Stuck in the past, no time for the future

So with one Arts & Sciences competition behind me and another one looming this weekend, plus the interkingdom arts exchange project I’ve been working on, plus another period craft I plan on doing, plus the Kingdom A&S competition in the fall, I find myself with little time for mundane sewing. This poses a slight problem, because I have to completely remake my Dark Phoenix corset before Tucson Comic Con in November.

Yeah, November’s a ways away, and I’ve made corsets before with much more of a time crunch, but I want to do this right. I want to look nice for my “fans” (okay, for random congoers who happen to stop by my table) at the con, but the previous corset I made was entirely too big. This time I’m going to go strictly by the pattern and not try to alter it to make it bigger. A corset’s supposed to be tight anyway, right? Sure. That’s the excuse I’ll give myself when I’m muffintopping out of it. Good thing I made a shirt to wear under it.

I need to get a few new materials, too. I have the basic top fabrics, but even with some careful seam ripping I’ll need new canvas for the inner layers and some new bias binding. Oh yeah, and new grommets. Maybe new lacing. *Sigh* So there’s the money aspect I need to take into consideration.

I also have to find the time to make the corset in the midst of weekends of SCA events, gaming, birthday (less than 2 1/2 weeks to go ’til 39!), etc. Then there’s the book marketing that I’ll have to do, with potentially time taken away for interviews and in-store events, and the Advanced Read Copy of another book from my publisher that I need to read and comment on. And I applied for a promotion at work that will take up considerably more of my time than I’m currently spending on the clock. Guess I’m a glutton for punishment.

Once the corset is made, I need to try on all my costumes again to make sure everything still semi-fits. I’ve gained entirely too much weight in recent months, and I’d rather not have a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the con. That means I might potentially have to alter or remake other small pieces (but not another corset–if I have to do that I’ll probably cry lol) so I can comfortably sit at the con. Yay for skirts with elastic waistbands and Spandex pants! Lol

I’m trying to also factor in for potential embroidery commissions/requests in the interim. Right now, I just have the arts exchange project and the one craft project for myself, and one little bit of “tiny embroidery.” Basically, embroidering someone’s arms in miniature, so a max of 1.5 inches wide, maybe thinner.

The future is fast approaching, but I think if I buckle down and focus I can make it there with a corset to wear. I mean, how many times now have I had the Cosplay Con Crunch to deal with?

Yeah. I got this.

 

Making a list and checking it eleventy times

Well, I did it–I applied for a table at Tucson Comic Con…and I was approved!

I talked it out with my husband, and since the con is three days while Coronation is only one, he’s going to drop me off at TCC the day of Coronation, drive up to see his friend step down and get his Duchy, then drive back to Tucson to sit with me at my table. I’ve already annoyed all my local friends to try to get them to at least stop by the table (if not purchase a book or two while they’re there 😉 ), but my mind is racing with stuff I have to get done beforehand.

  • I’ve gotta get a tablecloth. That will make it look nicer. The TCC website said there would be a table provided, but no mention of tablecloth was made.
  • Square reader. Need one. Easy enough to obtain, but I don’t want to forget to obtain it.
  • Cash box/pouch? Hmm….
  • Better start plans to stock up on books to sell/sign at the con.
  • I need to finish fixing my Dark Phoenix steampunk corset. I made it too large when I initially sewed it, and even though I’ve regained some weight I’ll still need to take it back in.
  • Devise and sew a sci-fi-ish cosplay to wear one day? Hmm…. I do have a pattern for a body suit…I’d have to get my serger up and running again and remember how to use it though…And make a corset to go over said bodysuit because omg fatness lol
  • If I do do a new cosplay, a fun new wig to go with it 😉
  • Once I find out what promo materials I’ll have from the publisher, I need to make another list of display items to get, like some kind of stands to prop up books, signage, etc.
  • Tubs to carry stuff to and from the table in each day.

I’m sure there’s more I haven’t thought of, but that’s enough for now. I am beyond excited to have this opportunity. It’s fun to think that I’m getting back into cons and stuff, but it’s also going to be work. I won’t be able to leave the table much because I’ll have to be there so people can actually meet the author and get autographs if they want. So it’s not all fun and games. I’ll have moments of severe social anxiety that I’ll have to suck up and swallow down, because I can’t go freaking out over all the people when I paid money to be up in the thick of it (or back in a corner somewhere, which is more likely where I’ll be put. Lol)

There’s also a little thing called a housewarming party that I need to finish straightening the craft room for…I have to clear off both tables so we’ll have a place for people to sit and eat, and I have to get some semblance of organization done so my husband’s Peer has a place to crash for the night.

Oh, and I have to go see the podiatrist yet again because my left foot is either broken or has a neuroma or some crazy shit like that. There’s that, too.

Past and future presents

When it comes to anniversaries, my husband doesn’t fool around. Yesterday (two days before our five year anniversary) he surprised me with a commissioned Viking underdress, overdress, and apron dress. He also told me that there is a naalbinded hat waiting for me (it’s a type of Viking “crochet”), a veil coming, and a Viking coat in the works, all from different SCA craftspeople. The underdress and overdress need some alterations (I need to stop eating so much fast food lol), but I was able to get a picture.

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The dresses are made from real linen and silk, the trim is silk (handwoven by my husband), and there will be a hand embroidered sword that will be placed between the two swans.

I kind of suspected something like this was coming when he asked where I kept my copy of my measurements a few months ago. Nothing suspicious at all there 😉 I had pretty much forgotten about it though, until he took me to our friend’s house last night, showed me the dresses on the hanger, and said “Happy anniversary!” Gotta admit, I was a bit slow on the uptake and thought he was telling our friend happy anniversary until he pointed out the swans on the dress.

Since not all the pieces of the puzzle are finished, it will be another month before I can probably wear it. The friend who made the dresses needs to add some width to them and she’s having foot surgery today, so that will have to wait until she’s recovered enough to work on them again, and the coat is still in progress (because the friend who’s making that is quite busy, but heck, it’s almost summer in Arizona so there’s plenty of time).

I think this is the most elaborate anniversary plan he’s come up with yet–and we’re only five years in! I had better step up my gifting game if I’m going to compete. 😉

There are also Viking brooches with swans on them that have been made for me (to pin on my treasure beads and pin the straps of the apron dress), and to trade for some Viking temple rings with swans I’m going to collaborate with my husband to make an over-the-shoulder bag for another SCAdian who does the metalworking. I’m going to embroider and make the bag, my husband is going to weave trim for it that I will then sew on before delivering it.

Once this is all done, I’ll be all Viking’d out! Lol

Listing forward

Remember that list of things I have to make before Estrella War? Well, it’s still there–and not much has changed. :/

I started on my husband’s fighting tunic, but I made the sleeves a tad too big so that has to be altered before I can put the pieces together (thankfully I assembled the lining first, so I don’t have as much undoing to do). He also wants buttons, so I have to make adjustments for that. The embroidery is coming along but slowly. His rapier hood is larger than mine, with more seams to stitch, so even though I’m nearly done there’s still a good bit of work left on it. I have to stitch the trim he made for my fighting tunic onto the garment before I finish his. I have pants to make still (not complicated, but involved). And there’s a scroll I have to complete in addition to the sewing. I’m hoping to get a good bit of the prep work on that done today between my pre-work waking up time and the scribal class this evening.

There are a couple of things I had wanted to complete that I don’t think I’ll be able to this go around. I had wanted to make a coat of some sort (Viking style, of course) to wear at Estrella, but that’s not going to happen. I won’t be able to get decent material for it prior, and it’s just going to take up too much of my time. So it’ll be a cloak to keep me warm on those cold Estrella nights, at least this war. I had also wanted to make a Viking apron dress and under dress to go with the Viking “treasure beads” I got for Christmas, but that too will take too much time. I suppose the latter is for the better though, because now I can take my time on it and use those as one of my Arts & Sciences entries.

That’s right; I still plan on entering in the A&S competition for our barony, and despite some peoples’ reservations, I plan on competing for Champion. Go big or go home, right? Besides, I have confidence in my abilities, and I have a secret 3rd project in the planning stages that I think will at the very least be interesting to the judges. It sure as hell will be interesting to me to research, and any learning is a good thing. Yeah, there’s always the chance I won’t win, and I might be judged more critically if I enter for Champion and not a couple of Novice pieces, but I don’t care about either of those. I’m in it to prove that I can do it at this point. Go ahead and naysay; there’s enough stubborn Leo in me to push on and keep working towards my goal. And if I win? It’s all cherry at that point.

I keep telling myself that things will slow down after Estrella, but who am I kidding? I’ll be busy busy busy right up until and after A&S. That’s okay, though. I can do it.

Godly aspirations

Well, I have my newest cosplay obsession. I went to see Thor: Ragnarok last night and now I’ve decided I have to do a Hela cosplay.

Observe:

Weight issues aside, it’s not too far of a stretch. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I look similar to Cate Blanchett, and let’s face it, Hela is a badass. (Ok, so I might have dozed a bit during the part where Thor kicked her ass… what can I say? It was past my bedtime.) 

It should be an interesting challenge. I’ll have to make a bodysuit, figure out the shoulder cutouts, and figure out all the piping and stuff.

Oh wait. I have two Italian Renaissance outfits to make before Yule. And a synopsis to polish. And revisions out the wazoo. And Christmas presents to make. And work.

Not to mention that we’re not really going to as many conventions lately. Not since this year’s Phoenix Comicontroversy. Still…it shall happen.

Some day.

Counting my losses

Having just finished week….uh…three of exercises after work a few days a week, I am already seeing an improvement, and it’s kind of startling me in more ways than one.

First off, I have noticed that I’m less sore the next day. I’m taking this as a good sign that I’m building up stamina and strength. I can, for the most part, do the individual exercises longer or for more reps. It feels pretty good, especially for a girl who never, never has been physically fit. Not really.

Secondly, I’m less winded. Again, I think it’s part of my general physical fitness improving. I’m wheezing less after exercises, which feels great (and there’s less chest pain from the wheezing, which also feels great lol).

Another improvement–which is more quantifiable–is my actual weight. I have lost more than ten pounds in the past couple of weeks. I still need to lose a substantial amount (damn near a whole person, or at least a small person), but that is more improvement than I’ve had in quite some time. My surgical scrubs at work fit better, and I’m not having to do the “pants dance” to get into them as much.

The best part? I’m still motivated!! Normally I’d have given up by now, at least on my own. With my friends and husband joining in and encouraging me, I have no desire to stop. Instead, I look forward to the Monday/Wednesday/Thursday workouts. I’m even truly disappointed if I have to miss an exercise session because of work. Disappointed that I can’t work my ass off! It kind of blows my mind a bit.

I’m really glad that my husband and our friends are there to help and encourage me. Without them cheering me on, I don’t know that I’d be able to do even ten seconds of planking, let alone be pushing a minute some days. Yeah, I’ve only made the whole minute I think once without having to drop to my knees or drop down altogether, but just the fact that I can make it even half a minute is amazing. I can do more push-ups than I ever could before, and exercises that used to have me almost in tears are becoming easier.

Bottom line: I. Feel. Great! If I’d known exercising could have been like this before, I wouldn’t be as obese as I am now!

 

Bye-bye cravings?

A couple of months ago, I started on a new medication to try to help me lose weight. Now I don’t know for sure yet if the medicine has taken effect (because I haven’t weighed myself in a good couple of weeks), but in the past week or so I’ve noticed that I’m eating much less than previously, to include not bingeing, eating smaller portions, and not eating as many high-calorie or high-sugar foods. I even saw a huge container of homemade cupcakes in the break room at work today and found myself having no desire to take one.

I’m really excited to weigh myself soon and see if there’s a difference. Between the decreased hunger and cravings and the increased exercise, I think I might start making progress. My clothes aren’t really too much “bigger” (except maybe my surgery scrubs) but even if I haven’t lost actual poundage I am feeling better about myself and not feeling as gross, fat, and sluggish. Sleep is still a foreign concept to my body, apparently, but otherwise I’m feeling good about my physical health lately.

Now it’s a matter of keeping it up. Maintaining. Telling myself I can do better and consciously avoiding the bad stuff. Going to exercise as often as I can. Basically, keep up what I’m doing and maybe I”ll lose some weight finally. After a couple of years wayyy up there, I’m ready to be down to at least a reasonable weight. Like, not obese. That would be nice.

Is it the medicine or just coincidence that my cravings are falling by the wayside? I don’t know yet, but I’m damn sure gonna keep doing what I’m doing. This will be great for my self-esteem and overall health for sure.

The con is nigh…so why aren’t I more excited?

I’m almost done with the jacket for my husband’s new cosplay. Almost. Just a few more steps, and it’ll be finished. So why am I not elated? Why am I not filled with excitement for Phoenix Comicon and the great things I’ll get to do there?

Part of it could be sheer exhaustion. Con prep hasn’t been the most fulfilling thing this year. It’s been stressful and rushed, largely due to my own poor time management. For instance, I should be sewing right now–but I’m at a step in the instructions that confuses me, so I’m really unsure on how to proceed. That happens to me sometimes: I can’t visualize what the instructions are telling me to do (despite the pictures provided), so I get stuck. I should be done by the end of today, though. There really isn’t much left to do. I just have to get up and get going. Kick my butt in gear. Get the fuck out of bed.

The upcoming con itself isn’t upping the excitement factor like it usually does. Maybe it’s because, though I’m going as a member of the media, I haven’t even heard official word from the con about how they’re going to handle guest interviews. Seriously? I mean, it’s 4 days from the start of con; how can you not tell your media attendees what process they need to start in order to interview people?

Another disappointment in the con is the rapid-fire cancellations of some of the guests I was most excited to see. Charlie Cox of Daredevil? Cancelled. Arthur Darvill? Cancelled. Jenna Coleman? Cancelled. Ming-Na Wen? Cancelled. Sure, they are active actors and have filming commitments that came up (well, Ming-Na had knee surgery, so it’s not really her fault), but those were all actors I wanted to meet in person, either in a quick photo op or maybe at an autograph signing…Except for Arthur. Him I wanted a photo with, but I also wanted to use the few seconds of posing to apologize for stabbing him with my foam spikes at Dragon Con. This kind of thing happens every year (the cancellations, not the stabbing with foam spikes), but it never ceases to disappoint.

Even the excitement of debuting our first steampunk cosplays (because let’s face it, my first attempt at steampunk ended up more burlesque) isn’t enough to get my engine revved up for Comicon. I had a lot of firsts with these cosplays. First time altering a pattern at the last minute to make it fit my husband. First time altering a corset pattern to have it fit *me.* First time sculpting with craft and EVA foam. First time leatherworking. First time airbrushing (see the pic of the fan at the top–yeah, not really well-defined flames, but I think it gets the point across…and it’s shiny). It has been a lot of work, and I might have to alter the jacket a bit to make it fit my husband, too (despite us measuring him beforehand–I am so sick of commercial patterns right now…wondering if the local community college has any classes on fashion design and patterning lol).

We’ve even got friends coming from clear across the country to visit us and join us at Comicon. That should have me super excited, because the four of us had a blast at Dragon Con. At the moment, though, I’m more…meh. No offense to my friends; I just can’t whip up any thrill for the con that usually strikes me each year.

I’m hoping that once the jacket is done I can sit down, take a deep breath, and chill for, like, half a day before the con is upon me.

C’mon, con jitters–kick in already!

Ironing out the details

Once again, I must get cracking on my husband’s cosplay coat. There’s just one little thing that’s halting my progress the past couple of days:

Ironing.

It’s not that I don’t know how to iron; it’s just that my most productive time of day is first thing in the morning, and sometimes I’m too tired to be productive then. Like, so tired I should not be operating an iron. Burns = bad.

Once I get the interfacing all ironed on the pieces it goes on, though, it’s gonna be crank-out time. Sewing away in the mornings and on the weekends, busting butt to get it done.

My husband is working on a leather bracer, a sort of “flamethrower” for my costume (since Dark Phoenix is all about the telekinetic flames). It’s great that we have some friends who are willing to help us out with our cosplays, because without them we’d have been lost on the leatherworking with these latest costumes. Our skills have increased since we began this project, though, which has me feeling pretty good about things.

Having a circle of friends again (after having gone so long with no one really to hang out with) is weird. Like, all of a sudden we have a social life. Plans. We’re going out and doing things. With other people. Who like spending time with us. Weird.

I gotta admit, it’s a little exhausting, especially with all the cosplay work (and the day job) on top of the new social activities. Suddenly we’re doing something on almost every day off–and even some workday afternoons–and it’s a little overwhelming. Not that it’s not fun; I have a blast hanging with our friends. It’s just, like…surreal.

The funny thing is, the most fun I have is when we’re doing rapier practice. Yeah, I get bruises out the wazoo, but it’s exercise that I actually enjoy. And it’s a blast. Fucking swordfighting in the 21st century. Wicked. I wish I’d known about this when I was younger, before age caught up to me and my metabolism ground to a halt. Maybe, if I’d been fighting with rapiers earlier, I wouldn’t be the fatty that I am now. Yeah, yeah, big is beautiful too, but I want to be comfortable with my weight. Which I’m not at the moment.

And I just realized something that has my cosplay panic revved up to a new level of panic: We’re going to have house guests (apartment guests?) after Comicon for a couple of days. I have to clean up the craft room as soon as I’m done with hubby’s coat.

Crap.

Phoenix Risen

I did it! I finished the sewing on my steampunk Dark Phoenix!

Now I all I have left for this cosplay is to airbrush flames onto the fan and my husband has a plan for some kind of “flamethrower” device for my arm. The “flames” would be the fan flames, so when I used the “flamethrower” I’d open up my fan and do that. I’m not sure what kind of device it will be, though; he hasn’t gotten a solid plan down yet.

The wig needs detangling like nobody’s business, and the corset is a tad big, but overall I love the outcome. I worked really, really hard to come up with this and put it all together. I thought about fabric colors and placement of those colors, of what I was going to do about the shirt (considering that I am too big for the shirt that the pattern called for), of designing the shirt, of, well, everything. This is my interpretation of Dark Phoenix, steampunk-style.

And of course, there’s the breastplate. It works great with the fabrics my friend sold me! I really love the shine of it all. This, combined with the makeup and steampunk sunglasses, will really pull it all together.

I’m grateful for the distraction that finishing this costume has given me. Annabelle’s passing really got to me. The initial painful sadness has gone, but I still miss her. At least I was able to be there at the end. Now I’ve got to keep her death from distracting me from my husband’s coat. I’ve still got to do that.