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‘Nerd Life’ Category

  1. It’s been a while.

    July 5, 2015 by Daniora

    I know, I know. I haven’t updated in ages. In fact, the last post I wrote was about how I hadn’t written any posts.

    I’ve always said that the hardest thing about keeping up a blog is that when I have the time to write, I don’t have anything interesting to write about, and that when I have things to write about, I’m far too busy to actually do it. We are soundly in that second category right now.

    In about 3 1/2 weeks, I’m going to Nerdtacular, a geeky convention out in Utah. I am incredibly excited about going, but this also means that every spare second is dedicated to preparation. I’ve got three major things on my plate.

    1. Nerdy dress commission: This first one is simultaneously the easiest and trickiest to accomplish. I was asked by a friend of mine for a custom nerdy dress she could wear to conventions. She picked out some Star Wars fabric that she liked. It’s a quilting cotton, so the actual sewing and construction of the dress is easy. The trickier parts lie in the fact that she lives far away. So I’m relying on the measurements she sent me and sending a muslin mock up to her to try in order to get a good fit. This sort of thing always makes me nervous. I’m sure it’ll all be fine, but it’s stressful. She would like to have it for Nerdtacular, but it was a last minute thing and she understands that I have a lot of other stuff going on too. Still, it would be good promotion to have people compliment her on it and ask her where she got it.

    2. TadShop: I don’t have enough products to sell to warrant getting my own vendor table at the convention. It turns out that I’m not the only one. As a result, a group of my artist friends and I have banded together to form what we are calling The TadShop (long story). We have purchased a total of three tables and divided it up so everyone has their own space. I have, as you may have noticed, rather an eclectic variety of things that I make. Trying to decide what to sell at the convention was tricky. What I wound up doing was figuring out the kinds of things that I buy when I go to conventions. When I really stopped to think about it, there was a definite commonality to almost everything I tend to buy. As a result, Instant Cosplay was born. These are the kinds of accessories and jewelry that you can put on and pair with a geeky t-shirt for your comfortable, non-cosplay day at a convention. That way, you’re still letting your nerd flag fly, but on a more casual level. I’ve got resin horns (like the ones I’m so fond of buying at the renaissance faire), Steampunk miniature top hats and goggles, fleece hats with animal ears, and a few little other odds and ends as I come up with them. Instant Cosplay: Just Add Nerd.

    3. Cosplay: It wouldn’t be a convention if I wasn’t dressing up. Besides, I have a title to uphold. Actually, I came in third last year. This year I’m aiming my sights rather higher. I’ve chosen Widowmaker from Blizzard’s upcoming game Overwatch. There will be a lot of future posts dedicate to this topic, so I’m not going to get into it too much here, but to say that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew would be an understatement.

    In spite of this insurmountable pile of projects, I’m still optimistic.  Finding the balance between these three massive projects is the key. I’ve got detailed to do lists and have commandeered every flat surface in the house as project space. So far, I’m doing a fairly good job bouncing back and forth between projects as needed. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep my momentum. I’ve changed jobs at work, so now at least I’m not coming home physically exhausted like I was. That certainly makes it easier to get things accomplished in the evenings. I’m going to keep rolling with the punches and hope that nothing completely disastrous happens. ::knock wood:: My hope is that these blog posts will serve as a chance for me to take stock of my progress and reevaluate things on a regular basis.

    So, here we go…

  2. I’m bad at this…

    April 15, 2015 by Daniora


    No, really, you guys have no idea…

    For the first time in the lifespan of this blog, I had a plan. Not only that, but I had a plan I was excited about. February in French was going to be awesome. I was going to tackle all kinds of things that have been on my ‘want to try’ list for ages. I was going to learn some new skills and show off a few I already had. I had an entire month’s worth of projects and posts planned out.

    Yeah, it didn’t quite work out that way.

    I place some blame on the weather. This winter, especially the end, was downright miserable, even to someone raised in the frozen wastes of New England. It’s one of the first times I can say that I truly felt ‘snowed in’.

    Of course, that seems like a perfect opportunity to catch up on things and get some writing done. Or a good time to park myself in front of the tv for some sweet Netflix-driven binge watching. I chose the latter. Not a decision I’m proud of, but it is what it is.

    Worst of all, after missing a couple of my planned posts, instead of catching up or just picking things back up where I’d left off, I just fell off the wagon entirely. Not cool. Not cool at all.

    So, here we are, mid-April. I have no plan, no carefully crafted calendar of posts. And yet, dear reader, here we are again.

    I’ve got a few things on the horizon. I have some production work I want to do. Mold making and resin casting and the like. This will involve dusting off some old skills and picking up a couple new ones. I want to try my hand at live streaming while I work on some sculpture projects. I also have a huge cosplay project I want to do. So, rather than meticulously schedule themed projects, I’m just going to try and just write. Regularly. Some posts are going to be infinitely more interesting than others. Hopefully the good ones will outnumber the dull. Only one way to find out. Onward we go.

    Stick with me, guys. I swear this is going somewhere…

  3. Now that I have your attention…

    January 16, 2015 by Daniora

    Water Dragon

    I know, I know. Using a post about bacon to get your attention was a cheap trick. But hey, it worked.

    So, after being all full of New Year’s enthusiasm, I promptly fell off the wagon for two weeks. But we’re back now, and I wanted to take a few moments to talk about what you can expect here in the future.

    See, up until this point, I have been striving for perfection. A noble goal to be sure. Here’s the thing, though. Perfection is unattainable and exhausting. Every post was based around a project almost exclusively created for the blog. They took up hours of time completing and photographing, followed by an extensive and detailed write up. And when things went wrong, the projects were generally abandoned (with the exception of the orange marmalade).  When I was doing things that were interesting enough to write about, I had no time to write. And when I had the time to write, I had nothing to write about.

    So, I’ll be taking this blog in a little bit of a different direction. Or, at least, going about things in a different way.

    1. Posts will be, on the whole, shorter. But I’ll be happy writing regular shorter posts that sporadically writing massive tomes. And I think you’ll all be happier reading them.
    2. More ‘in progress’ posts. I’ve got a few bigger projects on my list, and so in order to have time to work on them and still make regular posts, I’m going to share my process with you.
    3. I’m trying a bunch of new things. My project list has an increasing number of things that I’ve never tried before. And I’m excited to learn. That means that posts will also probably contain more missteps. Admitting failure is not something I’ve ever been particularly comfortable with, so this’ll be an adventure.
    4. I’ve also got a lot more projects for me coming up. This is kind of a new thing for me too. I usually make lots of stuff for other people and almost nothing for myself. Well, this year I’ve got a lot more ‘selfish’ projects to do. Which, of course, isn’t to say that I won’t be making lots of things to give away.
    5. I’ll be doing some “catch up” posts documenting some of the things that I finished but never got around to writing about. I’ll include some of the in progress photos if I have them available.


    So, that’s the plan. Now you know the plan, and I know the plan, so all that remains is for me to stick to the plan. And if you guys keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

  4. Resolutions

    January 13, 2012 by Daniora

    New Year’s Resolutions. They can be hard to make and are harder to keep. We’re two weeks into the year, and I’m sure most of us who made resolutions have already broken at least one. Case in point: This post was supposed to be done two weeks ago.

    That being said, the new year is a good excuse to start doing new things in your life. I think people inherently like deadlines and due dates. New Year’s is the perfect universal start date. So here are a few resolutions that I think we should all try and keep. These aren’t the usual “I will lose 15 pounds” or “I will take the dog for a walk every day”. These are more general resolutions that will help make life better for all of us.

    1. Try something new.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. Everyone is so busy these days, falling back on “the old standbys” is a quick and easy solution. We’ve also developed into a society that is totally opposed to mistakes and failure. To combat this, we should all try something new at least once a week. It can be a new food, a new recipe, or a new hobby. Our local technical school has a large variety of classes from auto repair to cooking that meet once or twice a week for a few weeks. They are very reasonably priced and are a great way to try your hand at something new. It’s fine if you wind up not enjoying it or if it turns out to be a complete disaster; even negative experiences help enrich our lives. Besides, you might find there are a lot of awesome things that you didn’t even know you enjoyed.

    2. Read labels. It could be on your food, your clothing, or your new mattress. Wherever it is, give the label a read. Make sure you know what you’re eating, how to wash your clothes, or how not to remove this tag under penalty of law. Labels have a lot of useful information that you might not have known. I think this is especially eye opening on food packages. The number of sneaky, not good for you, extra ingredients or the number of servings that are really in that little bag of chips can be alarming. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat them, but reading the label will make you more aware of what you are eating.

    3. Read instructions. This goes hand in hand with number two. The instructions will not only tell you the right way to do things, they can also tell you about features you didn’t even know you had access. I find this to be especially true when installing new software or playing with a new piece of hardware. If I have a good idea of how something works, I’ll usually just plow ahead and get right to work. Eventually, I’ll need to look something up in the manual and find out that there were easier ways to do things all along. I am all too familiar with the phrase “I didn’t know it could do that”.

    4. Use the right tool. We don’t own a set of dry measuring cups. The fact that my baking adventures turn out as well as they do in spite of this is a testament to the quality of the recipes I’m using. While I do take Alton Brown’s stand of not having a lot of one function tools around, having the proper tools for what you’re doing will make everything easier and faster with a greater chance of success. When you’re done using the proper tools, put them back where they belong. You’ll be less likely to reach for the wrong tool if the right one is easily accessible.

    5. Back things up. I don’t take pictures with a film camera anymore. Most people don’t. As a result, every precious photographed memory I have from the last six or so years is stored as little bits of data on a hard drive. This is a scary situation. Almost everything else on my computer can be reacquired or reloaded. My pictures are irreplaceable.  The only solution is to back them up. I regularly back all my photos up on an external hard drive and hope to add a second cloud storage back up in the near future. The double back up ensures that your files will be safe and sound should anything happen to your computer.

    6. Finish things. I am totally awesome at starting projects. Just ask my husband. I am slightly less awesome at finishing them. I think part of the problem is that every project I start working on spawns ideas for more things to do. I get so excited about these new projects that the original ones get put aside. So this year, I’m going to try and finish some of them. I’ll probably still have multiple things going at once, but at least I’ll have more entering that “finished” pile than going into the huge boxes of “work in progress”.

    7. Take a tech break. I adore technology and gadgets. I also know that I spend way too much time using them. So this year I’m going to try and take a break more often, and I hope you’ll join me. Read a book, make something by hand, play a board game with friends. We don’t have to all become hermits living in a shack in the woods, but we can put our smart phones down for a little while.

    8. Make things by hand or from scratch. So, back on resolution two you read the labels and saw all the extra stuff in the food you eat. So why not try making some of it from scratch? You don’t have to make everything from scratch, but there are plenty of things that are easy to make and actually wind up better tasting and better for you than store bought. Salad dressing is a prime example of this. It’s super fast and easy to make and turns out better than anything you’d buy in a bottle. Whipped cream is way better made from scratch and homemade marshmallows, while a bit more of a challenge, are out of this world. Making other things by hand is a great way to get into that trying new things bit we talked about earlier and it makes you appreciate just how much work goes into every day things.

    9. Support artisans and craftspeople. Let’s face it; there are a lot of things we’re not going to make ourselves. For those things, why not get them from an artisan or a local source rather than factory made? I love farmers’ markets for jam and jelly and sometimes baked goods. Etsy is a great source for handmade stuff; there’s a lot of crap on there, but there’s a lot of really awesome handicrafts too. Maybe you make jelly and a friend bakes bread. Why not start a barter system? I traded a shirt for the Renaissance Faire that I made to a friend who is knitting me fingerless gloves. Trading with others is a great way for you do get something you need by doing something you enjoy.

    10. Take care of yourself. I know, I know, I said this wouldn’t be the “lose 15 pounds” kind of list. Let’s face it, though. We all get so caught up in all of our everyday stuff that we don’t always do what’s best for our minds and bodies. So this year, fix that. Get some sleep. Eat well. Get a little fresh air and sunshine. Take five minutes to decompress and relax. Enjoy your food.

    There you have it. Ten things we can all do this year to make 2012 the best year yet.