Last Night on Earth Miniatures

Miscellaneous
front of 4 miniature characters from Last Night on Earth

As you may already know, I like to play board games. When Nick and I first got into the hobby, one of the games we purchased was Last Night on Earth, which is a zombie apocalypse game that has miniatures. Shortly after seeing other people painting their miniatures, I decided I was going to paint ours. Sadly, we’ve had the game for years now, and I hadn’t even primed any of them!

So last year, I decided to give myself a little push by priming all of the heroes in the game. I did it in the fall, knowing that in winter, I would probably get the bug to paint, but was not going to go out in the garage in the cold and prime everything. Plus, priming works best in non-sub-zero temperatures!

And now I have some painted miniatures to show you! So far, I only have four done. It’s been a slower process than what I thought it would be. But they are so small, that whenever I get an area looking how I want, I end up hitting the brush somewhere and having to touch things up. (After taking photos, I saw that one of them has a spot of blue in their hair that needs fixing!) But I’m getting better at it! And I purchased some magnifying glasses, which is helping, and added bonus, I look super cool wearing them (that’s sarcasm, in case it didn’t read).

Before starting, I watched a lot of videos and read painting guides. Plus, one of my co-workers, Andrew Chesney, is a really good painter, so I’ve gotten some tips from him. It’s crazy to watch him work. He can complete a couple of minis in a night, and they look awesome! I take way more time than that! But I also haven’t been doing this for years. I did try to paint one of my brother’s minis back in high school. It didn’t really work well. I didn’t understand shading or even how to paint and make something look 3D. So the mini ended up looking really flat and kind of cartoonish. Good to see that these are much better, and I’m making progress!

I started with the heroes because they will be the easier ones to paint. For me, it’s really confusing when you play a game, if the mini doesn’t look anything like the character’s photo on your character card. So I am painting the minis to match what I can see of the character’s hair color, skin color, and outfits. But for the zombies, I can do whatever I want. So I thought it would be better to get these started and make them match something, and then for the zombies, go crazy!

One thing I do wish I would have known before I primed my minis was that the minis should be cleaned up a bit. Especially with game minis like these that are more cheaply made and tend to have mold parts and other pieces that weren’t meant to be a part of the mini but ended up not being removed in manufacturing. One of the female minis looks like she’s wearing a necklace, which she could be, but I don’t see a necklace in any of the photos. So it could be a mistake. But since I had already primed it, I just went with it, and she’s now wearing a necklace.

Another difficult thing with minis that are more cheaply made is that they don’t have a lot of detail. So the dry brushing technique tends to not work the same way it would with really detailed minis. I think the faces have been the hardest part for me. I have had to redo the eyes so many times because I feel like they should be more detailed, but the eyes are so small, that just getting them to look like eyes and not make the characters look cross eyed has been hard!

I’ll post more as I get them done, but for now, this is what I have. Enjoy!

A New Skirt

Miscellaneous

Last year, I bought some new fabric to make myself a classy pencil skirt. I don’t know that I’ve ever owned a pencil skirt, so I was excited to add one to my collection. Since I planned on wearing it in colder weather, I also decided to line it, which proved to be pretty difficult!

I got the fabric from S.R. Harris, and I love it! It’s recycled, so it’s a little different from anything I’ve worked with before, but it’s nice because it’s hefty and looks classy.

I didn’t have a regular pattern for this skirt. I used the book Flirt Skirts to draft one by measuring out the pattern in the back of the book and recreating it on a large sheet of paper. The original size that I drafted wasn’t fitting right, so I put it on inside out and did some alterations. In my altering, I tapered the skirt in a little more near the hem, since the shape looked more pleasing. I didn’t realize until wearing the skirt to work one day, that my tapering was too much, and I now have to unzip the skirt to use the bathroom, since I can’t bring it up over my hips! Oops!

As I mentioned above, the lining was difficult for me. I’ve never lined anything before, and the book didn’t have instructions for it. So I searched the internet, watched some YouTube videos, and got started creating the lining. I’m not exactly sure what I did wrong, but the lining is much smaller than the skirt. So it’s a little tight in some areas that would not be tight if it were just the skirt. I also had a hard time making the waistband of the skirt because the lining was so slippery. I put the skirt on and folded the waistband, since that seemed to be the easiest way for me to figure out how to get it to work. But that caused its own problems, and now the zipper is not lined up correctly. But on the good side, the skirt feels pretty hefty, and the lining is nice.

If I were to make this skirt again, I would also have added a kickpleat. Not having one makes it difficult to get in and out of the car. And I’m a tall person and take large steps, and without a kickpleat, I feel like I’m being restricted to walking slowly, which I don’t love.

So, overall, I’m pleased with the skirt. As long as I wear a longer shirt to cover up the zipper, it looks nice and is a great new piece for my wardrobe!

It’s Been Awhile…

Miscellaneous

It has been so long since I’ve posted anything…too long. I’ve never been a really consistent poster, but I’ve always tried to at least post once a month. Part of the reason I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been trying to decide if I should stick with WordPress or go back to Squarespace, where they take care of everything in the background for me. For some reason, this has been a really difficult decision. On the one hand, letting someone else take care of all the back-end stuff, all the coding, and all the keeping up with the newest trends sounds so appealing. Then I can just focus on making art, designing things, and writing. But then on the other hand, there is no reason I can’t learn how to set all this stuff up, and the thought of paying for a website when it doesn’t make me any money, seems silly. And if you know me, the thought of learning how to do something is soooo appealing! But this time, I took too long to decide, so the decision ended up being made for me, and it’s WordPress now for a little while longer.

A lot has also been going on in my life that I really need to spend more time focusing on. So that has meant my blog has had to suffer. On the good side, while I’ve been silent, I haven’t been sitting idle. I’ve made at least two pieces of artwork every month, did some sewing, and was busy at work getting our latest title, Cloudspire, ready to print. I also went to Origins again this year.

I am planning to post my backlog of things that I’ve been up to. And, for those of you who have been checking, updating my portfolio. I haven’t put anything that I’ve worked on in there since I started at Chip Theory. So you will be hearing from me more in the coming weeks as I post everything from my backlog.

The photo for this post is our cat, Johnny. Sadly, he is no longer with us, after his battle with kidney failure. But I had to share this photo because it’s one of my favorites, and he looks so happy! Even though things were a bit rough in the end and incredibly sad, a photo like this makes me feel like he enjoyed his time with us as much as we did with him…or he just really wants to go outside…I’m going with the first idea!

Another Year Down…

Miscellaneous

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great New Year’s, even if you spent it going to bed early. I was happy to ring in the New Year by belting out songs with some friends and Nick in a basement while playing Rock Band. Good times!

I’m not really a New Year’s resolution person, since I think if you want to make a change in your life, it’s better to just do it right away versus waiting for a magical date (if you don’t actually want to make the change, no specific time is ever going to be the right time), but I do think the new year is a good time to look back at your past year, see how you did, and set new goals.

So how did I do last year? Goal-wise, not so great. Out of the four goals that I had, I didn’t complete any of them. Mid-year, I had re-evaluated my goals and deleted three of them. Two were very time intensive, and after starting a new job and having travel as a new thing in my life, I was not dedicating the time needed.

Work-wise, things were good. A new, fun job! Travel! Conventions! Lots of design! Working with creative people! Things were very good on the work-front. I’m definitely looking forward to what 2019 will bring.

General-overall-life-wise, ok. There were some really great times and some really horrible times. Overall though, if I look at the entire year, the positive outweighs the negative, so that’s good! And the horrible times helped to remind me what an amazing man I married! He’s so supportive and funny and sweet! I’m lucky to have him in my life helping to make it great and pushing me to be the best I can be!

And now for 2019. What do I have in store? Art, sewing, and photography! I’ve already completed a painting, sewn a skirt, and taken some photographs. The year is off to a good start, and I hope to continue this forward momentum! This year will be better!

Essen Spiel

Miscellaneous

Last month I got to travel to Essen, Germany for Essen Spiel (board game convention)! It was a lot of fun, and I’m really glad I got the opportunity to go. It was my first trip to Europe, and the longest plane ride I have ever been on.

It was so interesting to see the differences between a United States convention and a European convention. In the US, there is a vendor section and an event section, where people can try out games or just bring their own games and free game. In Germany, there was only a vendor section. Some of the booths had tables set up for people to try their games, but the emphasis was definitely on buying games. On Thursday, the first day of the convention, we had a table set up to demo Undertow for those interested. But the booth was so full of people knowing exactly what they were there to buy, that we just ended up taking orders at the table, until the crowd died down.

I definitely noticed a difference in the people at the convention as well. It was really rare in Essen to see people dressed up in costumes, whereas in the US, it would be strange to not see people in costume. And I hate to bring up stereotypes, especially when I feel that they are changing for board gamers, but in the US, it is a common occurrence to see butt cracks. I think we were two or three days into the convention before I saw one at Essen. And I honestly don’t remember seeing that many.

The convention for me seemed more low-key, after that initial swarm on Thursday morning. Part of that could be due to the fact that we were in the middle of running a Kickstarter, so I was in the hotel lounge working a lot more than in the booth. The other part could also be that we had less stock in Europe and sold out quickly. When you have nothing to sell, there is more time spent just explaining games and chatting with people, which maybe makes it seem less stressful to me. I also feel that since we had a much smaller group in Essen than at the other conventions, there wasn’t as much time trying to coordinate everyone to get meals and figure out what we were all going to do, so we had more time to explore and spent less time waiting on everyone.

I had two booth moments that were my favorites. The first was when one of our volunteers, who doesn’t have a lot of experience playing our games was explaining Triplock, and she had a HUGE group of people swarming around her to learn. Josh, one of the game designers and owners, sat at the table with Undertow and nobody at the table with him. It was pretty funny! My second favorite moment was when two fans came up to Adam, another game designer and owner, and totally geeked out about meeting him. It was super cute, and I was glad I got to be there to see how excited they were to talk with him!

As far as non-convention time goes, I had a lot of fun wandering around the city! I ate way more pasta than I had expected for Germany, and the dessert bar that I went to was way more alcoholic than what I had expected! I also noticed that there were not as many coffee shops around as there are in the US. I think part of that is because every cafe seemed to have their own espresso machine.

Overall, I had a really fun time, and I am excited about the potential of going back next year! (BTW, the sign in the featured image is telling you to not feed the ducks…apparently they forget how to swim and float feet up if you do that…)