Posted on 2 Comments

Jaq – 2012

The rigger and pilot

For the Shadowrun costume for DragonCon 2012, Jen has decided she’s mostly satisfied with the base costume. So now it’s time for updates!

The rigger and pilot

Accessories

The Shadowrun character is supposed to be a rigger – someone who specializes in vehicles and drones. In the game, Jaq flies the plane and rides an awesome motorcycle. For DragonCon, we have to scale down a bit. So instead, we’ll be making drones!
This is the “drone”. An RC helicopter that is controlled via iPhone. Here’s what the interface looks like:
It’s pretty fancy. And here are some shots of the helicopter:

The plan is to modify so it looks less like a police helicopter, as well as build an arm-mount for the iPhone so it looks very future-like.

Here’s another potential drone
Another screen image
And new elf ears
And new hair sticks!

Costume Aspects

To make the costume look more “biker-like”, I picked up some pleather pants
The most involved update is the arm protector. I wanted to mount my iPhone into an arm brace. I went with the Century Martial Arts arm protector
After a round with nail polish remover, I was able to take off the lettering and leave a nice, clean, black slate
I found a great hard case in green on Amazon. Why green? Because she’s supposed to have ties to the Ancients of course!
Using an Exacto blade, I cut a hole in the arm protector
I then used some hot glue to make sure the case isn’t going anywhere
Since Jaq has some history, I put the Ancients symbol on the back of the jacket using green electrical tape
And no Shadowrun costume is really complete without pimping out your favorite medical kids. Brian custom-ordered these Doc Wagon patches. They arrived too late to use last year, but it looks awesome!

Finished Product

And here’s the 2012 DragonCon Debut!

Day 2 - Shadowrun
Day 2 - Shadowrun
Day 2 - Jaq (Shadowrun)
Posted on Leave a comment

Larfleeze Holiday Cookies

Larfleeze learns the true meaning of Christmas
Larfleeze learns the true meaning of Christmas

When everyone’s favorite Orange Lantern, Larfleeze, discovers the Earth holiday of Christmas, he gets very excited.  In fact, so excited that he has an entire comic book dedicated to his Christmas adventure.  In the end, Larfleeze is an orange lantern, who is driven by avarice, but he learns something along the way.

Larfleeze’s gift to us is a recipe in the back of the comic book for Larfleeze Holiday Cookies.  We made a batch, and they were delicious!  Here’s the recipe:

Larfleeze Holiday Cookies

Cookies: You Will Need-

  • ¼ cup butter (softened)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate (thawed)
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • A dash of salt
  • ½ cup white chocolate chunks

Cookies: Recipe-

Step 1) Preheat your earth-oven to 350 degrees

Step 2) In a big bowl beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate and orange zest. Then add egg and vanilla until it looks delicious.

Step 3) In a small bowl stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and dash of salt together.

Step 4) Add the small bowl to the big bowl and stir until smooth. Mix in white chocolate chunks.

Step 5) Drop small balls of dough across a greased cookie sheet.

Step 6) Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 7) Let the cookies cool as you mix the frosting

Frosting: You Will Need-

  • 2 tablespoons orange concentrate (thawed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Frosting: Recipe-

Step 1) Mix all of the above until it looks like frosting!

Step 2) Spread the frosting across cooled cookies (it will melt otherwise!)

This recipe makes about two dozen cookies.

 

All the cookies were eaten. Larfleeze would have been proud.

Posted on Leave a comment

Blue Milk Cupcakes

We found a fun recipe for Blue Milk Cupcakes and had to give it a try! Here’s the cupcake recipe:maythe4th_burst

Ingredients:
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
1-3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup BLUE milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
electric blue gel dye

Just get one cup of milk and add a few drops of electric blue gel dye. Gel dye is the best because you need very little. I can’t stand liquid dyes, they totally alter your cake. Gel dyes are better and pretty inexpensive. Once the blue get dye is added, stir up the milk and you will get an instant gorgeous blue. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a cupcake pan with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Carefully add the eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla. Alternate the dry ingredients with the Blue Milk until combined. You may need to add more gel dye to the batter for maximum blue-ness. Add a few drops as needed. Spoon the batter into prepped liners, 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake 15-17 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool on a wire rack. Top with frosting.

We followed the recipe with two exceptions.  Instead of cake flour, we used this cake flour substitute method.  And instead of  Mascarpone frosting, we used our favorite cream cheese frosting that seems to make it’s way onto everything we bake! Here’s the cream cheese frosting recipe:

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt

Directions

Combine the cream cheese and butter on medium speed, just until blended, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches, beating until smooth between each addition. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes before using

We made the frosting while the cupcakes were baking, so once the cupcakes cooled, all that was left was to put the frosting on!

Posted on Leave a comment

Captain America Cake

May 1, 2012

Yep, you read that right. Brian has a birthday coming up, so Jen has decided to tackle this cake:

Jen has been scouring the internet for delicious cake recipes, so here are all her secrets!

1. Red Velvet Cake – The Alton Brown recipe has been met with great success already. The plan is to use the red velvet cake for the red layers, and the same recipe for the blue layer, but with blue food coloring.
2. White Cake – She’ll be trying this recipe for the white layers.
3. Even though the picture clearly shows fondant icing, it’s not as delicious as this cream cheese frosting recipe also generously provided by Alton Brown. The plan is to paint stars and stripes on the top with food coloring.

Today’s plan – pick up essentials from the grocery store!

May 6, 2012

So Jen attempted to make the Captain America cake. It didn’t quite turn out like the “inspiration”, so instead it transformed into an Avengers cake. It looked good and tasted delicious. There are already requests for more cakes!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Nerd Decoupage

I’ve been looking around the internet, and have noticed a surge in shoes covered in Star Wars images or comic strips. Most of these things don’t actually exist, or exist in a limited quantity. So I thought, “Hey, I can do that!” So I organized a day for my friends and I to get together and make our own awesome geek accessories using decoupage. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with you.

Turns out the Elmer’s glue mix wasn’t quite right.  The paper stiffened up and didn’t stay on the shoe when they started moving around and bending. It’s probably perfect for a stationary surface like a box or a table.  My next experiment will be with ModPodge, which is a glue specifically designed for decoupaging.

ModPodge Technique

I found an inexpensive pair of shoes that fit me at Goodwill.
I also found some CrossGen Chronicles comics at Goodwill. These are the comics I decided to use to decoupage the shoes.
After wiping down the shoe inside and out, I started at the toe. I found the perfect piece to go on the exposed toes.
I then trimmed the pictures and put a thin layer of ModPodge on the shoe itself, then put down the picture, then put a layer of ModPodge on top of the picture. After the top layer dried, I applied a second coat.
I learned that when working with curves, it’s important to make sure the ModPodge is adhering the paper to the shoe. I achieved this by putting more ModPodge on top at the edges where I wanted to be sure it would stay. 
I also learned that you need to find the natural curve of the paper. Doing something like comics allows for things to be a little hectic and out of order. This allows for more freedom in how you can place the pictures. Also, it’s easier to work with smaller pieces.

The bow has been wiped down and is ready for comic application!
All comiced up

Next I worked on the heel. Here it is, nice and clean.
And here’s a heel covered with comics. And the CrossGen logo, of course.
Side view
I didn’t like the pink, so I used black craft paint to cover it up.
Here’s the finished heels
And here are the finished shoes! I applied a layer of clear spray paint (satin finish), and two layers of Scotchguard.

I used the matte ModPodge, because I like that look better. Too many patent leather shoes for school as a child I think. The only thing I will do differently going forward is to invest in clear coat that’s designed for objects that are flexible. It’s not a big deal with these shoes, since they’re so strappy, but other shoes will be more difficult to get into.

I also noticed the application of the ModPodge, spray paint and Scotchguard shrank the shoes slightly across the top. I am unsure if this is because of the non-flexible spray paint, however.  Each pair of shoes took about eight hours, start to finish.  That includes cutting out the pictures and waiting for glue to dry between coats.

Posted on Leave a comment

Doctor Fate – 2010

Doctor Fate

This is the beginning of Jen’s DragonCon and costuming journey, so the pictures are a little sparse compared to other pages. I went with a Victorian-inspired costume.

Here’s my step-by-step process:

  1. Concept art
  2. Patterns and fabrics
  3. “Found” pieces
  4. Making and customizing pieces
  5. Props
  6. Putting it all together

1.Concept Art. I never start a costuming project without concept art. That way, I always have something to look at when I’m getting frustrated with a small detail.

Female Doctor Fate concept sketch
Female Doctor Fate concept sketch

2.Patterns and fabric

This is the pattern I selected, minus the sleeves
Here’s a picture of the pattern cut out
  • I went with this shiny blue fabric for the dress.
  • I also used some gold padded fabric to make the “corset”, although I didn’t snag any pictures of it.

Top3.“Found” pieces.

  • I found these boots at the local thrift store. Unfortunately, the boots disintegrated about two hours after I started wearing them.

    There was some sort of spandex "sock" attached
    There was some sort of spandex “sock” attached

Top4.Making and customizing pieces

  • Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures of my process. Here’s a shot of putting the dress together:
  • I ended up painting the toes of the boots gold, but no pictures.
  • Here’s the completed dress:

Top5.Props

  • Since I was going with a theme version instead of something straight out of a comic book page, I decided to make a spellbook.

    I had this book lying around, so I brush-painted it gold
    I had this book lying around, so I brush-painted it gold
  • Doctor Fate’s symbol is an ankh, so I made one out of cardboard and painted it, to attach to the front of the spellbook.

Top6.Putting it all together
I managed to find one picture of the whole outfit
Top