Monday, October 4, 2010

Fun Finds

I spend all day every day online, and you readers also share the coolest of the cool links with me. Here's what's currently open in my browser tabs:

First, Erica sent me this amaaazing line-up of quirky boutonnieres from the Offbeat Bride:

They have lots more including LEGO, feathers, and even My Little Pony heads! Go check it out; the whole site is so fun you can easily lose a few hours drooling over all the wedding eye candy. (Almost makes me want to take John up on that whole getting-married-again offer some day. Boy, could we make up for our boring-and-bland wedding now!)

Also good for weddings (or Halloween parties?), Geeks Are Sexy has posted an intoxicating list of 10 Star Trek themed cocktails, including the Fuzzy Tribble and Vulcan Death Grip. Ha!

I love the names, but The Phasers on Stun Punch (above) and Beam Me Up Scotchie are also sounding mighty tasty this Monday afternoon.

Here's a seasonal treat: Pink Ray Gun is offering free pumpkin carving templates every day through Halloween! Here's today's design:

Go here to download the template, and be sure to check their archives for more.

Btw, I am *determined* to carve a pumpkin this year. I've never tried carving just partway through the rind before, so I'm excited to try. I'd like to do the Epbot 'bot on one side (somehow...) but I'm looking for more options for side #2. Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments - or better yet, link to a pic I can use!

Oh, and any Ghostbuster designs will, of course, automatically win the submitter my undying respect and admiration. That is all.


  1. I had just seen that steampunk boutonniere on offbeat bride earlier and totally thought of you. Talk about some cute ideas!!

  2. I have just discovered that you can carve those foam pumpkins from craft stores! How awesome is that?! Especially for those of us living in FL, where a regular pumpkin will rot on your doorstep within days. :)

  3. Heather, I'm planning on trying the foam pumpkins! Saving up my JoAnn's coupons and everything. ;)

  4. Re: Carving Epbot-bot into a pumpkin... Couldn't you just create a template like the one you showed in the post? Print out a picture (or draw it?) on thick paper (cardstock or even thin plastic), and then cut out the outline... Stick it to the pumpkin (and I mean STICK. I think the one time I've done, we used masking tape or painters' tape... Just don't use duct tape, it leave sticky yuckiness on the pumpkin)

    Buy an extra pumpkin (or two) because it's not as easy as it looks:-)

  5. I don't know if you guys have a Hobby Lobby down in Florida, Jen, but they have them on sale already there....50% off! Thanks for the template suggestions...I was looking for some original ones to carve in my foam pumpkin too!

  6. From the way this post is worded I get the sense you dont usually carve pumpkins... and being from keene, home of the record for most lit jack-o-lanterns (actually bosten finally beat us. but it does NOT count. at ALL) I find that very sad. and I wish I could send you a plethora of carved pumpkins in the mail.
    So if I come across any awesome designs Ill be sure to send them to you.
    ANd maybe I'll just settle for sending you pictures from Pumpkin fest :D
    you're girly geekiness makes me feel better all the time :)
    Especially since Im definitely having a Blogger Appreciation Day.
    Keep being awesome !

  7. Jen,
    My day started with my son's diagnosis with chicken pox for the 2nd time (really!!) and now...Ahhhh. I see Dr. Who on a pumpkin! Thank you, thank you thank you!!! My shoulders are relaxing already and I am going to Jo-Ann's as soon as my hubby comes home! :-)

  8. I think you should carve the Epbot 'bot with the Ghostbusters pack on his back and the nozzle aiming out like he's using it on the viewer!

  9. A beginner at carving, you may be, but practice makes perfect...and this one will require a lot of practice.

  10. A couple years ago I made a Wall*E pumpkin. I drew up the template myself, then punched key points into the pumpkin to create a connect-the dots. Some of them are still visible because I changed my mind about proportions as I was working.

    A tip for carving: you can get shading effects by carving the pumping to different thicknesses, once the skin is off. Thinner walls mean brighter areas, thicker mean darker. Carve all the way through for the brightest areas.

    Happy carving!
    -Kate M.

  11. How 'bout the 'bot on one side and the Naked Mohawk Baby Carrot Jockey on the other? That would be one hilarious jack-o-lantern.

  12. Fair warning--the foam pumpkins can be a *itch to carve with standard implements. Believe me, I've carved plenty and bled plenty!

    The craft stores sell a hot knife kit (usually with woodburning supplies) which works pretty well if your design isn't too intricate. It only comes with a standard xacto blade-shape knife or poker for holes. It smells bad, but it works. You can also use your Dremel with little grinding bits, which works pretty well and lets you do more intricate designs, but makes a mother of a mess of foam powder everywhere, which you probably shouldn't breathe.

    Also, the foam pumpkins are pretty inconsistent in their thickness, so it's hard to carve enough away for the light to shine through without accidentally carving right through in the thin places.

    As for stencils, I used to make custom pumpkin stencils all the time--Darth Vader, Han Solo, Yoda, David Delamare's 'Fairy Moon', Former TX Governor Ann Richards, you name it...Just find a photo or coloring book picture of what you want that has strong contrast and good lines (I use Google images to find something that will work), turn it to greyscale in a graphics program, then turn the contrast down a bit until you can pick out strong lines and shadows, but most of the fussy little details are gone. Print this out the size you want.

    I'm sure the next part can be done digitally, but I'm an old school crafter. Trace the major lines and outline the shadow areas with a black sharpie. Turn your image over, and you should see a good start to your stencil. The shadow areas and lines you want to leave, the open areas are what you want to cut away. Just remember that every shadow area or line has to be connected to the pumpkin so be sure to add bridges where necessary so all of your dark areas are connected. I usually retrace this on a fresh sheet of paper.

    I don't like to carve over paper on the foam pumpkins so I usually use a ball tip stylus to 'trace' the pattern onto the skin of the pumpkin, sometimes with carbon paper, if the skin is not indenting quite enough. Then I remove the paper to carve.

    Hmm, now that I've written a book on pumpkin carving...Hope it's helpful to someone!

  13. My boyfriend Josh carved his very first pumpkin a couple of years ago. He used his dremmel tools to carve out the Death Star freehanded and used different level of carving to produce different levels of brightness. He used glow sticks for the laser. He really wanted to use a white pumpkin but we couldn't find any. He put Vaseline on the carved parts to preserve the carving. This year I'm doing a village skyline with the Dark Mark and the word "Morsmordre" under the whole thing. Carving pumpkins is one of my favorite parts of Halloween. Good Luck with your pumpkin.

  14. @Amy - thanks for the tip! We just had our first Hobby Lobby open up down here, so I'll go check it out.

    @ Texpenguin - I'm thinking you should write an *actual* book on this! Great advice, and thanks for the heads up on the foam pumpkins; maybe I'll start with a real one first. When I do get to the foam, I'll be sure to use the Dremel on it outside.

  15. Oh have I got a site for you for pumpkin patterns! I've been addicted to this site ever since I first found out about shaded pumpkins. Check out The Pumpkin Wizard. They've also a great forum with lots of people to help with questions!

    I'll also email you links to some of the pumpkins I've carved thanks to that site.

  16. There's children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads!

    This is Halloween

    You can use a white foam pumpkin to do Jack :) I believe I still have this template.

    It's also fun to carve an image in the back of the pumpkin - it will cast a shadow on the wall. Placement is key, you have to carve it small and higher up to cast in the right direction (and also so it won't show through the front). My favorites that I've done were Cinderella on the front, her castle shadow on the wall, and Gus on the front with Cindy's slipper on the wall.

    This year I'm going to do Oogie Boogie as he appears in the moon at the beginning of TNBC.

    I'm in Illinois, the largest pumpkin producer in the U.S., and it gets nice and chilly so pumpkins can last a long time. Yay?

  17. Jen, real pumpkins have their problems too. Google how to preserve it to make it last longer. I think you can soak it in salt water or something. But real pumpkins carve easier (if gooey-er) and you have a lot more tool options. I like the linoleum block carving gouges, usually sold in the artist pens/pencils aisle at the craft store.

    One last tip--cut your lid in the bottom rather than the top of your pumpkin. That way you don't risk a lid falling in on your candle/light if you didn't cut it at steep enough angle, and the seam of light that leaks out of that cut will be less noticeable. Also, I use the lights made for the holiday village houses--basically a clip-in Christmas bulb on a cord. I just punch a hole just large enough to clip into, rather than a lid. Of course, if you're using a real pumpkin, you still need the lid to scrape it out.

    Can't wait to see what you do!

  18. A couple years ago I insisted that I was not going to carve a pumpkin. I din't want to, it was messy, I had no ideas, etc.. Then I spent about 3 hours carving a Kingdom Hearts pumpkin which included not cutting all the way through.. Ooh. I found my photo!

  19. I read somwhere that if you coat the cuts on a pumpkin with vaseline that keeps them from getting moldy and rotting. I thought I would try that since Texas is like Florida - what's fall? How about this Ghostbuster design? Ghostbuster

  20. I'm not quite sure if this link will work, because it's a link to a photo on facebook. But I am dying to show you the pumpkin carving my roommate and I did a few years back. She found a template for a Darth Vader pumpkin! I have to give her the credit, as she is an expert pumpkin carver! She did an excellent job covering up my mistakes :P

    If that doesn't work, the link on my name is the same picture!

  21. naked mohawk-baby carrot jockey for the other side of the pumpkin!

  22. Fruit fresh is supposed to work on the cuts. A while back I had a Strongbad jack o lantern from a template provided on the Homestar runner site. Would provide the link per your excellent teaching but I'm using my phone and apple and flash don't play nicely together.

  23. Curse you... now my browser is filled with tabs :P

    PS - I second/third/fourth/etc the the carrot jockey pumpkin idea.

  24. If you haven't already, it might be worth your time to pick up one of the Pumpkin Masters carving tool sets - they work great for the little fiddly cuts and for transferring templates, and can usually be found pretty cheaply. I've used them the past several years with my kids - they're best used if you think of using them like a little saw instead of a knife.

    I think you could carve the Epbot easily - you would need to thicken your line drawing so it can be seen when carved, and either carve only part of the way through for your outline, or determine a few key stopping points where there would still be a solid part of pumpkin so your bot doesn't just fall out of the pumpkin. Then you would just transfer your paper design to the pumpkin from the paper (tracing wheels work great for this) and have a copy on hand for reference, so you know where to carve and where to keep (It's easy to forget).

  25. I'd totally love to know how to make those book page roses!

  26. Did you see next week's "Castle" has a steampunk theme?

  27. These are two of my more impressive (in my opinion) Jack-o-Lanterns. Both made from templates I made myself. Woo!

    The first is the Ohio State mascot and the second is a vampire cupcake. Not sure yet what I want to do this year.
    Brutus Buckeye Pumpkin
    Vampire Cupcake

    Good luck with your pumpkin!

  28. John from Pinkraygun here. Thanks for the link out to our Dr. Who template.

    A Ghostbusters themed template is in the works...should have it up right after NYCC this weekend, so give a looksee Monday or Tuesday.

  29. I really think you will appreciate this art.

  30. I love carving pumpkins! I'm a fan of free hand, and I use linoleum block carving tools to cut different depths. There are many tips to choose from, so you can get quite intricate...just be careful if you're new to them--you can gouge yourself pretty easily! Art stores and some craft stores carry the tools. P.S. I have won several carving compitions;)

  31. I carved an owl free hand last was pretty fun. I haven't been able to get my hands on a pumpkin this year, yet... I'm hoping they get pumpkins in St. Croix! 0_o

    If I am able to get one, I'm definitely going for a more elaborate carving again this year! My personal fave: Harry Potter, of course!

    But maybe you'd like a Stay Puft pumpkin? Too bad you can't get that pattern for free. But I'm willing to bet you'd be pretty capable of creating your own.

    Mario would be awfully fun, too, though.

    Or maybe you want something scarier? How did Tigger and Lightening McQueen get in there?!

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. squeeing from my cubicle in all my freak geek madness about this

  34. Ghostbuster design

    also, one year, my friend got big foam pumpkins and carved with a dremel(sp) and now she uses them every year. This way, all your hard work doesn't rot away. She bought her pumpkins at AC Moore. I'm sure they can be found at any local craft store ie; hobby lobby, Michaels and the sort.

  35. I'm not real big on Halloween, but I have to admit I squeed a little when I saw the Dr. Who pumpkin carving template. :D

  36. I'm going to try this link again... Blogger keeps crapping out on me. :( Maybe I'll get it right this time!

    Autobot Pumpkin

  37. I think the epbot would be cute on a pumpkin, especially if you carved out some steampunk gears on the backside of the pumpkin, to project it on a nearby wall.

    Here's an example of what I mean.

  38. I'm with Hope that a steampunk pumpkin would be incredibly appropo.

    While I don't have any pattern suggestions off hand, I do have a few tips that might help with the partial depth cutting technique. Firstly, you can actually design your own pattern pretty easy on any image editing program if you simplify the shapes to two or three tones. Second, good X-acto blades are a must for getting good precision, and wire sculpting tools are handy too for scraping out parts of the meat after the skin is removed.

    Get your lighting source ready in advance, I recommend a strong battery powered light source, and keep it handy while you're working (for testing). This is invaluable for learning how deep into the flesh you need to cut to get different 'value' ranges without going all the way through or risking that you don't cut deep enough to get the full effect.

    Hope these things help. You can see one of my more successful attempts here if you want:
    Forest Cottage Pumpkin


    Ghostbusters Pumpkin Carving images

  40. omg my kids are going to go NUTTY for this doctor template...thanks for postign it!!

  41. Just saw this on my Yahoo home page. Have you seen this collection of "nerdy" carved pumpkins?

  42. just wondering if you've been back to this pumpkin carving website? The very latest one is actually a Ghostbusters one!
    Being as Halloween pumpkin carving hasn't been my thing, but Screen printing has, I'm using these designs on T-shirts for Xmas gifts :)


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