Cosplaying while pregnant.

So I’m speaking to this subject from a sort of bizarre place; I haven’t TECHNICALLY been IN cosplay while pregnant yet. I’m finding it difficult enough to just get a costume FINISHED at this point! But as (probably more than) half of cosplay for me is in the creation, I imagine I’m speaking a little more to that!

Cosplay has become delightfully broad and rich in recent years, a fact I’m proud of for individuals and the community alike. When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, in addition to the usual delight and trepidation, I felt strongly that I wanted to continue to enjoy cosplay with our growing family (and my growing belly).

 

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At 19 weeks, I shared this photo to celebrate one year to Star Wars VII! The sign says “This is me (and Padawan Baby) one year from The Force Awakens.”

 

My efforts in cosplay have slowed significantly in recent years, but I’ve never planned on stopping, and the expected change in my body was inspiring! When my first trimester became particularly tumultuous and difficult health-wise, I decided to resign from my teaching position early (a plan we had in place for when baby is born, anyway), and that left us with a significantly lowered income far sooner than we’d expected or planned for.

So besides just the illness associated with my early pregnancy, I faced guilt that came along with no longer providing for my household – who am I to make costumes (even if I felt well enough to do so) when there isn’t really any extra money around (and we still have all these things to buy for baby? Nursery planning and painting and stuff and THINGS)? So I didn’t. And I didn’t feel well enough to do so until late 2014, well into the second trimester.

 

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Baby boy at 24 weeks!

 

Fortunately, many health issues and some financial issues began to resolve and I felt a lot better, finding the energy to do more not only for my family and baby, but for me, too! But another problem presented itself… I was GROWING. So I typed in the funniest combination of search terms I can think of: pregnant cosplay costumes!

A lot of fun and famous results popped up, and one of my passions was included: Star Wars! Padme Amidala of course spends much of the third prequel sporting a cute bump, and her tan dress quickly went on my list. It was practical, didn’t require a massive amount of materials (unlike many of her other dresses!), and showed off that cute belly! Other suggestions came from friends, and while I don’t know if I’ll have time to tackle all of them (with just 10 weeks left now!), it was absolutely a fun conversation. So that’s in progress, and getting a little closer to completion every day (taking it in small, slow bites here!). I’m also still working on a White Mage costume that I’ve (embarassingly) had the materials for for over a year. Because it’s a big, loose robe, I can certainly wear it comfortably while bumpy (and comfort is a big consideration these days)!



I really AM hoping to get Padme all finished up before go time (in May), perhaps attend Starfest (and present the documentary I’ve been working on since last year!), but now into the third trimester, health and just general fatigue are getting to me again. As a woman with pre-existing high blood pressure, pregnancy can be a high-risk scenario for me and baby. Fortunately we’ve been able to manage it with good medical care and drugs, but that doesn’t stop a mama from worrying. I’m very lucky to have a great doctor (who says DO THINGS and GO PLACES!), a supportive husband, and a growing small business that is able to provide at least a little extra income! This whole experience has been exciting and (obviously!) life-changing, in so many ways it’s almost impossible to count!

Next up? Dressing up this little boy (at least until he has the wherewithal to say, “Stop it, Mommy!” Hehehehe.)!

In which I paint stuff.

We have this marvelous open stairwell and entryway in our home.  It’s filled with light most of the day and was the first thing about this model that struck us as “home.”  While we love it, the height and volume of the space begs for some control.

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In the stairwell portion, I had the idea to paint the outer wall surrounding the window with a navy-to-white ombre.  I haven’t quite had the gumption to get that project off the ground, but I wanted something in the meantime to help anchor the space.  I’ve gotten excited about painting recently and decided to do a pair of large-scale paintings to add to the space and sort of test my ombre-paint theory.

Here’s the result!  The left is the navy to white I initially wanted, but feeling I wouldn’t be able to make a quality duplicate of it, I choose to go with a similar piece in yellow and white.  The yellow ties into some yellow highlights in the living room, and the two colors play nicely off each other.

I spent very little on this fun project!  The ‘canvases’ are simply thin MDF sheets that are readily available at your local hardware or home improvement store.  I ‘primed’ them with a little of the leftover house paint and simply used acrylics to smooth on the ombre.  They’re pushed away from the wall and given some additional structure by adding 1×2″ sections of wood to the back in an I shape – this also serves as the hanging mechanism.  I used E8000 glue, but with some foresight I would screw them on through the front then lightly patch any of the screw showing through the front before painting.

Do you make your own wall art?

The Subtle Nerd

I relish my nerdiness.  I delight in my geekiness.  I also like modern style and fashion and tend toward a more Anthropologie-styled look – very bohemian, soft, and layered.  My home tends to be similar as well, with a strong industrial-modern flair (I like to think our Bexley bar from World Market exemplifies our home style), but I still want subtle bits of our passion for fandom to show through.  While retailers like Black Milk have fantastic and quality garments, their sleek sheath dresses aren’t really my style and don’t work for my everyday school-wear as a teacher.

I am a scarf-wearing fiend.  So this multi-fandom organic cotton infinity scarf really tickles my fancy!  Featuring a whole host of beloved fandoms, it’s sure to delight any hippie-nerd (nippy?  herd?) with the aged print style and gauzy fabric.

My husband would not consider himself fashionable, but I like to pick up tee shirts for him pretty regularly, and nerdy shirts are never turned down.  His (and my) favorites are the subtle nerd humor styles, such as this “Ski Hoth” shirt emblazoned with a 70s style skiing advertisement.  Fortunately tees like this one are very trendy and can even be found at retailers like Target.

 

Retailer Her Universe specializes in geek chic for women and girls.  Envisioned by the charming Ashley Eckstein, actress and voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Her Universe has put forth a great collection of clothes and accessories from all our favorite series.  I’m especially fond of their jewelry line, simple and elegant pendants that can add that subtle bit of flair to any everyday outfit.

 

My husband and I did the same thing with our wedding.  We wanted a very sweet, traditional event, yet we couldn’t help but include a few references here and there.  My “something blue” was a Jedi Order temporary tattoo in place of the more traditional garter; Nick gifted his groomsmen with Star Wars themes cufflinks.  I made the little wooden cake-toppers.  I walked down the aisle to “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts.

Finally, we received this absolutely perfect gift last Christmas from my sister-in-law, this adorable set of Han & Leia silhouette prints.  They now reside charmingly in our master bedroom.

How do you show off your nerd?

 

Sterling new friends!

You know what they say… new friends are silver… but what kind of silver?  Typically I like to think of them as sterling.

Sterling silver is an alloy (a mix of metals) of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another metal, usually copper, although other metals can be used, too.  Why do we do this?  Like gold, silver in its pure form is very soft and not suitable for jewelry or other hard-wearing accessories.  Just that little bit of other metal will make for a harder substance, and thus a more durable piece.  That 925 you see stamped or otherwise marked on silver jewelry?  That denotes it as sterling silver – 925 is just short for the 92.5% of silver metal in the alloy.

Sterling silver stamping blanks available for purchase on Etsy.

Sterling silver stamping blanks available for purchase on Etsy.

Fine silver is 99.9%, and can be seen in jewelry usually as a final plate (a thin layer chemically or electrically bonded to the outside of a piece) around sterling silver.  Like gold, it can eventually wear off and need to be re-plated.  Almost any jeweler can do this for you.

I love working with sterling silver.  Silver has the unique quality of being a very bright, white-color metal.  Other metals that mimic silver just don’t have that bright white shine and the true depth of silver.  It’s a great material for heirloom pieces, because silver retains value in the same way as gold and platinum (if not as MUCH value).

A sterling silver necklace from Charmedseed Studios available for purchase on Etsy.

A sterling silver necklace from Charmedseed Studios available for purchase on Etsy.

Silver will absolutely tarnish!  All metals will tarnish or oxidize because of normal chemical processes.  Sterling silver will tarnish a little more if the alloy is made with copper.  Fortunately said tarnish can be cleaned easily with a polishing cloth, chemical cleanser, or abrasive physical polishing – that’s right, the old elbow grease.

Do you have a metal allergy?  Sterling silver will probably be okay for you to wear, as long as the other metal in the alloy isn’t your allergy-metal (such as nickel, a common allergy-inducing metal.  Fortunately since most sterling silver is made with copper, you’re okay).

Got questions about sterling silver jewelry or other metals?  Ask me!

Mermaid Trio Jewelry Set

I don’t often do beaded jewelry anymore as the market is just SO saturated with beaders, but if a commission is asked for I’ll jump at the opportunity!  Here’s a recent one I did; requested was a mermaid theme to go with a dress the wearer had made.  We decided on pearls with a little bit of sparkle!

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Click on the image above to see more images at the Charmedseed Jewelry Facebook page!

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!

Tada, jewelry!

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A few pieces I finished this morning after them sitting in my “to-do” pile for months.  The green pair were actually just purchased, but one of the earwires was broken.  A few fun new things for school, which starts in a week!

What “to-dos” have you gotten to lately?

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!