?

Log in

[Sewing/Crafting] Holiday Gift Project

A couple of months ago, I happened by the "local" sewing shop in Madison, the Sewcial Louge.  They only have a limited selection of fabrics from designers I like, nowhere near the selection of Fabricworm which I use most often, but it's a small locally owned business so I buy what I can from them.  Upon my last trip, I found some adorable doodle-ish Unicorn and snail fabic of about the same color palette.  I knew it wasn't something I would use, but Madre would love it.  I hung onto the fabric until the holidays and endeavored to make her a Noodlehead pouch.  I was running out of time with it being the busy season at work and I know she wouldn't actively use a bigger bag since she is a slave to designer bags, but a pouch would be too much work with as little time as I had to make a gift.
unicornsnailpouch2 photo UnicornSnailPouch2.jpg [Tada! The Unicorn Snail Pouch]
unicornsnailpouch photo UnicornSnailPouch-1.jpg
[The Snails Inside]
I ended up using the same purple wood grain fabric from the TV baby quilt, since it matched unicorn fabric so well.  My zipper ended up being more crooked than in past pouches, but she said she didn't notice, so it was a successful learning experience.

[Crafting/Sewing] Baby Quilt #3

I've finished my third baby quilt!  My first quilt was a Maxx [the comic/MTV cartoon] quilt for a baby named Max about 15 years ago.  Number two was a Star Wars/Princess Leia quilt for baby Victoria two years ago.  Last week, I completed an 80's cartoon quilt for a baby of an undetermined name.
My preggo friend is a lifelong TV addict who I am sure is going to pass on this prediliction.  She learned English from watching cartoons so it seemed like a good fit (especially if it ends up hanging on a wall.)  I had the idea a few weeks while in Philly visiting my Madre before the baby shower was even announced but the actual sewing/embroidery process took way longer than anticipated the reasons for which will become evident shortly.
The initial idea was to make a quilt that looked like an old wooden 80's television with the emergency broadcast signal on it; easy to recognize and very colorful.

[Original sketch]                                         [Example of a cartoon panel]
After finding a suitable TV model and asking my peep which 80's cartoons were her favorites, I found logos and screenshots that could relatively easily be transformed into applique pieces.  I needed six in total to fill the longer top panels of the block signal.  Next I had to figure out how exactly to transform these images into flat appliques without sacrificing the recognizable asthetic. I tried several methods of making the felt appliqués but settled on a layering process as opposed to a more precise jigsaw puzzle process of matching exactly cut felt pieces together.  It took a couple of characters to get the process down, but I now have a much better understanding of how to create an applique easily for later projects.
This picture just shows how many layers some of the characters were made out of.  For Chip 'n' Dale the felt and embroidery was as thick as five layers deep.  You can see the layers if you look at Dale's nose and mouth.

Each appliqué character took anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to complete between research, sizing, cutting out the felt, sewing it, attaching backing, and ironing.

The knobs were probably the most rushed part of the project.  I honestly didn't have a better idea for them until after I had run out of time.  If I do a similar quilt in the future, which I sincerely doubt, I'd try to make the knobs look three dimensional using a drop shadow.  This is also a good shot of the purple wooden fabric.  You can't see the "texture" of the wood from a distance.

[TADA! The quilt from the front]
From the left the panels show characters from Ducktales, Chip 'n' Dale, Fraggle Rock, Darkwing Duck, Muppet Babies, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, her favorite shows.  I am proud of how it turned out but can see how awkward the dimensions of the screen look being baby quilts are naturally tall, almost square.
This is how I folded the quilt for opening. I used some of the wooden print purple fabric the majority of the quilt was made out of for a long ribbon to keep the quilt folded correctly in transit.  I open-knotted a paper flower of similar color to the ribbon so it could be opened easily. In total the whole project took around 75 hours to complete.

The unveiling was unfortunately quite anticlimactic.  The parents-to-be were so worried that their opening gifts in front of everyone would be boring for the invitees that they sped through opening everything - including the quilt.  Not surprisingly it got the same reaction everything else did, "Oh, thanks so much!  We apprecate it."  Later the mom-to-be even commented on how she didn't even understand that it was a TV when she first saw it. So disheartening.  On the plus side I did get to show it off to the grandmother-to-be who was delighted.  She even went on to tell me charming stories about how TV crazed my friend was even from a young age.  It made the unwrapping a bit less frustrating.
In the end I suppose I'll get a nice thank you note for the effort but I can't help but feel somewhat let down.  I'm sure the mother-to-be was just so distracted by the party and the constant baby questions that she wasn't really paying attention, but I wanted it to be a special moment.  I know once that baby comes there won't be much energy left in her tank to hang out or put up with an out-of-towner.  Realistically, we probably won't hang out much for a couple of years, which is fine.  She'll have a very important person who will need her every minute of attention for years to come.  I wanted the quilt unveiling to be a sign to her that I am invested our friendship.  That I'll be around when she eventually has time for me again.  Proves that that kind of moment only happens in our minds even when we have with best intentions.
Now that my two closest friends are preggo/constantly busy with a young kid (and the other is in Boston) I don't have much reason to go to Chi-town anymore.   I guess I wanted this to be an eventful trip into town to last me a while.  Anyway, I hope they like the quilt.
Update:  I was being kind of overly dramatic.  I got a thank you note and I've had a couple of opportunities to hang out.  Even though the overall topics of conversation have changed, I am in town so infrequently, that's it's really changed nothing.  So good times, I guess?
I needed a case for my Japanese 3ds, so I made another gathered clutch by Noodlehead.  I used the uber-cute Tanuki fabric I found on Fabricworm a couple of months ago, soft bamboo felt, and the divider I forgot to add to the first clutch.  I attempted to cut the original pattern down to a closer size to the system.  It didn't turn out quite small enough, but is still cute.  I used a left over ribbon across the top of the divider to hold the few games I have for the system.  The brown bamboo felt turned out not to be the best choice for a liner being it's as warm as felt and just as bulky.  It made inverting the pouch at the end much more difficult.

-Front View-

-Inside View-

[eBay] New listings!

I recently revamped some of my eBay listings.  Some Yaoi manga are available.

[Women IRL] The #YesAllwomen Discussion

Last week I went to a party full of parents, old friends, and friendly strangers.  A couple of friends were celebrating their smooth transition into suburban living in a fixer-upper.  With some hard work and a lot of unintended expenses, their house was staring to feel like a home.  Sitting on an over sized ottoman, in the gaps of my own lazy conversation, I heard another.
"You should go to ...FemaleProtagonists.com.  It's about all of these kick ass female character that have to take a hit in the awesomeness department just so their male counterparts can swoop in and..."
That's it.  That's what I had feared would happen.  The recent and vocal #YesAllWomen discussion had turned into a talking point for civil daytime drinking parties.  Since it had started, I was worried that a serious discussion about the totally unequal and unmindful way woman are treated in our society by everyone would become half-hearted talks analyzing how fictional female characters are treated in popular media.  People would completely miss the point that real women they see everyday are being pushed, prodded, and judged without remorse or even recognition.  Every day every woman big, small, violet, orange, fully able, in high heels, with or without a metal bat has to think about ways to avoid or ways to escape being assaulted.  I think the daily show sketch "The Fault in our Schools" explained it way better than I could articulate.
I am coming to hypothosize that the reason people only have pleasant cocktail party conversation about this in real life as opposed to real conversation similar to what has happened on the Internet with #YesAllWomen is that sexual assault is to the womens' reality discussion is what campaign finance reform is to the political debate. Everyone has an opinion about these unpleasant and often painful topics even though they may or may not they have any experience with them.  While people (often men) may not have thought about how they would handle an assault or if their should vote for a candidate who would further obfuscate campaign finance law in their favor (often women) they should be able to empathize and game it out in their head.  Just because you don't have a girlfriend who could be raped, get pregnant from that rape, have the rape kit she paid out of pocket for go unprocessed for years at a time, then have to navigate the rocky road of considering an abortion, doesn't mean you can't decide how you would feel about each step happening to you and voice your opinion accordingly.
Okay so, you agree that women should be assaulted and should have access to proper medical care no matter what her decision is on how she heals from this trauma? Great!  So why should you care about birth control?  Again, someone said it way better than I could:
If your sex meant you were shamed by society at large into taking on a 9 month to 18 year commitment when you had consensual or have non-consensual sex happen to you, how often would you do it?  How hard would you try to avoid it?  Having access to birth control isn't a privilege granted to the few that can afford it -  access to it should be a right.  Controlling if or how often you procreate is what keeps women happy, healthy, and productive.  Imagine the weight that would lift from your shoulders if you where given access to a pill that would keep you 99% safe when having sex from financial and even emotional ruin.  I won't even get into access to child care and the womens' reality issue.
This is a serious issue that I'm still afraid is the flavor of the month or year - not a generational change like it needs to be.  Like civil rights and civil equality, mindful people need to keep #YesAllWomen and this social debate in mind for there to be a fundamental change.  While Women in Refrigerators and Anita Sarkeesian's Feminist Frequency are media based discussions of these issues, the real women in our lives are what matters.  We can change media and thus perception as a whole over time, but treating the women in your life with all the respect and unbiased constructive criticism they deserve can happen right now.

[Crafting/Sewing] Gather Clutch

Two nights ago, I ended up making a gathered clutch by Noodlehead.  I purchased some cute fabric with a variety of bugs caught in spiderwebs a few months ago but hadn't had the urge to make anything with it until then.  It matched my outfit so I had to make a bag for it.  I needed something small enough to carry around but not too girly either so I came up with this:
It was a very easy pattern, but at the last minutes, I forgot to put the divider between the lining pieces so it ended up just being a simple pouch on the inside. -_-.  Either way the outside is cute.

[Sewing/Crafting] A New Hope

Over the last two years I have gotten back into sewing and crafting by way of a childhood hobby: cross-stitching. It started out with a cute little I.T. Crowd cross stitch pattern I bought off of Craftsy. The pattern artists (Pixel People/WeeLittleStitches) made quite a few geeky pieces I felt compelled to finish before moving on to a more long term hobby: machine sewing. As people who know me can attest I've cosplayed for several conventions and found the skill useful in everyday ventures like mending. After the cross-stitching bug worked out of my system I decided to work on a new skill: plushies. I found a great book at JoAnn's called We Make Dolls by Jenny Doh and made a few dolls and a few animals from it's pages.  A lot of these I gave away as gifts; which is a dicey thing unless you know the giftee actually wants a handmade item.  Here are some examples of stuff I've made between gaming in the past couple of years:
Cross Stitch:
DidYouFinalTWFinal
I.T. Crowd / Twat Waffle (Gift)
MetalGearWP_000513
Kojima Fox / Bender w/ Riverhorse (Gift)
Plushies/Dolls:
StagGirlsMai1TattooMan4
Stag Girls / My Melody (Gift) / Tattooed Man
Star Wars Quilt:
StarWarsQuilt2StarWarsQuiltStarWars2
Star Wars Quilt (Gift 2013)  Embroidered parts were done by family members/  The "Lil' Leia" was borrowed from an artist on Deviant art.
Misc:
BatBox3WP_000587
Nananananananaanana BatBox! / Typographic Jewelry display
I didn't want to bore everyone with every single project I did, but these were the highlights. During this crafting tangent I've learned a few new skills and acquired a few new interests.  I still am no good at knitting.  I'll leave that to the professionals.  I also find nearly no interest in block by block quilting.  I already end up leaving a big messing the dining room with small projects.  I'll probably tackle some more every day items soon even though I should finish the nearly complete Firefly Pixel People cross stitch that has been in it's hoop for over a year...

SP's Sucker Punch: Cole McGrath

Here's the catalyst for the "..Wait" note:

The developers at Sucker Punch made an awesome game called Infamous for the PS3 back in 2009. The main character's design changed between the first and second game (due to be out in July) because of an "outpour of support for the original design". The new character design had hair as opposed to having mere stubble from the effects of his new-found electricity based powers, a few tattoos on his arms, a necklace, and a new shirt. That's it. The development team said that they wanted to return Cole to his more natural state before all of the chaos of the first game happened. That would happen, right? Time and distance would mature the character into a familiar yet evolved person. Fans, more specifically fan boys, couldn't take the change.* Having the brooding, angry, unattractive yet stylish character transition into a happier looking, stylish, more attractive character was too much. They rejected change and in step, the developers back peddled to an amalgamation of the two which ended up looking like the kid from Rockstar's Bully all growed up. So with this backstep, the developers kept the fans of the original fans happy but cut out the possible new female and gay fans attracted to this new character design. While playing the Infamous 2 demo in August, I of course didn't notice a dip in game play quality with the new/old design since I was trying not to get my ass shot off my a helicopter, and it was clear that the game needed more development time. Maybe in said development time they can program a bit of DLC to play the character in the middle skin.

Just give him some cyber-chopper clothes as some time.

If you can't get what you want, wait.

Upon reading the most recent issue of Game Informer, I came to realize I have more than a small amount of animosity toward video gamer guys as an archetype. It's not their fault and it's not even my fault.

A couple of issues ago, they finally published an article on why there were so few female video game characters as leads then why there were so few at all. Turns out the answer is money and women. It takes twice as much modeling, animation,and character work to create a male and female avatar thus a lot more money. If women made up 50% of gamers, this wouldn't be an issue, but guess what? Not only do women not make up 50%, but even if they did, it would still be a choice of the developers whether to include it or not, not a given. If you could choose to make more money with less work, you would. That being said, I merely have to play my games and wait. But is there another choice?

There is one type of same where gender, appearance, and outward stimuli don't matter in the slightest: First Person games. Bioshock, Fallout, Borderlands are all in first person actively or passively. The gender of your character doesn't even factor is except in the death moans of the fallen character. While in two of these do have an option to play as a female, you play the majority of the game in first person. Gender becomes irrelevant until you run into a plot point or animation that reminds you. Bioshock does this brilliantly. Not until you get to the end of the games does your gender even get mentioned and it's merely as pronouns. So if developers don't want to or can't add a female option to a character's customization options due to funding or story constrictions, they should add a first person mode. Obviously every story doesn't necessitate or work with a female protagonist, but when it does, the option should be there.

This brings me to my point. Video games aren't made for me. Developers are rarely thinking of the female gamers when putting the story, characters, or environments together. I'm not asking for extra modes or anything silly like that. Ultimately if a story could facilitate a female lead or male lead that people could choose. In the mean time, all I ask is for more first person perspective options in games if there's only one gender option.

As a female gamer I am asked to suspend these ideas and play games with male leads because there's simply no other option. I am asked to engage in a story believing that it would be the same if I were any gender. In very rare cases, guy gamers are asked to do the same sometimes unwittingly (i.e. Metroid). It may be 5 years, 10 years, or never but I have no other option than to wait for the industry to catch up.

Pre-Conference Notes

The GS Manager's conference is next week and I am a little excited. Not only do I get out of my usual workplace for a week, but I get to play unreleased games and learn more about stuff coming out. Albeit I do have to sit through a bunch of subversive meetings and holiday-centric pep rallies. It's in San Antonio which only works against the slight vacation-feel of the trip.
We won some bit of praise for our work last year and the Higher-Ups decided to give us special shirts to wear on the first day. They were even so gracious as to give me a friggin' size large so I spent 2 hours last night taking it in and in some more only for it to not fit well but be small enough it will look decent under a hoodie.
Other than that I got back into Fallout 3 and finally have some hope of finishing it before Fallout New Vegas comes out. Score one for me!