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I love seeing obsolete or outdated technology turned into something fun and useful again.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!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baby Epbot 'Bot!

Jordan of jayMARIAH just posted this on the Epbot Facebook page, and AAAUUGHH GREAT GEEKY SQUEEEGASM!

Oh. My. Cute.

On the one hand, I am delighted beyond the capacity for rational thought.



Ah, but it gets better. When I asked Jordan to scan the drawing in to send me a copy, she reported that she didn't have a scanner, so instead, how about this?

Orange balloon! Orange balloon! ORANGE BALLOON!!!

I love how Jordan instinctively knew the original 'bot was designed so his head could retract into his body, too. I like to think he really did start out as an egg, and then ate too many data chips as he got older. :D

Go show Jordan some love on her post, won't you? I'll just be here staring pie-eyed at the cuteness and cooing softly to myself. So, you know, don't mind me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Great Non-Event


So, I have about four new craft projects in the works, but nothing ready to share yet. So instead, here's a little update on the life of two hermit blogger persons:

- Remember that orange safety knife that matched our car and John bought at a dead mall after the nice British sales lady sliced her finger open with it and sprayed blood all over the place and I freaked out like a squeamish McSqueamerson?

[reminiscing] Ah, memories.

Anyway, someone stole it! Right out of our car! They left the old iPod and CDs and somewhat pricey mobile Internet card, but took our $12 window smasher/knife thingy. They rifled through all our stuff and even used the knife to cut open a package I hadn't mailed yet in the backseat - but left everything in the package. Odd, right? So now I figure this is all a plot by a clever killer who's planning on making our little pocket knife his new murder spree weapon of choice because it has John's fingerprints all over it. The fact that I've been watching the new Sherlock over and over again has nothing to do with that theory, either.

- Speaking of awesome TV shows: DOWNTON ABBEY OMG!! I can't remember the last time I was this excited over new episodes. You're all watching it, right? RIGHT?! Please, I need someone to understand my pain and madness and wishing Thomas would just fall in love with a nice boy and maybe arm-length evening gloves would come back in fashion and do Mary's eyebrows fascinate any one else out there or is that just me?


- As I type this, John is cleaning the house and singing pretty songs at the top of his lungs. I joked on Twitter that I was waiting for the helpful woodland creatures to show up. Because I can totally make Disney princess jokes about my husband. TOTALLY.

- On a serious note, tomorrow is a terribly important non-event for us, because tomorrow is the day John and I decided many months back that we would shut down Cake Wrecks. For good.

Told you it was serious.

We'd told our closest friends and family and I wrote the final post and we faced the incredulous lecture of our financial adviser and friend who could not believe we wouldn't even consider selling the site. (And just to go on record: we never will. I won't see CW turned into a soulless Cheezburger network clone - ever.)

It wasn't because we've lost readership- we've held steady with our numbers for forever, and I still have nearly 10 times the audience there that I have here - and it wasn't because I don't enjoy writing it anymore. It wasn't even that I felt unappreciated - if only you could see the touching, makes-me-cry-at-least-once-a-week fan mail. I was just tired. Physically, mentally, spiritually - I felt drained and uninspired, and the daily deadline to BE FUNNY NOW was chipping away at my motivation to even get out of bed every afternoon. (Blogger's hours, doncha know.)

I have mild bouts of that kind of depression pretty regularly, but after the last book and 5-week tour it reached a critical level. Stopping CW seemed the only way out.

Then the tour ended, and we got home and purposely planned a low-key holiday season with minimal travel and family interaction. I got back to my crafting, and spent a lot of time alone with my cats and my hubby and learning to breathe again.

And I felt better.

So, for those of you who might be concerned, Cake Wrecks is NOT ending tomorrow. There won't be another CW book, though. I've learned where my breaking point is, and writing and promoting a new book while maintaining two blogs and my sanity is IT.

That said, I still haven't really caught up. I usually write posts about a week out - once even two weeks out - but for the past month I've been writing each day's post at 8pm the night before. John says I write better this way, since I can't over think it. I say it's still pretty dang nerve-wracking. I'm hoping to muster the motivation to get back in the black sometime soon.

And 'til then: I have a few crafts to finish. ;)