Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Parties for the Nerds!

The holiday season has begun! Even though I don't have huge holiday parties, I've been thinking it'd be nice to start new traditions. A friend of mine got me brainstorming over ways to include my nerdiness over the holidays, whether it be bringing a special treat to someone else's party, or decorating and serving for your own party, you can be the coolest guest or host if you take a little time to put something together that everyone will know is you.
I like to try to put my own twist on everything, even simple things. You can make someone smile, or delight a fellow compatriot so easily. Especially around the holidays, people need a little cheer, and the best way that I know of (for my friends anyways) is to theme EVERYTHING. My close friends expect me to theme every little thing, it's out of control around my house. So I'm going to throw my little twist on a few ideas right here and hopefully have reason to put them to use over the holiday season. If I do  I will absolutely be putting them on here for you guys!

First, cookies! Cookies would be nice to take to a party, or even to have at your own home for your own guests. A special shout out to Miss S, who made me want to make comic cookies, which, if I get invited to a holiday party I will be bringing! These are her yummy cookies which I hear she shared with her coworkers!
She had nearly every character you could think of, tons of effort and love went into these super-hero cookies!
Making those fascinators we last blogged about as stocking stuffers, or present decorations, would be a great way to incorporate your personal touch to their gifts, and personalizing it to their favorite characters would make it that much more special. Don't forget to wear one to the party! And those comic shoes? I can't tell you how many people want them for presents, or to give as presents!
Don't forget gift wrap! I always have a theme to wrap my presents in. I will be posting those pictures when I start to wrap things for my friends and family.

It's not only festive super-heroes that I think of when I think about the holidays, I mainly think Steampunk! The first steampunk anything I witnessed was two of my CLOSEST friends getting married. As a former florist it was like finding a new medium to incorporate and play with old techniques when I made the flowers for their fantastic celebration. It happened to be winter, so now I always think of Victorian inspired holiday what-nots when I think of this season. Even a snow man can be altered to fit steampunk style, he already has the top hat, just bring on the goggles.
That got me thinking, why not serve top hat marshmallow cookies? They sure initiated conversations at my party, and they are super easy to make, not to mention how delicious they are.
Melted chocolate dipped marshmallow set on top of a chocolate cookie. BAM! Top hat. On a stick.
 Why stop the top hats there? Flip one over and use it as a centerpiece, or better yet, go to Michael's, where they have these cheap baskets that are shaped like top hats:
These come in large and small.
I will be putting the one above to good use on our dinner table! Some springs, flowers, festive baubles, will turn this top hat into a wonderful centerpiece that will have everyone buzzing.

Which leads me into the next blog project: Steampunk Roses. Super easy, beautiful, cheap bunches of roses...made from something no one expects. The steampunk wedding I mentioned before? Well, with those steampunk roses, paint, a nest, some clock pieces/gears, and lots of wire I created this beauty:
Beautiful brides deserve a hulk-sized bouquet! This one weighs only 5 pounds!
close up of the handle

So E& M thank you for making me a part of your family, and steam on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Comic Inspired Fascinators and Headbands

This time let's get back into our comic groove with some hair candy for the ladies! WonderCon 2013 approaches, and if you volunteer or work there like me and can't be in costume the whole time, it's nice to show off a little of your nerdiness with either jewelry, clothes, or shoes. This year at Comikaze whilst volunteering over with my friends at SuperHeroStuff, I sported the Avengers logo in my hair, unfortunately, I lost it twice in a row o_o It wasn't too heart wrenching because it was only foam, glitter and hair clips.

I'm going to make a new one for WonderCon and side note: I will be cosplaying this year as...Viper! Oh yeah! I will of course be doing a blog post on that later. But for now let's grab some supplies and get to work!

You're going to need:

Craft Foam and/or Felt (you will need felt, but you can choose to use foam, fabric or more felt for the top layer)

Hair Clips (see the picture for the ones I used)

Glitter, Paint, rhinestones....whatever you want to use

Hot glue and glue to put on your embellishments if you have any

Scissors and/or x-acto blade

You'll want to map out the logo or design you want to use (If you'd like the simple starter shapes I used they are under the "Insert" tab on Microsoft Word.)
These are the templates I have used.

You need to think about how you want each section of it colored, what material you would use for that (glitter, paint, rhinestones, etc.) The simplest way I knew of was chunky glitter and glue, after cutting each piece of the logo out individually, glitter them, let them dry and then putting it all together. Rhinestones are tricky to get  all perfect and lined up. If you use  paint you have to be sure whatever material your painting on won't curl up as it dries, same goes for glitter glue.

I am going to start with the Avengers logo fascinator, and I will do it two different ways so you can choose whichever you prefer, or whichever you have the materials for...lets get crafty!

Start by taking your Avengers template (I printed mine out.) You will want to cut the base circle out of felt, and the blue layer out of foam, just place the template on the felt/foam, and trace the circle, then cut. Now take your template and cut out the The actual letter (this means you will have two pieces, a big a and the little triangle under the arrow.)
Be sure to cut it out carefully! If you are using glitter or paint, the foam color won't matter, however, as you'll see in a later photo, there is foam that is silver glitter already! If you use the glitter foam, you need to remember to pull the backing off before you glue it to the next layer.
Now you are going to take the base piece (felt layer) and lay your hair clip du jour on it so you can make your slits to hold it in place. See pictures:
Make lines about 1/4-1/2 inch from the ends of each side of the hair clip
Cut slits into felt to slide the hair clip through

end result = a layer you can slide a clip in and out of with ease
 If you are going to put paint, glitter, rhinestones, etc. on you will do that right now. I will be doing one with embellishments and one with just glitter foam. Here's how to get a good coating of glitter on plain craft foam:

Choose your colors and fineness for glitter and get some plain glue, a foam applicator brush and a paper plate

set up in a location where it is ok to make a mess
Squeeze a little glue onto the FRONT of your logo, then spread it evenly over the  face of the  logo.

Set it gently into the glitter glue side to glitter. Press down to get a nice even coat

Repeat with your background layer, then flip pieces right side up onto a towel to dry. Let them dry completely, do not rush!
 Next is to....ASSEMBLE ;) your fascinator. it is pretty much the same instructions no matter what design/shape you are using. You will want to hot glue your top layers together. For this fascinator that would be the A and the circle.

Flip it over so the backside is showing. Take your base layer with hair clip closed, top side up, like the photo...the one up there^
Now you will put a circle of hot glue around the edge of the backside of the logo, and sandwich it to the top side of the felt layer.
Be sure to steer clear of the area that would touch the hair clip remember you want to be able to slide it out! I don't suggest using glitter glue, it had already been loaded into the glue gun. just use clear!

Watch your fingers...this is where you could get burned :(

Well looks like you have yourself a fascinating fascinator, surely it'll be the talk of the town, or at the very least your local comic store!
UPDATE: These four fascinators have been completed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First pair of Comic Shoes Finished!

Hey everyone, I know what a late bird I'm being here with the updated blog complete with pictures of the finished Batgirl shoes but I had to wait for those pesky comics to get here. Anyways, without further ado I present to you....Batgirl Wedges:

I really hope the lady likes them because I would have to keep them if she doesn't...and being that we have the same size shoe...hehehe...
A few notes and words to the wise for those of you who will be attempting this...Comic + mod podge is WAY more slippery than regular paper + mod podge, therefore, it is 100 times harder to smooth the bubbles out, I suggest laying down a little mod podge (just enough to make it stick where you want it) and then pushing it firmly into place with dry hands before smoothing more mod podge over the top. It is also harder with comic paper to round over the edge of the shoe, it just doesn't want to stick! So you have to go about your business until the mod podge is tacky and then hold it in place for at least 30 seconds.
I'm excited to say I am lining up a few more projects and hopefully can knock them down over my vacation for you guys!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nerdalicious Shoes!

Hey everyone!!!! This is so exciting! This post is about two of my favorite things in the world. Comics and shoes!!!! I have an obsession for both, but I always thought they couldn't be combined. I was wrong...I have a decent shoe collection. A few shoes I am in love with. Serious. Anyways, back to this tutorial, inspired by my realization that I couldn't find a pair of decent comic shoes (reasonably priced) for women, and that I wanted to be able to wear them....unlike my dragon spike shoes which are gorgeous but not exactly user-friendly. You know that type of shoe? You buy sits in your closet and you look at it lovingly every few weeks wishing you had somewhere to wear it, or that it were comfortable enough to wear all day? is how you can get it all: comfort, inexpensive, gorgeous, and drop-dead nerdaliciousness all in one shoe (technically two?)

My shoe collection comic related shoes :(

This is my first tutorial so bare with me as I work out the kinks. The type of shoe modding we will first be experimenting with is a simple decoupage technique that you can use with old or new comics, printed out graphics, etc. I highly recommend glossy thin paper if you plan on printing out pages with an ink jet printer. Regular printer paper works (in fact it's what I used for this first shoe,) however, there were some problems with it being a little weak once Mod Podge was applied, it has the potential to tear apart.
I also would like to address the shoes themselves. You can use flats, heels, wedges, or straps (although you should be a skilled decoupager to handle the little intricacies of those) the only requirement is that they be some form of leather, patent, matte or shiny doesn't matter, they just can't be fabric for this particular shoe mod. I chose a matte patent wedge for my first decoupaged shoe experience. It has the most flat space, plenty of room to show the character, and let's face it...they're the most comfortable heel in existence, which is good considering they are for a friend who does a lot of walking and standing at conventions!
Then you need to figure out what you want on the shoe. Since they were for someone that was the easy part. Batgirl. So...grab the comics, (or my case order some cheap ones) and experiment with printed out comic strips while awaiting (not so patiently thanks to hurricane Sandy) the delivery of said comics, and here we go...

Here's what you will need:
A pair of shoes (remember the only requirement is that they can't be fabric!) You can upcycle an old pair, or find a cheap pair on clearance. This particular pair that I am using was on clearance at Kohl's for 11 US dollars.
Comics or printed out patterns
Paint Brush
Mod Podge (Glossy)
Paper Towels
Painters tape (optional)
Some spray cleaner such as Fantastic (whatever you use to clean your kitchen or bathroom)
LOTS of patience. If you don't have it? You're screwed.

The wedge shoes selected for the project (hideously pink)

I highly recommend as your first step to map out a game plan. I wanted to do a layered comic strip look with larger characters overlapping. So figure out what images you want to be out-standing or over lapping, cut around them carefully, and set them aside. Next you want to cut out your back ground images, lay them around each other, switch them around until you are happy with how the mix looks. I skipped over this step on the first shoe so there are parts that have too many dark blocks together, etc. It will make the shoe look much better in the end.

Next you are going to take the shoe you chose, and clean it with the kitchen cleaner of your choosing and let it dry. Stuff the shoe with tissue or paper towels to ensure no drips of mod podge getting onto the shoe. In the picture below you will also notice I have the stick in it to keep the form of your shoe. You don't really need to do that, the shoe doesn't get that wet, but I am a stickler for detail.
nice clean shoe...

If you want any parts of the shoe to remain bare (the leather or patent to show through) tape them off right now so you don't get any smudges or goop on them. You will coat them in clear gloss later.

I mapped out the lines with a pencil to give myself guidelines
The next step is arduous for sure and is where this project will try your patience. Pick up your background images and a starting point on the shoe, for me it was the base of the shoe towards the heel. Lay your first background image on the shoe close to the base so you and tuck the end as close to the sole as possible... as you will notice it is hard to curve a flat image to a not so flat surface so here's how to fix it: each piece is different. Cut it into strips so you can smooth it against the surface of the shoe. Sometimes this means vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, which ever way you can find to reduce the buckling/bubbling of the paper. I found that on curved spaces it was best to keep the squares of paper under one inch. On the flatter surfaces of the wedge, the larger pieces laid flat just as they were.
 Once you figure out how to lay that piece, dip your brush in the Mod Podge and paint it onto that section of the shoe. Don't glob it on, and likewise don't use too want enough to make it stick (see the picture to the right), once you do that, place the image onto the sticky shoe and smooth it with your brush (this means mod podge will be on the back and front covering the image completely.)
I apologize for the different shoe! You couldn't see the mod podge in the pic of the bright pink shoe & I wanted to get a good picture so you could see how much to use!
I pressed firmly with my brush to smooth out any bubbles, working them to the edge so it would lay smooth. (I know the mod podge looks foggy at this point, don't worry you aren't smearing the ink off! it dries clear!)You will then take the next piece (it may be part of the same image, if it is be sure to line it up well!) and repeat the process. if you are at a crease or edge in the shoe I recommend putting a little extra mod podge down, and before smoothing the top with more mod podge, take a dry finger/fingernail and smooth it into the crease or tuck it into the edge carefully before smoothing the rest of it down. This came in very important at the seams of the shoe I was working with.
Once you have your background images on the shoe you'll want to repeat the process to put the showstopping images on, for this shoe it was the big Batgirl images. Make sure to coat the edges well to ensure they don't stick up.
Another part that's difficult is the top curve, you don't want jagged edges around it, so curve the paper and put mod podge on the rim!

be sure to tuck in the edges and creases!

Let the shoe completely dry.

Completely dry. See what I mean? I didn't lay out the back ground images to ensure that no one color would all be grouped together. Batgirl would have stood out more if it wasn't for all that black around her.

Dry shoe.

Here would be the part where you could, if you wish, super glue on rhinestones,  put on some spikes (I will try to do a tutorial on that at a later date) or add any embellishments, personal doodles, etc. Since I didn't want to add any to this shoe, I skipped ahead to:

The gloss coat. There were so many ways to go about this final step to your new shoes. You could do 2-3 layers of glossy Mod Podge, letting dry each layer at a time. You could use polyurethane which would make them water proof ( I recommend don't want to fall in love with your shoes and see them destroyed after all that work,) or you could get a spray gloss top coat and spray it 2-3 times, letting it dry each time in between. And Tadaa! Your new shoes are fabulous and ready to tromp around your comic shop!

I'd appreciate to hear your comments so I can make my next tutorial even better! See you guys later!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alert!!! Virgin blogger!!

Hey everyone/anyone reading!
After much thought I have given in to the siren call of Blogger, and created a blog. A blog in which I hope to share some awesome ideas, projects, adventures, stories, and whatever else the nerd in me finds amusing, fantastical, or down right awe-inspiring.

I'm going to take a minute to explain myself, how this whole thing came to be, and what you can expect from me right here at Nerd Rendezvous.... I happen to be a nerd of many varieties...comics, sci-fi make up, vintage pin-up, science, steampunk...that list could go on and on. With that being said, it is truly hard to find certain pieces for the nerd puzzle that is me. I couldn't just walk into Target and find, oh let's say... Deadpool heels, and that my friends is a problem. A big problem. A problem that I tried to remedy with an old friend, the internet. To my dismay Deadpool heels would cost 100 US dollars, plus shipping, oh...and did I mention that it would take over 2 weeks to get them? That didn't sit well with me or my wallet (or my feet...) so being the cost effective and artistic nerd that I am, I looked for DIY versions of EVERYTHING I wanted.

Wisdom is a powerful drug. You get compliments galore, save yourself tons of  money, and have the ability to give your friends custom gifts for their birthdays that are meaningful and personalized to them. Tutorials and videos out here in cyberspace are very tricky, some are great, some are awful, and some would be great but lack a few steps or tricks...or pictures. To me it was like a hunt. A hunt for knowledge and mastery of the project. And most of the time I found myself altering everything my internet scholars were teaching me. Manipulating it until it "clicked" in my head. I would read or watch (at the very least) three tutorials for whatever project was at hand, and then attempt it. To this day I often find tricks and tips that would have made it even easier, find materials that work better or have a creative tangent that leads to an epic design. My brain is complicated to say the very least.
Down to the nitty gritty: Why blog, you might ask? I have been asked on several occasions by strangers and friends alike where I got my unique jewelry or accessories which prompts a long tutorial. Usually this happens in a grocery store or whilst in a line to the restroom at a comic convention, which is...let's just say less than ideal. (Once you see them get out their phone, notepad, or ask you for a notepad or's all over.) So...why not immortalize my projects, why not share my small bit of knowledge, get new ideas, and maybe inspire some of you reading to put down your wallet and pick up some Mod Podge.

I can't promise you I will be a perfect blogger (does that even exist?) I can promise you I will try, and hopefully, if anything, get your creative juices flowing. And of course I invite you to share your comments/ideas/tips, I will try to keep up with you all as often as my schedule permits.

My next blog post will be a custom comic shoe tutorial...I invite you to check it out!