Monday, December 3, 2012

Pixar's Lamp Robot is the Cutest Thing You'll See Today

[running in]


I just found what I want for Christmas:

[UPDATE: video fixed. Sorry, guys!]

Yep, thanks to three students in New Zealand, Pixar's adorable lamp mascot has come to life. Be sure to watch the video all the way through, because by the end I was "AWWWW"ing in a way usually reserved for baby sloths.

Now if they'll just make a baby version, too, and paint them both white, AND include the rubber Pixar ball for the baby lamp to balance on...

...Santa? Are you listening?

(found via Misty Harris on

Sunday, December 2, 2012

This Is Why I Love Twitter (And The Bloggess)

The Bloggess said she loves me, you guys - and possibly called me God. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID. Or something.

Ah, but then - THEN - a random genius named Jordan chimed in:

Which led to this:

Gratuitous quotation marks *and* a bonus Monty Python sacking? Bless you, Jordan Kvochick.

You know, between this and Allie Brosh's picture for me, I really CAN die happy now. (But I think I'll take a nap happy, instead.)

(See, John? I don't have a "Twitter problem," I have a THE BLOGGESS SAID SHE LOVES ME "problem." So there.)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Steam 12/1/12

I see a lot of amazing steampunk costumes from you readers, but Hilary P.'s is particularly drool-worthy.

First, here's the concept drawing she started with:

See more of Hilary's art here

And here's the finished product!

Excuse me while I wolf-whistle and my eyeballs pop out cartoon-style. WOWZA.

She writes:

"I made the red coat and over skirt, goggles, & necklace all from scratch. The coat is a hybrid between two Simplicity patterns. The three layered underskirts were from Goodwill and are sewn together. The goggles are from YOUR tutorial, and I added the filigrees (which started out as rings I bent flat) and all the little jewels and gears. 

"The belts were all garage sale finds from earlier this summer. The belt accessories are the Message in a bottle I made [previously featured here], an hourglass necklace I got at The Icing By Claire's, as well as the pocket watch necklace. The old keys were from an antique furniture salvage place owned by a lady I know. My shoes (which you can't really see) look like little victorian style booties I got at Goodwill for cheep!"

Absolutely breath-taking, Hilary! The over coat, the layered skirts, the lace gloves - it's all making me green with envy. I'm also pretty sure I have that exact same belt with the round buckle. Heh.

Next up, you might remember Melissa as the reader who made that fantastic steampunk medal for her fiancé to wear in their engagement photos. (And doesn't he look dapper in it?)

Well, Melissa's fiancé is now her husband (congrats, guys!) and this is the gorgeous steamy boutineer she made him for the wedding:

Her guy is a big VW fan, so she incorporated the logo in with the gears and hand-stitched felt leaves. I love the color choices, and the composition is perfection!

And even though it's not really steampunk, I have to show you guys Melissa all blushing and beautiful with her felt-and-vintage-button bouquet:

Although if you were distracted from the bouquet by Melissa's amazeballs tattoo, you're not the only one. LOVE.

Here's something you don't see every day: a steampunk motorcycle:

Shannon M. spotted this out in the wilds of Daytona, and she snapped several photos with her phone for me. I can't say I'm a fan of the leopard print seat, but that's a minor quibble with amazingness of this caliber:

Those wheel spokes are grommeted leather, and I love all the shiny copper and brass gear accents. The headlight is pretty sweet, too:

I don't have any details on who made this, so if you know, please tell me in the comments!

[UPDATE: Shannon tracked it down! The bike is by Copper Mike - and it's even for sale! Hit the link for more details & pics.)

And finally, Abney Park is the most famous steampunk band out there, and their new(ish) video Steampunk Revolution doesn't disappoint:

The actual song is only about three minutes long (the rest is all credits), and there's great footage used of a variety of steampunk art and fashion. Definitely worth a look! (And thanks for the link, Kayla F.!)

Oh, and while we're talking steampunk music: my personal favorite is Steam Powered Giraffe. I've mentioned them before, but just had to plug 'em again, since they're not nearly as famous as they should be. Here's their sweet old-timey ballad, Honey Bee:


Their first album gets regular play on our modernized vintage radio - although I just noticed they replaced one of my favorite songs, "I Am Not Alone," on the album over on iTunes - no doubt because the girl who sings it is no longer with the group. Pity. Anyway, hit that link to listen to snippets of all their songs, or go to their website for physical CDs.

Seen something steamy this week? Then please, share the goods in the comments or over on the Epbot FB page!

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Fantasyland at The Magic Kingdom

Wednesday night John and I went out to Disney for some serious picture-taking. I mean, we brought a tripod and everything. ;)

The new Fantasyland area has been open - albeit unofficially - for several weeks now, off and on, and I wanted to get some shots of the new Little Mermaid building and the Be Our Guest restaurant - not to mention Cinderella's castle with all its icy Christmas lights. (SO. PRETTY.)

With my aversion to trams it took us a while to walk in to the TTC - of *course* they parked us at the farthest possible lot - but I did Ok on the ferry. So long as it's not too crowded or hectic, the ferry is open enough that I don't feel penned in.  

(And thanks again to those of you who pointed out I can walk in to the park from the Contemporary - we've done so just once so far, but it's a relief knowing I have a back-up plan if my anxiety flares up in the future!)

Finally - FINALLY - we were in my favorite park, and we had about two hours of daylight left to wander and snap pics sans tripod.

It was gray and overcast, but hey, any day at Disney...

 The Emporium has their animated Christmas Carol windows up:

And the Candy Shop displays never disappoint:
 (I think those springy bits are made with fuzzy pipe cleaners. Possible DIY project? Eh?)

I intended to make a beeline straight for Fantasyland, but the Dapper Dans were out, so cue the Jen fangirl squealing:


Oh, and I realized why I love the Dans so much yesterday, too (you know, besides the awesome music) - their puns!! They rattled off a ton of holiday-themed puns that had everyone groaning, and at least one girl whooping with glee.

"What do you call a wreath made of hundred dollar bills?"
"A wreath a' Franklins!"

Also, their rendition of Christmas in Kilarney is gorgeous. Be sure to request it if you see them before January.

I spent forever looking for the best rose for this shot. Have I mentioned John has the patience of a saint?

Moving on, we finally made it to new Fantasyland. We were there too late in the day to see the restaurant, sadly (lunch ends at 2:30, and you can't go inside during dinner hours unless you have a reservation), but I took some pics outside and on the bridge:

Further along we discovered Gaston out posing for pictures. We ended up stopping to watch for a few minutes, because it turns out Gaston is freaking HILARIOUS. 

Gaston doesn't stand - he leans. He flirted shamelessly with all the women, kissing their hands and telling them how lucky they were to meet him. Then he'd whip into a bunch of rapid-fire Zoolander poses that had everyone rolling. Next time I'll get some video, because you guys really have to see him in action.

John didn't know that the Little Mermaid ride was already open and running, so he was pretty excited when we made it over to the jaw-dropping ride exterior:

The wait was only 40 minutes, so even though I doubted my anxiety would let me ride, we went in to photograph the queue.

See the "E" in the window? Must be Eric's room.

Once you round the corner, you're treated to this stunning view:
John took this one. Don't you love the soft look of the waterfalls? 

Then you weave through that rock work:

Until you end up inside the caves:

Inside the caves it's quite dark - a lot of these details you couldn't see in real life - and with the crowds it felt a little cramped further in. There were so many fun things to look at, though, along with interactive virtual crabs, if you can believe it, spaced throughout the queue:

The crabs are projections, so you can only see the white outline of the little guy in the glass here. They would busily stack items in piles, and you're supposed to point at the item if it doesn't belong, which will make the crab discard it. 

There are a few skylights open to the outside, which makes for some dramatic lighting and shadows.

The next room was the most uncomfortable for me, since it has no view of the outside and is more densely packed with people:

In here the only distraction is an animatronic Scuttle the seagull, who you can see as a bright white blur in the middle. Fortunately this part of the line moved pretty fast, though, and we zipped through the room in about five minutes. (Although not before I mentioned to John that *maybe* they shouldn't have hung those two ball lights in a pair - and made one of them blue. John said I've been writing Cake Wrecks too long. Very true.)

Once you leave that room there's a nifty transition area where you leave the caves behind and enter the castle itself:

We passed this beautiful section of queue not in use:

Just another few steps, and you're in the loading area.

(Sorry for the terrible pics; it's really dark in there!)

There's a lovely mural on the back wall featuring Ariel and Eric's ship, and the ride cars are the same clam shells used on the Finding Nemo ride:

After the last room of the queue I was feeling a little jittery, so when I noticed that the ride kept stopping (I think to load wheelchairs, but I'm not sure) I told John I'd just meet him outside. He rode through and recorded the whole thing on his phone for me, though:

There's nothing too groundbreaking here, but the animatronics are fantastic. Look at Ariel's arm movements around 2:20 - plus she blinks and moves her mouth! It's so natural looking, I almost didn't notice. And I love the rowboat scene. Probably because that's John's and my favorite song from the movie. We like to sing it together, with John doing a great Sebastion impression & me filling in the "Ya YAH Yaaaa!!"s. :D

By the time we emerged it was dark out, so then the real photography fun began. We broke out the tripod and got to work:

I'm dabbling with HDR photos, as some of you can probably tell from this one. It's a struggle for me, and I really have no idea what I'm doing, so I just play with the settings in PhotoMatrix until I like the look.

To give you some base of reference, here's a traditional, non-HDR shot:

And this is what the building actually looked like:

Now here's an HDR shot of it:
Pretty psychedelic, right?

I'm on the fence with this HDR thing, since I can't seem to make my shots look good - or at least look good to me. There's so much gorgeous HDR stuff out there, though, that I know I'm just not doing it right. I'll keep trying!

Well, I've been working on this post & pics for over 6 hours now, so I'm going to end here and put the rest of our night shots in a later post. I hope you've all enjoyed your virtual tour so far!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nutcracker Redo!

While cruising Pinterest last week I found this simple nutcracker makeover by Allison of House of Hepworths:

Pretty cool, right? Very modern chic!

And since Allison mentioned the nutcrackers were from a dollar store, the next time John and I were out we swung by our local Dollar Tree, and...score!
I quickly ripped off their beards and hair and headed out to the garage for some spraying.

After priming them all I painted one each in gold, copper, silver, and gloss white:
I loved the gold and silver, but the copper just didn't look metallic enough for me. But I reeeeally love copper. So, after a little thought, I broke out some sparkly copper glitter:

We got this glitter sample pack from JoAnn's a while back for my Figment mask. That little packet was just enough to coat the entire nutcracker:

Now THAT is more like it.

To apply the glitter I just brushed on a thin layer of white craft glue and sprinkled the glitter over top. Messy as all get-out, of course, but also really fun!

Rather than covering the entire figure, I left the arm and leg bands glitter-free, as well as the base. Then I went back and added copper foil around those areas for extra shine:

 Finished! It's hard to photograph glitter well, but trust me when I say this guy is SUPER sparkly.

Now for the gold and silver guys:

These are the spray paints I used, and I highly recommend both. The silver in particular sprays and pools beautifully. (The secret to a great metallic is to let it pool slightly, but not so much that it will start to drip or sag.) The gold is a thinner paint and a lot more likely to sag with heavy coats, so be extra careful with it.

These nutcrackers are made from terrible quality wood (hey, what do you expect for a buck, right?), so even with a several coats and a little sanding they're a bit rough and grainy in places. Still, from a slight distance, not too shabby!

I wanted these two to have something a bit more, though, so next I added some tiny nail gems and metal accents:

 Muuuch better.

The gold is my favorite - he almost looks like a little brass automaton! - but I think these two make a nice set together.

And as for my final nutcracker, well...


I planned to add multi-colored gems all over him, like I've started to here, but as you can see the wood on this one is a lot worse than the others, and the high-gloss white magnifies every crack and bump. I'm thinking I might dunk him in glitter, too. Unless you guys have any other ideas?

Hope you liked my quick 'cracker re-do! I have a few more ideas I'd like to try, too, so I'm thinking another trip to the Dollar Tree might be in order.  :)

Oh, and here's my attempt at recreating Allison's awesome pin:

And if you're on Pinterest, you can find my own boards here!