Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Overrun with Ponies

I noticed that a lot of what I've been doing lately has been very pony-centric. I really didn't intend for it to happen this way. I have long lists of things to work on in every possible category of craft (art, crochet, sewing, etc.), and for some reason ponies managed to make it to the top of the list in almost all of them. @_@

I don't really see myself as that big a MLP fan.  Don't get me wrong--I like the show. I especially love both Rarity and Fluttershy. Rarity is a favorite simply because it is not possible for me to not love a character who is essentially a costume designer. This goes back to Edna from The Incredibles. That movie made me all kinds of happy simply because of that one character. Fluttershy...well...if you get down to it, I am Fluttershy. I relate to her way too well. I feel incredibly socially awkward when I get around other people. Shy doesn't even come close to describing it. So, I love Fluttershy, and I love that a lot of other people love Fluttershy because, indirectly, it makes me feel more accepted as well. I realize that's not particularly rational. =P Of course, I never claimed to be particularly rational.

Anyways, back on topic. Too many ponies around Gothic Panda Studios...Right now I'm working with some custom printed Fluttershy fabric to make myself a tote bag (and I'm severely tempted to splurge on some of the extra soft stuff to make some pajama pants out of). I am working on My Little Pony crossovers (or mash-ups; I kind of like this term better) (and also because MLP is so abusable in this way--kind of like Sailor Moon). I am working on a set of MLP plushies for the Animazement Art Show/auction (in my defense here, I started these about a year ago). Oh yeah, and I'm also working on putting together a set of geek-themed household management PDFs (you know like printable planner pages, maybe a menu/grocery list printable page, to do list printable pages, etc.) (and this is also because I have to write things down or I forget--I am very easily distracted--so I love things like this, but I have yet to find any with awesome cook geekish themes), and I just happen to be starting with ponies. @_@ I think for that one I'm starting with ponies because for me, they're a little easier to work with and I'm kind of new to the whole design process for these things.

That said, the MLP themed pin-back buttons are finished. This means I will be moving on from that--be prepared for a massive bombardment of Final Fantasy designs. Final Fantasy is by far my most favorite rpg game series in existence. There are others that I like, but Final Fantasy and I go way back. So yeah, I'll be drawing from Final Fantasy I, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2 (this one's a maybe), XII, and XIII. Yeah...I wonder if I'll be sick of it by the time I get to the end of that? Heh. I am using it as an excuse to sit down and replay through all the games. FYI, FF VII is really hard to get a hold of now. Why don't people carry used PS 1 games any more? Or, maybe it's just my area. I originally had the game for PC, and I can't get that copy to work, so bleh. XD After that, who knows. I'll pick an obsession; I certainly have plenty to chose from.

I also finished the Dark Mare Rises parody movie poster. I was sort of planning on doing a follow up to that one with Pinkie Pie doing the "Why So Serious?" line on that one poster of the Joker, but I haven't been too motivated to start that one. Instead I'm working on a Hobbit movie poster parody. Any guesses on what I'm mashing that one with? =P Mwahahaha. Alright, got that out of my system. Oh, yeah, and I'm also working on a new set of 10 What Would ___ Do? designs (I have a few I'm still waffling on, so if there's someone you'd really like to see, drop me a line; now's the time to do so). So, there are going to be some non-pony things coming up, eventually.

The jist of this post: For pony fans, there's more pony stuff coming. =D For non-pony fans, there's some other stuff coming. =D

Thursday, February 14, 2013

WIP - Vol. 36

Final Fantasy I buttons (3 mages + 1 failed Black Belt design). At the top you can see sketches from the now finished My Little Pony button designs.

This is going to be a blanket for a baby in my church. He's just a couple of weeks younger than Sophie. =)

Up close of one of the blanket squares

It's my Fluttershy fabric. The print came out larger than I thought it would, but I still have ideas as to what to do with it. =D If I thought I could afford it, I would totally get enough of this fabric to make a pair of pajama pants.

I'm working on the new set of What Would's. Here's a preview of one of the new designs.

Really bad picture quality, but I was too lazy to dig out my flatbed scanner for this. XD The beginnings of the first set of My Little Pony mash-ups I'm working on.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kingdom Building

This past Monday was our 13th anniversary--it honestly feels like much longer than that. Anyways, for our anniversary, my mom got us two new boardgames, and I will be spending this post talking about one of them: Dominion. When I was at Magfest I saw dozens of boxes of this game hanging around the tabletop gaming area. The only game close to rivaling the number of Dominion games was Settlers of Catan. Magfest ran tournaments with both of these games. Intrigued, my husband and I snagged a copy on Sunday morning to give it a try. Sadly, we only got the game roughly set up and got to play through maybe two rounds before we had to pack up because of a panel I wanted to attend. I had hoped we could sneak back down to tabletop and play through it after the panel, but that didn't end up happening.

Victory Cards
What little we got to sample of Dominion of Magfest was enough to sell us on the game. My mom likes tabletop games so I shared info on the game with her, and that's how we ended up with it for our anniversary. Dominion is a deck building card game, and it has nothing to do with armies and destroying the other players. Looking at the box, I'd honestly expected a card game variation of Risk or something like that. Rather than build armies, your goal is to build a kingdom made out of Estates, Duchies, and Provinces. You use money in the form of Copper, Silver, and Gold Treasure Cards to purchase the kingdom building cards (called Victory Cards in the game), more Treasure Cards, and Kingdom Cards. Buying the Victory Cards and Treasure Cards have obvious value--you need one to win the game and the other increases your purchasing power.
Treasure Cards

The Kingdom Cards are where the game gets really interesting in my opinion. There are 25 different Kingdom Cards that come with Dominion. For each game, you get to pick 10 Kingdom Cards to play with. Most of the Kingdom Cards allow you to perform actions on your turn--I think the Gardens are the only exception to this (Gardens add to your Victory Point pool). Some cards allow you to "attack" other players, and there is one card that functions as a defensive reaction and will protect you from "attacks" (the Moat card). I put attack in quotes because you don't attack other players in Dominion directly. Most attack cards give you a bonus of some kind and then have a side effect that adversely affects the other players. For instance, the Bureaucrat is an attack action card. If you play this card on your turn, you get to place an extra silver card on top of your deck. For the attack part of the card, other players have to take a Victory card (an Estate, Duchy, or Province card) and put it on top of their deck if they have one in their hand. In this case, you're just guaranteeing at least one card in your next draw will be a Silver and other players' next draw a Victory card in their next draw--Victory cards are pretty useless during actual game play.

25 Kingdom Cards--Pick 10 to play with
Another thing I found interesting about Dominion is the game mechanics. I've played other deck building games before, but this was the first where you build your deck as you play. Each player starts the game with a deck of 10 cards: 3 Estates and 7 Copper. On their turn, each player then plays actions to theoretically gain some advantage in the game and purchases cards (their choice of Victory cards, Treasure cards, or any one of the 10 Kingdom Cards selected for that game) to add to their deck. All players gain cards from a shared pool which include all the Victory cards, Treasure cards, and Kingdom cards used in that game. The game ends when all Province cards are purchased or when any three Kingdom cards are bought out. Once the game ends, all players pull the Victory cards out of their deck and count up the points. The one with the most points wins.

I absolutely love this game. With all the different Kingdom cards to choose from there are tons of different game combinations you can put together to play with. I really like games that have high replayability like that. It's worth noting that I usually lose this game; out of the nearly 20 times I've played it in the last week, I've only won once. My kids kick the snot out of me at this game most of the time. I still love it. =P

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Zebras and Giraffes and Quilts, Oh My.

In the next couple of weeks, my dad is going to leave for a trip to Africa. He is meeting my aunt (his sister) and several of my cousins for a short safari in Kenya and then they are going to try to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. This started because one of my cousins is a brilliant medical science person and she is doing an internship in that part of Africa, so over Christmas holidays, several other members of the family decided to join her for a mini vacation. She's already over there, and you can check out her blog to see what she's been up to.

Anyways, my dad is a little over 60, so this trip is a big deal for him, and although he is in excellent shape, the thin air and other challenges on Kilimanjaro will still be a fairly tough climb for him (I'm sure he'll make it just fine). To commemorate the trip, my mom wanted to put together a prayer quilt for him with contributions from those of us in my dad's immediate family. My mom got supplies--lots of fun fabrics and fabric paint pens--and started with my brother and his little girl. They made the first square. After that she came here, and we pretty much finished it up here. My kids each made a square--even Sophie (I covered her hand in fabric paint and made a handprint on her square). I made one for myself and my husband, and then poked my mom until she made hers. She's an amazingly creative person, but she gets quite intimidated when it comes to actually making something. Personally I think she did fine.

Once we had all the squares we arranged them, and I selected a giraffe print, which I thought appropriate given the destination of the trip, to fill in the extra space we had. I put the quilt together, since my mom was convinced she couldn't manage it (like I said easily intimidated especially by crafts she hasn't attempted before--we still love her anyways). I added a zebra print binding, since it fit the theme and it's not like we were trying to match fabrics or anything. =P The point was to send something with my dad that represented a little bit of everyone who contributed. I'm fairly happy with how it came out, and it was a lot of fun to put together. So, this was also where I disappeared to last week. I tend to avoid social network stuff when there is someone visiting.