Thursday, December 29, 2011

Larping for Newbies

January is gonna be busy! Not only is it my birthday this month, I'll be an uncle soon. Also, I'm premiering a new Larping chapter in Austin. We'll be at Ikkicon on Friday to run a recruiting panel and demo, but the real fun is two weeks away. We are running an Adventure Day event at Emma Long Park in Austin, so if anyone is in the area and wants to try it out, you know where we'll be.

Heroic Austin Meetup page

Heroic Austin Homepage

Ikkicon: Panel 4, 7:30 Friday

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aftermath LARP: Post-apocalyptic mayhem

John here, reporting in after another LARP event. This time, Diana and I went to Aftermath, at Lake Murray, Oklahoma. We were hanging out with such creatures as cyborgs, gunfighters, bug-men and barbarians. It was a great event, I just wish I had more time to work on my costume beforehand.

I've got more tutorials planned, like weathering leather, painting Nerf guns, and making holsters and cartridge-belts.

I've also got new ideas for my Austin LARP chapter that will be starting next year.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Sewing Machine?

If you've just started costuming, it's very likely that you've never sewn anything in your life. Why should you? Your clothes are already put together when you get them from the store, and you have people like moms and great aunts for when a button falls off or you need that bridesmaid dress hemmed.

So you think "Sewing is hard, and sewing machines are scary. I'll just buy a costume." Neither of those thoughts are true! Sewing is easy, and sewing machines are fun and fast. If you scour garage sales and especially estate sales, you can find old but AMAZING sewing machines for very very cheap prices. Like under $30! Take it into a shop for a quick tune up and you'll be set to go for years, and if you do break it,'s not like you spent your life savings on it. Old sewing machines also have the advantage of being harder to break and easier to fix when they do mess up because the insides are more metal than plastic and have no electronic parts.

Also, if you buy a costume, you can't be sure of the quality or the fit. (Of course the same goes for most first-ever-costumes, but you'll improve quickly and save a lot of money!) This goes for everything from renfair wear to cosplay outfits. I could buy a skirt for renfair for $50, or I can spend $15 on fabric and two hours of my time to make one which I'm sure is the perfect length and fullness. Also, there is a certain attitude towards store-bought costumes, particularly in the cosplay community. In cosplay, making your costume is considered 75% of the hobby itself, and many people consider buying a costume a kind of cop-out. Many cosplay contests do not allow costumes that you did not make yourself. It definitely differs from place to place and person to person, but is something to keep in mind. You'll have much more cosplay street cred if you make it yourself.

Maybe you still think, "Okay, I want to make my costume, but I don't believe you that sewing is easy! That's why glue was invented! And if that fails, there are staples! And that no-sew iron-on stuff!"  Yes. Those are indeed options. BUT...

If you want your costume to be worn for more than a few hours, if you want it to look sharp and pro, if you want to be that costumer who people come up to and ask to have pictures taken should definitely man up and learn to sew. Would you buy/wear a prom dress if you saw that the manufacturer had just glued together? Probably not. And the best part--sewing is EASY. No really! I think it's easier to whip something through a sewing machine than to painstakingly try and glue fabric. It's definitely faster and less messy.

So. Have I convinced you to make your own costume? Have I convinced you to sew it instead of gluing it? Good! Stay tuned for the next parts!

Coming Soon:
Sewing Vocabulary and Hand Stitching
Using a Machine
Deciphering Commercial Patterns

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maternity Costumes

The Lake Gown.
By the time Halloween rolls around, I'll be 6 months pregnormous and of course not able to fit into any of the costumes I have on hand.

Which means making a new one!! John is hosting a small local local LARPing even on Halloween, and the theme is there's that. I'll probably modify an old empire-waist fairy dress for the occasion. It will be comfy and cute and adjustable for the unpredictable central Texas weather.

However. Ever since I saw Episode III I've wanted to do a pregnant Padme costume. Particularly her steel silk nightgown. It's so flowy and beautiful, one of my favorites aside from the Lake Gown. Which, according to Dressing a Galaxy, George Lucas originally wanted to CG onto Natalie Portman instead of making a costume, but the costume designers were like "Um, don't be stupid." And so the Lake Gown was born. Both of those are incredibly challenging materials and designs, and I could just as easily wear them if I wasn't pregnant at all.

Brown Sleeveless
My other option, which would probably be more comfortable and recognizeable, is the Brown Sleeveless costume. A person has to be fairly convincingly pregnant to pull this one off. My friends and I have all considered making this one at one time or another, except that our parents would all probably have flipped out over pictures of us dressed up as if we were suddenly 8 months pregnant. I'm definitely leaning towards this one. The more I think about it, the more I realize it would also fit my budget much better than the other two. And I can also see the brown sleeveless outfit being easily altered into a post apocalyptic costume... Okay I've talked myself into it.


Pictures from the amazing Padawan's Guide!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A-Kon Follow up...finally!

Hello again blogosphere! (Do I get points for using that word? Or maybe points taken away?)

Random Lightsaber Duel!
It's been a while but I'm finally feeling better, along with actually looking pregnant and not just like I had too much to eat at lunch. This is a good thing because it means that all is going well with my unborn future costumer, but it is a bad thing because I desperately need a job and am afraid of that little thing called discrimination. Ugh.

We left off right before A-Kon 2011 in Dallas, where I was supposed to try and survive the con as cheaply as possible. Unfortunately, Friday night I had some serious complications due to the pregnancy and when I called my doctor first thing in the morning, he put me on bed rest until I could go in and see him. Obviously that changed things quite a bit. He didn't think that I had miscarried or he would have sent me to the hospital right away, but he told me to be as careful as possible and come see him as soon as I was back in town. It was very, very scary.

I'm not stoned, just seriously ill!
The rest of the day I limited myself to my comfy post at the infodesk, minus an hour nap in the crashspace (I got a bed to myself), with meals delivered to me by my wonderful brother, and a wheelchair for the brief time I felt up to seeing some of the con. People gave me some funny looks seeing as I was still dressed as Chell, but the joke was that my long fall boots had malfunctioned. Fitting!

I'm SO glad I wasn't at the con by my self. Without John, I would have had to call someone to come and get me and bring me home. But since he was there to take care of me, things turned out fine. He even took me to TGI Fridays for dinner Saturday night. Everyone at the infodesk was very understanding and even let me switch my hours so I could do them all on Saturday and go home Sunday morning. Let this be a lesson that you should always have at least one buddy if you're going to a con out of town! You never know what might happen and when you might need someone.

Thankfully, when I went to the doctor he was able to figure out the relatively minor problem which had caused so much trouble, and everything was fine with the kiddo. Still, I was put on medium-bed rest for the remainder of my first trimester. (Allowed to walk around a little, but otherwise no physical activity.) Let me just say, without Pokemon Black I would NOT have gotten through the following eight weeks...

Aaron carries all his leatherworking tools!
John says that despite all the drama, he still managed to have a good con. Not wearing a costume and not being tied to a huge group of friends and having a nice disposable income can make conventions incredibly stress-free and fun. Aside from occasionally wheeling me around and bringing me food, he could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted to! He had a chance to see lots of cool stuff and meet lots of interesting people.One such interesting person was Aaron Rathbun, pictured on the right. He is a leatherworker who carries all of his tools with him and likes to work out in public where people can see and get interested. Check out his website at Aaron and John even helped in one of the leatherworking panels, and John hopes that the A-Kon staff will let him present an advanced leatherworking class next year. 

Since then I moved to San Antonio so that my super-smart husband (no really, he got a perfect score on his SAT in high school) can go to grad school. John's been working and working out in preparation for the Spartan Race which is coming to Texas in December. We're still working on the website, adding articles and tutorials as we have time. Someday it will be...amazing!


P.S. When I was looking through the tags on blogger I noticed my "Con Horror Story" tag...I think that this con certainly fit that description!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheap as--Oops

Well, the day after I wrote up my plan for the Cheap as Free Con, I found out that I'm pregnant! This is exciting news for me and my husband Gunnar, but it definitely throws a wrench in my thriftiness. For the sake Lil'G (who is due Jan. 25th!!!!) I'll have to revise my proposed dry ramen and gatorade diet to include real food which will keep me and Lil'G healthy and not make me barf every hour.

Luckily, since it is so early in the pregnancy not much else will be affected. I'm still volunteering, I'm still cosplaying, and I'm still sleeping in the crash space!

Wish me (us) luck!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cheap as Free

So remember my $200 Con article??

Well, that's all well and good advice if you have a real job (as in, you're not working on a novel and costuming/gaming full time) but this year, I find myself a bit short on money and will attempt a feat that I have only ever heard about:

Going to a Con for Free.

Now, I've already done the number one most important thing and been accepted as a volunteer. This means three things:

1. I get a free badge
2. I will have access to crash space
3. I will have a (limited) source of food

I also plan to:

4. Hitch a ride with my brother, who has a car which seats seven and gas can be split thusly
5. Have friends/family whom I may be able to mooch some food off of
6. Picked a comfortable costume which will allow me to carry everything I need for the weekend, and even sleep in. (Chell from Portal 2, if my last post wasn't clear enough about that.)

So my budget, after costume-making, is approximately $30 which includes gas and two or three small meals to supplement the junk I can mooch/bring.

There are some important considerations besides food though, such as hygiene and hydration. My preliminary list of things to bring is still in the works, and will probably be a separate post because I'm a type A planner like that. This is going to be a busy month.

Besides like, looking for a real job and stuff.

More Games, Less Costumes This Week...

Actually, I had more games and less life in general for the last week, since I played both Portal and Portal 2 pretty much exclusively to everything else in the world. I was playing them both for the first time and they were


I actually only needed John's help once in Portal and game FAQs help three times (in the last few tests) on Portal 2, but I guess I'm smarter than I give myself credit for because I managed to solve all the puzzles myself for the most part. Very satisfying.

I won't give any spoilers away for you unlucky souls who haven't finished Portal 2 yet, but I will say that my next costume will indeed feature a companion cube and a potato.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What's in your closet?

I was browsing Craftster a while back and someone made a thread asking:

What's in your costume closet?


How do you organize your costume closet?

The thought is terrifying. Especially now, because I'm having to confront it head on while trying to get packed to move! I'm literally wading through a pile of costume pieces, fabric remnants, and boxes.

In the craftser thread, I ESTIMATED what is in the costume closet presently, between myself and John, and spread out between Austin, Round Rock, and Nebraska. In about a month after me and my husband move and John graduates from college and moves back to Texas, we'll do a REAL inventory of what we have. But for now, this is what I think we have.Oh, and this is only RENFAIR gear.

In other news, Ember just had her 11th birthday!

-Light Pink Flowy Fairy Top
-Red "Susan" dress
-Silver "Susan" dress
-Leather Armor Breastplate
-Black Sleeveless Pirate Shirt (round collar)
-Black Sleeveless Pirate Shirt (pointy collar)
-White Renfair long-sleeved undershirt
-Brown Renfair long-sleeved undershirt (embroidered for "King Peter" costume)
-Light Green Doublet
-Chainmail shirts (3 between me and my brothers)

-Long Pink Skirt (Matches pink fairy top)
-HoopSkirt--need new because I ruined mine when I used it at my wedding
-Dark red wrap underskirt
(the guys usually opt for BDUs for comfort/utility rather than period-correct stuff)

-Susan's archery bracer (Narnia)
-Red Narnia bag
-Red Narnia Belts (2)
-Brown Belt with pouch
-Susan's Narnia Horn
-Sheriff Bracers (Leather)

-Dark Green Velvet Flat Cap
-Crown with roses (bought at a renfair)

None. Sad I want a cloak but I live in Texas where it is supremely hot most of the year.

-Han Solo Boots (mens)
-Pirate Boots (mens, falling apart)
-Dark Brown calf-high boots

Want to Make
-Black Velvet Flat Cap
-Robin hood hat (Red or Brown, preferably leather)
-Cloak (Gray velvet)
-Plain Irish-style under dress
-Sabriel Tunic


Friday, April 15, 2011

I've been crafting, I swear.

Just not... real life crafting. I've been crafting in MINECRAFT. It's an awesome indie sandbox game which is actually still in beta, so there's cool updates every month with new features. I've been playing for a while, but I just started a world with the seed "Amerasteras" and downloaded a texture pack (gerdoku) and have been having lots of fun building a cool base in this epic world.

My base from the outside.

This is the main part of my base inside at sunset.

I built a lava-heated onsen.

Some people build some truly epic stuff in minecraft. There are lots of tutorials and demo videos on youtube, and a thriving forum where people post ideas and give feedback about the game. It can really suck you in and is great for people of all ages.

So that's what I've been doing six hours a day for the past two weeks...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Break!!

John's super-cool-awesome friends came made the 12 hour road trip from
Lincoln Nebraska to Austin Texas with him for Spring Break!

From left to right: Judy, Diana, and Katherine.

THEN we all drove another four hours south to
the beach in Port Aransas!

At some restaurant in Port A.

The girls getting eaten by a shark.

We buried people in the sand. John was buried the deepest.
He's actually sitting in a hole, not laying down.

Skim boarding. We weren't very good at it. We looked up some tuts on youtube
at the hotel, but there was so much seaweed even a pro would have had trouble.

More costume stuff to soon as I can figure out how to convert the RAW photos my friend gave me into something I can use on my computer... I'll give another hint about the costume I made--it fits right in with my beach theme!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Costume Emergency Repair Kit

John and I both like to be prepared, like Scar and the Boy Scouts. And I have to say that the Costume Emergency Repair Kit has saved me and my friends from some truly terrible catastrophes. Like giant rips in the crotch of home-made pants. Like buttons popping off in the middle of the Renaissance Fair. Like getting to the hotel and realizing that key pieces were smooshed/ripped when you shoved them haphazardly into your suitcase. Like bra straps that won't stay covered up. (That last one was was actually at a wedding, and the subject of my repair kit's ministrations was the maid of honor.) You get the idea.

Repair Kit=Extremely Handy.

The key, however, is to keep it with you while you're at the event. If you have a pocket, put it in your pocket. If you have a purse, that's a good place too. If you have a husband, girlfriend, or accomplice, you can ask them to hold it for you. But if you're in a ripped costume ten minutes before the cosplay show and it's in your hotel room on the 33rd floor, you'll be very upset.

My kit used be a box of rubber bands.
It was my Azula kit, hence the black, red, and gold.

Safety Pins (BIG and small!)
Thread-one mini-spool/bobbin full of each color in your costume
Swiss Army Knife
Extra Button/Trim if you have any

Rubber Bands Boxes aren't the only things you can use. Other ideas include an Altoids tin, a big metal M&M (pictured above), a cassette tape box. Some stores sell pre-made mini sewing kits, like the little pink one pictured above, which I used to use. there's nothing wrong with these, but I prefer the versatility of a home-made kit, plus I lost a lot of the stuff that it came with.

Store bought kit, now missing several pieces.

Forget your Emergency Repair Kit? Don't Panic!

-You know that one friend who is always trying to finish their costume the day of the con, in the hotel room? See if you can borrow some thread/scissors/hot glue from them.

-Many cons have a Costume Help station stocked with duct tape and more duct tape. Ask around to see the event you're at has one. Apply duct tape to the inside of your costume along rip.

-Find someone with a baby or child near them. Parents (and especially grandparents!) are usually pretty prepared people.
Even a band-aid can help in a pinch!

What's in YOUR Emergency Repair Kit?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Zuko and Azula Costumes

Back in November, John and I went to Nebraskon in Omaha! I know...this is like the latest post about a con ever, but at least it got here, right? -_-

It was cool being dressed as brother and sister and actually, ya know, being brother and sister. I mean, we could have done Katara and Sokka, except that they are totally lame and can't shoot fire or lightning out of their fists.

There were a few awkward moments, however, when we happened upon some Azuko shippers. (Ew.)
"Oh-Em-Gee! Are you a couple?"
"No, he's my brother."
"Yeah, but in real life are you a couple?"
"Um no. In real life, he's my brother."
"Oh." (Awkward, disappointed silence.)

Looking surly.

Looking smug and EVIL.

With our handsome uncle.

These pics are by our dear friend Katherine! We also have professional photos on the main site by Shattered Images Photography, taken at Ikkicon, and two related tutorials:
1. Zuko's Scar Make-Up Tutorial and
2. Azula's Crown Sculpey Tutorial.

Yay Avatar: The Last Airbender! Also, is anyone else excited about Korra?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Raving about Azula

So one of my favorite things about my Azula costume (Besides being able to make faces as if I am criminally insane power hungry maniac) is that I fully lined the velvet outer-dress and can wear it by itself for things like Convention Dances!!! Also note the glow-sticks around my neck, for added awesomeness:

I look way thinner without the hundred under-garmets.

Princess seamed Dress
Detail of the belt and Sculpey Fire Nation Emblem

The back, which has a zipper:

I wore biker shorts underneath because otherwise people would see my undies.

Bonus Making-Of Pictures

Mock-up pattern pieces
(based on an old dress I once tried to make and never finished)

Trying on the mock-up so I could figure out
how high the slits should go and the angle of the skirt.


Monday, February 21, 2011

King's Crossroad LARP game

John here! This last weekend, we started a new LARP game in Kansas City, called King's Crossroad. It's set in a "Soloman Kane" themed setting with early industrial firearms (NERF guns), an underpowered magical presence, and a high mortality rate. This game was extremely new-player friendly, and we are trying to recruit as many new players to this game as possible.

Here are some of the PCs that made up the hunting party:

As the night went on, they started realizing that it was actually me who was hunting them:

Overall, after five separate assaults on the party, I managed to convince them to send the strongest half of their party off into the woods after me. I circled back to their camp and attacked the rest of the PCs. I did eventually die, but only after leading them on a 4 hour chase and killing 25% of their forces.

Other highlights of the event: A crazed, funny, grenade happy gnome; 5 solid meals cooked by Sally Sasparilla, the tavernkeep; ghouls setting up a trap for the hunting party trying to trap the werewolf; cheating at GO, cheating less at poker; unique coins cast from scratch and intricate spell-pages courtesy of Joe.

After LARPing for two years, I have to say that this was one of the best events I've been to. Shout out to Evan, Mariah, Joe, Dan, Diana and Katherine for staffing this awesome event, and all the PCs for coming to play and making it worth all the preparation!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Con Horror Stories #1

Ushicon 2005 was the first convention that I was allowed to go, spend the night, and basically have the entire con to do whatever I wanted with my friends and no parents. I was 18 and a senior in high school. I was PSYCHED.

It happened, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, that I was promoted suddenly to Battalion Commander of my JROTC unit. The date of the military ball was announced, and I was extremely upset to learn that it was the same weekend as Ushicon. But not only was it the same weekend, but it was at the same hotel.

I was generally a painfully honest young person, but I wasn't about to give up a weekend of convention awesomeness for a military ball. No way. My teacher, Major, wouldn't let any of the girls wear civilian dresses and I didn't have a date, so the matter was pretty much settled. I told Major that I had to go out of town that weekend, worked diligently on my costume, and just vowed to stay the hell away from the second floor on Saturday night. What could go wrong?

This brings us to my friend Matt. He was also one of the students in charge in JROTC. And he knew about Ushicon quite intimately, since his twin brother, his twin brother's best friend (my brother John), and his twin brother's girlfriend were all also going to the convention with me that weekend.

This might help:

Matt kept pretty quiet until, somehow, he found out about the cosplay contest. He and a bunch of the JROTC minions downstairs to the cosplay contest where, somehow, they talked their way past security and into the audience. So there I am, a part of a massive Naruto cosplay, walking across the stage in my lovingly hand-made Rock Lee costume:

when I look out and see their smiling faces looking up at me. I was totally freaked out that my cover was blown, but I tried to keep it cool. After I crossed the stage I hopped down and went straight towards them, then went out and even got a picture with them:

That's me bottom left. The one dressed as Rock Lee.

They went back upstairs to relay to Major what they had seen, and I was pretty much mortified. So I ran upstairs to our hotel room as fast as I could, tore off my wig and costume, and put on a dress I had brought for the con's dance later.

I ran downstairs and talked my way into the ballroom, where I managed to make it to the last half hour of the military ball. Major was torn between being really pissed that I wasn't in uniform and had missed the entire thing and really amused.

"I thought you were out of town." He said gruffly.


I' m 4th from the left. All the pics from that night turned out really dark. I lightened it as much as I could...

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Art of Convincing People to Cosplay

We understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have such laid back, awesome family members and friends as John and I do. I mean, not everyone's (handsome, popular) little brother will just say "okay" and come along when handed a costume. Some people might have an aversion to dressing up like a cartoon character, a barbarian, or a Pokemon for some reason.

To convince people to cosplay with you, it really helps to know the reason why a particular person doesn't want to make a near-fool out of himself for the sake of your costuming dreams. Certain reasons are harder to overcome than others, and many times the reasons are stacked on top of one another. It takes cunning and skill to figure out the why and how to convince an unwilling friend to Cosplay with you, but hopefully the following tips can help you achieve your costuming dreams.

Level One: Lazy
The first big block is, fortunately, the easiest to overcome. If you ask someone to cosplay and they hesitate or give some lame excuse, you should offer to help them make--or in extreme cases to entirely make--the costume that you want that person to wear. Most people are more willing to cosplay when they know that there is little to no work involved. This is the level that my youngest brother Nick is at. And my husband Gunnar. *

"Hey Nick wanna go to Renfair?"

"I guess."

"Wanna dress up?"


"We'll make it for you."


Level Two: Broke

This is harder to overcome because it's an actual, good reason not to go to a con. If you really want the person to go with you, you might have to be a good friend and offer to pay for some aspect of the event. You can offer to pay for transportation by using your car or offering substantial gas money, you can offer to buy their ticket to the con (this is a good one if your ticket is already comped because you are volunteering), or you can offer to buy them dinner one of the nights of the con. If you, too, are on a tight budget, you can offer to do something for them in exchange, like lend them your collection of InuYasha DVDs or let them play Soul Silver on your DS after you beat it. This may seem like a "cheap" shot at convincing someone to cosplay with you, but it can end up being mutually beneficial. I often find myself at this level, as an underemployed but well-fed writer.

Tricia: "Gee, Sailor Mars sounds cool but I don't have money for AKON this year."

Me and Tiffany: "We'll help you with the costume, and then I'll pay your share of the hotel room, and let you off on giving gas money. Then if you volunteer, your ticket is free."

Tricia: "Okay. Cool. Thanks!"

Level Three: Not Interested

These friends are harder to convince than the lazy or broke friends--they usually have some kind of mental block about dressing up in ridiculous outfits and parading around a packed hotel for three days. For these people, you have to be creative and find things that they like to entice them to go to the con. Things like "There are lots of girls walking around in bikinis," or "They have a Magic the Gathering tournament," or even "They have Pocky, LOTS of Pocky."

Alli's husband Matt is at this level most of the time, though he as gotten better in recent years, after learning that our costume obsession isn't just going to go away...

"Want to go to Akon?"


"Want to dress up as Girafarig**?"


"I'll make your costume for you. And buy your ticket."


"There's a video game room where we can play Left4Dead all night."


"We'll bring rum and make it a party."


"I'm your wife and I really want you to go."


Level Four: Stubborn Turd

If, after all these tactics have been tried, someone still refuses to cosplay with you, what is needed is peer pressure. Perhaps the person you are trying to convince just doesn't feel intimidated enough by you to surrender to your will unconditionally, or perhaps they have issues that go deeper than a free badge or crash space can cure. In this case, you will need to enlist the help of that friend. You know the one. The bossy, smooth-talking friend who can get almost anyone to do anything. In my group of friends, it is Tiffany. She's so likable and fun that people just don't say no to her. Instead, they think, "Wow, if she wants to go to that con, it must be the coolest thing on the planet this summer!" and heartily agree.

Every group has a version of that person, so if possible, have them be the one to try and convince the stubborn turd to give in and cosplay with you.

Sometimes, peer pressure can take the form of numbers. We have to use this one on our friend Josh all the time. "Come on, Me and G and J and T and M and T and A are aaaaall going and it won't be the same without you. You have to come!" And he does! (And it is more fun when he comes!)

Good Luck!

Some people are harder to crack than others, and, unfortunately there are a few strange people in the world who just won't be convinced. Give them time, keep asking, and maybe someday they will change their mind!

It was always my costuming dream to be a part of a complete Sailor Scout Group!

*Actually, Nick and Gunnar aren't lazy but very very busy. Nick is studying chemical engineering at Texas A&M University right now, and Gunnar studied Biochemistry and works full time.
**Yes, you read that right. Girafarig. I know.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Early Costumes: Ranma 1/2

Nick (Spider Boy) and John and Angela in their first real home-made costumes
Halloween 2002

I was going to say wow, we sure have come a long way since we started making costumes...but actually these aren't too shabby considering that we were only 12! Though the Spider-Man costume (worn daily by Nick from age 6-9) was store bought.

The idea came from our favorite anime at the time, Ranma 1/2. (Actually it's hilarious, you should check out the manga or the show if you can.) I had gone to the very first Ushicon Anime Convention in Austin the year before and told John all about it, so we decided that the next time around we would go with our friends and dress up as our favorite characters.

The material for my Ukyo costume was a lucky garage-sale find of jersey knit in the perfect color and strips of cotton for the bindings. I spread my brand-new karate gi on the floor and traced the basic outline of it onto the blue knit, then cut it out and bound the edges with the white fabric. This was all pre-sewing machine, so everything was sewn by hand.

I found some black leggings in my drawers, bought a fluffy white bow for my hair, and then crafted the small bandolier and throwing-spatulas carefully out of packing tape, tin foil, and cardboard. For the giant spatula, essential to the costume, my dad let me have a length of pipe which we hammered flat at both ends. One end was wrapped in medical tape for a grip, and the other attached to a big piece of cardboard and covered with lots and lots of duct tape. Tada! I didn't know better than to wear my tennis shoes and my watch, but overall I was really pleased with the outcome. My first cosplay, a success!

John's Ryoga costume was a little trickier, but we didn't let that get us down. We actually had to have our mom take us to Hobby Lobby and buy the right color fabric for his shirt and headband. We didn't know it at the time, but the material was cheap quilter's cotton...not the best for costumes! John cut apart one of his long sleeved shirts (we had never heard of patterns) and traced the shape onto the fabric, then sewed it all together by hand as I had my shirt. The leftover material was folded into a headband and a black sharpie added the stripes. The umbrella was another challenge--it was a very specific prop, in the Chinese style and bright red with a black tip. We finally found the style, and John bought it and painted it red and black. The rest was just black sweatpants tied up with yarn and a sash of black fabric for a belt.

Despite our mishaps (hand-sewing, quilter's cotton, sneakers...), we had so much fun making those costumes and going to cons that it became a big hobby for us though high school and beyond.

Angela and John at Ushicon. Again with the sneakers and the watch...haha.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Angela is a Tough Mudder!

This weekend I (Angela) finished the Tough Mudder course! I was waaaaay out of shape (by my standards, anyway) so I did more trekking than running and skipped a few of the 19 obstacles spread over the 10 mile course... but I got muddy, challenged myself, and made lots of great memories! That's what counts, right? I volunteered on Saturday and then ran the course on Sunday. And I survived!!

I was pretty pleased with myself when I got home.

The shirt I was wearing and my number.

It looked worse after I cleaned the mud off and realized just how many scrapes and bruises I had. But they were so worth it.

These have to be thrown away now... I'm just glad they stayed on the whole course! You know how sometimes when you're falling asleep after swimming all day and you feel like you're floating? Well as I was falling asleep Sunday night, it felt like my feet were being suctioned down into the mud!

Overall it was a great event, both volunteering and participating! They travel around the country and the world, so check out the website if you're interested in trying it out.