Con Food – Hotel Room Smoothies!

Today is day two of a week long feature I’m running on my Facebook Page – Convention Food.

Yep, with Convergence just over a week away… it’s about time to start planning for our hotel room cuisine: Food that’s easy to make (possibly make ahead), uses very little in the way of equipment to make/serve in the room, and that supplements some of the nutrition that we tend to miss out on during a 4 day long party.

The featured recipe yesterday was my “Convention Sloppy Joes” – our favourite con food to date, and the recipe we’ll be doing up once again for our room at Convergence.

Today’s recipe is more of a non-recipe, but an outline of what our plans for breakfast are: hotel room smoothies.

Breakfast is generally seen as the most important meal of the day… and that’s doubly true when you’ve got long days of costuming, panels, and parties ahead. Also: when you had a looong night of partying ending just a few hours earlier!

Smoothies are what we settled on for our go-to hotel room breakfast this year. They’re done up quickly, require very little equipment (just a blender!), and many of the ingredients don’t require refrigeration / cooler space.

They’re easy to customize, and easy to scale. Make one for yourself, or enough for your roommates too!

Done right, you’ll hit a few key nutrition needs, as well. Protein, vitamin C, some calcium… good stuff!

Here is what I recommend to bring:

– A good protein powder, vanilla or unflavoured. (We use Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein, Vanilla Ice Cream flavour).

– Plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (more protein!)

– Orange juice

– Frozen berries (Pack a few baggies worth – they double as ice!)

– Bananas

– Powdered peanut butter, if that’s your thing (We use PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter)

– Wheat germ (allergies permitting, of course!) or Flax meal (Fiber!)

Per person, this is what I blitz together:

1 scoop protein powder
1/4 cup yogurt
3/4 cup orange juice
½ cup frozen berries
½ banana
1 Tbsp powdered peanut butter (optional)
1-2 Tbsp wheat germ or flax meal (optional)

… and that’s that. Be sure to rinse your blender out well if you won’t be washing it right away, because – in the words of my husband – the smoothie residue is “like cement” when it dries.


Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Sugar Cookie Decorating – Dalek Cookies

So it’s been a week since I returned from Convergence… probably about time to make good on that Dalek Cookie Decorating tutorial I was promising, huh?

Ah, Convergence. 6500+ geeks under one roof, amazing costumes, messed up conversations… and more than one reminder that I am getting OLD. I was in bed by 10 pm the first night, and was barely able to walk by Sunday. Yikes!

My husband had an AMAZING time in his Weeping Angel costume, posing for several hundred photos (Conservative guesstimate, it was likely over 1000!), sneaking up on people, photo bombing some … he was kind of a rock star 🙂 Click here for photos!

For my part, I taught cookie decorating for my “Cooking with an Overlord” activity.

If you were at Convergence and had NO idea what “Cooking with an Overlord” would entail, you weren’t alone – *I* had no idea what it was going to be until about 2 weeks before the event, which was LONG after the program guide description was due, LOL! (That was right around the time I was up to my eyeballs in MasterChef stuff.)

At the last minute, I decided that I wanted to teach people how to do cookie decorating, using Doctor Who themed cookies. A quick Google search brought me to Warp Zone Prints on Etsy, a company that was using 3D printers to make cookie cutters – Brilliant! I immediately ordered the three cutters pictured above, and planned the logistics for such a large class.

Note: I did a trial run of all three cutters, only the Dalek one was really suitable for this type of cookie decorating. The TARDIS and Weeping Angel ones were so cute, I’d recommend dyeing your cookie dough and only doing outline decorating on them, however.)

At my cookie class, I got to see Idris serve Carmen Sandiego with a warrant, so… there is that. 🙂 My friend Michelle is sporting the Idris costume I made her – check out my costuming site, I’m back in the custom fashion design business! – and Carmen Sandiego is my friend Samantha, a local writer who reports on Eurovision at her blog, ESC Insider.

We also had the pleasure of meeting the famous Pink Dalek herself, Alanna… who was excited to EX-TER-MIN-ATE some cookies!

Me decorating some cookies to demonstrate to the class… let’s get to it!

Rolled Sugar Cookie Recipe for Decorating
Makes about 55 Daleks

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5+ cups all purpose flour

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in eggs and egg whites, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated and smooth.

Mix remaining 3 ingredients together, carefully mix into wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, line cookie sheets with parchment paper

On a floured counter, roll cookie dough out to about 1/4″ thick (can be slightly thicker). Use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shapes you’d like, place cookies 2″ apart on greased cookie sheets.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms look lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving. Cookies need to cool completely before decorating.

Royal Icing Recipe

4 egg whites
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4-6 cups powdered/confectioner’s sugar

In clean stand mixer, whip egg whites until foamy. Add lemon juice, whip for another minute. Slowly add powdered sugar until cookie icing reaches desired consistency. You will want a fairly thick frosting – but still smooth and workable – for piping details and borders.

A good way to figure out if your frosting is the right consistency is to pull a spoon through the middle of the frosting bowl.

– If the frosting settles out in less than 5 seconds, it’s too runny. Add a little more powdered sugar.

– If the frosting settles out in 5-10 seconds, you’re good to go!

– If the frosting takes longer than 10 seconds to settle, it’s too thick. Add a little water or lemon juice and try again.


First, take about 1/4 of your frosting and dye it black. Personally, I like the Americolor line of food coloring gels.

Cover the remaining frosting tightly with plastic wrap – have the wrap sitting right on the surface with NO air pockets, vent holes, etc. The frosting dries out FAST.

I recommend using a frosting bag with a coupler and tip (#2 or #3 round tip), so please take these photos as a “do as I say, not as I do”. It was after Convergence, I was tired and burnt out, didn’t feel like messing around with tips and couplers. Also, I used pre-Convergence frosting – which was too thick for outlining – so my cookies are kinda ugly. LOL!

If you don’t want to use a tip, cut the very end of the frosting bag off to leave a fairly small opening – 1/8″ diameter or so.

Holding the tip / end of your frosting bag about 1 cm away from the cookie, carefully pipe out your outlines and design details. These lines will eventually contain the flowing frosting, so make sure you don’t have any breaks in the piping, or the icing will flow out to areas you don’t want it!

Once all the outlines are piped, allow the cookie to dry for about 10-20 minutes.

Next, you’ll want to tint your first color of frosting – about 1/3 of the original batch. I used a few drops each of gold and warm brown to get a sort of bronzey colour for the main body of the Daleks. Daleks come in many colours now, though, so use whatever colour you prefer!

Once you’ve gotten the right colour mixed up, you’ll need to thin the frosting so it will “flood” the decorating area. Add a few drops of water and stir well. Use the end of your spoon to drizzle a bit of frosting back into the bowl. If it smooths out and disappears in a count of 3, you’re good to go! If not, add a couple more drops of water until it’s the right consistency.

Carefully pipe a bit of the liquid frosting into the areas you want – you’ll probably not even need to squeeze the bag, just carefully guide it, nudging it into corners, etc. This can be messy to start, just practice!

Generally speaking, flood piping is done from the outside perimeter of an area inwards, but on these cookies there’s so little room to work with, just do whatever feels right!

Sit back and admire your work. (Yes, these examples are sloppy. Sorry!)

Following the past few steps, dye about 2/3 of the remaining frosting gold (or whatever colour you’re looking at for these sections, thin it for flooding, and have at it!

Dye about 1/2 the remaining frosting bright turquoise blue, and flood the appropriate circle. (I have no idea if “the one on the forehead” applies, given that the forehead of the actual creature would be more like 2/3 of the way up, inside what is seen. Maybe I’m over thinking this…)

Dye remaining frosting pale grey and thin it. Pipe to fill in the … whisk?… area!

Allow the cookies to dry overnight before packaging or serving.


(Or, if like me, you are less than impressed with your own work after a loooong weekend at Convention… you can go over all of your original outlines with some more black frosting to make them stand out a bit more and “clean up” the overall appearance! Bonus points for claiming that you emant to di it that way, for extra definition!)

Btw, the following picture sums up my Convergence weekend nicely, I think:

Convention Sloppy Joes

It’s just a few short days til Convergence!

This is always an exciting time of year for us, but after the past 6-10 months we’ve had… we really need this. Time to just get away from everything and kick back with the local geek community in a BIG way. Also: We get to break out the Weeping Angel costumes again!

This year, with the convention bigger than ever, we decided to plan ahead with regards to food. In an effort to save both money and a parking spot (which will be hard to come by!), we’ve decided to make a big batch of Sloppy Joes to share with our roommates.

After much thought, we decided that this would be the perfect convention food. It’s cheap and easy to make, easy to serve, and tastes great. This version is loaded with protein and vegetables, two things that can be hard to come by – or skipped altogether – in the midst of convention festivities. It can be made ahead and frozen – not only saving time in the precious days leading up to the convention, but also to add as “ice” in the cooler. Also, leaving it to simmer all afternoon in a crock pot only enhances the flavor!

A few notes about this recipe:

– I created this recipe specifically to be made ahead and frozen, specifically for use in a slow cooker. See the end of the recipe for how to tweak this for immediate use – it would be great for a party!

– We did this based on what we had on hand, and it came out amazing. If you want to swap out types of pepper, add or subtract onion, etc… go nuts 🙂 It’s a very versatile recipe.

– Having a food processor comes in really, really handy for this recipe. You can totally chop everything by hand, but food processors make REALLY easy work of this recipe!

– This is suitable for a wide range of dietary needs and allergies. It’s inherently gluten free (Check your steak spice and Chorizo to be sure.. and use a GF bun!), dairy free, etc.

– Usually, you would serve Sloppy Joes on a toasted bun, and on a proper plate. In honour of Convergence – and for the sake of “Convention Food” authenticity – we have photographed this on an untoasted bun, and on a styrofoam plate 🙂

“Convention” (Make Ahead) Sloppy Joes
Makes ~24 cups of filling

1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
3 jalapenos, chopped (seeded if you choose)
4 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
3 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
6-7 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and grated
2 tsp + salt
4 lbs ground beef
2 lbs ground chorizo-type sausage
1 lbs ground pork
8 cups tomato / spaghetti sauce of choice
12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup+ vinegar
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp steak spice

In a LARGE pot (You may want a stock pot for this!), combine all of the vegetables and 2 tsp of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and most of the water has come out of them – it will look soupy.

Once you set the vegetables to cook, combine all three meats in another large pot / pan. Cook – stirring frequently and breaking up chunks – until browned and cooked through.

Strain meats off of any fat and drippings, and add to vegetables. Stir well to combine.

Add tomato/spaghetti sauce, garlic, vinegar, pepper and steak spice to the pot, stir well to fully combine. Bring just up to a simmer, then turn the heat off – mixture should be way more loose / wet than a standard Sloppy Joe filling, do not cook it down!

Taste mixture, adjust seasonings as desired. Feel free to add more vinegar if you want more of an acidic bite to it.

Cool to room temperature, transfer to freezer safe containers, and freeze until use.

To use:

– Thaw out (At a convention, place it in your bathroom sink in the morning when you’re done with it, fill with cool water)

– Around noon, transfer mixture to Crock Pot (doesn’t need to be fully thawed), heat on high for a few hours, stirring every hour or so (Good to coordinate this with roomies!)

– Once mixture cooks down to a nice thick consistency, turn heat down to low until serving. If mixture gets too thick, see if a vending machine has a bottle of V8, add a little to thin it out.

– Serve on buns.

For immediate, non-CrockPot use:

Rather than removing mixture from heat after seasoning, turn heat down to medium and simmer until sauce cooks down to a nice thick consistency. Serve over toasted buns.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

How to Make Weeping Angel Costumes – Costuming Tutorial

So, it’s been about a week and a half since we won “Best in Show” at the BritCon costume contest (Woo hoo! First time we’ve entered a con masquerade!) probably time to post the “How We Did It” post that I was promising that weekend.

First off, this is a pretty in depth post, with a TON of photos and info. If you have some experience in sewing and whatnot, it should be easy enough to follow. I don’t have the space or time to do up an actual step by step for the whole thing – these costumes took a TON of time to make! We’ve been picking away at it since I returned from MasterChef, and actually did NOT manage to have them completed in time for BritCon! (They’ll be ready for Convergence, though… we are SUPER excited!). To be fair, we were also busy with business, MasterChef, and still rebuilding our kitchen.

While these took a lot of time to make – and we probably killed a few million brain cells, breathing in all the spray paint fumes on account of crappy weather outside! – these were TOTALLY worth it. Even at a super tiny convention like BritCon, we had a *BLAST*!

We arrived early and costumed up on the Saturday, and had a ton of fun scaring the hell out of the groggy, just-woke-up people in the hallways. We had many photos taken, which was a weird experience – I hate getting my picture taken, but didn’t mind it at all when completely obscured by a costume.

Photo Courtesy of Ben Huset

Also, when it comes time for Convergence, we’re looking forward to the BEST photo bombing opportunities ever. Muahahhaa!!

Anyway, let’s get going..


We tackled the masks first, as they were the most intimidating part. I’d never made a mask before! Not even the wings scared us, as that was just… geometry and physics. I may know how to sculpt cake, but I’d never done anything with plaster casting OR paper clay before, so… yeah. Nervous!

First, I used plaster cast on Porter’s face to create the base of the mask, twice. Luckily, our faces are close enough in size/shape that both masks are quite comfortable!

To prepare, I clipped his hair back and covered his face in vaseline. I did – I think? – about 3 layers of cast material over the whole face, with a couple extra layers around the nose area. Also, as the face would be elongated in the chin area to allow for the “scream”, I wadded up a ball of plaster and applied it to the underside of the chin, securing it down with looong strips of plaster coming up on either side of the face.

After drying, I used paper clay to sculpt the face. This was just freehand, while looking at a printout from a pic I found online.

After drying, I painted with a base coat of grey acrylic, added shadows to the insides of wrinkles, etc and highlights to the tops of ridges, etc.

Once all of that was dry, I sprayed the masks liberally with granite texture spray, and allowed it to cure well. Once this was all dry, we cut some narrow, small slits in each mask – one set at the temples, another set near the back of the jaw bone, and threaded regular elastic through. While we hadn’t gotten around to painting the elastic in time for Britcon (As EVERY well-meaning critic managed to point out!), we will have them finished by Convergence 🙂

The hair really makes it, eh?
The eyes were a little bit of drama. Our original idea was to get a couple pairs of cheap sunglasses from the dollar store, cover with some black or grey pantihose, and spray with texture. Well, then we realized that our masks were SO perfectly fitting, that the edges of the lenses would be annoying at best.

What we finally came up with worked perfectly: Comfortable, easy, looked great AND allowed for pretty decent vision!

I bought a pair of opaque black tights, and cut 4 squares out of it. Without stretching them, I sprayed them liberally with texture and allowed it to dry fully. Once dry, I stretched them out a bit.

I ran a thick line of hot glue around the inside of each eye hole, and applied a square to the inside of each mask, textured side facing out. Once that dried, I piped another line of glue to the outside of the mask, just on the inside of the eye holes – think “eyeliner”. I carefully pressed the fabric into the new line of glue from behind the mask. This made it look more natural, not so sunken in…. and also gave us a bit of room so our eyelashes weren’t hitting up against the eye part constantly!


First I bought two cheap costume wigs, used a stitch ripper to remove all of the hair.

I took 3 balls of yarn – grey, white, and black, just in case any showed through – and cut them into LONG lengths… about twice as long as I wanted, so I could sew a seam up the middle.

I cut a piece of non stretch fabric about 1/2 the length of the center seam of the wig, and stitched the yarn to it with a very tight zigzag – yarn centered over the fabric, which was only about 1/2-3/4″ wide

From there, I sewed that piece down to the top part of the wig cap

From there, I styled both of the wigs… Porter was a VERY patient model!

First, I pulled enough hair forward to make a double twist down each side of the face. Just behind that second, I affixed a “headband” that I’d made from a tube of light blue spandex.

I’ll be honest, I had NO idea what I was doing, so I just sort of pulled and twisted everything until it looked passable. Hair is NOT my forte!

As I was going, I used LONG lengths of yarn and a yarn needle to sew everything into place. Twists and braids were secured not only to themselves, but down to the wig cap as well. The goal was that the style would NOT move, once I tied everything off and took the wig off his head.

When I came to the end of styling, I twisted any remaining ends of yard under and sewed them into place.

I stuffed the wig caps with newspaper to hold it to a head shape, and painted it with grey acrylic paint. It took several coats – and several days to dry – as I made sure to SOAK it. I wanted the paint to sort of act as a glue, as well.

Once the wigs were completely dry, I sprayed them liberally with granite texture spray paint.


Ok, the dresses are something that could use a lot of photos/diagrams to explain. Of course, I didn’t think to take pics as I went… so, hopefully words are enough.

First off, we decided how big of a hoop we wanted for the hem, and settled on 30″ diameter. We used lengths of 9 gauge wire for form two rings, one each.

Once that was done, I set about designing and making the dresses, which have three main parts – A liner, an outer skirt, and an outer bodice.


This was a floor length, fairly fitted liner. Gores were added to either side of the bottom, as well as to the center back seam – this was to add enough fullness to the bottom of the lining hem, that it would easily fit around the hoop. The center back seam of the top was left wide open (but finished!) from just below the neckline, to the waistline. This was to allow for access to the wing apparatus.

Outer Skirt:

This was made from 2 lengths of 60″ wide fabric, cut long enough to be waist – floor, plus a couple inches for hem, plus a few more inches to allow for it to “pool” a bit around the hem. Additionally, long pockets were sewn near the top of each side seam – long enough to easily conceal wallets, water bottles, etc.

Outer Bodice:

This took a fair amount of planning – we wanted to completely conceal the wing apparatus, while still allowing convenient enough access to easily get the wings on and off.

The outer bodice was made of 6 parts – a front yoke, a back yoke, front main bodice (the gathered section), two back main bodice parts, and a “flap” for the back, to further conceal the apparatus.

The front main bodice was gathered and sewn to the front yoke. Easy!

The back bodice.. let me see if I can describe this well. The flap was finished along both long edges. It was sewn, right side down, to the center of the back yoke piece. The two main back bodice pieces were finished on what would be the center back, and sewn down over the flap seam, overlapping by about two inches, and the rest of the top edge of the main piece was gathered and stitched down along the bottom of the yoke edge.

When the seam is flipped open, the flap covers the open center back.. which isn’t all THAT open, on account of the overlap.

On the bottom of the main back bodice piece, the two pieces are overlapped in the same manner that they are up top, and stitched down. From there, the side seams are sewn, and all horizontal seams (shoulders, bottom edges of yoke) are reinforced with bias tape to completely enclose the seam. Then, the bottom edge of the bodice is gathered.

Dress Assembly:

– With the right sides together, I sewed the neck seam. Flipped it right side out and also sewed around the seam from the outside – this made it lay more flat, and reinforced it.

– I serged the liner to the outer bodice at the arm holes, flipped the edges and stitched them down to finish the edge.

– I sewed the outer bodice to the outer skirt, gathering the skirt a bit as I went. I was aiming for a fair amount bigger than waist size, to allow for a drawstring later. Make sure that the side seams match up, as well as the center back and center front. I finished this seam off by enclosing it in bias tape as well.

– Add a LONG drawstring, finishing in the center back of the waist. It’s accessed from the center back of the bodice, and the ends are tucked in after being tightly tied around the waist. With the time and expense of these costumes, I wanted them to be able to fit through ANY weight fluctuations we may go through!

– Making sure everything is lining up, I pinned the bottom edge of the outer skirt to the bottom edge of the liner, matching up side seams, center back, and center front. There was more outer skirt than inner, so I gathered it – evenly – to fit as I sewing the two pieces together around the entire bottom edge.

– To finish this off, I flipped the bottom edge towards the underside of the dress, and VERY carefully sewed the whole bottom edge around one of the hoops. This is tedious, but not super difficult. Once the entire hoop is enclosed, evenly distribute the fabric mass along the edge of the hoop. Done!

Once the dresses were completely finished, in terms of the sewing… we had to paint them. This used a TON of granite texture spray paint, but it made a HUGE difference.

We aimed to get it in between the folds as much as we could, but the variance in coverage looked amazing – like shadows, etc.


With our Aspie sensory/texture issues, one thing was sure – we would NOT be able to handle makeup or other skin paint. Ugh!

So, I made a very customized set of bodysuits to suit our needs. It was a full, relatively tight spandex shirt, with full sleeves, attached gloves, and a hood that covered most of the face. I picked a lightly textured grey nylon lycra for this.

You can’t see it here, but there is a strip of velcro up the back of the neck/head to make it easier to get into, while still maintaining a very fitted profile once done up.

One feature I built is was that the gloves were only attached on the top and sides of the wrists, but not on the underside. The glove part under the wrist had a flap of fabric attached that tucked in under the wrist of the sleeve, so you couldn’t really see that it was an opening. This was to make washroom trips, etc a lot easier!

Once the suit was completely sewn and I was happy with the fit, I had to make it look more realistic.

I traced both of our hands and arms, and made stretch forms out of cardboard.

Once the stretch forms were placed inside the sleeves/gloves, I used superglue to attach a set of fake nails to the gloves. I had fit the nails to our hands beforehand, to make them proportionate to our actual hands.

Once the glue dried, I coated them with some matte white nail polish. If I had my time back, I would have used black or grey – I just didn’t have any on hand, and was feeling lazy! This is what it looked like after one coat of texture spray. (One a subsequent coat of spray, I pulled the wrist flay out and sprayed it as well – really helped it blend in!)

Once the nails were completely dry, I used granite texture spray paint to paint/texture the entire hood, arms, and shoulders, as well as the upper part of the chest and back.


The wings were the big stress for us this whole time. We’d looked online and didn’t see anything that looked at all comfortable, so we decided to – I’m sorry! – wing it.

After studying “Blink”, making notes of wing length/height/etc proportions, we figured out approximately the size we’d want, and I sketched it out on rosin paper

With my custom rosin paper pattern, my husband cut 8 wing pieces out from 1/2″ foam insulation. Each wing would have one front foam piece, and one back piece.

We cut feathers from sill plate insulation, glued them down with foam adhesive, and then sapled them down for good measure.

We designed our wing apparatus to be based on a 3/4″ thick piece of hard wood. 4 holes were drilled on the top edge, going straight down about 6″ deep. Each wing was designed to have 4 ends of wire sticking out: two would be bent to rest in these top holes, and two would slip into these black plastic cable straps that we positioned on the outside of the wood piece, and screwed them down.

Porter took great care to make sure both sides of each apparatus were symmetrical, and that the wires that would come out of the wings were in the appropriate places – you may be able to see the diagram we had drawn out on the pink rosin paper in the photo above.

With a diagram ready, Porter had to bend 9 guage galvanized wire to form the wing supports. (2 pairs of pliers will help get some sharp corners on bending the wire, but your hands will still be sore!)

Each wing ended up with 2 separate wire pieces – one upper piece to go in the top of the wood, and one lower piece to rest in the black cable tie things.

Once everything was bent and fit – and we were SURE everything would go where it was supposed to, it was time to assemble it all.

The wire was stapled down to one side of the foam wings with 1″ narrow crown staples, angled downward into the foam. After MUCH frustration with staples pulling right out, we started using two staples at each staple point, facing in opposite directions. Problem solved!

Once the wire was completely stapled down, the wings were glued together with foam insulation adhesive and weighted down to dry (we used leftover bathroom tiles as weights). It took quite a bit of adhesive – 4 normal size tubes for two sets of wings.

I don’t have a photo for the next step: We filled any spaces between the front/back of each wing with caulking, allowed it to dry, then hand carved all the edges to be rounded.

Once the wings were completely dry, I painted them. First, I coated them with a grey colored spray primer, then with a generous coating of granite texture paint.

Once the texture paint was dry, I felt that it was sort of flat looking, so I mixed some VERY thin, watery darkk/ light grey acrylic paint, and sponged on some shadows and highlights. (Sorry for the cell phone pic – it doesn’t do it justice!)

Back to the apparatus: We bought some strapping, and attached it to the back (outside) of the apparatus using Gorilla Glue and staples, each end sewn to adjustable strap fasteners.

Note: be careful where you staple! If you staple into your drilled holes, you’ll have to ream them in order to get the wires in later – we learned the hard way!

Note 2: We failed to account for the fact that Porter does NOT have boobs to hold the “X” of the strapping in place, so his straps end up crossing up in front of his neck and showing above the neckline of the dress – not cool. We’ll be fixing this before Convergence!

Once the glue dried on the wooden part, we had to try it all out – PERFECT! Again, I think the hair really makes the picture… (Also: this was before we’d finished painting the wings!)

To get the whole thing on, here’s what we do, in order:

– Bodysuit (leaving our hands poking out of the wrist holes)

– Apparatus

– Dress

– Wings: Flip the back flap up and over a shoulder, pull the back bodice panels aside to expose the apparatus. Slide the wings in, adjust the back bodice panels to conceal the apparatus, and flip the flap back down – the bottom edge tucks into the waist.

– Mask

– Wig

DONE! They’re super easy to get in and out of, so… mission accomplished! Also, with the wings as light as they are, and the way we designed the apparatus, these are not difficult to wear at all. My only problem was overheating, but that’s just because I don’t sweat properly. Porter was able to wear his for hours, no problem!


We wanted to have some fun with the costumes, so we decided that we NEEDED a baby. We went to a thrift shop to find a baby doll… and found a really beat up looking one that was about the right size.

After washing the doll, I tied the hair back with elastic – as much as I could, it was a bit short to work with – and painted the whole thing with grey acrylic paint.

Once the acrylic dried, I gave the doll a generous coat of granite spray. Then I decided that it needed a diaper, so I made one from scraps, sewed it right on, and had to spray THAT!

The finished baby. We named her “Damiana”, after one of my MasterChef buddies – Professional Wrestler, Damian Legion.

So, that was it! It took a LOOOONG time, and we probably breathed in way more fumes than is at ALL healthy, but I think the final product was worth it all!

Here are some great photos taken at Britcon, all courtesy of Ben Huset:

Oh, and if you’re in the market for an awesome costume, but not willing/able to put the work in? I’m officially available for hire. Click here to go to my new costuming website! (Note: I’ll make anything, doesn’t have to be spandex!)