And the winner is…

The winning entrant for the most recent contest is listed below. In addition to including a pick-up line, the winner provided a story of “geek romance.” Thanks to “Cassandra” for entering.

I really am not quite sure how to start writing this, or what to even include here. I know that you had mentioned about pickup lines, and stories of the dating community. The same happens in and around the furry community. I can tell you that there is probably just about the same amount of sex going on at any other sort of Con, that goes on at a Fur Con. There are huge stereotypes going on about Furries, and I am not going to say that there are not people who don’t fit those to a tee, because there are.

Now, romance…I have seen it happen when I used to go onto the online chat rooms years ago. I have taken place in online ceremonies – furs getting married to other furs online – as well as have heard many stories, of people meeting their life mate online as well, and actually meeting them, and living happily ever after…or not so happily.

I think that the thing about the fur online community is that they provide a comfort to each other from time to time, and it is a place where you can turn off the world and step into something completely different. I remember being able to host my own “Room” within the chatting zone. Now, it would be hosted by either one of my two furs. KittyKatz Kozy Korner (uh…yes, dumb but oh well, that was what was voted on) or Cassandra’s Treehouse. Now, what a hedgehog was doing in a tree… Cassandra was my Fur of choice, and that is really the one that I had a lot more fun with.

There were times when other furs would stop by and chat. There were other times, when the furs would try to make their advances. I think the funniest line that I had heard was from a guy who took on the persona of a bulldog. He was one of the guys that I would pal around with from time to time…until he started to create drama. “Cassandra, come here and Give a dog a bone.” :::sigh::: yes, I know probably not the best one yet…mind you it has been so many years ago. I do remember that one because the next thing that came out was some other bloke making the comment that he could end up turning him into bones by being crass. 😛

Return to Sewing Mountain

Phew. It’s been almost a month since the last post. I’ve managed to finish a (VERY) rough draft of my thesis. It’s now awaiting comments from my advisor. While I wait for those to come through…I can get back to sewing and blogging! Huzzahs!

Since I had been spending most of my free time sequestered away in my room with piles of sources and notecards and a laptop I’ve had very little time to devote to sewing. It’s really been killing me, too. As I’ve mentioned before sewing is one of the things I do to relax. That’s not to say that I wasn’t fiddling about with a few things here and there when I managed to carve out a free moment.

On a recent trip to JoAnn’s I’d picked up a really cute dress pattern. Now, I’m really more of a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl on a daily basis and I don’t wear dresses all that often, but I do tend to keep a few around. I’ll wear one to church sometimes, or for a girls’ night out, or sometimes just because I want to “shake things up” and wear something other than my usual jeans. When I get the urge to wear a dress people inevitably ask me what the special occasion is. Despite not wearing them all that often, I LOVE making them. So far I’ve made and worn three different ones and I usually get compliments on them.

When I spotted the new dress pattern I knew exactly what fabric I was going to use. A few years back I had purchased a brown linen with pink blossoms embroidered all over it. Normally I wouldn’t look at the color combination of brown and pink and think “Awesome! I love it!” but this time it really worked. Anyway, I had purchased the fabric thinking “I’ll make a cute little skirt out of it.” Cut to a year or two later and it was still in the stash, awaiting a purpose.

I took it out of the box, ironed it and got a cutting. I made a little change to the original pattern. The pattern envelope actually included patterns for two slightly different styles. The one I made here is actually supposed to tie at the top with two long ties. I actually went ahead and cut them out and

Can you tell what movie I was watching while finishing the dress?

 even sewed them on to the dress but I wasn’t happy with the way it looked. For one, the top was a little too big when it was just tied together. I also wanted to feel a little more secure when wearing the dress and not have to worry about the straps in the back coming untied. Plus, I will probably usually wear this dress with a bolero or similar top and I didn’t want the ties to cause a bulge under the top.

I took out the ties and just closed off the ends of the two sides. The top of the dress now closes with a nice big dress hook. I wanted an extra bit of flash on the back of the dress and went ahead and found a really cute button that looks like a cherry blossom. It’s a detail that most people will probably never see and it’s my favorite part of the dress.

I’m really looking forward to wearing the dress out this weekend. The weather is supposed to be beautiful. I’m still trying to figure out what to make the bolero out of but, in the meantime, I’ve got a light, short-sleeved pink sweater with little blossoms embroidered on it that I think will go very well with the whole ensemble.

In other news…my favorite JoAnn’s is closing. Well, it’s kind of closing. Technically they say they’re moving. Unfortunately, the place they’re moving to is a bit more out of the way than I’d like. They’re taking over the spot vacated by Circuit City over at one of the town squares (I always forget whether it’s Fairfax Town Center or Fairfax Square…both are “nearby” but in two different places). It’s actually a nice building and a big location, but…that was my store, damn it! I knew where everything was, I could drive there in 15 minutes in rain so bad I could barely see the road, and I liked the people there. My favorite employee isn’t even going to the enw store. ::pout:: The JoAnn’s out at Centreville is also closing, which means the closest one to me now is the one out at Seven Corners. I never go there – it’s dirty, it’s kind of crowded and jumbled and I usually can’t find what I’m looking for. I suppose I’ll just have to learn a new route to the new location.

The NGB logo and tagline contest results are in. They’ve actually been in for a while but, as I mentioned, I was sequestered away. The winner of the tagline contest is Maggie (“Costumer’s Unite!) and the winner of the logo contest is Lauren Geerdes (aka Red). I love both submissions and can’t thank either contributor enough. You guys rock!

So, that brings the first NGB contest to a close. The boxes of goodies and t-shirts are on their way (or have been delivered) to the recipients. I’ll be putting together another contest a little later on this year but I don’t know exactly when or what it’ll be. Just remember to keep checking back.

Snowpocalypse Now (and Happy Belated Birthday)

I wrestled with so many possible titles for this entry: SnowMG (which I discarded simply on the principle that I hate text-speech to begin with). Snowtorious B.I.G. Snowmaggedon. Send in the Plows. The list goes on. As you might have guessed from the title we’ve been hit once again by the fluffy whiteness otherwise known as snow. The entire Mid-Atlantic region has been dealing with double-digit snow that started falling around 10am yesterday. I was still at work when it started snowing but it didn’t really start to stick much until around 3pm. When I left work at 2 it was still mainly slush.

The front steps, about 20 minutes after I shoveled them. See those footsteps? Those are mine, coming back from shoveling a path out to the van in order to retrieve my winter boots.

Not so now. At our last measurement – around 6pm – we had 24 inches of snow out on the driveway. And it’s been snowing since then. I’m kind of afraid to go out tomorrow and see what the final count is. A friend of mine, who lives out in Centreville, has 28 inches on his back porch.

28 inches folks. That’s the length of my inseam.

If I were over at his house I would be unable to walk, as I’d be unable to lift my leg over the snow to take a step forward.

So…what do you do when you’re stuck inside all day in the middle of a snowstorm? Well, if you have a sewing machine and have a convention coming up, you work on the costumes you really need to finish. I managed to make it out to WalMart on Thursday after work. If you’ll remember, my Popple fabric went missing after my brother moved a bunch of stuff around in the basement. Although it’s bound to show up again at some point there was no guarantee that I’d be able to find it in time to finish the costume for Farpoint. I just had to hope that I’d be able to find the same fabric back in the craft section of WalMart. Of course, the stuff I had purchased came from the discount section so it was very possible that someone had picked it up in the two weeks between visits.

It took a bit of looking but eventually I found the same bolt of blue robe material I had purchased before. I’ve now finished the back pouch, the hands and part of the head. I should be able to do the rest of the head tonight, as well as the feet and the tail bob, and then put everything together tomorrow. My big goal for the weekend is to have it done tomorrow afternoon and get some pictures posted. ::cross fingers::

I’ve also started draping the new Blink Angel dress. Work on the mask has stalled until I can get out to the craft store and buy more Paperclay…a condition that hinges on being able to get out of my driveway and over to Fairfax. I don’t see that happening before Tuesday.

In other news…

Nerf Gun Bobbins is now a year old!

::blows noise-maker and throws confetti::

The actual birthday was Thursday, February 4th but I was working and

Why is there a picture of pie instead of a birthday cake? Simple. I don't like cake but I love pie. Maybe one of these days I'll tell you the infamous Birthday Pie story. Maggie'll LOVE that.

 unable to get to a computer to post anything at that time. So this is really a belated birthday huzzah.

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been doing this for a year now. There have been a few times here and there where the entries haven’t come as often as I would have liked but I’ve at least done more than two per month which is already better than any of my other attempts at doing a blog or a livejournal thingy.

In celebration of the blog’s one-year mark I’m having a contest. I’m planning on making a few t-shirts to wear out to conventions and around town. I’d like to make one with a funny phrase or a neat logo on the front, and the blog’s website on the back. At the moment the only phrase I’ve got is “Real Men Wear Capes” which, if you’ll remember, was the phrase I jotted down in my notes on the last day of Dragon*Con 2009.

What I’d really like to do is have an official logo or tag line for the blog. While I like “Real Men Wear Capes” there’s a bit of a problem with it…it’s got the connotation that the blog is about superheroes and written by a man. While a post here and there might be devoted to superheroes I try to make the blog about more than one kind of fandom. And, I’m not a man. So it’s out as the tag line for the blog but still might end up on a shirt.

So here’s the contest: Design a logo or come up with a tag line for the blog. If you go the logo route, it should be something that can work just as well in a smaller format (like, say, on a business card) as on a t-shirt or webpage and shouldn’t involve more than two or three colors. Please send your submissions to Tirtle82 AT aol dot com.

The winner of the contest will receive a free t-shirt and some other goodies. Nerf Gun Bobbins will retain rights to the logo/tag line, but you will be credited as the designer.

And…

The winning design/line will appear on the new Nerf Gun Bobbins website.

That’s right, folks. I’m giving the blog a birthday present and buying my own domain name! You’ll still be able to get to the blog through the wordpress.com address if you like but you can also just type in the stand-alone domain name.

I think that about does it for now. Thanks for reading and making my first year doing this so great!

Christmas contests and sewing machines

I popped over to Burdastyle.com the other day. I’ve been trying to check it more often. Their site has undergone a couple of changes recently and it seems to be a little easier to navigate everything. Since my success with the pdf pattern from Bettsy Kingston I’ve been much more willing and eager to play around with some of the other free downloadable patterns on the site.

During my exploration of the new, updated site I discovered a wonderful contest that the folks at Burdastyle are running. Known as the annual Holiday Giveaway Calendar, the site is giving away a gift a day during the month of December. You need to be a member of the site (membership is free and easy), as you have to leave a comment in order to put yourself in the running for the contest. Each day they announce a new prize and post a question for you to answer. Don’t worry, it’s not like a quiz. It’s more the personal experience type question.

For instance, yesterday’s prize was a set of 500 colored pencils. The question you had to answer in order to enter that specific contest was “What would you do with 500 colored pencils?” Pretty simple, eh? The answers can be in depth or a quick sentence, whichever you prefer to do, and the winner is chosen at random.

The first of the contests that I entered was for a sewing machine. The question that we had to answer was: How long have you had your sewing machine? Are you the first owner?

The question got me thinking, naturally. I use my machine regularly – almost everyday during the month leading up to Christmas – but I don’t often think about its journey to my sewing table, or about my own beginnings in the world of sewing. Sure, I’ve written already about my first time visiting G Street Fabrics and how JoAnn’s nurtured me through my development as a crafter/quilter/costumer/etc. I have not, however, written about my adventures in sewing machine land.

I figured I’d do that now. 🙂

A moderate sized Singer sits in the center of my tiny workspace in the basement. The table is cobbled together from several different pieces and none of the furniture around it matches. In fact, the sewing machine is the only major piece in the area that didn’t pass through a number of other hands before it wound up there. About seven years ago I came home from a day of school and work and was greeted by a smile from my mother and an enigmatic “I got you something. It’s out in the back of the van.” Intrigued, I stepped outside and pulled the back hatch open to reveal my very own sewing machine.

Until that moment I had never had a machine I could call “my own.” The first machine I worked with was my mother’s old, temperamental Singer – a behemoth with a surly attitude and a penchant for tying my bobbin thread in horrible snarls. I gave up working on the machine for the most part, preferring to keep my sanity (if not my fingertips) intact simply by hand-sewing everything. When I became heavily involved in my high school theatre department I started experimenting on the machines at school. I had my choice of three sergers and four regular machines but I still preferred my hands, a needle and a spool of thread.

It wasn’t until college, when I started working on costumes with Maggie in my spare time, that I started to use a machine more. Her mother bought her a brand new model with several bells and whistles – much fancier than the old monstrosity that had always lurked in the corner of my house. Since Maggie wasn’t all that familiar with a sewing machine yet I was given the chance to work on it most of the time.

The machine at home must have realized what I was doing and got jealous because the two of us soon worked out a tentative agreement – I wouldn’t speed through my projects like I did on my friend’s machine, and it would only do an occasional snarl, on crappy fabric, near the end of a seam. The relationship went well until a freak power surge knocked out a number of the appliances in the house – including the old machine. It wasn’t cost-effective to rebuild the entire machine (which is what was needed), so the sewing table once again languished in non-use…until that day when my mother, realizing how much peace and joy sewing brought me, gave me my very first machine.

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t use my machine. She’s not the fanciest on the market and I’m pretty sure that model isn’t even on the market anymore, but she gets things done and she’s mine. Yes, she. I’ve decided my machine is female. She’s even got a name, though I won’t tell anyone what it is.