Favorite Thing Friday: Nerd Shirts

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As a lifelong nerd, I’ve amassed a rather impressive collection of nerd shirts. My closet includes everything from Star Wars, Smurfs, Harry Potter, The Office, Sherlock, Spider-man, and more Twilight shirts than any normal person would own, (at last count I had 28).

This ridiculous collection of t-shirts is what allowed me to start the tradition of Nerd Shirt Friday in my classroom. Every Friday I wear one of my nerd shirts and invite my students to do the same. This one simple act allows me to connect to my students in unexpected ways. There’s always that one kid who never says a word until they realize someone loves whatever is on their shirt. It’s an instant conversation starter that opens up a kid who would otherwise prefer to sit alone.

Even though we all show up wearing different shirts, it brings us all together. Everyone is a nerd about something and it’s fun to see what makes everyone smile!  Or laugh, which is especially true when I show up in my Twilight shirts – it’s kinda “out” now, except for the Twihards who refuse to let go.

This week, I’ll be deciding between two new nerds shirts. Fresh from the mail, I received two Arrow related shirts that are sure to open up some fantastic conversations.

First, I got a “sinceriously” t-shirt. Casual Arrow fans probably have no clue what sinceriously is all about, but die hards who follow Stephen Amell (the guy who plays Arrow) on social media are all too aware of the word he accidentally said during an interview. The word took off from there and is now widely used among Arrow fans. This year, Amell announced he set a goal to try and get sinceriously in the Oxford dictionary.

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Another campaign starts on Feb 25, 2015

Purchased as part of a charity campaign launched by Amell, the shirt offers a formal definition for sinceriously in the hopes it will get people to use this fabulous new word while also raising money for two great charities – Stand for the Silent and Paws and Stripes. When it’s all said and done you’ve got to love the perfect fusion of good works and nerdom.

My second new nerd shirt is also related to Arrow. After an exhaustive search I finally found an Arrow shirt that is not lame or ridiculously expensive. It’s a simple arrow design with one of the show’s catch phrases.

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In trademark green, I’ll be proudly displaying my Arrow fandom. This is going to look great with my Arrow Bracelet!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Arrow Bracelet

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Sometimes being a fangirl is what gets my muse inspired. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I love Arrow (see 10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome), so it was only a matter of time before my crafting skills would apply to this obsession.

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While wandering through the bead aisle at my local craft store an idea hit me. Hmmmm, I wonder if they have a charm in the shape of an arrow? Within five minutes I found one:

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Vintaj Straight Arrow Charm

Now came the serious job of brainstorming how to turn this little charm into a piece of wearable art. I settled on creating a bracelet because I still love my compass necklace way too much to give it up. Instead of the usual chain or bead combination, I decided to make something a little different. I went into the leather crafting aisle and found the perfect thing! A leather snap bracelet with stitching holes along the side.

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Darice Leather Snap Bracelet

To fill in the stitching holes, I went straight to the cording aisle. After much contemplation, I settled on some thin green hemp cording, (green is Arrow’s signature color). Not only is it strong stuff that doesn’t fray, but it’ll give the bracelet a rustic look.

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Hemptique Crafting Cord

When I put it all together, I ended up with a great Arrow Bracelet:

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Arrow Bracelet

Here’s how I did it:

First, I split the hemp cord into a 2-ply string instead of 3-ply.

Then, using an embroidery needle I backstitched the cord into the pre-punched holes on the leather strap.

I left the ends long and then tied them off in a square knot. To hide the ends, I wove them into the stitches (just like a knitter!).

To attach the arrow, I took a leftover single strand of hemp cording and wrapped it twice around the base of the arrowhead. Then, I used a needle to pull each strand through the bracelet holes. I tied the ends into a square knot and wove in the ends.

I repeated the same process at the base of the fletching.

Lastly, I slightly bent the arrow charm to follow the natural curve of my wrist.

All told the whole process took about 30 minutes. How’s that for some awesome fan art!?

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

 

Favorite Thing Friday: Ichabod Crane

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Oh, the things I find on Hulu. After catching up on Arrow, The Goldbergs, and Grimm, I found myself in the predicament of having nothing to watch while I grade papers. I’d heard good things about Sleepy Hollow, so I decided to give it  a shot. Within five minutes, I was completely hooked.

While the premise is intriguing (the show is a loose interpretation of Washington Irving’s classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), the character of Ichabod Crane and the brilliant actor who plays him (Tom Mison) are what truly captured my TV heart.

I’m only six episodes into the first season, so I know I may be claiming him as a TV boyfriend a bit early in the game, but I can’t help myself. And here are 10 reasons why:

1. He is literally a piece of living history. In the first episode, he “died” during the Revolutionary War and then woke up in 2014. The man rattles off Colonial and Revolutionary War history like an encyclopedia, but with the sensibility of someone who lived through it. The history teacher in me is swooning, (as the rest of me is fact-checking).

2. While he is a man stuck far away from his own time, he is surprisingly objective in dealing with his surroundings. Rather than panic, he explores the modern era with the mind of an academic or scientist. It’s fascinating to watch him mesh his knowledge of life in the past with his existence in the present.

3. He has a proper British accent. Need I say more?

4. Perhaps, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s pretty easy on the eyes.

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5. He says stuff like this … (in reference to what eventually becomes a Headless Horseman)

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6. And this …

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7.  Despite everything, he doesn’t forget who he is. Modern life doesn’t rob him of his manners, personality, or morals. Even when those things don’t jive with modern civilization, he refuses to let them go. I’m still wondering if he’s going to change out of those 18th century clothes!

8. At the same time, he’s not afraid to try new things. Like doughnut holes.

9. According to him, he instigated the Boston Tea Party (as a means for a diversion for a secret mission).

10. He can speak German and Middle English. Beautifully.

I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list after the next six episodes. :-)

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome

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I’m about to turn into a total fangirl (and comic book dork) here, so bear with me.  Over the last week, I’ve become completely obsessed with the show Arrow on the CW network. It’s been on for more than a year, but I didn’t discover it until a chance encounter with the Season 1 DVD set. Oh my. If I only I knew then what I was getting myself into! In short, Arrow rocks.

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10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome

1. A somewhat lame comic book character has been re-imagined into something really cool.

Any comic book geek knows the original Green Arrow was kinda lame. He looked more like a dorky Robin Hood and never really rose to the heights of vigilante heroism like some of his other “colleagues.” However, I will give credit to his redesign in the 1970s, which made him a little more interesting. Arrow, the television series, further redefines the character into something edgy and dark with the just the right amount of cool and humor.

See the transformation for yourself:

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2. There is respect for comic book origins.

Despite rewriting the Green Arrow story, Arrow is careful not to discard everything. Nods to original comic book characters, places, and story lines are peppered throughout the series. Comic book nerds take their lore pretty seriously, so acknowledging tradition while paving new ground shows a lot of class and respect for the genre.

3. Strategic Storytelling

Comic books are known for stories that twist and turn with unexpected surprises. Writers are careful to drop little hints without revealing too much and tie things together in unexpected ways. Arrow carries on this tradition flawlessly. Almost every episode implements a dual storyline – One that works from the present and one from the past. Each plot development slowly burns into revelation and it is fascinating! For example, the show has only revealed the story behind three of Arrow’s scars and only dropped one hint about the origins of his tattoos, (which, of course, are all tied into a bigger picture plot line).

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4. It’s not always a happy ending.

Let’s hear it for the cliché that the hero always catches the bad guy and saves the day. Arrow is good at what he does, but he doesn’t always win. Like everyone else, he travels through hills and valleys. His journey of successes and failures helps his character evolve in a much more realistic and believable way. In many respects, how he handles his flaws and mistakes are what make him a hero.

5. Great interactions between characters.

A hallmark of a great show is good chemistry between characters. It helps that the writing is sharp and witty, but it takes talented actors to make it all work. In particular I love the interactions between Arrow and his wingman Dig. Their interactions are intense, but also among the most entertaining. In addition, any scene with Felicity Smoak and Arrow is amazing. The banter between these two always keeps me guessing: friends or maybe something more someday.

6. Awesome fight sequences

The Green Arrow is known for his agility and acrobatic talents along with martial arts, but the show takes it a step further by fusing those gifts with sophisticated and diverse hand-to-hand combat. The result is adrenaline rush fight sequences that rival those seen on the silver screen.  Better still, the camera stays on the action. No shaky frames or quick cuts.

7. Weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

Arrow doesn’t have super-human strength or a high powered gun. Instead, he has his trusty bow and arrow. And he is an incredible shot. I will never get tired of watching him shoot off one arrow after another and (almost) always hitting his mark.

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8. Nifty tech gadgets

There’s more to those arrows than a simple blade. Some arrows are fitted with recording devices, flash bombs, explosives, grappling hooks, and a bunch of other cool gadgets. Arrow isn’t just lean mean fighting machine –  He’s also pretty dang smart.

9. Kick-Ass Girls

Another cliché that shows up a lot in comic books is the damsel in distress. Ugh. Thankfully,  Arrow is full of strong women who know how to take care of themselves. One can even throw a heck of a punch and effectively aim and shoot a gun when bad guys come after her. There are even a few villain women that challenge Arrow just as much a muscle-bound psychopath. Granted, there is that part of me that likes to watch the hero save the girl, but it’s nice to see that story play in reverse as well.

10. Stephen Amell

Ummm, did you see the picture for Reason 3?  While great eye candy, he portrays Arrow with deep intensity and believability. He slips seamlessly between Arrow and his alter ego Oliver Queen, even though they are very different characters.  He essentially anchors the series with incredible charisma and charm.

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Oh, and it’s really fun watching him do this:

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So, I geeked out a little bit for Favorite Thing Friday. Can you blame me?

p.s. I still have four episodes of Season 2 to watch. Please, no spoilers in the comments!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2013

Saying Goodbye to Twilight

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Tonight, I’m standing in line waiting to see the final installment of the Twilight Saga. Before spending untold hours in lines for every movie, I devoured the books with the ferocity of a teenage girl. It’s hard to explain why I am so taken with all things Twilight, but I own my guilty pleasure completely.

Breaking Dawn: Part 2 signals the end of an era. For the last four years, I’ve had a lot of fun watching the books play out on the big screen and hanging out with other Twihards. I’m going to miss it, but at the same time I’m looking forward to saying goodbye. Excuse the cliché, but all good things must come to an end. Otherwise, we’d never have room for all the new things waiting on the horizon. I’m ready to let go, but the Twilight Universe will always be something special to me.

In the midst of Twilight mania, I wrote my first novel and embarked on a second. The ideas were always there and so was my muse, but the inspiration of Stephanie Meyer’s journey of becoming a published author gave me the final push I needed to get writing, (along with my mother). I will always be thankful for that and I’m even more thankful that I got the opportunity to tell her how she inspired me, (see The Autograph Ninja).

As the series comes to a close, I am anxious to see what Stephanie Meyer and the cast will be up to next. Everyone involved is so talented and I wish them nothing but the best as they move on to new projects.

If I am a bit scarce throughout this weekend, it’s due to a Twilight hangover and multiple viewings. I’ll be back to normal soon enough!

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c.b.w. 2012