10 Geeky Cupcakes for Your Next Party

This weekend was my son’s birthday weekend, and every year I try and do something a little different for his birthday cake. Last year he had a Minecraft-themed birthday party and I slaved away on a Minecraft cake that he loved. This year was a little more low key, and I ended up making some funfetti cupcakes with red icing (his favorite color). However, before I settled on that cop-out, I found SO MANY amazing cupcake ideas on the interwebz. Maybe next year!

1. Super Mario Bros.

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I think these little guys would get played with before they ever got eaten!

2. Doctor Who

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Okay, this one’s more for me than my kiddo – but look at the color of that icing!

3. Pokemon – I Choose You!

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Now this is a great use of cake pops!

4. Naruto

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Here’s another great anime-themed one – but I would love to do a Bleach-themed one instead;)

5. Indiana Jones

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For the adventurer in all of us.

6. Fallout

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Including the post-apocalyptic adventurer!

7. Minions

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For all the little minions in our lives:)

8. Plants vs. Zombies

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My son and I used to play Plants vs. Zombies 2 all the time together, and he would have LOVED these cupcakes at one point.

9. The Lord of the Rings

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Anything LOTR-related is a YES in my book!

10. Pacman

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And last, but certainly not least, these Pacman cupcakes would be the highlight of any party.

12 Cross-Stitch Projects That Celebrate Star Wars

In the wake of all the goodness that came out of D23, including the first illustrated Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster and the announcement of Star Wars theme parks, here are 12 awesome cross-stitch projects to make right now to help tide you over until December:

1. Choose a Side

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Classic good verses evil! For a simple piece, I love the detailing on the light sabers.

2. We Have Cookies

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The Dark Side can be so tempting….

3. Do or Do Not

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The good side isn’t always the easy side, that’s for sure.

4. Hokey Religions and Ancient Weapons

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Of course Han doesn’t believe in any of that crap!

5. Pixel People – Star Wars Edition

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The Pixel People strike again! I can’t get enough of these pixelated renditions of all the best movies (my first cross-stitch time lapse video was of their rendition of Shaun of the Dead).

6. Star Wars Alphabet Sampler

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And then there’s this awesome sampler that includes a good 28 of the best figures in Star Wars.

7. Mini Spaceships

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Yes. All the things. I especially want to make that x-wing!

8. Sweet Death Star

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Maybe if you chose the dark side….

9. Bless This Mess

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Or maybe you’ve come to terms with your inner flaws. (At the very least I think I’ve found some good examples of what to do with my black aida!)

10. Bless This Hive

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And sometimes the dregs and grit are what make life interesting.

11. That Snow Moon

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I want to make this one SO BAD. No explanation needed! This is from a design collection of geeky Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars and Doctor Who sweatshirt designs inspired by ugly Christmas sweaters. I mean, seriously!

12. Ultra Epic Star Wars Tapestry

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This monument to the Star Wars universe is ahmazing. “The Coruscant Tapestry,” a 30-foot long tapestry cross-stitched by artist Aled Lewis, which depicts the entire Star Wars Saga. You can’t make this stuff up.

YouTube Video 3.0 Doctor Who Geeky Cross-Stitch DIY Project

Video 3 of the crafting time lapse series, featuring Doctor Who this time, just went live on YouTube this morning, and I am super excited about this one because I learned a new trick – adding a fadeout! I’m telling ya, things are getting serious around here! Haha.

I will tell you this – if you watch the video, you may notice that the first circle ends up being a little uneven. I did not notice until watching the playback later, but it is just a testament to the amount of mistakes I made during this project – and it was just one I didn’t catch. This is what happens when you try and watch Doctor Who while working – what a distraction!

I not only learned about fade transitions with this video – I also learned that you cannot watch something while working on a cross-stitch project if you are on a time crunch. In order to shrink these projects down to a reasonable 2 minutes, the project can’t really take more than 2-2.5 hours. I probably added an hour to my time while watching Doctor Who because I kept looking up at the screen, kept messing up and having to go back, and was just generally distracted. Sigh. It made for an interesting edit later, I can tell you that!

I suppose I will stick to Pandora and Audible in order to stay entertained. The thing is, I listen to music or my book all day at work during the week, and I don’t want to come home and do the SAME THING while doing what I love – hence why I tried to watch a show instead. I mean, I’m going to be sitting there for two hours at a time… so I was thinking of maybe getting into podcasts? (I know, I know – late to the party on this one.) I’ve heard great things about Welcome to Night Vale… I’ll do some research on what’s out there and report back!

Fan Shirt #3: Zork

shirtzork-IOkay, who remembers Zork? A text-based computer game that started back in the 1980’s? Well, it was a fantastically imaginative, sophisticatedly infuriating interactive fiction game that brought you to a whole different world without showing you one graphic. It was all in your mind, just like a book. You can actually play some of the games for free online nowadays, and if I had free time, I would love to play them again… sigh.

I decided that my next shirt needed to indulge this old school game, and I was very ambitious with my first thought – which was to have the entire opening line included on my shirt:

>West of House
You are standing in a field west of a white house with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.
>_

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As it turns out, I am terrible with small letters, and there was the small logistical issue of fitting all the text on the shirt where people could actually read it…. The next plan was to just do “West of House”, but again, the lettering was just too small, haha. So finally (third time’s the charm, right?), I landscaped that bad boy and made the letters even larger.

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I love the way it came out! It’s short and sweet and simple – and only people who know what the hell Zork is will get it:) That’s the best part about a fan shirt! (You can see me wearing this shirt in Video 3.0 Doctor Who Geeky Cross-Stitch DIY Project on YouTube.)

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10 Fantastic Amigurumi to Give as Gifts

Amigurumi is a specialized crochet art that can make the most cutesy-wootsie adorable doll-like plushies – they are the chibis of the crochet world. But in my opinion the art form can really make Funko-like figurines that make awesome gifts out of your friends’ and family’s favorite games, movies or books. Check out these ten cool amigurumi to make for your favorite people:

1. Harry Potter
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No one would mistake this figure for anyone but our favorite wizard, and just look at that hair!

2. Gandalf
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Here’s our other favorite wizard – how cute is that hat and beard?!

3. Bilbo Baggins
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Look at that Hobbit hair! And a removable jacket! Bilbo never looked cuter. You could easily change the color of the hair and clothing to make Frodo.

4. The Sorting Hat
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And I couldn’t get away from wizards or Harry Potter without mentioning this awesome mini Sorting Hat! What a frown!

5. Halo’s Master Chief
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Halo 5 is coming soon, and what better way to celebrate than make this little guy? You could make him smaller by using smaller yarn, but I am duly impressed by this awesome design.

6. Link
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I love this combination of crochet and felt in order to get truly detailed in the design. Look at that shield! Any Zelda lover would love to get this little Link as a gift.

7. Portal Cube
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This isn’t an adorable little hero, but who could pass up the Portal Cube? I want to make this so bad!

8. Captain America
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I love this one of Cap. My son would probably love to get the whole Avengers set to put on a shelf in his room, haha. (Ooo, I think I just came up with a Christmas idea….)

9. Doctor Who
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The Eleventh Doctor! I, selfishly, want to make this one for myself:)

10. Deadpool
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And, I mean, does Deadpool even need a blurb? I love the use of felt for the detailed utility belt, and I know so many friends who would love one of these. Talk about a heartfelt gift ❤

Geeky Cross Stitch DIY Demo Video Series

I love crafting, and my current obsession is cross-stitch – and not your floral or Thomas Kinkade-inspired pieces either. COOL CROSS-STITCH. Pieces that are equal to an awesome fan shirt or tattoo. Pieces that inspire or make a statement about your interests.

What’s even better than making a project simply because you enjoy it? Turning it into a challenge! I have this huge blank wall in my dining room, and I want to fill it up with a whole collection of these cross-stitch pieces. I am happily calling it the Crafting Wall of Awesome. Not only has this challenge been ACCEPTED, but I’ve turned it into a timelapse video series on YouTube, where each video shows a project from beginning to end in 2-3 minutes. Maybe it will inspire you to join the cross-stitching fun; or maybe it will convince you that cross-stitch is pretty freaking cool after all:)

So stay tuned to my YouTube channel @prospergeek as I work my way through all of my favorite things – from Shaun of the Dead, to Star Trek, to Supernatural, to Doctor Who and Harry Potter and Star Wars and BEYOND.

Check out my most recent video featuring Supernatural here.

Fan Shirt #2: Assassin’s Creed

Nothing is true.

Everything is permitted.

There is something about Assassin’s Creed cosplay and fan art that is just something special. I found this meme on Pinterest the other day and had a good chuckle – I wish I ran into cool people like that at the gas station (or, well, anywhere).

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Using the Assassin’s Creed logo on a shirt has been on my list for awhile, and when I found this red shirt, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I took the original symbol and added a little flair to it. The original rendering I wanted to do turned out to be just too complicated:

acembroideryIsn’t that some amazing embroidery?!

Anyway, I was working on this last Tuesday night, and my brain was too tired from work to make this work, so I went for something a little less complex:

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Anyway, I ended up loving the simplicity of it, and I have to say – I am totally addicted to this… I already have a plan in mind for what the next fan shirt is going to be of… and we will be going old school:)

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If you loved Myst, Get Ready for Obduction!

MystCoverIn the world of first-person shooters, hack-and-slash roleplaying games, and puzzle games with the imminent threat of death at every turn, a recent game review for Submerged peaked my interest. It is a game where you and your little brother are the only living souls around, and you have to search a deserted city for ways to save your little brother from dying. You spend your time exploring, learning about the past, and solving puzzles as you go, without the threat of running into an enemy or accidentally falling off a ledge and killing yourself. The review commented how it was a beautiful game and a breath of fresh air.

My immediate thought was, hey, this sounds like Myst of old! Granted, I love a good hack-and-slash adventure RPG (Dragon Age and Fable are some of my favorite properties), but besides Super Nintendo games like Earthbound and Super Mario Bros. World, Myst was one of the first games I really cut my teeth on. Myst, a puzzle adventure game released on PC in 1993, was actually the best-selling PC game until The Sims knocked it off its pedestal. I loved Myst, Riven and Myst III: Exile. Collecting information, piecing together clues, and trying to solve puzzles are intriguing and stimulating gameplay, in my opinion, especially when the world-building is so top notch.

Upon reading this review of Submerged, I started to wonder what had ever happened to the game developer, Cyan. Could there be any next-gen games for me to play???

Well, the first thing I found upon digging through the Internet, was Myst Online (whaaat, a Myst MMO??) There, you can explore the ages of Myst and Uru all day long if you’d like.

Next, I found something even better – a new game in the works, following much of the same feels and stylization as the beloved game of Myst: Obduction. Cyan has gone the independent route and crowdfunded their new project. The Kickstarter campaign went well – 22,195 backers pledged $1,321,306 to help bring this project to life – and based on news bits around the web, like this one from May, development is going well. Apparently, there should hopefully be a serious update at Pax Prime coming up!

I saw some of the screenshots they’ve been sharing, and from what I’ve seen, it definitely looks like it will live up to expectations. It makes me so, so happy to see a fandom come through and be so supportive, and I cannot wait to see what comes of this game.

The Martian Audiobook is Full of Awesome

martianI’ve been listening to The Martian on Audible, and it is fantastic. I’m usually a paperback girl – I don’t like reading on e-readers (even though I have one and they are super convenient!) and audiobooks can go oh-so-wrong. However, I do look for books that have awesome audiobook reviews because you can get an entirely different experience when someone exceptionally talented is reading a story to you. And just as I love reading to my son at bedtime, I love being read to as well.

The Martian is written by Andy Weir. (What else has he written, you ask? Why, nothing! This is his debut novel! And yes, I’m trying not to be sick over here, but if you want to hear how this book went from being published FOR FREE on his blog to being a huge success, check out this article.) It is science fiction, but it is set in modern day – and I think that’s why I like it so much. It reads like I could literally turn on the news and hear about this story. An astronaut left behind on Mars has to survive until help arrives – using botany, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and all that science-y stuff. Usually I am a fantasy girl – you can mix in a little sci-fi, but generally I want to live in a fantasy world and I do not want any depressing dystopian crap or scientific mumbo-jumbo that’s going to put me to sleep. I had heard a lot of buzz surrounding this book, so I knew a lot of people liked it – and of course, it’s being made into a movie and all that. But what sold me on the book was a simple tweet by Wil Wheaton as he announced that he was reading it. I was like, “Oh, that’s cool. Good for him!” And then I went on to read the comments (I am telling you, a lot of times the comments section is the best part about a tweet, blog post, or whatever.) Someone said that the audiobook version was hands down one of the most entertaining reads she had read and that the narrator was hella talented. Wow, what a review! I had some Audible credits burning a hole in my pocket so I thought I’d check it out.

And she was right! First of all, this book is written from the first person perspective – basically stream of consciousness – which means that if the voice actor is good, then it’s really just me and the main character having a cup of coffee together and I love that sort of intimacy. What’s even better? The narrator is sarcastic and has a dry sense of humor which deliciously colors all of the scientific mumbo-jumbo. Since I’m not a science girl, I’ll grab onto his humanity. R.C. Bray is brilliant, not only at breathing life into Mark Watney, but also managing to make every other character in the book come alive as well. His ability to differentiate accents and different characters with the same accent is admirable, and his performance never ever takes you out of the story. He brings the story to your brain and sets up shop. Amazing.

So far I can totally see how they’ll make the movie – based on the settings and character renderings, I can picture what the movie would be like in my head as I’m reading it. I’m usually not a big fan of movie adaptations of books, but this one I might go see! And I can totally see Matt Damon playing Mark Watney; I’m not sure how that went down, but it is a great choice, in my opinion.

Anyway, I’ve got about 3 hours left in the book, and I can’t wait to finish it. Maybe next post I’ll mention some of the themes and what I think about the juxtaposition of the warmth of humanity and the crispness of science. I need to find someone who’s read this book so we can chat….

5 Epic Minecraft Builds That Will Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

You know, when I was a kid, legos were a big deal. You sat on your bedroom floor with your tub o’ bricks – a collection of Robin Hood, medieval knights, and beachside fun (it had a ice cream parlor, and a shark – my sister and I fought over that one), along with a myriad of others, and you BUILT STUFF. Of course, these builds weren’t anywhere near as epic as some (like this 8-foot tall Tower of Orthanc from Lord of the Rings), but still, they passed the time in a creative way.

I was saddened when my son never got into legos – my brother and sister got him a huge garbage truck of Awesome for his 5th birthday, and then proceeded to put it together for him. About a week later it was broken. I tried buying him those Creator packs – where the same box of legos could make 3 different things. Still, abandoned after the first build. I gave up.

Enter Minecraft.

Maybe it’s because this generation are the techno-babies, where a five-year-old can teach an adult things about their smart phone they never knew, but everything Cameron is into has to do with technology.

And Minecraft is all about collecting resources and building things. One day Cameron pulled up a save he wanted to show me, and this huge statue of Steve met my gaze on the screen. I was floored. He couldn’t sit still long enough to build a little motorcycle, but he has the patience for THAT?!

Seriously, Minecraft is the Legos of the new generation. Just check out The Diamond Minecart – DanTDM, a 23-year-old, makes his living on Minecraft and YouTube. Amazing.

If I had a lot of time, I’d love to sit down and build something EPIC, but in the meantime, check out these amazing Minecraft builds:

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This is The Crossroads – get a full tour of the world that was built here. Insane!

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How about Elsa’s ice castle from Frozen? Check.

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Even better? Hogwarts castle!

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Or this epic castle. (Okay, enough castles.)

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This isn’t so much a castle as a really awesome watchtower or headquarters! When Cameron and I do our epic PVP battle, maybe my base will have to look something like this!