Crafts with Pizzazz: Groot!

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Hello from Bee!

Well, I’ve posted about Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon; now, I’d like to show you Groot!

Although I’ve made several baby Groots before, as I’ve shared in my previous posts, it took a while to figure out proportions for a full-sized Groot, especially because he is considerably taller than the other Guardians. The head is relatively similar to the one I use for my baby Groot, but after I finished it, I went back and worked a few rows into the top for the square branches. I also increased around the top of the body to give Groot a more broad-shouldered look and worked in a few extra rounds for Groot’s feet, which added to his height.

For the vines, I just took some pieces of the brown yarn I was using and sewed them around Groot. I also tied on a few pieces of green yarn for leaves like I had done for Pickett.

Looking good, guys! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Rocket Raccoon!

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Hello from Bee!

I apologize for the long delay between posts, but I am excited to share some new crafts I’ve been doing!

For our “blogiversary” last summer, I posted about my crocheted Star-Lord. Now, I’d like to share the second in my Guardians of the Galaxy series: Rocket Raccoon!

Of course, I wanted to make my Guardians as close to scale as possible. As Rocket is much smaller than the others, that meant I couldn’t use my “people pattern” for him. Fortunately, I had worked out a smaller pattern for Yoda that I was able to reference. All I had to do was modify the legs to make them a little longer, shorten the ears, and add a snout and tail. I used brown and black felt to add the details to his face and clothes.

Who’s your favorite Guardian? Leave a comment below! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Star-Lord!

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Hello from Bee!

Well, WordPress recently notified us that Nerds with Pizzazz has been officially up and running for a year! Boss-Bot and I would like to take a moment and thank all of you, our followers and viewers, for your generous support. We look forward to continuing to share all things geeky with you!

When we started our blog last year, I inaugurated the ‘Crafts with Pizzazz’ section with a post discussing my first crochet project: a Dancing Baby Groot that, when I posted the picture on Twitter, gained a ‘like’ from “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn himself! Since then, I have made a variety of beloved Marvel characters, and in honor of our ‘blogiversary,’ I would like to return to the theme of my very first post and present to you my crocheted “Guardians of the Galaxy” Peter Quill, (somewhat) also known as the great Star-Lord!

I’ve wanted to crochet the Guardians for a while, especially Star-Lord, but I first needed a way to revise my jacket pattern to make his awesome space-pirate coat. My first two attempts at making removable coats for Mary Poppins and Bert yielded decent results, but I wasn’t overly pleased about the garments’ bulkiness, and kept trying to figure out a way to work around it.

After figuring out vertical stripes for Spiderman, however, I realized that taking away the removable aspect was the way to go. I crocheted Star-Lord’s body in the maroon coat color, using my vertical stripe technique to add in a block of light blue for his shirt. To make it look like the shirt was underneath the jacket, I used maroon when crocheting his arms/sleeves and added rows of maroon surface slip-stitch crochet on either side of the vertical color change. I also went back in and crocheted three-quarters of the way around the bottom of the jacket in the same manner that I made Luke Skywalker’s tunic to give the coat its full-length appearance.

Star-Lord’s messenger bag is a piece of folded flat single crochet attached to some chained brown yarn. His beloved cassette player is also a flat piece of crochet with felt accents. The headphones are two in-the-round orange circles attached to the same type of black craft wire I used for Dr. Bruce Banner’s glasses, and the headphone cord is a single piece of embroidery thread.

Happy blogiversary! 🙂

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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! 🙂

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Crafts with Pizzazz: Superman!

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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! 🙂

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Crafts with Pizzazz: Batman and Robin!

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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: Bucky Barnes!

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Hello from Bee!

First of all, Boss-Bot and I would like to wish those celebrating a very Happy (Early) Thanksgiving! Please enjoy the festivities, family and friends, and of course, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! (I personally love the Broadway songs and the Peanuts balloons – what about you?) 🙂

Before the celebrations, I did want to put up my weekly post – especially because Hawkeye and the crochet Avengers were so popular last Thursday. While I did complete all of the main Avengers from the movie series – Captain America, Iron Man, Dr. Banner, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye – there are, of course, plenty of other Avenger teammates and Marvel characters to add to my collection. Considering that the next Marvel movie is Captain America 3, I thought that it would be fun to start with Steve Rogers’s best friend, Bucky Barnes!

When considering how best to crochet Bucky, I glanced at pictures of Sebastian Stan from both movies and decided to combine the looks – “First Avenger” personality and costume; “Winter Soldier” hair and metal hand – so that I could make a happy, contemporary Bucky for my crocheted Steve.

Making Bucky was fairly easy with my “people pattern.” I switched colors at the bottom for his boots, as well as for his left hand. I also cut out a small piece of white felt in the shape of one of Captain America’s helmet wings and glued it onto Bucky’s sleeve like in the first film.

The only difficult part was figuring out his hair. Although I have made long hair before for Thor and Black Widow, this was the first opportunity I’ve had to play around with different styles. I really liked the idea of giving Bucky a swept-back look, so I tried making the hair like I did with Black Widow and pulling it into a man ponytail. Unfortunately, the second rows of slip-knotted yarn I used to fill in the gaps (as I had done with Black Widow’s hair to make it fuller) made the ponytail too thick and impossible to tie. After struggling with yarn placement for a while, I realized that the best way to make a ponytail is to omit the second rows altogether: filling in the gaps doesn’t matter when you make a ponytail, because when pulled back carefully, no gaps will end up showing. I pulled out two slip-knotted strands, tied the rest back, and voila!

And just look how happy the Brooklyn bros are together! 🙂