Friday, July 30, 2021

MetroCon 2021: Cosplay, Dancing, & Coming Home Again

I am SO EXCITED to share all the fun and pretties with you from Metro last weekend, bots, but first, quick moment of realness: I'm concerned about con season this year. Especially here in Florida and Georgia. As of today John and I don't know if we'll be attending the rest of the conventions on our schedule, which has us pretty torn up. We want to be smart and safe and protect our loved ones, so just know if we do attend any more cons this year, it will be with every possible precaution.

I'm also happy to report that Metro felt safe. They required vaccination cards for anyone who didn't want to wear a mask, so the bare faces in the crowd were actually nice to see. Plus I know some - perhaps many? - of the mask-wearers were vaccinated but chose to wear masks anyway, like our group.

All that said, let's jump in to some happy:

Here's a compilation of all my Stories from the weekend, a few have loud music near the middle, so watch your volume. If you're on a desktop hit the fullscreen option so it's not so tiny.

(That incredible mushroom fairy at the end is @aundi_lanea, and I was *this close* to going Awkward Fangirl and asking her to be friends with me. :p)

In addition to shopping and dancing and just taking it all in, John and I also brought our trusty flash rig out for a few hours, so prepare for some PRETTIES. Woot woot!

Let's start with the incredible cosplayer I ended my Stories with, Duy Truong:

Duy always blows us away; he specializes in DRAMA and making jaws drop. I couldn't light the whole skirt with the flash, so go back to my video to see just how enormous it really is.

Look at all the details on the jacket. Look at them:


I almost tossed this next photo, but the more I looked at it, the more it became my favorite:

There's something about the stream of people in the background ignoring us that feels so surreal, and the visible flash gives it a behind-the-scenes vibe. I dig it.

There's a lot of Lolita fashion at Metro, and I'm a fan. Give me all the ruffles and sweet pastels!


And here's a Lolita Diva from Overwatch:

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Our Next Cosplay Is A Star Wars Dad Joke Of The First Order

We all knew this day was coming.

Every year I make roundups of my favorite punny costumes, so it was really only a matter of time before John and I jumped onto the groan-worthy gigglewagon ourselves. But believe it or not, this one is all John's idea; I'm just along for the ride. And to sculpt bizarre props. But that's getting ahead of myself.

John has wanted this costume for years, and despite it being a fairly obvious pun, I don't think it's ever been attempted.


Yep, we're doing it, bots. We're making a Boba Vet cosplay.


And what does a Boba Vet treat? Well, Star Wars animals, of course. So... we're going to need some of those.

Which brings me to today's epic-yet-bizarre prop build: a Porg... in Carbonite.

::pauses to reflect on all the life choices that got me to this point::

::slow grin::


And if I'm building a Porg in Carbonite, then of course I'm going to show you how to build one, too. Because everybody wants a Porg in Carbonite. That's up there with a rock to wind a piece of string around and prosthetic foreheads on their real heads.

Ahem hem.

Let's begin.

First place a scale print-out of your Porg onto pink insulation foam from the hardware store. We're aiming for life-size, so our slab is about 2 feet long.

Trace your photo onto the pink foam, then use foam board to make a cross brace of the Porg's side profile. This provides structure and a handy depth guide. Hot glue the foam cross section in place.

Now here's where our dastardly Porg plans... are foiled:


Take big strips of aluminum foil and smoosh them into place, hot-gluing as you go. You'll get the hang of it pretty fast, I promise; the foil is almost like stabby clay, so it sculpts surprisingly well.

Use that center cross brace as a guide; it'll help you keep both sides symmetrical.

When you're done you'll have a fresh Porg burrito, the first of many hilarious visuals to come:

Oh right, and you can see how I used foam board & foil to make some webbed toes sticking out.

Now it's time to get in touch with your inner first grader and paper maché, baby:

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday Smiles: Adorable DIY Soot Sprites!

S'up, fam? Happy Friday!

To celebrate surviving another week, I have a new cute craft for you. Ready?


Even if you're not a huge Miyazaki fan, I bet you like Soot Sprites. They're small, they're cute, they go great with pastel stars... what's not to love?

You can see them in Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.

So hey, let's make some!

These fluffy cuties are infinitely customizable, which makes them great for group crafts. Here's a batch from my Friday night group: 

I love all the different expressions, from curious to crabby to gleefully stealing things, ha. This isn't all of them, either; I'll show you more as we go!

Of course you could make easy Soot Sprites from pom-poms and googly-eyes, but our version is bigger and sturdier. Best of all, they fit PERFECTLY in the plastic cloches from Dollar Tree, which makes them look more like high-end collectibles.

In fact you can find most of what you need for these at Dollar Tree, let me show you:

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

New Room Reveal: The Star Wars Playroom!

Who's got a great feeling about this?

Yep, I'm back with another room reveal, this time the promised Star Wars playroom!

Quick background: Our friend Ray got a new work-from-home job, so we decided to swap his home's current office with the kids' playroom, for reasons you'll see in a minute. I already revealed Ray's spankin' new Spider-Man office, definitely check that out if you missed it.

The old office/new playroom is just inside the home's front door, and has two sets of french doors leading into it - basically the worst set-up ever for working from home, but fantastic for keeping an eye on a room full of kids. This project was a last-minute bonus for us, so it has less structural changes, more fun decorating.

I'm kicking myself for not taking better "Before" shots, but here's the general idea of what we were working with:

For years the only thing in this room was that tiny desk, dated track lighting, and a huge bookcase that we already moved out to Ray's new office.

Imagine a big bookcase here. Thanks.

Oh, and this rocker chair, which has sentimental value to the family:

The two sets of French doors made arranging furniture a huge pain. Keeping enough clearance for the doors to swing open in a not-large room was definitely our biggest challenge.

Our goal for this room was to add in a TV gaming area, change out the lighting, add a ceiling fan, arrange the rocker chair and desk area better, add storage for toys and books, and overall just make it more fun with a Star Wars theme.

Pro Tip: I like IKEA's online Home Planner for situations like this. It's free, easy to use, and doesn't require a download or even an account. The furniture selection is extremely limited, but if you only have a few pieces it can be a great start.

In fact, here's the design I sent to Ray and Julianne for approval:

(Ignore the flooring and wall color; this was just for furniture placement.)

And - BIG REVEAL TIME - look how closely the finished room matches the mock up!

We nixed the shelves flanking the TV after we realized we didn't need that much storage.

That was fun, let's do the other side of the room:

Friday, July 16, 2021

Eva Visits The Sears Portrait Studio & I Got A Stay Puft Duck Butt

::wanders in::

::looks around::

::notices you::


So I have a big project to reveal and another to debut, but I'm feeling kinda swirly today. You know, where you don't want to focus, but you do want to chat? Yep. That's got two thumbs and is sittin' right here.

So let me tell you about my new favorite cookies:

These are SO good, gang. Soft like cake, and the orange filling punches your taste buds right in the sweet spot. Plus, dark chocolate. Humina humina. You can get them at Aldi, I recommend buying 2 boxes at a time. For science.

Remember when I posted this Eva photo in my Story?

Someone - forgive me, I don't remember your name - said it had 1980s Sears Portrait Studio vibes with that stone column, which made me laugh and tell John. Then an hour later, John sent me this:

Let this be a lesson to you commenters: John is always up for a Photoshop challenge. 

I've been addicted to browsing Facebook Marketplace lately, which is my only explanation for buying a vintage Christmas bracelet in July:

Y'all. I don't even wear bracelets. But look how pretty.

I also got new-to-me Converse! Look at the cute lil' stripes on the back: 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Mid-Century Castles, Underwater Ruins, And "Unseen Forces"

Hey. HEY.

::eyebrow waggle::

Want to see some cool art?

I got all kinds! I'm your one-stop shop!

And since John and I are going to Disney Springs tonight for a reader meetup - where I will no doubt concern some of you with that eyebrow waggle - let's start with some super happy Disney art by Hayden Evans:

Hayden channels the best of Mary Blair with his mid-century style and love of Disney:

His illustrations are pure joy:

And his pop culture pieces are just as fun!

Have to include the Golden Girls, of course. Have to:

Friday, July 9, 2021

Painting Eyeballs & Scaling Snail Mail Mountain

Since tropical storm Elsa can't seem to STOP letting it go, central Florida has been especially moist & swampy this week*. 

[*"Moist & Swampy" is the name I used to dance under. HEYOOOOOur welcome.]

Usually we Floridians spend the Summer holed up inside wearing layered cardigans with the A/C set to "Ice Planet Hoth" anyway, so the monsoons don't matter - but this time John's been trying to build a new locker/wardrobe thingy in the garage. And since the locker/wardrobe thingy is made of wood, it's been soaking up the humidity and warping and generally being a big ol' pain. Of course painting is also out of the question.

Look how pretty, though.

Ergo John has taken a break from outside carpentry work, and instead turned his attention to finally embarking upon a life-long dream, and when I say "life-long," I mean about 3 or 4 years, which is basically a lifetime online, so I'll allow it.

This dream is weird and would be frowned upon at polite dinner parties, so I am COMPLETELY onboard. It also involves a groan-worthy pun, which was the real deal-maker. I'm not going to spoil it for you yet, but suffice to say no real animals will be harmed, but plenty of fake ones might be. Also we needed a giant eyeball, and since we're all about ethically sourcing our giant eyeballs, we made our own:

In more mundane matters, I realized a small dream of my own this week: finally working through a large pile of snail mail from you readers that's been sitting next to my inbox for almost a year. (Oops.)

I do open and read everything as soon as it comes in, because mail from strangers - at least strangers who like me - is literally one of the highlights of my life. Written words mean a lot to a writer. I keep every single letter, card, and post-it note. I also try to respond to most of them, which is where the pile comes in. ::pained smile::

Anyhoo, as I was sorting and re-discovering all the treasures y'all have sent the last several months, it occurred to me this stuff is way too cool NOT to share, so let's have a quick Show & Tell!

Beginning with one little spark:

Stained glass Figment, y'all. I repeat, STAINED GLASS FIGMENT.


This imaginative beauty was made by reader Paige, who completely surprised me with it: y'all rarely warn me when you send things, so it's always fun going from puzzled digging-through-bubble-wrap to full-on screeching, ha. You can check out more of Paige's incredible glasswork on Instagram at That Glass Though - and her latest rose window is STUNNING, so you really should.

I found the perfect spot for Figment:

Suddenly hanging my cards in front of back-lit window is a feature.

Let's see, next there's my most recent surprise:

Amy sent me her original Squee art - the one I featured here last week!

I immediately replaced some of my office art with it:

Inch by inch, y'all are slowly overtaking this room. :D

This next one comes with a story/explanation that will make you want to hug all the little ones in your life, because sometimes kids are too pure for this world:

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

New Room Makeover: Spider-Man Home Office Reveal

Our friend Ray recently got a great new job with one big caveat: it's a work-from-home deal. With 3 young kids at home on summer vacation, that meant he needed a proper home office, STAT.

John and I immediately jumped in and convinced Ray and his wife Julianne to swap the kids' current playroom - basically an extra bedroom at the end of the house - with the family office, which had 2 sets of French doors and zero privacy. Next time I'll show you how we turned their old office into a Star Wars-themed playroom, but first, let's see the playroom-turned-office:

 Ray had already moved his standing desk in here, but this room used to house toy kitchens and princess castles and LOTS of LEGO.

The entry door has an unusal angled wall butted up against the closet:

You can see furniture arrangement is already a challenge, since I was determined to get Ray's desk off the walls (too clausterphobic) while keeping the natural light behind him. More on that in a bit.

First, though, that old carpet had to go. John and I quickly sliced it into strips, rolled it up, and carted it out to the garage, followed by the padding. After cleaning up the concrete, John got right to installing some gorgeous new vinyl laminate:

John finished the flooring and trim in a day, then I scootched around doing all the caulking, puttying, sanding, painting.... ug. Quarter round is such a pain, y'all. Worth it, but a pain.

Next we replaced the old kids' fan with something more chic:

Ain't she a beaut? It's from Home Depot, here's the link.

Then the fun part: painting the walls!

Ahhh. Am I the only one who breathes a little easier just looking at this? It's so calming. I especially love the color with the flooring.

This is the most accurate photo of the wall color, by the way; it's a gray blue called "Meditative" from Sherwin Williams. It's going to look more baby blue in some of my photos after this, but trust me, in real life it's more gray.

Now let's peep that oh-so-satisfying B&A:

Friday, July 2, 2021

New Dollar Tree DIY: Hobbit Door Wreaths!

I've got a super fun DIY for your next craft night, gang; this was a huge hit with my group, and I think my favorite thing we've made all year:

Hobbit Door Wreaths!

Or alternatively, Fairy Door Wreaths.

In fact that's what I love about these: they're infinitely customizeable. And - AND! -  you can buy everything you need from Dollar Tree, so they only cost a few dollars each to make.

Here's my Friday Night group hard at work on theirs:

I'll show you all their finished wreaths as we go along.

First, let's talk materials:

 I found the wreaths, flowers, rope hangers, moss, and I think even the wood beads all at Dollar Tree. The only thing not from DT on mine are the tiny mushrooms and the insulation foam we used for the doors - but here's a handy foam substitution you CAN find at Dollar Tree:

Did you know you can peel off the paper backing from DT foam board? I just learned this trick from Studson Studio, my new favorite Youtuber. You can stack the foam together to make thicker pieces, and just like pink or blue insulation foam, this stuff carves & textures like a dream. Perfect for woodgraining.

Again, we used pink foam because we have so much in the garage, but everything I'm about to show will also work on DT foam.

Last thing: be on the lookout for things you can turn into tiny door handles. Wooden beads, jewelry pieces, or these finger puzzles from Dollar Tree all work great: