Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Steam 7/7/12

Natasha sent over a link to the latest Prada men's wear collection, of all things, but you're about to see why!

Awwww yeeeeah. And yes, that's Gary Oldman. (!!)

Mee-YOW. Fffft. Ffft

And that's Willem Dafoe! (The other two guys are actors, too, but I don't recognize them.) [Update: Jamie Bell & Garret Hedlund]

Gentlemen of the world, would you kindly start dressing more like this? And then pose broodingly in the corners of dark English libraries while offering me a spot of Earl Gray in a fine British accent? :D

Getting back to the clothes, though, there's some really interesting stuff happening with the pocket accessories - I need to find a bigger photo so I can get a closer look. I think they're fancy stick pins, plus there's a cool chunky pen in there. Lovely.

Next, how wild is this mechanical switch plate Jess D. found?

It took me a moment to realize the gears actually function; you turn the top knob to flip the switch!

Green Tree Jewelry over on Etsy has lots of different styles of plates, too. I'm especially digging this one:

...but you've got to click over and see the rest of their crazy contraptions. They're all so, so cool. (Plus Green Tree makes those nifty kinetic gear pendants I featured a while back. Lots o' goodies!)

Check out what I found over on BoingBoing - a nixie tube chess set!

Seriously, is there anything nixie tubes can't make more awesome? (Making my own nixie tube clock has been on my craft bucket list for *years* now. Why can't they offer a class on that at my local craft store? Forget sewing a pillow: TEACH ME WIRING, DANG IT!)


Any Golden Compass fans out there? 'Cuz you guys are going to LOVE what Beth S. found:

THIS, my friends, is a needle-felted Panserbjorne Armored Ice Bear, complete with his own custom armor. I am in awe. Seriously. How do you stab fibers with a bunch of needles and get...this?

Just look how life-like his face is!

Click on over to StevIt on Etsy to see more pictures, or, if you have a spare $1,800 handy, to buy me a Happy Summer present. No gift wrapping necessary, even.

And finally, for a fascinating read check out this Wired article about a brilliant young woman - described as "a real-life incarnation of Steampunk" - who wants to reinvent the power grid using compressed air. It sounds like something straight out of a steampunk fantasy novel, and Danielle Fong - the woman in question - sounds like the heroine who leapt from its pages:

"Danielle Fong was 12 years old when her mother decided she should go to college. Danielle’s teachers didn’t agree. Though an aptitude test put her above 99 percent of students who had already graduated from high school, her teachers said the move to college would ruin her education. But her mother sent her anyway."

That's just the opening paragraph. Like I said: fascinating, and well worth the read.

Have something steamy to share? Then hit me up in the comments, on Facebook, or via e-mail!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Jen's Gems 7/6/12

Oh, this? This is just a wedding bouquet made from a sonic screwdriver and pages from a Sherlock Holmes story. No biggie.

(via BoingBoing)

[Kermit flail] AAAIIEEIII!!

Plus, I saw someone suggest making one with a lightsaber. BRILLIANT!

Yet another reason why I need to learn wiring and Arduino and whatnot:

The folks over at adafruit technologies posted a tutorial for building your own time circuit clock! I have that exact same Delorean model on my desk, too. Only now it looks lonely without a time circuit next to it.  (via NerdApproved)

I haven't done a jewelry post in a while, perfect are these white rabbit cameo earrings?!

They're only about $8 over on Etsy (shipping from England not included) - and while I guess they're not necessarily Alice in Wonderland earrings, that's all I can think of when I look at them. Can't you just imagine some adorable Lolita-style Alice wearing them?

I'm slowly going through the process of changing all my office art frames from black to white. I love the cleaner look, but getting new mats and painting all the frames and then re-framing every. single. piece. is taking sooo much longer than I expected. I'm roughly halfway there, and hating the chaos, but when I see something like this I remember what I'm striving for:

How great is that display?! Grouping by color on a mostly-white background gives the whole space such a bright and modern look - exactly what I'm hoping to cobble together in my own art-packed office.  (That's the home of graphic designer Sarah Harvey, btw; Etsy did a spotlight on her home [with lots of great photos] here.)

I do have one tiny half-wall done in my office, so when I'm feeling overwhelmed I just turn my chair around and stare at this for a few minutes:

Ahhhh. Soon *all* my walls will look this good.
I hope. ;)
(See my Dan Aykroyd print up there? I finally got it framed!)

And finally, I've never seen Peter Davison (my first & favorite Doctor) in person before, so I was beyond delighted when Colin Ferguson (of Eureka) tweeted this video of the two of them and Gareth David Lloyd (of Doctor Who & Torchwood) doing a Q&A at a convention last weekend:

And since John and I have been watching Eureka every night for the past few weeks, it was doubly delightful. If you want a fun way to kill an hour, definitely watch the whole thing. Personally, I'm now convinced that these are three of the coolest/nicest guys on the planet, and I'm desperately jealous of everyone who was there. (Oh, and the things in the little plastic cup are jello shots. Clearly this was a very fun con. Ha!)

Here's a photo Colin tweeted earlier of him and Davison at the same con:

That's all for now! As always, if you have something fun to share, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

DIY Baby Aviator Goggles!

If you follow me on Facebook then you might recall my mentioning a few weeks ago that a friend asked me to do her upcoming newborn photo shoot - and she told me I can steampunk it. Wahoo!

I've since been making and assembling a few essential props and wardrobe accessories, but of course the one thing you've GOT to have for a steampunk photo shoot - baby or no - is a pair of goggles, right?


And since you never want anything scratchy, sharp, or too hard around a baby's face, I decided to make these aviator goggles. They're mostly cloth, except for the lenses, and the fur lining will help pad them against baby's head. (I don't plan on having the newborn wear them over her eyes; they'll just be on her head like a headband, or with the cap.)

The cap came from my aviator teddy bear, which I've had stashed away in my office for years:

I've had this guy since before I was married - I won him out of a claw machine. :D

(And happily the strap of my new goggles helps cover the ear-slits.)

When I first remembered I had this bear I was all excited, thinking I could just use his cap & goggles as-is, but when I got them off I realized the goggles were just a cheap pair of children's swim goggles:

 This will not do.

So I turned to the 'net, and discovered a fabulous template made from a pair of WWI aviator goggles:

(Go here to see the original goggles and more technical drawings.)

I decided to make a pair like this, and fit the swim lenses inside.

(Keep in mind that even though I'm making a baby-sized pair here, you could easily use the same method to make a pair for yourself.)

Using the template as a reference, I sketched out the approximate shape onto a piece of paper, folded it to make sure both sides were symmetrical, and cut it out:

I made my initial paper template too big, so I had to keep trimming it down to get it more baby-sized. (Pro Tip: If it will fit your face, it's too big for a baby.)

When I was satisfied it was small as I could get it and still fit the lenses inside, I traced my pattern onto a piece of vinyl, and cut that out:

Next I traced the swim goggle lenses onto the vinyl to get the placement and size right. This was my first try, and I made the lenses too far apart. I later had to go back and start over with a new piece. (Good thing this only uses a tiny scrap of vinyl!)

To fit the swim goggles into the vinyl, I removed the goggles' strap, clipped off the plastic nose pieces with a pair of pliers, and sanded off the rough bits that were left over:

From there it was just a matter of pushing the lenses through the holes in my vinyl. (Because vinyl stretches, it's better to cut your holes on the smaller side.) To keep the lenses in place, I drew a line of gel super glue around the edge of the hole on the wrong side of the vinyl before pushing each lens through. I had to be quick to get the lens positioned before the glue dried:


Next, I crossed one side tab over the other to give the goggles a bit of a curve:

...and glued it in place. Then I trimmed the tab edges so the corners didn't stick out.

 Here's the front view:

Hey, they're starting to look like goggles!

 Next, these goggles need some straps:

I planned to attach the straps via velcro to the cap, so I made mine short. (I want to be able to interchange them with the cap and a stretchy headband, so they can be worn either way.)

Finally, I cut two narrow strips off the "wool" lining of my teddy bear's leather jacket, and used those to give the goggles a fur lining. I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture, but all it took was folding the small strip of faux wool in half, fur side out, gluing the two sides together (you could sew it, of course, but I'm lazy) and then gluing that fuzzy strip around the inside edge of the goggles. The "wool" is fuzzy enough that the fur will stick out, making it look like the whole interior is lined.

Here's the back side of the finished goggles, so you can see what I mean:

Oh, and one final tip: when working with vinyl it's a good idea to have a matching Sharpie marker on hand to color in all the edges of the fabric, so you don't have a bunch of white edges showing through and spoiling the leather look. I forgot to color in the edges of the lens holes before gluing the lenses in place, so there's a tiny white line showing from the front. Not a huge deal, but if you're a perfectionist like me, you'll want to color that in ahead of time.

My newborn shoot is this weekend, so wish me luck! And in the meantime, since I don't have a baby to model 'em yet, here's Kermit wearing the cap and goggles:

I suspect they'll still be too large for a newborn, but hopefully they're small enough to just look adorably over-sized, and not completely ridiculous.

As always, if you try this yourself, please send me pictures! It's fun to see what you guys come up with, and I love knowing which tutorials inspire you guys to get crafty yourself!

Oh, and while I'm at it, here's another prop for the newborn shoot. John and I made it at the suggestion of several of you on the Epbot FB page - and I think you're gonna liiiike it!

Yep, it's a giant wind-up key - for the baby's back.


I seriously cannot WAIT for this shoot. Cross your fingers for me that I won't completely screw it up, k, guys?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Miami SuperCon!

As promised, my photo report of our weekend at Miami's SuperCon!

 C'mon. What's not to love?

If you know who this is, you're gonna FLIP:

It's Lydia from the Beetlejuice cartoon! Isn't she great?!

The best steampunk ensemble of the weekend:

 That jet pack is sooo cool - and I love the fins on his helmet and the arm bracer design. Not to mention it's kind of refreshing to see a non-distressed steampunk costume - so shiny and crisp!

Speaking of steampunk, reader Shellie tracked me down at the con and surprised me with this adorable sculpted Mini Me in my steampunk costume:

She even included my ray gun and feather hair clip! HOW COOL IS THAT?
(This is only two inches tall, btw. It's a MINI mini me!)

The Ghostbusters booth had this containment unit out front:

I managed to score a sufficiently creepy shot of Slimer:

 With a bonus Ghostbuster and StayPuft reflection!

Speaking of Ghostbusters, this guy had the slime pack from the second movie (and the video game):

You don't see this pack too often, and it's really well made. Major props! (Pun intended.)

One tricky thing about group shots...
It's hard to get everyone to look at you (and not blink) at the same time!

For once I find myself actually wishing there were other people in this shot, just for scale reference:

 These kids were actually quite tiny, so I took the shot while down on one knee. Aren't they cute? (And I'm guessing...Pokemon?)

Of course I couldn't resist Artist's Alley, which is where all my con money gets spent. Here's artist Chris Hamer of UrbnPop holding up my fabulous new Big Daddy sketch:

Perhaps I should explain.

I asked Chris to color the Big Daddy in crazy, technicolor rainbows and such. "Girl it up," I told him. He was more than happy to oblige, and I LOVE the result. Also, Chris is Super Cool - John and I had a lot of fun chatting with him both days we were there.

Speaking of fun people, our friends Chris and Christy introduced us to Dana Snyder, the voice of Master Shake on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I think I've watched maybe one episode of Hunger Force, and Dana didn't know us from a hole in the wall, but that didn't stop him from hanging out with us all for a bit talking iPhones and Disney stuff. (He besmirched the name of Voices of Liberty, you guys. BESMIRCHED it, I say! But it was funny, so all is forgiven.) Anyhoo, my point being: if you're a fan and you get the chance, go meet him. He's good people.

[Update: Chris made a short video featuring several of the voice actors at the con, including a lot of Dana. You can see it here - and watch 'til the end for the bloopers; they're the best part. :)]

Ok, back to the costumes!

Pretty Lady Loki:

Her makeup was gorgeous - I wish my photo showed it better.

 Green Goblin:

This little Harley Quinn shook her head when someone asked if she wanted her picture taken, but the second I raised my camera she immediately popped her little hip out and posed like a pro. Ha!

This Chell/Aperture Test Subject made her Portal gun out of foam, but wow does it look good for foam!

 She also made the long-fall boots. So great!

A fabulous Storm from X-Men - and check out those eyes!

 More kid cuteness:

And here's Daphne Lage working on an ACEO I commissioned. She's cracking up because John is growling and saying something about her being a tiger, and to "work it." You know, usual John stuff.

I'm officially in love with Lage's style, and I wish I'd found her sooner to commission a bunch more cards! Here's the finished piece:

Mr. Stay Puft!

And while I'm at it, here's the rest of my art haul from the weekend:

TMNT watercolors by Scott Vollmar (who painted the last two turtles for me overnight so I could have the whole set) and a cutie-style Edward Scissorhands sketch by Micheal "Locoduck" Duron. (Duron also did my Beaker & Dr. Honeydew sketch, so you might recognize his style from my MegaCon post.)

These were just a few of my favorite costumes from the con, btw, so to see the rest just head over to my Flickr account. (It saves me the trouble of posting 50+ photos here.)

Hope you guys enjoyed! Next up is more crafty stuff, so stay tuned!