Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Procrastination Station

Need to kill some time shoppin', playin', and droolin' over fun stuff?

Then, my friend, you've come to the right place.

First, if you have a cat, then you *need* one of the cat-nip filled geek toys from GEEKitty Gear:

Other designs include Guitar Hero guitars, dice, Mario coin blocks, golden snitches, and much more. Ha! Now our cats can be geek cats. (Just as soon as I figure out which ones to buy, of course.)

I've already featured lots of vintage photos from Star Trek: The Original Series. Well, thanks to a tweet from Great White Snark, I found a lots (and lots) of TNG ones:

Awww. Lookit young Wil Wheaton!

Marina's overalls are hilariously cute.

There must be well over a hundred candid and behind-the-scenes shots from the series and also the movies. Fun! Check 'em out here.

I've recently become enamored with found-object robots, and Brian Marshall makes some of the most adorable ones I've seen:

He has an Etsy shop, but since there are only a few bots listed there I also recommend checking out his Flickr albums of previous work. With over 300 photos, there's plenty to keep you smiling (and drooling) for some time.

I almost hate to feature this next artist because I want the luxury of convincing myself to buy all my favorites of his stuff in the future, but...well....here:

Maybe more sculpture than robot, but is this not the cutest puppy dog ever?

This 'bot's a jewelry box!

And my favorite:

I will not spend all my money on cute robots. I will not spend all my money on cute robots. I will not...

[sigh] So cute! I'm just amazed at how much personality Will Wagenaar, the artist, is able to infuse into these little guys. Plus, most of his robots are functioning trinket/jewelry boxes! You can see lots more at Will's shop Reclaim2Fame.

And finally, here's another puzzle game courtesy of Super Punch, only this one involves actual jigsaw puzzles. Digital ones. Of Star Wars characters. Need I say more? Yes? Ok, it's fun, fast, and surprisingly satisfying seeing the pieces meld together. Get addicted here.

So, where's your time going online this week, guys? Share your favorite links in the comments!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Techno For an Answer

If you've never watched one of Pogo's music videos, prepare for a treat.

Pogo is a musician who takes sound and video clips from a movie and mashes them together to make beautiful, lounge-y, pop-ish, techno-esque music videos. (Yes, those are technical terms. Which I made up.) The fact that he uses so many Disney movies just makes 'em that much better.

Here's one of my favorites: "Expialidocious:"

And "Upular" will have you dancing about with a grin on your face:

Not Disney, but just as great: "Alohomora"

This one's on my iPod. :)

He also has songs for Toy Story, Sword in the Stone, and lots of other non-Disney stuff like Dexter.

So, if you're ready to lose the rest of your afternoon, go check out Pogo's Youtube channel. Then go to his website, 'cuz get this: most of his songs are *free* to download! (Though sadly none of the Disney ones; apparently he has some legal agreements with the company preventing him.)

I also highly recommend "Splurgenshitter." It's a great original song (even if I can't say the name without giggling), and the video is of Pogo dancing around wearing a Darth Vader helmet. What's not to love?

So guys, which is your favorite?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yes, Please! Steampunk Weddings

I've been laying low on the steampunk front because a few weeks ago John told me I was just *way* too steamy. Or maybe that I was talking about it too much. One of the two, anyway.

However, no more! Prepare for the unleashing of my pent-up steampunk obsession, in the form of....[drumroll, please]...



Stacy and Eric's wedding made the rounds on the 'web last month, but in case you didn't catch it: are those not the best hats? I love Stacy's gown, too:

And don't get me started on my love affair with their invitations:

Anything with a vintage playbill flair to it = instant Jen infatuation.

Their cake will be on Sunday Sweets this week, but you can check it out now at their photographers website, Studio EMP, plus lots more of the wedding goodies.

I'm especially excited about this next wedding, because the bride, Laura M., e-mailed me just two weeks afterward to share some preview pics and tell me all about the steamy goodness. (Have I mentioned recently how awesome you Epbot readers are? You're awesome. There.)

Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Look at the little hats on the bridesmaids! (I also have a thing for hats. Can you tell?)

And get this: the wedding was held in a historic old railway station, which is now a restaurant. Steam and trains? Could that... [Chandler Bing impression] BE any more perfect?

The conductor punched tickets for kiss requests! [squee!]

And look how gorgeous Laura is, coming down the aisle:

Every time I see this picture I grin like a big ol' lovesick fool. EVERY TIME. Love it love it love it.

Now, prepare to swoon over their fabulous table decor:

Gears and gems and clocks, oh my!

For more pics go here, and for lots and lots more pics go here (although you'll have to sign the guest book to view them.) All photos by Terry Clark Photography.

At first glance I didn't realize that Racheal here was the bride:

...but I love all the layers and details of her outfit!

Here's a beautiful shot of her dancing with her new hubby, Daniel:

Such a great space. Don't you love the musicians in the background?

There are a couple of gorgeous steampunk flasks in their photo album:

Groomsmen gifts, perhaps?

It looks like this was a small, intimate wedding, and almost everyone dressed steamy! Here's a neat group shot:

So. Fun. When am I going to get invited to an awesome wedding like this? (And yes, you can all consider that a hint.)

Photos by Sergio Villareal, and thanks to Ali H. for sharing the link!

One thing I love about steampunk: it lets the guys shine as brightly as the girls. I mean, c'mon, just look at these gorgeous groomsmen!
Wowza. That is all.

And here's Matt (the groom) with his lovely bride, Michelle:


Matt & Michelle had their guests type on an antique typewriter for their guest book (!!), and they used copper pipe candelabras (which Matt made) for their table centerpieces:


For more pics and an interview with Michelle, check out their feature on Offbeat Bride here. Or go straight to their Flickr album here.

And finally, Anthropologie did a lovely steampunked wedding photo shoot earlier this year, with gorgeous results:

Their theme includes lots of glass, light bulbs, and paper flowers. It doesn't so much scream "steampunk" as it does whisper it ever-so-sweetly. Very nice. Check out the full shoot here.

Ok, that's it for me! Here's hoping we see many more weddings like these as steampunk continues to catch on with more "mainstream" audiences. That said, I'm sure there are more out there that I missed, so please share your steamy wedding links in the comments!

UPDATE: Ok, one more "last one." CJ just shared a link to a few of his own steampunk wedding photos in the comments, and I had to share my favorite shot:

[dreamy sigh] Gorgeous. See more at his photographer's site here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elevate Your Art

John loves nothing more than explaining to folks how to do things themselves. Back when we were faux finishers, he would frequently talk himself out of a job by encouraging ambitious house wives to faux their own bathrooms, or re-finish their own furniture. So I had to laugh when he came in from the garage last week and asked, "Hey, do you think your Epbot readers would want to learn how to do this?"

I think this blog is growing on him.

So, today's quick project is courtesy of John. It's a back frame - or whatever you call this:

See how the print is elevated off the wall on that wood frame? That's what I mean. We made this one for our bedroom a few years ago. (Yes, my bedroom is orange. And has an India theme. Like you're surprised.) For just a few dollars' worth of materials and a little labor we made it go from "el cheap-o poster" to "wall art."

You'll probably want to do this with a poster or print, like we did, but don't use anything valuable; you'll be gluing it down to a piece of 1/8th inch hardboard (aka Masonite.) You can get Masonite at any hardware store, and most places will even cut it to size for you. Paint the edges of your board black, glue your poster down to the board, smooth out any wrinkles, and you're ready to go with step one below. (The painting John will be using is already on a piece of Masonite.)

Ok. First things first: measure your painting/poster.

I painted this Tigger a few years ago, but we never got around to framing it.

Your frame will need to be exactly the same size as your board, so be sure your measurements are precise.

Next you'll need a length of 1x2 wood. To begin, cut the end off the wood at a 45 degree angle:

CHEATER'S TIP: Don't have a miter saw? Or have one, but are afraid of losing a few fingers? (No judgment here; I'm scared of the vacuum cleaner.) In that case, you can use this instead:

It's called a miter box, and the slots will guide your handsaw into the correct angles. You can find these at any hardware store for cheap.

Now, from the tip of that first angle, measure out your first piece:

Cut the other side at the same 45 degree angle, only in the opposite direction:

Now use this piece to mark out the next:

Repeat these steps for the other two sides of your frame, using your painting measurements as a guide.

CHEATER'S TIP: Don't want to mess with the 45 degree angles? Then good news! You can also do the corners this way:

Just be sure to allow for the difference in your measurements. Since these frames will only be seen from the side, I wouldn't bother with the 45 degree angles at all, myself. John's just a perfectionist. And likes playing with his miter saw.

Ok, now you need to assemble your four pieces. To get the right angles perfect, John has this special doodad:

He thinks it's called a corner clamp. Maybe. (Thanks, dear...) It's unbelievably handy, so I'd highly recommend picking one up. (In fact, I found this exact clamp for less than $7 on Amazon, here.)

Put a dab of wood glue on your end pieces:

Clamp them together:

And then hammer in a few small nails:

You'll want about 2 nails on each side: 4 total per corner.
(Again, no fancy nail gun needed; just use a regular ol' hammer and finishing nails.)

That's the hard part done! Now fill the nail holes with a little spackle and hit it with a coat or two of spray paint:

Black is easy and goes with everything, but you could also use a complementary color from your poster or print.

Next glue your hardboard to the frame using strong epoxy or construction adhesive (Liquid Nails comes to mind.)

If your calculations were correct, your board *should* be a perfect fit.

Once your adhesive is applied, weigh the board down while the glue dries:

I find Harry Potter books to be very useful for this purpose.

And finally, here's the finished product, hanging in my office:

Now, you guys be sure to leave encouraging remarks for John in the comments, so he feels like you learned something. :)

Quick update from john: Hi! A couple of you have noted in the comments that it would be good to use stretcher bars instead of a 1x2 because they are precut and perfectly cured so they won't warp. I would say that while they are precut, that really just limits the size you can make your frame. As far as curing, you should only buy the grade A stuff they sell at your local lumber store. It's usually cured and dry and I've never had it warp on me. It's also important to note the cost difference: 1- 8 foot grade A 1x2 = $3.00. 1- 2'x2' stretcher bar = $40 or more.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Goodies

The Halloween links and pictures are flying fast and furious across the interwebs today! Here are a few of my favorite finds.

Via @ThinkGeek, John DeLancie (Q from Star Trek:TNG) reads Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven":

In related news: John DeLancie rocks. He was one of the first Trek actors I ever saw in person, & I have a photo of my 16-year-old self standing awkwardly next to him to prove it. :D

Craftzine provides today's dose of adorable:

Mini Robocop!

I love this next picture:

There are lots more pics at Sweet Juniper, where Robocop's super dad explains how he made the suit from bits of junk lying around his basement. Crafty parents ftw!

And for one of the coolest costumes in the history of robots, check out this clip:

Via One Cool Thing a Day

I wish there was a slow-motion version of him when he stands up; I STILL can't wrap my brain around how it did that. Really, really cool.

Speaking of costumes, some of you expressed a little exasperation with the whole "sexy" costume phenomenon during my Stay Puft post - which I totally get, and actually tend to agree with. That said, I find it more hilarious than offensive when I see things like this:

Yes, that's a "sexy" Chewbacca costume. Really.

For nine more ridiculously horrific, "sexy" geek costumes, go here. (The "Brian" from Family Guy has got to be the worst. Am I right?)

I think the worst part of these travesties (other than the whole pornification of beloved characters thing) is that they don't even look like the characters they're supposed to be! I mean, c'mon, who would ever look at that girl and think, "Hey, a Wookiee!" [eye roll]

That said, I'm still waiting to see a "sexy" costume more ridiculous than this:

Sexy Big Bird.

In stripper heels.

Does anyone *not* feel the need for therapy after seeing this?

And to end on a fun note, have you heard about the steampunk haunted house in New York? I'm a scaredy cat to end all scaredy cats, so I could never go, but this thing sounds amazing. It relies on psychological thrills instead of blood and gore, and has a beautiful steampunked aesthetic. Photos are hard to come by, so this is the best video clip I could find:

Note: the end of the vid may be a little intense for kids or wussy wimps like me. :)

Go here for more videos reviewing the house and going behind the scenes of its creation.
Also, Kat wrote a beautiful description of her own experience touring the house here. If any of you find more photos of it, be sure to let me know!

Have any fun Halloween finds or links? Share them in the comments!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Playing With Food

Wednesday was my friend Julianne's birthday, which gave me an excellent excuse to ditch work for the afternoon and bake a cake instead.

I know, I know, I promised I'd never talk about cake here...but I hadn't made a cake in forever, and this was really fun! It's butterscotch pecan with ganache filling, homemade caramel frosting (my first time making it, and YUM. That is all.), and then another thin layer of ganache and toffee bits on the outside because the caramel frosting looked ugly as sin. Heh.

And before you go thinking I'm some kind of "baker," I should tell you I use The Cake Mix Doctor religiously, and *always* start with a box mix. Judge away. I'm lazy.

That night we had a small pumpkin carving party. Julianne and her husband Ray are the parents of Ninja Baby (remember the Ninja Nursery?), and they kept to the theme by carving these two mini pumpkins:

I'm actually getting a Ninja Turtles vibe here.

Which only makes it better, of course.

And this is their last name:

Man, why can't my last name look that cool? Maybe I can get Ray to write out Yates in Chinese...

Our friend Mary is a home decor diva, and despite the fact that she and her hubby Jordan had never carved a pumpkin in their entire lives, they still managed to make this:

Sickening. Just...sickening.

I meant to carve that cute Harry Potter design for my own pumpkin, but as I was printing it out I found something else that I knew would make John very, very happy. So instead of Harry Potter, I carved this:

Yep, it's Puss n' Boots, from Shrek. This scene where he goes all big-eyed and cute is one of John's favorites - the only thing that made him laugh harder was the hairball scene, but that would have made for a pretty gross pumpkin. :)

(You can get the Puss n' Boots stencil for free here.)

John, meanwhile, spent this time cleaning and roasting pumpkin seeds, taking embarrassing pictures of the rest of us, and mocking Ray for having such tiny pumpkins:

John [in his Ah-nold voice]: "Ok, now hold up your ridiculous pansy pumpkin and look sad. Ya."

So in other words, John was being John.

So, now all we have to do is buy more Halloween candy (and promise ourselves that this time we won't eat it all) and wait for Sunday! We'll be watching Ghostbusters here with friends while doling out candy to the neighborhood kids. How 'bout you guys?


UPDATE: By popular demand, here's the recipe for the caramel frosting:

- In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick butter with 1/2 c of dark brown sugar & 1/2 c light brown sugar. Bring to a boil.

- add 1/4 c whole milk and return to a boil

- remove from heat

- add 1 tsp vanilla & 2 cups of confectioner's sugar

- beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, & use immediately. (If the icing hardens too quickly, you can put it back on the heat to soften it.)