If there’s something my friends and family know about me, it’s that I love snail mail. I’ve sent many correspondences throughout the years, whether it’s for a holiday, a birthday, or just a random hello. In 2020, sending mail has been one way to keep in touch with loved ones across the country; while I can’t visit physically, at least I can send something physical to let people know I’m thinking of them.
One of my favorite ways to keep in touch through snail mail is by writing postcards. I don’t have to write much on a postcard to convey my feelings, since there isn’t much space to write! While I know I could just text someone a random hello, I like sending postcards because it lets me be more creative in my message sending. I can write hello with fancy hand lettering, or stick washi tape on the lower border of the postcard. Every postcard is like a custom made art piece, sent to someone I care about.
Not sure how to get started writing postcards? No problem, I’ve written out my tips below. Happy postcard writing!
In the world we currently find ourselves in, masks and other face coverings have quickly become an essential item to bring with you when leaving your home. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Mask? Check! This is especially important now that face coverings are mandatory in Washington state.
Let’s be honest though. Like bras, masks are often hot and uncomfortable to wear. No one really likes wearing them, but we do it in the name of social decency and for the sake of public safety during a pandemic. But are masks a necessary evil, or can they be a potential fashion statement? Instead of looking at face masks as an imposition, maybe we can view them from a more positive angle. This is really an opportunity to let your geek flag fly!
I know you geeks out there love to express yourselves. You are smart and crafty! Think of your mask as a blank canvas. What kind of geekdoms can you proclaim to the world through your mask?
There is a plethora of geeky cotton fabric available from just about every corner of the internet. Or, if you are anything like me, you have a ton of leftover fabric scraps from other projects long finished that were just a smidgen too big for you to toss in the garbage without feeling immense guilt (I knew that fifteen inch square of leftover fabric would come in handy someday! Take that Marie Kondo.).
Once I realized that COVID wasn’t going anywhere, I started researching some basic face mask patterns and found a great video tutorial. I gathered some fabric I had laying around, and made some fun masks that have turned out to be some great conversation starters at work. Plus, I like the added bonus of having a reusable mask. It feels less wasteful, and cotton is a very durable fabric.
I was having so much fun with different fabrics, I decided to buy some more geeky fabric online. There were so many different patterns that it was truly a challenge to choose what to purchase while staying inside a reasonable budget. I ended up with enough fabric to make nearly sixty face coverings! I know that sounds a bit excessive, but I’m glad I ended up getting so much.
Since masks have been made mandatory in public, I’ve started making them to give to family and friends who are not able to make them for themselves. I can’t control much in my life right now, but I can do this. I can look out for the people I love. I can help to keep my community safe by providing this small service. I can make an unpleasant situation a little more colorful. And if that’s all I can do for now, then that is okay.
So, what have you been choosing for your coverings? Let us know how you have been showing some love for your favorite fandoms on your face!
To lovers of all things Japanese, it is the age old question: Is subtitled anime better than its English dubbed counterpart? Or vice versa? In the past, many audiences had little choice but to watch whatever form was available to them, but as the internet improved and streaming services have begun to offer a veritable buffet of media choices, we are essentially able to pick whatever form of media consumption we choose. Each form has its pros and cons, and it is only fair to explore them both.
Subtitles Offer a More Authentic Experience
Subs, or subtitled anime with the original Japanese voice acting, would definitely be the best choice if you are looking for a pure anime experience. Even when the story is set in fantasy or non-Japanese contexts, anime is rife with Japanese social norms, body language, and cultural references. Watching the anime in the original Japanese helps to connect some of these small yet significant nuances, which allows for a well-rounded cultural experience.
Often, when watching the dub (where English or another language is superimposed on the animation instead of the Japanese), it becomes clear that there are just some things that don’t translate well out of Japanese to other languages. For example, the use of honorifics. Anime gets much of its charm from emotional connections between characters, which can be initially gleaned from the honorifics used between them. Terms such as san, chan, and sama all signal different relationships and levels of familiarity, or lack thereof.
Running out of things to watch while you social distance? Wanting to branch out and explore something new? Here’s a few of the movies, shows & YouTube offerings I’ve been enjoying over the past couple months that I think you might like, too.
Of all the amazing panels offered at GGC 2019, I was most looking forward to Knotty Geeks: Fiber Arts and Fandom. Crafting is having a bit of a renaissance in the geek world, and I am all here for it! I am an avid geek crafter, and I really wanted to see what other crafty geeks have been up to while possibly getting some new inspiration for myself. I waited patiently (not really) for 4 p.m. to roll around on Sunday and I headed down to the room with high expectations. I was not disappointed!
First off, the room was pretty full, which was encouraging to see for a late Sunday panel. As I looked around the room, I saw folks of many different ages waiting patiently for the panel to begin. Some of them were even working on knitted projects as they waited. I was actually a bit jealous, since I hadn’t brought any current projects of my own.
The panelist really didn’t waste any time once things got started. She kicked off the panel with one of the biggest and most important issues facing people who like to craft with ideas derived from pop culture—copyright infringement of trademark and licensed properties. Basically, what it boils down to is don’t sell this stuff. You can make patterns for things, knit a sweater depicting your favorite anime character, and even give them away as amazing one of a kind gifts, but the key is not to exchange money for said goods. It is really the safest practice. Now, you can absolutely jump through the hoops to create patterns in collaboration with license holders, but it is a lengthy and difficult process. Many times, it is simply easier to find licensed patterns that already exist and purchase those.
Another aspect of this issue that was mentioned is something known as “The 30% Rule.” This rule states that if a product that derives its design from another idea is not infringing on copyrights if the new product differs from the original by at least 30%. This can be tricky though, as it is largely subjective. Personally, I find it much easier to just find a fun pattern online and run with it.
When the necessary legal stuff was out of the way, we got to see some really fun and cool examples of fiber arts in the geek world. We were treated to a brief history of knitting, crocheting, and cross stitch, and were shown some cool and fun work that other geeks are doing out in the world. We had a discussion about how much math is involved in the art and the panelist showed us how some people are crocheting hyperbolic planes. She also passed around pieces that we could feel and look at in-depth, which was really fun. You could just feel the air in the panel room change with different levels of interest and awe with every project that was passed around.
The last portion of the panel was dedicated to a show and tell, and the attendees really delivered! It was wonderful to see geeks of many ages and skill levels get up in front of the room to show off work that they were so proud of, and to be supported by a community of like-minded people. The one I remember most was someone who showed their double-knitted Star Wars scarf that was readable from both sides! It was one of the most fantastic pieces I have ever seen! Even after the panel ended, there were groups of people in the room who stayed to talk about their crafts. Information was exchanged and connections were made. To me, this is what GeekGirlCon is all about—connecting you to your people. I was so, so glad that I attended this panel, especially since it has special significance to me.
I have been a crafter all my life. As an adult, I have taught myself how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew when I was very young, and it has proven to be a valuable skill. When I was 10-years-old, my father taught me how to cross-stitch. Yeah, my macho dad who worked in construction taught me how to cross-stitch because I was in love with the stitched Christmas ornaments he had made before I was born. No matter what goes on between my dad and me, I will always be grateful to him for giving me this gift.
Like many people, I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a very long time. And, also like many people, I was mis-diagnosed as a teen and didn’t receive the proper treatment for my mental illness. When things got hectic or hard, or when there would be too many thoughts running through my head, I would use cross-stitch as a type of therapy. It was something I could do that would calm my spirit and order my mind. I spent so many hours sitting in a really comfortable (and ugly) pink recliner, watching movies, and just having a great time creating beautiful things. Even now, over twenty years later, it is my favorite hobby.
There is also a timely and important issue that this panel brought up that I feel very strongly about, which is the gendering of crafting. We tend to think of knitting, crocheting, and other fiber-based arts as being a purely feminine pursuit, but that just isn’t true. I learned from this panel that, historically speaking, fiber arts have been practiced by people of all genders. If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, everyone probably needed to have some kind of sewing and knitting skills just to keep their clothes in decent shape before they were mass manufactured. It wasn’t until fairly recently in human history that these skills were branded as being “womanly” and were relegated to the lowly position of being a housewifely, old lady hobby. I was taught to cross-stitch by a man. My boyfriend and I like to spend quiet nights crocheting together. Young people can make amazing things. Fiber arts are for everyone. Period.
I also love the idea of crafting for a cause. Sometimes you have an important message to get out there, or sometimes you get the itch to knit something, but you already have a million hats and aren’t sure what to do. Margaret and Christine Wertheim created a crocheted coral reef that has traveled to museums around the world to bring attention to the plight of coral in the Great Barrier Reef. My boyfriend and I have been knitting marsupial pouches to send to Australia to care for animals orphaned by the devastating wildfires. Premature babies, cancer patients, shelter animals… there is no end to the possible good that crafters can do, and have done, in this world. I am proud to be a part of a community that cares.
It doesn’t even have to be about knitting or crocheting. I want to take the opportunity to open this up. Sewing, quilting, sculpting, jewelry making, weaving, and any type of crafty outlet belongs here. In fact, I want to see what you have made! Share your projects! Stand up and be proud of the things that you have made! Inspire and be inspired by others! There is a place for you here.
Want to find some more inspiration and fun patterns online? Try heading over to ravelry.com to find another great community of knitters and crocheters. Want to learn? YouTube has so many great tutorials available for any skill level. Or you could do what I did and pick up a copy of Knitting for Dummies. There are a ton of resources out there for eager students. Don’t be afraid to try things. You may make something amazing!
I can’t wait to see if this panel will be back at GGC 2020!
Con season is about to kick off here in the Pacific Northwest, and we couldn’t be more excited! We at GeekGirlCon love nothing more than to get out and support other local Cons, and we want to invite you to come hang out with us at the second annual NerdFaire.
What is NerdFaire, you ask? Well, it is a mini convention in Lynnwood that celebrates all things nerdy and geeky! They love to showcase local shops and businesses and they hope to build an inclusive space for everyone (yes, EVERYONE) in geekdom. Here are the hard details:
When: February 1, 2020 from 10 am to 8 pm
Where: Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th Street Southwest , Lynnwood, WA 98036
What: The con will feature a cosplay contest, panels, a showfloor where you can purchase handmade goods (and also a GGC table where you can chat with us about this years GGC), and more
Tickets: $5-$25, kids under 12 free. See the options and find more info here
Do you hear what I hear? Could it be the dulcet tones of the approaching holidays, sneaking up to ambush us with last minute shopping panic? Why yes, I think it just may be!
No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is always enjoyable to give to others. Seeing their faces light up as they open a gift chosen with care an affection is undoubtedly one of the best parts of the season. To help you spread the love, I’ve put together this list of gifts that may just put you on the nice list with the geeks in your life.
Note: we are not getting any type of compensation from retailers to feature any of these products. These are simply items that I have found fun and useful.
Amazon Kindle: $49.99-$299.99
For the bookworm, I would recommend a Kindle. There are a lot of perks of having a Kindle, and one of the biggest ones I have found is that I always have something to read because I can carry thousands of books with me wherever I go. There are multiple models to fit just about any budget. You can get a full blown ten inch tablet or a simple book reader. Whatever your lover of books desires, you are sure to find something that suits them just right.
Williams Sonoma Harry Potter Ultimate Silicone Spatula Set: $31.96-$39.95
Do you know someone who whips up absolute magic in the kitchen? Make their holidays extra enchanting with this handy set of four Hogwarts House themed silicone spatulas! The set includes two mini spatulas, one medium spatula, and a flat flexible nylon spatula emblazoned with your favorite house crest. The spatulas are heat resistant and dishwasher safe. If you don’t think you will use all four, you can also purchase individuals.
Yes, socks! Hear me out—socks are inexpensive, useful, and fun! Gone are the days when socks were possibly the most boring gift ever. You can find all kinds of silly socks in a variety of styles, from no show, to crew, to fuzzy, to knee high, in fun designs. When your friends don their fun and funky socks, they will think fondly of the friend who is keeping their tootsies toasty.
My Personal Pick: Kitty Cat No-Show Socks 5 Pair, $14.90 from Hot Topic
Channel your inner Holiday Armadillo and gift your friends with the gift of Friends! How many categories of towels does Monica have? What does Chandler do for a living? Test your knowledge of this iconic show with your own gang for a good time this holiday.
Sometimes you really want to give someone a gift, but they insist that they really don’t want anything. Maybe they feel like they have a lot of stuff already, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t give them a heartfelt and meaningful gift—you can donate to a charity in their name. Find a cause that is meaningful to them and reach out to local organizations to find out how you can help.
Can you believe it? GGC19 weekend is almost here! Start your weekend early and join us tomorrow night at the Pacific Science Center for the most epic GeekGirlCon Kick Off Party yet.
Where: Pacific Science Center. You can enter through the Denny entrance, on the South side of the PSC building.
When: Friday, November 15th from 7:00 – 10:00pm
What: food, a cash bar, crafts, games, music, geeky madlibs, and so much more!
Need some more convincing? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should attend:
1. You’ve already paid for it. The Kick Off Party is included with your GGC pass, so why not go?
2. Skip the Saturday morning line. Speaking of your GGC pass, you can pick it up at the party itself. That means you don’t have to wait in line on Saturday. Treat yourself to an extra half hour of sleep and pick up your pass Friday night!
3. Earn prizes by meeting new people. The Kick Off party is a great way to meet fellow GGC attendees. If you play a round of geeky madlibs with a person you met at the Kick Off Party, you can enter to win prizes.
4. Lots of different activities. On top of geeky madlibs, you’ll have a chance to…
craft a dragon egg,
merge crafting and coding with Turtlestitch,
play board games,
dance to the music, and
fill up with tasty food and drinks
5. Party favors. That’s right, there will be multiple party favors from sponsors.
Get ready to party and join us tomorrow night for the GeekGirlCon Kick Off Party!
Attendees of GGC 2019, harken to me! For the brave, adventurous, and those who liketh to win free stuff, we have a fun side quest to be undertaken. Shalst thou accept the challenge?
Whilst thou art journeying through GGC, we charge thee to seek out Agents of GGC and earn their seal for completing various tasks.
The rules of this quest are simple–complete the tasks, find nearby GGC Agents, and have them stamp thine GeekGirlCon QUEST page in the GGC program. Each stamp will gain thee one entry into a prize drawing. If thou completeth all six tasks, thou shalt be rewarded with a GGC avatar pin! Present thy collected stamps to the good people at the GGC QUEST Table (located next to the Info Booth on level Yakima) to redeem them for drawing entries.
Though tasks may be completed in any order, they are laid out for explanation thus:
A seal can be earned by attending any panel at GGC 2019.
A journey to the Game Floor to play a game of thoust choosing shall be rewarded with a seal.
Attending any workshop or meetup shall reveal another seal.
A post on social media with #GGC19 wilst earn thee another seal from the good people of the GGC QUEST Table once shown.
For the adventurous and inquisitive, a seal can be found by conducting an experiment in the DIY Science Zone.
A last seal can be uncovered at the GGC QUEST table by completing the Con survey, for we sincerely appreciate any feedback thou hast to give. This task comes with the added reward of a GGC avatar pin!
It is prophesied that the drawings shalst be held at the SassyBlack Concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, and at the Cosplay Contest at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Thou must be present to win!
Now, I implore thee! Go forth and quest! Fun, adventure, and prizes await!
There are so many ways to start your GeekGirlCon ’19 weekend off right: double-checking your schedule for the weekend, making space on your walls for your inevitable Exhibitor Hall purchases, planning your look for each day. The list goes on and on.
The most important way to start the convention off right? Coming to the annual Kick Off Party, of course!
Get all the details below, and mark your calendars for an event you won’t want to miss.
Where: Pacific Science Center
When: Friday, November 15th from 7:00 – 10:00pm
What: food, a cash bar, crafts, games, music, geeky madlibs, and so much more!
Why: fun, friends (new and old!), and general merriment! Let’s get the #GGC19 party started!
P.S. If you have already received your badge, please bring it with you to the party. If you don’t have your badge, you can pick it up at the party!