Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I'm terrible at being regular about this. Probably because I write all day and get kind of burnt out on it. But I'll give some updates.

One because Halloween is just around the corner, I've been working on a costume. I made a cute lolita-inspired dress so I can be a broken doll.
(I'll post pics later.)

My mom also got me a used serger that she got for making a baby outfit for someone. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet but...I also have to remember how they work. :/


Pidge Cosplay


I got the fabric and the legging pattern may be a bit too small. I'm praying that the spandex compensates. Although...we all may live to regret that. LOL.

Apartment Complex

I've been working on re-organizing my apartment so I have more room to work in and can have people come over. Still trying to figure out a system for my project storage. I have a lot of backburner things in giant plastic tubs. It's kind of tough.

Financial Pressure

Things are a bit tight since that new car. I'm also most likely not getting a raise this year so I trying to find a way to make money without having to get a 2nd job. I'm also taking an online course on finding your passion. Looking back at my last creative burst, it was July during Staycation. :( That explains a lot.

She BAKES!

I'm also learning how to make bread. I can make Challah and Hawaiian Sweet Roll bread pretty well. Learning how to make meringue too. It's tough.

Trouble Brewing

My VN has a wiki now! Trouble Brewing Wiki, right here.
It has my progress report on that. I'm trying to be consistent with it but by aforementioned financial struggles, job stress and the whole re-organizing project has gotten me pretty down and exhausted and depressed. I try to write the VN now and again because it can be therapeutic, but it's getting hard to do that. I am starting to look for assistance on this project. I have some plans.

Right now, I'm taking some time to improve my situation which does cut into creative time.
I'm trying to publish my story that I wrote like 7 years ago. I just have lost a lot of confidence in my creative work. I'm sure it's because of my depression which magnifies my problems to unreasonable levels and make me less fun to be around. It sucks and I wish I wasn't this way. I wish it was just me being a whiny drama queen looking for attention (which is how I think I come off to people when I complain about my depression or seem to be using it as an excuse). I wish I could just flip a switch and cheer up. The reality is that depression is different for every person. And it is an epidemic for my generation. I've been in therapy for a year now. I am making progress.

So pray for me if you think of it.
Thank you.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Voltron Paladin Pidge - Day 01

So I've flushed hours of my life on Pinterest, scoping out different things necessary for this project.
Today, I've purchased the spandex and the patterns I need to make the top and bottom of the jumpsuit. I decided that because the costume is "cut in half" by a belt that wearing a jumpsuit would be unnecessary and uncomfortable. I did that for my Halo cosplay...but that was when I was younger and more foolish. Look, PANTS.

I was planning on making just a turtleneck shirt and pants then draw on the seam lines. But then I was like...wait...those are Princess Seams. Those are seams used for a SLIMMING effect. In order for that shirt to be FITTED AF, it'd have to be real princess seams. And if using seams for the shirt, I can't just do regular leggings. It took some snooping but I found a good patter. I'm gonna SHARE because I'm NICE like that.

The ones I'm using personally are these McCall's Activewear patterns:
I picked these patterns because I didn't feel like using my printer paper. You can see my rabbit hole of pin research on this board:
I did also buy the PDF pattern for the Sloan pants...I'm using the waistband media pocket idea...because that's brilliant!

So. Phase 1 will begin once all my supplies are delivered. We'll have a turtle neck fitted shirt and gloves plus leggings with added stirrups.

Gains and Losses

So I took a Staycation the first week of this month and used it to buy a new car and work on some projects.
I did gain some weight back but I'm already down again and heading toward the next goal: 140 lbs or less. (As of today I'm 144!)

Loss of Weight

When I started the weight loss program I was 157 lbs and creeping ever closer to an unhealthy 160. My first goal was to get down to 150 lbs. It took about 6 weeks of dieting and hardly any exercise to do that. Once I reached that I wanted to go for another 5 lbs. It took another 5 - 6 weeks but I did get down to 145 for a total loss of 12 lbs in about 12 weeks. Which is what I wanted. Losing about 1 lb a week. 

At one point I did start doing some arm toning exercises, but I fell off the bandwagon because my weights were too heavy and I hurt myself. One of these days I'll go get 3 lb weights and ease back into the 5 lbs. 

The weight loss was a personal goal but also prompted by a desire to get back into cosplay and not feel too uncomfortable in some of the tight outfits I have planned. 

Loss/Gain of Car

This was a struggle. It was my first time buying from a dealership instead of a relative. I also had to trade in the car I'd been driving for the past 8 years. It came with me from Michigan. I traded in the Toyota Avalon for a 2016 Toyota Corolla...a much smaller, less powerful car. But it's new. And red!
I call her Epona

Gain of a Pony



I put the head on! Well I re-did the head completely first (save for the ears and horn). And then hand-sewed all the parts to the body! Now all it needs is a mane and tail and my FIRST pony plushie will be done. The head is still not my favorite looking, but that's kind of what you get when you mix and match patterns. But Loyal Defender doesn't look too bad. And I totally cheated and printed his cutie mark on some quilt batting. I'll definitely be doing that for a few cutie marks for other ponies...except on felt. 

Visual Novel Progress/Gain of Off-brand Cintiq

So, I have had a 13" Cintiq for 6 - 7 years now. I've been spoiled and can't go back to an intuos or pen tablet. Now the brightness and color don't nearly match my current monitor plus I have to turn down the resolution a lot. After some research I found one of the many off brand pen monitors and found one that was 1) much larger and 2) equivalent in specs to mine. I just got the new one today and haven't set it up. But it's big...and beautiful. I got some art gloves too so I don't sweat all over this one. 
But should this pan out, I'll have a Cintiq for sale...for an equivalent price for which I bought the competitor brand. (I spent nearly $1000 on my tiny cintiq and spent more than half of that for a larger one.) 

Also in that time I made huge progress in my visual novel project Brewing Trouble which I've been working on for about a year. I got all the main crew's first draft sprites done. 







 

For now I'm just plugging away at writing the thing. I've finished the prologue and pre-choice portions. (By finished I mean drafted and programmed. Still plenty of editing to do.)
I'm half-way through the common route (which occurs automatically if a certain parameter is not met.)
I'm also putting together a wiki for it.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Progress by Inches...literally

Exciting day. I've lost 12 lbs of weight and I have noticed that I'm slimming down. I'm working on toning my arms now but I feel like I'm in a good place. I'm going to continue striving to get my weight down but spandex IS on sale this weekend, so before the 5th I intend to re-measure myself and figure out how much fabric I need for the Jumpsuit...which will be stirrup pants and a turtle neck.

The only "hurdles" right now are a) I'm also trying to buy a car this week so I expect to be emotionally drained. b) My laptop battery isn't charging so I'm waiting on a new charger. (2nd one for this particular laptop.) And c) Steam Summer Sale. FML. I expect to be gaming a lot. AND sewing plushies.

I finished the body for Loyal defender and wings and redid the head. I actually am at the point where I need to sew the head to the body. ...Oh and sew the ears and horn on too. Then make a mane pattern. Then I'll have my big pony plush pillow. ^^

Also have to put a mane and tail on Willow.

I have only one week of vacation...it's not long enough.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Voltron Paladin Pidge - Day 00

Heh...so I've spent awhile in the ol' planning phase for this. And in that time some of the folks I enjoy watching on YouTube have made builds.
EvilTed also provided a (currently) free pattern for the helmet. >_> Which I've downloaded along the with the other one I purchased. -_- Just my luck right? Anywho...as promised back in March I made lots of doodles and plans. Other than Evil Ted and Punished Props I've tried to avoid YouTube tutorials. While I like guidance on some things, I always want to figure it out myself first. 

Helmets I've never had luck with...at least no luck finishing. I've had my Inquistor helmet patterned for years but no motivation to finish it. :( Poor Dalish Inquisitor and DA:I Alistair. You shall be avenged...I mean completed. Just Not today. 

BING BING...so one of my "pre-reqs" for starting this costume was to lose weight. The good news is I made my first goal of getting down to 150 lbs. Goal 2 is getting down to 145 lbs. I should meet that by the end of the month if I stop eating these cookies I baked. (I am my own worst enemy.) I have noticed clothes fitting better and my tummy not sticking out as much. Mostly dieting now, but soon I suppose more exercise will be needed. 

I was also at JoAnn's not long ago and gazing dreamily at the cosplay fabric section. They do have stretch vinyl in white. But I was not there for costume fabric...but plushie fabric. I have to stay focused. 

My creative gears shift a LOT and randomly. Which is why I surround myself with so many projects. They take forever to finish but it is currently how I work. It's not the best and I wouldn't recommend it but the ebb and flow of my creativity and distractions has been fluctuating wildly. 

The post is also starting to meander...so here are the sketches. Feel free to borrow from them or improve them. They're just sloppy break-downs of how the armor looks in the show. And also a frustration with the mother-ducking arm armor. DAMN YOU CARTOON LOGIC!!!

My first sketches. The arm joins already a mystery.

Under Armor, lots of messy notes, first idea for the elbow joint. Later abandoned.

More on the arm based on screenshots. Still WTF about the elbow. Also shopping list.


These are rough and I'll probably be refining them to be of better use. I feel rather impressed by my idea for the shoulder pads. Thanks to my 80's instincts. :P
Actually most of the "colored" joints I plan on attaching directly too the under armor. Which should in turn help support the other armor pieces.

The main material planned is EVA foam wrapped in stretch vinyl. But plans can change. ;) Until later...toodles!

I'm sewing ponies again

I'm the worst at updating. But summer's coming and for some reason that seems to be getting me into my creative groove again.

So I think it's almost been a year but I'm still working on my Pony OC plushies. I'm happy to say that I've finished the first "body" of a pony. She still needs a mane and tail, but here's Willow Wisp.




The wings are velcroed on so I can interchange them with open wings. The eyes and cutie marks were hand embroidered. ...Yeah...I have to find a better way to do that. 

And luckily  I think I have. I found a video that suggested printing on felt which is something I may try. (I did an experiment on batting and it worked decently well.) Which will help speed up the process on other ponies. Seriously, hand embroidering make-up eyes...So much work. 

I've taken apart my old Rough Edges pony and recut him in proper minky. He's the other one I had nearly finished but now I have to start over with. :P 

Also new is I decided to make a GIANT lifesize plushie or two based on a laying down pattern. I got one head done. 
It's flarkin' huge. BUT I learned a NEW technique for eyes using applique methods and oddly enough it's a bit easier when the pattern is bigger. I need to fix the head a bit because it's too oblong/back heavy. Luckily, I know how to correct this. (I also put one of the eyes in a bad spot. I hope to adjust and fix how that looks too...but it might be trickier.)

The head should give a good indication for about how big the darn thing will be. I will have 2 ponies at this size. A Stallion and a Mare. 

I hope to correct the stallion head and get started on the body this weekend. And maybe one day I'll finally bust out my airbrush and put the 5 o'clock shadow on the other stallions I have planned. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Free Advertising for Kamui Cosplay

So I usually buy Kamui Cosplay's books when they come out. I find them very helpful and since I get PDF versions, fairly priced.

The newest addition is about sewing. As much as I'd like to think I'm old hat when it comes to sewing, I can always learn something new.

For me, the fabric reference alone was worth the price. Deciding what fabric to use is my challenge.

Although to be fair...sergers while great, totally optional. Just more work sure but yeah.
They have a section on making leggings which I'll be doing in my next cosplay.
The book helped me decide between Lycra (spandex) or Jersey knit. I LOVE my jersey knits recently as I've a bunch of it around for clothes I wanted to sew. (But never got around too yet.)

She carries the books of other authors as well of which I also usually purchase.

 For those who care...on my virtual bookshelf I have:

  • The Book of Cosplay sewing (new!)
  • Advanced Painting – Airbrush & Weathering
  • The Book of Cosplay Lights
  • The Book of Cosplay Painting
  • The Book of Armor Making
  • The Book of Prop Making
  • Foamsmith: How to Create Foam Armor Costumes
  • I'll probably get the sewing for beginners too. 

In other news...working on selling my dining room table so I can have my craft space back...and a place to put my sewing cabinet. 

Diet so far...no gain or loss, still going. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Voltron Paladin Pidge - Day 0

So after watching the newest remake of Voltron and LOVING the paladin armor, one of the first thoughts I had after watching the show was..."I have to cosplay this."

I've been holding off the "official start" for the project as I've been deep into researching and planning. And for awhile I wasn't sure which paladin to choose.

Ended up with Pidge because green is my favorite color of the current color palate. And the only official female on the team.
Downside is...all the characters (save for Hunk) are way skinnier than I am. Another reason I've held off cosplaying for awhile is I've got too much gut and Spanxx can only hold so much for so long before becoming very painful. 

So phase 1 is weight loss.  I want more energy which the extra 20lbs I carry around is not helping with. SO...no it's not JUST the costume that's prompting the weight loss, but it's a nice motivation.

I've done a lot of break-downs of the costume itself (I'll post sketches soon). So I have plans set at least and the beginnings of a supply list.

Under Armor

The plan for the underarmor is to make my own leggings and shirt.
  • Charcoal Lycra
  • Foss Shape for the shoulders
  • Craft Foam for elbows, knees and shoulders
  • White Vinyl to cover the joint pads
  • Matte Green Paint for the joints and other parts of the armor
  • Black Fabric Marker for the Linework (got)

Helmet

Using the basic helmet pattern provided on EvilTed's site. It's the exact shape I need. (Yisssss!)
  • EVA Foam Thick (got)
  • Contact Cement (got)
  • Craft Foam (got)
  • Plasti-Dip (Got)
  • PET-G Plastic (got)
  • EL Wire (got somewhere...)/EL Tape*
  • Aqua Blacklight paint
  • White Paint matte
  • Green Paint matte
  • Light Blue/Green/Smoke tint for visor*
* These are optional or stretch features.

Chestpiece

Supplies needed
  • Same as Helmet
  • Painters Tape for detailing

Limb Armor

I still need to figure out what I want to make these out of. I feel like Craft foam should be enough but I may need to use worbla or thicker EVA foam.
  • Needs Research
  • Duct tape casts of my limbs
  • Worbla/Foam + PlastiDip?
  • Same paints as helmet

Shoes

OMG shoes.

  • Boat Shoes (for a base)
  • Eva Foam (for the sole)
  • White Vinyl
  • Aqua paint for the heel of the sole. 

Belt

I'm most likely going to attach this directly to the top of my pants.

  • White Vinyl
  • Craft Foam
  • LED light*
  • Blue paint
  • White Matte Paint
  • Grey Matte Paint 

 Bayard

The little weapon thing. This will need some research too. 
  • Research LED lighting
  • Styrofoam/Carving Foam

Tools that I got

  • Dremel
  • Drill
  • Air Brush System
  • Respirator
  • Sewing Machine

Tools I need

  • New Blades...box cutter style!


Monday, January 9, 2017

Thoughts about Visors and Reimagining Tali/Quarian Cosplay


Visor Thoughts

Since making my Quarian/Tali helmet two years ago (Gawd...it's been two years), I've learned quite a bit but this video...made me happy mad. Happy because it's a great resource for making a visor and mad because back in the day I had this mask and used it as a buck model for petg plastic. :( All along I could have used this chrome mirror mask, used some model lacquer tinted paint and krylon crystal clear finish. Life's not fair. But on the plus side, I share this with you should you have a visor delemna on your costume project. The video is unclear on how to tint it but in the comments I found mention of airbrush painting or laquer. So still have the same issues for coloring. 

As you may have surmised from my lack of cosplay posts that I've taken a break from cosplay for a couple of reasons.

  1. Depression the creativity killer. Just losing interest in going to cons which seems to be the only place to cosplay. 
  2. Want to lose weight. Also a problem of depression is the weight gain and my flux in body shape. Namely in my arms and chest. (I look swole and i don't even work out. LOL). It's also just a health thing. I want my arms to fit in the sleeves it used to. (My arms are really weirdly shaped right now. The sholder area is pretty small, but the tricep-bicep area is swole up and then it gets really thin on the forearm. Sleeves are a nightmare.) 
  3. Less free time with my current job promotion 
  4. Finances in recovery mode: I'm prepping for some big expenses, namely a new car. 
  5. The 400 other projects I have on the backburner. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE making costumes but it's not my only hobby. I'm also sewing plain clothes for myself, sewing plushies, learning to crochet, making games, and occasionally drawing.
I have the supplies for about 3 or 4 of my planned cosplays: a turian, King Alistair, and the Dalish Inquisitor. Some of a new Tali.

New Tali Plans

So just because I'm not actively sewing a costume doesn't mean I don't constantly plan and scheme. 
Case and point is that Tali's cosplay is a challenge I like to work with and solve for. It's fun and great for downtime at work. 

First I look at my old design and what issues it had:

  • Difficult to put on (ZENTAI SUIT!!!)
  • Too many "moving parts"
  • Took the costume too literally instead of thinking of alternatives that could provide the same look
  • Used the wrong material for many things. Cotton is not good for the veil because it doesn't drape right. I'm better at this now. 
  • Things did not stay on
Velcro and elastic have their limits. So I've gone ahead and tried to reimagine how I would approach this project differently. This is still ME1 Tali. Later versions are easier to cosplay oddly enough. :P 

  • Instead of a zentai suit, leggings and a snug long sleeve shirt work better. The Belt of the bottom part works to "hide the seam" of the shirt meeting the pants. Also yes, tucking that shirt or potentially leotard into the pants. Probably just shirt, I don't want going to the bathroom to be a hassle.
  • For the bandeau, instead of being a completely separate part, sew it directly onto the shirt. 
  • For the purple shorts, again sewing them right onto the pants. Same with the belt make the pouches a permanent fixture as well.
  • Attach belts directly to the shirt as well. 
  • For the brown sleeve thingy, replace the sleeve of the shirt instead of making it a glove. Make the bullet pack on the shoulder a permanent fixture. 
  • Make a cloth neck corset/dickey instead of using craft foam. Use shiney spandex.
  • Paint mesh pattern instead of using netting. 
  • Use more duct tape to build up the feet. 
  • Make the shin covers one piece intead of 2, similar to a forearm gaurd. Perhaps make with thick foam instead of worbla.
  • Use a properly draping fabric for the veil like Lycra or knit fabrics.
  • Paint the pattern for the swirls instead of purchasing.