Friday, August 12, 2011

Quick Craft: Seahorse Candle

Since I just used it in my goggles photo shoot, I thought I'd show you my seahorse candle mod.

I started with this:

We got it for $12 at a Caribbean knickknack shop, on account of the little seahorse missing his nose. I didn't like the smaller seahorses tacked on to the side like that anyway, though, so...

I cut them off with a hacksaw.

There was a build up of resin where the horses were attached, so I Dremeled those areas down a bit:

Already looking better!

Next I got out my trusty epoxy putty:

Love this stuff.

...and built up the edges:

And because I couldn't bear to throw them away, I patched up the little guys, too:

(I initially thought I'd make a mold for the missing nose in clay, but later I just used epoxy for that, too.)

Now, what time is it, folks?

That's right: DREMEL TIME.

I carefully carved in all the missing detail on the ridges and tails.

I figured I'd have to repaint the entire thing, but decided to try patching the resin areas with this old gold leaf kit I found in my craft box first:

And, would you believe it? The golds matched! A few layers of leaf, and then a little brown glaze patted on with my fingers, and...

Not too shabby.

(For the edge above the seahorse, I color-matched the green and then applied gold leaf over those areas as well.)

I also pried off the coconut shell candle bowl that was glued on top and replaced it with a pillar candle, which looks much better.

It's a bit fussier than the stuff I usually like, but I have to admit this little guy has really won me over. (Of course, if I ever start draping doilies all over everything and collecting stuffed cats, then you have my permission to stage an intervention.)

Oh, and just for fun, I painted the little seahorses bronze and leafed them, too:

Side by side you can still tell which nose I carved - but I like to think it might take you a second or two. :)

So now I have these cute little gold seahorses, but no idea what to do with them. Any ideas? They're pretty heavy, and solid as rocks, so I'm open to suggestions!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I <3 Allie of Hyperbole and a Half

Like many of you, I've been mourning the loss of new posts over at Hyperbole and a Half while Allie writes her first book. So, I was thrilled when she popped up on Twitter tonight.

Then this happened:

---- about 20 minutes later ----

Aaaand I can die happy now.

Thanks, Allie. You had me at "Tipey."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cross-Viewing is SO COOL

If you've never been able to see those migraine-inducing Magic Eye illusions that were all the rage years ago, then you're going to hate this. But if you *can* see them, this is AWESOME.

First, look at these two pictures:

While looking at both photos, cross your eyes. With your eyes crossed, you'll see three photos instead of two. Try to focus on the middle one. It takes a little practice, but when you get it, WOW. 3D!

This technique is called "cross-viewing" and is similar to the old-fashioned stereoscopes you see from Victorian times. The photos are by yowayowa camera woman, aka "the levitating girl." Her photos are gorgeous and oddly mesmerizing even without the 3D affect, so you'll want to see her other work, too. (And thanks to Mary B. for the link!)

Her site doesn't have a search bar to find just the 3D images, but I tracked down a few more for you here, here, and here.

Oh, and if you can't get your eyes to cross properly, Mental Floss just posted 12 animated stereoscopes which give the same general 3D effect without all the eye strain. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What I'm Reading: Quick Reviews

What I've read since my last book review:
(all links to Amazon)

A trio of quirky siblings that brings A Series of Unfortunate Events to mind star in this delightful, quick read. (I finished it in one sitting.) I especially love the narrative style, which is written from one of the sibling's POV - but you have to guess which one. Without spoiling anything, I will say I have some complaints about the twist ending, but nothing severe enough to make me regret the choice. Definitely pick it up if you have the chance!

The Blue Sword

Robin McKinley was one of the authors mentioned most frequently after my review post, so I went hunting for her at the library. If I hadn't been seeking it specifically, I never would have picked up The Blue Sword; the older cover has that slightly cheesy 80s look that plagued fantasy fiction of the time.

The story itself also seems dated, in as much as it has a slower pace (it gets interesting around page 50) and an almost painful predictability. The attempt at romance was also incredibly weak. That said, I did like the story, as it reminded me of some of Tamora Pierce's work, and in many places the prose reads like poetry. However, for someone used to the faster pace and more dynamic character growth in today's YA fiction, I'd recommend Pierce's books over this any day. (Sorry, guys!)

[Note: I've since discovered through Amazon & Goodreads that nearly everyone else in the world considers The Blue Sword to be The Most Amazing Book Of All Time, and it's won tons of awards, and people have called it "life-changing," so take my review with those huge grains of salt.]

This was also recommended by one of you readers for its great art and a plot that revolves around an astounding automaton that actually exists in real life.

The story would be perfect for parents to read with their kids. It moves quickly, and at times the simple pencil drawings are used to move the story forward for many pages without any text at all - a neat creative twist.

The only problem I found is that none of the characters are very likeable - the hero Hugo least of all - which was a big hurdle for me since I need someone to root for. Still, it was worth the read if only so I could discover the Maillard automaton. (OMIGOSH SO AMAZING.)

Stay tuned for more, or check the comments here for more of your fellow reader's recommendations!

Also, because it's a FAQ - I *do* have a Goodreads account, and have had one for ages, but I haven't had time to update it much the past three years. Since I plan to post my reviews here from now on anyway, rest assured you aren't missing anything. It's a great site, though, and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


We recently moved our cats' scratching post perch to a different window.

As you can see, Tonks is REALLY enjoying the new scenery:


Credit goes to John for getting the perfect bird's eye view.