Cherry Blossom Necklace

Becky and I have been working on a few different projects over the past few months, and I’m happy to say that this one is finally nearing completion.  I made lineart awhile back of a bib necklace–lineart that I later used for my cherry blossom bookmark (which you can fine here).

Angela wearing the cherry blossom necklace

Becky, in her infinite genius, figured out how to digitize the lineart for an embroidery machine.  After a lot of trial and error, we finally printed it out on the embroidery machine, melted the edges (I’m not good with fire–I may have freaked out part way through lighting a match and accidentally thrown it on Becky/the deck…this is how house fires are probably started), and attached it with some jump rings and a fancy chain.

It still needs a little work, but we’re both pretty proud of the result so far.  What do you guys think?

“Book Scavenger” Book Review

Long gone are my Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children days, but I still think there’s something wonderful about a good mystery–especially one that feels solveable.

No, I did not predict the ending of Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s charming puzzle, but I did predict a few other things.  Like, I did know going in that the good guys would somehow beat the bad guys  That was inevitable as the two large, brutish thugs that Bertman introduces us to in the first chapter are inept, at best, and not quite certain how to follow the orders they’ve been given.

Emily, James, and Steve the Cowlick

Horrible drawing, but I really did expect Steve to be larger than the cover depicted.

Book Scavenger is a game (more of an obsession, really) for our heroine Emily who enjoys the thrill of hunting down a hidden book as well as solving and creating interesting puzzles and ciphers.  Her parents, bloggers famous for their desire to live in every state in the U.S, have just moved the family to San Francisco.  The only good thing about the move, in Emily’s opinion, is the fact that San Francisco is the home of Bayside Press, Book Scavenger, and the book’s creator Garrison Griswold.

Unfortunately, someone has shot poor Mr. Griswold on his way to announce his brand new game.  No one knows if Mr. Griswold is going to make it; nor does anyone know what his new game is or if Book Scavenger has a future if he doesn’t make it.  When Emily, her brother Matthew, and newfound friend/upstairs neighbor James (Emily is a little new at this whole “making friends” thing) discover a brand new copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Gold Bug” hidden behind a trash can in the BART station (the exact same one where Mr. Griswold was shot).  After careful examination, Emily just knows that the book must have belonged to Mr. Griswold and that it must be part of his next game.

What follows is an adventure full of word puzzles, literary puzzles, and hidden books.  I listened to it as an audiobook, and it was one of those easy listens where I was a little sad to have to stop the car.  I flipped through the physical book later to discover that all I was actually missing were pictures of the ciphers themselves.  Interesting, but they didn’t make me regret listening instead of reading.

This sounds a little goofy, but in the book, James has a cowlick sticking out of his hair that is so impressive that he names it.  It takes on a personality of it’s own–it will wiggle happily or droop in sadness.  The Steve of my imagination is much larger than the one in the cover art.  Thus the quickly drawn picture in honor of Steve.

Lastly, and this does make me feel like I’m getting old, but sometimes when I read elementary/YA titles as an adult I experience what I’ll call “Where are your parents???” syndrome.  In this case, I knew exactly where their parents were, but was somewhat perplexed by the fact that no matter what happened, neither James, Emily, nor Matthew thought to call the police or tell an adult that they were being chased by grown men.  I realize that they’re kids and that they’re supposed to make a stupid decision for the sake of the plot, but this bugged me to no end and I even went so far as to make sure that my student (who also read the book) knows to call the police in this situation.

And while I don’t want to knock off ratings for something so small, it really did bug me to no end, and yes it was a little harder for me to enjoy the book after that.

If you’d like a star rating, I’ll give it 4 out of 5.  I believe the second in the series will be coming out next year, and I’ll probably pick that up as well–I really did like it.

Lastly, Stephanie, Katie and I have started a new Youtube channel!  We’re AtlantaGeekGirls (all one word), and I’m posting up a video review of the Dorothy Must Die series simultaneously along with this written review.  Please go take a look here and tell me what you think!  We’re still in the stages of figuring out what we’re doing, so constructive criticism really does help!

Ms. Marvel Update

I’m finally almost done with the bracer/cuff/whatever it’s called, and it’s time for an update!

I primed the bracer with gesso (I didn’t take a photo of that) because I already own a giant tub and it seemed silly to buy more.  Gesso is a primer normally used on canvases, but can be used on pretty much anything if you get creative.  I know I’ve used it on insulation foam before to make my giant Heavenly Sword blade.


I think I applied 5 coats to it, possibly more by the time I was done.  I used a hairdryer (set on cool; don’t want to heat up the worbla) to dry each layer in between and then went in with fine sandpaper and smoothed it down.  I’m not going to claim that the end result was perfect; we’ll call it the “well loved” look and not the “I just bought this from a fancy jewelry store” look.

Spraypainted Bracer

Once I got fed up with sanding, I took it outside and sprayed it gold using Krylon Premium Metallic spraypaint (from Joanns).  Handy tip: Political signs are fantastic to spraypaint on!  This one was a post election one (just so people don’t think I go around stealing signs off the road) that we had in the garage, and it’s nice because it’s sturdy yet small and I could pick the whole darn thing up and carry it inside without waiting for the paint to dry.

Lastly, I added the painted details.

Painted Bracer

I want it to look as much like the pictures as possible, but I don’t want it to be very bulky because that will take away some of the authenticity of the piece.  The goal was for it to be smallish and fairly close to my skin.  I experimented with adding little beads of worbla for the upper dots, but couldn’t get them to not look cheesy.  I painted them instead, and while I know they don’t look like they’re popping off of the piece, I like how it turned out.  All I have left to finish for the top is to add the red rhinestones.

Underside of the Bracer

On the underside I’ve attached 8 D rings(only 4 pictured, I promise I can count).  To get them in you take a small fold of worbla, run it through the D ring and heat it up so that it folds over and sticks together.  You then heat the base part up (ie. the bottom of the bracer) cut it open, stick the D ring piece of worbla (which is hopefully still warm) into the hole you just made, and then close the whole thing up.

I’m still trying to work out how I’m going to make the bottom bracelet  part.  That’s most definitely going to be out of the 4 way stretch fabric because it needs to stick to my arm and not roll over.  So…give me till Wednesday and we’ll see what I’ve got.

Is anyone going to the random AWA event on Saturday other than Stephanie and me?  It’s $30 to get in and only $15 if you’re in cosplay.  Info is here if you’re interested!

Giant Mod Podge Letters

I am entirely guilty of impulse buying, and this project was the result.  Michael’s had some really funky canvases on sale one day for 70% off, and, long story short, they migrated to the bookstore with me.

READ letters on canvas

This is the sad part of the story.  The only place that currently needs decoration is the bathroom…so yes…I made bathroom art.  But I figured it was probably the least complicated project ever, so I’d get over it (I already have).

The really clever part of this project, is actually the least clever thing in the world.  Have you ever needed to make giant letters for some reason and ended up freehanding them in goofy bubble letters because you couldn’t make MS Word print any larger than a page. Continue reading

Playing with Worbla for the First Time

Progress photos of a bracer made of worbla

Well, I didn’t manage to finish my costume for Momocon (to my supreme disappointment).  I got to this point where I probably could’ve finished it, but it wouldn’t have been completed to a standard that I was actually proud of (plus I would’ve gone to the convention half asleep from staying up all night), and so I decided to leave it for next time.

I’m almost done with so many parts of it.

  • The dress is almost complete save for the bottom hem and the collar.
  • The scarf is almost complete save for the funky starburst bits at the end.
  • The leggings and undershirt are complete (they could use a trip through a serger).
  • The bootcovers exist (they need buttons, soles, and hemmed at the top).
  • The bracer (obviously) needs painted and I need to make the stretchy bit for the bottom.
  • I have a leather mask now!  I bought it at Momo!

It’ll be done by Dragoncon for sure.  It was just too many things to finish in the past few weeks and everything that could possibly happen recently did happen.  Sometimes you just have to know when you’ve had enough.

I am rather pleased with how the bracer turned out, however.  I’ve seen a lot of worbla armor/props before but I’ve never actually played with it.  Worbla (for you non-cosplayers) is this funky plastic substance that can be heated up with a heat gun and molded into a variety of shapes.  Google it or go on youtube to find tutorials–there are a million out there.

There are some great cosplayers out there who have made fantastic things with it, and if you’ve never seen Kamui Cosplay’s  work before, you should absolutely check out her site to get an idea of what you can do with it.  I ended up buying her digital set of how to books ($25 for all 6) and after fully reading through two of them so far, I have no regrets about my purchase.  It instilled a bit of confidence in me before I started.  Plus it gave me a handy-dandy warning about how I was going to burn my fingers in the process, but it would be worth it.

I totally went to my guitar lesson today with burnt fingers.  It was fabulous.  My fingers hurt BEFORE playing.  Yay!

I’ll hopefully get the rest of the bracer done in the next few days, so I’ll put pics up when I do.  On Sunday (unless Sunday is crazier than Wednesday at the bookstore), I should have a new “painting” set put together for everyone to see that I made from these super funky canvases.  I’m pretty excited.  My fingers are covered in both worbla burns AND mod podge.  Hooray!

The Worbla’s Finest Art website (for those who have never seen it before).

And my Etsy Shop.  Because self promotion for the win!  Also, I’m going to have something new in the works soon.  Once I’m done burning myself with the heat gun!