Say hello to Natalie Willoughby (@spcebaby on Twitter). She’s a super fierce geek girl blogger over at Leia Shot First. Willoughby fills her blog with science, astronomy, graphic design, Harry Potter, Batman, weird discoveries, and video games. In her words, she’s “young, smart and incapable of keeping my mouth shut about much of anything. I was raised on comics, action movies and video games, and was stamped as a ‘tomboy’ at an early stage of my childhood, simply because I didn’t wear pink and do ‘girly’ things.” Oh and did we mention that she once contributed some tech freebies to BGC?
Before you fall down the rabbit hole of Leia Shot First, check out Willoughby’s interview with Being Geek Chic and discover the perfect title to her memoir, why she’s so passionate about science fiction, and the list of fictional characters she’d like to invite to a party – at the expense of the universe exploding.
Q: What led you to your passion?
A: Science has been my passion since I was little, especially anything to do with space, and the geek stuff just followed naturally. When I was five I told my dad I wanted to be a Poodle Trainer on Mars, and I think everything kinda snowballed from there. I even met my husband at the Planetarium where we both worked. Although I haven’t made it to Mars (yet!), I still get to read and write about science for my job. Communicating science properly is almost as important as the science itself! I also have a passion for graphic design, which, oddly enough, was born out of the desire to create art for the fifth Harry Potter book. It was my favorite of the series until Book 7, and the visual descriptions really inspired me.
Next time you’re looking to redesign your office, kitchen or any small space in your home, take a page from the Mara Mi studio + store + cafe in Stillwater, Minnesota. I recently made the trip for an Apartment Therapy shoot (you’ll see a full tour on AT next week!) but I wanted to share a couple favorite shots and a few that didn’t make the final Apartment Therapy slideshow with you.
It’s the place where I work. It’s the place where I have been known to nap. It’s where I get some of my best ideas. And some of my worst. It’s my home office. And it’s one of my favorite places to be.
The cameras are everywhere. One vintage point and shoot, one early “pro-sumer” video camera and a Kodak projector. They remind me of how far we have come and how much I used to hate dealing with tape. Thank Buddha for digital storage and fewer hours spent logging and capturing.
The couch and quilt is where I lie around and think. It’s not uncommon for TJ, Adam and I to all be sitting in the office chatting about our Christmas card and random ideas for businesses. Or to sit and watch one of my creations on the monitors and figure out what’s wrong or right with it. Makes me happy just thinking about it.
TJ made the crowns for me. It’s not well known on the interwebs, but my family does occasionally call me Queen Elizabeth. It sounds like I’m a diva, but that’s not what it is… it’s more like, “She has her shit together and can lead people through tough times” kind of thing.
Of course, I’m also quite enamored with the DIY chalkboard I made a few years ago. At any given point in time I may have a doodle or two in the works. Or a to do list. Or a swear word. Just depends on the day.
A little art goes a long way. I really believe it’s the key to any happy space. But don’t buy the weird generic paintings from the home store. Nah, skip that stuff. You know, the flowers and the random skylines you can’t even identify. Go for more personal stuff. If it speaks to you - buy it.
After all, your workspace should be full of inspiration.
My fireplace mantle is in need of new art.
The first flakes of the winter have touched down in Minneapolis today and you can be sure my fireplace will be raring tonight. It’s pretty much a requirement. But looking at my fireplace made me realize something very important: I am in need of new mantle art.
Help me decide:
These two capture my love of greens. Green is really my favorite color: although, you wouldn’t know it from my blog design. I love it in all its hues: light, dark, teal, mint, grassy. And luckily, green looks great with the espresso wood on the floors and the slate gray color on the walls. So just imagine that…
But I also love black and white.
And let’s be honest: I am obsessed with the moon lately. And the sky. And space. I’m just not able to break from it. But should I really commit to a big cash purchase of a moon print?
In case you like any of these prints, here’s the links to the designs on Society 6:
So what would you choose? Do you agree that green is the best color ever? It’s so calming. Or do you think black and white is just plain chic? Talk to me!
I have to credit a previous Lady Geek, Lisa Fary, for introducing me to this week’s Lady Geek: Raygun Robyn. Everyone has to check out Robyn’s shop. She styles robots, monsters, cryptozoology, octopus, tentacles, and more on dresses, t-shirts, messenger bags, and leggings. Her designs are geeky and trendy – never over the top. But the real kicker? Every piece is handmade by her and completely unique.
In the meantime, Being Geek Chic was lucky enough to catch up with Robyn for this Q & A:
Q: What has led you to your passion?
A: I have always been passionate about art and learning new techniques. I was one of those kids with a lemonade stand and even sold jewelry at a consignment store when I was in middle school. Art was something I wanted to be involved with from a really early age and found inspiration all around me. I attended art school and have a BofFA in Graphic Design and have had a lot of weird jobs, ranging from production work at an international advertising firm to building architectural models in a cold warehouse. It’s all proven to me that I need to take all the skills I have and use them to create and make for myself.
Q: What inspires you in the world?
A: Pretty much everything inspires me. I love what people can come up with when they set their minds to it. I’m constantly blown away by the projects I see on Instructables and how much time and energy people devote to costumes and props for cons. I know some of the kids in Outland Armour and the costumes they create are amazing and inspiring. If you’ve never seen them in real life, get thee to thy nearest fan con! Other small business owners really inspire me, I know how much work goes into this job and lifestyle so I appreciate the dedication of people who constantly vend different shows and are always traveling, namely Francene from MarthaRotten and Matt and Kellee from Overdue Industries.
Q: First time you realized you were “geeky?”
A: There was never a time when I didn’t crave weird, geeky things. I was a latchkey kid so I watched many movies and TV shows growing up. The original Star Trek definitely molded how I see the Universe, along with Logan’s Run and many other age inappropriate pop culture. My mom had a huge selection of art books as well and I would spend afternoons pouring over them and tracing my favorite works.
Q: What would you tell you 13-year-old self?
A:None of it is going to make sense, but just roll with it.
Q: If for one day, you could be any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
A: Han Solo. Blaster: check. Fast spaceship: check. Awesome sidekick: check. Big Hero: check. Doesn’t Give a F: CHECK.
Q: What would be the title of your memoir?
A: “Have Raygun, Will Travel”
Post by Emma Bauer, who works as BGC’s official intern. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic.
Follow her on twitter: @emmalynnbauer
Remember how I’m redoing my bedroom? My theme?
I know, not for everyone. But it’s coming together. Here’s how it looked before:
It was never really ugly. Just kind of basic. As I said when I started this process: it was the leftovers. Whatever I didn’t use in the rest of the house or whatever I had to spare.
Teej and I put in some long, hard hours…
Kind of… I mean, as hard as moving things around can be… and now the after:
We’re still working on a rather big wall project and the lamp I ordered is backstocked. I’m still going back and forth on the fox pillow. We want to hang a rather large piece of art on the wall to the right of the arrow, but once that is done… I’ll be pretty close to my vision.
The lamp, you may remember, is a bit of a DIY. We bought the bronze bottom from Target and I got the birdcage thing from a yard sale. I thought it might look kind of cool to try and make an open lamp shade from it. It was way easier than I thought. Here’s how we did it:
Teej took an old tapered lampshade and cut off the shade part, leaving us with just the wire structure that sits on top of the lamp base. Then, we simply superglued the circular top to the inside of the metal. Add a pretty edison bulb and woweee. It creates the prettiest reflection of light on our bronze-y walls.
You know what made the biggest difference of all? Cleaning the damn room.