Fashion, Uncategorized

May the Fourth be with you…

And if you are catholic, you probably answered either: ‘and also with you’ or ‘and with your spirit.’ I know, it’s just what we do.

Because I work at a middle school with a lot of nerds, we celebrated Star Wars day in style. Students and teachers alike got Star Wars free dress meaning costumes, shirts, or whatever else you have Star Wars themed let you have free dress (including a denim day). This is a pretty big deal when you wear a uniform every day of the school year!

The day is topped with a giant picture of the whole school (who remembered/chose to dress up) takes a picture that is later photoshopped onto one of the film locals with some characters added in that is later uploaded across the schools social media.

This is my second year celebrating thanks to lovely gifts from my dad and Bustedtees!

Last year, I wore a great Princess Leia/Tank Girl shirt (now unavailable) which is super cute but was tricky when explaining why the princess looked so different (and figuring out how to explain to 3rd graders what Tank Girl is is a whole nother hurtle!).

This year, I borrowed one of my dad’s new tops which is a casual Han Solo/Vans shoes inspired mashup that takes a second look to figure out how Star Wars is related. Paired with some low Leia buns and a golden robot necklace, I got to play at being a chic Star Wars lady, while in reality I threatened to disown a friend/brother for pretending to mix up many sci-fi fandoms with the films we were celebrating.

So nerd up and may the fourth be with you!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Uncategorized

DIY Wall Art.

Last week’s post was all about catching the decor bug and since then, I’ve been putting a variety of the suggestions to the test! From gaining bruises and strained muscles while rearranging every piece of furniture that isn’t nailed down in my room (the room feels so long now!), to trashing bags of old clutter, to refiling papers that were otherwise misplaced, to making a new soft and fluffy body pillow to change the look of my bedding, to, finally(!) making my own fun and fantastic, nerdy wall art.

1. Start out by finding something cute but simple you want to frame. For me, this was two car window decals I bought at convention years ago – Joss Whedon’s Firefly based. These could be stickers, decals, or any odd thing you want to frame (I have a set of old rustic keys frames in a shadow box and I love it).

2. Buy a picture frame big enough to house whatever your “art” is. Have fun with this! I went with two black oval frames. I loved how they contrasted with my rectangular frames for all my other art yet keep to the same pallet.

3. Think about your backdrop in respect to the “art” you’ve selected for yourself. You can use wallpaper, wrapping paper, construction paper, fabric, or any other backing and cut it down to fit your frame. Since my decals are white, I went with black paper to give the best contrast. I used a highlighter pencil to trace the circumference of the inner portion of the frame. Remember, you can cut it a little small, however, be careful the you can’t see around your backing when it’s all put together or your work will just look messy.

4. Stick your sticker/decal to the glass and put together your frame. One piece of advice, check out which way your decal sticks. I always assumed that I had to face my decal so you could read it through the glass, however, it actually sticks to the outside. Also, these decals are sticky and are not really shiftable – once they make contact, they can and will start to adhere onto the glass. Still, make sure you really rub down each piece of the decal because bubbles can be visible and cause peeling later.

5. Now that the frame is together and it all looks good, hang your new art enjoy it – one of a kind art is quite a thing to have. Look at my set by step pictures below!


If you are looking for other kinds of wall art, look at melted crayon art (tons of fun and lots of tutorials) or cutting geometric shapes onto canvas for a 3-dimensional square of patterning. And if you liked the idea of the easy up wallpaper discussed last time, be warned that you need a flat wall rather than a textured one (so now I have white brick wallpaper ready and waiting for whenever I move into my own place).

But my next project? Reupholster my desk chair. I just saw a post on this by Amanda from the fabulous blog, Advice from a 20 Something, and it was a total inspiration! Once I’ve tried it out myself, I’ll be sure to let you all know how it went.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Books, Fashion, Uncategorized

Geekdom Love!

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My ‘I need my quiet time to read and drink tea’ mug.

I’m about to set out on a grand camping adventure (a geeky adventure to be explored at a later date) which meant days of errands for me.

Enter, the Northridge Fashion Center.

I needed boots so before hitting DSW, I wanted to check out smaller, cheaper stores so ended up spending an hour or two wandering the mall when I stumbled on my new favorite gem:

Box Lunch

Think recent fandom shift in Hot Topic but much brighter and with more room to move. Add a touch of book/tea nerd and science lover and here you are.

I had a huge case of “shut up and take my money!”

I ended up buying a nerdy girl mug, a father’s day book (I won’t name this because of a possible audience member!), and a candle, but I have a whole list ready from running shirts to chemical diagram jewelry and everything in between.

I’ve been trying to save money but the thing I love most about this store and why I don’t mind spending money here is that they are charity inclined.

For every $10 you spend in the store, a meal is donated through Feeding America. At the register, you can also donate as easily as rounding your purchase up to the nearest dollar.

While charity shops and the like have a slight edge in the giving back without creating extra waste as their merchandise is used and donated. However, with Box Lunch, you don’t have to worry about their being only one of something and not in your size because it’s all built.

So yes, love, love, love, and that’s all from me.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Uncategorized

The Society of Creative Anachronism: Collegium

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Left to right: Cuttlefish bone casting and medallion, leather press medallion, Alpha cape pin, Viking medal pendant, cow bone needle. March 2016.

Recently, pretty much since being home, I’ve been attending events put on by my local SCA, aka The Society of Creative Anachronism. While you can read more about the society on their website, I’ll give you a few pointers.

The SCA is approximately 50 years old and can be described as a haven for all those loving early history – circa 800-1600 CE – from fashion to craft to fighting to history and beyond who want to do more than just reading about the time.

While there are basic meet ups weekly such as fighter practice where fight forms from heavy armored to rapier are (obviously) practiced, there are also much more extravagant outings.

While these range from week(s) long camping trips (some over a thousand strong) to day campaigns, what I am really focusing on is an event which took place a few weeks ago: collegium.

Collegium is a two day garbed event (meaning you must be dressed in period) which you attend in order to take classes hosted by others in the SCA which span metal work, leather work and crafting to fiber arts like weaving to history classes, working as a scribe or more fundamental fighting technique classes – just to name a few sections.

For me, this led to a lot of time sitting outside at lunch tables creating a lot of crafty trinkets. We were technically only at collegium for 6 classes over the weekend but with some luck I managed 8.

While I’m not going to explain everything I learned over the weekend (we do not have the time or the space) I can give you some brief overviews of some of my favorites!

In terms of classroom lessons, I adored my lecture on metallurgy and Viking casting theory – yes, this was as amazing and nerdy as you can imagine! I loved learning about boiling points and differences between theorists (and the fights between practical theorist and research theorist). Plus learning from fellow nerds? Totally awesome.

When it comes to things I got to make myself, I’d have to say crafting a bone needle and creating my pewter casting were my favorite crafts.

The needle in this picture started a two and a half inch long, triangular shaped cow bone shard, about 2/3 the thickness of a #2 pencil. So, over the course of an hour and a half to two hours, using (basically) a super coarse nail file to reshape and thin out my bone, followed by super fine sandpaper to smooth out any bone fibers. Once it’s shaped, you thin the non-pointy end to easily be able to drill the tiny eye to thread through.

Easy enough, right?

Pewter was, obviously, a much trickier craft.

I never had to melt down any of the metal or even handle the casting – very luckily for my beginner skills – but I did learn to make a cast out of cuttlebone fish!

And not only did I learn this, but it’s super easy!

Basically, you buy cuttlefish bone from your local pet shop, then sand it down until it’s flat with little visible spine indent. The last bit of real prep is to cut it across the middle so you have two relatively even pieces.

Cuttlefish bone is extremely soft so you can press anything or carve anything into it with a little pressure and get a good amount of detail. I used a flat circle to make a pendant shape, a ring for the center design, and then carved in the edging details and hook. The shape should be about half an inch or so down.

The last step of carving is to put a few divots into the top to help the pewter get into the mold. You then fill the mold and let it set but that’s all the description I’ll be giving (don’t try this part without someone who knows EXACTLY what they are doing! You don’t want to burn yourself!)

Once set, you clip the extras bits of metal (which will go back in your main pot), file the edges down, and then sand/polish to a shine!

I had so much fun making this medallion which I plan on wearing to future events and details come out so well.

Again, this is only a small look at this weekend and the SCA as a whole but if you are a fan of crafts, history, or just learning new things, I really recommend looking up your local barony and getting involve. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and learned a whole lot.

– Taylor Gallagher

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Books

Classic Alice: A Must.

Really this is about the thing that is taking over my life (no really!)

Classic Alice's pic for World book day; tumblr.

Classic Alice’s pic for World book day; tumblr.

Classic Alice” is an amazing webseries/transmedia production (which just means the story takes place across different media areas/distributors) about a college girl studying to become a writer who gets a “bad” mark on a paper which included the a harsh critique that she doesn’t identify/empathize with characters and that her writing lacks a sense of creativity. In response, Alice decides to become more in tune with what characters go through in their stories by basing her life choices on those made by the protagonists in classic literature.

Did you get all that?

Basically, Alice is living her life through books; taking every ‘oh no…’ moment you’ve every had while reading a great book and dealing with the consequences—which, for the audience, means many moments spent (just like when reading said books) yelling for the characters to get there acts together (and there are definitely characters who are yelling about it with you!).

Anyway, why is this taking over my life?

  1. The series is really just that good.

I’ll be honest, I’ve watched a lot of transmedia series and for good reason. More and more they are gaining quality that is easily comparable to TV; videos are free (YouTube!) and short enough that you can binge watch most in one day; you have a lot of access to the actors as well as the characters they play so you can talk to both, ask questions and just really get involved; and the list goes on and on…

But back to “Classic Alice.”

If you like books, reading, school, or compelling stories, this series has it all and it will hook you. Even if you’ve never read a single book Alice talks about, the characters and their struggles and triumphs come to life in a way that makes you forget that these aren’t just some girl’s vlogs about her life. You find yourself rooting for Alice as if she were a real person—a friend—who you want to see succeed.

  1. As someone interested in Women working and studying creative industries, “Classic Alice” is a must!

This show is basically a power house for women creators and if it can keep going, it’s a great example of where these industries can go in way of empowered young women. But don’t just take my word for it, look here for more.

SPOILERS (Just for this bit, jump to 3 to avoid)!!

But besides the women behind this masterpiece, in the second season a major sticking point has been that stories don’t end just because there is a happily ever after. Even if the girl gets the guy, that’s not where her story ends…

  1. It has actually become the focus of my dissertation….

Yep, I told you this show has taken over.

After getting hooked on this show, my dissertation topic transformed from analyzing access and self-publishing to transnarrative storytelling and book marketing….

Basically, my paper gives me an excuse to watch these wonderful people over and over again (not that not having an excuse ever stopped me…)

  1. They are about to finish their Crowdfunding campaign at midnight tonight (March 6, pacific time).

I don’t know many times a day I’ve checked this page, but it’s the first thing I do when I wake up and last thing I do before dropping off. Again, I chalk this up to dissertation interest, but really it’s that I feel just as excited every time the number goes up as all those who are actually involved in the project.

Over the last two months, I’ve picked up three perks and actually won an extra prize (a personalized signed copy of Lev Grossman’s “The Magician’s Land” –YAY BOOKS)!

And finally,

  1. The true proof: this post was meant to be about internship/job interviews….

Oops? Yea, that had been the plan but with the end of the funding taking place and my dissertation proposal all coming together this week, there was nothing for it.

So next week we’ll go for all that interview stuff (including my thought on my own…), but for now—if you haven’t—go check out “Classic Alice” and if there is still time go and give what you can (every dollar counts!).

–Taylor Gallgher

Ps, I’m all about these series so if you have a suggestion of another for me to check out or want a suggestion of what else to watch, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

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