Or further tips for the thrifty costumed caperer.
Lord Baron Von Partyfoul and The League of Evil
I survived my weekend of villainy, only to be struck down by an unknown malady. Curses! Now that I seem to have made a recovery, I shall continue this tale. Continue Reading…
Okay, I’m back! I spent last week down visiting the storied Grandma, down in North Carolina. I thought I’d be able to wrangle out a post while I was there, but as is often the case, my ambition and reality didn’t align. C’est la vie.
While I didn’t get any writing done, I did do a lot of plotting…nefarious plotting.The Mister and I have decided to turn to a part-time life of villainy (this may or may not coincide with a pubcrawl next week). As most of our dastardly plans revolve around making a public spectacle of ourselves (such is the wont of supervillains) we find ourselves in need of some dramatic costumes. Otherwise people might mistake us for regular villains. Or drunken louts. One of the two. Maybe both. Continue Reading…
ne is for neko
I am going to apologize in advance. As I have mentioned, the Mister and I will be moving off to Japan for a year. I’m not going to lie, I think this is super freaking exciting. I’ve always wanted to live abroad for a while. There is probably going to be an abundance of OMG I’M MOVING TO JAPAN!!!! posts transitioning somewhere into OMG I’M IN JAPAN!!! (with a brief interlude when I’m too crazy and stressed because I’m actually moving.) So this is probably the first, but not last, Japanese themed posts. You’ve been warned.
In the four months or so left until the move, I’ve decided to start learning a bit of Japanese.
Having made this decision, I immediately floundered at where to start this quest. While I have no illusions about becoming anything close to fluent, I thought it would be nice to be armed with at least some basic speaking and reading skills. Herein lies the difficulty. The Japanese writing system is complex to say the least. Continue Reading…
Besides this being the time of year when everybody gets sick, this is also the time of year that I start to go a little crazy. As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of cold weather, and by late January, early February I am very tired of winter. I’m tired of it being freezing outside, and I’m tired of being indoors all the time. Almost more than anything, I hate everything being gray and gloomy. I seriously start to get depressed without regular sunshine and by this point it feels like it’s been months since I’ve really seen the sun. Perhaps this doesn’t bode well for my move to northern Japan, but I’m hoping it’s at least sunnier than winter in Maryland.
Every year, these grey doldrums spur me to wage my own personal campaign against winter indoors. Primarily, I have a collection of house plants that I nurse through the cold months and periodically add to their ranks. Green things are good company in the dull winter months. They don’t smell funny, make as much noise as the kitties or Mr. Boy, or judge my singing (that I know of). Continue Reading…
I’m a bit of a packrat crossed with a magpie. I collect all sorts of little odds and ends. Over the years, I’ve managed to curb most of these tendencies, but one thing that remains a great weakness is fabric remnants. Every time I go to the fabric store I am compelled to beeline to the remnant bins and rifle through those half-price goodies. I know I don’t need them, but how can I resist? It’s like a treasure hunt and it’s rare that I walk away empty handed. These frivolous purchases have come to make up a large portion of my fabric collection. I suppose if I was a quilter it would all be perfectly justifiable, but I’m not and I refuse to be. (I’m pretty sure it would spell certain doom for me and the livable space in my apartment if I had that kind of excuse to buy fabric.) Luckily I’ve become quite skilled at coming up with other uses (excuses) for my ever growing collection. Most often I channel this into one of my sewing favorites, all manner of bags.
Last year I started making these particular little lined drawstring bags. They aren’t anything new or amazing concept-wise, but they are pretty cute, easy to make, and don’t require much fabric. Perfect for using up those remnants and fat quarters.
I also think this is a good way to practice hand sewing, if you’re into that sort of thing. Despite the fact that I own three sewing machines, sometimes I just want a good hand sewing project. I find it pleasant and calming. And sometimes I get struck by unbearable envy of little Japanese women who hand sew everything, and it’s all disgustingly cute.
If you don’t like hand sewing you can whip these little bags up lickety-split with a sewing machine (less than half an hour if you are on good terms with your machine). Either way I think this is a good beginner sewing project. They are cute, easy, fun, and also make nice little reusable gift bags. Continue Reading…
Last week I agreed to update my poor neglected blog if my little sister updated her neglected photography. Much to my dismay, she had updated within five minutes of said agreement. So here I am, completing my half of the bargain. Recently I have designated Sundays my “experiment” day of the week. A couple of weeks ago, confronted with the remnants of an ill advised lemon purchase and a bunch of leftover ginger for stir-fry, I decided to attempt making ginger beer. It combines three of my favorite things: efficient use of resources (a.k.a. getting rid of leftovers), new projects, and SCIENCE! Continue Reading…
It seems like everybody is getting sick lately. Despite my efforts to avoid it, Mr. Boy managed to give me his head cold, icky crud. It’s that lame kind of in-between sick where you feel like crap, but not bad enough to stop you from feeling guilty about taking a day off. I feel like I should be working, but my brain feels all blurry and my face is full of mucus. I finally decided I probably shouldn’t work, because I don’t really want to make germ filled plushies. I just imagined my innocent little creatures going out into the world like so many tiny small pox blankets.
My guilt being assuaged, I decided to fill the gaps between napping sessions by continuing to fill my moleskine sketchbook. Since my attention span is a bit short right now, I’m filling a page with tiny little 2.25″ square drawings. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet, but I am still quite in love with my new markers. It doesn’t take much encouragement for me to break them out and doodle. Even if I don’t feel like doing anything else.
Anyways, Mr. Boy said something about a “chibi Hellboy” and somehow I ended up with Hellboy chumming it up with an octopus. I’ll pretend it’s because I’m sick. Then I tried a self-portrait. I didn’t mean for it to look like I was disgusted at the mushy cephalopod friendship above. It turns out it’s somewhat difficult to draw yourself disapproving of your own hair cut. (I got pissed off at my bangs the other day and because I’m a cheapskate, I trimmed them myself. I have sort of “seventies, Farrah Fawcett” bangs as my friends kindly informed me. I suppose it could have turned out worse. I could have ended up with a Flock of Seagulls do.)
Now I have four more little squares to fill up. Instead of coming up with the rest of them on my own, I’m offering up some little mini commissions. Judging by the duration of Mr. Boy’s illness, I’m going to be at this for a couple of more days at least. So for the low, low price of only $5 you can tell me what to draw in my little book for the rest of the week. If you are interested you know where to find me.
I think it’s about time I go back to sleep on the cat. And I swear the next post won’t have anything to do with markers. For reals.
A couple of weekends ago, I decided to venture into Baltimore to witness the event that is Otakon. For the unaware Otakon is a large annual convention for fans of anime, manga, video games and the associated culture. There are lots of fun events, artists, and vendors of all manner of strange wares. In essence it is a huge Otaku geekfest. Now, I’m not really an anime nerd, but I’ve never gone to one of these events and I have to admit I was rather curious what it was actually like. Last summer I happened to be passing by Otakon and the bizarrely dressed throngs of people were fascinating. The vast majority who attend Otakon dress up or cosplay as their favorite characters so it is quite something to behold. Despite Otakon being focused Eastern Asian art and culture, the variety of costumes also spreads across the rest of the geek spectrum. So, truthfully the primary reason I attended was to see all the people who turn out for this sort of thing.
Resolution at last! Often I have this overly optimistic uncluttered timeline that I think I work on. In reality, unless someone is paying me, things never get done like I imagine. I actually finished this up last weekend, but it took me a whole week to get the time to post it. I’m still figuring out this whole blog thing.
Anyways, picking up from where I left off last week, this is the exciting conclusion of my companion cube tutorial. At this point I have the six sides of my cube finished and it’s time to transform it into a 3-D shape.
Well, I have recovered enough from my grievous thumb injury and mostly caught up on work to continue on with the undisclosed project. Now for the big reveal! I am working on making a Weighted Companion Cube. Again. This is not actually the first of these I have made. Two years ago I had just finished playing Portal and was still feeling the pangs of loss over The Cube. In my grief I decided to make an effigy for Mr. Boy. At the time I was very satisfied and even made a crude tutorial.
Now it has recently been announced there will be a Portal 2!! My inner fangirl went squee and decided I must make a new and improved homage to the beloved cube. And so we are brought to the present.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let Wikipedia enlighten you or better yet, go play the game. In short, Portal is a delightful first person puzzle game and the Cube is part of it. It’s hard to understand what the fuss is about unless you have played the game, but the wiki will give you some idea what I’m making.
Now back to what I was doing…
If you would like to follow along with this project listed below are the things you will need. Just a warning, this isn’t a particularly expensive or difficult project, but it is a bit time consuming. There are a lot of little pieces to put together and it is all handsewn. It is not a quick afternoon project. Unless you are some kind of sewing wizard. I’m not quite at that level yet, but I’m working on it.
- 1 9×12″ sheet light gray felt
- 1 9×12″ sheet dark gray felt
- 1 9×12″ sheet light pink felt
- light pink thread
- light pink embroidery floss or pearl cotton
- gray thread
- polyester fiber fill (or other stuffing of choice)
- rice or plastic pellets for weight
- extra felt, fleece or quilt batting for padding
A few notes on materials: The first time I had trouble finding both colors of gray felt in the handy 9×12″ sheets so I used white and gray instead. I eventually realized the felt can also be found on bolts in the regular fabric section. A quarter of a yard is plenty for this project. If you check the remnant bins at the fabric store (usually near the cutting tables) sometimes you get lucky and find the colors you want and it’s super cheap. Another option is to buy all of it online where there is usually a greater selection all in one place.
A pattern might also be handy at this point, and luckily I happened to have made one. This pattern, left unsized, makes a cube that is 3″ big.
On to the nitty gritty!
- First off I cut all the pieces out. My pattern has the corresponding color and number of each piece conveniently marked, so I end up with 6 dark gray squares, 24 light gray corner pieces, 12 light grey tabs, 6 light grey circles, and 6 pink hearts. I also wanted to add a bit more dimenstion to my cube so I cut out extra pieces to go underneath the circles and the tabs. I have lots of fleece scraps so that’s what I used, but felt or quilt batting would work too.
- Starting with the bottom layer details, I used pink embroidery floss and the backstitch to add the lines that cross the center of the cube. The stitching doesn’t go all the way to the center or the edges since other pieces will cover those areas.
- Next the little hearts were sewn onto the gray circles using whip stitch. From here on whip stitch is what I use to sew everything together unless I state otherwise.
- Taking the padding and the just finished small circles, I carefully center and then sew them on top of the dark gray squares.
- Now comes probably the most tedious part of this whole venture: attaching all 32 corner pieces to the squares. The corners are lined up on top of the squares with the edges sticking out and sewn together where they overlap. It makes more sense if you look at the pictures.
- And that’s all for part one! Now there are six finished sides and all that’s left is putting them together and stuffing. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion sometime next week.
There’s no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying till you run out of cake