Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Steam 11/13/11

Mo Rocca did a nice segment on the Steampunk World's Fair recently for CBS news. You can read the article here, or just watch this:

(Thanks to Jennifer F. for the link!)

I also highly recommend checking out Professor Elemental, the steampunk rapper Mo interviewed. I think his most popular song is Splendid, but since I couldn't find a video for it here's Cup of Brown Joy instead, which is equally hilarious:

This is why I love the Internet.

Meanwhile, the fabulous steampunk outfits keep showing up here on the CW tour:

This is Liam, my new favorite 13-year-old. He put together this outfit just for our show, made his goggles using our tutorial, and plans to make a raygun next. He was also extremely well-spoken, intelligent, polite, and ridiculously delighted to receive an Epbot pin. Mark my words: this gentleman is going places!

Oh, and remember my friend Christie - the one with the amazing Soulfire costume? Well, she made me the most amazing hand-painted ACEO before we left on the tour:

A steampunk seahorse! AAIEEEE!!!

Even better? I just *happened* to have this sweet frame waiting around for the right steampunk-ish art card:

A perfect fit!

The frame cost a whopping $7 at Big Lots, and has a cheesy flower painting in it right now. I'll replace it with Christie's seahorse, which is only sitting on top of the frame in the photo.

(ACEOs are miniature art cards that measure 2.5 X 3.5 inches, btw. They're a great way to break into collecting original art, because they're usually so affordable.)

If you like Christie's art style as much as I do, you might be interested to know that her ACEO prints are only $3, and her originals are $10, if you're fast enough to snap them up. She's just starting out, so take a look at her facebook page here or go see all her work on DeviantArt here.

And finally, a few steamy sparklies I've been drooling over here in the hotel room:

$52 from the always-amazing Bionic Unicorn

$37 from Bella Lili

(Hey, it doesn't need gears to be steampunk; Victorian sparklies work, too!)

Only three more shows to go, and then we're home again and I can start catching up on all the posting and crafts I've been planning. Thanks for your continued patience, everyone!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm Stiiiilll Heeeerrree

And now I have that song stuck in my head.

Ok, so, I've always hated it when bloggers update just to say they're sorry for not updating, but after a few prods on FB and via e-mail I've decided to do a quick check-in check list. Here we go:

1. Yes, John and I are still alive.

2. Astoundingly, we're also still healthy. Our ER-free streak is going strong! Woot!

3. I'm writing this in...uh.. [John, where are we?] ...Chicago. Tomorrow we do show 11 of 17, so we're technically on the home stretch. Fist bumps all 'round!

Vaguely Related Aside: We asked the publisher to book us in Hyatt Places whenever possible, because we like the layouts of the rooms & they're usually nice places to stay. (We've had 2 exceptions so far, which I would describe as "olfactory assaults," but only because that sounds nicer than "bogs of eternal stench drowned in Febreeze.")

We also like the continuity, because every Hyatt Place is pretty much exactly the same, right down to the decorative throw pillow on the couch. However, when you get out of bed, stagger to the car, drive eight hours, and then trudge through an identical hallway to take an identical elevator to get to yet another identical room, it can really start messing with your head. The only thing worse is when it's the same room in a mirror-image layout on the opposite side of the hall. (Btw, sudden-onset facial tics aren't permanent, are they?)

Where was I?

Oh, right. Chicago.

4. CW & Epbot fans are the coolest people on Earth.

5. But you already knew that.

6. Saying that you're addicted to Beaver Tails and Poutine while in the U.S. sounds really dirty.

7. So I highly recommend it.

8. I also highly recommend Beaver Tails and Poutine. (Thanks, Canada.)

9. I currently have no posts written for CW, which is why I haven't had time to write more here.

10. See how I slipped that excuse in after something funny? So you wouldn't even notice?

11. Brae in Canada brought us Kinder Eggs, a kind of candy that's banned in the U.S. because it's a chocolate egg with a little toy inside. Thereby convincing me that Canada gets ALL the nice things. (We ate ours on the way to the border, so no, we're not felons.)

12. I've had a few people come to the shows in steampunk costumes:


13. The ladies are SO crushing on John, and John is SO oblivious. It's adorable, but you can bet I'm not letting him out of my sight any time soon. (One woman's mother let slip something like, "She doesn't want cake, she wants JOHN!" while they were at the signing table, and then both the lady AND John blushed and stared at the floor and laughed awkwardly. Like I said: adorable.)

14. Oh! Oh! We saw Ghostbusters on the big screen in Toronto for Halloween night! And it was AWESOME.

Some of you might remember that I've had to avoid movie theaters for some time due to anxiety problems, but I was determined to risk it for my love of the 'busters. The last movie I saw in a theater was the re-release of Back to the Future last year, and I barely made it through even with meds that made me all dopey. This time, however, I made it med-free and with only minimal discomfort. That is HUGE for me, and I credit true love. And earplugs. But mostly true love.

15. Speaking of love, I miss my cat Lily. John's cat Tonks, not so much. [wicked grin]

Another Vaguely Related Aside: There was a friendly stray outside the restaurant in Ohio where we had dinner, so John and I stood for ten minutes in the freezing night air making fools of ourselves baby-talking to it. People walking by gave us really wide berths. Like it's weird for two grown adults to be all "who's a boopsy widdle wover?!" ing to a stray cat outside at night in front of a nice Italian restaurant. Sheesh.

16. I really should be writing a post for Cake Wrecks.

17. I've been brain-storming ideas for steampunk Christmas ornaments instead.

18. I miss my Dremel.

19. I collected a few more smashed pennies!

20. It's 11:30PM, and John just brought me donuts.

21. I can't type and eat donuts at the same times, so....

BYE! See some of you soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steam Kids

I'm meeting so many of you while out on the CW tour, and I've had several extreme geek-outs when I realize just who I'm talking to!

Case in point: last night in Philly I got to meet Ginny, who recently sent me an email about her kids. They wanted to be "steampunks" for Halloween this year after seeing all my Dragon*Con photos. So, Ginny put together these *amazing* costumes for her 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son:


What's more, Ginny used my DIY steampunk gauge tutorial for both of their costumes!

Seriously, how cool is this jetpack?!

And prepare to swoon over this dashing gentleman:

So. Cool. (His gauges are on his arm bracer.)

I got to meet both kids tonight as well, though sadly they didn't come in costume. Heh. Ginny tells me she cobbled together their costumes from things around the house, thrift-store finds, and a few ebay purchases. Talk about resourceful!

And speaking of Steam celebrities, in Richmond I got to meet the steampunk Mickey ears couple - and they wore their ears! And - AND! - THEY MADE ME MY OWN PAIR OF STEAMPUNK EARS!


The goggles are tinted green. Sorry for the less-than-ideal cellphone pic; I'm too impatient to wait for better light here in the hotel room.

The ears are translucent, so you can see the front medallion from the back, and each gear is hand-stitched on. Ah-mazing. (Thanks again, Christina & Christina's hubby!)

I am getting so spoiled, guys. For realz. 'Course, most of our other gifts have been scented hand sanitizers and alcohol wipes, but still. (I'm so not kidding. And it's hilarious.)

Along that vein, I'm happy to report that John and I have remained bug-free so far, and it honestly feels like every show is even better than the last. All of the store employees keep telling us what an amazing group of people our readers are, and we can only agree. It's like a giant family reunion, minus the grumpy in-laws: nothing but laughs and warm welcomes and comparing geeky t-shirts. If it weren't for the actual *travel* part, I'd want to do this all the time.

More updates to come!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Free Epbot Pins!

Just a quick reminder for any of you coming to see me on the Wreck the Halls tour this next month: be sure to ask me for an Epbot pin! I didn't make enough to announce that I have them at the actual event, so this will just be our little secret, mmkay? Oh, and try to catch me earlier rather than later, since I expect I'll run out pretty quickly each show. If you get there early you'll find me lurking around looking awkward while John sets up. :)

See you tonight, Charlotte! (And for everyone else, the rest of the tour line-up is here.)

UPDATE: I hear your cries, non-tour-attendees! So how about this: you send me a small self-addressed, stamped envelope (
two stamps should do it
, I think), [Correction: four stamps, please!] and I'll send you a free Epbot pin. Deal?

Send your envelopes to: P.O. Box 160537, Altamonte Springs, FL, 32716, and I'll get to it when I can. So, you know, sometime before Christmas. :D

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DIY Custom iPhone Cover

A while ago I saw this post on Dwellings by DeVore where she printed out her own paper iPhone covers, and then fit them inside an inexpensive clear plastic case:

Since I traded in my 8-year-old brick phone for a spankin' new iPhone a few months ago, and I'm too cheap to shell out $20+ for a case, I've been meaning to try this out myself.

First, I snagged a simple snap-together case off Ebay for a whopping $3, including shipping. (You can also use the back-only, single-piece cases like the one above.)

Next, I thought I could just trace the case and cut out my paper, like Devore did.

I was wrong.

The case I got is much thicker on the outside, and as I tried to trim (and trim, and trim) the paper down to size, my lines got wonky and I lost the proper curve on the rounded edges. It was über frustrating, and finally I decided there HAD to be a better way.

So, I got out some heavy-duty aluminum foil:

I pressed the foil into the case, and used my fingernail to get a nice sharp edge on the inside edges. Then I kept going over the edges with my nail until it cut a nice clean line:

If you do this, be sure to only use your fingernail; a blade could scratch the inside of your case.

I also pushed the foil through the camera hole and scrunched it down to get the right shape.

When I was done, I popped the foil out and had a perfect template to trace onto my paper. Yes! A better way!

Be careful while tracing; obviously the foil is very fragile, so you'll have to hold the edges down with one hand while you trace with the other.

For my design, I had some leftover scraps of this pretty laser-cut paper I mentioned a few days ago that I wanted to use:

Here it's layered over black cardstock, but of course I wanted something more colorful for my phone. So, I hunted through my tiny scrapbook folder and found a pretty orange sheet. I glued the two together, and...


The hardest part was cutting out the camera hole, and I'm embarrassed to say that even though I used to dabble in Scherenschnitte (aka paper cutting) I managed to mangle it pretty well. I think my blade was just too dull. :/

Anyway, the good news is that the shadow from the case edge neatly hides the worst of it:

I like that you can definitely tell it's two pieces of paper layered; gives it a nifty 3D look.

Next I used one of my all-time favorite scrapbook papers:

I've been hoarding this one sheet for years. It's nice to finally find a project to show it off!

And since these cases only allow you to make a design for the back of your phone, I also scanned the paper to use it as my screen's wallpaper:


Scrapbook papers are perfect for this, but obviously you can also print something - anything, in fact - for your case design. Any pattern, any saying, any geeky game or movie reference.... Oh my, the possibilities.

You can bet I'll be brainstorming up my favorite ten or twenty ideas pretty soon. :D

Also, I'm not familiar with other phone cases out there, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could use this tutorial on other hard clear-case styles. Just look around on Ebay; if it exists, I'm sure it's there!

So tell me, fellow geeks: what designs should I make next?


Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!

Monday, October 17, 2011

World of Geek Craft 10/17/11

First things first: it turns out my post title isn't nearly as original as I thought it was; Amanda H. found there's already a craft book by the same name!

There's a robot on the cover. I like.

This is perfect with that "Dance Magic Dance" video I posted last week:

Submitted by Jez, made by deviantART user Meowchee

Plush Jareth! I'd totally display him with some clear glass marbles.

And since I've also opened the cross stitch can o' crafts, how about this Star Wars wedding sampler?

Found by Leah F. and made by Mr X Stitch
(Hit the link for his Etsy store, though sadly this design was a gift for friends and isn't available for sale.)

Check out how the lightsabers seem to glow - and the handles are even different styles! I'm also seriously crushing on that Yoda, although really the whole thing is perfection.

Other than one disastrous foray into needlepoint, I've never tried other needle crafts besides cross stitch. This adorable Gremlins applique is tempting me to try branching out again, though:

Found via Craft:, made by Flickr member loveandasandwich (in-progress shot here.)


And finally, perfect for Halloween, check out these AMAZING "Haunted Mirrors" from Bionic Buttercup:

Omigosh so creepy cool.

(found via Super Punch)

Both of these have already sold, but the artist says they're made from picture frames with the glass treated with a "special paint that makes it part functioning mirror." I'm guessing she used something like this Looking Glass Mirror Spray Paint, perhaps lightly applied over a photo printed on a transparency? Which now I desperately want to try. Why must my day job keep getting in the way of all the crafts I want to do?! (I know, I know; I'm not the only one, right?)

Even though I don't have time to make them, I still want to see your favorite Halloween crafts! I especially love simple stuff, like these monster window silhouettes cut from old moving boxes. (So fun!) Be sure to share your favorite links in the comments!