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Make Your Own Leg Dress Form Tutorial

Leg dress form DIY

If you cosplay frequently, you’ve probably made a million pairs of boot covers to go with every outfit. It’s no surprise that our favorite fantasy characters tend to wear shoes you simply won’t find at the local shoe store. But this leaves you sitting at the sewing machine barefoot, repeatedly trying your boot cover on with your shoe to see if it fits, if you can get it on and off easily, and if all the seams lay just right. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a dress form for your feet? Well, I’ve got good news. You can make your own CUSTOM dress form of your leg and it’s dirt cheap to do! If you’ve got a friend to help, you can get it done in less than an hour. Check it out.

You will need:

Saran WrapLeg Dress form DIY supplies
Packing Tape
Plastic grocery bags

You will use:

Scissors
Masking tape
Permanent Marker

Making the Leg Dress Form

  1. Wrap your bare foot in 2 layers of saran wrap. Wrap all the way up to at least your knee. If you regularly make higher boot covers, feel free to keep your leg straight and wrap higher. (I highly recommend enlisting a friend’s help for that unless you’re a total yoga master.)Dress form saran wrap
  2. Go over the saran wrap with the packing tape. Wrap it snug, but not so tight that you’re cutting off circulation. (If you wrap it too tight, step 4 WILL become dangerous.) Make sure you don’t miss any spots. Lay the tape in different directions for full coverage.Dress form packing tape
  3. Take a permanent marker and draw a straight line down the center back of your leg wrap. Add a few hash marks across this seam. They will be useful later. Draw another straight line around the top edge of the wrap.dress form permanent marker back seam    dress form hash marks
  4. CAREFULLY<<!!! Cut along that center back line you drew. It is probably safer to let someone else do this. And definitely use a pair of scissors and NOT any sort of single blade tool. If you have a pair with a rounded, blunt tip, that’s your best bet. SAFETY FIRST!!leg dress form scissors
  5. At this point, you should be able to slide the wrap off of your foot while maintaining its shape.
  6. It’s time to start stuffing! Ball up your plastic grocery bags as tight as you can and stuff them into the toe of your taped leg form.
  7. Once you have filled the foot area, line up your lowest hashmark and tape the seam back together using a piece of masking tape. Take time now to stuff the ankle of your leg form. It’s important to make sure the foot area is stuffed firmly but not so tight that you distort the shape.
  8. Line up the rest of your hashmarks and tape across them with the masking tape.dress form stuffed
  9. grocery bags recycle
    (Sidenote: This is my favorite way to get rid of my unnecessary stockpile of empty grocery bags.)

    Now you can finish stuffing your leg form. It should be firm enough to hold up to light pressure without collapsing.

  10. Go over the back seam with packing tape to make sure it’s secure. I usually do several strips going across and one or two going up the full length of the leg form. Tape across the top as well.
  11. Your DIY Leg Form is now Complete!leg form finished complete

You should be able to fit this leg form into whatever shoe you plan to wear under your boot covers and then use it to rough draft a pattern, design a mock-up, or test the fit of your boot covers repeatedly. This is also a great tool when you need to paint a unique design on leggings or tights for a cosplay.

Bonus Tips:

  • Wear shorts so that you capture your true leg shape and don’t have any obstructions.
  • For some fun, go pick out a roll of duct tape with a fun pattern on it and cover your finished leg form with it. I made one covered in s’mores print once!
  • You may want to make two leg forms: one for a flat shoe and one for wearing heels. When making the form for heels, point your toe while wrapping your leg.

decorated leg dress form with duct tape

I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below, or you can share pictures of your DIY leg dress form with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

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Meet my Kids: National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Ya know, I named this blog BlerdyMomma because I am a nerdy, black mom and those are 3 characteristics about me that will never change. But I don’t actually talk about my children all that often. That’s mainly because I don’t think my children should have a huge web presence before they can even read. And how do I know some weirdo won’t take their pictures off of here and turn them into some ridiculous meme?

I guess I don’t. But leaving my kids off the blog means that a huge chunk of my daily life goes unmentioned. How can I really share our blerd family lifestyle if I’m not talking about half of the family? I can’t.

So meet my kids: Little Man and Baby Hulk…

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month Kids

They come with us to conventions. They love to watch WWE every week. And they both have Sickle Cell Anemia.

Sickle Cell is a genetic blood disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Just in America, 1,000 babies are born with it every year. But most people know nothing about it. That’s probably because it disproportionately affects minority groups here.

Little Man has Sickle Cell
Little Man has Sickle Cell.

Sickled blood cells cannot work as hard or live as long as healthy red blood cells. Because of this, they lead to all sorts of health problems over time. My children are at high risk for things like stroke and pneumonia, and they suffer from episodes called “pain crises”. A pain crisis happens when their sickle – shaped blood cells traffic jam in their arteries, blocking blood flow and causing very painful swelling at the site of the blockage.

Parents like me have the challenging job of advocating for children with what is essentially an “invisible illness” 80% of the time. Little Man is just now getting to a point where he can describe his symptoms and learn about what is happening in his body. And next year he’s going to start school where the staff probably won’t know, understand, and in some cases, believe him.

I am talking about this because sickle cell disease is twice as common as cystic fibrosis, and yet I rarely meet people  (doctors included) who have a working knowledge of the disease. I just want to share a few tidbits that will let you know how to support someone with sickle cell.

Sickle Cell Health Tips:

  1. Stay hydrated – Dehydration will almost invariably lead to a pain crisis in someone with SCD.
  2. Avoid extreme weather – You know how your hands go numb when it’s too cold outside? That can become a pain crisis too.
  3. NEVER ignore a fever – Fevers can be a sign of blood infection. A fever is always grounds for a visit to the doctor.
  4. Avoid sick people – The common cold is not bad by itself. But having SCD means that the blood cannot work as hard to heal my kids. Fighting off that cold could cause their blood cells to break down faster than they can replace them. When that happens, they need a blood transfusion.

Resources about Sickle Cell:

Baby Hulk has Sickle Cell, too.
Baby Hulk has Sickle Cell, too.

Sickle Cell 101 – The SCDAA website is full of great, easy-to-understand information about SCD. They also offer networking opportunities and local support groups for patients and their families.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – The CDC is constantly researching and publish new information about SCD, its treatments, and tips for healthy living.

The Invisible Pain People With Sickle Cell Anemia Go Through Every Day – This article by Jim Olaghere is a snapshot of what it’s like living with SCD.

As my children and I grow, I am learning more about Sickle Cell every day. I often forget how unique my children are, because this is a genetic disorder diagnosed at birth, and we simply don’t know what it is to be normal. They were born this way, and symptoms started showing before they were each a year old. I love my boys and I wouldn’t change them for the world, so I guess I better change the world for my boys.

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It’s the Most BUSIEST time of the Year…

Public Service Announcement: If you are not done having children, please try to make a conscious effort to spread out their birthdays. Our boys’ birthdays are barely 3 weeks apart on the calendar. Between them and the abnormally high number of other family birthdays in August, I’ve been insanely busy. It’s my own fault for insisting on doing their parties mostly DIY. The things I do for love, huh? Once they’re both past the age of 5, combined parties every year from then on!

At the same time that motherhood duties kicked into overdrive, I finally got some callbacks on Upwork, where I peddle my Virtual Assistant services. I couldn’t very well turn down potential income with the holiday season right around the corner now, could I? Of course not. Did I also mention the revolving door of family visitors that we simply can’t avoid around “birthday season”? My house has been a zoo, a love-filled zoo.

blerdymomma and little man bean bag chair 2

Unfortunately, this has all left me with zero time to update Blerdy Momma. :'( I haven’t been able to draft new posts or edit pictures to share, and my camera is collecting dust with pictures from San Japan still in it. Please rest assured that once all the buzz settles down, I will be back at it. The best way to keep up with me right now is via Instagram where I still manage to post periodically.

A thousand apologies for my impromptu absence. It should all be over soon. I can’t wait to be back. And if you happen to have any suggestions on how I can improve my time management, email me at blerdymomma(at)gmail(dot)com!

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2015 New Year's Resolutions for a Stay-at-Home Geek

Happy-New-Year-Picture-4An entire year has flashed right by me once again, you guys. I recently reviewed my New Year’s resolutions from this past year, and I realized that I did not accomplish a single one. That’s a little embarrassing to admit, especially after I crafted them so carefully following my own how-to guide.

Let’s try this again, shall we? Another new year is upon us, and sooner or later I’ve got to get this whole “resolutions” thing right. I’m thinking that first I’ll set the goals, then I’ll come up with a simple plan to make sure they actually happen this year. Like I said in last year’s post, I’ll limit myself to 5:

  1. Potty-train my son.
  2. Lose 20 pounds.
  3. Learn to properly hydrate my hair.
  4. Finish my B. Orchid cosplay. (Preferably in time for Classic Game Fest.)
  5. Finish at least 2 games from the stack I bought at last year’s CGF. (lol.)

resume headshotI’ll have to reflect on these resolutions at least once a month to make sure that I make progress before 2015 speeds by as well. I think they show a good balance of homemaking, personal achievement, and geek life. I could certainly go on and on with this list, so I certainly hope that I can accomplish them early and replace them with additional resolutions. I didn’t even get to mention couponing, my home business, or cooking. My logic is that these are unique goals, whereas things like “build my stockpile” are habits that I hope to accomplish regularly. It would be awesome if next year I could choose some bigger projects for my resolutions, but my lack of achievement this past year has enlightened me. Clearly, I need to take baby steps. At least I can see the finish line this year. Happy New Year, y’all! What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?

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12 Delicious Places to Eat in Austin

ramen tatsu-ya austin eatRecently, my husband was sent to Austin, TX for the better part of a month for training. Austin is less than 2 hours from San Antonio, so we decided to make a family trip of it. I packed up my mini crockpot so that we wouldn’t have to rely on fast food for every meal, and we headed to Austin. By the way, if you ever need to go on an extended trip and don’t want to spend money eating out 3 meals a day, pick up a small crockpot like this one to save your budget. It was the perfect size to feed 2 adults and a toddler.

Bacon restaurant Austin eatI suppose I should mention that since I moved out here (4 years ago), TJ and I have often said that we wanted to take a roadtrip to explore Austin. It was supposed to happen before we had a kid in tow, but umm… yeah, so cancel the 6th Street bar crawl. We did go into foodie mode; and it turns out Austin has an incredible food scene! Here are my favorite spots, and you need to go to them. Now.

  1. Ramen Tatsu-Ya– This tiny little place does not offer take out because they want their food appreciated in the freshest state possible. They make everything from scratch and the line that circles the end of the strip mall they’re located in is a testament to that. It was AMAZING!! I have not had ramen this authentic since visiting Japan 5 years ago. Get the tonkotsu shoyu. Just do it.
  2. Bacon– Why, yes. Heaven IS located in Austin. And it’s a little bitty shack where they make their own bacon in a variety of different flavors and it’s included in EVERY. SINGLE. DISH. Once again, there’s a line that extends out the door and down the block, but every bite was absolutely worth it.
  3. Hopdoddy Burger Bar– You will never even look at a Burger King again after you’ve been to this place just once. I’ve never had a burger that tasted so… natural, wholesome, healthy… I could describe it so many ways. The point is, it was delicious, and I didn’t feel my arteries clogging up as I ate. Another unique dining experience that is worth enjoying once if you ever pass by one of these restaurants.
  4. Bone Daddy’s– A classic BBQ joint with a Hooters- style atmosphere. We went here with the whole training group and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even my 2-year old cleared his plate! I wouldn’t say it felt healthy, but you can’t visit a major city in Texas and skip the BBQ, right?
  5. Javi’s Tex-Mex– We did not go out looking for Tex-Mex food. I mean, it’s only everywhere. But there was one night that we didn’t want to go far, and this spot was very close to our hotel, so we went. And it was delicious!! They were pretty empty on a weeknight, but the queso was on point!
  6. 888 Pan Asian– This place had a lunch buffet, and I could’ve eaten there every day. They sure do stay crowded, though. Fortunately, we were still able to get in, eat, and get out in a timely manner.
  7. Java Noodles– This restaurant was in the same strip mall as 888, so the next day we tried it for lunch. Tiny with an appetizer bar included in the meal, this was a very quiet place. The food was better than most Asian places I’ve been to since moving to Texas, so it’s a good alternative to 888 if you can find a parking spot.
  8. Hai Ky– Yes, this place was also small, but I’m a sucker for Pho. Service was quick, and the pho was delicious! I hope you don’t mind getting cozy with strangers, though, because this place gets packed.
  9. Maiko Sushi Lounge– Ok, so by now you’ve noticed that I have a thing for Asian food. Don’t judge me. Just go here for a hipster crowd and yummy sushi. The place has a very “cocktail” hour atmosphere. It was the kind of place I would’ve gone to for a quick bite and a few drinks before heading to the clubs further down the street.
  10. Estancia Churrascaria– Look! I totally eat other types of cuisine! Especially when it’s carved right off the bone and onto your plate in an endless supply until you tap out and have to flip over your token. Brazilian steakhouses are expensive, but you’ve got to try this at least once in your life.
  11. Daruma Ramen– Yes, it’s another ramen shop. And yes, it was good. This restaurant was even smaller than the first one, but it’s located on 6th street near a few bars. I feel like this place is a great option if you are looking for a slightly lighter ramen because their broth is chicken-based instead of the rich pork broth from Tatsu-Ya.
  12. Verts Kebap– Imagine a place like Freebirds or Moe’s or Subway, except the bread is reminiscent of pita pockets and they have falafel. That’s Verts, and it’s amazing. This german-inspired chain is taking far too long to add locations closer to me. I must confess, I ate one kebap there for dinner and then ordered a second one to take back to the hotel for a midnight snack… that happened. Don’t judge me.

verts kebap austin eatWell, I can’t remember any other places at the moment, but if I do I’ll just add a part 2. Please let me know if you visit Austin any time soon. I’d love an excuse to go to any of these places again. I’ve now been inspired to develop my own ramen recipe, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading 🙂 ~ HC

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Approach Fitness Like a Video Game and Start Leveling Up

gamer finish line fitnessI loved this article! A friend sent it to me on Facebook, and I feel like it’s absolutely speaking my language! I want to take this approach to my fitness and see if I can last longer than 3 months. After reading this, I have a few new goals for my fitness journey:

  1. Define my levels.- When do I consider myself leveled up?
  2. Relate my workouts to games I love.- If I think of it as Ultimecia’s Castle instead of Cardio Axe, I think I’ll be much more hyped to kick butt!
  3. Play a video game.- I really haven’t logged any gaming hours in quite some time. No wonder I’m slowly losing my mind!

Anyway, if you’re a gamer and you want to get fit, read this article. Tell me what you think! Maybe we can start a guild! 🙂

Approach Fitness Like a Video Game and Start Leveling Up.

Thanks for reading!

~HC

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IKEA Haul! May 2014

I <3 IKEA!! Today my family made the 2 hour trek to Ikea Round Rock, which means two things…

  1. We always go with a generous budget and plans to fill my SUV, because you don’t drive 2 hours to come home empty-handed.
  2. Day trip! We make a whole day of it, including McD’s breakfast, lunch at the Ikea cafeteria, and maybe a stop at Tanger Outlets if our feet aren’t already dying.

driving to ikeaBy the way, we made this trip in record time today, which I’m proud of, since I drove. We left the house around 9 and made it there, through the entire store (complete with lunch), and back to San Antonio by 4:30pm. That’s incredible! We’ve never made it through the store that quickly because we always look at EVERYTHING. Today was no different. So what did we get:

  • A new desk- Our old one was one hard push away from collapsing. My husband is putting this together right now.
  • A recycling bin- Because the first time we only bought 3 and it turns out we needed 4.
  • A training potty- My son turns 2 in September. I’m hoping he’ll get curious by then.
  • A Kallax shelf- This is going on our office corner as well for storage space.
  • Toys- Surprise! They actually have some decent toys in there for cheap.
  • Organizers- Because this is the cheapest place for these fabric boxes and I use them for everything.
  • Food Storage- I love the green tupperware set. So cheap, and they stack together so well in my fridge. I’m going to get rid of every other plastic container and just have like 4 sets of these.

hubby building ikea deskWe stayed well within our budget despite picking up everything that we could find a use for, which I always love. And now we have to start a new wishlist for our next trip. I wish we lived closer, but it’s probably for the best. If Ikea were as close as Walmart, I’d always be broke! Maybe that’s just me…

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Yoshi Hats for Little Man’s Birthday

For my son’s first birthday, we picked Yoshi as the theme after his favorite plush toy. After lots of google and pinterest surfing, I found a fabulous little party hat that I could make myself for all the attendees. Myself and 2 AMAZING friends of mine spent an evening putting together about 30 of these:

yoshi-hat-frontal youshi-hat-profile
And they were absolutely adorable! If you have a choice, I probably would’ve set up a craft table at the party and let the kids make it themselves. But if you’re going to make them in advance, a couple friends and an assembly line is the way to go.

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Little Man turns 1: Yoshi Birthday Cake!

yoshi birthday cake
My son’s first birthday was last month. I forgot to share this with you all. We selected Yoshi from Mario bros as our theme for his party. This resulted in one bomb-diggity cake.

What do you think? I’m extremely proud of it! I did it all freehand. I was short on time, though, so I used a box cake mix.

First, I drew the outline of the cake to scale on some construction paper. I was able to lay that on top of the sheet cake and carve out Yoshi in his egg.

Finally, I baked a single cupcake for his 1-Up mushroom, which was Little Man’s unofficial smash cake. For the tongue, I flattened and stretched out a piece of Laffy Taffy.

The icing is made from scratch so I’ll post that recipe at a later date. Perhaps I’ll do a tutorial of the cake as well? Hmmm…

More Party Things

I also enlisted a friend’s help to make some Yoshi hats for guests and Yoshi egg centerpieces for the tables. I think they turned out nicely! Thanks, Pinterest!

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Shared Post: Japanese Steakhouse Yum Yum Sauce

Yum Yum sauceIt is entirely possible that I am addicted to hibachi chicken with Yum Yum Sauce. I could eat it every single day. I could go to Sarku for lunch today, and then Sakura for dinner tomorrow. There is nothing wrong with that in my world.

My favorite hibachi dish is usually chicken and shrimp over rice with the shredded veggies on the side. Any combination of zucchini, cabbage, and carrots will do just fine.

This recipe is not my own, but it is delicious enough to warrant sharing. Are you a fan of Japanese hibachi? How about those teppanyaki restaurants where they cook at your table and put on a fabulous show? I love that stuff! If I’m ever a millionaire, I’m going to have a teppanyaki table in my kitchen.

When you go to a teppanyaki restaurant in the US, they normally give you 2 or 3 tiny bowls to hold the various dipping sauces they offer. There’s always a ginger-based sauce. It’s delicious, but doesn’t stick well to anything. I end up pouring it over my veggies most of the time. The other sauce you will get is a creamy white/pink/orange sauce. It works well on any and all meat, in my opinion.

This is a recipe for that white mayonnaise-based sauce that they give you and it is by far the most accurate recipe I’ve ever come across. Most places call it Yum Yum sauce.

When I finally realized that I liked this sauce enough to eat it on meals at home, I went on a hunt. It’s available in a few local grocery stores, but it’s usually at least of $4 per bottle. I’m not about to pay $4 for seasoned mayo, y’all.

Japanese Steakhouse White Sauce (Yum Yum Sauce, Shrimp Sauce, Sakura Sauce) Recipe.

Recipe Notes

The original recipe writer (Chuck) is pretty adamant about using full-fat mayo. But as y’all know, I’m trying to get back in shape. I have made this recipe using low-fat and fat-free mayo before and it did not offend my tastebuds, so feel free to adapt if you like.