Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Dollar Tree Quick Craft: Make This Crescent Moon Wreath For Less Than $10!

Confession: I love crafting, but I loathe wreath making. The art of floral arranging is just so dang loosey goosey; you plop flowers here or there 'til you like the look, because there are no wrong answers, and I hate that. I need rules! I need exact check boxes and instructions! How else will I know if I did it perfectly?!

So anyhoo, today we're making a wreath that should take most of you about an hour or two to whip together, but took me an agonizing 7 or 8 hours spread over 2 days. I am not proud of this. My brain battles are exhausting and joy-sucking. But! After multiple go-rounds of ripping things off and trying again, I'm reasonably proud of the finished product:

::exhausted jazz hands::  ta-daaa

I genuinely love this DIY in theory: it's a clever twist on traditional wreaths, you get to hang fun dangly things off it, it only costs about $10 to make, AND you can find everything you need at Dollar Tree.

Here, let me walk you through the basics.


This wreath form from Dollar Tree. While you're there, you'll also need:

- 2 rolls of burlap ribbon

- 4 or 5 bunches of silk flowers & greenery

- Duct tape

- (optional) twine or string and pretty beads to make the dangly bits


Cut a section off the wire wreath form so it looks like the letter C: 

Next use duct tape to wrap each end into a taper, like this:

Wrap your wreath form in burlap ribbon, hot-gluing here and there to keep it all in place:

This takes slightly more than one roll of ribbon, but you'll have most of the 2nd roll left. The ribbon gives you a base for hot-gluing everything that comes next.

Now the hard/fun part: decorating.


I recommend googling "crescent moon wreath," because there are some GORGEOUS styles out there: everything from succulents to moss-and-mushroom covered pretties.

I only wanted to use what I found at Dollar Tree, and happily I found some long floral branches that taper,
perfect for each end of the moon:

Friday, March 26, 2021

FOE & Tell: See, THIS Is Why We're Friends

Why do I love geeks, and the Epbot community in particular?


1) We knit Jayne hats for poodles


2) We celebrate Tiara Tuesdays:

(Sara has more incredible tiaras here on Instagram!)

3) And we also celebrate Friday Finishes:

(Follow Shara's FB page for more!)

Bonus #4) we love puns and groan-worthy jokes.

5) When we play dress up, WE PLAY DRESS-UP

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Overhauling A Professional Puppeteers' Room: Part 2

I'm back with another puppet room update! If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 for the fun puppet storage wall we built last time.

With the actual puppet storage taken care of and the closet space maxed out, we turned our attention to the two workspaces on the left wall. Here's a reminder of the "Before":

You can see how the two different desks - and their lack of storage - is a big part of the visual clutter in this room. Even if you have a high clutter tolerance like I do, a lack of clear workspace is a huge motivation killer; creativity needs room for activities.

It took me a few weeks to wrap my spatially-challenged brain around a proper design here, because this build had a lot of requirements: The work spaces had to be cohesive but clearly divided, so Kelsey's sewing projects couldn't spill over. They had to have as much storage as possible, but also extra desktop area. Then they had to break down into smaller pieces to go up a set of stairs.

Finally, it all had to be as inexpensive as possible, both because we had zero budget and because that's how we roll. ::eye brow waggle::  (Our labor is always free, but in this case we're gifting the material costs as well.)

I started watching FB Marketplace for pieces we could incorporate into the desks, and soon scored this hefty pair of nightstands for $30:

They were dingy and dated, but the giant drawers were perfect for storage.

Next I talked through my ideas with John, and he worked his magic drawing up a scale sketch:

Can you visualize the finished build from these? I'll give you a hint: The center divider is a bookcase turned sideways.

So now that I've confused you further (snerk), let me show you what it looks like in real life.

First the Before again, because I like a dramatic reveal:

And now, preeeee-senting our newly installed, double-sided, 10-foot long custom work station:

::mini trumpet fanfare::


This baby's got it all, let me walk you through the details.

First, construction-wise, I cleaned up the nightstands and painted them a lovely gray:

Friday, March 19, 2021

Owlcats, Pumpkin Heads, & Cute Stabby Mushrooms

Hey, you know what your day needs?



Kartoniq is the self-proclaimed "Owlcat Lady" who combines two of my favorite things: OWLS AND CATS.

And it's so hard to pick a favorite!

omigosh omigosh omigosh

I've especially loved barn owls since Labyrinth, so it delights me to no end to imagine Jareth the Owlcat chasing around crystal balls, scratching up the goblins' favorite armor, and slowly sliding their drinks off tables without breaking eye contact:

Kartoniq if you write a comic about Jareth the owlcat I will love you forever.

Kartoniq doesn't ONLY paint owlcats, btw. Sometimes she paints just cats:

"I've brought you... A GIFT." (It's too late now I have Labyrinth on the brain.)

Tragically I can't find an online shop for us to purchase these beauties, but definitely follow Kartoniq Art on Instagram to get that fluffy owlcat goodness in your feed.


I know I'm not the only one who enjoys a little Halloween spoop year 'round, so buckle your witch shoes, ghouls and boos:

LeeAnn Kress of Charmed Confections makes the most vivid eye candy creatures, and I can't get enough of her retro Halloween style:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Come Open A Care Bears Care Pack From 1983 With Me!

A few months ago I joined a Care Bears fan group, because I... am an adult.

I didn't even have much Care Bear stuff as a kid - just a few of the plastic figures with that single tuft of hair glued in, remember those? - but something about seeing the art and toys now gives me the sweetest nostalgia noogie.

Drat, I've barely started writing and already I'm distracted wondering if I imagined those PVC figures having hair or not. Hang on.

::google google google::


Hair she blows.

Anyhoo, despite only being in the fan club to lurk, of COURSE I ended up buying some things. A whole little pack of goodies, in fact, which was such a friggin' delight to open I have to share.

Happy to report the vote was an even split over on Instagram.

(The fan club is Care Bears Forever in the Kingdom of Caring on Facebook, btw. It's small and drama-free, and only mildly dangerous to your bank account. Come join me in my nostalgia noogies.)

I didn't even know these existed!

 I've since used a little poster tack to stick the sun to the wall beside my monitor, so Funshine can hang out:

I cram a lot of stuff around me on my desk - all the things that make me happiest to look at. I've also started collecting glass cloches to act as protective force fields, since Suki the 16-pound behemoth likes to kick in her sleep. (As I type this she's rolled into both those containers and *clinked* them together, siiigh.)

The cross-stitch says "I like your face", btw, and was a gift from an anonymous reader. It also has a tiny Epbot in the corner! Under all the cat hair. (Note to self: add glass to that frame.) The Tree Cyclops is a pin by MarliToys, and the adorable Lemon Head is by Fancy Creatures.

K, back to the unboxing:

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Celestial Ceilings, Animal Crossing Bags, & Hilarious Quagmires Of Quaginess


How's your weekend going?

Last week I celebrated finishing my puppet room post by making myself an EXCELLENT brownie sundae, but foolishly didn't check the ingredients on the toppings, and ended up making myself sick for 2-3 days. (Whoops.) (Curse you, high fructose corn syruuuuup!! ::shaking fist at sky and also the jar of maraschino cherries::)

So yeah, my week just flew by, until this afternoon when I was like OH HEY IT'S SATURDAY maybe I should post something.

Fortunately I do plenty of scrolling when I'm laid up on the couch snuggling a hot pack, so I have goodies to share.

This is Albertine Bookstore in NYC:

(via Victorian House on FB, which posts SO MUCH architectural eye candy)

I want to go to there.

Wait, let me rephrase that. I want my house to look like that. 'Cuz leaving the house is overrated.


You ever see something that makes you cringe away in horror, then do a double take, then laugh with delight?

(via Reddit

How 'bout now?   

(Someone in the comments wrote "Chomping at the bit" and I am STILL slow-clapping. Bravo, commenter. Bravo.)


I recently discovered the gentlest, sweetest comic that's like a warm hug delivered through your eyeballs:


They're all this sweet, too. Prepare to fall down the cozy rabbit hole over at Buddy Gator's Instagram.


Brace yourself, because NOT ONLY did Shasta of @SciFiCheerGirl make her very own "Lady Buster" renaissance styled GHOSTBUSTERS gown(!!):

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Overhauling A Professional Puppeteers' Room: Part 1

Listen, some things are just more fun to organize than others. Paperwork? Bleh. Tupperware lids? Mostly bleh. (Unless you can fan them out in rainbow order.)

Ahh, but organizing puppets?


Happily that's exactly what John did when he got the e-mail for our latest room makeover.

Kelsey and Calvin are professional entertainers, puppeteers, and Muppeteers here in Orlando. Not only do they perform at the local theme parks, they also have some incredible side projects and passions. Kelsey does adorable puppet videos on TikTok for nearly a million followers, while Calvin is the creator of his own entire puppet troupe (!!), Bird Call. Bird Call has a family-friendly Youtube series, a 2-part musical, and even appears at live events here around town.

So yeah, these two are total rock stars.

And since they're friends of friends - and Kelsey's sis is a longtime Epbot reader (hi, Elizabeth!) - we connected a few months ago to discuss... THE PUPPET ROOM.

This felt like a good time to bring back dramatic chipmunk.

We're still mid-process, but let me take you on a tour of the Before, and talk about some of the things John and I hope to help with. This won't be the prettiest post, since the eye candy will (hopefully) be when we reach the "Afters", but I think you'll still find some helpful nuggets.

Let us... BEGIN.

Stepping inside is a short hallway -  you can already see this is an oddly shaped room.

Inside is a large-ish space that functions as both Calvin's office and Kelsey's puppet-making work area. They also display lots of Super Cool Stuff, which Distracted Jen A Whole Lot. :D

The first challenge in this room is lighting: We need more of it. However. Challenge #2 is that this is a rental, so we can't hard wire anything or do too much damage to the walls. That's... tricky.

The next - and arguably biggest - challenge is creating efficient storage. Everything is surprisingly well organized and even labeled, but Kelsey & Calvin had run out of places to put all the various bins and bags. That's why I did a happy dance when I looked in the closet:

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Movie Night's New Groove: Poison Potions & Tasty Pill Bugs

I've been scheduling weekly craft nights with a few friends lately, which has done straight-up wonders for my mental health. Our little group has been individually isolated all year, so it's good for them, too - and of course we're being smart about it, with masks and distancing.

Anyhoo, I was so excited for Emperor's New Groove movie night this weekend that I combined it with craft night. That way John and I had an excuse to make themed foods and drinks AND we could all make teeny potion bottles, like this:

Now with that all-important Llama label:

Oh, I can feel it.

Amazingly I already had everything in my craft stash: mini glass bottles, nail shimmer powders, epoxy to glue the corks in - plus I found a bunch of charm options in my jewelry stash, so we could get even more creative with it:

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Legend, The 36 Year Old Movie That's A Love Letter To Tom Cruise's Thighs, And Other Thoughts

This review will be an extremely long read riddled with spoilers, a little snark, a lot of silly, some hilarious photos, and INTENSE NERD-DOM.

You have been warned.

So a week or two ago I suggested we watch the infamous 1985 fantasy flop, Legend, and discovered something alarming: John had never seen it.
That's right, he'd never seen Tim Curry in bull horns. Or Mia Sarah from Ferris Bueller dramatically flouncing through a Claritin commercial. Or Tom Cruise rescuing a fairy with a chicken foot for a hand out of a giant pie shell in hell.

This could not stand.

Let's get one thing out of the way first: Legend is not a good movie. Roger Ebert gave it two stars, and to this day it has a 38% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. It flopped HARD at the box office, and is often blamed for killing fantasy movies in general until Peter Jackson came along with Lord of the Rings.

Nope, Legend is not a good movie.

But it is a GREAT movie.

Pretty much everyone agrees you don't watch Legend for the story, you watch it for the jaw-dropping visuals. And when I say jaw-dropping, I mean take-your-breath away STUNNING, even 36 years later:

If one of your aesthetics is "running barefoot through the misty moors in a shredded ballgown", then THIS IS YOUR MOVIE, fam.

I was amazed how well I remembered it, too, considering I haven't seen Legend in probably 20 years. I could even recite some of the dialogue, and immediately noticed when the version we rented cut Meg Mucklebones' scene short.

That cut scene nagged me, so I turned to Google... and immediately fell down a 20+ hour rabbit hole of all things Legend. (Haha, whoops.)

So now, in no particular order, here come my favorite fun facts and personal observations from this amazingly beautiful, amazingly bad movie:

- Legend Is a Love Letter To Tom Cruise's Thighs

Tom Cruise was 22 during filming and fresh off the set of Risky Business - the movie that gave us the world-famous underwear dance. Not to be outdone, the producers of Legend decided Tom would not only be pants-less the entire movie, he would also be prohibited from walking upright for most of it.