Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mailbag: Stranger Things Cross Stitch, POP Shelves, & the CUTEST Baby Mandrake EVERRRR

 You Epbot peeps make/do awesome stuff. 

Want (more) proof? 


This is Keri M.'s daughter Hazel as a baby Mandrake, and she has just slain us all with TEH CUTE.

As the ultimate geeky cherry on top, this exchange happened in the comments:

This is why I love you people.

I almost hate to make anyone follow that perfection, but buckle up, me hearties, because I have more goodies to share.

First, Steph geekified her desktop:

And her shelves look even better than mine, thanks to that decorative tape edging. So good.

Hey, you know what else is good? GLITTER.


Love it when you guys take one of my tutorials and make it so much more fabulous.

Speaking of fabulous, look how much better Carrie's POP dragon looks with a little aging:
So good.

 I'm mildly obsessed with cosplay that tricks the eye, so imagine my delighted squeals when Lori shared her hubby's Haunted Mansion "singing bust" costume:


To push the illusion further, you could make a "stone" pillar or column that either drapes from your waist like a skirt, or that rolls on wheels so you push it in front of you. Gah. So good. Now I want a barbershop quartet to do this and sing Grim Grinning Ghosts for me. :D

And finally, Stranger Things fans, prepare to run for your stash of cross stitch supplies:

GLOW IN THE DARK THREAD, y'all. This is genius.

And if you want to make one yourself, you can buy the pattern over at Jennie's Etsy shop. (She doesn't know I'm shilling for her, so let's all sneak over and yell "SURPRISE." You know, virtually.)

Oh, and a quick note re: the Fans of Epbot page: the admins have made it a private group now, which means anyone can still join, but once you do, only your fellow group members will see your posts/comments. This makes it a safer space to share and talk through stuff, though it's mostly still fun pictures and much-needed geeky silliness. 
At first I wasn't sure how I felt about making the group private, to be honest. Then Melyssa wrote this, and I was all in:
(Shared with permission)

Like I said, you guys do awesome stuff. Thanks for letting me be a part of it. <3 br="">

Monday, August 29, 2016

PHOTO TOUR: Orlando's Steampunk Chocolate Factory, Pt 2!

I know you've been waiting with bated breath for the final half of my photo tour, guys, so let's dive right back in!

Although you have seen part one, yes? EXCELLENT.

In that case, let's move on to the main dining area.

As you're led past the reception desk you'll pass under these stunning light fixtures:

The glass domes are filled with hundreds of strands of fiber optics, which give an oh-so-subtle twinkle that refuses to show on video, but is simply magical. I can't wait to go back at night to see them glow.

Don't be too dazzled, though, or you'll miss the chocolate laboratory on the right, complete with viewing window:

 No one was working in there at the time, but they have a few pretties like this on display.

Ahhh, but now the main attraction: the dining room. 

It's warm and sparkly and all industrial-tinged elegance back here. The glow of those Edison bulbs will wreak havoc on your photos, but the reflections off all the glass and brass is just breath-taking.

I never did find out what that sparkly gold stuff on the back wall is. Velvet? Silk? Star dust? Unicorn dander? Whatever it is, me likey.

These booths are separated by metal gridwork and enormous clear panes of glass, which help dampen noise and catch cool reflections:

 Plus check out that light!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

PHOTO TOUR: Orlando's New Steampunk Chocolate Factory!

On Thursday John and I trekked out to Universal in the hopes of eating at the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, a steampunk-themed dreamland that serves as restaurant, gift shop, and take-out dessert bar.


(Toothsome replaces the old NBA restaurant next to Hard Rock.)

The grand opening isn't until this Fall, but Toothsome is currently in soft-open previews, which means irregular, unscheduled serving hours. The gift shop and take-out section appear to be open full-time, though, so you can see a healthy chunk of City Walk's newest attraction even if you don't get seated.

But luck was with us, you guys: WE GOT SEATED.

Not only that, we were the very first diners seated that day. And yes, I was screeching nonstop the entire time.

But enough talk, because I took nearly 400 photos, and I wanna see how many I can cram into one post.

There's a lot of movement to the exterior: the overhead gears turn, those golden twists on the left  rotate, and those giant brass canisters on the right have gauge needles that spin.

Obligatory HDR shot, taken with my iPhone.

We should probably go in now, huh?

Up the entry stairs and into the lobby, where the overhead view is so spectacular it needs a panorama:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Rainbow Brite Connection

One of my favorite artists once asked for fan art ideas, so I suggested Rainbow Brite, and the artist had no idea who that was, and in conclusion, I felt really old that day.

But then last week someone told me a book called "Wit and Wisdom of Rainbow Brite" was just published, so John spent a morning driving all over town to find the ONLY Orlando Hallmark that had one, and now I feel like a big kid again.


(This art and that sentiment need to be on everything everywhere. Pillows. Purses. Tea sets.) 

I don't remember much/any of the Rainbow Brite cartoons, but I looooved my doll with the crinkly holographic skirt, and I still think that art style is the cutest. So even though the "wisdom" of this little book is a bit on the "friendship is sparkles!" side, it's still a fun trip down memory lane, and well worth the $10.

I should mention it's ONLY available at Hallmark shops, btw, so don't bother looking online. But as a reward for making us leave the house, Hallmark also has THIS:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dragon Con Survival Tips 2016 - New Info!

With Dragon Con just around the corner, it's time for a Survival Tips refresher! This is a must-read for newbies, but even those of you who've been a few times may find it useful, as I'll be including updates on things changing this year, plus new pictures for that oh-so-essential cosplay eye candy. ;)

First... what is it?

Dragon Con is an internationally known pop culture, sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming convention held in Atlanta, Georgia. It spans 4 days over Labor Day weekend (9/2-9/5 this year), and averages upwards of 65,000 attendees.

 Unlike most large conventions, Dragon Con is NOT held in a convention center; it's held in 5 large "host hotels" plus a big merchandise building (America's Mart) which span several blocks in the downtown Atlanta area. Here's a helpful map from Reddit:

Because the con is spread out over such a large area, it's easily the most confusing and potentially stressful event you'll ever attend. First years are guaranteed to be lost a lot of the time, as it can take 2 or 3 cons to really get the lay of the land.

HOWEVER, nothing can describe the exhilaration of being surrounded by "70,000 of your closest friends" as we attendees like to joke, and there's plenty you can do to prepare.

Quick Tip: DC doesn't sell tickets, they sell "memberships." On their website, there's no "buy" - it's "join." That can be confusing for first-timers, but rest assured it's the same thing. Right now tickets for all 4 days are $150 - but keep in mind for next year that if you pre-purchase you get steep discounts.

The Marriott lobby last year in 2015. This is where all the best cosplayers come out to play.

 So, all that in mind, here are some essentials for surviving - and enjoying! - the weekend:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

John's Decorative Touch

That moment when you're sitting alone at the dining room table, late at night, and you sense something is a little... off... on the sideboard buffet:

Is that... ?


Now I can't stop laughing.

Thanks, babe.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Tragic Tale Of Tonks And The Too-Small Box

For as long as I can remember, Lily's "spot" has always been an old Priority Mail box on my desk:

It was just the right size for her, easy to replace when it got grungy, and I could move it around the house with me to keep her out of my hair while I was crafting.

Lily is a small cat - just under 9 pounds. Her sister Tonks, on the other hand, is twice that at 16 pounds, and had no chance of fitting in Lily's box.

This is a clear case of "square hole, round giant blobby cat."

Tonks has worshipped Lily since she was a kitten, though, and so dutifully follows Lily - and her box - where ever they go.

Then one day I witnessed the impossible: TONKS GOT IN LILY'S BOX.

I think you need the overhead view to fully appreciate this feat:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tampa Bay Comic-Con 2016, Pt 3

Aight, peeps, let's see if I can fit the rest of my Tampa Bay Comic-Con favs into one last post. This... will be a challenge.

(You HAVE seen Part 1 and Part 2, right? Yes? Excellent. Carry on.)

Let's start with one I actually missed: here's my friend May's photo of herself as a gender-swapped Marty, along with THE coolest Transformer:
"Are you telling me you made a Transformer... out of a Delorean??"

Yes, someone did. AND IT IS GLORIOUS.

(Cosplay confessions: I've dreamed of building an Ecto-1 Transformer. Maybe someday.)

This Eleanor was part of the BioShock group that went on to win Best Video Game in the costume contest:

(She's holding Subject Delta's drill; sadly he wasn't around at the time!)

These two Splicers were also part of the group:

And I just really like that close-up of Eleanor. :)

This little Wonder Woman was so on point I didn't have the heart to tell her her shield was upside down:
Seriously, check out that pose! Perfection!

Pearl and Garnet from Steven Universe:

And a mother/son duo as Boba Fett and Endor Leia:

This Lady Kylo Ren covered her lightsaber in something - maybe hot glue? - to make it look more like ragged flames: