Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Radio Retrofuture Interview About Splendid Teapot Racing

This is your chance to watch me nervously giggle my way through an interview about Splendid Teapot Racing with Stephen Chapman and Bonsart Bokel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Speed Reader, My New Teapot Racer

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The new teapot racer started life as a Land and Water Rover by the Blue Hat Toy Company.

Blaze trying the car for the first time:

At the same time that I purchased the RC car from Marshall's, DH bought me a $6 Disney Frozen tea set. He's wonderfully understanding and encouraging about my silly hobbies.

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I removed the stickers from the teacups and teapot, spray painted the whole set with black plastic paint, and then added some antique gold Rub 'n Buff. I replaced the stickers with tea related book illustration.

There are, also, teabag tags hanging from each teacup, with a tea related literary quote on each.

Even some of the clear plastic packaging from the tea set was used when I mounted the set onto an old music box, so that it would turn.

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The idea of little wheels attached to the front bumper of the car to aid in going around curved ramps, was the genius idea of Stephen Chapman, who has dubbed it "the Chapman devise". I have created my Chapman devise using the wheels from a little monster truck that Blaze broke a long time ago, but never threw away.

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Those wheels were too big and got in the way of the tires. So, instead of helping the car to turn better, they stopped it from turning at all.
Smaller wheels would have worked fine, but there were none available.

Second failure:
I drilled a hole through the top of the chassis, so that I could mount a music box on it, but I didn't check to see what was under the plastic I was drilling through. It turned out the circuit board was directly under the hole and I damaged it. Now, the car won't go in reverse.

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I have printed book covers and attached them to foam board to create light weight fake books. In case you ever decide to try this, I have discovered that foam board can be sanded, to even up the edges.

I now have a new car, identical to the one I destroyed.

One more time...

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Introducing, my latest teapot racer:

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This is the racer I will be taking with to the Steampunk World's Fair in Piscataway, New Jersey, May 13-15:

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Fun and Colorful Weekend

Blaze and I attended this silliness Saturday afternoon:
All Saints Arts District, TallahasseeODDBALL FLASH MOB in All Saints (Music Video)

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Receiving directions from the guy in the monkey suit:

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The video drone filming the people filming the video drone:

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Visiting local businesses:

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Sunday evening, we went to Cascades Park for the Southern Shakespeare Festival's free Shakespeare in the Park production of The Comedy of Errors

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Pre-preformance sword fighting demonstration by the SCA:

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The show had a circus theme this year:

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Homeschool International Fair

This was the lowest turnout I have ever seen for the homeschool International Fair, but the kids who did show up did a great job. Blaze chose to do a display about Ancient Egypt.

We had actually believed that the event had been canceled due to lack of interest, so, although Blaze had started working on a couple things, such as painting a sarcophagus kit, we had stopped working on preparing a display. Then Monday evening, I saw an event announcement that said that the International Fair would be held on Friday at 2:00 in the afternoon. This project then took over the rest of our week. I did research while Blaze wrote, colored, cut, glued, and even cooked until the entire thing was done to our satisfaction at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

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Most of the children did presentations on stage to go with their displays.

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Blaze wasn't comfortable with getting up on stage, but he did fine explaining things to people who came up to his display, so we made the display as interactive as possible, with flaps to open to read the answers to questions, an Egyptian dessert to taste, and hieroglyphic stencils to use.

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On a side note: If you want to know how much Blaze has grown recently, that is my T-shirt from the 2006-2007 King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago that he's wearing.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Winter Park Art Festival and Getting to Meet Gail Carriger

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We drove all the way to Winter Park and back in a single day (about 10 hours in the car), but it was for a good cause. One of my favorite authors, Gail Carriger, was doing a book signing at the Writer's Block Bookstore.

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The Winter Park Art Festival was also going on only about a block away from the bookstore, so we arrived early to wander around.

Parking is usually a problem during the Art Festival, but it rained most of the day, so downtown Winter Park was delightfully free of crowds and we found a surprisingly close parking space.

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The rain cooled things off, so that the temperature was much more comfortable than the 80+ degrees that had been predicted and it did stop raining in the late afternoon.

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The incredible steampunk art of Gabriel Puyana:

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These fantastic teapots are all functional:

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It's hard to tell in this picture, but the potter/sculptor, Robert Kastrino is holding a sleeping baby squirrel in his hand. The tiny squirrel had fallen out of a tree behind his tent the day before and had crawled into his hand for comfort both Friday and Saturday.

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The professional artists were not the only ones with their art on display. The Winter Park Art Festival always includes tents full of local students' art.

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Blaze and I being silly:

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After exploring the entire art show, we had a dinner at the Bosphorous, a Turkish Restaurant, since that is something we don't have in Tallahassee. The food was excellent!

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For Gail Carriger's book signing, we had come up with a quick costume for Blaze. He is supposed to be a "Piston", one of the cool kids at Bunson's, the boys' school for evil geniuses in the finishing School series.

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The question and answer period before the book signing was a lot of fun! Gail Carriger is just as good at telling stories in person, as she is in her books, and just as humorous. Her beautiful, bright pink, lace dress and constant smile brightened up the tiny bookstore. The space was not really designed with popular authors in mind and fans were packed in tightly to see her, but everyone was so friendly and polite, that they managed to squeeze in each new arrival.

This was the first time that Blaze had ever met the author of one of the books we have read and I'm glad that he enjoyed himself. He was acting a little shy at the bookstore, but afterwards he said she was very funny.

For tonight's bedtime story, we are beginning Gail Carriger's book, Curtsies and Conspiracies.

Crafty Crow