Friday, March 22, 2013

March Art Roundup

It's time for our monthly art attack! And thanks to MegaCon, I have a bunch of new artists to introduce to you guys.

I managed to restrain myself pretty well this year, so I only bought, um, six pieces of art. o.0 First up, these Star Wars prints by Joe Martin:

C'mon. LOOK AT THEM. Kind of a fun, graffiti-like style, right? The prints were only $15 for three, and then Joe threw in a fourth for free when he saw I couldn't make up my mind. WOOT!

Right now you can only buy these from Joe in person, although he has a few prints of other pieces available on deviantART. However, I actually bought Leia specifically to add to my give-away board, so if you like her, be sure to comment! She's an 8.5X11 print and signed by Joe on the bottom in metallic ink.
Next I commissioned Kate Carleton to draw me a Doodlez sketch of the worm from Labyrinth, because for only $15 WHY WOULD YOU NOT, amirite? This is her Doodlez style:

 And here's my new worm!

I know it's a little hard to tell that's his nose, but that hair flip kills me. :D

And finally, I got these TMNT stickers from Mike Victa for $10:

The stickers are each about 3 inches tall, so I plan to frame them all together. They're not signed anywhere, so it actually took me a good 20 minutes to track Mike down through the MegaCon website. As far as I can tell he doesn't have any kind of online store, which is a shame; his dragon art is also supah cute.

Though we didn't buy it, John and I were sorely tempted by the original of this creepy cute Vader:

 "Frenemies," by Diane Romero (Prints start at $12 for an 8X10)

And I lingered over this one a while, too:

 Steampunk Octopus Dance, $10 by Kellee Art

I don't see it for sale, but Kellee also has this lovely steampunk Alice in her deviantArt gallery:

Moving on to non-MegaCon finds, Ashley G. tipped me off to the wonderful works of Casey Robin, and I am LOVING her style:
 The Silver Doe, $40 for a 13X9 print

She has a bunch of great Harry Potter art like this, some stunning watercolor fairies, and adorable retro pinups like this one:
 LadyBugs: Amelady, $20 for 8.5X11 print


Teresa G. found this bit of nostalgia-laced sweetness:
"Growing Up Geek," 8X10 print $20


You know how some art you want on your wall, and some art you want on your t-shirt? Well, I want this on a t-shirt:
Ghostmuppers! Haha! It's by Kenny Durkin, who has lots more Muppet mash-ups in his DeviantArt gallery.

Here's my other favorite:
And I'm in luck, because this one IS available as a shirt over on Redbubble! Woohoo! (I may have to buy the Swedish Chef one for John, too.)

And finally, Mary B. found the most powerful Harry Potter fan-fiction(?) art I've ever seen. It's called "In Another Life: Wake Up," but I think I agree with Mary's title: "Snape's Heaven." I should warn you, though: it only confused John, who is an ÜBER Potter geek, and then he argued with me about eye color, and then I accused him of over-thinking it, and, well, just see what you think:

By Lily-Fox on DeviantArt. Hit the link to read her thoughts behind the piece, or you can buy a print at her Etsy store for $18.

Ok, guys, you know the drill: leave a comment on this post if you'd like to enter my monthly art drawing! The winner will get to choose any piece from my Pinterest give-away board, so make sure there's something over there you'd like to have. I'll choose a winner at random next week, and as always, I'll ship anywhere - so comment away, internationals!

[The give-away has ended, and the winner is Tracy W.! Congrats, Tracy, and please e-mail me your mailing address and choice of art!]

And finally, it's not required for the give-away or anything, but if you're on Facebook, please consider liking the Epbot Facebook page. It's a fun way to share links and photos with both me and your fellow readers, plus I post occasional updates there that you won't find anywhere else.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sharing Some Happy

Just wanted to share a quick grin with you guys, since I've had to keep mum about this online for months now:

John and I have been plotting with my father since January to surprise my mom, and yesterday, it all paid off! I couldn't mention it here since Mom reads Epbot - something I tend to forget. Heh.

The surprise was for both my parents' 40th wedding anniversary - which was yesterday - and my mom's sixtieth birthday, which is coming up in a few weeks. My dad wanted to do something big to celebrate, so after kicking around a few ideas we - naturally - suggested an all-out, bells-and-whistles Disney vacation. My mom's just like me, meaning she's a big kid at heart, and she's mentioned many times how she's always wanted to stay at a resort and really have the whole big Disney experience. So that's what we planned, from the Magical Express bus picking them up at the airport right down to their dinner reservations at each of the parks each night.

To break the news, we shipped her a package. On top inside was a card that read, "You've been married for 40 years! What are you going to do now?!" Then under a layer of packing peanuts was all their travel documentation and these ears:

I added the numbers so they'd look a little more anniversary-like, but really it'd be cute if folks assume my parents are on their honeymoon. :) (The ears also have my parents' names embroidered on the back.)

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of the morning my dad woke my brother and I up by banging on our bedroom doors and calling out that we were all going to Disney World. I don't remember a single other thing from that day, but I remember that moment - that perfect, exhilarating, joy-filled moment.

So, yeah. Getting that phone call last night from my parents pretty much made my whole week.

My dad recorded the big reveal, so I can't wait to see that - but in the mean time, he sent along these photos:

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad. See you both real soon!

And to the rest of you: thanks for letting me share. I just had to tell SOMEBODY.  :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

MegaCon 2013 - Final Day Favs!

I hope you're not sick of amazing costumes and fun convention stories yet, you guys - but if you are, maybe you should skip this post. :) On the plus side, this is my final MegaCon recap, so I'll be back to crafts and art and laundry room makeovers next.

But 'til then, BAM!


I have even more photos from Sunday than Saturday, so I'll see how many of my favorites I can cram in here. Since I was free from my "Vadorable" trappings (and thank you for that adjective, Marigold), I was sprinting through the crowd like a gleeful child on Sunday, snapping pics left and right. The crowd levels were perfect, too: fairly packed, but still manageable. There was even enough room in the vendor area to get a little shopping done. [eyebrow waggle]

Per Vinie in the comments, this is Demon Hunter from Diablo 3. All I know is she looked freaking AMAZING.

Fifties-inspired Wonder Woman? And Hawk Girl's costume is beautifully done.

Some great couples' cosplay:

I saw more kids in costume on Sunday, too - although it's possible they were just easier to SEE, what with the lesser crowds.

 Hit Girl and King Boo! 
(If I'm remembering right, Hit Girl's mom is an Epbot reader!)

The second Avatar group of the weekend - and check out Ang's flier! WOW.
 I'm not sure if the flier folds up or not, but it looks like it could. Anyone who was there know?

Another Merida (we spotted at least three or four) and a girl Bowser:

 This Elvira was spot-on:

And this Captain Jack was constantly in character, flirting and swaggering and calling all the ladies, "darlin'." Hee.

More next generation cosplayers:
 That little Harley! D'AWW. And the Jawa on the right is the son of a reader. We'd been chatting with her for a few minutes when he turned to me with this big beautiful smile and said, "Don't you want to take my picture??" Haha!

 Mister Freeze!

And another classic Tinkerbell:

 Captain America and a steampunky plague doctor:

And finally, a super cute Katamari couple:

As always, if you want to see the rest head on over to my Flickr album; I can't fit all the geeky goodness in just one post!

Oh, and I promised some of you a few detail shots of my costume upgrades, so here's my spiffy new cane topper:

That's a solid glass bottle stopper I found at an antique shop a few weeks ago. My previous topper was a glass door knob, but the metal base of the knob blocked the light. This one lets the LEDs inside the cane shine through, which looks super cool in low light.

Fitting it to the cane was quite a challenge; we had to buy the reducing coupler from a specialty plumbing store across town, and then John had to cut and flange it slightly to fit the angle of the stopper. To hold it in place, he bent the tips of each flap just slightly - allowing the stopper to click into place with an audible "thonk", and then for extra security we doused it with E-6000 adhesive.

To make sure the light shone green (my LEDs are white), I painted the base of the stopper with a mixture of Elmer's glue and green food coloring (thanks, Pinterest!). That also makes the globe look green when you look down into it from above. Neat, right?

And check this out:

(Or I'm just easily amused. Ha!)

My speaker box was the easiest  - and yet most valuable - addition by far. It's just a $10 "voice changer" box from The Halloween Store:

There are about 20 different voice changing effects, but luckily one is "normal," with no changes; just amplification. I sanded off the painted label with a Magic Eraser, added a little filigree and green crystal, and then painted the grill a bright gold:

The lights flash red when the mic is in use. Wrong color, of course, but still a nice affect.

My original mask tusks were made with thin copper foil folded into cones. They were so flimsy I kept accidentally smashing them, though,  'til they looked like this:


While searching my stash for possible replacement pieces, I found these two filigree fans in a grab bag of goodies from one of you lovely readers:
They're nice and sturdy, so I snipped off the rings and used pliers to bend them into cones. Then I sculpted black air-dry clay onto my mask to give the new tusks more surface area for the glue to hold on to.

The clay is nearly invisible, but (hopefully) ensures I won't be accidentally knocking the tusks off anymore. To cover the tiny hole at the tip of the tusks, I used "bead in a bottle" copper paint to make tiny drops on a sheet of plastic. Once the drops dried, I pried them up and glued them in place on the tusk tips:


Here's the front view:
With my mask lights on these are the kinds of details you won't notice at first, but it means a lot to me to give the viewer more to see with every viewing. Besides, I want it looking its best for the museum exhibit!

(If you're new and haven't seen my original Lady Vadore post, you can see lots more detail pics here.)

And that, finally, concludes my MegaCon 2013 coverage! I hope you guys had as much fun as I did!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MegaCon 2013, Saturday Favs!

Day two of MegaCon was the most overwhelming day of the con, since the crowds were, quite simply, NUTS. I'd hoped to arrive early enough to see Wil Wheaton's panel, but traffic was at a standstill miles out from the convention center, so by the time we made the long trek in from the parking lot and had my alter ego fully assembled, the panel had already begun. (Fooey.)
Happily, the rest of the day more than made up for it:


We have John to thank for all of today's photos, with me occasionally pointing him towards a costume that looked interesting through the colorful blur of my goggles. Heh. Oh, and thanks to a new addition to my costume - a microphone and speaker box - I could actually be heard most of the day. That was a HUGE benefit, since we met and chatted with so many of you readers!

In fact, do you guys remember last June when I mentioned the story of an autistic boy named Ben who loved Snow White's Scary Adventures at Disney? (If you don't remember, go see this.) Well, BEN WAS THERE! Here we are together with his dad, Ron:

In fact, this is a good time to mention that Ron has recently finished a beautiful book about Ben called 3500: An Autistic Boy's Ten-Year Romance with Snow White. I haven't read it all yet, but Cory over at BoingBoing gave the book a glowing review, so you should definitely check it out!

Here's my friend Christie again, together with her sister Robyn and their friend Dana as - are you ready for this? - the My Little Ponies of the Apocalypse:
  From the left, that's Death, War, and Famine.

After we chatted for a bit John suggested I get a photo with them, and even through my goggles I could tell most everyone around started to laugh once I got in position. I think you can see why:


Props to Death for not cracking a smile while even War and Famine were succumbing to the giggles. Ha! (Oh, and Robyn & Christie have just started a new FB page with all of their cosplay pics, if you want to see more of their work!)

 K, time for some eye candy:

 Absolutely lovely.

 And here's the most stunning GLaDOS cosplay I've seen:
I might even have a little girl-crush. WHAT.

I just finished watching all of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and OMIGOSH THAT SHOW IS AWESOME. So, of course, I had a whole new appreciation for the Avatar cosplay groups:

Female Zuko FTW! (Per the comments, the gal in burgundy is Katara in her Painted Lady disguise. A-ha! Thx!) Oh, and we saw another group on Sunday that had Ang's glider - that'll be in my next post.

I'm not generally a fan of zombies, but I guess John is right: this Leeloo version is pretty rad:

 And also super creepy. Ick.

One of the most represented fandoms in costume was Homestuck, a web comic which I know very little about save there are "trolls" with gray skin and candy-corn-colored horns. At some points during the con it felt like one out of every ten teens was wearing horns and gray face paint - there were tons of them, often traveling in packs of up to a dozen at a time. Not knowing the characters it was hard to say which costumes were best, but these two looked pretty fantastic:

So now I'm thinking I have to go check out Homestuck. :)

Oh, and speaking of obscure fandoms: behold, Steam Powered Giraffe cosplay!

  Rabbit! Love it.

Veering back into more mainstream geekery, you'll never guess who this gal (yes, GAL) reminds me of:
Jareth! (Er, I mean, THE BABE!) She spotted my cane's new crystal ball topper, and called me over to chat for a bit. Isn't she fabulous? 

Bumblebee here upgraded his/her outfit on Sunday to include a green top hat and a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" smock for St. Patrick's day. It was pretty hilarious:


Here's me again with a couple of dapper steampunk gents:

The chap on the right had an amazing backpack filled with spinning gears, lights, potions, and contraptions.

While we were stuck in traffic Saturday morning I saw a photo on Twitter of a little girl Hellboy (Hellgirl?), and I was thrilled to spot her in person just a few hours later. Funnily enough, she seemed equally thrilled to see me, so there was a whole lot of simultaneous fangirling and "OMG YOU LOOK SO COOL" going on just before this pic:

 My new hero. 

(I also just realized this is the only photo I have from the con where I'm not the shortest person in it. HA.)

I can't tell you how much I love seeing kids in homemade costumes, you guys. I saw a lot more store-bought costumes on kids, which is wonderful for getting them into the spirit of things and letting them join in the fun, but there's something so much MORE wonderful about the homemade versions. Talk about engendering a love of making and creativity at an early age!

Ok, mini soap box moment over.

And then, this happened:
Because WHY NOT.

John chased down this dapper group with a stellar steampunk stroller, so it wasn't until I was sorting photos today that I saw the little girl's expression:

Bwahaha! And, awwww. Someone is NOT happy. 
(Also, see the "Hill Valley" on the side? Excellent Back to The Future reference!)

This Codex used an extra large Christmas ornament for her staff:

And I'll give you three guesses which of these Monster High girls is my fav:


In all, I spent over seven hours in costume and on my feet Saturday, with no food breaks or chances to sit down save one five-minute rest. And it. was. awesome.

Granted, navigating the crowds was a nightmare, I'm sure I bumped into a million people thanks to my lack of peripheral vision, and my face was swollen and bruised from my mask by the end of the day, but the interactions John and I had with fans and random fellow con-goers alike were just fantastic. I met readers who were at their first con ever, readers who were overcoming their anxiety just to be there, readers who were wearing the goggles they'd made using my tutorial (!!), and readers who spanned all ages and backgrounds and interests, from parents with teenagers in tow to young pre-teens who dragged their extremely supportive parents all over the con hunting us down.

As usual, you guys made us feel like rock stars, so thank you.

Next up, stay tuned for my third and final installment from MegaCon!

PS - Like my last post, these are just a few of my favorite photos from Saturday, so head over to my Flickr account to see the rest!

PPS - Wil Wheaton has been blogging his thoughts and photos of MegaCon over at his blog, and today's post includes a story of a fan interaction that will leave you in tears - but in a good way. Grab a tissue and go read it!