Thursday, August 28, 2014

Supernatural Fun At CONjure Orlando

With Dragon Con starting tomorrow, I guess I better wrap up our last convention: a little local event called CONjure.

This was CONjure's first year of existence, and if I had to guess, I'd say also its last. Because despite having some great celebrity guests, a pleasant staff, and a hefty $1000 prize for the costume contest, almost no one showed up.

In fact, attendance was so dismal on Saturday that the con let everyone in for free on Sunday, hoping to draw more crowds. Even then, the vendor room was a ghost town for the few hours we were there, and it looked like some sellers didn't even bother coming back after Saturday's disappointing turnout.

A look at the vendor room from the main entrance.

I can't say for sure WHY no one was there, but I'd mostly blame timing; both Leaky Con *and* Tampa Comic Con were going on that weekend. 

The main reason John and I were there, of course, was to see Mark Sheppard's panel and give him his custom figure, since we're big Supernatural fans. We wandered the vendor room twice working up the nerve to approach his table, and I stopped to take pics of this replica of Supernatural's own Impala:

The Impala's guardian invited me behind the caution tape for more pics, and I'm so glad she did. Check out the awesome details inside!

On the floor is a box of old classic rock cassettes, and on the seat, Dean's knife and their dad's notebook: 

Beside the car in the back was a cooler topped with the boys' favorite brew and rock salt shotgun cartridges:

And the trunk... Ohhh, the trunk:

Propped on the side is a cigar box filled with Sam & Dean's fake IDs, burner phones, and other miscellanea:

Looks like they even ended up with Charlie's driving license. Ha!

But the best detail of all? Let's see if you can spot it:

Yes, it's the green army man wedged in the ash tray, made famous by the emotional season 5 finale. [sniffle]

After we gave Sheppard his figure and took a few pics together - at his suggestion - it was off to his panel.

Now, keep in mind, Sheppard had just come from San Diego Comic Con the previous weekend, packing out massive convention halls with thousands upon thousands of screaming fans. So when he walked out onto the stage of a big ballroom and saw maybe 50 of us scattered among the first few rows of chairs, you can forgive him for saying, "Is this it? You're joking."

There was no heat to it, though, just surprise. And I've gotta hand it to Sheppard; he recovered like a champ. He gave a mild "what're ya gonna do?" shrug, hopped off the stage, and strolled down to us to take questions face-to-face.

And when I say "Take questions," I mean Sheppard would listen to a question, and then talk about whatever the heck he wanted, related or not. It was kind of hilarious. I'm not exaggerating when I say he spent the first 35+ minutes of his hour panel talking about Doctor Who - what a great show it is, where newbies should start watching and why (with #11, if you're curious), the motivation and intricacies behind certain characters - the works.

When someone tried to derail him by asking about Supernatural, Sheppard blinked twice... and then resumed his Who fanboying. Like I said: kind of hilarious.
 (Yes, that's a real bird in the background. It belonged to some of the attendees.)

Sheppard also had a way of reverse-heckling the audience. You want to know about on-set pranks? Do you KNOW how many times a day he's asked that question? Now, as he was saying about Doctor Who...

He personally greeted anyone who arrived late to the panel, inviting them in, asking how they were, where they'd been, that kind of thing. On the flip side, if you tried to leave early you got the same treatment. o.0

This lady asked the very first question, and as she was speaking Sheppard strolled over to her, getting closer and closer and kind of looming over her seat. She responded by standing up to face him, and guess who was taller then?

That got a good laugh out of the audience. :)

Sheppard is extremely soft-spoken, so everyone really had to lean in and hush up to hear him. I've never been in a panel quite like it: you could hear a pin drop when he paused for thought. I quickly had to stop taking pictures with my camera, too; the shutter click sounded like a gunshot in there.

I've had someone remark since this that Sheppard isn't very talkative in person, but I think - like most of us - you just have to get him started on something he's interested in. He's quick, extremely intelligent, and not terribly interested in faking enthusiasm. On the one hand that makes him a bit intimidating, but on the other, at least you know what you're getting is genuine.

For example, after the panel, when this group of Moulin Rouge/Supernatural inspired Can Can dancers lined up for Sheppard and lifted their skirts, he didn't so much as quirk an eyebrow:

Instead he looked them over, gave a grave nod, and said, "Very nice."


Another celeb there - Chad Rook - was more enthusiastic, diving in for a picture:

I can't tell which characters all the dancers are supposed to be, but the last two on the right are dressed as Bobby and Crowley:

Check out "Bobby's" little trucker hat fascinator - complete with small angel wings! [sob] BOBBYYY!!!


And Crowley's dress has a beautiful Devil's Trap on top of the circle skirt in red sequins - plus note she's wearing a red flame tiara. Appropriate for the king/queen of hell, no?

They told me they worked on these dresses for months, and with all those ruffles, I can see why!

A few days after CONjure I watched the Supernatural Nerd HQ panel, and it was quite a difference, seeing Mark have so much fun with the fans. Give it a watch here, if you haven't already; it's always great seeing the four guys tease each other nonstop. Heh.

And now that I'm caught up on convention coverage: Off to Dragon Con! See some of you soon!

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Steampunk Dining Room: New Update & Pics!

You guys! After years and years of searching... I finally found a dining room light fixture.

Let the rejoicing... BEGIN.

See, I was forever drooling over stuff like this:

via Houzz

But I was also completely in love with banded globes, like these:

It had to be vintage enough for steampunk, elegant, but still casual, and with down lights for functionality, since I do most of my crafting at the table.

After a few years I decided the light didn't exist, so John - ever resourceful - drew up plans to build one:

But then we'd get to the point of discussing welding the iron frame (!!), and I'd tell him it was too much work; I'd just keep looking.

And finally - FINALLY - after scouring every light store in central Florida, and then every website I could think of, I found this:

At $336 it's the most expensive light we've ever purchased, but considering how long I've been looking? - totally worth it.

(It'd be nice with bare Edison bulbs instead of globes, too, but since those would cost another $60 this is great for now. Maybe I'll try removing the globes later.)

This is also a great excuse to photograph my dining room again, since I just realized you guys haven't seen it in a couple of years:

Looking back at my old dining room photos, WOW am I glad we found that antique radio cabinet. Really helps fill the space.

Funny; you see so many of these metal globe fixtures now, but this is the only one I've seen with lights pointing down, and also on the outside of the sphere. (You watch; now they'll be everywhere.)

We have it on a dimmer, so at extra low light the globes glow orange:

The ceiling medallion was a plain white one from Home Depot, so John threw a little brown glaze on it to age it down:
 The glaze helps the design stand out more, too.

And since I'm so proud of John, I've also gotta show off the frame he made last week:

I've had this art print rolled up for over a year now, since I'm too cheap for custom framing. Finally John took a giant clearance frame we bought for $25, cut it up, re-assembled it, & refinished it to an aged coppery gold to match the art. And it is SO PRETTY.

The print itself is perfectly matte, so it almost looks a velvet painting up close - only, you know, in a good way. (You can buy it directly from the artist here on DeviantArt - only $23!)

Aaaand that's a perfect segue into announcing this month's art winner! So congratulations to... AliceGracey!!
Please e-mail me your mailing address, Alice, plus your choice of prize from my Pinterest art give-away board.

Hope you guys liked the new mini-tour of our steampunk dining room!

Friday, August 22, 2014

August Art Roundup! Groot, Batgirl, and Baby Animal Plushes I MUST SNUGGLE NOW

Time for more great geek art!

Think you can handle this cute? BECAUSE I CANNOT.

 Groot! By Piper Thibodeau
SQUEE! I don't see any prints for sale, but Piper does allow you to download the image on DeviantArt. (New wallpaper?) Plus check out the rest of Thibodeau's gallery for more goodness like this:


Since I'm still catching up on posting all the art I found at Supercon, I tried not to buy any more at Tampa Comic-Con - I did. But when Mike Maihack is offering $20 watercolor commissions? COME ON.

I actually asked Mike what he wanted to draw, and he suggested the new Batgirl. SOLD! Here she is, all framed up in my office:

Watch for Mike at your local cons to snag a commission like this, or head over to his online store for prints and books.

When I posted this "art haul" photo from Supercon last month, some of you immediately zeroed in on that adorable Toothless in the middle:

That's an original commission by our friend Nathan Szerdy, but after seeing your response to it, he decided to give it a digital makeover and make it a print!

Now, despite our scolding Nathan still doesn't sell prints online, but he volunteered one for the give-away board, you lucky ducklings, you. ;) Be sure to follow Nathan on Facebook to keep up with his convention schedule, and/or look for him at Dragon Con next week!

Charlie Thurston - creator of that adorable WHObacca you all loved - donated his latest for the board, too. It's a geeky twist on the Christmas tradition of the Elf on the Shelf, called...

Wedge on the Ledge. 

Ok, so it's a little early for Life Day celebrations, but this is seriously cute stuff. The mini book is written & illustrated by Charlie, and the paper Wedge doll can sit up on, well, ledges. ;) Check out Charlie's Etsy shop (which he keeps fully stocked now, thanks to my constant badgering, ahthankyouverramuch) for lots more mini geek books and prints.

Also from Supercon, I picked up a few more of Alex Asfour's big 12X17 posters for the give-away board, since you guys snapped up the last batch I featured. You won't find these anywhere online; you can only buy from Alex in person or win them here!

Follow Alex on Pinterest to see the rest of his geek posters, or head to his website to see his travel posters (which are gorgeous) and design work.

Kit Steele had stacks and stacks of original pencil sketches like this beauty at Super Con:

It's accented with metallic gold, so the horns and scales gleam in the light. SO COOL. (I'm planning to frame it in silver for our bedroom.)

And I think you guys will like Kit's robot:

 I hope so, anyway; I bought it for the give-away board.

Follow Kit on Facebook to see all her newest stuff (GROOT!!), and you can buy her prints over on Society6.

Bamboota (aka Crystal Fontan) makes some fantastic t-shirt art you might recognize - and I just found she also sells them as prints and stickers over on Etsy:

Her postcard prints are only $5, and the larger 11X14 size is $15.

Bianca Roman-Stumpff is another local artist-turned-friend that I'm desperately trying to get selling online. She has a few things on Society6, and occasionally sells original Puff Monsters on Etsy, but that's not even a fraction of her work.

Here are two of her newest print sets:

That Avatar set is stunning in person - I so love Toph.

And since John and I disagreed on which of these next two you guys would like best, I just got both:

 Alien vs Predator. Bwhahaha!
If you like Bianca's stuff, do me a favor and go tell her on Facebook you'd like an online store; maybe we can badger her into it like we did Charlie. ;) Sometimes Bianca offers sales through FB with shipping, too, so don't be afraid to ask.

And finally, I promise these hand-sculpted and poseable art plushes WON'T drain your bank account - if only because they're already sold.

Yes, my friends, that is a handmade and sculpted ART DOLL. Can you believe it?? It's by Wood Splitter Lee's Fantasy Creations, who makes all kinds of different baby animals and auctions them off on ebay - for prices I'm betting neither of us can afford. Heh.

Check out her panda:

OH. Migosh.

And her latest, a wolf pup you won't believe isn't a real live animal:

AAAIEEE! Seriously unbelievable. And Lee does everything, too, from constructing a wire "skeleton" inside the plush to handpainting the eyeballs!

Head over to Lee's DeviantArt gallery for lots more cuddly creatures, and for ebay links to her current auctions.

K, that does it for this month! Now you know the drill: comment below for a chance to win your choice of prize from my Pinterest Art Give-Away Board, which has all KINDS of new goodies on it. (More than I've posted here, in fact, so be sure to check it out!) I'll pick a winner at random in a few days, and I'll ship anywhere, so internationals are welcome.

Happy weekend, and happy commenting!

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