JordanCon 2022 Karaoke All-Stars!

JordanCon 2022 Karaoke All-Stars!

My fellow belters of songs! It has been a long time since we’ve been able to take the stage, but after conferring with the Programming Team and Convention Operations, we are tentatively optimistic that the great JordanCon tradition of Karaoke will be back for 2022! Of course, that also means we will be coming back for a third year of JordanCon Karaoke All-Stars! Who will win the talent pipes this year? It could be you!

NOTE: This is a tentative and optimistic plan. Should Covid-19 conditions change to where JordanCon deems that we cannot do Karaoke safely, we will postpone to a future year. At a minimum, we expect that all singers will be required to wear masks, and you will need to remain on the stage (no going out into the audience)

You can put your name in the hat here.

Rules:

  1. Alternate lyrics are allowed, but please keep language and the performance to PG-13.
  2. Groups are allowed, but no repeat performers. There is only 1 prize (a set of “talent pipes” from Badali Jewelry) awarded to the winner, so a group will need to decide who it would be awarded to should they win.
  3. Your time-slot is 5 minutes long. This includes set up, anything you want to say prior to singing, the song, any outro, and leaving the stage. Points will be deducted for exceeding time.
  4. You will be provided 2 wired microphones, 1 wireless microphone, and a stage.
  5. Backing music and lyrics-on-screen will be provided to the best of the host’s ability. He will work with you over email to get the best arrangement possible. (more info below)
  6. There will be a sound/mic check at 7:30pm Friday night. Doors open and the contest begins at 8:30pm. Do not be late, or you will be bumped.
  7. Singing order will be determined on site via random draw.
  8. A panel of three judges will rate your performance. Judging criteria are:
    • Singing Accuracy/Skill 50%
    • Showmanship/Performance 40%
    • Costume/Props 10%
  9. The email address you supply will be the point of contact used for this contact.

When you submit your song, Richard will reach out to the you (or your Group’s point of contact) to coordinate getting the karaoke track to the group to practice with before hand, or to request the track should he not have it. Simply “play this YouTube” will not work, though. Richard needs at least an mp3 file as he will not have reliable internet access.

Lookin’ Forward to hearing what the All-Stars can bring!

New Member Monday: Gamers Unite!

New Member Monday: Gamers Unite!

Gamers, this one is for you!  A weekend at JordanCon is great, but what if you need a quick D&D fix?  Or have you been dying to show off your Magic the Gathering skills to people that will actually care? Maybe you aren’t a gamer, but you are curious about those strategy games that take hours and this weekend you just happen to have the time. Then trust me, the Gaming Track is the place for you!

The game room is an ideal place to meet new people with similar interests. It is a relaxed area where you are welcome to come, play, and have fun even if you have never played before. Game demos are great to try new games out or just revisit old favorites. There are a wide variety of games, and you are welcome to bring your own to share 

If you like Magic the Gathering, they have a draft for you. D&D is a favorite for those who want to delve into a dark hole for gold, glory, and adventure. Check out the Open Gaming if you want to try some of the demo games yourself or with your friends. 

More of an observer? Come see the winning module from our Gaming Module Writing Contest get played by your favorite authors; proceeds from the event go to the Mayo Clinic.

By the way, the Gaming Module Writing contest is still taking entries. The deadline is March 1st at noon. For more information on the rules and how to enter email gaming@jordancon.org 

Gaming is open not only during the regular programming day but also afterward until 11:30 pm. So you can have the best of both worlds. Keep an eye out for the Gaming Track schedule as we get closer to the con.

#IsItAprilYet

2021 JordanCon Costume Contest

2021 JordanCon Costume Contest

We know that many of you have been working on that perfect costume for over a year now. We’re excited to say that we WILL be hosting the always-popular Costume Contest this year despite reduced programming! Sign ups will be slightly different, so please see below for details. We can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.

General Guidelines

  • Contestants may choose to compete for juried awards or only for Judges Choice/Audience Choice
  • Due to time constraints, we will be limiting the number of entries to the following:
    • We will accept the first 20 contestants to sign up who wish to be considered for juried awards. (Best in Show, Best in Class, or Best Workmanship)
    • We will accept an additional 10 participants for Judges Choice or Audience Choice awards only, but these will not be pre-judged or considered for the “Best of” categories.
  • Mandatory pre-judging for juried entrants will take place at 4 PM in the Main Programing Room (Dunwoody Ballroom). Please arrive early or you may not be eligible for juried awards.
  • Participants who are not being pre-judged should arrive by 5 PM.
  • Each entry will have approximately 1-2 minutes to present their costume while the emcee reads your pre-written description. Please write descriptions clearly and provide pronunciations, otherwise the emcee will ad-lib at their own discretion.

Awards

The following awards will be given at the end of the contest:

  • Best in Show– The best overall entrant from all classes.
  • Best in Class– The best entrant from each class that is not also the Best in Show.
  • Best Workmanship– The entrant with the best workmanship who has not also won Best in Class or Show.
  • Judges Choice–  Each judge may choose to present an award to any contestant that does not also receive a “Best of” award.
  • Audience Choice– This award will be chosen based on audience reaction.

Classes for Juried Awards

  • Entrants may enter one of the 3 classes (below).
    • Novice– Anyone who has never won an award before.
    • Journeyman– Anyone who has won 2 or fewer Best in Class awards or no more than 1 Best in Show.
    • Master– Anyone who has won Best in Show more than once or Best in Class 3 or more times.
  • Classes are determined by placement in previous JordanCon Costume Contests only; however, entrants may choose to enter in a higher class based on other factors.  Entrants may not enter a lower class. Group entries will be classified by the highest entrant in the group. 

Criteria

  • Entrants will be judged on the following equally-weighted criteria.
    • Accuracy (how well it matches the source material) 
    • Craftsmanship (how well constructed the self-made pieces are)
    • Presentation (the overall look and appeal of the entry) 

Conduct

  • Entrants are expected to abide by the JordanCon Code of Conduct.
  • Contestants should provide their own handlers for any large or obstructive costumes.
  • Contestants should be aware of any part of their costumes or props that may cause damage to the facilities or other contestants and take necessary precautions. If your costume is considered a problem by the organizers, you may be asked to leave.

Registration

  • Registration will take place online via the Eventeny ticketing system. Only 20 tickets will be available for juried awards. An additional 10 openings will be available for Judges Choice or Audience Choice awards only. Tickets to enter the costume contest are free of charge.
  • Entries will be taken on a first come, first served basis.
  • Tickets/entries for the Costume Contest will go live July 14 at 8:00 AM EDT. Please only sign up for ONE type of participation ticket/entry. The link provided below contains tickets (entries) for both types of contestants.
  • No entries will be taken after 1:00 PM Saturday or after the online tickets have been filled, whichever comes first.
  • Link to tickets for the JordanCon Costume Contest Awards is here.
Charity Events Donations

Charity Events Donations

Every year JordanCon features a Silent Charity Auction on Saturday for the Mayo Clinic. This year we’re moving back in with the Art Show and Dealer Hall. Our normal space is too small to maintain appropriate social distancing.

The auction will run while the room is open on Saturday. We’re still working out the details for those times, but we already know about some amazing items again this year.

Speaking of donations: do you have something you’d like to see in our auction? We’ve had everything from memorabilia from Robert Jordan’s personal collection, to signed books, to prints of the Wheel of Time eBook covers, to hand-made crafts, and every year we receive more amazing items from people all over the world. If you have something you wish to donate, let us know by filling out our Charity Events Donation Submission Form. We will not be accepting any items that were not submitted beforehand. The cutoff date for submissions is July 9, 2021. If you’d like to donate something but will not be attending JordanCon this July, please contact CharityEvents@jordancon.org to arrange shipping details. We can’t wait to see you all in July.

-JordanCon Charities

Fondant!  The Play-doh of Cake Decorating

Fondant! The Play-doh of Cake Decorating

By Deana Whitney, Workshop Director

In every artform, it takes time and practice to develop skills that result in wowing others and yourself.  Because let us face it, the maker can see all the flaws, while most of the appreciative audience does not.  Makers, we should all try to be less hard on ourselves; let’s all spend some time having more fun and celebrating our wins this year.

To encourage this, let talk about cake decorating!  In this artform I would call myself a skilled amateur, far from being a pro, but it is something I have fun doing for myself.

Making cakes pretty is a different skill than making cakes tasty. The bakers and decorators that mange to achieve both are highly skilled individuals. The internet as a whole can teach you about baking yummy cakes. (Sidenote: the extra time it takes to make Swiss meringue buttercream icing is totally worth the time.) As a skilled armature baker/decorator I have learned a few things about working with fondant if you want to add extra visual wow to your treats.

To learn to work with fondant cheaply, grab some play-doh. Or make your own salt-dough with cream of tater in the recipe.  Like play-doh fresh out of the container, fondant needs to be kneaded a bit before shaping or rolling it. If you can build a shape using play-doh, you can make it in fondant, and probably easier, since fondant has a more refined texture. The main thing is to get your head and hands into thinking “I can do this!” Play like a kid again making snakes, trees, hearts, swords, crowns, or anything else you can think about.

 

Tools Needed:

Cake tools

Tools useful in working fondant.

Upper row: plastic rolling pin, toothpicks (2 styles), drageés, fondant combs, and shape cutters.
Middle row: Luster dust, icing tips, ruler, food-safe paint brush, and a small dish with vodka.
Lower row: Flower press mold with petal cutter, and cake spatula.

 

I’m a firm believer that amateur cake decorators don’t need to buy many fancy tools. However, I have found several more specialized items to be helpful, such as cake spatulas and a collection of small shaped cookie cutters. A smooth rolling pin will be needed, wooden rolling pins can transfer textures to the fondant and tend to stick more than plastic ones. Any paintbrush used for cake decorating should be dedicated to food use only; store it far away from regular craft paintbrushes.

When attaching two pieces of fondant together, they need a glue. Water can be used, but vodka will produce better results. No flavor or alcohol is transferred.  It evaporates more quickly than water as well.  This is very apparent when applying luster dust for added color.  Sometimes clear gel icing is useful as glue. Note, it leaves the pieces with glossy edges if extra is on the edges, which should be seen as part of the design.

For extra tools, use what is available to you. Pizza cutters, dull knives, toothpicks, cookie cutters, forks, or even the fancy shaping tools and texture pads.  Just play; let your imagination go wild making large flat panels into 3D phonebooths.  You need to become comfortable kneading and rolling your materials. Realize it is more forgiving as a sculpting medium than many realize. Fondant can be reshaped many times while it is fresh.  Do keep unused portions of fondant wrapped tight by plastic wrap and in an airtight container.  This will help retain its flexibility longer. After opening a package of fondant, if stored correctly, it can keep its fresh flexibility for weeks. If not stored correctly, it can harden overnight.

Sometimes older fondant can be used to create smaller items after it has hardened. The best results happen if the fondant was stored in a rolled-up ball.  The store-bought brands of fondant can often be returned to workable condition by microwaving it. Place a moist paper-towel next to the fondant on a dish. Heat up the fondant 10 seconds at a time, check in between rounds of heating. You want the fondant to be smashable again to knead and shape it. Older fondant can develop rough hard edges that should be cut off and thrown away.  Those bits have dried out too much. If worked into the rest of the fondant, they create weak cracking points and bad textures. Older fondant needs to be worked within 10 minutes of softening it, before it hardens again. I’ve been able to re-soften older fondant twice before trashing it as too hard and brittle.

 

marbling fondant

Image text: Steps to marbling fondant – snakes of color, twist together, mash and ball up, roll it out.

 

Marbling Fondant & Edible paper:

One of the easiest things to do with fondant is to cut out flat designs, either by using cookie cutters or by making a printed template.

For the smoothest surface texture, you will want a plastic rolling pin.  Even if your rolling pin is a serialized piece of PVC pipe. For elements that will be supported, the fondant can be rolled thin (i.e. less than 2 mm). Elements that support themselves should be of thicker fondant (i.e. over 4 mm).

Extra color dimension can be added by marbling two colors of fondant together.  take small amounts of each color and knead them together until the blend you want is achieved. For a quick even blend, make two snakes of color, twist them together, and start kneading or rolling. This works well with the metallic and solid color fondants to create shimmering fondant, as shown in the photo above.

Roll and blend until happy with the mix. Next, cut out the shape you want. Cookie cutters are great for this.
When you need something more irregular, find a reference image to print on paper. If you can, use software to resize the image to fit your needs.  Lay the cut-out paper shape on top of the fondant, then trace with a sharp tool to cut around the shape.

After it is cut out, smooth the edges with your fingertips or a tool like tooth-picks, chop sticks, or the special cake tools. This is how the whale seen in the header image was created.

 

Roshar Cake with fondant gems and edible map

Roshar Cake with fondant gems and edible map.

 

Edible Images:

Since most decorating amateurs don’t have a printer dedicated to edible ink, you will need to find a bakery or cake supply shop that can produce them. Blank edible paper is sold, as are markers with edible ink. If you feel up to the artwork, freehand a design using them to place on your cake.  Me, I tend to create images using Photoshop then place an order with my local store.  Note the pages are sold in standard paper sizes, so you can add multiple small images onto one sheet to save sheets and money.

When using printed edible paper design, place it on the fondant first, then add the fondant onto the cake. Cut out the design, remove the plastic backing of the paper, then lightly brush vodka on the fondant where the paper will go. This is a very light brushing of liquid. Too heavy of a hand will cause the edible paper to distort and possibly ruin your design.  If you went too light with the vodka, the edge will lift up, so you can lightly brush the underside of the paper and tap it into place with a dry finger or blunt tool.

For the Roshar gem cake, I used a clear sparkle gel icing as the glue.  This added an extra shine and glitter to the gems.   The map shown is a large edible image placed on top of the buttercream. It adds great details to the cake with minimal effort. Often an icing border can be placed around edible images, but for these applications I did not see the need for one.

 

Flower molds.

Steps to flower press molds – cut out, place, press, lift out, dry, add extra decorations if necessary.

 

Silicone Press Molds:

Flower and leaves press molds are specialized tools, so I’ve only bought a few when I had a design in mind that required them. Most kits come with a cutter and a two-piece mold. To make flowers using a press mold, start by rolling the fondant thin, 2 mm or less.  Use the shape cutter, then press the fondant with the related mold. I find it best to mark two sides of the mold to line up the design best.  Extract from mold using a toothpick or similar tool to lift it out.  If the flowers keep ripping, roll the fondant a touch thicker.  Transfer the flower to a support surface to let dry, empty egg carts or bunched up foil work well for this purpose.  After they are dried, luster dust or dragées may be applied to add extra color.

Luster dust is applied two different ways.
Dry:  Using a dry food-safe paintbrush, dip brush into the dust container.  Brush it over the surface you want it to cover. Best done before the fondant has fully dried. Good for a widespread light application of color.

Wet: In a small container, mix a bit of vodka with small pinches of luster dust. Dip paintbrush into mixture. Paint the areas you want to color.  If you’re not seeing the color intensity you want, add more luster dust to your wet mixture and repaint.  The vodka will evaporate, leaving just the color behind.
The purple and yellow-orange flowers shown above were made using this technique.

 

Sculpted Fondant examples

Examples of fondant sculptures.

 

Sculpted Fondant:

Besides whole fondant covered cakes, when most people think of fondant, they think of the elaborate sculpted decorations made from the edible clay. This is when many people start thinking “I can’t do that.”  First, give yourself a chance to try. Play with playdoh to see if you can get close to your desired shape.  Break the piece down into its simpler geometric components before worrying about the extra details, as seen in the leaf pin above. Also, try watching some YouTube videos of professionals making similar shapes. No, you won’t recreate their work first try, but their way can help guide your work. If you provide the framework, often the brain will read the intended design without elaborate additions.

To help inspire others to build 3D shapes with fondant, below breaks down the making of a few fondant decorations.

Examples:
Pokemon Ball – Roll two balls of red and white, then cut them in half. Stick them to the opposite color with a dab of water or vodka on each side. Cut a thin strip of black to put around the middle.  Add a small white circle to one side. The circle was cut out using the small hole from a #3 icing tip.

Doomslug details

Details of a fondant Doomslug.

Doomslug – Make two short snakes of yellow, one should be smaller in plumpness than the other. Flatten, until both look more oval than cylinders, curve to mimic Doomslugs upright shape.
Roll blue fondant about 2 mm thin, cut an oval shape, as seen in the photo.  Pinch the sides to stretch out the oval more, until it matches the shape of the yellow pieces.  In the photo you can see, I needed to use a second piece of blue fondant, but it just added to the ruffles. If you have a fondant ball tool, use it to give ruffles before attaching it to the worms. Or use your fingers to pinch the sides to thin out the outer most edges and make ruffles.   Attach it to the lower plumper oval portion. Cap with the upper oval worm.  Let it dry a few minutes.

Spines – Roll blue fondant extra thin (1 mm).  Cut into narrow strips 3-4 times longer than the slug body.  Accordion fold on your working board.  Bush vodka in a strip along the body’s back where you plan to place the stripe, one at a time. Place folded strip and adjust until you like the look.  Repeat for the strips you want.  Let dry.

Eyes were cut using a #4 icing tip. Edible marker made the smile.

Swords – For items like swords or lightsabers, wrap the fondant around a tooth pick for long-term stability and extra playability with the items. Unsupported rods of fondant are prone to breaking. Wrap the blade fondant first, then wrap the handle. If there is a cross guard do that third. Last is adding the extra details needed to suggest the exact item you are making.

Building a Tardis

Details in building a Tardis.

The Tardis – I made mine by rolling out dark blue fondant to about a6 mm thick slab. Then cut out three rectangles. Glue together with vodka. Set aside to dry.  Place a square on top to cover the seams; make it slightly smaller than the overall demotions. Form a small cylinder of white, then top with a small ball on top for the light.  Place in the center of the square. I recommend placing the light last, but in the photos you see I placed it early in the process.

Roll out white, blue, and black fondant extra thin, 2 mm. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and ruler to cut thin strips and rectangles for the windows, coffers, and signs of the police box.  Cut two signs of white as 1-4 black “Police” signs.

Place the windows first. As you rotate the four sides, make sure the working space remains dry.  If there is too much moister, the blue color can transfer to the white fondant.

Place the strips to build the coffers. The long vertical lines go on first, then cut the short horizontal lines to go in between the vertical ones. Place on one side at a time, giving each side 3-5 minutes to set before rotating to the next side.

The window and sign rectangles can be written on with edible ink markers or Sharpies, if you don’t plan to eat the fondant* (see disclaimer below).
The last step is to roll out the platform to a size about 2-4mm larger all around then the base of the Tardis. Glue the box to the base and leave to dry.

Making a serpent.

Details in making a golden serpent.

Serpent – Start making a thick rope of fondant.  Leave one end thicker as you roll it back and forth under your hands. Work to extend the back end into a smaller point. When it’s the length needed, start shaping the head.  Look at photos of the type of snake you want. I started with the mouth placement, then moved to eyes and kept refining until satisfied.  Toothpicks can be very useful for sculpting if you don’t have formal tools.
Once happy with the shape of the snake, add texture by lightly pressing into the fondant with a tool.  For the texture shown, I used small cookie cutters.
To get a golden look, use food color spray to deepen the color.  Place on your cake with the help of a wide spatula.

 

That’s all there is!  Go forth and play with the edible clay fondant.   If you make something or have questions, please email them to: Workshop[at]jordancon.org

*Disclaimer: Homemade marshmallow fondant tastes better than every kind of premade fondant you can find. It also takes significantly longer to harden.  If you are trying to create 3D shaped figures, it is better to use store bought types.  Overall, I think of fondant as a type of technically edible Saran Wrap on cakes.  Thus, I do not make fondant-covered cakes.  I will make buttercream-covered cakes that use fondant decorations as accent pieces.

Seven Stripe – Not A Stole – Scarf

Scarf and supplies

Scarf and supplies

By Amelie Downing

No man may wear the Amyrlin’s stole.  Fine.  This isn’t a stole.  It’s a scarf.  I came up with this pattern as a quarantine “thinking of you” gift for a friend.  I liked it so much I made one for myself.

Here is what you will need to make one:

  • US size 8 needles on an 30” chord
  • About 65 yards of medium weight yarn in each color. I used Loops & Threads Impeccable and have yarn left over on all 7 skeins after making 4 scarves.
    • Brown (18920 Soft Taupe)
    • Grey (01757 Classic Gray)
    • White (1005 White)
    • Red (1532 Claret)
    • Yellow (01616 Gold)
    • Green (1242 Deep Forest)
    • Blue (35011 Lapis)
  • Suggested but optional – stitch markers

Start by casting on 250 stitches in brown.  They will bunch up and probably twist a bit on the chord, but that is OK.   I put as many stitches on the needles as I could fit.  You can place markers to help keep count while casting on, but you don’t need a specific count and will want to remove them once you start kitting.  This is the length of the scarf so don’t be stingy.   But since there is no repeating pattern to the stitches, you can make your scarf with as many or as few stitches as you want.   If you want more length and can find longer needles, I say go for it.

Start by casting on as many as you wish.

Start by casting on as many as you wish.

The pattern is 6 rows repeated once per color.

  1. Knit
  2. Purl
  3. Knit
  4. Knit
  5. Purl
  6. Knit

You’ll end up with two strips curling in opposite directions – one facing the right side, the other the wrong side.  The purl bumps will be on the wrong (back) side at the color change.

Color change line

Color change line.

 

Color change line

Color change line reverse view.

Work from the bottom up in color order

  • Brown
  • Grey
  • White
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
Color two change.

Color two change.

2 color change.

2 color change, reverse view.

3 color ring.

Three colors, the scarf is starting to flatten.

At first there will be gaps between the color strips.  As they come off the needles and the overall shape of the scarf flattens, the curls will constrict together.

5 colors with ends.

Halfway done with loose end.

 

6 colors

Almost done with 6 colors.

After completing the pattern in blue, bind off knitwise.

I averaged about one color a night while watching TV and knocked this out in about a week.  Yes, that probably means I have been watching too much TV while social isolating, but I take productive where I can find it these days.  That leaves weaving in the ends.  As you can see, I had a break in the white yarn and had bonus ends to weave in.  But no blocking is required.  The end result…

Two Views

Make with scarf / stole and JordanCon tiara

 

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