San Francisco: The Nerdy Video-Blogging Experience

No, I have not dropped off the face of the planet, in case anyone was wondering (although apparently did, sadly, I didn’t renew my domain name in time and I think I may have lost it, we’ll see when HostGator processes my payment), but I have been incredibly busy.  Not only was this week the middle of the semester, but it’s also….

golden-gate-bridge…the week before spring break, and my trip to San Francisco!  And Bryan, wonderful husband that he is, suggested I video blog this trip and post it all here!    After some thinking, I decided “what the heck, why not?”  So, over the next few days, expect to see a video a day about my San Francisco adventure.  There’ll be a nerdy twist to it, as there is with everything on this wonderful blog, and hopefully everyone will enjoy watching my adventures!  (And it’ll be a great place to keep things for myself, too!)



Quick afternoon project: No-sew fleece blanket!

I will admit – one of my favorite simple crafts to do that involves very little effort is making no-sew fleece blankets.  Just about anyone can do them, even kids, and you can make them any size, with any fun fleece you can find, and they don’t take terribly long at all to make.  You can get no-sew fleece blanket kits at Jo-Ann Fabrics (or probably many other places, I’ve only seen them at Jo-Ann’s) – or you can make something a little more personal and do it all yourself!  If you take the do-it-yourself route, you can even pick the size of your blanket, and make it as big or as small as you want.  I’m sure there are already lots of no-sew fleece blanket tutorials out there, but maybe someone out there will find this helpful, and I’m hoping you’ll all enjoy my tutorial!

As you might remember from my Startitis post, I have some My Little Pony fleece that’s been waiting for this project.  My blanket is going to be big enough to cover the bed in my craft room/home office – this way, I can wrap myself in pony goodness if I need to, and I can use it to cover the bed as well!  That’s my main reason for doing this – considering nerdy comforters are nearly impossible to find, I may as well make my own.  I should have bought that Sailor Moon comforter off eBay ages ago when I saw it for $40…

What you’ll need

  • two pieces of fleece, as much as you’ll need for the desired size of your blanket (I purchased two yards of each)
  • scissors, sharp ones preferably
  • pins – these are optional, but they’ll help keep the two layers of your blanket together
All trimmed and ready to cut.

All trimmed and ready to cut.

Anyhow!  Step one is to cut your blanket down to the size you need.  I tend to wing it with stuff like this, instead of measuring it, but the standard size for a twin sized blanket is 66 in by 90 in (and I found this information here, for those curious!).  I picked up two yards of each of my fleeces, so I only needed to trim the edge of the pony fleece so the two pieces of fabric are roughly the same size.

Step 2

Step two is optional – while fleece tends to stick to itself pretty well, you might want to pin the two layers of fleece together just for an extra bit of security – this will make sure the two pieces don’t shift while you’re flipping it around as you cut and knot the blanket.  Don’t pin too closely to the edge – you want to leave enough room to cut the fringe around the edges! 🙂

Step 3.1

Step three: cut the fringe!  This is where the sharp scissors will come in especially handy.  You’ll want to make your fringes 5 inches long, and about an inch and a half wide – this way you’ll have enough fabric to tie in knots and have a fringe that’s not too stubby or too long.  However, also keep in mind that fringe-making is not an exact science – they won’t all be perfect, and that’s alright.  It won’t be noticeable when you’re all done!

When you get to the corners, just cut the corners right out – it’ll leave you with a couple of nice 5-inch squares of fabric.  (Which you could maybe use to make a matching pillow!)  If your scissors are really sharp, you might be able to cut through multiple layers at once – that’s what I did in order to cut doww on my cutting time, haha.

Step 4

Step four is the long part.  Now you have to knot all these fringes.  This is where you might want to put on a good tv show or movie and zone out while you knot away – my show of choice was Lost.  The total time it took me to knot this thing was about an hour – it may take more if you’re working on a larger blanket.

2013-02-24 14.37.30


And now we’re done!  This took a total of maybe an hour and a half to two hours from start to finish – it’s a perfect project for a lazy Sunday afternoon, or for a quick gift for someone!  And if you can find the right fabric, it can be delightfully nerdy as well.


Tiny Review – Vanellope von Schweets talking doll!

I will proudly admit that I am a huge fan of Wreck-it Ralph.  I’m pretty sure that’s no surprise at all to anyone who follows my blog.  I’ve got quite a few Wreck-It Ralph figurines – there was a set of them I received as a holiday present from a close friend, and there’s a couple of Vanellope figures I picked up, and I’ve also got an awesome Wreck-It Ralph poster – and a Vanellope plush as well!  I’m eagerly awaiting March 5th, when the DVD comes out – of course I’ve got it preordered.  So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that when I found out Disney made a talking Vanellope von Schweets doll, I had to have one of my own.

It took a while to actually track one down – before the holidays, every Disney store I visited was out of talking Vanellopes.  I visited three stores in two different states, and no luck!  (I did manage to get the plush Vanellope in Syracuse, NY, however, so it wasn’t entirely a waste!)  Then, when I finally did find a talking Vanellope…

Vanellope from Toys R Us…she was $50.00.  And talked a lot about getting her hair done, and had some ridiculous hair extensions.  Granted, yeah, this was the Toys R Us version, and not the Disney Store version I’d initially been looking for, but I was definitely shocked by the $50 price tag.  I’m not going to lie – I almost bought her, but realized $50 would also buy a lot of My Little Ponies, and talked myself out of the purchase at the time.  I’m glad I did, because I found the version I was looking for on the Disney Store’s website, for half the price of the crazy hair-extension version, and I had a 25% off coupon too!  So, I picked her up, because it was a lot easier for me to justify dropping $20 on a talking doll instead of $50.  And on my sick day at home earlier this week, she came!

Vanellope, boxedI’m not going to lie, I de-boxed her almost immediately.  I am a horrible toy collector, I de-box all my toys.  It saves space, and honestly, why collect if you can’t have a little fun with your toys?  So yes, I freed her of her box (which was a very nice box, definitely made for displaying, if you’re into that) and instantly started poking her to make her talk.  She says around 10 different phrases, and they’re all straight from the movie, I think – definitely in Sarah Silverman’s voice.  I recorded her talking a little bit, for those curious…

She’s definitely nice and loud, as you can tell, and she says some of her catch phrases from the movie.  (Bryan and I are a little disappointed that she didn’t make any doody jokes, though.  Yes, we are apparently eternally 10 years old, haha.)   She’s put together really well, and stands on her own pretty well too.  She’s got a lot of styling product in her hair, though, and some parts of it are tied into place – I guess that’s to help it keep its style?  I’ve got no idea.  I do know, though, that I thoroughly enjoy this Vanellope doll, and I’m definitely glad I picked her up!  If you collect Disney memorabilia, or loved Wreck-it Ralph, you should definitely get one for yourself – you won’t be disappointed!

How To Make Your Dragon

Okay, in all honestly, this should be named “How To Make Your Dragon: Part Four” – however, the other three dragons haven’t really been mentioned here – I’ll give them all a quick passing glance right now.  First, a little backstory – my best friend Morgan showed me How To Train Your Dragon over the summer, and I absolutely fell in love with Toothless, one of the main characters.  He is a hilarious dragon, and I love him to pieces.  Morgan loves him too, so I made him a giant plush Toothless – the first of many iterations of everyone’s favorite dragon that I’d make.

Toothless-Front Toothless - Side

The second Toothless I made was a crocheted one that I made for myself, over the holiday break – I wanted a Toothless of my own, darnit, but I didn’t want to go to all the work I did for the first Toothless – after all, it did take me a week to make him, and I sewed every moment I had that I wasn’t asleep or at work.  Crocheted Toothless took a lot less time – maybe a few evenings over the course of a week.

Crocheted ToothlessHe’s small, but absolutely adorable!  The third Toothless, I made as a Christmas present for Morgan – it was made out of Sculpey, and it was a bit of an ordeal – the Sculpey that I’d picked up to use was almost dry, and while I figured out how to revive dried Sculpey, it was tough – I spent 45 minutes massaging baby oil into some chunks of black Sculpey, and made a mess of my hands.  It was all worth it, since in the end I came out with this little guy.

Crocheted Toothless and Tiny Sculpey ToothlessAnd tonight, I made a Sculpey Toothless of my own!  He turned out really well.  First off, I picked up fresh Sculpey, which helped immensely.  It was much easier to mold him.  I followed the tutorial here, from LightningMcTurner on DeviantArt – they made the tutorial I used for the first Toothless.  I made him a bit bigger this time around, and improvised a bit as well, but had a ton of fun making him.

OH GOD WHERE'S THE REST OF MY BODYAs I said, fresh Sculpey made all the difference – it was much more easy to manipulate, and easier to assemble all the pieces, too!  I’m really happy with how he turned out.

2013-02-19 18.53.47Here he is just before going into the oven – isn’t he adorable?  I ended up giving him bigger, unfurled wings, instead of the small tucked wings the tutorial suggested.  I’m happy with that choice – I love his wings.  Take a look below at how nice he looks after coming out of the oven!

Sprawled out on the cooking sheetSo, if you love Toothless as much as I do, you should go check out the Sculpey Toothless tutorials that LightningMcTurner has up on DeviantArt, and make some dragons of your own!








Sick day

Well, it had to happen at some point – I’m home sick, due to various health issues I won’t get into too much here (let’s just say some PCOS-related issues, as well as a sore throat, and leave it at that).  So, I’m having an honest-to-goodness sick day – not a “work at home” day, not a “oh I feel icky but I’m still going to go to work” day.  I think the last time I’ve had a sick day was back in September, when I had bronchitis… Anyway, I’m spending this sick day cooped up on the couch, doing all sorts of relaxing, low-energy things.

So, what happens if you’ve got a sick day of your own?  What kind of stuff could you do?

  • Catch up on TV shows you’ve always wanted to watch but never got around to. (Or rewatch some old favorites!) Some of my suggestions for the nerdy/geeky crowd, especially those with Netflix, include Merlin, The IT Crowd, Torchwood, Farscape, and the classic episodes of Doctor Who!  (I highly recommend the Tom Baker episodes.)  I’ve been doing a fair share of that today – I’ve watched so many episodes of 30 Rock today it’s ridiculous.  It’s not especially nerdy, I know, but it’s hilarious.  And Jack McBrayer makes me giggle, especially considering every time he talks, I keep picturing Felix from Wreck-It Ralph saying his lines.  
  • Go through your pile of unfinished crafts and see what you can do from bed/flopped on the couch/curled up under piles of blankets someplace warm.  Crocheting and knitting are especially low-energy, and if you’re working on a blanket, that’s a plus!  It’ll help you keep warm.
  • Drink some tea!  Tea always makes things better.
  • Play some old video games!  Dig out that old Super Nintendo or PlayStation and play some old favorites.  I might be hooking up my SNES and playing Street Fighter later.  Or Super Mario Kart.
  • Maybe build a puzzle?  I have a Sailor Moon one that’s been sitting under my coffee table for entirely too long…
  • Read a book!  Books are perfect companions for long days in bed.  Some of my suggestions include any of the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris (quick and easy reads!), any of the Black Jewels novels by Anne Bishop (very gripping stories!), or Stephen King’s Under The Dome.  And those are only the books I can think of right now!
  • Or you can do what I did, and take ridiculous pictures of your husband!

Bryan and VanellopeBryan made a new friend today, hahaha.

What kind of stuff do you do with your sick days?  Tell me in the comments!


Unfinished Projects (or, Startitis)

How many of you out there have startitis?  I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about…

from the webcomic Worsted for Wear

from the webcomic Worsted for Wear

I know I’ve got one heck of a pile of unfinished projects stashed in my closet – in fact, this post is going to showcase some of the more interesting projects I’ve got stashed away, thanks to the ridiculous case of chronic startitis I have.  (I think it’s terminal, to be honest…)

The yarn pile

First off, the knitting/crocheting projects – there are so many of them, they’re not even getting their own individual introduction – I’ve just lumped them all together here for convenience, haha.  It’s just so easy to start a new knitting or crocheting project!  All you need is some yarn and a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook – sometimes, I don’t even need a pattern.  I just wing it.  (I also love how I have two scarves in the same pattern there, and didn’t even realize it until I went to dig out all these projects)

Punch embroidery

Next is the massive pile of punch embroidery projects in various stages of completedness – I sometimes get struck with an amazing idea, work on it with wild abandon for a few days, then get distracted.  Often by another craft project.  Told you my startitis was terminal.  Especially for many a project that just ends up languishing in a closet or a bucket.  Projects of note in this pile include the Doctor Who punch project I’ve been working on for… what, four years now?  I really should finish that and turn it into a pillow or something…  Also, the fact that there are three pieces that are just outlines on fabric, well, that’s a travesty.

2013-02-13 09.34.54

Then we come to sewing.  I am actually SO CLOSE to finishing this apron, too!  I’ve been working on it for about three years, which is depressing, considering I turned out the skirt for my Pinkie Pie cosplay in what, an afternoon?  I need to get this one done too.  Besides.  It’s coffee themed.  How can I not finish it?

Embroidery pile

I think needlework projects, especially those of the counted cross-stitch variety, are the ones that end up victims of startitis the most.  I’ve got, what, four or five projects here, in various stages of completion, and one of which that’s been hanging around since 2007.  They just look so pretty in their packages, and I think “oh I can get this one done while I watch TV”, and it never happens…

No-sew pony fleece blanket, waiting to be started

And I have one project that doesn’t even involve sewing or embroidering or anything – and that’s not done yet, either!  This one hasn’t even been started! I may work on this one this weekend, though.  Because the world needs more no-sew blankets.  Especially with Rainbow Dash and Applejack on them.  You know it. 😀

I end up starting way more projects than I finish – if this post were about the projects I’ve actually finished, this would be a much shorter story.  In the past year, I think I’ve finished… let’s see here.

  • the Doctor Who scarf for Bryan’s 4th Doctor costume
  • my Pinkie Pie costume for GenCon last year
  • two shawls
  • a pillow
  • a Pinkie Pie counted-cross stitch kit, which I then turned into a pillow
  • an embroidery sampler, which usually lives on my desk in the office
  • a Christmas quilt for my mother-in-law
  • THREE Toothlesses (sewed, crocheted, and sculpey’d)
  • a baby blanket
  • two scooter blankets
  • a scooter basket cozy
  • Wilbur Wellington the amigurumi corgi
  • Scootaloo and Trixie, the amazing crocheted ponies

Well, at least that’s something, but it nowhere near equals the amount of projects I actually STARTED last year.  My friends keep bringing things I’ve finished to my attention that I’ve forgotten here – everything added in green is something I made and I forgot to add.  Which means maybe my case of startitis isn’t as bad as I thought it was?  Anyway… when I get bored and whiny about not having any craft projects to do, I’m just going to look at my startitis pile and work from there, instead of getting anything new, no matter how tempting it is…

Punch Embroidery: The Lost Art

Not many people out there know about punch embroidery.  To tell the truth, I’d never heard of it until I met my mother-in-law – she makes beautiful punch embroidery pillows, with the help of my father-in-law.  (Kathy does the punch embroidery, and Mike sews the pillows.)  When Kathy found out I could sew, I was pulled in to help sew the pillows – but I was way more interested in learning how to punch embroider.  So, during the first Thanksgiving I spent with Bryan’s family, she taught me how to punch embroider – my first punch embroidery work was Frosty the Snowman, but I quickly came up with ideas I could use to nerd up the craft, so to speak.


It’s actually surprisingly easy to do punch-embroidery.  Finding the tools are hard, and the yarn is even harder to find, but once you get the hang of it, it’s addicting and projects can be finished up pretty quickly.  It involves simple cotton muslin fabric, thin yarn, an embroidery hoop, and a punch needle – it’s relatively inexpensive to get started with.  One of the really neat characteristics of punch embroidery is the neat 3D texture and feel you can get on your projects – the punch needle can be adjusted to different lengths, which makes your design really stand out.   You can make almost anything into a punch embroidery image, but coloring book images and line drawings are a lot easier to do, as are cartoon images.  Which is where my ideas came in – I started out with making some Sailor Moon pillows, back in 2008.


The Sailor Moon pillows were pretty popular on the Sailor Moon community on Livejournal – I made quite a few of them for people there!  I also had some Sailor Moon fabric, too, and that probably made them even more popular, haha.  It was lots of fun finding images to turn into pillows, and I loved seeing how things came together as I punched my way to pretty pictures.  I also did some Christmas stockings, and some patches for jackets, and even some designs for bags as well.  From there, I went and did other nerdy things – including a Doctor Who design (which I’ve been working on for years, haha), and a couple of My Little Pony designs.

If you’ve ever wanted to do punch embroidery, it’s not too hard to pick up – you can purchase materials online, and I plan on making a tutorial video sometime soon – until then, you can check out the following links for supplies and tutorials:



If you want to see more of the projects I’ve done with punch embroidery, check out the gallery below!

Comics! My Little Pony and Adventure Time

I’ve only very recently gotten back into the swing of collecting comic books again – when I was a kid, I used to collect Simpsons Comics pretty religiously, and collected stuff that Mixxzine/Tokyopop put out when I was a teenager.  However, when I was in college, I sort of fell out of the collecting habit – I’d pick up a few comics here and there, like assorted Pokemon comics and the occasional manga, but not with any sort of regularity.

Then the Sailor Moon manga started being re-released, sometime last year, and I realized that I HAD to get them.  I mean, they were re-translated, presented in their original right-to-left format, and published in a sturdier format than the Mixxzine/Tokyopop editions that would fall apart after one or two reads.  And then from there, I was lost, haha.  Especially when My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic started releasing a comic series.  (For those that don’t know me, I am a HUGE My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan.  I mean, come on, I’m sitting here writing this while wearing a Pinkie Pie hoodie and mismatched Twilight Sparkle and Derpy Hooves socks!)  Of course I had to start collecting those.  And in the process, I started picking up some Adventure Time comics, too.

Oh, so many comics - issues one and two of gender-bending Adventure Time, and a whole ton of ponies.

Oh, so many comics – issues one and two of gender-bending Adventure Time, and a whole ton of ponies. (Plus a bag!  Because one can never have too many pony-bedecked project bags, haha.)

When it comes to the MLP:FiM comics, I knew I was going to get those right from the start, as soon as they were announced.  I wasn’t sure if they’d be good or not, but hey, if they weren’t, I could at least hang onto the first issue as some sort of collector’s item, right?  I read the first issue as soon as I left the comic book shop, and it was good.  I mean, really good.  It picked up where season 2 left off with one of the villains from the series, Chrysalis (queen of the Changelings), and what she got herself up to in Equestria after our heroines last encountered her.  I won’t talk too much about the content of these comics, especially for those who haven’t read them yet and want to – all I will say is that if you enjoy MLP:FiM at all, and enjoy comics, you’ll love the pony comics.  And if you’re a comic collector, there are so very many alternate covers out there for each issue – I’ve only been collecting the covers from Hot Topic, but there are far more covers available.  Issue one alone has 19 different covers, and issue two has 13!  So, yeah.  Definitely plenty of reasons to pick up some pony comics.

The Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake comics, those were something of a bonus.  The comic shop I visit, Vintage Phoenix, tends to keep their MLP comics on the same rack as they do the Adventure Time comics.  When I went in January to pick up my monthly dose of pony, Fionna and Cake were there on the next shelf down – and I love Adventure Time (not nearly as much as I love MLP, though), and figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.  I absolutely love the gender-bending story line, and seeing all the opposite-gender counterparts to characters like Princess Bubblegum and Marceline (Prince Gumball and Marshall Lee, respectively) made me giggle.  So, when I came in to pick up my comics this month, I added Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake to the pile!

I might do a monthly post about my comic book haul – depends on how many comics I end up getting, whether or not I add manga to the mix (after all, I am still getting those Sailor Moon volumes every other month!), and so on – we’ll see how stuff pans out!

Printable Valentines – Wreck-it Ralph Style!

Since Valentine’s Day is about a week away, I thought it might be a good idea to make my own valentines for the special people in my life!  (I mean, I do have a stash of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic valentines… but those are collector’s items!  I can’t use those!) And it came to me – why not make some Wreck-it Ralph valentines?  There aren’t any currently out there on the web anywhere, and Wreck-It Ralph is such an awesome movie – so why not make some Wreck-it Ralph inspired valentines?

These are all about 5 inches square, or 5 by 6 inches for the bigger one, and should print out really nicely on cardstock!  There are tiny little watermarks in the images, but hopefully they’re not too obtrusive.  I did draw the images used for these cards, in case you were curious! 😀

I hope everyone enjoys them – and if you use them, leave me a comment and tell me how you used them! 😀  I’d love to see how everyone likes my valentines!

Classy crafting

Little Lovely Shawl

I know this isn’t in the classroom, but still – made a lot of progress!

I’ve noticed a new trend in some of my Information Science classes, and I’m taking part in it as well – there are a lot of students working on knitting and crocheting projects during class!  I brought in my Little Lovely Shawl to work on during Human Computer Interaction yesterday, and while we had wonderful conversations about cognition and how the brain works in relation to computers and technology, as well as trying to assemble a mental model of how an ATM works, my shawl grew by leaps and bounds.

Another classy-craft - this one's a scarf for Bryan

Another classy-craft – this one’s a scarf for Bryan

Another of my classmates was working on a mobius cowl – I might see if I can get a picture of it on Thursday – and one of Bryan’s classmates in his Informatics class was knitting a scarf!  I’m not sure exactly how it works so well, but doing something with my hands helps keep my mind focused on what the instructor is talking about.  Not to mention I get quite a bit of knitting or crocheting done when I have something else to focus on – if it’s just me and the yarn, I tend to get bored pretty quickly.  So, it’s a win-win situation!  I’ll keep posting pictures of the awesome things I make (or work on) in class.  It definitely helped in last night’s Organizational Informatics class – not only did I soak up what was going on, I managed to knit quite a bit of scarf.  And there was the added bonus of knitting keeping me a little more alert than usual – my Tuesdays are the longest day of my week, with class going until 8:30 pm at night – so having something to do with my hands kept me a little more awake.

Speaking of projects to work on in class, I’m thinking of starting a mobius cowl of my own to work on – I’ve got some beautiful purple and brown yarn I want to use up, and I’ve found quite a few interesting patterns on Ravelry.  Ahh, Ravelry – you keep me busy finding good ways to use up all my yarn, hahaha.  Of course, it doesn’t help when yarn stores have good sales on pretty yarn – I spent entirely too much money on yarn this weekend!

To my readers – do any of you knit or crochet in class?  Tell me in the comments, and feel free to share pictures of what you’ve made!