Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SPX Haul & Retraction!

SPX Haul!
SPX Haul! Ahh, what a glorious pile of comics!

Small Press Expo is so inspiring it makes me want to do crazy things, like participate in 24 Hour Comic Book Day (that's right, it's Friday! October 3!).

Unfortunately, I already have plans to go the Raleigh Little Theatre Costume Clearout Sale (how could I not?) and LARP'ing on Saturday. Yes, I know, LARP. Shut up. Perhaps I will participate in four six hour chunks? Perhaps...

Clarification: Room Map of Will's Hidden StuffA Formal Retraction Drawing

Also, I would like to make a formal retraction to Will for stating that he had hidden away his awesome comics and drawings he got at SPX (to sleep on them, like a dragon!) Apparently, they were right next to me when I took the picture of my representative mini-comics, as shown in this incriminatingly accurate sketch I did.

I'll probably post some more today, as I'm going to be re-filling my etsy shop with some Victorian style stuff.

Lest I forget: Shout out to The Beat for their link here on Monday (bearded ladies are so hot right now!)

Monday, September 28, 2009

SPX Redux

Small Press Expo 2009: My Goods
All the Comics I was Represented In at SPX!

Small Press Expo (SPX) 2009: The Bearded Ladies!The Bearded Ladies of SPX celebrate Lumberjack Day!

Will, Stuart and I drove up to Maryland early Saturday morning for Small Press Expo - and it was totally worth the drive (and the drive back really sucked due to weather, and it was *still* worth it!)

I love SPX - it's a small convention, but it definitely quality over quantity in terms of exhibitors. Just look at all these awesome people! Andy Runton of Owly, Dave and Raina (who did the X-Men manga, Life Meter, ETC!), Adam Casey (our jam-pal) and The Girl from Hey Pais!

Small Press Expo (SPX) 2009: Andy!  Andy Runton guys!  Of Owly!Small Press Expo (SPX) 2009: OMG Dave and Raina are so cute.Small Press Expo (SPX) 2009: The Villainous Adam Casey!Small Press Expo (SPX) 2009: The Girl from Hey Pais

Small Press Expo (SPX) 2009: Jason Pittman of Leftovers Ltd. and meJason Pittman and Me

Not pictured are people like Jeph Jacques, Kate Beaton, Paul Friedrich, John Allison, R. Stevens - the list goes on and on. What I'm saying is that you should totally go.

Small Press Expo 2009: Hey Pais Felt BroochMy new Hey Pais Felt Brooch!
Just one of the many awesome things that we bought - but Will managed to keep a lot of it in his bag and has now hoarded away his new Wondermark book and drawings by Jeph Jacques, hence no pictures of them. But who can blame him, really?
Good times, good times!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dungeons & Dragons - Party Drawings

D&D Party Drawing: Color
My Interpretation of Our D&D Party
(click on the picture for way more details)

Recently I've been getting into Dungeons & Dragons, because everyone is completely smitten with 4th edition. So smitten that it didn't seem like too big a hassle to pull me into a few games, even though I've never played before.

I'm slowly getting the hang of things, but in the heat of battle I'm still a little iffy about which dice to roll. I also forget that I have to decide what I'm using *before* dice-rolling. Sometimes I get excited, jump around, and just roll a few dice for no apparent reason.

I think my favorite part is making the DM* describe all the enemies, and making all the other players describe their characters. (Okay, really my favorite part is one-shot killing with a shuriken, but descriptions are pretty high up there.)

For instance, bugbears are not cute things that look like this:

This is the first image that came to mind for me, some sort of Rainbow Brite friend. Good thing they actually look like this, otherwise I would have a hard time killing them.

I really enjoy doing sketches during the game also (if I have time). It's interesting to work on things in the fantasy realm, but attempt to keep them simple. Or just make all the scary dungeon monsters ridiculously cute. There are a few more sketches on flickr if you're interested.

*Dungeon Master

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lumberjacks & Small Press Expo

How To Grow a Beard (two steps)
How To Grow a Beard
Even though I don't have my own table at SPX this year, Will and I are still going to be there this Saturday, and so will some of my work!

I'll definitely have moustache mini-comics, and one anthology I contributed to is debuting at SPX: Lumberjacks, A Field Guide: The Past, Present, and Future of Lumberjackary!

Do you know why Colleen and Marianne put together a Lumberjack comic for this year's SPX? It's because it falls on Lumberjack Day!

If you're going to be at SPX this Saturday, look for Will and I around the table selling fake mustaches and fake beards!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thinking Ahead to Halloween

Already Thinking of Halloween
Skull, skull, skull - what will you be?

I'm making some new steampunk stuff, and halloween accessories for my etsy shop (hence the picture), but I'm also thinking about what I'm going to be for Halloween.

You might think it's too early to think about Halloween, but I've been planning my costume for next year's Dragon*Con for months and Halloween is only a month and a half away!

I could finish my Maude Lebowski costume (I work a little on it every year) OR I could do something else. Hmmm.

I know it's early, but what are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Etsy Shop Update: Bookplates!

Plus 5 to Book Owner Identification (set of 10)
Plus 5 to Book Owner Identification (set of 10 bookplates)
I typed "bookplates" with an exclamation mark at the end in the title. I may have a problem. A book problem.

I dug out my Xyron a few weeks ago and decided to come up with some awesome project ideas for it. Inspiration struck one night after a D&D session. The description for the "Plus 5..." bookplates pretty much says it all - we all have books that look exactly the same, and (as I'm kind of protective of my books) I want to make sure I'm bringing home MY book.

That's when I decided to make some geeky bookplates. I really love the old dragons design, but I'm not sure it's over-the-top geeky. I guess you have to start somewhere, and having product shots with your dice (and jawa) in them is not a bad place to begin.

Olde Curse Bookplates (set of 10)Olde Curse Bookplates

I also started thinking about the bookplates I read about awhile ago (my sister gave me a book on bookplates a few years ago, and I love it). The ones where the owner of the book actually cursed a book thief. I had to make some of those too!

So, there we go! You can check out more pictures of the bookplates my etsy shop (including the envelopes I sewed out of Trader Joe bags.)

Oh, and of course there are steampunk bookplates, too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adventures in Gardening

While Trimming Bushes in the Yard I Found Some Critters! Pictured here: Snail
(not pictured: Wasp's Nest)

I keep trying improve our yard, and the yard keeps fighting back. Every year I learn a little bit more that I'm sure will help me win the infamous Make the Yard Pretty Battle (2005-??).

First we learned we have rocky clay soil. Then we learned there's a cute family of rabbits living in our rosemary bush. Finally, I read that you should just expect half of your plants not to make it.

Now, armed with my acceptance of a 50% failure rate, I will probably order some bulbs and attempt yet again to make the yard look better. Wish me luck!

Turtle HoleBaby Turtles Exit

Also, did I mention we had a turtle lay eggs in our yard? We kept an eye on the hole, yet this week we discovered, despite our vigilance, the baby turtles dug out and slipped away in the night. Kids thesedays.

Cowabunga guys.

There should be a shop update coming tomorrow! (Bookplates, I tell you!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Local Shop Review: Dorcas Thrift Shop

I'm planning to review all of the thrift, craft, and fabric shops in the area, so here we go!
I wear a lot of thrifted and refashioned clothes. What that essentially means is that I'm cheap. It also means that when someone asks me where I got what I'm wearing, there's not usually a simple answer.

Dorcas Thrift Shop: SignDorcas Thrift Shop Sign
Half the time, I've gotten my clothing from a thrift store (and then I usually tell them how much I paid for it too, which runs in my family for some reason "This formal dress? $20! Can you believe it?"). My favorite local thrift store for quality clothes and good prices is Dorcas Thrift Shop. Plus, it's just right up the road from me!

Dorcas Thrift Shop: Fabric on HangersFabric Hanging in the Crafting Section
The clothing they have has high turnover, and usually they have nice brands, like Banana Republic, Anne Taylor - I got a silk Banana Republic skirt for $3! Also, I think that thrift stores force me to be pickier about the way things fit; I can't just get the slightly larger size of a shirt that doesn't fit and pretend it's going to work - it either fits or it doesn't.

Dorcas Thrift Shop: Floor ShotTies & Books
They usually have some good used furniture for reasonable prices. Though they do have the occasional $200 entertainment center, I've gotten a nice wooden chair for $9 (that I've yet to repaint).

They also have daily specials (today pants are 2 for $3), and the money goes to providing food and support for local families.

Overall, I highly recommend it, especially on Thursdays when they're open till 7pm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Further Discworld Stuff: Nerdery & Philately

Discworld Convention: Discworld Stamps & Coins
Discworld Stamps and Coins

I'm not sure if you all know this, but I'm outing myself: I'm a closet coin collector and philatelist. Judge me if you will!

I've been casually collecting coins and stamps for 20+ years. My collections are entirely based on stumbling upon things that strike my fancy. This means the stamp collection runs high in astronauts, while the coin collection includes several tokens from a game room. Obviously, not in this for the re-sale value.

The Discworld stamps are so well-designed! And perforated and gummed! Terry and Bernard Pearson designed them for Going Postal. They're now part of the Philatelic Department of the British Library, a division of the British Museum.
(They said it had nothing to do with the head of the department being a huge Discworld fan.)

Discworld Convention: Good Omens signed by Terry PratchettMy signed copy of Good Omens

There's probably no accurate analogy I could make for meeting someone I've been a fan of since junior high. Terry Pratchett is very amiable and approachable and hilarious, but still I managed to mostly mumble at him and tell him "Thank you!" several times.

Still, pretty great - I'm so glad I went. Shew. Back to normal crafting now!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Discworld Convention! (NADwCon)

Discworld Con Friday: Michelle & IMichelle and I at the North American Discworld Convention over the Weekend!

While Will was at Dragon*Con, I was in Phoenix, reveling in a similar but more focused type of nerdery: Pratchettian! Thanks to my fellow Discworld fan friend Michelle (pictured here, adorably)! I got to crash on her and Eric's hotel couch and not have to skip the con due to being frugal (cheap).

Quick definition of the Discworld (in case you're friends with me and somehow don't know):
The Discworld is a fantasy book series by Sir Terry Pratchett, as well as the physical fictional setting for the series.

Discworld Convention Friday: Seamstresses Guild Party - Susan (me) and Ronald Soak
Me as Susan and a well-dressed Ronald Soak

There's the Omega Pin that I finished right before the con! I think it looks pretty good (especially because no one gets too close to it, what with Susan being Death and all). Here's one of my favorite costumes at the con - the milkman from Thief of Time (who also has an alternate name and occupation that I won't mention because spoiler). Just read the book! Geez!

Discworld Con Friday: Me! Getting my books signed by Pratchett! (3 of 3)Me! Getting My Books Signed by Terry Pratchett!

The best thing about a focused convention is the crowd is imbued with more congeniality than the usual convention crowd. Usually, attendees can find a track or panels that dovetail with their interests, but with this, you know everyone there is definitely into Terry Pratchett's work.

I'm not saying that there isn't a amiable buzz among pretty much every convention I go to, it's just that you usually have to spend some time finding "your crowd" (whether it be BSG fans, cosplayers, Japanamaniacs, etc.) and here they're just all handed to you).

I'm going to have to post some more stuff tomorrow, because there's more! I bought things! Woo!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ambush Bug Mask - Costuming & Sewing - Finished!

Ambush Bug Mask: Finished!
Ambush Bug Mask: Finished!

Here the mask is modeled on the glass head that I have. To see more pictures of the process, click on the image!

I think it turned out pretty good considering I'd never:
- sewn spandex
- sewn thick trim
- made a mask

The mouth still needs to be cut open, but I wasn't sure how far to cut it, so I'll wait till Stuart tries it out.

I used this online tutorial about making a spandex mask with a collar. It's a little confusing, but it totally works out! Also, FREE!

Other key elements (from Jared Axelrod):
- 1" seam allowance
- zig-zag plus straight stitch

Hooray! Now back to work on my Omega Pin, as well as drawing some lumberjacks (for a soon-to-be-announced project).

Piano Monster: Done!

Piano Monster: CloseupPiano Monster Closeup

In case you can't tell, More Teeth! was the design that won the Piano Monster Paint Showdown. Thanks to all of you who voted! Anytime you visit, pat More Teeth on the head (or stick your hands in its mouth) and muse upon your vote.

For anyone wanting more piano monster than seen here, feast your eyes upon this incredibly awesome 8 foot tall piano monster! I wish I had that crazy amount of skill, though it is very scary.

Now that I've finished the piano monster paint job (which went surprisingly smoothly, well, surprising to me, who usually manages to mess up or have surgery or something mid-painting project) I'm going to finish up Stuart's Ambush Bug mask (more pictures later today, hopefully) and my Omega pin for my Susan Sto Helit costume.

I'll be gone Thursday and Friday to the North American Discworld Convention (in Arizona) so I'm sort of over-posting today and tomorrow to make up for my silence this weekend.