A Demon of a Good Time

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Hello Sunday readers!

This week we are at MAGfest! The Music and Gaming Festival that takes place at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD is one of our favorite events of the year. It includes non-stop gaming, fabulous music, and wonderful geeky camaraderie. Every year has a different theme and this year’s is Castlevania so I figured we could take a look at some cool, appropriately themed crafts.

Many of the results of my search ended up on fuse bead art, which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you have a rather large fuse bead color stash.

You can find the tutorial for this one at Cut Out and Keep!

You can find the tutorial for this one at Cut Out and Keep!

But I like to mix things up a bit and my first craft of choice has always been stitching. Hence, my love for this Castlevania stitched coaster from the Sprite Stitch Forums:

I haven't tried my hand at needlepoint in quite a while so maybe it's time to give it a whirl.

I haven’t tried my hand at needlepoint in quite a while so maybe it’s time to give it a whirl.

Or, for the more ambitious, this Pixel Hobby Dracula by Deviant Art user EveningEmma is super amazing:

That took a lot of dedication and patience!

That took a lot of dedication and patience!

Or if you are into the cosplay scene, this combat cross prop made by Deviant Art user weaselhammer would complete any Belmont clan costume:

To smite the shiny demons and vamps!

To smite the shiny demons and vamps!

I have a lot to work to do if I am to build up my collection of evil-bashing art, so I guess I better get onto it.

Stay crafty!

Laura


Meet the Hackers: Magfest

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Today is the first day of Magfest!!  For those new to our blog, Magfest is one of my FAVORITE conventions of the year.  It is a 24 hour video game convention featuring music, free to play games, panels, and of course the marketplace which is where I will be.

Laura (Sunday blogger) and I will be participating in the Claw tournament again!  If you want to cheer us on, check it out Friday at 2:30.

This year we have a few very special things happening.  First is the raffle!  Everyone has been asking for details on it, so here they are:

link-stained-glass

  • When: Saturday at 4pm.
  • Where: To be determined.  We will pick a large area able to handle the crowd near our table and will let you know where to go when you purchase your raffle ticket.
  • How Much: $3 a ticket, 6 for $15, 15 for $30.
  • Are there any other prizes?  Yes!  We will have two smaller prizes that are Link related that we will reveal at the convention.

I am also introducing Quilt Kits!  If you love our patterns and want to make the quilt exactly like I made it, you can now purchase a kit with all of the fabric to make the top just like mine.

Nicole is unveiling a few new dolls new to her line this weekend!  I will be live streaming on and off through the weekend on my Quiltoni Facebook page.  So make sure you like the page and get notifications first to see all of the videos! 

Swing by our table (look for the quilts) and check everything out.


A new year brings change

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Hello to all of you! I’m Kim from Fantastical Menagerie. Toni from Quiltoni asked me if I would be interested in contributing to the blog spot here on Crafthackers, and I was delighted.

I have been running my own art business for twelve years, and full time since 2011. I work mostly in polymer clay, and some mixed media. I tend to work with sculpting animals into wearable art. Besides doing a number of ComicCons and Art Shows each year, you can find my things on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fantasticalmenagerie or on Etsy at www.fantasticmenageries.etsy.com.

I am hoping to have some tutorials over the next few months, along with ideas to inspire you to create! If you would like to see one I posted here in September, here is the link. It’s on clay pumpkin earrings.

DIY: Pumpkin Earrings and Pendant

We have a new year in front of us, and so many things to try.

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Meet the Hackers: Forest City Comic Con

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Today is the start of Forest City Comic Con in London, Ontario.

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A celebration of nerd culture like no other: the largest event of its kind ever to hit London, Ontario will return in 2016. Returning to the London Convention Centre and continuing its partnership with Project Play, the event will feature costumes, vendors, panels, board games, and video game tournaments. The event promises to a celebration of nerd culture and the popular culture that surrounds it.

Toni of Quiltoni, Megan of Absynthetika, Marc of Rice Hat Samurai, and Tracey of Geek @ <3 will be there!

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Quiltoni is just back from quilt market and has some exciting stories to share, so swing by and chat for awhile!


Meet the Hackers: New York Comic Con

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Today is the start of New York Comic Con!

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Toni of Quiltoni, Nicole of Craftigurumi, and Jess of Ami Ami Creations are here!  We are super excited to be back in New York.  Our booth is in the EXACT same place as last year at Booth 2582.

nycc2016

Toni and Nicole will be debuting the new Superman quilt pattern!

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In addition to quilts, pillows, amigurumi dolls, and plush, we will have some great exclusives just for New York Comic Con.  Keep an eye on the Craft Hackers and Quiltoni social media for pictures and updates throughout the show.

 

 

 


Con Survival Part 4: Etiquette

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Hello Sunday readers!

Sorry for the delay in the last post of the series but the convention was a resounding success which means I couldn’t sneak a post in! It’s been a fun journey these passed few weeks talking about convention survival but all fun things eventually come to an end. So the last thing, something near and dear to my heart, I’d like to put out there is all about how to act at a convention so that you are not “that person”. So I give you my personal set of convention etiquette techniques!

ConSurvival4Etiquette

  1. Don’t be the Labyrinth junk lady! Seriously, remember that talk we had a couple of weeks back about bringing everything including the kitchen sink? That person’s bag not only knocks uncounted merchandise off of displays, it also makes it very difficult to move through the ocean of people. It’s not just about your discomfort but those around you. Knocking people off of their feet as you turn around to snap a pic of that amazing cosplay will definitely not make you any friends. Less is more! If you do absolutely have to carry all of your DM supplies, just remember that you need extra space behind you.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings. Following on the heels of the first point, not doing this second one will definitely not endear you to your fellow con-goers.
    • When shopping, you may get distracted by the SHINY THING. Please please please do not stop in the middle of the aisle to stare at the SHINY THING. Be kind to those other folks that are trying to get from one side of the hall to the other for their photo-op/autograph/panel/emergency potty break by moving closer to the booth or slightly off to the side.
    • When cosplaying, you are going to get a lot of attention. Besides being careful not to smack everyone in the face with your amazing wings/cape/tentacles, you may interrupt the flow of traffic every time someone asks for a photo-op. While I agree that it is totally cool and kind to give these folks their chance, you can help everyone involved if you can direct the would-be fan to a less crowded area for a quick pic.
    • When taking pics of awesome cosplay, please also refer to the above. There is a natural flow to traffic in an enclosed space and stopping in the middle of it will definitely ensure an occasional pile-up. When stopping a costumed person for a snap, also see if you can direct them to a less populated area so that others may get to their destinations.
    • When checking your phone for messages, make sure to look up once in a while! It’s inevitable in this day and age that you will be walking and using your phone, possibly to locate your con-group (or possibly in your hunt for a certain pocket monster). That’s fine as long as you are talented enough to do both at the same time. If not, perhaps stepping off to the side until you finish communicating would be best.
  3. Remember that celebrities are people, too. I can totally relate to the feeling of complete awe when meeting someone you’ve admired for a long time. But please remember that they are people with feelings and a life outside of the fandom they represent. They are not necessarily the characters they portray and while you may have paid for the privilege of meeting them, it is a terrible thing to treat them like an object. Also recall that those hundreds of other folks standing in line behind you would like their 5 seconds with said celebrity as well.
  4. Wash thyself. I know that most convention suggestion articles joke about this point but let’s get serious here. Whether you came to this convention to game, meet people (celebrities included), purchase neat things, or just soak up the geekiness, you should not neglect self care. This includes hygiene. Even if you can’t squeak out a quick, awkward “hi” to that celebrity you’ve always wanted to meet, you definitely don’t want to be the number one nose offender that day, either. Even if this is accomplished with baby wipes and Febreeze, it is certainly better than the alternative (I unfortunately know folks that use this technique regularly).
  5. Support your favorite artists/vendors. This point will probably surprise exactly no one that regularly reads posts on Craft Hackers. We all appreciate your business! But please also remember that, especially for those artists that make everything with their own two hands, haggling over prices or looking for deals can be at the very least, mildly insulting. I completely understand if you’ve already gone through most of your con-budget because you had to have that special photo-op! Understand, though, that the crafters spending hours at their trade need to eat and pay their bills as well. The biggest thing many struggle with is remembering to pay themselves. That’s where you come in! Give them the very large compliment of paying for not only their product but the quality of their work. If you cannot immediately afford whatever lovely piece catches your eye, see if they have an on-line shop and then save your pennies for that beautiful gift to yourself. It’s worth it.
  6. Be courteous. Above all, I cannot emphasize this last point enough. You are in an enclosed space with hundreds, perhaps thousands of other humans that enjoy the same things that you do. The atmosphere can be exhilarating and exciting but it can also be overwhelming and chaotic. Being kind perhaps by holding a door, saying please or thank you, and stepping aside to let someone pass helps everyone by keeping that lovely flow going.

To close, a convention isn’t successful simply by bringing people together, it’s successful because people keep coming back to be together for that one purpose. The attendees are truly what make the experience unforgettable so why not make it the best one possible?

I do hope you’ve found these posts helpful. Next week, I promise we will go back to your regularly scheduled craftiness.

~Laura


Cosplay: When they’re wearing your outfit

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I was on a podcast and got asked a question which was actually a fairly good one. While it isn’t very crafty related, I thought it would be something to address because it has been one of the reasons that I’ve stuck around in this hobby,

Cosplay- the only time when someone else showing up in the same outfit as you is awesome. Running into someone else who is wearing the same costume as me is one of my favourite things. As much as I love running into Captain America when I’m Peggy Carter or Maku when I’m Korra, I love running into people in the same outfit even more. Why is it awesome?

 

To start with, it likely means you have an instant friend. You know something they like (cause they’re advertising it by wearing it), and you probably like it already yourself. That awkward “I don’t know what to talk about” moment? Not an issue. Even if you don’t become best buddies, you can talk about the source material, the character, and why you chose to wear that costume. You might find a new perspective on something you already love.

Secondly, you can now swap horror stories. Trust me, you both have them. Making costumes is never as straight forward as it sounds, and you can bond over how georgette is the worst fabric to have to sew and you wish you’d never found that interview where it mentioned it was the fabric used in the on-screen version.

Maybe there are things about your costume that you want to improve. Maybe you will notice something they’ve done on their costume that you really like and wish you’d done and since they are right there, you can ask them. Most cosplayers are quite happy to talk about their process and how they went about things. This is the best time to ask these questions.

Lastly, what gets more attention than just being in costume? Being around someone else in a similar costume. Groups always attract a crowd if you and friends put together a cast group that is one of the best way to ensure photographers get your photo. But if you want to get noticed for lots of photos, hanging out with a fellow in the same costume is just as good. What’s better than one Wonder Woman? Three!

IMG_7768

I find that these friendship tips still work even if they’re not doing the exact same version of a costume as you are. So even when I’m not wearing my blue suit, I adore running into other Peggys, no matter what outfit they’re wearing. Its all about finding like-minded souls, and wearing a costume is the most obvious way to shout out you enjoy a fandom. Rather than fretting about your own costume or going into comparisons, enjoy the camaraderie and friendship that you can gain when you both choose the same costume.

~ eliste


Con Survival Part 3: Stuffing the Con Bag

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Hello Sunday readers!

I hope you are ready for the fun part of organizing your con bag – stuffing it! Let’s get realistic here…remember the questions you asked yourself last week? It honestly boils down to one very important question: how much are you willing to carry around for what may be a 12-14 hour day?

For any given convention, I will generally have the following items in my bag:

  1. Zipper pouch containing writing utensils, a small pad of paper, lip balm, individually wrapped bandages, feminine hygiene items, and gum
  2. Secondary wristlet/zipper pouch containing various money/credit cards and business cards
  3. Small umbrella
  4. Dice bag full of dice
  5. Charging cords
  6. Battery pack/power bank
  7. Handheld gaming system
  8. Small bottle of water
  9. Hand sanitizer
  10. Small container of over the counter meds (including vitamin supplements)
  11. Packets of nuts, dried fruits, fruit pouches, and protein bars

So what kind of zipper pouch are we talking here? You could go with old reliable and snag a good pencil pouch at the dollar store. But if you’d like something a little more personalized, how about crafting something really quick? I enjoyed this tutorial from Melly Sews because it is spelled out in writing in addition to the video! These little projects are great to get over a fear of sewing in zippers!

The best part is picking the fabric!

The best part is picking the fabric!

Ok, so let’s say that you don’t have a working sewing machine or maybe you don’t have time to sew something while still getting your awesome cosplay done on time. That’s where some of the lovely vendors we’ve seen before here on Craft Hackers come in. I love the Voulala bags from Top Notch by Design:

Perfect for all of your storage needs, complete with tentacles!

Perfect for all of your storage needs, complete with tentacles!

They have that neat little strap that can either go on your wrist, through a belt loop, through a D-ring on a bigger bag, or anywhere you need, really! She has quite the selection of smaller bags for the same sort of purpose as well. If nothing there suits your style or you’d just like something smaller, dice bags are not just for holding dice, if you know what I mean. Seriously! A good drawstring pouch can double as a wallet or wristlet. It just so happens that our fearless leader, Toni, is a purveyor of fine drawstring bags:

And they come in so many patterns, you can have a different one for every occasion!

And they come in so many patterns, you can have a different one for every occasion!

Ok, so besides more pouch-like organizers in your bag, what else can help keep everything from either ending up on the bottom of your bag or tangling horribly? I would highly recommend using Velcro straps or twist ties to keep all of your cords organized. For little things like your over the counter meds or pins and such for cosplay repair, the one a day pill boxes are also great for keeping things visible but not all mixed up. The packets of food tend to be placed into one big plastic bag, also for easy access and less of a likelihood of spills or crumbs. I have found some pretty cool hand sanitizer accessories that clip onto the outside of my pack for easy access. I will say that the most important part of packing your con bag is making sure you are comfortable with the bag itself. More pockets may mean more stash spots but that may also lead to overstuffing it which also leads to back and shoulder pain. You definitely don’t want to have 3 more days left of a convention and be in massive pain because you overpacked. Next week, appropriately enough, I will be at Wizard World Chicago so I think we will wrap up our Con Survival series with a quick primer on convention etiquette. See you then!

~Laura

 


Meet the Hackers: GenCon

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GenCon is finally here!!  One of my absolute favorite conventions starts today and of course Craft Hackers is here!

gencon

Toni of Quiltoni, Nicole of Craftigurumi, Marc of Rice Hat Samurai, and Rubiee of Dryad Tea can be found at Booth 1656 in the Exhibit Hall.

GenCon2016

We will have our new Quilting patterns available in addition to some cool new things!

Craft Hackers will also be teaching some workshops!  Spaces are going fast so sign up soon.

SPA1684706
Description:
Use a crochet hook & yarn to create your very own plush dinosaur egg. Learn basic crochet skills used in many amigurumi/plush crochet patterns.
SPA1684704
Description:
Use a sewing machine to create a 4”x6” character themed drawstring bag. Learn how to use a sewing machine and an overlock vertical foot.
SPA1684701
Description:
Use a sewing machine to create a 14” character themed throw pillow. Learn how to use a sewing machine, sew a semi-invisible zipper, & use a ¼” foot.
We can’t wait to see you!

Con Survival Part 1

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Hello and welcome to Sunday, readers! I mentioned last week that we would be prepping for Gen Con this week (it’s so close!) and since I’ve been attending so many conventions in the last year, there are certain things I’ve learned to depend on when it comes to having the best experience possible. So in the upcoming weeks, I will share with you some of the hints and tips I’ve formulated to help you survive your next convention. This week I bring to you Con Survival Part 1: Packing.

Maybe we should have packed the kitchen sink, too?

Maybe we should have packed the kitchen sink, too?

There are always a number of things to consider when packing for an event but conventions are a special sort of animal. There are definitely some questions that need answering before we even start making a packing list:

  1. How far away is the convention and how are you getting there? If you are driving, you may be a little more accommodating in your packing as you are only limited by how large of a vehicle you are taking. If you are flying or taking some other form of public transportation, you will be more limited on how much you can cram in to your bags. If you are close to home, fantastic, but you still aren’t going to want to lose valuable con time because you had to go back for something.
  2. Where will you be staying once you get to the convention? If it’s a hotel, snacks may be limited to non-perishables if there will not be a fridge to store them. If you have rented a condo or apartment, you may be able to stock up at the local grocery store. If you are lucky enough to be staying with friends in the area, don’t forget a thank you gift. Scout out the distance to the convention center and where local stores may be just in case you forgot something.
  3. What will the weather be like? Even if you plan on being in the convention center for the entire weekend, you will still need to travel back and forth. You definitely do not want to be stuck under a vent in a freezing cold complex while dripping wet because you decided not to pack a jacket or umbrella. You also don’t want to get a nasty sunburn because you did not pack sunscreen and were stuck in the food truck line for an hour (not that I would know that one personally).
  4. Are you cosplaying? This is a very large consideration since all of the props and pieces will have to be transported and stored as well.

Ok, have you answered those questions? Good. Because next we make THE LIST. I am a master list maker, if I do say so myself. My significant other often laughs at the lists I have for my lists but you know what? They get the job done. Over the years I’ve used grocery list paper, the backs of used envelopes, napkins, and even tried a list making app but I hadn’t quite found something that really helped me remember everything every time. Until I found the Pack This! pre-printed lists from The Container Store*. Man, these things are awesome!

Even if it's not already on there, the categories are the biggest help.

Even if it’s not already on there, the categories are the biggest help.

Ok, so now you’ve got your list going. The one big consideration for packing we mentioned was the cosplay bit. There are special considerations for the care and keeping of your costume pieces! I found this lovely article from Cosplaying on a Budget about cosplay con survival kits that should pack pretty easily if you plan it right:

Also useful for making new cosplay friends if costume repair is needed!

Also useful for making new cosplay friends if costume repair is needed!

The last but no less important thing to consider for packing is snacks. Going to conventions is an expensive endeavor and you can save yourself money with added health benefits if you bring some of your own little nibbles to keep you going through the weekend. I found some great ideas for snack tackle boxes on the web, including this one (wherein I’d probably include more nuts and dried fruits):

The chocolate can stay, though.

The chocolate can stay, though.

This should hopefully give you a good start on packing for the trip. Next week, I’ll give you my con bag packing tips so that you don’t strain your back nor have to make a dozen trips back to home base.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

*CraftHackers is in no way affiliated or sponsored by The Container Store, we just happen to be really big fans.