Posts tagged DIY

Steampunk 101 Panelists

Making Comic Con Your Own – Steampunk Style

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San Diego Comic Con International 2013 has been over for a few weeks now.  Attendees have finally recuperated from the chaos and excitement that is SDCC.  As exhausting and chaotic as the pop culture convention is, the experience is also an extremely rewarding one for many.  One of my favorite aspects of SDCC is the sense that not only are you part of a massive geek/nerd community, but you can also create your own world within that community.  Whether you love steampunk cosplay or consider yourself the ultimate TV geek, there are different experiences for any fan at SDCC, you just have to make it.  This is the first post in what I hope to be a couple of interviews with women who helped create their own personalized mini-universe within the zeitgeist that is SDCC.

Dina as Steampunk Malificent at WonderCon 2013

Dina as Steampunk Malificent at WonderCon 2013

Lady Steam (aka Dina Kampmeyer) is a co-founder of the League of Extraordinary Ladies and a self-described steampunk aficionado.  This year Dina moderated two panels on steampunk at SDCC, The Witty Women of Steampunk and Steampunk 101in addition to cosplaying as a steampunk Luke Skywalker.  If you are interested in hearing more about Dina’s involvement with the League of Extraordinary Ladies, you can read her thoughts in a previous interview NiB had with her (and other LxLers).

1)  How did you first get interested/involved in steampunk?

Dina Kampmeyer (DK): I started dating someone that was a steampunk and I had absolutely no idea what it is, but I was instantly drawn to the aesthetic. I jumped in with both feet and wanted to meet other people in LA that were into the same thing. The community was a bit disorganized, so I started volunteering my time to start planning occasional events and moderate the two FB pages that were already up and running.

2)     What was your first steampunk costume?

DK: It was a pseudo-military look. I bought this great jacket online and went crazy modifying it. I cut off the sleeves, laced up the sides and added a ton of trim, buttons, epilets, etc. Then I added a bunch of ruching to this old skirt I had from college. Added a straw hat from the Renaissance Faire and boom, (not so) instant steampunk.

3)     One thing I particularly love about SDCC is the feeling of belonging while at the same time creating your own reality/dream. Steampunk seems to fit into this idea perfectly. Why do you think steampunk has gained so much interest/traction at SDCC and other conventions?

DK: I think there are a lot of reasons why steampunk has become so popular in general, but in terms of conventions, I would say people just love the aesthetic. It’s so playful and it really allows costumers and cosplays a degree of freedom that they don’t usually have in other areas. Most cosplayers are looking to recreate an exact costume, but with steampunk, you don’t do that. You’re not dressing up as someone else’s character (in general), but rather creating a brand-new work of art. I think more people are getting into the genre now through this new trend of steampunking out existing pop culture characters. This is an easier way for them to explore steampunk while working with an existing product, but with an amazing degree of
creativity and freedom.

Steampunk Star Wars at SDCC 2013

Steampunk Star Wars at SDCC 2013

4)     What kind of advice can you give someone who is looking to create their first steampunk cosplay costume?

DK: Try not to be intimidated. I hear so many people who are interested in steampunk worry that they don’t have the “right”
clothing or accessories. There is very little right and wrong in steampunk and we LOVE to help out new people, give them advice and heck, even loan them clothes. Come to steampunk events even if you’re just starting out, take a look at outfits that you like, and ask people how they created things. Go to local thriftshops and try and use your imagination. You’ll be surprised at how much you can create with an old dress and a sewing machine (or some safety pins and tape if you don’t sew).

5)     You recently moderated a panel at SDCC called “The Witty Women of Steampunk.”  Can you give a general synopsis of the panel for those who were unable to attend SDCC (or the panel)?  What was your favorite moment of the panel?

DK: I was very lucky to have this panel accepted by the lovely folks at SDCC for the 2nd year in a row. Basically, I put together an incredible group of female creators and just let them talk about why they love steampunk and what about the genre appeals to them as a creator. We talked comics, alternate history, video games, costuming, multiculturalism and more.

6)     Why “Witty Women” of Steampunk?

DK: Part of what is so appealing about steampunk is a return to the Victorian ideals of the pursuit of knowledge and civility. People were very interested in improving both themselves and the world around them. I think we all long to return to a time when wit was a prized possession and my panelists all fit that bill.

Steampunk 101 Panelists

Steampunk 101 Panelists

7)     You also moderated a panel entitled, “Steampunk 101.” Based on discussions at that panel (and of course your own thoughts), what do see for the future of steampunk in popular culture?

DK: Excellent question. The popularity of steampunk has positively exploded over the past couple of years and we expect to see more and more of it in popular culture. It’s been huge amongst the convention crowd for a long time, but Hollywood is slowly starting to take notice. Fox just gleenlit a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen TV-pilot, so we’ll see if we finally get a big steampunk series. There has yet to be a big steampunk movie and the panelists (and audience) were all interested in seeing one. Steampunk-literature is popping up all over the NY Times bestseller chart, so I think it’s only a matter of time before we see a big film coming out. Until then, we can keep ourselves occupied with all the fantastic literature and webseries that have directly explored the genre.

8)     This year you cosplayed as Steampunk Luke Skywalker.  What prompted you to do a gender-swap steampunk cosplay?

DK: Well, I have wanted to do a steampunk Star Wars group for several years and I finally managed to do it. I always intended to be R2D2, but time snuck up on me and we were missing a Luke from our core group, so I thought, why not? He was quite a challenge to find a way to make him distinctive since his outfit isn’t that unique and I was already going to confuse people by crossplaying. I hope that I succeeded and we’ll be building up this group for future conventions and adding some new characters.

 

Photo by Mike Rollerson

Photo by Mike Rollerson

Chrissy Lynn is a CA native who began costuming at a very young age. With a major interest in comics and scifi growing up she attended her first comic convention in 2004. She’s always had a passion for the arts; be it charcoal, make-up, costume design or music. She’s used her talents and skills to help fundraise for many non-profit charity organizations and enjoys cosplaying, especially her signature cosplay, Catwoman. Since her first Cosplay at Comicon in 2010 she’s been involved in 6 Cosplay groups, two of which she organized including the DC Steampunk group which debuted at SDCC in 2012. She was introduced to Steampunk in 2007, being a fan of HG Wells, Jules Verne and other scifi authors during the turn of the century she adopted the Victorian science fiction motif and made it apart of her daily style and Cosplay medium of choice. This year at San Diego Comicon she was invited by a good friend to join a Steampunk Star Wars group which turned out to be a hit and will be back at this year’s Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo.

1) Your DC Steampunk cosplay group is amazing! How did that come together?

Chrissy Lynn (CL): It all started with having a passion for both the DC Comics universe and Steampunk Culture. I simply started piecing together the idea shortly after Comicon 2011 and thats when I called upon my very good friend Johnny Bias (Steampunk Riddler), from there we reached out to our close friends who we knew would be interested,and could all work together to make these costumes cohesive and photograph well. We all have a hand in something on everyone’s costumes, it’s a team effort that has grown into a family, some cosplayers retire their character and are replaced with other awesome cosplayers. I couldn’t be more proud of this group, we all did this together.

SDCC 2012 DC Steampunk Group - Photo by Mike Rollerson

SDCC 2012 DC Steampunk Group – Photo by Mike Rollerson

2) Did you all work together on your costumes? If so, which costume did you find the most challenging to put together?

CL: We all came from different skill sets, some of us are tailors and seamstresses, leather workers and some of us are FX and prop fabricators, or geniuses with industrial glue guns. So far what characters you haven’t seen in the group yet are our most challenging. But I’d say, my occasional challenge is doing our Two Face’s makeup because he is unfortunately allergic to latex, so next time I may need to work with silicone!

3) If you had unlimited resources, what would be your ultimate steampunk cosplay (group or individual)?

CL: I’ve been in talks with several individuals who want to do Disney Steampunk, I was honored to recently be a part of this year’s Star Wars Steampunk group with Dina, and I have to say I’d stick with the DC group, only make it BIGGER. 😉 However I wouldn’t mind doing a Steampunk X-men group, just sayin’!

4) Any advice to anyone else trying to put together a cosplay group (steampunk or otherwise) for a convention?

CL: YouTube is filled to the brim on HOW-TO’s and DIY videos, if you are a visual learner check those out, otherwise do what we all have done, trial and error. If I knew 5 years ago what I know now with today’s skill set I would have made ALL the things, at least better. But like any other trade it can take years to master, you don’t always need a sewing machine or unlimited funds, I have a gift for deconstructing pre-existing materials into other objects to fit my cosplay needs. So I encourage everyone to try and remember cosplay is just that, it’s costume play, so play and have fun no matter what!

 

DC Steampunk Photos by Mike Rollerson

Star Wars Steampunk Photo by Jerry Abuan

Steampunk Malificent Photo by Justin Davidson

Photo on 2011-04-30 at 01.31

Gluing Latex

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Hello all,

A while ago I had posted up a little bit about how I wanted to start making latex costumes. Well, I have gotten in all the materials and have been trying to practice and master my craft. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how to actually glue seams on a latex accessory or costume to get the best results.

There are two different kinds of glues used when making latex outfits. A water based or solvent based adhesive. For a more stretchy or for gluing on details that won’t get too much stress I would go for the water based, also known as Liquid Latex. For a stronger, watertight bond I would go with the solvent based, which you can tell when you read a rubber cement that has a material called Hepatane in it. Both are good to use but it just depends on what you are using them for.
I use a solvent based adhesive called Best Test, which you can order online if you can’t find in your local art store, or if you are not in the states you can find a rubber cement called Bostik, which is very strong and durable.

The trick to gluing a seam is prep. Clean both sides of the seam with a solvent, like Heptane or Bestine, and let it dry. Then spread the glue on the seam so that it is evenly spread (sometimes using a credit card can be effective is making sure there are no spots that are not covered by the glue). Wait about 5 min for the glue to dry and get sticky and then slowly attach the two sides together. Once they are attached pinch along the seam to make sure it is evenly distributed or you can even use a wooden roller to get a cleaner look. Make sure you clean the seam with the solvent to get any extra glue and just wait for it to dry. It is best if you wait 24 hours to really let the glue adhere to itself.

Now you have a really strong seam that should last.

For more information on gluing or making latex costumes be sure to check out my blog, which is solely dedicated to me sharing my info I find. www.nerdylatex.com

Thanks for reading and happy diy-ing
Jess DP

Latex Glove

Latex Costuming

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In the mainstream media today we are seeing more and more alternative clothing popping up and I think that is awesome because for designers and cosplay enthusiasts we are getting more credibility to our interest in costumes.  It was shown recently that spandex, PVC, latex, and other materials are showing up more and more.  For me especially I was excited because I have always been interested in latex clothing.  It wasn’t until I got to actually wear my first outfit for a costume party that I realized that I may be able to make some more simple stuff myself.  This was when the idea struck me!  Since I will be attending SDCC this year and I am not swimming in money, then maybe I could attempt to try and make my own costume out of latex.

This whole endeavor took about 2 weeks to get together.  Plenty of research about what to get and where to get it.  It was very exhausting.  Then came the waiting for my packages of latex sheeting, rubber cement glue, thinner and clothing patterns to arrive in the mail.  It literally took me about an hour to make my first piece as a trial to see how this whole process will be in the future.

For the crafty people out there I would like to break it down for you.  This is not as easy as it looks and I did loads of planning to get me on the right track but it is not impossible to get these materials and make some cool stuff yourself.

This is what it took for me..

  • Latex sheeting was ordered from a place called MJTrends
  • Best Time Rubber Cement/Bestine Thinner from Pearl Paint – used to glue the seams and thin the glue for thinner latex and for cleaning
  • Mineral Spirits from Home Depot – used for cleaning seams
  • Rotary Knife/Cutting board/Scissors/Rulers from Walmart – used to make clean cuts
  • Patterns from Jo-Ann’s Fabric Store

You simply pick out a pattern. Trace it onto your sheet of latex and then cut it out.  Figure out where the seams will be glued and clean them with either the thinner or mineral spirit.  Take a paint brush or q-tip and spread a thin layer on your seam on both sides that will be coming together.  Wait 5 min and then attach them together.  Make sure to apply pressure to the seam or even use a small seam roller to make sure the glue bonds to itself.  It works best if you let the seam sit overnight and then Presto!

In my case the glove was then shined with some lube, which also allows for it to stretch without breaking, and I fit it over my hand to give you the picture you see below.

So for my first attempt was making a fingerless glove, called a gaunlet.

I did get a chance with some of the extra pieces to make a little bow on the bottom to give it a little bit of flare.

I feel really confident to give this a serious try.  My goal is to have a costume made for Comic-Con and hopefully with great success.

For my next trick I am going to try and make a slightly more complicated piece and I will be sure, now that I know more of what I am doing, to put up pictures step by step of what I did and why.
Until next time.. This is Jess D.

 

Webcomicry and Promotion, or Get Some Frakking Rest!

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As I’ve mentioned before, one good way for any artist to network is to hit the convention circuit.

I’ve been sticking fairly close to home, but not every craft fair, convention or comic event is located in Connecticut, so I often go out of state.

I’ve had positive experiences overall, however, I have had long drives, and for any of you that taken long road trips, you really start to feel the cramps in your rear and even your leg after a certain point. Sometimes, the trip itself can drain your energy more so than any activity at the convention proper.

At times, the check in process, getting to your booth or table can get trying, especially if you are in a bigger venue and you don’t get a map. If this is a high volume event, you’ll likely get a lot of traffic at your table be it sales, questions, or an admirer wanting to talk about your work. Doing this nonstop throughout the weekend can give you bursts of adrenaline, but I and others have joked about the amount of caffeine and sugar required to keep going.

As we all know, caffeine will lead to a crash of the body’s internal servers eventually.

This past month, I’ve had two back to back conventions, both involving long drives. I attended one this past weekend and will attend another at the end of the month. My sleep cycle has not been the best, especially since you may have to replenish your stock of merchandise….not always so easy when you’re more on the fiber arts side of art.

My advice is this: Learn to pace yourself. Get a sense of how much merchandise you’ll need. Keep coffee on hand, but don’t overdo it, especially if you’re driving.
Most importantly, try to get as much rest as you can, before, during and after the event.

If you start to dream like L in this piece of fan art I created for a small series, it may be time to lay off the sweets and stick to healthier snacks during the convention!

L's Pastry Dream from my

Salt Dough Magnets and Key Rings

Salt Dough Magnets and Key Rings

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Our first DIY project is something easy and fun to do. You can make Salt Dough magnets and key ring for friends or as an activity with children as young as ten, as long as an adult  handles the oven duties.

Decorative magnets and key rings are handy and multipurpose.  In the past for dinner parties for friends, I have made salt dough key rings to double as napkin holders which turned into great party favors. The key is to sculpt something you know your friend enjoys. You have fun making it and hopefully they get a kick out of taking something home that was made just for them.

Materials needed:

½  cup / 400ml water
1 tablespoon  vegetable oil
1 ¼ cup / 300g all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup / 300g  salt
Large mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Flat surface to sculpt on
Rolling pin
Knife
Cookie cutters
Baking  Sheet
Cooling rack
Glass of  water
Small Paintbrushes
Poster Paints
Clear Vanish
Ribbons
Key rings
Glue
Small circle magnets

Directions:
First Set the oven to 350 degrees F/ Gas Mark 4.

Mix the water, oil, flour, and salt into a soft dough in the bowl with your mixing spoon.  If you prefer to mix it with your hands go ahead it won’t ruin it.

Sprinkle some flour on the flat surface. Turn the dough out onto the table.  Knead it until it’s smooth and pliable. Then roll out your dough with your rolling pin until it is at least ½ inch thick.

You can use a knife to cut and shape out any figure you like or use a cookie cutter . As an example, with the knife I shaped a  dinosaur , a foot and a  Tar-  (copyright laws being what they are, we will just call it police call box) and with the cookie cutter  I cut out a star.  For the pieces you wish to turn into key rings  remember to make a small hole.

After you have sculpted  your pieces place them on the baking sheet and bake them  for 20 minutes at 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.

Once baked, let  your sculptures cool on the cooling rack for about another  20 minutes.

Once they have cooled,  paint them with your poster paints.  For easy cleanup layer some newspaper on your work surface.  Use good single strokes to apply the paint   Once the paint dries, brush on a single coat of varnish.

Once the varnish is dry,  run the ribbons through the hole in the sculptures and then tie the ribbon to your key ring. For magnet models, glue the magnets on the back and allow them to bond.   Once dry you can use them or give them to a friend.  Voila! In just a few hours you have made something unique and hopefully had a fun time doing it.

What do I do with my webcomic idea: Promotion

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You have your web comic opus ready to upload and publish to the world. You’ve decided on the web space you’re going to utilize to get it out there.

You’ve uploaded and published. Now what?

The World Wide Web these days is what it sounds like. World wide, and very highly populated. Now that your comic is out there, how do you wish to promote it if you want to go that route.

There is nothing wrong with starting small. Tell your friends, be it via word of mouth, or even through your favorite online community or social networking site. Even if you don’t like Facebook invites, and I often don’t in excess, don’t be afraid to make a page for your comic and invite friends to join. Some may recommend it to others. In that vein, you can also put a small button to ‘like’ the comic, but it would only take the reader to the Facebook page.

Join like-minded communities and forums online. Accounts are usually free, and you can promote, and even learn a few things through online discussion. I’d advise against too much promotion of your own work if it detracts from a different topic or just as basic netiquette. Some are ranking sites, such as The Webcomic List and Top Webcomics where comics are judged by member votes or by site hits. Some will allow members to become featured comics for a small fee. It’s worth looking into if you want a little extra exposure starting out. There are web comic groups on Facebook among other social networking sites or the option create one yourself as well.

With convention season starting for me tomorrow at Genericon, I have to point out that people like to see a face with the artist. Go to Comic and Anime conventions in your area. Depending on the event and venue, purchasing table space is not too cumbersome. If you want to cut costs and start out small, attend smaller conventions, many of which originated and grew from college anime clubs. In some cases, registration is included with your table space, and inexpensive at the smaller venues. One thing I’ve noticed at Genericon and conventions like it is a very relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. From there, you might to venture to a larger venue such as Otakon or Comic-con. If you want to vend at conventions, do a quick search for events in your area via Google. Wikipedia also has listings. From there, look at the convention website for artist information. It may take a little searching, but most have what you’re looking for or a contact email.

When it comes to promotion, the most important aspect is knowing your product. Don’t be afraid to talk about your comic, what inspired you to create your story and characters, be it online or in person.

What do I do with my webcomic idea: Web Space

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So you are an artist with a vision. You decide to tell your story in comic form. You want to share your vision with cyberspace.
So, how to go about it?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve read web comics on and off for the past ten years or so. They’ve been around in one form or another for the past fifteen years. I sat next to an artist who has first published his comic via geocities in 1997 at one convention. I’ve read a few strips such as MegaTokyo, and Twisted Kaiju Theater, who have their own web domain space and started around 2000.

There are ways and means to attain webspace, but one of the first things to consider is what space you will reserve on the world wide web.

If you go to the the webcomic list and take a look at the featured comic sections, the links will direct you to the profile page or to the comic itself. Some artists use blogging sites, such as Blogspot or Word Press. Both of these are easy to use and have a variety of templates. You can also sign up for free, which is always good if you are starting out, not sure of where you want to take your story, or you just want something simple and easy to use. Word Press also offers software called Comic Press which can be downloaded and offers a variety of layouts. I haven’t used it myself, but the comics look pretty clean, simple and effective. Some, an I’m in this category, purchase domain space through providers such as FatCow. You pay an annual fee, but you have to option of using templates, or programing the way you want your web page to look via HTML or XML or however you wish if you are a more advanced designer. Some sites also work with Word Press or other popular blogging sites. Look at the package deals offered. How much bandwidth space can you get? How many email addressed can you create? What kind of templates are offered? Do you have the options for e-commerce or online store space?

Whichever option you take, always shop around for what is best for you, and your wallet. You work well when your web space is easy to work with. I know that there is nothing more frustrating than finishing a strip and being unable to publish because you are having a hard time with your web account!

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GeekGirlCon Craft Day!

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To quote the wonderful Dina Kay, “Think geeks, Pac Man, and fun. It’s practically like a scene from Scott Pilgrim, amirite?”

GeekGirlCon is picking up major steam and if you happen to be lucky enough to live in Seattle you should definitely join them for this event.  I mean, who doesn’t love fun, nerdy holiday ornaments? And you can learn how to do it on your own so that next year you’re all set to do DIY ornaments for friends and coworkers.

In case you missed my previous posts about this event, you can click over to their awesomesauce website to find out more information.

“GeekGirlCon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating the contribution and involvement of women in all aspects of sci-fi, comics, gaming and related Geek culture through conventions and events that emphasize both historic and ongoing contribution and influence of women in this culture.” The best part about this organization, however, is that it is not exclusive to women participants.  The idea is to celebrate an aspect of geekdom that does not get nearly enough attention, namely to show that women have an important role in this culture also.  In other words, dudes are more than welcome to volunteer/help out also!

Summary: Sunday, December 5th at 2:30 p.m. at the Summit at Madison, 1730 22nd Ave E, Seattle, WA 98122 and to RSVP BY DECEMBER 3RD by emailing graphics@geekgirlcon.com.

If you don’t live in the Seattle area, there are other ways to support the convention.  Check out the website and, if nothing else, donate a few dollars to the cause!

cider

DIY: 5 Ways to Feel Warm in Winter without Heat

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You guessed it.. the magical answer is: Alcohol.  Winter is great, right?  Family, friends, presents, holidays, freezing cold, being snowed in, lack of daylight.. Okay, you caught me.. I hate winter time. But in this post, we’ll go over ways to make it, and any nagging, visiting in-laws, more bearable.

The “Happy Get-Together with Family and Friends” drink:  Hot Apple Cider

This one is awesome. It’s easy, so very very tasty, nice and warm for when it’s cold outside, makes your entire house smell amazing, and magically makes your Great Aunt Ruth’s stories about growing up on the farm approximately 83% more interesting.

Here’s how it goes down. Get all these things:

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 orange peel, cut into strips
  • 1 lemon peel, cut into strips
  • A big ol’ bottle of Black Strap Rum (brand of your choice)

Now.. obtain a crock pot. If you don’t have one, shame on you. They’re the easiest, laziest way to cook a hot meal ever. Pour in the apple cider and maple syrup, crank that bad boy up to high. Take everything else, put it in a cheese cloth, wrap it up into a pouch, and tie off the top with kitchen string/twine – and toss it in the cider. Let that steep for about 15 minutes, and serve. Grab some mugs, fill them a 1/3 of the way up with rum, the rest of the way with cider, and bust out the Christmas Carols. Feel free to top it off with a stick of cinnamon in the mug, or finely chopped apple right in there.

The “It’s Just Cold Enough to Make Me Mostly Anti-Social” drink:  Spiked Hot Chocolate

This one is great for when you want to spend your time cuddled up in front of a fire on a bear-skin rug like a frickin’ Christmas card. We all do that, right? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Plenty of Kapali/Kahlua

Pour the milk, cream, and sugar together in a saucepan over med-high heat, and let it get just barely to boiling. Add the chocolate, and whisk over heat until melted (but NOT boiling). Same with the cider, fill your mug about 1/3 of the way with liquor, and the rest with hot chocolate. And yes, you can totally top this off with those tiny little marshmallows. Especially if you find the ones that are shaped like little hearts and unicorns and other br00tal stuff. That makes it 3 times more badass.

The “That’s It. I’m Sick of You People” drink:  Egg Nog and Maker’s

This particular drink (and photo) comes from our favorite Jacob, who definitely knows a thing or two about combining misanthropy and alcohol.  This is for when you want to put on A Christmas Story, throw an elf hat on your cat, and pretend you’re being festive and social. Now.. honestly, if you’re at this point, it’s probably best not to over-exert yourself, and just use Jacob’s method: buy pre-made egg nog, a bottle of Maker’s, and go to town.

However, for you over-achievers.. here’s what you’ll need to make it yourself:

  • 1 cup Maker’s Mark
  • 2 tablespoon sugar syrup
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla essence [yes. essence.]
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon powder

Now’s when you start regretting being an over-achiever: Beat eggs, sugar syrup and salt till the ingredients are mixed properly. Now, add milk slowly while whisking so that it forms a smooth mixture. Heat a pan and add the contents, stirring it continuously on a low flame, till the mixture become thick. Allow the mixture to cool for a while. Take a sieve and drain the mixture to remove unwanted pieces. Pour it into a large container and add vanilla essence, add PLENTY of Maker’s and cover it with a plastic or foil. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Before serving, mix the egg custard and cream, whip, til it becomes frothy. Sprinkle nutmeg powder, and serve chilled.  I sure hope you had fun with that one. If not.. that just means you’re ready for drink number four.

The “I Have No Interest In Winter Or Anything It Has To Offer” drink:  Sangria

This is when you start realizing all your friends are sending you texts like “man, SCREW this weather! An icicle totally tried to attack my face today!” every day. So what do you do? Invite them all over.. have everyone bring an ingredient for fajitas, throw on some Mariachi music, and make some delicious Sangria. Have each person bring something from this list:

  • 2 Bottles of red wine (any red wine will do, really. Use the cheap stuff. You’re not going to taste the intricacies of the wine with this)
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 Orange cut into wedges
  • 1 Lime cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Splash of orange juice or lemonade
  • Half a cup of Triple Sec
  • A cup or two of Gin or Vodka (optional)
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 Small can of crushed pineapples (with juice)
  • 4 Cups ginger ale

Now, you can do this one of two ways.  If you have the time and resources, combine everything Except the ginger ale into a large pitcher. For the citrus fruit, squeeze the wedges into the mixture, and toss in the full wedge. Let it marinade over night and really soak in those flavors. Right before you serve it, add the ginger ale, and serve over ice. If everyone’s contributing, you’ll have to do this on the fly when they all get there. In which case, throw everything together, and serve over a LOT of ice. You can even put it all in a blender and make sangria slushies. The first method tastes better. FYI. When it sits over night, it really gives those juices a chance to come together properly.

Now.. turn up the heat, bust out the maracas, and let’s pretend that whole ‘snow’ thing was just a bad dream.

And lastly…. .

The “When All Else Fails” drink:  Totally Self-Explanatory

Cheers!

♥ Jackie

Opening a Cellphone: This Could End In Tears

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Today was a twelve hour day at work. Usually I have some entertainment on my phone, but for some reason, the track ball wouldn’t roll any way except side to side. My first video was a plea for help. But luckily, I found help on the internet when I got home.

I decided to fix it myself. I’m still undecided as to whether or not this is a good idea.

Here’s the video of me fixing it (trimmed so as to not be completely boring).

This brings me to my question of the evening: Have you ever tried fixing something only to have it go disastrously wrong? What was it? What did you end up doing with it?

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