Crafts with Pizzazz: SpongeBob SquarePants!

20160623_193206

Hello from Bee!

Sorry for the delay in posts; Boss-Bot and I have been incredibly busy this month preparing for and attending a comic convention (you know it’s convention season when there are fabric scraps, cardboard pieces, and tons of glitter sprinkled throughout the house!).

We had a fantastic time at the convention! For the first time, we were able to attend all three days, which meant we could actually sit through some panels as well as walk around the exhibit halls. As for costumes, we complimented each other as Batman vs. Superman, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, and one day of individual costumes, where Boss-Bot went as Scream from the TV series and I went as Captain America (with a little Bucky Bear!).

20160710_173153

Unquestionably, the highlight of the convention was meeting signature guest Tom Kenny, voice of SpongeBob SquarePants (of which Boss-Bot and I are HUGE fans) and so many other classic characters. He is the NICEST guy! He really spent time talking with us and quoting/singing all our favorite classic SpongeBob moments. He clearly loves what he does and was very touched by all of the fan love, including when I gave him a crocheted SpongeBob.

Making SpongeBob was a bit of a challenge because of his shape. There are several ways to create a three-dimensional square shape for amigurumi; I decided to crochet six flat yellow pieces and sew them together, stuffing the resulting shape before attaching the final piece. Afterwards, I crocheted a flat piece with white and brown yarn for his shirt and pants and sewed it over the square. I did make his arms, sleeves, legs, and shorts in-the-round, creating fingers with the same chain technique I use for bandannas. The face and other details are felt, yarn, and embroidery thread.

Have you been to any conventions? What are your highlights? Please comment below! 🙂

Advertisements

Reviews with Pizzazz: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”

Boss-Bot is back! Please enjoy his newest post in “Reviews with Pizzazz”! 🙂

 

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” Review

Wow.  In a good way, though.  All that needs to be said about this movie is that if you like the Turtles, the certain aspects of the movie at the very least will put a smile on your face.  If you don’t like the Turtles, you won’t like the movie.  It’s as simple as that.  This movie is truly fan service at its best.  I’ve been a Turtles fan since the ’03 4Kids series and have loved the heroes in a half shell ever since.  That being said, the movie isn’t perfect, so here are the good and bad.

Good:

Compared to the 2014 predecessor this film really nails the characters; all of them.  We really see the Turtles struggle and eventually grow as a team throughout the picture.  Their goofy personalities are still there, while the crude humor is toned down from the 2014 movie; which no one is complaining about.  Rather than the cliché Leo vs. Raph drama which has been really overdone at this point, the turmoil between the brothers does not seem forced and it works.  That’s what is important: it works.  Turtles aside, Splinter has a much smaller, more fatherly role which worked for his character.  Rather than being a major player, he’s in the shadows and gives advice and wisdom when necessary, as a sensei should.  The human protagonists are not as heavily pushed as the last film.  As much as I loved the 2014 reboot, at times it felt more like the adventures of April O’Neil than a movie dedicated to the Turtles.  That being said, I did like Fox’s April and loved Will Arnett’s new character of Vern Fenwick during the 2014 film.  I had the same feelings towards their roles in “Out of the Shadows”.  While we saw less of them, they were used much more wisely.  April seemed much less of the focus character, but did important detective work with the Turtles.  Vern was still a great comic relief and his “Falcon Breath” scene was one of the funniest moments in the picture.  Onto the villains, we have an array of fan favorites including Baxter Stockman, Shredder, Krang, and even Bebop and Rocksteady.  Shredder was more of a traditional ninja rather than the last film’s Iron Man suit, which I liked, but I digress.  He was silent, intimidating, and seemed like a convincing Shredder.  Tyler Perry was surprisingly great as Dr. Stockman.  He was quirky, funny, and nailed the character, which seemed based off of the 2012 show’s incarnation of Stockman.  Krang was done well, too.  While not as memorable as the last villains that will be discussed, he was eerily humorous and again, most importantly, it worked.  Last but certainly not least, the best characters done in the film were Bebop and Rocksteady.  Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams nailed the duo.  They were hilarious throughout the film and took the goofiness of the characters so seriously that you would truly believe the two were Bebop and Rocksteady.  The film’s tone and plot was much lighter and more cartoony than the 2014 film.  The Turtles are goofy and not meant to be taken seriously, so the light, comedic tone of the film was perfect for the franchise.  Most importantly, it was fun.  The script was corny, but it should be.  It’s a Turtles movie.  Call it a popcorn movie or just a fun movie, but for what the Turtles are it worked.  Not to forget, the film truly had heart.  The moral of one accepting who they are against what society believes is powerful to the casual viewer, fan, and incredibly important for the young viewers to understand.  This movie was for the fans of the franchise, to put it simply.  Not to mention, if you looked really closely when Shredder was frozen in the Technodrome, there was a frozen Triceraton next to him.  #BattleNexus

The Bad:

Well, there isn’t much bad for me to say.  I’m biased as I loved the film, but for general audience goers there could be some issues.  One could find the script too cartoonish, but as a nonfan it would make sense how not everyone will appreciate the film’s script.  The only other negative would be bathroom humor, but there was not much.  There was only one fart joke, which was not as cringe worthy as it could have been.  Other than that, I really did not find that many faults with the movie.  Before watching, one must remember “Out of the Shadows” is meant to be a fun, summer popcorn film.  It’s not meant to be taken seriously and torn apart.  It’s meant to simply be an enjoyable way to spend a few hours during a summer day.

Overall:

Out of a star rating, I would definitely give it a 5/5.  This rating is coming from a fan.  The good outweighed all of the bad for me and it was a fun movie.  It succeeded at its purpose: being an enjoyable film.  Coming from a more critical perspective, I would give it a 4/5.  The humor and plot may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that changes from person to person.  While some really hate this movie, all I can say is it’s at the very least, better than the last one.

Crafts with Pizzazz: Ant-Man!

Blog Pic 37

Hello from Bee!

Have you noticed how the warm weather tends to bring out the ants? And of course, Marvel fans know that where there are ants, there is also Ant-Man!

I really loved “Ant-Man” last summer. It was definitely one of the funniest Marvel films, especially with Paul Rudd and Michael Peña, and it was great to see Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. Of course, I was incredibly excited to see Paul Rudd back as Scott Lang in “Captain America 3: Civil War” a few months ago, and of course, I had to add him to my Avengers team.

While Ant-Man did not prove incredibly challenging to make – my usual “people pattern” accented with red felt and gray yarn decorations – the best part about it was that it gave me an opportunity to reuse my Batman cowl pattern. As I wanted to make an open version of the Ant-Man helmet to showcase his face, I eliminated the eye and chin straps from my cowl pattern and simply crocheted the piece that covers the head. I also crocheted two thin in-the-round cylinders and sewed them on for antennae.

Welcome to the team, Scott! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Spiderman!

Blog Pic 36

Hello from Bee!

Speaking of Bumblebee and bugs in general, I’d like to switch gears this week from DC back to Marvel and show you the latest addition to my team of Avengers: the wall-crawling, web-slinging, amazing Spiderman!

Spiderman is unquestionably one of Boss-Bot and my favorite superheroes, and I’ve wanted to crochet him for a while. His costume, however, did present a bit of a challenge in the form of vertical stripes. When crocheting in-the-round, there are “jogs” that occur between rounds, mostly visible where there are color changes. This makes it difficult to create smooth horizontal stripes, as well as vertical stripes that don’t end up shifting over a few stitches each round.

There are many different ways to work with these jogs; I’ve seen blog posts and YouTube videos demonstrating techniques involving slip stiches and BLO (back loop only) crocheting at color changes to make them smoother. However, these techniques were geared specifically towards horizontal stripes, so when it came time to crochet Spiderman’s arms, I had to figure out my own.

When I tried to create vertical stripes before, I noticed that the color shift occurred in steps, moving over a stitch each round. I decided to try compensating for this shift by changing colors one stitch earlier each successive round; this way, I ended up with a smooth vertical stripe and only two thin, running stitch-looking lines of blue and red in the red and blue color blocks, respectively – but those are easily fixable by weaving the proper-colored yarn tail over them a couple of times.

Aside from the vertical stripes, I worked out a pattern for a separate red chest piece that I sewed over the body for a more three-dimensional appearance. The eyes were made out of felt and outlined in black fabric paint; the latter of which I also used for the Spiderman logo.

Looking good, Spidey! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Wonder Woman!

Blog Pic 34

Hello from Bee!

In my last post, I briefly mentioned the old 1970s television show, “Super Friends.”  Although different than the Justice League, the Super Friends feature several of the same main characters: namely, Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. As I have already shown you the first three, today’s post is all about Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman is definitely a favorite here at Nerds with Pizzazz. When Boss-Bot and I saw “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” we both agreed that she, as played by Gal Gadot, is one of the big highlights of the movie. As such, I was really looking forward to adding Wonder Woman to my crocheted Super Friends collection.

To make Wonder Woman, I had to figure out one new proportion for her costume, changing colors at the bottom and then again at the top to create her classic sleeveless look. I also ended up using felt and some fabric paint for the details on her top, boots, and headband. In addition, due to the smaller size of my crocheted figures, I discovered that making the tiny stars that adorn the bottom of her costume would be impractical; instead, I rolled small pieces of white felt into dots and glued them in place.

Call in the Invisible Jet! Wonder Woman is here! 🙂

Blog Pic 35

Crafts with Pizzazz: Superman!

Blog Pic 32

Hello from Bee!

Happy spring, everyone! The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming…it’s the perfect weather for taking a walk or flying a kite – or perhaps, according to my next crochet figure, just flying! That’s right: here to follow up my Batman post is his “Dawn of Justice” co-star, the Man of Steel himself, Superman!

Admittedly, I haven’t followed Superman as much as Batman (unless, of course, you count the “Super Friends” reruns that were on years ago – a fun old series that, I will say, is worth a re-watch!). However, Boss-Bot and I very much enjoyed him in both “Man of Steel” and “Dawn of Justice”; Henry Cavill does a great job with the character.

As far as crating goes, crocheting Superman was far less complicated than when I made his fellow Justice Leaguer. I simply followed my standard “people pattern,” adding a cape, embroidered belt, and felt S-shaped logo.

Super Friends unite! 🙂

Blog Pic 33

Crafts with Pizzazz: Batman and Robin!

Blog Pic 31

Hello from Bee!

Wow! I’m so glad you all liked my C-3PO! He was a lot of fun to make – and so were the two I’ll be showing you this week!

A couple of weeks ago, Boss-Bot and I went to see “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Despite what the critics are saying, we thought it was a very well-done movie and liked it a lot. I’ll leave the formal reviewing to Boss-Bot, but in any case, it made me want to revisit some older versions of the title characters, including my absolute favorite, the 1966 “Batman” television show with Adam West and Burt Ward. If you’ve never had an opportunity to see it, picture brightly-colored sets and costumes, dialogue filled with quips and puns, and action sequences where words such as “BIFF!”, “BAM!”, and “POW!” appear onscreen. Holy productions, Batman – it’s so much fun!

Naturally, when I decided to crochet some DC characters, I knew that I wanted to make the Adam West-Burt Ward versions of the Dynamic Duo. Now, I’ve made superheroes before – as you’ve seen in my previous posts regarding my series of crocheted Marvel Avengers – and, as such, had most of the necessary elements already figured out: gloves, boots, belts, and especially capes. However, up until making Batman and Robin, I had not attempted to crochet masks – and while the Avengers often go around without them, the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder do not. As such, I struck a heroic pose of justice and determination, and got to work.

For Batman’s cowl, I started out by following the first several rows of the head for my “people pattern.” Once I reached the row where I usually put in the eyes, I stopped crocheting in-the-round and instead went back-and-forth across. This way, I ended up with an opening for the face. I then single-crocheted two strips: one to go across the eyes (joined at each end and a midpoint on the cowl opening) and one for the chin. Finally, I made two small triangles for the iconic bat ears.

Robin’s mask was actually the more difficult to figure out. For some reason, applying the same principle of the single-crochet strips from Batman’s cowl did not transfer over well: instead of concealing his secret identity, it actually made the Boy Wonder look like he was wearing a very thick pair of oversized fake glasses! I tried several variations of these strips before scrapping them completely, opting for a single strand of yarn wrapped twice around his head with a small piece glued in between to separate the eyes. It looked instantly better!

Holy crochet, Batman! The Dynamic Duo are officially ready for action! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: C-3PO!

Blog Pic 29

Hello from Bee!

On behalf of Boss-Bot and myself, I apologize for the very long delay between posts: work schedules shifted around quite a bit, rendering it incredibly difficult to keep up with the blog. But things are settling down, now, which means that “Nerds with Pizzazz” will be back up and running! So to our regular followers, thank you for your patience! To any new readers, welcome! We hope that you enjoy our blog filled with all things geeky!

In my last post all those months ago, I showed you the latest piece in my “Star Wars” crochet series: R2-D2. I am pleased to report that, since then, there has been one more addition to the set. While watching the Oscars, I was inspired to create a little gold statuette of my own – a protocol droid, to be exact. That’s right: tell the Ewoks to start celebrating, because C-3PO is now fully functional!

Considering the difficulty levels of some of the other pieces in my “Star Wars” series – most notably, Chewbacca – C-3PO proved to be relatively simple. I used my regular “people pattern,” minus the bobble stitch for the nose. I also used felt and some 3D paint for the face, instead of the usual yarn and embroidery thread, in order to give him his characteristic droid appearance. To finish it off, I chained some rounds of gold yarn and attached them to the arm and leg joints, as well as above the felt eyes.

Well, R2 is certainly happy to have his friend around; I hope you enjoy C-3PO, too! 🙂

Blog Pic 30