Friday, December 26, 2014

Journey to New Zealand - Tomorrow

First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAAAAASS! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday -- I know I did. ;)  Now, I'm super pressed for time, but I knew I had to write a post before I left...  FOR NEW ZEALAND.

Yeah, I know. I know. I can't believe it's happening either. And up until a week ago, I wasn't even sure it was going to happen. Then, after much prayer on all our parts, my dad gave us the "ok," and things started falling into place.

I still can't believe it, and probably won't until we land in Auckland and are greeted with the beauty that can only belong to New Zealand. ^_^

The one thing that has me kinda depressed is the fact that I've caught a cold... Perfect timing, right? -_- Though it hasn't been too terrible (as far as the flu goes), it has been an annoyance and a general pain in the neck. So prayers for my health to be returned would be so, so appreciated. :)

Back to le journey... 10 days in all. It will be a group of 3: my dad, my oldest sister Alissa, and myself. We're heading out tomorrow, getting back the 7th of January. We'll be taking a one-day stop in Hawaii, where we'll stay with a family friend and recover from a bit of jet lag, before heading out from Honolulu to Auckland to begin our New Zealand journey!!!

Below is my "map itinerary" that I created to get my ideas organized. As you can see, we're just doing the North Island, and the general gist of the trip is driving from Auckland to Wellington, and back to Auckland to catch a flight back home -- seeing many awesome sights along the way. :D

What am I most excited about...?

HOBBITON. I've dreamed of visiting this corner of the Shire ever since I saw the Lord of the Rings, 3 years ago. It then became my "life long dream," but the life long-ness got cut short by me visiting it IN A FEW DAYS. Needless to say, I've been having alot of trouble even-ing lately...

There's so many other places that I'm so excited to visit and share with you, but I'm out of time, and must get some sleep before our 5 am wake up call tomorrow.

When I get back (or possibly during the trip; it just depends on our internet availability), you will be hearing all about my journey. PLUS my grandparents helped me buy an awesome new camera for Christmas (a Nikon L830, because you wanted to know ;D) so the pictures will definitely be something to look forward to. :D

And finally, namárië, my friends, and I can not wait to catch up with you again very soon!!!

P.S. Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

4 Perfectly Quick Hairstyles for Christmas

[Now, just bear with me here. This is my first "hair tutorial" kinda thing, so it's far from perfect, I'm not completely happy with how it turned out, aaaand I didn't even take as much time as I should have on it. ;) But it was rather fun cooking it up, and I hope you have fun reading it. :)]

Here follows four of my absolute favorite hairstyles, which are just right for Christmas. They're all easy, quick, and keep your hair under control for when you're helping with Christmas dinner, tearing open gifts, playing with your little cousins, etc. ;)

I hope you love them, and let me know in the comments if you're thinking of doing one for Christmas! :)

This one is a no-brainer. Not only does it looks absolutely adorable, but, BONUS: you can do it the night before, sleep on it, and then take it out whenever you're ready to release your fabulous, no-heat curls!

You will need: One hair elastic, and one sock with the toe cut off, rolled up into a donut shape.

Directions: Put your hair into a high ponytail. Using your sock bun thingy, put all your hair through the hole in the center. Then, starting at the bottom, roll your hair up around the sock, tucking any loose ends into the center as you go to make sure everything stays tidy. This may take a few tries to get perfect, so don't worry if it doesn't look too great at first. Just try again!

I absolutely fail at clever names, but this hairstyle is really just what the title would indicate. ;)

BONUS: This looks amazing with those awesome sock bun curls you created in your sleep!

You will need: 2 bobby pins.

Directions: Section off most of your top hair, and smooth it into one wide piece. Then secure it all at the back of your head with the two bobby pins.

Don't be intimidated by this one if you've never fishtailed your hair before -- it's quite straightforward and easy to get the hang of.

BONUS: This one looks so much more complicated than it actually is, so it'll look like you took forever on your hair, when in actuality, you took less than 5 minutes!

You will need: One normal hair elastic + one small elastic.

Directions: Put your hair into a low side ponytail -- either side works. Take a piece from the back of the pony and bring it around to the left front. Hold that piece there while you take another piece from the back, and bring it across the first piece over to the right side. Hold that there, grab another piece from the back and bring it across the previous piece to the opposite side. Continue this process as far as you want, then tie it off with your small hair elastic.

This one is perfect for those of us with side bangs, as it will keep them away and out of your face.

BONUS: Also the perfect hairstyle to use some of those pretty bobby pins we all have stuffed in our "hair drawer" that we never get to use!

You will need: Two bobby pins.

Directions: Grab a small amount of hair on one side of your part, at the front of your hairline, right down to the front of the ear. Adjust the hair as necessary, then twist it once: away from your face and back. Flatten the twist, then secure upwards with a bobby pin from just behind the top of your ear. Repeat on the other side, and you're done!

~          ~          ~

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Well, the Battle of the Five Armies premiere was last night, and now the final Middle-earth chapter is complete.

It started with joy and ended in tears (and maybe a little laughter over Kili and Tauriel).

We set off from home, after a little hobbit feast that featured lembas bread, Smaug's gold, elven arrow fruit skewers, and BotFA-themed sugar cookies, homemade by my older sister Crystal and I that afternoon -- she was the baker and assistant-designer, and I was the designer and decorator. ;)

Sting, hobbit door, the Lonely Mountain, the One Ring, the eye of Sauron, and (my favorite) Smaug [the adorable]. ;D
One picture before we head off, in all our costumed glory. A ranger, elf of Rivendel, Arwen, battle Tauriel, a hobbit girl, movie Tauriel, and Gandalf the grey/white. ;)
We decided to stop by Walmart to get pics, be stared at, and kill some time. xD
Elves are very picky about their yogurt.
Gandalf wanders the aisles of wally world...
I explain, Amber dances, Crystal laughs...
"Cuties." (See what we did there? ;))
Gandalf and the elves show off their 3D-glasses swag.
But we elves can be very serious, too. ;)
Me and my 2 older sisters. ;) Funny thing as well: it features the costumes that I made for the 3 Hobbit films. Alissa, with much coaxing, donned my first Tauriel costume, Crystal wears Arwen's blood red dress, and, of course, I'm wearing my "battle Tauriel" design. ;)
And after a bit more goofing off, we were able to go get our seats in the theater, sit through 30 minutes of trailers (*eye roll*), and then watch the final Middle-earth movie of our time.

I'll just be honest -- I *sobbed* through the last 45 minutes; and you know a movie is good if it can make you cry that hard.

SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, you'll want to skip the next 2 paragraphs...

While the beginning and middle and the "big battle" were wonderful and exciting and straight up awesome, the end is what really stands out. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking and everything it should have been. Peter Jackson did this final chapter of Middle-earth justice.

I felt Thorin and Kili's pain as they watched their brother and nephew brutally murdered before their very eyes. I cried with Tauriel as Kili lay dead in her arms. My heart hurt with Bilbo as Thorin spoke with him for the final time. I wept as Bilbo said farewell to the dwarves at the doors of Erebor. And when he journeyed back home to Bag-end, and as he began to "pick up the threads of an old life," I could feel the heaviness the adventure had laid on our dear Bilbo's heart.

And then "The Last Goodbye" played, and that was when I realized: it's over. We went "there and back again" with so many wonderful characters, and now it is time to bid Middle-earth a very fond farewell -- but really, it will always live on.

~          ~          ~

"To these memories I will hold.
With your blessing I will go,
To turn at last to paths that lead home.
And though where the road then takes me,
I cannot tell.
We came all this way,
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

[Battle] Tauriel Cosplay - The Final Update

Ahhhh major nostalgia coming on right now... 1 year ago I wrote "the final update" for my first Tauriel cosplay (her "archer" costume). And now here I am, writing the final update for my Tauriel inspired costume.

P.S. I'm really sick of how fast time flies. :P

Anyway. Here we go with this final update about the making of battle Tauriel! :)

Two changes occurred over the past week since my last post. One big one concerning the pop tab chainmail that I made a while back, and one small one of the waist cincher. ;)

After deciding that I didn't like the chainmail made into shoulder armor (I'm so wishy-washy, I know.. xD), my brilliant sister Danielle told me to turn them into bracers. I then told her that the backs of the pop tabs snag really bad on the fabric... to which she replied, "Why don't you just put them on upside down?"

Like I said, brilliant. They look really great with the dress and the cincher... they finish off the look quite nicely. AND it makes the whole cosplay reminiscent of Tauriel's spider dress! (You know, dress/waist cincher/bracers and all;) So I thought that was rather cool how that worked out. :)

Changed to bracers...

The second thing is about the waist cincher... it was really just a fitting issue; it didn't pull in my waist at all, making me look straight, kinda...? Anyway, it was really bothering me, and 2 very simple seams fixed it! So now it looks *so* much better, and I've got an actual waist now. Hah. XD

Welp, I'm gonna have to cut this short now; busy-ness has abounded for moi and I can't find much time to write... but I wanted to check in one last time before The Battle of the Five Armies with the final touches on my costume, so I hope you've enjoyed that. ;)

And, what are your plans for seeing le movie??? (Or, maybe you're not even planning on seeing it... *booooo*) Tell meh in the comments because I love to hear about my peeps. :) :)

Finally... JUST 3 DAYS UNTIL THE COUNTDOWN COMPLETES. Or 2 days, if you're going the night before (like me hehe)... or if you don't live in good ol 'Murica, then a completely different amount of time... but you know what I'm getting at. ;D

Bonus: Elfie. Featuring elf hairstyle and latex elf ears. ;D

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

[Battle] Tauriel Cosplay - Waist Cincher and How I Made It

So, that project I showed you guys' in last week's post and video... well, I finished it today, and am I so excited to show you how it turned out. :D

But I'd like to show you how I made it first.

So. This was my first time making a corset -- more specifically, working with boning.

It's kinda funny: on each of the three costumes I've made for Hobbit premieres, I've done at least one thing that I hadn't before. On my version of Arwen's blood red dress for An Unexpected Journey, I used a sewing pattern and worked with grommets for the first time. Then, I got to work with upholstery leather for the first time on Tauriel for Desolation of Smaug. And now, with battle Tauriel, I've been able to try out my corsetry skills! ;)

Just one of the many reasons why I love cosplay -- you're always learning and gaining new skills! I mean, if I didn't cosplay... I don't think I'd ever have decided to try make a corset... o.O ;D

Done with the little rabbit trail, now on to the details of the making-of:

I started out by getting the fabric in the mail, and really really not liking it. I was wanting a more metallic silver, like the brightness of my pop-tab chainmail. So I was kinda bummed, because I love the pattern of the fabric, and the different ways the pattern catches the light.

So, I sat on it for a few days (not literally), to think over it some more.

I then decided to go ahead and make a mock-up out of it, and if I ended up liking it for the real thing, then cool. If not, I've got a mock up. So, it was a win-win situation, and I began to brain storm, cut, and pin the monstrosity together.

At this point my oldest sister Alissa saw it, and remarked on how gorgeous the fabric was. It was actually already starting to grow on my, and I grudgingly liked how it looked against the dark blue of the dress part of the costume. And so, hearing this from Alissa whose opinion I of course respect, ;) I decide to use the fabric for real, and make this mock up actually be the real thing.

So then I sewed everything up, and, after over coming a few hiccups in the process, I was ready to figure out the boning aspect. I had seen an idea on Pinterest a while back to use heavy duty zip ties in place of boning for DIY corsets, and recalled this from my memory now as I went down to my dad's garage/work shop to see if he happened to have any.

Sure enough, and to my great delight, he did! Stuffed on an old shelf was a bag of super long, *very* heavy duty zip ties. Just what I needed! :)

All trimmed down to the correct sizes and ready to go!
Next up was sewing the channels for the "boning" to slide into. I had seen *another* idea on Pinterest when I was doing a bit of research on making the corset, that you could use the seam allowance of the seams for the boning channels. Simply fold them over to one side, sew it up, and slide your boning in. This idea was border-line brilliant, and saved me a lot of hassle.

So, after ironing the seam allowances down to one side, I pinned and sewed the channels, which were 10 in all, and then slid the zip ties in. This was probably my favorite part of the whole process, because at this point it kind of hit me: you're really making a corset, Beth! ;)

Next was just hemming the edges (which ended up being harder then I had originally thought). I was thinking of doing bias tape, but I decided it'd just be simpler to hem it.

The final thing to do was put the grommets in for the back lacing. I sewed an interfaced lining for where they would go to give the fabric a bit more strength. No, I didn't line the whole corset (do I ever line my costumes..? Uhm no... xD), but the fabric is nice and thick, and I'm only using the corset as a costume piece, so it just wasn't necessary.

And after putting these in, tick tick tick tick BOOM my medieval/elven waist cincher/corset was done! ;) Unless I find some ways to improve it within the next week... ;D

Which also means... I am now 100% ready for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies premiere!!!

8 days left in the countdown...

PS - The final post on the making-of Battle Tauriel will be up within the week! Hint: it's concerning my pop-tab chainmail. Time has altered my ideas for it... and this altered product look so much better than my original idea with the full costume. :D Until then!