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Interview with a Zombie– Amanda Adams

18 May

Have you ever wondered why Zombies are always chasing the living? How about why they are constantly moaning and hobbling about, dragging a foot with arms outstretched clawing their way to any sign of life? Of course you have. There is nothing we humans are more afraid of than the unknown. It seems almost too easy but, why not just ask one? This week, I did just that!

Amanda Adams is a singer-songwriter/actress who is also a featured Zombie from a little show you may have heard of.. AMC’s The Walking Dead!  TWD is an amazing suspense drama telling the story of a group of survivors in a newly post apocalyptic world. TWD is based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book series of the same title. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the drama of the survivors, but thanks to Amanda, we get to see first hand what it was like to be a walker ( That’s slang for a Zombie).

Sit back, grab some salt and come pick Amanda’s brain with me, it’s only fitting right?

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Crafter Interview — WhateverJames

2 Mar

This week I was lucky enough to grab a second –and an awesome interview– from WhateverJames, owner and Star Wars geek behind Hanstitchedfirst.com. Straight from the tauntauns mouth-“Han Stitched First is the only (and best) place on the internet to find needlework projects, patterns and information inspired by the Star Wars universe.

Stitch In PublicI came across James by accident on twitter one day when he was talking about it being “Stitch in public day”. Not only was I curious about cross stitching that was being created by a dude, but he was stitching some really nontraditional designs. His Star Wars pieces in particular caught my eye. ( Come on, have you been to the pre -packaged cross stitching aisle? Nothing but roosters and floral patterns.) Being the Star Wars freak that I am, I had to find out more about him and his interesting craft. He showed me the way to a very therapeutic and creative outlet for my love of geekery and handmade goods.

So, grab a glass of warm blue bantha milk, take a seat and get to know WhateverJames after the jump!

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Interview with Matthew Meyer: Author and Illustrator of the Upcoming Book “The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”

1 Sep

For those of you who loved my last article about Japanese folklore, you’re in luck: I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with the talented Matthew Meyer, professional artist and soon to be author and illustrator of the upcoming book The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons.

Featuring 100 distinct yokai that Matt has researched extensively (both by pouring over Japanese texts and speaking to residents of the Japanese village where he currently lives), this book will offer non-Japanese speakers a peek into the wonderful world of yokai.

But I’ll leave it to Matt to tell you more about his book, the inspiration behind it, and, some fun facts about life in Japan!

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1. Before I talk to you about your upcoming book The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, would you mind telling me a little bit about how you first became interested in Japanese art and culture, and how that interest has impacted you as an artist and as an individual?

Hitotsume Kozou

Hitotsume Kozou

Like most people my age, I grew up surrounded by pieces of Japanese culture — Nintendo games, Japanese animation, the ninja craze of the 80’s, and Saturday afternoon samurai flicks on TV. I think these sparked an interest in Japan, though I was aware that I was getting a watered-down, American-filtered hybrid culture. Later I studied the art of Japan a bit more in art history classes. When I was in college I also had the opportunity visit Japan on a home stay program for one month, and there I was really able to witness firsthand what would become such a big influence on my life. I was studying illustration at an art school at the time, and the impact and simplicity of Japanese design — especially of the woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th centuries — struck me, and had a profound influence on my art. I knew that I wanted to come back to Japan, and so I did. And I have been living here for over 4 years now.

2. For those who aren’t overly familiar with yokai, could you explain a bit about them, and talk about why you chose to center your book on yokai specifically?

I’ve always been somewhat of a nerd, and interested in history and mythology of different cultures. The monsters of European mythologies — elves, dwarves, ogres, fairies, minotaurs, etc. — are well known to most people, at least indirectly, by the fantasy movies and games that way play. I had studied other cultures’ myths and folkore in school, and I had read many books on African, Native American, and Asian mythologies so I thought I was somewhat familiar with global folklore. But when I came to Japan I noticed that there was this “monster culture” that was completely different from what I was familiar with. I had known about Pokemon, and Godzilla, and things like that, but I had always thought of them as modern inventions without realizing that they had their own ancient roots. There is an entirely different universe of monsters and mythology over here that evolved separately from those of the West, and so it became a sort of an obsession for me to learn as much as I could about this branch of mythology that was almost invisible to the Western world. Continue reading

Seller Interview – Lori from Sew Kawaii Creations

29 Jul

To keep my brain happy, and to backup the stereotype that yes, I am a geek, I read. Copious amounts of amazing literature that I can store in my brain and use its one liners as my own to seem smarter in any social setting. My love for books was emptying my wallet and filling my closet with books that I would practically destroy while reading but never really make it alive to be read again. Tattered pages, smeared ink, some books were actually partially submerged in water. ( Im a bathtime reader, sue me.) For my last birthday my awesome boyfriend got me a e-reader. One named after the nickname for the space between his chest and his arm, the Nook. I absolutely love this thing, and was taking it everywhere with me. Long line at the DMV? No worries, people don’t bug you when you are reading. You can store hundreds of books in it at once, and.. you can actually go back and read them again and again! Discounted books, no closet full of clutter. I was in heaven.

It got to the point where I would actually not leave the house with my Nook because I didn’t have a cover for it. Protection.  They are pretty much$ 30-$60 for one, and they aren’t too flattering. My record of smashing screens on any techonological device I own, made me think twice about leaving the house with this sucker, or even walking onto hard wood floors with it. Finally my search came to an end when I stumbled onto Etsy.com and found that there were some kick-ass covers that wouldn’t break the bank, and that are actually really fun to look at. That’s what lead me to this awesome Etsian -Lori Renaud owner of Sew Kawaii Creations.

handmade etsy store

Her shop is filled with handmade e-reader covers custom made for your e-reader device. She has a nice selection of fabric covers that range anywhere from cutesy, colorful Japanese inspired, retro games, horror movies and more. She does do custom orders, so I asked for a fabric of tattooed chicks that I really liked the look of. She didn’t have it for display in her shop, but I found it in her sold orders list. ( Had to be difficult of course!)  I asked if she could make one for me, and right away she let me know she could. She was so sweet and it was a pleasure doing a transactions with her. I received my cover in no time and when I took it out of the packaging my eyes just popped. Her covers are very WELL made. Try finding  covers that are durable, affordable and made with small pockets, for the price she puts out.  For just $24 USD you honestly couldn’t ask for anything better, such a steal. I enjoyed her product so much, I knew I had to get an interview with this geeky crafter..

nook ereader cover   nook e reader cover

Holly from MB.org- When did you begin to sew and what made you want to make e-reader
covers?
 

Lori- My grandmother is a seamstress, so I have always had an interest in sewing, but it was
not until I picked up a sewing machine in a thrift shop at 18 that I began teaching myself
to sew. Ten years, and a few courses later, I cannot imagine a day going by without at
least a few minutes in my sewing studio.

Why the ereader covers? They actually came from necessity. I began making them
because I have a slight ereader possession problem (as in, I need to possess as many ofsew kawaii creations
them as possible) and it would have cost me a small fortune to dress them all. So after
feeling like my readers were sufficiently outfitted (as well as everyone I knew with a
reader) I did not want to stop, hence the birth of Sew Kawaii Creations.

Holly-Momsbasement.org is a geeks 4 geeks site, would you consider yourself
a geek? The reason I stumbled across your page was because of the geeky                                           designs, what inspired you to create geekery items as well?

Lori-I am absolutely a Doctor-Who-watchin’, spend-my-Friday-night-gaming, Bleeding-
edge-aspiring, geek (and proud of it!). When choosing my fabric it shows because I pick
what I like. It may not be what is going to sell best (you won’t find any Amy Butler in my
shop) but I love every fabric I work with. This is how I know I also legitimately adore my
customers – I don’t have to doubt that they have great taste ;)

Read the rest of the interview after the jump..

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Geeky Chic: A Review and Interview

27 Jun

Greetings Basement Dwellers! I’ve made a recent impulse internet purchase that I’m extremely happy I made. If you are a geeky chic fashionista, you should hop on this bandwagon of awesome and obtain some serious nerdy flare!

A while back when I made a Top Ten list of geeky fashions, I found a plethora of things I wanted personally, while finding things to show our fans. The one thing I wanted for sure was a set of Acrylic nails after making the list. I looked around online on other sites, I looked at nails salon sites, and I kept coming back to Etsy.

From there I found a number of designs that I wanted but I gravitated toward a seller that was featured in the list. I had never seen anything like her designs and, being an artist myself, could not see how she painted something on such a small scale. I looked around to see if there is anything similar to her work anywhere else, I didn’t. You wont. You can’t. In my humble opinion, she is our most unique geek we have featured thus far.

I’ll admit it, I was skeptical at first. But, the more I looked through her shop and the more I LOVED her geeky designs, the more I squealed for joy.   Jihye has some serious talent, and I wasn’t sure how they would look on me but I went ahead and ordered them anyway. I’m now the proud owner of a set of Invader Zim Themed Nails(after some serious personal deliberation over getting the Zim vs Zelda sets.)

I want to say that I am very happy with the nails, for having pretty small hands, they fit extremely well, were easy to apply and Gir even has  UV blacklight detailing! I recommend these to anyone who wants to add some serious flare to their style. I’ve worn nails to parties and events before and these are sure to stun anyone in a casual or flashy setting. These nails got me so excited I immediately went online and watched the entire first season of the show.

After oogling over the cartoon and my new awesome nails, I got a chance to talk with this kick ass crafter and ask some questions. 

Moms Basement: What makes you a geek, such as your geeky-est guilty pleasure?
Jihye: Oh god…my main geekery definitely stems from video games (but I’m an equal-opportunity geek. Comics, computers, and books are all fair game to me). My parents tried so hard to keep video games away from me (The first console I owned? PS2. My dad thought that FFX was too violent. I spent AGES convincing him.), but once I got a taste, I couldn’t stop. My goal in life is now to become a video game concept artist, so I love talking level design, character profiles, and gameplay.

Etsian Interview- Stitch Please MD

17 Jun

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Purcell from Etsy shop Stitch Please MD. Andrea uses her love for video games to her advantage and uses them as inspiration for her stitched pieces. She creates cross stitched goodies and patterns for all of us nerds that don’t want to do the grunt work of a cross stitched piece. Read below to see how well Andrea put up with my … odd questions that sprung from my over dose of redbull.

Holly MB Editor-How did Stitch Please MD begin? 

Andrea- I started Stitch Please as a shop in August 2010, but I’ve been cross stitching video game sprites since the fall of 2009.The name came from my bad taste in pop culture puns. When I started stitching I was in the habit of saying “Bitch, Please!” in my best Samuel Jackson voice whenever someone bothered me while I was stitching. It soon evolved into “Stitch, Please!”, and the name stuck! The MD on the end of my Etsy name is from the state I live in, Maryland. I’m not a real doctor (or Time Lord…..).

 I started cross stitching as a way keep busy. I have a part time job at my local comic book store, and a lot of spare time otherwise. I picked cross stitch out of everything else as a way to remember my grandmother. She taught me how to cross stitch when I was younger, using traditional patterns. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a craft I stumbled onto the site Sprite Stitch. So I thought instead of learning something new, I’ll just adapt it into what I want to stitch!

Andrea working on a Pikachu Cross stitch!

Holly- I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming theme of NES games in your shop! Why these old skool video games, and you know I have to ask.. why Pokemon? ( Did you catch em all?)

Andrea-I’m a huge fan of classic gaming, so a lot of what I stitch up is considered retro or classic. I’ve always loved the sprite art that game designers came up with despite the graphic limits of the hardware. When you remember that NES sprites have a three color limit some of the sprites they came up with can blow your mind!

 I started playing games with my mom on her NES as a kid, so a lot of what I stitch is thanks to her. I’ve played every 2D Mario game and love all of the Nintendo characters. I’m also a huge Pokemon fan, but I’ve only played the games with the original 151. Pokemon Snap is my favorite, but FireRed is my go to handheld game. The sprites are super cute so how could I not stitch them up? And yes, I have caught them all, or at least the first 150.

Holly- It always makes me happy when I see crafters accepting the challenge of a custom order. What are some odd custom orders you have received?

Andrea-I’ve made a lot of different stuff, but I have had a few odd requests. I had someone who wanted me to cross stitch Link from Legend of Zelda onto the blade of his sword. He didn’t understand that thread would fray and fall off. There are also people that have normal requests, but don’t understand the limits of the craft. Like asking for a wallpaper sized image, but made to fit into a tiny frame with only a few colors. They don’t want to lose any of the detail and they want it done by tomorrow. When one pixel is equal to one stitch, large and detailed pictures are always hard to translate. The oddest order that I’ve been able to stitch up is a coaster of Chrono from Chrono Trigger. I don’t know why anyone would want to put a drink on Chrono, but that’s what they wanted.

Andrea at Magfest with her Dr. Who cross stitch

Holly- Sometimes its hard to find a happy medium when you are trying to pick what you have in your shop, because most of the time, what you like is not what sells. Do you make what you like, or make what you know you will sell?

Andrea-I’d like to think I live up to my store motto of “Cross stitch for nerds and geeks”. I make stuff that I would buy so I guess that makes me a nerd and geek! 

Holly- How do you choose the characters and themes that you use? Do you have a trial and error process to figure out what to sell in your shop?

Andrea-I love picking my favorite characters and stitching them up. Almost everything in my shop is Nintendo so I do have a little favoritism. I do try to stitch up a few different characters as well though. I have a huge list of games to work through and I’m hoping to make some newer characters as well. I’m lucky enough to know some very talented sprite artists who can make 8-bit versions of current games. That way I can stitch up just about anything! I get a lot of feedback at the conventions I sell at, so I use that to ideas of what to make. The one thing I’ve learned is that the more annoying the character, the more people love it. Navi from Legend of Zelda, Claptrap from Borderlands, and Wheatly from Portal 2 are selling like crazy. I’m working on patterns for all three and should have them ready soon.

Holly-I see you consider your self a geek, whats your geeky obsession? Tell us your geekiest moment!

Andrea-I work at a comic book store, love anything Japanese, and I’ve been play games (tabletop and video) as long as I can remember. I even named my pet rabbit after my favorite comic book character! The proudest moment as a nerd is beating Super Mario Bros. 3. I had it as a kid, but I would always have to turn it off so someone else could use the TV. So when I bought my Wii, I downloaded it. I played it for a week straight, and finally beat it. I was so happy! My main geeky obsession is comic books. I’m saving up to buy the complete Sandman series by issue. I already have the soft and hard cover trade paperbacks and the Absolute editions, which I bought instead of paying for a class for college. Totally worth it to me!

Spoken by a true geek! Her shop is so fun and colorful and I suggest you go and check out this passionate crafter! Maybe she has something in there that you can’t live without. Or perhaps she can ale your itching for cross stitching and make you a pattern! Either way, here are her links… she has a bunch, so there’s no excuse to not CLICK!

You can find Andrea on Twitter, Etsy, Weebly, Facebook and Deviant Art

Keep on Geekin’

More from Stitch Please MD!


Super Mario Bros. I…

$5.00

Doctor Who 11th Doc…

$5.00

Tetris Puzzle Piece…

$5.00

Pokemon Bitch Be Tr…

$5.00

Custom Cross Stitch…

$5.00

Sonic the Hedgehog …

$5.00

Super Mario 2 Girls…

$5.00

Doctor Who It’s…

$5.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

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