Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pandora's hat box

I was a part of a huge group presentation for this year's Masquerade.  The theme was Pandora's hat box, and we based our silhouettes off of clothing styles from the 1890s-1910s, although historical accuracy wasn't a big deal for us.  Pandora opened the hatbox and released the following evils: gossip, lust, greed, pests, plague, pollution, misery, jealousy, and death.

I picked Lust as my evil.  Lust is represented traditionally by the color blue and the goat.  With the goat, I of course had to go with gigot sleeves, and I picked a hobble skirt pattern for the va va voom factor.  I found an incredible patterned upholstery velvet and some black and blue satin brocade.  To represent the goat, I made a "beard", a cravat with some angora wool, and added horns to my hat.

wool cravat

(I just realized i haven't taken any good pictures of the hat!  I'll have to remedy that.)

The skirt has a ruched panel in the front of the contrast fabric.  I found two incredible blue metallic trims to go with the outfit, and used one of them to outline the skirt and another around the hem.

pandora's hat box - lust

The trim was laid out on the back and tacked down with my sewing machine, but then I had to hand-sew all along the edges to keep it from curling up.

pandora's hat box - lust

pandora's hat box - lust

Here's the finished outfit with the hat:

Pandora's Hat Box

Pandora's Hat Box

Pandora's Hat Box

I actually took about 6" out of the sleeves, believe it or not!

Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of all 10 of us together.  Here's me with gossip and greed:

Norwescon37-168.jpg

Pandora's Hat Box

Our group won Best Use of Theme, which was Elegance and Entropy.  My first Masquerade award!

Planning ahead - I'd realized that this outfit had potential,and put together a custom wig to represent District 1 for the Hunger Games.

blue wig, side view

With different makeup and a lace cravat:

pandora's hat box - lust

pandora's hat box - lust


Very much looking forward to getting a lot more wear out of this, as I love the color and for once the outfit turned out exactly as I'd pictured it in my head.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cherry blossom time

A spring tradition, going to see the cherry blossoms at the Washington Park Arboretum.  Here's a few of this year's pictures:


Cherry blossoms by dbvictoria on deviantART






I ended up spending a lot of time looking at tree trunks and branches this year, it seems.


Mossy tree by dbvictoria on deviantART


Moss on red birch by dbvictoria on deviantART






The full set is here.



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Monday, March 31, 2014

Emerald City Comicon, 2014

Photos here.  We didn't have any money to spend this year, which made me whimper when we were at the Blonde Swan booth, and Fez-o-Rama.

We were only there for three and a half hours, but we were totally wiped.  We got stuck in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd in one of the aisles.  Hadn't felt like that since I stopped hitting Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras back in ye olde college daze!  If that's what a Sunday afternoon is like, I don't want to imagine a Saturday.

My entire costume collection is currently piled in a giant heap in the spare bedroom, so I defaulted to a variant of the outfit I wore for the Steamcon wake last weekend, switching out the corset.




A bunch of the husband's coworkers dressed up as various superheroes.  I missed my chance to one of them coworker crossdressing as classic Supergirl, but here's Nightwing and Batgirl:



And one more fantastic WWII Captain America:




The best outfit all day, of which I didn't get a picture because it was someone else's wee one, was a little girl dressed up in a bright yellow generic superhero bodysuit with a shiny red cape.  When the husband asked who she was supposed to be, she said "Super Red Riding Hood!"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pie night!

It's embarrassing how long it's been since I've updated here.  Bad Victoria.  But I got pie anyways.  I went to a pie night tonight, and got to visit with folks I don't see hardly often enough AND stuff my face with tasty food.  Win and win again.

These pie nights have been occurring for 12 years, I was told.  I hope to attend many more.  There are themes sometimes, and tonight's was "The Pie Night That Should Not Be," which meant we all made pies that were odd combinations of ingredients or just outright odd.  The winner of the night was the chocolate bacon bourbon pecan pie.  There was grape pie and avocado and carmelized onion pie with green olives and hair pie and taco pie and mock apple pie and strawberry lemonade pie and a bunch of others I am forgetting. There were more than 20 but less than 30 pies.

Before (not all pies had arrived when I took this shot):



After:



My contribution was a chili chocolate custard pie with cinnamon chocolate cookie crust and cinnamon whipped cream.

I started with this recipe here, and made a few adjustments along the way.





Chili Chocolate Custard Pie

Sugar cookie crust:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
Another 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream

1) Cream together butter and first amount of sugar with a mixer.
2) Add egg, the other 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix well. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
3) Add flour, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon and cream, and mix until the dough comes together into crumbly little bits.
4) Form the dough into a disk about 4 inches in diameter.
5) Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
Crust Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 F.
2) Roll dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.
3) Place in a pie plate (9 to 10 inches in diameter). Use your fingers to press it into the plate.
4) Trim off any excess dough so that there is about 1 inch of overhang all the way around.
5) Use your fingers to roll the overhanging dough onto the edge of the pie plate, and then crimp.
6) Use a fork to poke small holes all over the bottom and sides of the dough.
7) Place a sheet of parchment over the dough, and fill with pie weights or dry beans.
8) Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 F, or until the edges are golden brown and lacy.
9) Remove parchment and weights, and bake for another 5-8 minutes until the bottom is brown and delicious looking.
10) Remove from oven and cool to room temperature on a wire rack. You can turn off the oven, you won't need it again in this recipe.

Chili Chocolate Custard Pie Filling

Ingredients:
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard dark 60% cocoa)
5 egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chili powder

Custard Directions:
1) Put chocolate chips in a large bowl with a sieve or fine strainer set over it (it's okay if the strainer is touching the chocolate).
2) Combine egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan, and whisk well.
3) Add cream, chili powder and half-and-half, and, stirring often, bring to 175-180 F on an instant read or candy thermometer over medium to medium-high heat. (If you don't have a thermometer, dip a wooden spoon in the mixture and draw your finger across the back. If it leaves a clear path, it's done.)
4) Pour hot cream mixture through strainer onto chocolate. Let sit 1-2 minutes to melt.
5) Stir well to combine, let sit 5 minutes.
6) Add vanilla and mix well.
7) Pour into cooled pie shell. Tap pie plate gently against the counter to even the filling out and pop any bubbles.
8) Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, and up to 72. Do not cover the pie, or the crust will get soggy.
Whipped topping
Ingredients
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon extract

1) Combine cream and sugar in a mixer. If you don't have a mixer, just put it in a bowl and use a hand whisk.
2) Whip on medium speed until frothy, then increase to high and whip the cream to medium-stiff peaks.
3) Decorate!

I went to three groceries and couldn't find cinnamon extract, so I improvised:

I dissolved 2 cinnamon candies in 1 shot of 100-proof vodka and whipped that into the cream.

I am now going to succumb to pie coma.  G'night!



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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Almost a White Christmas

We got snow on December 20th, but it's all melted already.







A few more pictures here.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Steampunks at the Park

The Steamrats converged on Gasworks Park yesterday for one of our big photoshoot get-togethers.  Good times were had.  Silliness occurred.  Also puppies!

steamrats at gasworks 1 copy

steamrats at gasworks 4 copy

steamrats at gasworks 8 copy

steamrats at gasworks 25 copy

steamrats at gasworks 33 copy

 More pictures here.



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Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter is coming!

We had our first heavy frosts of the season this week.  I'm not a big fan of the cold in general, but it does make with the pretty.

Frost

Frost

Frost

Frost

Frost

Frost

Frost


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