My Astrid Cosplay ~ A Work in Progress

Friday, June 26, 2015

Everyone has dreams.  Lots of times our dreams don't go any farther than just being dreams but sometimes we can turn them into reality.  Ever since I saw HTTYD 2 I've been wanting to make a cosplay of Astrid. I'm making that dream come true because this summer I'm making an Astrid cosplay!  

Making costumes isn't new for me.  I have a closet full of costumes from colonial dresses to medieval gowns.  We used to participate in a history co-op where we dressed up from different time periods we were learning about.  My friends and I would have fun sewing costumes for each time period we learned about.  Making a cosplay of Astrid isn't going to be easy.  I'm used to using a pattern but I won't have a pattern for this project.  But hey, that's what makes it fun!  I will learn as I go.

Having a project to work on makes me so happy.  I haven't made a costume in a long time. I forgot how much I love creating things with my hands, especially costumes.  I spend most of my day in my sewing/craft room and put 'Owl City' on shuffle.  I'm as happy as can be! 
I'm not going to post a full blown tutorial but I will post pictures of what I'm working on and tell you what worked best for me.  I hope you find this helpful :)

So, first step was to buy what I needed.  I found the perfect fabric for her shirt and skirt at Hancocks. I got it on sale too!  I know that this is going to be an expensive project so I'm trying to be smart by using coupons and buying things when they are on sale.

There are lots of parts to Astrid's outfit. I didn't know where to start, so I decided that I would begin with making the bird skull thingies (I really don't know what they are, some sort of animal skull) and spikes she wears on her skirt.  Using oven bake clay I did my best to create them.  I made one big one, one small one, and one spike.  

My plan was to make molds of them so I wouldn't have to hand sculpt every one.  I've heard about silicone molding and since it was a very cheap way to make a mold I decided to try it.  I followed this tutorial to make my mold:

My molds turned out wonderful.  

I decided I needed to make around ten of the big bird skulls (I'm just gonna call them that 'cause I really don't know what to call them) and two small ones, and about 30 spikes (I ended up making a few extras as well).  I was looking into using resin for casting but it was very expensive.  We had some plaster in the garage so I decided to try my mold with plaster.  It worked nicely. The only problem was the weight. The plaster was very heavy and I really don't want the skulls to weigh down the skirt.  

My mom recommended I use something called Model Magic.  At first I was thinking that stuff was for kids and would not work, but after I looked into it I found that it was perfect for what I needed.  I bought a big pack at Walmart for $20.  This stuff is so light!  You can pick up a huge handful and it weighs like nothing.

For extra support when I attach the skulls to my skirt I decided to add a wire to the back (I actually just took apart paper clips). 

Then I stuffed the Model Magic into my mold, and inserted the wire clip.  The nice thing about silicone is that it is flexible.  I was able to pop the stuff right out the mold and place it on a tray to dry and then make the next one.    

The Modely Magic took three days to dry.  That's a long time when you're waiting.  I decided to try making the shoulder pads while  I waited for them to dry.  I tested my design with paper first before I cut anything out.  I pretty much copied what I saw others do.  Here are some of the tutorials I found that were very helpful:

Once I was happy with how my paper model looked I took it apart and I basically had my own pattern.  I cut the pieces out on craft foam.  You can get sheets like the one I used for about one dollar at the craft store.  I know orange isn't the desirable color, but they are going to be painted anyway.

The fun part was putting the cut-out pieces together.  It was also the hardest part.  I found that when working with foam hot glue works great.  I also found out that if you heat the foam and then bend it into the shape you want and hold it, it will keep that shape when it cools. Think of all the possibilities with craft foam!  This website gives some great advice when your working with foam: 

Before I painted the foam and  I gave it three coats of Modge Podge for a sealant.    

Then I painted it black.  I'm so happy because finally I got rid of the orange color.

Next, I painted it with metallic acrylic paint.  I used black paint on a sponge to add a tarnished look to make it look rustic.  I can't believe I made these our of ordinary craft foam. 

Painting the shoulder pads was fun.  Next I had to paint the skulls and spikes. I wasn't looking forward to it because there are so many!  I did the same thing I did with the shoulder pads.  I even applied one coat of Modge Podge because as the Model Magic dried it cracked a little.  The cracks actually looked cool but I applied the Modge Podge hoping it would keep the cracks from getting any worse.  

After I painted them all black, I used a sponge with the metallic paint and lot's of Q-tips to make them look like metal. And I still can't believe how light they are!

After a long day of painting my hands are a mess.

That's as far as I've gotten so far.  Next I plan on making Asrid's shirt.  I will take lots of pictures and post another tutorial on how I made it, but first... I have to make it ;)

A Poem and a Song

Saturday, June 20, 2015

You know how some people have just always known what it is they want to do with their life?   They don't have to think twice about what it is that God is calling them to do.  Often times I wish it was that way with my life.

Since I graduated high school (a little over one year ago) I have not taken any college classes.  I don't feel pressured to take any classes. The main reason I haven't is because the local college doesn't offer any classes that catch my interest.  I've never had a clear idea of what it is that I want to do in life, that is, other than my dreams of being a wife and mother someday. To be honest I'm happy being home and not taking any college classes (who wants more school, right?).

I'm at a point in my life where I just don't know what I want to do with my life. Opportunities to serve come and go and I feel so blessed by each opportunity I get to serve God.  But I feel like I'm still waiting for the next big thing to happen in my life.  I don't know when or what it is that God has in store for me, but for now I'm learning to be content while I'm waiting. 

I think a lot about the future.  I get frustrated because I want it to be clear to me which path I am to take. Learning to be patient and to put your trust completely in God is hard.  If I could see my future and what it is that God has planned for me, trusting Him would be easy.  It's hard to trust God without knowing.  But I guess that's what faith is (Hebrews 11:1).  I'm slowly learning to trust God even when His will for me is not clear.

A few weeks ago when I was feeling inspired I wrote a poem.  As I said earlier, I don't write poems that often and when I do, I don't pay any attention to the rules of poetry.  I know I should be rhyming words and stuff but I honestly would rather just write what comes to my mind and call it a poem (hey, it works for me!). Anyway, here's the poem I wrote:

I keep asking why? Why?
Why does this keep happening to me?
Why am I not where I want to be?

I keep asking when? When?
When will I understand Your plan for my life?
When will my dreams come true?

I keep asking how? How?
How can I make any sense out of this?
How will it all come together in the end?

I keep asking and asking,
You keep listening and listening,
Then I hear Your voice.

You keep saying trust. Trust.
Trust in My plan for your life.
Trust that I know what I'm doing.

You keep saying wait. Wait.
Wait and it will soon make sense.
Wait patiently and you will be rewarded.

And so I say yes.  Yes.
Yes, Your plan is what's best for me.
Yes, I will trust you and wait patiently.

I also love music and I usually can always find a song to go with whatever I'm facing in life.  Right now "The Waiting" by Jamie Grace is a song that I can really relate to.  

What will it look like?
What will it be like?
When my world turns out like you planned.
When will I get there? Feels like I'm nowhere.
My dreams are like dust in my hair.
But I, I know.

That this is the waiting.
I anxiously wait.
'Cause I hold on to love that will never let go.
And in these times that my patience is tested,
Won't you remind me that I'm not home?

Here in the waiting.
The waiting. The waiting.

All of the questions, secret confessions,
Lord, You'll make sense of it all.
And I know it's hard,
So I'm letting go of these thoughts that are taking control.

That this is the waiting.
I anxiously wait.
I hold on to love that will never let go.
And in these times when my patience is tested,
Won't you remind me that I'm not alone?

Here in the waiting. The waiting. The waiting.

Oh, and I, I know. I, I, know. This is the waiting.

Oo, the waiting.

And in these times that my patience is tested,
You are the love that will never let go.

Here in the waiting.

The waiting.

So I'll be here waiting, waiting, waiting,
Believing You'll never let go.

The Last Fruit of the Spirit

Monday, June 15, 2015

Well, what do you know! We have finally made it to the last Fruit of the Spirit - self-control. This fruit is no less important than all the others. It is so important that we are constantly working on cultivating each of the nine fruits in our lives (I believe there's nine...yes, I just sang it in my head.  My mom had a song for the Fruit of the Spirit as well).  

Back to self-control.  If you were to ask me what self-control is my mind would instantly think back to when my siblings and I were little. We would often get rowdy and we could never keep our hands to ourselves.  Mom would say: "Show me what self-control looks like." We would fold our hands together (like you do when your praying) and place them in our lap.  It forced us to have to resist the temptation to be loud and out-of-control.  And that's basically what self-control is - not giving into temptation. It's having the will power to be able to say no.

Self-control not only deals with physical temptations but all types of temptations. Temptations relating to food, thoughts, money, relationships and so on.  Talking about temptation I have to share with you my favorite verse about temptation.  1 Corinthians 10:13 is such a comforting verse when you are dealing with temptation.  "No temptation  has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."  

We are all tempted.  Lots of times it feels like there is a battle going on inside my head.  My desires battle against what I know is the right thing to do.  If you want to know something about me I've always been really self-disciplined.  It's built into my personality.  I set my mind to do something and it gets done (well, most of the time at least).  But I'm still just like everyone else.  I make bad choices and give into my desires only to end up feeling horrible for letting temptation win.  

We all struggle with learning how to have self-control. Good news is there is a remedy. There is something that we can do to help us learn to have self-control in our lives.  When temptations come we need to be prepared with truth.  Have verses memorized to remind you to keep your eye's focused on God.  A good one when you are dealing with your thoughts is Philippians 4:8 

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."   

1 Corinthians 10:31 is a good verse to have on hand when you are trying to determine whether to say 'yes' to something or if you should say 'no.'  

"Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God."  
If it glorifies God. go for it! If it doesn't. you might want to rethink it.

The more you say 'no' to your sinful desires the easier it will be for you to have self-control.  

With God's help each day, you can learn to say 'no' to temptation and you will grow in your walk with God.  

Sadly, this brings me to the end of my writings on the Fruit of the Spirit.   I've learned so much (and I hope you have too).  Most of my inspiration for my writing came from A Young Women's Walk with God by Elizabeth George.  I read this book for my morning devotions and I enjoyed it very much. If you ever get the chance it's a great read. 

Oh, and one more thing.  So now that I'm all done with writing about the Fruit of the Spirit I got a t-shirt to help me remember all that I've learned.  

My dad bought this shirt for me a few days ago, but I haven't worn it yet because I wanted to wait until I finished my last post on the Fruit of the Spirit.  I love new shirts and prefer to wear them a soon as possible...but I was able to show self-control and not wear my t-shirt right away (Ha! Victory!).  I'm so happy now because I can finally wear my new shirt!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

When we (meaning me and my three siblings) were little my Mom used to put Bible verses to song to help us learn them. I have forgotten most of them but a few I can still remember and even sing still. One of the songs I can still remember happens to be about gentleness.  I remember it very well, because apparently we struggled with being gentle with each other so much that Mom was constantly reminding us of this verse.
It went: 
"Gentle words make peace...
 but harsh words stir up trouble!" 

And when you get to harsh words you pretend to stir a big pot (well, at least that's what I remember doing). And I'm sure we had a hand motion for the gentle words part but I don't remember it.  It must not have been as fun as pretending to stir a pot. 

So what comes to your mind when you think of gentleness? How can you, as a godly young women, have a life characterized by gentleness?  From the verse I shared above, which is Proverbs 15:1, we see that gentleness has a lot to do with our words towards others.  This verse is pretty straight forward, okay.  Gentle words make peace, and harsh words make trouble.  Yet due to our sinful nature we often find ourselves responding to others with harsh words, which results in, you know - trouble.

Every day with the help of God's Spirit within us we must strive to use gentle words.  You will find that when we are not always so set on having things our way but instead respond with gentle and encouraging words and when we are open to the ideas of others we become what you might call peacemakers.  In the beatitudes Jesus talks about peacemakers.  Mathew 5:9 says; "Blessed our the peacemakers for theirs is the kingdom of God."

All this talking about using gentle words reminds me of something else my Mom often told us when we were quarreling. My Mom loved to use the quote from "Bambi" when Thumper recalled what his Dad had told him; "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."  It's true.  I've learned that sometimes the gentlest response is just to not say anything.

Also, I want to share 1 Peter 3:3-4; "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."

In God's eyes a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious.  To me someone who has a gentle and quiet spirit is someone who finds their true comfort in God.  Someone who, when troubles come their way, remains calm through it all.  Someone's whose inner beauty outshines that of their outer beauty 

Cultivating this heart of gentleness is not easy.  In the eyes of others it may look like weakness.  It is not.  Rather it requires greatest of strength to obtain a spirit of gentleness.

When you are hurt, confused, or upset, remember God wants you to remain calm without complaining or saying anything harsh back.  Think of Jesus on the cross suffering for your sins.  He never once cried out in anger or complained.  He demonstrated to us perfectly what it means to have a gentle and quiet spirit amidst suffering.  So as you go through life keep you eyes fixed on Jesus' perfect example.  Follow Jesus' example and God will fill you with a spirit of Gentleness.

Life Goes on Amidst the Busyness...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Seems one form of busyness ends and another type of busyness comes.  But being busy is good.  Lately I've been working on small sewing projects, helping around the house with chores, and trying to tackle a piano piece that is most likely a bit above my skill level (playing slowly and lots of patience is key).  Also, I'm trying to make a dent in my reading plans for this year (I challenged myself to read 50 books this year and I have only read 9 *Gulp*).  And then summer is pretty much here and thinking about summer plans takes up some of my time as well.  I've been wanting to make an Astrid (from How to Train Your Dragon) cosplay for some time now and I believe this summer is the time to do it. A cosplay means dressing up as someone, so in other words, it's a costume. I will be sure to take lots of pictures and to post a tutorial here on my blog.

When I'm in the car, in my sewing room, in the kitchen, or in my bed on my computer (pretty much whatever I'm doing) I like to listen to music.  I've been a bit obsessed with Francesca Battistelli lately.  I found that I can relate to so many of her songs.  I wanted to share one of her songs.  It's so beautiful!  It's like a prayer to God.  Whenever I hear it I like to make the words of the song my prayer and sing them to God.   

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for my next post on the fruit of the spirit; Gentleness.  It will be coming soon.

You are my forever love
You are my forever love
You are my forever love
You are my forever love

From the bottom of my heart I'll sing to You
From the depths of who I am I love You
With everything inside I'll run to You
'Cause all that I've become I owe to You

You are my forever love
You are my forever love
You are my forever love
You are my forever love

From the bottom of my heart I'll sing to You
From the depths of who I am I love You
With everything inside I'll run to You
'Cause all that I've become I owe to You

You are my forever love
You are my forever love
You are my forever love
You are my forever love

Nothing in this world could ever separate us
I will love You more than anyone on earth
Nothing I desire could ever
Satisfy me the way that You do

From the bottom of my heart I'll sing to You
From the depths of who I am I love You
With everything inside I'll run to You
'Cause all that I've become I owe to You

You are my forever love
You are my forever love
You are my forever love