What’s been going on in Crafty Nerd land

I said I was going to start posting more regularly, so here I am! (Even though it’s been almost a month since my last post. At least it hasn’t been half a year, right?)

I’m currently in the process of coming up with some more exciting topics for blog posts, which has been a slow process. In the meantime, I wanted to share a little bit of what’s been going on in my corner of the world.

Rediscovering cross-stitch

I recently got back into the hobby of cross-stitching. I’ve completed two projects since last November, and I’m currently working on a third. Apparently I have a thing for hobbit-themed cross-stitch projects, since two out of the three projects I’ve worked on so far have little hobbit-houses as the focus:

Long-time blog readers might remember the one I’m currently working on. Back in June 2019, I posted about starting that cross-stitch for Rana. After she passed, I dug it back out and started working on it again as a way to process some of my grief, and to give myself something to focus on. I’m going to give it to her mom when it’s done.

If you’re interested in the patterns, here are links to them:

Final Fantasy XIV: my first MMO in forever

I got back into MMOs again recently! I started playing Final Fantasy XIV back in… September, I think, and while I haven’t played in a few months, I’m going to pick it up again soon.

My Final Fantasy 14 character, √člinyr.

I fight using books! Because knowledge is power! ūüėÄ

Yeah, I’m playing √člinyr as an MMO character. Did you honestly expect anything different from me?

√člinyr is a summoner, which is the closest I could get to her Kishar class – in name, at least, since summoners are also referred to as evokers in FF14. The black mage class aligns more with her actual Kishar powers, but I like playing a summoner more – summoners get to use books as weapons! And if you’ve followed the blog for a while, or if you’ve played Kishar in the past few years, you know √člinyr loves her books. I play on Crystal/Zalera, in case anyone is curious, and I would be happy to play with other folks who play if anyone’s interested.

Preparing for season 10 of Kishar

Speaking of √člinyr: the new season of Kishar is coming up at the end of the month! Some big things happened at the end of last season for √člinyr – she lost one of her closest friends, Flint, during one of the final battles. Flint was previously the longest-running member of the Adventurer’s Guild, but with him gone, √člinyr is the next-longest-running Guild member, and may end up having to become the “responsible adult” for the Guild. Will she take on more of a leadership role in the Adventurer’s Guild? Is she just going to hide in the library forever and only come out when she needs to rain meteors down on the enemy to save the Guild? And will the event I’ve been referring to as the “elf wedding” actually finally happen this season? We’ll find out as the season progresses, and I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated on what’s going on in √člinyr’s corner of the world as it happens!

Virtual races and Running for Rana

One of the things I decided to do just after Rana passed away was to participate in the 2022 season of Whovian Running Club virtual races, since Rana loved Doctor Who and she used to run with her mom when she was younger. Not only have I done the first Whovian Running Club virtual race, the Roar Your Light 5k, but I also completed the Keep Your Feet 5k, a Lord of the Rings-themed Fandom Running Club race.

Two virtual race medals I earned recently - on the left is the one from the Keep Your Feet 5k, which looks like the door to a hobbit house, and the second is for the Roar Your Light 5k, which looks like Van Gogh's Starry Night painting with the TARDIS from Doctor Who flying through the sky.

I walked the Keep Your Feet 5k in January, and two days ago I did the Roar Your Light 5k as a combo of walking and jogging and managed to do a 5k in under an hour! I know it’s not exactly fast compared to a lot of runners, but I’m still kind of new at this, and hadn’t gone for a run in AGES. Managing to complete a 5k in under an hour was a big accomplishment for me. (You can keep track of my Fanthropy Running Club races in the sidebar on the right side each page on the blog.)

Aside from everything I’ve already written about: I’ve been rewatching the heck out of Avatar and Legend of Korra to distract my brain from being depressed, reading a lot of books, migrating back to working in the office more regularly, and I’m slowly beginning to feel more like a human being and less like a depressed blob. Which is a good thing, right?

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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ so instead I’m going to talk about what I want to do during the blog’s 9th year.

This year, I want to…

  • ‚Ķpost 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.
  • ‚Ķactually 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 ‚ÄĒ I’ve made two blankets and finished two cross-stitch projects (one of which was a bookmark, so of course I finished it quickly).
  • ‚Ķplay more games. I haven’t actually done much gaming ‚ÄĒ tabletop, video, LARP, or otherwise ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ thanks for sticking with me this long, folks. I’m hoping to have more fun and interesting content for everyone over the next year.

Introducing Santoki: My new Kishar character

That’s right, I’m creating a new character for Kishar! Her name is Santoki, and she’s a rabbit Hiwani. (One of my Kishar friends – I think it was Pumpkin – suggested her last name should be Caerbannog, haha.)

Wait, why are you making a new character?

There are a couple of reasons I’m working on making a new character. First off: because I think it’ll be fun! It’ll be nice to mix things up and have the choice between playing two different characters. Additionally, making a new character will allow me to try out some things I’ve never done before, like:

  • Working with costuming that’s a little more involved than “throw on some elf ears and a vaguely in-genre dress” ‚ÄĒ after all, I want to do a convincing job of being a rabbit, and that happens with more elaborate costuming!
  • Attempting to play a LARP character that’s not essentially just me in elf ears. Because let’s be honest, here ‚ÄĒ as much as I love √člinyr, she’s pretty much just me in elf ears. And sometimes that gets a little old.

Why the heck are you playing a rabbit?

Well, for one thing, I like rabbits. They’re cute, and some of them help with crafting ‚ÄĒ like angora rabbits, who produce fluff you can spin into yarn and knit or crochet with! Plus, rabbits can be fierce too. I mean, come on, look at the Rabbit of Caerbannog¬†from Monty Python’s Holy Grail – that’s one fierce rabbit.

Small plush Monty Python rabbit, next to a Pinkie Pie figurine.

A tiny Monty Python bunny, complete with lots of teeth. So fierce!

What’s Santoki going to be like?

While I haven’t figured out everything about Santoki yet, I’ve fleshed out a fair bit of her character already.

Costuming

Me dressed up in what I've got of my costume for Santoki, which includes her shirt, pants, and bunny ears.

An early test of Santoki’s costuming! (please ignore the mess, though)

Santoki’s costume is currently composed of the following:

  • Black rabbit ears on a headband, with the headband covered by a fabric bandana of sorts to cover up my actual ears
  • A black tail to match the ears, although I haven’t figured out how it’s attaching to my costume yet
  • Flowy pants and a midriff-showing shirt over a black bodysuit and black leggings ‚ÄĒmy plan is to try to get some faux fur and sew it to the front of the bodysuit, to help sell the illusion of me being a rabbit a little better (after all, rabbits do have fluffy tummies)
  • A little bit of pink cream face paint on the end of my nose to create the illusion of a bunny nose, and whiskers drawn on with eyeliner pen

I’m really excited about getting to experiment with costuming for Santoki!

Character class

Santoki’s going to be a Chirurgeon ‚ÄĒ essentially, a healer that can fight too. There are times when we’re pretty darn short on healers in Kishar, and I figure having a character that can heal as well as fight will be helpful. Her weapon will likely be a staff to start with since that’s about all my clumsy self can really handle well. Plus, it means I don’t have to learn an entirely new weapon for Santoki, as √člinyr uses a staff when she’s not slinging spell packets.

Personality: Santoki’s quiet. Not necessarily the “blend into the background” type of quiet, but more of the “hey, can you speak a little bit louder?” kind. At least, outside of battle anyway ‚ÄĒ when Santoki’s fighting, she’s a loud and noisy and fierce rabbit. I’ll be trying to stick with how rabbits are in real life, as they’re typically pretty quiet unless something makes them scream. And from what I’ve heard, rabbit screams are pretty loud and terrifying. (That’s based on what I’ve heard from others, anyway ‚ÄĒ I’ve never heard a rabbit scream, and honestly, I’m not sure I want to.)

Background

Santoki’s originally from the mountains near Shalazar (the Sapphire City), and she grew up with her parents and 40 brothers and sisters (there were more, but they got older and moved out on their own). She’s interested in folklore and mythology, but mainly as a hobby – “I’m not exactly the scholarly type”, she’d probably say.

She originally thought she was going to spend her life working on her parents’ sheep farm, turning wool into cloth and yarn, but eventually, she learned about the Adventurer’s Guild while visiting a bookstore/coffee shop in the Scholar’s District of Kishar, Lin’s Rest. (Yes, Lin is short for √člinyr – and yes, √člinyr owns a combination bookstore and coffee shop.) After talking to the owner about some Hiwani folklore Santoki was interested in, the Guild came up, and Santoki thought “hey, maybe that’d be better than working as a sheep farmer” ‚ÄĒ and she decided to join up with the guild.

What about √člinyr?

I’m not retiring √člinyr quite yet, though I did hit her progression cap (or level cap, essentially) at the last game of season 8. While I can still get new skills, I’m not getting them automatically anymore ‚ÄĒ instead, I can purchase them using kismet, the in-game currency that enables players to get extra skills and unique items in exchange for helping out with the game in some way.

I’ll be posting more about Santoki in the coming months, as the start of season 9 of Kishar gets closer ‚ÄĒ and possibly creating a site for her, as I did for √člinyr and her in-character writings. I’m really excited about getting to play as Santoki!

The Crafty Nerd Podcast: Episode 2

Okay, I swear, after this episode I’ll move to a saner posting schedule. I’m so ridiculously excited about this project of mine, though, and ended up cranking out another episode.

In this episode…

  • I ramble about how hard it is for me to do a podcast,¬† especially when I’m so used to working off scripts (so many filler words!).
  • I tell the story of my first ever LARP experience! (It’s the first nerdy thing that popped into my head.)
  • I also talk about how I ended up in Kishar, especially after that first LARP experience.

Give it a listen! I think it turned out better than the first episode. ūüėÄ

Mentioned in this episode:

Kishar LARP – http://www.kisharlarp.org

 

Gen Con 2019, Day 3 and 4

Since Day 3 is mostly going to be covered in a post specifically about the Blue Rose LARP, and there wasn’t much to Day 4, I’m going to cover these both in a slightly belated post.

Day 3

Day 3 of Gen Con was a blast! Granted, I spent most of it helping run Trials of the Rose: The Call to Adventure, but that’s what you go to Gen Con for, right? Running or playing games!

Before prep started for the Blue Rose LARP, I got the chance to wander around the convention center a bit. I saw some awesome cosplayers, and also ran into this little guy!

Gray and white dog dressed up as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.

This is Gandalf, and he’s become a bit of a Gen Con celebrity over the years. Ross and I were behind Gandalf and his owner in the costume parade last year, and I ended up following Gandalf’s Facebook page afterwards. This sweet little dog gets to go to a lot of conventions, and probably has more costumes than I do! I’m happy I got to see him – and he definitely loves his fans, he ran right up to me as soon as I took my camera out and gave me a bunch of doggy nuzzles. I even got his pawtograph!

A photo of Gandalf the dog wearing a Starfleet uniform, with a paw print signature at the bottom right corner.

After wandering the convention center for a bit, it was time for the LARP!

Me wearing a purple shirt with puffy sleeves and a green corset dress.

I’ll cover most of the LARP in its own post – from the prep I did to the actual storytelling that happened. I will say, I think I did a much better job storytelling at Trials of the Rose than I did at the City of Heroes LARP last year. (Then again, I think anything would have been better than that, given that I had a nasty anxiety attack just before the City of Heroes LARP.)

Day 4

Me wearing a Toothless kigurumi.

I was one exhausted nerd on Sunday.

Day 4 of Gen Con didn’t really happen this year, due to Ross being sick. ūüôĀ He’s been struggling with stomach issues on and off for months now, and parts of Gen Con were particularly rough. On Sunday morning, he wasn’t feeling well at all, so we decided to just pack up and go home. It didn’t help that the Marriott never actually sent a bellhop up to help us with all our luggage, despite us calling twice, and never passed the word on to valet parking that we wanted to pick up our car. (Then again, I think we got off easy with hotel difficulties, given that I heard a story about a valet backing someone’s car into a window at the JW Marriott…) Once we dragged all our stuff downstairs, and once the valet brought Luna up from wherever they parked her, we headed home to look at all the goodies we got and relax a bit. (And, in my case, wash lots of costume laundry.)

And that’s the day-by-day report of Gen Con 2019! I’ll be posting more about the con in general, cosplayers at the con, the Blue Rose LARP, and my Gen Con haul later!

Gen Con 2019, Day 2

Today was my big cosplay day, since tomorrow is the Blue Rose LARP. And I am SO PLEASED with how my Jadzia Dax cosplay turned out.

Me, dressed up as Jadzia Dax.

Sure, it took me a half hour to get all those Trill spots on, but it was so worth all the work! I got so many compliments on my costume, and even on my Trill spots. Plus, the costume itself was less toasty than I thought it would be! However, I ended up not switching to Ezri midway through the day. Just about everyone I talked to said Jadzia was better than Ezri, and so I figured I may as well stick to Jadzia. Ah well – maybe I’ll do Ezri for Halloween.

I also got to help my friend Kasi turn into a Trill! Drawing her Trill spots on took a lot less time than drawing my own on, thankfully.

My friend Kasi and I, both wearing Starfleet science officer uniforms, with trill spot makeup on.

Kasi played a doctor in the Deep Space Ten LARP today, and I’m glad I could help her with her spots!

While wandering around the dealer’s hall, after posing for some costume photos, I stumbled across something I’ve been wanting for a while now: a Toothless kigurumi.

The top half of my new Toothless kigurumi.

Of course I bought it, and I’m not going to lie, I wore it around Gen Con for a couple hours.¬† It’s so comfy, and cute, and it has pockets! It’s amazing and I love it, haha.

Today also involved some last-minute planning for tomorrow’s LARP game. I’m really excited for it – and I hope everything goes well tomorrow!

And there you have it: my Friday at Gen Con! (It looks like I didn’t do much, but there was a lot of aimless wandering in costume, heh.) Come back tomorrow for Day 3 at Gen Con!

Gen Con 2019: the pre-convention excited flaily post

Banner image of Ezri Dax, President Laura Roslin, and Jadzia Dax with the text 'The Crafty Nerd at Gen Con' at the bottom of the image.

I think I love this graphic even more than the one I made for last year’s Gen Con.

It’s that time of year, folks: almost time for Gen Con. And in case you couldn’t tell by some of my previous Gen Con posts for this year, I’m excited.

This year’s costumes

So it turns out I’m actually going to do three costumes this year! I got hit with the grand idea for costume number three while I was taking a walk at work on Friday: how fun would it be to cosplay as both Jadzia and Ezri on the same day?¬† All I need to transform from Jadzia to Ezri is a pixie-cut wig – which I found on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price. So, surprise!¬† I’m gonna cosplay as Ezri in addition to Jadzia and President Roslin.

I’ve also got a separate costume for the Blue Rose LARP I’m helping run! Keep an eye out for Liana Masri – envoy in the Sovereign’s Finest, bard, and hopeful Aldin noble. I’ll be wearing a royal purple shirt and skirt with a beautiful spring green corset for Liana’s costume.

For those of you who might be going to Gen Con and want to say hi, here’s my costume schedule, so you know who to look for!

  • Thursday: President Laura Roslin
  • Friday: Jadzia and Ezri
  • Saturday: Liana (for the Blue Rose LARP)
  • Sunday: exhausted nerd (likely wearing my Crafty Nerd shirt and a kilt)

This year’s games

Once again, I’m helping Phoenix Fire LARP run a game at Gen Con – this year we’re hosting Trials of the Rose: The Call to Adventure, which is loosely based on the Blue Rose tabletop game that J’s been running for a small group of our friends for almost two years now. I’m excited – not just for getting to LARP as Liana, but also to see our small tabletop group all dressed up as our characters! And to see J in the role of Fosteno (*fancy hand swoosh*), one of the instructors from our game. (Fosteno is so fancy, he gets a hand-swoosh every time anyone says his name, haha.)

In addition to helping run a game, I’m also attending a demo of a knitting-themed game – ArchRavelry! I’m curious to see what it’s like. I’ve also got plans to wander around the dealer’s room on Friday and learn about as many games as I can. Given how my work has started focusing on how to make training fun by gamifying it, I’ll definitely be looking for inspiration for work projects.

Trade Day excitement

I’m also going to Trade Day this year, with my co-worker and fellow geeky media creator, Rachel of the Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast! As I mentioned previously, our work has shifted to include exploring gamification of learning, so we’re going to a number of Trade Day events to learn about how others approach games in education. We’re both excited about being able to take things we learn at Gen Con back to our work! I may nerd out about gamifying training at some point post-Gen Con, since it’s a delightful combination of two things I really enjoy: gaming and teaching.

Gen Con coverage

Like in previous years, I’ll be posting the following:

  • a summary each day of my Gen Con experiences,
  • after-con posts about events, cosplay, and the con in general
  • the Gen Con episode of The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast, as it’s starting to become a tradition for me to guest-star on their Gen Con episode

I hope everyone else is as excited about Gen Con this year as I am! (Now, time to start packing for the Best Four Days in Gaming!)

√člinyr’s new notebook

The first official Kishar game of the season is this weekend! I’m excited to get my elf ears on and slip back into the role of √člinyr, the sassy thin-blooded elf scholar. I’ve mentioned in the past that one of the things I do to help myself keep organized when LARPing is to take notes – and other players find my notes really helpful when we try to figure out if events in past games have anything to do with what we’re facing today. (There’s a reason √člinyr ended up becoming the official scribe of one of the player groups in Kishar!) However, the notebooks I’ve been using for √člinyr, especially the most recent one, don’t quite exactly fit into the setting, appearance-wise.

√člinyr’s old notebook, which doesn’t quite look like it belongs in a fantasy LARP.

So, I bought √člinyr a traveler’s notebook, which looks like it’ll fit in with her character much better than the Arc Notebook I got from Staples a while ago, and even though I haven’t taken it to a game yet, I’m in love with it.

Okay, this looks much more setting-appropriate!

I picked it up on Amazon earlier this week, and I’m excited to put it to good use.¬† I’ve already done some writing in it, brainstorming some ideas for a coffee shop/bookstore that √člinyr recently purchased.

Yep, √člinyr’s officially an entrepreneur, in addition to being a scholar.

The traveler’s journal came with three notebooks (one each of lined, blank, and grid pages), a pen clip, and some additional accessories. I’d say this is probably one of the best purchases I’ve made for √člinyr since I started playing in Kishar, and I’m excited to use her new journal this weekend!

Traveler’s Journal on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link)

State of the Nerd - Winter 2019

The State of the Nerd, winter 2019

I’ll be honest, I hit a bit of writer’s block with the original post I was writing for this week – and between that and the cold I’ve been battling, it’s been a bit of a rough week.¬† I’ve managed to get something posted every week so far this year, though, and I really don’t want to end that streak, so I figured I might as well do a State of the Nerd post.¬† It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and I’m pretty sure some of you folks are curious about what I’ve been up to!¬† So, without further ado… the State of the Nerd!

This winter’s been a particularly rough one, mostly due to the weird weather we’ve been having. I’ve been trying to keep my spirits up with as many nerdy and crafty pursuits as I can, though.

  • I’m still working on learning how to play Magic: The Gathering – and I think I’m just about at the point where I might be able to play a game without “training wheels”, so to speak. I’ve still only played against J so far, and since he knows I’m still learning the game, he doesn’t mind when I stop and ask him about how a specific card works or how many creatures I should attack with. I’m definitely still enjoying the game, and I’ve got a post in the works in the “keeping organized” series about how I keep myself organized when it comes to Magic.
  • I’m itching to get √člinyr’s stuff out of the garage and play in Kishar this season. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve worn the bright red dress that’s been dubbed “√člinyr’s stealth dress” and put the sand dragon mask on my Toothless plush, and gotten ready to play.¬† I’m especially excited about this season, as √člinyr bought a house in-game with a couple of her friends, and also bought a business! Plus, there’s a whole bunch of new plot lines to explore, and new people for √člinyr to meet. Before all that, though, I’ve got some new costume pieces to make for her.¬† I really need to get on that, since I think we might start playing again next month…
  • I’m actually going to try to play more board games, especially the ones Ross and I have bought at past Gen Cons or through Kickstarter and then let sit on the shelves in the living room, gathering dust. Board games are fun, and I think it might be a good way to add some variety to our weeknight evenings. (Currently, our evening routine involves watching an episode of Battlestar Galactica or two and then going off to do our own things – I’ll go read a book while Ross goes off to play with the flight simulator he bought recently.¬† Which isn’t bad, but it’d still be fun to do something different now and then.) I’ve pre-ordered a game from Amazon that I’m really looking forward to – Scram by TeeTurtle! It’s about collecting cats – how could I say no to that? Plus, the artwork looks adorable, and I do have a soft spot for cute things.
  • I think I finally settled on at least one cosplay for Gen Con – I think I’m going to dress as Lapis from Steven Universe.¬† I still haven’t decided on whether I’m going to wear her old outfit or her new one, but I think it’ll be a fun costume to put together either way.
  • I actually finished a craft project recently!¬† I finished the Russell Street shawl that I started late last year – I struggled with it a bit in the second half of the pattern, and as a result I’m not entirely too thrilled with how it came out, but hey, it’s finished! Of course, I finish one project and then start two more – I’m working on another shawl, and also picked up English paper piecing and am making a quilt out of tiny hexagons. It’s a good break from knitting, that’s for sure.

And, well, that’s about all the interesting stuff that’s been going on with me lately.¬† Here’s hoping writer’s block doesn’t last a second week on that one post I’m trying to write, as I think it’s another one people will really enjoy.

Keeping organized: the role-playing game edition

It’s no secret to you readers – I enjoy a good role-playing game, whether it’s tabletop or live action. It’s also no secret that I’m not exactly the most organized person at times – I try really hard, though. If I’m not careful,¬†I lose track of my game stuff easily – just ask me how many character sheets I made for my Blue Rose character before I finally figured out an organizational system. (Pretty sure there’s four of them floating out there, including two versions of the digital character sheet I keep as a backup.) I can also get distracted pretty easily during games, and if I’m not careful, I’ll miss something important. After years of gaming, I’ve figured out a few ways to help keep myself organized when it comes to the various role-playing games I’m in.

Interested in learning about them? Read on!

Continue reading →