Friday, September 28, 2012

An Open Letter to Katie Bair

Warning: This post contains a lot of pictures and writing from a fairly dissatisfied customer. I'm not even sure if this will get to Ms. Bair, but I need to get this off of my chest.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WIP: Rainbow Dash

Firstly, Akira is the one to take credit for the idea of the ombre dyeing the wigs, seeing as she tried it first with her Moltres wig before I even got the sharpies for RD. She's amazing and fantastic and I don't think I say it enough, nor does she give herself enough credit for her creativity. Without her inspiration, RD would look a lot duller.

This was after about three episodes of Bones and two episodes of my little pony, with a lot of fiddling and adjusting the other ponytails to pull the fibers out of the way. I still need to go back through the section that's going to be yellow with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip to get rid of the orange pigment that rubbed on there.

Wig was purchased from Epic Cosplay at Otakon. I believe this is their 18"-incher in snow white.

Orange (which is incredibly red on snow white fibers) at the roots, followed by 1" - 2" of peach, another 2-3" inches of leg warmer orange and the rest with tangerine (dear sharpie, thank you for making the 80's glam series right before I decided to mostly hand color my wig. Three of the colors are coming into use). The colors had a decent amount of blending and overlap to get the gradiated effect.

I used mini hair clips to keep the fibers I wasn't working on out of the way. In order to get even coloring, I worked on each layered individually and picked out 0.5 cm sections with a large blunted pin. Fine tipped sharpies turn on the side = a decent substitute for chisel tipped sharpies.

Tip: if you're going to watch something while working, make sure it's long episodes... and something that you've already seen. I had to switch back to Bones after two episodes of MLP: FiM because I wanted to watch the damn series >>

The wig has about 1/4 of the green done as well. By a 1/4, I mean half of the green streak that is on the same side as the orange streak. Waiting on watermelon red and sun yellow wig dye for the red and yellow (and I have banana clip yellow for low lighting on the yellow). The rest will be hand colored.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Let AX 2013 planning commence!!

So right now we're super motivated and getting our ideas together for next year's con already! We'll see how long this keeps up for me >>

This is our costume list for now. We're doing an MLP group and a Pokemon group as well. I'm also going to be making a Battle Angel Alita/Ganmu costume. As in Gally in the Last Order series with the crazy damascus blade butterfly knife.

So onwards to reference photos!

(I may or may not be slightly buzzed from inhaling alcohol fumes while cooking, and Nave had me try one of his favorite beers. Beer + Me = CAPSLOCK)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Post-con thoughts

Call me jaded, but Otakon is actually getting less exciting year after year. I've only missed two since 1999 (.. derp) and things have changed. My con group has changed, I'm getting older, my focuses and costumes have changed along with it.

This year was still fun, though, aside from some incidents such as nearly missing our early as hell flight to Baltimore, last minute but manageable costuming, terrible lack of respect from one member of the room group and last but not least: my friend getting pick pocketed.

Not freaking cool.

We've decided that we're going to to check out the scene on the west coast next year and see if people on that seaboard are more classy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mare's Leg, Part 3

In Part 1, we found a toy Mare's Leg gun, filled in the gaps, and created a two-part mold.
In Part 2, we resin cast a solid Mare's Leg.

Now for the finishing details!

Lots of pictures after the jump.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Last Minute Progress

Here's a quick list. I'll post pictures when I get a moment to breathe.

Kaylee's jumpsuit, pouch and belt are all complete and distressed.
Wash's jumpsuit just needs to have the patches, pocket and shoulder details hand-stitched on.
Wash's harness needs to have one more area stitched, then all of his details glued on.
Zoe's vest and pants are all done. All the pleather pieces are darkened and weathered, but I need more snaps for the shrug and to attach it to the vest. The holster is mostly complete, it just needs the parts where the gun holds on.
Zoe's gun needs one or two more coats of paint and all of the bullets are painted and drying.

18 hours until Goose, Madhouse and I are on the road. Still need to shop for supplies, do the laundry, make the apartment ready for the weekend for our fur-babies, and pack!
Running on less than 5 hours of sleep today, but it's all worth it in the end.
Can't wait for Otakon!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mare's Leg, Part 2

In Part 1, we sourced a toy Mare's Leg gun, filled in the gaps, and created a two-part mold.  Let's see how it turned out...

Lots of pictures after the jump.

Mare's Leg, Part 1

Part of Akira's Zoe costume is her signature Mare's Leg gun, which we have been working on for the past couple weeks.  Not having to worry about Ilo Milo means a lot more work has gone into it.

Lots of progress pictures after the jump.

Another to do list...

I really should be sleeping right now, but I think the coffee I had earlier in the afternoon kicked in oh.. about two hours ago? This is normally where I would say FML, but I'm not complaining.

Brain dump, because I will forget x_X:

To buy before Otakon:
- New foundation. So Akira and I have the same sort of awkward problem: the skin on our faces seem like they have a different color base than our arms/wrists/where ever we compare colors for our foundations because colors don't work :| Plus I blush really easily/stay flushed for some bizarre reason. Anywho, thanks to Nave dragging me outside more often in this ridiculous heatwave, my needing to throw out my liquid foundation from years ago, and disliking using the mineral foundation that I have now because it's so drying here where we live.. I need a new liquid foundation.
- Lip plumper for Akira. Do I need to say more?
- Potentially a new make up carrying case/travel bag. The one I got as a free gift from Lancome a few years ago (and not supporting them anymore. Animal testing bastards.) is getting kind of groady.
- If I can find an affordable hard side suitcase.. that would be fantastic. Or I may end up taking the chest plates on my duffle bag carry on just to make sure that the plastic doesn't get bent/damaged/tossed out of shape. I only have a soft side suitcase and I'm worried :|

To do before Otakon:
- Make sure that the armor, a special package and whatever random other thing I need to have fit actually can fit into the suitcase with padding. If not, maybe something will go into the overhead bins...
- Garment bag everything and anything for each of the costumes. Having two almost identical but size costumes for the two of us this year will be.. well, interesting to say the least..
- Charge my Nook for the airplane
- CLEAN. My sewing loft is a freaking explosion right now.
- Find a kitty sitter for the princess, or someone who will check in on her at least twice while we're gone.
- Laundry.
- Give myself a manicure/clean my nails properly. Working in a lab that generates a lot of dust in the sample processing, painting(!!!) armor pieces and being so busy means that I haven't been keeping my nails as clean as they should be.
- Actually sit down and clean my new make up brushes. And swatch the MUG shadows I got. Initial impression of the latter is pretty good! Full review to come.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Brain dump/to do list because my white board isn't big enough and Nave keeps his homework assignments there

Inara -
- Finish painting designs on the vest
- Add fastners and hem the vest
- Paint the damn skirt 
- (check the wig and make sure it doesn't look too derpy. Bring curling iron and hair spray just in case)

Malcom -
- Hem the coat
- Add cuffs to sleeves
- Add eyelets to belt and weather
- Seal, paint and assemble the holster
- .. weather boots, but that's Nave's job.

Lanfan -
- Finish hemming gloves -DONE
- Seal and paint the glove decorations - DONE
- Seal and paint boot decoration - DONE
- Add fastener to leg greaves (redo leg greaves in wonderflex? - DONE and painted >>) - DONE
- Add edging to chest and back plate  - DONE
- Paint shoulders, chest and back plates -DONE
- Add final ties to chest and back plate and fasteners - holes are drilled? needs to be assembled at the con because of fitting issues
- Finish and paint mask -DONE
- Attach boot and glove decorations
- Tack hood in place
3 of 10 remaining

Old Man Fu -
- finish hakama.
- Hem gloves - DONE
- Seal and paint the glove decorations -DONE
- Seal and paint boot decoration -DONE
- Add fastner to leg greaves (redo leg greaves in wonderflex? - DONE and painted) - DONE
- Add edging to chest and back plate -DONE
- Paint shoulders, chest and back plates -DONE
- Add final ties to chest and back plate and fasteners
- Finish and paint mask -DONE
- Attach glove and boot decorations 
- Make headband -DONE
- Buy a ridiculous mustache and powder it white.
3 of 12 remaining

All in all, maybe a little less screwed than I think I was going to be. I hope to have all of the bolded stuff done before the weekend is over (.. between my part time desk shift on Wednesday nights and a Harry Potter party on Thursday...). The necklace isn't going to be too bad, but I need to have time to sit down and do it all at once.. this may be the last minute thing at the con ;;

The plan is to get white school glue and seal everything that I need to seal tomorrow night, and add some more apoxie sculpt to the bridge of the nose and shape the brows. (Edit: while glue sealed craft foam may be a good idea at the last minute, you're almost better off just making it out of the wonderflex you have lying around.)

OH OH. Keep an eye out for two reviews and a "what's in my kit" post next week before we leave for the con. I finally bit the bullet and got a set of quality make up brushes and a set of neutral eyeshadows that I'm fairly excited to play with (and using for Inara). The "what's in my kit" is a basic convention prep and make up advice for a newbie cosplayer/non-make up user.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Changing Plans AGAIN

With all the progress Goose and I are making on our Firefly/Serenity cosplays, we feel bad if we sacrifice quality for quantity. I don't know why we try to plan more than one costume to build per year. Maybe if we get more diligent next year we can plan more, but for now, it would be better to stick to one costume each to work on. We are going to hold off Ilomilo for another con (especially since the weather looks like it will be very warm at Baltimore next week) and make our Kaylee, Wash and Zoe that much better.
Goose and I will post soon about our progress!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Massive Productive Weekend!

This past weekend was the only full weekend that Goose and I had for cosplay, so we made the most of it by working from 8 am to 10:30 pm on Saturday and 7 am to 10:45 pm on Sunday. Here's what we did!

(Warning! Image heavy post after the jump!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Never Enough Time!

Once again, Goose and I are hurrying to the finish, despite goals of starting and ending sooner. I love reading the Otakon and boards, but since everyone is counting down to Otakon, it makes it hard to read. Just reminds me of my crunchy deadline.

This past weekend, I have finished the base for my Zoe capris. They still need to be fitted, hemmed and the details of the boot cuffs added. Goose has finished the frames for Ilo/Milo and the foam has been cut to size. They just need to be shaped and the pockets for the fabric made to fit in the foam. After that it's stamping the Ilo/Milo fabric, making the face, arms and legs, and Goose finishing the support system. I started working on Goose's Wash jumpsuit and have finished most of the torso base. I need to sew on one more sleeve, sew the pants, attach the pants and put in all the zippers. Goose is working on the patches for Wash (which is proving difficult without a proper drawing software).

What's left to be done: (Because I love lists...)
-Capri Details and fitting - Akira
-Vest (pleather for the vest, shrug and holster should arrive this week) - Akira
-Shrug - Akira
-Holster - Akira
-Mare's Leg - Goose
-Knife - Goose
-Darkening and distressing leather - Akira

-Jumpsuit - Akira
-Harness - Akira
-Patches - Goose

-Dye the fabric for the jumpsuit - Akira
-Jumpsuit - Akira
-Teddy bear patch (furry fabric should arrive this week) - Akira
-Details - Akira

Ilo and Milo
-Finishing securing the frame and supports - Goose
-Shape the foam - Akira
-Make the pockets for foam - Akira
-Sew together the skin - Akira
-Attach the skin to the frame - Akira
-Hands and Feet - Akira
-Face - Akira

If I'm really diligent, I'm sure I can get most of the sewing for Firefly done this week, depending on when my shipment of pleather arrives. And Goose has really been stepping it up for the mascots. I think we can get it done if we work really hard every day until the day we leave for Otakon. (*knock on wood*)
I'll post construction pictures if I remember to take them in the blur of the next few weeks.
Wish us luck!

Progress update (AGAIN)

- Finished gluing the base of my chest and shoulder pieces for Lanfan (must buy heat gun for wonderflex shaping around the edges)
- Gloves 25% done
- Bracers about 50% done (still need to make the outer sleeves for Old Man Fu, attach the clips to that one, add the decorative wrist piece on one of Lanfan's and both of OMF's)
- Finished one gold tie for the Lanfan mask
- Carved out the excess stuff that I don't need for both masks (must get more fine grit sand paper to start sanding..)

Tomorrow, I plan on finishing the sleeves for OMF's bracers, make the lycra leg sleeves to go over our shoes (once I find it in my bins of fabric..) and draft the beginnings of the greaves as well as finishing my other glove.

And we both need a hair cut at some point. I need bangs and face framing layers again, and Nave needs to have about 2 inches of his hair chopped for Malcolm. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

FMA progress, an Inara vest and a Malcolm coat!

So ever since I got this new phone, I've been taking a lot of my progress shots on instagram and posting them on twitter.


Here's what's been happening:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Inara earrings/tutorial post

Completed earrings!
Disclaimer: I do not own any sort of rights to the character, Inara, who was developed by the wonderfully amazing Joss Whedon. Also, I am a small potatoes blogger who does not and will not be asked to do product endorsements or site advertisements in the near future. I am a hobby jeweler and costumer. All opinions and mistakes are mine. 

So those earrings only took me a night! I am so proud of myself for actually pulling off (mostly.. sorta.. kinda?) screen accurate with artistic liberties taken earrings for the training house costume. For those of you who have seen the movie and squinted at the screen shots, you know that there really isn't ever a clear shot of her earrings.

Or at least, I can't tell what the earring bases are. The most I could see was a fluer-de-lys design near the top.

Here is the materials break down and techniques for those who actually do find the blog and are interested in how I made these.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Minor setback...

So I've been decently productive the past few weeks aside from some severe procrastination and excessive photo taking the past few days with my new phone (though, I'm grumbling about the lack of a QWERTY keyboard. This touchscreen only fad needs to go away like, NOW). There's been a minor set back though, and this is because of my own arrogance and lack of decent screen shots.

I had thought that Inara's dress for the training house fight scene with Malcolm and the Operative was an opaque skirt and the jump suit portion was completely unnecessary.

Then I rewatched the movie to get a better idea of how the skirt flows and... lo and behold: the damn thing is made out of some sheer silk material (I'm going with chiffon, so it won't break my wallet) and hits about an inch above her ankles.

So right now I'm looking at fabric swatches on and just ordered some. Hopefully this won't be too huge of one. I was planning on remaking the shirt anyways, because the pattern I initially used has this really awkward bunching on the side of the bust.

And her necklace and earrings are going to take some digging to find the components.


On another note, I'm mostly done with the sewing for the Xing costumes, and I only need to sew the holsters and coat for Evan's Malcom costume? And order the gun tomorrow?



More Progress

Since this weekend was a long weekend, Goose and I were extremely productive. After I finished cutting out the squares from the last post, I stitched together the panels for the four sides of Ilo and Milo.

(Picture heavy post after the jump. But all the stuff I've posted to Instagram.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mini progress update!

I finished cutting the squares for Ilo and Milo's checkered patterned fabric.
First I figured out the proportions for both Ilo and Milo versus my and Goose's measurements. That makes Goose's squares 13" and mine an even foot. With one inch on either side for the seams and a little give, Goose's squares were cut at 15" and mine at 14".
My cardboard template
I finished cutting all four colors in about a total of two movies and one season and one episode of Pushing Daisies. Then I'll need to work on sewing four panels for each side of both mascots. Here I go!
One night's work of tracing and cutting
The squares are done!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let the Countdown Begin

We're in the middle of May and that leaves us a little over two months to get everything completed. *flail*
Now that Goose and I are done with our wedding stuff (yay, we got married in April *little fanfare*) we can finally get started on our costumes. Not a lot of time for five costumes to make, but we'll make do.

I just ordered parts for Zoe (contacts, wig, boots and Mare's Leg pieces) and a Hawaiian shirt for Wash. There are a lot of pieces that we need to build IloMilo and I'm still lacking all the fabric I need for the three Firefly characters.

I don't assume the clothing for Firefly will take very long at all. I've made jumpsuits for my Portal cosplay and both Goose and Madhouse are wearing jumpsuits. Zoe's vest, shrug and pants will probably take me one weekend of good solid work. Probably a week for all of Firefly's base construction, not including the props and details. Both Goose and Madhouse have a lot of patches, or little details hanging around. Then we'll have to construct my gun, holster, bullets, and Goose's harness. That will probably take another week or two.

The things that I'm more worried about are Ilo and Milo since they both are experiments and Goose and I will have to figure out support, framing, and the skin of the mascots. We have designs of what we think will work, but as of now, we only have theories. Ilo & Milo construction will take the better part of a month to complete if we work consistently and efficiently. This is all assuming that our theories and designs work out the way we're projecting them.

With a lot diligence and luck, we'll be able to get everything done by July 26th, but it'll be close. Again, we'll probably be working up until the day. But hopefully not working while at Otakon. Next year, we'll hopefully get started much sooner.

Monday, March 26, 2012


patterns can go suck it as far as I can tell.

So I'm looking at the automail tutorial that Amethyst Angel wrote and for the most part, adapting it shouldn't be too hard for the upper arm, shoulder and the hand. I'm redesigning the finger tips because they don't fit my fingers properly and I don't like the overall shape.

The forearm is going to be a bitch.

*goes off and watches more Supernatural*

Monday, March 5, 2012



Have I mentioned that I suck at blogging consistently? Because I suck at blogging consistently.

So right now the alarm bells are on massive fire alert mode because I've been so swamped at work that I have NO energy when I get home. That, and it doesn't help that Nave and I got back into climbing consistently and I've been doing
yoga as well. And Nave's been stealing my computer EVERY DAY TO DO HIS ONLINE CLASSES.

There are days that I wish my laptop still works and isn't in danger of burning down the house every time I turn it on. Note to self: invest in a netbook at some point (my wallet is already crying)

But here's our costume line up:

I. Old man Fu and Spoiler!RanFan from FMA

Quite possibly the most bizarre couple cosplay that we're getting ourselves into, considering we're going as a grandfather-granddaughter duo. I've been DYING to do RanFan with her automail arm for a while now. Pretty much since that chapter came out. I also couldn't get Nave to agree to Greed!Ling, so Old man Fu was the compromise.

Plus, they're BAMFs. Who can argue?

II. Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender

... Do I really have to explain myself on this one?

III. Raccoon Mario from Super Mario Brothers

This one is Nave's solo costume for this year. Part closet/part Kaye makes a hat at the last possible minute costume from Halloween. It was a cute costume and it should be recognizable.

Not to be mistaken for Tanuki Mario. I am never going to make him the tanuki costume with the giant ball sac.

IV. Anna and Generic Green Shirt/Nerd Herder from Chuck

Oh Chuck, how I love this show. I am so sad that this past season was the last season, so I'm pulling together a better version of my Halloween costume in tribute. I'm still deciding whether or not I want to make Nave a Nerd or a Green Shirt. Either way, these will probably be our down time/wandering around costumes. Thank you costume designers for giving her crazy AND sensible options.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Progress Halted

We're well into the month of January, but little has gotten done between Goose and myself. I still need to buy two more colors of fleece, since painting big blocks on the fleece, even with fabric paint, won't get me the look I'm going for. Fabric paint doesn't play nice with fleece and give it a crusty look and feel. (Not fun at all!)
It will still work with the design stamping that we'll be doing all over, but to get the checkered quilted look, I need to get more colors of fabric. (My cats will probably want to make the piles of fleece into their own makeshift beds. Note to self: pack lots of lint rollers)

Goose and I haven't been able to work on construction or even design since we're in the process of moving right now. We're moving at the end of the month into a much bigger space, so hopefully by February we should have some semblance of order and be able to focus our attentions more onto our cosplays. Still don't know what I'm going to do to get that plush-y soft look in the mascots. I want something that will hold it's shape, but not require a bunch of layering. My first option is some kind of foam, but standing inside of foam inside of fleece in Baltimore at the height of summer? I'm sure that whenever Goose and I get out of the costumes, we'll be either much thinner from the sweating in our own personal bodyshaped saunas or just very stinky. I think intake and exhaust fans will be our friends. As well as ice water camelpaks and those squirt bottles with little fans. Also foam sucks to cut without a reciprocating saw (much like those electric carving knives some people use during Thanksgiving.), which we don't have. I was also considering quilting batting, but that runs the risk of needing a lot of well placed layers and more layers means more heat. Lovely in this freezing cold we're experiencing now, but not so lovely when you're navigating the crowded, sweaty halls of Otakon.

So the tl;dr of it is that Goose and I are still brainstorming.

I'm just pumped about moving, having Kaye and Lira visiting in the middle of February and finally starting the construction process of our cosplays. I'm currently motivated for all those things, but I've been slacking very much in my workout. I've been unable to get myself to go do it with all the other things that are in the air right now. I know I need to force myself to get to that too, but right now, I've been using that time to pack and spend time with Goose.

I'm hoping that when things settle down, it'll be easier to force myself back into that stuff. But I'm not making excuses for myself. I've just been mad lazy. *kicks self in big butt*
Maybe the next time I post, I'll actually have pictures for you! (I can only hope.)