Sunday, August 23, 2015

The New Blog I Promised You...

Hello one last time on Adventures of An Elven Princess, friends.

To those of you who are interested, my brand spankin' new blog has officially gone live as of last night, and I just made the first post this evening -- the night before my first full semester of college classes begin. :)

I can't wait to stay connected with you guys on this new platform, and hope you will enjoy following my further adventures...

The Time that is Given Me



Sunday, August 9, 2015

An Elven Princess' Adventures Are Ending

Hello my dear friends,

This has been a long time coming, but I'm finally ready to officially announce it.

When I started this dear blog...

I was 15 years old, about to be a junior in high school. It was made to be a place to share the creation of my second cosplay, Tauriel, with anyone who would read it.

Well, this blog has grown so much bigger than I ever anticipated when I created it that day in July on a whim.  I've been sharing my mundane adventures with you all for over 2 years now, and have met so many awesome people through this, more than I ever would have thought was possible.

But, guys, there's a time for everything.  The past two years have been a time for blogging and internet friends and costume making and all the other joys I experienced in my amazing final half of high school.  It was the time when I was "An Elven Princess."

But a new chapter in this little life of mine is beginning.  I'm going off to college, Liberty University, in just one week.  I'm taking 6 classes, all of which I'm insanely excited about.  I'm in the Honors Program, which was a huge answer to prayer.  My time will be dominated with going to classes, hanging out with the new friends I make, doing homework, studying, going to football games, and just enjoying life as a college student at the college of my dreams.

But there's the thing: I won't be "An Elven Princess" anymore.  It's time for me to move on.

Where I'm going from here...

Some of you might already know this because I told you, but I'm taking a 1 month (or more) break from Pinterest starting tomorrow, Monday, the 10th of August.  It really just serves as a distraction (an extremely enjoyable distraction, but a distraction none-the-less), and I want to be fully focused on college and I don't want to give myself even more reasons for procrastination... ;)

Now, don't worry!  I'm not going to disappear from the internet for good. ;) One spot you'll always be able to find me is Twitter:

Because it's so quick and easy to be active on there, I'll definitely be hanging around Twitter fairly regularly.  Are you on there???  Shoot me a message on there, because I'd love to follow you back! :)  But basically, that's the only spot you'll be able to find me in the next month or two.

I do have some plans to create a new blog, one which will be designated to my college life, but that's still in the early stages and there's no knowing when it will come to fruition, if at all.  If I do, I'll most definitely post the link to it on here. :)

Lastly, I'm so sad to say goodbye to all you dear followers.  You've meant so much to me over the past years, and I've been so blessed by you and to know you.  So, a thousand thank you's, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing in all my little adventures.  Y'all rock, and I truly mean that. :)

So, after this extremely lengthy post, it's time to say goodbye to The Adventures of An Elven Princess.  It's been so fun guys. 

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
- 1st Corinthians 1:3 -

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A War of Dubsmash feat. @ImMeandering

You've all seen Karis, from "The Meanderings of Me", on my blog before, I'm sure.  And here she is again -- this time, it's a civil war of Dubsmash, in which I, @AnElvenPrincess and Karis, @ImMeandering, go head to head in a gripping battle of dubbing skills, featuring lots of fandom quotes and odd songs.

Enjoy. ;)

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Tag... Concerning Doctor Who!

A bajillion thanks to the awesome Felicity (of Felicity Helen) for tagging me for this lovely Doctor Who tag.  It's so super fun to talk about Doctor Who because I feel like I don't get to do it much!  Probably because it's a TV show... and I'm more of a movie-loving gal... and I haven't gotten into the current seasons soooo... yeah.  ANYWAY.  Let's get to those questions and fill you in about my favorites concerning Doctor Who. ;)

1. Who is your favorite doctor?
Well that's easy.  David Tennant, 10th doctor.  Hands down.  Need I explain this?  No I needn't. ;D  Come on, guys, he's just awesome.  And hilarious.  And has extremely fabulous hair...

2. What is your favorite story?
...this is literally so hard because THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES, KAY.  I will say Doomsday is "a" favorite of mine, tho.  (Those feels, man.  I bawl my eyes out every time.)

3. Who is your favorite companion?
Rooooooooooose.  Or Martha.  Martha was cool.  I don't understand all the hate she gets.

4. What was the first story you ever watched?
Actually... weird thing, I came across a DVD of the 10th Doctor specials at the library one day and decided to watch it.  Not the best place to start, but heyyyy, it worked... ;)  Besides, "Planet of the Dead" is actually a really good episode, imho.

5. What is your favorite series?
This is hard, but I might say season 7.  The writing was absolutely brilliant.

6. What is your favorite pre or post regeneration story?
I haven't even the slightest idea.  Literally.  I haven't watched them enough to choose... xD

7. What is your favorite TARDIS theme?
Eleven's TARDIS theme was just perfect, in my opinion.  Precisely what the TARDIS should look like. ^_^

Awh, you're just jealous, 10. ;)
8. What/Who are your favorite villains?
Well, the weeping angels... or the Daleks. (EXTERMINATE!)

Now, as to who I tag... you reading this, if you are a Whovian, I nominate you.  Yes, you.  I'm not kidding.  I am so, so sorry but now you must do this tag.  Sounds good?  Sounds good. ;D

Saturday, July 25, 2015

(Another) Liebster Award!

Liebster: German for "dearest" or "darling."

My dear friend Karis, from The Meanderings of Me, was super sweet and nominated me for the Liebster Award!  Now, I've technically already done a post on this (just a bit over a year ago, actually!) but it's been so long since then that I figured I'd do it again anyway.  Plus I needed a fun post to write up... ;)  And thus here we are: Liebster Award, round 2!

The rules:
  1. Answer the eleven questions of the tagger.
  2. Share eleven facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate up to eleven other bloggers.
  4. Ask those nominees 11 new questions.
First, I shall answer the 11 questions from Karis:

1. TV show you liked that you wished hadn't been canceled?  Erhm.  Nothing is coming to mind.  In case you didn't know, I'm not much of a TV-lover -- I'd take movies over episodes any day. ;)  The ones I do like either ran themselves into the ground and didn't deserve another season, or are still ongoing.  I'll just put "N/A" for this one, then. ;)

2. What is the last thing you watched?  *groans* Figures I get asked this the day after I watch Disney Channel's "Teen Beach Movie" with my younger sister for some silly entertainment. xD  Before that, I watched "The Quiet Man," the 1952 classic starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, famous for being the first American movie to be completely filmed in Ireland, and having the longest film brawl at the time.  Man, was that a bizarre movie...

3. What is the last thing you watched in theaters?  Ant-Maaaaaan.

4. What is your favorite song from a musical?  I'm not a huge fan of musicals, but "Defying Gravity" (Wicked) is a fav, as is "Think of Me" (Phantom of the Opera).  This list would be longer if I listened to more musicals. ;D

5. Do you have a dream car?  Ford Mustang GT convertible (whatever the latest model happens to be whenever I can afford such a thing).  Just like this:

6. Favorite fruit?  Tough, but blueberries win out.

7. Do you have any posters in your room?  Yesss... I took down my 3 Hobbit posters (one from each movie) to pack up, but I still have my map of Middle-earth on my wall. :)

8. What song do you have stuck in your head right now?  "Exhale" by Plumb.

9. What movie are/were you most excited to see that premiers in 2015?  I was most excited for Avengers: Age of Ultron.  I am currently most excited for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Still figuring out what costume I should make for le premiere of that...ideas? :D

10. What book have you read and re-read the most?  Either "The Hobbit" (Tolkien) or "Soul Surfer." (Bethany Hamilton).  I think.

11. Favorite Olympic sport?  Show jumping.  Ahhh it's just heart-stopping to watch those incredible horses fly over those humongous fences.  Plus, it's the event I'd most like to participate in. :D

Next up, 11 facts about yours truly:

1. I'm an ambivert (the official word for a personality between introvert and extrovert).
2. I laugh way too much, sometimes so much so that I annoy myself.
3. I get annoyed easily, but God's slowly helping me get over that.
4. I can't smell skunks, except in extreme cases.
5. My favorite time to pray is when I'm lying in bed, waiting for sleep.
6. I'm starting to get over my fear of heights.
7. Words of affirmation are my "love language."
8. I believe anything costing over $5 is expensive.
9. I love grocery shopping -- at least, when I'm in charge. ;)
10. I have a secret (welp, not anymore, I suppose!) love for to-do lists.
11. I'm still saving the tabs off of pop cans. Force of habit, I suppose. xD

Now, I nominate these 11 lovely people:

...and, of course, if you would like to do this and I didn't tag you, pleaseeee do it anyway!!  Rules schmules, am I right?? ;)

Lastly, here are 11 questions for you nominees (plus any others!):

1. What is the best memory of 2015 you have so far?
2. What book are you currently reading?
3. Scissors or tape?
4. What does the ideal weather forecast look like to you?
5. Is there anything you hate that almost everyone else loves?
6. TV shows or movies?
7. What's your favorite type of exercise?
8. Would you like to live on a different continent than your current one, and if so, which one?
9. Soda can or plastic bottle?
10. What do you think is the best perk of technology?
11. Do you have a favorite "vintage" movie?

I hope you enjoyed this little post, and that those of you who have a mind for it enjoy writing your own! :)

Now, back to packing for our move to Virginia...

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Superhero the Size of An Insect

As I'm sure you've heard, le 12th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe premiered this weekend. Yes, that would be...

Let's just say, Ant-Man is an extremely amusing ride, and most definitely not your usual superhero movie.  And, for the most part, its completely un-self-righteous style works well... I mean, the critics are practically drooling over the movie for it's inventiveness and ability to sell a guy who shrinks down to the size of an ant.  However, it didn't make me want to go back for more.  Let's break down the reasons for why I didn't come away from Ant-Man gushing about how awesome it was (and gushing is the norm for me when it comes to Marvel movies, in case you didn't know.)

Minor, vague spoiler-y stuff ahead, just to give you a heads up. Nothing movie-ruining, I promise. ;)

Con 1: Lack of conflict/suspense. When I put up that spoiler-warning, I was wondering why I felt like I didn't need it.  Well, here's the thing -- Ant-Man has no really significant drama that compels the viewer.  There're no times when you're truly wondering, "What's going to happen?" (Except once, when something really crazy bad happens to Scott). But mostly, Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man) saves the day by saving his reputation as a father and successfully infiltrating Pym Technologies and then defeating Darren Cross (aka Yellow Jacket), with a lot of laughter along the way. This all makes for a lot of fun, but is truly not memorable. Whether this is a problem or not may just be dictated personal preference -- but I, for one, prefer movies that inspire me and leave me awestruck. Empty entertainment doesn't suit me very well.

Con 2: In the words of Steve Rogers...

Besides [most likely] being the heaviest and hardest cuss-laden of all the MCU movies, the language featured only serves, many times, as a device for humor -- and, in the process, cheapens those laughs. See, not only was it hardly necessary to throw in those s or d words, but they drug our characters down to such low levels of respect for themselves and others that I almost felt bad rooting for them. That's the thing: curses are cheap, inexcusable alternatives to actual, intellectual thought. Call me what you like. but that's the truth and I stand by it.

Con 3: Paul Rudd. I feel absolutely terrible saying this. I promise it's nothing personal, Paul, I promise. It's gotta be said though: Basically, I don't think our Ant-Man has a confident enough personality to frontline his own movie. He felt, to me, a bit underwhelming. So often he played like a secondary character to Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, or even Michael Pena's characters, and this left me unconvinced Paul was the right guy for the job as a superhero. The "star power" that we've all seen in Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson... even the newest member of our MCU cast, Tom Holland shows it in his dubsmash videos -- well, I just didn't see that star-power in Scott Lang, and the movie suffered for it.

WELL. Now that I've so cruelly picked apart this little movie, allow me to show you the positives of it; the aspects of it which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Pro 1: The shrink-y grow-y fight sequences. Just uber cool, and nothing like anything we've ever seen before. Plus, all the hilarity that goes with. Dog-sized ants are super scary, as is train-sized Thomas the Tank Engine. Also... *coughcoughcough*you who have seen the movie know that particular scene I'm talking about with that particular awesome avenging person*coughcough*

Pro 2: The soundtrack. It's just a blast, particularly the "Ant-Man" theme...
If you look at the one retweet... Yes, that would be the writer of Ant-Man's soundtrack who retweeted me. I thought that was a little bit awesome... :D

Pro 3: The ants. Who would've thought that ants could be a highlight of a movie??? Not me. But they were. The different kinds were so cool to see, using all their special abilities to help Ant-Man. Also, rest in peace, Antony. We loved you. Next time I find a winged carpenter ant I will name him after you. *sniff.*

Bonus Pro: SpiderMan reference. "We've got ones that jump, we've got ones that swing, we've got ones that climb up walls..." If that ain't SpiderMan, I don't know what is. #yesssss

I chose the poster above for a very good reason, and you who have seen the movie and stayed for that post-credits scene understand why.

OH but first, EVANGELINE LILLY IS GOING TO BE THE WASP I CANNOT EVEN. I am so excited for that. Next cosplay maybe...??? Hehehehe.


Needless to say, it will take me all 10 months until Civil War to get over this.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Green Velvet Coat - A Refashion (Part One)

As most of you know, I really love refashioning and repurposing old and ugly clothes.  So, I wanted to share with you the work in progress of the refashioning of this old, dark green velvet dress.  It's a thrifted relic of a by-gone age from my older sister's younger years, and is at this point very, very worn.

So, though it is a pretty dress, it is much too yucky to be worn as-is, and I don't have any use for such a dress anyway. But looking at all that gorgeous green velvet in the skirt, I knew I had plenty of fabric to work with to create something new out of the dress.

I'd been playing with the idea of making a winter coat for myself for quite a while, using the same pattern I made my "battle Tauriel" dress out of, with some adjustments, of course, to make it a more modern piece.  While I was staring at this dress, trying to come up with some brilliant idea for it, I remembered that coat idea, and realized how cool a green velvet coat could be (something like this / this)...

See, I've recently become obsessed with the haute couture look, and have really wanted to try my hand at making something slightly "over the top" like that.  This velvet coat idea struck me as something that could be kinda couture-ish, which made me want to try it even more.

Now, keep in mind, I'm not finished with this coat yet.  I'm about half way through so far, and while I'm rather liking how it looks currently, it might look awful in the end.  If it does, we can all just have a good laugh over it when I post "Part Two" of this project.  Sound good?  Sounds good. ;D

Now that you've got all the exposition, it's time to plunge straight into my new project... The first thing to do was prep the skirt, so I could get the most out of the fabric.

Ripping out the gathers in the waist (it took f oreverrr).
Unfortunately, you can't iron velvet (because of how the fabric has a standing-up pile), so I just smoothed it out the best I could and started cutting out pattern pieces for the top of the coat.

After a few hours of work, I had all the main bodice pieces cut out, pinned, and ready to go.

Next, over the course of a few days, I did the sewing for those eight pieces...

After that was done, it was time to move on to the sleeves.  Getting these prepped is always easy, and I love the shape of this pattern's sleeves so there wasn't any cause for alterations.  After sewing them up, I pinned them to the main bodice.

And that's as far as I've gotten with the coat as of now!  It's not much to look at (lacking a collar, lining, and the peplum hem I'm planning to add to lengthen it), but I think it's a good start.  Hopefully I'll get this thing finished soon so we can all find out whether making a green velvet coat was a good idea or not... ;D

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to Get Started in Cosplay

Cosplay: The art of portraying a character through the creative use of costumes.

Okay. You've seen a ton of awesome cosplays floating around the internet, at conventions, or you just love all those amazing costumes in movies, video games, etc., and you're dying to get in on the cosplaying action yourself. That's why I'm here: to show you all the ins and outs of getting started in cosplay by making your very first costume!

NOTE: If you're looking for a pre-made (or mostly premade) costume, Etsy and Cosplay Sky are two of the best places I've found online to buy high quality, screen-accurate costumes.

>     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >    Step One: Choose a Costume

Probably the easiest part of the entire process, the beginning of every cosplay begins with choosing a character, and then choose a costume worn by said character. You probably already have an idea swimming around in your head -- perfect! Choose that one.

One helpful tip regarding this decision: it's best not to choose something *too* challenging or intricate for your first endeavor. Try to let the costume match your skill set.  So, let's say you want to cosplay Iron Man... unless you're really ambitious, maybe pare the idea down a little and go for cosplaying Tony Stark instead -- that way, you can just make an arm of the Iron Man suit to complete the look!

Here's the thing: no matter how easy your costume is to make, as long as you look good, you will be pleased with the finished product and your audience will be impressed. It's better to do something too easy than too hard -- at least for your first costume. Then, as your costume-making skills and abilities grow, you can begin to stretch them farther and farther to make super duper complex costumes.

>     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >   Step Two: Begin Planning

Though you might want to just jump right in and have at it, making a game plan for your costume will make everything much simpler and faster in the long run.

This process should include:

- Gathering reference photos. Scour the internet for the best high-resolution photos of the costume that you can find. Posters, movie stills, even toy versions of the character provide invaluable reference to help you in your build. I've found the best way to store these photos is to pin them all to a good ol' Pinterest board, designated for that express purpose.

- Making a list of everything you'll need to buy. You might be surprised by just how many things you'll need to buy to create your costume (and how much those things can cost), so it's important to have a pretty good idea of what you'll be needing to purchase. This will also make the next part of the process much easier.

- Creating a budget + calculating the cost of the costume. Now, your budget doesn't have to be calculated down to the last cent -- somewhere within $10 of the actual price is a good place to start. And since you've already made your list of things you need to buy, just add up the average cost of all those items and you're all set to go!

- Drawing sketches of the costume. This one is optional, but I highly recommend it if you're planning on making any major alterations to the original costume. It also helps you get a better idea of all the different aspects of the costume, since you have to draw each one.

- Deciding where you want to wear the finished costume. You might already know this, but if not, start thinking. It's so depressing to have created an awesome costume, only to realize you have no where to wear it. I recommend movie premieres, fandom conventions, or just a photoshoot as the best opportunities to do so.

>     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     Step Three: Research + Purchase Materials

So, now that you've got a pretty good idea of where you're going with your cosplay, start researching online and in brick-and-mortar stores for the things you'll need to buy -- which you've already made a list of! ;)

If you're looking for a few pre-made items, such as boots or weapons (the things that look best when store bought and screen-accurate versions can be easily found), the best places to start your search are Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and your local thrift stores -- you'd be surprised by how perfect some of the second-hand items are for cosplay, plus they can lower your budget considerably.

Here are a few online stores that I've found to be perfect for finding great sewing materials, which will most likely take a large part in making your costume:

- Fabric, craft foam, notions, etc:
   ~ Jo-Ann
   ~ Hancock Fabrics

- Sewing Patterns:
   ~ Simplicity
   ~ McCall
   ~ Butterick

>     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >    >     >  Step Four: Accessorize

This is such a fun and integral part of creating costumes that sometimes can be overlooked. Here are the main accessories that you'll be needing to get to complete your costumed look:

- Weapons. Does your character carry a weapon, and the place you're planning on wearing the costume at would accept you carrying that weapon?  Definitely consider making or buying one to carry and pose with you while you cosplay -- it'll add a special touch to your costume. AmazonBUDK and Medieval Collectibles are great places to start your search for these if you want to buy them.

- Footwear. Never go with sneakers or flipflops just because they're easy -- they'll ruin everything of the costume that you worked so hard on! Thrift stores are a great place to find shoes that you'll only be wearing a few times, and you won't feel bad altering a pair that only cost you $5. A note about characters that go barefoot: You will probably want to create a pair of "invisible shoes" (tutorial by "...And Sewing is Half the Battle!").

- Wigs. Now, I have a more lenient opinion on wigs than other cosplayers, but that's just because wigs can so often make a costume look worse rather than better, unless you want to fork out the $30-$80 for a high quality, synthetic, lace-front wig. With that in mind, it might be better to completely forego buying a wig and just go with your natural hair, styled like the character's as best you can. But, if you do want to buy a wig, Arda Wigs has rave reviews, and eBay can have some pretty good finds.

- Prosthetics. I've found that Aradani Costumes is the absolute best place for high-quality, inexpensive prosthetics, which can add a convincing touch to your cosplay and make people look twice. "Wait, did that girl have pointy ears??" ;)

>     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     Step Five: Create Your Costume

Now that you've got all the necessary materials necessary to make your intended design, it's time to put your sewing and crafting skills to the test!

Here's a few extremely helpful links to get you started in your crafting.

12 Things You Need to Start Sewing (Fab Grandma)
Craft Foam Armor Tutorial (Penwiper Unlimited)
Foam Board Weapons Tutorial (Fire Lily Cosplay)

Let me tell you something crucial for this step: Google is your friend. Don't know how to do something? GOOGLE IT. Chances are pretty good that someone else has made the same costume before you and wrote about their process of doing so. Reading about their build can be extremely helpful for your own, and they may have even made some how-tos for the creation of some of the more difficult parts of the costume. Plus, if you have a question about the costume, they might be able to answer it! Many cosplayers are very open to helping others with their costumes. You can also check out the RPF, which is a great place to find answers from experienced hobbyists.

>     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     >     > Step Six: Have fun!

You've sewn, crafted and bought everything for your costume, and now it's finally time to put it all together and show it off!! Enjoy literally stepping into your character's shoes for a day. :D

And with that, you've completed your very first cosplay. Bravo, and congratulations!!!
If you followed my little guide to make your first costume, post a link to it in the comments below so I can see your wonderful handiwork. :)

P.S. Let me tell you: if you don't think your cosplay turned out perfectly, don't worry, because I promise that you will only get better from here on out. Also, never compare your cosplays to others -- only compare them to your previous work. That way, you will only see the improvement in costuming, and you'll only be inspired to keep getting better. ^_^

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Looking Towards The Future

The future is so close to the present, I can almost taste it. You see, as of a few weeks ago, I am finally signed up for classes for my first semester at Liberty University, and God has moved and is still moving so many mountains for those doors to swing wide open for me to walk through. Who would have thought, even a year ago, that now I'd be looking towards a degree in Cinematic Arts and a minor in Fashion Design?

"Many are the plans in the mind of a woman,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand."
- Proverbs 19:21 -

It's kind of mind boggling, honestly, when I look back on all that's happened over the course of the past several years, and seeing so obviously the work of God through it all.  Seeing how God has guided me to follow His will for me, and providing a way so I can.  Seeing that, it doesn't matter how crazy the dream seems or feels, but that God can fulfill any dream, big or small, if we are willing to trust Him and push forwards with our whole being.

"Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically,
as something done for the Lord and not for men."
- Colossians 3:23 -

But you know what's absolutely crazy?  In the midst of all of this, all of these incredible opportunities and possibilities looming before me, I am at peace.  If God decided to allow it all to be taken from me, if He decided to send me into a completely different direction, or even if He decided to bring me home to Himself instead, I know I'd be okay. My soul is safe in the arms of God -- I have been promised nothing more, and yet nothing less.

"Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul."
- It Is Well With My Soul -

I feel ready now, to head into the future one day at a time. Not because I'm adequate for the task, but because the God who guides me is beyond adequate. All I have to do is keep. following. Him. with my entire being, keeping my eyes focused on the prize ahead of me, and try to serve Him to the best of my ability in the mean time.

"For to me, to live is Christ
and to die is gain."
- Philippians 1:21 -

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Costumes Are Not My Life - From a Cosplayer

Once upon a time, in the middle of working crazy hard to finish my Captain America cosplay, I had a mental/emotional breakdown.  This was due to some combination of disappointment and stress, ending in the loathing of myself and my work-in-progress Captain America costume. After an encouraging one-on-one sesh with God and a good night's sleep, I was feeling much, much better. But not about my costume. The costume was still, in my eyes, dreadful. "Oh, why can't you just look perfect, already??? I've worked so hard on you... this is not how you're supposed to turn out."

As I was arranging the bodice on Sylvie (my dress form -- hush hush and don't ask questions) and made adjustments to some of the pins still holding the place of seams, it didn't look so bad anymore.  And then, it began to look even better when I reminded myself that I don't have unlimited money, time, or skills, [unlike almost every cosplayer in the media spotlight]. So, unless I get super obsessive about it, my Captain America costume is just not going to imitate the real thing as much as I'd like (plus, I was creating a female version, so it would never look exactly the same as the original -- hah!)

See, I don't even want to get super obsessive over costumes. Cosplay is not my life, and I never want to act like it is. Jesus is my life, cosplay is just a hobby through which I desire to give glory to Him and receive some simple joy in this crazy world we live in. Cosplay will never give me the fullness and satisfaction of spirit that Christ gives me, as I feel every time I start to put costumes before my relationship with Him. That situation is not pleasant, not the way it's supposed to be, and only leaves me feeling insufficient. But not so when God is in the proper place in my life, as "Number 1" -- He is the only one sufficient to fulfill all our needs: spiritual, emotional, physical.

So, cosplay is not my life... and neither are movies.

I had a realization today.  I've been worried lately that I like movies too much -- that they've been becoming an "idol" for me, that I've been replacing God with cinematics. It wasn't a nagging feeling in my spirit, but rather a nagging question in my intellect, which made me question the importance of my own question.  If becoming obsessed with cinematics was such an issue, then I thought I should be feeling insufficient and empty, like what happens when I put my costumes before God.  But I didn't feel that way, so I was left to ponder the question some more.

I imagined the Christian life as something like this: we're each given a picture to color, and we're given the freedom to color in the lines with whatever colors we want, adding designs, etc.  We only run into trouble when we start altering the base of the picture -- like, changing a horse into a giraffe, for a weird example. The colors we choose for our pictures are our personal interests.  Because, we're all created with different personalities, different looks, and different likes and dislikes.  Put simply, different does not equal bad -- sin equals bad, and sin is that which goes against the teachings given to us in the Bible.

My oldest sister is a piano teacher, my second oldest sister is a science nerd, I'm a film geek, and my younger sister is a fitness nut.  It would seem we don't have much in common, right?  But, see, that's a wrong assumption, because we totally do.  All four of us are the bestest of friends, and we can be that because we all love Jesus; we are similar in what really matters. We are all members of the family of God, He is our center, and every other part of our lives falls into place around that.

So, here's the finale, the thought I want you to come away with from all of this: Costumes are great, movies are great, whatever-your-personal-interests-are are great, just always remember to never forget who made you, who made the world you live in, and who gave his son to save your life. God. Jesus died for your life, so live it to the fullest, live it to the best of your ability...

but never, ever forget who gave it to you, and give back to Him by keeping Him at the center of your life.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Bridesmaid Dress to Pleated Skirt Refashion + Tutorial

So, this skirt's ancestor has been in my fabric stash for a while now... in the form of a very boring bridesmaid dress that I had thrifted for a buck one day last winter.  It wasn't until a couple days ago that I fiiiinally got around to turning it into something useful -- a fun, pleated skirt!

Cute, right?  I love the simplicity + the bit of retro vibe. ;) It's such a fun addition to le closet, and is totally wearable in all seasons (which is always a plus!).

And now I will walk you through how I made my refashioned skirt, and show you how to do it yourself!  If you want to make a pleated skirt with plain ol' fabric, I recommend this tutorial by Merrick's Art.

So, here's the dress that I started out with,  Pretty -- but also pretty boring.  I loved the skirt and the color, but that was it.  So, like I said: for a dollar, I couldn't really go wrong. ;)  Grab your own boring dress, and prepare to create!

1. Chop off the desired length of the skirt, leaving the bottom hem to save you some sewing.

I cut off a bit too much, as usual. :P
2. Rip out the entire center back seam, then pin it back together. This is in preparation for the zipper.

3. Rip out the zipper from the top of dress, which we will then reuse in the skirt!

4. Start pleating.  This is going to take a bit of trial and error to get the right fit and look, as the width of the skirt and the size of your waist will affect the amount of fabric you can take in with the pleats. I made 5 pleats total, averaging about 4 inches in width and taking in four inches each, with the inset between the last two on the zipper seam. To keep everything symmetrical, I used the seams on the skirt as references for places to make the pleats.

5. Once you're happy with how the pleats look, baste to secure.

6. Time to cut out our waistband. From the leftover bodice fabric, cut three pieces, fold in half lengthwise, then cut to a uniform desired width. I made mine about 1.5 inches wide.

7. Sew the two shorter back pieces to the longer front piece, pin to the skirt, and sew.

8. Lastly, put in your stolen zipper. If you don't know how to do this, follow this easy tutorial.

9. Don't forget to iron your new skirt out, and then you're finished! Enjoy your fabulous new skirt. :D

Friday, May 29, 2015

Special Feature: Cosplaying for Age of Ultron

The promised post, where I get to share you peeps' epic costumes worn for the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Enjoy the awesomeness...

Faith (Leia, A Revival Warrior Princess), cosplaying Captain America:

Isabelle as Black WidowHaven as Scarlet Witch, Henry as Quick Silver, and Marci as Bucky.
"It all started out as, "Wouldn't it be cool to dress up as Captain America from the Avengers for Halloween?" So, about three months before October 31st, I started making patterns and plans for this huge undertaking. First, there was some hoops to jump through: I had never sewn on Spandex before, and I made the most adjustments to a sewing pattern I have ever done -- but that was at least fun. Anyways, I got my fabric from Jo-Ann from their swim/active wear selection. I was easily able to get it done before Halloween. It was a lot of fun, most people recognized us and said, "It's Captain America and Bucky!" Then, several months later, due to Beth's awesome Captain America costume from Age of Ultron, I decided with about two weeks until the movie, to update my costume as much as I could to his new Avengers costume. Thankfully, I had fabric left over, and I added stripes on the shirt and pants, plus made arm guards left over from my Tauriel costume. It turned out great, and some of my friends and I went and saw the movie together. We all had an awesome time and got many stares, lol! Thank you Beth for letting me write a paragraph about my costume on your blog. Thank you all for reading!"

Bailey and Rachel, cosplaying Thor and Loki:

"Hi, Beth! I'm sending a collage of myself and my sister Rachel.  Thor's sleeves and shirt were made out of Duct tape, as were the gold strips on Loki's costume. Loki's coat was made of a Land's End dress, and the underclothes for both Thor and Loki were bought at a thrift store. Thanks for inspiring me!"

Sarah, cosplaying feminine Quicksilver:

Megan, cosplaying Scarlet Witch:

(From left to right) Lillie as Black Widow, Ella as Hawkeye, Grace as Steve Rogers, Chloe as Scarlet Witch, Juju as Thor, Callie as Vintage Cap, and Elijah and Alaina as The Twins:

"We had been planning months in advance for this! And now we basically don't know what to do with our lives now that it's over. :-( We laughed. We cried. It was amazing! The staff at the theater cheered for us as we left, and of course there was a couple people that asked to take pictures, which made us feel pretty awesome. XD XD We can't wait for next year! Bring it on Civil War! Avengers Assemble!"

Olivia, cosplaying Black Widow:

Thank you so much to all you peeps who sent me your cosplay pictures to share; y'all make me so happy, and I love that I can share your costumes. :D Everyone of you looked so great, and I'm sure you had a ton of fun cosplaying for the premiere as such great characters!! ;)

And to you other peeps who didn't cosplay for the premiere, thanks so much for reading this post anyway. Literally each comment, like, and pageview gives me such joy, and I am so thankful for you. Y'all rock and that is that. ^_^

Saturday, May 23, 2015

That Day I Went to a Renaissance Faire

Over a month ago, on Saturday, April 18th, a few friends (recognize them from my Captain America photo shoot??) and I went to a Ren Faire for the very first time. And it was awesome. :D

We drove three hours to get to the faire (which was well worth it;), and to pass the time, we took selfies, played brain games on Karis' ipad, and talked about lots of stuff -- mostly stuff pertaining to our favorite fandoms. ;D

Then, after arriving at the festival at about 12:00, we spent the rest of the day doing lots of walking, laughing, picture-taking, window shopping, etc... :D

Walking and taking pictures around the extremely extensive grounds...

We met a brave knight.

Karis and I got locked up in the stocks -- I was arrested for being an outlaw, and Karis for fraternizing with the outlaw.

Visiting tons of the little shops...

Amber and I parry with LARP swords in one of the "armory" shops. My favorites were the leather shops, which ranged from selling epic leather dresses, tunics, coats, to books, bracers, boots, etc etc.

Going through the "haunted pirate ship," and scaring ourselves silly...

The thing was so cheesy, but it was 3 bucks and we couldn't resist. It was the inside of a "pirate ship," pitch black, filled with things like skeletons and treasure hoards, strobe lights, randomly [loudly] falling items, and antics by workers, who would bang super loudly on the walls, run at us in the dark, yell, etc...

P.S. A huge thank you to the guy banging on the wall right after Karis jumped me -- that basically gave me a heart attack. xD

Meeting some orcs...

When we saw these guys, we knew we absolutely had to get a picture with them.  I mean, look at that guy's costume -- convincing, much??? :O Probably my favorite costume of all that we saw throughout the day.

Oh, and, no, I did not know the other orc behind me was there -- the next frame was me screaming. xD

We definitely should look much more scared than we do... xD
And watching a few shows, the favorite of which was the live jousting...

It was set up like a play, with the three shows throughout the day furthering the story of two knights jousting to win the hand of the princess.  It was quite a hilarious spectacle, with the evil knight getting drug through the mud behind a chariot, a guys' eye getting "ripped out," and men getting killed right and left at the climax battle.  Plus, Karis, Amber, and I totally hammed it up cheering for our team's knight -- who ended up being the winner, of coooouuuurse! :D

It was so fun to witness. Quite amsuing. ;D

And of course we had to get costume pictures in front of the arena while we waited for the joust to start...

Totally foreshadowing our next costumes (superheroes for Avengers: Age of Ultron):

Scarlet Witch, Captain America, and Peggy Carter go to a renaissance festival???
And lastly, a few details on my costume I whipped up for the faire... because you know I'm all about the costumes. ;D

It was inspired by elven archers, Tauriel, Legolas, a little bit of Hawkeye -- you know, that sort of thing. ;)  You probably recognize the bracers and boots from my Tauriel cosplay. ;D

I whipped up the dress/tunic from an ugly, awkward length skirt I found at the thrift for $2.50. I was only looking for fabric, since I knew I'd be completely changing the style, and the fabric of it was perfect -- forest/olive suede with a gentle drape, and just enough of it for a tunic. :D

As for making the dress, it was about a day's worth of time, ripping/cutting old seams, fitting new seams for the neckline, arms, princess-style bodice, waist, and skirt. It was a really fun project -- just the right amount of difficulty and need for creativity to be a challenge, without being overwhelming.  Because the fabric has some stretch to it, I didn't have to put in any zippers, buttons, etc, which made the build even simpler. At the suggestion of my oldest sister, Alissa, I ended up not hemming the neckline and hem, and just left the raw edge, which helped the time crunch I was under (about a week, from getting the idea to going to the faire). Since the suede frays minimally, I just used my shears to keep all fraying at bay, and there was no problem.  This look also lent a bit of ruggedness to the dress, which was kind of fun. ;)

As for all the accessories: as I already said, the bracers and boots were the same I used for my Tauriel cosplay -- the boots I bought online, and the bracers I made from upholstery leather, dyed darker with shoe polish, embellished with an elvish design with a Sharpie marker (bahahha), and laced with suede string through brass grommets embedded in the bracers. I already had the braided belt, and I picked up the belt around my waist from a thrift store for 50 cents. And lastly, the leather pouches were the same upholstery leather, darkened with shoe polish, which I originally made for the first draft of my Captain America cosplay, but didn't end up using. They ended up working perfectly for the costume -- plus, removed the need for a bag: I kept my phone in the larger pouch, and money in the smaller one. Perfect, right?? xD

Overall, it was an absolutely *smashing* day, and I can't wait to go to another renaissance faire soon! ^_^