Well, hello there strangers!

And suddenly, out of nowhere, a wild blog post appears!

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Hey guys!  How’s everybody doing?  Been a while, I know.  This has been just one of the craziest falls in recent history.  I don’t have a card to share with you today, but I thought I’d jump on anyway and give a life update instead in an attempt to explain the lack of posts.

So, where did we leave off?  Oh yeah, I was making costumes for Dragon Con.  Well, D*C was two months ago already, and it was a blast!  My mom and I got all three costumes done in time.

Me and my cousin Hollie as Merlin and Arthur, Applejack, me as Jyn with a sand trooper from Rogue One

Applejack was my most popular at the con itself.  I only ended up giving away 5 of my apple keychains, though, and 4 of them were to one group of girls.  But those girls totally made my day with how they adored the costume, so I wasn’t too disappointed.  I’m glad I didn’t carry the entire bag of apples around with me all day, though!  Guess I have a lot for next time I wear the costume.  ButI do need to fix quite a few of them because the hot glue isn’t holding the leaves on the apples like I hoped it would.  So that’ll be a whole process to fix those and find a better glue.

I was going to do a whole post on how I weathered the costumes, but that seems like kind of a moot point now.  Basically, I used three different kinds and colors of fabric spray paint and a couple different colors of shoe polish rubbed on the clothes to weather them down.  I did wash most of the clothes (I think everything except Jyn’s vest) after getting home, and some of the weathering did come out, so I’ll have to redo some of that before the costumes come out to play again.

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Here’s one before and after of the weathering process:

So, that was the beginning of September.  A couple weeks later, my entire family, along with my Grandma, went on vacation to the Cincinnati area and went to the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum.

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That was a fun week.  Lots of driving, but we definitely made some good memories.  It was fun to go to those places with my brother and grandma, since they had never been there before.  And on the last day before we started heading home, my mom and I went to a museum that had a traveling display called “Star Wars: The Power of Costumes” and they had a TON of the costumes that were actually used in the films on display, as well as original concept art and other stuff.  That was so cool!  I’m sure glad I found that online when we were in the hotel looking for things to do in the area.  🙂   And we were there just in time, too, because it was the last week that the display was going to be at that museum before moving on to its next location!

The other major news of the last couple months is the fact that I moved!  The day after I got back from Dragon Con, my brother, Mom, and I went to a few houses with my brother’s realtor and he found the house he wanted!  So, all that kind of stuff took up time in those couple weeks between Dragon Con and Cincinnati, then after we got home from Ohio it was time to pack!  My craft stuff was actually some of the first stuff to get packed, so I haven’t even had access to it to make a card for the blog.

We moved in a couple weeks ago, and are slowly getting settled.  My mom is planning on coming over tomorrow to help me hang up my art gallery and some other stuff, and then it will really start feeling like home.

And on top of everything else, as if it wasn’t enough, I’m also on jury duty this month.  😛  Like I needed THAT extra stress in my life right now.

It may be a couple more weeks until I finally get everything organized and actually have space on my craft desk and access to my paper crafts to make a card again.  But I tell you what, I am in such a “making” mood right now, I just want to:

craft the things

I have so many things I want to do, especially before Christmas, which will be here before we know it!  Can you believe Thanksgiving is in two weeks?!  I don’t even have any new Christmas cards made yet.  But seriously, now that I’m living with one of the few people I sent a card to, I think I really only need 2 cards!  How sad is that?  But I have a few other things I want to work on as well, so for the rest of this year I will hopefully be posting some cards, other paper crafts, and some other fun crafts as well.

I’ve definitely been missing crafting and blogging, so here’s hoping that very soon things will get back on a regular schedule!  Talk to you soon!

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Cosplay Update #3: Jyn’s Accessories

When I decided I wanted to cosplay as Jyn, I had to decide what stage of her outfit I wanted to do.  Did I want to go full-Jedha incursion with the scarf and coat?  Black Imperial spy outfit?  I opted for the most basic, recognizable outfit which we see through the whole movie and which she is wearing at the end.  But obviously a cosplay like this is more than just the clothes. Girl’s gotta have some accessories, too!

I ordered several 3D printed kits of items for this costume.  This was the first time I’ve ever worked with 3D printed stuff, and it was a learning experience to be sure!  Everything’s gotta be sanded down smooth and I think I went through 6 different grits of sandpaper, starting with the roughest and working my way down to either 600 or 800 grit.  Some of the items with a lot more texture I spray painted with a filler primer before I sanded them to make it a little easier.

Then came painting.

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Everything got at least some if not all of it painted with enamel spray paints.  Parts I didn’t want spray paint on I taped off.  Details were done with model paints.

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These were the two easiest kits to finish.  The badge for Jyn’s vest was two pieces; the red button was a separate piece that was glued on.  And the silver clip on the comm link on the right was also glued on and the two silver screws are really just for looks.

The blaster and truncheon were a bit more complicated.  Actually, the truncheon wasn’t that bad, it just had more parts to glue together, but it didn’t really need any extra detail painting.  The blaster, however, was a PROCESS!

I did most of the detail painting before it was glued together, then after it was glued I added a few finishing touches.

When you don’t have a clamp to hold parts together while the glue sets, you use what’s available, and in this case it was wrapping them tightly with painters tape!  I glued the pieces and let them set one at a time.  The two final pieces to glue were the hand grips, and man, they caused the most trouble of all the 3D printed stuff!  They warped when I sprayed them with the filler primer, I’m assuming because they got moist and the sun was beating on them, which heated up the plastic.  So instead of having to contact the seller I bought them from to see if I could order just those two pieces again, I did some online research to see if they were salvageable.  Turns out, if you heat up 3D printed plastic in a little bit of water on the stove, it becomes pliable again so you can flex it to bend it straight.  So I did that after the first time it warped.  Then it warped again after I painted them black.  So I needed to fix it again, and it took multiple hot water baths to get them to sit flush on the handle of the blaster.

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They finally fit, but the process of reheating made the back of the pieces get a rippled effect, so I made sure to use expanding Gorilla Glue to glue them on.  I didn’t use enough on one of them (I was afraid of it expanding too much and oozing out like on some earlier pegs!) so you can see a little bit of daylight when you look between the pieces.  Hopefully it will hold!

In the end, though, after the finishing paint touches, it turned out pretty awesome.

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And of course, what’s a blaster without a belt and holster to put it in?!

I bought the leather to make the belt and holster several months ago, and the gentleman who owns and runs the leather shop I bought it from was SO helpful in figuring out what I needed and how to make it.  I was a bit nervous to actually work on it though, since the leather wasn’t cheap and I haven’t done anything like this before and I was afraid I’d screw up big time.  But with his tips, the little experience I do have working with leather, and lots of reference pics, I am so happy with how it turned out!

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I had a few hiccups in the process of making it, but in the end, it’s pretty much exactly how I hoped it would be!

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I’m still waiting for the buckles for Jyn’s boots to show up.  I got notice that they finally shipped end of last week, so hopefully in the next couple days they’ll get here and I can get the boots done, too!

Cosplay Update #2 – Applejack’s Apples

Ok, I know I know!  I have failed miserably at that whole “weekly updates” thing as I’ve been working on my costumes for Dragon Con.  Let’s just get my acknowledgement and apology for that out of the way right now.

I’m sorry.

Can we just move on now?

I have been very busy working on costumes and have a lot to share with you, enough that I’m going to break this up into two posts.  Today I shall share the adorable little gifts I made to go with Applejack, and tomorrow I’ll give an update on Jyn.

In the midst of planning my Applejack cosplay, I decided I wanted a little something to give to any kids that might get extra excited about my costume.  I had thought about it, but fully decided to do it when a gal in one of my facebook groups told the story of how her daughter was given a little jar of pixie dust from a Tinkerbell cosplayer years ago and she STILL talks about it.  Knowing how something small like that can make a kid’s con experience so much more special sealed the deal and I ordered 100 little wooden apples.

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I painted the apples red, and since they had a little hold drilled into the top, I dried them upside down on toothpicks stuck in a piece of insulation foam.  That worked pretty well for avoiding marring the wet paint.

And of course, I couldn’t work on My Little Pony stuff without watching the show as I worked!

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Bonus points if you can tell me which episode this is from!  😀

So after I had all 100 apples painted with 2 coats of red, I took them outside and sprayed them with a satin finish coat.

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I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how they turned out as some of them kind of had a weird grayish cast on them, but after they were dry I rubbed them all down with a rag and that seemed to buff that off, so I moved on.

I screwed little eye hooks into the holes on top for the “stem”, and I was positive I was going to have a blister or two by the time I was done!

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Thankfully no fingers were permanently damaged in the process.  I only had 80 hooks (I bought Menards out), and I broke one while screwing it in, so I ended up with 79 acceptable apples.  I did glue the broken hook back into the 80th apple and I’ll hang it on my Christmas tree next to my Applejack ornament, so it’s been salvaged at least.

The process of gluing the leaves on top was a bit of a challenge, though.  I tried a couple different glues before settling on hot glue and I had about 30 or more done when I kind of tugged on one of the leaves and it popped right off!  I had bought a branch of greenery from Michaels and snipped all the leaves off to use, but they had a kind of velvety, fuzzy coating on them and the glue stuck to that and not the plastic of the leaves themselves.  So the fuzzy coating stayed glued to the apple and the leaves themselves peeled off.

Ugh.

So, I peeled all the leaves back off the apples and scraped off all glue.  And re-glued them back down.  Since the fuzzy coating was gone and the actual plastic leaves were exposed, they glued down for real the second time.  So for the rest of the leaves, I  scraped the fuzzy stuff off the bottom of the leaves with an exacto knife before gluing them down.  I also had to trim about 20 of the leaves smaller, since there were two sizes of leaves and the bigger size was just too big.

But in the end, after adding a little ball chain, they turned out pretty darn cute.

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I’m not especially looking forward to carrying around 79 wooden apple keychains during the con, but I am looking very forward to giving them away to happy little kids.  I just hope that by the end of the day, my load is a lot lighter!  So, if you’re at Dragon Con on Sunday and you see an Applejack wandering around, come say hi and geek out over my costume and you just might get “a little somethin’ straight from Sweet Apple Acres”!

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Cosplay Update #1: Creating Jyn

Well, here we are, first cosplay update!  I spent the last four days with my mom working on the costume for Jyn Erso from Rogue One, to the point that I almost wish I had just “moved home” for my long weekend since I was back and forth almost every day.  Thankfully I only live like 15 minutes from my parents’ house.  🙂

I kind of had to chuckle when my mom apologized on Sunday night for not getting as far on the outfit as we hoped after we worked on it for most of three of the four days (and went cosplay shopping on the 4th).  I am so happy with how far we got and told her so.  The pants are done, the shirt just needs the sleeves shortened, and the vest is waiting until we get another part that I ordered this weekend.  I even got 3 of the 4 last pieces of the blaster sanded!  So, yeah, I’m happy with the progress.

Wednesday night I dyed some strapping for the vest.

I also inadvertently dyed the end of my wooden spoon brown.   At least it was a spoon designated for non-edible use.

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I dried the strapping on my tub on a piece of wax paper so it didn’t stain.  I wish I had taken a “before” picture.  The long piece was a natural cotton color and the short piece was a dark tan with two thin red stripes.  Obviously, they dyed really well.

To make the vest we pretty much followed this step-by-step write through by Jessica of Restill Cosplay on Facebook.  There were no measurements or anything, so we based the basic pattern off a vest I already own and had to create our own pattern from there.

This is the front of the vest after most of the doohickies are attached.  The top horizontal patches and the wide rectangular ones on the sides are what I dyed dark brown.  The pockets were an especially large pain to figure out, with the extra gusset on the side.  But they turned out pretty awesome.  The front panels are lined with one layer of cotton batting, and the back has two layers of that plus a layer of 1/4 inch foam, which will look pretty cool after it’s tie quilted.

Pretty, bright red lining.

Of course I had to try it on at various points in construction, and of course I had to take pictures.  🙂  And the pic on the right is my wonderful, creative, sewing wizard mother.

So that was Thursday.  Friday we took off sewing to go shopping and pick up a few things we needed, including of course more cosplay items and fabric.  Because, of course!

Saturday we got the pants for the costume done.  I had found a pair of black pants at a local thrift shop with really wide legs which we cut off and pintucked part of the front.  We made the legs taper smaller at the end, and added the strapping and a black band and a buckle around the knee where the pants were cut off.

And just a quick note on that, let this be a lesson to you to always check your stash of miscellaneous items before you go out shopping.

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We needed a strange type of buckle for the strapping on the leg and ended up buying two packages of buckles, which are the four items at the bottom of the above picture.  Upon getting them home and opening them up, we came to the conclusion that they would, in fact, not work for what we needed.  I raided mom’s little drawer of miscellaneous buckles and such, and found the two on top, which were pretty much EXACTLY what we needed and which the store didn’t have.  So we traded.  Mom kept the new stuff and we used her random buckles for the pants.  So yeah, always check your stash before you spend money.  😉

Sunday afternoon we were both really tired, but we managed to get the shirt collar done anyway.  I had bought a couple gray shirts a few months ago and we used one for fabric to remodel the other one to add the flappy collar on Jyn’s shirt.  Neither of us thought it would be as difficult to figure out as it was, but we still managed to accomplish it.

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So here is the final result of the weekend of work.  The details on the pants are pretty hard to see in this pic, but eventually I’ll get better shots.  Still work to do, but I’m really pleased with how much farther along it is.

Btw, I should clarify, pretty much any time I’m saying “we” in this post, I’m really meaning “my mom”.  She did ALL of the sewing on this (except the top stitching and hand stitching on the vest fronts).  I pretty much gave my opinion, offered a few ideas, watched, fetched things, and was a human mannequin.  I’m so blessed that I have a mom who loves to sew (maybe not so much after this weekend?!) and who is willing to put up with my geeky craziness and help me with stuff like this.

So that’s update one!  We’re working again on Wednesday this week to finish the shirt and hopefully sew the shirt for Merlin.  I ran to a thrift store after work today to look for some brown pants and possibly a brown jacket for Merlin, but I struck out on both, so I’ll have to do some more searching.