Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Now for Something Totally Different - Part One of my Steam Punk Outfit

Try to ignore the stuff all around, I was sprawled out on the sofa trying to get the whole dress in the shot. 

So this is going to be a bit of a different post, it is going to be all about my new obsession.  I get obsessions frequently then have to deal with them right away, or I lose interest.  I know, lame but I can admit it.  My newest love is Steam Punk, and by love I mean, I want to be part of it, but I am not totally engrossed in it and can totally admit I am only doing it because I love the look.  So, please bear with me if you find yourself rolling your eyes and going, "what was she thinking?"  Because clearly I don't even know what I am thinking.

  So here goes!

 I read a little blog, you may have heard of it.  Cake Wrecks, it is a hilarious blog written by a lovely girl and her hubby.  They basically post pictures of cakes that are just horrific.  I mean you cannot even tell what some of them are supposed to be, and then the ones with spelling mistakes, just kill me.  I had and still have a slight fear that any of the cakes I have ever made might show up.  But I figure, at least I can claim to be famous if it ever happened.  

 So while reading this blog I noticed that the writer also had another blog, Epbot.  So when I found it I spent hours reading and thinking, how cool.  I mean my husband is a total comic book nerd, and I love him.  And I loved all the cool things this girl was making and doing.  How perfect.
I think it looks so good, but then the dress form is not all lumpy and bumpy like me.  So it may not have the same affect when I put it on.
  Then I saw the posts of her going to conventions and all the fun things people made to wear.  And I told Hubby and said maybe we should go to a convention.  He was all "Really?  That would be so cool!"  Then I told him we had to dress up, he was not so "cool" with that. 

So I said something along the lines of "I am trying to be supportive of your geeky interests and the least you could do would be to wear a totally amazing outfit to match me."

Then he said something about maybe being Green Lantern and I tuned him out.  I mean if I make something he will have to wear it.  Ask him about the lion costume I made him and he didn't want to wear.  He wore it, I mean I used fun fur, that stuff is annoying, so he had to.

This is a close up of the side, in case you couldn't tell.
Okay so long story short, (I know, that ship has sailed.) I decided I wanted to be a hot steam punk chick.  Then I realized I am like 5 foot nothing, so the hot part was out.  And I am more of a gal than a chick.  But none the less, I got started.  And I kept telling myself to take pictures as I was going, and of coarse because I was usually sewing, baking and watching TV all at the same time, there are no in progress pictures.  Sorry, but you get to see this, and you just read like the longest intro ever, so it sort of works out.

 To start I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted.  I wanted a longer skirt with an over skirt and a bustle, then a matching bolero and boots with spats and a purse and a hat or goggles and you know everything.  So I checked out the local fabric store and was thrilled to learn that there was a buy 1 metre get 2 free.  It was fate I tells ya!

I am so in love with the fabrics, except for the stupid plaid that keeps fraying and leaving bits all over the house.
  I was looking for a large stripe fabric for the under skirt and a solid for the over skirt and jacket.  I was getting really upset because nothing I saw was right or it was way too much.  Then I happened across a really great earthy plaid and a perfect green.  And with all the discounts I got 14 meters of fabric for $50.  Ya me.

  So I first started with the skirt because I figured that if I screwed that up I would stop.  I didn't have a pattern and just sort of went to work.  I started by making the underskirt.  I made large pleats, which I think are called box pleats.  Then I decided that I wanted to add a lower ruffle, but wanted it to be more structured so again I took a long piece of fabric and hemmed one side then box pleated it and added it to the bottom of my skirt.  Then I stopped, because it was really full and annoying to deal with.  I asked my mom to borrow her sewing dummy so I could pin it up and that was just perfect.

Close up of the pleats, which I think are called box pleats, I just sort of took a ruler and pinned it how I liked it.

You can sort of see how the front over skirt and the bustle are stuck on there, all willy  nilly.  But I love it, sort of.
My mom got this dummy years ago, I think she may have even used it once, so I was all excited when I got it home and set up.  Until I started measuring it and myself.  I had to let the dials out all the way and even then the butt was not exactly big enough.  Then I felt fat for a few days and then I got over it.  Sort of.

  So I pinned my underskirt onto the dummy and went to work draping the solid fabric on top to make an over skirt.  I pinned it to get it to lay how I wanted then I folded it in half and cut it sort of in a semi circle, then I went ahead and box pleated a strip to edge it to match the underskirt.  Then I sewing it on, gathering it at the sides so it sort of gathered up.  I was so excited and I loved it.  At this point I left it to make a jacket and a purse, because I had patterns and that was going to be way easier

I put the over skirt on first then the bustle, and the bustle just overlaps the front skirt.
  So when I got back to the skirt I took a long piece of fabric and hemmed three sides, I put a slit right in the middle where the zipper was going to go then pinned it to the waste of the skirt.  Once I had sewn it I started to tack and pin the bustle until I got the shape I wanted.  I am still not 100% happy with it, but it's not bad.  then I took a long strip and sewed on a waist band, folded it over and hand sewed it to finish it.  Then I put it on my dummy and thought, wow she's hot.  I still have to add the hook on the back but that can wait.
I totally got something like my finger in the bottom of this picture, but I didn't realize it until after I uploaded it.  Also I am not 100% on the way my bustle is gathered, but I did it like 5 times, so I may take it out again.  Sigh.

My jacket is just perfect, it will allow me to cover my non existent boobs and you know, it will keep me warm.  Two important things.
I flipped the collar a bit so you could see the lining. I am fancy like that.
I also made a jacket, I wanted something with shorter sleeves as I get hot and I also wanted it to be simple.  I found a historical costume pattern at the fabric store and set to work.  The jacket was lined and I was totally not going to bother, but then I thought it would be cute so I did.  I made it in about 5 hours, but I was watching Dexter with Hubby and would pin and then stop the show to sew a seam then pin some more.  I bet if I had just sat down to do it it would have been a 2 hour job at most.  I love how the pleat under the bust makes it hug my curves.  And by curves you all know I mean my flab right?  Well you do now.

 So once I was done with the jacket I wanted a corset.  Can I say right now that if I had $300 I would so buy one, there are so many nice steam punk ones on line that I drool over.  Also it would so suck in my curves (flab) and make me look way hotter.  But as I am not supposed to spend more than  I already have I had to make it and much simpler too.

  I found another historical pattern that had a corset like belt and a cute purse and arm guard thingies. I don't think I need arm guard thingies, but if I do, I can totally make them now.  So I bought some brown pleather to match the boots I got, and I had to repeatedly tell the lady at the fabric store that yes I knew what I was doing, no I did not want velvet and yes I know I am not hiding the seems and no I do not want to try it your way.  And no I am not worried that over stitching on pleather will look bad.  I had a pattern it was going to work. 

My belt, it ties at four points and looks great on the dress form who has abs of steal, my flab my not be so flattering in it.
 So I got my pleather cut out and went to work ironing it to double sided fusing.  Which didn't work because that fusing was a pain in the butt.  If you did not heat it enough it would not stick if you heated it just a little too much it would not stick. I even called the store and then got mad because I was on a roll and did not want to go out again.  So I just sort of ironed and changed the lining fabric and figured I was going to sew the pieces together anyway so whatever.  I sewed the pieces together then over stitched them all, and they looked awesome.  I then used fabric stiffener to seal the edges as the lining fabric frayed like crazy.  There are bits of it all over my house.  If I bothered to vacuum that would not be an issue.  And I don't vacuum so you know, we are dealing with it.

  I needed eyelets but the size they recommended were not at the store, and they wanted like $4 for 10, and I needed 40, so I went on Etsy and totally scored 100 in the right size and perfect colour for under $7 shipped.  When I was ready I marked the pieced with a pin mark and cut out the holes with my cropodile.  I then set the eyelets and tied it all together with some cording I bought.  I am happy with how it looks, it won't suck me in but for the $15 I probably paid for all the stuff, you cannot complain too much.

I put a gear on it to use as a button so that totally makes it steam punk.  Or so I have been told.
 I also wanted a purse because if my Hubby is going to be wearing a skin tight Green Lantern costume (Oh boy will I post pics!) I need something to carry my phone (totally historically correct by the way) and money  ( I hear there may be shopping at these conventions, so you now know the real reason I want to go)  It is fully lined so it is nice and sturdy and the ribbon ties it closed.  I used a gear from the Tim Holtz set I got at the craft store.  It is not huge but it will work for what I need.

And lastly I also made my steam punk pocket watch.  Because if there is one thing I know, if you put a gear on it you can call it steam punk.  Totally making reference to a funny you tube video someone sent me about it. So I used like a million little gears.  I won this Tim Holtz pocket watch embellishment thingy on another blog. And I was so excited, then it arrived and there was a crack in the glass, due to the cold weather probably, I was so bummed.  But then I thought that just makes it look cooler right?  I wanted watch gears but they were costly, so I ended up finding some on Etsy for about $12.  I used a lot of them, but I also made earrings and a tie pin. So this was so random, I put in a few large gears that are also Tim Holtz  in the bottom, then with clear adhesive stuff and tweezers just sort of started sticking the gears in all willy nilly.  I like how it looks and it will go great with my outfit.  I attached it to a chain and clips I got at wal mart and will hang it off the ties on my belt.
My watch full of gears.
Okay so that was the worlds most wordy blog post ever, but seeing as I didn't take any progress pictures you need my amazing words to understand what the heck I was doing.  Also the shirt on the dummy is just so you can see the stuff, it all sort of blended with the dummy. I have plans to make a nice white blouse with a skirt for under the dress.  I still have spats to make and a tie. And the local hard ware store is ordering me some welding goggles and I have some itty bitty plastic top hats to maybe cover in fabric.  I have my jewelry ready so I can share that next.  

So now you can see why my Hubby loves me, I support his nerdiness, and have fun in the process.

I have another secret project I have to finish in the next few months, so I will get back to this and the finishing touches in a while, but wanted to share what I had done so far.

I'm linking up here at Made Famous By.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Peppermint Patties

I don't know why but my Alice in Wonderland tea cup makes me so happy, and I don't even drink tea.

  You know, there are just some foods that I love, some I hate and some that are just okay. This right here people; it's one of the good ones. I could eat these until I am sick. And shamefully I have, more than once. I know my sugar tolerance, and I know eating more than one of these will make me sorry, but it takes all I have to only eat one. I bet you will have the same problem too.

So to deal with this problem, I have come up with a very serious plan of action. It entails many steps to ensure that I only eat one at a time. So this may be helpful to you too. Firstly, I only make these vary rarely, that ensures that the temptation is minimal. Then if I do make them, they are given away mostly. Then if I was dumb enough to save some for myself, I put them in containers and freeze them. This usually means I either put them in the basement freezer, and I am too lazy to go get them one at a time. Or I forget they are in the freezer and don't want them. Although that last point is pretty stupid, I mean I know they are there, it is just an excuse.
That right there is the makings of a beautiful patty.  
Anyway, please ignore my rambling, I just ate one and my mind is full of sugar, and thoughts of more. I shouldn't point out that it is only 8:30am while I am writing this, that would make me look bad. So just try to imagine it is late at night, I have had a good diner and just finished working out ( even I laugh at that) and I just rewarded myself with one patty, just one. I will let you decide if I need help or not, I already know I have issues.

  So I know I posted these before here.  And you can check it out there and see how one of my earlier posts turned out.  I have not gotten any better at picture taking, but man I have props now.  Those holiday sprinkles, they sell it.  Trust me, put a sprinkle on it and people will want it.  Or at least I will.

 To make these, you just need a few things.  The only thing I changed about this batch is I added a little green food colouring to Irish it up.  Because if it's green, it totally becomes a St. Patrick's day patty.  I know, I am a genius!  Also, I did not make this recipe up, but I did add the food colouring, so you could say I did invent it.  Or not.  You can totally find this on I am Baker, which I linked in my original post.  But the green patty, that is all me baby!  I should patent that!
Patent Pending!
 St. Patrick's Day Peppermint Patties
Adapted from I am Baker

-1 can sweetened condensed milk *
-1 TBSP peppermint extract**
-green food colouring, as much or as little as you want
-5 cups +/- icing sugar

* there are some great recipes on line now to make your own home made, so I will have to try that when I run out, also the cans are much smaller here in Canada, so you may want to add a tiny bit more peppermint extract if you have a can larger than 8oz
**make sure you use peppermint extract, if you try just mint or another kind, this will turn the patty into a toothpaste flavoured patty, and no one wants that.  Unless you like eating toothpaste, then by all means go ahead ( and if you like eating toothpaste, you are not alone, as a kid I would put too much on my brush so I could eat it, sorry Mom)

  So I just put the milk, peppermint extract and a few drops of colour into my mixing bowl and start mixing.  Then just add the icing sugar a bit at a time and mix until it is as firm as you want it.  I think that if you do it by hand or with a hand held mixer the chances are your mixture will not be as thick.  I use my kitchen aid and it gets to the point where the motor is really working hard to mix it.  Even then, my dough doesn't hold it's shape fully.

 Once you are done mixing, shape your dough however you like.  I usually use a cookie scoop.  I love to have a thick patty, because to me more is better.  But you can make them thinner, or roll by hand.  Whatever you like, just do it!  For these I scooped my patties out onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and spaced them out.  They settle a bit to make them a little flatter,but if you want them even flatter just pat them down.  And always work on wax or parchment paper, this stuff will stick to your pans, your hands and your scoop.  But I found the thicker the dough, the less trouble you have with sticking.

Little green globs, not so appealing really.  That is why you need chocolate.

  So once scooped, put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, if you leave them too long they will get too hard and cause cracks in your chocolate when dipping.

  When ready melt your chocolate, or like me your candy melts and thin them a bit with paraffin crystals.  If you don't have that you can use a little shortening.

  Only take out a few at a time as they thaw out really fast.  Just dip your patty then put a sprinkle on top. If you prefer not to use sprinkles you can just dip then leave them, or go back and drizzle a contrasting colour of candy melts.  I was feeling really lazy and had these super cute shamrock sprinkles, so I had to use them.  I love sprinkles, you may as well know that, I may be obsessed.

They sort of look weird here, but they taste good, I promise.

   So once you are done you can leave them at room temperature, or the way I like them, I keep them in the fridge.  I like them frozen too.  So you know, try it out, either way, they are good!

Ohhhh, Ahhhh, "look at her amazing photography skills!"

I know, but at least "someone" loves my pics right?

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate Mustache Suckers

This is Pork Chop, who would love to have face hair if it was made out of chocolate.
Well before I get started I have to state the obvious. This is not a baking post per say.  I mean I used the microwave and all, but that was it.  No egg cracking, no flour sniffing Pork Chop and no butter.  ( If you have not read my blog before, that is totally going to be the weirdest sentence you have ever read.)  

  But when I saw this mold in Micheal's, I knew I needed it.  I actually needed it when Pork Chop turned 6 and I had a Super Mario party.  I mean I cut out 30 felt mustaches that no even played with and only one kid took home.  Now if they had been chocolate, that would have been awesome.  Way to drop the ball Wilton!

  Anyway this is going to be a picture heavy post, because for some reason I felt the need to document every little step.  Because putting candy melts in a mold is hard to figure out.  I know, I stink at blogging some times.

  So without further ado, the most amazing tutorial ever, on how to put candy melts in a mold.  And then have the people you give them to have no idea what they even are.  Sigh.

This is the mold, I know without this picture, the post would not work.
Man, sometimes I just don't get it.  I think, this is going to be so cute and easy and no trouble at all.  Then I start and realize I'm an idiot.  It wouldn't be so bad if I did one thing at a time, but I usually have like three things going.  And this time one of those things was making chocolate suckers.

I was at Michael's, and I have to say I have been really good about not going in there for a long time.  I may have an issue with having coupons and not using them.  And I may walk around the store to find something, anything I can use it on.  This last time, I found two things, one of them being the mold.  So I really had to have it, and for the $3 something I got it.

So I thought how fun this would be for Pork Chops hockey team.  I was all, they are going to think they are the coolest things ever! I will be the coolest Mom!

Then they burst my bubble, they thought they were hockey sticks.  D'oh!

Anyway they were easy, if time consuming, to make.  I made about 35 and it took me all night.  But only because I was also making donuts, diner and sewing at the same time.  I would make a batch, put them in the freezer and forget about them. So if you actually paid attention and stuff, it would be pretty fast I bet.

So I just melted chocolate candy melts and put them into squeeze bottles.  This way I could keep the bottles in a pot of water on the stove to keep them fluid.

I had an issue with the sticks falling out, not sure why, so I had to sort of prop it up on a cookie sheet, which worked.  I would fill the molds, tap them to settle the candy melts then put the stick in and roll it to cover it.  Then into the freezer.  It probably only took like 5 minutes to harden, but I didn't get back to them until later.

And this is how I had to set it up because the stupid lollipop stick kept falling out.
When they were set I would pop them out, and put them in a wax paper lined cookie sheet in the fridge. Once they were all done I wrapped them in cheap sandwich bags and tied them with a ribbon.
This is the pan I kept in the fridge to hold the finished pops until I was all done.

And this is Pork Chop, who obviously thinks he is Miley Cyrus with that hand gesture.  
So even if the kids thought they were hockey sticks, I was still the cool hockey mom.  Or at least in my head I am cool.

  And I am really getting somewhere with my sewing project so I have to start sharing that soon, because I am cool, and you all have no choice but to pretend I am too.

I'm linking up HERE and HERE and Here

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