December 13, 2015

BB8 Pizza

So, I apologize, I meant to post this earlier in the week, but I got distracted by the new episode of Dreamfall Chapters (all the feels, guys. All the feels. My poor Crow.)

But do you know what helps with video games feels? Adorable droids. And you know who might be one of the most adorable droids ever? BB8.
BB8 was introduced in the trailer for Episode 7, and everyone pretty much agreed that he (she?) was ridiculously cute. I mean, R2 is still my favoritest astromech droid of all time, but I have to admit that BB8's chubby little ball-with-a-head design is fairly squee-worthy.
You gotta admit, that's pretty adorable.

And of course, since BB8 is just kind of round, it was pretty easy to make him into a pizza. Because that is the way my mind works.
BB8 pizza is not all that different from a regular pizza. I just used a large dinner plate to measure out the circle for the body, then made a smaller half circle for the head. Then I just chopped up an orange pepper (I got one of those bags of the tiny sweet peppers-- it had mostly orange peppers) and some olives for the designs.

Then you gotta chow down on BB8's adorable little head
Super simple and easily recognizable, making BB8 pizza is an awesome treat to make before seeing The Force Awakens (less than a week, guys. Who's excited?)

BB8 Pizza
Yield: 1 pizza

1 recipe pizza dough
Approx 1 cup prepared tomato sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 orange pepper, chopped
Chopped olives

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare the pizza dough according to recipe instructions. Roll it out to about 1 inch thickness. Cut out a large circle for the body (I used a dinner plate as a guide), and a smaller half circle for the head (I free-handed it, but you can use a smaller plate as a guide). Place both pieces on a baking sheet and pinch them together to create one pizza.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the crust and top with the shredded mozzarella. Use the chopped pepper and olives to create the BB8 design. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

December 6, 2015

Crossguard Lightsaber French Bread Pizza

We are less than two weeks away from Star Wars: The Force Awakens! And we have already established the fact that I express excitement for nerd movies with pizza, so you should have expected this to come at some point. In fact this is only the first Force Awakens pizza post I have planned for you.

C'mon, I made all 6 of the Avengers into pizza, did you really think I'd stop at one pizza for Star Wars Episode 7? Do you even know me at all?

I split them up into different post because, unlike PizzAvengers where the only difference was the toppings, these pizzas are each prepared differently, so having them all together would be a massive post. Also, I did not want to make them all together, and this is my blog, so nyah. Expect more to come.

Anyway-- lightsaber pizza!! For those of you that may not know, the crossguard lightsaber is new to the Star Wars universe. We  caught a glimpse of it in the very first trailer, and it sparked a huge controversy. Some people thought it looked awesome, some people thought it didn't make sense, and a lot of people were hating on JJ Abrams for the change.
Personally, I can understand the reasoning behind the crossguard. Swords have crossguards to protect the wielder's hand and arm. People seem to lose an awful lot of limbs in the Star Wars universe, so if dude wants that extra protection, I can understand it. It does seem a little dangerous-- I would lose a few fingers the first time I turned it on-- but presumably between Jedi training and Force manipulation, that's not an issue.

Also, dude's a Sith. Clearly some of them enjoy hacking their lightsabers. Darth Maul had the double one. I know Vader was a purist but he also ended up being a good guy, so obviously he was more Jedi than Sith the whole time.


I didn't need to put a spoiler warning on that, did I? If you haven't seen the original trilogy, what are you even doing here?
I was browsing Star Wars pizza on Pinterest, like you do, and I saw a recipe for crossguard French bread pizza. I thought it was such a great idea since French bread is already vaguely lightsaber shaped, and the crossguard lightsaber is unique to Episode 7, so it's an easy way to celebrate the new movie.

If you've ever made French bread pizza, you know it's super simple. Take a loaf, slice it in half, add toppings, toast it. And you can totally make it that simple, especially if you're not necessarily interested in making the crossguard lightsaber. I made it with a few extra steps, because it's what I do.
Firstly, I decided to use refrigerated bread dough (I used Pillsbury. It was pretty good, but tasted more like sourdough than French bread), so that I could shape it into one piece. That seemed easier to me, but you can totally just get two loaves already baked and cut them up to make the same shape. Easy peasy.

Secondly, instead of slicing the loaf in half, I cut a slit in the crust and hollowed out the loaf a bit to make more of a pizza boat. I thought that would make the toppings look more lightsaber-y. Also, the words "pizza boat" sound delicious, and the cheese and sauce stay warm longer because they're enclosed in the crust.
The toppings are simple: just tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, chopped olives for the "handle" and pepperoni for the... blade? I actually don't know what the light part of the lightsaber is called. Wow, uh, that's um, I don't know what to say. I feel ashamed. Let's just keep this between you and me, okay? Pinky swear?

Anyway, I like turkey pepperoni, just in general, but I especially like it for this pizza because it tends to be more red than the regular pepperoni. It's not a huge difference, but I think it looks better. You could also use chopped red bell pepper and avoid the pepperoni all together.
This pizza would be a great appetizer or movie time snack (you know, while you're rewatching the original trilogy to prepare to watch Episode 7). To make it easier to serve, you can slice the bread 3/4 of the way through, so you can just pull off a slice. I wasn't sharing, so I didn't worry about that.

How excited for The Force Awakens are you? True story: I had to darken some of these photos because they were a bit washed out, and as I was doing that, I found myself whispering, "good, good. Let the hate flow through you. Embrace the power of the dark side." I surprise myself sometimes with my own level of nerdiness.

French Bread Pizza
Yield: about 6 servings, depending on the size of the loaves

1 1/2 loaves French bread*
Approx. 1 cup prepared tomato sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni and diced olives to top

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place your loaves on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut out a long, thin section of the crust, and remove some of the inside bread to make room for the toppings.

Fill the hollow you made with the tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella. Top with olives and pepperoni. Bake 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool slightly before serving.

*I used Pillsbury refrigerated dough

Recipe inspired by Cooking with Plants
Psst, do you have a nerdy baker in your life? Geeky Sprinkles make a great gift. The steampunk sprinkles are my personal favorite, but there are also Tardis sprinkles, Harry Potter lightning bolt sprinkles, and Meeple sprinkles. They are awesomely geeky and can only be found on And for a limited time, you can use the promo code "TRINKETS" to get 20% off anything in the shop. I'm hooking you guys up, dude.

I helped fund the Kickstarter for Geeky Sprinkles, but I'm not affiliated in any other way with  The Geeky Hostess. Tara contacted me and asked if I wanted a promo code to share with you guys just because she's awesome like that. And you can never have too many sprinkles.

December 2, 2015

Challah Bread

A few times I've been around that track,
So it's not just gonna happen like that,
Cause I ain't no challah-back girl.
I ain't no Challah-back girl


I'm sorry, but if you guys haven't come to expect this sort of thing by now, what are we even doing here?

Remember the last post when I told you that because I was a crazy person, I used bread I baked that morning to make French toast? This is that bread. I had forgotten to check the bakery to see if they had any challah and I needed it for the recipe, so because I'm me, I figured I'd just make my own.

Except, I couldn't really find a recipe that I liked, so I kinda sorta made this one up? So I have no idea if it's actually authentic or not. I mean, I looked at a ton of challah recipes, so I kinda knew what I was doing, except I just did it my way. *cue Sinatra music*
I was low on all-purpose flour, but I had an unopened bag of bread flour. I figured that would be fine since, you know, I was making bread, but it was actually really hard to find a recipe that used bread flour. And the ones that did had weirdy instructions (one called for half an egg. Half an egg. That's crazy talk) or more ingredients than I had in my kitchen, like a billion eggs or milk.

Instead of making myself crazy trying to find the perfect recipe, I just sort of decided on a ratio of ingredients that seemed reasonable and headed to the mixer. What came out looked reasonably like bread dough, so I proceeded.
And guys, it was actually pretty easy. I let my mixer do all the kneading, and I let the dough do it's first rise in the fridge overnight (cause I was too lazy to finish that night, which is why the bread was so fresh when I went to make the French toast). I didn't even have to use a rolling pin, I just rolled out dough "strands" for braiding with my two hands. Even the braiding wasn't too hard-- I decided to go with the traditional 6-strand braid because I wanted a taller loaf, and I just watched a couple tutorials on youtube before doing it. It didn't come out perfectly, as you can see, but I think it looks pretty good for my first time.

It did rise a lot more in the oven than I expected. A lot more. It tried to take the top oven rack with it when I took it out. So take out your top oven rack, just to be sure.
As for the taste, well, it was pretty good if I do say so myself. But you've got to wait and let it cool completely before eating it, maybe even let it sit for a bit. I know the temptation to eat warm bread fresh from the oven, I do, but if you eat this warm, it will just taste like any old bread. But if you're patient enough and let it cool, it tastes so much better. It's so soft and fluffy and slightly sweet, and I kind of ate half a loaf in the name of taste-testing.

I still don't know if it's authentic or not, but I let my mother try some, and now she's obsessed with it. So, authentic or not, it's still some good bread.

Even if you ain't no challah-back girl.
I can't help it.
Challah Bread
Yield: 2 loaves

1 1/2 cups very warm water (about 110-120 degrees F)
1/4 cup melted butter
4 tbsp. honey
1 packet active dry yeast
6-7 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. of water)
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)

Mix together the water, butter, and honey. Add the yeast and stir until dissolved. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook whisk together 2 cups of flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and the eggs and mix on low until well combined. Add 2 more cups of flour and mix on low for about two minutes. Gradually add in 2 more cups of flour.

Knead in the mixer about 6-8 minutes, or by hand for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add the remaining cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Shape your dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat completely. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours (or refrigerate and let rise overnight, 6-8 hours).

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it in half and form two balls. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Working with one ball at a time, divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long, thin rope. Pinch the tops of the ropes together and braid to form a loaf. Repeat with the second half of the dough. cover both loaves and let rise until doubled, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if using. Bake 35-45 minutes, until the loaves are well browned and sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Let cool before slicing.

Tip: I heat the water and butter together to save time. The butter doesn't have to be completely melted before adding the yeast-- it will continue to melt as it sits in the warm water.

If you don't feel comfortable doing a six-strand braid, you can always do a regular 3 strand braid instead.

Recipe by Kim

November 28, 2015

Great Grains Crunchy Stuffed French Toast

Happy National French Toast Day!

Did you know that my favorite French toast of all time involves cereal? True story. There's a local catering company with a tiny cafe that only serves lunch and brunch, and they make this Crisp French Toast which is coated in corn flakes. It's the greatest thing ever, all crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

This recipe reminded me of that French toast, which made me super excited to try it. Except this French toast is stuffed with bananas and chocolate, so it was almost like it was invented just for me.
This stuffed French toast is a healthier twist on the usual brunch favorite. It's baked and not fried (which is also convenient when serving a crowd), and it's coated in Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch cereal. The cereal not only adds a great crunch, but it's also packed with protein, fiber, and whole grains.

Unfortunately, this French toast didn't quite measure up to my favorite. It was tasty, but my testers all agreed that it was missing something. I think adding some cinnamon and a little extra vanilla could really take it to the next level. Still, nobody was turning down a slice.

(Also, because I am a crazy person, I used fresh baked bread. I had literally baked it that morning. That probably contributed to the problem, since stale bread soaks up liquid better. So, you know, use old bread.)
Great Grains Crunchy Stuffed French Toast
Yield: 4 servings

3 eggs
1 cup fat free milk
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. sale
2 cups Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch
8 slices challah bread, 1/2 inch thick
2 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
1 large banana, sliced
2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Beat eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large shallow dish with wire whisk until well blended; set aside. Place cereal in resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Crush cereal with rolling pin. Dip both sides of the bread slices in egg mixture; place on clean work surface. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate; top with bananas. Dip both sides of remaining 4 bread slices in remaining egg mixture; place over bananas to make four sandwiches. Press together gently. Coat both sides of sandwiches with cereal crumbs; press crumbs firmly into sandwiches to secure.

Place on greased baking sheet.

Bake 20 to 25 min. or until lightly browned. Cut diagonally in half. Serve with the strawberries.

Tips and Suggestions
Substitute: Prepare as directed, using semi-sweet baking chocolate
*Disclaimer: I was provided with free samples of Great Grains cereal in order to feature this recipe. I received no further compensation. All opinions are, as always, my own.*

October 28, 2015

Puff Pastry Sand-Witches

When my friend invited me to a Halloween party in her new apartment, I told her I'd bring some real food. Like, actual non-dessert type food. I figured she'd need that more than the cupcakes that I will likely still bring with me, since Halloween is the holiday of pure sugar. The only problem is, I wanted to do something themed, and there's not nearly as many savory Halloween recipes as there are sweet. So for once in my life, I decided to go simple. I took some Halloween cookie cutters and made some easy puff pastry sandwiches.

Except, since it's for Halloween, I decided to call them "Sand-Witches," and I can't type the word sand-witch without thinking of this scene in Dreamfall Chapters:
It's one of my favorite scenes too. I'm now mad I didn't think to cosplay as the Sand-witcher for NYCC.

I also had to laugh because when I realized that I had a Halloween cat cookie cutter, all I could think of was this:
Kitten carpaccio.
I thought it was funny.

I realize that none of you will get this reference because none of you are playing Dreamfall Chapters, but it was impossible for me not to make the reference. Like, it would have caused me physical pain to not tell you about the Sand-witcher. Moral of the story: everyone should be playing Dreamfall Chapters. So go do that. (It's written by a guy who is basically the Norwegian Joss Whedon. If that's not reason enough to play, I don't know what is)

Kian's adventures in food aside, my sand-witches are super simple, and don't even include any cured Elgwan, mostly because that's impossible to find here in Stark. (Stark is our world, the world of technology. Arcadia is the world of magic. Which you would know if you played the game)
All you need are five ingredients, one of which is totally optional: puff pastry, cold cuts (I used ham), sliced cheese (I used American), honey mustard (you can use any sandwich spread you like, or skip and serve with condiments on the side), and an egg wash to make everything all golden brown and pretty.
Use some Halloween cookie cutters to cut the puff pastry into season appropriate shapes. Add some cheese. Spread the honey mustard on top of the cheese (to prevent soggy pastry). Add some ham. Place another piece of puff pastry on top, pinch the edges closed. Brush with egg wash and bake.
I also scored the pastry or cut some holes for it to vent. Where I could, like this haunted house cutter, I tried to make the holes decorative.
Pumpkins obviously became jack-o-lanterns.
These are quick and easy appetizers you can make last minute for a Halloween party, but it's also a great make-ahead recipe. They can be served warm or at room temperature, can be adapted for any preference, and are something even the kiddos can help make. I think it's a win-win.
Puff Pastry Sand-Witches
Yield: Approx. 6-8 sandwiches, depending on the size of your cutters

1 pkg. puff pastry
6-8 slices of cheese (I used American)
Honey mustard (optional)
6-8 slices of ham (or your favorite cold cuts)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use Halloween cookie cutters to cut the puff pastry, cheese, and ham into shapes-- you need two pieces of pastry, one slice of cheese, and one slice of ham per sandwich.

Assemble the sandwiches: start with the first piece of pastry, place a slice of cheese on top. Spread a thin layer of honey mustard on top of the cheese, if using (this will help prevent sogginess if making ahead). Add a slice of ham, and top with the second piece of pastry. Pinch the edges of the pastry together to seal in the filling. Use a sharp knife to score the top, and brush with the beaten egg. Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve warm or room temperature.

Tip: Flatten the pastry slightly before assembling the sandwiches, so it will be easier to pinch the edges closed. If making ahead, keep refrigerated in an airtight container, and put the sandwiches back in the oven for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe by Kim

And once last word from the Sand-witcher:

October 20, 2015

Life is Strange Blue Butterfly Cupcakes

Who knows what today is?

Okay, yeah, it's the 20th. Yes, it's also Tuesday. Do you know what else today is?

National Brandied Fruit Day? Interesting. But not the answer I was looking for.

Today is the day they release the final chapter of Life is Strange! You may remember that I've talked about Life is Strange before, when I played the first chapter and was super excited about the rest of the game. Well, today is the day they're releasing the fifth and final chapter and I'm still so super excited about the game, especially since Chapter 4 ended on an epic and horrible cliffhanger (full disclosure: I saw it coming. But apparently I'm an aberration, because a lot of people on the forums claimed it didn't make any sense. I think I'm just really good at anticipating surprise "twists" which is why I'm not a fan of mystery novels).
I was so excited about the Life is Strange finale that I knew I had to celebrate. And how do I celebrate? With cupcakes, obvi.

The blue butterfly is a major thematic element in the game, so I knew immediately they had to be blue butterfly cupcakes. The first time Max, the protagonist of the game, found out she had a unique ability to rewind time, she had just taken a photo of a blue butterfly.
Butterflies also appear throughout the game, usually to give the player hints or to highlight something significant. Really, I had no other option. And since they were going to be blue, I decided to add some frozen raspberries so they would be blue raspberry cupcakes.
These butterfly cupcakes are ridiculously simple to make. Bake some cupcakes, let them cool. Use a paring knife to cut a shallow round from the middle. Fill the hole you just made with whipped cream or frosting (I used a whipped buttercream). Take the middle piece you cut out, chop it in half, and put it on top of the frosting with the rounded edges facing in so they look like butterfly wings. And serve. Seriously, even the most novice of bakers could figure this one out.
I tried doing the chocolate butterfly thing from Hello Cupcake! but then I remembered how much I hate using melted chocolate in a pastry bag, and when I tried to do fancy swirlies with the toothpck like the instructions say, it looked awful. This one has no fancy swirlies, which is probably why it looks halfway decent, so I decided to use it. If you are not toothpick swirly incompetent, the chocolate butterflies are supposedly pretty easy.
If you've played Life is Strange, you know why I have a deer as a photo prop. If you haven't played it, you should go do that, and then the deer will make sense.

(Seriously though, even if you're not much of a gamer, you should play it. Gameplay is simple enough for a non-gamer to pick up, and the game is story driven rather than kill-the-monsters driven. And it's a really good story).

Blue Raspberry Butterfly Cupcakes
Yield: About 24 cupcakes, depending on recipe used

1 recipe vanilla cupcakes
1/4 tsp. raspberry extract
blue food coloring
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Whipped cream or your favorite frosting

Prepare the cake batter according to recipe instructions, adding in the raspberry extract along with the vanilla. Add enough food coloring to reach your desired shade and fold in the raspberries. Bake according to the recipe instructions and cool completely on wire racks.

Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a shallow hole in the middle of the cupcake. Fill the hole with whipped cream or frosting. Take the circle of cake you just cut out and slice it in half. Place the two halves on top of the frosting with the rounded edges facing in, to look like butterfly wings.

October 7, 2015

It's My Very Favorite Gun: DIY Vera Prop

Hey guys! So, I know I kind of unexpectedly took the summer off. I didn't mean to, I just had my cousin's wedding in Florida, and then I got sick, and then I got lazy. *innocent whistling* It was way too hot this summer anyway for serious cooking/baking. I subsisted mostly on rice and frozen veggies because my rice cooker does not heat up the kitchen, so I really had nothing to share with you. But I have some fun stuff planned for Halloween!

I did meet Felicia Day, though, so that was exciting. It was at her book signing, I didn't like meet her on the street or anything. She was super cool and I actually managed to have a coherent conversation with her. (In your face, social anxiety).
The way the signing was set up, I gave my book to one of her handlers, who made sure she had my name before I even got to her, so when I stepped up to her table, she was already signing it and didn't see me right away. I stepped up, and not knowing what to do, I said hi. She asked me how I was, I said, "Good, how are you?" (I was going for coherent, not sparkling conversation, okay?)

She finished up, and goes to hand me my book as she says, "I'm goo-- *gasp* oh my god, I love your shirt!" I was wearing my Knights of Good Guild t-shirt, and I nearly died at how excited she got. "That is an OG Guild shirt, man!" she said, as she got up to take a photo with me. So I told her how Clara was my first ever cosplay, and she hugged me.
Her handler took these pictures with my phone. I didn't know until later that he took this one too.

She told me to tweet her a picture later. As I was about to leave, she stopped me and said, "You'll like the book; there's a lot of Guild stuff in there." And I replied, "Thank you," because that's clearly the correct response, and I stumbled out of there in a fog of fangirly bliss.

Not that it's actually necessary for you to know any of this, but it's so rare that I have cool stories like this to tell people. Also, you should totally read her book, because it's really good and pretty funny.

Anyway, NYCC is this week, yay! (And Felicia Day is going to be there. My mom says I should ask if she remembers me. I find it very doubtful that she would, even if a tiny part of me has decided we're totally BFFs now) The brother and sister-in-law finally watched Firefly about a month ago, after I loaned it to them about a year ago and decided they want to go as Jayne and Kaylee. I told my brother he should get a toy gun and paint it as an easy Vera-like prop. He just looked at me with this perplexed look, so I told him I would do it for him.

This isn't exactly a tutorial, since I really didn't know what I was going to do until it was actually on the gun itself, but I did take some in-process photos, so I can kind of walk you through what I did.
This is the reference photo I worked off of. I knew I was never going to get it screen accurate, but I did want it to be clearly based off of the show prop. So, it's more like Vera's little sister, related, but not the same.

You want to start off with a toy gun. I got mine from Wal-Mart for $10 (it was part of a set with a big machine gun, a hand gun, a knife, a grenade, and string of "bullets"). I forgot to take a before photo, and I can't find a picture of it online, but it was Kid Connection brand, which I think is just basically generic Wal-Mart brand. It was very cheaply made, but that ended up working out better since I could easily cut off extra parts.
The first thing you want to do is take it apart, lightly sand everything down with fine grit sandpaper, and clean it (I did this part in my tub because that just seemed easiest). Wipe it all down with rubbing alcohol and let it dry. When that's done, just spray paint everything with a flat black paint that works on plastic.
The gun I used didn't have an ammo clip, so I made one out of cardboard and craft foam. You'll notice that cardboard and craft foam are a bit of a theme. I painted some of the fake bullets that came with the gun gold and cut a window in the clip so it would look like it was full of them. I just tried to match color and design to the reference photo.
For the muzzle, I used a cardboard tube from a roll of aluminum foil I just finished, I cut it down to a size that looked right, and hot glued it onto the gun. Then I painted craft foam silver, cut out alternating notches, and glued it on top.
You can see that the scope in the reference photo sits on top of a silver bar, which worked for me, because my gun had a handle there I needed to cover. I bent cardboard over the handle, and covered it with silver-painted craft foam. The scope is just a pirate telescope I got from the dollar store painted black.
The show prop had a weird metal piece attaching the clip to the gun, so I recreated that out of more craft foam. Then I painted sections gold and antique copper to add more visual interest. The antique copper paint is by Folk Art, and it was a really pretty color that covered very well, so I recommend it.
I just finished off with some weathering, which was more fun than it should have been. For areas that needed to look more metallic, I dry brushed on some more silver paint. To add some grime, I used some watered down black paint and immediately wiped it off, which is especially effective in areas with a lot of raised detail, or I dry brushed more black paint on. For some "battle damage," which I went a little overboard on, I took a cheap brush, hacked it up so it was uneven, and used it with more silver paint to add random scuffs and scratch marks

Like I said, it's not screen accurate, but I think it ain't too shabby, considering.

Nathan Fillion is also going to be at NYCC, so I plan on telling him all of the weird things people have Googled about him that have lead them to my blog (including "Nathan Fillion singing peanut butter song.")

And because I know you want it, here's Needy McSnuggles, "helping":
 He fell asleep on my open toolbox. And you can't see it, but he's on a bag of screws. Comfort

I put down cardboard to measure and cut, and he immediately decided it was his new bed

UPDATE: I got Nathan Fillion and Jewel Staite to sign Vera! I was a little disappointed I couldn't get Gina Torres to sign it too, but her line was too massive. Nathan recognized it immediately as Vera and said I did a great job on it, before quoting, "it's my very favorite gun." (!!!) So she's officially Mal approved. Jewel Staite didn't say anything about it, but I got the feeling she was tired, and probably didn't make the connection. She was still super nice though.
We were instructed not to take up Nathan's time with extra conversation, since we were at the tail end  of the photographing session, and he had a schedule to keep, but he didn't really pay attention to that and was being his friendly, charming self to everybody (the SIL was fangirling too hard to notice he was being especially charming to her, which is a thing I will never let her live down. EVER.)

Felicia Day did not recognize me, as expected, not that I asked "hey, remember me?" But I brought my Guild Companion for her to sign, so we had another short conversation about Guildie things. She was about to close the book and hand it back to me, when I mentioned how I identified with Codex, and she opened it up again to write "you rock!" So you could say my plans of becoming best friends with Felicia Day are right on track.
So now I have Con Crud, but the fact that Nathan Fillion appreciates my crafting skills and Felicia Day thinks I rock makes me feel a lot better. XD