Gift Ideas for the Cosplayer on Your List

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41WlbL5Sb8L._SL250_Do you have a cosplayer on your list? Unsure of what to get them? We’ve compiled a short list of some basic cosplaying ideas that are useful in almost any cosplaying application.

For example: Are you tired of them borrowing your hair dryer for moldable plastics? Well this Christmas give them a gift that gives twice. The Wagner heat gun will give them a heat source for their plastics and save wear and tear on your hair dryer. Plus you won’t be looking all over the house for where your hair dryer has gotten to.

Of course you can always throw in some Instamorph Moldable Plastic.

In small or large.

Or in colors:

Maybe they’re looking for thermoplastic for their next masterpiece:

While all that is fun and makes fantastic cosplays, perhaps something a bit more practical is what you’re looking for. A set of Xacto knives is a good call for all of that precision cutting that needs to be done.

There’s also a cordless hot glue gun.

Or you can make up a cosplay emergency kit for them with the hot glue gun and a few other small items for on the go repair.

A small sewing kit for repairing seams, tears or if a button is lost:

Sticky back Velcro (trust me on this stuff, it’s amazing)

Duct tape (like the force it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together).

q-tips for makeup or paint touch up.

Put all of these things in a handy messanger bag and they have a nice repair kit to take with them to cons and there might be space for other things they need or want.

Without knowing the exact cosplay under construction, fabric choices and paints are not a good idea. Giftcards to fabric stores are great ideas though.
This way the cosplayer on your list can get the fabrics and accessories of their choice and you’re not guessing about what they want.

Of course there’s always a sewing machine. Cosplayers often do their own sewing and a sewing machine is a great gift.

We hope these ideas are helpful.

Preparing Roses for the Winter

Pruned and Protected

Rose before being pruned

Rose before being pruned

This weekend generally gets taken up with Holiday goings ons. Between spending time with family and friends and getting ready for Christmas it seems there is next to no time for gardening. That’s ok because the weather has finally turned and it’s getting too cold to be effective in the garden anyway.

I like to wait until the roses are dormant before I prune them back for winter. Pruning them too early runs the risk of them putting a lot of energy into leafing out again only to have the frost hit them hard and stress them, possibly killing them. Also I leave the last round of flowers on the plants to allow them to set seeds and get ready to go dormant.

Christmas Candle

Christmas Candle

There are little grubs that like to chew down through the heartwood of the rose canes to winter over. These will kill a plant if they go too long. To prevent this I break out one of the multitude of unused Christmas candles I have and drip wax on the ends of the stems when I prune them back for winter.

If you don’t have a nice candle that you have no other use for you can use a few drops of white glue mixed with a drop or two of food color to coat the ends of the canes. Both of these methods will keep the larvae out of your canes and protect your roses for the winter.

Pruned and Protected

Pruned and Protected

With the cold weather upon us, I’m done outside for a couple of months. I’m only about a third of the way through all of the weeding I want to do. I’ll just have to pick up in the early spring.

From Garden to Pumpkin to Pie & Pecan Bourbon Pie

Ready for the oven

IMG_0199Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and if you’re putting on the feast yourself, cooking has to start at least the day before. Today I baked pies and thawed out the turkey. The bird will go in brine when it finishes thawing and be ready for roasting the morning before the feast.

In years past, on request, I’ve made pumpkin pie from real pumpkins. I learned that most of what is called canned pumpkin is actually butternut or hubbard or some kind of squash. It took some searching but I found a recipe for pumpkin pie that calls for pumpkin slurry, which I make by roasting pumpkin and putting it in a food processor. Let me tell you, pumpkin pie made from real pumpkin, fresh pumpkin is the most delicious pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten.

Roasted pumpkin

Roasted pumpkin

This year we upped the ante. This very morning I went out and selected a lovely pumpkin that came from our very own garden. I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds and roasted it in the oven. Once roasted the skin just pulled right off, no fuss no muss. The skin went into the compost bin and the pumpkin slurry went right into a mixing bowl to be turned into pie filling.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Fresh pumpkin pie filling smells good even before it has been baked. My modest 6 to 8 inch pumpkin made two deep dish pies. Already I’m having to beat back the hungry hordes who want to test them before Thanksgiving dinner is served.

Today I also made bourbon pecan mini pies. The pecan pies are mini pies mainly because I only have two pie plates and I used them for the pumpkin pies. Thankfully I have a large muffin tin that I was able to press into service for individual sized pecan pies. Although I suspect they are actually large enough to share with a friend.

Next I’ll make my grandmothers dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs and the sriracha slaw. That’ll leave only the green beans, salad, and turkey for the final day of cooking.

Pumpkin Pies out of the oven

Pumpkin Pies out of the oven

Pecan Bourbon Mini Pies

Pecan Bourbon Mini Pies

Loot Crate Box Opening–Woo Hoo!

Loot Crate

Loot Crate

Loot Crate

That’s right, I’m a looter. Of course I am. Last month was the time travel Loot Crate. This month a grab bag of goodies. If you want to get your own Loot Crate delivered each month you can go here.

Now this month we have a fabulous Mockingjay pin.

Loot

Loot

A Cute but Deadly mystery figure and magnet sheet which is pretty impressive.

Also included is a Vault Boy bobble head.

There’s a Street Fighter comic

The loot crate pin, catalogue and a Shredder Shades (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame). Not quite as cool as the Doctors Sonic Shades but more evil.

Shredder Shades in the Crate

Shredder Shades in the Crate

Now, there is going to be a Pink Elephant gift exchange at work here soon and anything I have not wanted from any of my Loot Crates has been going in a box. It’s going to be awesome! And it’ll up the nerd quotient of one (or more) of my co-workers.

Oh! And there’s also an Anime Loot Crate if you like Anime.

Gift Ideas for the Gardener on Your List

Solar Lights In The Garden

Solar Lights In The Garden

Solar Lights In The Garden

With the holidays almost upon us it might be a good idea to provide some gift ideas for the gardener in your life. The weather outside might be frightful but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan some heartscaping for the garden. Below find some ideas for the garden to fit almost any budget.

Little solar lights transform a garden into a magical wonderland when the sun goes down.

These little lights in the shapes of butterfly, dragonfly and humming bird make an evening on the patio next to the garden a magical and relaxing event. At around $20 for a set of four they are a delightful addition to any garden.

Also this solar light wind chime is very whimsical and would be fun in a garden setting.

But who am I kidding. I discovered something for the garden on Amazon that makes my little nerd heart jump for joy.

Starting off with a little dragon sculpture for your patio wall or really anyplace you think you can wedge him in. This cute little dragon comes in at $40.

The Astronaut at Ease is really fun and would be awesome in any garden or on a desk. It’s turning your garden into a sci-fi adventure! A bit more spendy than the wall dragon at $85 but so much fun.

Ok not necessarily for the garden but this Frost Dragon ornament is gorgeous and at $17 it’s very reasonably priced.

If you have a more practical bent this little garden caddy is always useful and at $10 it won’t break the bank.

These little kneeler pads are a great gift too. As a gardener you are always kneeling down to pull out this or that weed, or check that plant or harvest this or that vegetable and while these may not be glamorous they are incredibly useful. And they’re just $9 on Amazon.

Or there are a variety of raised bed kits which could be a great help to a gardener looking to go to raised beds.

Then there is a motion detecting solar light for gardening just a few minutes later into the evening.

Of course what really takes the cake, not just for wow factor but also for price is this little beauty:

Sure it costs more than $500 but it’s a scale model of an Apatosaurus. That’s amazing.

You can get the more modest Camarasaurus for around $300 or so.

And then there’s this:

Totally awesome with a totally awesome price to match.

Yeah the scale model dinos are expensive but they are unexpected, have an unmatched wow factor and your garden will never be the same.

Cold Weather is Upon Us, Finishing Up For Winter

Second side begun and Elephant Ear plants removed for winter.

Getting Ready for the other side of the walkway

Getting Ready for the other side of the walkway

This may be the last weekend A Nerd In the Garden can actually garden. We’ve gotten cold weather this last weekend. Rain is one thing, a good raincoat will get you through but cold weather is quite another.

The last thing I need to do is prune the roses now that the weather has turned. I try not to prune the last bloom of the roses so that the plants can set fruit and get ready for winter. Then when I’m fairly certain they won’t start leafing out again I do a hard prune to get them ready for winter. I’ll do that and melt candle wax over the cut stems to keep the borers out.

One Side with Elephant Ear plants

One Side with Elephant Ear plants

It had been my intention never to buy a plant that would have to be dug up to winter over. However; I was looking at the growing instructions for the beautiful elephant ear plants I’d put in the side yard and to my dismay, discovered that they shouldn’t be out in weather colder than 50 degrees F. Eeek! It’s been high 40’s for the past couple of weeks at night and now about to get much colder.

So I had to race home from work and quickly, but carefully, dig them out of my garden. They are in buckets in the garage. I hope that stays just warm enough for them. I hesitate to bring them into the house proper but it may come to that.

This weekend I dug up the Crocosima Lucifer and moved the bulbs. That took a lot more work than I had anticipated. I only got 2 clumps done before I had to call it a day. There are at least 3 more clumps to be worked. I’ll just have to move them in the spring. There is still quite a bit of weeding to do too. I’m about 1/3 of the way done with the area I wanted to clear, so around 100 sq ft.

The raised beds for the vegetable garden are just about ready for winter. I wanted to put some landscaping fabric over them but I’m not sure I will.

Second side begun and Elephant Ear plants removed for winter.

Second side begun and Elephant Ear plants removed for winter.

With the Crocosima in place I was able to replant some of the bearded Iris I saved while cleaning the area out. I don’t know what colors are in the box but I know they’ll be beautiful. I’m kind of hoping for a peach one I had blooming in the area years ago is one of the ones that got saved.

Lastly I got started on the east side of the walkway border. I ran out of bricks to do the edging or I would have gone farther. In clearing off the brick walkway I discovered that the west side was around 6 inches to far south and didn’t come all the way up to meet the north edge. I debated leaving it but couldn’t. So I extended the channel a bit and slid each brick up to move the entire run the distance it needed to be flush with the patio.

crocosima bulbs dug, cleaned and ready to replant.

crocosima bulbs dug, cleaned and ready to replant.

Digging through cardboard to plant bulbs

Digging through cardboard to plant bulbs

Vegetable garden ready for winter

Vegetable garden ready for winter

Official Date for Godzilla Sequel Released

Official Godzilla Poster

Official Godzilla Poster

Official Godzilla Poster

Yes the sequel to Gareth Edwards Godzilla will be released in theaters June 8, 2018. The Sequel will also be directed by Gareth Edwards and I hope he does a better job than he did on his Monsters sequel: Monsters Dark Continent which was just awful on so many levels. In fact I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of low budget sci-fi movies and this was so bad I couldn’t finish watching it. In fact I didn’t get much past the opening scenes. And I made it through two of three Sharknado movies so far. I haven’t had time to watch Sharknado 3 yet but it’s on the list to be watched. But I digress.

The recent deal between Legendary Studios and Universal means that Legendary now has access to other characters from Toho. Characters like Mothra, King Ghidorah and Rodan. These could now potentially show up in the next Godzilla movie. Squee! I really like the rumor that the Monarch organization will still be involved. It seems like a good plot idea to me.

As for the original Toho Godzilla, well Toho has given Shin-Godzilla an English title for the 2016 movie: Godzilla Resurgence. The initial filming has been done as of this post and effects work is now being done. Shin-Godzilla is due for theatrical release in the summer of 2016.

It’s a good time to be a Godzilla fan.

A Nerd In The Garden: Crocosima Lucifer, Carnations and Laying Out Your Flower Bed

Hummingbird in Crocosima

One Month Ago

One Month Ago

In the Garden the soil can be worked right up until the ground freezes. Take care not to compress it too much if it rains and the moisture content gets high enough for that to be an issue. So there is a fine line that has to be maintained when pushing the garden work deep into fall.

As you may recall, gentle reader, I had a section of the front flower bed I really wanted to get weeded out while the soil was soft enough to pull roots and all. That’s fine in theory but even with soft soil, grass roots are difficult. I did the best I could and actually rototilled the area and still there are some very tough and persistent roots that I could not get out.

That’s where the cardboard mulch layer comes it. I only use a single layer and it gets completely soaked and stays soaked for months so it breaks down quickly. Cardboard won’t improve your soil quality but it will kill the majority of weeds. Since I’m battling grass right now that’s my best, least toxic, option aside from digging everything out which I just don’t have the time for. Nor do I want to destroy the slope I’m working on.

Yesterday

Yesterday

I’ve put nice hazelnut shells over a part of the area as a real mulch and I will use my cat’s claw/hoe tool to plant the bulbs right through it. The forecast is calling for rain for the next week and that will soak everything quite nicely. Then I plan on digging up the Crocosima bulbs and planting them on the east side of the bed. That will be quite a job.

The nice thing about the Crocosima is that they will naturalize quite nicely wherever I put them. The bad thing about the Crocosima is that they have naturalized where I tossed them so many years ago.

I had no idea how tall they would get or how much they would spread. I got only 5 little bulbs of Crocosima Lucifer free in an order of tulips or something one year. I did not expect them to become one of the centerpieces of my flower bed. While I am glad they did, now I need to put them in a better place.

That being said, let’s talk about laying out the garden. When I first started this flower bed, lo those many years ago, I took a rather haphazard approach. I planted what caught my eye at the time, wherever I felt like planting it. While there is a certain freedom and whimsy to that approach, I would not recommend it. That is the kind of planting approach that leads to 5′ Crocosima in front of 2′ Bearded Iris and 3′ Gladiolus in front of 6″ Dianthus…um Carnations. And that is what leads, seasons later, to having to replant an entire bed.

Hummingbird in Crocosima

Hummingbird in Crocosima

Either get some graph paper or make some in Excel (it’s super easy to do) and you can plan out where you want to put your flowers, or vegetables if that’s the kind of garden you’re planting. I used graph paper for my raised beds in the back because my space was limited and I wanted to get as many beds as possible.

Last Week

Last Week

I planted a full 4’X 4′ bed of carrots and I’m loving just going out and pulling a few out of the bed whenever I need them. It’s going to be gorgeous to have these heirloom carrots for Thanksgiving this year.

This week

This week

While I am enjoying this massive project of mine, I’m also looking forward to being done and having just maintenance to worry about. There will always be weeding to do. There will always be flowers that die off and need to be replaced. But there will not always be this huge multiple month weed-fest and border building and replanting. Also come spring this flower bed is going to be breathtaking.

When the weather forces me, at long last, indoors I have some home repair and improvement projects that I intend to get going. I’m not sure where I’ll start just yet, but there is plenty to be done to improve our home.

I also need to get working on my next cosplay. It ain’t going to make itself and comic con season is right around the corner. K.