The crazy month of October marches on. After returning from Disney last Monday, I had three days of work before our plane left Thursday night for NY to visit my family for the weekend.

Friday we went out to an early dinner at a local place before driving in some pretty terrible traffic to NYC for the Broadway showing of Aladdin.


The show was really fantastic, and we had great seats in the center of the Mezzanine level (although the theater gave people less space per seat than airplanes do, felt so cramped!). I’ve seen Beauty and the Beast as well as the Lion King, and this show was on par with those two big hits. I spent a lot of the show gawking at the amazing costumes – so much sparkle, I wish I could have taken pictures to share here.  But you’ll have to settle for some that Google turned up.  Here is the Genie.


And here’s an interesting shot of Jasmine’s wedding wear.  Amazing stuff, it is no wonder the costume designer won some awards for this work!


One of my cousins, Christopher, got married on Saturday to Jacky from over at Itty Bitty City Kitchen. Congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple!


The wedding was beautiful, and we got to spend a fun evening with the extended family. Here’s a shot of Jesse and I with my parents right before the reception opened up.


I didn’t take a ton of photos during the wedding, and just focused on enjoying myself and spending time with all the good company.  However, we did have a great time with the photo booth that was at the reception, as evidenced below.

PhotoBooth2 PhotoBooth1

Okay, switching gears!  During the short stay at my parents’ house, I spent some time in our basement spelunking through our old things. And though I ran out of time before I had even got close to finishing, I found some cool nostalgic stuff to share.


Like this view finder cartridge. From Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. There was sadly no view finder with it, but it brought back memories.

As a little girl, I loved no toys as much as I loved Care Bears and My Little Ponies. I haven’t unearthed any original ponies yet, but here are some attempted revival ones that happened somewhere in my years of high school.  So glad ponies are back now with the Friendship is Magic era!


And here are just a few of the Care Bears. I also found some cars and a Care A Lot playset.  I can still name most of these … Wish Bear, Cheer Bear, Sunshine Bear, Friendship Bear, Goodluck Bear, Grumpy Bear … I don’t remember the one with the cupcake or the ice cream sundae though … let me know if you do!  I think the lamb is Gentleheart and the skateboarding one is actually the bunny cousin, Swiftheart.  Oh and the racoon is Wiseheart!


And my sister had this DVD of my favorite Care Bear movie that she let me borrow so we can rip it from the DVD to our digital movie library.  The Care Bear cousins were always my favorite.


I also found a few video games that brought me back – Kings Quest and The Longest Journey.  Longest Journey wasn’t from THAT long ago, 10-12 years ish?  I don’t even know which King’s Quest this is, but I will be popping it into my laptop to try and find out haha.

And during high school was when I first became obsessed with Star Wars, so there were bins of things to go through on that. I found an old history paper that I had somehow managed to do on Star Wars. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite items from my Star Wars memorabilia.


Above is a tin of foil collector cards from the Empire Strikes Back.  Below, a neat watch and a framed stamp.




These neat things (and the bunches of other fun Star Wars things I found but didn’t want to bore you with) will likely be making their way to be displayed in the loft or my craft room.  I also found an old report I did on Star Wars during high school, and as part of that effort I had written a letter to George Lucas, and received a response from his secretary.  I was young and foolish, but it was pretty neat to see that forgotten letter with the Lucasfilm, Ltd logo on it.

I found a bunch of old drawings I did – all Disney of course.  Loved me some colored pencils back then.  I definitely don’t just draw very often anymore.


And guess what?  Remember when I found a bunch of random googley eyes while cleaning the craft room?  Apparently my mother hoards them in her basement as well.  Bet they don’t cost $.49 anymore …


It was a great weekend, and I hope you enjoyed this little nostalgic trip down memory lane with me.  What were some of the things you grew up with that you remember fondly?


Regardless of how many times I go to Disney World, the gate to the happiest place on earth still elicits a squeal of delight and some car version of dancing.

My husband and I went down to Mickey’s house last weekend with some friends.  We had a fantastic time – it was way too short.  I did not do a great job taking pictures this trip, but I should have enough to give you a run down of all the fun.

We stayed on property at Coronado Springs.  My husband and I have stayed there once or twice before, and it is a nice Spanish themed resort.  I had completed online check-in prior to our arrival, and we pretty much walked up, tested our Magic Bands, and away we went. Random side note – the bands are one size fits all, with a tear away gray rubber strip that makes them smaller.  Neat feature for sure … my band would have been giant on my wrist if I hadn’t removed the extra part, but it was just perfect on the last small setting.  The downside would be that with smaller band size, you have fewer band holes to put the neat little band decorations that they sell at the parks.



They come 4 to a pack, and cost $10.  In my opinion this was completely worth it to buy a single pack and deck out both my band and my husband’s with Star Wars ones.  Yoda and my X-wing ones fit on my band, but just barely, whereas with the large band, Jesse would have been able to fit one or two more.

We managed to arrive on Friday with enough time to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom.  Everyone in our party had done this at least once before, but it has been nearly 10 years since the last time Jesse and I went.  They close Magic Kingdom to those who did not pay for a party ticket at 7 pm, and it is only the Halloween guests until midnight.  They have trick or treat stations (and they give you a bag), a fun parade to watch, and lots of decorations, character meetups, and special treats and sweets.  Also, even though the party starts at 7 pm, if you have a ticket to the party only, they will let you into the park as early as 4 pm.  We arrived around 6.  Oh, and most importantly, costumes are encouraged!  So of course I went as Hades.  Here is a shot of me in costume closer to the end of the night.


It was fun to wear, I got a lot of compliments, and lots of people knew who I was.  My lights worked all night without the short turning them off, though I did lean against the button on a couple of rides and had to have Jesse turn the el wire back on again.  I opted for no gray cake makeup, and I was glad of that decision, even though it was made due to time limits.  I forgot bobby pins on the wig due to time, and that was less exciting to deal with.  Rollercoasters with an unsecured wig?  Not my best plan ever.  I was constnatly riding with one hand on the top of my head.  One semi-sad thing did happen – my skull pin broke.  On our way to the buses at the end of the night, the hot glued pin back just popped off the clay, and the skull shattered on the ground.  Oh well, I will make another.  Here are Jesse and I waiting for the Buzz Lightyear ride:


We did a lot of rides at Magic Kingdom that night, including the following:  Space Mountain, People Mover, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Astro Orbiter, Seven Dwarves Mine Train (we were riding this during the fireworks, which was pretty nifty), the new Ariel ride in Fantasyland (not sure on the name), Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribbean, and maybe one or two more.  We also trick or treated once or twice.  The candy givers were putting handfuls in each bag.  The most important thing, though, is this:


Not only did I beat Jesse at the Space Ranger Spin, I walloped him.  Therefore it needed to be documented.

Saturday we spent the morning in Hollywood Studios.  We stopped at a Fast Pass Plus kiosk to try to get our party’s stuff figured out … the phone app was only showing 3 out of 4 of us, so we couldn’t use it for Fast Passes effectively.  Until they make some fairly big changes to the app, I recommend going to a park kiosk (preferably one of the more out of the way ones) – the cast members are knowledgeable.  We had our Fast Passes lickity split.  We tromped our way to Muppet Vision 3D, which is one of Juliet’s favorite rides.


And of course, we needed some silly pictures in 3D glasses while we waited for the movie to begin.


After that, we hit up Star Tours, which I am pleased to say has changed since the last time I rode it.  It needed that pretty badly.  Though honestly, it could have been changed years ago, and I just haven’t been in that long.  Once we were done there, we hit up the Rockin Roller Coaster for our final ride of the morning.  Then it was time to head back to the hotel for siestas.

We headed to EPCOT that evening, and paused at the gates for a group photo.


Our stay at this park was short-lived as Jesse had forgotten some meds in the room and we had to return for those.  We pretty much only rode Test Track and had started around the World Showcase before we left.

We ventured back out that evening to the Magic Kingdom again, which had extra magic hours that night.  Upon our arrival at 9:30ish, the streets were PACKED, I guess due to fireworks?  We left that area quickly and wen to eat a late dinner, then started to do rides.  We rode just about everything from Friday again, but added in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad a few times, and Jesse and I rode the Teacups together.  Here is a trippy picture during the spinning:


The park finally started emptying around midnight, but at 1 am we were still going strong!  Here we are waiting for Space Mountain.


And at 2 am, we were somehow still awake.


We got back to the room probably around 3:30 am and attempted to sleep.  Somehow my husband and I were awake again at 8 am.  We hit Animal Kingdom by around 9 am to do Kilimanjaro Safari (I was pleased that they dropped the poacher chase part of that ride), where we saw many happy giraffes.  And then we caught a relatively short line for Expedition Everest, which we had only ridden once before.  After that we left Animal Kingdom and headed to Disney Quest for the main part of the day.  We played some arcade games, a few music ones, did an alien invasion VR thing, rode magic carpets collecting gems, and ate lunch.  It was fun, but the place was not very crowded, which made some of the games a little less appealing (like bumper cars with cannons).  Regardless, these tickets were a perk of when we booked, so it was free to get in.

After that, we napped for a couple hours, and then met up with our friends for a trip to EPCOT.  We rode Spaceship Earth, and walked through the Food and Wine Festival at the World Showcase.  I think we also rode a boat in the Mexican pavilion.  Then we finished up the evening by watching Illuminations.  Here was my first dish at the festival, a beef stick with chimichurri sauce from Patagonia.


I enjoyed the food and wine festival a lot, tasted a bunch of yummy things.  Here is a Mongolian Beef pocket from China:


We also tasted some beef tips from South Africa, bratwurst and a pasta / cheese / ham dish from Germany.  Jesse had a scallop from Scotland.  Unfortunately, we were full by the time we were about halfway through the countries HAH.  It was still quite a nice way to end the weekend.

All of our feet were quite sore from all the walking.  Our most active day was Saturday, with nearly 28k steps.  So much aching, but definitely worth it.



There was a lot of construction at Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney.  I can’t wait to go back (there is a family vacation planned for late next year)!

If you’ve been reading for a while, you might remember a little cake pop adventure Elizabeth and I endeavored on two Christmases ago that ended in failure. I haven’t tried to make cake pops again since, being as scarred as I was. But with Halloween at the end of the month, I knew I wanted to try making them again, and work gave me a good excuse.

Yesterday was Cupcake Wars at Sparc. I’m lucky enough to work with my sister-in-law (along with a TON of other amazing people) and we entered this competition together.

I learned a lot during this bout of baking. Made the from scratch red velvet cake on Monday evening (using this recipe). I made 12 cupcakes…


A small square pan of cake to turn into more traditional cake pops (mixed with homemade cream cheese icing)…


And used the leftover batter the next day (yep, batter works just fine when refrigerated in a container overnight) when this arrived:


Those of you who know my husband know he is a picky eater. He’s not a fan of traditional cake pops where the icing is mixed into the center, so we decided to buy this thing (~$20) and give it a shot, hoping for a more cakey pop.


The last time I did this, the cake pop material didn’t harden enough and the chocolate covering wasn’t cooperating. This time, I left my “traditional” cake balls (the kind where you crumble a cake and mix icing in with it) in the freezer overnight, and researched how to properly thin out the white chocolate.

These things made a HUGE difference!

For the record, I used about 1 tbsp of canola oil for every 10 white chocolate pieces (I bought the Wilton bags), while I was melting. You want a consistency where it is running off your spoon, like so:


Here are the pops as I am coating them in chocolate.  The ones upside down in the stand are much more spherical and came out of the maker.  The hand-rolled ones were larger and a bit more oddly shaped.  It’s a preference thing on which you like better, though both are tasty. Hubby likes the cakey ones, I enjoy the hand-rolled ones a bit more, they have a bit of a fudgier texture.


With the ones that came out of the cake pop machine, you definitely want to dip the Popsicle stick in chocolate first and then insert it. Let the chocolate harden a bit before you coat the rest of the pop (as seen above).

Since we are doing a Harry Potter party at the end of the month, I attempted to turn these into a likeness of the golden snitch. Basically I used edible gold spray to color them, and I drew out a bunch of wings with some melted white chocolate.


However, the wings were very breakable, and didn’t make it onto the pops, as you can see above :(. It may have been because the chocolate was mixed with the oil. Next time I will use pure chocolate. Or maybe I should have frozen it. Regardless, it did not work as I had hoped – back to the drawing board.

I’m pretty happy with these cake pops – they tasted pretty good, and they looked way better than the last attempt!

We didn’t win any prizes in the competition, but there were sooooo many yummy treats! Here are some pictures of some of the entries.  From left to right there are Groot cupcakes (squee!!!), maple bourbon cupcakes (these were the overall winner), cute witch cupcakes, some butterbeer snitch cupcakes with successful wings, and some chocolate cupcakes with caramel sea salt icing.  Personally, I loved the butterbeer ones!



It’s super awesome to work at such a fun and geeky place :)  The Culture Club at the office has planned a fun-filled month of events – Cupcake Wars was just the beginning.  By the way, we are hiring!


I’ve been continuing my work on the Renaissance fair dress (using Butterick 4571) by adding sleeves. These are somewhat complicated and include a lining as well as an oversleeve.

The pattern has you work on the upper sleeve (which includes the oversleeve) first, so here I am connecting the oversleeve to the top of the arm.


I have now used crushed panne velvet for three costume dresses – this, Elizabeth, and Lady Amalthea – and there are things about it that I love and things that I wish would change.  I love that it is stretchy.  I love that it does not fray.  I love the shiny texture.  I love that it is reasonably priced.  I do not love that it moves a lot when sewn.  I also don’t love that it leaves fuzzies on other fabric occasionally. It’s not slippery, just moves due to its stretchiness.  It’s one of those fabrics that is a little bit sneaky and sometimes you stitch an unwanted fold into a seam because it moved unexpectedly.  Anyway, this was a bit of a tangent, but I continue to have a love hate relationship with this fabric.

I’m lining the sleeves in the same deep red satin that I used on the bodice.  This terrifies me because I’m afraid it won’t fit my mother-in-law.  I haven’t sewn very many things for other people, so this is just a generic fear.  But since the dress AND sleeves have a lining, that just doubles the ways I can fail at it.  Anyway, here is the completed top part of the sleeve, with the lining still turned out.  I love this contrast fabric!


Next it was time to sew the bottom part of the sleeve, and of course, its matching lining.


And now the confusing part.  The instructions were not actually terrible, though the pictures left a little to be desired.  To connect the bottom and upper parts of the sleeve together, I had to make these nifty sleeve burritos.  Looks tasty, no?  And not at all uncomfortable, hah?


Bottom sleeve lining up, I lined up the underarm seams, pinned the heck out of it at the elbow spot, and stitched.  I was a little afraid that my spatial reasoning may have turned against me on this one, but when all was said and done, the correct sides were in the correct places. HUZZAH – they are so pretty and flouncy!


This is where I have left the project for the evening.  The next step will be my least favorite – slip stitching the lining on the sleeves closed at the elbow.  I did more spatial reasoning and have concluded that my sleeve should look something like this before I start the slip stitching process (which will, of course, include lots of grumbling and much cursing).


The goal will be to stitch the folded / ironed seam on the left so that it hides the crap on the right, but without stitching through all my fabric layers.  Meh.  I haven’t slip stitched in forever (maybe since this coat??), probably time to review the skill I guess.  Once slip stitching is complete, a bit of decorative stuff for the sleeves, and then attaching to the shoulder seams.  Which is about perfect since Debbie will get to try this on over the weekend!

I’ve been slowly working on a dress for my mother-in-law to wear to the Renaissance Faire we are going to near the end of October, using Butterick 4571 for a pattern.

Like a lot of the things I make, I can’t seem to leave well enough alone – I have to embellish.  I also blame some of the craft room reorganizing since I likely only did this because I found the trim and fabric remnants.  Anyway, I added an applique to the center front piece of the dress.  It seemed too plain.  Enter the leftover gold lame fabric from Rainbow Dash and some very pretty trim that just happened to match the burgundy crushed panne velvet fabric perfectly.


Can I just say that I hate how there is such a discrepancy in the length of that right red piece??  It will be fine, the dress is quite long anyway and needs to be hemmed.  But oye.  Anyway, here is a closer shot of the trim.


I also have finished the bodice of this dress, with a nice satin lining (yep, still hate sewing with satin…).  It’s a slightly different burgundy, but hey, it’s lining.  And it was in my stash, so hooray for using it!  Here is an in progress shot of the bodice, also showing the lining on the left.


This is coming together pretty well, but not without problems.  I’ll spare you the details, but the bodice connection to the skirt left a good two inches extra on each side of the bodice.  I have fixed it for now, without cutting it completely off – it’s hidden inside the lining until I can do a fitting with the wearer in a couple of weeks.

I hope to get the sleeves done this weekend – they look complicated and are lined.  The inside of some bell pieces on the ends will be done in the white rose print.  Should tie together nicely.  I don’t know how much time I’ll have to work on this during the week as work is super busy as the moment.  But next weekend for sure.

That’s it for today – short and sweet.  Happy Monday!

Wouldn’t cleaning be so much better if it just happened with a flick of a magic wand?  I bet Molly Weasley could teach me a spell.


No?  Maybe I need to investigate methods of acquiring a house elf instead.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Perhaps I could train the dogs to clean for me?


Penny is a good house elf look-alike, but her cleaning skills leave something to be desired.

Despite my decided lack of house elves or a working scourgify charm, I spent much of last weekend reorganizing my craft room.


Before I got started, I headed off to Bed Bath & Beyond, armed with lots of coupons. Luckily, the store was having a clearance sale on its college dormitory stuff, so there were good prices to be had in addition to my coupons. I bought some shelves and baskets and closet organizers. Target supplemented my finds a bit, and they were also trying to get rid of form stuff on clearance, yay!

After returning home and banishing myself to the loft that I recently cleaned and decorated a bit for my husband, I spent a bit of time putting the shelves together.

And finally I was ready to clean! But where to start?!


Some of my time was spent unpacking boxes of things that went to DragonCon. Sometimes I went downstairs to bring up various crafty things that had made their way downstairs prior to the convention. Some of my time was spent shuffling through and rearranging the fabric stash.

Most of my time was spent finding random shit I did not know I had. O.o

Some things I found:
-A ton of Sculpey clay; I forsee some clay jewelry projects in my future!

-Googley eyes

-A bunch of steampunky chains


-Leatherworking stuff

-Spray paint

-Glass bottles



-Corset supplies

I have a lot more to do yet. But I have made significant progress. I do have a fairly large box that I will eloquently label “Random Shit”, where I will place stuff like wooden dowels and various sized styrofoam balls.


Once this is done and we have acquired an upstairs tv, I intend to move my sewing machine back up. Deirdre has already returned to her place in the corner.  And the fabric stash in the closet is under control.


Well, maybe I should say it it stacked neatly?  Fabric stashes aren’t MEANT to be “under control”.  And mine is not.  I still have like 6 yards of the velvet from Lady Amalthea (I have NO IDEA why I bought so much of it).  I need to find a good project for all of my scraps.

So far I am liking how it is coming together.  I’ve setup a folding table for cutting.  My storage methods seem to be working.  But I might need another shelf or two before I’m done.  We’ll see what the weekend holds.

Remember my last list of projects?  I made it back in 2012.  I’ve been updating it as I can cross things off the list, but let’s face it, some of the projects just aren’t ever going to get done – I’ve lost interest.  I think it’s time for a new list!

I might even try to put these in the order I plan to work on them!  Crazy right?  You’re all on the floor laughing, aren’t you?  I don’t blame you.

1.  Butterick 4571 – nice burgundy crushed panne velvet base with a white rose print velvet for the contrast. Trim will still be gold.  I am making this for my mother-in-law to wear to an upcoming Renaissance Fair in October!

2.  Simpliticy 4059 – a red paisley brocade for the top, possibly a gauzy shirt underneath, and the pants.  I am making this for my father-in-law to wear to the same Renaissance Fair! They are going to be looking mighty snazzy!

3.  Settlers of Catan dress – Simplicity 1356; I have the fabric and it’s already cut out

4.  Avengers dress – Simplicity 1418; I have the fabric and it’s already cut out

5.  Star Wars skirt -I have fabric and a pattern, but no pictures or numbers at the moment.

6.  Pajama pants – I have at least two pairs cut, and I know I’m going to need to buy cheap flannel on Black Friday, so time to use up what I’ve got!

7.  Simplicity 0577 – Cynthia Rowley skirt, but not sure what fabric to use yet.

8.  Quilt – I’ve been saying for about a year that I want to make a quilt, and I have a solid idea of what I want to make in my head (I even have some fabric) … it just keeps falling to the bottom of my list.

Somewhere in there, I have plans to decorate and coordinate a Harry Potter themed Halloween party, and organize the sewing room. I started this past weekend on the reorganization because this:



And from a different perspective:


Do you see a sewing machine in here?  No.  That’s because it’s downstairs still from the craziness that was DragonCon prep.  In all likelihood, I will have a hard time being completely upstairs until I have a small tv up there to watch while I sew.  But in the meanwhile, I am going to get the room prepped.  I’ve made a lot of progress since I took these pictures, but I’m not ready to share the results until I get everything DONE.

I’m also on a bit of a video game binge at the moment … last year I think I returned to games after DragonCon, too.  I’m playing WoW again, since I never played Panderia.  And I’m eagerly awaiting the upcoming expansion to that as well as the new Civilizations title, Beyond Earth (due out on 10/24). I think I will likely wait to start any more costumes until 2015, though I promise my head is already brimming over with ideas.  I suspect that once again Halloween will be a day where I get lazy and wear one of my existing costumes – at the moment I am thinking Hades.

I want to add at least one Christmas craft project to the list, but not sure what yet.  Maybe a wreath of some kind??  I had a ton of fun making these wine glasses a while back, and this decoration, but been there, done that.  Let me know if you have suggestions!! :D

As usual, we spent the $5 on a board gaming pass at the Hilton basement during DragonCon.  This allows you to check out games from their library and play them – they take an ID from you and you take a game.  We played a few games Friday and Saturday night, but by Sunday I was worn out from all the cosplay, and we spent quite a few hours in the cool air of the basement learning some fun new games!  This post will be similar to my Orkfest games mini-review – nothing thorough, but hopefully enough of a blurb to let you decide if you think you should give the game a try.

1.  Coal Baron

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This was my favorite game of the ones we tried. It’s a worker placement game, but you begin with the max possible workers. Spaces on the board can also be reused if you are willing to pay the last paid price plus one worker. The premise is that you are mining different types of coal from your mine.  Here’s my play area with my starting cash, workers, and work orders.

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Spaces on the board include ways to generate money, ways to send miners to grab coal from the mine, ways to purchase tracks with carts to place in your mine (this is how you get coal), ways to get coal orders which you fill to get victory points, and ways to turn in your coal orders.   As you buy them, your carts go in the appropriate color spot of your mining shaft (above), on either the lighted side or the dark side (shown on the cart card).  You have to keep the light and dark side even by the end of the game or you lose points!  You play three rounds and score points between each one. Here’s a shot of the game in progress.

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I liked this game, but it didn’t stand out to me the way Keyflower or The Manhattan Project did. If you enjoy worker placement, Coal Baron is worth trying. I would give it a 4 out of 5 – a little better than average.

2.  Urbania

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I am not sure what type of game this one is – maybe tile based?  It was quite different from most things I have played.

You randomly place building tiles on the game board with the run down side facing up, except you put five tiles in the center space all with the spruced up side showing. Then players take turns doing 2 of the following actions – drawing cards, renovating building tiles, submitting plans, or hiring specialists. The cards contain hats and coins. Coins help you buy specialists and hats help you fix buildings. You gain points for each building you fix and for hiring specialists, which have a worth system that increases over time and use.  You get bonus points at the end for three plan cards that you submitted during the game (Ex: “Fix at least 6 blue buildings”).  The game ends when a certain amount of buildings are fixed in an area of the board.  There may be other winning conditions, but that was the one that happened in our game.

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I give this a 3 out of 5.  The first play through was not good, but it ended too quickly I think – my husband did not seem to like it and tried to end it as fast as possible.  I like games that are unique, so this has some potential.  The human factors engineer in me was unhappy with how difficult it was to tell which side of the building tiles were run down and which were renovated.

3.  New Haven

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This game box looked new and shiny, but that it where my enjoyment of this game ended :(  It is a resource management game ultimately, with some elements of Carcassonne as well.  I guess it is also a city builder.

Each player begins with two square tiles containing 4 resources – some may be the same, some may be different.  You also have I think 5 circles to start.  The game has a main board where players place the square tiles in order to collect resources each turn.  And then you have an individual board where you use the circle pieces you have and any resources you have gather that round to build your town.

Here is a shot of the resource board near the end of our game.  You place tiles wherever there is space, but you only get resources based on the number of connecting like symbols (also a little bit like some casual video games like Bejweled).

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There is a space to count resources for the turn, then you have the option to use your resources to buy circles / buildings for your town.  If you leave any resources unused, the other players have the opportunity to use them to build their towns.  At the end of your turn you pick up a replacement square tile, and a number of circles based on your resource quantity at the end of the round.

There are some rules for placing circles in the towns – if you turn the circles with the number facing up, that circle must go on a spot with a corresponding number.  Face down it can be placed anywhere.  The first piece of a type (these match the four resources) can go anywhere, but after that each type must build off where you started.  Here is a sample town board.

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You get bonuses based on how many rows and columns have the numbers facing up.  It was hard to do.

I give this game a 2 out of 5.  The random element of which city tiles you had and which resources you earned that round made placing city tiles a little too difficult for my liking.  I’m not certain what exactly made me dislike this one so much, but I enjoy Settlers of Catan much more, even though it has a random element involved.

4.  Giza: The Great Pyramid

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This game was a worker placement that had some collaborative elements, but ultimately an individual winner.  It also had a very long rule book.

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Each round, players used their workers to do 2 actions – farm, fish, art, worship, or lift.  After your actions, you nominated a sled with a piece of the pyramid to be moved.  Players with workers on that sled then used a bidding mechanic to decide how much the piece got moved – food is the resource being bid.  Basically do you feed the Egyptian slaves enough for them to move the piece or do they starve?   In this game, you can never do too much farming or fishing!  Food is important!  Points were scored each time a piece was moved into place, with bigger contributors earning more points.  Art is used to decorate the pyramid when levels are finished, again using a bidding mechanic to see who wins the most points.  Worship gains you points in a similar fashion, but based on how many people you have in the temple at a specific time – and your workers have too much other shit to do to be in the temple.

I was not a big fan of this game either.  I give it a 2 out of 5.  Something about it was not working for me, and it was very slow going!  There are way better worker placement games out there; however I did like the Egyptian theme.


I enjoyed our time trying out these new games on Sunday, but was disappointed we didn’t find anything we liked better.  I guess this happens when you play as many board games as we do.  The selection in the game room was way better this year, though.  Jesse had his eye on a Shadowrun deck building game the whole weekend, but ultimately did not choose to play it or buy it.  He read up on it a lot and watched some videos, but we didn’t pull the trigger on this.  Maybe we will soon, but I’m not a huge fan of deck builders so he will have to be the one to push for that purchase.  We did snag a copy of Splendor from the dealer hall, so I’m sure we’ll be playing that in the near future a bunch!

One of the other interesting things I did at DragonCon this year was purchase a Multipass with a professional photographer, Bryan Humphrey: Mad Scientist with a Camera.  It cost me $75, but for that amount I could go to his booth in as many costumes as I wanted over the course of the weekend to have photos taken.  And it included a small 2GB USB stick with the DragonCon logo on which they loaded the pictures.  I’ve put an album on my Facebook page with some of my favorite shots from this photography adventure, but I’ll share some here as well.


This was a great deal.  I wound up with 33 photos of 4 different costumes.  Bryan’s booth was setup on the Marquis level of the Marriott, in between the entrance and exit doors for the walk of fame, and within view of all the band tables.  They had lots of helpers – one for check-in, several to manage the line, and a few to help with loading photos to the USB sticks afterwards.


Each time I went I had to check-in with someone so that they could track how many times I used my multipass and so that they could place me in line with a dry erase board.  The board helped them separate pictures out later, and included info about who I was, what character I was cosplaying, etc.  The first time I went for Lady Amalthea photos was when I stood in the longest line.  And they had some technical difficulties with the laptops and software, so there were a couple times where I waited for my photos to be put on my USB stick longer than I stood in line for the photos.


It would have been nice to have several different background choices, but that would have made the wait longer for sure.  And I feel like the background he used was an excellent choice for showing both dark and light costumes.


Bryan did tell me that apparently crushed panne velvet is a frustrating material to photograph since it reflects the light so much.


I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t manage to take a photo of Hades where you could see my el wire glowing.  Next time if I do something like this, I’ll be sure to ask for something like that.  Also, despite noticing everytime AFTER I took photos, I never remembered to remove my fitbit for the photography session.  Oh well.


I do have to say, having poses for costumes here is key.  And if you think you feel like an idiot in the privacy of your own home practicing poses in costumes, I promise it only gets better to pose while there are about 30 people in your immediate vicinity (though in all likelihood only a few of them are paying any attention to you).


Nasus was a great example of a dark costume that still popped with the gray background.



I like the perspective on this Rainbow Dash shot, and the view it gives of my styled wig.  But at the same time, you can kind of see that the wig is too small – near my ear a hint of my dark hair is visible.

This was a neat thing to do, and I was glad I participated.  Working with Bryan was great, and I would definitely consider purchasing this pass again, depending on how many costumes go with me to DragonCon next year.  I believe he also offers group passes or just individual shots of a single costume.

We did go to Trader Vic’s for a Scorpion Bowl on Friday night and didn’t go to bed until at least 2 am, but somehow managed to wake up by 10ish on Saturday without being hungover.  That said, we once again missed the parade, haha.  We did get to catch up with some friends who were watching the parade afterwards (Hi, Davis family!), which was awesome.  And I didn’t scare their young girls with my Nasus costume, so that was a bonus. :)


I was in my Nasus costume by around 11:30 or 12.  Since I only had to paint my neck and face for this costume, I opted for some Mehron cake makeup instead of the liquid face paint, since it was so easily sweat off with Hades the night before.  It went on easily, but as I found out later, was also still easy to sweat off.  Here I am with Shane, the other Nasus from the LOL photoshoot (Kitty’s Cake) – she was awesome and very friendly!

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This costume got a TON of attention.  Lots of people in the hotels recognized me as I heard shouts of “NASUS!” as I walked around.  There were also plenty of folks both at the con and just on the streets of Atlanta who wanted pictures but thought I was just an Egyptian Anubis.  Either way, it was nice to know people appreciated the hard work!

Whenever you make a costume that is more elaborate, there are going to be more problems.  Nasus had the lion’s share of my wear issues, so here it goes!

1.  Body Suit Caught on the Worbla / Wonderflex – My body suit fit me well (except in the ankles, which was weird … they were too big), but because I did not do the sandwich method with the thermoplastics, there were some rough plastic edges on the underside of the foam.  These caught on the bodysuit anywhere they could.  I doubt anyone noticed, and I could probably get another wear out of the bodysuit, but eventually the Lycra pieces will need to be remade.

2.  Leg Pieces Not Stable – I was least happy with the shape of the leg pieces on my Nasus armor, mostly because they didn’t show the shape of my calves well.  But these turned out to be even more problematic when I was wearing them.  As the costume got more and more hot and sweaty, the leg pieces started sliding around – spinning off center, falling down my leg, etc.  I had to pull over to the side while walking a few times to fix them.

3.  Clasps Not Good for Securing Armor Pieces – Along those same lines, the clasps that I decided to use to hold the armor together on my body were fairly annoying to actually put on.  They were hard to see and manage, and the worbla connections to the armor pieces were not stable.  I hot glued a lot of them down in the end, and when I took the costume off, some of the hot glue had been worn down or pulled off.  Furthermore, the cross piece of the skirt was coming undone so much on the backside that I had to make a repair run up to the 10th floor of the Marriott where Riot Games hosted a “Cospitality Lounge”, complete with glue guns (and all sorts of other supplies to fix costumes).  So thankful for that!

4.  Bracers Slightly Too Long – The bracers were a little too long.  I did this deliberately to achieve a look I wanted (wider at the elbow), but the pieces were too long.  They dug into my elbows all day, and left bruises there and on the outside of my hand / thumb area as well, since I was constantly pushing them down towards my wrists.

5. Can’t Talk Easily in Face Pieces – When I went to the League of Legend photoshoot, I wanted to talk with folks more, but as my husband pointed out repeatedly when I tried to talk to him wearing Nasus, it was very difficult to make myself heard through the noise pieces.  I had a few conversations with an Arcade Sona and another Nasus, but that was about it.  I was afraid to pull the nose pieces off to chat because the makeup underneath was certainly sweating off.  Below you can see me as folks got ready for the LOL picture.  My axe was nearly always visible in the photos.


6.  Elastic Slid Outside my Helm – The clear elastic straps for the bottom face piece went at the top of my head, and by the end of the day one had fallen outside to my forehead.  This caused a panic that some of the puffy paint from the helm had started to peel off (because a tiny bit of this had happened on a bracer during the car ride to Atlanta), but it was easily fixable.  I probably should have tried to secure these with bobby pins before putting on the helm?

7.  Carrying the Axe – SUCKED.  A LOT.  The “best” way to carry it seemed to be almost military style like a rifle.  Two arms had to be used due to weight, and I had to position the axe head carefully or I would cut off even more of my vision than I already did with my helm and face pieces.  That being said, a random guy at a street corner asked to hold the axe and take a picture, so it must’ve looked cool?

I wore this costume for about 4 hours.  It was fun to wear, but I’m not sure if I will chance wearing it again.  If I do, 4 hours is about my limit!  And I have to be closer to the convention than I was this year – think con hotel!  My lights stayed on the whole time I wore it, but the hot glue that was holding the gems to the worbla completely failed on one of the axe gems and the cross piece gem by the time we got back to the room and I got out of the costume pieces.  Here is my favorite Nasus photo from the con, taken by Bryan Humphrey: Mad Scientist with a Camera.




I wore Rainbow Dash from about 5 pm until we went to bed at like 2 am or so.  It was easy to wear, and I love being in this costume the most out of the things I have made so far.  It might even be inspiring me to make another of my My Little Pony designs in the near future.  And I liked the wig sooo much better after I styled it this time.  Here’s a comparison:


There were only a few minor problems with wearing this costume, in my opinion:

1.  Flimsy Wings – The foam wings are fairly well shaped, but the wire contraption holding them up that goes inside the back of my corset is a little wonky at this point.  They would have been better suited to Derpy than to Rainbow Dash whose wings are her pride.  That said, making a better harness for these before the next wear is very doable.

2.  Wig Too Small – While I loved my new spikey color-chunked style on the cheap wig I purchased from Amazon, it still does not fit my head well, despite lots of bobby pins.  I may try it one more time and see if there is anything else I can do to secure it, but my hair is about as short as it will ever be, and if it is still too small for my head … it may be time for a different wig.  I used the white eyebrow pencil and some yellow eyeshadow to lighten my eyebrows for this makeup run – I think it’s less distracting than black eyebrows – and I like being able to see the purple contacts instead of the darker soulless purple ones.


3.  Jacket & Pose Disagreement – When I salute for my favorite pose for this cosplay, I get an unfortunate wrinkle in the jacket part of this costume.  It’s very distracting in pictures, like below.


At Megacon, I tried to use fashion tape to hold it down, and I probably should have done it again, but I didn’t feel like it helped much.  After seeing photos like this, it makes me wish I had done it anyway – every little bit helps.  My bottom jacket clasp is undone too – fail.  I am not sure if there are any adjustments I can do to fix this in the jacket, but I am open to suggestions if you have any!  I am regretting it a bit that I did not go to the My Little Pony meetup that evening, but it had been a long day and I just wanted to relax and people watch.

Later this week, the final bit of cosplay posting I will do from DragonCon is coming up – my first experience having professional photos done.  Also, the gaming rundown from DragonCon.  Stay tuned!