Friday, February 22, 2019

SO UNSEAMLY: How To Get Rid Of Those Annoying Grooves In Your Table!

Do you have a table with deep seam lines between the wood planks, and it's driving you nuts? 

Well hold on to your prosthetic foreheads, my friends, because I HAVE A SOLUTION.

Fair warning: this isn't a terribly exciting DIY project. In fact I never intended to post about it, but I had so many requests for a tutorial on Instagram that I guess I'm not the only one with this problem!

If you're lost, then these are the kinds of table seams/lines/grooves I'm talking about:
  

 I took that photo AFTER John and I re-finished the table, but here's a close up of what it looked like before:

Blech.

Those deep grooves were constantly filling up with dust, crumbs, paint, you name it - plus they would catch on things, and made writing or tracing patterns a pain. We are ROUGH on our work tables, so it was also covered in paint, glue, chips, and scratches. Definitely time for a refresh.


 
There's a "wood polishing" joke in here SOMEWHERE, I just know it.

This also isn't a quick project, but at least it's easy. All you need - if you want to do what I did - is some Apoxie Sculpt, gloves, a razor blade, and a good show to listen to while you work.
Apoxie Sculpt is a kind of epoxy clay that cures rock-hard, sticks to almost anything, and is fantastic for crafts and cosplay and - in my experience - minor furniture repair. :D It even comes in black, which would be ideal for table-line-filling, but I used the gray stuff since I already had some. 

One pound tubs cost about $23, or - the better deal - you can get 4lb tubs for $42. That's a ton of epoxy, though, so if you're only planning to use it for seam filling, grab this little $15 pack  instead:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

February Art Roundup: Rainbow Rockets, Pastel Beasties, And The Funniest Dog Art Ever

Time for some eye candy! Here come my favorite new artists I've found this month:


Geneva B (aka GDBee Art) does the most amazing things with color, and I can't get enough:





Go browse her online store here - prints start at just $6! - then follow her on IG for more goodness.

*****

I just discovered Grace Merewoods this week thanks to my friend Steph, and I am enchanted:

Tell me I'm not the only one who swooned.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Today I Learned: Mister Rogers Rocks

John and I finally watched Won't You Be My Neighbor last night, and wow. It lives up to the hype!

 (It's not free anywhere yet, but you can rent it at Red Box.)

I expected to be a sobby mess by the end, but I have so few memories of the show that I really only had one or two teary-eyed moments. Instead, I found myself... awed. I can't think of a better word for it.

Mister Rogers is awe-inspiring.

I never knew how intentional his life was: how he knew from the start what his mission, his ministry, would be. And somehow he managed to live out that mission without judgement, offering unconditional love and acceptance and respect to everyone - apparently both on camera and off.

After the documentary I watched a few episodes of Mister Roger's Neighborhood on YouTube, and seeing it as an adult, I gotta say, it's calming in the best possible way. Not mind-numbing like ASMR or even Bob Ross (who I also love), but comforting, because you feel more acknowledged. There's also some surprisingly great music (that jazzy piano!) and fascinating "How It's Made" type segments that I don't remember at all. (Did all his shows have these? Because I love factory visits!)


And finally, I watched the most amazing clip of Mister Rogers on The Tonight Show with... oof... Joan Rivers. The contrast between the two is illuminating, to say the least (ha!), and if you can get through the cringe-worthy moments, there's pure gold at the end:


Imagine being so at peace with yourself, so sure, so open and loving of all, that you could sing a love song to Joan Rivers in front of an entire audience of snickering adults. Imagine knowing your purpose in life that well, and being so filled with joy that there's no room for embarrassment. Instead everyone else feels embarrassed for laughing. That's Mister Rogers.

Talk about goals, y'all.

I want to live like that.

I want to love like that.

And on days like today, when I'm feeling a little lost in what my purpose is, a little useless, a little insignificant, it helps to see the difference Mister Rogers made. If I can remind you - yes, you - that you matter, that the things and people you love matter, and that there's still goodness in this geeky world of ours? Well heck, that's all I want. That's the only legacy I want to leave. Anything else is just gravy.



Here's to loving so proudly, so joyfully, so LOUDLY that everyone else is embarrassed they're not doing the same.

I love you guys. Pass it on.

::Big Smooshy Internet Hugs::

Thursday, February 14, 2019

I Made The Weirdest Valentine Wreath Ever - But I Love It

 I have a hard time letting go of things I've made, so upcycle crafts are my jam. Case in point: our Huffle Plants from our Potter Christmas party:


I made two of these guys, but had no idea what to do with them after the party. They were too big to easily give away here on the blog, but no one at a Thrift shop could possibly understand my vision enough to appreciate them, you know?

Then John mentioned our front door's basket/wreath thing was looking rough, so maybe we should put some fresh flowers in it.


EUREKA.

First I consolidated the two Huffle Plants into the door basket:


 ... then, for some seasonal flair, I headed to our trusty Dollar Tree.

Yep, thaaaat oughta do it.

Are you ready for this? 


Because it's so ridiculous I can't even.


::muffled giggles::


Ok, Ok, I'm good.


Here we go:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

TWIP: Waterworks & The Last Of Us

After our big re-plumb last week - you know, where John replaced all our interior pipes to prevent any possible future leaks? - we discovered that Someone has a wicked sense of humor. 

Yep, the very next day, just hours after John finished patching all the walls back up, and after triple and quadruple checking every connection, which were all bone dry for 2 days straight... our washer hookup leaked in the laundry room. This had nothing to do with the re-plumb, and wasn't even anything John had replaced! Arrrrrrg.


No one wants a picture of a puddle of water, so here's Suki being cute instead.
We later learned that the rubber washer ring inside the hose failed, scrunching itself inside the hose and leaving a gap. This is so ridiculously improbable we'd have both said it was impossible, but there it was, a steady drip of water raining all over our proverbial plumbing parade.

As a further kick in the teeth, that washer held for two days after we turned the water back on, and didn't fail until AFTER we went to bed. Then in just 6 hours it managed to pool and soak through our wood flooring in the adjoining kitchen.

 
Suki understands. Suki is here to make it better.

I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say that was a terrible, no good, very bad day in the Yates household. We spent the next 24 hours ripping up flooring, drilling ventilation holes into drywall, moving around industrial strength blowers and de-humidifiers, and just hanging on to each other.

In the end we managed to save almost everything and prevent any mold growth, but our floor has a lot more bumpy swollen joints now. (It's OK, we'll replace it someday.)

We were so frazzled, though, and in John's case, so sore and tired, that we spent the rest of the week doing little, happy things where we could.

 

I've officially caught up on the current season of Critical Role, and now have started back on the first campaign. I'm roughly 6 eps in, but...  I'm not sure I like it?  0.o  Help me out, Critters: did it take you a while to warm up to season 1? Should I keep going? (There's more gore and torture than season 2, and the sound quality is so bad, it's hard to hear through the yelling and volume changes.)


 I finally went to Walmart and bought those holographic/iridescent shoes I first saw on FOE, and lemme tell ya, this may be the best $16 I've ever spent. LOOK HOW GLORIOUS:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Funny Anti-Valentine: DIY Favors To Troll Your Frenemies

I'm no good with traditional Valentine crafts, peeps: I can never think of anything interesting! So this year I decided to embrace my Weird Side, and just do stuff that makes me laugh.


Enter the humble Circus Peanut:


I posted that to my Story as a throw-away joke last week, but the reaction was so immediate, so visceral, that I quickly realized this had to happen. (I've never seen so many puking emojiis in my life, thank y'all for that. :D)

It took me a while to figure this one out, but in the end, it's dead simple, funny, and pretty cheap to make. So if you've got an extra $10 laying around coupled with a burning desire to make your friends go, "Wait... what?" THEN FOLLOW ME.


::marches proudly onward::


First head to your local Dollar Tree and stock up on the 5 worst candies you can find. This is obviously subjective (I actually love Circus Peanuts, go fig), but here's what John and I came back with:

Smarties, black licorice, Bit O' Honeys, Circus Peanuts, and some sugar free hard candies. These were all $1 each.

True Facts: John and I drove all over town looking for Necco Wafers, only to be told the company went bankrupt and they're no longer made?? Womp womp.

Next you'll need some wooden skewers ($1 at Walmart) and a clear plastic treat bags. I already had the bags, but you can find them at most craft stores in the wedding or cake aisle for cheap:

 

The last thing you'll need is a hot glue gun, some red or pink card stock, and ribbon. 

I guess I've held you in suspense long enough, so here's my finished candy bouquet/favor:

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Our Magical Goodbye To IllumiNations

Because I live here in Orlando it's easy to take Disney for granted. To focus on the crowds and annoyance and forget all those magical moments - cliche as that phrase can be - that take your breath away.

In fact, I've been SO focused on the negatives that I convinced John to let our passes lapse this year. We haven't been going as much, and even our weekday passes (the cheapest option) aren't cheap, you know?

Ahh, but then the Festival of the Arts started up at Epcot, and I really wanted to go.

Enter our friend Scott, who has the kind of job at Disney that makes me beg for stories every time I see him. He manages behind the scenes magic, and is in charge of the kind of private park parties you only hear rumors about. So yeah, total rock star, AND the sweetest guy. (Also single, ladies. Just sayin'.)

Before I turn this into a dating profile for poor Scott, let me tell you about the unexpected magic he made happen for us last week.

We made a date to see the Festival together one weeknight, and to save us paying parking, John and I picked up Scott at work - a building tucked way back behind the Magic Kingdom. As we were waiting in the parking lot, Scott texted to ask if we wanted a quick tour. Um, YES PLEASE.

I'm sad to say I have no photos to share of this, gang, but imagine a video montage of me silently (and not so silently) fangirl screaming in every doorway we walked through for the next 20 minutes. The costuming room took my breath away: more of a small warehouse, really, with racks stretching all the way to the rafters, and incredible showstopper costumes displayed on mannequins along the walls. Many were from special private events, so nothing you'd recognized from the parks - and one was even from this TV commercial!

We walked through the heavenly scented floral department, where workers at giant tables were assembling the most lush bouquets and centerpieces and gift baskets. Here's a small example from the lobby:


This was the most public part of the building, but I still asked before taking a pic, just to be safe.

We peeked into offices (including Scott's, of course) stacked high with the most drool-worthy collectibles, props, and concept sketches, plus we got to say hi to a few people still there. I'm sure I looked like a crazy person, grinning and waving at everyone we passed and trying to look everywhere at once.

Ahh, but the place I REALLY lost it was the Wig Room. There were work benches down one wall, storage aisles, fantastical displays of custom commissions (one wig was shaped like a Thanksgiving turkey, complete with little paper leg cuffs!) - and there, neatly display on a lower shelf just inside the door: a wig that looked a LOT like Dreamfinder's iconic 'do, including the handlebar mustache, beard, and spectacles.

I have no idea if they were original park-worn items, but they looked it, and I could NOT have been more gobsmacked. Just sitting there! On a shelf! No glass, no label, JUST SITTING THERE.
 



After a few seconds of flailing I was happy to note that my own styling attempts on John's wig are pretty close, though the cheap beard we dyed is nowhere near the quality of the Real Thing. This one was a lot curlier, and even had some gray hairs mixed in. Just... amazing.

 Just a reminder of how John & Figgie look in their Christmas overlay, because I love it.



Ok, now let's move on to stuff I CAN show you pictures of:


We headed to Epcot for the Festival, and spent a fantastic night touring the Showcase. I finally got to meet Ashley Taylor, who is just as warm and delightful as everyone says she is, and since the crowds were low our little group got to chat for a good 20 minutes. (Keep an eye on your local Box Lunch stores; she has some exciting stuff in the works!)


I didn't buy much, just one postcard print by June Kim:


Then we all tried some Festival desserts:

Monday, February 4, 2019

Kingdom Hearts 3: The Good, The Bad, & The One Reason I Keep Yelling At The Screen



Here's a first for me: I started playing a video game the very day it was released! Me! The girl who stumbles on to every Popular Thing at least 2 years too late!

I didn't plan to play Kingdom Hearts 3 this soon, but John brought it home Wednesday night as a surprise. "Here," he said, "you can play this while I'm re-plumbing the house." Which was the most romantic thing anyone has ever said in the history of the entire world.

I'm about 9 hours into the game, and as one might expect, I have thoughts. Good thoughts. Bad thoughts. Conflicted thoughts. Thoughts that make me think in short, choppy sentences.

That's right, this is a job for... BULLET POINTS.

The Good:

- The Fighting 

The fighting in Kingdom Hearts has always been fun, but in KH3 it is INSANELY fun. Button-mashing galore, eye-candy combos left and right, and new special moves that call down Disney rides (like Splash Mountain or the Tea Cups) to bash your enemies with. SO SO FUN. 

It's all pretty easy, too, since you use the same 3 buttons to do all your combo moves. So just keep mashin' away, follow the prompts on screen, and cool things are gonna happen.

- The Exploring

The graphics and areas maps are gorgeous, of course, and just like the previous games you can smash most things around you to get health and rewards. There are also hidden chests, food ingredients, and a scavenger hunt for Hidden Mickeys that make exploring just as much fun as the fighting.
 


 - The Themed Lands

Let's be honest, this is the main draw for all of us, right? Getting to play inside your favorite Disney movies? And seeing all of Sora's themed outfits and Keyblades?

In Toy Story land, they're actual toys! Eeee!


Honestly, these 3 things are all I want out of Kingdom Hearts: I want to explore the Disney-themed worlds, watch a fun cut scene or two, and smash bad guys with giant teacups shooting fireworks. You know, the little things.

Ahhh, but enter...


The Bad:

- The Gummi Ship travel


Ug, tedious and not fun. The graphics are a little better than the last KH, but let's be real: no one is playing Kingdom Hearts to customize a LEGO rocket ship and navigate - slowly - around asteroids. Basically an unskippable intermission on the way to the good stuff.

That's a minor quibble compared to the one TRULY bad thing, though:

Saturday, February 2, 2019

TWIP: Let's Talk About My Plumbing

Real Talk: No one should be treated differently because of their plumbing.

I mean, ten years ago CPVC was the standard! THE STANDARD, I SAY.

Which brings me to this week's highlight:

 
Ripping open our walls and annoying the cats.


This is actually the second time John's re-plumbed our house. The last time was over a decade ago, and since then a new and better type of piping called Pex has become the industry standard. Our old PVC had a few slow leaks here and there that kept John awake at night, so we've been planning this for nearly a year - we've just been waiting for our Florida "winter" to cool down enough so he wouldn't roast in the attic.


 Speaking of cooler weather, if you ever want to know what the lowest wind chill factor is throughout the entire United States of America, just post this in your Story:

 
 I was inundated with indignant weather reports, and it was hilarious. (The winner was -59 degrees. This is why I live in Florida, gang.)
 
 Getting back to the Big Re-Plumb:

 This is basically camping, right?

Because we had the walls open we had to quarantine the girls in my office. They had toys, warm blankets, a view of the squirrels - every possible kitty comfort. So of course: