A pony came in, looking like they went though the apocalypse, wanting a cutie mark patch. Who am I to deny a heavily armed pony?
Send a private note or an ask though tumblr to me. If you don’t trust tumblr for whatever reason, you can also send it to my email: email@example.com. If sending email, include your tumblr address obviously so I can verify that you follow me. Don’t add a public note with your address because everypony could see it.
That’s good advice no matter what actually; never post your address or name on a public website unless you want everyone on the face of the earth to know your name and address.
Follower Appreciation Day! I haven’t given away stuff for a while and I have some time today to kill, so what better way to use it than giving stuff away! Here’s how it works:
2. You have to send me a ask or note here that contains your shipping address (PO boxes or such are fine). You do not have to be in the US, but be aware mailing to other countries can take a long time (4-6 weeks) for customs.
3. In the note, put the top 5 designs you would prefer, ordered in the way that you would prefer them. I will pick the highest one in the list that is already done or that I can make quickly and mail it to you. 4” patches only please, no hats or big items because they cost too much to mail.
Please be descriptive in the patch design that you would want. Don’t just say ‘Pinkie Pie’ because I have 9 designs of Pinkie, which means you will get the Pinkie of my choosing, and that may not be the one you want the most. Background characters are perfectly fine, in fact, you are more likely to get the patch you want if you choose a background character because I have more of them done.
How many will I give away? One sounds kinda silly and would lead to a lot of disappointing folks when I have a bunch of followers. Howabout this: I will give away patches until midnight or for the first one hundred and Four requests.
Notes and such: If none of the 5 designs you pick are available, I will choose one based on my best guess. I won’t be able to have my usual detailed conversion on each order because there will be so many and my time isn’t unlimited. If you are one of the first one hundred and four, I will respond to let you know you are in, but I won’t tell you which patch from your list you will be getting, it will be a surprise when you open it. It is also possible that come mail will get lost or destroyed or taken by a mailman that loves MLP. If that happens, sorry, but I won’t be replacing it. Please try not to ask questions in the note to me about if such-and-such patch is included. If you have any doubt, put it in the list anyway. If it is one I can include, I will. If not, I will move on to the next in your list.
Thank you followers, you’re all awesome and the only reason I do embroidery. It’s for you; the fans.
A few weeks ago, Toni from sugartartcrafts sent me an email on an absolutely adorable project; a costume of Rainbow Dash. I absolutely loved the way that Toni made the mane and tail expecially. Her idea was to fulfil some of the requests she has gotten to make the costumes for others, and to use embroidered cutie marks instead of painting them on.
Obviously, I thought this would be a great idea! I love embroidery and when done right, is incredibly durable. Holding up to playtime or harsh washing would be no problem. Toni actually is a clothes designer, and it really shows with the thought and design on the wings, ears and tail. I jumped all over this idea because I love it when talented people fill a need in the community, and this is a big one!
Last week, I finished the embroidery of the fleece for Toni and she now has the entire costumes, just wings or ears available in her store on etsy. she can even do spike!
Seriously, this is insanely cute. I also know that she can only make 9 of them, so if you want one I highly recommend ordering one today, because they are going to sell quick with how adorable they are.
Whew, finally got a chance to take a break from embroidering the world to write up how BronyCon went. I got a double table since I needed a ton of space based on how much I use at LPU. I had some empty table space, so I shared that with Dusty Sculptures. I had a lot of fun hanging out with him. He even made a tiny little sculpture of E which I wore on my badge!
I decided to bring my embroidery machine for fun and to answer lots of embroidery questions. I was also planning on making custom patches while I was there, but that didn’t work out as planned. To bring it, I had to build a platform for it so I could bring it outside my truck. The platform is also made so that one person can load/unload it even though the platform and machine weigh about 300 lbs. You can red abotu that fun adventure on my blog here: http://ethepony.blogspot.com
Once arriving in Baltimore, finding parking on thursday was not exactly fun. There was a game going on, so most of the parking was taken for the game. I also arrived about 2 hours later than I planed on because I stopped about once per hour to check on the embroidery machine and cover. After parking, I went to get my badge. The only problem with that was that the Hilton didn’t have any signs as to where checkin was so it took me about an hour to find it. Once finding it, getting my vendor badge took about 5 minutes, probably because it was before regular checkin started. Having 2 lines (vendor and normal) for checkin really helped the vendors out. I did hear from quite a few attendees and vendors that they waited several hours to get their badge if they got in late on Thursday, so hopefully there is some more check in folks next year to handle that.
After check in, I had to figure out how to get to where I needed to be to set up my booth. This took about another hour, because no one had any clue about where to go. I knew the basics about what room the vendors were in, but not how to get there. every door was locked except for a single door which happened to be on the lower level as far away as physically possible form check in. So of course it was the one I checked last. I talked to security and found out that I could drive my truck there and they would let me in. On the walk back to the hotel, I explaned that process to at least 6 other vendors all trying to figure out the same thing. It would have been very helpful to know this ahead of time so that I didn’t waste about an hour trying to figure it out. However, once figured out, it was super easy. You could drive your vehicle into the convention center and about 20 feet from your booth. I was very lucky because my booth was the 2nd closest to the unload area so unloading was very quick. This was the best load/unload process I have ever seen.
I set up the majority of my booth in about 2 hours, and in the next 90 minutes or so I calibrated my machine and threaded it. Threading all 15 needles takes about an hour so I deliberately left thread spools on it for the ride and taped them down so they wouldn’t bounce. This didn’t work as I expected because the thread ended up in a big knot because the spools basically unwound themselves as I drove even though they were taped down. I had to spend about 30 minutes just cutting thread off from everything before I could thread the machine. I also lost 2 spool pin nuts and the spool pins due to vibration and are somewhere on the interstate. Thankfully, I brought a ton of spare parts for my machine, so I could easily swap in new ones. I tested out the machine and the stand (this was the first time I tried this stand) and it worked perfectly.
After that, I went back to the hotel because it was almost 9. I heard there were some major issues with some of the vendors getting in very late and the head of the vendor support team (FireEnvy) not getting out until 4 AM when the official end of setup was 9 PM. I was looking forward to getting a drink with him, but he was just to busy helping vendors that didn’t prepare all that well or had issues on the way.
The next day was Thursday. They opened the vendor hall to vendors about 2 hours early for vendors to finish the setup from the previous night. I got there about 45 minutes early to make sure I got the full time to set up, but with the early opening, I ended up with 45 minutes of extra time. I think the vendor team told vendors verbally the night before because I had no idea and did not get an email on it. No worries on my end though since I was already done with pretty much everything. I used 3 ring binders filled with pages similar to baseball card pages to display patches. That meant folks could grab a 3 ring binder and look at it while others were looking at a different binder or something. This really helped folks find the ones they wanted quickly. I think that 3 ring binder idea came from Dusty when I was lamenting about how bad LPU was with having patches just directly on the table. Thursday was insanely busy. I had no time to do any thinking at all, it was one person after another, from open to close of the vendor hall. Another vendor offered to get me something to snack on, which was awesome.
Having the embroidery machine going was a great draw. Everyone was asking questions about it or just watching it make stuff. I didn’t have it behind the table, it was right out in front so you could get really close to it and watch. I had it going decently fast (700 stitches per minute) which kept people about 2 feet away from it. If I sped it up to maximum (1100 stitches per minute) people ran away thinking it would explode. If I slowed it down, people got closer than I would have liked. 700 seemed like it made just enough noise to keep both adults and kids from sticking their hands close enough where I would be worried. I think the entire weekend I only warned one person to step back, and that’s because it was off, and he was leaning on the pantograph, which is probably the weakest part of the machine.
I was planning on doing requests such as putting designs and shirts and hats, but that just didn’t work. On the first day, I had 5 requests inside of the first hour. I stopped taking more requests after that because I wanted to get them done first. Sadly, because it was so busy, I never got the chance to do more than 4 of the 5. I also screwed up one for a little girl that wanted her OC’s cutie mark. I think I made 7 of that patch before I did it correctly because I misunderstood what she was looking for. At least she got lots of ‘almost her cutie mark’ patches. Lesson Learned, don’t try to make one off stuff at conventions. A better idea on the embroidery machine would have been to set it up to make one character or one patch, and just have it make those all weekend as more of a demonstration instead of doing one off stuff. Most of what I made was the Celestia Rank Patch: http://fav.me/d6532n3 because I left those at home on accident. I made 14 and sold all but 2 of them.
Speaking of things I forgot, I forgot my business card stickers. I printed up about a thousand stickers that were actually business cards but I left them at home. I also left Lyra http://fav.me/d62i23h Dr Whooves cutie mark http://fav.me/d6e8f9g and the Celestia flags http://fav.me/d4u9vsf at home besides the 1 of each that was in the 3 ring binders. I lost 1 sale of Lyra because of that (2 people wanted her total) but only 1 person wanted Dr Whooves and no one… No one at all… wanted Celestia’s flag. Poor Celestia, no one wants to give her hugs.
Besides selling patches, I also talked to almost all of the vendor staff (who all got a free hat of their favorite character if I had it) and a ton of awesome people. I wish I could remember everyone, but it is still all a big jumble in my head because I never got a single moment to slow down. Security was chasing people away from my table after close on Sunday because people still wanted stuff and wouldn’t leave. I got to talk to some other embrodierers, mostly for plushies before and after close of the vendor hall. It was fun to identify a plushie as having my designs on it, and introduce myself to the maker of the plushie. Some of the looks I got were great, because they were expecting a little old lady to something to be E instead of me. I also had fun talking to plushie makers and giving tips and such. I gave out a good dozen of the embroidery snips I use for making eyes and patches and taught folks how to use them. Easily the best investment for embroidery ever, and they are only a buck. As I was showing one plushie maker how to trim the thread ends, I brought out my portable blowtorch lighter to use on the eye and the look on her face was priceless, then when I was done turned into ‘how the heck did you do that?’
Believe it or not, one of the vendors was doing nothing but ‘plushie repair’ for plushies that were in need of… love I suppose. She was busy for most of the convention, I think she was charging about $20 and had a huge line in front of her booth. The height of my weekend for talking to people was probably meeting White Dove. I have loved her plushies since forever because she puts so much work into making them perfect. Not for money, just for love of the show, characters and fans. I admire people with those values instead of just trying to make a quick buck. We had a good hour long conversation when I saw her carrying around 2 of her plushies.
Another big draw to my table was the $2 bills I was giving as change. I got a bunch of $2 bills to give as change since I was selling patches for $8. A lot of people loved them, especially when they gave me a $20 and got $18 in sequential $2 bills. Some people came to my table just to get some $2’s. I did have 1 person refuse to take them as change because they thought the $2 was fake. I tried not to laugh until they left earshot :)
The only scare I had was when stopping on the way home from the convention to the hotel. I stopped at a place to get dinner and a panhandler just wouldn’t leave me alone while I was waiting for my sandwich. That doesn’t bug me, but when he started talking about his knife and switch blade collection I got worried since I had thousands in cash in my bag. He left after a few minutes of ignoring him, so besides 5 minutes of being paranoid of him somehow knowing I had money and hiding around every corner, everything was fine.
There were no issues in packing up or the drive home. A few vendors stopped to watch me load up my machine, and remarked on the platform, which was cool. I also removed the thread spools from the machine but left the thread itself threaded int he machine. That made it a ton easier when I got home to get the machine hooked up again. About 30 minutes after I got home it started raining, so perfect timing on never testing the waterproofedness of my canvas cover. Overall, I am super happy with how the stand, platform and embroidery machine performed on the 1500 mile round trip.
The vendor support was overall good during the weekend. There were some things that could have gone better, but since I was prepared (probably because of how horrible LPU was) it did not impact me besides wasting some time. A few vendors forgot important things, and I was able to fill some of those needs. Mic the Microphone was helping out the vendor support too by being a gopher, and I was able to pull some of the stuff Mic was looking for out of my box of holding. The only thing I heard of that was unexceptable was something that happened to Smittyg, who was directly behind me. He was told he couldn’t sell a print at the show after getting it preapproved and having a ton of them printed. Making prints isn’t free, so if there was even a question on it, then Smittyg should have been told when he first asked before outlaying hundreds to get prints made. It isn’t fair to a vendor to tell them at the show that they couldn’t sell something when 3 months earlier it was OK’d. Besides that one incident, the vendor support did an admerable job considering they were unpaid volunteers with no experience, and I never saw any of them with a frown or get mad. To be fair, I do stuff similar to convention support for about 8k people at work; to me setting up a convention the size of bronycon is easy, but I have 7 years experience in doing similar things. So not exactly fair of me to be harsh when the vast majority of the convention went just fine. Take my comments with a grain of salt.
Brought embroidery machine on a platform outside my truck, and it was awesome.
Met a ton of people, and that was awesome.
Bronycon support was good, but you could tell they were green. I’m sure next year will be even better based on how the vendor support team is taking feedback.
Total cost to me was $150 for table, $130 for electricity, $580 for hotel, $350 for gas to get to the convention. Ouch, but so worth it.