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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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: 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! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Hawkeye!

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Hello from Bee!

Thank you for being patient with us as Boss-Bot and I have been trying to navigate our busy schedules to keep posting new content on our blog here on WordPress, as well as our Twitter and Pinterest pages. We have a lot of fun and geeky ideas we’d like to share with you, and we hope that you’ll keep following us!

After I finished making Black Widow last week, I immediately started right in on her best friend and the final member of the main Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers, Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye!

It’s very easy to fall in love with Hawkeye, especially as portrayed by Jeremy Renner. Just look up his appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, in which he performs an Ed Sheeran-inspired song about his “superpowers.” As I’ve said before, I really love seeing that these actors are having just as much fun portraying their characters as we have watching them do so.

As with Black Widow, crocheting Hawkeye was fairly simple; the only special elements I had to incorporate were his archery armguards, which I made one round shorter than Thor’s wristbands. With regard to his vest, I originally wanted to crochet it with the maroon and black blocks of color, but it didn’t come out the way I had hoped. I reevaluated and decided to make the entire top in maroon and glued squares of black felt over the front and back.

And now I have the entire team! Here they are, Earth’s Mightiest (Crocheted) Avengers! 🙂

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Crafts with Pizzazz: Black Widow!

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Hello from Bee!

Sorry for the lack of posts in the past few weeks; my schedule’s been all over the place recently! That being said, I finally had some time this weekend to sit down and craft; I’m very pleased with the results, and I hope you will be, too!

Several weeks ago, I showed you my love of Marvel through a series of posts featuring my crochet Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Dr. Banner, and Thor. Of course, these four heroes are not the only members of the Avengers; as such, I wanted to add some of their other colleagues to my own homemade team of Earth’s Mightiest (Crocheted) Heroes, beginning with none other than Natasha Romanov, Black Widow!

I’m a big fan of Black Widow: she’s tough, smart, a loyal teammate, and a good friend. She unquestionably holds her own amongst the boys, especially as portrayed by Scarlett Johansson on the big screen. Just watch her in “The Avengers” and other Marvel movies: her action scenes are incredible (and her comebacks are pretty great, too)!

Crocheting Black Widow with my “people pattern” was actually fairly easy, as it did not require any special pieces or accessories apart from a simple chained belt I tied around her waist and a felt belt buckle with her signature logo glued onto it.

While not a new element by any means, the most challenging aspect of making Black Widow was definitely her hair. I had made long hair before for Thor, and it looks great on him, but for her, I wanted to try a little less volume. After sewing on the red crocheted top on her head, I identified where I wanted to place her part and began slip-knotting long strands of red yarn on either side of it until I reached the back of her head. There, I simply slip-knotted a line of yarn strands perpendicular to the part. After that, it was just a matter of filling in the gaps by adding parallel lines of yarn strands a few rows beneath each side of the part and back, as well as cutting the strands to the desired length.

And here she is, ready to save the world alongside her fellow Avengers! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Costumes: Captain America!

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Hello from Bee!

First of all: Great Scott! Happy Back to the Future Day! Today, October 21, 2015, is the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown visit the future. Let’s all celebrate by going hoverboarding! 🙂

All right, back to the posts…

Last week, I introduced the concept of semi-homemade Halloween costumes, citing my own Bumblebee convention costume as a (Optimus) Prime example. 🙂 I’d like to continue with this topic, focusing today on the “semi” part of “semi-homemade” and featuring my Captain America costume!

As I mentioned last week, when I start putting together a costume, I first go “closet-shopping” – searching through my own wardrobe for pieces that are already usable. This is a great place to start: just look at the “DisneyBound” Tumblr by the incredible Leslie Kay, who pieces together awesome Disney-inspired outfits using common articles of clothing! As for me, having done theatre for so many years, I’ve built quite a collection of costume pieces for myself, and usually end up with a decent foundation for an outfit after rummaging through everything.

After perusing my own closet, I always look through the wardrobes of my family members, as well; often, they have items that are old or unused that I can repurpose to fit the desired look. For example, my father seems to accumulate baseball caps which he never wears, and occasionally passes them along to me; I took one of these hats, carefully pulled out all of the stitching, and felted it over to make an awesome Cap cap!

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In addition to the baseball cap, I found a plethora of old, unused white t-shirts in another closet that have already come in handy for so many of my costuming projects – an entire Princess Leia outfit and a Renaissance Faire blouse, just to name a few. For my Captain America costume, I cut off the bottom of one such t-shirt and sewed it to the top half of a blue t-shirt I found on sale at a craft store. I did the same with the white t-shirt sleeves, adding them on to the blue sleeves for that signature Captain America look. The leftover white material was used to make the star. In addition, since the craft store sale was a buy-one-get-one, I had also picked up a red t-shirt, whose bottom became the stripes, and whose sleeves became a really neat pair of fingerless gloves.

Of course, if I didn’t find those t-shirts in the closet or on sale, I definitely would have paid a visit to the local secondhand clothing stores. These are excellent places to find inexpensive costume pieces – especially if you’re looking for something a little more vintage. (I actually found the rest of my Ren Faire outfit at one of these shops; whereas a good store-bought medieval costume costs anywhere from $40 upwards [accessories not included], I put my entire look together for less than $20!)

Now, with a sewing machine, all of the stitching for my Captain America costume would probably have taken a week at most. However, as I do not own one, I had to do the entire project completely by hand, which ended up taking almost a month in between work and other activities. Nevertheless, I’m incredibly pleased with the way it turned out!

Have you found costume inspirations from your closet? Did you find some cool items at a thrift shop? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!