Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Jen's Gems: A Harry Potter Stitch-Along, The Dark Crystal Necklace, & Disney Villain Wreaths You MUST See!

I like to save up my favorite finds online until I have a nice big batch to throw at you, ninja confetti style. 

So hey, having a bad day? 

BOOM, look at this:


That's by Stephanie Pokorny of Crochetverse, who isn't nearly old enough to be a granny, and who crochets a new costume every year for her kids!

The Alien has glow-in-the-dark yarn, and Skeletor has LED eyes. Amazing. Go check out Stephanie's site for loads more costumes, photos, and patterns!

*****

I stumbled across the most amazing sticker over on Instagram:


YES PLEASE.

Then I discovered the creator, 8BitZombie, also has this fabulousness:


If you're a child of the 80s like me then these are probably hitting you right in the nostalgia, haha. They're big stickers, too, about 4 inches tall. You can buy the set for $8 on their website, OR, you can get either design on a t-shirt!

Head to the 8BitZombie store to see the rest of their retro goodies.


*****

Have you ever heard of a stitch-along? It's a cross-stitch thing. I only ask because my friend Stewart has created the most magical stitch-along project EVER. It's Harry Potter themed, and it's a choose your own adventure! You fill in the pattern bit by bit with all sorts of personalized elements reflecting your time at Hogwarts. (Stewart tells me there are around 165 different elements to choose from - and he designed every one himself!)

Everything is top secret for now except the pattern frame, but just THAT has me swooning:

This is gonna be amazing, you guys.

If you want to join in head over to Stewart's site Cunning Cross Stitch for all the material lists and instructions. You can also join Stewart's Facebook group to chat with your fellow stitchers! This is all FREE, by the way. (Did I mention Stewart is a saint?) The next part of the pattern doesn't drop 'til January 1st, so you have plenty of time to catch up!


*****
There's an art series going around of the Disney Princesses as witches, and I'm officially smitten:

Art by Mahou Shoujo

Go check out her account, because she's done all the princesses (Merida is especially fantastic), and they're all SO GOOD. I'm showing you these three, though, because... [drum roll, please]...

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Haunted Mansion Scavenger Hunt: Free Downloadable Party Game!

Here's a fiendishly delightful Halloween activity for my fellow Dizgeeks: a Haunted Mansion scavenger hunt! This is an easy one you can put together for kids or adults alike, though you could always modify the clues to make them harder.

John and I made a short version of this for a friend's birthday a few weeks ago, and I had such a blast putting it together I thought I'd expand on it and write more all-purpose clues, so you can make your own hunts, too!

First let me show you our finished products, since they turned out so pretty:

 
We made all this with things we already had on hand; just gift boxes and black card stock and Cricut vinyl. I even had the ribbon, since I bought that years ago for my Haunted Mansion wreath, but never ended up using it!

I put the first clue in a gift box, so when Karen opened her "gift" she saw this:


Open the bat wings, and:

Ta-daaa! The first clue.

 
The rest of her clues led her around the house to things like our Figment (for "imagination") and our set of Harry Potter books.

 You can see we made extensive use of our Cricut, which makes me happy, since I finally feel like we're using it enough to justify the cost! John did the gift tag decal, look how lovely:

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Halloween DIY: It's The Stay Puft Pumpkin Man!

I've seen 2 or 3 Stay Puft pumpkins floating around online, and knew THIS was my year to finally make my own. My only concern was spending a small fortune on fake pumpkins, since lets face it, those things are PRICEY.

John and I went pumpkin bargain hunting, and eventually found everything we needed at Walmart for about $30. So not super cheap, but worth it if you're a big Ghostbusters fan like me.

Here's what you'll need to collect from the Walmart pumpkin aisle:

 
 The largest pumpkin is $10, the medium is $5, and the 8 small ones are $1 each. Then there's a bag of mini pumpkins for $3. We also bought a few sheets of colored felt.

You'll also need some long wooden skewers (yes, the kind you roast marshmallows on! Appropriate, yes?), white spray paint, hot glue, a little stuffing for the hat, and some craft paint. 

I also used a little stretchy white fabric for the hat, but you can use white felt instead.

In two nights we'd turned our pumpkin pile into the world's most huggable Halloween decoration:

 
LOOK HOW CUTE. My sweet marshmallow boy!! 

Isn't he adorable? Every time I pick him up I have to hug him, haha.


Once you have all the right pumpkin sizes, putting Stay Puft together is pretty simple:


First figure out how you want to stack his arms and legs.

Then skewer the smaller pumpkins on your wooden sticks, and jam them into the body. For extra strength - and to prevent them from spinning - add a dab of hot glue between each pumpkin.

Put the "hands" & "feet" on just partway, so the skewer doesn't poke through the opposite side.

Now, I hate sewing, so I cheated with the hat. All I did was wrap a square of white fabric around a little stuffing, tie it shut with string, and trim off the excess fabric:

Boom. A hat.

Well, not quite; it still needs the brim. For that I covered a strip of cardboard with blue felt: 


... and twisted the brim into a circle, hot-gluing it shut. 

Finally I hot-glued the brim in place around my white fabric pouch.

NOW it's a hat.

I used the rest of my blue felt - and a little red - to make his little sailor collar:

Friday, October 4, 2019

A Panicky Scaredy-Cat Goes To Halloween Horror Nights 2019: A Ghostbusters Love Story

The second the Ghostbusters teaser dropped for this year's Halloween Horror Nights, I knew I was in trouble.

See, I love Ghostbusters. LOVE IT. The original film is one of those classics I could watch every day. I quote it too much, collect Stay Puft figures, and generally geek out at any reference to the franchise I can find.

I'm also a scaredy cat who can't handle horror, never watches scary movies, and who has often said you couldn't drag me kicking and screaming into any kind of haunted house, much less the dreaded Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. I've seen the commercials, k? That stuff is SCARY.

I thought I had a solution with Universal's "Behind the Screams" Tour, which takes you through their Haunted Houses with the lights on. Perfect! No scares! But then after purchasing tickets I learned the GB house wasn't included in our tour - and besides, with no "scare actors" in the house, it was really just a lifeless shell of backdrops. 

Poop.

(Another thing you should know about me: I have generalized anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. I think I'm managing them well, but they make theme park rides and new experiences a challenge.)

So when HHN opened for media previews I was online eagerly waiting for every scrap of information, every photo, every shaky walk-through video. Everything I saw filled me with such intense delight that I knew.

I knew I had to try.

So I told John to buy tickets, and began my preparations.

First, I went on FB and asked our local friends to join us. The biggest challenge with my anxiety is long queues, so I need lots of distractions to get me through the wait. Talking with friends is amazing for this.

Next I watched walk-through videos of every Scare Zone in the park, as well as the two houses I wanted to visit: Ghostbusters (my main goal) & Stranger Things in case I was feeling extra brave.

I had about 10 days to prep, so every night I began practicing Exposure Therapy by imagining myself in each Scare Zone and House: walking through, being startled, but remaining calm and confident at every turn. Exposure Therapy is usually done by actually placing yourself IN a situation, little by little, but you'd be amazed how well it can work by simply imagining it. Especially since those of us with anxiety tend to have unusually vivid imaginations. 

For the day of, I packed ear plugs and Xanax, to keep my stimulus level down.

My final step that day was to wear the clothing that makes me feel the most confident: my convention gear. GB tee, jeans, a low hat, my holster bag, and even my DSLR slung over my shoulder. I told myself I was just going to another convention, and geared up like this, I almost believed it.

Well, gang, it all went down Wednesday night. I went to my first ever Halloween Horror Nights.

 
Doctor Evil voice: "La-ZERS!"



And I had SO. MUCH. FUN.

The first queue was the hardest, but I had my friend Traci there to talk to, plus I took a precautionary Xanax to keep the panic down. After an hour of shuffling through the long queue we turned a corner and heard the Ghostbusters theme song playing, and this huge grin split my face. Vibrating with excitement and nerves, it was all I could do to shakily shove some earplugs in my ears before we were ushered though an unassuming door into the Ghostbusters House.

It was... AMAZING. Hang on, more details on that in a sec.

My original plan was to see the Ghostbuster house, MAYBE Stranger Things, and then leave while it was still light out.

After our first Ghostbusters run several more friends arrived to keep us company, though, and with their help John and I wandered through all the scare zones - often with me leading the pack - saw the themed shops, went back for MORE Ghostbusters, did the Strangers Things House, saw the Lagoon Show, and finally closed out the whole event at 1AM with one final tour of Ghostbusters.
 
Look at all the Stay Pufts!

Ahehheheh.

I never panicked once, though I was definitely startled 4 or 5 times. In the Scare Zones I kept my head up and a grin on my face, knowing that even if someone did manage to startle me, they would immediately move on. There are no lingering creepy types, it's all very much a "hit-and-run" sort of scare. Plus the two front Scare Zones are actually quite pretty! One is Arcade themed with lots of neon and black light:


 ... and the other is the "Vanity Ball" where models in creepy couture walk the runway.

Pin Sale! Get Your Fresh Epbot Pins, Right Here!

Hi there! We have 18 choices for your pin packs today:



We've added a new BB-bot and Scoops Ahoy 'bot, as well as 2 new colors for the FOE buttons. (FOE stands for "Fans of Epbot," our fan-run Facebook community.)

Each pin pack contains five 1.25 inch pins, and because we make these to order, you can choose any combination of these designs, including multiples. So if you want 5 BB-bots, hey, you can have 5 BB-bots. ::MWAH::

Each pack comes in an orange gift envelope packaged inside a bubble mailer.

We've included shipping & handling in the pricing to make this a little easier, so one pack is $15, 2 packs are $26, and 3 packs are $37. Again that's including shipping, but only within the U.S.

I'm sorry to say we are NOT offering international shipping this round, so U.S. orders only, please.

To purchase, just select how many packs you want from the drop down button below the Paypal button, then - and here's the important part -  type your 5 pin selections into the text box.

I know the text box is small, so to make THAT easier, you can order your pins by number:


If you want multiples of a certain design, type out "three 18s, two 7s" etc. If that gets too confusing, feel free to leave a comment on this post to type out your order selection.
 

HERE WE GO:


Choose Quantity
Put your pin choices here!


It will take me and John a good 4 days to finish making, packaging, and shipping all your pin packs, so you should start receiving your packs in 7-10 days. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments.

Thanks, gang! And stay tuned for a real blog post later tonight. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

We Have Epbot T-Shirts Now! THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Plus A New Pin Sale Is Coming This Week!

Hey girl

 

 I see you're eyeing my t-shirt.


Well, I'm NOT SURPRISED.

 Here, let me flex or dance or whatever it is I'm doing here for you:


See how well it moves? 

The t-shirt, I mean. 
[eyebrow waggle]

That's all that quality cottony goodness and extra vibrant print technology.

 Now please ask Jen to make me stop posing.


*****

Thanks(?), John,  I'll take it from here.

So hey! 

LOOK WHAT WE JUST LAUNCHED:

It's our brand spankin' new Threadless shop!

I've been wanting to get you guys t-shirts for YEARS, but it's taken us this long to find a maker who's both affordable and makes comfy quality shirts.

Case in point, our last attempt through TeePublic started to fall apart after just 3 or 4 washings: