My new Mini Clever and Cybermite

Most of you may know that I tend to send a mini version of myself along to some cons when I can’t be there.  This mostly happens at Gally, which usually means that whatever I send has to not only endure the general craziness of my friends, but also being packed up and shipped. So far, every Clever I have sent has technically survived, but he usually comes back in pretty rough shape. Now is this because of the USPS or my friends, well, I guess a little of both.  ( I will be posting the #CleverdoesGally2019 album soon, and you can decide!)

My friend Holly of Hollys Making Stuff crafts the cutest creatures of all sorts so I asked her to make me a wee Mr. Clever.  I was not disappointed when she sent me some WIP photos. Not expecting to see a teeny tiny cybermite on his lapel, but that got me thinking, and I asked if she would also make me a cybermite too.

I am really happy with how these came out. I can’t wait to take pictures of them all around the town and at every con we go to.

 

May have already taken them to the MFA.

 

Mr. Clever does a podcast

 

Achievement Unlocked!

My first time saying YES to being a guest speaker on a Doctor Who podcast. I met some of the wonderful people from Man Bites Media and Diversely Geek while at SqueeCon, so I could not say no. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part this three-part series that talks about “The Influence of the Doctor. ”

I hope you will tune in and enjoy listening to us discuss how Doctor Who changed and influenced our lives and the lives of our friends and the community that we move around in.

Thank you to the cast for having me.

The link to the podcast

TW:

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For those that may need a TW, I do, however briefly, towards the end, discuss my experiences with sexual assault, and the many types of threats that I have had throughout the years.  Brief mentions of r*pe and transphobia.

How I made my Cyber Dragon Staff for the 2019 Hawthorne Hotel Masquerade Ball – a #tutorial

When I first decided to do my Clever of Dragons Doctor Who/Game of Thrones mash-up for the Winds of Winter masquerade ball I figured since it was going to be pretty obscure I needed some sort of prop to make it fun and to have something to tie in to the theme. The concept of a Cyber-Dragon staff seemed interesting and fun! And totally something Mr. Clever would carry.

 

Obviously, it was going to be silver, and I knew I wanted its eyes to be blue to match the blue lights on my cyberplanner. I had never worked with props of this nature before and the process proved to be a little bit more challenging than I thought especially since my craft area is not very conducive to making anything larger than a cyberplanner.

 

I also don’t have space away from my cats. Which is a whole other challenge!

 

I started with a roll of wrapping paper and I decided to make the basic head shape of the dragon itself out of paper mache. Mind you, I have never worked with paper mache before, not even as a child. The reason for this is that newspaper is part of the long list of things I am allergic to. So I wasn’t able to do work with the paper mache as well and as long as I had first planned. I did the best I could with it, and ended up filling in the gaps with aluminum foil and tape.

 

Not really looking the part yet.

 

At first, the shape looked way off.

 

Slightly better with the eyes.

 

 

Each individual dragon scale was made out of thin craft foam. Initially, I wasn’t going to cover the cardboard tube completely but that just got a little bit away from me. I started cutting out a few scales here and there, sometimes in bed, sometimes at the hair salon, sometime while I was waiting for laundry to dry – wherever I could. So I figured, well, I have all these scales, might as well glue them on.

 

Much better

 

The plastic that I ended up using for the eyes and the chestplate actually came from a Quidditch set that CJ got me for Christmas. The set came in a box, with all the Quidditch balls, protected in this one piece of plastic. I got so excited because I realized that the plastic was the perfect shape and size for the eyes and chest. It was also the moment where I realized that I went full on cat, as I was more excited about the packaging that I was about the product.

 

 

I carved out a hole in the wrapping paper tube for the chest plate, then cut out the eye holes in the head, put the plastic in. Found blue LED lights and strung them through. I then cut out a hole in the back of the tube for the lights’ battery pack. After that I just used a glue gun to glue the rest of the scales around the remaining openings.

 

Scales and eyes.

 

Finished!

 

To finish the head, I covered it the best I could with the rest of the scales, aluminum foil spikes, and window insulation around the eyes. I covered the entire thing in silver spray paint…

… and off I went to the ball. Except I forgot to cover it in sealant and my hands were covered in silver paint the entire night of the ball. I fixed it later, sealed it, just in case I ever use Fernando again. Yes, we have decided that his name shall be Fernando.

 

Mr. Clever has the Iron Throne!

 

I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at a tutorial! Stay tuned for more on future projects! 

 

11 Days until 2019!

 

Only eleven days until 2019! See what I did there? That means only 11 days until I can get my butt in gear and write a Year in Review, too. So many things have happened in 2018.

 

Also, who else is excited for the Doctor Who special? I am very curious to see what happens.

Behind-the-Scenes at my latest photoshoot

One of the many things that I enjoy about doing photoshoots is getting to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a fabulous photo.  It certainly takes lots of patience, a certain charm and a great sense of humor to work with someone like myself.  I am notoriously uneasy when I am getting my photo taken, yet always a bit rambunctious at the same time.

It was a great pleasure to work with Sauvage Photo and Edit again.  She always puts me at ease and makes it a very fun and productive day! This time around I had my good friend Kelly as my NiS Clara along with my wonderful spouse taking some photos of us while we worked.

As per usual, I brought all my props – chess board, chess set, trigger, Clara’s gun. And perhaps a few more things.

I thought it might be fun to recreate some fan art that I had seen. This proved to be a little tricky, as you don’t realize that illustrations and photo manips, no matter how good, are still not real people.  Getting some of the angles correct was bit challenging.

We managed to get some great shots, and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Kakawa Chocolate House, Salem, MA Opening

Kakawa Chocolate House – Salem, MA Opening.

For months, we have been tempted and teased with the “Opening Soon” signs of the new Kakawa Chocolate shop here in Salem, MA. Up until now they have had only one other location – in Santa Fe, NM. Week after week, myself and all my friends, would stop by, peek into the windows, curious to see if there was any indication of movement inside. We used to joke that Willy Wonka himself would eventually pop out of the door. Welcoming us.

One gloomy Saturday, an exceptionally large group of us walked by and just as Paul and I placed our faces up against the glass and mouthed “Chocolate!” we heard the door open. A lovely man peered out, and said, “SOON! We open on Tuesday, 10 am!”

Obviously I had to shake this man’s hand, introduce myself, and tell him that we would be back. On Tuesday. At 10am. That man was one of the owners, Jack. Wonderful man, great sense of humor to accommodate all of us peeking into his shop!

Tuesday morning was rainy and cold. But I kept my word to Jack, and showed up at 10am (well, ok 9:40) with my friends Sarah and Chuck. People on Essex Street kept asking us why we were standing outside in the alcove. “CHOCOLATE!”, we said.

At 10am on the nose, the door opened, and Jack, ever the bubbly host, said “Who wants to be the first through the door?”

Well, I happened to be closest, so it was me! The first customer! I got a wonderful hug from Jack and inside we went for our tour. It really did feel like we had golden tickets.

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Speaking of gold, this truffle is not Cyberman friendly.

We were greeted by the other owner, Tony, and handed small samples of their sipping chocolates, known as “elixirs”. Which were the single best things I have ever tasted. Ever. We sat down and enjoyed the sipping chocolates paired with some lovely conversation. Then we wandered around and perused their yummy wares.

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The Jeffersonian is my personal favorite elixir. And we tried them ALL.

They didn’t have a full showing of every item they will be selling as this was a soft opening, but even with limited stock, we were in awe. And they were so knowledgeable about every piece. We each bought some truffles and received some free samples for being the first customers.

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Nothing like a good book and fine chocolate.

 

All in all, this new shop is a tasty fit for our Witch City and I am very excited to go back for it’s official grand opening on Saturday with even more friends!