Monday, March 30, 2015

Twenty [More] Things That Make Me Happy

Continued from last year's twenty things...
  1. Longer and warmer days as Spring finally arrives. 
  2. Funny things that only the most special people understand. 
  3. Progress, of any type. 
  4. Playing moody music on the piano. (like this piece - gotta make a recording soon, because epicccc) 
  5. Sore muscles. 
  6. Awesome finds at thrift stores. 
  7. Feeling God move through us. 
  8. Seeing costumes finally come together. 
  9. The feel of freshly laundered sheets. 
  10. Reading comments on blog posts. 
  11. New trailers and new posters for le favorite fandoms. 
  12. Good grades after hard work. 
  13. Unfolding sewing patterns for the first time. 
  14. Jamming to the radio alone in the car. 
  15. Coconut oil. Just, in general. 
  16. OH! moments. 
  17. Conversations with Jesus before falling asleep. 
  18. Dreaming of the possibilities the future holds. 
  19. Waking up early for an exciting reason. 
  20. The flowering cherry tree outside my bedroom window:

P.S. Yo, my fellow bloggers, feel free to steal this idea aaaand then put a link to your post in le comments below so I can read it (because I'd love to hear your happy things)! (: (:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Captain America Cosplay - Revamped Suit Beginnings

Well, you haven't heard about my fem Cap cosplay in a while, but now you're going to hear a lot. Well, now and in the next month leading up to Avengers: Age of Ultron. Because, in case you didn't know, that's the reason behind this costume. Well, the real reason is because I love Steve Rogers and his costumes and I have been wanting to take a stab at doing a feminine cosplay of Cap for a very long time (ever since the months before Winter Soldier!)... but regardless... ;D

So, the midnight premiere for Age of Ultron was the perfect opportunity to finally branch out from Middle-earth cosplays and try my hand at creating a superhero suit. :D I'm just going to through a bunch of pics at you and explain as we go. Starting with altered costume design all the way up to the recent sewing. Don't worry; future posts will be more coherent. Okay, that's only a "maybe." ;D

First, my original fabrics and plans for a costume based on his Avengers costume. I got as far as the striped stomach panel and the pants...

I even sewed in a fly in these pants, which was something I had never done before (as well as making pants!).  It didn't help that I didn't use a pattern, but I got it done. ;)
...Before these plans were scrapped about a month ago, after I realized...

1) I hated the fabric (the blue stuff had absolutely no stretch, which meant a very uncomfortable suit and not at all conducive to fighting Ultron and stuff like that).
2) I loved his new updated costume design in AoU.
and 3) I realized it made no sense to make his Avengers suit when I could make the epic new Avengers 2 suit, duh!

SO time to hit the thrift stores and get some awesome new fabrics worthy of AoU suit!! (This part is *always* fun. :D)

I'm not kidding, just btw - I went out to my favorite thrift store (that always has tons and tons of fabric) and came home only FOUR DOLLARS POORER and with FOUR YARDS of surprisingly perfect, 60" wide fabric. Thrift stores for the WIN, am I right??? ;)

New blue fabric: It's some type of athletic fabric, with great breath-ability, gorgeous navy/midnight shade, just enough stretch to keep its shape but still give a bit, easy to work with, aaand it's got a sweet looking weave going on:

New red fabric: a nice bold red, sturdy and heavy weight, perfect for the angular accents it's being used for. My original red fabric was thin and stretchy and very slippery, which made for a lot of head and heart-ache while making all the angles in the stripes. The new fabric fixed that issue completely.

To reinforce the stripes, I sewed the fabric to upholstery leather (left over from my Tauriel cosplay! ;D). This made achieving the right shape SO much easier, plus added some sweet 3D detail similar to the real costume.

Oh, and just btw, I'm not trying to make this 100% screen accurate. I've found that goal to be rather stifling, not to mention depressing for a budget cosplayer like me, and I find it MUCH more fun to add some personal design elements to the costumes. ;)

Now the front of the upper bodice. Fairly simple; I just drafted it and did some experimenting/pinning until I was happy with the fit and the look. This is just the general base, which will be getting plenty of modifications later on in the process as I add the star, red accents, back, sleeves, turtle neck, etc. I'm planning on adding reinforcement underneath this to help achieve the really sharp, clean-cut look that always makes a huge difference in making costumes look like a million bucks.

Next, the two side red stripes. Originally they looked like this, very simple, not screen accurate at all:

I wasn't happy with them, so after some reference-picture-studying and careful scissor work:

After top stitching these two pieces, they're ready to be sewn to the rest of the bodice!

And here is what my fem costume is looking like so far:

Next up: pants, further bodice work, accessories, and moooooore.... ;D

Also, guys, only 37 days left in the Age of Ultron countdown. Get excited. This is going to be awesome.

OH OH OH! Are any of you guys planning/working on a costume to wear to the Age of Ultron premiere??? If not... who would you like to cosplay from le movie?? Let me know in the comments!!

Btw... I've been so bad at replying to comments lately, but just know that I read and love every single one!!! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cinderella Premiere (Dress-up Included!)

Soooooo last Saturday, a few friends and sisters and I went to see Disney's new live action remake of Cinderella.

And we dressed up.

And it was awesome.

(both the movie and dressing up. :D)

The idea to dress up for seeing le movie was first conceived when Amber (in the gorgeous pink dress) found said dress at one of our local thrift stores... and I immediately jumped on the bandwagon (because you KNOW I'd never say no to costumes). It was the perfect occasion, I realized, to wear the gorgeous green gown which I had thrifted a year ago and never had an opportunity to wear. Cinderella premiere = perfect opportunity. :D

I promise I'm not immature okay maybe a little; I just have a huge thing for dressing up and movies and so cosplay works pretty well for me. ;D

It was so great - Amber in pink, me in green... we made the perfect evil stepsisters: Anastasia and Drizella, respectively. xD

So, my younger sister and her friend also decided they wanted to get in on the dress-up action, and, with the addition of my older sister and Emily (who both refused to dress up, because they're just not cool enough, apparently ;D), we had a perfect little group to go see Cinderella!!!

Yes, I am well aware that we didn't go on the ACTUAL premiere night -- schedules, schedules, schedules! But dressing up Saturday night was still plenty fun, and all the stares and compliments and waves from little girls were well worth it. ;) Plus, the movie!!! Can I just say... such. cuteness. Loved it to pieces. AnElvenPrincess trivia (BAHAHHA I'm terrible): Cinderella was my favorite Disney princess growing up.

(Now a days I prefer Belle, but that's a different story... one that will be told March 17, 2017... mhmmm Beauty and the Beast is the next Disney princess story to get a live action remake, peeps!!! Aaaand I'm already totes excited for it. Did I mention that Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman to us Hobbit geeks) is playing Gaston?? Yes, yes he is. I'm cracking up at that. It's gonna be great. xD)

One little glitch in our plans occurred, when we attempted to buy our tickets for the 5:30 showing, and were greeted with "Sorry, it's sold out." O_O SO, we instead bought tickets for a 6:30 showing. A bit bothersome, but this turn of events ended up being for the best (doesn't everything? That's God for ya - hah! ;D): we decided to walk around the mall to pass the time.

Note: Walking around a mall in costume is always a good idea. ALWAYS.

Plus, we found some Cinderella posters to pose with. ;)

Danielle (my younger sis) described my attempt at posing like Cinderella as "surfing on a pizza."

Definitely accurate.

Welp, I hope you liked le pics and hearing about my latest costume exploits! ;D Oh, and I must apologize for my not-very-regular posting habits of late... I've had so many cool things to write about, but not enough motivation or time or skills to write about them. For instance... revamped Captain America cosplay for AoU is in the works, with new fabric and new design and everything. And I MUST tell you about it because it's making me so excited. So, that's coming. I promise. Soon, my friends. Soon. ;)

Until laaaaater. *wink*

P.S. ...I'm not very good at endings... ;D

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Top 4 Things to Buy At Thrift Stores

Over the past few years, I have had a change of heart concerning thrift stores.

Previously, walking into a second-hand shop made me grimace. Racks and racks of seen-better-days clothing, aisles of ripped up and possibly flea infested furniture, and shelves of chipped and dirty home wares. Add to that, the good ol' "thrift store smell" -- if you've ever been in one, you know what I'm talking about. It's that general aroma of "used," basically.

But like I said, my whole attitude towards these stores has completely changed.

It started when I found out that one of the thrift stores in my area sold fabric -- for insanely cheap prices. I've said this before, but it's worth saying again: I got the fabric for my Tauriel costume from a thrift store, saving me a fair amount of time and money.

From the opportunity to get inexpensive fabric, my interest in thrift stores only grew...

So, here's my top 4 things to buy at thrift stores!

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1) Formal Dresses

This is one of my favorites. I mean really, who doesn't love getting gorgeous new dresses?? And if you're anything like me, you can't afford the $200-plus formals that you see in most stores.

The dress to the right I bought for $12, and it's in almost new condition, except for some wear on the inside of the bodice (which no one will see anyway). This dress would have been at least $100 new. And as you can see, it is gorgeous.

Another find was a like-new bridesmaid dress (which, with a little dressing up, works for any formal occasion) that fits me like a glove -- for $1. I'm not joking. Our local Goodwill has a sale every Sunday: all clothing marked with a certain color is a buck. Check your Goodwill to see if they do this promotion as well!

2) Jackets

I, personally, adore jackets. I think I've got at least 10, and they're one of my favorite fashion pieces. My two favorites? Both from the thrift. I scored one just the other day that looked brand new, fit me perfectly, and was only five bucks: a black leather motorcycle jacket that screamed "epic."

Another favorite of my jacket collection was a nicely used brown leather button up. I think it might have originally been intended as a shirt, but no one wears leather shirts so that was kind of confusing. However, with some alterations (two quick seams down the sides and arms), it was a daring fashion statement that I've worn countless times -- even for a causal Black Widow cosplay I created for the premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier!

3) Fabric

I don't know about you, but my wallet is much too small for my fabric obsession. So, I have to utilize cheap ways to satisfy my fabric cravings, my favorite of which is thrift store fabric!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love going to Joann's armed with my 50% off coupons -- but did I mention I got the fabric for Tauriel's dress there (3 yards of 52" wide for $3) and the fabric I'm making Captain America's costume out of (3+ yards of 60" for $3)? Yes, I did. Really no store can beat that price. Also: thrift stores are my #1 tip for cosplaying on a budget. ;)

And don't forget: sheets, blankets, and huge dresses offer loads of fabric as well. Don't limit yourself to just the by-the-yard stuff!

4) Shoes

Now, keep in mind I'm not talking sneakers or flip flops. Unless they've got the tag still on them, those probably aren't the best idea to buy from thrift stores. For obvious foot-related reasons. ;)

However... sometimes you'll find a diamond in the rough. Brand new shoes, like new, and brand name shoes are good to look out for.

I found these Nine West beauties at my local Goodwill for $3.50. They immediately caught my eye because of how unique they are. And my older sister and I kept saying how "medieval princess" they look (and you know how obsessed I am with princesses ;)).
~     ~     ~

And that's that! Let me know in the comments what your favorite things to shop for at thrift stores are, and what your favorite thrift-store find was! :)

P.S. This post is my 100th on The Adventures of An Elven Princess!!! 100 more, coming up. ;)