All I ever make is appliqué

I have a couple of things to share today. This first is something I put together quick to wear for Hallowe'en. In mid-October I received my muscles leggings from Black Milk in the mail. They inspired me to follow a declining anatomy theme. I went to Aerie to pick up a basic black bra and made and anatomical diagram of a heart in appliqué to stitch onto the left cup. (I also got a pair of leg bone over-the-knee socks from a Hallowe'en pop-up store and these underwear off Etsy.)

And here is another sleep mask I made last weekend. I had a custom request over Etsy for this. It is Luffy from One piece. I think he turned out alright. He is just a little dull colour-scheme-wise in my opinion .


C'est l'hallowe'en

I've been so busy and now suddenly Hallowe'en is over! I went out six times and my introverted self is so burnt out and tired I don't want to leave my apartment for a month now.

I decided in late September that I would be a Sexy Volcano as my main Hallowe'en costume. I had some idea of what that would involve but not too clear a picture. I started working on it over the Thanksgiving weekend, by making myself a crinoline so my dress could be mountain-shaped. Then decided I would use some black denim that I've had around for a couple years as my slightly textured mountain rock. Because I had gotten *so far* *so early,* on my next Queen St. W. trip I bought all the materials for a cosplay costume I thought I could get done in all the *extra time* I was going to have.

Then I procrastinated for a week so I wouldn't have time. (But I do have all the materials to do a Haruhi Suzumiya costume, which I feel I should do in the near future so my hair doesn't get too long.)

For this particular dress I decided to alter another princess dress pattern I made- the one for my Victreebel costume I made when gijinka Pokemon were first popular. I had to flare it out at the waist and completely draft a centre back piece since the back for Victreebel had this big U shape cut out so I could lace it up instead of using a zipper closure.

So I knew it was going to be a flared, sweetheart princess dress and that I was using the crinoline I had made, and I knew that I needed some sort of molten lava erupting from it somehow. But I hadn't decided how I wanted it to cascade down over me or what colours or fabrics it would be.

Sketchbook brainstorm of different dress ideas.

I drafted the base dress and put the lining together- as I tend to do to fit things instead of making muslins- and then I drafted the outside of the dress, finally deciding on the design.

Of course I didn't even have anything wearable made by the time the 27th rolled around (the main Saturday of Hallowe'en), so I spent the entire day working on my costume. I also made a smallish grey veil so everyone could tell how smoking hot I was as a volcano.

I left the skirt hem edge raw. I thought it would go better for the volcano theme than double-folding the edge. The next day before I went out again I spent some time beading the dress and the veil (I lost that veil before I got the photos and made a new one without any beads). I finished it off with some lengths of ribbon cascading from my neck.

In the end, I don't think anyone got it without my telling them, but I still think it was a fun idea. I even won a prize in a costume contest.


I don't work at a pantyhose store anymore, but...

Since the Canada/US exchange rate has been so bad, I've resolved not to transfer money out of my PayPal account, so I've been using it to shop online. I've had my eye on the Muscles leggings from Black Milk since I first saw them over a year ago. I'm usually way too cheap to spend this much money so frivolously, but they came yesterday and I love them and I think I want to get more.

I also got the Lava leggings and they inspired my main Hallowe'en costume idea, although I am not sure if I will wear them for the costume. I am going to be a Sexy Volcano. Last weekend I made a crinoline and today I picked up the rest of the supplies I need to make the dress. Except I am suddenly having second thoughts about the zipper. Ack.

Otherwise, it is autumn and, to me, that means the normal stores have new tights in stock and every store with a Hallowe'en section has some sort of interesting, reasonably-priced tights in stock. I got a pair of leopard-patterned fishnets and 2 pairs of over-the-knee socks at Spirit Hallowe'en. (I'm going to wear the skeleton ones with my muscles leggings.) And I picked up some coloured fishnets at Dollarama because $2 for fishnets is pretty great, especially when I find there isn't too much difference in quality for basic fishnets. They're always fairly durable and really stretchy and forgiving for sizes. I may go back and get a pair of basic black.

These are all of the leggings, tights, etc. that I've gotten in the last couple of weeks.

I may also make a Pamela Mann order. Buying them in store tends to be $35 per pair, but online it's about $16 (which is better than my employee discount would normally get me). With shipping, three pairs will be about $52-- less than $18 each. Customs is always a wildcard though. They've also got better stock online than we had the opportunity for at Legs Beautiful. The sales reps were always working from two-year-old look books with a lot of styles crossed out as out of stock. Unfortunately they are mostly in one size. I've got a couple pairs and I'm lucky because I'm in that range, but I think no matter what size you are, they'll be loose at the ankle because of the way they were cut.

I think I may have a problem. The worst part is that it'll soon be too cold to wear anything but wool tights. I guess I can throw out the ones I have with holes though. (I'm going to have to in order to make room.)


October means Hallowe'en time :)

I painted my nails spooky because Hallowe'en is in only three weeks. I am excited. I decided just to do a simple but striking bloody design.

I painted them all white and then dripped red nail polish down them. Then I had to remove the excess from the drops with the brush so that they could actually dry.

They remind me of the promotional graphics for Dexter.


Just do it

I've always been a huge procrastinator. A friend of mine in eighth grade once described that she was a procrastinator because she always left assignments for the night before they were due, but I was more because I was still working on things in the class prior to the one in which they were to be handed in. I procrastinate chores, exercise, work, leaving to go places, going to sleep, and even playing video games I wish to finish.

In my mind I have all of these things that I want to learn, do, or be good at, but most of them are a non-specific "sometime in the future". I hardly ever actually do anything to achieve any of these vague goals- at least nothing at all consistent.

Today, however, I started a yoga class at the community centre. This is somewhat in attempt to achieve some sort of personal fitness, although I am also hoping it will help me to combat my sewing machine shoulder pain and tension headaches, and my tendency to stress out easily for no reason. I've also realized that I am not very flexible. For that reason, I think it'll be extra beneficial for me to take this class, as I have a lot of anxiety about doing things I'm not good at, where I'll often quit instead of working to improve. (Gifted child problems. I wasn't challenged enough growing up and now I feel very uncomfortable when something does challenge me.) I need to force myself to be okay with doing things I'm not good at so that I can be more comfortable in my own skin.

In my head, since I went to school for four years for a degree that I arguably don't need for anything, I  think that I don't need to go to any sort of class. With the internet and books and YouTube tutorials, almost all learning can be done independently for free (or at least pretty cheap) and formal education is pointless. It just takes the investment of time and effort. Then I realized: the reason we need to enroll in classes and programs is motivation. If you've already spent the time and the money and it's all for naught if you don't finish your report for this day, or you don't read the book to study for your test next week, or you don't attend the class between x and y, then you're going to feel compelled to do actually do it.

So I called, I signed up, I paid, and now I'll be doing yoga every Wednesday for the next 9 weeks. It may not seem like too much, but that's a lot more yoga than I would do if I didn't decide to take the class. (I would probably do it approximately once on WiiFit, which is a vastly different experience.)

Then after that I will sign up for a different class and learn something else new.


Space Nails

Inspired by the "half moons" on my natural fingernails, I painted my nails like space. There are moonscapes on my thumbs and mostly stars of various sizes on my other fingers. There's also a comet. They're out of this world!

Apparently it is also Star Trek day, so that's cool too.


Fake Prom: Enchantment Under the Sea

I went to Fake Prom on Friday (Fake Prom website). Fake Prom is an annual dress-up dance party in Toronto that I've gone to for the past couple of years. Each year it has a different theme and people dress up either according to theme or as if they were going to prom. This year the theme was "Enchantment Under the Sea"- the prom theme from Back to the Future.

Because of being away and then having to catch up on all the things I fell behind on because I was away, I was unable to find the time to make a new costume. I did, however, have something to wear. My grad collection from last year was a set of evening wear dresses inspired by some of the works of M. C. Escher, especially his "Three Worlds" lithograph (pictured below). Because of that, I've got a couple of dresses I made with fish appliqué. The one that fits me is partly inspired by salmon swimming upstream, jumping up waterfalls and such.

"Three Worlds" by M. C. Escher

The fish dresses from my grad collection.



I feel as if I've been everywhere in the past few weeks. We went to Montreal a couple of weeks ago for a wedding by car and before the end of the drive back I was already sick of riding, so of course we took an even longer trip the following weekend. We headed out on a 14-hour drive (including the pitstops) to nearly Thunder Bay to visit Logan's grandfather. This one seemed more bearable, but I think it was because we were better prepared with all sorts of books, sleep aids, and activities to keep us busy.

I was surprised to see how far along the drive we kept reception, but where we were staying and everywhere else we went within the week we spent up there had absolutely no mobile service and no 3G. It was a bit of a shock, since we are all accustomed to living with the internet at our fingertips and in our pockets, everywhere except while we ride the subway. However, I found slight relief in being unplugged for once. I got a decent amount of reading done and we spent some time enjoying the summer in the lake. I found it a little funny that the people who built the little town and live there decided to live so far from anywhere else, but still right on the highway so you can hear every transport truck that passes, but you can see so many stars up there, which was perfect because the Perseid meteor shower happened while we were up there.

Then it was another 14-hour drive before we were back in my hometown at our parents' houses for the night before departing for cottage country to attend my cousin's wedding on Saturday. Unfortunately, it was a little too cold to go to the beach while we were up there. We finally got back to our place in Toronto late Sunday night, and now I've got all sorts of email and Etsy and shipping to catch up on.

What we did do on Monday night was move all the furniture around in our apartment. Over the past several weeks I've been feeling increasingly like my studio area wasn't large enough. Our second "bedroom" has been our studio/office since we moved in and when I was working in there with my sewing machine, serger, laptop, and iron all going-- not to mention the table-space I needed for cutting things out-- it was quite a squeeze. Then add Logan at the desk with his computer set up, it was pretty uncomfortable. We decided to move the studio into our [bigger] bedroom and our bedroom into the studio, After all, we don't need much space to sleep!

Now I feel as if I'm trying to grasp as much of the end of the summer as I can.


Famous on the Internet

In the past week, some of the things I made and put up on Etsy have been shared around the Internet. Chances are, if you are reading this and you don't know me, you've come directly or indirectly from one the following places. This is my obligatory "Places I have been featured" post.

The original tumblr post about my backpacks that was then reblogged thoughout geekdom:

Fashionably Geek feature on several of my items:

Craftzine.com features my slumber masks:

A German website is even talking about my backpacks:

Reddit post about my Vegeta slumber masks:

Post in a Mexican blog about my backpacks:

So now everything I made has been featured so I need to make NEW things so they can be discovered because they are cool.


Intentional Media Consumption

I aspire to be well read, and you know, have a general understanding of the world, society, and all those pop culture references that permeate media like giant inside jokes. I got a Toronto Library card last summer and have never looked back. You can read as many books as you want for FREE and they will send the books you want to read from all over the city to wherever you want to pick them up. Yeah, I'm lame, but I like free stuff a lot.

For the most part, I just read casually while I'm on the subway or waiting somewhere for a while, but in a couple of weeks we'll be going away to the middle of nowhere, so I imagine I will have a lot of time to read while we are there. We'll be a couple of hours out of Thunder Bay so we will not even have internet for essentially a week and we have a super long drive on the way there and back. I'm taking the opportunity today to update my library hold list so I'll be able to pick up books next week before we leave.

I like to watch TV and things while I'm sewing and doing other half-attention activities. There is a lot more to watch during the September to May TV season, and thus in the 2011-2012 season I watched a lot of shows. The trouble is that I start to do it compulsively after a while and just keep watching episodes of things even if I don't particularly like them just because I watched them before. Now that it is summer the process has to change a little because there isn't quite as much being shoved onto our screens by networks.

I haven't been too terribly into anime since high school and yaoi and Beyblade G Revolution, but ever since I finished university and had some more time, I've been trying to get back into it in some way. I watched some of the beginning of Black Butler, Hetalia, and K-ON, and every once in a while I put my Dragonball Z DVDs on because it has always been the perfect thing to work to. I do always watch English dubs though, because my Japanese isn't nearly good enough to understand and not stare at the screen to read the subtitles. Right now, I'm one season into Avatar. I never watched it the first time around and it has been recommended to me countless times. I'm also three DVDs into the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I've been borrowing it from the library, so I can watch it while the internet is being slow. I've been considering doing cosplay. Otherwise, I recently started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, partly to see what all the fuss is about. It is really cute and it's giving me some cute ideas so we can look forward to when I have time to try them out.

In terms of live action, my boyfriend and I are currently watching Breaking Bad, Firefly, and Game of Thrones. I've also been watching Sister Wives sometimes on the internet.

Below is an amalgamation of lists of books that I posted to my old Livejournal a while back. I use it as a guide to what I should read next if I'm not sure. I also have been reading the Hunger Games series, although I'm still waiting for my hold on Mockingjay to come in, so I've been avoiding spoilers.


Being a little productive

I finished a thing. Posted it on Etsy and everything.

It's a weird hybrid of the pattern for the Hylian shield backpack, the one for the Deku shield sachel and some entirely new pattern pieces that I made special for it. Hopefully I can remember which pieces next time I make it.


New computers vs. nuptuals, or I've just made my own long-term commitment

I've been tired lately. This summer is shaping up to be pretty busy; it's a good thing I quit my second job. I don't have the extra time for it anyways.

On Saturday the 30th, we were in Markham for a wedding and on the drive back toward Toronto I asked to go to Tiger Direct so that I could actually finally get a computer. (I've been saying I need a new one for a year now.)  We found one there relatively quickly that fit all my specifications and cost about $100 less than I figured I'd be spending. After a few moments of doubt about warranties and things I left with a new computer.

That evening was the wedding after party and things so I didn't get a chance to open it until the following afternoon. When I did, I was all excited and booted it up to see the "Windows was not shut down properly" screen, which was odd since this was supposed to be a brand new computer. When it reached the log-in screen, I found that the computer was password-protected. They had not told me that this was previously a floor model (especially strange because that would mean that had two laptops of the same model for floor models), and now I could not use it. After spending probably about 45 minutes on the phone with three different people back at the store, they finally gave me the password, but I was pretty upset. They had basically lied to me about giving me a used computer and didn't even give me a discount! I decided I didn't want to give them my nine hundred dollars anymore, especially after the attitude of the last guy I talked to that was mostly "Well I don't know what the salesperson told you or didn't tell you!"

 On Tuesday (they were closed on Monday for the holiday) I ended up getting Logan's dad to pick me up and take me to Markham to return the laptop. After a little bit of an issue where the guy wouldn't return the software that I didn't ask for, we got out of there.

I shopped online a bit for comparable computers over the next couple of days and just ended up buying the same model as the one I returned off of Amazon.ca on Thursday afternoon. Of course I got the free shipping, so it was supposed to come Tuesday or Wednesday, but it actually came on Monday because living in the city is cool. Now I have a new computer and it is fancy and I am using it to type this post. It is an ASUS K53S-DS51, by the way.


I haven't done too much cool stuff lately

Etsy has been a slow start, but alright. I have made and sent off two sales, which was very exciting. I've also gotten a bunch of favourites. Otherwise, I have a few people I know in real life who have bought stuff off of me. Everything they have on the "Etsy tips" just says I should "Add more items" at this point, so I'm going to try to get around to that soon. I did add a second Sailor Moon/Princess Serenity mask where she just has the crescent moon symbol in the middle of the forehead. (Here.) I had made one before that I sold at Anime North, and I figured that it would be an easy cheat-y way to add another item to my shoppe. :)

And in case you were wondering, this is how my garden grows. :)

I think it's (from left to right): lettuce, a couple of flowering plants I bought at Canadian Tire, peas, the random leftover bits of my tomatoes and hot peppers from last year, and corn. Yay cultivating life.

Now I should fold and put away the eight loads of laundry we did last night. :)



I think I've all but given up on the 30 days of creativity thing. I sew almost every day so I think I can be forgiven. I was starting to let myself get stressed out about it so I decided to just let it go and not worry about it. If I do make some things I will still share them.

Around the same time I stopped, I started reading the Hunger Games. I put it on hold at the library in March and on Thursday it came in. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I felt like the pacing could have been different to make it more exciting. The "romance" within made me feel like seeking out fanfiction for the first time in several years. I'm not sure whether that means that I liked it and I want more or that it was lacking and someone else could write it better. Today I picked up the second book. (My hold hasn't come in, but I noticed that the reference library had an un-hold-able copy in the Browsery, so I found it and picked it up when I returned the first book after work.)

Today I quit my second job- the one where I sell pantyhose and get discounts on tights. I am sort of sad about it but the way they wanted to change my schedule I just couldn't make it fit with my life and the way I want this summer to go. I was getting bored with it anyways, since it has been pretty slow. It would get busier in the fall but my other job will too, so I wouldn't have been able to keep up with it anyways.

I've been meaning for a few weeks to start gardening on my balcony. Last year, I had a few plants, but I sort of dropped the ball on them and they dried out and died. This year, I am determined to make it work. I got a couple of plants and the biggest bag of potting soil I could carry from the Canadian Tire garden centre yesterday, and a few weeks ago, I picked up a couple of packs of seeds at Dollarama. Today I planted it all and hopefully it lives and grows and flourishes. Then my balcony will be all fancy and I can sit out on it with a drink and be awesome.

In other news, I've been working on getting an Etsy shop up and running for what I have left from Anime North and other cool things I make. You can see it here. I still have a few things I need to put up. I'm having a bit of trouble getting the photos I need because I only have a couple of hours of natural lighting every day in the evening after I get home from work and it has just been so sunny on my balcony and everything turns out the wrong colours. I don't really want to touch Photoshop until I get a new computer, which I should do very soon since mine is frequently very angry at me.


June 7: 5/30 - Dominion Reference

I didn't really have the energy today to do anything fancy, so here's some sketches of humanoid Dominion cards because I'm trying to figure out if Dominion cosplay would be an attainable thing.


June 6: 4/30 - Eggs Bageldict

On my way home from work today I decided I felt like eating Eggs Benedict, so I decided to try to make it. With nearly the last of my phone battery, I googled a recipe so I could grab the proper ingredients at the grocery store. Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, butter, and white pepper were what I didn't have, but I only got the first two, since I had margarine and black pepper at home.

When I cook, I tend to make a lot of stuff up as I go. For instance, I don't have utensils to measure "teaspoon" or "tablespoon" so those measurements are always haphazardly guessed. I don't have a microwave, so I often make a makeshift double-boiler to heat stuff up by boiling a pot of water and putting a dish on top.

This is what I ended up with for supper: Vegetarian eggs bageldict

Two poached eggs on a poppyseed bagel with cream cheese, sliced tomato, sliced avocado, and Hollandaise sauce.

I'd never poached eggs before so that looked like this:

It looks like it would fit better with yesterday's cloud theme. (As would the next part.)

Then with the leftover egg whites from the Hollandaise sauce, I made meringue because why not? I put it on top of a loaf cake thing I grabbed at the grocery store.

Lemon-Rasberry Meringue loaf cake. Hopefully it is good. I haven't eaten this yet.

Now I have a giant mess I need to clean up, because I am incredibly talented at making messes.


June 5: 3/30 - Krillin Slumber Mask

For today's creative, I wanted to finally do something where I was sewing, so I made another mask for my slumber mask collection. I've been trying to stick with characters with distinct and recognizable upper faces to applique. This time I went with Krillin, who is one of my very favourite characters from Dragonball Z.

And here it is on the foam head. The head itself is a bit small so they always look a little off - this one especially, since Krillin does not normally have a nose.


Fairy Creative

For my second day of 30 days of creativity, I made another watercolor fashion drawing for the series I am making for my mom to put up in her café. This one is a fashion fairy with a scarf in the wind as her wings.


30 days of creativity

This is a thing that is happening where you have to do one creative thing every day in the month of June. This is exactly the kind of creative motivation that I made this blog for!  I am going to try to do this and I will do two extra days into July since I am starting behind. You can find more information by clicking here.

Today, I had to work and Logan came back from being away the whole week so I didn't have too much time for a creative project. So I painted my nails, since they needed it anyways. I painted little hearts on them. I need a little more practice at nail art to make cleaner designs and make my left and right hands match better. :)

Tomorrow is my day off so I will try to do something cooler.


AN Recap Episode

On the weekend, it was Anime North. In some ways, it seemed to be governed by Murphy's Law. On Friday morning, I was still sewing cosplay and things. I finished my machine sewing with three hours to spare, so I put together 3 Sailor Moon masks since I only had one already. My ride arrived approximately on time, but I was not finished, so I kept plugging away at the masks. Of course, this is about the time my machine starts crapping out. It suddenly decided that it did not like sewing over the elastic for the sleep masks.

Soon I finished and ran around my apartment trying to get all of the things I needed packed and we ended up leaving an hour late, which meant more traffic and the inability to make up lost time. I had left all of my handsewing to do in the car/in line/while sitting at a table in the dealer room, so during the drive I stitched down the binding on my corset. It was around 5 by the time we got to the convention and got checked into the hotel. We then proceeded to get into a two-and-a-half-hour lineup for pre-bought tickets. I hope they fix that for next year.

By the time we got our passes, it was almost 8 o'clock and we still had to get to the Crafter's Corner to sign in, get our spot, and go back to the hotel to grab the boxes of merchandise. I had mistakenly thought that tables would be assigned so I didn't think being 3 hours later than I intended would be that big a deal, but when I got there, they told me to 'take whatever's left', which was 3 tables at the very end facing the wall, which I figured wasn't terribly bad, because others would come later on our the next morning and fill the remaining tables. We left a note on one table saying that we were going to set up there and would be right back and headed to the hotel to pick up my merchandise.

By the time we were set up at the table, there were only 40 minutes left in the sales day. I sat back to work on my remaining handsewing while we spoke to a few people who came by the table. We ended up selling one bag around the time the building closed.

Because of our location, we didn't have very much traffic throughout the convention. (The two other free tables remained occupant-less for the remainder of the con. I was surprised at how much of the attention my merchandise had was for the Sailor Moon masks. They were really the least clever/funny of the things that I had. I didn't end up selling nearly as much as I expected to. I sold a bit over a third of what I had. I expected the Hylian Shield backpacks to be the most popular item, yet I only sold one. I was pretty disappointed with how the convention went, partially because of our terrible spot and otherwise because I ended up bored at a table when I could have been enjoying Anime North. If I do this again, I don't think it well be at a con I like so much.

This past week I've taken somewhat of a break from making things. I haven't really even cleaned up much from before. I've been slowly working on making my new Etsy shop ready for sales (sewtivation.etsy.com) and pondering the fact that I seem to have inadvertently started a business, although it was not truly my intention. I'm not a particularly ambitious person. I also applied for a Fan Expo booth with a friend, and seem to have gotten waitlisted.


One Day Remains

I've been working away at cosplay for the past few days. I decided to put an double layer of the pink self fabric on the outside of the corset because I could see a tiny difference in colour because of the black underlining. On Tuesday I put the corset all together and figured out the straps. Logan cut my spiral steel boning for me with the limited tools that I have and I put it all in its proper channeling.

Yesterday, I ended up off work again, which was very much appreciated. I took my in-progress corset to Leathertown to have the grommets installed and picked up a few things I still needed: pink cording, bias tape, straight steel boning. I ended up having to go to Neveren's for the boning, which I don't like to do unless i absolutely have to. They charged me $4.50/yd, so I didn't feel bad asking them to cut all the proper bone lengths I needed. Less work for me later on.

The puff sleeves took me basically the rest of the day to do. I've been really lazy about pattern drafting when I make things for myself lately. I never feel like doing anything properly, so I end up taking a roundabout way of  figuring out what I need to do. All of my patterns are messy and I need to fudge everything to make it work. In the end, it takes me way longer to make whatever it is that I need to do. I spent the morning on a few failed attempts at sleeves, and then when I came back from Queen St. W. in the afternoon I started a different approach. I used one of the sleeve grades I still have laying around from third year and slashing and spreading, top-stitching the stripes on, adding a facing, created the puff you see below. I'm pretty happy with how it looks, but it severely restricts my range of motion. 

Today, when I got home I started on the t-shirt underneath. I traced a v-neck I already have and modified the neckline and length. Then I added the elastic lace trim and that is done.

What do I have left? I haven't done anything with the skirt save for draft the front. Hopefully it pulls together without a hitch. Then the rest is handsewing, which I'm not too worried about, as I have a busy day of waiting in lines and sitting at a table tomorrow. Luckily Rapunzel doesn't wear many accessories.


Corsets and Cointreau

So prewashing didn't work out the way I had intended. I got everything together to bring it down to the laundry room on Friday night and when I got there, there was a fantastic sign telling me that the laundry room in my building is closed until further notice. It being the Friday of a holiday weekend, I knew that that meant it would not be open until at least Tuesday. Luckily, Logan was going to visit his parents on Sunday afternoon so he took my fabric and got it washed there. Now it is finally back and I can do cosplay.

In the meantime, I did some drafting. I used the pattern from the corset I made in Corsetry class and modified it to be the shape of Rapunzel's. I then cut out two layers of twill to be the base of the corset since I don't want boning channels to show on the outside anyways. I sewed the double twill pieces down the seam lines and sewed the channeling for the bones and put all the extra stitching in the side panel (I don't remember what to call it right now but, as you can see, my martini glass is empty so I get to forget something.)

Here are all my corset panels, and a pile of self fabric ready to be attached. Don't drink and draft.

I also mostly drafted the skirt today.


Project Runway Michelle: Anime North Edition

In one week, I will be at Anime North. This is what my costume currently looks like:

I'm going to pre-wash it all this evening. Then I can get started somewhat soon and be Rapunzel from the Disney Tangled movie.

...But after she gets her hair cut off. I hate wearing wigs. If I do, I always get a migraine and have to take a break from the convention to take drugs and a nap and that is no fun, so I need to find people to cosplay with hairstyles I can create with my current hair length.

I was thinking about doing this for last Hallowe'en and then ended up working a bunch of overtime and not having time to sew anything for myself. I really enjoyed Tangled, a lot more than I expected to. And I really like Mandy Moore from before when she was a popstar and stuff.

For Anime North, I originally wanted to do Assassin's Creed, but I'm not built right, so Logan would have to be Ezio and I was going to be either Rosa or Cristina. Then I procrastinated. When I make Ezio I want to do it really, really well, and he's got a lot of accessories, so I am choosing something simpler for now.

So I bought all the fabric a week and a half ago. Looking at some of the detail shots, Rapunzel has embroidery down the front of her skirt, and I really don't have time to do that, so I looked at the options I had so I could still have the texture. I found the pink I got as well as another brocade that was closer to the right colour, with a pattern that was really wrong for the dress. I was also considering getting a solid fabric in a better colour and an embroidered lace/netting overlay and doing the texture like that.  I decided the pink was closer to the feel I wanted to achieve, so I got that. It was also a lot cheaper than my other options at $12.50/yd.

So I've got a week to go and I've drafted nothing, and I've still got plenty to do for my table too. Luckily, I've got the next 3 days off work to do just that. So here goes; wish me luck. ;)


Working away like a busy bee!

Tuesday night I started the painting process again. I just finished up a few minutes ago, painting 3 shields took roughly six and a half hours total. My back hurts and my hand is cramped up from holding the paintbrush for so long. Those are the last ones I will do before Anime North, so at least I won't have to put myself through any more pain for that particular item. I've still got to put the five of them together though, for a total of 8.
I've also been working on a few other items over the weekend. I made an improved version of the Kokiri shield purse and the tuxedo mask slumber mask, each several times. I'm really itching to get some Cosplay started, or else I won't get any done and I would be sad.


Eye apologize for the puns

I've been working on some slumber masks lately as a smaller, quicker-to-make novelty item to have at my table at Anime North (partially because it takes so long to paint the Hylian shield design). The designs are made with a combination of applique and machine embroidery done with my domestic machine in varying widths and colours of zigzag stitches. It is a great use for all of the random scraps of fabric I have laying around. I really want to use a bunch of material up so I can have a little more space.

Without further ado, here are the different styles I have made:

Here we have Ciel Phantomheyeve, Sailor Myeuxn, and Tuxeyedo Slumber Mask.

And we can't forget Visageta.

I currently have four of the Ciel ones finished, and I'm working on a less redundant version of Tuxedo Mask. I've made a new pattern for the Kokiri shield purse and got some better strapping to use for it, but I've still to sew up the first of this incarnation.

I'm feeling a little nervous about the small amount of stuff I have made so far. I have about six hours now to work on things before I go to bed. Hopefully I can use it to its full potential. Okay, go!


The Fruits of Yesterday's Labours

Last night I finished my first prototype of this Kokiri Shield purse. At first I didn't really like it, but after not staring it for a few hours I think it's kind of cute. I especially like that it takes a lot shorter to make than the Hylian backpack. That one takes ages to paint. It might be a little small, and I'd like to devise a better method of attaching the strap. This way is a little awkward and it is difficult to attach the strap to the zipper. It is fully lined though, with an inner zipper pocket.

This is an assortment of applique eyes I've started on. Can you tell whose they will be?

An expression of stress

I have the tendency to go straight from feeling no motivation whatsoever to being incredibly stressed out. It's very bad for creativity and productivity.

When I'm in a situation where I feel I've got a lot to do, as now, it makes it incredibly difficult to do anything at all. I feel stressed out and if I don't particularly feel like working on what I should be working on then I feel too guilty to do anything else including things that will help me relax. I end up eating copious amounts of time focusing on this inner struggle when I know it would truly be more effective if I took a legitimate break and went for a walk, played a game, or did some other unwinding.

I am historically bad at taking breaks. In my first of year university, I felt I had so much to do (on top of my commute) that I rationalized that I didn't have time to eat, sleep, or even drink water. I ended up dropping 15 pounds (which is a lot for someone my size), and becoming painfully constipated. When I worked at the mall, they didn't enforce breaks too closely so I would often forego my fifteen minute break because it would be a more effective use of my time to keep working, and time would feel like it went faster. Even now, I don't drink as much water as I should partially because I hate having to take frequent bathroom breaks wherever I am and whatever I am doing.

Lately, I'm not going into work terribly a lot. Across my two jobs I've been working on average 33 hours a week or so. The trouble comes when I get home or it's my day off and I've got all this Anime North stuff looming over my head. I hardly get a  moment of peace to myself. I keep telling myself that in June I will have time to take a break and have a social life, but for now, I'll be sewing all day at work and then sewing all evening when I get home.


Birthday Costume (so I'm not caught in my "Birthday Suit")

It was my birthday last weekend, and I really like costume parties. I find it's easiest to get more people to participate in a theme if it is something broad enough that they can combine pieces that they have in their closet with an accessory or two from the dollar store into a costume. Partially because I've been watching Once Upon a Time lately, I decided to make the theme Fairy Tales, so everyone could be pretty princesses or whatever they wanted. I thought it would be easy enough for anyone without much time and resources to pick out a fancy dress from their closet and a Dollarama tiara, but for anyone who wanted to put the effort in, there was a lot more they could do.

I decided that I would be a genie. I ended up getting to Queen St. W. in the middle of the week and got some  georgette to make a pair of sheer harem pants. They didn't have any other nice colours so I went with black, which is a little boring but at least is easier to style. I made them in two pieces so one leg was one piece and one leg was another, cut at the same time, with a seam up the inside of each leg and a crotch seam connecting them. There would be elastics in casings at the waist and the bottom of each leg. I drafted them straight onto the folded fabric so I didn't have to fiddle with patterns or anything.

The photo is not very good so you can't tell how sheer the pants are. You can tell somewhat that I am wearing coloured fishnets underneath them so the texture would show through. Then I was wearing black bike shorts for decency, and a top I bought in high school at Promenade Mall. I also wore the outfit to Hallowe'en Usergroup last night and still didn't get any good photos.


Hylian Prototype

Over the past week I've been working on a few things. I finished my first prototype of the Hylian Shield backpack I am going to sell at Anime North.

There were a few of problems I had in the construction. I realized as I was sewing the side panel of the bag onto the back face that I had somehow drafted the zipper panel too short. In itself, that isn't too big of a deal as the zipper is still long enough to give the bag a large opening, but the fact that I already bought the zippers at the shorter length means that I have to account for the mistake somewhere else. Since I had already cut out the bottom panels in the canvas and interfacing and I had them mostly constructed, I decided to cut out the extra length I would need out of the brown canvas and attach it between the zipper panel and the bottom panel at both ends sans interfacing. The structural integrity of the bag is still alright though. I extended the bottom pattern piece for the rest of the bags I make.

I also found that the original straps I drafted are too short. They are an alright length for someone my size to wear but don't allow for much adjustment and would probably not be comfortable on someone with substantial shoulders. I've made the pattern piece 3 inches longer now.

I didn't like how the zipper pocket in the inside turned out in the prototype. The zippers I bought are too thin to make the zipper look nice on the right side without any extra bits added. I bought some brown bias tape so that I could just add some seam allowance but then I decided it would be nicer just to make a welt that covers the zipper. Overall I'm pretty happy with what I came up with. Now I just have to make it like 15 times, and make some other items I can sell too.


Painting Pottery

In January, we went to a birthday party at "All Fired Up" in Etobicoke. We got to pick a piece of pottery off of the wall and paint it while drinking champagne. They'll fire them in a kiln after you leave and you pick it up a week (or more) later.

Today, I finally went to pick up our dishes. It's been 3 months less a couple days and the receipt suggests they will only keep your work for you for three months so I figured I'd best make the trek to get them before they are destroyed. (I actually went to get them about a month ago but only found out that they are closed on Mondays. I went all the way to Etobicoke for nothing. It was especially disappointing because I could see them through the window. They were less than a foot away from mee!)

They had a lot of different things to choose from. It took me around an hour to actually choose the object I wanted to paint. It cut into my painting time so I did not quite get to finishing the third coat they recommend. I don't know very much about the materials but you have to choose all of your colours exactly because the certain kind of paint you have to use cannot be mixed. We also had to use a different paintbrush for each colour and make sure the brushes were dry so they paint did not get diluted at all. This was also the night I decided I shouldn't drink wine anymore. I just started feeling really gross and dizzy later in the night and it wasn't the first time that has happened with red wine.

I picked a star bowl and painted hearts on it. <3 I figured I should do something I might be able to use at some point.

My boyfriend picked a dog bowl and painted this angry sun on it.


Birthday art time

It was my mom's birthday yesterday so I've been working on a little gift for her. She's planning to open up a café soon and she mentioned she wanted some fashion-type illustrations for the decor when she does.

So I broke out the watercolours and started doing some sketches to figure out what I wanted to do, and, you know, remember what bodies look like. I haven't drawn very much since I finished school last April, and haven't done any life drawing for a while before that. I'd like to go take a life drawing class at some point. Maybe I will have time after the end of May.

I decided to draw a fashion version of a mermaid. I used a little bit of wax resist for the print on the skirt, but otherwise just watercolour paints and watercolour pencil crayons. I decided to stick with making fashion drawing based on mythical humanoid creatures so for the second one I decided to make a genie. I think it looks too much like a genie literally and not enough like it was just inspired by one. Instead of having a magic lamp, I decided she could have a teapot; it'll be more relevant to the café environment. (Just now, I'm thinking she looks a little fat...)

I framed them in frames I bought at Dollarama and gave them to my mom last night when I got to her house and she liked them. "Now I'll need about six more of these," she said.



Today, for the holiday I had a bit of a drafting day. For Anime North, at the end of May, I am signed up as a crafter, and so I need to make things to sell. I've just started on my way to make that possible, although I haven't actually made anything yet.

To start, I decided to make other versions of things that have worked out for me in the past. I've had a couple cool ideas that I think people would be interested in, so I'm modifying them to be a little more practical and widely appealing. First is my Pokéball dress. I thought for a while it would be cool and cheeky to make and sell Pokéball bras. Since I made my dress, I took a bra-making course, so there are some improvements I could make to the bodice now. I also know how to make a bra properly, but bra sizing without actually knowing which sizes is a bit tricky, particularly since I'm picky about fit-- especially for bras. It was already difficult to fit the dress that I made because it is entirely made of non-stretchy twill fabric. Throughout a month (in a womanly kind of way) it'll vary from being too big to too small because the fabric just doesn't have any give.

What I resolved to do is make a knit tank top with a bustier kind of construction, with a cut and sew cup and no wires or padding. This way the fit is more forgiving, in cup-ratio and all-around fit. It will also be more appropriately wearable in the world than a bra (I don't really want to be encouraging teen girls to wear any less clothing.) while allowing more flexibility of styling than a dress.

I started working on the cups for that, by modifying the bra pattern that I made for school. I made a mock-up of the cup pattern in lingerie foam and then drew lines on it in chalk where I wanted the new seams to be. I then re-cut the lines and traced out the shape of each piece on bristol board, also modifying the shape for styling (essentially making the cups more circular like a pokéball!).  I then added the seam allowances and cut it out of black white and red knits. When I serged the pieces together, it worked out alright, just the corners on the outside of the black circle are hard to get at, so I will most likely have to straight-stitch that part. Once I have a working pattern and prototype I will work on grading it to different sizes.

The other item I've been working on is a version of the Hylian Shield backpack that I made for a Link costume several years ago. In Ocarina of Time, somehow Link carries around everything in the "Select Item Sub-Screen", and when he puts things away he seems to place them over his shoulder, behind his back; so wouldn't it make sense if his shield was a knapsack? The original that I made was a little floppy, and is constructed so I can carry a papier maché sheath on the same belt the knapsack is strung onto. I'm thinking I'll make one with actual knapsack straps and it will be more functional. I re-drafted and cut out the pattern for it so it'll be easy to make down the road.

Along the same vein, I'm thinking of making some other shield designs in a similar way as well as a Kokiri shield purse.

Saturday morning, I aim to go fabric shopping. I've only been able to do certain parts depending on what I've had materials on hand for, since I haven't gotten the chance to get to the fabric stores. (They close before I would get to Queen and Spadina after work.) Now that I've done some of this plotting and drafting, I have some of the measurements and specifics I need to get the next load of materials. Now I just have to make sure my list is complete.


The Beginning

I've spent a long time believing that I have to hide my mistakes and that showing weakness or imperfection should be avoided at all costs. It has turned me anxious, easily stressed, anti-social, boring, unmotivated, and afraid to try if I'm not certain I'll succeed. All of these contribute to an incredible unhappiness in my life and have created a vicious cycle from which I am having some difficulty breaking out.

This post marks the beginning of my creative therapy- my attempt to give myself the opportunity to try and to play and to let others see that I'm imperfect and be okay with that; my attempt to be better at things due to effort and to break out of what I should do so I can find what I want to do; and to stop comparing myself to others so critically, and believing that if I'm not the best or original, I am no good. In a sense, it is the journey of self-improvement I am starting through art (although I tend to be hesitant to use that word, or especially to call myself an "artist").

I've always been a procrastinator, but lately it has been especially difficult for me to motivate myself to start things. I've found that I'm externally motivated- that is, it is easier for me to do things if they are for other people and I feel more compelled to follow deadlines that have been imposed upon me than those I have set for myself. It makes it a little bit difficult for me to thrive in an environment outside of school. I am hoping that by starting this blog and putting my work and thoughts out there for you, the audience of the internet whom I may or may not have, that I will be able to convince myself to do the things I want to do but perhaps am too lazy or distracted to do, and that it will help me to focus on one thing at a time rather than to let myself get overwhelmed by a swirling tornado of thought and anxiety.

Lately, I am most concerned with preparations for Anime North 2012, which is in less than two months. In addition to wanting to put together a couple of cosplays to wear on the weekend, I have also booked myself a crafter's table, but I have not yet started anything for either. On less busy evenings, and the days I have off from my jobs, I need to put in some time to create items to display and sell at my table. For the next little while, these things will be my focus.

Here, you can expect me to share my inspirations, progress, discoveries and musings all around these. I aim to embrace different media and the process of learning and making mistakes more whole-heartedly, and I'd like to share it here. Here's hoping you hear from me soon.