Thursday, May 29, 2014

Where My Cosplaying All Began - Arwen

Ok, it's about time I write this cosplay up. I've been meaning to do it ever since I started this blog almost a year ago. So, here it is.

My first ever cosplay project: an elven dress to be worn to the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

It was the year 2012, and I had just gotten into The Lord of the Rings. About 6 months before An Unexpected Journey was to be released in theaters, I caught wind of the fact that Peter Jackson was turning The Hobbit into a movie -- 3 movies, in fact.

Playing Lord of the Rings music of course. ;)
At first, I was very skeptical. I wasn't sure whether this was a good idea, or if I would even want to see the movies. I hadn't even read The Hobbit yet, having heard from my older sister, Alissa, that it was just a prequel to LOTR and wasn't that great anyway. (Since then I have learned not to fully trust her judgement completely when it comes to movies and books -- we have very different tastes, needless to say. ;D)

And besides, I'd never been to a movie theater for a movie I was really looking forward to seeing -- and I could count the times I'd even been to a theater on one hand. It just wasn't something my family or friends were in to, so I just kinda went along with that.

However, after seeing the trailers and promotional material, and then finally reading the book and absolutely loving it (EXCEPT FOR THE ENDING), I became very excited to see An Unexpected Journey. VERY excited. ;D

And then eventually I came up with the idea of sewing a medieval dress, based on Arwen's "blood red" dress (from The Two Towers), and going to the midnight premiere of AUJ dressed up as an elf -- complete with the ears, of course. :D

Looking back, and even at the time, it was a rather hair-brained idea, really. I'd barely sewn anything in my entire life, let alone a medieval dress, complete with a corset back and pretty intense sleeves. However, I'm pretty crafty, and knew that if I really put my mind to it, I could do it. My older sister Alissa also offered her help if I got stuck (though she wasn't much more experienced than myself ;D).

I documented the "making of" the costume on notebook paper, drawing designs, jotting down measurements -- writing down all the developments pertaining to the cosplay's making, basically. :) And I'm so glad I did, 'cause now I have something more {than just the dress and pictures} to look back on -- especially since it was my first cosplay! ;)

So, after months of "work," I and several friends went to see An Unexpected Journey -- though not the midnight premiere. xD Due to scheduling, we ended up going to a matinee the day after it came out (Saturday) -- but we still dressed up! xD Yes, we got more than a few odd looks, as I recall. ;) We even walked through the mall in costume afterwards. It was so great. ;D

Oh, and of course, we all loved the movie. ^_^

The same peeps I went to see Desolation of Smaug with. :D (minus one) Yes, I know. The guy's wigs are hilarious xD
Then in February, for my 14th birthday, I had a LOTR themed party, and had all le friends dress up and do a little photoshoot, which is where I got most of the pictures you see here from. :)

So yes. My first cosplay was so much fun, and a great learning experience to be sure. Yes, there's alot of things I would change about the costume looking back now, but for my first cosplay it wasn't too terrible, right? ;)

And voila! That was the adventure of my first ever cosplay project, Arwen.

I feel so much better now that I finally got it posted... ;)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Question of Standards (answered with gifs)

What is a standard anyway? What does that even mean? Why do they matter?

(I'm not sure I understand the answer to this question completely. I suppose that's why I'm writing this post. Jotting down my thoughts is usually helpful for gaining insight, with God's help. Follow them, if you can...)

Well, for starters...

What can we know for sure about standards?

1) The definition of "standards." Merriam Webster's dictionary definies it as thus:
  1. Ideas about morally correct and acceptable behavior. 
  2. Something that is very good and that is used to make judgments about the quality of other things.
2) The origin of the word "standard:"

Middle English, from Anglo-French estandard banner, standard, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English standan to stand and probably to Old High German hart hard.

3) And finally, that, as Christians, we're called to a "higher" standard than the world. Ideally, a standard as high as Christ's.

And this is where everyone takes off in their own airplane.

"Huh? Why are we flying airplanes?"

Every Christian will derive their own opinions and values based on their own feelings and the Bible concerning the grey areas in our modern society, and make those beliefs their "standard" in those areas. And then take off with them. Each in their own personal "belief plane."
Because, of course, there's no way every single Christian can agree 100% on what is right and what is wrong in this day and age filled with so many grey areas that God never directly addressed in the Bible. Like, you'll never find "Thou shalt not watch Twilight" anywhere in the Bible -- unfortunately. ;)

We instead must learn what the Bible teaches, and then apply those key teachings to the particular circumstances we find ourselves facing.

However, in the midst of these varying beliefs, we can not judge.

Convictions are different for different people. Heck, me saying "heck" might bother someone because they could say it's kind of a curse word. But I'm not bothered by it, because it really isn't a cuss word.

While one person could be bothered by movies with violence in them, and thus say don't watch them because it's people harming/killing each other, another could say those movies are fine because it's all fake, and that it doesn't bother them.

The list of examples could go on and on, but I think you get what I'm saying, and I know you've experienced the collision of standards at some point in your life. It's not pleasant, to be sure. But really, it's just a part of being a Christian. There's really nothing we can do about it, but to love people and not judge them for their differing convictions.

(This doesn't mean you can't confront them about it, if you believe it is actually wrong, and you're in a position to do this. This still must be done very carefully and with love.)

In conclusion...

A standard is basically our thoughts about moral actions which we "stand hard" in. And if that is so, let us all be sure to stand very hard in them. Don't let the world pull you away from what you know to be true.

Psalm 19:14 --

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Titus 2:11-12 --

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age..."

Jeremiah 17:9 --

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"

P.S. Hope you liked the GIFs. ;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Music Spotlight: "Shatter Me"

And here is my second "Music Spotlight" post, featuring Lindsey Stirling's second instrumental dubstep violin album, which released April 29th:

After stumbling across Lindsey's insanely awesome music videos on YouTube, I became completely obsessed with her music. In case you've never heard of her, she is awesome. ;) And her new album is just as good (if not better) than the first!

I just adore the up-beat...ness (don't laugh at me) of her music -- it totally makes you want to get up and show off your dancing skillz. Or, if you're me, your non-existent dancing skillz. ;D

Actually, my piece for my Spring piano recital this semester was actually an arrangement of a song from her self-titled first album, called "Electric Daisy Violin." I posted a video of my performance in this blog post, if you'd care to hear it. ;)


Like I said, Lindsey also makes seriously awesome music videos. She's done all the songs from her first album, and two from her second so far. This is the playlist of all le videos. Like I said, they are seriously awesome. Go watch. ;D

In the meantime, here is the music video for the title song "Shatter Me":

While her debut album was only instrumental music, this time around she collaborated with singers to make two songs with lyrics. I definitely think it was a good idea. ;)

And voila! That is a rundown of Lindsey Stirling's new CD. Super awesome, and I highly recommend. If you've listened to it, let me know in the comments which tracks are your favorite!

A couple of my favs...

3 - V-Pop
4 - Shatter Me (feat Lzzy Hale)
5 - Heist
8 - Take Flight
9 - Ascendance

Monday, May 19, 2014

Twenty Things That Make Me Happy

  1. Those simply perfect days in Spring. 
  2. Laughing so hard you can barely breathe. 
  3. Seeing a movie for the first time. 
  4. The unbroken silence before dawn. 
  5. Discovering new music that you love. 
  6. Wearing a new outfit for the first time. 
  7. When the church band messes up and laughs about it. 
  8. Getting new fabric. 
  9. Waking up too early and realizing you still have time to sleep. 
  10. Getting unexpected text messages. 
  11. Hearing news concerning your fandoms. 
  12. Being complimented on something that you thought was awful. 
  13. When a seam comes out perfect. 
  14. Getting a revelation during devotions. 
  15. The smell of EOS lip balms. 
  16. That feeling of excitement in the pit of your stomach. 
  17. Starting a new project. 
  18. Great hair days. 
  19. Looking forward to awesome things. 
  20. Apples from New Zealand:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Final Truth - A Quote and A Snippet

(Here's my first post concerning this story of mine, in case you don't know about it yet.)

Quick rundown of the novel: It's called "The Final Truth," and is a mystery romance. It's set in London, England, and the two main characters are Tom Devries and Julie Rease. Tom is an investigator/detective for the L.I.D.A., and Julie is a writer for a newspaper.

I've got over 12,500 words now, compared to 2k last time I posted about it. Needless to say, I'm not a very fast writer... xD I've gotten stuck a couple times with ideas for it, so that has definitely slowed progress. But it is getting longer, slowly but surely. ;)

Anyway -- now to get to the new material from it! :D

My favorite quote from the story so far...

And a quick snippet...
~     ~     ~

     Tom’s head snapped forward and hit the air bag that blew up as he was jerked to a halt amidst the sound of crunching metal and breaking glass. Only slightly stunned by the bash to his head, Tom slid over to the passenger seat and quickly exited the damaged car, grabbing his briefcase and pistol from the center divider on his way out.

     Tom could hear his enemy pursuers after him as he ran down the street in the opposite direction. Bullets whizzed past him, just barely missing their target as he ducked behind a car parked on the side of the street. Tom crouched down while loading his gun amidst the sound of bullets hitting the car in front of him. He fired a few shots back at the pursuers as they began to close in.

    Tom knew he couldn’t hold them off by himself for long. He needed back up. Tom pulled out his cellphone and quickly dialed the special enforcement department of the L.I.D.A. The men continued to approach the vehicle which Tom hid behind while keeping a steady line of fire towards him.

     An automated voice came on the line as Tom fired another round at the approaching men.

     “Agent 104 requires immediate dispatch of reinforcement groups to the intersection of 7th and Landings Street!” Tom shouted over the gun shots. “Hostiles firing after attempted abduction and car chase. I repeat – send reinforcements immediately!”

     “Request denied. This number does not have authorization for L.I.D.A. commands.” The line went dead.
~     ~     ~

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron Cosplay Beginnings

It was a rainy afternoon in April when I entered of one of our local thrift stores. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular, but I was eager to shop anyway.

I slowly browsed through the books, dresses, shoes, and skirts before meandering over to the sewing section. I perused through the vintage patterns, sewing notions, and yarns, before finally stepping over to the large bookshelf filled with fabrics, each length carefully rolled up and tied with a piece of twine.

My eyes eagerly scanned the shelves before I began the task of scrounging through the fabrics. Some unknown treasure lurked there, hidden, cast away, in the recesses of those worn shelves, just waiting to be discovered.

My hunt didn't last long before I was rewarded.

Squatting down to search the lower shelves, a large, blue-hued bundle immediately caught my eye. I quickly pulled the fabric out from under the others and examined it closer.

~           ~           ~

And that is the story of how I found the fabric for my cosplay for "The Avengers: Age of Ultron."

Captain America.

That's right ya'll. I'm making a fem Captain America costume to wear to the midnight premiere of Age of Ultron. And I am beyond excited. :D :D

This cosplay is so different from anything I've done before, and it will most definitely be a challenge for me, testing both my sewing and creative abilities. But hey -- I'm always up for a challenge! ;D

So anyway, this fabric I found is crazy perfect for fem Captain America. Perfect color, perfect texture, perfect weight, and the perfect amount! 103 inches long and 60 wide -- all for 3 stinkin' bucks. Needless to say, I was beyond stoked when I found it. :D

(This is the most accurate representation  of its color.)
Another fabric also caught my eye during my little thrift store search: a similar type of fabric, but red, and only about a yard in length. For 80 cents. :O I knew it'd be great for the red accents of the bodice, since it won't require much anyway.

(they're both in major need of ironing. xD and the red really isn't that bright... o.O)
There were several other fabrics there that would work really well for my costume (for various accents and such), but I decided to hold off and only buy the two, since I do have a year until the costume has to be finished, and about 6 months before I allow myself to officially start working on it... xD

So yes. That is my not next, but second-to-next cosplay that I have planned. :D My next cosplay will be for the third Hobbit film. (which they recently renamed "The Battle of the Five Armies" -- yes, I like the new title. Kill me, but I do. ;D) I'll let you know what my costume will be for that soon, most likely when the first trailer for it comes out. (hyperventilates just thinking about the trailer coming out... xD)

Anyway! That's my cosplay happenings lately. :D

P.S. Here's my board on Pinterest for the cosplay... because you know I always do that. ;)