Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Steam 2/19/11

Check out this amazing "flapping push toy" by Bob Basset:

Molded leather, wood, brass, and little gears in the portholes?

Now THAT is my kind of "toy!"

Many more shots here
I assume those leather wings flap as you push it along the floor, but I'd be hard pressed not to lock it up in a glass display case for fear of damaging it. It's just so gorgeous!

And speaking of great steampunk'd toys, how about a Rubik's Cube?

Matthew A. found this over on Instructables. It's called a Blind Man's Cube, because you can solve it by touch rather than sight. However, all that metal detail goes great with a steampunk aesthetic. (Plus, wouldn't you love to see some gears on this?) Even better, this isn't a difficult mod, so head over to the tutorial to learn more.

A lot of you have been sending me the new Panic! At the Disco's music video, The Ballad of Mona Lisa this week. It is definitely steampunk; the band even recruited the famous League of Steam to be in the video, as well as to help with the costumes and props. (I recognized Mr. Crackitus Potts first thing.)

I had to watch it two or three times before I fully "got" the storyline, but then again I was also distracted by all the steamy eye candy. Heh. Check it out:

And finally, for hours of fun browsing, be sure to bookmark LiveJournal's "Steampunk Style" forum. You'll find oodles of great clothing, jewelry, sculptures, and more. You can thank/curse me later. :D

Seen anything particularly steamy this week? Then tell me about it in the comments!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Candle Sticks

The other day I was swapping out my Christmas-scented candles (evergreen, cranberry, etc.) for my regular, every-day scented candles (anything that smells like it came from a bakery), when I noticed a problem: my candles are ugly.

I mean, they're just your typical glass jar candles, but the labels...well, just look at this thing:

Yeah. Classy.
(Smells heavenly, though.)

Anyway, I turned to the Internet, and about an hour later I had this:

Better, right?

I'd hoped to find some really detailed apothecary labels to give the candles a more vintage vibe, but it turns out antique French cologne labels are much easier to find, and in some cases work just as well.

Next I turned my attention to my bundles of Bath and Body Works candles. Thanks to sales and coupons we ended up taking home maybe half a dozen of these things over the holidays. If you're not familiar, they look like this:

Which is fine, I guess, but a little modern for my taste. I wanted something with a bit more character to display.

Like this:

Or this:

(I also have a weak spot for Art Nouveau.)

I could have stopped there, but those chrome lids are too modern and show every fingerprint, which is super annoying. So, a quick blast of primer and bronze spray paint later...

Much better.

Then I discovered two fantastic labels by Inka of Altered Artifacts, so I printed one of each:

The one on the right is a vintage apothecary label (woot!) and the one on the left is, again, for French cologne. (I later sprayed that lid bronze, too.)

Now, because it's Valentine's Day and I love you (awww), I've assembled a bunch of great graphics and links for your own candle-labeling endeavors:

- The Graphics Fairy has massive archives of free, downloadable goodies like these:

Actually a label for chocolate, but wouldn't it be great on a chocolate-scented candle?

I also love the idea of using the same apothecary label on all your candles, and then hand-writing in the different scents in ink. (Or use an old-timey handwriting font for that "authentic" spidery scrawl.)

- Another great spot is Vintage Feedsacks (aka Free Vintage Clip Art):

This is the label I used on my first candle.

My favorite so far for short, round jars:

via Flickr

And here's Inka's cologne label. Visit her site to download the apothecary design.

I somehow lost track of where I found this Art Nouveau label, but here 'tis:

Once you download your graphic, open it up in an image-editing program and re-size it to the dimensions of your candle. Then print it out, cut it out, and use rubber cement or a glue stick (I used a glue stick, which worked beautifully) to attach your new labels to the jars. It's about as close to instant gratification as you'll find for a craft project. Promise.

You can also age your labels with a quick dunking/splattering of coffee or tea. Most of the ones I've found so far don't need it, but for apothecary labels especially you'll want that really well-worn look.

Happy labeling!

I'm still on the lookout for more great labels, guys, so if you find more please link to them in the comments!