Monday, February 7, 2011

Firefly Art Even Non-Fans Will Love

Check out this sweet copper and brass "wall hanging thingie" made recently by user Hell's Kitten on

Now that's cool.

I love that even people who've never heard of Firefly (aka "sad people") can appreciate something like this. The lyrics are beautiful on their own, and the plaque has a rugged Asian/steampunk vibe that could go with all kinds of different decor.

The artist doesn't give any further explanation on how it's made, but the pics alone are great inspiration for us DIY types:

In fact, I could see this working beautifully with thin Masonite sheets, metal rivets, and metallic paints and glazes. Just smooth on some joint compound/spackling to give the wood a rugged texture before painting, and then use letter stamps to inset the text into the texture. Hmm.... [plotting]

Ok, now I want to make one. Yep, this is going on the list!

The long, long list. Heh.

A big thanks to reader Kelli for sending me the link!

What's on your crafty to-do list today, guys?

UPDATE: I've since talked to the artist, Sara, and she's made lots more amazing stuff! (Another fabulous Firefly plaque here.) Check out her Flickr account to see more, and watch her brand new Etsy store for future goodies. Also feel free to contact her about commissions!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GORGEOUS Steampunk Music Video: Eye of the Storm

[running in] YOU GUYS!!

This masterpiece just hit the 'net today, and you must see it.

Feast your eyes on the jaw-dropping beauty that is Lovett's "Eye of the Storm":

Wow. I think I just fell in love with steampunk all over again. The dragon! The goggles! The airship! The glowing green elixir! [swoon]

Yep, I'm gonna have to watch this another time or twelve.

Fingers crossed you non-US viewers can see it! (And if not, please don't lynch me. Heh.)

Oh, and a big thanks to Jen D. (aka Number 1) for sending me the link!

UPDATE: For more info on the artist Ben Lovett and also a behind-the-scenes making-of video, check out Nerdist's post here. (And thanks to Renee for *that* link!)

Geek Glee 2/2/11

Some fun pictures making me smile this week:

Submitted by Holly S., via Rockstar Photography

Love, love, LOVE this look. The colors!! YES!
(Click the link above for more eye candy.)

Little Edward Scissorhands:

A - wait for it - maaazing. I wish I could find the original source, but I got lost on a rabbit-trail of Tumblr blogs. Anyone know?

[UPDATE: Found! Photo is by Cara S., and there are more great shots at her Flickr account.]

Fabulous kids' store design:

Check out DesignSponge for more.

Cheerful, artsy, and gorgeously refinished garage sale finds - what more could you want? I'm also seriously crushing on that chandelier; I've talked to John before about finding/making a similar one for our dining room. With Edison bulbs and rusty iron, though, of course. ;)

Lady LEGO Locks:

via Outsapop

Geek fashion ftw! And super easy if you happen to have LEGO lying around the house. (Sadly, I don't.) Or, for a slightly smaller (and therefore more wearable) version, I just spotted this 8 bit beauty over at ThinkGeek today:

Only $9.99, but they're out of stock! Grr.

And finally, my new baby AT-AT:

John brought this home for me Sunday night while I was finishing taking down all the Christmas decorations. (Yes, I really waited that long. Really.) I immediately had an impromptu play session on my desk. It makes fun "pew pew!" noises that freak out the cats. :D

Oh, and I have Mickey in the driver's seat. Heh. I love having toys on my desk; they make me smile and provide great little distractions when I'm fighting writer's block.

Speaking of which, the book writing is grinding on, so thank you all for your patience - particularly any of you who've e-mailed me in the past few weeks. Writing a book in two months while also keeping two blogs running is proving...interesting. However, we're on track, and I'm looking forward to reclaiming my life come 2/15!

So tell me, guys, what's got you smiling today? Share your links in the comments!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Packing for Mars

Last night I finished reading a book on the space program, not realizing that today was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. Packing for Mars is not about Challenger specifically, but rather NASA's continuing efforts to put (and keep) humans in space. In many ways it's a celebration of everything the Challenger astronauts lived and died for, so I figured today was a good day to tell you about it.

First and foremost, this isn't some dry and somber science book. The author, Mary Roach, is HILARIOUS. I could just stop there, but you know I won't.

If you get the Reader's Digest you may be familiar with Roach's humor columns from the past few years. Those two page articles hardly allowed her real skill to shine, though. In Packing for Mars, it is her copious footnotes, asides, and wryly irreverent observations that will have you busting a gut - all while learning things like how exactly an astronaut poops in space. (In fact, it was the chapter on waste elimination that had me startling John awake with my laughter.)

Mary takes her research seriously, though, and I was fascinated by her detailed history of the trials and triumphs mankind has faced in its pursuit of the stars. She traveled around the world to interview cosmonauts and astronauts alike, flew parabolas in a jet to experience zero G, had a "go" with the official NASA potty 'cam, and drank her own treated urine, all to give earth-bound laypersons like you and me a glimpse at what real life star trekkers go through each day.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I used to have this vague impression of astronauts floating around in one big zero G party up there, eating freeze-dried ice cream, playing chess with HAL, taking Star Trek style sonic showers - the works. Roach took away that glamorous image, and replaced it with a nitty-gritty every-day heroism that, frankly, inspires far more respect (and often sympathy).

Growing up here in Central Florida, I've often taken Cape Canaveral and the space program for granted. I was in my second-grade classroom when Challenger broke apart in midair, but if I'd been allowed those few steps outside I could have seen it with my naked eyes. I remember the TV coverage, and the shock, and the special memorial song a teacher wrote and sang a few weeks later at a school assembly. One line in the chorus - the only line I remember, in fact - asked, "Can we face the challenge?" Twenty five years later, and I can still hear her singing that question. With so much else clamoring for our attention in the world today, it's kind of gratifying to know that some brave men and women the world over are still doing just that - and even more gratifying that someone as smart as Mary Roach is out there to explain it all to us.

So guys, what are you reading? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Doctor Who and the Japanese "Smile" Girls

Ok, so actually what I have here is a new "fashion accessory" in Japan:

Blinking mouth lights.

Yes, really.

And yes, only in Japan.
[Edit: Or raves. Assuming they even have those anymore. Heh.]

However, as I watched the girls marching silently and rather creepily toward the camera in the video below (especially around 0:45), all I could see was a new breed of villain for the good Doctor.

Take a look and see if you agree:

via LikeCool
Now we just need one of you video geniuses to splice these shots in with a Doctor Who chase scene. I'll even let you choose which Doctor. :D Then I will post it and giggle uproariously. Mostly because I like the word "uproariously."

Oh, and also: synchronized mouth lights as fashion? Really? And here I thought the LED eyelashes were out there. At least the lashes draw attention to the eyes, and could be a fun costume accessory:

See the video here.

I am kind of curious how well she can see over them, though.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want my teeth getting that much attention. Ladies? Gentlemen? Geeks? What say you all?


Thanks to Rebecca R. for rocking out with her mad video-editing skillz. ;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Geek Chic Jewelry

Weekends were made for online shopping, right? So here, allow me to help:

These comic book cuff links Kendra B. found are sure to add a little "POW!" to your wardrobe. They're available at RedEnvelope for $89.95, but you could easily DIY for less. You just need some old comic books, epoxy resin, and jewelry shells (or bottle caps, if you want to go *really* cheap). Hellooo, awesome necklaces!

I will never tire of drooling over polymer clay jewelry. NEVER.

Sub'd by Linz H. and made by Jessica Montanelli, who has an Etsy shop here.
(No sign of this bracelet at the moment, though!)

Confession: I've never tried a macaron. So to me, this bracelet looks like Rainbow Brite made a batch of Whoopie Pies. And believe me, I am perfectly fine with that. :D

Are door knockers geeky? Ok, maybe not. Still, this ring looks pretty darn cool:

Found via Craft:, $75 at Pat Kim Designs

And if you have any friends in Japan, tell them to be on the lookout for this über geeky pi necklace:

Found by Tess B. and made by RGB Laboratory

Math nerds, rejoice! Except I don't think it's available online anywhere, so maybe don't rejoice too much. It's probably just as well, though; this looks both expensive and kind of scratchy. (Just keep telling yourself that, Jen...)

And finally, for my fellow gamer girls:

Sub'd by Rachel N., $35 at UseYourDigits on Etsy

It's all in the wrist, baby - or in this case, *on* the wrist. This bracelet is like a trip down memory lane with all the different game controllers, plus it comes in four different colors! I'd wear it with my Nintendo controller belt buckle, even though I'd get mocked mercilessly for it by all my friends. (Except you guys, of course. You wouldn't mock me, right? Guys? Hello?)

So, seen any great and geeky jewelry lately? Share your links in the comments!

BORING PERSONAL UPDATE: By the by, all, just thought I'd mention that I'm in the midst of writing CW book 2 - which is due in 3 weeks, eek! - so posting here will continue to be a bit sporadic for the foreseeable future. I have lots of fun tutorials and posts planned out, but I also have to survive the next month. Heh. So, thanks for being patient while I handle my "real" "job," and I'll do my best to continue posting here at least twice a week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Arguing Like a Grown-Up

Once, when I was wide-eyed, innocent, and life held the promise of every possibility, I threw a dining room chair at John's head.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Perhaps because it was.

No, no, just kidding: this was ages and ages ago, maybe even as far back as 2009.

John and I don't argue often. This is because - and I say this with as much humility as I can possibly muster - I am really, really bad at it. In fact, I have only two approaches to most conflict: a) self-induced coma, and b) bat-sh*t crazy.

Option A is my usual go-to strategy, and I've found it to be pretty effective over the years. It turns out most people lose interest in arguing with a slightly drooly, vacant-eyed zombie. Plus, my stamina is nothing short of legendary: I can slump motionless against a door for HOURS if need be. And never - ever- challenge me to a game of the Silent Treatment. I will win. And then I will stare at you, slack-jawed and slightly drooly, in silent victory.

Sometimes, though, on a few extremely rare occasions, going comatose doesn't work for me. These are the times when, say, a heated discussion between John and I suddenly ratchets up to "flambé" - or perhaps I'm feeling a little too feisty to slump over effectively.

These, my friends, are the times when dining room chairs may dream of flight. Albeit really short ones. (Flights, I mean. Not the chairs.)

For his part, John has learned how to argue with me quite effectively, which is to say he doesn't. Usually. He views the Silent Treatment as being up there with water boarding, and he's not fond of furniture being hurled in his direction, either, so together we've managed to keep most of our disagreements civil and conversational, as opposed to shouty and furniture-throwy.

Well, I did say "most."

On the occasion in question, when part of our dining room set briefly became airborne, I was, you must understand, deeply entrenched in Option B. And in my defense, the solid wood chair was so heavy I couldn't even get the thing over my head, much less aim accurately for John's. So don't worry; I didn't hit him. Not even close. In fact, as throws go, mine had to be the most pathetic flop in history. Imagine an enraged ferret attempting to successfully flip you the bird while balancing on a Weeble-Wobble, and you'll have some idea of the grace and poise I displayed during my failed furniture-lobbing maneuver. It's a testament to how dearly John values our marriage that he didn't burst into hysterical giggles then and there. That, or maybe he figured something a little more aerodynamic was up next on the throwing roster.

Anyway, the good news is that all of our fights always end the same way: with a hug. [awww]

Granted, this is usually more of a "restraining embrace" on John's part, since I might be otherwise occupied with my attempts to pummel him in the kidneys, but the point is we're eventually able to put our tempers and differences aside and focus on what's really important. Which is to say our mutual love and respect for each other. And also our regard for our furniture.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some chair lifts to do. That throw really was pathetic.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Geek Glee 1.16.11

Thanks to reader Jennifer M., I've recently learned that not all of my future dream doors can be like this Star Trek door.

At least one of them has to look like this:

Made by Flickr user Normal Jean

Rubber chicken optional.

When I first saw this I thought those were real frosted windows, but John pointed out that's just glossy white paint on the top panels. Brilliant! (Not to mention a real time-saver. Aheheh.)

Ever since I found all those great 80's cartoon sheets on Ebay for Jen's beanie post, I've been on a HUGE nostalgia kick. So naturally, I'm loving Etsy store Cinders At Home:

Recognize these Smurf sheets? I know several of you mentioned having them as a kid. Well, Cinders uses these and other vintage sheets to make super happy fun aprons! (Plus pillows and oven mitts and whatnot.)

This kind of thing makes me unreasonably happy. I like that.
See more goodies at Cinder's store here.

And finally, I'm almost afraid to post this video, guys, since I don't know how to tell if it's viewable for you glamorous foreign-types outside the U.S. or not. [winkwink] However, if you can see it, then you simply have to:

I've watched this four times since I found it on Dude Craft a few days ago, and if anything it gets better with each viewing. If you're a fan of papercraft, stop-motion, and/or dogs wearing 3D glasses, you're gonna love it. (You may also find yourself singing "Baay-baay!" for the rest of the afternoon, but that's just a bonus.)

So tell me, guys: what's making you smile today? Share your links in the comments!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Message from Katie

Check out the cool card I found in the P.O. box today!

'Course, the inside is even better:

(Jennifer & Deirdre are the two readers who helped me format Katie's book, and Jack is the cover artist.)

Hope this makes you smile as much as I am right now. Good work, everyone.

Turn On Your Heart Light

Ooh, you guys, I have so many crafty things I want to do, and no time to do them! So instead, I'll just show you three of my recent favorites, so you can all drool and dream with me.

First, a fun modern heart light:

Check out the tutorial here at Paper, Plate, and Plane. (Found via Craft)

This was made with simple foam core and a strand of clearance LED string lights. What I really love, though, are all the possibilities: Pac-Man and ghosts art, anyone? Or old-school Space Invaders? Mmm, so many geeky options...

Next, a simple but stunning lamp mod:

Tutorial here at Poopscape Projects

This is a $7 lamp from Ikea, so again, a super cheap project. Plus, who doesn't have old negatives lying around? (Just don't destroy anything important!)

And finally, Allison of Mod Mischief made this fantastic Valentine's gift for her hubby:

It doesn't actually light up, but seriously, how cool is this?

More pics on Instructibles, but not too much by way of actual instructions: Allison writes that she cobbled this together from an old thermos top, a mason jar lid, and other odds and ends. Again, there are a lot of options, though: just start with a wire heart inside an old light bulb, and then have fun customizing the base from there! You could add gears to ramp up the steampunk look even further, or put the bulb on a sleek painted cube for a more modern look, or...?

So, guys, see anything you want to try? Personally I plan to make them all, it's just a matter of figuring out in what order! The next CW book is due in just four weeks, though, plus John and I are finishing up on the largest house renovation we've ever done, so things are a bit hectic over here. We'll just have to see how much craft time I can squeeze in between now and Valentines. :)

In the mean time, if you
do try one of these projects, be sure to send me pictures!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Shopping Assignment: Wheee!

Ok, geek guys and girls, I have a mission for you!

Actually, this mission comes from another Jen, who is turning a yucky situation into a show-off-her-amazingly-bad-ass-geekery situation. To put a finer point on it: Jen just found out she has cancer.

But - BUT - in her own words, "Don't worry, it's Hodgkins - the most curable wimpy cancer and I shall be triumphant in my whomping of it."

Triumphant whomping! Yes!

Jen goes on, "But, I will lose my hair. So, I am on a mission to find geekie nerdtastic beanies and bandannas to cover my soon to be chrome-dome."

What's that I smell? A SHOPPING ASSIGNMENT?!?

Ahem. Sorry. Please, Jen, do go on.

"What I need are links to said beanies and bandannas. Yes, links. I don't expect (or want) people I don't know to buy me stuff. I'm financially solvent and have good insurance (thank the cosmic muffin). I just need help with the searchin' and the findin' so I can get to buyin'."

Oooh, now this is my kind of mission, guys. C'mon, GEEKY SHOPPING?

So, to get us started, I did a quick search of my own. My first find came from Great White Snark, who, ok, was making fun of it, but for those into Pokemon this beanie is actually really cool:

From SayHedgeHog on Etsy. Currently sold out, but perhaps they'll post more?

Actually, I'm not even into Pokemon, and I would still wear this. Totes adorbz!
(Did I say that right? Still workin' on my groovy/rad/hip lingo.)

Next I went looking for an R2 beanie, since I remember seeing a fabulous one somewhere before. Here's my fav of the ones currently listed on Etsy:

$55 on KnitLush

A little pricey, perhaps, but that detail looks well worth it.

Or how about some Hello Kitty?

$42.95 at tinytangerines, which also has adorable owl and cupcake designs!

For the bandannas, I got to thinking: what if you hunted down vintage character bedsheets/pillow cases and made your own? I'm sure there are already lots of folks on Etsy doing so, but it'd be pretty simple (and cheap!) to crank out your own if you have a sewing machine. A quick search of Ebay turned up sheets for the Smurfs, LoTR, He-Man, Star Wars, Care Bears, Pac-Man, and oh my goodness, I may have to buy some of these!

Plus, most of these look to be selling in the $10 range. Not bad!

Ok, guys, your turn! Share your links to great geeky beanies and/or bandannas in the comments - and please, remember to embed your links so that Jen and the rest of us can click on them!

Happy hunting!