Buttons,  Convention

ShutoCon 2014 – After Con Report

ShutoCon is held in Lansing, MI. It has a particular focus on promoting artists and cosplayers as well as being a designated “safe space“. This was their 4th year in operation.

Last year we had decided it was time to change our displays and had converted one board over to a magnet system instead of the clips we previously were using. We found that the clips made it confusing to customers who were able to pull up the buttons a quarter inch, along with it being a tedious thing to set up each time.

After some deliberation we decided on magnets instead. They are rare earth and have a 9lb pull so you have to be determined to take one off. They are much faster to set up and were able to double the amount of designs per board.

 magnet closeup

Sooo many magnets

My view of the convention all weekend.

Along with my standard designs, I take commissions for custom made buttons:

I also have a section for “Make your own” buttons, which is always popular. It’s amazing the skill of some of the attendees who come by:

I also encourage folks who want something beyond my art skills to go commission from the other tables using my circle templates. Joker had a table across from me and she did these LOVELY sketches for a customer. Find more of her work (and order) HERE

A fabulous Ms. Frizzle

There was also a huge Optimus Prime that took 2 helpers to assemble (yes, there’s someone inside of it).

The eyes light up:

He can also swing the chest plate open to reveal the Matrix of Leadership:

As always – our DIY corner was popular. This guy came back multiple times and drew his own, along with running blank circles to family members who were working a booth so they could draw.

Saturday night we decided to head out somewhere new for food. Our first stop is always El Azteco for a Verde Chile Burrito and cheese dip, which is what we had Friday night, but while it is very tasty, it does not make for good food shots.

So we decided on Xiao because it was close and there had been some billboards for them. Sadly – it was not worth stopping for. We left disappointed overall (despite the manager taking care of things).

The Philly Cheesesteak eggrolls were pretty good.

The potstickers were definitely mass produced frozen bag type, but decent for that.

The tempura fried sushi roll however was horribly undercooked. One piece was all I could stand, you could taste raw batter inside, and I should have known with how pale it was that it was undercooked.

The tuna sashimi came in huge thick planks, and were not of a good quality at all. Chris said they were hard to bite into and tasted of nothingness.

We did have the manager come over, and upon touching the roll (after asking permission to) she agreed it was definitely not cooked properly. Not pictured was an order of garlic chicken which came out lukewarm and was quite cold by the time I took a few bites. She was very accommodating and took care of the poorly prepared foods, with us just paying for the items we did like*. (* and by like I mean we tolerated enough to eat)

At least we got some cute photos out of it:

The next morning was a food redemption as I decided to visit a diner that has a sister location in Ann Arbor. I’ve heard numerous times to go to the Fleetwood and get the Hippie Hash, but never really knew what it was.

Let me tell you – it did not disappoint! Hippie Hash is: A bed of hashbrowns topped with a stir fried medley of broccoli, diced tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green peppers (which I had them omit), and then crowned with a hearty sprinkling of feta cheese. All the veggies were super fresh and the combination was just divine. I added bacon and a side of 2 eggs over medium. Honestly, if this sounds remotely tasty to you, go get it the next time you’re in town!

This gal had a FANTASTIC set of wings, each of those little diamonds light up. She had them set so she could fold them in when not posing too.

Some of my favorite DIY buttoners are the kids. This tiny Doctor stopped by to draw his cosplay inspiration on a pin. He asked his dad for help who very quickly whipped up a lovely 11 (seriously, this guy spent 5 minutes doing something that would take me 45). Kiddo kept directing him “change the eyes” “different hair here”. It was adorable.

Once he was satisfied with his dad’s sketch he took over inking. ;) I wish I had gotten a shot of the finished pin!

Instead I came around and asked him for a photo. Don’t you just want to pick him up and run after some Daleks?

More commission work:

Often I’m given just a phrase to write out – and with a little bit of chatter I can figure out what works well for some finishing touches. In this case she mentioned her love of the Joker, so of course it required some purple and green along with a jester’s hat. Upon seeing the work in progress she SQUEALED and proclaimed “It’s like you READ MY MIND!”. This is why I do conventions year after year.

Finally it was about time to pack up – and Chris suddenly realized I’d never gotten our “booth photo”. So here is a quick shot of our setup:

And that was it for ShutoCon 2014 for us!


  • Dan

    Nice to see the blog updating again. Went to my first con in years, the Great Lakes Comic Con, last month. May have to ride up to Lansing with Nancy when she goes to visit her mom so I can try the Hippie Hash (minus the green peppers for me, too). My best to you and Chris, Mel.

    • Melanie

      Hey! Great to hear from you. Yeah, I’ve had the shoemaker’s problem – I code all day for QL and have no time for my own. Finally got it reskinned and a backlog of images to type up. :D
      Detroit FanFare is a fun little local comic con (in Dearborn).

      Let me know how you like the hash. Keep in touch!

  • Heather


    Why didn’t you ask me about where to eat??? I live in this town!
    I’m glad you found Fleetwood though, we eat there all the time… it’s 5 minutes from my house.

    Also, Xiao is way overpriced. If you’d wanted good sushi, I could have given you quite a few better options. Next year, call me! XD

  • Rhiannon

    My daughter Elli was at Shuto Con! (You took a photo of Serenity not-a-hobbit yesterday)

    And, XIAO is literally a five minute walk from my house. We live in apartments behind that mini-mall. ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *