Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Geek Chic Bling

Sometimes we geeks need more from our jewelry than a sparkly rock on a chain.

Sometimes we need something like THIS:

Kinetic Winged Gear Pendent, $49.95 (thx to Abbi for the link!)

Those tiny gears are laser cut from wood, and they move! I can't decide which I want to do more: wear it or play with it.

Check out the rest of Green Tree Jewelry's "Gear Garb" for more cool kinetic designs - there are also some sweet pulley necklaces over there I've got my eye on.

Here's one for you MST3K fans out there:

$60 at PicaPicaPress, found via

You can insert your own picture in the frame for an instant snarky peanut gallery. I think I'd print out tiny screen shots of some of my favorite sci-fi moments. Oh! Or maybe a shot of Wesley Crusher in one of his famous sweaters. Aww yeeeah.

Dang it, now I think I have to buy one of these.

At first glance, this is just a cool Sputnik-y starburst necklace:

Blue Bursts Resistor Necklace, $22 at digiBling (Thx to Robyn for the link!)

(Is "Sputnik-y" a word?)

At second glance, omigosh those are electrical resistors! How cool!

After a while a lot of sparkly jewelry can start to look the same, but Matina just directed me to an artist with a style that is totally unique:

Event Horizon v8, $39

Youniquely Chic's industrial pendants are the perfect blend of hardware store grunge and Swarovski sparkliness. Tara uses retaining rings and wire wrapping to make the most eye-popping designs:

Ultraviolet Light v3, $39

I'm usually all about symmetry, but these asymmetrical designs are just gorgeous. There's also a small steampunk selection:

Theia v4, $55

Plus, every one of her industrial pendants are only $39, which seems like a steal considering they look like they belong in a pricey jewelry gallery. (Can you tell I'm rationalizing buying one for myself? Or two? Or fourteen?)

Now, you guys KNOW how I feel about adorable robots, so just try to imagine the squealing heard 'round the Jen & John household when Kelsey sent me a link to these:

PicoBaby "The Captain", $20 at Picobaby

SQUEE CITY. Seriously.

It took me a minute, but I just realized who that little guy reminds me of:

Tik Tok from Return to Oz!

And this next one has Sam Eagle written all over it:

"Picobaby the Junior Robot", $24


And one more:

"Picobaby the Pharoah," $38

Each of the bot's bodies are made from an old capacitor, but I couldn't tell you what the rest of the odds and ends are. I just know I want them. ALL OF THEM.

Check out the Picobaby etsy store for lots more designs.

Oh, and that last one is a larger size, which is why it's more expensive. Personally I like the smaller bots better for necklaces, though. (Must....not...buy entire...store...)

Ok, that's enough damage to my bank account for one post. Have you guys seen any awesome geek bling this week? Post your links in the comments!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Hunt Is On!

Last weekend John and I started working on our WDW Magic Kingdom scavenger hunt again. Now that the weather's nice and we don't have any book tours or deadlines looming I'm hoping to make some serious progress. (WOOT!!)

In addition to the clues and questions and general trivia tidbits for each area of the park, I'm also working on some park-wide riddles. I'm having a blast writing them, but it's hard to know what's too easy and what's too difficult. So for a test run, here's one of the harder ones:

I’m rude and high and mighty,
And can only be found
Where children screech in glee
And sparkles line the ground.

Who (or What) am I?

The riddles do require a familiarity with the Kingdom (and again, this is for Orlando, not CA), but you don't have to be in the park to know the answer.

Please don't spoil the fun by posting the answer in the comments, but do let me know if you think you know what it is - and whether it's too easy or too hard. Thanks, guys!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fashion Bloggers For Geeks?

I have somewhat quirky taste in clothing.

Like, my-favorite-shoes-are-slouchy-yellow-superhero-boots kind of taste. And I don't wear heels because a) my feet are so small anything over a 2 inch heel is excruciating, and b) I think most heels are kinda ugly anyway.

I'd like to say my style sense is "bad-ass geek girly-girl with a dash of whimsy," but to be honest, I have no idea what that looks like.

As a result, I'm always looking for a fashion blogger to assure me I'm not a complete freakazoid - or at least to wear something stranger than me and still look good in it. I can't claim to have found her yet, but here are the ones I check in with regularly:

She's wearing a beret and yellow tights. Love.

Layers and boots and geeky glasses. Mmm.

Chandra of Modern Day Charm:

With most fashion bloggers I find myself liking maybe one outfit in ten, but Chandra is close to being my style soul mate. If I thought I had a prayer of fitting into her clothes I would track her down and steal most of her wardrobe. (Wait. Was that creepy? No?)

It's such a shame she stopped updating her blog about 6 months ago. Come back, Chandra!

Elsita of The Hidden Seed:

Vintage petticoat skirt!

(If you hadn't picked it up by now, I really, really love boots.)

Funky cool.

Lilli prefers lots of patterned dresses that aren't really my thing, but sometimes she'll feature more layered gems like this:

And sweet casual outfits like this:

It's also refreshing to see a fashion blogger with a body less stick-thin and more, you know, like mine. I've looked for more blogs like Lilli's, but other than a few of the most famous plus-sized blogs, I've come up empty. Anyone have any recommendations?

Another blogger I love who doesn't post many fashion updates anymore. In fact, this is going back a loooong way, but Zo used to do a column for The Suicide Girls called What's Zo Wearing?, and a few years ago I inhaled every bit of those archives, they're all so amazing.

She still has that layered gothic badass look going today, but it's a bit more accessible and modern:

When I first started following Doe's blog a few years ago she looked like this:

Which is still one of my favorite looks from her.

Now she looks like this:

And posts photoshoots like this:

Needless to say, her photo shoots are the stuff that dreams are made of: pure eye candy. Since she started her new makeup line Doe doesn't post them as often, but it's a huge treat when she does.

And on a personal note, Doe is one of the few bloggers I follow who've I've actually met in person, and we "clicked" almost immediately. So much so that John and I spent two days with her and her husband Mark while they were in Orlando last year, and she and I couldn't stop talking the entire time. Heh. I find fashionable people intimidating in the extreme, and I don't think Doe reads either of my blogs, so I figured we'd have nothing in common. C'mon, a geek who can't wear heels and a fashion model? - but within a few hours I felt like I'd found a long-lost sister. Doe is quiet and introverted, like me, and we share so many of the same fears and anxieties that come from working online.

We haven't kept up since then, but I mention this because Doe gets a lot of flak online - I believe undeservedly so. She's humble and approachable and cares passionately about her work and the people it affects. If you ever hear differently, take it from me: the person saying so has never met her in person.

[stepping off soap box]

Ok, so tell me, fellow geeks: what other fashion bloggers should I be following? Help a girl out, and tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Household Geekery

I've got a huge backlog of material dating all the way back to the book tour that I've been meaning to show you guys, so prepare for an onslaught of geek goods! (And here's hoping you haven't seen it all already. Heh.)

First, the world's most beautiful geek chic coffee table:

Submitted by Ashley N. via Nerd Approved; made by The News is Broken

It's made using old computer boards, but the indirect LED lighting is what really makes it shine. Pun intended.

You've probably seen this one before, but it remains one of my favorite Mario make-overs to date:

Submitted by Marcy W. via Neatorama. (more pics at the link)

Love that pipe pedestal - check out the clever paint shading!

And for the bedroom, insert your own "pushing all the right buttons" joke here:

Submitted by Dana, made by Instructables user Cathryn

Ok, serious props for the attention to detail. Look at the tiny "start" and "select" buttons on the bed skirt!

And in case your cats want in on the Mario action, check out what Epbot reader Jenny H. made:

It's hard to tell in the photo, but the dark tube is actually green carpet, and the base has the red brick pattern from the game. The yellow box hold toys. Fun!

My Dragon*Con buddy Diane M. made a custom cat tree that's even more up my design alley, though:


The gingerbread trim piece is painted a hammered copper, and the leather edging was nailed in place with brass upholstery tacks. The steamy trunk at the base holds all the kitty toys. Love it.

It seems you can't throw a sonic screwdriver these days without hitting another awesome TARDIS build, but if you haven't seen it yet you simply *must* watch this adorable German teacher building her own collapsible version:

[singing] "You-u-uuu! I wanna be like you-u-uuu! I wanna rock like you, talk like you..."


Yeah. She's totally my new role model.

And for a TARDIS with a practical side, here's a fab bookshelf version:

Found by Amy L., made by Instructables user CaitlinsDad (Tutorial & more pics at the link)

And finally, this isn't a DIY project; it's just the world's coolest new clock design:

The clock *ROTATES*, and you tell the time by the location of the rolling ball. When the ball reaches the center, it drops through the hole and emerges at the top/bottom 12 again.


And with a price tag of 350-400 pounds, it's also *&%$! expensive. That's, what, nearly $800 USD? Ok, maybe we should figure out a DIY on this thing after all. (Hit the link for lots more colors and patterns to choose from.)

Update: John just looked over my shoulder and said, "I could totally make that." I might have to hold him to that. So stay tuned. Ha!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Movies

A few random audio-visual delights for your weekend:

First, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is an utterly charming and beautifully animated short film. It's also a must-see for librarians.

Next, the best (and perhaps only) Portal/Nightmare Before Christmas mashup you will ever see:

I'm going to be humming this ALL DAY.

And finally, I know I'm really late to the party on this one, but have you seen the trailer for Hunger Games yet? HAVE YOU?? Because I can't stop watching it:

That ending gives me chills every. single. time.

It also reminds me that I *really* have to read the next two books.

I've been on a huge Warehouse 13 kick this week; I watched the whole second season in a matter of days. I'm not sure why I ever lost track of that show; it's pretty darn fabulous. (Although I mostly watch it for Claudia and Artie. Love love LOVE Claudia and Artie.) (Well, and all the gadgets. Obviously.) Now I'm stuck, though, because season three isn't on Netflix streaming. NoooOOOooo!

I guess this means I'll just have to go work or something.

Oh! Or catch up on Chuck - I'm a season or two behind on that, too.


So...what are you guys watching this weekend?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frame Your ACEOs By Cutting Corners

I've talked about framing ACEOs (small art cards that measure 2.5 x 3.5) before, but I've always hated the fact that I had to put adhesive directly on the card itself to mount it in a shadowbox, effectively ruining any signature or writing there.

(Of course you can also frame an ACEO using a mat, but since the cards are so tiny to begin with I like to keep the edges completely visible.)

It wasn't until a reader recently asked me if there was any way to mount an ACEO without adhesive that I started brainstorming alternatives.

I'll spare you the whole list, and just get straight to the blindingly-obvious-in-hindsight solution:

Photo corners!

Why didn't I think of these before??

They come in standard colors like black, white, and a beautiful metallic gold. Since they're paper, you could also paint them to match your art exactly.

[EDIT: Oooh, and according to the comments you can find them in clear plastic, too! AWESOME SAUCE.]

The easiest way to use the corners is to stick all four on your art card *before* removing the sticker backs:

Then you can line up your card on your backer board or pretty scrapbook paper and remove all the sticker backs at once.

If you plan to mount your card in a shadowbox, like these, then use the photo corners to attach your card to a stiff piece of mat board justly barely smaller than the card itself. Then glue your foam riser pieces to the board instead of your art. Voilá! Your art remains undamaged!

You can also trim the photo corners to make them a tiny bit smaller. Just be careful only to cut the front of the corner, and not the back support:

Hold your corners like this, bending the back piece back, and then use scissors to trim off a quarter inch or so. (Not much, I know, but every millimeter counts with ACEOs!)

Here's the piece I just finished framing tonight:

These are original watercolors I bought from my friend Christie (the same one who painted me the steampunk seahorse.) I've never been much of a unicorn person, but I just love these - and the fact that they're in my favorite colors doesn't hurt. ;)

I already had the frame and blue scrapbook paper, so the only expense was the photo corners and the white mat, which cost a whopping $4 at Hobby Lobby.

Speaking of which, I'm never going to the grumpy lady at JoAnn's for mats again! A sweet gal at HL literally took less than three minutes to cut this custom size for me, and then redid it even faster - for free! - when I asked for a slight change. ALL FOR FOUR DOLLARS. I think I'm in love.

Anyhoo, hope this tip helps some of you art-lovers out there! Happy framing!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Force is Strong With This Nursery

Shannon just sent me a link to the most amazing Star Wars themed nursery over on Apartment Therapy. Check this out:

Color-changing lightsaber sconces! YES. (And how perfect is that quote?)

I love the modern bold lines, and that mom Abby didn't go overboard with the details. Plus, no need to break out the paintbrush, the quote and wall art are all wall-decals!

I'm also digging that silhouette mobile. It was purchased here on Etsy, but I bet you could DIY something similar with heavy cardstock.

Here's a close-up:

And how about a version that uses ships from all different shows? I'm thinking Serenity, the Enterprise, the TARDIS, a few TIE-fighters...aw yeeeeah.

But perhaps the best part of this Force-full nursery? The Wampa-skin rug, of course!

It's gettin' Hoth in here!

There's also plenty of squee-worthy toys and an adorable Boba Fett lamp and more wall art and such, so go see the full picture slide show on the original post here. They also include a handy list of shopping links for all the goodies, which is both helpful and very dangerous. (Where can I hang some lightsaber sconces, guys? I mean, is the guest bathroom appropriate?)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Raid the Attic!

I love seeing obsolete or outdated technology turned into something fun and useful again. I mean, just look at this funky purse made from an old old rotary phone!

Check out the full tutorial by Chica and Jo, found via Dollar Store Crafts

Sadly I only use cross-body satchels these days, but I can promise you that if I ever see you carrying a purse like this I will love you forever.

(And by "love you forever," I mean "stalk you through the store until I work up the courage to tell you how cool you are, and maybe ask you out in a totally platonic and John-approved manner.")

Over on Etsy you can find notepads made from old floppy disks or hard disks for as little as $5, but of course this was the one to catch my eye:

$9.15 at emilydesign

Or how about these tiny vintage cameras that Jason Hull turns into nightlights?

Seriously genius. This ones shines through both the lens on the front and the viewfinder on top.

Here's another:

I never knew how much I needed a camera nightlight until this very second. MUST HAVE CUTENESS NOW.

(You can see lots more at Jason's Flickr stream.)

And finally, perhaps the most beautiful typewriter mod I've ever seen:

This hacked typewriter types colors instead of letters. It's a piece of art that actually makes art*! WOW. Made by Tyree Callahan (hit the link for more pics), found via BoingBoing.

[*EDIT: as a few of you have pointed out in the comments, a closer reading of that article shows the color typewriter isn't actually functional. Oops. Still pretty, though!]
I know there's tons of jewelry that makes use of old circuit boards and memory sticks and whatnot, but have you guys seen anything else cool made from old technology? Share your links in the comments!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

DIY Hat Display Stand

Here's a quick & easy mod for anyone who has a pretty bit of head wear to display. It's perfect for steampunk top hats and aviator hoods, but would work equally well for any kind of hat - like, say, collectible Mickey ears. [grin]

All you need is a pretty candlestick, half of a hard foam ball, a bit of padding, fabric, and long push pins (not shown - ignore those nail tacks there):

The foam ball will sit on the top of your candlestick. It can hang over the edge, or you can get a size that fits the top almost exactly, as I did.

Cut your foam ball in half (I used a long utility blade) and cover it with quilters batting. Glue the first layer down with plain white craft glue, and the other layers of batting will stick to each other.

Now, I didn't actually have any batting, so - prepare to laugh - I used unrolled cotton balls:

Hey, it works!

If you plan to tuft your cushion (did I mention we're making a cushion here?) with pins, you'll need a fair amount of padding. I used four or five layers of unrolled cotton balls, with a bit extra on the very peak.

Now the tricky bit: wrap your padded half ball with a generous square of fabric and gather it all together underneath the flat bottom, holding it all in one hand. Smooth the top of the ball with your free hand as best you can, and arrange the pleats/scrunchy bits on the edges 'til you're happy with the results.

Next tie the gathered fabric you're holding together with a long twist tie or bit of string, like so:

Then pin the bejeepers out of it all around the edges. (Kinda looks like a jellyfish's nethers, doesn't it?)

When your pins are all in, remove the twist tie and trim off the excess fabric.

Now flip your mini cushion over and use more push pins to create a tufted look, if you like:

I quickly realized the tacks I purchased were way too large, so I decided to stick with the tiny push pins. I later used liquid gold leaf to paint the tips, so now they blend with the fabric better:

I used a small square of industrial Velcro to attach the cushion to my candlestick top. If your candlestick has a metal spike sticking out, though, you could just stick the foam ball right on top of that.

And that's it!

Although I did have to add one last finishing touch:

Since this is for the steampunk Mickey ears Christina & Dylan made for me, I decided to add my aviator Mickey pin to the stand's base. First I jazzed it up with a few gears on the back:

[singing] "I glued some gears on it, and called it steeeeampuuunk..."

...and then I drilled a tiny hole into the base to insert the pin back:

This way I can still remove the pin when I want to wear it. Also, note how the gears match the back of my Mickey ears:

(Ah, those infamous Tim Holtz gears...)

Ok, time for pretty finished product shots!

Now, you might be wondering why I bothered making a pretty cushion when odds are no one will ever see it. Good question. All I can say it, I'll know it's there.

And here are my steampunk ears, finally displayed in all their glory!

And now with a few snazzy accoutrements:

Hope you enjoyed, guys! Be sure to send pics if you try this yourself!

Oh, and if you're on the hunt for good candlesticks to mod, I found the best selection was over at HomeGoods. This one cost about $12, and is a nice heavy resin. Of course, ideally you already have a few wooden 'sticks lying around the house you can use!


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