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!