Countdown

In two weeks, I’ll be in Mesa, probably awake early and anxiously getting ready for Day 1 of Phoenix Comicon 2017.

It’s not my first Phoenix Comicon–my 6th, actually–but I still get excited all the same, just as if it was the first. The anticipation of the crowds, the cosplay, the panels, the celebrities, etc., is exhilarating.

The only problem? Yeah, yeah, you guessed it: cosplay crunch. I still haven’t finished my husband’s coat for his steampunk Cyclops. I have no doubt that I’ll get it done in time, but I feel stupid for letting so much time go by. I have only myself to blame. I try to blame my broken foot for the delay, but let’s face it: we had these cosplays planned way back in September when we were at DragonCon. I didn’t break my foot until the end of January. So yeah, overall it’s my own procrastination that’s got me hustling.

I kind of do better when I’m rushed, though. I mean, I managed to crank out all of the sewing on the steampunk Dark Phoenix in less than two weeks, so what’s one little coat? Except I hate coats. Coats have sleeves. As much sewing as I’ve done, I’ve never managed to figure out how to “ease” a sleeve into place. I’ve had it explained to me a bunch of times, but I just don’t get it. Sew it with a special stitch then pull the bobbin thread? What? So I do it “my” way, which is totally not the “right” way, but it gets the sleeve on there. Sure, there are, like, bunched up parts in places, but the job gets done and that’s what’s important.

I don’t have any photos of the jacket yet (mostly because I’ve only cut out the pieces and haven’t started the ironing to put the interfacing on where it needs to go), but I should have something to show in a few days. Or a week. Before Phoenix Comicon definitely. Hopefully.

Aww, who am I kidding? I got this.

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.

Hello grogginess, my old friend

Good Goddess, I can’t wake up for anything this morning!

I suppose it’s my own fault. I was up “late” (for me, anyway) last night and then woke myself up early–ostensibly to start on cosplay sewing. With how sluggish and groggy I am, though, I’m not quite sure I should be operating a sewing machine.

Coffee is not helping. I wanted to start on the skirt for my Dark Phoenix cosplay this morning and plug through that; it shouldn’t take too long–maybe a couple of early mornings– especially given that the bustle wasn’t a bad project and that was more involved (I’ve never hated elastic as much as I did then lol) but I just can’t. Not this morning. Not even with Phoenix Comicon looming less than a month away.

The writing is on hold temporarily while an editor friend looks it over. I have been ordered not to make any changes until she has had a chance to read through it and offer critique and suggestions. It is very, very hard to not tweak it when I think of something that could be better.

Since I don’t know what changes she’ll suggest (or rather what changes she’ll suggest that I agree with), I can’t work on book 2 either. If the change or changes are sweeping enough to affect the plot/flow of book 2, I need to be ready to make the changes to that book as well. This is difficult as well, because I already don’t like the grand, epic scenes that I wrote most recently. I have decided that one of the primary scenes driving those grand scenes is fatally flawed and must be murdered for the sake of the story. However, if enough changes are make to book 1, it may be a moot point. I suppose I could still delete the offending scenes, but if I did that I don’t think I could restrain myself from rewriting everything.

Rapier fighting is going well. I can “feel the burn” after practices and I have been told by multiple people that I’m doing really well for a beginner. Also, apparently though I’m mainly a passive type of personality in my regular life, once I get a sword in my hand I become “really aggressive” and go on the offensive more than I do in modern-day situations. Put me in a position where I have to make choices or something, I tend to either go on the defensive or take a don’t-rock-the-boat stance on whatever’s going on. With rapier, not so much.

That reminds me: I also have to fix the hood I made for my husband’s fencing mask. I made one that I *thought* was good, but it turns out it’s either not long enough or not heavy enough to prevent the wind from blowing it up over the top of his head and leaving the back of his head exposed. I know how I want to try to fix it, but again, groggy + sewing machine = almost certain disaster. Even now my eyes are crossing and trying to close on me…not ideal conditions for using a machine that pumps a needle with enough force to penetrate skin. I really don’t want to deal with that literal mess this morning.

I guess for now it’s more coffee (or possibly an energy drink) for me. At the minimum I need to get this grogginess out of my system before I have to go to work lol

Making cosplay headway

Feeling much less stress about the cosplay crunch right now! While I still have yet to finish the corset (ordered the boning for it this morning), I managed to throw together a shirt to go under it & the breastplate. The shirt actually turned out pretty decent, and though it’s a little big it’s quite comfortable.

It’s just one short month until Phoenix Comicon, but with only the skirts, bloomers, and a jacket to go I think I’ll be okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to procrastinate again; it just means the stress is lifted just a tiny bit. Skirts, bloomers, and a jacket sound much better than “a whole outfit plus another half an outfit.” I guess it’s just a matter of perspective.

I also plan on making a sort of holster for my folding fan, so I don’t have to carry the thing the whole con. I found this image on Pinterest, and I think it should be easy enough to make (plus we have pretty much all the materials I’ll need already):

fan holster

I haven’t decided if I want to use some of the leftover suede from the mask or if I want to do thicker leather. I think I’ll do the thick stuff, so it’s sturdier (and so I can rivet it instead of all that hand sewing lol).

Oh, yeah, the fan…I still have to airbrush it…crap. Maybe that stress is coming back after all…….

No loss of time, but lost time anyway

One good thing about living in Arizona (besides the weather): No daylight savings time adjustment.

One bad thing? My husband works from home for a company based out of California, so he had to “spring forward” in a manner of speaking by starting work an hour earlier (since Cali did do the time change). Which means my little bit of “sleeping in” today was interrupted by his alarm.

Oddly enough, the sleeping in has screwed with my morning productivity. I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but talking with people on Facebook messenger for the past two hours. No writing, no editing, nothing of import. I made an energy drink with our Soda Stream (great invention) and took my morning pills, had a few bites of yogurt for breakfast to get me through til lunch, and that’s about it. Haven’t made my lunch for work yet, haven’t taken my shower and gotten dressed, haven’t done much of anything.

I think my body wanted to sleep off some of the aches and pains from the previous day. Yesterday I was sore all day long (as though I had done a heavy workout, without the physical benefits of working out), which has somewhat carried over to today but not as severe.

Part of that aching may stem from the couple of hours I spent sitting on an awkward but much-appreciated stool while watching SCA fighter practice with some friends yesterday. Well, I watched; my husband and our friends participated. I have never done fencing or rapier fighting and was a little apprehensive about trying it out. Now I’m excited for the chance to do something fun that counts as exercise. Hopefully I’ll be out of my boot next Friday and will be able to join in.

There’s some deciding to do as to what “persona” I’ll take for SCA. I want to do a medieval Viking-type character, but my husband–who wants to do couples’ characters–isn’t too keen on the Viking thing. He wants to do Celtic, but I’m kinda Celtic’d out. I know that technically Vikings are more of a fad now than Celtics (thanks to the History Channel show) but I want to be a shieldmaiden. Yeah, yeah, Celts had warrior women as well…but damnit, I wanna be named after a valkyrie and beat on people with sticks. Or use rapier finesse. Whichever ends up being more suitable for me. I don’t quite understand a Viking using a rapier, but I don’t fully understand how SCA LARPing works yet, either, so I’m going to give it a shot.

Our friends who are in the SCA are nice, and they seem very inclusive. I just hope they stay friends. Our luck with friends the past few years hasn’t been the greatest. But that’s how friendships are: they move and grow and evolve and change and often that change includes a rift that can’t be crossed.

Hopefully I’m back to my early morning schedule tomorrow. I have to get back in the swing of early morning productivity, especially with the boot soon to be off and the sewing back in action. Two and a half months until Phoenix Comicon–gotta get cracking!

 

 

Back in the closet?

No, not that closet. I’m talking about my old weekly interview series for Talk Nerdy With Us called “Cosplay Closet Essentials.”

With my current work schedule, I don’t get the opportunity to do actor/musician/author interviews, and I kinda miss it. I mean, it’s kind of cool to be able to say “I interviewed that cosplayer” or to meet a cosplayer I interviewed at a con in person.

The only problem is that I got burned out on it when I was doing it on a weekly basis. Organizing photos, drafting questions, transcribing, etc. It wore me out. I think I’m ready to get back into it, though, but probably not weekly. Maybe monthly or biweekly. That sounds less stressful.

I might start doing different kinds of cosplay interviews. Reviews of products (from myself or other cosplayers), tutorials, tips, etc.

The biggest problem I had–and will still have–is finding cosplayers to interview. I only have so many “connections” in the cosplay world. I follow some on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but that only gets me so far. I’ll have to network more, meet more cosplayers, spread the net a bit wider.

I’ll also have to go back through my old interviews to make sure I don’t do repeat interviews. That would be embarrassing, especially if neither myself nor the cosplayer remembers the interview lol

These articles should get me back in the mood for cosplay and interviews. Yeah. I think I’m going to go back in the closet.

Wigging out

It’s the weekend of Wild Wild West Con, and even though I don’t have a steampunk cosplay to wear to it I think I’m going to wear my Phoenix wig from Arda Wigs (check them out; they have an awesome selection of wigs as well as cosmetics links and tutorials on their page: https://www.arda-wigs.com/ ). Gotta get used to wearing the wig for Phoenix Comicon, and besides, it’s cute!

I need to brush it to get the tangles out an make it look nicer, but I love it. Can’t wait to wear it with the rest of my Dark Phoenix cosplay at the con in May. Yeah, the bangs cover up the awesome eye makeup I did, but I think once I have the wig brushed and styled better it will look pretty good.

Since I started cosplaying, I’ve developed a fondness for wigs. The wig for my Magik cosplay (sorry, don’t remember the name of the con booth I got it at) is a little odd to wear because it’s long and heavy so I have to keep adjusting it, but I love it as well.

14482083_687090398109714_247409774314913792_n

I have to get a decent wig cap. I’m sure I can find one at, like, Wal-Mart or something, because I’ve seen stuff like that there for people who wear wigs daily. I think that might solve the adjustment problem. Still, it looks pretty cool and definitely changes up my look quite a bit. I’m still recognizable as me–can’t hide that nose very well, except once I get my mask done for the steampunk cosplay–but I’m also different. It’s kind of cool.

I’ve been debating finding a wig that would go with my Jedi/TARDIS cosplay, but that would be tricky to wear because of the hood. I suppose once I get accustomed to a wig cap and pins to hold the wigs in place the hood wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but I may end up with the same frizz/flyaway problem I have with my natural hair in that hood.

Cosplay is definitely addicting, even for a plus-sized girl like me. I like that I can alter costumes to be more modest (see previous post about Wild Wild West Con and my past cosplays for pics of the Magik character and the outfit I ended up wearing) and still be recognizable as the character. It’ll be interesting to see how many people “get” my steampunk Dark Phoenix (as I won’t be anywhere near the actual character’s design), but I think the top hat and breastplate will help immensely.

Oh, and another fun thing I get to try: spray body paint! My husband got me an airbrush kit for Valentine’s Day, so I might airbrush my arms with some cool flames to go with the outfit, and possibly my legs as well. Not my face–I’m terrified of getting airbrush body paint anywhere near my eyes–but yeah, some flames would look cool. Better practice posing 😉 And better get to sewing…once the stupid boot is off.

Wild Wild

Yep, this weekend is the annual Wild Wild West Con (WWWC) in Tucson, AZ. I hadn’t considered going because even before my procrastination/broken foot I didn’t think I’d have time to finish our steampunk X-Men cosplays before the con. And what’s a con without cosplay, right? Imagine what a difference a few years can make.

At my first con (Phoenix Comicon 2012), I couldn’t fathom going to a con in cosplay. I thought cosplay was all skimpy clothes and I was (and still am, really) quite overweight. The next year, I did a cosplay of River Song from Doctor Who and it’s been cosplay every year ever since. So in five years I went from “I’m never going to cosplay” to “Wait, I can go to a con without cosplaying?”

firstcosplay

It’s been quite the journey. The first year, I purchased all the things I needed for cosplay. Then, in 2014, I hand-sewed an entire costume that was supposed to be steampunk but ended up more burlesque. My angel wasn’t quite a “hit,” but it got some looks and a few people liked the wings (even though, if I ever get back down to that weight, I need to redo the wings because they totally look like a grade-school craft project).

10458823_651808394911343_6029080821408824065_n

I guess this costume was enough of a hit, though, because shortly after I joined Twitter a year or so later I had an a spam porn account follow me that was using the above pic for their profile pic. Creepy and flattering at the same time lol

The next year was mostly “casual” cosplays, with very little actual sewing involved. Still, I cosplayed most of the days I was at the con.

And then last year it began in earnest. For my birthday in 2015 I got a sewing machine, and a monster was created. I sewed my first machine-sewed cosplay in a few months (complete with corset–go big or go home!) and then sewed a second cosplay for my husband to coordinate with me after that. Then, about a month before Phoenix Comicon last year I sewed another two full cosplays, including designing a vest from scratch, and helped my husband make a prop for his (my prop we purchased online).

THEN, for Dragon Con last year, I worked on two more cosplays, this time with new props built for both of them. I made some alterations to the character design, because the character I was cosplaying had a crop top and shorty shorts, which I was not about to wear to a con in my current weight:

Those are the characters we went with. These are the results:

lot of design alteration occurred with these cosplays. I had to alter the shrug that went over the corset considerably before I sewed it, and my husband’s coat started out as a full-length solid-color trench coat pattern. We had some help from friends for the props, but they turned out well. We re-wore these cosplays and the Star Wars/Doctor Who mashups for Phoenix Fan Fest in October, so I had a break from mad sewing for a while.

Next up are the steampunk Cyclops and Dark Phoenix for this year’s Phoenix Comicon. We’ve started on the leatherworking but not much is done otherwise, partly due to my procrastination and partly due to the fact that, once I was ready to start sewing, I broke my damn foot. Still, we’ve got some well-made (and expensive!) top hats purchased and I have the phoenix breastplate made (still need to do the leatherwork for the harness on that), so at least we’ve got a start on them.

Yes, a monster has been born. Well, two monsters. I kindamaybesorta got my husband looked on couples’ cosplays after the Shamy cosplay (Sheldon/Amy from The Big Bang Theory). Still, I think I’ll manage the con this weekend without being in costume. I may feel a tad naked and out-of-place, but it should be fun 🙂

Failed designs

Frustration doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I tried something that I thought would be cool for my steampunk Dark Phoenix cosplay mask. Eyelets placed in the shapes of flames. Awesome, right?

Nope. My “flames” turned out looking vaguely like waves. Who wants watery waves for a fiery cosplay? So back to the drawing board on that one. I *think* I know how to make it look better, but it involves re-making the whole mask. The whole. Damn. thing. *Sigh*

Good thing I have plenty of materials. I just need to rethink the design.

The harness and belt for the steampunk Cyclops is turning out pretty cool. My husband and I got the straps and the X-Men medallion all dyed yesterday. We still need to attach a couple of buckles and rivet some things, but so far so good. We’ll also need to buy some more buckles and rivets. Oops. We thought we had calculated everything, but I guess until you start putting the stuff together you don’t necessarily know what you’ll need–especially when you don’t know what you’re doing. 😉

None of the sewing is done yet. I’m not sure how I’ll manage that with my broken foot (I use my right foot to operate the pedal for the machine), but it’s only a little over 3 more weeks in the boot and approximately 3 more months until the con. So there’s time. I mean, I’ve done more in less time…so I got this, right?

Back in the swing of it

I finally have the motivation to work on editing/revising my WIP again!

Doesn’t mean the cough is gone though. It’s still there, though not quite as bad. Could it be that it’s going to be done with soon? I sure hope so.

It turns out that I can afford the chest x-ray, so even though I think I might be on the tail end of this I think I’m going to still go get that test. It’s the responsible thing to do, after all; both the rheumatoid arthritis and one of the medicines I take for it can affect the lungs. I have been sick a lot the past year, mostly upper respiratory stuff, so I can see the doctor’s point as far as wanting me to get the x-ray. Better to make sure I don’t have some pulmonitis thing going on. Prevention is the best medicine or something.

Now that I’m back in the writing swing of things, I hope to get cracking on cosplay again. I still haven’t quite gotten back into that yet (it’s easy to doze off on the laptop if I can’t wake up right away–not so much working with pins and needles and sewing machines). Maybe I’ll try working on that in the evenings, when the hubby is playing on his PlayStation. I mean, it’s not like I’m accomplishing anything during that time. Might as well try to be productive in other ways.

I’m slowly getting my motivation back. Feeling like a human being sure helps lol So here goes! Let’s see what I can accomplish when I’m not coughing up crud every couple of minutes