Announcing: Geeky Hostess Teas!

One of my favorite things to do on these cold, blustery, winter days is cozy up with a cup of tea. I start my mornings with one and often end my days with one as well. So I’m thrilled to announce the newest line of Geeky Hostess products: loose leaf tea! But this isn’t your ordinary tea. I sourced the tea from Friday Afternoon, an amazing Seattle-based geeky tea company. Friday knows her stuff, and she makes beautiful blends based on popular fandoms. I took her blends and added a bit of Geeky Hostess flair: sprinkles. The sprinkles add just a tiny bit of sweetness and a lot of fun. The final product is a beautiful tin of loose leaf tea perfect for gifting (or keeping for yourself!). Without further ado, let’s take a look at the blends:

Doctor's Blend Tea HeroDoctor’s Blend

An apple a day keeps the doctor a way, but this blend of loose leaf tea just might make him stop by for a visit! This black tea blend is enhanced with police box sprinkles for added sweetness and geekness.

Directions: Brew 1 tsp for one cup of tea or 2 tsp for a pot of tea for three minutes at 212°F

Ingredients: Darjeeling black tea, lime peel, blue cornflower, sprinkles (sugar, rice flour, palm oil, palm kernel oil, corn starch, cellulose gum, carrageenan, confectioner’s glaze, blue 1 lake, blue 2)

 

 

 

 

Lion’s Blend Lion's Blend Tea Hero

After a long day of studying, retire to your house’s common room and relax with a cup of fragrant tea. This rooibos and black tea blend is enhanced with lightning bolt sprinkles for added sweetness and geekness.

Directions: Brew 1 tsp for one cup of tea or 2 tsp for a pot of tea for three minutes at 195°F

Ingredients: Rooibos, Assam black tea, orange peel, marigold, sprinkles (sugar, rice flour, palm oil, palm kernel oil, corn starch, cellulose gum, carrageenan, confectioner’s glaze, yellow 5, yellow 6), bergamot oil, vanilla oil

 

 

 

Mechanic's Blend Tea HeroMechanic’s Blend

This shiny loose leaf tea blend will keep you caffeinated for whatever crises come your way. And you know you’ll love the strawberries… This white tea blend is enhanced with steampunk gear sprinkles for added sweetness and geekness.

Directions: Brew 1 tsp for one cup of tea or 2 tsp for a pot of tea for three minutes at 175°F

Ingredients:  Pai Mu Tan white tea, strawberry, rose hip, sprinkles (sugar, rice flour, palm oil, palm kernel oil, corn starch, cellulose gum, carrageenan, confectioner’s glaze, yellow 5, yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake, yellow 6, red 40, blue 1)

 

 

 

The tea is normally $10 each or $25 for the set, but from now until the end of the year, the tea is only $8 or $20 for the set! Check them all out here.

What tea blend are you most excited for? What fandoms should I include in the future?

Harry Potter vs. Ghostbusters: Help Me Pick My New Decor

What should decorate this wall?

What should decorate this wall?

Happy January! I’ve been a bit MIA for two reasons: I wanted to spend as much time with family as I could over the holidays, and I moved! I’m still in the same city, but am now in a super cute townhouse close to a bunch of my friends. Moving has been quite the process over the last week or so, but now I’m in the unpacking, reorganizing, and decorating stage, which is the most fun ever. (Mr. Geek may disagree.) This brings me to today’s post: I need your help.

See, we have this cute little bathroom on our main floor. It’s right next to the living room and kitchen, which means it will see the most traffic from guests. The bathroom has a black marble countertop and yellow walls. I instantly had an idea of how I would decorate it: I would keep it simple with black accessories (hand towel, soap dispenser, trash can, etc.) and put up a nice print of a badger on the wall above the toilet. To non-geeks, the bathroom will just look “nice,” and the rest of us will instantly recognize it as a Hufflepuff room. (I mean, come on, it’s right next to the kitchen.) It’s non-threatening, could look grown-up when family or guests visit, and still shows off our geek pride for those in the know.

When I told my idea to Mr. Geek, he just looked at me and said “Vigo.” Yes, he was referring to Vigo the Carpathian, the villain from Ghostbusters 2. A quick Google Search showed us that the painting of Vigo would indeed look nice in a yellow room with black accents. I would say it could even seem unassuming to a non-geek if it wasn’t for the pile of skulls at his feet. And of course, if Mr. Geek doesn’t go through with his (already vetoed) idea of making the eyes follow people around and also light up.

Vigo

(sigh)

So: Do we go the subtle Hufflepuff route? Or go with a print of the Vigo the Carpathian painting? Let me know your pick (and why) in the comments below. Have a better idea? Leave a comment with that! Once the room is finished, I’ll post pics. Mr. Geek and I both anxiously await your votes. We’re leaving this room in your hands. Don’t mess this up.

DIY Gift Idea: Surprise Balls!

DnD Surprise Ball

Surprise balls are one of the ultimate DIY gifts. Seriously. These gifts are like mini parties in one: your recipient has the joy of unwrapping their gift and getting multiple tiny surprises, while covering themselves with colorful crepe paper! Plus, you look like a wonderful and creative human being, and it only took you a few bucks and a few minutes! Win-win.

The premise is simple: Start with your largest gift in the center and wrap around it with crepe paper streamers. Continue to wrap the streamer around, working it towards a ball-shape, and pause every once in a while to add another small gift. Continue to do this until all gifts are fully wrapped inside of the ball. That’s it!

Surprise Ball Steps

The fun, though, is coming up with ways to decorate and theme the ball. You can change the color of the streamers throughout by taping two colored streamers together, you can dress up the front with washi tape and stickers, or you can create a replica of a round object and theme the gifts inside appropriately.

Harry Potter Surprise Ball

Here are some ideas for geeky surprise balls:

HP Ball Contents

The Golden Snitch

Using gold crepe paper, create a surprise ball and add wings to the back. Fill with Harry Potter-themed goodies! These can include:

  • Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans
  • Gold from Gringotts Bank
  • A Time Turner
  • Pins, stickers, and other accessories in the recipient’s house colors
  • Favorite quotes from the books

DnD Ball Contents

The Dungeon Master

Invite your friends to a Dungeons and Dragons game, and give them everything they’ll need to start their adventure! This can include:

  • A set of dice
  • A miniature
  • Riddles or puzzles
  • Clues that will help them during the campaign
  • “Coupons” they can cash in during the campaign. For instance:
    • Redeem this slip of paper for: One re-roll. (Can be given to another player or NPC.)
    • Redeem this slip of paper for: One random item from the Trinkets page.
    • Redeem this slip of paper for: Advantage or Disadvantage on the roll of your choice. (Can be given to another player or NPC.)

Here are some other fun ideas:

  • Put a bunch of stocking stuffers/candies in a surprise ball with black crepe paper streamers–it’ll look like coal!
  • Make a pokeball-themed surprise ball with mini Pokemon goodies inside!
  • Know a sports fan? Put sports-themed goodies (or a note saying you’ve got tickets to the big game) inside a surprise ball that looks like their sports ball of choice!

What type of surprise ball do you want to make? Let me know in the comments!

The Ultimate Fandom Necklace

IMG_20140402_175223

I met Amanda, owner of Amery Studios at Emerald City Comicon, and fell in love with her jewelry line. It’s gorgeous and nerdy, what more could you want? She showed me a couple of different pieces, and then stopped at this one. “Are you familiar with nerdfighters? It says ‘Don’t Forget to Be Awesome’ on it. And I make them in all of the Hogwarts house colors.” I stopped her right there. “And it’s in Gallifreyan?” I responded. “Yep!” she said. One necklace that works for three fandoms? I clearly needed to have it.

Love Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and the “awesome” message of the nerdfighter movement? Then you also need this piece. I chose a Ravenclaw-colored necklace since I was sorted into that house in Pottermore and the colors also happen to match the TARDIS, making it the perfect piece to go with my TARDIS dress, skirt, or any other blue clothing.

Are those not your fandoms? Check out Amery Studios anyway. You’re sure to find something you’ll love!

 

Apparently Everyone You Know Wants this Snuggie for Christmas

harrypottersnuggieIt’s story time. Once upon a time (Or about a year and a half ago), I wrote a post about this Harry Potter snuggie. To this day, it is still one of my most popular posts and gets me the most affiliate money from Amazon. When people purchase this snuggie, they don’t just buy one. They buy DOZENS. There are entire families that get this snuggie for Christmas. And I want to see pictures.

Anyway, I thought it was time to do an update post and let everyone know that apparently you are either getting this snuggie for Christmas or giving it for Christmas. Consider this a PSA.

Or perhaps you’re looking for a more Winter-appropriate scarf-look for your snuggie?

Harry Potter not your thing? Never fear, there are other novelty snuggies for you and your loved ones!

Bilbo Snuggie Maybe you’ve always wanted to look like Bilbo Baggins?

Gandalf Snuggie Or you need a Gandalf snuggie to wear in the theater when you see The Hobbit?

Superman Snuggie …Or you want to feel a bit more Super when lying around the house? (These snuggies are also available in Wonder Woman and Batman.)

No matter what your favorite fandom is, you can comfortably cosplay from home with these snuggies. Or hell, get them all like the super cheery model above and switch them out based on which movie you’re currently watching. Just act quick because these snuggies are extremely popular. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Recipe: Butterbeer Mug Cake

IMG_9523

It’s getting chilly, which means it’s perfect time to cozy up with a hot cup of mug cake. And with the announcement of new movies being made in the Harry Potter ‘verse, it only made sense to figure out how to make a Butterbeer Mug Cake. All you need on a crisp fall day is this and a good book.

I teamed up with Kristina Horner (the resident Harry Potter expert) to film a video on how to make the cake, and then we sat down for a nice discussion/speculation session on the new “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” movie(s). Check out both videos below! And keep reading for the recipe. As long as you have some basic ingredients, a mug, and 90 seconds, you can have Butterbeer Mug Cake.

Butterbeer Mug Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 TBS Flour
  • 2 TBS Brown Sugar (I used light brown)
  • 2 TBS White Sugar
  • 2 TBS Vegetable Oil
  • 2 TBS Cream Soda
  • A pinch of Salt
  • A dash of Imitation Butter Flavor (optional)
  • Whipped Cream

Directions:

Place all ingredients except for the whipped cream into a microwave-safe mug and mix.

Microwave the mug for 90 seconds.

Carefully remove and let cool for a few seconds.

Top with whipped cream.

Enjoy!

The mug cake is best enjoyed soon after baking while it’s still warm and gooey.

Easy, huh? Let me know what you think of the mug cake in the comments!

3-D Print Your Dreams with Shapeways

Shapeways

Shapeways, an online maker and seller of 3D printed products, contacted me asking if I would be interested in reviewing their products. I’ve been interested in 3D printing for a while, and loved the chance to see some items up close as well as ask one of their designers some questions about the process. I picked out two products in different materials so I could see a variety, and I just happened to pick out two Harry Potter-inspired items. 😉 Check out my reviews of the products and an interview with Designer Evangelist Duann Scott, as well as Seedling Design shop owners Chris Schmidt and Megan Ender.

Deathly Hallows Dice Set 
3D printed dice sets are ridiculously awesome. You can play around a lot with the individual shapes and designs and you can make it out of so many different materials. I chose to have my dice set made out of “Black Strong and Flexible” as it seems to be a 3D printed standard. The material is extremely lightweight but feels nearly indestructible. The design of the dice itself is beautiful, but a bit difficult to read in its normal state. The link has some great examples of dice that have been painted, so I’ll most likely be doing that to my dice very soon.

Ravenclaw Crest Necklace
Although I’ll always be a little bit Hufflepuff at heart, Pottermore sorted me into Ravenclaw and I feel like it was time to rock the crest. Ordering this gave me a chance to check out 3D printed metal, and it’s pretty cool. I got the pendant in stainless steel, and it looks like a nice piece of jewelry you’d get anywhere else. The steel is almost a bit gold/bronzeish in certain light, has a textured look to it, and has a good weight to it. The design itself has quite a bit of detail and looks almost stacked on each other. I can’t wait to put it onto a chain and wear it around!

Interview with Designer Evangelist Duann Scott

Duann was kind enough to answer some of my questions about 3D printing. Want to know more about the process? Read on! (And special thanks to Seedling Design shop owners Chris Schmidt and Megan Ender who chimed in on the last question!)

1. Why 3D printing? What makes it so much better than other methods of creating?
Duann: 3D printing makes it easier for people to make exactly what they want in a range of materials from plastics to stainless steel, ceramics to Sterling silver. Because you can make an object exactly the way you want it, you do not need to settle for a mass produced item that is ‘close enough’ to what you want.  With 3D printing, it does not matter how complex an item is, as the cost is calculated by the amount of material used only.

2. What type of object is most recommended for 3D printing? Anything that doesn’t work as well?
Duann: When you make anything, be it a bike or a cake, it is important to choose the right tools and the right materials, the same is true with 3D printing. Laser sintered Nylon is incredibly versatile in that you can make anything from a structural furniture component to an iPhone case, a fully articulated garment to a static bracket, it is important to design to the material limitations.  3D Printing is currently best used for smaller complex parts, it does not make sense to 3D print one hundred thousand golf tees, unless each one is unique.

3. You have a variety of materials available for 3D printing. Any new materials coming to the site soon? Anything you’re working on?
Duann: We currently have over 30 material options on Shapeways, a range of plastics, ceramics and precious metals.  Over the coming weeks we will be introducing more jewelry grade precious metals to our material option. We have some really exciting new materials that will not be available until early 2014!

4. What are your tips for someone that wants to create something through Shapeways.com?
Duann: When designing for 3D printing with Shapeways, it is important to use the right 3D modeling application and material for your project.  If you are doing organic forms I recommend a surface modeler, if you are doing mechanical parts it is easier to design with a solid modeling application.  Choosing the right material is also very important, if you have a functioning part I recommend Nylon or Stainless Steel, if you are looking for and incredibly high detail our Acrylic has details down to the microns, and if you are designing jewelry, our Sterling Silver and Gold Plated Brass is beautiful.

Chris and Megan: 3D printing allows you to create anything that you can imagine, but it’s important to really get to know the technology. Designers and artists who take the time to become experts in 3D printing will definitely be forefront of cutting edge technology.

Interested in learning more about 3D printing or getting something printed yourself? Check out Shapeways.com! And let me know your thoughts on 3D printing in the comments.

Friday Favorites: Friday 13

Friday Faves Sept 13

It’s Friday the 13th! But instead of focusing on superstitions, I’m making hundreds of cupcakes and celebrating the love of some good friends at their wedding. It shall be a glorious day! While I’m busy making cupcakes and tearing up at vows, you can check out some of my favorite things from the past week!

Favorite Video: Cinderonce
Todrick Hall, who apparently was on American Idol and is also a thing on YouTube, made this fantastic video retelling the story of Cinderella through Beyonce songs. It’s worth watching for the costumes and choreography alone. Find it on YouTube.

Favorite TV Show: Bob’s Burgers
Yeah, yeah. It’s been on for years. I just started watching Bob’s Burgers a month or so ago and I can’t get enough of it. It’s funny, quirky, and actually kind of sweet.

Favorite News: JK Rowling’s Writing a Screenplay!
JK Rowling is creating a screenplay based on the Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” It will focus on the author of the book, Newt Scamander, and will take place 70 years prior to the Harry Potter series, and will start in New York. All exciting things! Read all about it here.

Favorite Clothing: BlackMilk’s Harry Potter Collection
It’s as if BlackMilk knew of the JK Rowling announcement when they decided to push their Harry Potter line launch back to this week. The clothing is all really fun looking, and I’m coveting the Marauder’s Map dress, but unfortunately, BlackMilk prices are still pretty steep. I’m holding out for another sale around my birthday like they did last year! See the whole collection here.

What amazing things have you discovered in the past week?

Harry Potter Snuggie

…For when you’re too lazy to put on a real robe or keep a blanket on your lap, but you want to look your best for that elite boarding school for wizards you attend.

In all seriousness, I’d buy this. Perfect for Harry Potter marathon nights, re-reading the books, or that last minute (but cozy) costume!

Harry Potter Throw Blanket with Sleeves, $29.85 at Amazon.com

Adorable Geeky Onesies

 

Geekling Designs has some of the best geeky onesies I’ve seen in a very long time. Every time I tried to pick a favorite, more incredible ones came along. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, Star Wars, math, Doctor Who, Nintendo, or pretty much any other geek thing, you will find something you love.

Prices range from $3.12 (for hair clips) to $29.15 (for a set of two onesies). The average onesie is $16.66-$18.74.

Turn your baby geeky with onesies, hair clips, t-shirts and more at geeklingdesigns.ca.