Friday, October 30, 2020

15 MORE Wonderfully Weird Kids Costumes

You know how right after you stop looking for something that's hard to find, like cuticle scissors or a cashier who appreciates a good Luis Tully impression, suddenly you find that thing everywhere? (Ok, so I'm still looking for the cashier.)

That was me after my last roundup of amazingly weird kid costumes; I kept finding so many more great ones! 

At first I was bummed to have missed so many gems, but then I realized a second batch is exactly what we need today. What with Halloween being mostly cancelled, and the U.S. election looming (raise your hand if you're ready to stop being reminded to vote ::raises eleventy billion hands::), and of course how we have to wait an ENTIRE WEEK between Bake Off episodes, things could easily feel a little gloomy this weekend. 

Ahh, but my friends, I'm here to remind you - in the words of sweet Samwise Gamgee - that there's still some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for

Like this kid dressed as a fart.

Tell me this didn't make your day at least 12% better.

And I love that he has the Minion Fart Blaster to provide his own sound effects. Bahaha!

Keeping in that theme, here come your bathroom's #1 and #2 fans:

Don't they look flushed with success? 

(Sorry, I write poo puns for a living, I can't just switch this off.)

Still bathroom-themed, but at least it's clean humor:

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Power Of Buttons & Goblets & Internet Friends

Two weeks ago I found myself in that the hazy, irrational kind of place where I'm convinced I can't let myself rest or watch TV or do fun things, because I haven't done "enough" yet. I don't know how much "enough" is, I just know I never reach it. 

I am working on this. I'm at the point in therapy where I can see some of the lies I'm telling myself, but not to the point where I don't still believe them. It's exhausting, seeing both sides, knowing your brain is sabotaging you, knowing that many of your core beliefs about yourself are wrong, but not being fully equipped yet to do much about it. 

I'm also wrestling with the guilt and helplessness of seeing so many jobless friends struggle. Everything from "How dare you be sad, you've got a roof over your head, don't you?" to "If you aren't doing something to tangibly FIX THIS for people right now then you are worthless." But how, brain? Should I write things to make people laugh, or write things to tell them they're not alone? Should I focus on jobs helping a few people In Real Life, or spend more time on blog posts that will be read by - and maybe help - so many more? What do I do, when is it enough, and how do I do it all without falling apart myself?

Which brings me to last Friday, when I did NOT want to join Movie Night over on Discord. I was tired and overwhelmed and just flat grumpy - but thank goodness, I showed up anyway. Because afterward, I felt so much better. I always forget that magical, transformative power of human connection. Even just connection through text on a screen. For over 2 hours I laughed and joked and interacted with other people online, and that simple act finally made my frazzled brain stop running laps, and take a little breather.

After the movie I felt just good enough to open the mail from our P.O. Box. I'd been putting it off because I knew there would be good things in there - the letters and packages from you readers are always good - and I thought I hadn't earned the right to see those good things. Kind of a mild self-punishment thing. (Am I the only one who does this? I mean, I do my share of weird stuff, but this one feels especially odd.)

The first package was from my friend Kristi in Canada. I've talked about her a lot here: she's a reader I met through Instagram who makes amazing props, and is the only person I know who's a bigger Labyrinth fan than me, ha. She also loves The Princess Bride as much (or more) than I do, and over the past several months I've been virtually cheering her on through her latest build.

Here, let's open the box together:

Oh yeah, I'm liking where this is going.


Ready to see what's inside?

Friday, October 23, 2020

FOE & Tell Goes BACK... To 2019. Costumes & Cons & Meetups, Oh Yeah!

I usually have at least a year's backlog of fun finds from the Fans of Epbot Facebook page that I want to share here, so today I thought I'd take advantage of all my procrastinating by GOING BACK... to 2019. A simpler time. A happier time. A time when Halloween was still happening, and Allison was turning her house into a giant googly-eyed monster:

Decorating Goals.


And then April transformed herself into Lisa:

Lisa Frank-enstein, that is.  (EEEE!)


Of course the great thing about being geeks is we don't need an official holiday to wear costumes. Heck, any average Tuesday will do.  Here's Stella from earlier this month:


I love  that so many of you have been dressing up and sharing fun pics like this all year. It's really filled the con-shaped hole in my heart to see people still celebrating what they love through 2020.


Here's another: check out Alicia's Rococco Tamatoa!
[singing] She's so SHINE-NAY!

That color fade is dreamy - and spot Maui's hook on her back!


Remember conventions?

Aw, I miss sweet celebrity stories like this. Also is that shirt hand-painted, Martha Jane? Because WOW.


Elizabeth is a DM for her local D&D group - so I'm already fangirling over her - but then she went and made THIS:

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Dollar Tree DIY: Making A $5 Glass Cloche For Halloween

I've fallen down the rabbit hole of Dollar Tree DIYs on Youtube, y'all, and I am never coming back. My favorites are the ones that re-purpose and combine unrelated items into clever home decor. Watch a couple of those and you, too, will see everything as potential craft fodder. Pizza pan? Wall art. Wire dish rack? Book ends. By this point John has learned to just nod thoughtfully while I wave some random plastic toy in front of him and demand, "Ok, imagine this as a wall shelf support."

It's a fun hobby, trust me.

Which brings me to my new favorite Dollar Tree DIY: my skinny glass cloche!

... filled with cheery pumpkins to fit the season. :D

Of course I'm not the first person to turn a vase upside down and call it a cloche, but what really makes this DIY is that wrought iron finial on top. And yes, it's from Dollar Tree! Can you guess what it's made from?

I'll give you a hint: it's in the Halloween section, so you'll want to stock up on these now while you can.

Ready to see?

Here 'tis:

Yep, it's from the top of those plastic yard stakes, which you get two for $1. You'll also need that skinny vase, but the mirror base is optional. (So really, you could make a cloche for $2. AW YEAH.)

The yard stakes are one-sided, so they're flat on the back. That means to make our finial, we need to glue the two halves together. Here's how you do that:

First you'll need some snips (or scissors), a few toothpicks, and hot glue.

Snip your toothpicks into tiny sections, and glue them inside the edges of one side of the finial, like this:

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Magical Kitchen Makeover

Quick note: We support trans rights here, and I completely understand if you've chosen to remove yourself from the Harry Potter fandom as a result of its author's beliefs. I also understand those like me who've chosen to celebrate the work apart from its creator. Wherever you stand, please remember to love each other, and be kind.


Our friend Dana is a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so much that his entire house is Potter'd out year-round. His foyer is a mini portrait gallery:

...there are floating candles in his living room (which turn on automatically at night):

...and his bedroom is the Gryffindor Common Room, complete with a giant wooden 4-poster bed and wall tapestries: 

And it is all absolutely magical.

Dana is also a wand maker, and handcrafts beautiful styles with gemstones and jewelry findings. (Remember when John and I built a framed wall display for him?) So really, this style reflects a lot of who Dana is.

That's a long lead-in to say the one room in Dana's house that stood out like a sore (but brightly-lit) thumb was his kitchen. Let's get right to the "before" shots and our list of design challenges for the space:

Monday, October 12, 2020

9 Artists Keeping It Sweet & Spooky This Halloween

We are embracing FULL SPOOPAGE here, friends, because there are less than 3 weeks 'til Halloween! AAAAA! It's time to slow down and savor every pumpkin-spiced moment, and to that end I've been saving up all my favorite artsy Halloween finds over on Instagram.

Let's start with everyone's favorite combination: candy corn [evil grin] and triceratops.

Yes, you read that right.

BEHOLD! From Belmont's Clay Art:

How cute are these?? I want to bite their little tails off. Like, in a good way.

More clay cuties:

Be sure to watch Belmont's Etsy Shop; they're doing an update this weekend, so I'm sure more of these will go up then.


Next, a batty milkshake from Geri Shields:

It's, uh. strawberry flavored. :p

Or how about a dapper kitty?

I think her bat pin might be my favorite:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

15 Wonderfully Weird Kids' Halloween Costumes To Renew Your Faith In Humanity

Here comes a guaranteed smile:

Look at that face. This is a girl who dances to the beat of her own trash can lids, and I am HERE FOR IT.

Yep, nothing makes me happy the way kids-being-their-best-weird-selves makes me happy. It's just so pure. You see a kid dressed as a trash can for Halloween, you know that was ALL the kid's idea.

Ditto for Hulk Fairy:

With those giant hands - and that stance - I'm actually seeing a Hulk Fairy Boxer, hah.

I don't know about you, but this is exactly what I need today - so of course I went looking for more.

Elton John is in the house... and on the piano! I had to do a triple-take for this one, that illusion is SO GOOD.  I hope he played "I'm Still Standing" out of a hidden speaker somewhere, too, because puns make every costume better. :p

 [movie announcer voice]: "In a world full of fairies and butterflies, one little girl dared to be a snail... with her own slime trail."

And she is MAGICAL.

Little Moss came here to kick butt and drink milk... and she's just finished her milk:

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Hyperbole and Three Quarters

Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half is back online after a looooong seven years, and watching the outpouring of love and support and cheering and gratitude surrounding her return has been like a warm hug for my heart.

Don't get me wrong: I'm over the moon to read ALL THE THINGS as she's posting again - and hopefully posting alot - plus a new book? Yes, please. Her "Richard" chapter she shared last week has been making me laugh ever since, in that, "Sweet Stay Puft, SHE REALLY DID THAT??" kind of way.

Oh how I've missed this muppet blob face

But also, speaking as a tiny fish in a similar pond, it's the sweet wave of... well, forgiveness... that's made me most happy about Allie's return. No one's mad she's been gone so long, no one is demanding explanations or throwing gossip-y theories around in the comments; they're just happy she's here now. Comments like, "take all the time you need," "you don't owe us anything," "we just want you to be OK," and "we'll still be here" - oof. THEY "OOF" MY HEART, Y'ALL.

At midnight last night John and I were collapsed on the couch after a long day at a new job (we're re-doing a kitchen! Woot!) - and then hosting Movie Night on the Epbot Discord, when I blearily looked at my schedule and realized I didn't have a new Epbot post written. Cue the usual panic-fueled brain-storming and complaining to John that I wasn't organized enough, I should have prepared better, now I didn't have enough time because we were booked to work all weekend, WHY WAS I LIKE THIS, etc. etc.

After 15 minutes of this John finally said in exasperation: "Jen, Allie Brosh disappeared for seven years. I think your readers can handle seven days."

And you know what? He's right. He's right, you've all told me - many times - that he's right, and even though it's good that I try to post every 3-4 days, the fact is no one minds if I miss the mark sometimes. Heck, the vast majority of you never even notice if I'm late on a post, so really I should get off my high horse and stop thinking it matters so durn much.

So I stopped panicking, and I went to bed. Today we're back at work on that kitchen, and tomorrow I have a full day of Cake Wrecks, but at some point I'll have time to write a real post (as opposed to whatever this is? Ha!) and it's going to be that much better for it.

Thanks for that, Allie. Just by being you, and (I hope) by giving yourself permission to be you, you've already helped so many of us be better uses. Us's? Usses. USS-S. (I'm getting the impression that isn't a word, but now I'm invested.)

In the meantime, go check out Allie's free chapter "Richard" from her new book, because it will make you belly-laugh and forget the yucky stuff for a while. And if you're as eager to catch up on Allie's adventures over the last 7 years as the rest of us, be sure to follow the Hyperbole and a Half Facebook page, where she's posting new photos every day.

And finally, heck yeah I'm going to plug her book! Have you read it yet?  I still need to.

It's a hardcover, and would make an amazing gift for anyone who needs a good belly-laugh - including yourself.

Thanks for being here when I show up, Bots. Go do something nice for yourself this weekend, even if that just means giving yourself permission to not do anything. ::hugs::


Oh wow, it's October already, isn't it? Time to announce last month's Squeegineer winners! So congrats, Jill S. & Linden V., you're them! (Grammar is totally my strong point today.) Please check your e-mails for a message from John, so you can choose your prizes.