How To Make Cross Stitch Badges (and a giveaway).

 

Cross stitching is a really simple technique to learn. I was first introduced to it in primary school, and I just recently taught my boyfriend the finer points. While the average haberdashery or craft shop is awash with old-fashioned patterns that give cross stitching a dated image, there is actually a huge amount of people working fun, modern, and sometimes nerdy, patterns. And one of the easiest ways to display your handiwork, is by turning it into a little badge. This tutorial will assume that you already know how to cross stitch. If you don’t, feel free to cry for help in the comments section.

You will need: self cover buttons (I used a 29mm size), button making press, brooch or badge pin, aida, embroidery floss, needle, a cross stitch pattern (this can be one you draft yourself, or working from a game sprite works well – they’re about the right size.)

 

READ the full article over at http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk/2012/02/how-to-make-cross-stitch-badges-and-a-giveaway/

 

The Joy of a Good Fabric Store.

(Go to Caped Crafter’s craft blog Of Dropped Stitches and Super Heroics for the full post including a special deal on these fabrics!)

 

http://ofdroppedstitches.blogspot.com/

One of my pet peeves is when I am shopping online for fabric, and find a print I really love, only to find that the reasonable price is actually for a fat quarter and not a full metre or yard. This is one of the main reasons why I have used old superhero sheets for a lot of my sewing jobs, as they are tons cheaper, and when lined properly, work just as well as heavier fabrics. Plus, they seem to have the widest range of interesting motifs. However, on my latest search for sheets to use for upcoming projects, I came away empty handed, so I decided, just on the off chance, to have a look at new fabrics on eBay. I was looking specifically for superhero motifs, and that can be surprisingly tricky to find in the UK.

As per usual, there were endless listings of cute fabrics which were £4-5 for a fat quarter – prices that I’m just not willing to pay. Finally though, a listing caught my eye, that promised fabric ‘sold by the yard.’ And lo and behold, I found the most amazing fabric seller I’ve yet come across on eBay. Though situated in the US, The Pirate’s Royal Bootie have great international shipping prices (up to 12 yards can be sent to Europe for under $17) and a fantastic range of printed cotton. I was there for the DC Super Friends prints, and also got some Transformers and Toy Story for the kids, but I spotted Snoopy, Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, High School Musical and countless other branded, and non branded fabrics, most for under £5 a yard! I can’t think of a single physical fabric shop in Glasgow that could match those prices. And for any quilters out there, the store also stocks a great range of panels.

I seriously recommend you check this store out – it only took a week for my fabric to arrive, beating some UK sellers, and Elizabeth, who runs the eBay store, is just lovely – a total pleasure to deal with and makes the shopping experience so easy. Considering that I’ve had a run of bad luck with eBay sellers recently, she restored my faith in ordering from overseas. I’ve ordered from her twice now, and she will be my first stop when I need fabric in the future. Check out my haul. This is just the first batch of fabrics I bought – the second batch is basically just more of these prints.

I originally only bought 1 yard each of the Transformers and Buzz Lightyear fabrics, with vague ideas of adding them to my ever growing stash of boy friendly kids fabrics. But when the twins saw them, they thought they were totally awesome, and I’ve decided to make them little bean bag chairs, so I’ve ordered more.

I also bought two cute batman prints, which I’m going to turn into bunting. Because if there’s one thing the Dark Knight loves, it’s festive party decor. I’ve ordered a lot more of the darker print, which I may also turn into a skirt.

And finally, I got a yard each of these cute super friends prints, featuring Superman and Green Lantern. As yet, they have no pressing purpose, but I’m sure I’ll think of something soon.

As soon as I’ve finished some projects I’ll share them here. And remember, go visitThe Pirate’s Royal Bootie and just try not to spend a fortune on fabrics!

Mega-Super-Awesome Comic Sale!!

In other words, we’re having a clear out! In the next few weeks, I’ll be putting a lot of comics on eBay but I figured I’d list what I’ve got here first so as you lovely readers (and Facebook link clickers) can have the chance to snap up anything you might like without the ugliness of an auction :)
All comics are in good condition unless I stated any specific damage, though all have been read and show signs of that (general spine wear etc. though nothing drastic.) If you’re interested in any of the titles, email me at chickpeasoup[at]hotmail.co.uk or contact either myself or the boyfriend wonder on Facebook, and make us an offer. I will be happy to post overseas, but if you live in Glasgow and I can avoid having to package all of this stuff, so much the better!

PS: Expect typos a-go-go since this will be a very long and tedious list for me to type.

Marvel

The Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 of 6
Iron Man: House of M #1-3 of 3
The Invincible Iron Man: Heroes Reunited #1-4 of 4
X-Men: Apocalypse vs Dracula #1-4 of 4
Askani’son #1-4 of 4
Son of M #1-6 of 6
The further adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1-4 of 4
Sunfire and the Big Hero 6 #1-3 of 3
Fantastic Four vs the X-Men #1-4 of 4
The End #1-6 of 6
Wolverine and the Punisher #1-3 of 3 (I don’t think these have ever been read – they are bagged, but not boarded so might have some slight creases but no major damage)
X-Men and Alpha Flight  #1-2 of 2
Xtreme X-Men #1-46 (missing issue 6 – though this may turn up so fingers crossed.)
Xtreme X-Men X-pose issue 1 + 2
Xtreme X-Men Savageland #1-4 of 4
Venom vs Wolverine ‘Tooth and Claw’ #1-3 of 3
Rise of Apocalypse #1-4 of 4
Wolverine Xisle #1-5 of 5
Annihilation Nova #1-4 of 4
Ultimate Civil War Spiderham  one-shot
The following are character database type things
X-Men Archives sketch book  2000 (we have two of these, for reasons that remain a mystery to me)
All New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2006)  issues 1-2 and 4-10 of a 12 issue series.
New Avengers Most Wanted Files
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: The Avengers 2004
Wolverine – Evolution of an Icon
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spiderman 2004
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spiderman 2005
Annihilation Nova Corps Files
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe The Book of the Dead 2004 (a charming collection of some of the deceased characters in the Marvel universe – if you buy this, you can have fun checking off who is actually still dead.)
Ultimate Secrets
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: X-Men Age of Apocalypse 2005
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: X-Men 2004 (again, two copies of the exact same comic)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Wolverine 2004
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Daredevil 2004

DC
Scratch 1-5 of 5
Battle for the Cowl #1-3 of 3
Lobo and Deadman ‘The Brave and the Bald’  one-shot
Superman and Thundercats  one-shot
Superman: The Wedding Album (regular cover)
OMAC #1-6 of 6
Blackest Night Flash #1-3 of 3
Blackest Night Titans #1-3 of 3
Blackest Night Superman #1-3 of 3
Flashpoint #1-5 of 5
Flash 9-12 Road to Flashpoint
Flashpoint Green Arrow Industries  one-shot
Flashpoint Wonder Woman and the Furies #1-3 of 3
Batgirl (2009 – Stephanie Brown) #1-4 of ongoing series
Green Lantern movie tie-in Kilowog  one-shot
Red Robin #1-4 of ongoing series
Final Crisis Aftermath number ones – Escape #1, Run #1, Dance #1, Ink #1
Firestorm #1+2 (2004)
Batman Detective Comics #700 (in super snazzy slip case)
Batman #515 (black cover)
Batman: The Return  one-shot
Green Lantern #81 (1996) Hal Jordan’s funeral issue with obligatory gimmicky cover

Ooooh… textured and shiny!

Green Lantern #1 (2005)
Seven Soldiers #0
New 52 Justice League #1 (first printing, if you care about that sort of thing)
Flash Rebirth #1
Batman 1989 Movie Special (!)
Justice League of America (2006) #1
52 Weeks 16 and 17
Supergirl (2006) #5
Robin II (1991) issues #2 and 3 of a four part mini series, The Joker’s Wild.
Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1-3 of 3
iZombie #1-3

The following can go as one lot, or together if you like. It does include the crossover story Deathtrap which included Titans, Teen Titans and Vigilante, so it’d make sense to take it all … really it does. There are some odd gaps and some missing issues and I have no idea why. Sorry about that.
Teen Titans (2009) #69-71, #74 + 75, #79
Teen Titans Annual #1 (2009) Deathtrap Prelude
Titans (2008) #1-4, #6-16, #20
Titans East (2009) #1

Superman/Batman #8-9, #10 (two issues with two covers – Turner and Lee) #11-12, #13 (two issues with two covers – Supergirl cover and Bats and Supes cover)

And that’s it for now – this is about a quarter of the comics we have for sale. The rest will get listed here ASAP so check back for updates.

Batgirl #5 Review.

The first four issues of the rebooted Batgirl were a little shaky in places. The series was visibly finding its feet, a lot like Barbara herself, and frequently threatened to veer off track. But issue five finally puts us on slightly more solid ground, and the start of a new story arc promises intrigue and mystery galore, which I’m a sucker for. The nervy feel of the first few issues is gone, though unfortunately, the supremely annoying roommate is still around (on a side note, it is an absolute crime that Babs’ roommate, Alysia, still plagues us and yet Catwoman’s fence Lola, a hugely interesting, likeable character, bit the dust very early on.) Also mercifully missing from this issue is Barbara’s dubious relationship with her therapist. The dating scenes between the two of them really dragged down issue #2 and I’m glad that she has been able to put a great deal of the tedious angst behind her and get down to business.

As usual, Simone really excels at creating an authentic voice for Barbara, especially her inner dialogue, which is suitably youthful and intelligent, and makes for a convincing read. There is a good balance between the caped action and the out-of-costume drama, and really tight control of pace. However, it’s not all perfectly rosy.

Our first introduction to green-haired Gretel

The first appearance of the new villain, Gretel, is a little underwhelming, and, in my opinion, badly framed. It’s disappointing, because it began as a promising dynamic intro, but suddenly all the energy drained out of the page as we got our first full reveal. Her personality also seems a bit vague and ill-defined, and I’m not really sure what to make of her just yet. I don’t think she’s especially threatening either, not in the same way Mirror was in previous issues, and there is no real sense of danger, just mild inconvenience. Though I do expect this problem to be resolved, as a first issue of a new story, I wish this could have been a bit more gripping.

I have no doubt that the striking similarity between Barbara and her mother is intentional, but there were times when I wasn’t sure who was who, and I had to read back over the dialogue again to make sense of it. A clearer visual difference would make for much easier reading and a delineation between Barbara and her mother, possibly one that Babs has deliberately cultivated, would be a big improvement. That being said, the art is great, if a little vague in the background department at times, and the cover is simply stunning. Adam Hughes completely captures Barbara’s mix of vulnerability, strength and defiance, which comes as no surprise, and I really wish he was doing the interiors too.

Babs and Mama Gordon – but who’s who?

So, while this is a noticeable improvement, there are still some niggles to work out. I’m not keen on the psychological aspects of Babs recovery being explored, because previous issues have tried to cover that, and it was tediously hamfisted. But, I do appreciate that this needs to be addressed to give her some depth, and it is much needed. While Barbara’s personality is developing well, the personality of the series really isn’t, and I still don’t know whether to expect a fun Batgirl or a torturous angsty Batgirl, as the tone varies month to month. The next issue promises the appearance of Batman (Bruce Wayne appears towards the end of issue #5.) This comes less than a month after Nightwing guest starred, and although I know the Bat family invariably run into each other, I can’t help but feel there is a lack of faith in this book, to give it two such high profile guests so quickly. It would be nice to see Batgirl function on her own, without the interference of her male counterparts, regardless of the context. But, all of this is just growing pains and I have enough faith in Simone, and Babs, to know it’ll be a stellar book in no time. 8/10

In Defence of Ame-Comi and Kotobukiya Bishoujo (Sort Of)

I seem to be destined to be uncool. Even within the geek community my tastes seem to run contrary to public opinion. I don’t do this on purpose, to be contrary or play the devil’s advocate. It’s just the way it is. For example, I preferred the movie ending in Watchmen. I’m enjoying the new 52 Catwoman and Guillem March’s stylised sultry art. I’m not enjoying the art in the new Wonder Woman, which is why I stopped getting it. And you know what? I freaking LOVED Smallville! So it should come as no surprise that I own a few of the much maligned Ame-Comi and Kotobukiya Bishoujo statues.

I can’t help but love the anime aesthetic on the figures, and Ame-Comi in particular has had some real success in reimagining familiar costumes, which is something I really dig. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazy obsessed collector.  I like the statues I own, but not the whole line of either range. I only chose characters that I like and statues that I thought captured each character’s personality, and I’m not the type to be obsessed with chasing down rare variants. I think the trick to appreciating these particular ranges is to be discerning so here’s a little look at why I bought some figures, but not others, and maybe I’ll be able to convert some haters.

The Ame-Comi Wonder Woman  was the first statue I bought, and at a knockdown price too. Although I’m not the biggest Wonder Woman fan, I really liked the redesigned costume, her no-nonsense expression and pose, and the fact that this wasn’t hyper sexualized. There was, however, stiff competition in the form of the Kotobukiya Wondie statue…

Although a more classic take on the costume, I loved this too (despite the insanely high cut briefs.) The base is just amazing, and it’s almost worth buying for that alone, but the reason I didn’t is an odd one, perhaps. It’s her tummy button. In a part of her costume that should be, and is painted to look like, metal, there is no reason for it to have that skin-tight navel effect going on. And for that reason, I’ll never be parting with cash for this.

It’s a battle of the Catwomen next, and a perfect example of why people hate both these lines. On the left we have the Ame-Comi Catwoman – the first in a long line of variants and repaints, and while I think she’s playful and sexy in the right measures, it’s still not appealing to me, or my interpretation of the character. On the right, Kotobukiya’s offering boasts another fantastic base, so it’s a real shame that the statue itself is a clichéd anime-styled mess. I mean, let’s face it, that mad case of absolute cleavage is never going to be gracing my shelves. If only they had pulled her zipper up, this would’ve been a must buy.

The Batgirl face off couldn’t have been more different though, and as a result I own both. The Ame-Comi version on the left was the only collectible I have actively chased. Trying to get my hands on this seemed like an impossible task, especially since I wasn’t prepared to pay jacked up prices. But somebody was selling their collection on eBay at retail prices, and I  jumped at the chance. I love the costume, and the Speed Racer inspired helmet, and I think her pose and demeanour is perfect for a young girl.  The Kotobukiya figure is perhaps a slightly more mature Batgirl, but the detail is stunning and the dynamic movement created with that cape is a real treat. Yes, both versions of Babs feature idealised body types, as do all of the statues featured here, and the comic versions of these characters, but it is not so offensive as, say, Kotobukiya’s Supergirl’s ridiculous upskirt action (which I won’t post here, to spare your blushes) and is something we’re used to seeing.

I also own an Ame-Comi Harley Quinn, that is appropriately carefree with a great costume and a creepy alternate Joker face, and a Kotobukiya Dark Phoenix which is beautifully detailed, from her flaming eyes and hair, right down to her fiery base. Next on my list is Kotobukiya’s Jean Grey and Poison Ivy, and potentially their Invisible Woman variant too, at some point in the future.

The bottom line is, that yes, there are horribly gratuitous statues in these ranges, that feature cheap titillation on a level I am uncomfortable with. But, on the other hand, there are some lovely figures that don’t resort to tits and ass and provocative poses that do a disservice to the character. And when the workmanship is good, as it is in almost all of Kotobukiya’s figures and the early Ame-Comi figures, they are fun, attractive collectibles that I for one am not ashamed of enjoying.

Three Kid Friendly Comic Books.

The comics industry, and its fans, have spent a lot of time and energy hammering home the message that comics ‘aren’t for kids.’ And this is undoubtedly true about a great deal of titles. Which is why parents might find it difficult to judge which Spiderman or Superman title is appropriate for their child – and very often the answer is ‘none of them’. Sure, there are age ratings on the covers of all comic books these days, to help navigate the minefield of violence, nudity and strong language, and there is definitely a lot to be said for vetting your children’s reading material, but there are other comics which are aimed squarely at the kid market, and which are just as enjoyable for the adults reading along.

Full article over at DAILY WAFFLE.

A Crash Course in Cosplay.

 

Cosplay has become synonymous with comic conventions in the last decade or so, spreading into a thriving and passionate subculture of dedicated and talented fans. You, however, may be asking yourself, ‘what is cosplay?’ so consider this your introduction to the weird and wonderful world of cosplaying.

 

Read the article in full over at Daily Waffle.