Skyrim Cosplay Progression: Completion of Boots and Helmet

Bx_YenmIQAIqe5VGAH!!!! So after almost four weeks of slaving over a table covered in hot glue, paper mâché and spray paint, I have finally completed my helmet and boots for my Skyrim Nord Cosplay! In all honesty, if I wasn’t dedicating 70% of my week to a trecherous online Marketing class I’d probably be finished a lot more by now – finishing my degree is just SOOO getting in the way of my paper mâche-ing! Uhg. Worst. But that’s okay, I still have a month to complete the rest of my costume, and everything should be done (hopefully) by the week of October 25th – in time for Halloween and in time for some badass outdoor pictures my bestie will be taking of me with her super awesome camera. I’m actually a little nervous taking pictures because of how they might turn out. I’m a little camera shy when other people are taking my pictures. Unless it’s a selfie, I feel awkward and out of place – but I’m hoping that I can just suck it up for this. And, besides… I’ll be wearing a helmet so maybe that will help a little bit. My last update of this helmet was a few weeks ago and I was just past the foam and cardboard stage. You can find my previous post here. I did a lot of searching for some sort of tutorial to help me with this since I’m so new to costume making, but I found this amazing tutorial here that I’ve been using to help me along the way. Once I had my helmet skeleton I began the paper mâché stage.

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 I covered the entire helmet skeleton, inside and out with paper mâché. I decided to use a flour and water mix for the mix rather than a glue and water mix. My reasoning behind this was that a) I find I can waste alot of stuff, particularly when I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’d have less of an issue with wasting a small amount of flour rather than a large amount of glue; and b) because it’s cheaper to buy a bag of no name flour than it is to buy a bunch of glue.  Essentially, to make the mix, all you need to do is add flour into a bowl and then water and mix until you reach your desired consistency. I’ve noticed that I enjoy a much runnier mix rather than something thicker, especially when using toilet paper strips as I’ve found the thicker the mix the more difficult it is to apply the toilet paper strips. One downside to using flour and water paper mâché mix is that you must wait for each layer to dry completely before adding the next in order to avoid any potential mold. This was a little setback in terms of time but since I gave myself 2 months to complete the project it wasn’t’ a huge deal.  Once I had one layer of mâché over the entire skeleton, I added foam strips back over the eyes and down across the helmet from the front to back in order to make the detail “pop” a little more. I didn’t tape these on but rather hot glued them on to ensure all the edges were nice and defined.

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The next step was to create the “holders” for the horns. I did this by attaching cylinder-shaped foam pieces to the sides of the helmet. This took a lot of random measuring and taping to get it the way I wanted. I then added a layer of paper mâché to the entire thing. Once it was dry I made the horns.

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I made the horns by layering foam and newspaper around a piece of hanger into a horn shape.  The hanger came in handy when trying to bend the horns into the shapes I wanted. I then stuck them into the horn holders on the helmet and then secured them there with a hot glue gun. I also used tape to hold the horns together.

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Next I covered the main helmet with toilet paper mâché and the horns with regular paper mâché (i.e., newspaper) and then again with . Once toilet paper mâché. Once dry I covered the entire helmet with gesso. Gesso is something that painters use to prepare their canvases before painting. I applied several layers of gesso to the main part of the the helmet and sanded in between to try to give my helmet a smoother finish. I found working with toilet paper mâché was very difficult and it was hard to get all the strips on there neatly. I made the rings around the horns using toilet paper and then added one more layer of gesso.  I did not sand any part of the horns.

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I made the armor for the boots in a very similar way. I cut out pieces of cardboard, added foam to help with bending, and then added a layer of paper mâché and toilet paper mâché and then layered with gesso and then sanded.

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Once the helmet had completely dried I started to paint. I used three different colours – metallic black, silver, and bronze. I first painted the entire thing black and then spray painted it silver. I added bronze for a “rusted” effect. I did the same for the armor on the boots.

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I’m pretty happy with the turnout.  It was alot of work but it looks totally badass. Once the armor for the boots was dry, I hot glued fur that I had torn off the hood of a jacket arount it. I then glued it onto a pair of brown leather boots I picked up at the Salvation Army for $6.00. I added straps to the bottom of the boots and more fur to the top. I wrapped a few leather staps around the back of the boots as well and glued them into place.

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Annnnd that’s it! I’m currently working on my shield, and will then do my gauntlets and then my main armor, which I have chosen to do mostly leather with some fur (if I have any left). I will add a belt as well. Most of the material I’m using is from old leather jackets that I picked up at value village/salvation army. I will likely do my main armor similarly to Aela the Huntress, but with a teensy bit more material. Anyway that’s it for now!!

-XOXO
K. Bakes

Happy September: Cosplay and the Perfect Buttercream Frosting

Eeeesh. So I apparently abandoned my blog for the summer. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write… honest. And to make up for it I will share a wonderful recipe for the perfect chocolate buttercream that I found recently on Averie Cooks. But that will come later, fist I have a few fun and exciting updates.  First, I’m not sure how avid my fan base is, but those of you who follow me often enough will know that over the last year or so I’ve been slowly turning this baking blog into an everything blog. The next few months will be no different, because as my blog has grown, so have my interests, and I’ve moved everywhere from baking and cooking, to cake decorating, to DIY and arts and crafts, and now I’ve developed a love for Cosplay and Costume Making.  Last Halloween I made a fantastic Minion Costume and this year, I’m going all out with some badass Skyrim Cosplay! Here’s my progress thus far:

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I don’t know how much of a detailed tutorial I’ll post, but I’ll try to post more photos when I start adding more to my helmet.  I constructed this out of soft cardboard that I pulled from empty cereal and granola bar boxes. I cut out a few long strips, measured them around my head and then taped them together using electrical tape to make a large circle. I cut up the various shapes I needed and affixed them to the circle. I used foam paper to fill in the rest. I layered it with two full layers of foam.  I plan on using paper mâché to create the rest of the helmet, and then painting it a combination of black, silver, and bronze. I can’t wait! I’ll be completing the rest of my armor with a similar approach.

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In the end, it should look somewhat like this:

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I’ve also started a little vlogging here and there, and been having a lot of fun doing it. You can find my channel here. It’s all about Life as Kelsey Bakes, and I’ll be sharing all of it on here. 

Remember to please like and share my videos and subscribe to my channel!! Now… for that recipe I promised.

I make these bad boys for an end of summer work barbecue at my boss’s house. This has to be the best chocolate buttercream I’ve ever made. I don’t know why, but it was just better than anything I’ve ever made before, from it’s consistency, to it’s taste.  You can find the full recipe here along with a recipe for some yellow cupcakes.  We were celebrating a kind of end of summer-going away party-kelsey’s birthday party…thing.

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Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough frosting for 12 – 15 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softenend
  • 1/2 heaping cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. cream or milk

Directions

  1.  Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. Add the cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, another 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Add the cream and continue to beat until well combined. Note that it may not be necessary to add the cream, and you can omit it if you’ve reached the desired consistency. I had to add some, as my frosting was chunky and much too thick.
  4. Transfer frosting to a piping bag and using a Wilton 1M tip (for the standard cupcake swirl) frost the cooled cupcakes.

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So there you have it! This is a great recipe because it gives you the perfect consistency for frosting cupcakes. Of course, if frosting a cake i’f add a lot more cream to thin it out for the full crumb coat/coat. It was also my birthday a few weeks ago. I got spoiled, as usual.

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You can see one of the super duper fun gifts I got below. Have an excellent day! Happy baking!

Halloween Things Part I: Candy Corn White Chocolate Cookies and a DIY Costume

Halloween is such a fun time of year:  It means fun eats and treats, horror movies, zombies, monsters and parties.  It also means you get to dress up as who ever you want.  This year I decided to make my own costume (bear with me… it was the first time I ever used a sewing machine. Well, not ever, but certainly the first time in the last 10 years).  My boyfriend and I are huge into gaming, but aside from a few Resident Evil characters, I really couldn’t say I had a favourite female video game character from the last year.  So I racked my brain for days trying to figure out what I wanted to be, and after spending way too much time on my phone playing Minion Rush, I settled on a pair of Minions from Despicable Me.  How could I not? I love the movie and everything cute, so naturally a Minion fit the bill.  Unfortunately no one in town could sell me a costume and it was way too late to order online, hence the reason for my sudden ambition over making my costume this year… How hard could it be, really?  So I went to the store and bough all my supplies, tracked down a sewing machine, and got to work.

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I love love love minions.  These bright yellow cylindrical little creatures are just fantastic. I’m not going to lie… last week Ken and I watched Despicable Me so that we could.. “get into character” in time for Halloween.  That movie never disappoints me.  I haven’t seen the second one yet though so no spoilers!

So onto my costume.  First I made the Minion goggles and beanie hat.   I found some large glasses at a costume shop, popped out the lenses and then painted the frames black with acrylic paint.  I traced out two large circles of cardboard, cut out smaller circles in the middle, and then painted them silver.  Once dry, I glued the silver circles onto the painted black frames using a glue gun.  Next, I made the beanie hat (I used this tutorial to help with the “sewing” part of it).

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What you’ll need:

  • bright yellow fleece material
  • black pipe cleaner
  • a needle and thread or sewing machine
  •  scissors
  • measuring tape
  • beanie hat pattern (which can be found here)  *I kind of eyeballed it since my printer was out of ink and it turned out fine.
  1. Follow the tutorial up until the four domed edges are sewn together.  You can absolutely do this without a sewing machine (I did, since I hadn’t figured out how to use mine at this point), it just takes a little longer.
  2. Create the inside band of the hat by folding up the bottom section of the hat.  I glued it in place using fabric glue as I did not want a seam here.
  3. Cut 2 to 3 pipe cleaners into quarters. Poke small holes at the top of the hat using sharp scissors and then thread the bottom of the pipe cleaners into the holes.  Glue them in place with the help of a glue gun.

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I also decided to make our overalls, which was the most challenging part of the costume.  Some advice: if you ever see overalls, buy them, because when you need them, you will not be able to find them, anywhere.  For my jumper dress I cut out two large rectangles of dark blue fabric.  I made sure to use my measurements (waits, bust and hips) as a guideline, so it would make more of a coke bottle shape and less of a box shape.  I sewed both pieces of fabric together using a sewing machine I had to get a quick lesson from a co-worker on how to operate the thing – thanks Mel!).  For the straps i cut out long pieced of fabric that we about 2 inches wide, folder them in half, and then sewed the edged together.  I then turned them inside out (with a little difficulty).  I made sure they were the length that I wanted, and then sewed them in place.  I glues on two large buttons at the base of the straps on the front side of the dress.  I then traced out a Gru logo in felt and hot glue gunned it to the front of the dress.

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For my boyfriend’s overalls, I used a pair of his snow pants as a pattern.  I first folded the material in half.  Then, I folded the snow pants in half, and traced along the pants with a white tailor’s pencil, giving about an inch and a half of extra room around the pants.  I did this twice and then cut out the pattern.  I sewed the “middle” seam together first, and ended up with two pieces of pant-shaped fabric.  I then laid the pieces on top of each other and sewed together the edge seams.  Once i was done perfecting the seams i finished with, surprisingly enough, what resembled a pair of overalls without straps.

photo 3 I added the straps as I did with the dress, and then glued on a Gru logo to the front of the overalls.  Ken and I both purchased some yellow knock off morph suits so that we could be yellow just like minions.  I cut off the heads and hands so that I could get the look I wanted (and the feet too since we were both a little tall for the suits).  You can fold in the cut edges and secure with fabric glue if you’d like.

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The costumes were an absolute hit! I thought we were being pretty original with these costumes but apparently the entire world had the same idea – there was an absolute minion takeover this Halloween and I can’t wait to see more costume pictures!

Now onto some fun Halloween treats… This will be a two part post, and I will be sharing one recipe today and the other a little closer to Halloween.  Ken and I will be visiting a few Haunted Houses on the 31st.  I love being scared.  I love scary movies and creepy houses and scary costumes.  I love it all.  There are a few places around town that are supposed to be very well done and I’m hopping that I’m am scared silly when I come out of there. If not I know there will be a good selection of horror movies on TV that will hopefully give me a scare before bed.

One candy that always comes to mind when I think of Halloween is candy corn.  This extremely sweet, bright orange, yellow and white candy is a favourite of mine.  Stop reading now if you are looking for a healthy treat because this one is full of sugary goodness.

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Some cookie facts: These cookies are buttery and soft, and I used both cornstarch and cream in the batter, making the cookies extra soft without being cakey.  This cookie should not be cooked for more than 10 minutes.  The candy corn should be on the interior of the cookies, not touching the baking sheet as the corn could melt or burn.  I got this recipe from AverieCooks.com; this is the second recipe of hers I have tried and so far she is two for two.

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Now I did have some teeny tiny issues making these cookies (all my own fault I assure you).  The first was that I actually ran out of all purpose flour.  I didn’t even think that was possible.  On my way out to work yesterday morning I did a quick peek into my pantry and saw a huge bag of what I thought to be all purpose flour, but it turned out to be bread flour.  Not a huge deal… I used it anyway and the cookies turned out fine.  The only thing I found was that they didn’t quite “spread” when they were baking.  Whatever form they took when they were sitting in the fridge is the shape they stayed.  My other issue was that I a kind of missed the Halloween Candy Corn train.  Apparently it went by weeks again and everyone who wanted candy corn stocked up before I could get my hands on any.  I checked three stores and no luck, so I settled on berry flavoured candy corn.  It’s not quote the same (which is what I frantically explained to the cashier at the Bulk barn) but unfortunately I was SOL.  Next year I think I’ll pick it up much earlier.

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Candy Corn White Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes approximately 20 medium sized cookies. cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week, or in the freezer for up to four months.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups candy corn
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Baking Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the cream, flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt.  Mix until just combined (approx. 1 minute), do not over mix.
  3. Fold in the candy corn and white chocolate chips.
  4. Place 20 large heaping 2-tablespoon mounds of the batter onto a large plate or baking sheet.  Flatten them slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to five days before baking.  (**Note from author: do no bake with warm dough as the cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lightly spray with cooking spray.  Place the cookie mounds on a baking sheet, spacing each mound at least 2 inches apart, and bake for 9 minutes or until edges are set and tops are just beginning to set.
  6. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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The purple candy corn does not take away from the taste, at all.  It’s just a different taste. This cookie still as Halloween written all over it. And it is so soft and gooey – no crunch just the way I like it.  I hope you enjoy the recipe! Happy Baking.
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