Adventures in Nail Stamping

So last year I started experimenting with nail wraps, which are essentially little stickers you add to your fingernails in place of nail polish. I tried several different options, including Jamberry, Espionage Cosmetics, Sally Hansen, Kiss, and Incoco.

Jamberry Painted Polka and Berry Blue

Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Crowd Surfer

Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Crowd Surfer

Espionage Cosmetics Nailed It in Patriotic

Espionage Cosmetics Nailed It in Patriotic

I had moderate to decent success.

  • I like many of the Jamberry patterns, but it takes me about an hour to do, and I sometimes have problems with the edges lifting, even after reading various tips online.
  • I really like the Espionage Cosmetics nerd manicures (e.g Sherlock-wallpaper-inspired Baker Street!) and love how fast they are to apply, but find that the tips start to wear for me after about a day.
  • I really like the Sally Hansen nail polish strips, and they're fast to apply too, but only like a couple of their patterns.

So I read online about nail stamping, and decided to give it a whirl. The concept is that you buy metal plates that are engraved with a design, apply nail polish to them, then use a rubber stamper to transfer the image from the plate to your nail. I like that once you invest in the plate, you can keep reusing it, in infinite nail polish color combinations, as opposed to continually re-buying one-use nail wraps. Of course, there is a bit of a learning curve, but there are plenty of tips, tutorials, and videos online to help. This video on "How NOT to Stamp" was helpful AND entertaining.

For my first foray, I didn't want to invest a lot, not knowing if I would even want to continue. So I bought a plate for $1.50 on Amazon. Guess you get what you pay for, because the engraving was barely deep enough to hold the polish, so that didn't work very well. But it gave me enough of an idea that I wanted to try again, so I read quite a few reviews, and chose a MoYou London plate and got to try it this weekend. 

I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Navy Fleet as the base, and Konad nail stamping polish in Princess white for the stamp. Each stamp got progressively better as I got used to the process and landing the stamp correctly. The trickiest part, however, was the top coat. As you can see below, several nails smeared when I applied the top coat. Reading online, this is a fairly common issue. I went back out and got Seche Vite top coat, and redid a couple nails, and am more pleased with my results. I thought of this as a trial run and reminded myself I'm still in the experimentation phase, which helped.

MoYou nail stamping

I enjoyed these so much that I went ahead and bought two more MoYou London plates, including this geek one, which features Sherlock's wallpaper, so I can reuse it again and again!

Have you tried nail stamping? Had you even heard of it? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 


Just listed - new geek gift ideas for the holidays!

I just listed 3 new sets of my geek coasters in my Etsy shop, all featuring some great comic book art. I created two sets from the comic book adaptation from Jim Butcher's "Fool Moon," book two of the Dresden Files series of book, and one set from the Dr. Horrible and other Horrible Stories graphic novel.

Each coaster is made from a ceramic tile, with comic book art sealed on top with Mod Podge. Then I top that with a layer of resin to ensure both hot and cold beverage drips won't mar the surface, and back them with felt.

These would make great gifts for the geeks on your list - any Dresden fans or Whedonites out there?

Hop over to my Etsy shop to see a closeup of each coaster. I also updated the listings for the Ewok scoodie and Yoda hat to indicate they are both READY TO SHIP!

Dresden-coasters-bobset-G33kGirlCreative

Dresdenset1-G33kGirlCreative

Drhorrible-set-G33kGirlCreative


More on Geek Girl Brunch plus geek ornaments!

In my last post, I introduced Geek Girl Brunch and the coasters I made for our local chapter launch swag bag. Today on Geek Crafts I talked a bit more about GGB and our next event, which has a "Let's Get Crafty" theme. Geeks + crafting? So.there.

Speaking of Geek Crafts, I recently updated my listing of posts I have contributed there - at 150+ posts, it's a geek-tastic extravaganza of crafty goodness!

Hop on over to Geek Crafts to see the quickie tutorial I shared for creating geek ornaments from comic books!

Comic book ornaments by Angie Pedersen


Geek Girl Brunch and DIY Geek Coasters

Geek Girl Brunch-Kansas City logo

Have you heard about Geek Girl Brunch (GGB)? It's this awesome organization that nurtures and encourages geek girl meetups. Over brunch. With drinks. They started as a local meetup group in New York City, and had so much fun that they decided to roll out WORLDWIDE chapters

Sensing I had found my geek tribe, I signed up to be notified about news of the Kansas City chapter. I got an email in April notifying me that chapters were forming, and would I like to be an officer to help launch the KC chapter? Since my mantra for the year is to be open to new experiences, I said yes!

I've been working for the past few months with my co-officer Amanda to get all the various elements in place - Twitter account, Facebook page/group, chapter page, deciding on logo colors, scouting a venue for our first brunch, and millions more details. We are so excited to get things rolling!

To welcome our first Brunchettes, Amanda and I are working on fun little swag bags. I'm crafting a GGB-KC Brunchette tile coaster for each attendee.  I have a variety of geek coasters available in my Etsy shop, but thought I would do a brief write-up on how I make them. The instructions that follow are specific to the Brunch coasters, but you can substitute any image to make it your own!

The trick that makes my coasters so nice and durable is the resin coating on top - there are tons of DIY tutorials online that tell you just to adhere and seal with Mod Podge, but I didn't find that durable enough. I tried sealing the images with spray acrylic, spray polyurethane, and brush-on poly, but the images bled and I would get rings from the drink condensation. I finally experimented with resin and my coasters are gorgeous with a glossy crystal clear hard coating that works great for hot or cold drinks (duly tested with coffee, margaritas, hard cider, Captain and Coke, and plain old ice water).

GGB-KC-coaster

Supplies

  • ceramic tiles - I get 4"x4" white tiles from Lowe's or Home Depot for about 16 cents each, or often I can find them at a Habitat ReStore for 10 cents each.
  • color image (e.g. Brunchette badge)
  • Mod Podge (I use matte formula)
  • 2-part resin (e.g. Amazing Clear Cast)
  • stiffened self-adhesive felt (I get black, in 9"x12" sheets - you can get 6 4x4 squares from each sheet)
  • brayer
  • small paint brush or foam brush (for Mod Podge application)
  • plastic drinking cups (~4oz)
  • wooden craft sticks
  • plastic gloves
  • 1" disposable foam brush for resin application (1 brush per 7 coasters)
  • plastic garbage bag to protect your work surface

Instructions

  • Start with the basic Brunchette badge that the girls at GGB HQ have made available in the sidebar of their website. You can also use any image you like - I also like comic book pages!
  • Using a graphic editing program (e.g. Photoshop), create a new image or resize to 4"x4" (or the size of your tile.
  • Edit image to customize drink colors and add city-chapter name to the header.
  • Using a desktop publishing program (e.g. MS Publisher), insert the image four times, so four images print on one sheet.

Coasters-4up

  • Using a color printer, print as many images as you need. I print on regular printer paper. 
  • Trim each image to size (I use a paper cutter for nice straight edges).
  • Using a small paint brush (~1/2 to 3/4"), apply Mod Podge to one tile. Cover the whole top surface.
  • Carefully center color image on Mod Podged surface and smooth down so there are no wrinkles. 
  • Use a brayer to firmly attach image.
  • Using the same small paint brush, brush on a layer of Mod Podge over the surface to help seal everything. Allow to dry - I usually allow at least a couple hours. Repeat Mod Podge process for each coaster.
  • Now you're ready to give the coaster(s) a nice hard surface - it's time for resin! READ THE BEST PRACTICES BELOW AND PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU START (YES, I'M SHOUTING THIS!)
  • Place 7 coasters on plastic cups, with about 2" between.
  • Put on plastic gloves and follow package instructions for mix ratio and stir time.
  • After the resin is completely mixed per instructions, pour about a quarter to silver dollar sized amount in the middle of one coaster.
  • Use a disposable foam brush to gently and slowly cover surface with resin. Make sure you get to the tile edges and seal in the image edges. 
  • Continue for remaining coasters - pour a small amount, one coaster at a time, and spread to cover with foam brush.
  • Once all 7 are covered, go back and inspect for little air bubbles in the resin surface. If you see any, huff your breath lightly over the surface - the carbon dioxide should pop the air bubbles so you don't mar the surface with continued brushstrokes.
  • Allow to dry at least 24 hours - I usually let cure for 48 hours.
  • Adhere 4x4 squares of stiffened felt to tile backs to protect table surfaces.
  • Admire your work!

 RESIN BEST PRACTICES

  • Protect your work surface! There will be drips and resin is a PAIN and tedious to scrape off. I tape down a plastic garbage bag so nothing moves around.
  • Set out one plastic cup for each coaster - this will hold your coaster as you brush the resin into place. I actually progressed to using 2" wood blocks beneath each coaster, but used plastic cups to start.
  • On the back of each tile, put masking tape around the inside border to catch any resin drips. That way you can just peel off any drips that escape, rather than laboriously scraping them off.
  • Put on disposable plastic gloves BEFORE you mix the resin.
  • I use wood craft sticks to mix the resin.
  • I use 1 oz each of the resin and hardener, and mix in disposable plastic drinking cups. With this amount, I can usually do 7 coasters. 
  • If you need to do more than 7 coasters, do them in batches of 7 so the resin doesn't start to harden before you get to all your coasters.
  • I learned a lot from reading this post on resin tips, including the comments.
  • See also: ResinObsession.com-Resin FAQ, including What Kind of Resin Should I Use?

Hope this helps other chapters with some fun swag! Have you heard of GGB? Excited to check it out? Have you experimented with resin? Let me know in the comments!


Making Matters: Crafty Confessions

I recently signed up for Jennifer Priest's (of Hydrangea Hippo) latest project called Making Matters. She is offering a weekly email newsletter intended to inspire people to make and create, with ideas covering everything from "creating a space you love to make in to shopping for craft supplies in a different way to challenges to make from the resources you already have."

The first prompt arrived today, and I thought I would blog about it. The theme is Crafty Confessions: "this week is all about being super truthful with yourself about what your biggest challenges are when crafting...Whatever things interfere with your ability to be creative, identify those and write them down."

  1. While I do create projects for my Etsy shop, and did make a few things for Christmas, I still struggle with feeling like I'm letting my "crafting superpowers" go to waste. I let the fact that I work full-time, have a family, and want to exercise take precedence over being creative. 
  2. Working full-time seriously cramps my crafting time. I mean, I have to go to work EVERY DAY and stuff. Bummer.
  3. Speaking of my Etsy shop, I let crafting for profit overshadow crafting for fun. I often feel like the time I do spend crafting should be "productive" (read: profitable).
  4. I let my perfectionist nature dictate whether I even try new techniques or crafts. If I don't think something will turn out well, I don't do it. Which is ridiculous - there are so many crafts I really do want to try. But because my time is limited, and reason #2 (wanting to feel "productive"), I often stick with things I know I'm good at. In 2015, I want to try more new things and feel ok when they don't turn out great at first, and not worry about "wasting" supplies on trying new things.
  5. My craft room is my personal dungeon. I hate even going down there. I have too much stuff and feel completely overwhelmed by what to do with it. I know I have bought multiples of things because I couldn't find the first set. It's very hard to feel inspired to create when your creative space zaps your mojo before you even start a project! So often I have been sorely tempted to just donate everything without even looking through it, just to clear the space. Seriously - here's a picture I should be ashamed to share, but maybe you can relate:

    Cluttered craft desk

  6. Related to #4, I think I have hoarding tendencies. I have so much product still from when I was teaching scrapbooking, over 10 years ago now. Product never opened, but held onto because I'm sure I'll *need* it at some point, and how would I feel if I needed it, and didn't have it?? How could I possibly go on? I need to let go of that mentality AND the STUFF. I did make strides in that direction a couple of months ago when I donated two huge totes of scrapbooking supplies to a support group for 10- to 12-year-old boys at a grieving center for children and families - now THERE'S a good use for those supplies gathering dust in my dungeon! I've already prepped a bag of punches to donate next.
  7. I am currently struggling with The Next Big Thing. I've written four books, traveled around the US to teach classes, even gave a keynote to 1500 people. But I'm not sure what's next for me. I know I love crafting, and I'm good at it, but don't have a clear purpose or path. And it weighs on me. But I do know that I am open to possibilities.

I haven't always subscribed to (or followed through with) the One Little Word movement, but maybe this year's One Little Word should be "open" - open to letting go, open to trying new things, open to making messes and mistakes. Open to possibilities. Thanks to Jennifer and Making Matters for *opening* my eyes to that!

  Be open frame

Digi-scrap credit: Aug20 Freebie frame 1 by Leora Sanford; Fonts: Toreador & Amertype


Handmade Christmas: Reusable Fabric Gift Bags

 

Reusable-Christmas-gift-bag

In 2008, I started experimenting with using fabric for some Christmas present wrapping. Reading this post, I had forgotten my woeful first experiment, but in the past several years, my family has adopted using fabric for at least some of our Christmas present wrapping. It's fun to see some of the bags I created come back to me from other family members.

Until the bags drift back in, though, I usually wind up making a few each year. This year I got fabric to make three, using Lori Holt's tutorial for a Lined Travel Bag. See the result of my first bag with this tutorial above! I'm so impressed with myself for making a lined bag!

My brother also got me the book, "The Wrapping Scarf Revolution," which offers instructions on how to wrap items with large squares of fabric. In addition to reusable fabric gift bags, I have made some double-sided squares of fabric to wrap some items, but think I may need to practice my tying skills a little. I am less-than-impressed with my wrapped results.

Have you tried using fabric for gift wrapping? Please share your experience below!

 


5 Fandom Friday: Geeky Clothing

Fandom.5.friday

The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick have kicked off a writer's-block-busting initiative to build community among geeky female bloggers called 5 Fandom Friday

"The basic idea of 5 Fandom Fridays is to write a weekly Friday blog post in the form of a top 5 list based on a predetermined topic.  It'll give your readers a deeper insight into your fandoms and your blogging personality.  It's a great way to avoid bloggers block and sleep well knowing that you have at least 4-5 planned posts for the month."

I'm already a bit behind, but am excited to start posting here a little more regularly. As I recently posted, the Female Geek Bloggers G+ Community really has me wanting to dive back in to my own personal blogging, and chatting up my geek passions and projects.

So on to for this week's 5 Fandom Friday post - Geeky Clothing Items I Need In My Closet Immediately.

Adopt-a-tribble-teefury

#1 - As  perhaps indicated by my book The Star Trek Craft Book, I love me some Star Trek. This "Adopt a Tribble" TeeFury tee is too cute and the perfect companion to another Tribble shirt I already own, "The Tribble with Tribbles" from We Love Fine. And everyone knows, once you have one Tribble (shirt), they tend to reproduce.

She-is-worthy

#2 - Speaking of We Love Fine...hot on the heels of the recent announcement that Thor will soon be a female character in the comic books, this "She is Worthy" tee from We Love Fine is indeed worthy...of joining my geek closet.

Mollyweasleysweater

#3 - I would love to bust out this Molly Weasley-inspired sweater from the Harry Potter movie "Chamber of Secrets" in the upcoming cold months - while a crochet fiend, I haven't ventured beyond simple shrugs in the sweater territory. These sleeves on this beauty would be challenging but rewarding once complete.

Tree_gondor

#4 - I would love to wear this to the premiere of the next Hobbit movie next month. I love subtle geeky references - many people would see this as an artsy tree but geeks would recognize it as the Tree of Gondor, and those are the people I want to hang with.

Run-like-the-doctor-just-told-you-to

#5 - I've recently started working out at a gym (again) and find myself in need of more workout clothes. This Doctor Who inspired tank would do quite nicely. Check out the rest of Activate Apparel's site - they have quite a few geeky reference shirts, such as Doctor Who, Star Trek, and more general Nerdy.

Bsg-standard-double-tank-front_grande

BONUS - another fun tank to exercise in would be this replica of the Battlestar Galactica double-tank.

 

Baggins

Bonus #2 - while not geeky clothing technically, I've recently been eyeing this Lord of the Rings-inspired bracelet called "Baggins." I love how chunky it is (very "on-trend" these days), with the subtle homage to Arwen's necklace and The One Ring.

I had fun putting this post together and commend SuperSpaceChick and The Nerdy Girlie to putting the challenge together. I love the idea of lending my voice to a community of other Female Geek Bloggers, and look forward to reading other contributions to the linkup!

Any geek clothing you've been coveting lately? Fess up in the comments!


Female Geek Bloggers, Geek Crafting, and Zoodles!

I've been enjoyed several things recently: the Female Geek Bloggers Google+ Community, geek-crafting, and my new spiralizer.

Femalegeekbloggers-badge

If you aren't familiar with Google+, their Communities are similar to Facebook Groups, or website forums. They feature threaded conversations which allow comments and "+1s" (similar to FB Likes). Female Geek Bloggers provides a central hub for women to gather to discuss geeky things, such as Doctor Who, cosplay, comics, movies, anime, gaming (both video and board), and even “geek therapy.”

I really enjoy the breadth of discussions, and have been exposed to topics and people I wouldn’t have otherwise stumbled upon. I also love the sense of community there – all of us interested in geeky things, supporting blogging and sometimes marketing efforts of other geeky females. Quite a few of the members are also crafters, so I also get to see plenty of interesting geek-crafts.

G33kgirl-Groot-pot

Speaking of geek-crafts, my fingers have been flying recently on several fun projects, mostly for my Etsy store. Over the past several weeks, I completed a child-size and adult-size Ewok "scoodie" (scarf+hood), and four baby Groots. I'm also working on perfecting my process for making geek coasters. I already sold three of the Groots, including one to Belgium, and one to the United Kingdom! Global geek love! I still need to get pictures of the Ewok scoodies in action, then get them up in my shop. Until then, here's a quickie of me modeling the child size for fun.

Ewokscoodie
Finally, several months ago, I attended a cooking demo by Johnna Perry and was introduced to the "spiralizer," or spiral vegetable slicer. The class included dishes such as JapChae with sweet potato noodles and Lemon Almond Pesto over zucchini noodles. I love vegetables, and enjoyed each of the dishes, so I asked for a spiralizer for my birthday this year. Thanks to my brother, I have enjoyed "zoodles" (zuchinni noodles) three times this past week! Here's how I cook them:

Sauteed Zoodles (Zuchinni Noodles)

Spiral-slice zuchinni and carrot. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add vegetables and garlic. Season as desired. Stir around with spatula to evenly distribute seasoning and garlic. Saute until veggies are tender, probably not more than 10 min. Top with parmesan (optional).

Zoodles

One large zuchinni makes a lot more "noodles" than you might think - I can usually get two bowlfuls out of one. I haven't tried reheating any leftovers, but don't think they would probably do well. I would be curious if you have tried reheating them, and your results! I'm also curious what you have used a spiralizer for! Please share in the comments below!