classes are done for the summer, work has entered a lull (I taught a ridiculous amount of page layout and design workshops during the early part of last week, and that’s it for my teaching schedule for the rest of the summer), and it’s the perfect part of the summer to take a vacation.  So here I am, parked at the kitchen table in my pajamas and my Escher-inspired Doctor Who sweatshirt, with my laptop, writing this post while listening to the birds tweet outside.

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Beth’s Awesome Picks of the Week – July 7th – 13th, 2013

I’m going to shift the focus of my weekly roundups to include not just awesome crafty things, but awesome craft and nerd things in general!  This week, I’ve got a whole bunch of things for you guys.

Evolution of Gaming


This is an awesome podcast by my friend Andy and a friend of his that delves into the history of gaming – Andy and Jason play all sorts of video games, on their original systems, and talk about all sorts of gaming stuff.  The podcast updates twice a week – and I think my Super NES will be powering one of the upcoming episodes, so stay tuned!  I’m enjoying the heck out of this podcast.

Perler Bead TARDIS Tutorial

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Ever wanted to make a TARDIS?  Well, here’s a tutorial that shows you how to make one with perler beads!  I love playing with perler beads – it’s just so awesome to assemble a picture or something and then iron over it to melt all the beads together… it’s oddly satisfying.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Comics – Treasury Edition

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For those of you who collect the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comics, or for those who are just fans of the series, this is a must-buy.  I picked this up at my local comic book shop last week, and the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Treasury Edition is packed with all sorts of awesome things.  It’s got a line art only edition of the first comic in the front, which is especially awesome to look at for this art nerd, and it also has a collection of every different cover variant for the first couple of comics – the original variants, the Hot Topic covers, the one made especially for different comic vendors – all nice and large and in bright colors.  The book is definitely larger than the comic books – it’s about 9 by 12 inches – and the art is awesome.  You can likely find it in your local comic book shop!  (For more information, check out this article from Derpy Hooves News.)

And that’s it for this week’s roundup – feel free to let me know in the comments if there’s something you think I should feature in next week’s roundup!

Music Enthusiasm (or, What Happens When the Head Nerd Sees One of Her Favorite Musical Groups)

I may not be quite so obvious about it, but I am definitely a huge music nerd – I grew up in a household that not only loved listening to music, but everyone was musically inclined to some degree.  My mom played trumpet, I played clarinet and piano, and my sister played alto sax and a tiny bit of clarinet.  Performing has always been a thrill for me, and watching concerts even more so.  When I go to concerts, I get especially excited – I get to see some of my favorite musicians playing music I love to listen to – and there’s nothing separating me from the music as it’s being played.  It’s not coming out of speakers or headphones – it’s coming straight from the musicians to my ears.

So, when I heard one of my most favorite musical groups was coming somewhat nearby, I may have flailed about and then ordered tickets promptly.  Yes, Caravan Palace came to Chicago recently, and I went and saw them, and it was… oh, it was an experience.

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New side blog: Go Scooterlou!

I’m working on a much more interesting and much larger post – on my recent trip to Chicago, no less, and about music nerdery – but until that’s all ready, I’ve got a tiny little tidbit for those of you who love hearing about my scooter (or who’re just curious about her).  I’ve started up a little Blogger blog, Go Scooterlou!, that focuses on stories about my scooter, pictures of her and other little Honda Metropolitans I encounter, and other scooter-related stuff.

You can find it here!

Second Doctor Who Scarf!

Well, it only took me six months to do it this time – I finished my second Doctor Who scarf!

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The scarf turned out pretty well, although there were a couple of hiccups along the way while making it, including…

  • It turns out I used the wrong size needles.  for some reason I figured that I’d be using the same size needles as I used for Bryan’s scarf, but nope.  I was wrong.  I needed a size 9 needle – and used a size 6, and didn’t realized I was using the wrong needles until I was about five rows away from done.  Not even kidding.  Being a bit of a perfectionist, I may try to make a new one in the correct size… is that crazy?
  • Crocheting the edge was a bit tough, especially on the side that had all the color changes.  The pattern didn’t exactly explain how to do it (“slip stitch crochet on right side only” is not quite enough detail – where the heck am I supposed to put that slip stitch?).  I ended up just single-crocheting around the edge on the right side – it made the edge a little more obvious, which I was fine with, but I don’t know as it’s entirely show-accurate…  The worst part was trying to wedge my crochet hook through the color changes – that side’s a bit messy because of that.  It’s not horrible, but when it comes to my craft projects, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
  • I am really sick of doctorwhoscarf.com changing their patterns every year!  This happened when I was working on Bryan’s scarf, and it happened this time too – I inevitably lose the pattern somewhere, and then go to look it up online, and it’s completely different.  While the change wasn’t so drastic with Bry’s scarf (it went from just a list of colors and rows to a graphical pattern), the change on my scarf was much harder to deal with – the maintainer of the patterns switched from counting each rib as a row, and listing the amount of ribs on each color span, to counting each individual row and therefore doubling the amount of “rows” in each span of color.  It really threw me off, especially when I did my counting.  Next time I do a scarf, I’m going to get in the habit of printing out a couple of copies and sticking the extras to my bulletin board, so I don’t have to switch to reading a pattern in a different format.

Doctor2

Aside from these issues, making the scarf was fun, and it kept me occupied during many long chilly nights of TV watching and gave me something to do while sitting through family gatherings and classes.  I’m kind of sad that I’m done with it… and I’m considering taking on the task of making scarves for friends, should they want one.  I’m starting to question my sanity, with that last bit, haha, but there’s nothing so soothing as knitting a nice, long, Doctor Who scarf!

Music and Scooters: Yes, they do mix. Carefully.

So, when most people think of scooter riding, they don’t usually think “wow, having some music would make this ride even better!”  Most people don’t generally think of convoluted ways to add speakers to their scooter, either.  (I mean, come on, motorcycles have radios, how come Scooterlou didn’t come with one standard? Heheh.)  Well, I guess you could say I’m not most people, heheh.

I will preface this with a little bit of explanation – I absolutely LOVE music.  Almost as much as I love reading books.  I try and find some way to work music into whatever I’m doing – I listen while I’m at work, while Bryan’s driving somewhere, while I’m cleaning the house, while I’m typing blog entries… In fact, I think I just managed to crash my PS3 by trying to see if the Google Play Music site would work on it.  (Apparently not.)  Music is just a part of who I am.  And once I finally got over my general nervousness about riding Scooterlou, I thought, “There’s gotta be some way I can listen to music on this thing.”

My first attempt at making Scooterlou musical was a weatherproof speaker that ran on batteries, and connected to my phone through Bluetooth.  There wasn’t really a good place to actually put the speaker, so I ended up resting it on the floor and bungee-cording it to my basket.  I’d tested the speaker out in the house, and it got pretty loud, so I figured it’d work fine!

Boy, was I wrong.  When Scooterlou’s engine gets going, she’s pretty darn loud – so loud that even when I had the speaker cranked up as loud as reasonably possible, I could barely hear it when idling, forget about while I was actually riding.  It was a bummer – I spent a chunk of change on that speaker, and while it does come in handy in other situations (like when we’re giving the scooters baths, or when I’m in the shower, or if we ever go camping again), it’s not the best idea for scootering.  I resigned myself to someday spending a ridiculous amount of money on a sound system for my little Honda Metropolitan… and then I came across this.

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One of my new friends runs a scooter shop (it’s Wick’s Wheels, for any locals who are interested), and one day I was poking through the helmet selection when I stumbled upon this wonderful thing.  It’s a helmet – with Bluetooth speakers and a mic.  While I’d never ever be brave enough to answer the phone while riding my scooter, the fact that it can connect to my phone (which has a lovely unlimited data connection and can hook right up to my Google Play All-Access Music collection) was what sold me.  MUSIC ON MY SCOOTER.  It was finally going to happen in a safe way!  YES.  So, I bought it.  And after having to return the first one because the port for the plug to charge said helmet was a little messed up in the first helmet, I found out this is exactly what I need.  It doesn’t need to be loud enough for everyone on the road to hear it.  I’m the only one who needs to listen to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky on repeat ninety million times. 😀

So yes, scooters and music can, and do, mix.  Carefully.  🙂