Sewing some fun

Hello, dear pond readers, thank you for joining me here at the pond. Happily, I’m here today to share some crafty fun that I’ve been sewing. I hope that it inspires you to get your own crafty shenangins going.

I got busy making some Whovian magic happen by using this set of directions for an envelope pillow cover to sew two 16″x16″ throw pillows. As odd as this sounds, I liked that Martha Stewart’s page didn’t have pictures for the directions because just using the math happened to be easier for me. There are various picture-filled options online though for the more visually inclined. The pillow pictured below is wonderfully plush and cozy.

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Front of Whovian pillow by E.A. Schneider Also, FYI, it is super adorable to see someone using this pillow and see the “Vworp Vworp” above their head like a text balloon.

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Back of the Whovian Pillow by E.A. Schneider

For my mom’s birthday, I made this pincushion. I made it two-sided because both sets of fabric are adorable and my mom likes to have fun choices. I’m rather proud of how well centered the buttons are.

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Blue side of pincushion

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Peach and blue side of pincushion

I also made her this pendant but I did cheat and string it on a pre-made cord. It is painted jasper so it also has two sides that look all impressionistic and lovely.

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Jasper pendant side 1 by E.A. Schneider

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Jasper pendant side 2 by E.A. Schneider

To kick off my fundraising for team Nerds for a Cure in Walk MS Waukesha 2017, I made these two dice bags for friends of mine. These friends have joined the glorious world of Dungeons & Dragons and needed suitable bags of holding for their dice so they asked me if I could make them bags. Two years ago I made dice bags for my fundraising for Nerds for a Cure and I used that same pattern again.  We play weekly and I tailored the bags to their personal interests, both in and out of the game. It was a delightful creative challenge and I’m happy to say that they were pleased with them.

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Dragon and cat dice bags of holding. By E.A. Schneider

Also, because I thought it would be a fun challenge, the insides of the bags have a surprise at the bottom.

I have no doubt that I’m going to craft some more nifty stuff for the fundraiser and will share the details here when I can.

I’m working on some other fun craft projects and will hopefully get them finished soon. What sorts of crafting are you doing these days, dear pond readers? Please, post comments and links below when you have the chance and thanks for stopping by the pond today!

Happy 50th, Star Trek!

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All the captains! This image was found using a Google image search.

September 1966 saw the premiere of Star Trek and the world was forever changed. Star Trek brought us a utopian vision of a future that not only included the continuance of the human species but the inclusion of disparate parts of that species in the exploration of the universe. Then and now, 50 years later, that is still a remarkably optimistic vision that continues to inspire countless fans around the world.

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Earth as seen from the surface of the moon. Image courtesy of the LROC mission.

Star Trek inspired my brother, cousins, and I throughout our childhoods. I grew up with the voyages of the USS-Enterprise, the NCC-1701-D, station Deep Space Nine, and the USS Voyager. I can’t begin to count the number of hours we spent playing Star Trek first with homemade models then computer games on top of watching the shows and movies as well as reading the sundry paperbacks. This was a great way to grow up. I took it for granted that people of different skin tones, genders, and species could work together to understand different phenomena, solve puzzles, and broker inter-galactic peace. Of course women were lawyers, archaeologists, engineers, diplomats, admirals, doctors, counselors, security officers, teachers, captains, and mothers. There was no such thing as the no-win scenario. Instead, there was working the problem with your crew using the tools you had. Sure there was heartbreak, there was tragedy, there were sucky episodes, there were logical fallacies, there were disappointments. Aren’t there always? The average of good to bad, hope to despair, quality to hackery, and possibilities to dead-ends has always tilted high and that is where I continue to hang my trust in the franchise that is Star Trek.

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My childhood tribble that lives over my writing desk.

I’ve written about Star Trek a lot over the years. Over at Playtime: an Arts and Culture Magazine, I wrote about How to Be a Trekkie and Star Trek (2009). Here at my pond I’ve done a few crafty posts including both a quillow and a baby gift-set, a two-part viewing guide to Star Trek that included some recipes, and even a fundraiser inspired by my love of Star Trek’s tribbles. I’m cautiously hopeful about the upcoming television series and I’m looking forward to writing about Star Trek for years to come.

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All my homemade plushie tribbles! They are standing by to save my brain from multiple sclerosis. 

Thanks for existing, Star Trek. Thanks for all the inspiration, all the debates, all the laughs, and all the wonder. You helped me think that science was not only cool but achievable. You also helped solidify my conviction that the power of a good story told well can change the world for the better. Here’s to another 50 years of going where no one has gone before.

How about you, dear pond readers? Are you celebrating the 50th anniversary in any particular way? Do you have a favorite Star Trek memory or episode? Please, leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond today. Q’pla!

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50 years calls for dancing Picard! 

Tribbles and Troubles

That’s right, dear pond readers, I’m going to write about the cutest Star Trek alien ever: TRIBBLES!

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Kirk covered in Tribbles. Image found in a Google Image Search.

For some background, tribbles were introduced in the 15th episode of Star Trek: the Original series in season two’s episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” They have no face, make adorable purring noises, make people inexplicably happy, and are practically born pregnant. Everybody loves tribbles except Klingons and they prove instrumental to resolving the conflict in the episode. Tribbles are a perfect invasive species with the capacity to cause major environmental devastation across the galaxy, even if they are addictively cute. Naturally, the Klingon Empire undertook to destroy them from the face of the universe in the name of conservation. Being Klingon, they succeeded. The story of tribbles was continued in the Deep Space Nine season five episode six adventure titled “Trials and Tribble-ations.” The episode was a love letter to ST:TOS and the franchise as a whole while prominently featuring the popular alien pets. I think these two episodes are two of the most accessible stand-alone Star Trek adventures that capture some of the fun of this imagined future, its bureaucracy, and politics with some good comedy.

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Quark covered in tribbles. Image found using a Google image search.

Ever since my first Star Trek convention when I was a kid in elementary school, I have cherished my tribble. I remember deliberating the exact tribble I wanted, debating the merits of fur color and fur length to what was no doubt an irritating extent to my long-suffering father and elder brother, before finally settling on a long-haired chocolate brown tribble. I distinctly remember combing its fur with my Barbie/my Little Pony combs and cradling it through numerous viewings of various Star Trek shows and VHS movie rentals. To this day, it still has its original tags and sits in a place of honor above my writing desk. As far as I know, they only sell officially licensed tribbles at ThinkGeek.com but they aren’t in stock and appear to be in only one color, so my tribble feels a little extra special.

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My tribble on its shelf over my desk by E.A. Schneider

When I undertook to plan a nerdy, board game themed fundraiser this Summer for my walk MS team, Nerds for a Cure, I tried to think of something I could offer as a donation incentive that would be nerdy, recognizable, and easy-to-make. I remembered that I had found this pattern on Craftster.com and thought: I could make tribbles, by jove. Huzzah!

I have to say that, even without quadrotriticale, the tribbles just seemed to multiply. I’m kind of a compulsive person in a lot of ways but I still blame the tribbles: they are just so darn easy to make. Even with the chronic pain in my hands (thanks, Multiple Sclerosis! You suck!), I was still able to make tribbles with relative ease. There is also something immensely satisfying about having a giant tote bag stuffed full of tribbles next to your sewing basket. In the end, I made 30 in four different colors and used up a giant bag of poly fiberfil. At the fundraiser, I’m pleased to say that the giant bin of tribbles did draw several people through the door and they donated specifically to get a tribble. I was extra thrilled to place tribbles in their generous hands.

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Our info table at the Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser. Notice, the giant pile of tribbles in the purple bin with Kirk’s face. Also, the basket of bookmarks.

That said, even though the fundraiser went really well, particularly for a first attempt, I still have a lot of homeless tribbles sitting in my house. While I could be smart and save them for next year’s Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser, I think that I should try to find them homes and I do have fundraising yet to do with only about four weeks left until my walk event. Our fundraising goal is $5500 but right now we’ve only raised $3,851 and I’m not sure we’re going to make our goal.

So what do you say, pond readers? Do you want to donate to save my brain from the horror of multiple sclerosis AND get an adorable tribble friend to keep you company? Now is your chance. If you donate $12 to my personal fundraising for Walk MS Waukesha and put TRIBBLE! in the  personal note field, I will mail you a handmade plush tribble while supplies last.

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All the tribbles waiting for new homes by E.A. Schneider

Moreover, if you donate $15 to my personal fundraising for Walk MS Waukesha and put TRIBBLE+! in the personal note field, I will throw in three homemade bookmarks from our Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser event for you to enjoy with your tribble.

If you want to support my fundraising but don’t want to risk bringing even a plushie tribble into your home (or you just don’t want a tribble), you can donate $5 to my fundraising and put BOOKMARKS! in the personal note field and I will mail you three homemade bookmarks. The bookmarks were made by the talented ladies at the Drunken Library. You might remember the Drunken Library from when my nerd friend, the talented Amber Graham, joined me for a day of Star Trek watching. While I can’t include pictures of every single bookmark (they made 120+), you can see a lot of the designs in the picture below and you can watch their videos about making the bookmarks on their Youtube channel. The square bookmarks fit over the corner of a page and are hard to lose. The rectangle bookmarks are just pretty rectangles.

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Handmade bookmarks courtesy of the Drunken Library

Everyone who donates at any level will get a special Nerds for a Cure MS Fundraiser event pin as a thank you in addition to the tribbles and bookmarks while supplies last. The pins are all 1″ in size.

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Fundraiser event pins!

Finally,  you must put the specified text in the personal note field to be considered for this offer. Without the text in the personal note field, I will just assume you’re a super nice, generous person who doesn’t want any thank-you item and you will only receive a pin with your thank-you note. I have to say, it would be pretty amazing if I ran out of tribbles and bookmarks because all of you in Internet-land decided to donate a little bit to my fundraising.

Here’s a nutshell description of why I’m asking you to care: multiple sclerosis is a super sucky insidious, invisible disease that I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I’m not special, a lot of people are struggling with multiple sclerosis. I bet you know somebody in your life besides me who has been touched by this disease, but, I figure if you’re reading this blog, that you care a little bit about its author being able to continue writing it for your perusal. The National MS Society is doing a lot to fund research that will hopefully not only get us closer to a cure but also improve quality of life for people and their families in the meantime. The organization really makes a difference to those of us living with this disease and I hope that you will help me help them help everyone. You can always help by sharing this blog post and my team links on social media even if you can’t donate for whatever reason.

Thanks for reading my reflections on tribbles and my request for fundraising help. I really appreciate all my readers taking the time to keep reading Technicolorlilypond. You help me persevere. Please, leave a comment below with any questions or comments. Thanks for looking at my pictures, considering my request, and for stopping by the pond, dear readers!

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Muskrat by the Fox river by E.A. Schneider. This muskrat may not be a tribble but he is certainly an adorable little furry creature.

Make it Sew: Nerdy edition

Make it Sew: Nerdy edition

Hello, dear pond readers! I have managed to be a crafty pond dweller between this winter, spring, and summer. Here is the first installment of my adventures in sewing from the last few months and they are all kinda nerdy.

Two of my friends moved into new homes so I made them towels.  Specifically, I made them towels that involved math fabric because they are both engineers and, me being me, I actually had math fabric in my stash. The fabrics are a mix of Moda and Tula Pink. I got a little fancy/experimental with the stitches on the ribbons and I have to say I’m pleased with the result.

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Finally, some geeky friends of mine are having a baby. Naturally, this is a chance to make adorable, nerdy things for a small human. These friends are big Star Trek: The Next Generation fans, one of whom has an especial fondness for Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton). Being one of the probably few people who happened to have both the fabric on hand and the skillset to make something ST:TNG that prominently features the Crushers, this was my time to shine.

I used Star Trek:The Next Generation fabric from Camelot Cottons (Star Trek The Next Generation Badges White Fabric By The Yard) to make the baby bibs. The bibs are backed with white microplush fabric that is both super soft and super absorbent. I used velcro as the closures because snaps are the devil and I dislike them. Because this geeky couple is very Earth conscious and does not need more tissue paper, I made them a reusable drawstring bag with space fabric as the gift wrap. Finally, I included a tribble because every baby needs a tribble to keep it company in the crib.

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I really like the fabric in the collection. I think the likenesses of the characters is fantastic and only slightly creepy. I particularly like Wesley’s brooding seriousness juxtaposed with Dr. Crusher’s (Gates McFadden) megawatt smile. I confess that I made a couple of Star Trek bibs to set aside in case I get my own little bag-of-mostly-water to raise one day. I anticipate that looking at the crew of the USS Enterprise-D whilst trying to dock the strained peas in the baby space station will be fun.

I hope you enjoy the pictures! Please, share any comments, questions, or Trekkie nerdery in the comments and thanks for stopping by the pond today. Live long and prosper!

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The whole set!

P.S.: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. If you buy this lovely: Star Trek The Next Generation Badges White Fabric By The Yard  

 I will get a small advertising fee.  Even if you don’t pick one up here, I hope that it helps you. If you do pick it up through my link, thank you very much; I hope that these fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!
Happy Headlines

Happy Headlines

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Wingspan by E.A. Schneider

Salutations, dear pond readers! I know it has been awhile. As part of my bid to stay awake tonight to watch the exceptional Perseid Meteor Shower, I thought that I would share some nifty headlines with all of you.

This headline about a brilliant inventor from South Africa who developed a famine-combating super absorbent polymer from orange and avocado peels filled me with delight today. There’s nothing like the can-do spirit of a science literate inventor who actually figured out how to make her part of the world a better place to start your day off right.

In the entertainment world, I’m excited about a live action version of an anime that I very much enjoyed called Tiger & Bunny getting one step closer to being a live-action film.  Tiger & Bunny combines a few characteristics that I enjoy: superpowers, ensemble teamwork, dynamic action, buddy-comedy, and a hint of workplace style story-telling. The characters, the story, and the animation are all fantastic. There is also a satisfying emotional arc for the characters and that is something that anime fans don’t always get to enjoy with a show based on an ongoing manga or light novel series. I look forward to seeing how the live-action movie is developed.

The other entertainment story I’m pumped about is the news that the new Star Trek show on CBS, Star Trek: Discovery, will not only have a diverse cast headed by a female lead but will also take place in the prime universe. As pond readers well know, though I am a lifelong Trekkie, I do not care for the new J.J. Abrams’ films. When early reports on the possibility of a new TV series surfaced, I feared they would be set in the alternate Abrams’ universe and new generations would see the prime universe as a quaint curiosity. I think that a new show set in the 10 years before The Original Series makes perfect sense. Big idea, high-concept, character-driven sci-fi that is told with good action and good writing really shines the most in a long format like TV. That’s why I think Star Trek’s natural habitat will always be the small screen, even if I do enjoy good Star Trek movies. Here’s hoping that Fuller and team do the brand credit and all fans, new and old, can enjoy a good Trek to the stars for years to come.

Any news stories that you’re particularly excited about, dear pond readers? Please, leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond!

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Because dancing Picard makes everything an extra big party.

Good News

Here is the best piece of news I’ve heard all week, dear readers: Canadian scientists have published a paper in the Lancet detailing an extraordinary new treatment for severe progressive multiple sclerosis.  That link will take you to an excellent write-up of the discovery in Vox but this link will take you to the original Lancet article.

I’ve mentioned my personal struggle with multiple sclerosis before here in the pond, heck I even have a tab devoted to it here. This is a big deal to me but I also just think this story is inspiring. Want to know one of the many cool things about science that I think I’ve mentioned a few times? Everything is connected. That amazing miracle up in Canada was only possible because there was a bunch of basic scientific research available to draw upon from stem cells, leukemia research, lymphoma research, auto-immune research, and probably many other fields that I’m unaware of; the publication has 38 cited references and 25 co-authors. The implications of the work these 25 scientists did extend beyond multiple sclerosis to other auto-immune diseases and who knows what else in the future. Just thinking about all of the citations that had to happen to make all the 38 works possible that made this paper possible, fills me with awe at the breadth of research necessary to facilitate each discovery scientists make. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Each discovery, each eureka moment, fuels the next one, even one you might not expect. Every penny towards research, be it private or public, helps the researchers do their necessary work. I also personally believe that every prayer and positive thought contributes in some way to these sorts of discoveries, too. I hope contemplating this story, and all the hands that made it possible, fills you with hope & wonder, too, dear readers. Have you read or experienced something that gave you a feeling of hope? Please share it below in the comments and thanks for stopping by the pond today.

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Light and Leaves from Michigan by E.A. Schneider

 

Repeatable Joy

The ability to repeat an experiment and replicate results consistently is a cornerstone of science, dear readers. You don’t want something you try, especially something important, to prove to be a fluke. A good experiment can be accurately repeated time and again. This basic fact is burned into my brain. I know that art isn’t science but for me and the way my brain works, I kinda think that anything real should be repeatable.

When my first professionally published story, “Valentine,” hit the Internet a few months ago, that little voice known as Doubt did whisper in my ear. Me being me, I argued.

“You know that it was just a fluke, right?”

Well, I hope it isn’t…

“You know that they didn’t publish your story because they actually thought it was good.”

Then why?

“You know that this isn’t going to happen again, right? Because it’s not.”

That’s probably true; but maybe if I just submit one more time…

If you’re a writer or an artist, you probably have your own version of that dialogue between yourself and your inner demon of Doubt every day, too. I am confident that I’m not the only one. Heck, you probably have your own negative give and take just being a human being.

While I know that Doubt will never go away I am happy to announce that I have managed to get it to shut up for a little while thanks to a victory of epic proportions: I sold another short story. HAH! In your face, Doubt! You can suck it!

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This whole people-publishing-my-stories thing is not a fluke, it is repeatable. And I hope that I can repeat it many times over. Now, I have to get cracking on some more fiction. Thanks for joining me in my happy dancing, dear pond readers.

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My story will be appearing in an anthology that will be published in both book form and epub form later this summer, probably in July. I will post more details as I find them out. In the meantime, dear pond reader, the happy dancing will continue. Thanks for stopping by.

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UPDATE! If you want to buy a copy for your home library AND support a burgeoning author, you can use this link: ROAR Volume 7 and I will get a small advertising fee as a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Thanks for your support, I hope that you like the book, and thanks for stopping by the pond, dear readers.