While I’m having a fun foray in the Caribbean, frolicking with friends and focusing on fruity concoctions such as fuzzy navels, I also managed to plan a bit of a treat for my readers!

I’m super excited to announce that this Thursday, QQ will have its first guest poster!

Who is this guest poster?  Well, that is what today’s short post is about!

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Meet Meris from over at The Fabric Alchemist!  Meris is a museum educator by day, sewist and costumer by night, and nature enthusiast on the weekends. With a background in archaeology, she has proven that she can be an irritatingly meticulous D&D player when exploring deserted dungeons. Cosplaying since 2011, she has made costumes based on Assassins Creed, My Little Pony, Bioshock: Infinite, Firefly, and Legend of Korra.

She’s going to be doing a fantastic post for us later this week on a recent convention she attended, so be sure to come back Thursday to hear her convention report!  For now, I’d like you all to get to know her a bit better, so earlier this week I asked her a few questions!

JEN:   How long have you been sewing?

MERIS: I first asked my mom for a sewing lesson in high school and then she helped me make one Halloween costume for myself during my sophomore year of college. My current sewing spree began in 2011, shortly after I had moved to Seattle and entered the convention scene. In 2010 I became interested in making costumes and reducing the number of ready-to-wear clothes I bought (I am also a big environmentalist). Greg conspired to make sure I was given a sewing machine for Christmas, and the adventure began.


JEN:
 Have any favorite sewing tips or tricks?  What are they?

MERIS: I can’t think of any specific tricks that I frequently use. However, my most valuable skill is pattern-drafting. I was able to take a “personal enrichment” class through the University of Washington that taught basic pattern drafting. Knowing how to read pattern drafting diagrams and just having basic pattern blocks that fit me have made costume design so much easier.

JEN:  I love reading about your all of your sewing, but especially your cosplay!  I am still tickled that we have both done Elizabeth from Bioshock (and with our respective Bookers)!  And I’m still jealous that you got to do it with your own hair, that cut worked perfectly :)

MerisBioshock

Anyway, what is your favorite costume you have ever made and why?

MERIS: The ancient Egyptian costume I made during college (2002). This was the first time I intentionally set out to make a costume for myself. I was an archaeology/ancient history snob and the “store-bought” Egyptian Halloween costumes were not authentic enough in my eyes.

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The costume cost me $80 in materials and took me weeks to complete (including accessories), but it taught me that making my own costumes was very doable. That experience was the source of my confidence when I first approached convention costumes.

JEN:  I know you are in the progress of planning your wedding.  What wedding decision/feature/choice are you most excited about (aside from Greg, of course)?

MERIS: Greg and I are making our own wedding rings–this weekend, in fact! With These Rings is run by a local jeweler helps couples design and fabricate or carve their wedding rings. Going into the wedding I did not have strong feelings about our wedding rings. When we learned about this opportunity, it just clicked. We both make costumes and do hand-made projects around the house. Of course we should make our own rings!

We are very fortunate to have won a contest that provided us a discount on the studio time. We couldn’t have won the voting contest without our friends and members of the geek community (Irrational Games even tweeted about us because we had chosen our Bioshock cosplay as the contest entry photo). When we make and wear these rings, we will of course be reminded of our marriage, but we will also think about our wide support network of friends, families, and geeks. You can read our “story” here.

JEN:  What do you think is the best thing about living in the Seattle area?

MERIS: Geek is a profession here. Simply between Microsoft, Amazon, and countless other table-top and digital game studios, the Seattle-area is home to thousands of people who make a living producing media content that appeals to the geek-demographic. This also means that there are people with well-paying jobs who love geek culture and are eager to support actors, writers, photographers, and artists who want to create geeky web series, online comic strips, or artwork. There are improv groups that structure shows about Doctor Who and Final Fantasy, and musicians who incorporate geek & pop-culture media references into their songs. We have three well-loved restaurants that cater to the board-gaming crowd.

In a way the community is self-perpetuating. As game and technology companies emerge and grow, more people who typically have geeky-tendancies move to the Seattle area, adding more geek creators and consumers.

I appreciate being able to walk down the street in costume and not be heckled or harassed. Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco all have their own weird cultural quirks, and not just in the geek community. Some people might look quizzically at me, but Seattle has a history of unusual events and festivals. As a city, most people tend to just shrug their shoulders and accept what they see as someone’s personal expression.

Seattle is a very easy place to openly be a geek. (There are also some GREAT hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities.)

JEN:  How many different conventions have you been to?  Do you have a favorite?

MERIS: I have attended 4 different conventions, all in the Seattle Area:

NorWesCon: primarily a science fiction/fantasy literature convention

Emerald City Comicon: comic-book and pop-culture convention

PAX Prime: Video and table-top games

Geek Girl Con: A four-year old convention that champions the role of women (creators and characters) in geeky genres and STEM careers.

While I experience more mind-blowing moments at PAX or Emerald City because of the events (Live D&D game!), exhibitors (game previews!), and celebrity guests (Patrick Stewart!), I think Geek Girl Con is my favorite. It is small and intimate. The big conventions give me pride because I see how large and far-reaching the geek community is. Geek Girl Con gives me hope and allows me to form tighter bonds with people I meet at the convention.

I never had a problem showing my geek growing up, but I know lots of people who were bullied in their youth (and as adults). I appreciate the atmosphere the GGC creators have tried to establish. “Girl” is in the title, but is a safe place for all genders and all ages. Panels explore race, sexuality, gender, and representation in different media. Young girls can meet women professionals in comics, games, or STEM careers. It is a convention I recommend to people who are new to pop-culture/geek conventions or to anyone who wants to have productive conversations
about the future of geek media and the geek community.

Thanks again to Meris for being my first guest post here on QQ!  I’m excited to read all about your recent convention experience!  Stay tuned for some excitement on Thursday, readers!

 

 

I mentioned earlier this week that I’ll be traveling next week.  You will be free from my random musings for the week (unless of course I decide to schedule some posts before I leave, heh).  Meanwhile, I will be aboard a Royal Caribbean boat for six glorious days in the Caribbean!  This is pretty much how I intend to be found for most of next week.

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Jesse and I like to travel.  Last year, we tried out an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, which was fun.  Maybe it was the particular resort we stayed at, but we both felt that we enjoy cruises more.  This cruise will be our 4th with Royal Caribbean, I think.  It can be nice and relaxing for sure, but I love that the cruise boats always plan lots of different activities so you really don’t have an excuse to be bored unless you WANT to be.

Anyway, I thought I would post today about packing for a cruise.  Because if you ask me, it’s unlike packing for any other sort of vacation.  I still don’t think I have gotten it right. But regardless, here are my current Cruise Packing Rules!

1)  Pack a small “On-Boarding” bag.  They are going to take your luggage when you first get on the boat.  It won’t appear at your cabin until a few hours after you’ve been on the boat.  So if you have any intentions of immediately going poolside, you’ll at least need a bathing suit!  Maybe some towels (if you are geeky like us, make sure you fly your colors of choice … we are going with Tardis blue and pony pink!) and sunscreen.

2)  Bring multiple bathing suits.  At least two.  You are going to be using them a lot, and they dry very slowly even when you hang them nicely in your stateroom bathroom.

3)  You will need at least two changes of clothes per day.  One outfit for dinner, where the dress code changes daily and can be anywhere from casual to formal.  And one outfit for other daily activities, such as tours while you are in port.  If you are going to work out on the boat, you probably want to pack clothes for that too.  This is where I feel like I have failed in the past.  No matter what, I always feel like I have dirtied all of my clothes before the end of the cruise.  I will likely be packing extra on this one.

4)  If you burn like we do, you want lots of sunscreen, aloe, and HATS.  And swim suit cover ups for the ladies.  If you are worried about burning, some boats have nice solarium areas where you can enjoy the sun beneath some glass that helps block the UV rays.

5)  For all those clothing changes, you’re gonna need more than one pair of shoes, even if you are a guy.  I recommend at least flip flops and sneakers.  Probably a set of nicer sandals or loafers.  And heels or fancier shoes for women for the formal nights.

6)  Don’t forget your camera!  And your power cords!  Our phones will be less useful on the boat, but I might still want it for pictures.  And I always bring my good camera.  Sometimes it’s worth it to bring the underwater one as well if you are doing any snorkeling, etc.  The cruise line will provide many opportunities for pictures (and purchasing said pictures) if you are lazy and don’t want to haul your camera around.

7)  Drugs!  Bring some cold medicine in case you get sick (though you can purchase it on board the shops if needed).  Bring advil or tylenol for headaches and hangovers.  We like to bring caffeine pills to extend the fun evenings just a little longer.  And perhaps most importantly, bring dramamine!  Or something for motion sickness if you are prone to it.  We are lucky to not have issues with this, but if you encounter a storm, even the sturdiest stomachs on the largest boats can feel the movement.

Here is what one of our spare bedrooms looks like in preparation for the trip.

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We’ll certainly have one large bag, one small bag, and the aforementioned carry-on.  There may be a third small bag as well, hard to say.  We are driving down to the port, so we don’t feel bad having that much luggage.

Packing for the trip is something I like to start a good week ahead of time.  The real challenge for me is UNpacking when I get home.  Ugh.  I won’t think about that part yet …

Cheers!

 

Maybe it’s because I’m going to be traveling next week.  Maybe it’s because I needed a break after the costume rush for MegaCon.  Maybe it’s because I have been watching and re-watching Frozen.  Or maybe it’s because I’ve been spending more time during my evenings working out rather than at home.

But the sewing machine has been quiet for the month of April so far.

We did some yard work this weekend.  If you know my husband and I, we’re not exactly outdoorsy people.  But apparently we are terrified (or at least I am) of being fined by the HOA for not keeping up our yard at the new house, so alas.

I decided that sometime soon I’ll be doing a painting project on the bare wall in the kitchen where my new Harry Potter travel posters are going to go.  More on that next month when I hopefully start that.

I have also been ruminating on possible next costumes.  My current short list includes:

-Snow White from Once Upon a Time

-Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time (I’ve had an urge to do a gender swapped costume lately, since I’ve not done this yet)

Rumple

-Fluttershy

-One of the Disney princesses, with a twist.  And probably not Elsa or Anna, despite my recent obsession with their movie.

Oooo, maybe I could do a Disney sidekick instead of a princess?  Like Zazu!  Oh, I can see my husband cringing now – wings, feathers, and a tail… the nightmare of walking anywhere with me!  Or maybe Mushu.  Those are probably my two favorite sidekicks.

I want something a little bit different, where I can take some creative license and put my own twist on it.  Love Disney and the princesses, but want something just a bit … more.  And even though I love my Rainbow Dash costume, I’d really like to do a costume of my favorite pony.  I’ve seen a lot of neat gender swap costumes as I was perusing Pinterest this week (a Booker from Bioshock Infinite, for example).  And my husband ad I have been catching up on Once Upon a Time lately, so I’ve been drooling over those costumes.  I have a pattern for the Snow White one, but Rumplestiltskin is tickling my fancy as well and would meet my gender swap criteria.

Oh, and whatever the costume is, I am trying NOT to have it include a corset.  I think I need a break from corsetry for a bit after the last one. :)  Honestly, if I go with Fluttershy, I might have to break that no corset rule, but we’ll see.  It will be weird if I go with the Snow White one, since I haven’t sewn a costume from a pattern since … my Steampunk one?  Or I suppose I based my Breyna costume on a pattern too.

I have some other sewing projects in my plans too:

-A dress for a wedding I’m attending in June

-My first quilt

-Possible dog Halloween costumes (yes, I might be that person)

I think that’s it for today.  Toodles!

I seem to be in a bit of a sewing lull of late, which tends to happen after conventions where I spend many days and nights sewing costumes beforehand.

However, I have had the urge to do some minor house related projects.

We bought a small counter height dining set for our kitchen’s breakfast nook.  We weren’t looking to spend much, but it was time for a more permanent table, as opposed to the plastic folding one from Target that we had been using there for the last few months.  I selected colors in an attempt to match the kitchen cabinets and the black granite counter tops.  I think I did a pretty decent matching job.  Penny even sort of matches.

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I chose to order from Wayfair.com since the last table we ordered online is probably our favorite piece of furniture that we own (in our dining room; the website I used years ago doesn’t seem to exist anymore).  It arrived in time for our game marathon last weekend, although two corners of the table top and one of the chairs was damaged, despite the boxes being in good condition at the door.  I’ve already emailed customer support and they have agreed to replace the parts free of charge.

With the table squared away, I decided our walls are a little bit bare – particularly the one in the kitchen behind the table.  I stare at it frequently from this armchair I am sitting in right now.  We have not painted the kitchen (and are unlikely to do so anytime soon), so the wall is bare AND boringly white.  I decided to scour Etsy for some fun geeky art.

The first thing I purchased was actually from We Love Fine.  My sister gave me this super awesome Steampunk My Little Ponies t-shirt about two Christmases ago.  I love it soooo much, but it is slowly fading in the wash, so I wanted a way to keep the awesome in my life.  When I found this print (and with a lovely yellow background option no less), I decided to order it for my sewing room.  It’s about 18×24.  Picture is grabbed directly from the site where I bought it.

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Next I stumbled upon some fantastic Harry Potter vintage style travel posters on Etsy from the 716designs store.  They came as a set of three digital downloads, and I had them printed through Kinkos and delivered to my door the next day.

HarryPotter

I think these are the three I will be putting on the empty kitchen wall.  I wonder if I got a large canvas and painted it a solid color, and then stuck the three photos in their frames to it, how this would look?  Might give the wall a bit more dimension, and be a bit of a different treatment for the display.  Hmmm.  Thoughts?

I liked these travel posters so much that I wondered if there might be more.  I found a lovely set of six (well, actually two sets of three) different Star Wars location ones from a different Etsy shop called Herofied.  This artist has TONS of cool geeky stuff, and lots of Star Wars things.  I like the Sy Snootles, Salacious Crumb, and Gamorrean guard set as well if you browse through the shop at all.  I’m not yet sure where these will go. Possibly the second floor hallway?

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 And set 2…

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I love these band posters from Star Wars as well, though I have not yet ordered them.  Different shop this time, BarryDBulsara.

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Maybe in the next round of wall art I will come to own these.  I feel like I should own a Max Rebo plushy someday too.  He just looks so squishy and huggable!

And to round out all of the geeky art work I purchased, I grabbed a final travel poster for Gallifrey, from Doctor Who.  This one seems a bit more retro to me, and of course the Clemson tiger in my loves its orange hues.  Maybe it will find it’s way onto our orange dining room wall?  Otherwise maybe in the game room, which has yellow walls.

Gallifrey

In case you haven’t figured it out, none of these photos are of the items actually hanging in my house yet.  We’ll get there.  None of them came framed, so I went to Amazon an fixed that problem.  The frames and some of the art have yet to arrive at my door, but I’ll keep you updated as I get things placed :)

I also need to give some credit here to Jen Yates over at Epbot who inspired me to even look for geeky artwork to fill my house with by her awesome geek art roundup posts.  And also a friend from work who shared the travel poster idea with me over a discussion of moving and house decorating sometime within the last few months (thanks, Adam!).

Let me know if you discover any recommendations for super cool Etsy shops or other places to get unique and fun artwork like this!  I have rooms to fill!  I feel like I need some Star Trek, video games, and possibly Disney art next time I go on a spree like this!

Despite the fact that I haven’t reviewed a board game in a while, International Table Top Day happened this weekend (in conjunction with the Cooper River Bridge run for any Charleston-ites).  If any of you follow Felicia Day over at Geek and Sundry or Wil Wheaton’s Table Top episodes, you may have heard of the event as they have been marketing it a bunch.

My husband and I decided to host a “Marathon” gaming event at our house – 12 pm to 12 am, come and go as you please.  Bonus: My sister-in-law was in town with her boyfriend, so we got to hang out with them, too! Even though I have a tendency to go overboard preparing for events that we host, Jesse helped me restrict myself to cupcakes, shots, and easy appetizer like foods (sweets, cheese and crackers, etc).  Guests also brought various snacks and adult beverages to imbibe.  We wound up with about 11-12 people or so at the height of the “crowds”.

Since Settlers of Catan is kind of the gateway drug to geek gaming, I based my homemade goodies on that – cupcakes and shots.  Cupcakes I have made once before, but I feel like I improved upon this round, especially the sheep.

SettlersCupcakes

And of course, the more important and definitely more popular, Settlers of Catan shots.  Let’s face it, I winged this one.  On the right side are my recipes for the different board types from Settlers.  I think I did alright, since there were none leftover by the end of the night.

SettlersShots

It was quite an epic day, with folks arriving from around 1 pm and staying until after midnight.  That is an excellent gaming session, in my humble opinion.  We started the day off with some Sewer Pirats:

SewerPirats

I think Jamie won this game.  By the time we finished that game, we had amassed a big enough crowd for Ladies and Gentlemen, which can play up to 10 people.  But first, a brief pause for pictures and the first round of Settlers shots.

GroupWithShots

Ladies and Gentlemen is really like two completely different games mashed together; this round I was playing the role of a gentleman, with my teammate and wife, Amber.  We did well, but didn’t quite win.  Still, quite a fun game.  Here are the various ladies from this game:

Ladies

That is quite the crew.  Kelly is standing off to the side because originally she was going to play the Courtesan in this game (which is a way to play with only 9 people), but we found a 10th player in Nick, so they “shacked up” last minute.  Here is the corresponding team of Gentlemen (without Nick since he joined last minute):

Men

I’m not certain if we did any better than the Ladies team with our picture.

After this we split into groups, I went to get pizza, and more things happened. There was a game of Robinson Crusoe:

RobinsonCrusoe

Other folks ate pizza and chatted for a while.  I like Nick’s Hanging Light Fixture Hat in this photo; I have excellent picture taking skillz.

KitchenGroup

The above group and I played Unexploded Cow after we finished pizza, but I failed at pictures there.  Amanda won that game.  The other group tried to catch up to us by playing Tsuro, which I think Val won.

Tsuro

We played one more larger group game, a team game that is similar to Cranium – it’s called Evolution.  A bit harder than Cranium.  You do anything from brain teasers to answering questions, to charades, to drawing pictures for your teammates to guess.  Below is a video I took during the game of my team trying to guess a charades answer.

Most folks had to head home at this point, but a few hung around.  Those of us who were left played two rounds of Flash Point, which is a new game of ours we hadn’t tried before.  It’s a co-op game, and allows 6 players. These days we wind up looking for games that can fit more people since when we have game nights we almost certainly have more than 4 players.  Here we are trying to put out lots of fires and rescue people.  And animals.  Gotta save those dogs and cats, too.

FlashPoint

I think we lost a few more after this game, and Jesse and Jamie decided to play a two player game at this point – The Awful Green Things from Outer Space.  When they finished that, I jumped back in for one more game, a round of Trains!  Have I ever mentioned that I am bad at deck building games?  Cause I am.  Alcohol and 1 am do not make me any better at them either, in case you are curious.  The picture below is about how I was feeling around 11 pm, so extrapolate from there.

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So all in all, we played 9 different games over the course of the day:

  • Sewer Pirates
  • Ladies and Gentlemen
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Unxploded Cow
  • Tsuro
  • Evolution
  • Flash Point
  • The Awful Green Things from Outer Space
  • Trains

Thanks to everyone who came out for our first International Table Top Day Gaming Marathon!  It was really fun! We did miss some of our regular gaming friends, but there is always another game night :)

Now that MegaCon has come and gone, I took a bit of a break from sewing last week, except to do one small project.

I’m in that phase of my life where lots of my friends are having babies.  Still marriages happening as well, but more in the baby phase.  Anyway, one of my really good friends who is due to be giving birth to a baby girl sometime within the next month asked me if I would make her a baby blanket.  Of course!

Here’s a picture of Michelle and I from … at least 10 years ago, while we were both at college.  Even though she and her husband John live all the way on the opposite coast from us now and we only see them maybe once a year, the four of us hung out so much in college that we still consider them to be some of our best friends. Can’t wait to meet your new baby girl, John & Michelle! :)

MichelleJen

I asked Michelle to pick out the fabric, and she knew she wanted either reds or purples.  I sent her some suggestions from Fabric.com and she chose this Purple Owl Minky.  After she selected that, I picked a matching satin for the back, this one.  The satin is a little bit thicker than ones I have worked with (in fact, I might have to order some for corset linings, it’s very nice weight), and I didn’t notice until I had it that it the washing instructions were “dry clean”.  In general, I don’t dry clean very many things.  Comforters, or super fancy dresses, etc.  So I decided to cut the blanket pieces for both the minky and the satin, and wash them to see how much shrinking occurred.  I cut extra satin, about 5″ on each side around the minky, so that if it did shrink horribly, it might still be usable.  Here is the fabric before going in the wash.

CutFabric

I washed both fabrics in cold water, and then put them in the dryer on med-high heat.  My dryer has a “Shrink Guard” button I can select, which I pretty much always have pressed.  Upon taking the fabrics out of the dryer and laying them out, they did not appear to shrink at all! Huzzah for washable blankets, as I am sure moms can appreciate.

So I set to work sewing.  The project only took me an hour or two.  I ironed, folded, and pinned down the sides, like below, one at a time.  Then I stitched them down.

FoldedAndPinnedSide

In between stitching each side, I did some corner magic.  With a bit of ironing and folding, you can get the corners to square off nicely.  Then I began at the very corner, stitched down the folded line, and turned the blanket in my machine to continue the straight line of stitches for the next side.

Corner

Rinse and repeat this process a couple more times, and you have a blanket!  My friend, Amanda has made blankets like this before, and she gave me the awesome tips on how to do the corners.  She also sent me to this tutorial link, which has some hints on sizing if you need it (I did hehe).

FinishedBlanket

 

Once thing I learned is that I should probably be a little bit more exact with my measuring and folding on the satin piece, as I’m pretty certain the purple binding is not the same width on all sides. But I think it’s close enough.  One more final shot of the blanket folded up before I sent it off in the mail.

FoldedBlanket

I just can’t get over how adorable those owls are.  And I love the color palette – lime green, some gray, lavender, purple, and a light aqua.  Hope it gets to you before the baby arrives, Michelle! :D

From what I have been reading this week, Saturday at Megacon 2014 was ridiculously crowded.  This makes me even more glad that Debbie and I opted to take most of that day and make a trip to EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World.

I’m a HUGE Disney fan.  I’ve been a bunch of times, and still enjoy going.  My dad is a cast member (he works for ABC), and my parents are Vacation Club members.  So it was really nice that Dad gave Debbie and I some free passes to get into the parks that day.  I love that perk of his job!

Admittedly, it was a little rough for me to choose a single park to go to, since the Disney geek inside of me really wanted to stay for a week and go to all of them.  And Universal.  But this trip was really about MegaCon.  So that meant picking my favorite park (Epcot), which happened to be Debbie’s favorite, too.  We met my friend Cedric (we went to college together years ago), who has an annual park pass, at the park gates, and he joined us for the day!  I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about the parks, but Cedric takes that knowledge to another level, so it was really awesome to have him with us.  Thanks for showing us around, Ced!

The Flower and Garden Festival was going on at EPCOT while we were there, so it was nice to see all the fun shrubberies and plant sculptures.  Here are some of the shots we took!

Butterflies

Pretty butterflies!

LadyAndTramp

Lady and the Tramp were sighted at Italy in the World Showcase.

MonstersIncTrees

 The Monsters Inc dudes were near the showcase entrance, by a well-themed playground full of munchkins.

I don’t normally stop for character pictures, but the line was short after we grabbed our fast passes, so we got photos taken with Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie.  This was my favorite of all the shots.

GroupWithGoofy

Speaking of Fastpass, this system has changed a bunch since I was last at the parks a few years ago.  Its electronic now, and the resort guests (and annual pass holders) get a full wristband of awesome to carry all their Fastpass data.  It also let’s you pay for things in the parks, works as a park ticket, etc.  And if you download the MyDisneyExperience app, you can access your Fastpass info there.  Since we just had day passes, our tickets synced with the app, but the Fastpasses did not.  Thankfully we had Cedric!  Here’s a shot of the Fastpasses we chose:

FastPassSchedule

You got to select one big attraction (we chose Soarin’) and two smaller ones to get Fastpasses for.  And you can change it if you miss the times.  After we got our Fastpasses, we went to stand in line for Test Track, which had received a revamp since my last visit to the parks.  It’s now sponsored by Chevrolet instead of GM, and if you wait in the standby line, you get to design the specifications of your vehicle.  Here was our awesome car!

OurVehicle

The ride really hadn’t changed much, though they do compare your vehicle’s stats to some standard vehicle to see how your vehicle performed for all of the different tests (efficiency, speed, handling, etc).  Neat and definitely more interactive and educational than the last version.

The Land was next up.  We missed our Living Seas adventure do to the length of the wait at Test Track and me losing my park ticket card and causing a short detour to guest relations.  The line there was long too, so we decided to try our other Fastpasses without my ticket.  You will be pleased to know they let me in with my party for both!

There is something infinitely relaxing about the Living with the Land boat ride.  I still enjoy this ride, and it is old.  Kinda like Spaceship Earth, I guess, just classic.  After the boat ride, we hit Soarin’, which is much newer and fantastic.  Then we made our way over to the World Showcase to wander and eat.  As part of the Flower & Garden Festival, they had set up food kiosks at the different countries as well as some of the other parts of the park.  I guess the Food & Wine Festival from the fall has just started making so much money they figured they have to take advantage of this festival to do it, too.  I’m not complaining, I love the Food & Wine Festival!  There were also some other kiosk activities, such as kids making bottles with colored sand, and a butterfly garden to walk through, and some musical stages for different acts.

Debbie and Cedric had fish & chips for lunch from the England showcase.  I decided to wait and partake in the kiosk food.  When we got to France I had some yummy vegatable gnocchi with goat cheese, which I swore I took a picture of, but can’t find it to save my life.  Cedric and I also sampled some “fruishi” in Japan, seen below.  It was wrapped like sushi, but the rice was coconut rice, the insides were fruit instead of fish, they threw some whipped cream on the plate, and sprinkled toasted coconut and raspberry sauce on top.  Quite yummy!

Fruishi

And we had the Piggylicious Cupcakes over in the United States showcase.  The bacon was in the actual cake, which reminded me more of cornbread than cake, though it was still a little sweet.  The real sweet part came in with the maple icing.  It was topped off with some pretzel bits which added a nice crunch, and a bit more savory.  Overall, a nice treat to try once, but I’m not sure I’d have it again – I’d rather have a funnel cake or something.

Piggylicious

Once we finished walking the showcase, we headed for Spaceship Earth to cool down, and then took a few more pictures as we left the park.

JenCedricFountain

DebbieJenFlowers

Debbie and I had been planning on returning to MegaCon after EPCOT, but there was an awful parking situation at our hotel that wound up causing us to leave that night instead of the following morning.  Regardless, it was a fantastic weekend!  You would think this would have satiated my Disney urge for a while, but I have the urge to go again already… What are your favorite Disney parks?  Rides?  Resorts?

Quick break from all the Orlando posts this week :). Tomorrow I’ll chat about my Disney visit.

I didn’t realize that one could get a Liebster twice, but I guess it makes sense.  The interwebs are so crazy big.  Regardless, this time I apparently have to answer some questions, so y’all can get to know me better or something.  Poor you.

- A few simple rules apply -
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the questions given to you (oh you are all going to get bored!!!)
3. Nominate other Bloggers with less than 500 followers
So thank you, to Anne from Pretty Grievances for the Liebster :)  You were one of my first blogger connections, and I still love reading about your adventures!  I also thought of you while I was at EPCOT this past weekend, and of your Up costumes.  Your blog always has me laughing with your fantastic writing style and sense of humor!
My Questions:

What is your passion?

That implies that I have a single one.  Sewing for sure.  Disney.  Geeky things like Doctor Who, board games, and Civilization 5.  Costumes.  Conventions.  Food.  Traveling.  The list could go on.

 

Why do you blog?

I started as a way to keep track of my sewing projects and progress, and it has since grown into an outlet for most of my crafts, trips, and other life things.

 

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

I’m very happy with my life, but if I have to pick something, I’ll go with more free time.  Or perhaps less need for sleep, which would have the same effect …

 

If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?

Australia.  With my husband.  Or possibly a Mediterranean cruise.

 

What is your favourite “end of the day wind down time” activity?

Watching “tv” (read: internet shows since we have no cable) with my hubby while we eat popcorn and snuggle with the dogs.

 

Who has had the most impact on who you are today?

Depends on how you mean.  I’ll focus on things pertinent to my blog.  My mom has had a huge impact on me in a lot of ways, but especially as a seamstress since she made so many things for us growing up.  My dad has impacted me in terms of implanting a lot of the seeds of geekdom, such as sci-fi and video games.  And my husband continues to share in the geeky aspects of my life, as well as round out my mostly shy and introverted personality.  Love them all!

 

What is your dream job?

I actually love doing what I do – human factors engineering for a software company named Sparc.  It’s a fantastic and fun place to work, and we’re hiring if anyone is interested!  Anyway, that is a boring answer to the question.  But a more interesting question might be what were some of your dream jobs growing up.  I went through phases where I wanted to be a Disney animator, a young adult fiction writer, a video game programmer, and a geneticist.

 

Favourite websites that make life easier?

Amazon.  Pinterest.

 

Favorite rainy day recipe?

Probably cookies of some kind.  Mmmmm cookies.  I love chocolate-y ones.  Especially if they are shaped like Star Wars ships!

 

Here’s who I nominated:

The Fabric Alchemist – If you check my blogroll, Meris over at The Fabric Alchemist is a somewhat recent addition. If you enjoy reading about sewing and you are also geeky enough to enjoy my droning on an on about costumes and cosplay, then you will surely enjoy her blog!  Honestly, if the two of us ever wound up at the same convention, I think we’d talk for hours!

The Itty Bitty City Kitchen – My soon-to-be cousin, Jacky, isn’t a seamstress, but she is a fantastic cook! With all the rich cultural heritage in her family and the one she’s marrying into, she has lots of influence to draw on when she makes her yummy creations!

And Then We Laughed – Karen and I met while we attended Clemson years ago and lived in the same dorm. Now she blogs about her family and military life, as well as some fun home decor projects.  I’ve always enjoyed her sense of humor, which definitely comes through in her blog!

Manda Made It – You’ve likely already met Amanda through some of my Sewing Night posts, as she is a regular in my local sewing group.  She’s a pretty busy lady raising her two daughters, and frequently sews super cute clothes for them.  She has also made some gorgeous things for herself, like this bird dress (one of my favorites).  No matter what she sews, Amanda’s work is always very polished and professional looking!

 

Hope you enjoy checking out these four blogs – I know I do :)

And now for Part 2 of my MegaCon 2014 coverage!  This post is going to be mostly photos.  A part of me wishes we had gotten to go back on Saturday evening like we were planning to, but the days events said otherwise!

Since I was cosplaying as Sky Captain Rainbow Dash, I was constantly on the lookout for other people in My Little Pony costumes.  Below you can find me with a “Daring Dash” version of Rainbow Dash (as well as a Deadpool), another Rainbow Dash, and then Rarity and Princess Celestia.

PonyMontage1

And it continues with another Rainbow Dash and a Twilight Sparkle, then a Fluttershy with Angel, and finally a Vinyl Scratch (I love her dress!).

PonyMontage2

Rainbow Dash was easily the most commonly cosplayed pony, but I think I had a pretty unique take on her with my design, which pleased me.  Next up, some of the cool Disney costumes we saw, including a Steampunk Tinkerbell and a normal Tinkerbell, Anna and Elsa from Frozen (I’m not sure who the purple dress is), and Princess Vanellope from Wreck it Ralph.  Princess Vanellope’s dress was amazing, and she made it all herself, even all the decorations on the skirt!

DisneyCosplays

While there wasn’t nearly as much Steampunk costuming at MegaCon as I typically see at DragonCon, I did spot a few cool pieces.  I LOVE the family of steampunks, complete with a carriage-turned-airship!! Steampunk Rogue was also very well done.  I am not sure if the two in the center were going for anything in particular, but they looked great nonetheless.

SteampunkGroup

There were lots of video game related costumes.  Megaman at MegaCon was a pretty big hit while we stood in line.  His arm lit up, but my camera didn’t get a good shot of that.  Then Jade from Mortal Kombat, and a warrior from Skyrim.  And last but not least a very nicely done Zelda.

VideoGamesMontage1

And more video game costumes including a guy from Halo, Jax from League of Legends, and one of the many Links I saw during the convention.

VideoGamesMontage2

I don’t know a TON of anime, but there was definitely a lot of cosplay from that genre around, too.  Salamander from Fairy Tail, The Power Puff Girls (maybe not anime, but cartoon so close enough), Evil Buu from Dragon Ball Z, and a water bender (unsure if she was going for Katara or not) from The Last Airbender.  I was especially excited to see someone as Natsu (Salamander) since Jesse and I have been watching that anime recently.

AnimeGroup

Below you’ll see some of the really well done female super heroes that I encountered.  Black Cat, Cat Woman, a female Captain America, a female Loki, and a Wonder Woman.  Even though superheroes are really cool, I will probably never cosplay one unless I lose some weight first.  Props to these ladies for making it look good and being bold enough to wear so much leather and spandex!

FemaleSuperheroes

And as usual, I found several more random costumes that I couldn’t categorize, an a few that are unknown to me.  But they were all still awesome, and deserved pictures!  I absolutely LOVED Evil Lyn and Skeletor on the far left – they may have been my favorites all day.  The lady on the right seems like maybe a stylized take on Caitlyn from League of Legends?  But I’m not certain.  Let me know if you have any idea who she is.  Also noteworthy, she is carrying a tip jar!  Not sure what I think about that.  I also thought it was a prop and didn’t notice it until I looked at my pictures later… The center photo is of a lady in some pretty fancy digs, but if she is a character, it is unknown to me.  I like the guy in red, who I believe is attempting to mash up Star Wars Imperial Guard with a religious cardinal?  Again, if you know, please tell me!

RandomUnknownGroup

I think that about wraps up my trip to MegaCon!  I still have lots to talk about this week, including my day trip to EPCOT while I was in Orlando.  As a Disney geek, I can’t imagine being that close to WDW and NOT going, so yes, that is where I spent more of Saturday instead of at the convention.  But more on that next time!

I had an amazing time in Orlando this past weekend.  This week will be packed full of posts, I think, so that I don’t try to do it all at once and bore you!  Anyway, this weekend went like this:

1)  Drive to Orlando on Thursday evening.

2)  Attend MegaCon on Friday.

3)  EPCOT trip on Saturday.

4.) Home Saturday night.

Today I’m going to talk about MegaCon.  There will likely be a secondary post on it this week as well where I share some fun pictures of other costumes I saw.  But today I’m just going to review the experience I had.

And that begins with standing in line.

The convention center was walkable from the Clarion Inn and Suites where my mother-in-law and I stayed.  It’s proximity to the hotel was about the only thing I was happy with about the hotel, but I digress. Attendees were allowed to start picking up tickets at 10:30 am, with the convention beginning around noon.  So Debbie and I walked over to the convention center from the hotel around 9:30 am, with me decked out in my Sky Captain Rainbow Dash costume.  There was already quite a line of people waiting; I heard the earliest folks arrived around 6 am. O.o

LinePart1

 The line standing experience was better than what I am used to at DragonCon for the simple fact that the entire line was indoors and away from the heat.  The picture above is of a single line for advanced ticket holders that goes from the center of the building to one end and wraps back.  Once we got back to the center of the building and were let down the escalators, we stood in a final line (very much like once they let you inside the Sheraton at DC), and received our wristbands.  The whole process took about an hour and a half, maybe two hours at the max.  Here is the downstairs part of the line.

LinePart2

 After we were done, we walked over to one of the concessions areas (they had at least four), which consisted of 3-8 different food carts, such as Papa John’s, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Chicken fingers, Gyros, and a few other things.  Each cart area was accompanied by a bunch of round tables and chairs for con-goers to sit and eat at.  They had clean up crews on stand by helping to keep the areas clean too.

Concessions

This large downstairs area also contained the dealer hall and artist’s alley, as well as the celebrity photo ops.  We took some time and wandered the dealer hall.  I saw a couple really neat things – some lighted letter signs by Ransom Designs, and some awesome 3D paper wall art by The Paper Pony.  They had so many cool things and were super nice (and patient cause I took forever making up my mind on what I wanted LOL).  I am absolutely certain I will be giving them more of my money at some point.  I did bring Jesse back a Poison Ivy shadow box from their booth.  You lose a bit of the 3D effect in the photo below, but still really cool!

PoisonIvyPic

After the dealer hall, we waited in line for the Smallville panel, where Allison Mack (Chloe), Laura Vanderhoort (Kara), and John Glover (Lionel Luther) would be talking and answering fan questions.  The panel was pretty good, with a highlight being that Allison Mack was asked to sing a few lines of jazz music, which she is doing more of lately since the show has ended.  I also learned that apparently there is a Smallville comic which has continued the story after the show ended, so I’ll be looking that up soon.

SmallvillePanel

And of course for me one of the most fun parts of this convention was getting to cosplay as Sky Captain Rainbow Dash.  I had a great time seeking out other pony costumes, getting asked for lots of pictures, and especially taking pictures with the kids that asked.  This costume was easily the biggest costuming success I have had, and it felt really good to have people appreciate the work I had done.  I also really appreciated having Debbie with me to help me pay attention to photo seekers (I am kind of oblivious, though I did better this time), and to carry cameras and bags.  She was a very fun companion to have along for this trip!  Thanks, Debbie, for going with me!

So onto the costume!  It took me about 2 hours to get ready to go, though admittedly at least half of that was makeup.  Once I had my makeup on, getting into costume wasn’t a long process, though I do want to stress that order matters when putting on a costume, especially with a corset!  For instance, once that corset is on, my ability to bend over and put shoes on goes out the window.  So here is the general order in which I put the costume on.

1)  Socks

2)  Shoes (These were a big hit, by the way, lots of comments on them.)

3)  Wig / Ears / Hat

4)  Underskirt

5)  White top piece

6)  Corset (but put the cutie mark pin on before the corset is on your body, it is hard to close the pin back once the corset is on)

7)  Overskirt

8)  Jacket

9)  Wings

10)  Pony tail

As a few detailed notes, the wig for this costume is a bit too small for my head and I might someday replace it with a better one.  The headband with the ears wound up sitting back a little far on my head, too.  So ultimately the headgear is the part of the costume that bothered me the most during the convention; I was constantly tugging on the wig and afraid things were falling off my head.  The pony tail piece came with a built in large hair clip, so we just attached the clip to the bottom lacing of the corset in back.  My wings were finished on Wednesday, and probably could have been engineered slightly better, but they worked okay.  They were the second most bothersome thing about the costume on Friday (and when I look at pictures, I mostly only see a single wing for some reason).  Finally, I bought some Fashion Tape before we left, since during the costume trial, I decided on a pose where I was saluting.  During my salute the jacket rose up off my skin in a way I was not fond of, hence the fashion tape.  We attempted to stick it down to me before heading out.  It made things better, but not perfect.  Regardless, here is the finished costume!

FullRainbowDashCostume

I am really happy with how this turned out.  And the attention it got makes me excited to potentially make additional pony costumes from the set I designed earlier this year (though I am not sure when that will happen).

This post is crazy long!  Tomorrow, I’ll share some of my photos of other cosplayers from the convention!  Have a great Monday!