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:

Valinda writes,

"My youngest is a big fan of yours [...] and noticed that you don’t always show your face in pictures. We have discussed that sometimes we don’t like parts of our selves and it’s something we can learn to do better. We were making felt dress up dolls and she suggested we make one for you, so you can remember how pretty you are. She chose the outfit and the colors herself. I told her we could sew the clothes to the doll and she was appalled, because how could you play with it that way? She was sure to include a hat for the days that you feel shy."

Can we talk about the generosity, the gentleness, and the incredible parenting on display here?? Thank you, Valinda, and thank you, younger bot. You make me feel beautiful deep down where it counts.

Also, heck yes I've played with my new felt doll! Here she is all dressed up:

Let's see, here are some of my favorite Disney postcards from Gina:

Then Leah sent me Princess Bride stickers with a Cliffs of Insanity postcard pin, what whaaaat:


I like how often I get something fun like this with a "I just thought you'd like this!" - because you are always right.

This next one is especially gut-punchy. I don't usually share the super personal gifts and mail -  I like to keep those between me and the other person - but this one is so beautiful I asked Theresa for permission to share:

Theresa contacted me on Instagram asking for craft ideas for something unusual: a large Converse shoe collection. Her partner had passed away, and left behind about 50 pairs. They were in rough condition, but he'd loved them so much Theresa wanted to do something with them to remember him by.

I love unusual challenges like this, and gave Theresa a couple suggestions. She and I chatted quite a bit over the next weeks as she showed me her progress pictures, eventually turning some of the colorful shoe fabric into jewelry charms.

Then one day John brought in the mail from the PO box, and I found this:

I immediately yelled, "THE SHOES!" and burst into tears, which confused the heck out of poor John. Once I explained, though, he got a bit misty-eyed with me. Theresa also included a heart-filling letter - which, funnily enough, was when I first learned her name.

As fate would have it, the dress I was wearing that day exactly matched some of the colors in the bracelet, so I took this photo to send her:

I don't like the word "fan mail," and treasures like this are why: they represent a relationship, not a fandom. These are tokens of our friendship and community and shared burdens and common respect. That's what I love about this group.

Hang on, lemme mop up my face and we can move on.

Oh hey, here's a package that wasn't even for me; it was for John:


I never knew my life was missing Yzma as a chicken until now.

Over on the Epbot Discord it's a thing to spam John with chickens, to the point that the mods started anonymously texting him hilarious chicken .gifs at random intervals through the week, which I of course had NOTHING to do with, John, why are you looking at me like that?

But here's the best part: this week the Discord mods informed me they'd elected a new mod, and when I checked in to say hi, I discovered it was none other than Kam, painter of chickens!

 I love it when the circle of geekdom comes around like that.

Eesh, I have so much more! Let's speed this up, Jen, c'mon. GET IT TOGETHER.

Here are a couple of "ear saver" mask clips from a fellow Jennifer, which she customized just for me and John:

I'm enjoying how they kind of look like Tie Fighters.

(Check out Jennifer's Etsy shop if you want your own!)

You should know that I am, and forever will be, a Lisa Talbot fangirl. So please enjoy this note and hand-drawn murder goose from my favorite Disney princess:

I would show you all the things Lisa sent, but frankly it's an embarrassment of riches from lollipop necklaces to cat pens to Care Bears bandaids. I think my favorites are these acrylic stickers that I immediately turned into jewelry:

I glued O-rings to the backs, and BOOM. Two new necklaces, which I've been wearing ever since!

Another rainbow - this time with a butterfly for John:

Have to show you the back, too, because I love these fabrics, Lana:

K, please forgive me if you've sent something I didn't mention, but I think we're on to the last package. This one also has quilts: two cat-sized ones, in fact, and color-coordinated for Suki and Eva:

Diane, I don't know how you did it, but they feel heavenly: so soft and heavy!

Then under the quilts was something that made me go wide-eyed:

What's this? A Rainbow Brite record? How cute!

Ahh, but then I opened it, and let out the most delighted squeal:

DIANE! This isn't a record! (Well, I mean, it is.) It's ART.

And - AND - it's double-sided:

This is SO getting framed for my office. Thank you for trusting me with your childhood treasure!

I never knew a Rainbow Brite record even existed, so off to Youtube I went to find the music. It's from 1984, a great year for pop culture. Are you ready for this?

Um. I'm guessing you had to grow up on these songs to really appreciate them now. Ha! That said, the song at 8 minutes in is SO catchy that I only heard 30 seconds and I'm still humming it. "Starlight, Rainbow Brite, a little wish in the moonlight!" Curses.

I hope you had fun opening some of my mail with me! It still makes me feel like I'm bragging, but I've decided that if I am bragging, I'm only bragging about how awesome all of you are. This is a mutual admiration society right here, gang. Thanks for being here, and thanks to all of you who've sent sweet words my way over the years, snail-mail or here online. Both matter and mean more than you know.



P.S. Also thank you to everyone who's bookmarked my Amazon shop! ( ) The "shop" is really just a set of lists where I save all my favorite things, from clothes to crafts supplies, books I've reviewed, and even the silly stuff I link on Cake Wrecks:

Anything you buy through my shop - whether it's on my lists or not - will give a little bit back to me, so thank you for helping support Epbot while you shop.


  1. Oh Jen. I was having the worst day but seeing you squee over adorable nerdy gifts from our wonderful community has put a smile on my face. Never stop being you <3

  2. Sun beams, sparkle and shine, you'll always be a friend of mine! Thanks for the earworm :)

  3. I haven't tried it, I found it randomly on etsy while looking for something else entirely and thought of you.

    1. Oh my gosh. I wore that perfume for my wedding 💛

    2. Aw, thanks, Christina! I'm chuffed you remembered. I've been finding new old stock bottles on Ebay, but at some point I assume those will run out, and then I'll be checking for things like this.

      Lisa, so did I! I guess that's less novel since I still wear it almost every day, though. ;)

  4. Holy bananas, there are talented & generous people out there- and they (we) love you! That's pretty special. But, um... I'm hoping to see a tutorial (or just a quick synopsis) on how to make that FABULOUS eyeball! I need one (many). Not to put in my bushes to scare people walking by, I would never do that (I will definitely do that).

  5. BEHOLD epbotians. Proof from the MotherBot herself that she is indeed part cat:

    "'s always fun going from puzzled digging-through-bubble-wrap to full-on screeching". ;p

  6. I'm kind of late to the party, but you sure did get some fun stuff from you fandom family. However, I'm here to register a complain as a representative of the Canada Goose International Appreciation Society...

    Dear Lisa, Canada geese are not plotting evil deeds, as you so libelously stated. Please refrain from defaming the poor, misunderstood Canada goose in the future.
    President, Ohio Chapter of the Canada Goose International Appreciation Society

    *mumbling*"Evil Water Fowl of Doom" my fat fanny...

  7. Consider framing the Rainbow Brite record between clear panes of glass/acrylic/etc., so that you can easily change which side you have on display. :)

  8. Oooo I think you should find a way to hang the record from the ceiling (or wherever) so you can see both sides. Or could it be used as a door to something or partion? Trying to think of ways to display so you can enjoy both sides.

  9. I'm LOVING the E.W.F.o.D (Evil Water Fowl of Doom) that is incredible that she was able to write about it without fearing retaliation from the MI-5 Dept. of Canadian Geese. brave woman.

  10. These are SO cool! We all need felt Jen dress-up dolls. :)

  11. This whole post had my heart warmed, and then I got to the doll from Valinda and her kidbot and my heart was still warmed, but my face was definitely wet. What a beautiful gift and gifter.

  12. Jen, I *swore* you passed by me in a store last week (in TX) - and then I realized that person was wearing all grey/olive/browns, with no holograms or sparkles or COLOREY colors in sight. False alarm!


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