My reviews are based on my personal experience with a product or event. I am not a professional product tester nor do I get paid for any of my blog posts.

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Book Review of 1,000 Steampunk Creation's by Dr. Grymm and Barbe SaintJohn

If you are a fan of the steampunk jewelry style or in the process of creating your own steampunk period character, then the book "1000 Steampunk Creations" will appeal to you.
I often search the web for ideas and "how to" directions, when I am designing props for my costumes.  This can take hours, which I don't really have.  However, there is an easier way to find information on the steampunk genre, and see actual designs of an interesting assortment of artists and designers to suit a variety of tastes.  "1,000 Steampunk Creations", by Dr. Grymm and Barbe Saint John, can be a great source for costumes, accessories and inspiration for cosplay and other costuming needs within the steampunk genre.  The book has 1000 photos of steampunk style jewelry, specialized props, weapons, and more.

The book editors have also included the names (and contact information) of the many different artists and designers whose work is featured in the book, so that readers can contact them.  This makes it easier for those who do not have the time to make their own costumes or accessories to locate period appropriate items.  For example, if you are searching for head wear, then the examples of some of the accessories that are designed and sold by Topsy Turvy Design at their website may be of assistance.

Then there are accessories.  In the steampunk genre, most accessories have dual uses.  So going through the book can help the reader search for that perfect tool that compliments the character that they are working on.  The photographs in this book are well done and show the intricate detail of  the designs, as seen in the photo below.
steampunk spider piece
 Many of the items featured in this book are an interesting combination of history, science and imagination.  In the steampunk genre, each gadget you find on a costume has its own purpose and back story.  For instance, the horn below is also a communicating device.

 Piece by Annette Elizabeth
If you are a novice costume maker, you should know that the book itself is not an instruction manual. If you need detailed instructions on how to make costumes and/or accessories, then I would recommend a search on Amazon for an instructional project orientated type of book.  However, the novice costume maker can benefit from having this book on hand for reference.  Looking at the various designs in this book can be quite an inspiration, not only to see what others have created but to compare it to your own ideas and designs.

A good example of this is in the "Steampunk Fairy Catcher" costume below, the designer has combined science, history, whimzy and electrical knowledge in creating this cool costume.
Steampunk Fairy Catcher
The "Steampunk Fairy Catcher" costume has working gadgets.  From the lighted cage to the portable vacuum device.
     Again, this book is a handy reference when working on a costume or viewing someone else's creation.

The steampunk fairy in the picture below, is wearing a variety of interesting accessories that are

handmade.  You can see a compass on one of the arms, and the ring turns into a weapon of sorts. The circles on the armband and belt, are solar powered and light up.

See if you can pick up the gadgets on the costume in the photo below.

In the next photo, you can see that the steampunk couple have an interesting assortment of gadgets.  The female is carrying more gadgets than the male.
Another example of a neo-victorian/steampunk costume can be seen in the photo below.

Additionally, she has a wooden steampunk cover for her iPad (Infinite Purpose Access Device) that her husband designed and made for her.

You can see that the iPad cover uses a dial device that has to be turned to open the iPad cover, below is a view of the iPad cover opened.

Another fine example of combining science, imagination, woodworking, and electronics into a usable gadget.
   If you are new to steampunk and want to learn to make a fun steampunk inspired project, then the following video may interest you.  The video features Stefanie Girard with Barbe Saint John.  Barbe demonstrates how to make a steampunk style bobbie pin.

The video features the book "Steampunk Style Jewelry" by Jean Campbell.

The "Steampunk Style Jewelry" book has 22 steampunk style jewelry projects from various designers (including Barbe Saint John).  This is a great feature for those of us who like to get the perspective of several designers rather than just one.  Additionally, there is a great "how to" section for the novice jewelry maker that explains materials and techniques.


Canstruction 5th Annual Orange County Lego Inspired Event

I have always loved Lego's, not only for the fun entertainment they provide but also for their educational value.  They were a great way to introduce my kids basic geometry and I am glad to say that they have never outgrown them.  My kids and I are always on the look out to attend Lego building or Lego like events, where we have been inspired by some of the amazing structures that people create using various materials.

 "Canstruction" is one of those types of events in Orange County, California.  The 5th Annual Orange County "Canstruction Event" is being held at the South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa, California.  Canstruction (a registered 501(c)(3) non profit organization) holds annual design and building

competitions in different cities throughout the United States. The structures are designed by different teams and are built entirely of food containers (mostly cans), utilizing the same concept as in creating lego structures.  Using different types of food containers makes creating these structures a bit more challenging.    What is even more exciting is that after the structures have been judged and displayed, the cans of food that were used to create the
Top View of the Pirate Ship
displays are donated to local food banks for distribution.  So they are also helping those in need in each community that they hold these competitions.  This year they had another great group of organizations and companies participating in this event.  The picture below shows some of them.

Here is one of the can sculptures of a Gnome, that was on display.
This structure was called the "Say Gnome to Hunger".  It was created by the individuals in the poster below.

The canned Lego Sushi Chef structure was so cool.  It was called "Lego of Hunger One Can at a Time".
Can Lego Sushi Chef

Can Lego Sushi

Here is a different view of the sushi structures from the second floor looking down on to the structure.
The planning and work that goes into these structures is immense.
Lego of Hunger
The next sculpture was of a bridge and was called "Bridging The World to Fight Hunger."

It was really cool and made up of 1,690 cans.

Here is side view of the bridge.

The team that created the "Bridging The World to Fight Hunger" really took on quite a challenge on this one and the finished sculpture was worth.
The next one was not so obvious to me (although my kids got the theme right away), it is called "Can I Take Your Order."   If you look carefully, you can see the cans that depict french fries at the bottom corner of the picture.
Here is a better shot of the hamburger.

The soda container reminded me of a "Starbucks" cup.
My kids loved this design teams' theme and sculptures.

Each one of these sculptures was unique and carried their own theme.  I just loved the dolphin sculpture  
and found the use of the different tuna cans to be quite interesting.  This one is called "Making a Splash To End Hunger."  I noticed that they did have to use clear packing tape to hold the fin in place.
Below is the team that built that built "Making a Splash to End Hunger."

If you like gold, then here is a structure for you. It is called "Tee'ing Off Foreee Hunger."
And here is a side view of the golf ball structure.

The next sculpture is of a train called "Choo Choo Hunger Away."
The team did such a cute job on it.

Unfortunately, the light kept affecting my cell phone pics, so the pics of this one are not very clear. Here is a direct front view of the sculpture.

There was a fun pirate ship sculpture on display.

A side view of the ship.

This is only a sampling of the sculptures on display.  This unique organization utilizes a very creative way to bring awareness of issues that surround hunger while at the same time provide a creative visual experience.   My cell phone pictures do not do justice to the structures, so if you want to see the structures in person as the event does not end until September 23, 2012.


Motivational Poster - Enjoy the Little Things