Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Steamcon V: planning stages

Hey there!  This year my hubby and I are really excited to be able to attend Steamcon.(It's one of the largest steampunk conventions around.)  The last few years we have been too far away from it to make the trip for the weekend, but this year it is less than an hour away.  Also,  the theme is super exciting.  I'm starting on our costumes already and I'm quite excited about it.  Here are a few pics of what's happening so far,  and my inspirations :)

found via pinterest, also available on etsy here.
found here which I can't read but has loads of cool photos.

I've just about got my corset finished and then I can really start building stuff.  Here are a couple pics of progress on the corset.


muslin mock-up

paper pattern

almost done!

So pretty :)  All it needs are grommets and laces.
Anywho,  there will be lots more on this project throughout the year,  as it will probably take me until October to finish everything. (Which is of course when Steamcon takes place...)

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Craft room

My craft room is (almost) complete! 

I finally have my very own space to sew, make hats, do projects, etc.  And I have my own gigantic table where I can spread out said projects and not have to clean them up in time for dinner :D   (there is not an available emoticon to express my sheer joy).  I have several projects already in the works, and I'll share those in due time,  but for now  let me show you my new room!

In the door.  Bookshelf with research materials.

The top of the bookshelf with some pretties and bird pictures from the Nordic Fashion Biennale.

My fancy new table with cubbies!

Fabric shelf, my hat model Penelope, bird mobile and music source.

Sewing table big enough for both machines.  There are pictures to be hung behind on the wall, I just need to frame one.  And the dress form with the beginning stages of my next project!

Well that's it for now!  Stay tuned for progress and interesting findings from research for Steamcon V.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sweet 16th: Chocolate Mice

Alright!  First sweet of the year :)

These little mice are inspired by the book The Night Circus.  Both in and out of the circus, whimsical and completely incredible foods abound.  This seemed like a good entry project for me.  These mice are basically a shaped cream truffle (although I also envision the book mice as being solid chocolate candies made with a shaped mold) and these could be made into just about anything with enough patience.  That being said,  mice are so cute!


For these mice you need:

black licorice (preferably rope style, but if you can't find it anywhere, like me,  then painstakingly cut          apart some regular licorice before you start anything else.)
sliced almonds
4 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate
4 Tbsp coconut cream  (can be purchased on its own or its the hard creamy stuff on the top of a can of       full fat coconut milk that has settled.)
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar plus a little
cocoa powder (or cinnamon)

The first step, as mentioned in the ingredients list, is to cut your licorice into 'tails'.  Nice and simple if you have been able to find rope licorice.  Not as easy with regular old twisted licorice:

I suggest a very sharp knife and try not to pull as you cut.

Next, chop up your chocolate, or skip this if you're using chips.

Next, measure out the coconut cream and set it aside.  You'll want to have it handy once the chocolate melts.

Make sure you have a double boiler or a bowl that can take some heat and fits into the top of a saucepan.  Melt the chocolate in the top of the double boiler with the water hot but not quite simmering.  Do not let the water boil.  This goes fast so pay attention to it and stir while it melts.

this already has the coconut cream in this picture.

After the chocolate is melty,  remove it from the heat and quickly stir in the coconut cream and the vanilla. 

Gradually add in the confectioners sugar, mixing it into the chocolate.

Eventually it will form a stiff paste.  On a wax papered surface, divide the chocolate paste into about 24 pieces,  fewer if you want bigger mice.

Mix together about 2 Tablespoons of confectioners sugar and a teaspoon or so of baking cocoa powder (or sub cinnamon)  and have ready on a flat surface or very shallow bowl.

This is the time when my special helper came in to assist me :)  (therefore there are fewer pictures)

To shape the mice,  take a piece of the chocolate paste and smush it up to get it soft.  Wrap the chocolate around one end of a licorice tail and then use your palms to shape the mouse body.  Roll the body in the cocoa powder mixture and rub it in with your fingers.

Next, find two pieces of almond that are similar in size and shape and poke them in for ears.

And voila!  You have little mice.  Keep going,  and if you get tired of mice making, you can always just make little round ball truffles. 

Happy Baking!

Also,  totally toddler approved.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting there

Hello and happy 2013!

We are finally starting to get settled into our new home after the big move.  I'm still surrounded by boxes but I'm thrilled to report that I now have my own craft space and a trip to Ikea is in the works to find me a cutting/patterning table for all of my projects! 

Anyways,  I've started working on a project with The Night Circus book again and perhaps will be able to make some delectable treat from the book for tomorrow's sweet 16th.  We'll see.  Most of my kitchen is unpacked...

But I digress,  I'm happy to be back online and in my own space.  And very excited for the year to come and all it will hold!