Friday, October 14, 2016

Recipe #1 - Bacon and Leek Pancake (technically)

So, this is a recipe I found mentioned in a fanfic and adapted to my purposes. It involves bread type surrounding for meat and veggies. Makes a 9 inch pie pan of food. (Scale as needed)
3 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of flour
2-3 strips of thick Bacon
Veggies that are good baked to taste. I prefer:
Sliced Mushrooms
Sliced Leeks or spinach if you want more healthy options
Optional: Cheddar on top to make everything tasty

Preheat oven to 445 degrees F or so, and leave the pan in the oven as it is heating. This is important. Mix together the flour, eggs, and milk, until very runny and little bubbles form on the surface. This is normal and good. Take the bacon, snip it into small-ish chunks and cook it in the pan. When the bacon is cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove the bacon but keep the extra fat. Fry sliced mushrooms and leeks (cut into thin slivers) in the fat. Add any seasoning you like on your bacon onto the veggies, as they will taste better that way. Cook mushrooms to taste (I like to cook them until they are tiny shriveled things, but some like them still identifiable) and the leeks till shriveled and darkening from bright green to brown-ish green. If using spinach, cook it down until wilted.
Once everything is pre-cooked, pull the pan out of the oven and pour about a quarter cup in the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover it. The batter will start to cook and that is normal. Pour ingredients on top of the batter, and then pour rest of batter on top of cooked ingredients. I recommend shaking the pan from side to side a little so that the batter will get into all the nooks and crannies left between bacon and veggies. If you want to add cheese, I recommend getting the shredded kind and put on a decently thick layer. use a fork to press the cheese down into the batter a little.
Now shove the pan in the oven and leave for 25 to 28 minutes. The batter will balloon and look like it's coming out of the pan, but it won't. Wait for it to rise and go down a bit, until it gets golden brown and forms a lovely crust. If you poke the center and it is not gooey under the crust, then it is done. Take it out, let it cool, and enjoy.
This dish lasts in the fridge for a solid week, and can be frozen and reheated. Enjoy.
If you have any questions, just leave a message and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Interlude

So, because making tassets was driving me crazy, I wandered off to make other things. Like a dress. Specifically, this dress:
What I made isn't exact, especially since I can't see the back, so I had to improvise. But, here is my version:

The fun part about it, is that I had a flat sheet lying around in the dress color, but a lot lighter, in cotton. I made an underdress using it, and when I tried it with my bra on, my boobs looked hella weird. I was originally using the underdress as a bit of a corset, to squish me a bit, so I didn't have yucky folds outlined in the linen (which is what the shell is made of). Turns out, that because of the way I structured the underdress, it substitutes a bra, meaning I don't have any weird lines showing up! It was a happy accident, and i'm really glad that came out to be the case. i'm looking forward to making another version of this dress in a very light cotton, with a cotton underdress. This time, I hope to use a pillow case, since I need white and I don't have a white cotton sheet lying around. If you go my route, I highly recommend using a really good quality sheet as it will be near your skin, and if you use it as a proxy corset, reinforce the seams. Very important.
But yeah, that us my result for a weekend of work. ^_^

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Grey Warden (Part 3 - The Breastplate... and assorted leather straps)

I've started making the breastplate. And ran into a heap of trouble, including but not limited to not being able to find my contact cement, and trying to figure out how the breastplate should look. There is an added complication that I need a part of the straps to connect to the tassets, and I just paused and went to make the linen pants instead. I figure they'll be easier.
On the bright side, i went hunting for paint and such, and found some gesso! I can use it to make my armor have a bit more weight and give me a nice clean painting surface on which to work.
Breast Plate:
  • Muslin mock-up
  • Bend the foam into shape
  • Repeat the second one
  • Felt lining
  • Add edging
  • Make gryphon on another sheet,
    • outline in puff paint,
    • attach
  • Paint
  • Leather belts
  • Weather

Looking back on my plan, I realize that it went completely off the rails. I have an mock-up, but I made it in paper and really thin foam board, as I've never worked with foam board before. Here's a revised plan (reflecting reality):
Breast Plate:
  • Paper plan and mock-up

  • Test out idea in paper

  • Make a foam version

  • Give up and wander away for a while to make pants because they must be easier than this.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Grey Warden (Part 2- The Tabard)

I'm working on this project from the inside out, so the shirt was first, and now the tabard. Overall, this is going to be a very thick and heavy piece of gear, so I've gone my best to reinforce when possible. To review, these are the things that need to be done for the tabard:

  • Muslin mock-up

  • I made tabard shape the same way as the shirt, meaning, I measured roughly how wide I thought the tabard should be, measured roughly how long it should be by holding it at my shoulder and lowering the measuring tape until it hit where I wanted on my knees, and calling that good. The angle at the bottom was achieved by printing out and cutting a protractor, and straight-up measuring it. I literally eyeballed it, and then rounded to the nearest nice number, meaning, it ended up being 30 degrees. The fabric I was using was a bit too short, so I had to sew on some more for the 40 inches that I needed to reach my knees.
  • Cotton
    • Cut the shape and iron onto interfacing

    • This is a shot after it has already been ironed on, you can kind of see it peeking out. I had some issues with getting the cotton to be exactly flat, so if you look very closely, you can see some wrinkles. They will be covered in the end, so I'm not terribly worried about them.
    • Cut out the straps

    • Before I did this step, I did a variety of tests to see what would be the best width for everything. And how the scales would look/hang. These are very tiny examples, just so that I could confirm the perfect distance between each of the channels, and whether the blue cotton would hide all the supporting marine vinyl. I'm still using dark blue vinyl, so that it blends with the rest of what I'm doing. The distance between the two vinyl straps ended up being 1.75" and the distance between scales going up is .75".
  • Marine vinyl
    • Cut out the straps

    • A shot of all the straps cut out. It made for an interesting pile.
    • Temp attach the center line
    • Mark all parallel lines
    • Temp attach
    • Sew on at least half inch from edge

    The white roll in the center is what I used to hold the straps in place as I sewed, because the thickness of the vinyl would distort my lines if I used proper pins. That's something I learned from the mini-tests that I did. You can find the tape in the sewing section of a major craft store. It is used to hold patterns in place while tracing. That roll has 10 yds. Also, highly recommend denim thread and a denim or leather needle. They are the only things strong enough to hold everything together, especially when I add the chainmaille.
  • Canvas/cloth
    • Cut out the straps
    • Wrap cotton around the canvas, iron into place, pin
    • Temp attach the lines
    • Sew on at least half inch from edge
  • Holes for the chainmail
    • Try to tuck them under the blue straps a bit
    • Here are some progress shots of after everything has been sewn on:
      To show how the holes are tucked under the cotton, so they don't show.
      Also, some shots of a test case I made to see how the chainmaille would look when I attach it to the holes:
    • Sew the two pieces together
    • Extra stitching on shoulders so that the fabric lies in one direction
  • Felt backing
    • Cut the felt backing to be one piece

    You can see the felt backing peeking out a little bit, but this is the front, just before I sew on the edge binding and add the chainmail:
  • Chainmail
  • Binding
    • 1.5” wide bias tape from the blue cotton, because of thickness 

Stick a fork in me, I'M DONE!!!!

On to the pants! And the breastplate!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Gray Warden (Part 1 - The Linen Shirt)

This is the first part of the cosplay that I made. I started with the linen shirt for several reasons:
1. It would be a very simple thing to make
2. It was the bottom layer of clothing, so it wouldn't be very seen if I screwed up
3. I don't have a linen shirt, and I figured I would need something that breathed, given the entire outfit.

The first thing I did was get 15 yds of muslin (aka very cheap-o cotton). I got it for less than a dollar a yard. It is a life-saver. This stuff allows you to test all your patterns, fix them as needed and try it on. You don't end up wasting good material, and it gives you an idea of how much fabric to buy.
I went and got a tanktop that I liked the look and fit off, laid it out on my muslin, and outlined it exactly. I used a water soluble marker, because I had it lying around. Then, Because I was going to use linen and my tank top material was a knit, I added an 1.5" border to my outline. I can always cut away fabric, I can't add to it. Step 3, pin that sucker together along the seams, parallel to the cuts and try it on. It will be very prickly, and hurt. Just grin and bear it. It felt decent enough, so I got some cheap-o cotton thread in bright red, and sewed along the seams I'd pinned. Then, I tried it on. There were a number of issues, including a neck that wasn't nearly big enough, random pouching along the back of my neck, hems that were too long in the back, and it hung weird on my boobs.
Issue 1: Stand in front of the mirror, and mark a neck that you like. I tend towards marking only one half of my pattern, so I have another side in case something doesn't go as planned.
Issue 2: Random pouching was because I have a slight hump to my back, and the neck was riding too high. Same as issue 1.
Issue 3: I live alone, so I grabbed some pins and roughly pinned where I wanted the back hem to be.
Issue 4: Bust darts. Very important. I went and found a top that had some, and just traced them onto my fabric, folding and pinning until I was happy. There are ways to actually measure how to do it:

Other possible issues:
It doesn't feel right. Then take it off and try to figure out what doesn't work.
Resulting pattern:

Now, I had a pattern from which to cut my shirt. I got some linen suiting, because it is sold in 53" wide yards. If I had gone with regular linen, I would have had to get more. As it stands, I got a yard of black linen suiting for the shirt. (Actually, I got three yards, but I'm crazy and making pants.)
Before I even tried to outline my pattern on my good fabric, I laundered, starched, and ironed it. The point of laundering it is to remove stiffeners, and if the fabric was going to shrink or stretch, I'd rather have it happen before I started cutting. The starching was because I had intended to do some embroidery on the my finished top. I've chosen not to do so, but it had an added benefit of making my fabric lie nice and neat while I traced out my pattern.
I like things symmetrical, so I folded my template in half, and used the side I had decided was the finished product in my outline. I also folded and pinned my fabric, and then pinned my pattern on top so nothing would move. Once that was done, it was simply a matter of cutting, pinning and sewing the result.

Since sewing it together, I have washed it to rid it of the starch, and plan to wash it a couple more times to soften the fabric up. Hopefully, I can use it for everyday wear.
I still need to add the binding, which will be made of the same fabric as the blue of my tabard, but it needs to be cut into bias tape before I can do that. The goal is for the bias tape to be 1" wide.
The tutorial I used for my bias tape making.
Overall, everything came out rather well. If you have any questions, just leave a comment, and I'll try to answer as thoroughly as possible.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Addams Family

Well, some shopping for thread later, and I have started the project for my brother.
Exactly as you would think, it turned out nothing like I wanted.
Some reasons are: I have a very clear idea in my head of what the finished product should look like. The fabric and threads that I found in my local embroidery store don't quite live up to my imagination. I wanted the Crow to be dark and such a deep black as to look blue, and in silk. I couldn't find anything of the sort. I did find a thread that makes me think of either freshly spilled blood or Gryffindor red. Either way, I like the color.

I will update this to include the picture. Right now, I have refocused my attentions, and will be remaking the pattern on a different piece of fabric, with some color changes. The goal is to make the results into a photo album cover for my mom for Christmas. Thankfully, she never reads these, and so will not know of it. ^_^

Now, here is the prototype of the design, and the first thing that I'd ever cross-stitched (to my knowledge), made sometime in January or February of this year.

I actually have a fun story about this piece. My brother, who is 10 years younger than me is in a very interesting position in life. He has spent all of his life around women, and crafters at that. While he does not currently craft, that I know of, he knows how to do a ridiculous variety of things, including quilting, drawing, knitting, and so much more. So, if nothing else, he is very craft-aware. The first thing my brother did when I showed him the cross stitched piece, was to turn it over and look at the back-side. I think he was actually more impressed with the neatness of the back of the piece than the front!
One last thing that I have in the works, is an Xmas present for some friends. While wandering around on Etsy, I found the most amazing design. Very simple, only 6 colors, 5 if you use the fabric for the background, and it's of the Train Ticket for the Hogwarts Express (Link: I feel that it would be remiss of me not to note that I am the Harry Potter Generation. I was 8 when the first book came out, and started reading it when I was 9. I grew up with those kids, and the stories have shaped a lot of who I am. So, finding the Train Ticket was awesome. She also has the most amazing House bookmarks that I have ever seen (link: as well as a few other goodies. I highly recommend you check her stuff out. You'll probably seem more pictures of stuff I've stitched from her charts. Anyways:
Craft On!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The More Things Change, The More they Stay the Same

It's been a little over 4 years since I last wrote on this blog, and I figured, with the rise in popularity of blogs, that maybe I want to get back to it.
A lot has changed for me in the past 4 years. When I wrote last, I was just struggling to get through undergrad. The astute among you will notice I specified "undergrad". That would be because after suffering through that Hell, and coming out very well, I might add, I dove back into the fray.
In January of 2013, I pursued my Master's Degree. A significant set of trials later, I escaped clutching a tattered and worn degree, which I immediately put to good use.
So; 4 years later, I am:
-Own a car
-Own a cat
-Have my own place
-Have control of my own future

So the tally is: some good, some bad, but overall better. There are a few things I would like to have; a partner and my own place (bigger), but those will come in time, I know.
I also wanted to start using this blog to chronicle my crafts. I bounce between them faster than an ADD squirrel hyped up on Ritalin, so if nothing else, this should be amusing. Currently, I have paused my crochet as it is too much for my hands, and focused on knitting and embroidery instead. In my family, there is a tradition of embroidery, on my great-grandma's side, but I never thought that I would be interested as it didn't seem to jive with my brain. However, it did. I found a pattern online that I loved, because I am an Addams' family nerd. This is the design:
When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. And no way to get my hands on the pattern. So I reverse engineered it (as I tend to do to most everything), and, because this is how my brain works, I had to make it better. The Latin used is wrong, and so I found the right translation, and used that instead.
Now comes the next step of the puzzle: To remake the pattern for my brother as a birthday present, either as a pillow or a wall-hanging, in silk and linen. This should be interesting.
Craft on! -Kat