November 1

Harry Potter craft: Magical textbook skirt

Harry Potter textbook skirt by Marissa Fischer

I don’t know about you, but this time of year makes me want to pull on snuggly socks, bury myself beneath a cozy blanket (hand-crocheted, of course!), and dive into a good book. Or perhaps dive into a sewing project inspired by a good book – Harry Potter, to be specific.

Marissa over at Raegun Ramblings has posted a tutorial for just such a project: the Hogwarts Textbook Skirt. Her write-up includes a 20-minute a-line knit skirt tutorial (including “super-easy hemming knits trick”), which you can then embellish with your choice of Hogwarts-required reading. I love her furry Monster Book of Monsters with googly eyes! I also love that you could easily add textbook embellishments to a ready-made skirt for an even quicker project.

What textbooks would include on your skirt? Let us know in the comments below!

Links of Interest:

October 4

Star Wars Reads Day

Star Wars Reads Day banner

Did you know that this Saturday, 10/10, is Star Wars Reads Day? According to StarWars.com:

On October 10, 2015, bookstores, libraries, and retailers will participate in the fourth annual installment of the global event, featuring signings, parties, and more. Last year, events took place all over the world, and this year Star WarsReads Day is expected to grow even bigger as fans gear up for the theatrical release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December. Participants in the events and festivities include: Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Marvel, Abrams, Chronicle, Del Rey, DK, Quirk Books, Scholastic, Workman, Egmont, Studio Fun, Phoenix International Publishing, and many more.

There is a Facebook Page for event info and downloadable printables and activities are available on StarWars.com. Book publisher DK offers ideas for hosting your own Star Wars Reads event (see also their Star Wars Reads Pinterest inspiration board).

In celebration of all things Star Wars, I also wanted to share with you a cool resource I stumbled across called Star Wars in the Classroom. Thomas Riddle and Wes Dodgens have created a website for educators and fans that provides resources for teaching and learning, integrating the Star Wars saga into a variety of content areas, such as history, mythology, Shakespeare, and robotics. There is a wealth of information and resources to help you in planning your next Star Wars event!

Star Wars in the Classroom

Had you heard of Star Wars Reads Day? How will you participate? Have you ever incorporated pop culture into a learning environment? Let us know in the comments below!

 

July 12

BOOK REVIEW: Geek Merit Badges

Geek Merit Badges by Meghan Murphy

Like many, during my grade school years, I was a Girl Scout. Over the years I learned to cook white bread-and-jelly pot pies over a campfire, how to tie a square knot (left over right and through, right over left and through), and sold hundreds of boxes of cookies. I also earned my share of merit badges, displaying them proudly on my sash. Years later, my kids also joined scouts, and my son went on to earn his Eagle. So I was intrigued when I saw mention of Meghan Murphy‘s new book, Geek Merit Badges, on Twitter, and promptly requested a review copy.

The book offers ten badges in each of four categories. Discovery badges, such as Time and Time Again, Origin Story, and Awkwardness Adept, address your geeky origins. Absorption badges, such as Constant Collector, Game Master, and Speak the Language showcase your passions. Transmission badges, such as Mighty Mentor, Disaster Preparedness, and Keeper of Traditions, offer ways to share your enthusiasm. And the Creation badges, such as Fan Fiction, Cosplay Commando, and Crafty Crafter, allow you to show off how your geekiness inspires you to make. This last section would perhaps be of most interest to GeekCrafts readers! Each badge starts with relevant quote that offers the opportunity for readers to test their pop culture recognition skills (“Never give up. Never surrender.”), and various examples of “have you ever…” kind of scenarios.

I really enjoyed Murphy’s writing style and conversational tone. I felt like she was one of my “tribe” (or I was one of hers). I appreciate how she has put something out there to gather the geek community and help them find relatable and shareable experiences.

That said, the book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. As a former Girl Scout, and mother of an Eagle Scout, I was expecting a series of geeky tasks that one could attempt, check off and earn a badge by completing a specific number of assignments. I envisioned, upon earning a badge, one could order a physical embroidered patch, similar to scout badges, to display on a jean jacket or messenger bag, and recognize geeky accomplishments in others with similar badges. The book does offer checklists and quizzes for the reader to identify with relatable scenarios, but I didn’t get the sense of having completed an educational track and “earning” a badge.

For the Creative Cookery badge, for example, it lists some “Famous Fictional Foods,” but doesn’t encourage you to make some and host a watch party with friends, as I would have expected. It lists “drinks we wish existed,” but doesn’t invite you to pair them with their geeky sources, or watch specific episodes of shows to understand their references. I also thought it was a bit odd that the checklists for each badge were in their own section starting at page 153, and not at the end of each badge overview.  Finally, the book offers cute little stickers for each badge, but I would prefer something more badge/patch-like.

Once I adjusted my expectations for the book, however, I did enjoy reading it. I instantly recognized myself in many of the scenarios Murphy described and related to many of her geek references. I appreciate her vision for the book: encouraging people to be a “good geek:” “Love what you love. Be what you love. Share what you love.” And that’s something we can all get behind.

If, after reading the book, you are interested in finding some more badge-like geek merit badges, I did track some down:

Have you read Geek Merit Badges? What did you think? What merit badge(s) would you like to earn? Let us know in the Comments below!

Other Links of Interest:

March 9

Avengers Book Marks DIY

avengers-bookmarks5

If you’re stuck indoors with little ones this winter, I found this fun DIY that’s perfect.  Amanda Formaro on the blog Crafts by Amanda, has got this simple tutorial on making bookmarks out of popsicle sticks, craft paint, white out, and permanent markers.  They’re easier than they look, and you probably already have the supplies.  What’s even better is that for the super creative, it’d be really easy to take this project to the next level and create any of your favorite superheroes!

More Links of Interest: