Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April Art Roundup!

It's that time again! Here's some of the best geek art to cross my path this month:

Max Kostenko is a Russian artist who does digital painting caricatures guaranteed to make you smile:
Look at Yoda's downy hair fuzz. Look at it.

Sadly I see no purchasing options (although I could have missed something on his blogs) but Kostenko's portrait of Superman taking a nap is just too perfect:


 Next up, some amazing 80s pop-culture illustrations by James White:

See the whole set here, although again, I can't find a way to purchase any prints. BOO. Take our money, artists! TAKE IT! (Found via ProtonCharging)

Oh, and White also did this cover:

The Rocketeer! YESSS.

Diane L. found this adorable artwork by J Salvador of Super Emo Friends over at WonderCon a few weeks ago:
"Crossing the Streams" 5X7 print, $15

And THIS one we can buy! YAY! Check Salvador's etsy store for lots more adorably sad geek characters.

Next up, Nicole C. spotted a great Disney/Avengers mash-up: Stitch dressed as Thor and Loki!


By Agnes Garbowska, who does a lot of convention commissions, if you're lucky enough to see her that way, or you can buy a few of her larger prints at her online store. Only $20 for a signed 11X17 like one of these:

 Naturally, I had to include something for my new video game obsession this month:

 "The Songbird" by Kirsten Sjursen-Lien

I get the feeling Songbird art is going to be my new drug of choice. LOVE HIM SO MUCH. And I like this softer style of watercolor for him; such a great look.
I'm working my way through my second play-through of BioShock: Infinite, (third if you count the time I watched John play) and this time I bumped it up to "normal" difficulty. I'm about halfway through, and I think I died a dozen times last night. :D Still, this game just gets richer and more beautiful with each play-through. It really is a game that rewards exploration and taking your time. The art, design, and music are all just stunning.

K, moving on from my fangirl ravings...

Andrea O. found this next one by Andrew Hickinbottom. He calls it an "homage to comic conventions, and a tribute to those brave attendees who cosplay in skimpy outfits." Heheh.

"Comic Con Curves", prints start at $20 for a 12X16

Not a completely fair representation of geek guys, of course, but still accurate enough (from my experience) to make me wince and smile at the same time. (Smince? Wile?) I get the feeling this piece could spark some valuable discussions about cosplay culture - or at least be used to illustrate some of the excellent articles already out there - so that's partly why I'm including it. (The other part is it's gorgeously done, and I like the eyes peeking out of the droid. :))

Now hold on to your socks, because they're about to be blown off by SHEER CUTENESS:

Viva C. found these fantastic custom art dolls by Santani, another Russian artist with insane skills. I WANT TO HUG IT. And then tickle its feet.

Some of the dolls ride the line between creepy and cute, but usually in a way that's downright hysterical:

Tell me that doesn't make you smile. YOU CAN'T. (And...the little wings! Ack! So cute!)

Head over to Santani's deviantArt to see lots (and LOTS more), or to contact her about purchasing one. She says in the FAQ that her prices range from $94 to $233 US, which doesn't seem bad at all when you look at all that detail and snuggly squishable wonderfulness. (I want to rig up a shoulder perch/harness for that second one and walk around conventions with him.)

And finally, I think my friend Chris C. was the first to pass on this epic Haunted Mansion/Batman villains mash-up:

Isn't Harley with Killer Croc the best? Although they're all fantastic, really.

By Abraham Lopez, who says you can e-mail him to purchase prints. Hit the link to see lots more of his fan art in his deviantArt gallery.

Ok, guys, I think that does it for this month! As always, be sure to leave a comment to enter my monthly art drawing! The randomly selected winner will get to choose any available piece from my Pinterest art board as their prize. (I'll ship anywhere, so no worries if you live somewhere outside the U.S.) The winner will be announced by next week, so stay tuned!

UPDATE: The give-away has ended, and the winner is Justy! Congrats, Justy, and please e-mail me your address & choice of prize!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Steam-Powered AT-AT Enjoys Hunting Rebel Forces, Long Walks On The Beach

I usually reserve my steampunk finds for Saturdays, but it's rare that I get to debut something this awesome before all the other big sites out there, so you'll have to indulge me:

Behold, Captain Bayley's Infernal Mechano-Perambulator!

[Who else heard that in Dr. Doofenschmirtz's voice? Just me?]

This is Caroline L.'s engagement present from her fiance, Mark, who made it from a vintage AT-AT toy and is CLEARLY a keeper. Just saying, Caroline. But I guess you already knew that. :)

Caroline writes,
"Each one of those rivets was cut out with a punch and applied with tweezers, and we both lost track of the number of coats of spray paint he used to get that gorgeous patina before washing it down and creating the stains and drips. He made the narwhal horn on the front as well. It's hard to see but the legs and feet are covered in seaweed and barnacles - I can just imagine it tramping up and down the coastline, or standing in a harbour next to a crumbling pier."

Wow. I can't get over how great that finish looks! And I especially love the Widow's Walk on top:

Hey Caroline, any chance Mark will post a paint tutorial? Because I have a baby AT-AT here on my desk that's just BEGGING for a steampunk make-over now. :D

Watch Mark's Flickr page this week for more photos of the IMP. They're not up as of this writing, but Caroline assures me they'll be there soon. [Warning: there are mildly gory special-affects makeup pics on that stream, so don't click if you're squeamish.]

[UPDATE: Direct link to those photos here!]

Thanks for sharing the awesomeness, Caroline!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Steam 4/20/13

My biggest steampunk news this week is that my Lady Vadore costume is now officially in transit to Wisconsin for the Oshkosh Public Museum's summer exhibit! (YAY!) John and I spent most of Wednesday afternoon carefully packing everything up and doing paperwork, and I could have easily fit myself into the box by the time we were through. o.0 Cross your fingers that everything arrives safely, although with the amount of packing peanuts we used I *think* it should be Ok.

I was excited to hear from reader Beth D. that she'll also have one of her works on display: this beautiful steampunk arm she created for her "Steampunk widow" costume:

Here's a closer look:

 Lovely! I especially like that filigree piece on the wrist.

Remember, I'm counting on you locals to send me lots of photos once the exhibit opens up June 8th, k?

Now, tell me the truth: Is it wrong that I kind of want this in my front yard?

On second thought, don't answer that. ;)

This gorgeous steam train sculpture is actually - get this - a four-ton BBQ! There are two compartments for cooking, and the steering wheel inside the cab operates a rotisserie spit:

I believe this was made by a group called "Tvoryukami" for a private owner. More pics and info (in Russian) here. (via my friend John, aka Steampunk Boba Fett.)

Heather M. sent in this stellar raygun necklace, and John was so enamored with it he INSISTED I included it in this week's roundup. Heh. (We're all cool here with rayguns mixing with our steampunk, right? Cool.)

So tiny! I do love the shape, though, and it's made of polished bronze, which is pretty sweet. $38 over at Shana Logic.

I recently joined a FB group on steampunk costuming, which is completely out of character for me since it's so, you know, SOCIAL, but I stay true to myself by just lurking creepily in the virtual shadows, only darting out long enough to "like" everyone's amazing projects and pictures and such.

It's only been a few days, of course, but I'm already in awe of all these mega-talented makers. Here are a few of my favorite finds so far:

Brett King spent four months building this jaw-dropping interactive automaton, named "The Aetherologist." Turn up your volume to hear the recording in the vid below:

Admit it: your jaw totally dropped. And, hey, best use of Siri ever? I'm thinking YES.

Believe it or not, this back pack by Frank Thomas Puricelli is still a work in progress:

However, it already has working "steam," LEDs, a drink dispenser, and dual speakers that hook up to Frank's wrist-mounted phone so he can play music. WOWZA. I'm torn between being inspired and just abandoning all of my own projects in despair, because how are they ever going to be this good?!


Now for a dose of pretty:

Sílvia in Portugal makes these fabulous neck corsets, with lots of beautiful designs to choose from:

"Helene Neck Corset," approx. $27 US

Each laces up in the back, and is scalloped on the sides for comfort:

"Isabella Neck Corset," approx. $31 US

Head over to Sílvia's etsy shop, Sky Pirate Creations, to see the rest!

And for something most of us mere mortals can actually attempt: this steampunk finger stylus may look like a million bucks, but it's actually made from a plastic milk jug handle:

Head over to Instructables for Rob's super easy tutorial.

And finally, I think John and I have reached a point on my next costume project that I can give you all a little sneak peek/clue:

Still a work-in-progress, and we're debating starting over from scratch entirely, but let's see if any of you can guess who/what I'm planning from just this. :D

(And no telling, those few of you who already know!)

I hope you all have a great weekend, and get some much needed rest and peace after this crazy week. As always, feel free to share your steamy finds here in the comments or over on the Epbot FB page!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Week's Best 4-18-13

It's been a rough week here in the U.S., what with the Boston Marathon bombing, poison being mailed to government officials, and now a huge factory explosion in Texas. Times of tragedy and fear can really wear us down, individually and as a whole, but I'm glad the internet is big enough to provide little moments of joy and distraction even in the worst of times. I don't know about you guys, but I found myself cherishing those moments more than ever this week.

For example, this water garden from the 2013 Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch, New Zealand is just the kind of fairy land I'd like to escape to with a good book:

Look at that sunken seating area! My mind, it is blown. And I'm not sure I believe that's real grass; it looks too perfect. And soft. And I want to walk on it barefoot IMMEDIATELY.

This image is an oldie but a goodie, and never fails to restore a little faith in humanity:

These are the window washers at the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. [sniffle] I'm fine. Really. Pass the tissues.

Apparently this is done at kids' hospitals across the country, too; here's another in St. Petersburg, FL:
 More pics here at USA Today. (Thanks to Teresa K. for sharing that first pic on FB.)

What better way to turn a geek into a big kid again than with some new Pop! vinyl toys from Funko?

Turtle power! (via NerdApproved)

But my favorite new release is, of COURSE:

The Rocketeer! I love the green highlights in his eyes.

These guys won't hit shelves 'til July, but you can pre-order them here for just under $10 each.

This Dove ad went viral this week, and with good reason. If by some chance you haven't seen it yet, definitely take the three minutes and watch:


And this 6-minute talk by Ze Frank on creativity is concise and rather inspiring - once I got past the fact that he sounds exactly like he does in his True Facts vids, so I kept waiting for him to say "SEA WHORES." Hehehhe. (Here's the link if you missed that one.) 

Nerdy aprons are getting pretty common these days, but most are for us girls and are on the frilly side. (NOT complaining, btw.) So this Krang apron for men absolutely cracked. me. up:

Krang Apron, $150

Then of course I had to look at everything else Haute Mess Threads makes - so many goodies! - and found this perfect R2D2 number:

Lots more over at NerdApproved, or hit the link up there to shop.

Really the best part of my week, though, has been moderating all of your comments on my bra post. It's been amazing watching you guys support each other (no pun intended), answer questions, make suggestions, swap stories, and just, you know, be a community. Not to mention all your success stories are making me grin - keep 'em coming, girls! (Btw, I haven't had a strap fall down ONCE in the past three days. THIS IS A MIRACLE.)

I hope you all are safe and well and happy, and here's to a better week next week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Everything You Never Knew You Needed To Know About Bras

I'm about to get as girly as this blog has ever been, guys, so fellas? Yes, you - I know you're out there! Yeah, look, unless you're a guy who likes reading about lady boobs and lingerie, you may want to skip this one. Although I promise to throw in some fun geeky bras every now and then, just to keep it interesting:

Handpainted Starfleet Uniform Bra, $35 from SceeneShoes


Ok, so, the other night I was following a rabbit trail of web links - like you do - and I ended up on this fascinating Reddit forum about bras. And when I say "fascinating," I mean I stayed up until 3AM reading, because holy WOW how did I not know this stuff before?

You know how you always hear that something like 90% of women wear the wrong size bra? I'd heard that, too, but never thought much of it. Sure, my bra straps were constantly falling down and the wires were always jabbing me in the sides and I'd been convinced I was just shaped like a mutant for most of my life, but GOSH DARN IT I WAS ONE OF THE 10% GETTING IT RIGHT. Right?


Did you know that a bra's cup size changes with its band size? So a 34D's cup is a fraction of the size of a 40D's cup? This seems blindingly obvious now, but I promise you I HAD NO IDEA. I think I've just been programmed since my Barbie-playing days that D = ginormous boobs, so I never bothered to think beyond that.

"MARVEL-OUS in Black" Bra, $65 from MeganElizabeth31

More stuff I learned:

- There are something called "sister sizes," or bra sizes that hold equal amounts of mass. For example, a 34D is roughly equal to a 36C, in as far as how much boobage mass they will hold. Here's a handy visual guide of sister sizes, plus other band-to-bust ratios:

It took me about five solid minutes of staring at that graphic to make any sense of it, but once you get it, it's great info to have  - especially if you're in-between band sizes like me.

- If you bend at the waist to adjust yourself with the "scoop & swoop" method, you can INSTANTLY become at least a full cup size bigger. (Hit that link for some impressive, NSFW before-and-after photos.) I tried this, and I can assure you: it totally works.

- There are generally two kinds of breast shapes: full-on-top and full-on-the-bottom. If you're full-on-the-bottom like me, you may have been fooled into thinking a bra's cup size was too large for you, simply because it gaped at the top like so:

NOT SO. Some bras are simply made to fit full-on-the-top ladies, while others fit full-on-the-bottom or both shapes. Head over to Bras I Hate for the whole post explaining the two shapes, plus plenty of helpful visuals like that one.

This next one is one of my favorite bits:

- A lot of armpit flab and folds are actually breast tissue being smashed upward by an ill-fitting bra. Ditto for back folds. So a properly fitted bra could actually eliminate some or all of your arm flab and back folds. (Great example in the 3rd set of photos here.)

Here's the most important take-away, though:

- The vast majority of women are wearing bras that are too big in the band size, and too small (by far) in the cup size.

So after reading this excellent and easy guide for measuring yourself, I decided to measure myself. (It's just two measurements - easy peasy.) Then I plugged in the numbers to the bra calculator she links to and did a quadruple take. Then I went back and measured myself again because there was NO WAY I was the size it claimed. Then I did the numbers manually, using the graph in the same post. Same results.

After the third measuring & calculating I finally gave up and decided to just go bra shopping. The proof is in the pudding, right? (Or in this case, the padding?)

Ok, so now let's get nitty-gritty, girls. LET'S TALK NUMBERS.

For the past few years I've been bumping up my band size, even though my weight has been the same. I could tell something wasn't fitting, what with the wires jabbing me and the gore* floating off my chest, but since I've never had much in the tracts of land department, I figured the band size was the only thing I could increase. So, I went from a 36B to all 38Bs.

[*Technical term! That's the bridge between cups at the front. See? I told you I learned stuff!]

Today I brought home 4 new bras that fit me just about perfectly. They're way more comfortable than my 38Bs, and they look about a million times better, too. Guess what size they are?  


34 FREAKING D, you guys. And on some of those the cups are a smidge too small, but YOU try finding a 34DD at Ross or Marshall's. (The calculator actually tried to tell me I need a DDD, but since I'd have to order those online I think I'll start with these and reassess in a few months. According to the forum I might need a larger cup size then due to tissue migration, anyway.)

How did I go from a 38B to a 34D? Simple. I put the bra on, bent at the waist, and scooped and adjusted until everything was up front and in place. Then I stood upright and goggled at my new found acreage.

Believe it or not, I really was adjusting each time I suited up in my bras before - but not with the bending-at-the-waist, "scoop & swoop" method. That part is totally key. Turns out gravity is a powerful ally!

You're probably thinking I can't breathe in my new bras, or that they're tight enough to make a Victorian lady gasp. Nope! They're snug, sure, but I can easily fit several fingers under the band. I actually measure exactly 35 inches, so I have to wear the 34s on the last hook - but that's good! See, another thing I learned: you should always buy bras that fit on the *last* hook, so you have room to tighten them as they stretch out over time. Again, that seems so obvious now - so why wasn't I doing it before?!

(Because of the sister-sizes thing, I also picked up two 36C bras. They only fit on the tightest hooks, so they won't last as long as the 34Ds, but they're great for now.)

Another benefit of the smaller bands: there's not as much weight on my shoulder straps. I'm hoping that means the straps won't be falling down as much, although only time will tell.

 Rapunzel Bra Top, $48 by ElectricAveCreations

(I'm not usually one for frilly bras, but seriously: How cute is this?)

Ok, ladies, so now it's your turn: Go measure yourself using this post as a guide. DO IT. Do it now!! Then go try on whatever bra size the post's calculator or graph tells you to.

When you first try the new size on, it will feel too tight in the band and too big in the cup. DON'T PANIC. Just bend and scoop, baby! YEAH! (Sorry. Austin Power's moment.) And don't be surprised if your cups runneth over once you straighten up again!

Believe it or not, I've only scratched the surface of bra anatomy, so you should really head over to that forum, A Bra That Fits, to explore and learn more for yourself. Check the sidebar for all the basics and more helpful guides like what I've listed here. Then go learn about tissue migration, shallow breasts, how to spot a proper fit, and all the rest! I'm telling you, there's at LEAST enough there to keep you reading 'til 3AM.

Oh, and if you're curious how John feels about all this, let's just say he's the one who told me I HAVE to write this post, as a service to all mankind. Ha! He was as skeptical as I was initially, but after seeing my new sizes he's allll smiles.

Please share your own experiences/knowledge in the comments, ladies, and let me know if that measurement system works for you! Also, HUGE shout-out to all the lovely contributors and moderators at A Bra That Fits. I'm not a Redditor, so I'll just say it here: You guys rock! Thank you!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday Steam 4/13/13

I'll be the first to admit I don't fully understand how Polyvore works, but I am loving these Disney Steampunk themed outfits:

Now THIS is some fashion eye candy I can get behind! Go see the rest here. (And it's probably best if you don't explain to me how Polyvore works; I have a feeling I'd get seriously addicted.)

Caged pendant lights are nothing new, but I really love this assortment of styles from blogger Mockabee 7's kitchen makeover:

She doesn't mention where she got them, though, and I've never seen a round one like that before, or the tear drop shaped one. Any of you know?

[Update: A-ha! I knew I could trust you guys to find them! The lights are from Shades of Light, and cost $450 for the set of 5. They also come in polished brass and silver, but those options are $200 more.]

I'm thinking I'd like to hang caged pendants like those kind of like this for our dining room:

By Instructables user jmitch77 (hit the link for instructions) 
With at least eight or ten lights, though, and sort of doubled up so they look like a big mass of lights hanging down. John says this is ridiculously easy to do, so it's all about finding those cages - and hoping they don't cost a fortune when I do. (There's GOT to be way to DIY those things, right? Right?)

More proof the internet makes the world a smaller place: I heard from New Zealand "junk artist" Sean Boyd this week, who said one of you readers pointed him toward Epbot. So I went to look at his work, and lo and behold, I've had this ray gun of his on my "Steampunk Inspirations" Pinterest board for ages now!

Isn't it gorgeous? 

A few more of my favorites:

Sean does a variety of both steampunk and sci-fi inspired work. I'm particularly smitten with these sleek retro styles:

Sean tells me he just quit his day job this year to pursue his art full time, so go see more of his work at his Flickr gallery, or visit his website for available pieces or to ask him about commissions! (P.S. My birthday is next month. JUST SAYING.) 

Next up, Marni J. spotted this stunning USB Heart Necklace by Etsy seller Rob Smith, aka Artype:
(The top section conceals the USB stick.) 
This one has already sold, but Smith has a similar style here for $169. I can't get over how gorgeous that detail is!

And finally, in the spirit of that My Little Pony generator we all lost WAY too much time playing with way back when, I give you ... the Mega Steampunk Dress Up Game!

Cut to 30 minutes later, and here's mine:

She started out as a steampunk Tinkerbell, then turned into a potion master. Heh.

Cut to another 15 minutes later, and here's my second go:
What you can't see are that the final graphics are animated, so the eyes blink, gears spin, tools spark, etc. Super fun! And we all have Tessa C. to thank for the massive amounts productivity we're about to lose - or in my case, already have. ;)

I hope you guys are having a fun and steamy weekend! Today is our last day with my parents before they head home from their anniversary trip, so John and I will be out at the Magic Kingdom. Yeppers. CITRUS SWIRL HERE I COME.