Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gettin' My Geeky Groove Back

Hellooooo, beautiful geeklings, geekettes, and fellow geek-meisters!

So my family may have sent me home with a large box of dark chocolate-covered cherries, and I MAY have consumed a few too many. BUT NO MATTER. Because I, my friends, am back. And I've missed you. Well, most of you. You know who you are. [winkwink]

So. How was your break?

Since I can't actually hear you, I'll just go ahead and fill you in on mine.

First, even though my family decided a few years ago to stop doing the gift thing (too much stress, and we're all hard-to-buy-for adults anyway) most of us broke the rules.

From John:

Aww yeeah. Does my man know me, or what? (He also got me some mold-making resin. Woot!!) I'm afraid the stainless steel wallet & Star Trek DVDs I got him pale in comparison.

John and I spent Christmas day at home finishing up a gift for my mom: a framed canvas print of a portrait we took of her during Dragon*Con. I snagged the canvas off Zazzle when they were running a 60% off sale. Since this was a very last minute idea, we didn't have time to order a custom frame - but no matter! We'll just, uh, frame it ourselves? Yeah! Why not?

After searching all over town for a shop that actually stocks frame wood and was open on Christmas Eve, we found a small place an hour away that sold us some discontinued scraps of the ugliest frame wood ever to blight the face of the earth. Seriously, it was hideous. We couldn't paint over it fast enough, so I only have this one comparison shot for you:

That's what we started with on the right, and our completed frame on the left.

And here are some progress shots:

This was after John had built the frame and primed it (he's quick!) and sprayed on a chrome base coat.

Next, I added a metallic gold glaze:

I dabbed it on sparingly and smoothed it out by stippling to give the frame a nice platinum look.

After two coats of the gold glaze, it was time for aging:

Here John's applying a heavy coat of black glaze to the rope detailing, which we then quickly wiped off again:

When that was done, I added gold Rub N' Buff to the peaks of the rope and scrollwork detail, and, voila!

Depending on the light, the frame can look silver or pale gold. Kinda nifty.

Here's the back, in case you're curious how John put it all together:

Which we then tidied up by covering with matte gold craft paper:

The day after Christmas we drove to Williamsburg, where we spent several days with my parents and grandmother. I think Mom loved her portrait - Dad immediately hung it prominently in their stairwell - and Dad spent the week gleefully playing with the new camera and lenses we brought him. We also set them up with my old Mac desktop, which was especially fun since they've been life-long PC users. (We've already had a video chat with them since we've returned home, and the vaguely confused and awed expressions on their faces was ADORABLE.) (Love you, Mom & Dad!)

We drove home New Year's Day, arriving in the wee hours. Yesterday I de-Christmas-fied the house. :( I left the steampunk tree for last, and sighed many dramatic and heartbroken sighs as I packed away all the ornaments.

I wasn't kidding about not taking all those lights off, though, and fortunately John found a solution for me:

He shrink-wrapped our tree, guys.

We'll be storing it this way in the garage, which I'll now be calling Shelob's Lair, for obvious reasons:

This sight is so ridiculous I can't help but laugh every time I see it. But hey, next year we can just cut off the wrap, fluff the branches a bit, and plug it in!

Well, that's a wrap - pun intended - obviously - so I'll leave you with a fun video to watch during your next lunch break. If you're familiar with the music of Jonathan Coulton, you'll love it. If you're not, you'll still love it - but afterward you should definitely go look him up. He makes great fun geeky music, and this mini-musical based on his song Code Monkey is great geeky fun:

Happy new year, everyone! Here's to lots more geeky fun in 2012!


  1. Glad to see you're back Jen, I always look forward to new EB posts!

  2. Yay! Dremel! I'm wondering if you have perspective on a question I have about them. I'm saving for the 4000 or cordless 8000 version.

    What is the real difference? Is a cordless easier to hold/manuever? Does the cordless really have less power? Meaning - if I had to slice into drywall or fiberboard, would the 8000 cordless not do it?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. What an amazing frame transformation.
    Um.. John is brilliant! I am so doing that to my Christmas tree. I have had a tree up in my bedroom for a year now because I didn't have/ couldn't buy a box big enough for it. I love the shrink wrap idea!

  4. My husband got me a Dremel for Christmas too! Although, it's my first Dremel, so he got a basic model with just a few attachments. I can't wait to make something with it! Hooray for crafting!

  5. So awesome!

    Can you believe my hubby got me a Dremel 4000 for xmas too?! I have been playing around with it. :D

  6. There was an animated series on G4 a few years ago called CodeMonkeys that used Johnathan Coulton's song as the theme :) You should find it an watch it. It's disturbingly hilarious.

  7. Must.Have.Dremel.WorkStation.

  8. oh, and welcome back.
    And Happy New Year.
    I was so taken by your awesome present that i forgot to say anything even resembling polite.

  9. Adrienne, I'm no expert, but I can tell you corded tools will always have more power than cordless ones. I would guess the cordless will still get through drywall, but it will burn up your battery life a bit quicker. (Again, that's a guess - anyone with more experience out there want to weigh in?)

  10. I agree with Brilliantpants! And she has a cool handle. I say "she" since her photo is of a pony-type thing. I found myself clicking on my EPBOT link on my Google Chrome homepage to see if you had posted anything new for a while, and would sigh loudly if there was nothing there. Not that you don't deserve time off, of course. But I am glad you're back! Congratulations on your awesome gifts and great ideas!

    To share, my geek glee was completed this holday season because my hubby and I received, over the span of a few months including birthdays and Christmas, $1350 in Best Buy gift cards in order to buy our new TV and surround sound system. I also got the Jurassic Park trilogy on Blu-ray. So now there are dinosaurs in my living room and my house shakes when they roar. All is right with the world.

  11. That movie was the most adorable one ever. Guy. I am going to squish him.

  12. I got a Dremel for Christmas too! :)

    You should see the looks I get when I tell people about it. But I don't care, I love it so much already. I made myself a circuit pendant on Christmas day with it! :D

    Can't wait to see the stuff you post this year! I might even be brave enough to tackle some of them myself.

  13. That John - I have husband envy!

  14. Love the shrink wrapped tree. When we had a garage (aka storage room) we left ours up with a sheet over it a few times but this is so much better!!
    Happy New Year to both of you :-)

  15. I wish I'd seen that shrink wrapped tree before we spent an hour trying to shove our tree back in the box. Maybe I'll write myself a note and stick it to the box for next year.

  16. I got my Dremel and work station last year. Awesome. I love joco as well. I am glad you had fun on your time off

  17. YAAAY! You got the gifts that will keep on giving--us great ideas, that is. Squishy hugs for John. Also, did I miss it or was there an absence of Rocketeer ornaments? Rest up, this is the year I too am learning resin craft and I will have questions. Welcome home!

  18. I always wondered what's behind the craft paper....now I know..

  19. LOL - the plastic wrapped tree is both genius and hilarious! (It needs sunglasses... just because.)

    Glad you had a great trip but I'm glad you are back now. I was having Jen withdrawal. =)

    My exciting "tool" gift isn't powered and was from my in-laws - they bought me the 3 set of to-scale miniature dressforms I had on my wishlist!

  20. I have to know - what did John use to shrink-wrap your tree? That is a seriously awesome idea, and I may be doing that to my pre-lit tree.

  21. jenn,

    i type with sandwich in one hand- this is awesome!!!!!! i never would have thought to wrap a tree to store. john is awesome too and do you loan him out?


    p.s, it was great to see you in pittsburgh

  22. Awww Jen - we got the SAME DREMEL 4000 for Christmas! How awesome is that??? I already had a workstation I'd bought a few years earlier (in the hopes of getting a Dremel sooner lol), but my other Christmas present was the Dremel mini project table. Can't wait to start playing with my new tools. Happy New Year to you and John! May 2012 be the Geekiest year EVER!

  23. Melissa, the shrink-wrap comes on a roll gun - kind of like packing tape - and you can get it at the hardware store. It also comes in larger widths, but John found the smaller version to be easier to manage.

  24. But it's to early to put away the Christmas tree! Or well, at least where I come from it is. You're supposed to put it up the day after Sinterklaas, and take it down the day after Epiphany, so the tree is up from Dec 7th to Jan 7th.

    I'm devastated that I'll have to take it down this weekend, I had to miss it for a full 10 days while at my mothers!

  25. I am totally drooling over your Dremel. When TheHusband and I got married my parents gave us one as a wedding gift. Yeah, they love me. Apparently my dad had quite the fun time picking out all the attachments and whatnots to include.

    That was almost 10 years ago though, so it may be time for an upgrade!

  26. man, i need to start making my own frames...those are so gorgeous that they are inspiring!

  27. We also had agreed not to do gifts, but then went ahead and did anyway. I thought I was doing well to get the hubby at gift card for Bass Pro Shops (since he's into the fishing and all). Then I felt bad when he and my daughter gave me the 50s style aluminum tree (with color wheel!) that I've been longing for for over a decade now. AND they bought a four pound bag of M&Ms and my kiddo spent almost an hour picking all of the blue ones out. They initially gave me a container with just the blues (which was a gag gift, because I don't eat blue M&Ms) but the added bonus was having the remaining bag that I knew was completely free of them. Win/win!

  28. Here's an awesome video for Re: Your Brains!

  29. Seeing how much your cats liked hanging around the tree, you made sure you didn't shrink wrap them into didn't you? ;-)

  30. Gentle request for footnotes when making 'Lord of the Rings' references. Because some of us regular readers have never read it. (please don't judge)

  31. Ya know, I love you Jen...but I always feel so boring and uncrafty when I read these posts, lololol!! You guys are simply amazing at what you can pull together and make! Seriously impresses me every.single.time!!! LOVE the shrink-wrapped tree! ;)

  32. Ummmm, excuse me. What about the AWESOME Doctor Who Christmas special?? It was SO GOOD. I've always wanted to transport a forest in my head through time and space while driving a spaceship.

  33. The wrapped christmas tree reminds me of how we preserved our Santa at my old work place. There is nothing wrong-er than a shrink wrapped Santa. (We actually debated whther it was worse stuffing him head-first into a black rubbish sack.)

  34. You are my DIY hero <3

    I love everything crafty, but most DIY blogs don't go much further than stencils and hot glue guns. Your blog is a thousand times better than that, and it's not even all about DIY.

    Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  35. Your mom's portrait at Dragon*Con is delightful -- although if she's cosplaying, I don't recognize the character. :-)

  36. I saw "Dremel 4000" and I fell is love with John! And I'm already in love! What a kind, thoughtful gift. WELCOME BACK!!

  37. Welcome back! It's just not the same without your posts! Love the Shelob's Lair reference! I'm going to turn my two trees into DIY pre-lits this year when I take them down and that is a PERFECT way to store them! Combine that with the new and improved ornament storage method I may have discovered and my poor basement storage area shall be rejoicing next week! I leave my tree up until the feast of the 3 kings every year so tomorrow is it!

    And Oooooh - love the Dremel. I think I need to upgrade mine now.

  38. Happy (rather belated!) New Year!
    LOVE the Shelob's lair reference- it does look remarkably like a wrapped up Frodo, I have to say. Wish we'd thought of that before we took our tree down on Twelth Night...oh, well...next year, maybe. Or possibly the year after that....ONE DAY! One day, I will attempt a Christmas tree as awesome as that....counting the days...

  39. Mr. Haiku sings me "Code Monkey" when I am sad or sick or sleepy. Hooray for this video!


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