Oct 26, 2011

Are you going to the Gun Show?

I owe you guys an apology.  I believe a person can never say I'm sorry too often, so that is why I want you to imagine that I am standing next to you, whispering "I'm sorry" in your ear over and over and over, all day, in kind of a creepy voice (cuz that is the only way I know how to whisper).  Then maybe you will really feel apologized to.  Cuz I promised I would tell you how we did Richard's Steampunk costume and my steampunk gun and there you all are, waiting with baited breath and heated up Hot Glue Gun, Rub 'N Buff at the ready and I am over here just living my life and stuff.   And that is not right.  I know that.  That is on me.  Feel free to throw very small, soft objects at me.


How to Steampunk Your Man!

Step 1:  Get permission.  Most guys do not like it when you dress them up in their sleep.  They are not dolls, dogs, or babies.  Be respectful, ok?  You might get away with a haircut while they are unconscious, but I really wouldn't go any further than that.

Step 2: Look at this picture and try to recreate it.

yeah, I am really feeling too lazy to go into detail.  Here is what I will tell you: to achieve Richard's look, use Simplicity Pattern number 2895 for the vest, massacre several leather belts and give the camera lots of smouldery looks.  This was all his idea.  The Steampunk, I mean.  Halloween a couple years ago he pulled up a "Steampunk" Google image search and said "Isn't this awesome?  This is how we should dress next Halloween."  And I said "You are sitting on my foot".  But see where it led us?

I think I've mentioned that Richard always wants to make everything himself (or get ME to make it for him).  So he has always saved every bit of leather he gets his hands on.   We have quite a stash.  He wanted to make his own hat, but I found that hat at Target in their Halloween costumes for $5.00.  So he took the satin band off and replaced it with a strip of leather.  His goggles are identical to mine.  See them here.  He designed the Gators (or whatever the manly equivalent of legwarmers would be) himself.  Used some old denim to make the pattern by wrapping it around his legs till it looked right, making marks, wrapping again, making more marks, and then got me to sew it all together.   If you want better instructions than that, just ask.

And now. . . . . . .  My Steampunk Gun of Awesomeness.  

I really like it.

Here is how it looked when I bought it for $1.99 at a local thrift store.

I know.  Kind of a rip off, right?  I shouldn't have had to pay more than 50 cents for it.  But it was the size and shape I was looking for, so I splurged.  Richard told me later that when I bought it he thought it was a really stupid gun and there was no way I could turn it into a decent Steampunk gun.  But he also admitted that he was wrong and it did turn out cool, so TAKE THAT, Past Richard!

So here is the low down.  I took off that blue thing in the front cuz it was dumb, and then sanded the whole thing down.  Not really carefully, I just wanted the paint to stick, and didn't want the gun to be too smooth and shiny.  Then I took I knife and stabbed and cut and generally mauled the whole thing till it looked good and thrashed.  I wanted it to look like it had seen a few battles.  Then I spray painted the whole thing a matte black.  Next came the Rub 'N Buff.  (which I talked about HERE) And away I went!  Rubbing on a little gold here, a little copper there, and maybe some silver over here for kicks! But I needed something to breakup the monotony of the cylinder on the back, so I drilled tiny holes along the seems and superglued regular metal brads into the holes.   Then, to add a little color, I picked a couple spots and painted them with blue fingernail polish. THEN I sprayed the whole thing with a clear top coat to keep the Rub 'N Buff from rubbing off.

It was good, but not good enough!  I wanted more!!

I made the gauge by cutting a 5/8 inch tube about 1/4 inch long.  I found a picture of a gauge online, shrunk it down so it was the same size as the tube, printed it off and cut it out.  We had some sheets of thin, hard, clear plastic that we cut into a circle the same size, and glued it and the picture inside the tube.  Superglue.  My very favorite adhesive with special abilities.  Richard soldered together some copper and brass tubing into a fancy little doohickey, we glued the gauge on top, then glued the whole thing to the gun.

Then I pranced around carrying it just like a proper, well-bred, heat-packing, zombie-killer would.  Truth be told, I wear it almost everyday.  Here is me today, posing before I take out some cats in the backyard.  Pew! Pew!

I made several guns before this one, to practice, and some after, because it is just so fun.  Here are my favorites.

And that is all.  I have probably blown your mind enough for one day.  And I have used mine completely up, so I think I'll go watch "Single's 2nd Ward" for a while and recuperate.  Thank you for joining us.

Oct 18, 2011

Rest for the Rest of Us

When Harrison was 6 months old I left my husband alone with him and went to Girls Camp.  For one night.  It is nice, every once in a while, to get away.  Girls Camp, however, should not be called a "Vacation" under any circumstances.  Putting up my own tent, sleeping on the ground, having makeup put on me by a 12 year old, and mediating an argument between two hormonal girls sounds more like an episode of Survivor than a vacation.

But as a mom, it is the only one I've had.  Sure, we've taken a few family vacations, but as what's-her-name from Modern Family said, "I'm a mom travelling with her kids.  It's not a vacation, it's a business trip."  So now I've got 2 boys, the oldest of whom is almost 5 and I just wanted a tiny little break, ok?  And that is why my friends and I left our families for a night and went out and tore up the town.

I always love to read the posts people write about trips they've taken to exciting places like New York City, and Branson, Missouri (no, I'm lying.  I really don't) and so I am going to tell you all about my weekend in Fabulous St. George, UT!  Yes, you read that right!  Woohoo!

First stop, once we gathered everyone together and arrived at our destination, was lunch.  Any vacation that doesn't revolve around food is a pretty lame vacation in my book.  So we hit the nearest Taco Time and OWNED that menu and then the  "waitress" splashed hot sauce all over me and then gave me FREE Cinnamon Crustos out of guilt and shame.  SCORE!!

And then I ate 3 churros and  a few cherry empanadas for good measure.  I had to pay for those though.  I wish more people spilled things on me.

Exhausted after our social lunch, we headed to our hotel.  Motel.  Which had some really outstanding decor.  Cowboy boots stuffed unceremoniously with fake flowers, horseshoes hung in completely unexpected places, blood red walls in the bedroom and then this, just in case it all got to be too much:

But we wouldn't need that rope!  We have so much fun when we get together, having zit popping contests and taking pictures of our feet.

Wow, feet are weird looking, right?

After a wild night of cards and sour gummy bears, I pulled out my camera for a photo shoot.  They were not impressed.

I begged and pleaded and bribed and just finally convinced everyone to sit down and smile when the Hotel Tipped Over!!!

And we high-tailed it out of there, and hid out in the parking lot.  Things were just starting to return to normal, the hotel was righting itself, and we thought the coast was clear, so we decided to sneak back in for our sour gummy bears,

When out of the corner of my eye I saw it.  I started screaming, "Lookout! Lookout!  She's coming back!!  Run! Run! Run!"  and snapped this picture before diving into the nearest sewer grate.


So, yep.  Just about the perfect vacation.  I mean, how can you top Mothra?  We decided to end things on a high note, so we headed home after that, very rejuvenated and refreshed.  A Brush With Death and losing the rest of your sour candies can do that to a person.  A few hours drive home to snooze and gab with the gals and then the vacation was over.

And, you know, even though I came home to two sick little boys, and a mountain of barfed on clothings, towels and blankets, I was still SO HAPPY to be there.  Cuz I really missed them.  And maybe taking care of a house full of pukers is exactly where I belong.

Oct 11, 2011

California Vacation

At the end of August we up and drove over to California.  Almost on a whim.  We just decided, "What the hey?" and off we went.

We stayed in Dana Point, CA, which was just so pretty. We were right on the Marina. I was very much in love.

Just down from our hotel was a "Baby Beach", which was kid friendly with a park and small waves.

The boys thought it was pretty great.

We spent one day at Disneyland, which I only got a few pictures of, because I didn't want to spend my time at Disneyland behind a camera.  Next time maybe I will hire a photographer to follow us around and document Disneyland for us.  How great would that be?

Colin in Toontown

Harrison petting the goats in Frontierland  Did you even know they had Goats in Disneyland?

The next day we went to another beach with real waves and miles of sand - most of it to ourselves.  I think Harrison could happily play in sand for hours and hours and hours.

And then we went to Legoland.  Neither of us had ever been there, so we had no idea what to expect.  And we had a great time!  Maybe even more fun than Disneyland because the weather was so much cooler and the park was so much less crowded.  It was lovely.

They had a spot where the boys could dig in sand for Dinosaur bones.  You'd think they would have gotten their fill of sand with all the time we had spent at the beach lately, but No!

Here is Harrison driving this little Lego Car all by himself.

And Miniland, where they had scenes from Star Wars, and cities like Las Vegas and New York all built in minature out of Legos, was AWESOME.  Harrison liked looking at it just as much as we did so we all took our sweet time.

Harrison's very favorite thing I think was a place where kids could build cars out of Legos and race them against each other.  It was so fun.  Even if he didn't win, he just wanted to race over and over and over.

All in all, a great vacation.  We survived the drive and had a wonderful time together and it is always good to come home. Thank you, California, for all the fun!

Oct 9, 2011

Steampunk Yourself

Alison asked me about our Steampunk costumes from last year, and it made me realize that probably all of you had the same burning questions, but just didn't know how to ask.  Who doesn't want to know how to Steampunk themselves for Halloween?  My only regret is that I waited so long.  You all are going to really have to hurry if you are going to get your costumes done in time.    I'm serious.  This is happening.  I'm going to tell you exactly how I made my whole Halloween Costume last year.  Because I want to.  So let's get down to business!

Steampunk Goggles:
There are lots of tutorials on line for how to make your own from scratch, but we went the easy route and bought some welding goggles from Amazon.   Here is how they look on Amazon.

But that was real easy to fix.  The first tool in any steampunkers Bag of Holding is Rub 'N Buff.

You can buy it in Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper, Antique Gold, and other metaly colors like that.  It comes out in a gold cream (if you are using gold, obviously), and as you rub it over a surface all the raised parts start looking like gold and all the recessed parts look like the old, unpolished parts of the metal.  It is like magic.  So awesome.  And fun.  And pretty darn easy.  The trick is to find something to practice on first.  Once you start doing it you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.  You put the littlest bit of it on your finger, and just start rubbing away.  I tried with a cotton swab as well, but my finger worked the best.  Follow the instructions on the package and you'll be a pro in no time.  You can get it at most craft stores.  And if you have any questions, just ask.

The goggles are shiny, so I sprayed them with a matte, black spray paint first so the Rub 'N Buff would stick.  I probably should have sanded them very first, but I didn't.   I think I used Antique Gold Rub 'N Buff on these.  But I really don't remember.  We were going to replace the strap on the goggles with some leather or something but we ran out of time.  

And then I doctored this picture to make my eyes look really green.  Cuz that is what Photoshop is for.

Women's Steampunk Jacket:
My jacket started out like this:

It was one I already had, but it didn't button up, so I hadn't ever worn it.    Then I just kind of tried to guess how I would want a cropped jacket to look, marked it, cut it off and rehemmed it.

 Then I replaced the buttons with some brassy looking ones (I bought a huge bag of assorted brass buttons on Ebay), and Blamo!  Jacket done:

I already had the shirt - I think I got it here if you are interested in getting the very same one.

We got those leather pouches at an army surplus store.  Years ago.  Richard just knew we would use them for something SOMEDAY.  And it turns out he was right.  This time.  Threaded them on a regular old leather belt.  Fancy!

Steampunk Skirt:
It was time to stop pulling things out of my own closet, and make a trip to the thrift store.  For my underskirt, basically I was just looking for a lot of cheap white material.  I thought it might be cheaper to buy a large white dress than to buy the right material at a fabric store.  I'm not positive it was, but I got this dress for $4.00.

I know.  That picture is useless.  The dress was too big for me to fit the whole thing in the picture.  It was perfect though, cuz it had 2 layers, and the material was kind of gauzy, in a cheap way.

I cut a section out of the center of the under layer that looked like this:

and put some elastic at the top.  Then I cut the rest of the dress into equal width, equal length strips of fabric, and you guessed it, basted one side and gathered them.  Then I sewed them on, bottom to top.  I put two rows of ruffles on the bottom of the front too, which just about used up all the fabric I had.

You can see I didn't hem anything. I wanted it to look all worn and thready.

AND then my overskirt.  I also got this at the thrift store:

I put it on, and then pulled the back into a sort of bustle, pinned each side, and then tacked them into pleats by hand.  See?

Then I made those spats or gators or whatever you would call them, but they wouldn't stay up, and they were a pain to make cuz I didn't have a pattern and didn't know what I was doing and I think my boots would have been just fine all by themselves.  Here is a picture anyway.

Whew, does it feel like this is taking me forever?  Yeah, sorry about that.  Last thing for today is those little glovelets.  Which you should find a better way to make than I did.  I bought a bit of really wide lace, and basically just sewed it into a tube with a hole for my thumb to stick through.  I made them as tight as I could while still being able to get them on and off.  I should have put some elastic on the underside, but I was too dumb.

Put it all together and what have you got?

That is all for today.  I probably ought to feed my kids.  Those hotdogs aren't going to thaw themselves!  But stay tuned, because I still need to tell you about Richard's costume, and, Most Importantly, my gun!  And I don't really care whether you want to hear it or not.  It's not like you are here by choice.  Till then,  Elesa Out!