Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Does A Wedding Dagger Really Need A Point?


Remember our friends who threw that EPIC Game of Thrones dinner party?

You know, the party where every dish was themed, and dessert was traumatizing?

This was hard to forget... no matter how I tried, bahaha.

WELL, last weekend was these friends' 50th wedding anniversary(!!), so I knew a run-of-the-mill gift just wouldn't do.


Well, Etsy, to be more precise.

I discovered the Strongblade Etsy shop, which sells personalized daggers and swords. This isn't sponsored, but what they made me turned out so nice I have to show it off.

First here's a look at the engraving, because I really like the saying John and I came up with:

Anna & John, Forged 1972
50 Years Unbroken

Eh? EH?

Listen, part of romance is having the ability to stab each other, but not doing it. (PRO TIP.)

Next we needed a way to display both the dagger and sheath, so we bought this wooden plaque at JoAnn's to modify:
John drilled holes through the plaque to pressure-fit wooden dowels:

... then Dremeled the dowels into shape so they'd cradle the dagger and blade exactly:

This is where the blade slots into place.

After this we spent a couple of days getting the finish right, because staining wood is a pain. First it was too dark, then it was too red, but our third attempt was just right.

Ready for the grand reveal? (EEEEEEE)

Here we go.

Friday, August 12, 2022

This DIY Countdown Calendar Turns Into Pretty Wall Art!

Hiya, bots and babes! John and I made something new during my sabbatical last month, and I'm super psyched to show you.

For a little background: one of our closest friends, Ken, recently started radiation for a spot of skin cancer on his leg. The good news is they caught it early and everyone expects a full recovery, but since Ken has SMA it's still stressful and a bit scary for him and his wife, Sue.

The day Ken started treatment I decided to make him some sort of celebration countdown, like an advent calendar, or a goal chart, to mark off each of his 32(!!) treatments. I couldn't find anything online, though, so I spent all afternoon brainstorming with John, then all evening experimenting with different materials.

In the end we had my new favorite DIY: something you can use to countdown to any celebration, whether it's the end of cancer treatments, graduation, or a family vacation.

Ready to see?

Here it is, mid-countdown:

 This is a photo Sue sent me a couple of weeks ago, showing their progress. See how it works?

There are 32 flowers, and 32 holes in the backer board. Every treatment day Ken and Sue add a flower, so not only can they SEE his progress, but by the end they'll also have a pretty piece of wall art!

In fact, here's what it will look like all finished:

I chose the colors and style to match Ken & Sue's kitchen, where this hangs besides the door from the garage. They tell me it's their new ritual for Sue to wait for Ken at the door every treatment day with a flower, so they can place it together. (MY HEART.) In fact there were happy tears on all sides when we first brought this over, and I think it was as much a gift to me, seeing my friends' reaction. Gah.

I promise this is easier to make than you think, and doesn't have to cost much, either. All you need is a piece of foam board, some wood-grained contact paper, faux flowers, and either vinyl or paint to add the wording and vase outline.

C'mon, I'll walk you through it:

Friday, August 5, 2022

Trying Something New At Leaky Con 2022


I'm still easing back into a full work schedule, so what better way than with MORE FUN CON COVERAGE?

John and I weren't even planning to attend Leaky Con this year, but they surprised us with Press passes - when we didn't even apply - and it's right here in Orlando. Can't say no to that! So we dropped in both Saturday and Sunday to do a little filming *and* flash portraits, as y'all requested.

Leaky Con is like no other con; it's tiny, super niche, and filled with the friendliest, most welcoming Harry Potter fans you could hope for. (They kicked off with an onstage announcement emphasizing their support for trans rights and all people, and happily that was reflected in the crowd.) The vibe is super relaxed, and with so little to do or see, nearly everyone is there to socialize and have fun.

In fact this was the perfect test run for John's latest build, which allows us to film and take flash photos at the same time. By attaching a flash to the opposite end of his camera gimble, John can carry a flash in either hand along with the video rig, while I carry the DSLR. This lets us switch seamlessly from John taking video to me taking flash portraits, zero downtime.

Plus we look EXTRA profesh with all this gear, ha.
(Except John is trying to... twerk?... here, so not THAT profesh.)

Mixing portraits with video is a new adventure for us, and I love not having to choose between the two. Hopefully we captured the best of both worlds?

Tell you what, let's find out:

Eh? Eh?

This took us FOREVER, it's so, so much work. But dang, it pretty.

But wait, I have more to tell you!