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1  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / CHALLENGE 121 ENTRIES / Nova Corpswoman (Guardians of the Galaxy) on: November 05, 2017 01:07:14 PM
I am a bit of a costuming nerd and one of my costuming idols is Alexandra Byrne. She's an Oscar-winning costumer recently best known for her work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on such films as Doctor Strange, Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1. She's even fantastic with designs for background characters, such as the uniforms for rank-and-file Nova Corps members in Guardians.


Here is my version



and here is one of my main reference photos. They were difficult to find:


This Halloween, I wanted to try and emulate her work as well as I could. I got out my sloper and started tentatively drafting a sheath dress and jacket. Due to my limited skills, resources (Do you know how hard it was to find suiting in this color? Let alone 2? Yes, she used 2 different fabrics for the uniforms! One for centers and one for the sides. I used one, plus the lining.) and so that it would look all right on me, some adjustments from the films costumes were needed. Among them, the dress would not be pegged (that would NOT have been a good look on me.)

Of course, I kept the detailing on the jacket:



I couldnt find any info on any meaning behind the different combinations of red, yellow, and white for the ribbon bars, so I just used my initials: 3 lines in a row for C, the 3rd letter of the alphabet; 18 for R, and 3 more for the other C.

I designed it using colored lines and rectangles in Pages. I made a big block so I could print it out onto transfer paper and cut the right width and point the ends without having to worry about snipping off any surrounding color that didn't belong. I ironed it onto black cotton fabric interfaced with black knit interfacing. I didn't transfer it directly to the jacket because I wanted it easily removed in case of mess-ups or if I ever found out the meaning behind the stripes and needed to change them (haven't yet.) I used knit interfacing because I couldn't find any black non-woven interfacing and wanted something that wouldn't ravel and then have to deal with stray threads peaking out. I then cut the bars to shape with a rotary cutter hand-sewed them into the "tucks", slipping the needle and thread between the interfacing/fabric and the transfer.


For the tucks, I gave up on drafting actual tucks, as evidenced by my note on this pattern piece:


Bias strips were much easier. Simply cut


(tape helps to keep right and wrong fabric sides straight)

then fold and sew into place, arranging so that it looks like tucks:



I had never, ever drafted a jacket before. I'd never even sewn a fitted one at all before! I did my best:


I spent a lot of time fitting the back. There are still issues, but it's way better than it was!





I used foam for the rank-indicating arm patch. This was my first time working with foam.


I didnt piece the sleeve around the patch because I didnt know how the heck it was going to work out, so I wanted it easily removed for multiple tries. I did incorporate piping, however. I glued the piping to the back of the patch. Then I hand stitched through the piping to attach it and the patch to the sleeves.

Im pretty sure at least one uniform was closed with velcro. Thats totally acceptable for a costume for a film or play, but I wanted something a little nicer for if I got too hot and wanted to take it off. I opted for a hidden button placket:



For lining, I used charcoal gray lining. My dress form helped out with this picture:



There were a lot of pieces to the pattern:


As the jacket's hem isn't straight, I faced it.


For Halloween, I wore my random Nova Corpswoman costume to my aunt's annual party and to Chipotle for a $3 burrito. The weekend after Halloween I wore it to a local comic con where they had this backdrop:

Photo op!

Thank you for looking and listening to my rambling Smiley .
2  Category Challenges / Occasions and Holidays: Challenge Entries / These Are The Droids You're Looking For on: November 03, 2017 06:30:32 PM


My co-worker/friend and I went with Star Wars as our theme for our school's trunk-or-treat this year. Of course, we needed some droids to go along with it.

I grew a bunch of pumpkins in my garden this year, but none of them were very big and an equal number were oblong. What to do for R2D2?



Turn a pumpkin on its side and prop it up with its top!

This was my first time painting pumpkins. It took 5 coats of white paint to cover each pumpkin as well as they are. Is that normal? It was old, cheap acrylic craft paint. Fabric paint worked well for some of the details. Any tips for next year? I did use a base coat of mod podge.



What's that circle for? Once R2 was painted, I carved out a projector.


BB8 has a projector too. I used a little plastic pick to make the hole then widened it with a small chopstick. He is so tiny, I had to get creative with the placement of the battery-powered candle:


I just flipped the switch on and replaced his head right on top of his body so he and R2 could play their messages:



Here we are with our game-on faces before sunset:


BB is tiny, but he's there.


See?

You may now go about your business. Move along.
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Apple Juice on: November 02, 2017 05:47:21 PM



I ran across this blog post about making apple juice from the cores and peels of apples. I knew I was going to have a ton of peels and cores and probably some chunks of apples broken when going through the peeler/corer/slicer when making dried apples and pre-cooked apple pie filling/ice cream topping. So, I saved the scraps.

The post mentioned that a crock pot could feasibly be used. I thought setting it and forgetting it sounded better than standing around a hot stove on that particular day, so I opted for that.

I could only fit about 1/2 of what I had into the crock pot. I filled it all the way to the top with apple peels, cores, and a few chunks. Then I poured in as much water as could fit. I turned the crock pot on low for about 12 hours.

This is what I woke up to after about 11 hours:


The color was nearly gone from the red/green peels! I added about 1/3 cup of sugar and let the rest of the color drain out into the juice over another hour. The post suggested adding sugar because of the parts of the apples being used.

Then, I strained the juice from the apple mush with a mesh strainer into a pitcher.


Then the juice went into pint-sized mason jars to cool more quickly. Some went right into the fridge and some went into the freezer for storage.

I would increase the sugar to a 1/2 cup or perhaps a scant 1/2 cup next time, as it is a bit bitter, but this batch is good to mix with sparkling water, other juices, and smoothies. I do plan on there being a next time. It is tasty and easy and very little extra work when you're already peeling and coring apples for other purposes.
4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Adventures in Apple Drying on: November 01, 2017 04:20:07 PM

I was inspired by some lovely dried apples I saw here on Craftster and a good-sized apple harvest from my dad's trees to try drying apples myself.


Starting from the top:

Batch #1 consisted of apples sliced with a mandolin. DO NOT THINK YOU WON'T CUT YOURSELF! As soon as I thought I wouldn't, I let my guard down. You can guess what happened next  Tongue

Non-bloodied apples went into the dehydrator for about 4 hours on low. They came out looking pretty good...

...but thin. And they weren't crispy like apple chips. Perhaps this was because it was so damp outside?

I didn't want to chance it and I like thicker, chewy dried apples, so out came the apple peeler/corer/slicer for

Batch #2.

It cut them into naked, gutted spirals, and I followed up with slicing them into halves and rounds.

They went into the dehydrator for a total of about 8 hours. I turned it on in the evening, but they weren't done by the time my eyes became sand-paper tired, so I shut the dehydrator off for the night and flipped it back on in the morning until they were dry.

This batch was the best!

But, the apple peeler/corer/slicer was kind of messy and a bit of a pain to use. Juice everywhere! Sliding around because the vacuum-clamp did not clamp! So, a knife came out for

Batch #3

I tried to slice the apples the same thickness as the peeler/corer/slicer did. I was way more successful than I thought Id's be, and kept my thumb intact  Smiley How to get the cores out of the apples, though? Yeah, I could leave them in, but I'm not a huge fan of munching on those hard bits. A knife would work for halves and rounds, but it was kind of time consuming for either. Out of this laziness, it hit me: Mini cookie-cutters! A pumpkin one was about the right shape and size.

After about 9 hours, the spirit of the pumpkin-shape was still there.



I should have checked the pumpkins after 8.5 hours, and not left them for a whole hour after checking them after 8 hours. They were a little too dry, but, if I hadn't had Batch #2, I probably would have thought these were as good as I could get. In short, they were good!


How many apples did I dry? Over 20. The 1st picture shows about 12 dried apples. There are now about 3 left and going fast  Grin

Yay for a successful 2 weekend project!

5  COOKING / Dessert / Apple Pie Filling/Ice Cream Topping/GF, Vegan Dessert or Side on: November 01, 2017 07:27:40 AM

We had a good apple harvest this year. Many apples were begging to be preserved in some way. It was time to ask the Internet what to do. One answer was to turn some apples into apple pie filling that could be used in pies or on ice cream or as a sweet but not super-sweet dessert or side.




I used these recipes as starting points:
https://www.spendwithpennies.com/freezer-apple-pie-filling-4-5-pies/

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/12681/apple-pie-filling/?lnkid=usspnt

http://tasteandseegodsgoodness.blogspot.com/2009/11/homemade-apple-pie-filling.html

And ended up doing this:
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup corn starch
1/2 c lemon juice (about 1 lemon; 1/4 cup in with 1st ingredients, rest in w/ apples)
about 8 1/2 c of water (7 in 1st, then rest in w/ apples)

15 dessert(ish?) apples (Gravensteins?) +/- 5 lbs = +/- 12 cups


Put sugars, salt, cinnamon, corn starch, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 7 cups water in pot and brought to a boil over medium-high heat while whisking. What started out looking something like cinnamon-y milk turned into a thick, cinnamon-colored syrup when brought to a boil. Boiled for 2 mins. Then, syrup was poured into sliced apples in pot. Syrup seemed too thick, so added in another 2 cups of water and the other 1/4 cup of lemon juice. On medium-high heat brought it all to a boil (It took a while. The pot was pretty darn full of apple slices. See:



so it was hard to tell when it was boiling, but when there were a few bubbles on top that returned there quickly after stirring them down, I considered it a boil.) Then the apples were covered and the heat reduced to low. It was left to simmer for 7 minutes. At the end of that time, they could be forked easily without breaking and were fairly bendy but still had substance to them.



Then the pot was taken off the heat and left to cool for about an hour. The mix was then spooned into bowls to cool the rest of the way. It was good hot, but awesome once it cooled!

Some was put in the fridge to munch on while the rest is up in the freezer waiting for Thanksgiving to be served as a Gluten-free and vegan dessert option.
 

Lesson to take away: Making apple topping/pie filling on the stove is forgiving, so experiment to get the taste and texture you want with what you have on hand and in mind.
6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Replacement Dresses on: October 20, 2017 06:10:01 PM
A lot of my clothes wore at once, so I've been replacing them with my fabric stash. These dresses replaced some store-bought knit dresses that had reached the end of their lifespan.


First up was a new black dress.


I drafted the pattern myself.






Next, I cut into a thrifted galaxy print jersey sheet I'd been saving for some project. This turned out to be the project  Grin









Then, I went back and added pockets, because, pockets! I redrafted the pocket pattern piece to be a tad bigger than what I'd used before these projects. It's a little too deep now, but I'll live Smiley I also wish I'd made a couple other adjustments, but, overall, I guess these new closet additions turned out all right. They're comfy and, I think, pretty flattering. Plus, pockets!
7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / A Working Dress on: October 07, 2017 12:50:33 PM
I needed a dress to wear to work (in a school) that was a little nicer than the mostly jersey knit articles of clothing in my closet. I wanted one that:
-Was made out of woven material
-Did not have a separate bodice and skirt, but was fitted
-Didn’t need anything under it to make it suitable to wear to work
-Had pockets

For me, this list meant some sewing was in order.

This is the end result:


Yayyyy, pockets!


Having your picture taken can feel so awkward!







Step 1 was piecing together the bodice and skirt pieces of a pattern I’d already drafted for myself:



Those pieces were traced, altered a bit, and turned into this:



Yeah, necklines aren’t my favorite thing to do. I think I’m pretty happy with what I ended up with, though. At least it’s finished, doesn’t gap, and doesn’t require a cami for work.


Thanks for looking!
8  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / French Toast Casserole on: May 20, 2017 08:12:56 AM
Oven French toast recipes + French toast casserole recipes - some things in those recipes = a French Toast casserole recipe I really like!

I think it may replace oven French toast for the extended family's annual Easter gathering.

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
9-12 slices of bread (I used white sandwich bread. Stale slices soak up more; fresh slices soak up less.)
Butter

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a pie dish or similar with the butter.
Beat everything else except the bread together.
Cut the bread into quarters.
Dip the little slices into the egg mix to soak it up.
Layer the slices in the dish.
Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 165F.









You could definitely double, triple, or quadruple this recipe and bake it all at once in 2 large casserole dishes (as I'd do for my extended family).
I think chopped apples would be a delicious addition. I'm sure there're tons of things you could add to change it up.
9  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Kaylee: Shiny. on: November 05, 2016 03:58:03 PM
While discussing Halloween costumes with a friend, she suggested I go as Kaylee from the show Firefly. The idea also had been in the back of my mind for a bit, so I decided to give it a try.

First, I made a pattern for a jumpsuit. (Patterns rarely fit me without so much alteration that it isn't just easier to draft my own.) Then came sewing, making patches, and painting a nylon parasol.



It came together in time for the annual come-in-costume discount day at the zoo, which, it turned out, had a good backdrop for a few pictures.





The parasol doubled as a perfectly functional umbrella! It couldn't protect the bottom of the jumpsuit from a few puddles, however Smiley

It was a great start to the Halloween festivities. Plus, I got several compliments on my costume! It was kind of cool.


Herere some of the pattern pieces.


A shot of my mock-up. It and the final jumpsuit were both made from thrifted sheets.



Bear patch close-up:



A lady at my aunt's annual Halloween party wanted a picture to text to another browncoat.



I wore it on Halloween itself to get a $3 burrito at Chipotle (delicious! They do it every Halloween.)



As always, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot from my Halloween costume.

Thanks so much for looking!
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Attack of the Killer Rabbit: Death Awaits on: September 16, 2016 02:55:57 PM
The rabbit of Monty Python fame now staring in its own film! Or, at least, pillow that looks like it might be based on a film poster:



I played around with images courtesy of the Internet and played around with them and fonts in a word processor to make this. I kept the background gray so I wouldn't use up all my ink.



A trip to the photocopy place made it big enough for pillow purposes.

Next up was tracing the design onto freezer paper to iron on over an interfaced piece of black fabric so I could cut out the design and sew it over pieces of interfaced white and red fabric:



The back features a deep lapped blind hemmed zipper and some blood seeping through by the flangs:



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