Monday, June 30, 2014

Soot Sprite Earrings

Oh my goodness how to explain the impact Miyazaki has had on my life.  I was watching and obsessing over his work before I even knew what anime was.  I remember loving My Neighbor Totoro and watching Kiki's Delivery Service repeatedly.

Miyazaki and Walt Disney are probably the movie creators that had the most impact on my childhood, and how I view the world now.  To this day I can't resist adorable creatures who are clearly mostly there as comedic relief.  The soot sprites are one of the few side kicks from my childhood that I consistently feel zero guilt about loving.

They're so cute! It helps that the movies that appear in are so engaging and wonderful in other ways, but mostly it just reminds me of fond days of my childhood getting lost in Miyazaki's worlds.  

So this week Soot Sprite Earrings with the sugar stars we see them eat in Spirited Away.  Check the video out below!

If you're curious I used black Palette yarn from  I can not recommend enough.  Awesome yarn, great shipping time, and wonderful customer service.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why Mrs. Potts deserves more credit

Alright so Disney is rather all encompassing, as in you probably watched multiple of their creations during your childhood.  Or if you're me, almost all of them even into my adulthood...  Given that knowledge about me you probably are not surprised to learn that I have a lot of opinions about Disney.  Today we're going to stick to Beauty and the Beast.

In the Disney canon almost all main characters don't have a full set of parents.  Even the ones that do, etc. Rapunzel, the parents don't really have an affect on the film.  This has everything to do with the fact that Disney likes to adapt fairy tales/fairy tale styled pieces.

For whatever reason there was a huge trope in the 1600's within the folklore of having the protagonist of the tale be orphans.  I think it actually entirely has to do with the guilt of the time period for what happened to orphans.  There wasn't really any sort of structure in place so either the orphans found a way to work for food/money, if their family was well connected it was possibly that they would become a ward to another family, or possibly would just end up begging on the street.  With all three possibilities there was never a guarantee that any said situation would be pleasant.  I think because of this cultural knowledge people displaced their guilt by telling these phantasmagorical story about orphans that did extremely well.  

Despite that lack of parents being overly common in Disney's inspiration source they still managed create an awesome maternal character in Mrs. Potts.  She and her child is turned into china, I can't imagine not having a break down if that happened to me.  Mrs. Potts however just continues on being a parent because that's what she had to do for her child.  She provides the feminine mature adult voice in the story.  Belle's father occasionally provides the counter part of the masculine mature adult voice but isn't as active as Mrs. Potts is.  It's an important voice to note because such females are rare in Disney.  Most older females, aka not princesses, in Disney's canon are evil.  Mrs. Potts breaks this rule.

She also actually looks old.  Another truly unique trait in the Disney canon.  Check out Rapunzel's mother, she doesn't actually look like she could have 18 year old daughter does she?  On top of all that she has a body type that is not common in the positive characters database over at Disney.  Most of individual who are not stereotypical attractive are evil or stupid.  Mrs. Potts is neither, she's friendly and very competent.

If you haven't watched Beauty and the Beast since you were a kid, give another view.  It's beautifully animated, has a story worth watching, and the cherry on top one of the best representations of a female that Disney has ever done.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mrs. Potts and Chips Necklace

Mrs. Potts has always been one of my favorite characters and she one of the few Disney mothers that we really get to know.  On top of that she's a teapot, I never got into coffee so tea runs through my veins.  Not to mention that the movie Beauty and the Beast won two Oscars the year it came out along with a slew of other awards and nominations.  So I really like this project and what inspired it basically.

Below is the template that I made.  Mrs. Potts is a coloring book page that I found online, and Chip is actually a paper craft I think used with the Cricut paper cutting machine.  You want to make sure to size it so that Mrs. Potts is around 4.7 inches  to be the same size as necklace I made.

Didn't see the episode? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

5 Favorite Women Officers of Star Fleet

I think one of the reasons that Star Trek has done as well for its self as long as it has is related to it's treatment of women.  You may not know this but in the original series the pilot had all of the female officers wearing the same uniform as the men.  The censors wouldn't hear of it and so the mini dress was donned.  I personally kind of wonder if the mini dress was there specifically to screw with the censors who didn't want the women in pants. 
No pants? Fine, how about Uhura's bright red panties?
Now the original Star Trek series hasn't exactly endured well in my opinion.  Uhura didn't really have a job, Chekov, Scotty, and Sulu occasionally drift into the politically incorrect, and everyone is surprisingly vulnerable to Styrofoam.  But I personally give it a pass because they still did something amazing for that time period and honestly I think changed television forever.  So although no one from the original series will be on this list, it's important remember origins and what Star Trek did for women in television.  Starting off with that attempt of female officers, on the bridge, with the same rank as some of the male officers. 
As a warning the discussion about why I like these characters will have spoilers for the show, but now on to some of my favorite female officers:

Jadzia Dax from Deep Space 9:  Now admittedly one of the things I love about this character has to do with how well she has endured with the times.  She was created in the 90's but she has so many traits that are so relevant to the here and now.  Jadzia is a joined Tril, meaning she has another life form named Dax who shares her consciousness.  Dax is over 300 years old and has had many hosts.  Meaning Jadzia has all the memories of the previous hosts.  She remembers being male, she remembers being a father and a mother, and she's attracted mostly to men but there are exceptions.  A genderfluid life form which causes a spectrum of attraction for Jadzia, instead an automatic category of male or female.  Also very sexually forward, and not also having negative connotations connected to that trait.  She has character flaws, but they're not just that she's a woman.  Not to mention she's a very independent female who is in multiple love stories.  That's surprisingly rare combo especially when you think about the 90's.

Captain Janeway from Voyager:  Come on you knew she was going to be on this list.  The only female captain that we really get to know Janeway is undeniably amazing.  She doesn't put up with anything less than her officer's best, but at the same time she fully understands that everyone's a humanoid.  Perhaps my favorite thing about her is that she's presented as a tough captain but the further the story goes the more we see she has vulnerabilities.  She has a fiance back on earth in the beginning, but after the first contact they have with earth  she discovers that he has moved on.  This clearly hurts her, but at the same time she never jumps to accusing him of infidelity, she understands why he moved on, and she doesn't expect to drop his life because she might eventually come home.  She also has a flaw that is most commonly seen in male characters, she tends to jump to brute force and will stubbornly try a route no matter how badly it's going until the ship explodes, or Chakotay gets there first. 

Tasha Yar from The Next Generation:  This character hurts, she was cut off in her prime.  Everyone knew it too, no one wanted that character to die.  Hence why she gets brought back again and again, sometimes revived from the dead, sometimes it's the just actor.  But this character was so awesome that the writers refused to let her be forgotten despite her dying so early in the series.  Tasha Yar was Head of Security on board Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise.  She didn't put up crap, and she did her job very well.  No one even mentions how Security was probably a male dominated field.  The fact that Tasha Yar is Head of Security is simply presented as the most logical conclusion.  We also know that she's fairly open and experimental with her sex life as one Data's few sexual partners.  Neither the fact that she's in a "male" field nor that she's open sexually is presented as negative.  They're just a part of who she is.  Admittedly she's a little bull headed, but I think that comes with being Head of Security and not a Vulcan.

Beverly Crusher from The Next Generation:  One of the more feminine females on this list she is awesome.  She's a doctor and she runs her sick bay very efficiently.  On top of that she's a single mom to a teenage boy.  She's a science inclined individual and is presented that way through and through.  We're still having trouble with people seeing women as decent scientist, so it's interesting that this 80's-90's TV show seems to see women with more validity than our current culture.  While also being a good mom.  I can't count the number of times that our media presents that you can either be a competent woman or a good mom.  Beverly Crusher is a good doctor, has working scientific mind, and is an amazing single mother.  On top of all that she was sex symbol at the time, she was a part of the below the surface love interactions that happened all over The Next Generation.  So competent, good mother, extremely smart, and all of that being presented as attractive?  What else do you need to like a character?

B'elanna Torres from Voyager:  Now admittedly she kind of a Star Fleet officer by default.  But she did attend the Academy, although she got kicked out.  Originally a part of the Maquis B'elanna becomes Chief of Engineering because half of Voyager's crew died and the Maquis and Voyager become stranded in the Delta Quadrant.  She quickly proves that title is rightfully hers despite some temper issues.  Always presented as having new ideas that she herself developed it can't be denied that she's an extremely smart character.  Her temper is one of her bigger flaws, it's presented as having to do with the fact that she's half klingon.  Her half klingon nature is a huge struggle for her, down to almost trying to genetically wash all of the klingon genes from her unborn child.  At the end of the day though she's really good at her job.   She is stronger and probably smarter than her eventual husband, and her husband just kind of seems to think that's really attractive.  This show was made in the 90's and we are still having discussions about how men feel emasculated if they try to be with a woman with who's smarter or stronger than they are. 

Over arching love of these characters comes from the fact that each of them is single for a long time on the show, and these characters never feel like they need a man.  They're awesome on their own and when they do get together with people it's only to add to their already rich lives, not to save them or to complete them.

Now of course there are more, but these are my favorite female Star Fleet officers.  If you haven't checked out these awesome ladies, I highly recommend it.  Yes some of the episodes are bad and cheesy, but not all of them and these characters are worth it in my opinion. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Star Trek Com Badge

This project was of course inspired my love of Star Trek, and my love of adding simple decoration to enhance old clothes.  However there was inspiration from this episode of Threadbanger, where Rob puts in some full effort on making a patch to sew on to clothing.  In the end though he admits, "I did my best," in a disappointed tone of voice and I believe him there. I think the problem was that he was doing generic embroidery and he was trying for something called a satin stitch.  Which is extremely time consuming and really hard to get right especially over large areas.  For me I wanted to yell through screen about soluble canvas which allows you to cross stitch on any surface.

Cross stitching is a process of making tiny x's across a surface.  The stitch size is standardized if you use canvas, or in our case soluble canvas making any surface work like canvas.  Making it easy to get right, and because it's a two ply canvas, it cover the fabric well.  Also cross stitch patterns of awesome geeky things, freely available all over the internet.  Check out Starrley's (the creator of the Star Trek Com Badge pattern) other work if your short on inspiration.  If you really can't find anything at all pick your favorite 8-64 bit character and give it a home on your clothing.

For the Star Trek Com Badge I used DMC Light Effects in the colors of E168 Silver, E317 Titanium, E3821 Light Gold, E3852 Dark Gold, and plain black.  Available of at almost any craft store also available online here.  Admittedly DMC Light Effects are usually $2.00 a skein, so it's understandable if you go for the plain embroidery thread which will only run you 99 cents.

Lastly here is the rank pattern, basic boxy circles with one plain square in between each.

Haven't seen the video tutorial yet?  Well here it is: