Saturday, May 31, 2014

In Consideration of Patreon

Every time I listen to one of BTC's vlogs, I'm reminded again that some content providers and artists are using this new-to-the-Internet website known as Patreon.

I had no idea what it was, but I'm all for doing research (and having the Panda do it, too).

Today I decided that it was time to consider putting my crochet geekery skillz up on Patreon.

Wait, wait!

My account is not "live".  I just wanted to see how it works.  I want to discuss the possible patron rewards with the Panda.

But is it so inconceivable to think that one day I might be in a position to crochet more often?  (I did not say full-time.  See how clearly I am not saying that.)

It's just that I have all these ideas of patterns I want to create, like plushie Mass Effect characters (Garrus and Wrex are the top of that list!), Avengers bags, Power Rangers accessories...I had a list at one point, and it's only gotten longer in my head.

All the stuff I want to do, and no time to do it...

(Oooh, Asterix and Obelix and even a tiny Dogmatix plushie?)

Do you ever wish there were brakes for your imagination?  I know I sure do!

In parting, I share yesterday's tweet with you:

See?  You saw it here first!

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Beefy Trio

After I completed VintageBeef V, I knew I would rarely have the opportunity to photograph a trio of Beefs ever again.

(Mind you, this was just a few days after the Famous Tweet of May 2014.)

Thanks to pollen season, everything down here is covered in a fine layer of greeny-gold dust, so I grabbed my craft tablecloth and set up my photo op:

Photo was first shared with my Facebook followers.

I then waited a few days before passing the same image on to the subreddit:

Mind you, when I tweeted this picture, I deliberately did NOT tag Mr. Beef.  I figured I had hogged the spotlight with the other picture a couple days before.

Imagine my surprise to see the top comment...


Other, close-up photos from this shoot include:

Zdenka's Beef playing Tetris

Anna's Beef terrorizing Legolas with a Nazgul action figure

C. Helinski's Beef reading 'Asterix and Obelix'

Of these three, one Beef headed up to Alberta, Canada and the other to Albany, New York.  The third is part of an entire Team Canada order, which will be shipped all together by the end of June.

So now, dear readers, you are up-to-date with all the fangirl activities so far!

Oh, except perhaps the mention of my plushies at PAX East 2014:

(Jump to 47:36 for the good part!)

Perhaps this weekend or Monday I'll be able to do a reveal on my projects from this month!  I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm looking forward to making progress!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Tweet That Started This Year's Blogging

It took place on May 1st.  I had finished another Beef (Beef IV, for those keeping track at home) and wanted to do a quick photo before Deevius came over to play LotRO.

I knew I was very close to finishing Beef V, but I figured a shot of a couple of Beefs hanging out on a Thursday night with some PS3 controllers was just all-around fun.

So the Panda helped me set it up, snapped a quick picture.  I put it up on Twitter and went about making dinner.

Nothing exceptional, and the lighting could've been better.

Deevius arrived along with Josh/Kuri, and we went about our normal game night routine.

Until my tablet became possessed.

A side note: sometimes my tablet is choosy about what it decides to alert me about.  But even it couldn't ignore all of the emails suddenly generated by this:

Thus, thanks to the fabulous exposure by Mr. VintageBeef himself, my Tweet is still being favorited today:

It was at this point that I decided that I needed a place to centralize all of my social media, photographs, and general shenanigans.

Which is why I'm here with you!

Tomorrow, I'll show you what I affectionately call "The Beefy Trio," which will effectively bring us up-to-date on the latest craziness!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Commissions Everywhere!

When I listed the second VintageBeef plushie on Etsy, I received an inquiry from somebody else about a VintageBeef plushie.  Over the next few weeks to a couple months I just started to accrue a list of people willing to wait until September for their plushies!

VintageBeef III made an appearance on the Mindcrack subreddit:

Unfortunately, after a month his buyer hadn't contacted me.
Thankfully, there's a waiting list, and the next person was more
than happy to give Beef III his forever home.

During this time, I had also been hard at work on my first-ever Zisteau plushie.  He ended up being a whole lot more work (because of all the color-changes) and I had been sick, which didn't help me keep on track.

Thankfully, his buyer was so understanding, and was thrilled with the result:

Mindcrack Plushie Series #5

Of course, I also did some gimmick photos.  The one that made a Reddit appearance was:

This one to date has received the lowest karma.
I think it was the time of day I posted it.

However, I did also tweet the photo to the buyer, and I included Zisteau at the same time.  She and I had mutual fangirl fiestas when this happened:

A couple days after that, I also tweeted this picture, but did not tag Zisteau.

 Yup, I had a bed full of Mindcrackers.  I also did another photo op with them, but I'm saving the pictures for a future release, when there's downtime between plushies and I want to keep the followers on Facebook and Twitter entertained.  ^_^

I think my favorite part of the Zisteau commission (other than the awesome sorry-for-making-the-buyer-wait lava bucket!) was that Midnight_Sentry fully intends to go to a MineCon and have Zisteau sign the plushie (I suggested to her the cape idea I used).  She's promised to tweet me photos!

Mutual fangirlishness rocks!

Next time we'll have to talk about my (to date) most infamous Tweet!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Minecraft Musings

I promise this time we're getting back to the Minecraft Mindcrack crochet!

When we last took a look at my crochet history, I had mentioned thinking about making VintageBeef as a plushie, since his Minecraft skin is simpler (discounting the front of his chest with the apron).

I went through several searches for his skin on Google, and ended up at  I compared all the different 'VintageBeef' skins available to the other search results Google had turned up before settling on the one I considered to be the most accurate.

Then I chose the 'papercraft' option, which generates a pretty good panel layout.  And that's really the secret behind Minecraft crochet: find a way to get whatever it is you're trying to make into a papercraft pattern, and you can turn it into crochet panels!

Well, needless to say as discussed in a previous post, I succeeded with VintageBeef, who now happily resides in Dalian, China with April (and the latest creeper, who was glimpsed briefly in a post from last week).

Of course, I had taken tons of photos just to properly get an idea of the size and pose-ability of the plushies.  Then I decided that I would keep track of my work using DeviantArt, and began establishing what I called the Minecraft Plushie Series (M.P.S.).

Regrettably, the first plushie is the only one not in the 'standard' pose.

I finished my own PauseUnpause; to date he is the only one.

Then I got a little crazy and sent BTC his own plushie.

Then I wanted to complete Team Canada with Etho.

Somewhere along the way, however, I got a message through DeviantArt from a gal who had commented on the VintageBeef picture.  Her SN was PauseUnbeef, and she was the first person to order a commission!

Thus, I began tweeting out things like progress pictures for her, and then when I completed the plushie, I had to do group shots to prove that the plushie was indeed finished:

But my lovely, more-social-media-adept husband said...
"Why don't you put that up on the Mindcrack subreddit?"

I knew nothing about Reddit other than the fact that my husband's opinions were often down-voted because he's a sheriff's kid who owns a gun.  It seemed like I was throwing myself into an online pirahna tank--offering my art in a feeble attempt to not get it ripped to shreds by rabid fans.

But I tried it:  

And VintageBeef...well, you see.

(Yes, there was a FANGIRL FIESTA.)

The Panda was floored that I could attract 170 upvotes with a single post.  (I had no reference for comparison; I just wanted to know why the 13 people who down-voted me did so.)

I'm a perfectionist, and I take rejection pretty hard.

Other photos from that session included:

Featured only on DeviantArt

Also posted on the Mindcrack subreddit
(It got about the same karma, but if Beef saw it, he didn't comment this time.)

Featured only on DeviantArt and Twitter

PauseUnbeef loved her plushie; he arrived in California safe and sound!  Plus, I got more queries and interest in future commissions.  

One thing I had decided from the outset, however, was not to flood the Mindcrackers every time I made a plushie of their character, or posted a photo.  I needed to be strategic!

More about strategy and other commissions in the next post!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cactuar Amigurumi!

Not a super-long post today, but I did finish this month's first crochet project!

It was an emergency request for a friend, who had an acquaintance that fell and broke his clavicle.  The poor guy had to have emergency surgery, and my friend wanted me to make up a squishy plushie as a get-well present.

Eric, the acquaintance, is now home and doing better.

Per the request, I did not put any features on the cactuar (and I am not familiar enough with Final Fantasy to know any better).

Pardon the picture; it was a camera phone!

Pattern here.
(Must be a member; it's a free sign-up!)

I've got to get some serious work in this weekend; maybe we'll get to see the next plushie commission soon! know, from Minecraft?

Oh, I didn't finish that story!


Next time?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Etsy Spotlight: DuctTapeCreations17

Every once in awhile, since I sell on Etsy, I tend to look up forms of 'competition'.  (Thusfar, I've found no one else making and selling the huge Minecraft plushies I do.)

That's how I stumbled across this little shop.

Some of Kyle's other work includes Pokemon and My Little Pony:

Charizard Painting, $15

The 'Mane 6' Duct Tape Wallets, $12/ea, $48/all

But he also does popular YouTube personalities:

So here's where it gets interesting.  At first, I browsed through his Etsy set-up to get ideas on how to improve my own store layout.  I actually added the "Custom Order" button to my own store, as well as discovered that I could put a banner up.

And then as the time grew closer for my first convention, I decided that rather than having my huge girl purse to lug about with me everywhere, I wanted to put some money forward into a personalized wallet I could carry just for nerdy cons.

So I submitted a custom order to DuctTapeCreations17 for a BlameTheController wallet.

Kyle was amazing; he suggested putting the Broken Buttons logo inside!

Though it wasn't ready for the con, here are a couple of the first look pictures the artist sent to me:


I of course sent him my profuse thanks and awe at his ability to transform the Broken Buttons logo into just duct tape.  He also posted a time-lapse video of him making the wallet:

So amazing!  Took a lot of time and it looks great!

DTC tweeted me the link, which I passed on to the Broken Buttons build chat--I think he earned himself some new subs from a few of the members!  (Is this what they meant by networking in college?)

So if you are looking for a new craft to try, or just like the look of his stuff, check out DuctTapeCreations on YouTube and on Etsy.  He's got several tutorials for many different items including the wallet, a backpack, and other various types of cases and protectors.

'Til next time (when we might get back to talking about Minecraft crochet...I keep promising, but other stuff just happens)!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An Introduction to Minecraft Crochet

In case you have found my blog for no other reason than the Minecraft crochet I've done (whether it was the early creepers, the cake half-slab, or the character plushies from the Mindcrack server), here's how it all started!

I have been playing Minecraft since it was in beta (before wolves, meatpops, sprinting...and when the game was on sale for $16 USD).  So if I'm ever online in a public server and appear to be lost, it's probably because I've encountered (yet another!) new-to-me feature of the game and I can't figure it out.

I also enjoy reading web comics.  Particularly Looking For Group (in it's earlier days), Darths & Droids (which I am now woefully behind on), and The Knit Princess (which my bestie April introduced me to).

The Knit Princess sadly went through one too many artist changes, and I've since stopped following it.  But then either April showed me or I found something called Worsted for Wear.  Other than being about knitting (whereas I am a crocheter), it had many true-to-life references for the yarn world in general.

One of these was for a website called  I had never heard of it before, but I looked it up and was promptly floored.

It has to be the largest, most central place to find patterns for all types of crafts.  Crafters can host their patterns (for sale or for free) in the database, and all you have to do is have a free login.

There are thousands of patterns in here!

Add to that the tools like Library (where you can store patterns you've bookmarked as cool), Queue (where you can set up a list of the projects you need to do and in what order you want to do them, and Projects (where all of your completed/ongoing/hibernating projects are stored with pictures and descriptions, should you choose to add them).

Here's what my current Project page looks like:

Newly-finished projects first; older projects toward the bottom.

For awhile, I was just collecting interesting-looking free patterns.  Then I started out with hats (as evidenced by my previous two Avengers hats).

I quickly discovered a couple of other geeky patterns I wanted to try:

Minecraft Cake by Minke van der Zee

Minecraft Creeper (all sizes) by Minke van der Zee

But if there's one thing that I like to do to myself, it's to "improve" a pattern, even if it doesn't need it.

Let's start with the Minecraft cake.  That's a tiny cake up there; a couple of inches square.  In my mind, that was too small!  Cakes are supposed to be half-slabs (that is, half the size of a normal Minecraft block).

I was going to make it bigger.  (Like, three times bigger.)  The project was worked in two large rectangles, and then sewn together into it's boxy shape.

This was before I had discovered/learned/figured out how to change colors seamlessly for a better, pixel-like appearance.  Thus, my cake looked like:

If you'll look closely, you'll see how the icing edges are wavy.

Yeah, that sucker was pretty large.  I gave it as a gift to Midori for the first birthday of hers that I celebrated after becoming friends with her (we have only known each other a couple of years, and we're already thick as thieves), along with the code for her very own Minecraft account.

Would I make a cake like this again?  No.  I would make it using the new panel method I've invented for all of my current Minecraft projects, which would provide consistent seams on all six sides of the piece. 

Plus, that method would allow me to incorporate the red 'sprinkles' as a part of the panel, instead of crocheting all these tiny squares separately and then hand-sewing them on to the top of the cake (which was a pain, because I am not the neatest sewer).

Then we come to my very first creeper:

This guy looks only slightly like the pattern picture (above).

In retrospect, it would have been better had I actually looked up the appearance of a real creeper before deciding I knew better than the pattern designer.  >.>

For example, the body I made is actually square, whereas a proper creeper's body is rectangular, like in the original photo by Minke.  

On the other hand, I was able to add a little more detail, like the line of black on the front of the creeper's feet (accurate according to Minecraft pictures).

I also modified the features of the creeper, which doesn't really do it justice.  He just looks unhappy, as opposed to scarily, creepily, psychotically-stalkery unhappy.

The difference between the first creeper and a creeper done with my later method:

The primary differences being the body shape, and the facial features.

Needless to say, at this juncture I had a long way to go with understanding "improvements" to patterns.

So for awhile I worked on more amigurumi (crocheting in the round) projects, like the dragons in my 2013 posts.  But then, I had this strange idea of trying to apply amigurumi to a full-blown Minecraft character.

Let me preface this by saying I don't recall exactly why I chose to do PauseUnpause.  It may be because I was watching one or two of his vlogs/fanmail videos and he spoke about some of the things he'd overcome in his life; bullying, depression, etc.

Anyway, I felt for him.  And he had an address to send fanmail to, should I decide to do that.

So I started with the chest piece, working it in flat panels and sewing them together.  Yay!  I went on to the arms and legs.

But then I made the mistake of assuming that I could transfer a square pattern to a round crochet style.

Here's a hint: it didn't work.  Although, I still have the original set of limbs somewhere in my yarn stash.  T_T

So I set Pause aside.  Back to the drawing board.  Maybe his skin was too complicated?  How about somebody simpler?

Cue the VintageBeef plan.  

(Dun dun dunnnnnn....)

Tomorrow.  :D

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SC Comicon 2014 - Part 2

So now we come to the brief, post-picnic-lunch section, where Deevius was able to see again, and we tried to get pictures of any amazing costumes we had missed.


Gambit & Rogue

The Tallest Jawa Ever

Lucy Heartfilia (Fairytail)

Fun story: I went up to this gal as she was turning
to walk away, and I tapped her shoulder and said,
"Lucy!  Can I get a picture of you?"
This girls's smile was the most brilliant thing I've
ever seen, which is what encourages me to try doing
a complete cosplay at a con in the future.
(She even let me pick which key she held in the picture--I picked Loke.)

The other two remote-controlled R2-D2s.

(This one snuck up behind me when I was photographing the Jawa.)

Also, a huge shout-out to Midori, who toted plushie Etho around with her for most of the day (barring the fifteen minutes where I was holding him and not taking photos).  She was amazing; every person that inquired about him, she pulled out the small stack of business cards I'd given her, and managed to give away all but four.

(It's my dream, maybe in a couple years, to be able to have a booth of my very own at a con like that.  Cuz that would be awesome!)

And it was pretty legit; one little girl came right up to Midori and said, "I like your Etho."  (Major WIN right there!)

Most other people recognized Etho as 'Kakashi' from Naruto, even if they didn't understand the reference to Minecraft via the redstone torch he had pinned to his left hand.

Here he is with me, posing in front of the "official" SC Comicon badge:

The one other thing we had to do was get Deevius in the Batmobile.  There was no way she was leaving without photographic proof:

Everything inside was labeled "Bat_____".

So, my goodies from the con included:

Tile coasters featuring the TARDIS in other fandoms.
This is Narnia and Middle Earth.

(The artist was out of his Shire coasters.)
Deevius got Middle Earth and the bridge of the Enterprise, c. 1969.

Amazing wooden charms for all fandoms.
Clearly, I went with Legend of Zelda.

Deevius went with Captain America, and chose the necklace option.
The artist also had everything from Marvel to DC, Naruto, and many more.

But there were all kinds of toys, models, shirts--and of course, boxes and boxes of comics.  I wish I had had the presence of mind to ask about some of my retired/vintage/internationally-published collections that I'm trying to finish (namely 'ElfQuest' and 'Asterix and Obelix').

There's always next year! 

So my next con...hmm...I've been invited to MineCon 2014, to speak as a member of the Broken Buttons if they are able to host a custom map-making panel.

But, as the Panda would say:  "There are 3,249 things that have to happen in order.  We are on 8.  You're talking about number 2,796."

Still, he was kind enough to photograph my arms before I became a normal person instead of a crazy fangirl:

Silence will fall.
(But only because I tripped Deevius.)

Until next time, where we'll get back to Minecraft crochet discussions.  ^_~

Monday, May 19, 2014

SC Comicon 2014 - Part 1

Because there's just too many pictures and information for one post!

This past weekend in South Carolina (Greenville, to be precise) I attended my first ever convention!

My friend Deevius and I had been modifying her previously-gray mask into something a little more Silence-y, and I had intended on going as a 'victim' of the Silence so that people would have a better idea of what she was.

(I was also her handler, chief photographer, and Mouth of Silence (yes, it's a lame Mouth of Sauron reference)).

The con opened at 10:00 a.m., and we actually arrived around 11:00.  Since Deevius was our driver, we suited her up in the parking lot and then joined the long queue outside the door (it went down the hill from the doors, and wrapped halfway along the building on the sidewalk).

Thankfully, a helpful staff member came along the line and told those of us that had pre-ordered our tickets (Midori had one of those) or had Will Call reservations (that would be Deevius and I) we could step out of line and go up to the right.

Thus, instead of waiting out in the hot sun with our black-suited Silence in what I'm sure was a very warm mask, we were able to jump ahead and spend only ten minutes or so waiting to pick up our wristbands.

Disclaimer: yes, it was a "comic" con.  No, I don't know anything about comics.  I was there primarily to see how things work at one of these events.

No sooner had we gotten inside and plotted our route through the many aisles, then Deevius had her first request for a photo.  (And then I saw what Mike the Coworker meant about people stopping for photos.)

I was very glad that I hadn't worn a more obvious outfit for my first con.  Since I'm an introvert, that kind of attention from strangers would have severely unnerved me.  Deevius (although she had her mask on) played it all off as natural, and just rocked every photo request she had. (Even though a fair few asked if she was a Slenderman.)

Here are the ones I managed to catch:

Amy Pond cosplay; every time she saw Deevius after
that, she drew another tally mark on her arms.

The Riddler

The 11th Doctor and Sherlock

Miss Captain America

And then, every so often in her Silent, lurky way, Deevius would tap us on the shoulders, or gesture madly with her three fingers per hand and indicate that she wanted photos with some of the other cosplayers:

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Random stranger with the name "Pond" on the back
of her sweatshirt; she wasn't cosplaying, but she
said her friends would refer to her as Amy Pond.

Wonder Woman

(We had to hunt for him.)

Grumpy R2-D2
(He kept chasing people.)

I think we spent more time messing around with photographs than actually stopping at all of the booths/stalls, but none of us knew that much about comics, so the majority of the stalls didn't have that much appeal to us.

However, the vendors with artsy stuff, toys, and other goods for sale warranted a lengthier look.  Tomorrow I'll share the lootz I got away with (and all for less than $20!) as well as the pictures from the 1960s Batmobile.

At about 1:00 we headed back to the car, where we had left our cooler with our packed lunches, and Deevius took off her mask and was able to see the con in it's beautiful entirety.  ^_^

Part 2 tomorrow!