Pip-Boy and Nuka-Cola


Until a few months ago, I had no idea what this meant. I still don’t really other than it has to do with Fallout 4. Which is a video game that was released on November 10th. Waaaayyyy back in June, it was announced that there would be a special edition released that would include a Pip-Boy. From what I gathered, a Pip-Boy is something worn on the arm by characters in the game. What I knew for certain was that my husband was really excited about this, but they were sold out…everywhere.

Thanks to my being home during the summer, I was able to monitor websites fairly closely and was ready to pounce when they came available. From then, it was just a matter of telling but not telling my husband to purchase the game.

The game finally arrived this week. There was a bit of a delay in the shipping, so by the time it finally arrived, we were both excited. It felt like Santa had arrived.



With all this excitement, I was inspired to make him a cake. When I finished my orders for the week, I used the tiny little 4-inch cakes I made with left-over batter to construct him a cake.

I used the few details I know about the game to help me design the cake. I know there are vaults in each version of the game. The vault for Fallout 4 is 111. The vault door was the inspiration for the top of the cake. After covering the cake in grey frosting, I added some copper powder to make it look old and rusted; just like everything on the screen looks in the game.


The cake is made using 1-2-3-4 Pound Cake recipe from Swans Down with a couple of alterations. I used 1 cup coconut milk. I also substituted the almond extract for coconut extract. Each layer was made from leftover dough from orders this week. One order included turquoise cupcakes which is where that one colored layer is from.

The little topper was made with candy melts mixed with light corn syrup. I just learned this trick. By mixing the two ingredients together, you create an almost fondant. Though it tastes much better. It also doesn’t dry out when you are working with it. It’s my new favourite discovery.


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Furiosa Arm

Howdy folks, another guest post by Anna’s husband, once again about a Halloween creation.

So… it all started with this guy.

Immortan Trump! If anyone knows who this guy is, let us know so I can pat him on the back.

Yeah, when I came across this photo I just laughed and laughed.  Then I decided that a mashup of Donald Trump and Immortan Joe was definitely what I wanted to do for Halloween this year.  Since we usually do couples costumes, we decided that the best thing to do for Anna would be a mashup of Hillary Clinton and Imperator Furiosa, or as we dubbed her, “Imperator Hilarosa”.  Most of the accouterments for the Immortan Trump costume are available online, and most of what we decided we needed for the Hilarosa costume was more or less available at Goodwill with the exception of one thing… that amazing robotic arm.  We found several homemade versions of the arm going for several hundreds of dollars, but nothing that was anywhere near the price we would want to spend on a Halloween costume.  Instead, I made one.

The more-or-less finished result.

It’s difficult to provide you with a complete parts list, but it’s something along these lines:

  • a plastic oil pan from the dollar store, $1
  • a metal lamp reflector that was in the garage, $free!
  • an insulated mug from the dollar store $1
  • some pens from the dollar store, $1 for a dozen
  • a pair of pliers from the dollar store, $1
  • three wooden dowel rods, $1 for a pack of 6
  • six round dowel rod caps from Lowes, $3
  • a couple of sheets of craft foam, $2
  • a small amount of faux leather from the fabric store, $4
  • braided clothesline, $1.50
  • silver, black, and bronze paint, maybe $6
  • maybe $15 worth of rapid rivets (for leatherwork) and pop rivets
  • other assorted nuts, bolts, and springs I had laying around the garage
  • liberal amounts of E6000 clear adhesive

So, somewhere around $40?  That’s tough to believe, but yeah…

Oh, wait.

  • approximately 24 hours total of cutting, shaping, drilling, sanding, riveting, fitting, rinse, repeat.

We started by taping Anna’s hand up in a glove made of newspaper and painter’s tape, to give me something to work around while she was off doing more important things.

She’s a good sport.

I then made the shape of the back of the hand out of plastic cut from the oil pan, and also cut out the shape for the “knuckle” for the middle finger.  As you’re looking at the photos, almost all of the black plastic was cut from the oil pan, and the metal parts came from the lamp reflector.  I’ll post an aftermath photo at the end to show you what was left when I was done.  I also made templates of every piece that I cut out of metal or plastic, if there’s any interest I’ll look into scanning them into a PDF or something.

All of the black plastic parts were shaped by heating them up with a heat gun and shaping them around the edges of my work bench.  I wore heavy leather gloves and the garage is pretty well ventilated.  Since we’re talking about safety, I also always wore my goggles when cutting anything, most of the cutting was done with a Dremel and cut-off wheels, and that sends sharp bits everywhere, especially when you’re trying to be in a hurry and the cut-off wheel explodes on you.

The metal shapes of the first two fingers were beat into a curved shape using a ball-peen hammer, then drilled out by hand with a cordless drill.

The bulk of the first finger was cut out of metal and also beat into shape using the same method.

The two pieces of the first finger were glued together using a long strip of craft foam and E6000.  I then started working on the middle finger, cutting everything out of black plastic and gluing it together with a strip of craft foam in the same manner I used on the first finger.  I  I then fastened it to the “knuckle” using two rapid rivets, and fastened the knuckle to the back of the hand (after making a couple of test fittings to make sure that everything was positioned correctly).  Then the bottom of each finger was put into place, more craft foam and a small “ring” of black plastic for strength.  I also added a bolt to the end of the middle finger, partially for the look but mostly to keep them from spreading apart.

On the right side of this picture you’ll see the inside of the first finger, with craft foam strips that were put into place for support, and also the plastic ring (the thickest strip behind the clothespin).  This is what is hiding underneath the craft foam in the other photos.  Also pictured here are the beginnings of the elbow brace, cut from a plastic insulated mug.

After I finished up the first finger, it was attached on one side using a rapid rivet.  This is also where I had a slight disaster (I split the relatively brittle plastic) and decided to rivet and glue in place a reinforcement piece.  The ribs on the bottom of the first finger were created from strips of craft foam.

The third finger (which contains Anna’s ring finger and pinkie finger) was shaped out of metal in the same fashion as the others, and fastened on one side with a rapid rivet.  It was finished on the bottom in a similar fashion as the first two fingers, plastic ring for support and craft foam for looks.  At this point I decided I didn’t like the way the gaps looked when the fingers were bent.  Even though Anna was going to be wearing a black glove under the hand I figured it would look better with something in that gap, so I took strips of craft foam and embossed ribs into then using a heated file.  Those were glued on one end so they would slide back and forth as the finger was moved.

Next I shaped the piece that covers the palm and wrist, this was originally planned as one piece but I ended up cutting it into two pieces to make it easier to work with.  I say “planned”, though most of this was trial and error as I went.  These pieces were fastened with short pop rivets.  I also painted the little finger with a light wash of black paint around this same time, so that it would wear away slightly as I was handling the glove.

Next I glued into place the dowel caps that would be the “tie rod ends” that connect the hand to the elbow brace.  I drilled a hole in the side of each one with enough room for for some movement of the dowel rods.  E6000 still remains some flexibility when cured, and I was banking on that to give Anna some wiggle room once it was all together.  The dowel caps were glued into place on top of long pop rivets that I scored with a Dremel cut-off wheel.

While that was curing I worked on the elbow brace.  I glued faux leather to the outside of the plastic piece that was cut from an insulated mug (pictured earlier), fastened another piece of the mug on the outside using rapid rivets, and glued on dowel caps using the same pop rivet method used on the hand.

The thumb was made of two more piece of plastic, and put together in a similar fashion as the other fingers, it was finished with a piece of metal that was riveted to small strips of metal that ran from one side of the thumb to the other.  This was probably the worst-documented part of the entire process, sorry about that.  I then attached a chunk that I cut off of a pair of pliers, a small metal armature made from the same metal as everything else, and a small spring that was in my toolbox.  This was all held together with a variety of rapid rivets and pop rivets.

After that was finished I painted the dowel caps black and then dry brushed everything in silver to give it a little sheen.  I also prepped and painted the dowels (silver) and pens (bronze), they’re in the background of the next photo.

After everything dried up, I put it all together for a test fit.  The pens have short sections of dowel glued into them, which are then glued into the dowel caps on the hand side, then the long sections of dowel are glued into the dowel caps on the elbow side, and just inserted into the pens.  This means the length of the arm can be changed.  This gives a little bit of flexibility in the wrist but also means that it will fit other people and isn’t sized just for Anna (there’s a hint in there, somewhere, maybe).  I also started adding some of the additional accouterments at this point, such as the cap nut on the back of the hand, the wrench lashed to one of the supports, some aluminum tape shiny bits here and there, etc.

The wrench took some modifying so that it didn’t interfere with the rods.

Action shot!

I fashioned the pressure lines out of a length of braided clothesline that Anna was kind enough to thread over a piece of wire (she has a lot more patience than I do) and then painted silver, and a piece of aquarium tubing that I inserted a piece of green weedeater line into.  This looked pretty good until it was under a black light, then it looked amazing.  These were glued into the appropriate places underneath patches of craft foam.  I also painted some light weathering in various places, grease spots, etc.

We then fashioned the harness out of a few belts from Goodwill.  It’s basically a strap that goes up the front of her arm and crosses over her shoulder to her back, and fastens to a belt she wears right under, ah, right at the top of her waist.  The other strap goes up the back of her arm, over her shoulder to the front, and attaches to the same belt at her right side.  Once we got everything situated we marked where they crossed (at the shoulder, the right side in front, and the right side in back) and fastened them with rapid rivets.  The “pressure lines” where then lashed together with some fine wire in a few places, and then attached to the back strap all the way up to her shoulder.  If we decide to do a full-on Furiosa costume, we’ll add the shoulder pad and stuff at a later date.

So anyway, here’s how the costumes turned out… I’m pretty stoked at how great it all came together, and we won a couple of costume contests, which is super exciting :D

I’m also happy to report that it was functional, which is very important when it comes to an adult Halloween costume.
Oh, right… I promised that aftermath photo.  Here’s what was left of that oil pan and lamp reflector when it was all finished.

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Blooming Eyes!

I came across a marvelous tutorial for a Halloween wreath that I just had to make. Jen over at Epbot shared it at the end of September. I managed to procure the supplies and make it the same day. This project didn’t lie around for a year (like my Halloween pillow fabric)!


The most fun was gluing the eyeballs into the flowers. They really kinda creep me out. I used E6000 to secure the plastic eyes into the flowers. As well as glue the skeleton into the wreath. The skeleton took a little time to get just right. I would glue and he would wiggle and move and I’d need more glue. Finally, he settled into the nooks of the grapevine wreath and I was able to get the glue to hold him securely.

To attach the flowers to the wreath, I used wire cutters to trim the stems from the flower bundle. Then I bent the stem so the flower faced out. The stem then got wedged into the wreath. The black flowers and beads had little glittery spiders included in the bunches, so I added those to the wreath as well.











Jen has a marvelous tutorial on how she created the  wreath. I didn’t think to take photos of the process, so I highly recommend checking out her post if you want to make your own.




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Pattern Club

My crafting is still on hold while I’m out enjoying my family in Arizona, so I thought I would take a moment to share a new pattern club I just joined. It is brand new, as in the first pattern will be sent out Wednesday. I can’t wait! I think I already have my fabric chosen for the pattern. I’m waiting on more details before committing to the decision.

The Sew What Club is being formed by Kelly Crawford from Sewing in No Man’s Land. If you haven’t heard of her or her blog, you should check it out. She has a beautiful family, makes them marvelous clothing, and lives all over the world. I’m a little envious.

July’s Pattern, I can’t wait!

The club has two options, women’s patterns or children’s patterns. I joined the women’s pattern club. On the 15th of every month, I’ll have a new pattern to use. The children’s membership includes 2 monthly patterns.  The line-up of designers are ladies I already own patterns from or have their patterns on my wish-list. You have the option to sign-up for an entire year, or monthly. Upon signing up, you are given a bonus pattern.

Bonus Pattern; Taking Notes Skirt

The only drawback is that these are digital patterns, so I’m going to have to spend a few hours cutting and taping the pieces together.

Photos are borrowed from Kelly Crawford. Also, I’m not being paid to promote the Sew What Club, I’m just really excited and wanted to share it.


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Making Lemonade

Sometimes, life sends you in a direction you weren’t quite expecting. That happened this week. I was going about my normal crafty-summer week, (I had some great things planned.), when I decided a trip to visit my Gramma was necessary. This meant travelling across the country to Arizona.

We may have bent the rules a little towards the end.


Today, we played Scrabble. My Gramma, who can’t remember 5 minutes ago, is a wiz at the game. I think she would have won had we kept score.

Pondering her next move.


I used to think she would outlive us all. I know better now. I’m going to enjoy this time I get to spend with her now.

She’s a sneaky one.

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Pink Ava Dress

At some point last year, I stumbled across a project called Perfect Pattern Parcel. They were offering a themed groups of patterns from independent designers. There were 5 patterns in the bundle. The awesome premise was that you could name your own price for the parcel. There was also a bonus 6th pattern of you paid over a certain amount. The proceeds were then donated to various projects on Donors Choose (which I appreciated being a teacher). There were a handful of parcels offered throughout the year, but I only snagged one. The theme I bought was women’s clothing.

The first dress I’m sharing is the Ava by Victory Patterns. I did make this dress almost immediately after purchasing the pattern last summer and have had opportunity to wear this dress many times. For the most part with success. There was one morning I managed to put the dress on backwards and had a very uncomfortable day thinking something was wrong with the dress. Please pay attention when getting dressed in the morning so this doesn’t happen to you!

Since taking these photos, I have added a belt to help break up the continuous pink of the dress. When I make this dress again, I’m going to lengthen the bodice. It hits just a little to high for my comfort. I think I’ll also change out the skirt to a dirndl skirt rather than the almost circle skirt of the pattern. Though I may have to just make a top for the next go.

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Summer Sewing Flashback

I really wanted to title this “Summer Dress Covered in Tits,” but I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with the traffic that would come with such wording. The fabric I used to make this dress is covered in bicycle wheels (or wagon wheels) and little birds that my husband deemed tits (Google search). He likes nature things like birds, bugs, and spiders, so I’m going to trust him on this. I just like the colours in the fabric.

For this fabric, I turned to my trusted Simplicity 2587. Have I mentioned that I like this pattern? It’s a simple, unlined top or dress with bias trim to finish the edges. The previous times I used this pattern, I made the sleeveless. I love these, but they don’t provide enough coverage to wear to work.


Since I live in Florida, there was no way I wanted to make a long-sleeved dress. I decided to make the sleeved version without the sleeves. I would just use bias strips to finish the edges of the arm holes.


The pattern comes with pieces that you use to cut the bias strips for the neck, arm, and waist. This lets you choose whatever fabric you would like to finish edges. Or you can use bias tape instead. This is the first time I cut my own strips from coordinating fabric. This little bit of extra time was well worth it.

I like this dress even more now that I’ve switched to the other top. It gives more coverage and the strap are wide enough to wear to work. I do put a tank on when wearing this to work. The only part I don’t like is the zipper. I have a hard time getting it all the way to the top in the back.

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