Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Oh, baby! Projects for the little one!

Fresh tiny human!
Soooooo.... at 4:42 am on the day we were planning on having the Moria photoshoot, we got a baby instead! I was given a bit of a lecture about procrastination by Captain Crankypants, who had been looking forward to the shoot, but he was mollified by getting to take pictures of our beautiful, 8lb 6oz baby girl! Good thing I had been working hard on various little projects for her! Oddly enough, it's been over three weeks since, no idea where the time has gone - newborns are like time sinks.  

Oh, and by the way, as of today this lil' blog is officially over 10000 pageviews! How awesome is that? Thanks again for all the support, and for reading what I've had to write over the last year and a bit! That said, on with the show!

 Geeky Onesies!

I'll be posting more about these soon, but I just love them so much.  So far I've still only made the three - Majora's Mask, Triforce Eagle/Hylian Shield, and White Tree of Gondor, but I have a number of solid colour onesies and shirts as well as several more designs planned, and a few cut out and ready to go - stay tuned for more, and next up I'll be posting my Customize ANY piece of clothing tutorial so you can find out how to make your own!

Crochet Projects!

Early on in the pregnancy I took up crochet so I could make my babe her very own crochet baby blanket! Little did I know at that point, everyone we know knows how to crochet, and she's had ten made for her at this point (only two by me), but it was a nudge down a path that opened up all kinds of fun creative projects! I've made countless little hats, booties, slippers, and sweaters for her (and every baby we know) by this point, but where the real fun comes in is prepping for her newborn photoshoot! In order to avoid having the same pictures with the same outfits every other newborn has, I knew I had to come up with something fun and geeky for our little lady to wear - only two of these are crochet, but I may run out of time for finishing the other, so I'll keep it to myself for now.

A sample of my Crankypants Crochet Collection
Mermaid Tail!

I've seen various baby mermaid photos out there, so I just had to try my hand at crocheting a mermaid tail! The problem I found was finding a satisfactory pattern I didn't have to pay for - apparently I'm a total cheapskate. I knew the look I wanted, and I knew I wanted to used crocodile stitch for it, so I went about designing my own! I'll probably post the pattern sooner or later, but be kind, it was my first attempt at making my own, forgive me if it's not perfect - either way it turned out super cute!

Piranha Plant!

I've seen so many blasted Anne Geddes style photos of babies in flower pots, I figured the obvious gamer translation of this was... a baby in a warp pipe! And what comes out of warp pipes? Piranha plants, of course!  I started with a pretty standard baby hat pattern, and adjusted the edge to open like a mouth, then added white "lips", and made and stitched on a series of circles. The teeth were crocheted right on to the underside of the brim, and then the leaves were made and attached! I'll probably post the pattern for this too, just not yet!  Oh, and to allow for some variety in the photos, I also made a matching diaper cover just like Petey Piranha's little spotty briefs - so cute!
Buuuuut take one was a failure, as my child's head is massive, and the teeny little hat didn't stand a chance of stretching enough to fit. So take 2, I upped my hook size to up the gauge, and sooner or later I WILL get my piranha plant pictures!

The Up Nursery

I don't believe I had any reason to mention this before, but I hate pink. I hate it with a passion. As soon as I learned we were having a girl, my joy was mixed with dread at the thought of freaking pink everything, outfits, bedding, "girl" toys, "girl" lego, ugh. So needless to say, a pink princess room was NOT going to happen (at least not until she's five and able to demand it herself... maybe we can re-open negotiations then. Just maybe).

Well, the room we selected to be the nursery in the house was already two shades of blue when we moved in, so rather than paint it, I figured I would have to come up with a theme that fit the colour. Immediately I thought "sky," which was closely followed by "UP!" I LOVE Pixar movies, and Up is one of my favourites, what could be more fun than a multi-coloured house with a rainbow worth of balloons? It opened up the bedding and decor to fun, bright colours (so much better than baby colours) and gave me a nice big fun project to occupy the wait for baby!
I freaking love balloons!

It ALSO gave us a theme for just about everything, including our beautiful baby shower cake, made by a close friend, and my insistence on having a bouquet of beautiful balloons for our maternity photos!

The Mural

The template
So first up is the mural, an entire wall of house and balloons! It took a while to find an image I was happy with, but I found one I could work with and did a vector outline to print out on transparency paper, and the ever awesome Fatima found a second hand . I scaled the balloon size up for ease of drawing/painting (it would take FOR FREAKING EVER to do them in the proper size) and threw in Kevin on the roof as she was there in the original I found.

It's not finished yet, but we have about six months before she'll actually be sleeping in there anyway, so no REAL hurry - it'll happen!
PROGRESS! Loving it so far!

The Mobile

I looked everywhere for nice looking balloon themed decor.  It doesn't exist. I looked everywhere for mini fake balloons that don't look like garbage. They don't exist. I considered casting some in resin, but that was going to get pricey and complicated, AND resin fumes are extra bad for pregnant ladies/unborn babies, so instead, I found a cute little hot air balloon mobile pattern, then neglected the "hot air" portion of the equation, leaving just balloons! The balloons were made in felt using the size 2 balloon from this tutorial, and I used this papercraft Up house pattern, upscaled, to pattern out the house! I'm finished about six balloons at this point, and the house is underway, but that mofo is complicated, so it's going to take a while longer!

The Bedding

My intention was to have cloud/sky crib sheets and a multicoloured ruffled crib skirt, but I can't for the life of me find cloud pattern fabric that fits the aesthetic I was aiming for, so instead I just have turquoise fabric for the sheets, and will still be making the multicoloured ruffles, with pink bows in the corners for a little touch of girliness. I have all the materials, just need to get the ol' sewing machine out and make it happen!

And there's much more to come! If I can ever figure out how to make this little one to nap for more than ten minutes at a time.  Next time, I'll post one of the other articles I've written but not posted!! I'm sure it will be a blast no matter what I pick... whenever I have a moment to post it!  Until then, you stay classy, internets!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Ottawa Comiccon 2014 Con Report!

Hello peeps! Ottawa Comiccon 2014 has come and gone, and I'm happy to say I survived another year! Although I was working right up until the last minute, I successfully completed enough of my Moria to wear (though not as much as I had hoped) and had a blast strutting my stuff both in the halls and in the masquerade, in spite of the fact that Moria didn't get nearly as much recognition as Moxxi (obscure character, obscure series, and no cleavage = little love). That said, those who did know who I was were suitably impressed!

So attractive! Before the day crumbled
Saturday morning was one of those "comedy of errors" situations - it seemed no matter what I did, the world was determined not to cooperate. First I grabbed my model magic horns and found that one had cracked - not much I could do about it, but it was frustrating. For this make-up, I picked up better quality facepaint and a sea sponge applicator in hopes of having a better finish for my white makeup (as the girl at Audrey's had convinced me to do), but in spite of better than twenty minutes spent in front of the mirror, I couldn't get an even coating of white to save my life. Next, I grabbed my carefully crafted latex stitches (which I had made by paiting layer on layer of mould building latex on to plastic sheeting in the desired stitch pattern) and promptly dropped the 8 stitch chain on the floor, causing it to twist into a sticky, useless mess. I managed to salvage 5 or so of the X sitches, but it was a painful and frustrating process. Then I grabbed my belt off the table (after having laid it there to allow the e6000 I had used to glue on the buckle to dry) and discovered that the spray paint I had used to paint it hadn't cured properly, and therefore had adhered itself hopelessly to the plastic table cloth causing several chunks to rip off while trying to peel the buckle back. After painter's taping and throwing quick coat of silver on that, I went to burn the CD for my masquerade entry, only to discover that the track I had downloaded only had 26 sec of the song - luckily walk ons are only 30 sec (I filled the last four with a nice Moria laugh when I was on stage), but it was just another thing to add to the pile of stupid that my day was becoming.

Although I had planned to be out the door at 8:30 am in order to get there early enough to get decent parking, all the fun and games had delayed me to a 9:40 am departure, following which I hit heavy construction related traffic, and didn't even arrive at my con buddy Renee's place until just after 10:00. The only small stroke of luck that we came on was that the direction we chose to get in to the venue (only picked because of the proximity of a Tim Hortons to it) placed us in a spot to avoid the giant lineup for the overflow parking, which was a ten mile march away from the door, but at least we weren't waiting 30+ min just to park! Anyway, from there we headed to the door, waitied 20 min (seemingly for nothing), were finally let up to the door, and discovered that that line was only for people who pre-ordered tickets (which I hadn't as my phone wasn't cooperating when I had tried) and we had to walk to the other side of the building just to walk back to wait in line again, and the MOMENT we hit the door? The con got locked down due to a child having been lost.  AAAAAAARRRRGHHHH!  I'm a super laid back person normally, but after all of that I was just about ready to cry (I'll blame sleep deprivation and hormones).  I managed to keep my composure, and after another 10 min or so we were finally allowed in.

With my friend Christa, as Azula

The first thing I noticed about this year was that there were even MORE people than last year - it was practically impossible to move at times due to the sheer crushing number of people in the way. The set up had changed quite a bit, which was mildly confusing to me at first (having not thought to check the map beforehand) but I managed to find my way to the Masquerade registration anyway. The lovely masq staff were super accomodating in that even though I wasn't there early (as I had intended to be) they agreed to place me early in the lineup as I had a wedding reception to be at by 8:30 pm.  With the signing up accounted for, we checked the schedule for desirable programming. The two panels I was interested in - "Costumes on a Budget" (I can always use tips) and "Silicone Armour - It's a Piece of Cake" had both come and gone before we got through the door, but "Finding Serenity : A Firefly in the Night" was coming up, and Renee loves Firefly (as do I) so we figured we'd check it out! The panel was presented by the Ottawa Browncoats, and while it was a great introduction to the series and gave a few interesting behind the scenes tidbits and some interesting discussion on the strengths of some of the episodes, there was a little too much focus on the basics, and thanks to the late nights leading up to con, I found myself falling asleep (quite literally), so we ducked out a little early.  From there, we lined up in the nice long line for lunch at one of the little cafeterias, and picked up a slice of pizza each (reasonably priced at $5). We would have checked out the Food Court, but neither of us were smart enough to bring real money.

Following lunch, we walked the floor, and by walk, I mean shuffled along fighting
our way through the crowd or being pushed along, depending on the moment. It was a little too much for my level of patience by this point in the day, and it was hard to get a close look at ANYTHING.  I saw a few other One Piece costumes along the way, but for the most part it was at a distance, and when I
I found a Nami! Picture courtesy of Renee
complimented one Trafalgar Law in passing, he showed absolutely no indication of knowing who/what I was.  I DID run in to a lovely Nami outside the tower of T-Shirts!  We had a nice chat on the awesomeness that is One Piece. The merch I did see looked good, but it took us so long to do our first lap that I didn't have time to go for a second (when I usually make purchases) before I had to report to the green room.  That said, it was nice to get somewhere quiet where I could sit for a while! Just like last year, the green room was backstage for the main stage, so I was able to catch some of

the Edward James Olmos Q&A from the other side of the curtain, and some of the Leonard Nemoy Skype visit as well (which was plagued by technical difficulties, but worked itself out) which was fun, entertaining, and was crashed by Karl Urban - priceless!

As always, the wait was long, but Renee was there to keep me company and I got to chat with various cosplayers, and took the time to get caught up with Demelaa and Zeveelia of LITAS Cosplay, fellow Borderlands fans who I met last year at our impromptu Borderlands meetup! This year Demelaa was rocking Tiny Tina and Zeveelia switched sirens from Maya to Firehawk Lilith. Belziir was once again the official masq photographer, and I had a great little shoot with him. Luckily for me, he was one of the few people who recognized Moria, and he suggested a full on maniacal laugh pose, which worked out nicely - can't wait to see how the rest turned out!  Judging went well, the judges seemed suitably impressed with my work, the prosthetics, the embroidery and all.  I'm still not sure what the result was (seeing as I had to work the next day and missed the award presentation) but having seen the calibre of work I was up against, I'd be surprised if I was recognized this year.  That said, Demelaa and Zeveelia were selected for best paint detailing - awesome and well deserved!
LITAS on stage, photo by Pose4Effect

Since my original walk on plan had centered around my scissors (which weren't finished in time), I kinda had to come up with something new on the fly.  It was pretty simple, just striking poses, trying to look maniacal and the like, with a nice loud "kishishishishi"  as I went off stage - easy, right? Well first of all, I'm pretty sure I didn't get close to the full 30 seconds (I could be wrong, it just felt too fast) and then, just as I was heading off stage, my belt fell off (which elicited giggles from the audience).  Full on, dropped around the ankles, fell off, after it had behaved and stayed in place ALL DAMN DAY.  I played it cool, flicked the
On stage shot from insta_reviews - belt drooping ominously
belt off stage with my boot and carried on my way, but once I was off stage, I started laughing (quietly, as I didn't want to interrupt whoever was on after me) and couldn't stop for an extended period of time.

And that was that! As much as I hated having to take off and miss the rest of the masq (again) I really needed to get moving if I was going to make it to my cousin's wedding reception.  I retreated to one of the ladies rooms and made a quick change from full on cosplay mode to regular old pregnant lady heading to a wedding mode.  The most challenging part of this was trying to get the darn lipstick off - I've owned Graftobian before, my blue lipstick for Gaige is Graftobian, and I had no issue when testing it... Well for whatever reason, my purple was like dry tar, a heck of a pain to apply (let alone evenly), and impossible to get off.  Around the point when ALL of the rest of the makeup had been removed, the lipstick was still firmly in place and now tinged white by the makeup that had been rubbed off/around it. With some serious effort, I managed to scrape it off, shook out my hair, threw on a dress and some jewelry, and scampered off for some fun at my cousin's wedding reception! Yeah, I was pretty much dead by the time I got home at 12:45.

While I did enjoy my time at Comiccon this year, my overall experience wasn't as positive as last year, partly due to my own muck-ups (not fully finishing my costume, not sleeping enough, all the fun the morning of, arriving much later than intended, forgetting my insoles) and the rest was due to the ridiculous crowds.  I understand the draw and why Saturday was a popular day (it's the biggest day for stars, and most people who only get the one day pass pick Saturday), but it was much harder to get a good look at everything when you could barely move, and I was disappointed that I made it out of there with NO swag. My aim for next year (assuming I have my costume finished in time... assuming life with baby allows time for costuming) is to get the weekend pass (I won't have to worry about working, as I'll still be on parental) and do all my shopping/browsing on the Friday, then I won't be as stressed by the crows on Saturday, and can take my time and focus more on checking out panels and the like.  I still felt no desire to do the autograph or photo session thing, as much as I love some of the celebs on the bill (Christopher Lloyd, Edward James Olmos and Karl Urban come to mind immediately) waiting in a line to shell out money to have a moment in time, an autograph, a picture with them. I'm not sure who it would take to convince me to jump in there, but I'll see who's on the bill next year!

Moria held up pretty well to the rigors of the day, with the exception of the belt incident. As much as I had worried about my prosthetics, the spirit gum held fairly well, though by green room time I needed to apply a wee bit more spirit gum to one of the horns and a few stitches that were juuuuuust starting to come loose. All in all, costume success!

I'll leave it at that for this entry, next time I'll talk about the rest of the construction for Moria, and cover what I'm working on to finish up the costume before the big photoshoot with Capt Crankypants, which will likely be taking place at the beginning of June, or at very least before Baby Crankypants graces us with her presence! Hope those of you who hit Ottawa Comiccon had an awesome time!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Comiccon Plans - Making Moria!

Awesome stuff! Thanks Lee!
Hello again internets! All is well in the Crankypants household, and Baby Crankypants is 30 weeks along, getting bigger and kicking stronger every day! I, on the other hand, have been busy running around town collecting bits and pieces for my Ottawa Comiccon costume.  Things are going well thus far, I just have to actually get some serious work done!  Before I get too far, I just wanted to make a shout out to pose4effect, a fabulous photographer who I have had the privilege to bump into at my last two (and only two, ha ha) cons, and who posted up an awesome edit he put together from a picture he snapped of me at Pop Expo!

The plan WAS to post all about my progress on Gaige (and it's all written up and ready to go) but I took too long getting the corresponding pictures together, so I'll be bumping her to the next post (or maybe the one after) and focusing entirely on my Comiccon plans and progress!

So I found out about our impending bundle of joy waaaaaay back in November, and while I was preoccupied with Gaige and Pop Expo (and, you know, the fact that I was pregnant) at the time, it didn't take long after Pop Expo for my thoughts to turn to Comiccon, and what was I going to do for a costume at seven months pregnant.  Of course, my first approach was to look for a pregnant character to cosplay, but none of the characters I found quite fit the bill for what I was after.  Actually, they were almost uniformly wearing boring dresses with no fun weapons or props of any kind - where's the challenge in that? From there I turned to badass characters with children (who must have been pregnant at some point) but drew nothing but blanks. A cute Chansey gijinka maybe?  Way too much pink for my taste (plus I haven't played Pokémon in AGES).

Isn't he beautiful? Or at least perfect for a pregnant lady!
Well, I was at a loss.  Luckily, a solution presented itself to me! My sisters got me hooked on One Piece, and as I was reading through and found myself in the Thriller Bark arc, I was stared in the face by the perfect character for a pregnant cosplay - the lovely, leek shaped, lazy captain himself, Shishibukai Gecko Moria (or Gekko Moriah, depending on where you look). I had already known of Moria's existance, seeing as he's my oldest (by a matter of minutes) sister's favourite character - so much so that she plays him online (and draws many, many pictures of him), but I didn't think of it until I actually saw him in action.  Not only does he have everything I look for in a cosplay - an awesome and complex outfit (challenging but in the realm of possibility) AND awesome weapon(s) (I mean GIANT SCISSORS! Who else has giant freaking scissors that separate into SWORDS?!) - and as a bonus, his super bottom-heavy shape is uniquely suited to a pregnant lady! Success! 

My crappy sketch, to see if it might work

Production is well underway at this point! After months of bringing materials together, once again I find myself with a short fuse - way too much to do, and way too little time to do it in (7 days left! Aaaaahhhhh!). You really think I would have learned my lesson by now. Oh, and if you're wondering why I'm wasting time blogging, this was written while at work and unable to work on the costume - trust me, as much as I love sharing, I would rather be making progress! Luckily, I have some extra days off this week, but I'm really going to have to apply myself - no distractions allowed!

Here's the plan! The intent was to be as faithful as possible to the original design, the trickiest part with Moria being that his design is so inconsistent - there are differences between the manga and anime, and even within those mediums his appearance changes all the time.  I picked out a few of the original artist's depictions, and am trying to follow those for the most part.  The biggest deviation I'll be making is using boots instead of shoes, which I chose to do in order to get a little closer to his proportions (his legs are hella-short, so I figured full length pants would look funny).

Stuff already under way:

Jacket - I verified before even starting that a normal, non-maternity blazer fit just about perfectly for Moria's open coat styling. Luckily, I already had a blazer pattern which I was using to make Gaige's vest, so I whipped that bad boy out and got to work - with Fatima's help for better fitting. This is where my cheapness really bit me in the behind, though, as I picked up fabric with a slight pin stripe instead of pure black, as the black was $22/yd, where the pin stripe was $3/yd on clearance. I started out trying to pick out the stripes, but realized quickly it would take too damn long, so I switched to colouring them in with sharpie and/or black fabric marker. They're still a litte bit visible in certain light, but I think it might add to the costume rather than detract - we'll see!

Colouring in pin stripes, the collar pieces and interfacing, and the magic of the suddenly horribly messy workspace
The main modifications needed were - extended all panels to accomodated pointed front and tail, collar pattern made for giant pointy stand-up collar, collar reinforced with heavy weight fusible interfacing and wire, sleeves shortened to fit into gloves. At this point the outer shell is together, the liner is almost completely together - left to do: sew in liner sleeves, add some hidden pockets, attach collar, shape bottom of coat (front points and tail), install liner, paint and sew on buttons.

Armbands - For the armbands I puzzled for a bit as to what to make them out of and how to go about doing it. Various ideas came to mind, but what I knew was that I wanted the dots to be dome studs of some sort. The only satisfactory studs I could find locally were actually upholstery nails, which I found in a 100 pack for under $5! In the end, the only material I figured would be able to hold the studs was leather, so I picked up a 3/4" leather belt, cut it to size for each band, painted with fabric paint - the sides silver and top with a blue/silver mix, and have begun banging the studs in. I'm completely satisfied with the look, but can't seem to get the dome to lie flat once I bend down the nail.... I'll keep working on that.

Left to do: bang in the rest of the studs, attach to gloves/sleeve - the plan for the sleeves (to maintain mobility) is to sew one end of the strap to the sleeve, and connect the two ends of the straps with thin black elastic so

Belt - The original plan was to go legit, working with an actual leather belt and everything - well, it didn't take very long wandering around the local leather store to realize that it was going to be a well over $50 project if I wanted to stick to that plan, and I decided to change to a cheaper option. I picked up purple vynil and two packs of pyramid studs, shored up the vynil into an even and straight 4" strip, measured out where I wanted my studs (evenly spaced, two rows, with 5mm in between in each direction) and got to studding by poking a stud through in the back (where I measured out the spacing) then popping the studs in from the front and bending the arms down with jewelry pliers.  

Left to do: I wanted to save finishing this for last as fitting is tough when you seem to be growing by the day, when the time comes, I'll add more studs if need be, fold over excess vynil and adhere to back of belt, make a buckle out of craft foam (primed, painted, and sealed), use magnetic purse closure on back of belt to secure.

Scissors - I want my scissors to be both big and functional, but also light weight. I started out with a poster board mock-up, played with the handle area until I knew the joint can actually work, and then moved on to the big stuff. The mock-up was traced on to 1/2" thick foam board, then cut out with x-acto knife. Because of the nature of foam board, the degree to which I thinned down the joint area made the joint weak, so I'll be working to build it back up.

Left to do: reinforce handle area with plastic, glue, and cheesecloth, build handle out of craft foam and model magic, figure out how to make the blades both functional as scissors and separable, seal edges, coat everything in mod-podge hard coat, prime, paint, seal.

Brick Bats - Finishing these guys will likely have to wait for last, as if they're not done, the costume will still be a costume, but I got started at work on a night shift when I had a little extra time. I've picked up a few 5" "smoothfoam" balls, and I already have the eyes and mouth carved out of one, with the two connecting so I can pass wiring as necessary.

Left to do: Carve the other ball up, coat with mod podge hard coat, prime, paint and seal the bodies, line the eyes and mouth with aluminum foil then wire with clear LEDs, install semi-opaque windows painted with transparent purple paint, and add wings (likely fabric on wire frame) and ears (model magic), then suspend one over each shoulder using a webbing harness under the jacket and coat hanger wire.

Stuff yet to be started (top down) -

Wig - I ordered Arda's Vegas in Maroon (he's shown with purple hair in the anime, but in every coloured illustration by the original artist, his hair is more maroon). The plan is to sculpt the wig into his iconic 'do with a craft foam shaping substructure, using the hair fibres from the long silly tail thing to cover the foam and create a glued hairline including widow's peak and the long, thin sideburns.

Horns - I'll be making super lightweight horns using tinfoil and model magic, shaped to fit my forehead and glued on with spirit gum.

Stitches - The plan is to use the mould building latex I used to make the mould for Gaige's bolts and just painting layer on layer on a flat surface until they're built up, then gluing them on with spirit gum.

Ears - The original plan was just to order some online, but I couldn't find a pair that was both satisfactory and affordable. Soooo NOW the plan is craft foam, folded over, heat shaped and glued, then detailed with the dremel-clone, primed, painted, and attached with spirit gum.

Teeth - I'm hoping the thermoplastic I ordered from the UK will arrive in time. IF it does, I'll be making top and bottom retainers out of the thermoplastic, then gluing shaped and pointed fake nails on to make a full set of sharp teeth (I'll blunt them a little for the sake of comfort).

Jabot - I'll be using white cotton, making the neck portion clip underneath the frill, lining the frill with heavy weight fusible interfacing, and installing wire along the bottom edge of each tier to ensure it keeps its shape.

Necklace - The plan is to use two layers of 6mm craft foam with leather cord sandwiched between (with a clasp in the back), smoothing/shaping the edges with the dremel-clone, heat sealing, priming, painting with shiny purple fabric paint, and sealing.

Undershirt - I can't for the life of me find a satisfactory fishnet shirt, so I'll be making fishnet using black embroidery floss and attaching it to a white undershirt.

Gloves - I picked up some lovely black semi-stretchy material, and a pack of fake nails to sharpen and use as the under-structure for the claws. The plan is to secure wire rings to the back of each nail so they'll move properly with my fingers, and make the gloves conform to those points. At this point, the intention is to make the gloves large around the forearm (stuffed to maintain shape), and reinforce the scalloped edge with heavy weight fusible interfacing.  For the blue edging, I'll be painting on blue both as an under-colour and to stiffen the edge a little more, then embroidering over it.

Pants - These will be a touch complicated. Making a pattern using the only pair of maternity pants I own that don't have a stretchy or elastic top, I'll make the base pants, and then sew on squares of yellow fabric to make the pattern. I'll be attempting to shape the squares to give a little added perspective, but we'll see how that goes.

Boots - Because I opted for boots (cheap knee highs from Ardene, $20 on sale) rather than shoes. I'll be making two attachments for each boot, craft foam with upholstery nails for the domes, heat sealed, primed, and painted.

And that's it! Yeah, it all sounds so straightforward, but I know I'll be facing my fair share of issues and setbacks along the way. Good thing I have all week off, 'cause hot damn, there's a lot of work to be done!! Next time I'll let you know how Comiccon 2014 went, and share my Moria success (we hope)! Until then, you stay classy, internets!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Ottawa Pop Expo Con Report!

Hello world, Happy New Year! I know, I vanished for a little while, half because I'm a slacker, and half because I've been busy. Really busy.  Like, stressed out over Gaige, bought a house, spent two weeks with family for Christmas and New Years, oh, and worked on making a human being.  That's a lot of hard work all at the same time ladies and gents! But more on that later... in the meantime, I just have to say thank you! In spite of a complete lack of posting on my part, there have been people visiting on a regular basis, to the point that this lil ol' blog is well over 4500 pageviews - awesome! I hope my work helps other cosplayers or aspiring cosplayers out there, or at least exposes curious parties to just how much work is involved in what cosplayers do (hint: one heck of a lot!).

Alright, so I worked my butt off on Gaige over the entire month of November, but I kept being knocked on my backside by some mystery illness (which turned out to be "morning" sickness, which should really be called any damn time of day sickness) and found it SO hard to concentrate and get work done when I wasn't feeling well.  I DID get a lot of work finished, but at the end of the road, I found myself with more things left to do than time to do it in.  It was heart crushing (especially as I knew I wouldn't get another chance to wear Gaige for a LONG time... Like, probably NEXT Pop Expo) but as of 6:00 pm the night before the convention when I had to meet my partner in crime at the venue and set up our table in Artist's Alley, I was forced to admit defeat. Even if I worked all night, I STILL wouldn't have finished, and even if I did, I wouldn't be happy with the quality of work - so I set to work getting Moxxi back to con-ready. I'll share my Gaige progress next post.
New buttons and MORE new buttons!

I really didn't have much time, so I wasn't able to address every issue I meant to, so I fixed what I COULD address. I made new buttons to replace those which had fallen off over Comiccon, and made eight MORE more buttons for the spats, moved the under-buttons on the jacket up, and glued the lot on with e6000, which was a resounding success, and I didn't lose a single button this wear. Also, the bias tape had pulled away from the fabric a little over the zipper on the front of the jacket, so I undid the stitching and sewed it back in place. Finally, I reinforced the closure over the cleavage with velcro, because while the snaps DID work, they didn't hold everything in place tightly enough, and in some pics could even be seen - the velcro was MUCH more secure.  Another aspect which was much more secure on this wear was the hair, which I chopped off at Halloween, making the curling process much easier and with the nice, dry, crisp December weather, the curl held no problem!

So - Ottawa Pop Expo! This was my second ever convention, and the first where I had a table in
Meghan and I at our table!
Artist's Alley. Having an artist's pass was nice, as it gave me early admission, though it also meant I was glued to our table most of the day. Overall the general set-up and atmosphere was the same as Ottawa Comiccon, which is unsurprising considering it's run by the same people. The main differences were that it was meant to both be a smaller con, and to have a broader focus than Comiccon. The "smaller" meant the celebrities booked were notably more "B List" than Comiccon - still a lot of good names on the bill (Tom Felton, Sylvester McCoy and Norman Reedus were the biggest draw as far as I could tell), but fewer "big" stars. The only thing that I really saw showing a "broader focus" was the inclusion of WWE wrestlers on the celeb bill (Brett Hart and Honkey Tonk Man), and the addition of a wrestling ring where Capital City Championship Combat had fights going throughout the weekend, scaring the crap out of anyone who couldn't see the ring with loud thumps and bangs at irregular intervals. We had the dubious pleasure of being able to hear the proceedings clearly, but weren't actually able to see what was going on - the first few bangs were somewhat distressing, from there it just became annoying.

Creative shot at the table by a photographer at a local paper
Having a table meant I spent a LOT less time wandering and checking things out, and a lot more time tied to the table, but I did make sure to get out SOME of the time, as what fun is looking fab if no one gets to see you? I wore Moxxi on the Saturday, and had a grand old time wandering about, garnering quite a bit of attention along the way. Sadly, I only found two other Borderlands cosplayers all weekend - a Maya I had seen at Comiccon on the Saturday, and a female psycho on the Sunday. My big goal for
A fabulous Maya and I!
the day was to be a little more "Moxxiish" in any photo ops, as at Comiccon, I had a tendency to pose pretty well like I would for normal, costume free photos, complete with big fat grin.  This time I tried to execute the signature Moxxi half-smile, and her one hand on the waist, hip popped stance.  It didn't work every time (some of the photos were a little less than flattering) but I ended up with some pretty awesome photos out of those I found! Oh, and the hubby decided NOT to dress up this time, so he just wandered around in gaming shirts all weekend. On Sunday I really didn't feel like putting the time into getting gussied up, so I just wore my Robin costume.  It didn't have nearly the attention draw that Moxxi does (it's much less elaborate, and...uh.. doesn't show off my assets in the same way), but I did get a few photo requests along the way!
Lovely shot from Geek Chic Elite!
Another addition to my weekend was actually bringing my big fancy expensive camera, and taking pictures of people with it! I didn't cart it around the con the whole time (I don't like having to hide it during photos) but having the option to take pictures at the table at least was great!  I didn't take nearly as many as I thought I would, but I did stop the odd cosplayer as they passed the table, and took some pics during panels and the masquerade. For the full album, pop on over to my Facebook page -

Something I actually took the time to do this go around was check out a few panels! There wasn't as much variety as there was for Comiccon, but a couple DID catch my eye, namely those concerning Cosplay! The first one I checked out was "Prop Building for Beginners" which promised to give tips for both beginners and more seasoned cosplayers, as well as discussing budgeting and pitfalls to avoid. What the brochure failed to
Jessica Nigri and Monika Lee's panel!
mention, was that this panel was being put on by the Capital City Garrison of the 501st, meaning it was really Star Wars Costuming 101. I'll admit, it was VERY interesting, and I learned a lot, but as I'm not planning on doing any Star Wars costumes any time soon (if ever) it would have been nice to know what I was getting into in advance.  The second panel I checked out was a Cosplay Tips panel with "celebrity cosplayers" Jessica Nigri and Monika Lee.  As I assumed beforehand it was less a panel and more a Q&A session, it was nice to actually hear these ladies speak in person (you never know what to think with the editing that goes into TV appearances), and it was nice to be able to ask a question or two.

The retail offerings were very similar to Comiccon, though a few of the larger traveling retailers like the Tower of T-Shirts were absent, there was still a lot of swag to be had.  That said, I spent a grand total of $3 on non-food purchases, $1 on a super-cute prinny magnet for my sisters, and $2 on a set of three buttons, two Fallout related, one Zelda related. The hubby pulled in a much larger haul on the other hand, picking up a set of Battlestar Galactica coasters, two Zelda Shirts, an Office shirt, and a full set of the "Batman - A Death In The Family" story arc comics.

The Masquerade was pretty awesome, I'm not sure if it was just because Heroes of Cosplay crew were going to be there filming, but there seemed to be a lot more entries that fit into the top end of the spectrum than there were at Ottawa Comiccon - huge, intricate, beautiful costumes, and not just from the "Heroes." Having the film crew on scene only caused a little bit of disturbance in the the overall show - first, when the whole thing had to be re-started after filming didn't catch the intros correctly, and then at the end, when everyone was implored to stick around for an extra 20 min or so in order for the judges to deliberate and for the "big prize" winners to be announced that night.  The silence was filled in by a bit of a Dr. Who sideshow with various Daleks and a Doctor taking the stage along with the ninjas for much mayhem and more than a little extermination. The following day I took the time to chat with one of the judges, who assured me that even backstage everything went pretty smoothly with the Heroes crew, and the only disturbances were from the camera crew wanting to do multiple takes of their people from time to time on their way through the green room.

Speaking of Heroes of Cosplay, not only were their masquerade costumes fantastic (small surprise... it's pretty well their job) but I ran into Jesse Lagers out and about around closing time on Sunday.  I'd seen him earlier that day, but wasn't interested in chatting with him while the camera crew was in tow.  I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the show (mostly due to the added drama) but I have a lot of respect for the skills of the cosplayers involved, and Jesse is one of my favourites, so it was great to get a chance to chat with him! He was super down to earth, and more than willing to answer all my silly questions about how the show operates behind the scenes and niggly little cosplay construction details - bonus, he says they at least spent more time filming construction stuff so far this season, so hopefully we'll get to see some more of the good stuff!
Ermahgerd! Jersseh Lergers! Such a chill guy!

Overall, Pop Expo was a great experience, both as an "Artist," and as an attendee.  There was some grumbling from other exhibitors about the size of the crowd (markedly smaller than Comiccon) and suggestions that the con organizers were stripping all the attendees of their spending cash by offering photo ops etc. right at the door, but really I had a decent weekend in spite of the fact that I didn't take the time I really should have to make more geeky jewelry as I had planned to in the run up to the con (I was too busy panicking about getting Gaige finished), so I'm sure it wasn't a systematic ploy on behalf of the organizers. I had a great time wearing Moxxi again, and catching up with the cosplay contacts I had made at/after Comiccon. I still regret not finishing Gaige in time, but I guess it's just a lesson in time management - starting early is great, but spending months on props won't do any good if you don't finish the actual costume.

Next time, I'll talk about the work I DID get done on Gaige, and I'll share my plans for Ottawa Comiccon, which I will be attending while 7 months pregnant - I'm SUPER stoked to get started on this costume, guys! Until next time, you stay classy, internet!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Gaige - So Much Progress!

Hello Travellers! As always, thanks for reading (especially these non-tutorial posts that don't have a direct benefit for the average reader), I appreciate every one of you, even though I have no idea who you are! Lots of news, mostly good, some bad.  I guess I'll start with the bad...

Miss you Blue!
RIP Blue <3
I know I haven't mentioned it to this point, but my favourite pets ever (and only pets ever, to be fair to all the other awesome animals out there) have all been rats - they're sweet, smart, cuddly, and they all have their own little personalities, oh, and they are so damn cute! So it's with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of one of my girls, Little Girl Blue (just Blue for short) at the tender age of two.  She was a wonderful rat who was stubborn and sweet, loved to climb, always wanted to be wherever she wasn't, and she's sorely missed. Blue was preceeded "over the rainbow bridge" by her sister Pumpkin, and leaves behind her happy, healthy sister Phantom. Here's the last pic of the two of us, from Halloween night, after everyone else had headed home and I was chilling on the couch taking a break from playing Borderlands to cuddle with my girls.  Miss you Blue!

Next up, I finally started a Facebook Page for my cosplay stuff! I resisted it for a long time, but because I'm trying to keep my personal Facebook separate from my cosplay, but kept wanting to be able to make posts and such on Facebook about it, so I gave in. If you want to check it out, it's at! I'll try to update it a little more frequently than I update here to keep everyone up to date on my progress and plans!

My Robin!
Rocking as Robin!
Thirdly, I noticed that I was getting some traffic from Cosplay Nation, and it turns out that they featured my Robin costume! Awesome, it's really nice getting props for my hard work - especially on a costume that needs so much work before next wear (new shirt, fix cape, and completely replace the shoe covers which had to be thrown out after the wet, muddy race). Thanks Cosplay Nation!

So I hit a bit of a snag with my Rubi - I mentioned that I planned to wire in a switch so I could click the lights on or off with the trigger. I bought the switch (again, because I lost the blasted thing the first time I bought it... small components are not my friend) soldered some wires to it, installed it so the trigger would activate it, and discovered that it was a MOMENTARY on/off, not a click on click off, meaning I would have to hold the switch to keep the lights on, which sounds like too much of a pain to me (and likely to put undue stress on the gun). So I ran back to my electronics store, and apparently they don't have anything that would fit the bill, and the only other place that may have it wasn't open by that time on a Saturday, and wasn't open Sundays either. Boo. So as I was working days Monday and Tuesday, the first chance I had to get the switch was Wednesday - and I did, but first I got distracted - oops!

In the meantime, I got started on my grenade mod! I'm making a legendary level Maliwan mod called "Rubberized Fire Leech." I had picked this one over my standard Torgue Bonus Package (almost all of my characters have these, and many hours have been spent farming Torgue Tokens to make this possible because EXPLOSIONS) as the one I had in hand when I was planning this costume didn't look all that memorable. I had also considered a Vladof Pandemic I had lying around, but figured Fire Leech would be easier to make work... until I discovered that hexagons are hard to draw (before I had to etch them in to the foam with the calligraphy point from my hot knife set), and the blasted thing is COVERED in them (guess what - so is my shield! I hate my life.. just a little bit).

The shaping and honeycombing alone took about eight hours, and was a royal pain in the patootie, but looks SWEET! Once that was done, I needed to find something to use for the windows that would be opaque enough to hide the innards, but clear enough to let all the light through.  After exploring a few other options, I ended up using the plastic from a freezer dinner container - success!   I also added an extra piece of craft foam inside to hold the LEDs in place and add a wee bit more stability to the body, and wired in the four LEDs for the main body, which glow so nicely though the window (though I don't think they're quite as bright as the green ones I've been using on Rubi). And I got the bottom part, top handle and side attachments together - up next, I need install the switch, then seal, prime, paint and coat it all, wire in the lights for the side and top, and put it all together!  Yeah, I know, no big deal!

While I was looking for window material, I started on my shield, which will be my favourite legendary shield, Maliwan's Impaler (Vlad would be so proud). I had two on hand when I was picking (a level 37 my baby mechromancer was using, and a level 50 that my siren had been using) and picked the one with the cool glowy honeycomb design on it, because more glowy = more better (and more grammatically incorrect). I didn't get very far before shaking my head and heading off to video game land for the night because the damn hexagons were killing me.

I've also been working on a few other parts of the costume... still no cloth bits though.  First the bolts for the choker! After searching toy stores and thrift shops for toy bolts I could use, I broke down and hit the hardware store to see if I could find actual bolts that would work... But the ones that were the proper diameter were all too long, and the ones that were the right length were all to thin. So I picked up mouldmaking and polyester resin supplies, and one of the too-long-but-right-diameter bolts. Because I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm still getting the hang of everything, but after two attempts at both moulding and casting, I have two acceptable-but-not-perfect bolts, but have learned a lot and am working on refining my technique. I'll either get it perfect or run out of time sooner or later! Oh, and I made ONE of the nuts. If you look closely, only the center one is a hex nut, and the other two are square, so I put one of the square ones together using one layer of 6mm and one layer of 3mm craft foam to get the desired thickness.

Colour is there!
Loving the blue!
Aaaand I've put some solid work into the shoes. After picking out all the stitches on the diamond quilting, I used multiple applications of 3D fabric paint to fill the holes, though I wasn't able to completely override the diamond impressions, at least the texture has been lessened.  Following that, I painted on several layers of the 3D paint, but it just wasn't giving the coverage I needed, so I switched to acrylic paint and fabric medium (to keep it from cracking and flaking) which has been MUCH more successful - they're almost perfect! And last night I started to build on the toe (to make them a little more rounded) and now I just need to make the toe and heel caps, and carve and apply a layer of 6mm craft foam to add the detail to the sole, make and attach the vault symbols, and paint on all the wee details and cell shading.

One of these days I'll start on my actual costume (hopefully soon because I have only have two weeks left)! I have all the fabric I need, templates I made for the front and back skulls, and picked up a pattern I can mod to make the vest, I just need to quit tinkering with all my props so I can get to it!! I was WAY slowed down last week by a bout of the flu... It's so hard to motivate yourself to be all creative when you're sick.

Next time, I'll have another update on my progress (as I really need to make some between now and then), and my very first non-cosplay tutorial that can also be used for cosplay - I'm using the technique on Gaige for sure, but it's also great for personal use or gift making - stay tuned to find out what it is!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Ottawa Comiccon Convention Report!

Hey peeps, welcome and thanks again for reading! I know it's still less than peanuts in internet land, but I'm OVER 2000 PAGEVIEWS! It's just nice to know that there are people out there reading my work. I had extra traffic over the last month, but I'm pretty sure it was just Halloween costume advice hunters - hey, if you pulled one off, let me know and send some pics, I wanna see them!

After the race - we did it!
So the Rattle Me Bones race went well! I managed to scrape together the hubby's Batman costume, the cowl was far from perfect, but he was totally recognizable, which is the best I could do with two days notice (working 12h of each of those days, no less). I had a blast running in costume, though the cold took its toll (especially when the wind picked up and rain got started), and having people actually cheer me on by name was a bonus (you know, because my name IS Robin). I surpassed my fundraising goal by a generous amount - $334.50 total! And in the end, I finished in 1:14, which was a little disappointing, first because my goal was 1:10, and second because a few minutes after crossing the finish line I saw the clock was at 1:13, so I thought I had made it! My only consolation was that when I mapped the run after the fact, I discovered that the race route was actually 10.43km.  Oh well, at the end of the day, all I can do is train to do better next time! Speaking of next time, we signed up for another half marathon for next May - yes, I'm crazy, but it's that much more motivation to keep up my running and get into better shape!

So this is where I was going to post all about my progress, but I have a LOT to talk about, so I'm going to keep that for my next post, otherwise I'll end up being over 5000 words! I'm definitely not even close to being finished, but I have been working hard!

How easily distracted am I? Back on track with my Ottawa Comiccon Con Report - disclaimer: this WILL be photo heavy, and almost none of them are mine, but I will be linking directly to the source where possible. If I posted one of your photos and you would like it taken down, please let me know by email.

So it was a drizzly May day when at 6:00am I rolled out of bed to whip myself into shape to hit my first ever convention. This was OCC's second year, though I had missed last year's convention as I was out of town for a wedding. We decided to go on the Saturday in case we were able to get in on the masquerade, and because I wasn't available for the whole weekend, and Saturday is usually the most action packed.  I had been up to at least 2:00am finishing up last minute this and thats for my Moxxi costume, so I was thankful that I had full face makeup to cover my icky eye bags from not sleeping enough.  By the time I finished putting the finishing touches on my face, the hubby had rolled out of bed and was slowly pulling his costume together. We headed out nice and early (around 8:00am), doors opened at 10:00am, but last year the hubby had arrived only one hour early, and the lineup had been WAAAAAY around the side of the building in the sweltering sun and heat, so we wanted to beat the worst of it. Thankfully, this year the organizers had the forethought to set out a large tent with snaking line to keep everyone out of the drizzle and protected from any sun which may have decided to shine on us.

First photo of the day - Courtesy of Shadoswipe
The wait wasn't too bad, we were able to get a look at several awesome costumes along the way, and chatted with a nice brony and his cousin who were in line behind us while I did my nails. Being out of the drizzle was nice (even though my hair was already ruined) and by the time we made it inside the precipitation had cleared and it was just cloudy.

Ambushed in line by the photog for Audrey's
Inside the convention it was CROWDED, there were so many people, and apparently a lot of Borderlands fans, as the hubby and I were stopped just about every five steps by people wanting to take our picture. Our first stop was the Masquerade table, I had been considering pre-registering, but wasn't sure the costumes would be finished in time. I wasn't too hopeful as we came up to the table (the website had made it sound like space was very limited and VIP pass holders had been in for an extra hour already) but there were plenty of spaces open, and the masquerade staff were super helpful in getting our background music ("Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant of course) off my phone and on to their computer in spite of the strict "bring your own CD" rules on the website (remember, I wasn't sure there would be space left, so I hadn't bothered making a CD). Once we were all signed up, we wandered!

Like this!
The exhibitor area was well set up with decent sized aisles and a LOT of businesses and artists to check out. We wandered slowly through the tables looking at this and that. The hubby collects various action figures and memorabilia from his favourite video games, so we had plenty to peruse for all the toy/comic shop booths, and we had a solid look through all the t-shirt vendors stuff as well looking for shirts that met our criteria - we both love showing off our video game love, but hate shirts that literally have the name of the video game plastered all over it. On our second walk through, he ended up picking up a fab Bioshock Infinite Songbird shirt we'd seen on the first pass but wanted to check out the competition before committing. They also had a pretty sweet skyhook shirt he had wanted, but they were all out of his size.

I was overwhelmed by the awesome stuff available in Artist's Alley, the level of craftsmanship from many of

Badass TF2 Group - Awesome Photo by Jason Walton
the artists, awesome steampunk stuff, neat prints, and all kinds of different jewelry and accessories! Some of the best things along the way were the legitimate armour display, the steampunk society's booth (and the awesomely costumed people within), the 501st display with all their amazing replicas, seeing the original Batmobile, the badass group of TF2 cosplayers we kept running into, an enormous collection of Daleks (I'm not even a Whovian, they're just super neat!), and just all the amazing costumes and people along the way. In the end I didn't actually end up buying anything, I just soaked it all in while random people stopped us to take pictures - it happened all the time, like every five steps, all over the place, way more than I anticipated. Heck, there were even points where we ended up stopping traffic because one person would ask for a shot, and suddenly five more jumped in to get their own. Considering the fact that the hubby hates having his pic taken, he was a great sport about all of it, and only snapped twice, once while the party requesting the photo was being super impatient while he was in the process of paying for something, and once when we had just gotten lunch and were clearly out of character and carrying food. We picked up lunch at one of the little café things built into the venue, chicken sandwiches (with real chicken breast), cactus chips, and an iced tea which came to about $15 if I recall correctly, which is really not bad for event food.

Sad blurry/off angle pics!
Dr. Zed stole a buzzaxe
After lunch we were wandering again when we ran into a few members of one of the Borderlands groups that had been floating about (we'd locked eyes, waved, winked etc. each time we passed eachother before that point), and they latched on to us saying they had a few MORE Borderlands cosplayers gathered, and were trying to do a group shot. So we followed along and got a massive picture of the group of us (Hubby and I, Lilith, Gaige, Maya (Zeveelia), Salvador, Axton, Roland, Jack, Daisy (Demelaa), another Dr. Zed, Tannis (Ailyse), and a psycho). Sadly, despite the fact that I SAW a few people with decent SLRs in the HUGE CROWD of people who gathered to get a shot of our awesome looking group, I only found blurry pics and crappy angle pics (sad face). If you happened to be at Ottawa Comiccon and caught a picture of our Borderlands group, PLEASE let me know. That said, I made my first few cosplay "contacts" through the group (Maya and Daisy are now Lilith and Tiny Tina), and we're looking at doing a Borderlands group photoshoot with a proper photographer at the next OCC if I don't have to work the whole weekend.
Better look at some of the awesome peeps! Not sure where I found the first, others at!
Shortly after that, it was time to head to the green room for Masquerade prep, photos, and pre-judging! Being my first con, first cosplay, and first masquerade, I was totally unprepared for a few things. Firstly, we were told to report to the green room for 3:30pm, but weren't aware that once there, we were unable to leave. If we had known this in advance, we would have brought some snacks and diversions along - oh well, the things you learn! The Den Parents were really nice and great sources of information and inspiration, and the photographer (Jocelyn/Belziir Photography) was really nice and professional, and did a fantastic job considering he wasn't permitted to use flash due to the green room being backstage from the main panels. While we waited we were able to listen in on the stuff going on onstage (the Burt Ward/Julie Newmar panel was going on when we first arrived, followed by Michael Shanks, who is awesome). The sound wasn't great, but it was still nice. We also chatted with a bunch of the cosplayers who were waiting, some who we'd met in line, others who were stuck sitting by us, and one who I discovered afterward I'd seen posting on Coscom!
Amazing shots from Belziir! Get a closer look over on my dA -
I also borrowed a hot glue gun from a Jackie Estacado cosplayer during this time to fix my belt buckle, which had come loose, and before that even, I owe a big thankyou to the ladies at the Audrey's Costume Castle booth for gifting me with the duct tape necessary to save my beautiful big blue and yellow button, which kept trying to fall off.

Pre-judging was a little nerve wracking, as I was not sure what to expect, so when I was asked the question "what did you make" I verbally vomited the contents of my last 21 days and explained almost every detail in about 25 seconds. I'm sure I missed important things, but the judges (Melting Mirror, Suzie of Suki Cosplay, and Lucy of Cats_Luna Cosplay) seemed impressed enough, and we found out the next day that our costumes were selected for a Craftsmanship Award for "Best Use of Paint!" Because by now you should know my philosophy - if it isn't perfect, PAINT THE CRAP OUT OF IT!

We were given a brief explanation of the process (waiting points, time limits, introductions/music) before a quick stage walkthrough (not practice, just walk across the stage, observe the best lighting points, see the clock that will be counting down) and then left to our own devices again as the crowd filed into the room. Since I had previously had no idea what a "walk on" really was, or that there was a 30 second time limit involved, the hubby and I took this time to establish a general strategy and discussed possible poses, actions, etc. In the end, 30 seconds feels like FOREVER when you're up there, but passes in no time at all while watching, and after I found a video posted months later (thank you Robert Christian!), I was pretty satisfied with the outcome!

Feel free to watch the whole thing, but we're on from 11:07 to 11:49

The masquerade itself ran pretty smoothly, we were able to watch on the monitors
From Just Push Play - Makes me giggle every time!
backstage until our den was on deck, then moved through the waiting stages until it was our turn.  I really enjoyed watching everyone else, seeing what they came up with for their walk ons and skits, and checking out the different stage techniques, and had an AWESOME time on stage strutting around and exuding as much Moxxi attitude as I could manage! As soon as we finished, that was it - we were hungry and tired, and as much as I wanted to stick around to watch the rest of the show, people said the video would be posted online (so I could see it anyway), the hubby was done, and we were out!

Some things I didn't take advantage of were any of the panels we weren't backstage for (I didn't take the time to plan in advance as Julian said they were never able to get in last year). I managed to catch the Jewel Staite panel with Nathan Fillion and Summer Glau (via Skype) on Youtube courtesy of Con Junkies (before all the panel videos were pulled down for legal reasons), which was awesome.  Next year I plan on having a pre-orchestrated list of panels I mean to attend, and boo to the hubby if he doesn't want to come with. We also didn't do ANY of the photo ops or signature things as I didn't feel like spending money just to meet a celebrity (even though there were some pretty awesome people available). I might consider it next year if there's anyone I just can't resist, but I can't think of anyone specicfic off the top of my head.

Our pair shot from the photo booth - love it!

Overall, Ottawa Comiccon was an awesome experience, and I'm definitely looking forward to OCC 2014, especially if the costumes I have planned come to reality. The convention felt well organized, the masquerade ran smoothly, and the exhibitors were awesome.  My ONLY complaint (aside from the crowding, but that's just the way a large event with a big draw works) was that we never got the certificate from our masquerade award, even though we were told it would be mailed if we couldn't make the awards ceremony (which we couldn't, as I was working on the Sunday). I've sent emails, but never heard anything back. For my first time in cosplay I had a fantastic time, and was really overwhelmed with all the positive feedback from the people we met along the way, and ALL THE PICTURES - SO many people asked us, and it was a lot of fun scouring the internets looking for decent snaps of us. I think my final total found was about 40 (not all awesome, but all pictures of us) though I'm certain there are more floating out there somewhere (if not in some dusty corner of someone's hard drive or SD card).

Voila, that ends the saga of Moxxi, Dr. Zed, and Ottawa Comiccon 2013! Sooner or later I'll be updating Moxxi for a proper photoshoot, but Gaige is kinda drawing all my attention at the moment (ERMAHGERD ERNLEH 30 DERHS TER GER!!!) Next time - a bunch of progress on my Gaige stuff, and I will be posting my first ever NOT (directly) COSPLAY RELATED TUTORIAL! It's goona be a "gooder" so stick around and you shan't be dissappointed (disclaimer: if you're disappointed, there is no legal action to be taken, and I might laugh just a little). Oh, and if you're looking for my Moxxi and Dr. Zed tutorials, there's a full list of tutorials in a wee box over --> on the right hand side of the page!