WhedonConDay 3

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The last day of WhedonCon was very relaxed. I didn’t have anything I particularly wanted to do, so I let G go play games most of the day. He did come down and check on me and let me stretch my legs and use the restroom, but for the most part I was on my own.

I spent a good part of the morning reading my Bible, which felt all sorts of weird at a geek convention, knowing many people would disagree with Christianity. I didn’t get any comments though.

Also, I did, for the first time, managed to make it around the dealers room to check out some of the other things people were selling. There were some really amazing products and one thing I noticed was that the booths were packed full of things. My booth looked empty by comparison. I realized one of the things I need for the next convention I go to is an upright stand to better display my key chains and necklaces. I picked up a couple things – gifts for friends and family for Christmas as well as a book and a Sherlock magnet.

Mostly, I enjoyed spending time talking to people. I had a really good time chatting with an older man who was in the middle of editing his first novel. Since I had also written a novel a couple years ago (that never made it to edit number two), we had a lot in common. We shared the plots of our stories as well as things that helped us become better writers. I really appreciated this conversation, as well as another conversation I had with my new friend about poetry. Honestly, I forgot how much I enjoyed writing both poetry as well as short stories period. I vowed to get back in the writing habit. So far so good.

The dealer room closed down at 5 and we were able to load all our stuff back into the car. We were planning to get out of there as quickly as possible so that we could pick up the kids from my parents, but after talking with my mom we realized it was going to be very late. Instead, we decided to meet each other in the morning before my daughter had to go to school. That freed us up a bit so we weren’t quite as rushed, and I decided I really wanted to go to a panel / discussion about people living with chronic illness. I’m really glad I was able to go; I met a lot of interesting people, and we had a really great discussion. Plus, by the time I got back to the dealer’s room my husband had almost everything cleaned up already! We finished packing up the car and headed home. Oh, on the way to and from the car I ran into David Fury, and I was able to tell him how much I appreciated listening to him talk during his panel. I was proud of myself for not fangirling. (Hahaha) Once we got home, we grabbed dinner, unloaded the car, and rested while we watched TV. It was a good weekend​.

WhedonCon Day 2

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Onto day 2! We had a lot planned for today – tag teaming the booth so we could both see things. We headed down to the vendor room about half hour before it opened and reset everything. After finishing set up, G brought me some wonderful coffee to wake up, and I found a seat for the big panel of the weekend: David Fury and Tim Minar, both writers and/producers for Buffy and Angel, as well as 24 & Lost and Firefly & Wonderfalls, respectively. It was a ton of fun listening to them talk about the hardest thing they’ve work, how they learned to write female characters, and what their favorite was. After, I ran up to our room to grab some lunch (pb&j! – not much gluten free stuff around here!) And came back to takeover the booth while G went to great Nicolas Brendon, who was apparently a bit inappropriate with some responses.

After, we traded off again and I made it to the stunt panel. I really enjoyed it; they had behind the scenes footage they were discussing as well as how the characters were portrayed and how fighting affected costume choices. Sofia Crawford, who was Buffy’s stunt double for four seasons, was fascinating. And wow, does she have defined muscles! Watching the footage as they talked was really interesting because they were explaining how Sofia was so fast with her movements they needed to keep telling her to slow down. Her husband, who was the stunt coordinator for 3 seasons, was fascinating to listen to – he both looked and sounded like a smaller Nathan Fillion, which was fun. Of course, the things he talked about we’re interesting too – character development through movement, costuming, and actors following the doubles rather than the other way around. Spike’s stunt double was there as well, and he talked about imitating James Marsters’ movements and character.

From there, G headed up to the game room again and I hung out in the dealer room until it closed. At that point we were starving again, so we headed to dinner at Chili’s. We were planning on going to the “prom” or maybe going to see a movie, but we got back to the hotel exhausted. We watched one episode of Kimmy Schmidt then fell asleep.

WhedonCon Day 1

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I’m sitting at my booth at WhedonCon getting a few sentences out at a time between chats with people. I am having so much fun! The people here have been lovely and tons of fun to chat with. I’ve found it about tons of other Cons, poetry reading and workshops, cosplay with kids and all sorts of other fun things.

My husband G took the day off work yesterday so we could get up here and set up. We dropped S off at school for just about an hour before he picked her up and dropped get and D off with my mom. We grabbed lunch and headed north about an hour and a half away. We made it to the hotel about an hour and a half before the vendor room was scheduled to open, and we were seeing up until literally the last second. However, my booth looks great! We needed to fiddle a bit with the picture frames to figure out what would best draw attention, but I think we’ve got it now.


Soon after arriving, I left the booth in G’s hands and headed to a talk by Camden Toy about acting through latex. It was super interesting and he seems like a really nice guy. For reals though, seeing him make the gentleman face (from Buffy episode Hush) was terrifying.

Once the dealer room closed, we went to dinner at a nearby sushi place that claimed to be gluten free – yeah, not so much. Although they had gotten free soy sauce and prepared my food without any sauce at all, I was served both miso soup and imitation crab, neither of which I can eat. I avoided a severe reaction but still dealing with a bit of a headache today.

We did peek into the Firefly themed shindig, but didn’t stay too long- the music was impossible to dance to. We did get pulled into the dance contest – slow classical music (no waltz beat, ftr), so since we don’t know any slow dancing, we ended up swing dancing. Didn’t match the beat at all, but it was fun. We ended up making it to the top third of the dancers, so that’s pretty good!

Then… We crashed. It was a fun day.

6th birthday party

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I had such a fun time with my daughter’s birthday party! She wanted to do Frozen, but she also wanted to do a Hawaii theme party, so we did a frozen luau! (Think Olaf in summer). I found the Tokyo pop figures and used them inspiration for making big posters (way easier than actually drawing realistic characters!). We had snow cones and fake snow, in addition to bubbles and a small pool. The fake snow was super fun – fun to make and fun to play with. I’d highly recommend it for kids. I made cupcakes with snowflake shaped chocolate and little umbrellas. Everyone got a lei on their way in, and everyone had a great time.

      

Wag ‘n Walk

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Check out my view!

Check out my view!

I’m finally sitting down to write a summary of my first craft fair. I had a great time! I didn’t make a ton of sales, but I made enough to cover the cost of my booth, and since it was a low-traffic event, I was able to get my feet wet without a lot of stress. Not only that, I was able to work out some of the kinks with my booth so that I won’t have to deal with those issues during a more major event. The one big thing I did not account for was the WIND. And man, there was a lot of it the second half of the day. I had planned to make table weights, but couldn’t find of the materials I needed, so I ended up dropping that idea figuring it couldn’t be *that* important. Boy was I wrong! The wind whipped my tablecloths all over, even knocking some of my stuff off. My fake Christmas tree fell over countless times (even when propped between books). Most of all, I was worried about my tent blowing away! Next time I will be bringing along some tent weights (just found these on Amazon – or I might just make my own or recruit my husband).

propsI got to the event about 7:40 (after getting lost – Google Maps failed me! I needed to use my GPS). It took me just over an hour to set up. The hardest part of the set up was putting up my curtains, but I had done a dry run the day before, so I did know what I was doing. Another good move I made was to hang most of my pieces on the props and then put the props into boxes and move the boxes. Yes, some of the pieces fell off the props, but probably 80-90% stayed on, which saved TONS of time for my actual set up.

penniesI had found this great tutorial on price signs, and my awesome best friend used her cricut to cut the shapes for me, so I had prices marked for almost everything (though that still didn’t stop the questions!). One change I made to that tutorial – I used a hot glue gun and instead of using a strip of paper on the back, I used the same shape on the back with identical writing so that if the card spun or if it was viewed from the opposite side of the table it could still be read. Very cool! Another idea I had – since my items are so small and hard to see from any distance, I stopped by the Dollar Tree and picked up some cheap frames, then printed out photos of some of my pieces. I places these frames around the corners of my tables to draw attention (it worked). I also have tons of props which I have slowly been collecting – they sometimes make it a bit hard to see all my items (as opposed to just laying them out on the table), but they make my booth much more eye-catching, and I’ll take that any day.

boothBesides the wind, the event was a ton of fun. Most of the people who were there were not there to shop – they were there with their dogs for a walk or for the competitions. I did make some sales and passed out a ton of business cards. Most importantly, I got to have a few meaningful conversations – I got to talk with a few people who needed someone to just listen. I’m delighted that I was there at the right time and right place and hopefully had a few words that might lend a bit of peace in their respective situations. It was a pleasure to talk with such interesting people all day!

Unfortunately, due to the wind, I didn’t get a goo overall booth picture. I meant to have my husband take one when he arrived later in the day, but by then I was busy coping with trying to keep things from blowing away and forgot about the pictures completely. I did remember to get some close ups, which is great. I’m also missing photos of my awesome price sign board and the crates and frames I set up to draw attention to my booth (both worked!). I’ll have to post photos of those the next time I do a show. Overall, I had a wonderful time and am definitely looking forward to my next fair! 🙂

trees, earrings, and nestsPenny table

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P.S. Totally forgot to mention this. Remember I took a picture of my cat “helping” load my boxes? Well, that was apparently a good idea too. All the dogs that passed by just had to stop and smell my tablecloths and boxes to smell the cats. The owners stopped whether they wanted to or not. Mwahaha.

First Major Craft Fair Tomorrow!

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My cat wanted to help me load my boxes.

My cat wanted to help me load my boxes.

I am so very excited I can hardly contain myself. I have my first major craft fair tomorrow. Now it’s not technically a craft fair – it’s a fundraiser that has vendors, but that somehow makes it more fun. I’ve done a few table things at church, but this is different – this is me with my full booth: EZ up, tables, driving, setting everything up, being completely responsible for everything including the look, feel, questions, purchases, etc. It’s super fun, and a little bit terrifying.

I’ve been slowly collecting things (props, table clothes, etc) with prior events, so there wasn’t a huge out of pocket expense this time, but there is still a lot to get. I found a small Christmas tree to display my ornaments, I found a great display thing for earrings, and I’ve got a bunch of frame with photos of my items blown up a bit bigger to hopefully attract some people to my booth.

After spending all of today setting my booth up again, making price displays and finishing up some items that needed to be assembled, I am ready to go. I am very excited and now – exhausted. Can’t wait to update you with photos of the day and of my booth! 🙂

How to Make a Pressed Penny Bracelet

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When I was little, I collected pressed pennies from those machines at amusement parks, but there was nothing I could ever do with them. When I started stamping pennies, the next logical step was incorporating the pressed pennies of course!

There are so many cool things about pressed pennies: they are cheap souvenirs, they remind you of the place you visited, and you can craft with them without any special tools. I’ve seen a few tutorials on how to make a pressed penny bracelet using drills or using a hammer to try to punch a hole in the penny, but there is a really easy way – a metal hole punch! The other things you’ll need to make a charm bracelet are a bracelet (or material to make one), a bunch of jump rings or split rings, and a pair of pliers. Oh, and pressed pennies. Here are your tools:

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You may be able to find the hole punch pliers at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, but online is a great place to look. Split rings you can find at a craft store (or Walmart sells great copper colored ones!). Bracelets are difficult to find unless you can make your own. You may be able to find some good chain at a craft store, but finding a pre-made bracelet may be a bit difficult.

A quick clarification: jump rings are rings that look like the letter O. They have one circle of metal. Split rings are also shaped like an O, but have 2 layers of metal – they look like mini keychains.  I prefer split rings in all my crafts because then my pendants/charms don’t fall off my bracelet/necklace. You can also solve that problem by soldering your jump rings, but that’s a lot of work and time.

 

After gathering your materials, decide where you want to punch the holes in the pennies. Sometimes the hole punch will leave a mark on the pennies around the hole – if you want to avoid that, you can use a small (thin) cloth or towel between the metal and punch. I generally don’t since the cloth makes it difficult to see where you are punching.

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Once your pennies are punched, you’ll want to figure out the spacing on the bracelet. I like to estimate maybe 5-7 loops between each penny and lay the ring at those places to see how the bracelet would look. Then I adjust as necessary.

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Then I start on one end. Thread the split ring onto the bracelet loop, then add the penny. Use your pliers to wind the split ring all the way around. (You may also need to use the pliers to loosen the split rings, which can sometimes stick).

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Repeat the process until you’ve finished with your bracelet!

Punch pliers make this whole thing really easy. They are perfect for punching through pressed pennies (though they won’t punch regular pennies). Once you get the basics down, you can make earrings, necklaces, and all sorts of other fun things with pressed pennies! A bracelet is only the beginning!

pressed penny bracelet

P.S. I sell the pliers in my store if you are interested. I buy them in bulk so I get a bit of a discount. But the real reason you’d want to get one from my store is because I include the bracelet and the split rings, which makes the whole thing REALLY EASY. But in all honesty, making a charm bracelet is a piece of cake, provided you have the right tools. You can also pick up just the pliers from any etsy seller if you’re looking for just those without the added rings and bracelet.

Gem Fair

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Today my daughter and I headed to the Gem Fair to pick up a few glass beads. I don’t offer these in my shop, but I do when I do craft fairs – they are bright and colorful (and fun!) and add a bit of POP to the monotony of my items. I was brought to the Gem Fair a few months ago by my friend Linda, and it was such a blast. This time it was just my daughter and I, and I knew exactly what I needed, so I printed out my free pass (yay!), drove there, paid for parking, walked in, went straight to the booth I wanted, and let my daughter pick her favorite beads (and I picked some too). After about 15 minutes we were ready to go, and we headed back to the car. Here’s my haul:

glass beads

Last time I went with Linda and our friend Ginger, we spent hours there – they have things from pennies all the way to hundreds of dollars. My friend Ginger went back and forth about buying this one beautiful pendant (because it was costly), but finally decided to get it since she rarely spends money on herself. We three spent the next 20 minutes or so looking for a good chain for it. We finally found a nice heavy one that looked perfect, and we were about to get someone to cut it for us when I took a closer look: skulls! It was a good thing we noticed; it would have been hilarious for one of the oldest deaconesses at our church to show up on Sunday morning with a skull chain. 😉

How to Make a Cartoon Poster – Pirate Party Prep

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I have just one more post related to my daughter’s pirate party. When she wanted to do Jake, I knew that I’d need to do some crafting to make it work – I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on the character plates and napkins when I can get cheap solid color stuff and then spend the money on more fun things! But we did need to get Jake and the other characters in there somehow! So how do you get a poster or large decoration of a character? This is a quick guide to show you how I made my posters. You will need a minor ability to draw, but no need to be an artist – I’m certainly not!

IZZYThe easiest way to get a poster is to print a coloring image on a transparent sheet, use an overhead projector, then tape the poster to the wall and trace the giant image. I don’t have an overhead projector, so I do the next best thing – I grid. This is exactly like the coloring book activities where 3/4 boxes are drawn and you need to figure out which box is missing and draw it in the missing space. Only you do all the boxes, not just one.

Start by downloading the image you want. Then open it in a paint program and draw a grid over the image. You can make as many grid lines as you need. I usually do one horizontal and one vertical, see how big the boxes are, then divide once or twice more as necessary.

Next, I draw the exact same grid on m poster board. In this case, the board was a bit wider, so Izzy ended up looking a bit more squat because I didn’t cut the board down, but that’s okay. From there, I use the grid lines as a guide to figure out proportions. Cartoons are basic shapes – circles, squares, etc. I draw those in light pencil until I’ve got the outline of the character.

Pencil outlines I usually have a lot of mistakes and use a giant eraser to fix those mistakes. It’s not a problem though because all of this will be covered up. I will say I had a terrible time doing Captian Hook’s face, so I drew a tiny grid inside the box where his face was – that allowed me to break the space down even more to be able to figure out the proportions better.

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Next, I take a black marker and draw over all my pencil lines. Then I make sure to erase all the pencil as cleanly as possible.

From there, I start coloring everything in. With posters I like to use crayon because it doesn’t show coloring lines as much as markers do – though you don’t get as vibrant colors. (And paint is just a pain. I can use markers or crayons while watching tv.) I generally start with the lighter colors then move to the darker colors because the darker colors tend to smear. One really cool thing: if you color with a white crayon then use a colored crayon over it, the white will repel the other color, leaving the white area white.

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Finally, when everything is finished being colored, I carefully cut out the shapes! One neat thing about cutting the shapes out is that when you are coloring, you don’t need to stay in the lines – you can go over the edges because they are going to be cut. To get a clean cut, you just need to make sure that the black marker you used was thick enough, then, as you are cutting, cut in the center of the black line so that there is some black that is being trimmed off. When finished, I use painter’s tape to mount them wherever I want them displayed!

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Ring the Hook – Pirate Party Prep

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One of the things I really wanted to make for my daughter’s party was a Ring the Hook game. I saw it on Pinterest but had a hard time finding good instructions. So here they are in case you need them. I bought the hooks on amazon here for a bit less than $4 each.

Before I assembled, I splatter-painted the board I wanted to use. You can paint it anyway you want, but splatter painting is easy, fast, and you only need one color.

First I pulled the hook out of the cup and tied a long ribbon around it.

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Step 1

Next I pulled the hook and ribbon through the cup:

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Next I drilled the holes where I wanted them on the wood backing. Then I fed the ribbon through and tied a knot. The knot on the back didn’t seem to do a great job holding them, so i ended up tying all 3 ribbons together, which kept it much more secure. Lesson  – use a longer ribbon to start so I don’t need to cut and add extra ribbon.

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Ta-Da! That’s it! Turn it around and make sure it’s tight enough. It took like 15 mins to make. Really easy. Oh, the only other thing I had a hard time with was figuring out where to get the rings. I ended up buying an inflatable ring toss game on amazon for the rings, but ended up with the bonus gator – perfect for a Neverland Pirate party. Tick-tock, right on. The kids had a great time playing with him. You can find him here for $8.

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P.S. The hooks sometimes turn, and mine bent when the kids decided to pull the whole game over. If you want the hooks to stay up, you’ll need to glue them – but then you can’t reuse them. If you want the game to stay up, secure it better than I did (don’t just lean it against a fence and assume kids won’t be destructive).