Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quick Craft: Make Your Own Custom Cat Collar

Here's an easy one for you pet owners: I couldn't find a new collar I liked for Lily, so yesterday I took this old beat up one:

... cut it apart, primed & painted the plastic hardware & bell:

 ... hand-stitched on a new sparkly ribbon:

 ... and got this!

The whole thing took less than an hour, even with painting. All you need is an old collar (or grab a cheap one for a dollar) and some pretty ribbon - easy-peasy!

When you cut up your old collar, though, remember to take a picture so you know how to thread the buckle on again later:

Not gonna lie: figuring out how the new one went on took me longer than anything else. :)

Also, if you're making a cat collar it's very important you either have a breakaway tab - like this one has - or an elastic section for safety. Any cat collar you buy should have one of those, though.

And since my breakaway tab works like this:

... I had room in the middle to glue on a sparkly rhinestone. BONUS.

[Note: If you use any glue or spray paint on your collar hardware, make sure you wait a day or two for it to fully cure - and for the fumes to dissipate - before you put it on your pet.]

The great irony, of course, is that Lily has long hair and you can't see her collar at all. But hey, *I* know the sparkly goodness is under there. Plus now I get to find her a cute new name tag on Etsy. (Don't you love mandatory Etsy shopping??)

So... what are you guys making this week?


UPDATE: Ha, many of you are protesting that I'm not allowed to post a cat collar without a picture of the cat! Good thing she's right here. So by popular demand, here's Lily:

You can't see her collar straight on, though, so here she is being fascinated by something out my open window:

And here's a blurry shot of the sparkly clasp:

Better? :D


And for you pinners:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February Art Roundup!

Whoah, this month is really slipping away! Well, here's one more dose of February sweetness for you:

 Set of 4 Star Wars 12X12 prints (more options available), $70 by OctopusTreeHouse 
(or you can buy them individually for $20 each)

Will we ever get tired of adorable Star Wars art? NO WE WILL NOT.

But I've gotta follow it up with some adorable 'Trek art. Sorry. Got to.

Set of 4 original Star Trek mini paintings, $76 by Tim Art Mclaughlin

Tim's individual character paintings are just under $26 each, and you're going to have a hard time picking a favorite, between all the superheroes, princesses, and pop culture icons. (I want half his store, easy.)

I didn't even post my top favorites, since I'm half hoping no one else will buy them and then I'll be forced to get them myself. Ha! So, yeah, go see the rest!

Next up, when dapper pigs fly:

Steampunk Flying Pig 8X10 print, $10 from the Satrun Twins

(These are the makers of that awesome "We Are All Wonderwomen" print I featured ages ago.)

They also have a version in pink:


David Lizanetz, aka Sour Apple Gallery, paints over real comic book pages, and the results are gorgeous:

 Wonder Woman, signed & numbered 11X14 print, $19.99

 Harley print, or you can still buy the original for about $220

Lots more at his shop, so go see!

Our local comic shop had an art show this month, and of course I couldn't leave empty handed. John and I snagged the original of this Captain America by Brian Demeter:

  It's actually woodburned & then painted - my crappy photo doesn't do it justice.

I also bought this 8X10 print for the give-away board:

Oh! And then over on Brian's website I found these fabulous wooden ties:

They flex at the V joints, so they must have a fabric lining on the back. SO COOL. No word on pricing, but you can see the rest here!

Christopher Uminga recently did a series of re-imagined Star Wars characters, and it is SUPER fun:

Check out blue Chewbacca!

 Definitely feeling a little Sully from Monsters, Inc vibe here - and I love it.

Head over to Uminga's online store to see the rest - both originals and prints - starting at just $20.

I love getting to share art I love here, but one unexpected benefit is getting to know some of the artists themselves - many of whom are just ridiculously nice. Check out the ACEO Bianca Roman-Stumpff made me after I featured her fabulous Puff Monsters:

And here's another ACEO from last month's Craig Michael Scott:

Craig even made this available as a print, with my blessing. You can get one here!

On top of sweetness like that, I also keep getting free prints. Granted, it's all for you guys, since I put nearly all of it up on the give-away board, but I'm still pretty chuffed that Epbot is making enough of a difference that artists want to give back. HAPPY FEELZ ALL 'ROUND, YOU GUYS.

So. Give-away board additions!

 Hello Pony, signed 11X17 print by Charles Thurston

(Charlie finally has some of his kids' booklets, like If You Give a Hobbit a Ring & Whobacca available in his Etsy store. GO GET 'EM.)

I purchased two prints by Nathan Szerdy for the board a while ago, but now he's given me three more!

(Currently doing a happy dance, because I managed to buy the original of this from Nathan last month. I won't get to pick it up 'til MegaCon, though, so I'm counting down the days.)

Check the board for Nathan's other prints - I can't believe no one's grabbed his Merida yet.

And finally, though I hate to end on a sad note...

See you on the other side, Dr. Spengler.

Art by Timonthy Lim. No sign of a print yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if one was available soon.



Ok, I *think* that's everything, but to be honest, I feel like I'm drowning in art over here. Heh. So let's play catch-up, shall we? This month, I'll be picking three winners to select their choice of art from my Pinterest give-away board. Gotta whittle this stash down a bit!

You know the drill: enter by commenting below, and I'll pick three random winners by next week. (And I'll ship anywhere, so bring it, internationals.)

Happy commenting!

UPDATE: The give-away has ended, and our winners are Scrivvet, Seungmina, and Hello Haha Narf!

Congrats, winners, and please e-mail me your choice of art from my Pinterest give-away board (along with a 2nd choice, just in case) and your mailing address!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

AT-AT Rocker Progress

My update from last night seems to be a big hit on Facebook, so I thought I'd share it here, too. Hope you guys are having a great weekend!

The AT-AT rocker is nearly done! (This is just a progress shot after I primed it - and an excuse to show off the pretty purple sunset.)

I had a lot of stops and starts with the detail work - flat gave up for a few days, in fact - but now it just needs a clear coat & some rubber stops on the bottom rails for safety. PHEW.

I'm hoping to get a few action photos next week... so naturally I had to order a Darth Vader mask & cape for our 5 year-old model. Stay tuned!


Update: Lots of folks are already asking for blueprints/templates, so I may try to get the pattern scanned in and arranged in a nice .pdf or such for those that want it. This will be a bit of a bear with such large pieces, though, so no promises on when that'll be available!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Awesome Etsy Finds

Etsy has this new(ish) feature that encourages you to "follow" other members with similar taste, and I could swear some of the accounts being recommended are some of you Epbot readers trying to punk me. That, or there are a lot more seahorse, steampunk, and Portal-loving geek girls out there with a penchant for teals, oranges, and funky purses shaped like Daleks than I thought. (Seriously, it's SCARY.)

Anyway, thanks to a few of these new-found shopping soul mates I've been on an Etsy binge, and lookie at all the goodies I found!

These are actually photographs of vintage keys applied to thin birch wood and cut out with a laser cutter. Considering how expensive real typewriter keys are getting, think of the possibilities. (Plus they also come in white!)

I've featured this seller's gorgeous Hedwig necklace before, but now I think I need the set. I know there are lots of snitch necklaces out there, but this is my new favorite.

That's it. I need to take up table top gaming.

This next find is actually a whole shop of tiny wearable gadgets, from working lighters to compasses to UV detector necklaces. It's total gadget geek heaven.

 Compass Necklace, $12.99

 And it comes with an equally tiny glass bottle of ink!

Moving on to a little pony sweetness:

And in the crazy-expensive-but-we-can-still-dream category:

"The Alchemist's Daughter," spherical leather-and-metal bag, $306

It comes in either black-and-silver or brown-and-brass, and sweet Staypuft is that gorgeous!

On the more affordable steampunk front:

There are several different styles at the shop, too.

Then there are the steampunk notebooks of Diarment Creations:

Would you believe that's all made of cardboard? 'Cuz I'm not sure I do. o.0

They average between $25 and $30, really reasonable for such a work of art. They seem to sell faster than I can keep up, so check his shop for what's available. (There's also this fantastic globe over there, but John says I'm developing a globe problem and can't buy any more. HARRUMPH.)

Adorbz. Need I say more?

And finally, something I'd love to see more of on Etsy: craft kits!


Apparently it comes with all the felt, ribbon, & crepe paper you need, plus that little green sprig and a pattern with instructions, of course. I do wish the seller specified what else you need besides "basic craft supplies," but for $10, not sure I can complain much. ;)

Ok, my friends, guess I'll leave you to enjoy the rest of your online retail therapy session. Have fun, and try not to break the bank!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Smiles: Steam Speed!

Check out this delightful short I found via Doktor A: a steampunk-styled thrill ride with old-school laughs and a boatload (trainload?) of charm. Guaranteed grins ahead!

We need someone to turn this into a motion-simulator ride, stat.

Also making me smile today? A few new additions to my closet:
Awww yeeeeah.

(Took me forever to figure out my size on the Converse website; anything below a woman's size 6 is ridiculously confusing. Now that I know I wear a 4-7 kids size 3, though, they're mine, ALLL MINE! MWUAH-HA-HA-HAAAA!!


Happy Monday, guys! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

And Now, A Styrofoam Velociraptor In Pajama Pants

I'm pretty neutral on the subject of Valentine's Day. I mean, I'm always pro candy and flowers, but then again the whole world going gaga for generic heart jewelry does make me feel a bit stabby.

Since I'm also not much of a burlap bunting person, and I don't have any kids to craft ridiculously complex Valentines for, I figured I just wouldn't have anything to share with you guys for the big VD*.  

[*You know you want to call it that from now on. Go on. DO EEET.]

But, as luck would have it, John and I are in the middle of a complicated new project that's producing some, well, interesting by-products. So yesterday while John was out fetching lunch, I decided to express my love the best way I knew how:

It's a testament to how long John's been with me that he reacted with a completely sincere and unironic "Awwwww."

Happy Big VD, guys.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

12 Phone Games To Suck Your Life Away

It could be argued that the very LAST thing we all need is another time-sucking phone game, but hey, do you really need that slice of cake, either?


I like strategy and puzzle games like Candy Crush or Bookworm, but John likes action picks that require quick reflexes, like the now infamous Flappy Bird. So between the two of us, I think I've got a good variety of games for you!

(All links lead to the iOS versions, but unless noted everything is also available for Android.)

My Picks:

Swap colorful candies around to make matches of 3 or more. It's basically Bejeweled, but unbelievably addicting with fun graphics and sound effects. (And yes, I am so, so addicted.)

This is a free game, and I'm proof that you CAN get 3 stars on every level at least through level 118 without giving the Candy overlords any money. You only get 5 lives at a time, though, which is good, since otherwise some of us might neglect more important things in life, like eating or showering. ;) 

(And if you run out of lives and still need your fix, switch over to Jewel Mania. Play your cards right, and you can alternate between the two while your lives regenerate. [Yep, that's the voice of experience talking.] ;))

UPDATE: Apparently King, the maker of Candy Crush, is a thieving bully. Just an FYI, before you decide to spend any money with them. (That story broke just as I posted this. Gah, what timing!)

Clumsy Ninja: (only available for iOS - sorry!)

Omigosh, you guys, this game is freaking adorable. Lead your Pixar-esque ninja around by the hand and train him up in sweet ninja skills, like jumping on a trampoline, or later toss him through a basketball hoop. :) Clumsy Ninja is apparently the most advanced AI program to ever hit the iphone, and it shows: the interaction between you and your ninja is endlessly amusing. (Try dangling him in the air by one foot, and then just wait. His reaction is hilarious.)

The game is free, but with built-in timers that make you wait between training sessions - or pay with tokens to speed things along. (And the tokens cost real money, of course.) I'm not too far in, but I can see how the training might get a little boring/repetitive. Still, the first hour in this game is pure magic, and well worth a download.


Blendoku is as beautiful as it is addicting: just place the colored squares in order to blend one color into the next. It starts out incredibly simple, but then ramps up the complexity as you progress.

The game records your time, but there's no time limit, which keeps the stress factor to a minimum. Plus there are lots and LOTS of levels, and you can choose your difficulty. And did I mention it's free? A definite "must-try!"

Triple Town:

My friend Renee turned me on to this one, and I'm kind of terrible at it. It's a strategy game: place three bushes next to each other on the map to form a tree, then three trees to form a house, and so on.
Then the ninja bears jump in to mess you up. :) Even though I'm not very good, I like the graphics and animation, and the gameplay is easy, even if the strategy is not. Again, a free download, so give it a try and see if you're any better at it than I am.

Plants vs Zombies, 1 & 2:

Plant your defenses and hold off the zombie invasion. This game requires complete concentration and focus, and feels more like a console game than a quick two-minute-round-in-the-bathroom kind of game. It's also thoroughly addicting, so be prepared to lose a few hours in your first go. The fast pace and timed nature can also get your adrenaline going, so I've learned the hard way that this is NOT the game to play before trying to get to sleep.

The first installment stole my heart (and brains?), while PvZ 2 brings more variety and new plants to the mix. It's a little more complex, with ratings to meet and a maze-like gameboard to navigate between levels, which starts to feel a bit much, but at its heart it's still the same amazing game.

Both games are free, with in-game options to purchase upgrades and other cool toys.

For more classics puzzle games you can't beat BookWorm (find words in a jumble of letters), Word Warp (make as many words from 8 letters as possible), Sudoku (I've tried 4 or 5, and that's the best version I've found), and my all-time favorite and trusty standby for years, Solitaire City. (Solitaire City has every solitaire variation you can think of, decent graphics, and fun sound effects to play with. It's the one game I always come back to, and is well worth the $2 for the ad-free version.)

John's Picks:

Minion Rush:

You control a minion running through an obstacle course and collecting bananas. (BANANAAS!) Swipe your finger side to side, or up and down to jump/duck. Sounds easy, right?


So John gets even more obsessive about his phone games than I do, and last week he exuberantly exclaimed that this is the best iPhone game of all time. I cannot even begin to tell you how much he loves it. Because of this game, we finally watched Despicable Me 2. However, I have to tell you: I am so, so bad at it. I can't even get past the first level. BUT - I keep trying. Because it's fun, and the sound effects are endlessly entertaining.

Minion Rush is free, but like most games these days has options to purchase tokens for upgrades in-game. (And you should have seen the look I gave John when I discovered he'd purchased $20 in tokens. TWENTY DOLLARS. I'll be watching to see if he needs an intervention anytime soon.)

 Sadly Flappy Bird is no longer available (John's high score is 48, in a game where most people like me can't get past 3) but here's a less frustrating bird he loves even more:

Tiny Wings (iOS only, as far as I can tell):

Hold your finger on the screen to accelerate, sending your little bird zipping off the rounded hills skyward as you attempt to outrun the sun. When the sun sets, game over.

This is a simple game that's all about timing, and John played it obsessively until he discovered Minion Rush a few months ago. The sound effects are surprisingly pretty; I love the music, and the little bird noises are fun, too.

And finally, no phone game list is complete without Angry Birds, although both John and I have found that the game (and its various incarnations, like Star Wars) gets too hard too fast, which makes it less fun. Even so, everyone should play it at least once, and the beginning levels are always a real hoot. (Oh yes I did!)

One final note: Sometimes there's nothing better for coming down off a panic attack - or even for staving one off - than a thoroughly engrossing phone game. Just something to keep in mind for you supportive friends/family/SOs out there.

Ok, guys, your turn! Tell me your favorite phone games in the comments - and please, no iPad games, since that'll just make me sad I don't have one. ;)