Hello and welcome back. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend celebrating however you chose to celebrate. I had fun trying to get my 22 month old to hunt for Easter eggs. The concept is still a little foreign to her. Oh well.
Today we are going to hear from Dani, the Etsy shop owner of Shadows in the Nyte. I stumbled across her stuff and fell in love immediately, so I had to ask for an interview. Not only did she oblige, but she is also providing a giveaway for all of you lovely readers. Read on to find out how to get one of these.
Name : Danielle "Dani"
Home City: Stowe, Pa currently living in Richmond, Va
Favorite Color: Varies. I usually go for purple, but I change up to dark greens and blues, and sometimes black
Favorite Drink (Alcoholic or non.): Alcoholic: Loaded Peach Tea from Buffalo Wild Wings and anything with Rum; Non-alcoholic: Orange juice and Kool Aid
So how when did you start crocheting? Was there a specific event or moment that made you really want to learn?
I used to watch my grandmother crochet when I was younger. She used to make a lot of baby blankets, baby clothes and afghans and I thought it was really cool that you could make something like that from a ball of yarn. I can't remember the exact age but I know it was under age 10. I asked her one day to show me how and she taught me one winter and part of a summer. I then started to go crazy with it and made my own dolls and clothes for them. I also made a LOT of potholders since I was taught the single stitch in the square pattern. Like most kids, I lost interest in crocheting and didn't pick it back up again for a few years. When my husband was working a job that had him outside the majority of the day, I decided to make him a scarf to keep him warm and decided to pick up crocheting again.
When you began crocheting, did you already plan to make video game inspired hats and plush toys, or did that come later?
After I made my husband's scarf, I decided to try and make a hat. Once I made a hat, I tried to decorate the hat. The same time I was doing this, my husband and I were playing through Final Fantasy XII and I love the moogle character design they used for that game. So I decided to make a Moogle hat. I didn't go with the FFXII character model but the original white moogle from the earlier titles. I only had a picture I found online to go by, but I eventually figured it out. My husband actually told me about Etsy from an article he read about lostmitten-a perler bead artist. Her stuff was awesome and I miss having her on Etsy. But I used her as my muse and started working on other hat patterns by looking at sprite pictures and figuring out a simple way to recreate the character in yarn. It was a landslide after that. ^_^
How long did it take you to make your Professor Layton Hat?
Originally it took me about 5 hours to make the Professor Layton hat, but I now that I have a working pattern, I have it down to 3 hours. To figure out how to make the hat, I looked at a few normal top hats on a Google image search to figure out the general design and how tall to make the hat. I also used the picture of Professor Layton from GiantBomb to reference the colors I would need to use to make the hat. Since I had already made a few hats that had a similar pattern style to a top hat, it just took a little trial and error to get the general design down.
Do you use patterns mostly, or do you make up your own patterns?
I make up my own and write them down as I work on them. I found that something that doesn't work for one design can possibly work for another, so I make sure to document everything I do. I already made the mistake of not writing down my steps and taking a day to remember what I did. Never again!
What is your favorite gaming system?
Oh wow...um...I actually have a few depending on the game I'm playing. My favorite one growing up and one I usually go back to the most is my Sega Genesis. I played the hell out of Streets of Rage 2 and 3 and still use that as a fall back when I've had a rough day or just feel nostalgic. I also liked my PS2 since I was able to play a lot of the RPGs and action RPGs I enjoy like the Final Fantasy series, Deveil May Cry, Kingdom Hearts, and Suikoden. I also liked the fighting games that came out on it, especially Tekken. I also discovered Dynasty Warriors in college on the PS2 and fell in love since it's my favorite time period in Chinese history and a pretty stress relieving game. For the current systems, I like the 360 for the same reasons I like the PS2. The game selection is great and I get the most enjoyment from playing that system over the PS3 or the Wii.
What is your all-time favorite video game?
It's a tie between Streets of Rage 3, Suikoden 3 and Persona 4.
How long have you been playing video games, and what was it that made you start playing?
I started playing video games when I was 6. My grandfather bought me a NES for Christmas and we played it everyday, For a 6 year old I was pretty good at the games we had at the time (1942, Mario/Duck Hunt combo, Adventure Island, Hogan's Alley). He died that following Christmas and I stopped playing soon after that. Around the early 1990s I started playing again and picked up with the Sega Genesis. I played Mortal Kombat, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3, Jurassic Park, Ballz, Beyond Oasis, and Sega Channel when it was available from our cable company. I haven't stopped playing since then.
Is there one video game character you really relate to? Why is that?
Chris from Suikoden 3. She grew up in a sort of isolated world where she was told certain things were a certain way and people were a certain way and you had to behave a certain way in order to go through life. But when she had to go into hiding and actually saw the world for what it was, she realized a lot of the things she was told were not true at all. I found that out once I moved out of the house and finally started to think for myself without my family's involvement. It was mind blowing.
What is your favorite snack and drink combo for gaming?
Either Ridges Lays and Coke or Doritos and Mountain Dew.
Is there a certain meal that makes you feel all warm and snuggly?
French Toast for breakfast and Fried Potatoes and Onions with Sweet Italian Sausage with ketchup for dinner. Those are the two foods I am the most nostaligic about when I eat them since I loved to have them as a kid.
How much trial and error goes into each one of your pieces?
It varies with each piece I work on. Mega Man took a few different versions before I found one that I thought worked and looked the best. The Yoshi scarf took only 1 try while I had a really bad romance movie playing in the background on Netflix for background noise. Professor Layton tooks 2 tries and the the Castle Crasher hats took about 4 tries. It depends on how detailed I want the work to be and how close I'm trying to get the piece to look like the character or item I'm referencing.
If you had an unlimited budget for supplies, what would you make and why?
I would make bento boxes filled with food completely made from yarn. I would also make giant afghans showing different levels from video games. Why? Because I could. ^_^
Is there a celebrity or someone you've never met before who you'd like to see wearing one of your hats? Why?
Chuck Jones, Mel Blanc and Tom Kenny. Having the lead director of the Looney Tunes, the voice actor for the majority of the Looney Tunes and the voice of Spongebob wearing something I made would make my squeal then die in happiness.
What is your favorite kind of music to listen to when you're crocheting? Is there a certain song or band that you find helps your creative process?
I listen to just about everything except for country, so I just stream something random from my computer to the tv in the living room. Lately I've been listening to the Scott Pilgrim The Game Soundtrack and video game music by Entertainment System, The OneUps, Select Start, Year 200X, the Megas and Smash Brothers. Or I turn on the music on the 360 to last.fm and let it pick from my favorites of punk/rock/metal/popular/R&B/J-Pop/J-Rock music.
How do you decide your listing prices?
Materials times the amount of time it takes for me to make the item.
What drew you to Etsy specifically?
The Kotaku article that talked about lostmitten's perler bead work. She was the reason I found out about Etsy and decided to open the store.
Do you have any advice for people who are new to Etsy? What is the thing that's helped you the most?
Avoid the forums-too much drama happens there that you just don't want to be a part of. If you can find someone that does something similar to what you are doing or want to do, convo them as ask them for advice. I've done that a few times with other artists on Etsy and have received many positive responses to my questions. I also joined an Etsy team of artists that all make geek/nerd related work. I have to say the Etsy team has helped me the most, since I can go to them and ask questions related to my store that they would know the answer to since they probably came across the same problem at some point. It's also good for networking and meeting up with people at different conventions in the area so you can put a name and face to the avatar and tag name you see on the site.
Do you have anything else to say? You can say anything you want to. :)
Alright, class, let's everyone say a big 'thank you' to miss Dani for sharing with us today. Seriously, you guy should check her stuff out.
Without further ado, giveaway, ho!
For this week's prize the lovely Dani will be giving one lucky winner a blue slime plush doll from the Dragon Quest series.
ISN'T HE ADORABLE?! And you could WIN him! So, in order to get this little guy, I'd like you to delve into your creative process a little bit. In the comments section, post a short little blurb about how Dragon Quest slimes ruined your sweet 16 party. This is completely imaginary, so the more outrageous, the better. The contest will go until Monday May 1st at midnight. Have at thee!
As always, thanks so much for reading. You guys are the best!