Friday, May 31, 2019

IT'S TOO DARN HOT. Also We Saw The Doubleclicks!

They say pets all start to resemble their owners, and I'm definitely seeing a resemblance to Suki this week:


Yep, two fluffy lumps, that's us. :p 

(She was midway through chasing her ball when she just... flopped.)

I'd like to blame the heat... so yeah, let's do that.

 John's been dealing with A/C repair on all fronts this week: the car A/C went out, our house A/C is gasping along, and then we discovered our rental's A/C has a giant hole chewed through it from the local wildlife. (Which was actually a happy discovery, since we thought the whole unit was kaput. A hole we can fix! A hole can be filled! YAY HOLES!)



It's been nearly 100 degrees for over a week now, so every time I set foot outside I start wailing like a rusty siren and demanding smoothies and a moving truck, in that order. "WE ARE MOVING TO MAINE RIGHT NOW.  Right after a Blimey Limey."

(Also me, when contemplating moving.)

John managed to stem my grousing the other day with some goodies from the P.O. box:

My friend and FOE Carrie sent me this awesome metal Stay Puft as a belated birthday gift. I didn't even know this guy existed!

I immediately ran to rearrange my shelf to make room for him. LOOK AT MAH BEAUTIFUL BABIES.

(John took issue with Zero being in there. "That's Stay Puft's dog. Obviously.")

Then Brooke - the master who made my rainbow skirt - sent along a whole box of goodies. This was the stand-out, though:

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May Art Roundup: Galaxy Mermaids, Baby Dory, & Hilariously Inappropriate Deadpool Cat

Ahh, long weekends. Is it just me, or does an extra day off make it that much harder to get back to work?

Of course, when you're self-employed, there's no such thing as "weekends" or "days off," so really I'm just feeling lazy for no reason. :p

Plus, I really thought this month's art roundup would be a cake walk after I found dozens of great new artists at MegaCon. I came home with a big stack of business cards, totally pumped to show you guys my favorite finds.

So imagine my dismay when 85% of the business cards I picked up either A) have no website, B) link to a site that doesn't sell art, or C) link to a site that DOES sell art, but that's currently closed/broken/on vacation.


Sometimes you just have to unleash your inner Dr. Cox.

And now that I'm done grumping, let's look at some incredible art, most of which I didn't find at MegaCon, ha.

Starting with the best Disney pairing since Yzma and Kronk:

 Baby Dory and Piper!! Omigosh, THE CUTE, you guys. Piper is such an underrated Pixar character, this is amazing.

That's by Dane Draws, btw, who has many more adorable Disney couples:

You can buy these individually, or all on one print like this!

Dane also has some classic Mary Poppins goodness:

Go check out Dane's Etsy shop for more, including a fantastic Guardians of the Galaxy portrait series.


I'm really digging this etching style art from Emily Zelasko:
I love the monochromatic look and all the intricate line work: 

Although Emily also has gorgeous pieces like this:
So good.

And this!

You can see the rest of Emily's prints here on Etsy, then go check out her fun stickers over on SquareStore:

The snail with the horn and the tiny wings. I have a mighty need.


It's been 3 or 4 years since I last featured Jeff Langevin's work, and he has some STELLAR new pieces:

John and I've been re-watching old TNG episodes during our lunch breaks, so this hits me right in my Trekkie roots. 

And look at this Goonies one!

Friday, May 24, 2019

MegaCon Orlando 2019: Black-Out Portraits From The Con Floor!

John and I are about to upgrade Cake Wrecks to a newer, more secure platform - a tedious process nearly 6 months in the making - so with that constant stressor it's been like a vacation getting to edit my MegaCon portraits each night.

That means I'm taking my time, though, so I'm not even halfway through our flash photos yet. Here comes a sampling of some of my favorites so far, though - hope you'll find them worth the wait!

This Mary is practically perfect in every way. Look at that pose! I wish I could take credit, but all I did was ask her to raise the umbrella, and she gave me this radiance.  ::swoon::

If you're new here, you should know all of these photos were taken right on the convention floor, with people and vendors all around us. I call our technique black-out flash, though the proper term is "strobist photography." You can read all about how we do it - and how John and I customized our equipment to be fully mobile - right here.

Hopefully you'll also see some improvements since my first attempts two years ago. I'm constantly fine-tuning, trying to make every new batch the best I've ever done.

(Harley: GuiltyWithGlee)

One of the best parts is showing the cosplayers the results on the camera. It blows everyone's mind that there's no background! And then when I tell them they can download their pics for free later, it's like I gave them a little gift. Makes me happy.

The exception to the no-background thing is if I shoot outside the hall with bright windows in the background, but even that can look cool:

Rey, a drop of golden sun.

 The real challenge - beyond the technical - is explaining to the cosplayer in less than 5 seconds how and why I need them to pose a certain way. This isn't a studio, it's a busy convention floor with masses flowing around us, and I only get one, maybe two tries, so it's a roll of the dice every time.

And you guys, it's so much fun. 

 Yasha from Critical Role!! This is who I'm going to picture as the real Yasha from now on; she's so perfect.

I was delighted that Valkyrie's pose here turned out; I usually aim to have their shoulders turned into the light, but this was an especially rushed shot. She had just finished high-fiving a little toddler in a stroller, which was THE cutest thing. 

She's holding a bottle, btw. If I'd had more time I'd have shifted her around so that was clearer.

 It's funny that black-out flash works best for both beauty and horror cosplays:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

MegaCon Orlando 2019: STORY TIME! (With ALL The Photos)

MegaCon Orlando was bigger - and arguably better - than ever this year, and John and I had an absolute blast taking cosplay photos and video all weekend.

I used to hoard my photos until I'd edited them properly, but lately I've been posting more Instagram Stories - pics and highlights almost in real time, right from the convention floor. Since this is in-between our flash photos and filming, I'm not sacrificing our "real" coverage to do it, and it makes the day more fun for me.

The great thing about IG Stories is they're fast and easy, so I can share a few little things every few hours.

The bad thing is they disappear after a day, so only a fraction of you get to see them in time.

So, since John and I are both furiously editing our video and portraits over here, how about a down-and-dirty YouTube compilation of all my Stories from the weekend?

(Mind your volume; a few clips have sound around the halfway mark.)

 I recommend watching this full-screen on YouTube so you can read my captions. Just consider it the graphic novel version of my usual cosplay post, ha.

That doesn't even scratch the surface of what I took on my phone, though, so brace yourself: here come a bunch more!

(Jenifer Scout)

Vanessa from Little Mermaid is showing her Ursula side. Clever girl. 

(The tentacles are attached with clear line to her arms, so they moved with her.)

Darkwing Duck the Mandolorian:

 Let's. Get. DANGEROUS.

The perfect pun mashup, Captain Jack:

(Mark K)

His shield has the skull and crossbones!

Another pun cosplay - and this one will separate the nerds from the SUPER nerds:

Finding Nemo. (Nemo being the captain of the Nautilus in 20,000 Leagues.)

I'm proud to say those are our friends (and FOE) Jen, Jeff, and their daughter Em. After all, people who are THIS nerdy pretty much have to be our friends. :D


There were sooooo many costumed kids there Saturday, and seeing these cosplayers interact with them renewed my faith in humanity.

She-Ra handing little Anna her first sword.


(OK I'm crying.)

There were also tons of gender-swapped cosplays this year! I'm a fan. Anything that lets cosplayers put their own spin on a character is fantastic.

One of the things that made MegaCon so great this year was Cosplay Alley. It was just three photo backdrops set side-by-side, but they were placed on one end of a MASSIVE open floor area - far bigger than last year's. That allowed plenty of room for large crowds of cosplayers to mingle, and plenty of room for photogs like us to chase them down:

Friday, May 17, 2019

MegaCon Orlando 2019: Thursday Preview!

Today I donned my finest (and only) galaxy dress to go check out MegaCon, the 4-day behemoth of a convention that brings in over 100,000 attendees.

(After this I'll be in my "work clothes" [jeans, hat, & holster bag] so I like to pretty it up for the first day. :D)

Thursday is sort of a preview/shopping day: the convention floor doesn't open to the public until 4PM, and crowds are low.

One great perk of having a Press pass: John and I were able to tour the enormous hall a full 2 hours before everyone else in this staggering line:


(Still mystified as to why folks would queue up 2 hours early. Maybe there were some great exclusives?)

We bee-lined it for one of this year's newest - and arguably coolest - attractions: the Millennium Falcon cockpit:

 Ok, so it doesn't look like much from here, but check out the view when you stick your camera through the front window:

Awww yeeeeah
 This is with almost no editing, too; it photographs insanely well, with so many lights and details!

Of course that coolness comes at a price: you'll have to pay $20 to get your photo inside.

In fact most of the cool photo opps around the con are pay-to-play now, though with several exceptions. (Some give their profits to charity, if that helps.) I think all the pay ones have signage up to warn you, but always ask first, just to be safe. If you have to get on or inside a vehicle for the photo, count on there being a fee.

Most of the best ones are Star Wars, of course. This community never fails to bring out all the stops: 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Jen's Gems: Animatronic Ravens, Mermaid Tail Jewelry, & Things To Watch On Netflix

I see so much cool stuff in my meandering online, here are a few things I think you'll love:

First, a reason to save up $300:


LOOK AT HER!! ::whispers:: She's so beautiful. 

I can't get over how fluid those movements are... and this is a kit, so you build it all yourself! (In my mind that's a feature, ha.) Granted, I don't think I have the skills to put her together, but I'm game to learn. Especially since the maker, Mr. Chicken's Prop Shop, has a whole Youtube instructional series on how to do it. SO TEMPTED YOU GUYS. (You think I could customize her to turn her into a phoenix? Or would those movements not work?)

As always, nothing here is sponsored, and all I know about Mr. Chicken is that Norm on Tested likes him, which is good enough for me.

I spotted some ingenious movie dioramas over on the Replica Prop Forum that use action figures and recycled TVs.
These are by Rickey Williams, and his post over on the RPF didn't get NEARLY enough love, so here:
This one even has the VHS tape in the bottom. Love it.

Best use for old computer wiring!

  And a classic:


Check out Rickey's post on the RPF to see one more Predator diorama. 


In sparklier news, Sarah of Mad March Moon Designs debuted this mermaid tail and earring set, and errrrrmergosh:

I once bought her rainbow dragon suncatcher for Sharyn (one of our FOE mods extraordinaire), but I've yet to get anything for me. Hmmm...

Then again, there are also Raven Wings:

And dragon necklaces:

Monday, May 13, 2019

DIY Unicorn Candy Charms That Will Kill You With Cuteness

This little craft started as a brain teaser for me and John, as we experimented with how to put it together. Then it got put on hold while I ordered a few more supplies, lost interest, and eventually forgot about it entirely. 

My fellow crafters know this struggle.

Anyway, so here we are a few months later, and I've finally finished enough of these cuties to show you how it's done. And, full confession: I am completely in love.


I'm dying. Are you dying? It's so stinkin' cute ermergersh.

  I also made these:

You could use them as cellphone dangles or purse clips, or turn them into pins or little hair barrettes.

Before I go any further, let me give full credit to the artist who inspired this, Alix of SunsetStarlit. Go follow her for the best, most adorable clay crafts, including hand-sculpted candies like these:

I don't know if Alix is the first to do this, but I'd never seen charms that look like wrapped candies before hers - and I've been besotted for months. So I set out to find a way to make a similar candy charm without having to sculpt anything.

That's when I remembered all the adorable button options over at JoAnn's, like these unicorns:

And they already look like sugar candies! PERFECT. There are lots of flat button options out there, too. Just clip off the button backs and you're good to go.

Another option for your "candy" is to order plastic or clay Decoden charms online, which is what I did for this larger lollipop shaker charm:
 (Trying to play it cool but I'm super fangirling over how sweet this turned out.)

It makes the best sound when you move it; the beads rolling around is very soothing, ha.

  The lollipop and beads are both from Delish Beads over on Etsy, which I highly recommend. They have SO MUCH, just browsing through their massive store is fun: