I like making costumes.
No, back that up.
I HATE making costumes.
But I love designing costumes, and I REALLY love wearing costumes. So, I make costumes. Grudgingly, painfully, and with a fair amount of blood, sweat, and tears, I make costumes.
I started out making historical or historically-based costumes, particularly from the Renaissance and Elizabethan periods.
Then I did a few Steampunk pieces. They're always fun. Loosely historical, but lots of room for modification.
Now I'm getting into Cosplay.
But, seriously, cosplay's hard. You have to be all accurate and stuff, and accuracy is not exactly my forte. So I've decided to ease into cosplay by doing crossovers.
A crossover is when you take a cosplay and modify it to fit a theme. In my case, that would be Steampunk, because, well, I like Steampunk. For example:
Jesse and Woody
Jesse and Woody
photo by Geek News Network at Wild Wild West Con II
On the left you have the original Pixar characters. On the right, you have my interpretation of them, all Wild West-ified and vaguely Steampunked. These costumes are still in progress--the shirt's being remade and the accessories are getting changed up--but you get the idea.
So now I'm playing with this idea of Steampunk Crossovers, and I've decided to tackle another one: Steampunk My Little Pony.
No, really. My Little Pony. Steampunk. Because WHY NOT.
I'm actually not alone in doing this. There's a whole group of "steamponies" that will be at Steampunk World's Fair this year. We've even got a semi-official meet and greet/photo op planned.
SO IT'S NOT JUST ME.
Anyway, I thought you might like to see some pics of the dress in progress. Here you go:
If you aren't familiar with My Little Pony, this is a costume based on Twilight Sparkle. She's very bookish, so I've gone with a Victorian librarian look.
The bustle mimics the colors in Twilight Sparkle's mane and tail. I couldn't find striped purple fabric, so I made my own. The pattern called for something like five yards of fabric, so I got two yards of three colors of fabric, which makes six yards, which, MATH, should work, right? No. MATH NO WORK THAT WAY. I was short a good yard of fabric. So I had to leave off the apron (the front of the bustle.) But that looked silly. So...
I pieced together a modified version of the apron from the scraps of fabric I had left. I still can't believe this worked.
The bustle's honestly a little small. It could have probably been another two inches around the waist. But whatevs. Once the corset is cinched it *should* be OK.
Fine, there might be a small gap.
But no one should notice.
Why are you looking at my butt???
I still have to finish the cutey marks (the designs on the pony's butt; my cutey marks were created by Dr. Brassy Steamington) and trim the underskirt... and figure out how to fit all of my hair under the wig. But it's mostly finished.
I'll post pictures of the finished costume after Steampunk World's Fair. Promise. :-)
Sometimes they're both right where you need them to be.
Fact about being a small business: Your money is always coming and going. Ebbing and flowing. Not always with the regularity of the tides, unfortunately.
Hey, want to see where I work?
Some of you may know that this is not my day job.
I would like it to be. I wish, desperately, in fact, that it was. But it is not.
I have a "Real Job" doing "Real Work" and... well, it might be simpler, really, to let the day unfold, and the story tell itself.
This day will look familiar to some of you; the story is one that some of you know. To some of you, however, it might prove educational, enlightening, even interesting. So I offer it for your amusement and edification.
A day in the life of an artisan:
I spent today working on Green Man spoons, and thought it was a perfect opportunity to walk you through How to Make a Green Man. So, here we go.
Begin by drawing a green man face. I start off by tracing the object I'll be burning on (this time around, it's a spoon) and drawing the eyes, nose, and mouth more or less in the center of that object, like so:
Steampunk Worlds Fair was AMAZING.
I risk gushing, so I will keep this as brief as I possibly can, and simply say this:
If you can get to New Jersey, any way possible, and you even *think* you might enjoy the Steampunk aesthetic, GO TO THIS EVENT.
I mean that literally, not figuratively. Bamboo is actually a fun wood to work with. But it stinks. Maybe it's just the type of bamboo I've worked with in the past. Maybe the bamboo I was using was coated in a protectant that gave off a foul stench. Or maybe time and use had given it an unpleasant scent. I don't know.
What I do know is, I've worked in bamboo four times now. And three of those times, it stank. The smell is, to me, something between a dirty wet rag and a burning water chestnut.
If you can get past the smell, though, bamboo is a novel choice to burn, extremely eco-friendly, durable, and yields quite a unique look.
Historically known as pokerwork, wood burning, fire painting, fire drawing, and even Fire Needle Embroidery, pyrography is, simply, the art of writing with heat.
I've had a few people now ask me how I make those nifty trivets with the hands on them. The short answer is, just like I make everything else. In seriousness, cork burns just like any other wood, and working with it isn't very different than any other sort of pyrography.
But what fun is an answer like that? Not much! Here, then, is the long version, broken down step by step.
Of the wood commonly sold in craft stores, balsa wood and pine are the most common and least expensive. I don’t mind working with pine, but I have come to despise balsa. This is why.
In color, balsa is brownish, whitish, or yellowish—usually all of them at once—unevenly colored, with a grayish cast. It has a small, close-spaced, speckley grain. It’s almost weightless, extremely soft, and can be put together easily using only glue.
Balsa wood is great to decoupage, since it’s absorbent enough to work with almost any adhesive. It isn’t terrible to paint, either, though the paint does tend to soak up into the wood, pale out, and bleed. Burning it, however, is a nightmare.
The wood is so light and airy that the pen will gouge deeply with the slightest misapplication of pressure or heat. If the pen is hot enough to leave a strong black line, it will also be hot enough to dent the wood. Truthfully, it's very difficult to burn this wood without carving it.
It also doesn’t yield the rich array of browns and russets that other woods will give; it burns in shades of gray. Your finished burning usually ends up looking “sooty” and dull.
Finally, it’s a fairly ugly, cheap-looking wood, so whatever areas you don’t burn black will look crusty and sickly.
My advice? If you’re looking for a wood that you can carve into, yielding an interesting raised effect, then balsa might be a good choice. Just be prepared to struggle with it a little, and treat it very, very gingerly. If you’re looking for a wood that’s cost effective, though, don’t bother. It might be the least expensive wood out there, but no matter how budget-conscious you are, you’re always better off spending a few extra cents for pine.