Thursday, January 19, 2017

Quick Craft: DIY "Honorary House Elf" Apron

Remember the House Elf apron I made for John to wear during our Potter Christmas Party? It really works for any time of year, so I thought I'd share the templates in case any of you'd like to make your own.

But first... 


 Werk it, John!

Aw yeah GQ!

Um, I think we got it, thanks...

No, really, THAT'S GOOD.

Aaaand SCENE.

What's fun about this is you can use any color apron, so... house colors anyone? Hmmm?

Plain aprons can be hard to find - John searched all over town before finding this one at Bed Bath & Beyond - but I found some cute shortie style ones over on Amazon Prime for less than $10.

Best of all, there are over 20 colors to choose from!

So, once you have your apron, download these graphics I put together in Photoshop:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Epcot's New Festival of the Arts Is A Figment Love-Fest

On Friday John and I spent an exceptionally soggy day checking out Epcot's first ever Festival of the Arts.

The rain may have put a damper on things - literally - but it also kept the crowds and temperature down, so I'll take it.

Best thing of the whole Festival greets you right behind Spaceship Earth:


Isn't he perfect?! Gah. I want one in my front yard. (Would that be weird? Because I'm ok with being weird.)

And another surprise awaits you just past the fountain:

These living statues will look familiar if you've been to Disney Springs lately, though they're different designs and on new custom platforms. I've been trying to figure out the themes: Copper is obviously Earth/Nature (wind power, flowers, etc.), and Silver is Space, but Gold is... steampunk? I... I don't get it.

Whatever, I got the coolest shot of Gold:

HDR is fun.

And that's the actual sky color! Talk about a literal gray day.

(All of these were taken with my iPhone 6S. I edited this one with Snapseed - also on my phone -  but most of the others were done in Adobe Lightroom.)

Over in the Odyssey Building there are daily art presentations on stage:

Plus themed food and drink and exclusive merchandise:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January Art Roundup: Owls, Elves, and Phoenix Masks!

Time for more of my favorite geeky art finds! I skipped last month, so buckle up for plenty of eye candy.

Starting with the gothic grunge styles of Vaughn Belak:

Looove this one:
 Anyone else thinking Secret of Nimh? Just me?

 Belak also paints groovy, glowy-eyed ladies:

 Head over to Belak's online shop for prints, which range from $17-$22.

 Next some pretties by Kelly McKernan:

Prints start at $25 in McKernan's online store, and there are LOTS more. Go see!

The dark fantasy paintings of Dustin Panzino are just a teensy bit creepy, but wow do they draw me in:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Eat Your Heart Out, Sorting Hat

John's been making custom Hogwarts House banners for group members over on Fans of Epbot the past several days, and now we've brainstormed enough funny ones that I think they have to be shared.

Each graphic is a transparent .png, so just download your favorite and use any image program to layer it over your profile picture. We made 3 options for each House:

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mailbag: How I Decorate, Purge, & Stay Organized

I got some fun questions last week from Jenny over on Facebook:

Woo, that's a lot to cover! Ha! I get variations on all these questions every year after my House Tour, though, so since I'm feeling chatty, how 'bout I tackle some? I'll even sprinkle in photos from around the house to keep it interesting.

Let's start with:

Clutter vs Display

I admit it: I love clutter. I love surrounding myself with STUFF. I like the hominess and warmth of personal collections, and I like having areas filled with treasures for people to discover as they roam the house.

I also love antiquing. YEAH I SAID IT.

So. How do you keep all your beloved stuff from devolving into thrift store madness? A few tips:

- Start by putting everything you want to display on the dining room table. Yes, everything! You need to see what you've got to work with. Then clear off all the surfaces you want to decorate, so you can start with a blank slate.

I do this every year for Christmas decorations. Packing my everyday decor away for 4-6 weeks helps me see it with fresh eyes again come January.

- Work in vignettes. Don't tackle the whole room at once; start with a table top. A mantle. A book shelf. Select one or two "big" things from your cache on the table - things you really love and want to display- then build up around them with smaller, more generic items (candles, plants, etc).

- Collections need a theme. "Stuff I like"is NOT a theme. Arrange things by color, type, material, etc. Don't scatter all your Pop figures around the room, put them in one place! Have a favorite color? Arrange a table in it like I did here, using all golds and brass:

- Odd numbers are key. Always group things in 3s and 5s. Don't ask me why, it just looks better.

- Remember your height and (visual) weight. When I'm stuck, I look at the heights of what's in front of me. Mix 'em up. Add some highs and lows! And if you have a high skinny thing on one side, put a short squat thing on the other side to balance it out:

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

So I Tried One Of Those Cheap Lens Kits For Your Phone...

Ever since I realized my iPhone 6 can rival my Canon 7D in picture quality, I've been leaving the Canon home more and more. And since I lurrrve fish-eye photos, I decided to try one of those snap-on lens kits for your phone:

This is the set I bought about 6 months ago, though my clips look different - I guess they've already updated them? Anyway, it's less than $15 over on Amazon. Like I said: CHEAP. It has 3 lenses: fisheye, wide-angle, and a macro, but for me the fisheye is the fun one.

Embarrassingly enough, I actually have a nice fisheye lens for my real camera, but I can't for the life of me figure it out. The settings are hard, all my compositions feel wrong, and overall I just felt like an idiot with it, so I gave up.

But a phone is easy. No settings to worry about, easy to experiment with, and for less than $15, why not, right?

So I've been putting this dinky little fisheye through its paces out at Disney and Universal over the past few months, and having a blast. Here's a sampling of some of my favorite shots, all taken with the lens on my iPhone:

It doesn't have the extreme fisheye distortion you can get with a "real" lens, but this is still enough to give the same feel. For best results, get your phone right on top of something in the foreground, to really warp and stretch the composition.

If you stand back, you'll get something more like this:

Which is really more of a wide-angle, very little distortion.

That can be awesome sometimes, though, like with the dragon:

Thanks to the fisheye I can get the buildings leaning into frame, which looks awesome!

You can also get so much more of these incredible ceilings in the shot:

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! I'm In Love With A Chicken.

Happy 2017, everyone!

For New Year's Eve John and I got wild and crazy and had some garlicy white pizza (Blaze at Disney Springs. SO GOOD.) followed by a vastly overdue viewing of Moana at our local theater. And oh. Migosh. You guys. YOU GUYS.

Believe the hype. If you haven't seen this movie yet, RUN to your nearest theater and see it immediately. Just be sure to bring Kleenex for the buckets of happy tears. (Yep, not a single tear for Rogue One, but I produced a two-hour rainstorm for Moana. Not because it's sad, but because it's just so beautiful.)

Seriously, Moana's animation is off-the-charts gorgeous, but you almost don't notice because the story is so relentlessly fantastic. Original, hilarious, touching, multiple strong female characters... ah! I can't wait to see it again. I could have stayed in the theater then and there for a second showing.

But here's the thing:


Well, he's a rooster. Named Heihei, which is pronounced, "Hey Hey."

If you're like me, and enjoy CGI slapstick done by a bug-eyed rooster, then you, too, will fall beak-over-tail for Heihei. And when you learn Alan Tudyk is the voice behind all of Heihei's chicken sounds, your love will only grow.

I feel deep in my soul that I must possess a Heihei of my very own, so I've been looking at all the Heihei merch out there. Then my friend Steph found the most AMAZING THING EVER:

This is Gladzy Kei Art & Cosplay and her hand-sculpted Heihei.

Behold his magnificence!!

Gladzy made him using Apoxie Sculpt and Worbla - a brilliant choice for those feathers. Her paint job is what really drops my jaw, though. Those color fades! And the metallics! Ah! I'm making involuntary "gimmie" hands in-between typing right now.

I also want to drop everything and buy some Worbla and try sculpting my own Heihei. Maybe with his head tilted to the side? I don't know that I could ever match Gladzy's amazingness, but dang, it seems fun to try!

Anyway, here's to trying lots of fun new things in 2017. Thanks for sticking around with me, geeking out with me, and for being my tribe. You guys rock. Sending you ALL the hugs and rooster pecks.