Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Henry Cowell Redwood State Park

With the lovely weather, Sak and I ventured outdoors a bit recently.  Since we were going down to Mount Hermon (near Santa Cruz) to pick up my sister from summer camp, we stopped by Henry Cowell Redwoods state park.  It's in Felton, very close to both Mt. Hermon and the popular Roaring Camp train.
I was surprised that parking was $10 now! >.>"  But it had been a long time since I'd been to the park, and the state budget isn't so great, so it's understandable. 

The park is a simple loop trail, a little less than a mile long.  Wide dirt paths, so there were plenty of strollers and families around.  After checking out the small museum, we walked the trail, bathing in the warm weather and delicious redwood-scented air.
This tree is so burly!
And this tree was albino, getting it's nutrients from it's parent tree.
I love how the tree limbs on this tree grow straight up even though the branch is sideways.
Hello Sak!
The coolest part though is the Fremont tree.  It's a big tree with a hollow base.  You can go inside a small hole, and fit like, 15 people inside!  It was actually used as a honeymoon suite a long time ago.  It's that big! I tried to take a picture but since it's pitch dark inside it didn't come out so well.
I also learned about California bay leaves. I wonder if you can cook with these too?

After finishing our mini trek, we left to welcome my sister back from camp.  She caught (and released) this cute little guy along the way!

Monday, August 19, 2013

DIY Zelda Heart Soap

It's been ridiculously hot (for the bay), but with Penga-sis over for a visit we couldn't help but fire up the stove for another round of soap molding.

This particular one, a classic Zelda heart container, uses some pretty standard silicone molds.  A small heart ice cube mold and a large heart baking mold.

First we made some small hearts with shea butter soap.  I screwed up the food colors though, so it's not quite the bright red I was going for. :P  After the soap cooled we put them inside the larger molds (sprayed with rubbing alcohol to reduce bubbling).
Next we used some clear glycerin, some honey almond scent, and some blue color.  Again, the colors are not quite right.  It should be a much more subtle blue color.

Poured into the mold just over the red hearts. Cool and pop out!
This is in full sun.  Kinda pretty eh? The back is not so great though.
At night, backside of soap.
I should have put a layer of blue before putting the red heart, so that itd be "floating" in the middle. But then there'd be a line? Hmm.

Well, until next time, it's kinda cute!

Monday, August 12, 2013

DIY Shrink Film Charms

Remember shrinky dinks?  Those fun bits of plastic you drew on and then baked into miniature bits?  I (and my mom) did my entire 4th grade mission model in shrinky dink diorama. @_@

Anyway, did you know that they make printable shrinky film now? I had no idea until recently. Imagine the possibilities!

I found a pack of white printable shrink film at Dick Blick.  Time to go to town.
I started with Link and some chickens (a button idea I never had time to finish before Fanime). You print just as you normally would, only set the image color saturation to 50%.  Since the film shrinks, all the colors get intensified, so you want to start with less color!

Cut the charms out carefully.  Since it's plastic, I couldn't cut this in the machine, but instead by hand. It can be a little tricky if you have a lot of small corners!
Next, baking time! I put the film face up on a piece of cardboard, and covered it with a sheet of vellum paper. Baked at 300 degrees F until I saw all the pieces curl up and shrink. (Package said 3-5 minutes.)
See how Links face got all pink?  Too much saturation!

Anyway, they make some pretty fun charms!  You'll want to coat them with something though, so the ink doesn't come off. I used polyurethane at first, but it started to turn the charms yellowish.  The newer ones use clear nail polish.  We'll see how that works in the long run!
Maou-sama, from Hataraku Maou-Sama!
In his MgRonald's garb, of course.
I put Link and chickens on a dollar store phone stylus for my sister.  I sent Maou-sama to Cousin T. I love how the plastic gets pretty thick when it shrinks. Nice and sturdy!

But why stop at just charms? Penga-Sis came over so we made earrings too! Dragonballs for me and Rainbow Dash cutie marks for her.
They shrink a lot! By 1/3 or 1/4 I guess?
We used some tacky glue to attach some posts.
Sak thinks the dragonballs look too much like buttons though :{
I love the cutie mark earrings though! They are pretty cool.

Anyway, I see loads of potential with this fancy printable plastic. Definitely will be prepared with some otaku ear gear at the next con, anyway!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dr. Who Stationery Part 2

Recently I had the great opportunity to make some Dr. Who stationery for a lovely lady, and I was very excited about being asked that I made some more designs in addition to the ones I blogged about before. :3

Also, they just announced the new doctor! Though I think it'll be hard for me to be anything other than a David Tennant fangirl. Huhuhu.

Here's 10th doctor's sonic screwdriver, on a brown striped paper, not too unlike his iconic suit!
It says allons-y on the inside!
How about a cute quote to go along with it?
And finally, a little River Song!
Sorry these are all phone pics, but it was a pretty fun project!

In exchange, she sent me a box of fun goodies and snacks from the East Coast! SO FUN. I was especially intrigued by this Amish Friendship Soup, which I made for dinner the following night.

It made like, a week's worth of food! So crazy. It was good, I'll have to find a recipe online and make some again later.
Trying new things is awesome. Though maybe not fish fingers and custard.

Monday, August 5, 2013

DIY Star Wars Fabric Dress

Although we didn't do any real cosplay for Comicon, I did make a new dress! (With Sak's help on the tricky parts..zippers are tricky! :P)

I used McCall pattern M6504, which I had picked up on one of those dollar pattern sales at Joann's.  It's a little disturbing how many unused patterns I have collected, so it was good to finally use one!
I chose this pattern (view A) cause it said it was easy, and because you can use several different types of fabrics.  I wanted to use Star Wars fabric, and even with a 40% off coupon, licensed fabric is expensive!  This pattern let me use some less expensive coordinating fabric to go with the pricey stuff.

But the Star Wars fabric is pretty awesome.  It looks like comic book covers, perfect for Comicon, yeah?

Anyway, the pattern wasn't too bad.  I don't think I'd call it easy though.  At first it was, but a fitted dress is kind of hard to make! I had to re-pin like twenty times trying to get the shape around my chest correct. :P  I guess it'd be easier if I had a dress form or a flat chest! Even though the shape came out alright in the end, I still felt it looked better with a belt.

I love how flowey the bottom of the dress is though. I wish I had had time to make a fun colored petticoat to really poof it out. I still have time to make one before the premiere of Episode VII, right? :)

To go with my dress, I made a little rebel alliance felty hairclip.
And wore the Star Wars necklace my fellow SW-loving cousin H made me when I was in middle school!
We used to read the books together and have our own little two person sci-fi book club.  Good times, good times!

Anyway, even though many people had homemade dresses at Comicon, mine got several compliments, so I figure it turned out okay! It was nice to wear something practical (light, airy, not a cardboard box) yet still be sporting some convention spirit! I only regret that I didn't make Sak a matching vest or at least a bow tie! Another thing to do before the movie comes out!