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How I Do Antiquing: Old Disney Toys!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Some people go antiquing for the history or the treasure. I go for the toys.

Vintage Orange Bird & baby Donald!
Yes, they're filthy. But Donald is from 1984, was only a dollar, and c'mon, BABY DONALD. Orange Bird was $15, but he's kinda rare, and I love him. (I'm guessing he's also from the early 80s.)

Anyway, here's a quick tip: If you need to clean toys like Donald, which is soft & rubbery like a squeak toy, then grab one of these bad boys:

Yep, Magic Eraser works wonders at taking off old stains, crayon marks, and even pen ink from soft plastic. Check out the difference!

The blue pen line down the side of his face is completely gone!

Just be careful when scrubbing, since Magic Eraser *will* take the original paint off. It's basically a spongey form of sandpaper.

(And no, this isn't a sponsored post.)

Magic Eraser works well on harder surfaces, too, of course. Here's cleaned-up Orange Bird:

Did I mention he's a bank?

I'm debating touching up his paint, and possibly re-painting Donald all together. (Although those 80s pastels *are* kinda rockin'. Hee.)

I also picked up this tiny purse for $5, because the inside is ridiculously cool:

I'm a sucker for anything small with "hidden" compartments, and LOOK:

That circular screen pulls out to reveal a powder puff & powder compartment, and I guess the other sections were for lipstick and... money? Maybe? They're both suuuper tiny; the lipstick compartment is about 3/4 of the size of a Chapstick tube.

And THEN, there's another section under the mirror!


It doesn't look like the purse was ever used, but the exterior suede/velvet was crumbling off in my hands. I'm hoping to redo the whole thing, maybe make it usable for a steampunk outfit or something. [brain storming]

And finally, our big splurge: $30 for this amaaazing "Baseball Clock" that sold at the World's Fair during the 1930s:

Fun, right? I've never seen another clock like it! (It winds in the back.)

If you're ever looking for good/cheap antiquing here in central Florida, check out the Orange Tree Antique Mall (my favorite), or the Flea Market and outside areas at Renningers in Mt. Dora. (The inside vendors are too pricey for me, but it's still fun to look.)

Oh, and speaking of funky clocks, stay tuned....

'Cuz I'm working on one last Halloween thing. 

[evil grin]

Posted by Jen at 12:18 AM   |  27 comments  |   Labels: ,

A New Book Review? As You Wish!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Last week my sister-in-law surprised me with Cary Elwes' new Princess Bride memoir, As You Wish, and I zipped through it in 2 nights.

I've been looking forward to this read since I first heard about it months ago, so I was positively giddy cracking open the first page. I LOVE behind-the-scenes stories already, but throw in stories from one of my favorite movies of all time? SOLD!

Ok, so, let's start with the obvious: if you're as big a fan of The Princess Bride as I am, you're going to buy this book. And really, if you're that uber fan, you absolutely should.

For everyone else, though? Who may only have a passing interest in a movie they certainly like, but don't, say, quote daily & maybe even have "As You Wish" inscribed in a spouse's wedding ring? (WHAT.)

Well... for those folks, maybe not.

Don't get me wrong; there are some delightful tidbits in Elwes' book, stories that make the movie that much more magical in my eyes - but those tidbits are few and far between. Much of the book's 270 pages feels like filler, as Elwes gushes about how wonderful his co-stars are, how brilliant the director Rob Reiner is, and how blessed overall he feels to have been a part of this movie.

I'm relieved this isn't some grimy tell-all, of course, but after two hundred pages of everyone being wonderful and amazing, but very few personal stories to go along with all the gushing, you start to wonder if you're getting the whole truth. Or maybe we are getting the truth, but Elwes just didn't have enough material to properly fill out the book. Realistically, I think the "good stuff" could have been condensed down to 50 pages, and not felt rushed.

For example, Elwes spends 4 or 5 pages detailing the entire plot of The Princess Bride. Not just reminding us what happens in case it's been a while; actually explaining it as if we've never seen the movie... but still chose to read a book about it. (Ohhh... kaaaaay....)

I'm sad to say that, even as short as the book is, I ended up skimming several sections. Elwes drags out even the most interesting stories - trying to milk them for all their worth, I guess - and even then, I didn't feel like I was really getting an insider's scoop. It all felt a little too sanitized, too diplomatic, like he didn't want to reveal anything too interesting for fear of offending his co-stars. (There's a vague reference to Mandy Patinkin's competitive streak during fencing training, but no examples or details.)

In fact, the most interesting stories revolve around Andre the Giant, and I can't help but wonder if Elwes felt more free sharing those because Andre is no longer with us. (Or maybe because those stories are already so well-known?)

On the plus side, sprinkled throughout the book are quotes from the rest of the cast and crew, often recounting their own memories of the same events. Those breaks help give Elwes' memoir a more well-rounded feel, and while there were no big revelations, it was still a nice addition.

That's my spoiler-free review, but now, as a reward, I'm going to tell you a few of my favorite things I learned. Some (all?) of these were already on the internet, so it's possible they won't be spoilers at all! Still, if you'd rather wait and get your movie trivia from the book, then STOP HERE.

Ok, my #1 go-to trivia for the next time I need a good ice-breaker - because I go to at least one or two parties a year and hey, IT COULD HAPPEN - In this scene:

The one where Count Rugen hits Westley over the head with his sword? The scene used in the movie shows Christopher Guest (as Count Rugen) actually knocking Elwes unconscious.

Elwes woke up later in the ER, as they were stitching up his head. In Guest's defense, they didn't have a prop sword, so the heavy metal handle came down harder than he intended, plus Elwes *told* him to just go ahead and hit him.

And in this scene:


Watch how Westley gets up; see how he favors one leg? That's because Elwes had just broken his big toe riding Andre the Giant's 4-wheel ATV - I think the same day, even - and was in a huge amount of pain. 

Those are the only two injuries Elwes sustained the whole movie, and I guess it says something about me that I find those the most interesting. :D
On the funny side, for the scenes with Billy Crystal as Miracle Max, Elwes spoiled so many takes by laughing that they had to replace him for most of it with a prop dummy on the table:

Again, to be fair, *everyone* was spoiling takes by laughing, including the director. The only injury Mandy Patinkin received during the whole shoot was during this scene; he bruised a rib, trying to hold in his laughter. Ha!

And finally, the sweetest revelation for me:

Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) was terrified of heights, and though all the long shots in this scene were done with stuntmen, the close-ups were done on a 30-foot tall fake cliff set. He was apparently so distraught that they physically tied him to Andre, who told Shawn, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you." (FEELZ!!) After that, Shawn was able to do the scene.

There were a few other really fascinating bits about Shawn, but I'll leave those for the book.

So, what'd you think, guys? Any favorite parts I missed? Or did you already know all these from various BuzzFeed articles? :D ([shaking fist at sky] Curse you, Buzzfeeeeed!)

Posted by Jen at 3:44 PM   |  21 comments  |   Labels:

My Steampunk Jack-O-Lantern!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Or, ok, let's just go ahead and call it a Steampunkin. :)


I had a lot of ideas for this guy, so nailing down the design was definitely the hardest part. If I'd known what I wanted to begin with, I probably could have finished in an afternoon, instead of taking over a week. o.0

(I really vacillated between painting it copper & leaving the pumpkin "natural." I'm happy with it this way, but tempted to grab another small pumpkin and go full on metallic. :D)

My only expense was the pumpkin itself - a $15 "Funkin" - and a single sheet of craft foam. Everything else is bits and pieces I had on hand.

The jaw and tube flange are made with craft foam, silver rub n' buff, and "bead in a bottle" paint for the rivets:

The plastic tubing is for holding computer wires (there's a split down the back), from a big roll I found in the clearance section at Ikea for a dollar.

The monocle is a discard from my original goggles tutorial, but you could easily substitute a jar lid or piece of PVC pipe:

The straps are more craft foam, held in place with furniture tacks.

The last thing I added ended up being one of my favorites: a cut-away section with exposed gears:

The gears are the same thin foil gears I use on just about everything, which my friend Sharyn makes in her die-cutting machine. (Love ya, Sharyn!)

I originally planned to have a PVC "chimney" on there, too, but the proportions were off so I scrapped it. John liked it, though, and since he took a cool photo I GUESS I'll go ahead and post it:

It's all wrong, though, right? Yep, I stand by my decision to remove the chimney. (But that photo on the right is awesome. Hey John, sweetie, you wanna do all my project photos? [Bambi eyes])

 Now, are you ready... for the magic? 



And check out the gear cut-outs on the side!

Aw yeeeeah. I am DIGGING those gear silhouettes.

And I'm completely in love with my pumpkin light, you guys. It's the same one I had last year, which changes colors in alternating flashes & slow fades. I found it at one of those seasonal Halloween Superstore places for about $10.

I also added a glow bracelet (left over from my poison apple tutorial) inside the tubing, which works surprisingly well.

Here's a video of it all in action - turn off your sound, unless you want to hear my wall clock ticking away:

But wait, WE'RE STILL NOT DONE. I have one more trick up my, uh, pumpkin.

Did you wonder why I carved the mouth so big? And why the whole thing is sitting on that black plastic base? There's a reason! And here it is:


Here's how we did it:

I've had this $10 bubble gun for ages, figuring I'd use it for something steamy eventually. John built a wooden turn rod that, when twisted, presses the trigger. The rod above the trigger-pusher goes through the gun's housing for stability. Then we topped off the turn rod with an old faucet handle.

Initially the pumpkin's mouth was angled down a little too far, so the bubbles kept popping on the jaw. To prop it up, John cut off most of an old plastic bucket to form a ring. This gives a nice stable bottom for the gun, and also lets us angle the pumpkin any way we like. (The bubble gun is easily removable, btw, which is nice.)

The bubble feature would be WAY cooler if it were motion-activated, of course, but we don't have those skills just yet. It's fun to have the option of a little interactive surprise, though, and I think the neighborhood kids will like it come Halloween night!

Hope you liked my Steampunkin, everyone! And thanks to those of you who suggested I make one in the first place over on the Epbot FB page; I really had fun with this guy, and couldn't be happier with how he turned out!

Posted by Jen at 10:30 AM   |  31 comments  |   Labels: , , ,

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