Cupcakes: Fabric Making is Hard

If you’ve had the joy of talking to me these past few days, you probably know that I’m sick of looking at cupcakes.  As in positively disgusted with them.

Cupcake Coloring Design

In my defense, I think every artist goes through this with any project.  I’ll call it, “I’m so sick of looking at this” syndrome.  It isn’t that I don’t like what I’m working on–I wouldn’t be working on it were that the case–it’s that I’m temporarily out of the fun part of drawing and now I have to do all the technical stuff of fabric making and that…well…is hard.

Worth it, but hard.

Because everyone knows how excited I’m going to be when I finally get this pattern figured out properly, and how loud I’m going to squeal when I get the package in the mail.

So, what I figured out yesterday: Manga Studio has this lovely grid feature that can go behind your drawings(that I wish I had known about sooner).  Sounds handy, right?  Oh it is.

Rearranged cupcake drawings

After trying and failing with the offset feature in Photoshop, I decided to try doing things a different way.  Unfortunately, in trying out my different way, I discovered that my cupcakes would never align properly because I had created one row too many on the left (I erased them and transplanted the prettiest toppers to other uglier cupcakes).  Then I went back to Manga Studio (which is such a lovely program compared to PS) and created my grid.  The purple lines are based off where the cupcakes should sit in relation to each other.  There was much more math involved in this than I really would have liked.

Now I’m trying to complete the tedious process of shifting (scooting might be a more appropriate term) cupcakes into their proper spots.  You can see a few duplicate cupcakes, gaps between cupcakes.  The one second from the right on the very top gives you a pretty good look at how far some of these have to move.


9/26/16 Update!  I’ve now officially scooted all of the cupcakes!!!!!


Hopefully this works and I can grid them together.  This is so insanely tedious.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.

I’m going to have it done by Wednesday’s post.  I’m determined!

If you’re interested in patternmaking on your own, and don’t know where to start check out these two links:

Julia Rothman’s Tutorial on Design Sponge

Rothman shows you the basics of how to do it on an actual sheet of paper (and by “do it”, I mean the fancy thing that the offset feature in PS will do for you).  It kind of blew my mind and the whole process made so much more sense to me after reading this tutorial.

The Jungalow’s Tutorial on Reapeating Patterns

This is the method I’m currently trying out.  Justina Blakeney (Jungalow founder), even recommends the Design Sponge tutorial. Blakeney’s tutorial is very simple, and I really do get the theory of it.  My only complaint is that I wish she told you exactly where the buttons she was clicking were on PS.  Because I am waaaay behind the times on it.

(P.S. Check back on Wednesday, I’ll be posting the new embroidery designs Becky and I put together!)

Quilts and Fabric Markers–Project Updates!

So many project updates.  I’ve been a busy beaver this week!

Pink and Teal Quilt

I’m quilting again, which I’ve missed.  Quilting (to me) is kind of like painting but less messy.  I absolutely despise picking out fabric.  #1 I want to take EVERYTHING home with me, and #2 because I’m an absolute perfectionist about picking out fabric.  It all has to go together.

Teal and Blue Quilt

And by go together, I mean that the colors have to work together and the patterns.  You cant have five seriously busy patterns and then one that isn’t.  I like varying the degrees of the patterns, picking one favorite and basing the rest off of that.  Thus it takes forever.

I have a “boy” quilt and a “girl” quilt started (I’m going to use that very loosely…to me neither one looks particularly gendered…also, my boy students all love pink…so…what’s the point?)…they’re going pretty quick.  I also have cats…they’re very…helpful…

Cat on a Quilt

Pele would like everyone to know that he absolutely DID NOT walk all over the pieces I laid out and mess up my layout.  He helped me artistically rearrange them.  Because that’s the kind of cat he is.  Helpful, through and through.

Colore Fabric Markers

I was also supremely delighted to get a new set of fabric markers in the mail.  I LOVE THEM.  THEY WORK SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE TULIP ONES!!!!!  Yes, I just scream/typed.  Because I am that excited.  I love you Colore markers.  You are da bomb.

Colored in Fabric

You can see a little comparison between Tulip vs Colore.  The wishy-washy colors are Tulip, the bright ones are Colore.  I intentionally recolored half of the red/purple lolipop with Colore markers so that you could see the difference.  Crazy right?  As I was playing with them I realized that I could use the two types of markers together to create shading/watercolor effects/etc. but if you only want to buy one set of markers, don’t even bother with the Tulips.  Just get the Colore’s.

The Colore Fabric Markers bleed less, plus they have a lovely super saturated color.  The only downside is that you really need to put paper or something under the fabric as you color, because they will bleed through to the table.  Everything I’m making with my coloring fabric will be interfaced and probably have a layer of batting behind it as well, so I’m not too worried about that, but if you were to color a t-shirt with them it would absolutely matter.

So…that’s all the project updates I have for today, BUT (yes, that’s a big but–and I did just giggle a little bit over that…I made a butt joke!) I’m going to post an update later in the week with a few more creations for the craft fair…they’re coming along nicely!

DragonCon Recap

Ms. Marvel taking selfies with other superheroes

Check out all those superhero selfies!  I’m rather proud of them, really.  They were a boatload of fun to take.  I’ve got more that are slowly going up on Instagram (scribblerex), if you’re interested.  The selfies are a nod to the comics (if you haven’t read Ms. Marvel, go do that now!).  Kamala is a teenager and selfies are kind of her thing…also superhero fanfiction!

So…what happened at DragonCon?  Well, everything.  But I’m going to narrow it down to my favorite things or we’ll be here all day talking about pie, Katie’s sparkly shorts, Invader Zim, and how much I love watching people in giant mech suits try to fit through doorways.  So, my top 3:

1.Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow

  • Basically a bunch of wonderful YA authors get together to put on a little…sideshow…?  There’s usually singing, storytelling (Tiny insignificant details!), and antics–like Leanna Renee Hieber turning her novel into a Hermione/Snape fanfic.  Other perks…well…if you’re one of the first people there you get some free swag…I love perks.  I also got Alethea Kontis to sign her newest Trixter novel for me, plus a collection of short stories.  And I picked up Mari Mancusi’s Tomorrow Land…zombies and Disneyland…I’m pretty pumped!  Who else was there?  Well…Gray Rinehart and S.J. Tucker brought their musical talents, and E.C. Myers played handsome prince.  The Traveling Sideshow has been hilarious both years we’ve went, and definitely worth setting aside an hour of your con for (especially you other YA fans out there).

2. The Canonization of Mother Teresa at Sacred Heart

  • Sacred Heart is about a minutes walk from the Hilton downtown, and I end up there for mass every DragonCon.  This year had an added bonus: Mother Teresa was actually canonized on September 4.  Luci and I went to the 6:00 mass for the fancy celebration of it–there were TV cameras and everything.  I can’t find a good article about the mass itself (everything online predates the actually mass, so that’s unhelpful), but this Georgia Bulletin article (the Catholic newspaper) tells you a bit about the Missionaries of Charity in Georgia.

3. Robot Battles

  • I love Robot Battles.  It isn’t quite like what you’ll see on Battlebots on TV.  Robot Battles are held sumo style on a little platform where the robots compete to see who can knock the other one off first.  Michael and I have looked forward to it every year since we first discovered it and it never disappoints.  One day I want to build my very own.  Check out their facebook page for info–I learned that they have a youtube channel as well, if you want to actually watch a battle and see what I’m talking about.  They have the rumbles up (they put all of the robots up on the stage at the same time and have them go at each other)…and I swear one of them probably has video of Kelly Lockhart whacking the bots with a wooden duck…

So…that’s it…that’s all that happened minus A LOT!  But you’ll just have to go with me next year and pick some favorites yourself.  Tickets for next year are still $80 (I just checked…but that could change by the time I hit post), so get ’em while they’re cheap!

————————————–Later in the day edit—————————————-

It’s been a rather heavy day, so I’m moving the heavy part of my post down here…

I feel a little weird about posting on 9/11.  I went to mass this morning and realized that 15 years have passed…how could it have?  America the Beautiful made me tear up a little…which is ok…so here are a few hopes for you today.  I hope everybody gets to take a moment today to remember.  I hope everyone takes a second to send out a prayer for those who lost their lives or loved ones during the attacks.  Be thankful for our country, and our loved ones, and our many brave heroes.




Tulip Fabric Markers–Worth it?

DragonCon is over…AWA is yet to come…and I no longer have a pressing cosplay to finish (unless you count Megumi from Food Wars…but I’m not going to call that pressing), which means back to making things for Holly Days!  They officially accepted me last week, so it’s really going to happen! (November 10-11, mark your calendars!)

Tulip Fabric Markers

Instead of stressing out, I’m trying to figure out all the bits and pieces I’m going to need to bring with me, and I need fabric markers if I’m going to make stuff out of coloring fabric.

These are Tulip, and I’m regretting not buying the dual tip ones.  This pack was $20 for 20 markers (at Joanns, I used a coupon), but the dual tip ones come with 14 colors for the same price.  I thought more colors would be a better deal.  I may have changed my mind.

Candy Fabric Colored in

As you can see, they bleed–my mom and I colored around the edges of my test strip.  Once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t so much of a problem, but certain colors (like blue) bled more than others and I really had to remind myself not to color too close to the lines.

Red and Purple Lolipop

I also felt that the color was a bit too wishy washy.  I got over it after a while and pretended it was watercolor–but then I discovered that you can layer them!  Please keep in mind that you still have the bleeding problem, but it is possible to make the color stronger.  The purple and red lolipop on the left is probably my best example of this.  The light red and purple are before, the dark red and purple are from the second layer.

You can also layer different shades together to make a better color.  The half of a green lolipop in the middle/bottom was closer to the light  green of the candies on the right.  I then layered neon over the “dark green” and voila!  An actual, honest to goodness, saturated color.

I’m going to keep playing with it.  I’ll probably end up buying the dual tips to test out the fine points (they have really thin points on the dual tips), because I feel like the markers do what I want them to do.  Just not perfectly.  And if I’m going to bring some to my booth to sell, I want to make sure I’m bringing something I would use myself, that I can instruct someone else on how to use.

I’ll be trying out the “Colore Premium Fabric Markers” 20 pack in a few days–more reviewers claiming that they don’t bleed.  I hope I like them better!

Visit my Etsy shop here to buy a downloadable PDF of Coloring Bookmarks Eat Sweets! (The candy pattern on the bookmark)

I’m slowly but surely putting my DragonCon pics up on Instagram ( scribblerex ), so follow me! (And let me know who you are, if I know you!)

Look What Showed Up in the Mail!

Candy Fabric

All I can think is, “Ididit!Ididit!Ididit!Ididit!” to myself over and over.  In case you can’t tell from the photo…that’s fabric.  I designed it…and I’m feeling rather pleased with myself about it.

I took the design from the candy bookmark (here!), made it a million times more complicated (it took about 2 weeks of grumbling to finish–I’m very sorry about that to anyone who had to listen to the grumbling), and used Photoshop to create a repeat pattern (which is, in all honesty, pretty much the only thing I currently know how to do in Photoshop).  And it worked!  On the first try!

I’ve stared at it long enough at this point to feel comfortable saying that everything lined up just as it should.  Gah!  I’m so happy with it.

And now I get to order more and make stuff with it (stuff–a technical term) as I only ordered a fat quarter initially.  Hopefully my next pattern will come together much quicker than this one did (cupcakes next!).

Now what to make with it first?

P.S. I feel like I should just come out and admit to not ironing before photographing…everything is far less bendy in person, lol.  I realize there’s some weird stuff happening in that photo.

Finishing Up Ms. Marvel’s Scarf

Ms. Marvel update!

I started on the scarf…the tedious part.  You don’t want to know how long it took me to put the trim on just the edges; I knew adding the funky starburst bit was going to make me want to cry.

Ms. Marvel Comic

Instead of crying, I chose to flail my arms in the air.  Sometimes Michael flailed back.  It was a thing.

Ms. Marvel Stencil

So…to make my life easier I made a weird looking stencil.  (no I don’t remember why it looks that weird…I made it back in June, just never got around to using it).


Then I traced it with a fabric marker so it would wash out (not that you’re actually going to see it).

Funky shape pinned

And then I pinned one side, sewed one half of the line and then flipped it over to pin the other.  It was moving way too much to risk trying to pin both sides and then sew.

Finished scarf end

The end result looks like this…I wish it didn’t look quite so much like snakeskin, but it looks fine from a distance, so I’ll deal.  Stephanie says it looks good and I’m being too nitpicky.  She’s right.  My nitpicky side is very resentful of her being right, but she’s right.

Michael with a Stick

Lastly, I’ll leave you a photo of Michael with a stick.  We took a brief break to go Pokemon hunting, and Michael found a stick.  Also, I realize I’m playing the WordPress lottery with photos here, and that this photo–the entirely unrelated one–will be the one that shows up on facebook.  Bring it on, WordPress.  Bring it on.


Ready, Player One Vs. Armada

Frankly it isn’t a contest.  Ernest Cline’s Ready, Player One has received millions (at least it feels like it) of amazing reviews, while Armada just didn’t.  In my humble opinion RPO was spectacular; it sucks you in to this crazy futuristic environment, and doesn’t let you go.  On the other hand, Armada is just okay.  I wouldn’t recommend reading it first—if you do, you’ll probably never bother with Ready, Player One, and that would not be a good mistake.

Book Covers of Ready Player One and Armada

For the sake of order, here, let’s start with what makes Ready, Player One so awesome, because much of what makes it awesome is what makes Armada fall a bit flat.  RPO is set in a future world, where real life isn’t half as great as it used to be.  Our hero, Wade Watts, lives in a trailer with his aunt and about 12 other people.  This trailer is located in the “stacks” (yes, you can think library here), where people pile their rv’s/trailers/vans/etc. on top of each other as a response to overcrowding in cities, lack of resources, lack of jobs, what-have-you.  Life on planet Earth isn’t great.

That’s where OASIS comes in.  OASIS, an online virtual reality mmo type of game, allows players to log in and level up characters by fighting and completing quests (like you could in, say, WOW); players can go to school, they can work, they can go clubbing, hang out in a friends “basement” playing video games.  You get the idea.  If it weren’t for having to eat, sleep, and exercise, you can pretty much live in the OASIS (as Wade does many times throughout the book).

When the OASIS’s creator, James Halliday, dies, he leaves his company and fortune in the hands of whomever can solve his puzzle first (and find the egg)—a puzzle based on Halliday’s love of all things 80’s.  As the years go on, more and more people quit the search for Halliday’s egg, with the exception of a few notable groups: the gunters—your average joes obsessed with the search—and the sixers—employees of the massive IOI corporation out to make money.  Wade Watts is a gunter, and a broke gunter at that, meaning he doesn’t have the funds to leave his school world, level up his character, and do all of the other fancy things that most of the other gunters can.  Regardless, Wade finds himself opening the very first gate—making him the very first to accomplish this task.  What follows is a fast paced journey of pretty much everyone in the entire world trying to find the egg first, and the bad guys, the sixers, trying to beat them all to it and gain control of the OASIS.  It’s full of humor and trivia; if you are a fan of anything 80’s you will probably find something you like in this book.

I actually listened to both books on Audible, and Wil Wheaton does an excellent job reading.  I really appreciated the meta moment in the middle where he referenced himself.  I will, more than likely, listen to it again at some point—I enjoyed it that much.

My Armada review will be a little shorter, because I have far less to say about it.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great either.  I listened to Wheaton read that one too.  While Wheaton does an excellent job, sometimes even an excellent reader can’t make a mediocre book great.  Also, I think his voice just made me want to re-listen to RPO

Zack Lightman, our teenage protagonist, looks out the window at school and spots a space ship, straight out of his favorite video game, flying through the air.  An alien invasion follows, and it seems like Cline is trying to write another Ready Player One with all of its video-gaminess and references.  Armada falls flat because of this.  It’s the kind of book that makes you want to try your hand at rewriting it, because you’re pretty sure even you could do a better job at it(I spent a half hour last night doing that exact thing).  Honestly, Cline could’ve skipped pretty much all of his many references and instead focused on developing his plot/characters a bit more to make the book a million times stronger, but for whatever reason he didn’t.  He technically made them part of the plot, but that doesn’t mean they did anything for it.  They had impact in RPO.  They didn’t have impact in Armada.

If you liked RPO will you like it?  Maybe?  Go in with very low expectations (I lowered mine a lot, and I’m glad I did), and you’ll enjoy it well enough.  You probably won’t recommend it to friends, but if you’re sad because it’s been a while since RPO and you really, really want to try it out then just do it.  It isn’t awful, it just isn’t good.

I did notice in the interview Cline gave with Amazon that he lists Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash as one of his favorite novels.  Snow Crash, a funky cyberpunk adventure, has some plot similarities to RPO (like virtual reality) AND a good plot that WILL surprise you.  It might be a better way to scratch your RPO itch than Armada.  Just sayin’.

The Leita Thompson Memorial Park: My New Favorite Pokemon Stop

I’ve been passing the Leita Thompson Memorial Park for years (I’m sure some of you have too), and I never considered stopping until recently thanks to a recommendation from another Pokemon Go player.  The park is a bit deceptive.  You can see the Arts Center from the road as well as the Memorial Garden, but neither one of these actually makes it seem like there’s a really nice walking trail behind it.

As it turns out, it’s absolutely worth stopping, and if you ever happen to be traveling down Woodstock rd with a few minutes to kill, then I encourage you to pull over.

Leita Thompson Memorial GardenFor you Pokemon Go players, there are three Pokestops and a gym in the memorial gardens.  The gardens are small, but pretty with benches everywhere making it a fantastic place to just sit and chill.  My only warning is to bring bug spray–I am not a fan of the mosquitos, and these guys bit me through my shoes last week.

I like to sit over near the lady with the urn–she’s technically a fountain–again, though, mosquitos.  You can normally hit the gym from where where she is, and I (weirdly) like the sound of the little fountain.

These are all the Pokestops (I’m standing in the memorial garden):

So Many Pokestops

Everything you see in the screenshot, you’ll hit in the trail ahead.  You can’t really see the ones in the memorial garden (thank you gym…).  The one next to the road is the start of the trail that I normally head to.  There’s a longer path that starts on the other side, but I have yet to go that far.  For a path through the woods, that’s the most Pokestops I’ve seen so far (I’m sure there’s a spot with more somewhere, but it probably isn’t half as convenient).

Map of Leita Thompson Park

I normally go down the yellow and loop back around.  I can get down to all of the Pokestops and back in 20 minutes-ish, making it ideal for killing time between students.  One of these days I’m going to do the whole thing.  There’s a pond that I have yet to see.

Even when it’s hot, the woods are so dense that it’s shady and relatively cool even when it’s ninety degrees out.

Leita Thompson Trail

And if you walk far enough you’ll hit a gym up at the Arts Center (I have yet to explore that…I presume you can go inside).  You’ll also notice that the Pokestops are really interesting up near the arts center.

I think the statues/sculptures were all old art installations that have been relocated…because I have yet to find any of them.  I was trying to take the gym up at the arts center when these two teenage boys walked by muttering “where’s the head”, so I know I’m not the only one baffled by the missing sculptures.  Personally, I’d like to see the musical sculpture.  Those nails just look bizarre.

Does anyone else frequent the Leita Thompson Memorial Park?  I’m a little freaked out by the coyote warnings (especially one about the rabid coyote…), but there are no dates up to tell how recent they are and I have yet to see anything, so I’m probably going to continue to be brave.  There are always so many people going around the trail, walking their dogs, running, that I know I’m not the only one (being brave).  If I find out more about that, I’ll update my post.

In the mean time, what are your favorite woodsy Pokemon Go places?

Park Address:

1200 Woodstock Rd, Roswell, GA 30075




Fun with Cupcake Earrings!

Adding fun into the title clearly makes EVERYTHING more fun.  True story.

And now for my face:


Becky and I came up with 2 different earring designs based on my brand new coloring bookmark set–> Coloring Bookmarks Eat Sweets! Pretty spiffy, no?  The ones I’m wearing in the photo feature a tiny stack of 3 cupcakes.  Which means that when you wear them you are literally hanging 6 cupcakes off of your ears.  Lets see Chuck Norris do that!

Now lets see my face again:

Pink single cupcake earringsBam!  My face.

These are the singles.  As it turns out, I like both of them equally–which is only odd, because I was really, really, really determined at first to have a stack of cupcakes because in my crazy cupcake obsessed mind more cupcakes are ALWAYS better.  As it turns out, they are pretty stinkin’ cute, but the singles have the added bonus of being able to see the detail a bit more, so hooray for that.

Multiple embroidered cupcakes

As with the cherry blossom necklace (scroll down, I promise it’s in there), I created the lineart and Becky worked her magic to digitize it for the embroidery machine.  They take a bit of trial and error to get right, and then they take a bit of prayer–because I really am terrified of fire, and melting the edges so that they don’t fray is utterly terrifying.

The purple cupcake stack and the blue cupcakes on the right are actually the original design.  Can you tell the difference?  The finished ones on the left look so much cleaner and nicer because we removed some of the detail.  The poor yellow cupcake in the middle bit the dust–I think the embroidery machine tried to eat it…it happens sometimes.

So, what do you think?  They’ll be available for sale soon…hopefully!  We’ve got a few other things in the works as well, so keep an eye out.

And if you didn’t follow that link above to go buy my coloring bookmarks, go here!  They’re pretty!  They’re inexpensive!  You can color them!  And think how happy your very favorite Angela will be if you buy a set! (BTW, thank you for everyone who HAS bought a set, I really do giggle like a little kid every time I sell another one!)

Coloring bookmarks preview


The Wizarding World of Once and Again Books

We did it, and it looked spectacular!

Harry Potter Decorated Bookstore

And, for that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people squished into the store at the same time before.  I didn’t know we could squish that many people into the store at the same time.  It was so much fun, though; and for everyone who thought Barnes and Noble was the way to go for the midnight release, well, did they have Harry’s Birthday Cake Cupcakes?

Harry Potter Birthday Cake Cupcakes

I didn’t think so.

Casey did a spectacular job decorating the store.  She hung tulle from the ceiling in grand Harry Potter black and purple.  Plus she magically managed to make candles levitate several inches below the ceiling.

Once and Again Books storefront

The house banners now hang proudly from the windows, and Casey transformed the front door into Platform 9 3/4.

Harry Potter bathroom

The bathroom may or may not be the home of Moaning Myrtle and the Chamber of Secrets OR the entrance to the Ministry of Magic.  I’m not stepping into the toilet to find out which.

What did I do?  Why am I so tired?  I made three wizard robes in a week.

Angela, Casey, and Alex

I still cannot feel my fingers.

Also I made fancy potions bottles…yesterday…when I also finished the wizard robes.  If you ever have the inclination to make your own, but don’t think you’re fancy enough to pull it off, check out the blog Over the Big Moon.  She has a printable/downloadable set of potions labels up for free.  Print those out, stick them to your bottles with a little mod podge, and you’re good to go.  I used two of her labels myself: my Flesh Eating Slug Repellant and Skele-Grow are better for it.  I really, really, really wanted to make all of my own labels, but, as these things go, I ran out of time and only got to make a few, so having those available was pretty awesome!

Taryn, Angela, Jennifer

Thank you Taryn and Jenny for coming all the way down to Marietta with me.  It wouldn’t have been half as fun without you!

I’m a wee bit on the tired side, but like I said, no regrets.  I’m really happy with how everything turned out.  I know Casey and I both geeked out a bit on Pinterest because we wanted to do everything under the sun, and the store looked/still looks perfect.

If you want to see it for yourself come visit us at Once and Again Books.  The decorations will probably be up until Halloween. 🙂