Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mailbag Show & Tell: A Stunning Steampunk Wedding & DIY Disney Pin Display

I've been letting my favorite Facebook submissions pile up again, so prepare for a full frontal assault of reader awesomeness.

 First, Siobhan took my Christmas light jewelry tutorial to steamy new heights, and it is soooo pretty:

LOVE that copper wire! And check out the tiny beads!

More Christmasy stuff, since I can't wait another 10 months to show you Erin's incredible Harry Potter tree:

 You should check out Erin's blog for the full tree run-down, but for now here's a peek at my favorite part: her hand-drawn Marauder's Map tree skirt:

 hnnnnnnnng. So good.

Amber used my book corner framing tutorial to decorate a whole wall:

 Aw yeah, lookin' good, Amber! 
(And I spy our favorite Toothless!)

 Jordan shared one of the prettiest pin displays I've seen:

That scrapbook paper is PERFECT, am I right? It looks tailor made for displaying pins! And I like that Jordan left some frames empty, so it doesn't feel too cluttered.

Oooh, you guys, my obsession with steampunk helped inspire another wedding theme! And I am SO PROUD:

Now hold on to your hat and goggles, folks, because LOOK AT THE SKIRT RICHA MADE:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

February Art Roundup: Modern Disney Princesses, Space Tourism Posters, & Mary Poppins!

It's time to round up my favorite new geek art this month!

First up, Anoosha Syed's "modern princesses" went viral this month, and with good reason:

 They're SO FUN! (Belle is wearing a TARDIS skirt, you guys.)

Anoosha even wrote little back stories about the princesses' Alternate Universe lives, like how Snow White is a fashion blogger, and Ariel is a marine biologist. You can see the whole set here on Bored Panda, or head over to Anoosha's Etsy shop to buy prints of them individually, or all together!

Another gem that tons of you sent in this month: NASA has a page of gorgeous interstellar travel posters that you can download & print... FOR FREE.

And when I say "gorgeous," I mean it:

And these are just a few of my favorites! I don't see any info on the artist(s) behind these designs, but it looks like they were done in-house just for NASA. Head over to the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab's page to see - and download! - the rest.

UPDATE: Just learned the design firm behind NASA's posters is Invisible Creature. Check out their site for more great products!

I went to a local art a few weeks back and discovered the fantastic graphic styles of EDBOT5000, aka Edmund Dansart. First off, his TMNT series is pure gold:

Plus he has a whole set of Star Wars bounty hunters, which is what first caught my eye:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

An Antique Turtle-Lady Sex Box And Other Creepy Hilarity To Keep You Up At Night

John and I live near Renninger's, host of one of the nation's largest antique fairs 3 times a year, and lemme tell ya: Best. Yard sale. EVAH.

The view last weekend.

There are over 100 acres of tables and tents, much of it is under these gorgeous trees, which makes for a nice hike. 

See all the chandeliers hanging from the branches?

We mostly go to browse, and occasionally buy cheap steampunky things that catch my eye, but invariably there are a few items so creepy, so hilarious, or so bizarre, that I'm forced to document them. 

You know, for posterity.

♫ Veggie veggie fruit fruit! Veggie WE WILL EAT YOUR SOUL

Kinda fell in love with this poster:


If you follow me on Instagram then you already saw this snuggly sleep aid:

John let out a (manly) yelp and backed away so fast I was seriously temped to buy it... but then I remembered I love my husband. ;) John also speculated - once he'd reached a safe distance - that the cottony stuff in the doll's mouth was a massive spider's nest. So, yeah.

Sleep sweet, y'all.

Oh, but wait!

This is where it actually gets DISTURBING:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Quick Craft: My $2 Steampunk Raygun

I've been challenging myself lately to come up with cheaper & easier crafts that still look amazing, since I know John and I tend to get a little (or a lot) crazy with the power tools and complicated builds.

SO, even though this is hardly new territory in the craft world, I thought it'd be fun to show you guys a simple, mega-cheap raygun build that just about ANYONE can make, no power tools required.

In fact, if you already have the paint and glue, this build will only cost you two dollars.

Yep, just two bucks to go from this:

and these:

... to this!

Want one of your own? 

Then head to your local Dollar Tree and buy that pop gun and mini trophies. Plus,

 You Will Also Need:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Your Smile Of The Day: Cute Kids In Amazing Disney Costumes!

Reader Mary just tipped me off to a hidden gem over on Facebook: Designer Daddy.

Nephi Garcia is the design genius behind the page, where he posts photos of all the amazing Disney costumes he makes for his 3 kids: Lili, Eddy, and baby Leo.

D'aww. Look at the little birds holding up her veil!!


Here's the whole family together:

 The baby is Genie, in a Magic Carpet stroller. LOVE.

Little Lili gets some of the most drool-worthy dresses:


Though Nephi's wife Bethanie also models many of his grown-up Princess dresses:

Another fun pic from his page: Mermaid Cinderella & Aurora!

Elaborate kids' costumes are a fun new trend over at Disneyland, and some of the more frequent flyers - Designer Daddy included - will often team up for group outings/play dates at the park:

I melted at this one.

Follow Designer Daddy on Facebook or Instagram for your weekly allotment of pixie dust, or check out his Etsy shop (where you will want to spend ALL the monies) to order a custom costume for you or your little one!

And if you want MORE Disney cuteness and/or jaw-dropping princess dresses, I also recommend DisneyLovingNurse, GrowingUpOnMainStreet, and DavidForDisney. Those are just a few I already follow on Instagram, though, so if I missed a good one, be sure to let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Lesson In Sharing From Young House Love

Recently someone asked me how I came to the decision to start talking about my anxiety and agoraphobia online. While I was mulling over my answer, a few other readers linked me to a surprisingly relevant article in NY Magazine about Young House Love.

Do you remember John and Sherry Petersik's (in?)famous home renovation blog? They began a year before I started Cake Wrecks, and we all enjoyed that golden age of blogging when money and book deals were plentiful. For some reason I never got into YHL, though. I knew *of* the site, of course, but never clicked over to explore.

Theirs is a story of hard work, success, phenomenal success, and the now-familiar slide into sponsored posts, over-sharing, and the horror of having once-loyal followers turn on you. It's a cautionary tale for anyone who writes online, and a vital perspective shift for everyone else. The internet is a complex beast, and we should all know the dangers before trying to dance with it.

Anyway, I highly recommend the whole article, but this snippet in particular jumped out at me:

“You will not find a single blog with that kind of cult following that doesn’t have a personal connection. But what creates that kind of devoted following can also be problematic. At some point you have to ask: Do you want your life to become your business?”

That's a huge dilemma online, and one I think any blogger with even moderate success is familiar with. As readers we crave that personal connection. We want to KNOW the blogger, warts and all. But at the same time, we can get this feeling of ownership, as if those writers somehow belong to us, or at the very least, work for us. We also expect bloggers we like to always do like-able things, but that's a moving target. Plus the more we like them, the more betrayed we feel when they step out of line.

Now throw money into the mix, as bloggers try to make more while advertisers are paying less, and you've got a virtual powder keg.

I don't claim to have the answer, and in fact when I see big blogs fall into a hailstorm of controversy over over-sharing and over-monetizing, it's more than a little scary. I'm often grateful that I don't have those levels of success here on Epbot, because if CW taught me anything, it's that fame brings out the pitch forks, no matter who you are.

At the same time, I love what I do here, and I've never regretted the personal things I've shared on Epbot. I've met many of my closest friends here, been cheered through anxiety struggles, and even received life-changing health advice - all from virtual strangers. It's freaking amazing.

Thanks to this geek community, I'm proud to say my own journey into "over sharing" on the internet has brought me nothing but joy, encouragement, and a deeper sense of meaning. It took me years to reach this level of comfort, of course, and I still try to be smart about it, but now I can't imagine NOT sharing some of my struggles and personal triumphs with all of you.

In fact, that's what I ended up telling that reader: that I eventually reached a point where it felt harder to NOT talk about my anxiety online. Getting it out in the open just felt right. Still scary, of course, but right.

So I guess I'll keep writing what I love to write, sharing what my heart tells me to share, and trust that those of you who stick around are cool with that.



Here's that article again. Go check it out for a good read.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

This Twerking Bear Butt Is My Valentines Gift To You

A few weeks ago John and I thought we'd found the most high-class Valentine plush one could ever ask for at one's local Big Lots:

 A pole dancing pink leopard.

("Beware Of The Leopard" comes to mind...)


We found this:

My favorite part is the dead-eyed stare.

And I think I sprained something holding in my laughter for the entire 30 seconds it took to film this. Do I get some kind of wounded-in-action medal for that?  (Or would it be, "wounded in the line of.... DOODY?" Heyooooo)

In the end [snerk] we skipped Sir-Twerks-A-Lot and instead bought this robot for my mom:

It's no bear butt, of course, but c'mon. SO CUTE.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone!


P.S. - Wait, wait, WAIT. YOU GUYS. I just realized the leopard has a push button, AND I DIDN'T PUSH IT. So if any of you get her as a gift today, PLEASE, upload a video of her in action. I have to know how much better/worse this gets. Kthxbai.)


we now have video:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Printable Valentines For Grown-Up Geeks

If you're looking for a last-minute Valentine for your geekier half, I just found a treasure trove of options over on The Dating Divas:

Even better, you can print all of these at home for free.

The cards are all original creations by TDD's in-house designer, Sameeha, which I really appreciate. (I've found enough "free printables" ripping off independent artists that I've learned to be cautious!)

You can find all the "Talk Nerdy To Me" designs - and download links - here

But wait - at the risk of sounding like a game show host -  there's more! The Dating Divas also has cards for a bunch of different fandoms, including Harry Potter, Star Trek:

...Lord of the Rings, Star Wars:

... and a few superhero options:

My only quibble is that Dating Divas labels all of these valentines "Man-Approved." Hey guys, how about "Geek-Approved" instead? And if you're feeling SUPER generous, some lady superhero - or supervillain - cards for next year would be extra-mega-duper-awesome.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

DIY: A Harry Potter-Inspired Mandrake Root Valentine Bouquet!

Let me start by saying I honest-to-goodness set out to make something super cute for Valentines Day.

But instead, I made this!


Actually, I still think this little guy is hella cute - but it's been pointed out to me that I have an abnormally high tolerance for creepy dolls.

Plus, can I just say? Making a "cute" baby mandrake root is DARN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. Kindly ignore all the adorable examples on Etsy and Pinterest while I'm trying to make this point.

If you haven't run screaming from your monitor yet, allow me to show you it's not THAT bad... from a distance and before you add water:


And you don't *have* to add water, of course. I just like that it adds to the realism. (Or you can splurge and fill the vase with resin!)

The water distorts and magnifies, which is actually really cool. And, er, really creepy:

Hopefully I'm hitting just the right note of horrifying sweetness for some of you Potter heads out there. If so, keep reading; I'll show you how to make your own Mandrake bouquet for less than $10.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Universal's Harry Potter Celebration 2016: Expo Tour and Alan Rickman Tributes

Last post I covered all the awesome costumes from Universal's Potter Celebration, so now let's take a look at the special exhibits and events they had going throughout the weekend. 

First, and probably the biggest draw, there were several cast Q&As on the main stage:

These included the actors who played Ron, Cho Chang, Ginny, Neville, and Luna.  


We especially enjoyed Neville's 70's 'stache and sideburns - which he mentioned are for a new project:
The giant screens were really helpful, and even standing as far back as we were, I could hear a lot of their answers. (The Leaky Cauldron live-streamed some of these panels, btw, so click this way to watch video of them!)

The other two special attractions had enormous lines all weekend, so we didn't bother waiting for The Sorting Hat Experience:

Essentially a cast member holds the hat over your head, and a recording of the Hat's voice calls out which House you belong to. SO not worth a two-hour wait, unless maybe you have little ones.

The thing worth waiting for was the special Potter Expo:

This wait never went under an hour all three days we were there, and it even closed early 2 of the 3 days because the crowds were so big. Universal made the wait bearable by showing the cast Q&A or the movies on a giant screen over the queue, though, which was a nice touch.

Once inside you could shuffle through a short line arranged around a bunch of merchandise displays:

Oddly enough you couldn't buy any of this stuff there, though; this giant Fluffy and the Fawkes over head were from FAO Schwartz.

These Hedwig and Buckbeak hats were pretty much the greatest things in the entire building: