Monday, May 30, 2011

Hands 2 Help Quilt progress update

Once a month on the last Sunday it is time for the H2H update post...


As I noted in my last post, I haven't had a lot of time to work on much between business travel, anime costume madness, and away from home weekends.  But I did get all the fabrics cut into 4 1/2 " squares to make up the "Plus quilt".

Here are most of them laying out on my hotel room bed (you know, while chaperoning the Fanime Con group) - I pinned the rows together, but there are a couple of rows missing that will need to be added (ran out of space)

Just a little closer view of how the fabrics are working together - I may lay it out again and mess around with the composition...we'll see.

So that's it for now!  I'll be putting some effort into this now that I've got some other things off my plate!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

And now for something completely different...Cosplay!!

Cosplay? Ever hear of it? I think it must be short for Costume play, and it's what you do if you are going to Fanime Con (or probably any other anime/comic convention).FanimeCon 2011 is this weekend in San Jose, CA and I was commissioned by Teen Wonder to build a costume with her for Vocaloid Kagamine Rin

Rin and Len are Vocoloids - she's the female  one on the left. Far right is a costume you can buy online that ships from somewhere in Hong Kong. The nicer ones run about $98 USD plus expensive shipping. I'm sure you can find a good deal somewhere on ebay, but according to Teen Wonder it is actually cooler to make your own cosplay outfit than it is to buy one.  I'm sure we've spent at least $98 if you count the shorts, shirt and haircut...

There are some people out there very serious about their cosplay. And a few tutorials, but not a lot...and the ones that are out there for things like a vocaloid headset are pretty hardcore with LED lights and special paper clay materials - like check out this cool yet unachievable for me site for some tutes:  This young woman probably enters the contests for cosplay that include a performance element rather than just "Hall cosplay" which is walking around in your costume like Teen Wonder plans to do with her friends.

So here is Teen Wonder in her Rin costume:
Comprised of a white vocaloid headset with attached bow, white bobby pins, new haircut especially for mimicking the anime style (no product or stying in this photo), a sailor style collar with yellow trim and tie, arm covers with faux light panels, white tank modified with gold trim around arms and a treble clef embroidery at the collar,  black shorts, custom belt and loopy part, and black legwarmers with trim.

Process: Start with a lot of googling and web browsing to understand what I'm up against.  Then a search for white headphones, and then a trip to fabric/craft store to buy the following:
-  black, white, and yellow satin (actually I had to order the yellow satin online as well as the belt hardware),  - yellow trim ribbon in 2 sizes.
- Belt webbing - we wanted yellow, but they didn't have enough so we went with orange,
- Notions: thread, interfacing, elastic, snaps.
- Electric blue lame.
- Oh and craft foam in white, gold glitter and blue glitter.

Other supplies from home: cheap white headphones with attached microphone (from ebay), E6000 glue, masking tape, yellow fabric paint, some poster board (maybe it was matboard I had onhand)...

Helpful tools - SERGER. I love my serger so much!, Embroidery machine for the treble clef detail, snap plyers (I just used a hammer but I cracked one of the pearl snaps), a paintbrush to help with the belt detail.
And of course a sewing maching, plus some hand stitching supplies...

Next: draft some patterns based on tutorial information online.  I made a pattern for the collar and for the legwarmers and arm covers (just a smaller version of the legwarmer) - just drafted on butcher paper off the roll.

Then get to work!  I didn't take photos along the way (kind of under a deadline!)

Belt - webbing with triangles painted on with fabric paint (dimensional worked best for coverage); simple D loop hardware.  The drop-down strap has clips on both ends per Teen Wonder's request.

Treble clef collar detail - should be bigger, but this was a last minute add-on so I used the stitch pattern already loaded on my Janome 10001.  Len is the male vocaloid in the cartoon above and he has a bass clef (cute, huh?)
The yellow bow has the hooks for attaching the collar, and I'm not too happy that they show on one side...but well, I don't have time to futz anymore (or the inclination to be honest) - it still looks pretty good.

The crowing glory!  a cool headset with earboxes constructed with stiff poster or mat board and masking tape. Then covered with the craft foam, including cutouts to represent the lights that go on the headset though we are faux rather than real lights (the arm panels can also light up if you are really serious about this.), and finally a very stiff (pellon) satin bow attached at the top.

So between business travel, church retreat, the Maker Faire, and this project...I haven't been able to work on much else. Even though I have been taking this week off from work. Backlog of the mundane really cuts into the stay-cation model, doesn't it?

And now I am signed up to "chaperone" the Fanime trip to San Jose. This is scary because it is a student organized club activity - meaning no adults in charge, not a sanctioned school event with all the waivers and stuff we usually get irritated by but which now I wish we had for this weekend. No contact lists, no rules about checking in or buddy systems, no curfew. Nothing but a drop off at a hotel with just a couple of adults staying there to "chaperone". I had to put my foot down and demand emergency contact information on a full list of students as well as their own cell phones.  Still working on an enforced curfew. I know nothing will happen, but it's like carrying an umbrella.

Teen Wonder is so funny. I think to assuage my anxiety about the lack of orgnaization or control over some 25 teenage nerds she says this: "Mom, you aren't officially responsible, and besides there are a lot of the group who are already 18."  What do I hear? "Mom, even though I'm only 16 and so are a lot of my friends whose parents you know and who expect you to keep tabs on them, there will be 18 year old boys in the group who have a lot more experience"  Yeah, she is a really good kid and thinks that the presence of 18 year olds will make me feel better.  But I was not such a good kid, and I know more about 18 year old boys (and girls) than she thinks I do. And perhaps more than she knows at least in some ways although that is impossible to say.

Anyway, Fanime Con 2011, here we come!

p.s. And because I need a Whoop Whoop! for this achievement in crafty innovative costume construction, I've linked to Sarah's linky at Confections of a Fabric Addict

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Excellent last minute Mother's Day craft gift!

(Mom if you are here, just look away now and come back after you get my card in the mail)

Having no time to breathe means that you may have to resort to store-bought cards and little else for the moms in your life.  But I stumbled on this tutorial today, and decided to procrastinate on packing for my trip long enough to make 3 sets of them.
One for my own mother, who I admire so much and with whom I have developed the greatest friendship.  Every year I learn that I'm more like her than I thought and now I hope I can retire at a reasonable age and follow her example there as well!
One for my mother-in-law, who never ever makes me feel I should be something different from what I am. She's been that way since the day I met her - a divorced single mother dating her (marvelous) son. Mr. Wonderful must be that way for a reason!
And one for my step-mother who deserves a medal because she is in love with my father, which has saved him I am sure, and she's such a generous person.

If you go to the link at "Mufn Inc" (here it is again), you'll find the free printable cards, the free printable tutorial to include, and instructions on how to make the tissue paper flowers (assembled, but flat-packed for mailability!)  genius!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Happy - my prize package arrived!

But, I didn't get to taking any actual photos of the box, or the super cheerful yellow polka-dot tissue, or even the books...because it is that kind of week and I am getting ready for one more business trip (until end of June anyway)...and we had this fantastic weekend at our Parish Retreat, but that means no laundry or grocery shopping got done, and I have "can't miss" business meetings this week so I can't just take a day off right now...

(deep breath)

But, you can always link to URL photos, so I am going to do that and share the books that arrived yesterday!

Lark Crafts was one of the sponsors of the Fat Quarterly Reader's Competition or which I recently was honored to have been chosen as one of the winners (not sure about the grammar in that sentence, but see above for my lame excuse).

They sent me four (4!) lovely books:

Hand sewing scares me a little because I am not very good at it, and I have some hand issues...but there are some absolutely wonderful projects in here. I think I can hybrid many of them to machine sew much of it and then embellish or hand sew where machine is not feasible. I love the idea of portable projects (though that may cut into my knitting time!)  And I already had a request for a tote bag that is in this book from Teen Wonder!
Teen Wonder also requested a cactus. She doesn't sew, so the pincushion aspect is not so relevant for her, but nevermind!  I love using my scraps now that I've done enough projects to actually have a reasonable collection. So cool!

So many babies, so little time!  This book is absolutely charming to thumb through and will be living on the coffee table for quite awhile within arms reach!

Since I'm self-taught and still have so much to learn, a book for beginner's is perfect! But the Dresden plate quilt in this book doesn't look so beginner to me (maybe they are easier than they look?! I'm skeptical).

Thanks again to Lark Books and to Fat Quarterly!!