Arts and Crafts

Growing Buddha Shaped Pears

Buddah Pear Tree

Agricultural and Religious Geek mashup that will leave you in awe.  These pear trees are taught by a Chinese farmer to grow Buddha shaped pears!

They look so cool.  Part of me was a little uncomfortable with the thought of eating them but then I remembered that all life is impermanent and reveled in these little meditation fruits.

I wonder if just walking through the grove would help to steer one's mind toward an enlightened direction.

They cost about $7.32 each which is not much considering that they grew in that shape.

(via Geekologie)

Manga Review: Eternal Alice Rondo by Kaishaku

eteralicerondWhat first caught my eye with Key Princess Story: Eternal Alice Rondo was the black and white diamond pattern on the back cover. The golden filigree border and picture of an Alice-like anime girl with rabbit ears on the front furthered my interest. However, I have to say, as an avid key collector, that the title Key Princess Story sealed the deal. Story / Plot: Young Aruto Kirihara is a student who is writing an Alice story sequel. He is so in love with Alice, it’s practically all he can think about. One night as he's sitting at his desk, he sees a bunny girl fall from the sky. He follows her to a library where he learns there are a band of girls searching for the “Never-ending Alice” story. These doll-like beauties fight with giant sword keys. When the key is thrust into the middle of these girls, their story flies out in pages to be collected in a book. Eventually, the pages (they think) will lead them to the “Never-ending Alice”. Not only are they fighting against themselves, but they have a common enemy who fights with a giant match sword and attempts to burn girl pages as well as any books in sight.

Warning:  Those of you buying for your young family members, this book has a 15+ warning. There are several breast shots and for such an innocent story of girls trying to find an everlasting Alice in Wonderland story, this manga has some sexual themes that are not entirely comfortable. Aruto is seduced by the rabbit girl, his teacher, and his younger sister who reminds him that they used to bathe together. In the back, there is a page on Lewis Carroll, the original author of Alice in Wonderland. It explains how the manga does not mention him because of his alleged pedophile tendencies, yet this manga tale has pedophile and incestuous themes itself. Is this a contradiction the author did not realize, or is it on purpose?

Whatever the case, I still enjoyed this tale and would read more. The art tends to be bubbly and Sailor Moonish, but the backgrounds and buildings are very detailed. The artistic feeling of the book is old English with dusty libraries, three story estates, and rooftops that would make the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins jealous. Chibi content is average.

Extras you will find in this volume:

  • Full glossy pic in front.
  • Lewis Carroll info page.
  • Preview of the next volume.
  • Manga reader/honorific guide.

To read more about Eternal Alice Rondo and the Key Princess Stories:

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How To Choose A Manga

There are so many manga out, you may be asking, “How can I choose the manga that is right for me?” First you need to know what part of the manga you enjoy most. Do you love goth-loli art? A good story? Something with horror in it? It’s rare to find all these things in one manga series. Believe me, I’ve tried!

Some of you may rely on reviews such as this one to lead your way, but for those of you who are trying to create your own manga hunting style, here are some tips.

Know what you like

I look for good art first, story second.

Seems kind of weird for someone to say that about a book, but  unlike fiction books, mangas need to capture your eyes as well as your mind.

Good manga authors are a skilled, rare breed that can somehow create a tale and put it down in art in such a delicate fashion, you hardly realize you are reading what is basically a cartoon.  What good is a tale in a manga book without interesting art? They might as well have written a novel, let the publisher worry about the cover art, and stick to word writin’!

Know what you don't like

I am emphatically against talking animals in manga. I hate them. Bats and spiders are sometimes ok, but bunnies and doggies and 300-year-old kitties reincarnated from a once great vampire god? Don’t get me started! However, my best friend adores animals talking and absolutely loves the manga (that shall remain nameless) with the vampire kitty. My point?

Know your tastes and just because your best friend urges you to buy her favorite manga because it has vampires in it, don’t automatically assume you will in enjoy it.  There may be a wisecrackin' bunny hidden in the pages, and we all know what that leads to!

Hone your skills

Here are some tips on how to narrow the competition down.

  1. Go to a store with a large manga selection.  This shouldn’t be too hard as it seems manga is the only hot selling item in bookstores these days.
  2. Stand back from the manga shelves and scan.  If any cover draws your notice from a few yards back, it’s worth a look.
  3. Check out the front cover in full. Are you a chibi lover, or do you enjoy killer cyborgs with little chibi interference? Make sure the cover speaks to your taste. If you see one character you don’t like, put it in the maybe pile. There is a good chance that character is going to be throughout the book and will irritate you every time you turn the page and see them.
  4. Once you have narrowed down a few of the great covers, glance over the description on the back. Don’t put too much stock in the description because they don’t usually relate very closely to the tale. I’ve found that often manga covers seem to be written about the whole series and not about the one volume you are purchasing. As long as there are no talking vampire kitties, you are safe to go on.
  5. Flip through the book and check out the art. Is the detail inside as good as the cover art? Is it appealing to you? Is the printing bad, or is it crisp and clean? Do you stop every so often to let a “wow” or a “ooooohhhh” slip from your lips? If you realize it’s a steampunk fantasy once you get inside and you don’t like that sort of tale, please don’t buy it just because you like the cover. You will be disappointed.
  6. Finally, the tale. Read at least the first four pages to make sure you like the story. Does the character cuss like a twelve-year-old boy trying to show off to his mates? Does the dialog not flow? Is there some sort of back story you just don’t like? Don’t buy it. It will not get better. Unfortunately, in some stores (especially in Japantown) they seal the books. In this case, you either take your chances, or get smart and browse them online first. Sites like Amazon and Toykopop allow you to read the first couple of pages before you buy.

I tell you all these things because, like you, I once was a manga investigator trainee. I still get caught buying a stinker once in awhile. It’s all about:

  • Knowing what you want
  • Believing in your first instinct and
  • Sticking to it, no matter how much the commerce bug has got you itching!

For those of you who still can’t decide, I’ve made a list of my top five series. Check out the reviews, see if you might like them, and then put on your manga p.i. hat and get shopping!

  1. God Child by Kaori Yuki
  2. The Tarot Café by Sang Sung Park
  3. Princess Ai by Courtney Love and DJ Milky
  4. Death Note by Tsugumi Oba
  5. Millennium Snow by Bisco Hatori

Crocheted Mario Plushie

MarioFront I wish I could crochet!  I really want to make one of these Mario Plushies.

It is odd.  I can knit, but crochet is far beyond my abilities.  Mario is one of my favorite video game characters, and this plushie is one of the cutest things I have ever seen.

You don't need a lot to make it:

MATERIALS:

WW yarn in blue, red, white, peach (or a skin color) and small amounts of black and brown G Hook Fiberfill Yarn Needle Felt in small amounts (white, blue, black) 2 small shirt buttons in yellow (or gold if you have it) Sewing thread to match yarns and felts and a medium duty to heavy duty sewing needle (Wolfdreamer Off the Hook)

Full instructions can be found at Wolfdreamer Off the Hook.

(via Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins)

Review: Crescent Moon by Haruko Iida

cmCrescent Moon is a manga began in 2000 with the name, Mikan no Tsuki (An Incomplete Moon). Plot: A young girl is a good luck charm to all those around her, but she herself is the most unlucky person alive. A group from the lunar race ask for her help to find a power source called Teardrops of the Moon that has been stolen from them. The lunar race representatives are a vampire, a werewolf, a kitsune (fox), and a tengu (heavenly dog). The girl enrages the tengu at every turn and though he hates her, you get the feeling they will fall in love.

Likes:

  • Beautiful underwater art.
  • Filled with poetry.
  • They study a cool book, which shows research pages from an ancient text.

Dislikes:

  • The beginning is confusing. The author used a character entrance format that was hard to understand.
  • I didn’t know what was going on until half way through the book.
  • Sometimes the characters had freaky long limbs that did not have anything to do with the supernatural, it was how they were drawn.

Where to get it: You can buy Crescent Moon Vol. 1 at Amazon.com.

Upcoming: There are 6 volumes in the series, but it did not interest me enough to continue. This was not a bad manga, just not my cup of tea. You can find out all about this manga at the Tokyopop Cresent Moon page.

Regrets of a Weak Willed Stormtrooper

A tribute to those writers out there when their minds and words fail them: regrets-stormtrooper-star-wars

... perfect poster for my day so far!  I used to live a life of no regrets and I think it is time to return to that reality.

Rules for a no regret life **warning it is brutality honest**

  • No regrets.. not allowed... not accepted
  • Think twice, act once
  • If you are going to do something mean it or don't do it.
  • If you mess up something either demonstrate your sincerity and fix it or be honest about not caring and move on.
  • Regrets waste life (time + effort + joy+ purpose=life)

How does this poster motivate you?

(Thanks Brian Chang via FriendFeed)

Crafty Octorock!

octoroc

And this little cute octorok! And not just any octorok--it's a boss. I love all of the little details on the top of him (Geek Central Station).

When I see things like this, I get a little worried that if I ever get the Victorian house I want it will turn into a fannish version of my great aunt's house.

  • Crocheted Super Mario coin doilies
  • Knitted Octorock tea cozies
  • Sephiroth tapestries on the walls
  • Fine art dragon paintings

I could go on, but I don't want to scare Brian with more of these musings.  It would be awesome though.

Granny Square Mario

mario_quilted

First off--probably the most awesome use of granny squares ever. I like that it isn't a traditional square shape, and is just the outline of Mario. Even so, this thing must be pretty huge. I think there are over 350 granny squares on this thing (Geek Central Station).

I love this Super Mario!  I used to help my Grandma Smith make these squares for tissue covers and the like, and I am not sure why I never thought about making 8 bit art with them.  I might have to get started.

BTW: are these really called granny squares?

Jay and Silent Bob Mez-Its

I love these Jay and Silent Bob Mez-Its, but I am a little miffed as well.

These will not be available for sale , it is a publicity stunt for to promote their "Build your own Mez-Its".

It works for me because, I want to buy these and it makes me want to see what I could make with them.  I just wish I could buy these.

Please Kevin, license these!

(via News Askew)

Review: Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter

sands1An Americanized manga, Sorcerers & Secretaries hooked me with the name. I was expecting a evil-fighting admin assistant with a pen that dissolves evil and a stapler that will fend off the most intimidating magical creature. What I found was something completely different. Nicole is a receptionist and college student who lives her life in a dream world that she spins through writing sword and sorcery tales. We can all relate to her immediately with issues such as, an annoying mom, annoying job and coworkers, wanting to write instead of work, and everyone in her life putting down her interests by saying “that childish fantasy stuff you like”. This tale started slow for me, but won me over with its cute book references and speculative fiction inside jokes that only we understand. Although the art is very American (circa 1980’s Sunday morning newspaper comics), the drawings of the bookstore are great and had me pause for a few minutes to read the titles. One cover I especially got a chuckle from was “LARP for Beginners”. A new twist in this tale is that the cute hottie at the bookstore actually likes the geeky, book-loving, allergy girl. fuzzyfeeling

The author is definitely in our demographic and should be supported for that alone. However, this is not a tale I would recommend for its excellent fantasy story. This book is not so much a fantasy story as a romance where the lead is in love with the lead character in her fantasy novel. Like Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, the girl is wrapped up in a fantasy tale so completely that she cannot see a real guy who wants to date her. Still, an amusing, quick read and one that despite its cover warning 13+, is safe for all readers. Sorcerers and Secretaries is a great gift for your teenage cousins who are into the fantasy/romance genre.

If you enjoy this manga, you can read more about the series and download desktop images from this site: Sorcerers And Secretaries

Get your copy here from amazon and hlep support the project:

Weekend Crafts: Fathers Day Fun

star-wars-fatherday-art

In honor of fathers day I had to feature this Star Wars art project. bcampbell_to's (shown above) took Gabby Moore's (shown below) original black and white design and collored it.  I love the geeky symbolism in the art and wondered to myself why not do one for fathers day.

This project could be a simple print and color project for the less drawing talented like myself.  I would recommend printing on card stock this way if you decide to use paints or inks it will absorb it better.

For the more artfully inclined like bcampbell to's out there try drawing it on white cotton and coloring it.

Enjoy and happy fathers day!

star-wars-fatherday-art-bw

(via Geek Central Station)

Weekend Craft: Glowing Alien in a Jar

Alien-in-a-jar

Ever wanted your own alien in a jar, now you can make one with this weekend's craft.  This one looks awesome, I want it for my desk.  It will cost more then some of the other projects to buy some of the supplies and require some minor electrical work to get the jar glowing.

What you need:

  • A jar with a lid that is thick enough to conceal a battery pack and some LEDs (local supermarket)
  • Glow water made from florescent dye extracted from a highlighter pen (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/464980/glow_water_how_to_make_your_own/)
  • Alien Embryo Growing Pet (http://www.thespacestore.com/alemgrpet.html)
  • 4.5V Battery pack (http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-a-45-volt-battery-pack-from-a-9V-battery/)
  • Protostack half size prototyping board (http://www.protostack.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_2&products_id=3)
  • 2.7 ohm resistor (1W)
  • 6 x High Power Ultra Violet LEDs (http://www.protostack.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=24_30&products_id=36)

There are 8 steps to this project which can be read here on instructables.  Some additional recommendations from the discussion that follows are:

  • Re circuit board:  don't have to have it but it helps hold everything together.
  • should add some kind of biocide to the water like salt or ammonia.

If you had a glowing Alien in a Jar how would you use it?  I like the recommendation to swap out the batteries for a solar pannel and turning it into a solar powered porch light!

(Thanks protostack)

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What Could Make A Dalek Fall In Love

OTP by Krupp What a great stitch work, I love this mainly for the symbolism in it.

On the left you have a Dalek a terrifying symbol of racism only allowing supreme / perfect beings to live in their presence.  On your right there is the supreme perfect being an astromech with the designation r2d2.  In the middle the only reaction the Dalek could have love… Brilliant!

Thanks krupp keep up the great work.

We also featured his Star Wars Cross-Stich here

Weekend Crafts: Buffy Summers Papercraft

buffy-summers-papercraft

I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and now we can craft our own Buffy Summers for our desktop.  This is a more advanced crafting project but not impossible thanks to Ninjatoes’ papercraft who was nice enough to come up with clear instructions and printable templates.

There are 68 steps and you will need:

There is also a great discussion in the comments section on lengthening Buffy's neck which I liked seeing from those who have already crafted this project.

Enjoy and send me your pictures of the final project.

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