Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tutorial - How to Make a Foam Cutting Table

Why use a foam cutter?  Well let's look at this picture below.  The piece on the left was broken naturally while the piece on the right uses the cutter.  Now do you want your sword to look all bumpy?  That's going to slice up a body really cleanly.

But playing with foam is stil great for cosplay so over the past 4 years I have purchased two foam cutters (between $10 - $25).

So you can start off with a foam cutting knife and slice through your foam with a cutting drawn on.  But many time after i do it, and i flip the piece to the other side, I realized that I had not been holding the knife exactly straight.  So all my sizes on the drawn side is pretty, but but all the work on the backside is all misproportioned.  Looks quite bad.

hard to tell in the photo, but in real life the two sides aren't even . . . .

I used a foam cutting table (like a band saw table but with a hot wire) back in high school.  It was pretty fun to play with, but why would you pay that much for something that would just take up space and you would rarely use?  So let's make our own

I used a small bed side dresser to tape the foam cutter and let it stick up straight past the end of this computer desk.

Be careful you dont hit the knife on the table.  I accidently melted a line on the table molding (my boyfriend wasn't very happy to see that damage on his desk).

So just like using a bandsaw, you start sliding your piece against the knife and push it naturally to let it cut. 

It's also awesome on holes because you slide the piece onto the knife.

Here's my cut piece.  Lines are smooth as much as my hand can glide (if you are more picky you can you a straight edge to act as a guide if that's what your piece calls for). 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cosplay Progress - Final Fantasy XIII-2 Lightning GunBlade and Shield 0.6


It wasn't easy to get the design for this shield since there are no straight on shots but instead these angled shots and near the end you can see glances of it between swinging arms.  Making this on the other hand was very easy. 

Cut the shapes out of cardboard for the base, than using foam and paint to add the details.
As for the handle you'll need to use something sturdy or else the shield will just flip flop around. I picked up a $2 dresser handle from the hardware section.  Using hot glue I attached it to the cardboard.  Tip:  I put the screws into the handle for two reasons 1) to extend the handle from the back of the shield for more room for the fingers.  2) the grooves in the screw will help grip the hot glue instead of the slick metal that will easy come off after some use.


Embellishment made out of foam and paint.

I used styrofoam for the blade because it's light, keeps its shape well, and easy to cut (if you know the tricks). Starting with a sketch on the foam. 

Using a Foam Cutter I cut out the shape. 
Tomorrow I will be doing a product review on foam cutters and a tutorial on how to make a foam cutting table (think band saw table).

Vola!, you can do so much details using a foam cutter, it cuts like butter (not kidding).  It gives smoother surfaces. 

Warning:  Do not use spray paint on your foam, it will melt it.  ~cries~ I had to start over because of this.  There are suppose to be specialized spray paint for foam, but I'm sticking to acrylic craft paint from now on.

Instead of adding the details with paint I rather use foam.  The colour looks nicer than the paint on the foam, you can cut out the details very well with a box cutter, and the thickness gives depth to the piece.

Another lesson to learn.  I avoided using hot glue to attach the handle because hot glue would melt the foam.  Well E-6000 melts it even more!  ~cries~ more ruined pieces.  In the end I found that packing tape was extremely durable and as long as the two joining pieces are flat; you can use pressure to keep the pieces stable with the tape.  Just make sure any segment that uses tape will have something to cover it.  Luckily this joint has an embellishment that goes right over the tape.

I tried all these different glues on my project, here's a list of the bads and goods
1) E-6000, melts foam
2) rubber cement, makes foam curl thus hard to stick together when it's curling away from one another during the drying process
3) Spray adhesive, I dunno the stuff works well on paper, but it just didn't give a strong hold on foam
4) white glue,  . . . .i dont know why it's in the picture I didn't even use it
5) packing tape.  great for securing pieces togehter IF visual appeal wasn't not a high priority.

~sigh~ this project really killed me. 

Oh well I came out with a real cool looking GunBlade.  I might have left out a ton of details on the handle, but I rather continue focusing on working on other pieces from here.

Don't forget to stay tuned for the Foam Cutter Tips and Tricks and How to make a Foam Cutting Table

Monday, April 25, 2011

Purple Pancakes

Pancake mix? Check. Frozen berries? Check. Hungry? HECK YEAH.

Blueberry pancakes are a thing of the past. Purple pancakes are much more exciting.

I started with a bag of frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) and a bag of pancake mix, both of which I purchased from Costco. (These instructions are for making 5 small pancakes.)

First, you need to micro-zap a handful of berries for a minute in a bowl so they aren't frozen. Next, use a fork to mush them up a bit so you don't have just whole berries and liquid, it should be closer to syrup. Mix in a couple of pinches of sugar. Then mix in water and pancake mix (I used 1/2 cup of mix and 3/8 cup of water, plus an extra half-tablespoon of mix). Use the same ratio as the mix calls for, but assume the berry juice is replacing some of the water. Whip it all up with a fork to make sure everything is mixed together thoroughly.

Transfer the mix into a 2-cup measuring cup or small pitcher you can pour from. Melt a little bit of butter in a frying pan on low-to-medium heat and then pour the mix into the pan to create a few individual pancakes.

Wait (about half a minute) until the pancakes are bubbling and the edges seem to creep in a bit and you can get a flipper spatula underneath, then flip them over. Wait a few seconds for the other side to brown, then flip them onto a plate.

Enjoy your purple pancakes!

They are so tastey you don't even need to add more butter or whipped cream. But you could add whipped cream on top if you really wanted to.

Purple pancakes pair well with a glass of non-fat organic milk.

(Sorry about the fuzzy photo, I was hungry and taking a steady photo with my cell phone wasn't high on my priority list.)

Nom nom nom...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

This is the story of my weekend adventure, culminating in the eventual consumption of cupcakes.

It all started when I went grocery shopping and saw the cake mix on sale at Safeway. I purchased one box of white cake mix and a little tub of white buttercream frosting. (This is the part where you figure out this blog post is not going to be an instructional recipe on how to make cupcakes.)

When I got home that evening, I mixed up the cake mix, recalling from previous experience that I should mix the liquids together first, then slowly stir in the cake mix and only reach for the blender once every bit of powder has been mixed in with liquids so as not to end up with powder all over the kitchen. Shortly thereafter, my cupcakes were in the oven.

I removed them from the oven, let them cool, then covered them in plastic wrap and then proceeded to play Lord of the Rings Online, achieving level 20 on my Warden named Eivalyn. I figured I could wait until Saturday to frost the cupcakes.

On Saturday I managed to score a nice new dining set on Craiglist for an unbelievably low price which could be equivalent to 95% off retail. Craigslist is the way to go if you know a nice guy with a truck.

How does this fit in with the cupcake story? Well, obviously I need somewhere to put my cupcakes and a nice new dining table is the perfect place to sit down and do some frosting.

I found a "Neon" food coloring set, which was perfect for Easter colors.

I split the buttercream frosting into a few bowls and put different colors in each. I had a lot of pale blue candy sprinkles left from baby shower cupcakes so I put those on top!

The End!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Pew Bows

If you are getting married in a church like I did, one decoration you shouldn't overlook is decorating the ends of the pews in the center aisle.

When I was buying flowers for my bouquets, I bought extra hydrangea stems (fortunately they were on clearance) and made pew bows for decorations at the wedding ceremony.

The stem was taped onto a pew clip (which can be purchased from and then I added 6" organza ribbon to make the bow and hanging ribbon. I also added some 1.5" satin ribbon for more interest.

To transport all of them and keep the ribbons from wrinkling I hung them all on plastic hangers. I was able to get 8 of them on one hanger.

After the wedding I was able to recoup a lot of the costs by selling all of the pew bows to a Craigslister who just happened to be planning her own wedding with the same color scheme. You can't do that with real flowers!

For a variation you could make pew bows without the flowers on top and you could add colorful ribbons instead.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Too Many Candles

I made this cake for my friends, cause 4 of them have birthdays in the same month. Thus the number of candles on this cake is equivilent to the total value of their ages all combined.

The smoke detector did go off . . . .

How did i light this? I used fireplace matches. The are really long, so it's not like my hand is always in fire.

The cake itself is a combination of a Russian Nepolean and French Nepolean cake. Meaning two different types of cake are layered together. And the inside filling cream and the outside frosting are also different. This was hella yummy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review - Dragon Haven

Dragon Haven (Book Two of the Rain Wilds
) by Robin Hobb
I love Robin’s unique take on dragons. She builds off of the telepathic dragon concept many may be familiar with from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. However, unlike the juvenile Eragon books, Hobb’s dragons only start with that concept.

The Rain Wilds dragons have a unique life cycle where they start off as sea serpents, then undergo a metamorphosis to eventually become majestic flying creatures with arms, legs, and wings. Unfortunately centuries have passed since the last dragons ruled the skies and the sea serpents forgot how to become dragons. Old and tired and guided by the last remaining dragon queen, they embark on a journey up a river to a place where they can undergo the metamorphosis. Only a few survive to hatch, and they emerge as small, deformed and clumsy shadows of what dragons are supposed to be.

Of course, this all happened in the first book. In the second book, which I just finished reading, the fledgling dragons have to swim up river again, this time trudging along in the shallows, guided by their keepers, a few hunters and a barge and its crew who have embarked on a journey to lead the dragons to their ancestral home… which is only rumored to exist. The dragons and their keepers grow and change both in character and physically during the journey. The author takes us deeper into her unique dragon ideas with a concept that dragon blood can alter humans and turn them into magical “Elderling” creatures, which seem to be strange but beautiful mutated dragonish humanoids. However, the changes are not always predictable and can go horribly wrong…

I found the second book to be as enjoyable as the first, and look forward to the third. I thought it started out a little slow, with most of the plot revolving around romances and relationships, but halfway through it got interesting and the end is worth the wait and leaves you interested in what while happen in the next book.

I would love to see someone make a costume based on the character Thymara from this book.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Escort Cards

Escort cards are a popular means to guide guests to which table they are supposed to sit at for your wedding reception dinner. It is possible to buy cards by the pack that you can print on, but this can be really expensive, like 50 cents to more than a dollar per card.

Making your own escort cards is a little time-consuming but the process is simple and it can save you a lot of money. Handmade cards are also a nice personal touch.

To make 200 escort cards I bought one stack of card stock from the PaperZone for around $20 and I ended up using up less than half of the paper supply. My other tools and supplies were items that I already had on hand: art markers, a caligraphy pen a shaped punch, ruler, and paper cutter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cosplay Progress - Final Fantasy XIII-2 Lightning Sleeves 0.5

Time to make the gloves and arm amour.  Ok for warning, this pieces isn't as accurate as the original but I didn't discover a lot of my flaws until I was complete.  sorry didn't feel like going back to fix it

So let’s start with a pair of long black gloves purchased at a costume store (no I am not sewing my own gloves, I’ve tried it and will avoid it if possible).  These spikes on the back of her hand are inspired by the original Lightning costume. 

So I made them like I had for a previous Lightning outfit.  <insert mistake face> Although inspired they aren’t completely the same, which was my mistake.  The gold spikes have been moved on top her knuckles now and should be 4 of them.  Eh whatever.
Anyways I made these out of foam and am attacking them with safety pins.  The picture shows double sided tape, but that ended up being a not as useful with the material of my gloves.

So I replicated what I see on the backside of the armor with foam, nothing special.
Keep in mind that the left arm and the right arm don't look the same.  I had to do some adjustments since I didn't realize this until I was done.

The armor attachment should probably be made out of leather of vinyl, but I made it out of foam (because it was sitting there in front of me and I didn’t feel like going out and spending more money on vinyl).  I made the pattern as I saw on her pictures.  But while wearing it, it would shift because it is slippery and large (due to it having to be able to fit around my wrist). 

So I made Bumpers!  LOL This is the weirdest idea used for this cosplay.  Surprisingly works very well, doesn’t shift because it’s pressed up against your skin.  Because the bumpers are malleable it conforms to your shape, yet soft and comfortable.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Knitting on the Bus

I'm knitting while I ride the bus

It's plain for all to see

To make a scarf so fabulous

Requires time that's free

Instead of wasting an hour each day

While commuting to and fro

I'm bring productive

and having FUN

And always prepared for SNOW

Twin needles and a skein of yarn

Is all you need to start

Add COURAGE to publicly display

Skill in such an ancient art.

Don't be suprised if you happen to hear

Click-clacking in row three

Cause while I'm sitting on the bus

I am KNITTING on the bus

And you'll not want to be sitting by me!

Disclaimer: No unsuspecting bus riders were poked with sharped sticks during the making of this scarf.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Message in Wood Blocks

So I was walking through the Wood section of my local mega mart craft store and found these miniature children alphabet blocks. So cute.

Ok everyone, this project is WAYYYYYY easy, I dont want a single person complaining they can't do this.

And this project was really inexpensive, cost was about $2 a pack and I had to buy two packs.


1) Piece together with a message that you like. In my case I used me and my honey's names. I find that it looks more interesting if you dont go with the standard symmetrical row by row look.

2) Glue them in place, I used good old fashion white glue

3) Wait until the glue dries

And here is our finished product.

SO CUTE and personable


Friday, April 1, 2011

CyberLox Falls Tutorial

You might come across these when you see the Goth/Punk kids who overdress all weird.  Aren't they COOOOOOL.

This project was actually quite easy to make, unfortunately quite costly as well. I used a combination of plastic lanyard and  tubular crin (think of these at weaved fishing wire into a tubed (sometimes flattened) and used as ribbon.  Some people also add crimped tubes, hair weaves, foam falls, and all sorts of other material.

I have never found tubular crin in a craft or fabric store so you've got to hit the internet to supply this project.  I wanted two colours for my project, but a vary of tones. 

Simples steps.

  1. cut all your pieces double the length in which you want it to fall.
  2. tie the pieces together in the center.  I used fishing wire and strung it right through the gaps in the weave
  3. Tie a hair tie to it

That's it.  Easy.

Here's some pretty examples now :)  I added some extra funny stuff I bought at the hardwares store for other projects.  I can't tell you what they are because I actually dont know. LOL