Sunday, July 6, 2014

7 Things You Shouldn't Try if You are a Crafter with a Cat.


Crafting is a wonderful creative outlet for many of us. Some of us, arguably the slightly insane among us, have decided to try maintain this hobby while also owning a cat. Perhaps not our most intelligent move. Besides the fact that every cat seems to come equipped with the extrasensory ability to inform them the exact moment you start to make something, (even from 3 rooms away, or while asleep.) every project quickly becomes an uphill battle of “how much fur can I keep out of my project?” Want to cut out that new pattern? Not likely! Yet, we love our furry little crafting assistants, and we wouldn't trade them for the world.


Over the years I have learned a few of the do's and don'ts of crafting with cats. Here are a few things you maybe shouldn't try.

1) Having a piece that does not incorporate cat hair.
Yeah, cat fur sticks really well to polymer clay, and fabric, and yarn, and...




2) Trying to photograph your new stock.
You didn't put out that perfectly clean white backdrop to be a cat bathing station?



3) Trying to write... anything.
You should be grateful, really, that bright colored zombie box is clearly bad for you. Try participating in healthier activities. Like cat petting. 



4) Trying to cut out a sewing pattern.
Really? You really thought you could get away with this? This combines many of a cats's talents, interrupting, sitting on things, AND hair coverage. No way will they let that opportunity slide.



5) Leaving anything, anywhere at cat height.
If you leave a craft project unattended, your cat will see that you clearly need some help, and quickly attempt to attend to your items. Unfortunately, cats are not very good at weaving. 




6) Leaving spherical objects unattended, or in bins,  or lockboxes.
No minimum security containers. Really, it's bio-metric security or nothing. Just make sure fluffy doesn't lift your prints or get a retinal scan...



7) And finally...thinking you are in control in any way, shape or form. 



~ By Goblin Gal


#cats #lolcats #crafters #7ThingsYouShouldn'tDo #icanhazcheeseburger #funnycats #craftingwithpets #sewing #sculpting #kitteh #hooman #mai #GoblinGal #cutecats #interuptingcat #writingcat #weavingcat #craftingcat #labyrinthcat #catsloveyarn #sewingcat #catonfabric

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Armatures Incoming




So here are a few of those armatures I was talking about starting, Here

It may be 12:40 AM by by golly I made them. I'm a little sleepy now. Sleepy enough to be saying things like “by golly.” I have one more I'd like to make, but it's a humanoid figure, so naturally I'm saving the hardest for last, haha.



So the four legged little guy is my base for my Rowsdower from WildStar. Hopefully when I am done it will look more like the big guy there.



The other two are for my snake habitat I am currently building. They are going to be snake hides to keep the little guy or girl happy.


Me being me, I can't just have rocks and branches and a forest, no no. It must be themed. Everything must be themed! So sayeth I! If I could be a millionaire, and have every room like Disney leveled themed, I would. You bet your sweet ass there'd be a tiki room. Birds would sing words, flowers would croon, the whole nine. Man I really gotta stop writing these during bouts of sleep exhaustion, I digress.


The terrarium shall have a tiki/jungle/witch doctor sort of a theme. Why? One, that's awesome! Two,
I'm going to be naming said future snake “Hex.” Why “Hex” I will pretend you asked? The snake is to be named for both the folklore and stereotypes around snakes AND a terrible awful geometry joke between my husband and I. Also, it's a bad-ass name for a snake.



Anyway, the tube things will be tiki heads, and the low flat thing will be this!


It's a Stumpkin, also from WildStar. It will be a slightly modified version anyway. It serves the purpose of giving my snake a hide, being a tree (which is one of my favorite things to make) and it also still kinda fits the witch doctor theme. Green glowing eyes, I mean come on!


So, that's my pile of armatures so far! Next up, actually sculpting them.



By Goblin Gal


#Sculpting #polymerclay #WildStar #Rowsdower #Stumpkin #snake #snakehide #terrarium #armature #tikiroom #sleepdeprivation


Friday, June 20, 2014

Sauron Hair Sticks and a Status Update


Ever have one of those Fridays where you know you should have gotten enough sleep, and you have plenty to keep you busy, but your eyes just won't stay open?  That's me today, so please pardon the sleep deprived ramble.



I am seriously debating running over to the gas station next door to pick up some caffeine, which is unusual for me. I'm in the that slim minority of Americans who aren't hitting the coffee every morning. (I love coffee, it doesn't love me, so I have to be careful.)
Speaking of drugs, the addiction that is WildStar has been distracting me from being quite as productive as I had hoped for the past week or so, MMO's just get me every time.  But hey, I finally got to level 15 and got my mount (essentially a giant hamster ball) and a house!  Actually inspired by WildStar, I'm working on some armatures to make some figurines from the game, I'm hoping to have them finished by the end of the weekend.

I'm also building my patio garden with my husband. (I spent a good chunk of my time off yesterday staining & sealing the planter boxes he built. Yippee I didn't get enough time painting large flat surfaces with the same color with doing house reno! I kid, (mostly) it wasn't that bad. 

I did actually finish a "sculpture" piece lately, for Fangirl Nation. My first "Goblin Gal's Crafty Corner" column published yesterday.  

http://fangirlnation.com/2014/06/19/goblin-gals-crafty-corner-eye-of-sauron-hairsticks/

It's a how-to article on how to make Eye of Sauron LoTR hair sticks (seen below). I'm pretty excited. I mean, I'm writing for a website all about fangirls and geekiness and I've got my own craft column! I've now got four reviews and this new how-to article published with them. It's been a bit tricky to add in another job to my schedule, but I love writing, and it is so worth it.
Here's a shot of them finished.


So please, go to the article, check them out, try them out and keep reading for my next adventure.

Lots of love, and much caffeine,

~By Goblin Gal


#FangirlNation #Fangirl #LoTR #Grumpycat #Sleepy #Friday #Sauron #EyeofSauron #lordoftherings #hairsticks #Tolkien #WildStar #MMO #Caffiene  #lotrhairsticks #sauronhairsticks


Friday, June 6, 2014

Being a WildStar Wife


You may have heard a little bit about a game called WildStar. It’s a new MMO by Carbine Studios that just hit the market. It’s a great “Space western” game that mixes sci-fi and fantasy with some definite geeky influences.  The art style is beautiful and unique, the content is amazing, the combat system is sweet and super dynamic.  There’s also ‘choose your own adventure’ style 5-man content never before seen called ‘Adventures.’  The media is exploding. I have friends who have only gotten up from their computers for ‘bio’ for the past 72 hours, and frankly, it’s just weird (in a good way).

Why? Well because my husband works for Carbine. For three years I have been in and out of Carbine, going to holidays parties, hanging out with the employees, and listening to my husband whine or brag about his day just like any other job. (And I may have been privy to a few things long the way, which were amazing).  Yes, he has an amazing job. For the better part of the years he’s been at the company, though, it had all been under wraps and under NDA, and well, it seemed so much more like a typical job. My husband would go to work, come home, and rant at me about a bug that drove him insane that day (in tech jargon I didn’t understand). You know, typical.

Before my husband broke into the industry we were already both gamers. We played WoW, heck we even beta-tested WoW and StarCraft. We read PennyArcade, watched review shows and G4. I have tensely waited on bated breath for the next game in a series I loved to release, and I have obsessively played until the wee hours. I’ve spent way too much time on wikis researching loot and gear and the best herb collecting route.  Now I’m watching it from the other side.

The explosion of media and fan reactions is just awesome, fascinating and a little weird. It is just so blasted cool to see the content my husband makes show up on Penny Arcade. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2014/06/06/adventures1?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pa-mainsite+(Penny+Arcade) )

Plus there's getting to watch all the reviews come in, and watching game play wikis and strategy guides form.  All that stuff I used playing my own MMOs. Example: At comic con last year WildStar hosted a party for the fans. My husband signed autographs. Wut. (One of my weirdest experiences to date.) Then on top of the fun of watching the game launch,  I get the added awesome of having my husband do things like thank me in the game credits, oh and, model and name a recurring NPC after me (Sylphia Barkberry, who is at almost every adventure hub.)  So basically I am in the game, in cartoon form thanks to my hubby (so awesome.) 

So yeah, my mind is a little blown, and I don’t even work there! It is a super cool experience, watching a new game launch for the first time, and watching all of their hard work pay off.  I can’t even imagine what it is like for him and all my friends at Carbine, who actually WORK there every day. So to all my friends over at Carbine, congratulations! I can’t wait to play!

~ By GoblinGal

#WildStar #Chua #CarbineStudios #PennyArcade #MMO #gamer #WoW

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Writing at Fangirl Nation

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up about a new project I’m going to be working on!  I have been asked to write over at FangirlNation! (www.fangirlnation.com) This is an exciting new website made by fangirls for fangirls, covering geek news, events, interviews, reviews, original content and much much more! It will be a great one stop shop for your fan girl fix!




I’m going to be writing a couple different places. I’ll be over in reviews giving you a heads up on what I thought of the latest geek media (movies, books, games etc) as well as heading up a DIY crafting column.  The tentative title is “Goblin Gal’s Crafting Corner.” The first project will hit the page on June 19th, so please look out for it!


You can go over and check out my bio in the “contributors” section on the top left of the page. You will find me under “Bethany Davis- Geek Craft Goddess.”  It’s not hard to find my picture…I’m holding a goblin…
p.s I did not give myself the title of crafting Goddess, my editor did that, but I’m gonna take it and run ;)

So if you a geeky gal (or guy, no discrimination here.) Please head over and check out Fangirl Nation! I am really excited to be a part of this project (and maybe slightly nervous..I have like.. an editor...and deadlines and stuff.... weird.)


(www.fangirlnation.com) and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNationMag


Thanks! By GoblinGal


#FangirlNation #Fangirl #geekgirl #nerdgirl #geeknews #writing #geekmedia #geeklove

Monday, June 2, 2014

Learning Card Weaving- Adjusting from Inkle to Card




This year I decided to make the jump from inkle weaving to card weaving. I’ve been inkle weaving for some time now, and while I greatly enjoy it, I have been feeling that familiar itch to learn something new (Crafter's A.D.D is rampant in my house). Card weaving introduces a whole new warping technique, as well as an amended weaving technique, but provides a huge variance in patterns. The vast amount of patterns possible with card weaving was, in fact, a huge draw for me. Because the shed is manipulated by rotating cards with up to four strings each, you can make more shapes, (actual curves, YAY) and use color more easily. (Tardis trim? Pac Man trim? Soo many options!!)


Obviously, there are a lot of similarities between the two, but there are also plenty of differences, and some of them are more subtle than you might think. The intention of this post is to make a  list of some of the differences I have noticed between the two forms so far, and what to look out for if you are also making this transition.


1) There are many, many ways to learn and understand the concepts. Dig around until you find the right one for you.
Card weaving introduces more strings, and rotational patterns. Now, I'm dyslexic, and for me, rotational direction and right-left relations just happen to be my personal brand of suck, so naturally at first this was really...really hard. The good news is, there are many ways to go about understanding the mechanics. I must admit, I have had been a little spoiled being in the SCA. Weaving is a popular skill, and as such I have had access to multiple teachers. That being said, each had their own style of teaching and weaving. 


For example, one of the teachers doesn't really bother with  the motion of the threads at all, and depends strictly on the pattern.  The patterns always alternates between rolling the cards forwards or backwards. She uses an indicator with one clearly marked end to remind herself if she is turning her cards towards her, or away from her for a particular row.  This is a good technique for starting out for me, I need to start weaving and get the basics down before I start trying to understand the machinations. I always start by just copying an established pattern and established instructions. But then inevitably, I screw up, or I get distracted, or the cat knocks my pointer off the couch for kicks (cause he's a cat). That leads me to woefully stare at my loom trying to remember which way to turn next, which leads the next technique and to our next teacher.


Teacher two prefers to be able to tell which way to rotate the cards nest by looking at the movement of the strings in the shed. In this manner she doesn't need a pointer, and she can pick up and drop off at any time. Great! This can be done by looking at the strings in the warp, and then rotating the cards in a test direction to see if the correct string of the card drops down below the weft.  Hmm. There are four strings on this card, and 36 cards. Which string is supposed to go down? I can't freaking tell. Now I am in a conundrum. I prefer the second teacher's method where I don't need the pointer, but I don't have enough experience to understand what she's seeing when the thread “drops.”


The matter was finally resolved when I found a third way. This technique involves looking at just the cards. Say you have a simple two color pattern. White, and green. You put all your background threads in one pack (white), and all your pattern threads in another (green). Great, now which pack rotates which way? The answer is this, the color thread that will ultimately show in the next row is the thread on the card that rotates up and over the other color. So, say your pattern cards  have all the green thread in the upper back hole.  You need these green to show. Roll the cards towards you so the green comes up and over the white. The white is in the upper front? Roll them away from you to make them go up and the green.   This simplifies matter because you are only dealing with the top of the card.  With my dyslexia, this eliminated my issues with rotation.  It made it about "up and down." (which I have no problem with) instead of clockwise and counter clockwise.

Now, this may not work for you, you may prefer one of the previous methods, but that is exactly what I mean. There are so many ways to go about understanding your patterns and threads. Watch videos on YouTube or other crafting sites. Look at different types of techniques, and then set up a beginners sample you can play on that you aren't afraid to mess up. Play and see what works for you.


Don't forget that unless you are starting with a pattern that is neutral twist, you will have to deal with reversing the pattern every now and then, or pushing the twisted threads back along your loom. This is another new addition when you switch over to card.

2) Your loom and card quality matter
In my eagerness to get started, I dashed in and tried to warp up my new loom right away. I didn't have enough store bought cards. I thought “Hey, I have this shiny, very thin cardboard box downstairs, surely it can make cards.” Turns out, what looked like very thin to me, was very NOT on the loom, and the pack was monstrously large. (Which causes the string to catch on the top edge and not rotate properly. ) I really, highly suggest good old fashioned playing cards. They are still a cheap solution, and they work like a charm. If you are going to try a new material, I suggest putting them in a pile, running some string through them and seeing how they interact before you warp up. (Seems obvious, perhaps, but I always like to challenge myself by skipping the 'obvious' thoughts.


The loom is where it gets a little tricky, and potentially more expensive. I am weaving on a beautiful loom my friend made me, but it is my inkle loom. This comes with a few challenges. My front arm isn't quite long enough for card weaving, and as a result, my shed is a little short to deal with cards and the shuttle. My cards fit in, but I do have to change the shed much more often then I'd like. Secondly, as I will go into more detail below, card weaving requires significantly more tension than inkle weaving, so you have to make sure your loom pegs are up to the pressure. My loom, sadly, is going back to purely inkle only after this little adventure, because one of the bottom pegs is leaning in because of the tension.


All in all inkle looms can work with some fudging, but if card weaving is something you are going to be doing a lot of in the future, it may be prudent to invest in a loom designed for cards. (Or a t least a loom with strongly reinforced pegs. If you or someone you know is handy with woodworking, that is a great option that will save you a lot of money. I myself will be building one this summer.


3) Your tension and selvage edges are even more important then before
Don't get me wrong, tension is always important, but card weaving really requires a good sturdy tension peg and some strong arm muscle. Four times the string means potential for a lot more slack here and there throughout your strings, (even if you thought you warped it perfect and tight), which ultimately means you will need to pull tighter to get everything nice and even. Secondly, loose tension means the cards aren't held tightly in place, and they will have the wiggle room to jump one another or tangle. This is quite unpleasant. Until you tighten it, you will spend every row coaxing cards back into place before you set the pattern and throw the shuttle. Finally, because of all the strings in play, and all the strings that have to hide underneath the top row each pass, loose tension can result in your pattern not coming out as cleanly. Strings that should be hidden pop up and interrupt the pattern much easier than with inkle. The same goes for your selvages. Make sure to pull them nice and snug and firm. Letting it loosen up can cause disruption in your pattern. Trust me, I learned that one from experience.



4) Mistakes are much harder to undo.
My final piece of advice is to walk away and take breaks when needed. If you are frustrated, tired or things aren't going well, walk away. Mistakes in card weaving are much more annoying to back out. That's because unlike with inkle, where it is a simple matter of reversing the shed and pulling the weft back through, with cards you have to undo the rotation as well. If you fail to get the card position back to the previous setting, you will leave a twist in the threads which will then interrupt the pattern. Don't panic! It's not impossible, but if you are already frustrated, it may be best to just take a break.


In the end, I really enjoy card weaving. It did seem daunting at first, but keeping these things in mind, I am definitely getting the hang of it. I hope that my learning experiences throughout this process help other beginning weavers make the transition from inkle to card weaving smoother. Above all have fun!


Thanks for reading. No really, if you got all the way through that, thanks for reading! Have fun and weave on!


~ By GoblinGal







#CardWeaving #TabletWeaving #InkleWeaving #HistoricalWeaving #Weaving #SCA #WovenTrim #Loom #CardLoom #InkleVsCard #LearningWeaving #CardtoInkle

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Fake Geek Girl" Fiction- There's No Such Thing As a Fake Geek




So many articles have been written about the “fake” geek girl. It’s a topic that means so much to me, and though this is my first article on the topic it probably won’t be the last. It's one of the few things a person can say to me that will rile me up to boiling in two seconds flat.Whether it is being called "fake," being harassed, or having unwanted attention, if you identify as female and have even one "geeky" interest, gender discrimination is sadly something you have probably experienced in one form or another. 

 I have been lucky. I was sheltered from this until I was fairly old. My father was a wonderful loving man, and a geek, he raised me to be one too. My gender had nothing to do with it. I was his child, he was simply passing on his passions and interests.

My high school science club was wonderful place for us. There was a LOT of us, which was wonderful. And there were a LOT of girls. Besides the academics, we played Magic the Gathering, D&D, had movie nights, and guess what? The teacher who ran the group? A woman. I am a geek girl born and raised, but as I got older, and tried to spread further into the community, the instances of being called out as “fake” or harassed began to grow. 

Just google image "fake geek girl" and prepare to be horrified.

Yep. Cause based on this one picture she posted, you sooo know her well enough to make that judgement...

Let me tell you something, guys. I still went through the same thing all of you boys did as children. Mocked and disliked for my intelligence, my clothes, my interests. Yeah, no one wanted to date me, trust me. I was a new girl from a poor family in a small Midwestern town who was into Hobbits and Elves. I’m great in Tolkien trivia contests, I can tell you all about end game raiding in WoW. (I was top 3 DPS in my raiding guild) Want to chat about Labyrinth or Mel Brooks? Fantasy authors?  Thor back in the JIM days? Dr. Who? Yeah, I have watched some of the “original” Doctors.  I have all the “street cred,” you could require of me, but to some it's never good enough. What's worse, geeky gals can be found perpetuating this nonsense, out of a sense of being "more geeky" or superior to other girls. 

That is the inherent problem, not just with geek guys, but the geek subculture in general.  Dominance is information. How much do you know? Can you prove it?  The years of bullying and exclusion endured by most geeks and nerds should make you WANT to be a more open, welcoming person. It should make you want to break the cycle, but sadly the opposite is too often true. All of that negativity is too often continued and turned inward towards the community.

Worse yet,  is the ways in which it gets turned on women.  Gals who cosplay are risk of harassment both verbal and physical. There is an implication that if you cosplay, you must also be sexually available to every Tom, Dick and Harry that ogles you or you are "teasing" them. We clearly came out just for you, right? Guys, we aren't “pretending” to get attention. We aren't dressing up in revealing outfits to tease you. Hell, you try to cosplay as a female character from a comic and NOT be in a revealing outfit! Hint, we like the characters, and we like costuming, that’s why we are dressing up. Check your ego. This is a girl you've probably just met, whom you've never seen before. This has nothing to do with you at all. 

Not to mention, why would your mythical “hot girl who is faking it” take all that time effort and money to make or buy a costume, buy convention tickets, travel to an event and spend an entire weekend worth of their personal time just to tease you or get sexual attention, when she could get that EXACT kind of attention by walking down the beach in a bikini? Not to mention if any female is near the "Standard beauty" end of the scale instead of "quirky cute" she is automatically set up for a hell of a lot more questioning. 

All we want, is to participate in our interest without belittlement and harassment. Can I please just go read my comic now? And GOD FORBID I want to talk with another human being about my interests, or bring said character to life with a costume. 

And thanks to the glory of the anonymous internet comment, what do women who speak out get? Death threats, rape threats, or ranked based on their bio picture and how “Do-able” they are. 




I JUST started getting into comic books. I wasn't allowed to read them as a child, my mom was crazy strict. (Except for Archie, of which I remember nothing, and didn't even really like.)  For any normal person, this would just be called a “new interest” but again, those darn ovaries!  I’m now a “Fake geek girl.”

Fast forward from high school to “Free Comic book day” last year in which I walked up to the cashier with my Thor comics in hand. The cashier, thinking he was making a joke, said to me “Now do you like Thor, or do you like Chris Hemsworth?” I was spitting fire I was so mad. Why? You may ask? 

Let’s dissect this shall we?

One, I like Thor, you know, the Norse God. My family is Scandinavian, I love Norse mythology, and I am in a historical re-enactment group in which I play Viking, and competitively throw axes on the weekend, (pretty damn well, too, I might add.) But again, this is me “proving” my cred. I shouldn't have to ramble a vitae off to you every time I purchase a comic.

Two, Chris Hemsworth is hot. So what?  I am allowed to be attracted to him. You have no say in that, and it has no bearing on whether or not I ALSO enjoy the comics. What’s with the “or”? Hemsworth OR Thor? How about AND?  Let’s also discuss the last many decades of comics shall we? What do female characters wear?  What’s that? Skin tight suits, loin cloths, bikinis? Outfits that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination?  Men have been ogling and objectifying women in comics and enjoying women for their aesthetics for about as long as comics have existed. It’s our turn now. The new movies hire young attractive actors.We like to look at them. Get over it. Oh you weren't just ogling Scarlett Johansson in the cat suit as she bent over with totally unnecessary camera angle? *cough* bullshit. You get to enjoy the comics for their story line and cheesecake, but we are only allowed to like the content? Hypocritical much? 

Three, shut up and take my money. All gender aside, I am a customer and I am trying to give you money. You know, that stuff you use to keep the lights on in your shop that pays your rent and buys your food? It shouldn't matter if a wookie walks into your shop, shut up, give them the comic and say “Thanks have a nice day!”

It deeply saddens me that this is even an issue. It should be simple, people enjoying something together. Why should it matter their age, gender, orientation? Why should it matter whether it’s an old passion, or a brand new interest? Here is a new person for you to meet and have fun discussions with about a shared interest. It doesn't have to be about sex (gasp!) It doesn't have to be a Jeopardy contest. It can just be two people enjoying a fandom together. (Notice I used the word people. We are in fact people, and more than just the sum of our dangly bits.)

Stop worrying so much about whether or not we have achieved the appropriate level of knowledge, or what we are wearing, or about our supposed nefarious machinations concerning your penis.  Just leave us to like what we like, and we will do the same.


~By GoblinGal


#fakegeekgirl #GenderInequality #geekgirl #gamergirl #fakegeek #girlsingames #Thor #GirlsLoveThor #nothingtoprove #nerdygirl #nerdgirl #yourtheproblem #cosplay #cosplayisnotconsent #womenincomics #YesAllWomen #Sexism #SexisminGames #whoareyoutosayshesnot #AdamSavage