My Second Cosplay ~ Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I can't believe this year is coming to an end already!  This has been a great year for me. One of my dreams has been to make a cosplay. I not only made one cosplay this year, but two.  I made my Astrid cosplay from 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' over the summer months and these past few weeks I have put together a Hiccup cosplay for my brother.  I plan on eventually making him a cosplay for Hiccup from the second movie but I needed a simple cosplay that I could quickly put together.  So here we have Hiccup from the first movie. 

Step one was getting all the materials for the cosplay.  I really didn't want to spend a lot of money on this cosplay so I tried to use what I had instead of buying fur and fabric.  I did have to buy the green fabric for Hiccup's tunic.  I used fur scraps that my sister didn't have a use for to make Hiccup's vest.  

For the tunic I used McCalls pattern 3658.  It's an out-of-print pattern that we happen to have because my mom found it at the thrift store a few years ago.  I modified the tunic by adding the eyelets and leather lacing to the neckline and the 'rip' Hiccup has at the bottom of his tunic.  I also added quite a bit of length to the tunic because my brother is tall (he's taller than me!). The belt is just a long strip of brown fabric that I found in our scrap pile.  It's simply tied in the back and the knot is covered by the vest.

The vest was the hard part.  Sometimes the cheap way is also the hard way.  We did not have enough of one fur for the vest, so I took all the fur scraps we had and cut them into pieces and sewed all the pieces together.  Since it's fur I had to sew it all by hand!  Not what you would call a piece of cake.  Because of this the vest does not look identical to the vest Hiccup has.  It's unique.  I think it has a more authentic look, since I used mostly real fur scraps.

My mom found some dark green sweatpants at the thrift store.  I had to basically turn them into leggings.  I had my brother put them on and I figured out how much excess to cut off.  Hiccup has a few stitches on his pants so I cut a few holes in the pants and weaved in the same leather lacing I used for the tunic. 

I was at a loss as for what to do about the boots because I was using the only boots we had that would work for my Astrid cosplay.  My mom found a pair of slippers at the thrift store that to my surprise fit perfectly for Hiccup.  the only thing I added to them was some extra fur on top to make them a little higher.

That is pretty much it for the costume part of the cosplay.  Since I have an ax for my Astrid cosplay my mom thought it be neat if we had a prop for Hiccup.  I agreed but I was in the middle of sewing Hiccup's tunic and wasn't really feeling like I wanted to take on more work.  To my surprise my Mom and my brother made Hiccup's shield from the movie (I am so lucky to have a Mom who loves to create stuff just as much as I do and is always helping me with my projects).

They made the shield out of foam sandwiched in between two pieces of cardboard.  My mom did an amazing job of painting the shield and adding the metal edges (which is actually just poster board cut and painted with silver spray paint).

There you go.  That is how I made Hiccup's outfit for my brother. My brother makes a pretty good Hiccup, if a I do say so myself. He is kinda in that awkward teenage stage still so he fits Hiccup perfectly.  The only problem is his hair is not quite long enough for Hiccup but at least it's the right color.

Since we still had a lot of snow outside, which is not going to be melting any time soon,  we both put on our cosplays and took snow pictures.  Below are a few of my favorites.


Christmas is Almost Here!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Today happens to be a wet and rainy day.  We've been getting so much rain and snow these last few months and it makes me so happy!  The weather forecast is even predicting possibly a white Christmas this year!  That makes me even more happy.  

I really don't really have anything in particular to say but today just seemed like the perfect day to sit down and write something.  I'm going to share with you some of the projects I have been working on this Christmas season.  

Christmas is a time for giving.   This year I decided to put together something simple for my friends at church.  My mom found some adorable yet simple gift bags at Joann's and she decorated them with paint, a potato and glitter.  She carved a holly leaf in the potato to create a homemade stamp. She also used carrot to make the red holly berries.   The glitter I think is what really makes these bags perfect for Christmas.  She sprinkled the glitter on the paint before it dried.

I filled the bags with a small jar of homemade pumpkin butter and a small bag of candy.  Lastly I added added a candy cane because it's not Christmas without candy canes, right?

I was meaning to take some nice pictures but I've been too lazy to get my camera out (meaning run upstairs to grab my camera that is sitting on my desk).  Fortunately, my Mom took some pictures with her camera or else I wouldn't of had any pictures to share.

We have also been busy baking cookies.  Cookies for us to eat and cookies to give to our friends and neighbors.  Last night we made sugar cookie cut-outs and frosted them.  We had fun seeing who could make the most creative cookies.  

Today I made ginger cookies and dipped them half in white chocolate. There's a tutorial for making these cookies here: 

I took the easy way and I used 'Betty Crocker's Gingerbread cookie mix' that you buy at the store.  These cookies are surprisingly easy to make yet they look very festive and yummy.

So that's just a little summary of what's been keeping me busy these past few weeks.  I can't believe Christmas is only three days away. I'm really excited and can't wait, but at the same time, I'm not ready for Christmas to be over.  

Oh, I almost forgot.  I have officially started making my second cosplay.  It's not actually for me, it's for my brother.  I plan on making him a Hiccup cosplay from How to Train Your Dragon 2 eventually.  We may go to a Anime/Cosplay Convention in January and since Hiccup's costume from the second movie is so complicated I decided to make him a cosplay for Hiccup from the first movie for the convention.  I'll have pictures and a tutorial on my blog once I finish it.  

Merry Christmas!

Mary's Song

Monday, December 7, 2015

I don't know why but, whenever Christmas times comes I am always so fascinated by the songs that are written in Mary's perspective.  Songs like "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant and "You're Here" by Francesca Battistelli.

I think the reason that Mary's story has always seemed so fascinating to me is because she was just a girl.  She was probably not even twenty.  Maybe sixteen or seventeen.  She was most likely facing struggles similar to the struggles I face.  She was nobody special but she had found favor in God's eye's and she was to become the mother of His Son.  

I love learning about the women in the Bible because I find myself relating myself to them.  I believe that we can learn a lot from Mary.  

I can't imagine what would have been going through Mary's mind when the angel came to her and told her that she would bear God's Son.  The Bible tells us her response: 

"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; Let it be done to me according to your word." Luke 1:38

I am amazed at how willing Mary was for the Lord to use her.  She humbly accepted God's plan for her, even in knowing that it might change her life forever.  Following God would cause her a good deal of pain and embarrassment but nothing mattered because she knew that the Lord's will for her was the best.

Her faith and trust in God is an inspiration to me. I want to be like her. I know that God most likely won't appear to me the way He did to Mary but I know that God has great plans for me. With a humble heart, like Mary, I want to give up all my plans and hopes to God. I want to come before God with a heart willing to serve and ready for God to use me. Even when it doesn't make sense I know God's plan for me is the best.

And Mary's story doesn't stop there.  Luke 1:46 - 55 is just beautiful!  I often will read through this part of the Christmas story and never really take to heart this part of Mary's story.   

Along with a servant's heart Mary has a heart bursting with thankfulness and praise to God. I can only imagine how hard it would have been for Mary to follow God as she, a virgin, became pregnant with God's Son. Many of her family and friends probably shamed her. Joseph even planned to divorce her quietly until the Lord intervened.  Yet through all this Mary had a heart full of thankfulness.  Her words never once show resentment for what God was doing to her but instead she praised God for His goodness to her.

"My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savoir, for he has looked on the Humble estate of His servant, for behold from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name and His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation." Luke 1:46-50

I want to know her secret.  When I get overcome with life and the many struggles that are a part of life thanking God is the last thing on my mind.  But thanking God should be my response for everything.  Everyday when I rise and when I go to sleep I can thank God for His goodness to me. There is always something to be thankful for if you search your heart long enough.   

There is a beautiful song that has truly captured the essence of Mary's story and Mary's song.  It's called "Be Born in Me" sung by Francesca Battistelli.  This song is actually what has inspired me to write this post. 

I have found that I can listen to this song over and over again (I actually have listened to it over and over again as I wrote this post) and the words inspire and speak to me every time.  

I was thinking about the phrase 'be born in me'.   It doesn't only apply to just Mary.  Though in physical terms it perfectly describes Mary, it can apply to us spiritually. Because of Christmas, when God sent His Son into the world to save us, He gave us something special -  Jesus living in us. 

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20

Because of what Christ did we really are not that different than Mary.  This Christmas I want Jesus to be "Born in Me".  I want my life to be an example of God's love.  Just like it was obvious to those around Mary that she was carrying God's Son, I want my love for Jesus to be obvious as well. When the world sees me and my life I want them to see Jesus who is in me. 

So what about you?  Does Mary's story inspire you as it inspires me?  I hope that this Christmas season you find the true Joy that can only be found in Jesus living in your heart.  He will come and fill your life with love. 

God has great plans for you and me if you are willing, like Mary, to humble yourself and with a thankful heart place your future in God's hands.  Be ready to be amazed at how God will use you!

Thanksgiving Blessings

Friday, November 27, 2015

I find it kinda ironic how the day after Thanksgiving we have Black Friday. Thanksgiving is a day to focus on our many blessings and having good times with friends and family.  It's just silly how the day after we celebrate being thankful we are once again out the door early the next morning buying more stuff and trying to find the best deal.

My family used to have a Thanksgiving tradition to help us remember of what we were thankful for throughout the year.  We put a decorative box on the table and throughout the year we would write down something we were thankful for and put it in the box.  On Thanksgiving we would open the box and read all of the slips of paper that said what we were thankful for.  

Sadly, we no longer do this tradition and often times I wish we still did.  As we have grown older we have grown out of many of our traditions.  When I have my own family someday I can't wait to bring back this tradition and start many new traditions.  

Just recently I have been trying to focus more on being thankful and having a heart that is content.  Last year I had four jars on my desk that I decorated and slips of paper to fill out and put in my jars.  I had one jar for prayer requests, a thankful jar, a jar for good times,  and a jar for Bible verses.  Sadly, this year I'm not doing my jars again.  I still have them I just wasn't motivated to do them this year.

One thing I love to do is journaling.  I have too many journals, to be honest, and I just keep buying more because I love them so much.  Just recently I have started writing in a special journal. I call it my Thankful Journal. Each night I try to write down at least three things that I'm thankful for to help me keep my focus on God and His goodness to me.  I can usually think of about five things to write down.

This year I'm most thankful for my family and friends. I usually say this every year but this year I'm especially thankful for my family because I'm learning that even when my friends grow distant or move away and I don't see them as often as I used to I will always have my family.  

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with friends and family.
With Thanksgiving past it is now officially okay to listen to Christmas music and decorate for the holidays. Only four more weeks until Christmas!  

Enjoying Life

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Don’t try so hard
To move past the moment
These days go by
And they’re gone before you know it
So come on, open your window
Let the light shine in
This is life don’t miss it"
~Francesca Battistelli

Today I have been busy working on one of my sewing projects; I'm making a Christmas blouse to go with my prairie skirt for an upcoming event we are going to after Thanksgiving.  When  I spend long hours in the craft room I like to listen to my music to keep me company while I work.  Lately I've been trying to listen more to Christian songs because they are always so much more uplifting and as I sing the lyrics and contemplate the words I find them to be so encouraging.  

I listened to the song "Don't Miss It"  by Frencesca Battistelli and I have to say I just love that song. It is a wonderful reminder to take time each day to go outside and enjoy life.  

It is so easy to get so caught up in social media that it's all we think about. I've been there and I find it is still a constant struggle for me to just put my iPod (since I don't have a phone) down. Or maybe we get overwhelmed by working ourselves to hard. We need to remember life is too short to waste on things that don't matter in the long run. I want to make each day of my life count.  

On Monday my family (well everyone minus my Dad who was working) went on a short trip to Monterey to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  We've been to the aquarium so many times before so it wasn't anything special.  What made this trip special to me was being able to spend time with my family.  We made many memories that day and I am so blessed because I could not have asked for a better family to share life with.

I took plenty of pictures as well since, as I've said before, photography is one of my favorite hobbies.

Everyday I'm amazed at Gods amazing creation and I think Gods creativity is best displayed in the creatures of the sea.  I feel so privileged to have been able to take pictures of such amazing creatures.

My camera was driving me crazy the whole time because of the low light conditions and the fish never staying still but I managed to get quite a few pictures that I'm really happy with.


I found Nemo! and he actually stayed still enough for me to get a good picture.  I also found Dory!

This picture is my favorite.  The special exhibit at the aquarium had octopuses, cuttlefish, and squids. I was able to capture this picture of a squid and I'm so happy that it's not blurry.  I'm spellbound at how big and intricate the squids eyes are.  Gods unique design is clearly seen in this creature.  

I know this is not a "Fish"  but this puffin (At least I'm pretty sure it was a puffin) posed so cute for me in this picture that I had to share it. I also really like the picture below of the same puffin because I think it gives a completely different story to same subject.  I love how you can see the puffins feet underwater and how you can see the water drops making it clear that the puffin is behind glass and living in captivity.

Anyway, with Thanksgiving just around the corner it's time for me to start counting my blessings.  I have so much to be thankful for and my family is at the top of my list. 

I'm doing my best each day to find the little blessings of life, ones that are often overlooked, and thank God for them.  

I hope you enjoy these pictures ;)

How to Cook a Pumpkin!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The best part of fall is pumpkin spice everything! Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bread...  My favorite is Pumpkin Pie.  I love making Pumpkin Pie, but this year just the normal pumpkin from a can routine was not enough for me.  I decided to make my pie from a real pumpkin.  The pumpkin I used was a Cinderella Pumpkin.  I was so excited  about getting my own pumpkin that I had my own little picture shoot with it (Yeah, I know, I'm weird, but the picture above is my favorite from the shoot).

Today I am going to show you how I cooked my pumpkin and made pumpkin puree with it.  I was so surprised at how easy it was.  

First you wash your pumpkin (I almost forgot this step).  I decided to cut my pumpkin in half from the stem down.

I also cut the halves in half because it made it easier to get the seeds out.  I used a spoon and scooped out all the seeds and the stringy pumpkin gunk.  I placed all the pumpkin half's onto a big cooking pan.  I filled the pan with a thin layer of water and covered the pumpkin with tinfoil because I didn't want to burn the edges of my pumpkin. I cooked it in the oven for about two hours at 375 degrees.

I was surprised that my pumpkin had barely any seeds.  The Cinderella Pumpkins are more for cooking so they had a lot of meat to them and not a lot of seeds.  

While the pumpkin was cooking I seasoned the the pumpkin seeds, half with a garlic seasoning and the other half with a BBQ seasoning and olive oil.  

I put them in the oven for about twenty minutes.  I normally don't like pumpkin seeds.  I don't know why.  I kinda think it was more of a mind thing.  But I find that when you make something you don't necessarily know if you like you are more likely to try something new.  I found out that I actually really liked the pumpkin seeds.  We decided that the garlic seasoning was the better flavor.  

Back to my pumpkin.  Once it was soft and a little bit mushy I took it out of the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes.

I scooped all the mushy meat of the pumpkin into a bowl.  It was really stringy. When I was done I was left with just the skin of the pumpkin.

Using a hand blender I blended the pumpkin mush (I'm calling it that cause that's really what it was), until it had a nice smooth texture.

What you now have is basically the same stuff you buy in a can. Fresh homemade pumpkin puree that is ready to be used in all of your pumpkin recipes.  I found that it is a little bit watery compared to the canned puree.  Next time I think I will try to drain some of the liquid out of it before I use it in my recipes.

I used my pumpkin to make pumpkin pie.  I was happily surprised to find as I took my first bite of the pie that the pumpkin flavor was really rich.  

I had a lot of leftover Pumpkin Puree so I froze some in an ice cube tray to use in smoothies and I used the leftover to make homemade Pumpkin Butter.

If you've never had Pumpkin Butter, you have to try it.  It is like fall in a jar.  I could just smell that stuff all day as it cooked in the crockpot.   I followed this really easy recipe I found on pinterest.  A link to the tutorial is below.  My favorite part is that there is no sugar in the recipe.  The main sweetener is honey.

So that was my cooking adventure this past week.  I'm trying to try at least one new recipe every week so I plan on doing many more tutorials.

Twenty and Blessed

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A sore throat and a pinched nerve in my neck that hurts whenever I look to my left greeted me this morning when I woke up. But I was determined not to let it bother me or take any joy away from this day. I pulled myself out of bed, jumped in the shower, and put a smile on my face because today was my birthday. I turned twenty years old today (No longer a teenager, Yeah!).

Unfortunately the smile I put on my face didn't last long. This year my birthday was on a Sunday and I was planning on wearing one of my favorite dresses to church today. The dress I really wanted to wear didn't work out and I found myself rushing around like crazy trying to put an outfit together and do my hair and make up (and my once clean closet is now in need of cleaning again).

I wish I could say the rest of my day went perfect and met all of my expectations but I'm just gonna be honest and say that I didn't have the perfect day, and things didn't go exactly how I wanted them to.

But Instead of focusing on all the things that "went wrong" I'm doing my best to choose to focus on the things I can be thankful for in my life. I'm twenty and blessed. So blessed. I have the best family who loves me very much. Each one of my siblings is very dear to me. My friends all wished me a wonderful day, and I have a lot to look forward in this next year.

My day may not have have gone exactly how I wanted it to go but that's not what matters. I'm learning that if I take the time to count my many blessings my disappointments vanish and I'm left feeling blessed and happy once again.

I've been thinking a lot about the next year of my life. I have decided that what I really hope for in this next year is for it to be a year of learning. I have come up with a list of things I want to either make, improve upon, or teach myself;

  • Improve my cooking skills by making a new meal at least once every two weeks and trying new dessert recipes. 
  • Learn how to make a dress without a pattern and learn how to make my own pattern. 
  • Read for at least 20 minutes everyday 
  • Make a hiccup cosplay for my brother (because I got an Astrid cosplay, but I kinda need a Hiccup cosplay now) 
  • Draw more, Write more, and take pictures more often 
  • Make a promise Box (If you want to know what this is check out this wonderful blog post from A Lovely Calling:
  • Most importantly grow closer in my walk with God 

I will most likely add to this list, it's still what you can call "an idea in progress". My goal in this list is to help me stay focused and not always fall into the habit of wasting my time. In the end I know that my plans are nothing compared to God's plans and I know his plans are always the best for me.

I'm excited to see what God has planned for me in this next chapter of my life. Twenty is gonna be a great age, I just have this feeling. I'm warming up to it quick and am ready to take my first steps of life in my twenties.