Friday, April 18, 2014

St. Louis Comic Con - Wizard World Recap

While the BIG Comic Con is in San Diego each year and is on my Bucket List, an opportunity presented itself earlier this month, and I made a semi-spontaneous decision to attend Wizard World - St. Louis.

My Sister and I had talked about going; but had not make any serious plans, which usually means that it will not happen.  That all changed when they announced that Matt Smith (actor who played the 11th Doctor) would be attending.  I compared ticket prices, and after calling my Sister at work [probably talking way too fast, as I tend to do when I am excited], I ordered two VIP passes.

My Dad, Sister and I went on Friday afternoon (opening day); which looking back was the best decision we made.  We had no schedule, so we could spent all the time we wanted walking around, looking at the vendors, seeing all of the artists and their work, and people-watching. Wow, there was so much people-watching.

There was so much wonderful artwork to purchase; but I kept to just a few things; a Sherlock print, two pieces of text art, and some window decals (not shown).

Looking back, it was well worth attending opening day since the crowds were small.  If/when we go back, we will definitely be attending the first day.


Saturday was the complete opposite.  There were soooooo many people; but we synchronized our "watches" [iPhones], hatched our plan, and began our day.

First up was the Photo Op, which was very surreal. We hopped in line quite early, wanting to ensure that we could be in, out and onto the next activity.  When the line starts moving, you are asked to have your ticket ready, yourself ready, and then are herded through a curtain with about 10-15 other people. There is a piece of tape on the floor [stand there], a celebrity on a stool [Eeeeee!] and a photographer [Smile!].

It might sound like I'm being sarcastic; but actually from my perspective it was perfect.  There is no time to do anything; but smile...and Yes, even this 34 year old was a little star-struck....can you tell?

Next up was the Autograph.  Oh, the autograph...this tormented me for days. You see, as part of the VIP package I could get one of several generic 8x10's signed, or I could get something unique signed.  I knew right off the bat, that I would want something unique; but what?  My Sister pretty much knew right away; but as usual I was over-thinking it.  Hmmm...where's that pixel quilt (oh, right...wrong Doctor...hahaha).

Much to a lot of people's dismay, I have no plans of making an 11th Doctor pixel quilt; yet that didn't mean, that I couldn't make a small wall-quilt using a piece of fabric he signed. The evening before, I prepped the fabric, taping it to foam core. Yet, the whole time I was hating my decision.

Now granted, I had a few other ideas back when I first bought the tickets; but it seemed too late to put any of them into action...or so I thought.  That's the nice thing about being in an enormous hall surrounded by vendors, you can probably find what you need in no time.

Having survived the photo shoot, the autograph experience was a breeze. My plan is to make a shadow box for this book, adding some of the ephemera from that weekend [wristband, lanyard, etc] and hang it on my wall.

Saturday ended with my Sister and I finally being able to sit down, as we were in the audience for Matt Smith's panel, only a few rows back from the stage.  The panel was quite entertaining as young fans would ask the most adorable questions; yet like everything else, it was over much too soon.


While the decision to purchase VIP tickets was semi-spontaneous, I had wondered when I pressed that Order button if it would be worth it.  I can tell you with the utmost authority that it was worth every penny and more, and not just because we got the photo and autograph; but because I could celebrate that geek-filled weekend with my Sister and Dad.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quilt Guild Icebreakers that don't suck

I don't know about you; but if you are the leader of a quilt guild it can be taxing sometimes to find icebreaker-style activities and or games that are appropriate for adults, even harder is searching for ones that are semi-quilting related.

After a quick search online, I was presented with a whole bunch of generic games.  I spent some time tweaking them, and gave them a go at our St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild meeting recently.

The result?
        Well, by the sounds of laughter, I think they were a success.

Activity #1      
Setup:  Members should sit or stand in a circle where everyone can easily hear one another. Select one person to be the Moderator.
  • The Moderator begins the game by saying out loud, "I went to the fabric store and bought _(insert the name of something, ex: a magazine)____".
  • They then ask the person to their left or right to repeat what they said; but then add something to the list "I went to the fabric store and bought __(a magazine)__, and a __(a seam ripper)__."
  • Play continues around the circle with each member repeating the sentence, adding something to the list.  Examples can be obvious like...[a Fat Quarter, Thread, Ruler] or you can be mix it up and add in short little phrases like...[went to the bathroom, my credit card was declined, etc.]
  • You can eliminate players if they mess up, the choice is all yours. 

Activity #2     
Setup:  Members should sit or stand in a circle where everyone can easily hear one another. Select one person to be the Moderator. You'll need five, "pennies" or other small objects, per member.
  • The Moderator starts the game by explaining that they have a pile/bag/etc of "pennies" and that each member should take as many as they will need, up to five a piece.
  • Only after everyone has selected their quantity of "pennies", does the Moderator then continue to explain that members are to say something about themselves for each "penny" they took.  
  • It can be something related to quilting, their family, their bucket list, favorite thing, etc.  

Activity #3     
Setup: Members should sit or stand in a circle where everyone can easily hear one another. Select one person to be the Moderator.

  • The Moderator selects a question from the list below or make up your own, and asks it of the entire table/circle; giving each member an opportunity to answer.  
  • The answers should be relatively short, no long-winded stories.
  • Once all members have answered that question, ask another.
 :: If you were to switch fabric stashes with someone, who would it be and why?
 :: If you were not a Quilter, what other art/craft would be your passion?
 :: What color of type of fabric is lacking in your stash, why do you think that is?
 :: What is one technique that you are afraid of trying and why?
 :: Etc.

Activity #4   
Setup: Members should sit or stand in a circle where everyone can easily hear one another. Select one person to be the Moderator.  You'll need five to ten "pennies" or other small objects, per member.

  • The Moderator hands out the same quantity of "pennies" to each member.
  • They then finish they sentence "I have never..."
  • When a member of the group has done the thing the speaker has never done, they must give them a "penny" from their pile.
  • Play continues around the circle, with each member taking their turn finishing the sentence.  


In all of these games, you can play until a time limit is reached, one member is left "in play", or "pennies" run out.  I found that for a group of six to eight members, ten minutes seemed to be a reasonable amount of time. Yet, feel free to adjust accordingly, add prizes if you feel they are necessary for some games, etc.

The whole purpose of these games is to get to know one another, therefore I found it more interesting if members are randomly placed in groups, rather then sitting with their usual crew. 

These games are nothing new, and with a little ingenuinity you can adapt most give it a try.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sometimes the Bandwagon is okay

I generally try to stay away from "bandwagon" things. You know...those Must-Have items that everyone who is anyone has on their wish list.  I mean, I spent most of my younger years being the girl who did what she could to stand apart from the crowd (combat boots, purple-ish red hair, etc).

Yet sometimes, you come across things that are much too clever and generally Awesome! to pass up. One such example are Patchwork Threads T-shirts.  I kept seeing them appear in my Instagram feed, not in an obnoxious (not again) way; but in a "Ooh, there it is again" way.

I mean, come on, a t-shirt that says "I Quilt so I don't kill people"...that is sarcasm at it's best right there. And if that is a little too video-game violent for you, they have lots of other quilting-related shirts that are probably more work-appropriate then this one.

And sometimes when you jump on the Bandwagon early enough, you are actually called an Early Adopter.  I don't know about you; but I like the sound of that.