Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lady Vadore Goes Chibi!

My family doesn't really give Christmas gifts anymore since we're all adults now, but I still have a Christmas haul to show off! Check out all the stuff in my PO Box last week:

Yep, several of you sent me cards and homemade gifts! Pamela made the jewelry using nail polish (orange and teal!), Sophie of GeekMom made me the Ghostbusters cross stitch, the "Venkman is my spirit animal"magnet is from Sarah, and Heather sent over a few steampunk charms I forgot to include. There were also a few other cards, although the Wibbly Wobbly TARDIS from little Claire & Eleanor was the geeky champion. :)

Then, on Christmas Eve Erin N. e-mailed me some of her artwork, saying I might recognize the character:

"Come to the Chibi side. We have cute."

[gratuitous Kermit flailing] AIIEEEE!! 

It's no exaggeration to say this made my whole Christmas Eve, so I just had to share. Look at all the details! The feather epaulettes! The pin-hole lights on the cane! THE EYELASHES ON THE GOGGLES!

Erin didn't actually call this a Chibi Lady Vadore, but that's what came to mind when I first saw her. You can check out more of Erin's work over on DeviantArt, although I don't see this piece there yet. Maybe if you ask her nicely? [Update: A-ha! She's added it now!]

Which reminds me: Victoria G., who made my very first Lady Vadore fan art, has added it to her DA account, so you can see that here, and even buy a print if you're so inclined.

So now I have a Lady Vadore Art set! I'm going to try to get them both framed and hung in my office this weekend. And just for the record, you guys are NOT helping my ego - but I'll try to remember I can't force-choke any of my enemies, just the same. ;)

Ok, those of you who also got Christmas or Hanukkah gifts: what was your favorite? How many of you got crafting tools and/or Dremels? Eh? [eyebrow waggle] Any corsets or geeky jewelry? How about video games? Details, people: I NEED DETAILS.

PS - I'm playing Deathspank: The Baconing this weekend. It's hilarious and awesome. Especially since you can set the level to Mega Wimp so you don't die all the time and get frustrated and throw your wireless controller across the room. Not that *I* would EVER...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Printable Pocket Watch Faces!

I'm still easing back into a regular blogging schedule over here (translation: being lazy) but here's at least one thing I got done today:

 I finally took pictures of my favorite antique watch faces!

These pocket watch guts were a gift from my Dad last year, but I've been hesitant to do anything permanent with them just because I love the porcelain faces so much. Then it occurred to me that I could probably do some neat things with printed copies of them.

These are perfect for you fellow crafters, steampunks, and steampunk crafters: all you have to do is print them out at the size of your choice, and then either coat them with a bit of epoxy or add a piece of clear plastic on top. Instant faux watch face! You can layer clock hand charms on top, use them for scrapbooking, set them in lockets, decoupage them over boxes, or even use them for functioning clock faces. Really, the sky's the limit.

All I ask is that you only use these for personal use, and that you credit/link back to Epbot when applicable. Oh, and send me pictures if you make something cool with them. ;)

Thanks, guys, and enjoy!

Click on any pic to see full-size, and then right-click to save the file.

Monday, December 24, 2012

DIY Mini Wall Portals & Companion Cubes

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! The last of my family left yesterday morning, so of course I immediately got to work finishing up my latest geeky craft project:

Mini wall portals!!

I first got this idea back in November, and originally planned to make them into hanging ornaments for the tree. It's a bit late for a Christmas craft, though, and I suppose it makes more sense to have them attached to a wall, anyway. (That said, you could easily add a loop to the back and turn them into ornaments for *next* Christmas.)

The illusion is fairly convincing from the side, and considering this set is only my first prototype, I'm pretty chuffed with how it turned out!

I'm sure you can tell HOW I did this - it's basically just a companion cube cut in half and attached to an oval mirror - but you may be wondering where I got the supplies.

The mirrors are 4X3 oval craft mirrors I found on ebay. I bought them in bulk, but you might be able to find them sold individually at your local craft store.

The cubes were a lot trickier, since I had to cast and paint them myself. I cast them using ThinkGeek's excellent silicone companion cube ice tray (which is only $5 right now, so I'm kicking myself for spending nearly $20 on it with shipping) and some Amazing Casting Resin :

This casting resin sets up in about five minutes, and is, hands-down, the coolest craft thing I've ever played with in my entire life. When I popped out the first cube, I literally yelled in delight and danced around the kitchen, cackling like an evil mastermind. SO FUN!! You pour in a liquid, and five minutes later pop out a hard plastic object. It's MAGIC, you guys.


You can use any silicone ice tray or candy mold for resin, but keep in mind that once you do, you can never use it for food items again. Of course, with ice trays you could always cut the tray in half - just be sure to mark which half is which.
The finished cube. This resin has a surprising heft to it, so it isn't nearly as light as you might expect. I have two cubes sitting next to my keyboard right now, and I keep picking them up just to admire them. :D

Next John cut my cube in half with a power saw, and I painted the two halves with acrylic craft paint. It took three or four coats to cover, though, so I really should find some better quality paint for next time.

I used a glue strip to attach the cube halves to the mirrors, but super glue or E-6000 would work just as well or better.

The orange and blue outlines on the mirrors were achieved using a layer of colored glass paint topped with acrylics. I would have only used the glass paint, but you could barely see the blue, even after four coats. The orange showed fairly well, but even so adding the acrylic really deepened the colors. I also used some yellow and light blue to add a little dimension to the interior edges:

I purposely made the outlines rough, to try and echo the smokey nature of the portal edges:

Next time I might try sweeping the paint inward more, to get that flame effect a bit better.

Oh, and even with the glass paint underneath this finish can scratch off pretty easily, so be careful if you try it. There's probably a clear top coat you could apply to protect it, but I haven't researched that yet.

For now my mini portals are on the wall beside my monitor. I attached them using Blue Stik, a reusable putty, so I can move them if I find a better spot later on.

Like I said, over all I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out, but I'm still not satisfied with my portal edges. I'm going to experiment a bit more with the glass paints to try and get more translucence, but if any of you have suggestions for other techniques or products I should try, please let me know in the comments! If I can make the portals just a bit better, then I'd like to make several more sets - perhaps even do a give-away here on the blog? Eh? [eyebrow waggle]