Saturday, October 29, 2011

Edward Scissors Hands

Trimming the Hedge
My homemade Edward Scissors Hands costume for Halloween 2007 is by far my favourite costume I've ever made. I won two prizes for it on the night amounting to something like a 120euro! Which paid for the costume and left me with some spare cash. The wig is a Elvis wig back combed and worn backwards. I didn't go over board trying to get the gaunt look using makeup and facepaint. Simply white facepaint all over and black around the eyes and on the lips. 

I spent hours searching for a suitable jacket that was cheap in Dublin after college in the rain during October. I tried charity shops, Pennys, and all those dodge shops on Henry St. Finally I found this fleather jacket in shop in Stephen's Green SC. I think it was the most expensive thing in there at like 40euro! I hummed and hawed about the cost but I devised a cunning plan. No I didn't steal it! I kept the tags on and the receipt and brought it back the following week! Once I'd wiped the facepaint off, it was as good as new. I didn't get my money back fair enough but I got a credit note. 

Now most things are quite cheap in this shop and most of it looks cheap. I bought a pair of "Diesel" jeans for about 20euro. I had my suspicions about their authenticity since they were ridiculously cheap and the logo was different. But you don't find alot of contraband for sale in actual shops in Ireland so I dunno what was going on. They turned out to be one of the best pair of jeans I ever had. Saw me through my first year in college. They were so well worn that they ripped under the pocket on the back one day when I bent over! Fortunately I wasn't far from home. My Mom sewed it back up for me but sure the other pocket ripped not so long after. So I had to throw them away. :( 

Edward Scissors Hands Homemade Halloween Costume

Ok back to the costume. Id black jeans and black boots on over them. I had kept an eye out for shiny black pants maybe fleather or PVC but you could only get them in goth shops at the time and they cost a bomb! The whole shiny wet look legging hadn't hit the high streets yet. I also considered wrapping my legs in black tape.... Well that didn't work. 

I had a white shirt with braces on underneath had I wanted to take my jacket off during the evening. This is also what Johnny Depp would have worn in the movie. I bought some studded belts, a collar and a cuff from an extremely expensive accessory shop. You know the one. I was running out of time.

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissors Hands.
Finally, my scissors hands! A pair of black kitchen gloves. Some corrugated cardboard, tinfoil, silver packaging tape or whatever it's called and black tape. I cut out the blades from cardboard, covered them in the silver tape or tinfoil and then taped them to the side of each finger using black tape. On the ring finger and baby finger I extended the blade into a scissors handle shape. So from the side it looked like a pair of scissors. You can kind of see it in the photo above. I'm sorry the description is so rough but it was a long time ago! I think my Dad has more pictures which are clearer but Im too lazy to go find them right now. If I do I'll post them up. 

So despite spending about 100e on the costume I won 120e and got a credit note worth 40e back for the jacket. So I was happy with that outcome! The make up was so heavy that some people didn't recognise me at all and most people who didn't know me thought I was a guy... I got some looks when my boyfriend kissed me after I won the prize in one of the pubs. There are some really good homemade Edward Scissors Hands costumes out there. Especially for kids who look great! 

If you can't get a jacket and belts and stuff just go for the black polo neck, white shirt and black braces look. Much cheaper and looks just as good if not better as the leather look can be hard to get right. I just about managed it. For other simpler costumes have a look at some of these Pokemon Costumes. Good example of how you can make braces out of ribbons or even knit them in that Pokemon Post. Or if you are looking for a group theme have a look at this Stretcher Race.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Wooly Costume

Simple Sheep Costume
So I dressed up as a sheep one Halloween. The homemade costume went down a treat. I purchased some cushion stuffing from my local fabric shop for a small price. I then stuck it in layers to a nightdress using pva glue. This took a long time and was incredibly messy. I was lucky that my friends helped out. I also stuffed some of the left over stuffing under the nightdress to give me a more rounded shape. A friend of mine lent me her hood from her wet suit and that coupled with a lot of black facepaint transformed me into a sheep. My ears suck and should of been made of fabric or black card not corrugated cardboard painted with the face paint! I also put face paint on my arms but I'd advise wearing a long sleeve black top.  

Considering the Irish weather this would of a great costume for a kid going trick or treating as they will stay warm. However, I was indoors and burning up! There wasn't a chance I was going to nightclub in it. Also the stuffing was surprisingly heavy and gave me a sore back. But overall it was a pretty practical costume. I was happy :) Also the shaply figure I had was not intentional it was simply caused by resting my arms or holding a drink.

I'd also like to mention another fine costume from the party I attended that year. One of my friends dressed up as Duff Man from the Simpsons. Why was it such a good costume? Well if I remember it correctly her purchased it all in Pennies and took the cans from the bin so it probably didn't cost more than 20 euro to make which is what I like to hear!

Sheep and Duffman Costume

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mad Scientist!

Easy Mad Scientist Costume
This wasn't a Halloween costume but one for a school play. It was traditional each Christmas that the final year students would impersonate the teachers in funny skits. I was playing the part of a student that got covered in sut during a chemistry class! I just popped on my lab coat (which I had for actual Chemistry labs) and covered my face in charcoal I nicked from the art room par my eyes because I would have my safety glasses on of course. I back combed my hair and I think I put charcoal in it as well judging by the colour of it and blue hair spray (Why? I had it so why not?). You can't see it in the photograph but I also had LEDs through my hair that flashed during the performance as if I was being electrocuted or something. (Our Chemistry teacher was also our Physics teacher) 

More Mad Scientists
For props we had test tubes filled with lemonade and a few drops of food colouring (I think we had yellow, green, red blue etc). We stoppered the test tubes and shook them before going on stage so that during the performance they randomly popped sending the stopper flying and lemonade fizzing everywhere. It definitely provided the biggest laugh as unfortunately are jokes were appalling.

If I was to do this costume again I'd obviously use black face paint instead of charcoal and a lot less of it. (charcoal is very difficult to get off. It was very embarrassing walking home from school half covered in black. I had to wear my Santa hat to hide my hair). I would also put my safety glasses on before applying the black so that none of it gets in the space where the glasses should of protected me from the explosion. I'd put black on my lab coat too.I'd try pin my lab coat open and tie up in the air as if it was still during the explosion. I'd def bring testtubes with me :) O and put talc in my hair first before the black.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cupcakes and Yellow Yokes

Cupcakes with Chocolate and Lemon Butter Icing
These are some tasty cupcakes I made awhile back when I was learning how to make butter icing. Don't ask me what the recipe is because I don't remember :) I was experimenting. I used an angled spatula to do the icing which made it much easier than a knife. I'd love to get a small angled spatula to ice with since piping is a pain in the bun! 

Small Angled Spatula
I also made a horrific tray bake around the same time. I thought it would be a great idea to colour the icing and sponge yellow since it was lemon flavoured... well you can see for yourself. I also decided to try decorating with Jelly Tots since jellies on cupcakes seem to be all the rage these days. I was unconvinced as in order to keep the cake fresh I had it in the fridge which made the jelly tots very stiff and difficult to chew. They were alright at room temperature but I wasn't converted. Maybe I'll try some other jellies instead.

Scary Lemon Traybake with Jellytots.

Easy Cupcakes

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chocolate Chip Gingernuts!

Mmm Biscuits
So I started making these biscuits back in the Spring and they are yummy! I got the recipe here on Delia Online. (Good Old Delia). Anyway I love ginger and I love chocolate! I hate the mess golden syrup makes though :( The recipe is easy enough and is illustrated below. Chuck the ginger powder, cocoa powder, flour and bicarbonated soda in a bowl and stir it. Then rub the butter in making a crumb. Add the sugar and chopped up dark chocolate and stir and then mix in the golden syrup with your hands. (Messy work). Squeeze the mixture into a ball, roll it out and cut it into biscuits. 

Making the biscuit dough
Pop them in the oven and hey presto. You don't have to use cookie cutters, you can simply squash balls of dough like Delia suggests as they look more rustic. Since I love ginger so much I prefer using fresh ginger grated up instead of powdered ginger. If you rather cookies than biscuits leave them in for about half the time. It is very easy to burn them so if in doubt just take them out. Better underdone than burnt says I. Also they will still be soft when you take them out. They will harden as they cool. 

Chocolate Chip Gingernuts
Chocolate Chip Gingernuts

Saucy Blackberries

Sieving the Sauce
So as I mentioned in my previous post I picked lots of wild blackberries. I made an Apple and Blackberry Tart with about half of the them and then with the rest I decided to make blackberry sauce. Easy peasy, for every 100g of blackberries you need 25g of sugar or to taste. Pop the blackberries and sugar in a saucepan with about a teaspoon of water and simmer for about 15mins. I'm showing that coincidently my nail varnish matches the colour of the mixture and I know a good cook never wears nail varnish while cooking but this varnish is extreme wear according to the bottle and was a present all the way from the US. 

Simmering the Blackberries and Sugar
Blackberries after Stewing
So once the blackberries are suitably stewed I poured them into a jug and allowed them to cool. Once they had cooled I blended them using a hand blender. Very messy work since I was too lazy to use the correct jug i.e. a tall narrow one. Anyway once the mixture was uniformly blended I passed it through a sieve to remove the pips. This took forever, since the sieve is a particularly fine one and the mixture was thick. However, with lots of squashing using a spatula I got most of the puree/sauce through the sieve. I poured the sauce into a lovely bottle I recently purchased lemonade in and gave the birds the pips. I can't wait to use the sauce. I am thinking meringue and icecream maybe??

Messy Blending
Blackberry Sauce

Who you calling a Tart?

Blackberry and Apple Tart
So the first of the blackberries have ripened here in Ireland so I decided to pick some on my way home through the woods yesterday. I picked just shy of a kilo of lovely ripe wild blackberries. Firstly I rinsed them and then let them soak for a couple of hours to kill any bugs. Then I rinsed them again to wash the bugs away. I then had to decide what to make. The obvious answer would be jam but it was late and I wanted something quick. So apple and blackberry tart as requested by my parents was chosen. 

Wild Blackberries
I made a basic all butter pastry i.e. simply butter rubbed into flour. The pastry turned out surprisingly well considering the last time I'd made pastry was 6 years ago and that was only once! Once the butter was rubbed into the flour I added a drop of water and mixed it into a ball using a knife. I think I used a too much water as the dough was a bit sticky but I still managed to roll it out. The pastry was a bit too thin but it was ok. 
Making the Pastry
So next step was filling the pie dish with the pastry, lining it with baking paper, filling it with blind baking beans and blind baking it. Blind baking helps prevent soggy pastry and allows the pastry enough time to cook as sometimes as in my case the filling does not need as long in the oven. The beans are used to help keep the shape of the pastry.So while the tart was blind baking I began preparing the apples. 

Pastry before Blind Baking
I filled the tart with a layer of about 3 sliced eating apples already coated in sugar. (I didn't have any cooking apples) I then piled on about 400g of blackberries which had been mixed with some brown sugar and flour. I really should of cooked the apples in the tart for awhile before adding the blackberries because when I took it out of the oven some of the blackberries had burned and the apple could of done with more time but hardly a disaster. 

The Tart out of the Oven
While the tart was baking I placed about 50g of  blackberries, and one sliced apple in a saucepan with some sugar and apple juice and allowed it to stew.  The juice from the black berries gave the apples a lovely red colour. I poured the juice from the saucepan over the tart and then decorated the tart with the apple slices. I was very happy with the tart. The pastry was a bit scarce. I'll know to make more the next time but over all yum yum. I decided to make blackberry sauce with the remaining blackberries.
Apple and Blackberry Tart

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Girl with the Pearl Earring

Girl with the Pearl Earring Costume
Long story short. I was studying the book by Tracy Chevalier called 'Girl with the Pearl Earring' as part of my comparative studies during my Leaving Cert. Woeful book I might add. Anyway, the book was inspired by Johannes Vermeer's painting Girl with a Pearl Earring. Which is a lovely painting. I decided since the book and movie (the movie is actually more boring than watching paint dry since you are watching a movie about paint drying) was popular that I would dress up as the girl with the pearl earring for Halloween. I got my Mam to sew my head piece out of some scraps. I found a cheap lace top and voila. However, I have never had my ears pierced so the pearl earrings were not as straight forward. Before gearing myself up to make some crazy clip on earrings I thought I'd see if my local odd stuff shop had any and guess what! They did indeed. So outfit complete. Off I went. No one at the party I attended had a clue who I was but I didn't care. :)

Johannes Vermeer's painting Girl with a Pearl Earring
Scarlet Johansson as the Girl with the Pearl Earring

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chocolate Bull!

Chocolate Bull Cake
Once again a fine example of a novelty cake that my house mates made and I didn't. Can you see the trend? Anything I get involved in ends up messy! Anyway they made this cake for ME! It was for my 22nd birthday. Why a bull? Well that is my boyfriend's nickname. (No sniggering!) Anywho it is once again an awesome chocolate pudding cake covered in chocolate cake covering which you can see is very cheap. The nose is made of Wagon Wheels which if I have to be honest I don't really like but a common phrase of mine is 'Well I wouldn't buy them but I'd still eat it like'. In addition to the wagon wheels two chocolate buttons and some white icing (I think maybe it is the filling from an Oreo?) was used for the nostrils and ring. The ears are halved Oreos (Another I wouldn't buy them but eat them biscuit). The horns are wagon wheels halved. Then the eyes are Oreos with one piece of biscuit removed and replaced with a chocolate button.  This cake is fantastic because it is so simple! Only needed chocolate, Wagon Wheels, Oreos, Chocolate Buttons and maybe a bit of icing. It was very tasty too. I love my housemates.

Me as Lady Gaga eating my Bull Cake

Friday, August 12, 2011

Smashed Guitar

Guitar Cake
Another example of a crazy cake where we got carried away. Two circular cakes side by side. Then covered in chocolate cake covering aka cheap cooking chocolate. I made this horrible looking black icing to fill in the hole. Not the best call I've ever made. The neck and head are made from Rocky bars which are biscuits covered in chocolate. Since it would have been too big to have laid out we made a broken guitar which worked out pretty cool with the liquorice lace as strings. I then I wrote happy birthday on it with a decorating marker. A rushed job and a silly idea. Everyone still ate it! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011


So the musician Deadmau5 is known for wearing a large cartoon mouse head on stage. Therefore there is alot of merchandise etc. associated with his brand. One fan gave him a teddy bear called Babymau5. Two of my friends expressed a desire to buy a Babymau5 which I thought was unneccessary. I set about making them teddies. Pictured about is Formalmau5 which is the second teddy I made. Far from perfect but full of character. Simply red felt, white felt, two white buttons and stuffing. The buttons were tricky to attach and had to be sewn through the head to keep them from wobbling therefore in hindsight I would have used flat buttons. I don't have a photo of the first teddy at the moment but I will get one off my friend. Have a look at Babymau5's Facebook page where fans have unloaded pictures of their teddies and pictures of Babymau5 around the world! 

Deadmau5 on Stage

Deadmau5 with Babymau5

Friday, August 5, 2011

Malteaser Cake

Tiered Chocolate Cake Decorated with Malteasers and Chocolate Fingers
As you can see from the reference on the photo I did not actually make that cake. It was the inspiration for a cake I did make today however it doesn't look so appealing so I thought I'd lure you in with a pretty picture! It is my parents wedding anniversary around now so I thought I'd make them a mock wedding cake and well there ya go. Unfortunately, white chocolate fingers and malteasers were not available in my local shops. Maybe in Tesco but I didn't have time or the transport to get to Tesco. So with the help of my boyfriend we had to improvise. 

Believe it or not but I'm actually not a big fan of cake unless it is very fresh sponge cake. As a result alot of my cakes and cupcakes are actually a chocolate pudding mixture. Mmmm. But I wanted tiers. First mistake. I poured the pudding mixture into a cake tin, a small tart tin and a ramekin. Popped them in the oven and let them cook for about twice as long as the pudding recipe would suggest. They are still pretty gooey and fragile when you take them out. I stacked them on top of eachother. At the start this looked great but they slowly started to sink into eachother resulting in more of a blob than 3 tiers.

A Hint of the Mess to Come
Next issue, the lack of white fingers and chocolates. Why bother says you. Well, after some research on Google Images I decided all milk chocolate versions were just a bit boring. So melted some white chocolate and tried dipping some of the milk chocolate fingers in it. The chocolate was too thick. I added some milk. The mixture wasn't making the fingers white enough. Chucked in a load of icing sugar. Perfect. Well sort of. It was still very messy and rough around the edges. My diligent boyfriend dipped about a third of the fingers and malteasers into the white chocolate mix and laid them out on cling film to dry. Now because the mixture had to be fairly thick to give a good covering it meant that a achieving an even smooth finish was quite difficult. Basically we got the white chocolate everywhere! It also made the white ones much bigger than the milk ones. 

So it was messy looking. The white ones were out of proportion. The whole thing started to sink and lean to the side. Did we care? Nope it tastes absolutely awesome!

Malteaser and Chocolate Finger Tiered Chocolate Cake

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

M&M Basket Cake

M&M Chocolate Finger Basket Cake
Now I didn't make this cake. My housemates did and it was yummy. It was for our other housemate who loves chocolate M&Ms. I'd seen a basket cake made with Kit Kats on the internet that my sister showed me. The cake is a overcooked chocolate pudding which gives a gorgeous moist hybrid between a chocolate fudge cake and a chocolate pudding. I am a big fan of them. Then they iced the cake in chocolate fudge icing, stuck the chocolate fingers on and then covered it in M&Ms. Simple and awesome looking. Probably one of the tastiest cakes I've ever had. Here are some examples of Kitkat basket cakes; Miss Oven MittsCollege Baker

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Classic Sponge

Rose Petal Sponge Cake
So despite saying I was going to lay off the rose petal treats it was the only jam in the house so I made rose petal jam and cream filled vanilla sponge cake. Quite the mouthful in many ways. The sponge cake was made using Delia Smith's All-in-one-sponge which is the recipe I always use because it is dead easy. On my mothers instruction I used Soya butter to my disgust but you couldn't taste it in the cake. For more about the all in one sponge cake have a look at a previous post: Rose Petal Fairy Cakes but the basic ingredients are flour, baking powder, eggs, caster sugar and soft butter. I also used vanilla extract.

The Ingredients for an All-in-One-Sponge
I doubled the recipe so as to make two cakes but when I took them out of the oven they were a bit shallow as I suspected. Upon turning the page of the cook book I discovered that for layered cakes 50% more cake mixture was needed. Not to worry. So what happened to the other cake... Well I attempted to make lemon curd but it was all lumpy and not worth photographing and well the cake was disgusting. Still gobbled it up all the same. Fortunately, the second cake was simply filled with rose petal jam and cream and then dusted with icing sugar. Yum Yum!
The Sponge Cake Cooling

Rose And Cream Sponge Cake

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cookie Monster Cake!

Simple Cookie Monster Cake
My friends and I like making novelty cakes for eachother's birthdays that have some connection with that person. The themes can be quite obvious or totally obscure. One of my friends loves the Cookie Monster so it was easy to sort his cake out since there are plenty of examples on-line of Cookie Monster cakes and cupcakes, such as this site Coolest Birthday Cakes which has loads of examples of novelty cakes. You might see a few of mine there. The cake is simply a normal chocolate sponge which had been allowed to cool. 

Firstly, we poured melted chocolate onto the top of the cake and let it set a bit. The eyes are Jacobs Coconut Creams which are a marshmallow biscuit. They were stuck onto the cake with melted chocolate. Then to complete the eyes Cadbury's Chocolate Buttons were stuck on with a bit of melted chocolate. Note that his eyes are wonky on purpose. Then with a knife the shape of the mouth was outlined in the chocolate. 

The icing is buttercream icing with alot of blue food colouring and more icing sugar than usual to get the stiff peaks. Possibly half a bottle of colouring maybe more. In order to get the fur like texture a piping syringe with a star cap was used. I started at the bottom and worked around in layers so that the icing wouldn't slide downwards. Just after I'd squeezed the icing on I'd push the syringe into the icing and then pull away. This stopped the icing from being pulled off the cake as the syringe was pulled away. This resulted in neat peaks. 

Finally to finish it off we placed a cookie and some crumbled cookie in his mouth. Due to the large amount of food colouring in the icing no one could stomach it! The icing was very bitter so be warned sometimes it is better to buy colouring paste in order to get the right colour or it won't taste great. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pink Party Cakes

Pink Love Heart Chocolate Cupcakes
So I went a bit mad in Tesco one day buying lots of pink cake decorations. I made these yummy buns with chocolate fudge icing, pink sugar balls and pink love hearts. I just loved them. I also found an entire large tube of pink smarties! I thought oh these must be for breast cancer awareness but no it was just a big tube of pink smarties because Nestle know how awesome that is. 

So I gathered up various pink items, marshmallows sugar balls, Barbie Sprinkles etc. and invited my mates over for some messy cupcake decorating! We created an absolute mess and all felt sick afterwards but it was great fun! Be warned some of the cupcakes are a bit naughty looking! 

Messy Pink and Chocolate Cupcakes
Messy Chocolate Cupcakes
We also attempted to make fudge and decorated it with the left over smarties etc. It was nice but not really fudge.

Attempt at Fudge

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