Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mail Bag Beauties!

I've been mildly sick for almost a week now, but it's the kind of sick you can't really complain about, because you're mostly fine, but there's just enough queasiness and head drippiness to make you tired and whiny and watch too many 30 Rock repeats. (Liz Lemon just GETS me, you know?)

Anyway, it's weeks like these that I really really appreciate all the fun surprises you guys send me in the mail. I tend to get a few things a month, varying from smashed pennies (yessss, my precioussss) to sticker-covered letters to baggies of broken jewelry bits for my craft endeavors. Every single package makes me feel like it's my birthday, and I have a special soft spot for handwritten letters from young geeklings with mad Perler Bead skills:

I actually got this from Elsie K. several months ago (and shared it on FB, I believe) but it's too awesome not to share here on the blog, too. Look at her little drawing of Sir Squibner! (I later made the bead 'bot into a magnet, so I can see it every day.)

Speaking of drawings, last week Victoria G. sent me a gorgeous glossy print of her amazing Lady Vadore art:

My first Lady Vadore fan art! Woot! I can't wait to frame it.

Also last week, Kelli sent me her custom-made Epbot Vinylmation:

She even gave him a fun steampunk twist! I'm diggin' the "flower" gears & little chain on his pocket watch.

And here's another cutie 'bot that came in a few months back, by artist/sculptor Dyani:

Complete with mini-me & mini-John!

As you can see, I now have a whole collection of mini-Epbots:
 Three counts as a collection, right? :)

This glass arrived a few weeks ago without a card, so I'm not sure which of you lovelies made it for me, but it totally made my day:


And did I ever show you guys the shopping tote Pernilla in Sweden made me?
Sewn from scratch and embroidered!

(Can I just say how surreal it is to get things from around the globe? I got a postcard from Belgium this week. BELGIUM. And two days ago someone e-mailed me from Hungary using Google Translator. I'm not trying to brag; I'm just saying the Internet really has made it a small world, after all - and I freaking LOVE THAT.)

(And yes, I DO know I just stuck Small World in your head. MWUAH. HA. HAA.)

And finally, when John brought in Theresa B.'s crafty creation yesterday I thought she'd purchased it from some high-end boutique. Then I looked closer, and realized it's all handcrafted! Theresa started with a blank mini lunchbox purse, and turned it into this:


She covered it in those steamy papers, and then added gems, decals, gears, and even a raygun smashed penny! Inside it's fully lined with a thick felt.

Here's the back:

I think I need to add a long chain so I can use this a purse the next time I step out as a Steampunk!

Thanks for letting me geek out about my new goodies, guys, and extra squealy thanks and hugs to all of you who keep reminding me - with your comments, e-mails, and surprises - that I have the best "job" in the world. Even when I'm feeling whiny and queasy and snotty-in-a-literal-sense.

Btw, I always feel awkward mentioning gifts here on the blog, both because I never want to be an obnoxious braggart, and because I never want to look like I'm trolling for free stuff. (I also don't want sellers to think that just because they send me something I'm going to blog about it.) So, with all that said, and only because it's a FAQ: if you'd like my mailing address, just e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Procrastination Station 11/5/12

Here's how I'm wasting my time online this week:

Leigh W. recommended The Abominable Charles Christopher, and now I'm hooked on this adorable web comic:
 Hit the link up there to start at the beginning. I'm still not too far along, but I'm loving the sweet-natured characters and the layers of mystery and (possible?) meaning behind it all.

I can't tell you how many times I've listened to Jonathan Coulton's new recording of his song Code Monkey, because I've lost count. Usually the song's a bit more rockin', but I like this slightly softer take on it. If you've never heard any of Coulton's music before, definitely give it a listen:

If you like it you can do what I did and go buy it for a dollar at Coulton's site. (I like to set it on repeat on iTunes and drive John crazy. Hee!)

Next, prepare for some fantasy/design eye candy of the highest order, because BoingBoing just turned me on to the Hidden Bookcase Doors Tumblr:

Secret passages and hidden doors, oh my!! And when you're done drooling over that blog, go check out HiddenPassageway.com for more jaw-dropping trickery like this:

Perfecting for fantasizing about your own secret lab/hidden library/epic game room. (I've been eying all the exterior walls in our house, trying to figure out where we can add on a room just so I can make the doorway a secret bookshelf door. Then I'd make the latch a book that you have to pull on. Awww YEEEEAAAAH.)

And finally, I know I've mentioned this blog before, but I recently re-discovered Fashion It So thanks to SuperPunch, and spent a LOL-filled few nights catching up on the archives:

Technically it's about the fashion choices of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but really it's a blow-by-blow account of each episode with hysterical screen caps and commentary. It's NSFW due to language, but definitely go check it out if you're a fellow Trekker. Or just like laughing.

K, I think that's enough to keep you well and truly occupied for now, so....go forth and procrastinate, my friends!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Steam 11/3/12

"Whiskey Nick" Triton - the same steampunk artist who made two of the steampunk Jack-O-Lanterns I featured a few weeks ago - makes some of the most amazing steampunk accouterments. Check out this hat he's dubbed "The Divinci."

Or how about these "Nautical Goggles with Seahorses?"


Triton's work reminds me why I fell in love with steampunk in the first place. I love the character he gives each piece, and his finishing is just spectacular. Definitely go check out the rest of his creations for more inspirational beauties like these!

Next up, Emma sent in a different kind of Steampunk Insect:

These "Litter bugs" are made from vintage book bindings, clock parts, and miscellaneous hardware. So clever! See the whole collection here on Flickr.

And for your steampunk parlor, check out this awesome "Candle-By-The-Hour" Melissa sent over:

How cool is this?? I've seen a vertical version before, but never one on a rotating drum. I think I need one for our back room, which is slowly being assimilated by my steampunk dining room. (Resistance is futile...)  It's about $35 at the Cabela's website.

And here's the vertical version, in case you've never seen one:

There's a new Kickstarter out for a Twilight Zone-style steampunk series, and it sounds pretty darn cool. Watch this:
This has the potential to be seriously awesome. I can't wait to see!

Maranda B.'s husband Matt was a steampunk Ghostbuster for Halloween, and I am loving all the details on his proton pack:

See more (plus pics of Maranda as an adorable Harley Quinn) at their Flickr account.

And while we're talking steampunk costumes, I've seen a lot of great ones this Halloween, but Jennifer P. may have found the greatest:

This is Emily Green, who styled herself as a steampunk assassin - and she made everything herself, from the jewelry to the leather pieces to the dress! Go here for a few more pics and a detailed description of everything she did.

And finally, you've probably seen me rave about Datamancer and his steampunk keyboard and laptop mods before, but those are well and truly out of most of our price ranges AND skill levels. That's why I'm so gosh-darned impressed with this PC makeover by blogger AJL, who claims it only took him about a week to do and roughly $50 in materials:

Fifty bucks? THAT'S IT?!

He doesn't give any details, so I've been staring hard at his photos trying to figure out how he did it all. The wood trim pieces I've seen at Home Depot, and upon closer inspection I've decided he must have used a wood patterned contact paper to cover the faces of everything. It looks great, though, and really the only give-away is the slightest bubbling on the inside edge of the keyboard:

The keys you can see he painted silver and then glued on metal nuts, with printed key tops decoupaged over...screw heads? Maybe? I can't imagine the rounded keys are comfortable to type on, though - there's a reason keyboards and typewriters always have a concave surface - so I'd be tempted to fill the nut interiors with epoxy clay smoothed in a bit in the middle.

The PC case is mostly a mystery to me - although I do spy some nixie tubes - so I'm guessing those are mostly found objects decorating it.

The scrolled sides of the keyboard are more wooden trim pieces with dowels running the length of the front and back. Really, the whole design is genius, and AJL's setup looks like a million bucks.
Go see the rest of his photos here, and then tell me you're not tempted to head to the hardware store. (Although I don't think John would take too kindly to my covering my Mac with contact paper. Hee!)

Seen something steamy this week? DO TELL. Share your links in the comments or over on the Epbot FB page!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, John!

Today is John's birthday, and since he hates having photos of himself posted online almost more than I do, it's time for a John photo slideshow!!

John as a toddler (he's the youngest):

John as a kid:

John as a high school graduate:
(Your birthday present is I skipped the gangly teenage years, Sweetie.)

John on our wedding day:

John doing what he does best:

(I kid, I kid...)

John napping with our new kittens:

John feeding the birds:
(Tuppence a bowl!)

John and my brother, Ben, in the photo that (along with the bird one) will always be proudly displayed next to my monitor:

(Best. Picture. EVER.)

John rockin' his first convention costume:

John being the best husband any girl could ask for:

Happy birthday, Sweetie! I love you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Figment of My Imagination

I'm still coming down from the internet Halloween high of the last few days, but I didn't want you guys to think I'd forgotten my promise to post Figment pictures! So here goes...

About a week after we started on John's Dreamfinder costume he insisted that *I* go in costume, too. (Wha??) Since I knew I could never look exactly like the actual dragon himself, I decided to try to make a pretty, girly version of Figment. And in keeping with the character, I aimed for something more little-girl girly than sexy girly, since I'm not out to ruin anyone's childhood. ;) (Not to mention it takes industrial strength corsets for me to pull off anything even remotely "sexy." Ha!)

We hit a lot of pitfalls and challenges along the way, and I'd by lying if I said I really liked this cosplay, but here it is, for better or worse:

Everything you see here is handmade, with the exception of the boots. It turns out you can't find lavender clothing ANYWHERE, so after weeks of fruitless searching we finally bought this stretchy lavender fabric, and John made me a skirt out of it. Yes, a skirt. But he made it so long that I was able to pull it up and use it as a dress. (Me: "Hey, now I don't need a shirt! BOOYA!!") The pink cummerbund (which closes with Velcro) holds it all together - take it off and I have the world's largest muumuu. Heh. The sleeves are just two long tapered tubes that I pull on like arm-warmers. (The great thing about t-shirt fabric? NO HEMMING REQUIRED. Woohoo!)   

The yellow sweater started out as an enormous pull-over from GoodWill which we cut and snipped and darted until it was about half its original size. I used iron-on hem tape to attach the red sleeve cuffs, and John made a lovely red band for the collar as well, but sadly it doesn't show at ALL with my hair down. At the last minute I used the remaining strip of red fabric as a neck tie, just so you could see some red around my neck that way.

Figment has teeny tiny wings, but I made the conscious decision to make mine extra large so they would show up from the front. In my mind, if it's not going to show when people take your picture, there's no point in making it. (Yep, I'm lazy!) That's also why I don't have a tail, even though I really did want to make one - it just didn't seem worth the effort if no one would see it!

Since my sweater was open in the front I couldn't have "Figment' written across my chest - so I decided to make a large necklace of his name instead.

To make it, I held Figment's t-shirt up to a window with a piece of paper over it, using it as a poor-woman's lightbox, and traced out the letters onto the paper:

Then I cut out the letters and used them as templates on a thickly rolled-out piece of black clay, which I cut and shaped with a craft blade:

I arranged the letters in a curved shape on a piece of paper, and then sketched out a shape around them. John then cut a scrap of thin aluminum he had in the garage into that shape for me, sanding it to give it a neat swirly texture:

 I glued on the clay letters, and then blinged everything up with cheap nail gems:

The aluminum is so lightweight that the necklace weighs next to nothing!

Originally I planned to paint a masquerade mask on my face, but after a few tries I realized I just wasn't skilled enough to pull it off - and even if I were, it'd take forever to do, and I didn't want that kind of stress!

So, I made that mask up there.

 I took the shape I'd planned to paint on my face and modified it to fit this plain masquerade mask:

I cut the top portion from a lavender craft foam, and painted the mask itself a darker purple:

Then I painted thin lines of glue around the edges and added loose glitter:

I felt like I was back in grade school, doing this! And I warned John we'd have glitter everywhere for weeks, but dangit, IT WAS FUN.

I wanted to keep the mask simple, so I just added darker purple glitter on the eyes (so it looked like eye shadow), and a center line down the nose for sparkle:

Lastly I went back with a wet paint brush and cleaned off the chalk lines you can still see here.

My design is supposed to look like stylized horns, but I realize it also looks a lot like a crown - so I guess if any of you need a Barbie princess mask...

Well, I've already covered how I made the wings and horns, so I guess that's everything! Obviously I should have had lavender boots, but all I could find online were dark purple ones, and I wasn't up for spending an extra $40 on footwear. :/ (And I don't do heels.)

As long as you crop off my feet, though, it looks Ok:

I keep holding my skirt out because I wanted a big poofy skirt. If I ever wear this again, I'll have to get a nice ruffly petticoat for it.

So that was my Halloween costume! All in all, I'm still glad I didn't wear it with John's Dreamfinder, since I liked having the focus just be on him that night. Besides, my costume is more of a creative interpretation of Figment than a literal one, while John's is pretty darn exact.

Which reminds me: would you guys believe that the original Dreamfinder himself commented on John's costume?! BECAUSE HE DID! And he said amazingly nice things about it! I've been reading his blog the past few days, so that was a major, MAJOR Dizgeek moment for me. I'm still not over it; I get all fangirly and shrieky inside every time I think about it. (EEEE!)

And finally finally, a lot of you have mentioned that you've never seen the original Journey Into Imagination ride that our costumes are based on, which is a tragedy I feel compelled to correct, in at least a small way. So here's the best video of it I've found:

This starts with a pretty comprehensive look at the area around the ride and the building itself, so the ride portion doesn't start until the 3 minute mark. And it's a pretty long ride, so you'll need to continue on to part 2 here (sorry, the embedding is disabled). The beginning of part 2 is my favorite part of the ride, though, and certainly the most beautiful, so please don't miss it!

Thanks for being so patient, guys, and for providing me with endless entertainment/distractions the past few days with all of your Halloween costumes and pumpkins and crafts! My inbox is overflowing, so I may never get back to you all, but please know that I am LOVING all of it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Haunted Disney Scare

Here's a fun scare for your Halloween night: Gather the family 'round (well, if your kids are old enough for scary stuff, of course) for a frightfully good time at the Haunted Mansion:

(Found via BoingBoing and Inside the Magic.)

This is an eleven minute, Blair-Witch-Style film shot almost entirely on Disney property, and it's incredibly well done. There are a couple of pretty decent scares in it, too, although I freely admit I'm the wussiest scaredy-cat out there. 

And for those who don't like it scary, here are some more adorkable little Epbot readers to wish you a happy Halloween! 

This is Eva. Eva's mom Amanda thinks she's the cutest little droid you'll see tonight - and I think she might be right!

Kitrina's two-year-old geekling announced that she was going to be "Princess Batman" for Halloween, leaving Kitrina to figure out the rest. I'd say she did a fantastic job!

Jennifer M.'s seven-year-old Emily is obsessed with dinosaurs, so last year she was a velicorapter, and this year she's a pteranodon:
Emily, you're going to have to teach me how to pronounce that, ok? And, mom? AMAZING.

And lest you think I'm leaving out the boys:

Shelley W. and her two sons definitely know the way to this geek girl's heart. :)

Happy Halloween, everyone!!