Review: Heroes of Cosplay, Episode One

(As compiled from several Facebook posts and subsequently edited to make more sense and follow some kind of grammatical logic.  Hurhur.)

I love it. I love the vast variation of skills and experience and perceptions and behaviors. All the feelings, all the experiences, all the perceptions, it was all so VALID. It honestly reminded me of my earlier days in cosplay, when competing was a priority for me.

No, it wasn’t all pretty. Anyone who’s cosplayed for any amount of time KNOWS it’s not always pretty. No, I wouldn’t have made the choices that others would have made, but that’s why it’s so awesome – it’s another perspective! And each one of them is valid. The joy of success. The tragedy of disappointment. Priorities and perspective are totally different for each person.  That’s real.  Some of it was hard to watch because I KNOW THOSE FEELS.

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My first costume, Super Sailormoon from Sailormoon, made in 1998 (Photo from NDK 1999).  I had on two wigs. For realies.

I swear I’ve been every one of the competitors shown over the last 15 years that I have been cosplaying. I felt like I got gypped, I felt like a performer, I felt successful, I felt like I swept, I felt like I had a rockin’ good time and that was all I cared about. All of those things. All of them.

And I’ve been the bitch. And I’ve been the one hurt by the bitch (or bastard, as it were). I’ve been the grown-up princess with the little girl who loved me for who SHE thought I was. I’VE been the little girl meeting a princess I love. I’ve been incomplete, overdrawn, stressed, blissful, grateful, exhilarated. I think HoC portrayed that perfectly, honestly.

And on top of that, there were any numbers of really amazing tips and tricks – costuming at a professional level!  Automotive paint, head moulds, embroidery machines.  So much to learn and try.

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Rosa of Final Fantasy IV (DS) done in 2008 for Dragon*Con.

It was inspiring. I want to go up to my studio and work. I want the back yard to be done so I can convert the garage into a shop. I want to compete again. I want to be on stage. Yaya Han & company, you should be proud. I am.  I am proud to be a part of this beautiful, fun, dysfunctional, nutty and nerdy community.  I love it.  All of it.

Also love DJ Spider’s take, and I can’t agree more.  Read it here!

Watch the show Mondays on SyFy.

You’re A Great Cosplayer

I was reading through my Facebook feed today and came across some frustration and anguish over the more unfortunate parts of cosplay.  We can be very critical of each other, and not in a healthy way.  It reminded me of a cute bit of text – originally aimed at the myths of motherhood – and I decided to write a similar piece about cosplayers and costuming.  Enjoy!

[Edit 12/11/2014: So I totally fixed the picture that went poof. My bad!]

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To the cosplayer wearing their own handmade costume: Awesome job! You worked really hard to create that costume, and you should feel proud of your work! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer wearing a purchased costume: It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there! Thank you for supporting costuming, as well as the person you bought the costume from! You’re a huge part of this community. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer wearing a wig: We suffer for our art! Wearing wigs isn’t always comfortable or easy, but they’re an amazing look. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer without a wig: Comfort is its own brand of style! That amazing style came out of your own head, how awesome is that! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who spent loads of cash: Being able and willing to make a financial investment is fantastic! It obviously means a lot to you to use quality materials to create your costumes. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who spent $20: Who cares if you’re broke! You’re rocking that costume like it’s worth a million bucks! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who doesn’t have a Facebook (or whatever): Look at all that extra time you have for making costumes, you lucky duck! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer holding a giveaway at (insert number here) followers: Thank you for supporting the community by making connections and sharing your tools and skills! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who makes their own props: What an incredible skill! Sculptor, painter, engineer… you do it all! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who leaves the props out: It’s pretty nice having hands free to eat a meal or go to the bathroom, right? You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer with a highly detailed costume: Wow! That workmanship is incredible! You are clearly dedicated to your craft and willing to go above and beyond for craftsmanship. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer in a sexy costume: It takes a lot of courage to – literally, sometimes! – bare yourself to the world. Not to mention having to engineer something that could be rather gravity-defying! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer with professional photos: Those photos are fantastic! It’s a worthwhile investment to capture all the hard work you’ve done. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer with phone photos: Thank you for sharing the work you’ve done and treasuring the memories! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer in a big group: It’s so awesome to have friends to share your passion with. Let the good times roll! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the solitary cosplayer: Your dedication to your work and the costumes you love comes through everything you do. You’re a great cosplayer.

To ALL THE COSPLAYERS: Do what you love. Love what you do. You’re a great cosplayer.

 

Inspired by “You’re A Good Mom,” read it here: http://www.duchessoffork.com/2013/05/youre-a-good-mom/

Now I present to you… Mr. and Mrs. Nerdy Geek.

I recently saw a post on Apartment Therapy about a couple’s video gamed themed wedding.  I loved all their little details, and it reminded me of all the little geeky details from our wedding.  As part of our first anniversary celebration, I’d love to share them.

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My husband gifted the groomsmen with Star Wars themed cufflinks (and himself, wearing the Rebel Alliance symbol).  Adorably, he gave the Darth Vader set to MY dad.

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For my “something blue” I had a temporary tattoo of the Jedi Order symbol on my upper right thigh, also partly in lieu of the more traditional garter.

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On top of our cake (or rather, our cupcake tower… saved us a lot of time cutting cake slices, tell you what!) were the little Leia and Han peg dolls I hand painted.  I love you.  I know.

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One of the most charming moments of the ceremony was our pastor starting his sermon by saying, “Ah…. nerds in love.”  The entire building erupted into laughter.

Our parents and the wedding party entered to the Final Fantasy Crystal Theme, a consistently beautiful piece of music.

I marched to “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts.  This song had been in my heart as my bridal march since the first time I heard it.

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Pre and post wedding ceremony, Nick was sure to constantly be in his Indiana Jones hat.

We and our closest friends appreciated the little details tucked carefully inside our beautifully handcrafted, unique wedding.  Nerdy enough to make us smile, traditional enough for everyone to enjoy!  It was the happiest day of my life, with so many more to come.

Flowers from old patterns!

I don’t know about you guys, but I hoard patterns like they’re going extinct.  I even love to find vintage treasures once in a while.  But I also love the PURGE, cleaning out patterns I don’t need to make room for new.  I could recycle those old patterns in the bin with the rest, but here’s something much more creative and lovely!

Materials and instructions on how to make DIY Paper Flowers

Sewing Patterns, Ruler, Scissors, 24-gauge floral wire, Skewers (optional)

1. Stack 10 sheets of sewing patterns cut to 10″ square
2. Fold 1-inch wide sections of the stack, working into an accordion fold
3. and 4. Pinch, loop, and secure a 12-inch length of wire around the middle of the folded pieces. Round the edges using sharp scissors
5. Carefully unfold the layers of paper, fanning into a round bloom
6. A few gentle scrunches of the bloom will create the round “hydrangea” look that you want
7. If you will be arranging the flowers in a big bouquet using floral foam, wrap the remaining wire around a skewer. You can wrap up to three blooms around one skewers

Ta-da! And there you have it, a bouquet of stunning paper flowers!

Check out the rest of the article and more gorgeous pictures over at Wedding Chicks!

The war is on!

So, have you all been watching Craft Wars?  I thought it sounded a little silly at first, but it’s AMAZING.

Image from TLC

Three crafters compete each week for $10,000 by making one small project in an hour that will eliminate one contestant, and one MASSIVE project as the final test, to be done in 5 hours.  They’ve done patios, playhouses, and even pet palaces!

I’ll be honest… this is the first reality show I’ve ever seen that I actually want to pursue being on.  I love the idea of the challenges, and I think my unconventional cosplay skills would give me a real edge on the floor.  And yeah, ten grand isn’t a bad deal either!

Check it out Tuesday evenings, or at TLC’s website!

Back to School?

Holy cow, is it really that time?  Sure is!  Most schools will be starting in just a few weeks, about halfway through August, and we sure are close to that!  In celebration, here are some fun projects to prepare for the big return.

source: Dollar Store Crafts

Rhonda of Dollar Store Crafts developed this adorable pencil cuff!  Great for teachers and kids alike, it’s a way to show off one of our favorite classic writing utensils.  Think of all the things you can do with pencils, wow!

source: Factory Direct Craft

This adorable burlap pencil case is printed with a little foam and some paint to create a block print.  Super cute and of course functional!  Thanks, Factory Direct Craft!

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Finally, our own speech bubble chalk boards take nothing more than foamcore, a knife, and some chalkboard paint.  Make any shape you want!  Fun first day photos, anyone?

What are some of your great projects for back to school?

I’m back!

You missed me SO MUCH, didn’t you?  And I know you’re just DYING to know, what did I do these last two weeks?  Well, here, I’ll show you:

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First, there was a lot of this (including stats.  I’ve never had to do stats before.  It is painful in the extreme).  I’ve written several papers, read about 800 pages (that is not an exaggeration), and collaborated with many wonderful classmates!  I have a test to take this week, and then things will be settled out for a while.

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We got the carpet cleaned.  I’ve promised myself since this that I will vacuum at least once a week, more if I have the time and energy.  The accumulation of long brunette hairs in the carpet is just no longer acceptable.

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I sanded and painted this charming antique schooldesk.  I’m hoping to make it  fixture in my future classroom, but after living on the porch for two years, it needed some serious TLC.  It’s cleaned up and painted a base coat, but I kind of like the whitewashed look and may leave it!  What do you think?

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I also finally finished cutting all the flags for my wedding bunting, and created this test string to use at our engagement party next month.  I’d planned to serge each flag, but after testing one of the flags, I thought they might be better without.  We’ll see how this one stands up when used outside in the park pavilion for the party, and then I’ll decide.

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I did have a LITTLE fun!  Last week I went to Live@5, Alice 105.9’s summer patio concert series.  My friend Mara and I have done this for many summers past, and it’s always been fun, but this one got crazy really fast!  My name was drawn for a trip to Vegas, so Mara and I will be going together at the end of the summer!  It was SO crazy!  I am also no longer allowed to say “I never win anything!”  Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Denver?  Check out the ball park in the background of the photo!

I have a lot of fun little projects planned for this week, and I’m excited to share them!  Stay tuned!

Friday Fi.. more like three!

Even though this is not Twitter (although you can check mine out @charmedseed, of course!), I wanted to share a few of the blogs I’ve been following lately!

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Metal and Mud: Holy brilliant ideas, Batman!  I ran into this blog while participating in Thing-A-Day this year, and this artist is constantly working and creating.  Not only that, but she has a collection of amazing jewelry and art at Etsy, too!  The perpetual calendar project in the photo is simply AMAZING!

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Craftastrophe: Is exactly what it sounds like.  Occasionally NSFW, silly and even occasionally appalled at some of the nuttier craft ideas out there, this blog is sure to bring a laugh or two to your day!  I pity the fool who doesn’t read this blog!

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crafting an education: Here’s where I’m a total tool and toot my own horn.  This is my more education-leaning blog, but with a crafting aftertaste.  I discuss some of my teaching and learning here, but I also identify fun teaching-related crafts, organization, and décor!  I love making this connection between my two passions.

Go for it, share your favorite (or your own!) blogs!

The Big Question

No, not the proposal!  The question that as a seamstress and costumer I inevitably get…  “Why aren’t you making your own wedding dress?”

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‘Cause I’ve pretty much made them before, right?

My sister in particular asked this question after we purchased my Claire Pettibone dress.  It was indeed a question  I had given serious thought to, and even asked of other seamstressy brides.  I even know brides who have done it!  I even made my sister’s wedding gown!  But at the end of the day, it wasn’t what I wanted for me.

I’m not really superstitious, so the old adage of making your wedding dress makes your marriage a lot of work wasn’t phasing me.  And it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time; with nearly 18 months before the wedding when we started planning, I would have had plenty of time.

In all honesty, it came down to wanting to be a little spoiled.  First, I didn’t want to have to do the work, I really did want that little bit of getting treated like a princess. Second – and this has a little more to do with the financial planning aspect – because I’m an experienced seamstress, I wanted something beautiful that I could be proud of.  I accepted the financial burden with this reasoning because I know as a commissioner how much work goes into really high quality sewing work.  I knew from the beginning that I was going to have to shell out the cash, but I knew it would be worth it.  I’m lucky that that’s an option for me!

Lord_of_Rimini_Beatrice_d'EsteAnd it was all true!  The experience of being surrounded with my girls while trying on the amazing dresses at Little White Dress – with the designer present! – was a completely magical experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  And I know that the beautiful dress that Claire Pettibone is creating JUST FOR ME is going to be a truly amazing work of art that I will treasure forever.

I am in awe of the brides who charge themselves with sewing their wedding gowns!  And I count myself among the ranks of brides who have made a carefully calculated decision about her dress… that’s pretty much all brides!  This is one of the most personal garments a person can ever wear, and all your reasons, as long as they’re true to you, are completely valid.

Besides… I think there will always be plenty of fancy dresses for sewing in my future!

What were your reasons for or against making your wedding gown?

To veil, or not to veil?

I’d originally thought that I’d wanted at birdcage veil.  I loved the cutie vintage look and the fun style, not to mention the potential for DiY!  But upon trying one on with my Clover, it was kind of a ‘meh.’  I think the look is so charming… just not with this particular dress.

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That’s when the fantastic Claire Pettibone approached with one of her beautiful chapel-length veils and perched it upon my head – that was it.  I was going to wear a veil.  A LONG veil!  The lovely dramatic elegance!  I’d had no idea!

If you’re Nick, please don’t click on the cut!

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