Book Review Time

Friday, July 31, 2015


Okay, time for some book reviews!  Remember that post from awhile ago when I shared all the books I had bought?  I promised some book reviews - so here we go!

First, out of all the books I bought, I read Perfectly Unique by Annie f. Downs.   The title of this book reminded me so much of the title I chose for my blog!  This book was actually recommended to me by a friend so I guess you can say I felt a little bit obligated to read it first.

One thing you just can't help but love about this book is how fun the author is - Annie is so personal and funny!  I love the kind of writing that just makes you laugh out loud.  It's everywhere in this book. She is not afraid to share her stories no matter how embarrassing they may be.

I loved how she broke down this book into chapters on the different body parts and how we can use each body part to bring glory and praise to God.  My favorite chapter was the chapter about the heart.

I really enjoyed this book. This is a great book especially for girls who are struggling with accepting themselves for who they are.  It was fun and full of lots of truths and lessons that will benefit most girls.

The next book I read was The New Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall.  This book focuses on the story of Ruth and it just so happened that I had decided to read the book of Ruth a few days prior. I love it when little things in my life line up like that. It makes it clear to me that God is in control of everything and He cares for even the little details of my life.

Considering that this book focuses on the story of Ruth this would be a great book to read alongside a Bible study of Ruth.  I knew that Ruth's example was helpful and applicable to young women but I didn't know how much you can learn from  Ruth's story until I read this book.  

I've read a lot of books about waiting for that day when you meet that special someone and guarding your heart until that day.  This one has to be my favorite - so far.  It wasn't too hard to understand. It made sense and had great insights. It was full of Bible verses and other references.  Plus, the questions at the end of each chapter helped to make me think about how I can apply what I was learning to my everyday life.

So, if  anyone is looking for a good and worthwhile book about waiting for 'that special day' and what to do while waiting, The New Lady in Waiting is a good choice.  

Astrid's Ax; the final addition to my cosplay

Friday, July 24, 2015

I can't believe this is going to be my last post on making my Astrid cosplay.  I just finished making the ax and  I am now officially done with my cosplay.  

The ax was the one piece of Astrid's outfit that kinda scared me (that and the hood).  How does someone make an ax out of ordinary craft supplies.  I found quite a few helpful tutorials.  Here's links to my favorites.

And here's what I ended up doing;

 First I stained my wooden pole with wood stain.  It was really sticky and smelled but the effect is worth it.

Then I had to figure out how to make the ax.  I did a lot of measuring until I was happy with the shape.  I initially made it way to big and had to cut it smaller.  My finished ax is actually huge but hey, like I've said before, the bigger the better.

I knew that I wanted to make the ax with foam but I could not find any really thick foam at our local craft store and I didn't want to have to buy it online.  My family love's to shop at thrift stores so I thought why not just see if the thrift store has any of the thick foam. I lucked out.  I could not believe it.  For under five bucks I got more than enough of the thick foam to make my ax.

I made my ax two thickness's. 

I sandwiched the cardboard in between the foam pieces to add extra strength

I was at a loss of how to make the edges angled.  I ended up using a razor blade and carefully cutting along the edge at an angle.

Using craft foam I added the... (I don't know what you call it) metal piece thingy.  

By now I believe I'm an expert and painting things to look like metal.  I actually really enjoy this kind of painting. I used a lighter silver to paint the edges. 

I could not find leather strips in blue and red that were also the thickness I wanted so I ended up cutting up a belt.  I was lucky enough to find a red belt  but I could not find a blue one so I painted a brown belt blue. You'd never guess that I used  a cut up belt to make the leather strips.  

For the skulls on the end of Astrid's ax I really didn't want to make any more and I had two leftover from the skirt so I just used those.  Sorry for the quality of these pictures I took them with my ipod.

Yesterday  I received my wig.  I was almost kinda disappointed with it because It would not look natural on me.  It was mainly my dark eyebrows that made it look so funny.  But after my costume is on the wig actually looked perfect.  I'm really happy with it.  I really enjoyed styling it.

So with the ax done I have come the end of my cosplaying adventure (hopefully it's only the first of many more).  My cosplay is finally done and I just have to say, I LOVE IT!!!

Today was the coolest day before the weather gets really hot again so I put everything on and went outside to get some pictures.  To see the best of the pictures I created a page for my cosplay.  You can find it at:

My Astrid Cosplay - I'm so close to finishing!

Friday, July 17, 2015

I have pretty much finished the major part of my cosplay. All I have left to do is make Astrid's ax, headband, and style the wig when it comes.  

For the wrist warmers I used faux suede and the same fur I used to make the hood.  I lined the wrist warmers with the fur to make them thicker and look bigger.  As you can see I used embroidery thread and added stitching along the seam line and edges.  I have a love for fingerless gloves so these have to be my favorite part of Astrid's outfit.  They are so warm and cozy and make  me wish for winter instead of summer.  

For the knee pads I used the same leather I made my skirt with (I bought way too much of that stuff, so I'm gonna have to use it for another project).  I added some padding so they don't look flat and then simply hand-sewed them to my leggings.

I decided to use my mom's brown winter boots and make boot covers for them with my fur. Big is better in my opinion so the boots covers are made with two layers of fur and attached in the back with Velcro.

And, of course, since I had all the pieces for the main part of Astrid's costume finished I had to try it all on.  Even though I was roasting hot from working in the craft room I was so excited to put everything on to see how it looked.

I just need to change my hair color (that will be done with a wig I purchased and it's in the mail) and my eye color (that will have to be by the 'magic' of photoshop....and then I'll be Astrid! (well, at least I'll look like Astrid...I'll still be me).

Astrid's Fur Hood

Monday, July 13, 2015

My cosplay is starting to take shape and I'm really excited...and sad because I've been having so much fun making it but it's almost done.  All I have left to do is make the boot covers and wrist warmers.  Oh, and I need to make Astrid's ax.  I was at Home Depot today and I picked up a wooden dowel for under five dollars. I already had a little too much fun swinging it around and pretending is was already Astrid's ax. I didn't break anything but I may have annoyed my siblings a tad bit.

Anyway, I have tackled what I thought was going to be the hardest part of Astrid's outfit - her cape/hood.  First, I used one of those rings that scarves are hung on and painted it like metal.  A big thanks to my awesome friend who just happened to have a scarf ring for me!    

After examining Astrid's outfit I saw that she doesn't just have a hood but she has a short cape underneath the hood.  My sister has a lot of leftover fur from her projects and she let me use some of her dark brown fur.  It worked great and cost me nothing.  From some paper that was lying around I made myself a pattern.

I don't know how I would have been able to make this cosplay without a manikin dress form. It is so nice to be able to see how my costume is forming without actually having to put it on myself.

I used hot glue and leather strips to attach the cape and hood to the ring.  When I had sewed the lining onto the cape I left an opening so I could stick the leather strips into the seam and then secured it with hot glue.

The hood was the part I've been dreading.  I only had a limited amount of fur, so I didn't want to mess up. I used the Simplicity cape pattern that I had as a base and changed it to make it work for what I wanted.  I played around with scrap fabric until I had a design that I was happy with before cutting up my expensive fur.

After I used the pattern to make the fur hood, I folded the raw edges over and secured them with hot glue.  Hot glue works for pretty much everything - it's the best! I didn't give the hood an outside lining because the fur already had a nice leather backing and I really liked the look.

And yeah, if you haven't noticed yet, the craft room is the messiest room in our house.  We can clean the room but it only stays clean for a few days until my sister and I make it messy again.  I'm just glad we have a craft room.

I made the hood detachable by sewing snaps onto the leather strips instead of hot gluing it. That way it can be taken off of the ring. The skulls are attached by the wires I embedded into them when I molded them.  I plan on using Velcro to securely attach the shoulder pads to the brown cape.

Oh, and I ordered a blonde wig for my cosplay.  I spent more on it than I had initially planned.  I just really don't want a wig that obviously looks fake. I can't wait until it gets here and I can try my hand at styling it.

By the way,  you may have noticed that my blog design has changed.  I lost my background and for some strange reason I could not access the website where my original background came from. I'm not sure if I'll go back to my old background or keep the background I have up now.  To be honest, the background I have now is starting to grow on me.

Astrid's Skirt

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Believe it or not, even without a pattern, the skirt was not as hard as the shirt.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out! My cosplay is slowly but surely coming together. 

The first thing I did for the skirt was cut out the leather strips. I didn't use real leather, I used vinyl.  I cut out ten strips.  Then I pinned the raw edges back and sewed the edges.  

I made four spikes for each strip.  After putting it together I realized my spikes could have been a bit bigger, but, oh well.  Also I found out I didn't have enough spikes and I had to make a few more.  (Note to self - always make extra if you can)

I had imbedded brads in the back of each of the spike, which made it so much easier to attach the spikes to the leather strips. I also used some E-6000 glue to help secure them.

I pinned the leather strips on the fur and did my best the make them even.

I've made a lot of skirts before.  Skirts are one thing I can make without a pattern.  For this skirt I decided to make the basic waistband which I have done so many times before.  I attached the skulls to the waistband before I slip-stitched the waistband closed. The wires I had attached to the skulls worked perfectly for attaching the skulls to the skirt.  I don't know how else you'd be able to get the skulls to stay securely on the skirt.  I may add some hot glue later just to help with keeping the skulls from moving around too much.  

I wanted to do a zipper closure but after working with the fur, I realized that it would be almost impossible to sew a zipper onto fur. I used Velcro instead which was actually easier.

So far I have made Astrid's shoulder pads, Astrid's shirt, and Astrid's skirt.  I still have to make her fur hood, arm warmers, and boot covers (and her ax).  I also need to add knee pads to my blue jean leggings.  But the main parts are done and my cosplay is starting to take shape.  I tried on all the pieces I have so far to see how well my cosplay is coming together. It made my day! Oh, and as you can see I am also going to have to buy a wig because I'm obviously not even close to being blonde.  

I'm still waiting for the fur I ordered to arrive in the mail so I can make the hood.  I ordered it a few weeks ago but they sent me the wrong fur and they finally got back to me about their mistake. I should receive the right fur sometime this week.  

It won't be too long 'til my cosplay is finished.  I'm so excited!

Astrid's shirt/tunic

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer is here and I just remembered how much I hate the fact that it gets so hot in summer. The craft room where I spend most of my time working on my cosplay gets really hot in the summer.   By the time spring ends I feel like I'm ready for summer but now I'm ready for fall and winter again. 

Anyway, enough of me complaining about things I have no control over.  I finished making Astrid's shirt. Atleast for the most part. I'm still working on adjusting it to make it fit me perfectly.  I hate doing darts and it's really hard to make the shirt fit me perfect when I don't have an extra pair of hands to help (I have set the shirt aside and am going to finish adjusting it when my mom is able to help).  

At first I tried to make the shirt without a pattern.  I used some scrap fabric (we have piles of scrap fabric in our craft room) and one of my shirts to make my own pattern.  I tried so many times but I could not get it to work.  My main issue was the fact that I had bought fabric that was not stretchy  (Note to self - if possible, get stretch fabric for making shirts).  I knew it was going to be an issue when I bought the fabric, but since the fabric was the perfect match for Astrid's shirt, I just needed to find away to work around the issue.

After a day of many failed attempts I found this pattern and decided to use it instead. I felt so much more comfortable using a pattern. This pattern was perfect. The only thing I did differently was add a 'v' to the neckline and I used a zipper instead of buttons.  

And here's is my shirt.  

I'm really pleased with my zipper.  Whenever I do a zipper it always looks horrible but the zipper on this shirt actually turned out perfectly.  

Next I'm making Astrid's skirt and I've already started.  I definitely feel a lot more confident in my skirt making skills then I do in my shirt making skills.  

 It's so exciting seeing my cosplay come together!