Monday, April 29, 2013

And then my feet were bleeding..

...The C2E2 Story.

Once upon a time on Saturday, I suddenly realised that I wasn't working on Sunday and had a whole  bunch of friends going to C2E2. Being foolish and impulsive, I decided to go (because why not, right?)  Having decided the night before, I naturally had to cram my usual several months of absolute pre-con panic into one. day.

And oh, did I manage.

All day at work on Saturday, I planned and pleaded with myself, trying to decide what to wear, what panels to attend, what time I needed to leave... It was crazy. I almost decided not to go at several points, but I am nothing if not self-sabotaging, so I eventually just bought my pass online and headed home to decide between my N7 Dress Blues (which I had almost finished) and my Sansa Stark costume (which I had yet to begin).

I arrived at home around 11pm and promptly set about.... eating cereal and watching murder mysteries with my mother. Eventually, however, I knew I needed to begin working so I.... took an hour long bath and listened to music. Seriously, though, I really needed to get to work, so I.... played Super Smash Brothers with my brother until 1am.

At 1:30, determination dwindling, I finally harassed myself into getting started. I began by trying on my dress blues, feeling hopeless, and taking instagram WiPs.

my (still) 80% complete dress blues
Around 2, I managed to lower my self esteem enough to give up on the dress blues (everyone would have thought I was from Fullmetal Alchemist anyway) and begin work on Sansa.

It was a pretty arduous process (which I will totally document later) but around 5am I came to a point of completion (complete exhaustion, that is. I had one sleeve left to do and decided that the whole thing looked stupid on me). I gave up and went to bed.

I woke up with a renewed feeling of determination. I sewed the other sleeve on, packed up my stuff, and headed out.

I misjudged how many people were going to be there, so I wasn't in the main parking lot, which I figured would be okay. And, honestly, it was totally fine. Parking lot B is about a mile away from the actual convention (including indoor walking.... jeez McCormick Place is huge) but I'm no stranger to walking, so I headed in to find my friends. I wasn't in costume at this point (partially because I didn't feel like it, partially because I was afraid of being a weird girl alone in a pretty dress at a convention, and partially because I REALLY LIKE MY STAR WARS DRESS AND I WANTED TO SHOW OFF OKAY).

Like I said, I was wearing some of the stuff from my etsy store... namely my star wars dress and my bowties are cool necklace. Oh, and some enormous gold pumps, just because. I hung around talking to artists and taking pictures of cosplayers for a while, which was totally lovely. I also met up with some friends and got a brief look at the vendors (this whole thing was such a whirlwind),


Eventually, though, I decided I really should get in costume, so I hiked the mile back to my car (this time with blisters forming on my feet from wearing such insane shoes). I hid behind my car and changed, somehow pulled together a ridiculous hairstyle using my window as a mirror, and headed back to the convention.

ridiculous hairstyle
Before I even got back in the hall, I had been asked to pose for at least five photos. I don't think anybody had any idea who I was, but that doesn't mean it didn't make me feel good. I was especially glad that I sewed giant pockets into the elbows of my dress (big enough even to hold my enormous batman clutchwallething). I'll talk more about that later, though.

I don't really know what to write about the rest of the convention. Mostly....I was in a daze. Everything seemed so huge! I realise ACen is pretty big, and it hurts me to even speculate this but.... it seemed bigger, haha. Gosh, it was just so much fun. I met some really cool people, took a million pictures, looked for the artist that Brittany and I met at STLCC, talked myself out of buying a bunch of things, and wore my feet to bleeding.

cool people :)
The whole thing was just so wonderful and it especially helped because... well, I've been kind of down lately and it was nice to remember that I'm actually really pretty GOOD at this. I don't know, maybe that's just more of what made me feel down in the first place. I promise, though, there was hardly a  second at the con where I didn't have a huge smile on my face. Er.. except when I was having my picture taken, of course. Sansa Stark smiles for nobody, haha. Seriously, though, everything was brilliant.

Honestly, the only slightly nagging bit of awfulness was my own addiction to diet coke, which drove me nearly to insanity. The entire time I was there, I wanted to buy a coke, but I was much too busy with other things to do anything but feel the my stomach's cries for aspartame. It would have been funny, if it wasn't so sad. I ended up stopping by Panera on the way home to put on real person clothes and MORE IMPORTANTLY BUY SOME DIET COKE.

Brittany, I'm sure you know my feels. 

It was also really fun to watch everyone try to work out exactly what I was supposed to be. Here is an abridged list of things people guessed:

-Princess Leyla (yep)
-A Girl Jedi

Cinderella was actually the cutest. I was waiting for some friends by the escalator when an adorable little girl came up to me and tugged on my dress. The conversation went something like this:

Little Girl: Excuse me... are you Cinderella?
Girl's Mom: No, honey, that's Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones.
Little Girl: Oh.... (looks sad) 
Nora: Oh, hey, it's okay. Sansa's kind of like Cinderella. They're both... really unhappy?
Girl's Mom: ...and wear blue dresses.
Nora: Oh! Right!

At the end of the day, it was suuuper fun, but one day was definitely not enough. Next year (yep, next year) I intend to go all three days. Brittany, I think you should probably hurry up and just move to Chicago, please.

Anyway, the whole making-a-costume-in-five-hours thing was a nice kick in the pants to get ready for ACen, since that's in a few weeks. I'm working on Hawke AND Fenris costumes, so I've got a lot on my plate right now.

I'll leave you with one last photo of my Sansa, which is my favourite picture ever taken of me ever:


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nora's St Louis Comic Con Wrapup

Brittany covered most of the con, but I will share a few things with you :)

Like she mentioned, I got there on Thursday evening. What I was expecting to be a five hour drive only took four hours, so that made my life a lot happier. I listened to this song on a loop most of the way there, which got me pretty pumped up.
My packing job. I'm pretty proud of how organized I was for this.
As soon as I got there, we went into hyperdrive. We spent most of our time working on Vanille and Lightning, because we had not made much progress on those in the last few weeks. I also finished my shield for my Assassin's Creed/Zelda costume. Most importantly, however, I met Brittany's cat :)

The next day, the convention started in the afternoonland, so we had some time in the morning to finish up Dany and Link before we went to the con. I was kind of worried that Brittany was going to panic and refuse to wear Dany, like at ACen last year, so as soon as she started worrying about her wig, I jumped into action! 

I decided to make a super terrible Viserys costume so I could run around trolling people. Also then I could take pictures and have pockets and all of those useful things that are usually impossible for me at conventions. The wig is a Jane in platinum blonde by Arda. I used a straightener to make the curls look.... lanker (oh, it hurt so much. That was a beautiful wig). I made the tunic out of a men's black tuxedo shirt that I got from Goodwill. I cut off the sleeves and painted on a crappy dragon thing in about five minutes, while I waited for the remade dragon pin (I'd already made one for Brittany, but I made a second one for me in about 45 seconds) to bake. Pants, boot covers, shirt and belt, I already owned. Easiest costume ever.

Here we are as Targaryens. 
smirkity smirk smirk

Anyway, that was crazy fun. I did a lot of trolling, leaning, and smirking. I actually liked wearing this costume a lot, it wasn't quite as comfortable as Assassin's Link, but it was really nice all the same. 

Somewhere on the internet, there is a picture of Brittany and me together, but I don't remember where I saw it so I'll just have to post it later (if I ever see it again). 

As soon as we got home from the con on Friday, we started working on Vanille and Lightning again. So many times, we thought about giving up, but sheer willpower got us to some form of completion. I think Brittany pulled it off a lot better than I did (I still need to work out like, a lot more)

totally baller
dumbest face ever, haha

Nevertheless, I'm super proud of us for finishing at all. We got almost everything done (a few minor details were off, but nobody at this convention would have known) and they were totally wearable. Obviously, if we're going to wear them to ACen, we'll have to step it up a little bit, but we're definitely on our way :)

After lunch, we decided to change costumes. We wanted to enter the costume contest, but we weren't feeling confident enough in our final fantasy gear to do that, so we decided to use Link and Dany. Brittany was really amazing, it seemed like everyone knew who she was. We even met an Aegon, like Brittany mentioned, which was totally cool. I'm pretty sure he actually won something because his costume was just so darn impressive. 

We had a really fun time there and at the after party. We met lots of people and talked costuming and drank drinks and.... it was lovely.

obligatory picture of Assassin's Link,
from the Riverfront Times
Like Brittany mentioned, we couldn't get out to the con the next day. This was pretty heartbreaking for Brittany because she had commissioned a Drogo from the artist who gave her Dany, so we basically sat and stared out the window all day, waiting for the snow to stop. Eventually, we gave up and wrote a funny Lord of the Rings adaptation and watched some weird anime and ate pancakes. All in all, it was a pretty fun day, following an amazing convention.

Next up is ACen (although, honestly, we haven't even bought our passes yet). We've got a lot planned, but whatever we do pull off, I know we'll have a blast, just like last year :)

The Brittany and Nora Best Cosplay List of St. Louis Comic Con

St. Louis Comic Con was a crazy whirlwind of awesome. We had so much fun and we saw so many amazing costumes. Here are a few of our favourites, in no particular order:

Dr Horrible and Captain Hammer. 
These guys were totally awesome. They were totally in character and the Captain Hammer guy gave us Captain Hammer t-shirts. I'd been eyeing that death ray all day, but we didn't get a picture of them until we were on our way out the door on Friday night. ^_^

These were easily our favourite cosplayers at the entire con. They made these costumes before they even knew about the con.... just for fun. Their costumes were just soooo impressive and so complicated!! Ahh, great job, you guys!!!!

Indiana Jones and Junior
These guys were so awesome. They were really nice about how everyone in the world wanted to take their picture (because come on, of course we did). I love all of their props!!

Yay Bioshock!
These girls wanted a picture of Brittany and me in our Link and Dany costumes, and I was just so impressed with theirs that we needed to take one of them too. Look at the adorable Big Daddy doll that little sister has! Adorable, girls! Er... I mean, terrifying? Bioshock!

Dr Who Group! (Dr. Whoup?)
These three (that guy just jumped in the picture, haha) were super awesome! I love that their Rory is all Centurion'd out! 

I was so excited to see them, they were so fabulous. I'd bee trying to get a good picture of them for a while so when we ran into them at lunch, I seized my opportunity. They were actually surprised I knew who they were, but HOW COULD I NOT MAGIC THE GATHERING IS THE BEST.

There were many more totally amazing cosplayers at the con, but I may need to crop myself out of a few pictures with them before I can post them online (my Vanille costume still has a long way to go, y'all). I'll post those pictures later :)


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pre-Production: Thranduil

I'm sure by now everyone has seen both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as well as the ~fabulous~ publicity photos of Lee Pace as Thranduil, the Elvenking of Mirkwood.

That's right. He's the most fabulous thing you've ever seen. Gingerhaze has kind of taken the fabulosity and flown with it, creating a series of Thranduil drawings and comics that are amazing and hilarious.

I long to be this fierce. Also, I want to wear that crown. Thus, what was originally going to be a joke costume has become...well...still a joke costume. But it's going to be well-made. And I am super excited about it.

After being extremely stressed out about finishing things for STL Comic-Con, I want to take it easy on myself before ACEN in May. I don't foresee Thranduil as being terribly difficult. First of all, I've got a pattern that I can adapt to the robe, and I found some fabric:

The crown will most likely be made out of aluminum foil covered in either PaperClay or Model Magic. No sanding required here because of the crown's texture. The red feather-like pieces remain a mystery to me, but I'll figure that out soon enough.

The only other requirements for the costume are some gigantic rings, stunner shades, and a pimp cup. BAM. Elvenking.

Wizard World St. Louis Comic-Con 2013

Apart from some minor hiccups and one small meltdown, St. Louis Comic-Con was fantastic!

My Sun and Stars arrived on Thursday night, and we immediately got to work with everything ever. Luckily, we were armed with Angry Orchard.

We spent the entirety of Friday running last-minute errands and finishing up costumes. Nora actually built an entire costume that day. But I'll let her tell you more about that experience.

We arrived at the con early Friday evening, dressed, of course, as Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen. It was a  triumph. Some of the highlights of the evening include Nora being asked if she was Tyrion Lannister, and me receiving a beautiful drawing of the Khaleesi from an artist whose name I've been furiously trying to track down (with no success, thus far).

We got home around 9:30 that night, opting to skip the Drink and Draw because we had so much work to do on our Lightning and Vanille costumes. We worked until 2 or so and then got up early the next morning to continue. I then had the aforementioned small meltdown because of my wig and other terribly inaccurate bits of my Lightning costume. But...after some convincing, I put that business on anyway, and off to the con we went. Nora spent the car ride drawing a l'Cie mark on her thigh.
our costumes aren't perfect, but we had a great time :)

We were stopped for many photos. Obviously, the con crowd had no idea just how terrible my Lightning was. There were fun times had by all, we got hit on (hey, nerd bros, just let ladies at cons be, alright?), and Nora purchased a Petyr Baelish pin because she is the worst.

I'm actually the best.

That afternoon, we changed into our Daenerys and Assassin's Link costumes, respectively, walked around some more, and then entered the costume contest, where we met some pretty amazing bros.
I got to have a Wizardtini with Aegon "The Conqueror" Targaryen, and we headed out.

Targaryens off the job
And then Sunday came, and it decided to blizzard. There was no driving into the city in that weather, so we spent the day being angry and playing Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit. We also watched some bad anime. It was pretty magical.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I did a little math the today and realised that I only have 6 non-work days before St Louis.

Then  I began panicking.

My to do list is 47 points long. I still need to lose some more weight. And six days isn't even a week. 

So instead of giving up and crying in the shower (which, believe me, was incredibly tempting) I went into hyperdrive. And now I'm ready to share with you my progress on one of my most exciting current cosplays. Link Auditore.

I saw this fanart a couple of months ago and thought it looked totally awesome. Pretty much right away, I saw a few attempts at cosplaying it, but for the most part... it was just Ezio with Link's weapons. So I decided to give it a go. 

The first thing I did was sculpt and cast the resin belt bling. I'll do a real tutorial on this at some point (when I stop being lazy). I actually did this a few weeks ago, because I was really really scared that it wasn't going to work and I would have to abandon the whole project.

And yes, that's an instagram. Instagram is where I post all my best progress pictures, so you'll probably see quite a few pictures like this. 

Anyway, once I decided I could handle the costume, I went out and bought the fabric. I'm making it green and gold, not green and red, because I don't want to look like a christmas elf (although it's causing me physical pain not to stay super true to the original design). So I got that magical fabric. And sat on that fabric for a while. And then I worked on Vanille until I suddenly realised that I either had to get into gear or give up. 

(My face when I saw how much fabric past-me had bought)

Anyway, I killed most of the sewing tonight. The hardest (most labor intensive, at least) part was the lace. Ezio has this lace on his vest that I somehow never noticed until I started working on this costume. Fortunately, I already had all the lace (I have a serious lace problem) so I just pulled that out and got to work. I started by cutting out and sewing together the coat and vest (and their linings). Before moving on, I stuck the lace on the coat.

(I guess this part is kind of a tutorial) I started by drawing lines on the fabric where I wanted the lace. Then I sewed the two small lace bits onto the fabric facing away from one another, so that it would fan out from the ribbon. All of the lace that I have is either not wide enough or WAYYY too wide, so I kind of used two pieces to make one for this. Finally, I sewed ribbon down the middle, being sure to sew in as wavy of a line as possible, because I hate myself. 

Achievement unlocked: Lace Up. 

I got the point of the hood to stick out by ironing interfacing into both the fabric and the lining of the point before sewing it together. Eventually, I'll embroider a triforce there, but for now I'm calling it quits on that. I've started doing some of the "embroidery" around the edges of the coat. 

Obviously, I don't have the time (or patience) to embroider a design around the bottom of the coat, so I've started painting one on. 

Because I'm self-sabotaging, I decided to do this free hand.

Note to self: you're an idiot. Anyway, it's been arduous, but the two sides now mostly match and I've got about half of it done. I'm way too tired to do anything more on that, so I'm just going to have to work on that tomorrow.

Also to do tomorrow, I need to finish the gauntlets. Leather is expensive, so I bought a $7 jacket from Goodwill (which turned out to be real leather!) and cut off the sleeves for my gauntlets. Then I trimmed and hemmed them and tomorrow I will be hammering grommets. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. 

(pictures of my bad sewing and how it looks on my arm kind of!!!!)

In later news, I've started serious work on my weapons for this costume. Or... the shield, at least. I used foam board for the base and now I'm building onto that with cardboard. I'm going to go over the cardboard with papier mache tomorrow to smooth it out and I might go over that with bondo or paperclay. I'm totally playing this one by ear. Progress photo: 


I'm going to bed now. I hope your night is going well, Moon of my Life. Post pictures of Lightning soon!!!! I'm super excited!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Nora's Cosplays in Progress

Or as I like to call them, "Inprogressplays"

I don't call them that. I've never called them that.

Assassin's Link: 20%
Vanille: 80%
The Doctor: 90%
Chell: 99%
Saber: 15%
Tonks: 99%
Codex: 10%
USO Girl: 60%
Batgirl: 15%
Pony: 0%
Kaylee: 99%

Anything that's at 99% means it's done, I just have a few details I want to redo or touch up.