Day Sixty-Seven

My mother so kindly brought to my attention the fact that Holiday Anime Faire is this Saturday. Oh noes! I need to finish Ammy's feet. Shoot. The arm bands I can do without finishing, but I can't very well go without feet. That would be indecent.

Using Sculpt It Clay

Scuplt It clay is an air-hardening modeling clay and comes in a variety of colors.

Sculpt It is fairly durable, it can, for the most part, withstand being dropped, and it's not too hard to work with. However, it dries out insanely quickly, but does not set. Meaning it will crack and not smooth over as you are working with it, but it won't be hard, so when you pres it, it'll bend and become misshapen, all the while cracking and crumbling. Some cracking may be smoothed over with water or even paint.

Yes, you can paint it, which is definitely great, because it doesn't come in every color out there, of course, and the colors don't blend especially well. When painting, though, the liquid in the paint (doesn't even have to be water), mixes with the color already in Sculpt It, and can give you some odd colors.

I suggest sealing it then painting it and sealing it again. Keep in mind, whatever sealant you use will change color while you're applying it. If you would like it to stay the same color, be sure to smooth out all of the sealant with your brush, so it will dry clear.

So far I've used Sculpt It twice, once for a very detailed necklace pendant, and once to make a dog nose.
The necklace pendant had pieces sticking off of it, as part of the design, and they would not stay on no matter how hard I tried, I ended up super-gluing them on, and then the necklace got dropped and I had to re-glue some things. Yes, even the almighty super glue fails on this stuff. Also, the pendant was small and took a lot of care when making, so the Sculpt It dried out before I could attach everything, which is what ultimately resulted in the super glue. I was however very glad that I was able to paint it.
I did like how it turned out for the dog nose, however. (Please note, dog nose, not muzzle. I'm talking about the actual black nose.) The cracks and imperfections of the Sculpt It gave the nose more depth and made it more realistic, as a dog's not is of course not completely smooth.

Overall, I would not recommend Sculpt It for most people, especially not beginners, mainly because it dried out too fast, so there's little room for error.

Working with Fake Fur

Before I start anything, I'd like to clearly state that most of what I learned about working with fake fur, I learned from Things that I learned from there that I post here will be linked back to that site, though not necessarily to where it was said, so you'll just have to trust me that it's in there. So let's start.

~ When working with fur, fake or not, do not cut it with scissors. Ever. This will cut the actual fur and you'll end up with fur shorter or even missing in some places. Use a razor knife and cut from the back. * Meaning turn the fur over so that the fuzzy side is facing the cutting surface, and cut using the razor knife on the underside. Do this with even extremely short furs, I know from experience (Ammy mask) that that makes a difference.

• On the back of the fur, before cutting it, draw arrows indicating which direction the fur lays in. * Check and double-check this before cutting, I've messed this up a couple of times. About ninety percent of the time, you can get away without doing this, but that last ten percent of the time will come all at once when you're almost done and running low on fur. Again, just trust me. It's better to mark it than not.

• When working with white fur, use a light-colored marker for any markings on the back. This depends on how thick the fur is, but it's generally a good rule. I ended up using a lime green Sharpie after the red one bled through on my Ammy mask.

• Light colored fur will take Sharpie ink. Meaning if you have a light-colored fur, and you want to make it a dark-colored fur using a permanent marker, you can. However, it takes a fair amount of marker to get total coverage. If you want to dye a large area, you'd be better off buying the color fur you want right off the bat, unless you can't find it.

* The asterisk indicates stuff I learned from

Ammy's Mask & Arm Bands (Day Sixty-Six)

I finished Ammy's mask with surprising speed today, or at least it felt like surprising speed. It was really more like several hours. I covered the mask with the fake fur / felt, which is really more like fur than I thought it was, and should have been treated as such. I really, painfully regret how wide and long I made the muzzle. I may make another mask some time down the road, but I still have moldy paper mache in my room. I'll throw it out tomorrow when my mom's not home to yell at me about it. considering the entire mask cost me less that five dollars, it wouldn't be too much of a loss to make a second one. However, the three or so hours I spent making it... That's another story. Which is why I won't be re-doing it any time soon.

I crafted the actual nose out of Sculpt It Clay. I don't really recommend the stuff, but it's not as bad as it could be. I then sealed it with I forget what brand of sealer, painted it (because the clay I used was purple O_o), and sealed it again. I really like the effect of the clay's imperfections as well as the sealed paint. It makes it look like the nose it wet, like a dog's should be, haha.

I started on the arm bands for Ammy's tufts of fur, or "wings," but they're kind of a paint in the butt. The bands are fur with cotton lining and quarter-inch elastic inside. I wish I had maybe half-inch elastic, but whatever, I work with what I've got. They're held together with hot glue, which isn't the best either, but it gets the job done and I hate hand-sewing on fur, and I'm not sure how my machine would handle that. My guess is not well. The actual fur tufts are a foam base with fur over them, but I haven't gotten to the fur part, I actually haven't even gotten both bases carved out yet. And I'm not entirely sure how I'll be attaching the tufts to the bands, so that should be fun.

Also, from this point on, I may be posting more than once a day. I will still post at least once to report in on any cosplay details of the day, but I may make a other posts with random-ish topics, as I to when there is no, or very little, cosplay news.

Anime on Cable (Day Sixty-Five)

I feel sooo lazy =/ I neef Heat 'n' Bond! Nows! I also need to finish my mask... That should probably be a higher priority than my dress. However, I'm still stuck on whether to use a felt / fur on the mask, or use the same fabric as I want to use for the gloves. In any case, I'll try to get back to work on something tomorrow or Monday. Most likely Monday, when my mom will be gone for work and work-related things. I hate when she bugs me when I'm working on cosplay...

In any case, I re-discovered something today. I don't like watching anime on cable TV. It's alright On Demand, it's not like I only watch it in Japanese or anything like that, it just bugs me to watch it on cable. Maybe it's the commercials, but it just doesn't feel right. I also think I have to be in the right mood to watch it. You can't just throw an episode of anything at me and expect me to enjoy it. That's why I like owning DVDs and manga, instead of waiting on the TV or library to have what I want. I'm so impatient, that's why I don't keep up with any TV series, haha. Waiting for manga is hard enough =[ Speaking of which, when the heck is the next Loveless book supposed to be published in the US? Seriously, it's been about three years. =[

Days Sixty-Three & Sixty-Four

Happy Thanksgiving all. I went to my grandma's and then to my boyfriend's. I got sick in the middle of all this, but I recovered. =D

Nothing cosplay-related. Again. I am exhausted though.

Day Sixty-Two

I got really, incredibly sick today, worse than before. Ugh, the day before Thanksgiving too. I just hope I can eat alright tomorrow =/

Day Sixty-One

I've seriously become so lazy... Although today felt a little crazy. I woke up and went to class, my mom was out of town all day, so my boyfriend came over because my mom didn't want me to be home alone at night. She's insane, I'm eighteen, but whatever xD At least I got to hang out with my boyfriend. =]

I don't really feel like working on any cosplay until I get more Heat Bond to finish my Chi dress. Maybe I'll get my mom to drive me back to the fabric store tomorrow so I can buy some...

Day Sixty

I have no idea where today went. Seriously. I feel like I did nothing.

Makeup Maintenance

I stayed up hecka late last night. Inhumanly awake. I didn't fall asleep until after six-thirty when my mom was already out of bed and the sun was coming up. So of course, I slept in really late too, until about three-thirty, I think. So, naturally, I did basically nothing all day. So, today's topic: Makeup Maintenance.

Please note that this is not about makeup application or brands. Maybe I'll do something like that later, but this isn't it.

Makeup & Conventions
I prefer to have two sets of makeup and brushes: my everyday, high quality makeup and brushes, and my convention, lower quality makeup and brushes. I usually use the high-quality makeup and brushes before leaving for the convention, and then pack the cheap stuff to take with me. (When I stay overnight for Fanime, I plan to take my good makeup and brushes and leave them in the hotel room.)
I have one high-quality brush that I take with me to conventions though. It it an eyeshadow brush specifically made for travel (retractable). It actually does make a difference what type of brush you use, as a higher-quality brush will give you smoother lines.
I keep all of my brushes and makeup together in my convention bag, in a small pouch that is easy to take out so that you don't have to take the whole backpack into the bathroom for touch-ups. I also bring a small, compact mirror.

Cleaning Brushes
I clean my brushes after each use (as opposed to before each use). The reason being that my brushes take at least twelve hours to fully dry. I don't clean my brushes if I use them for a costume's makeup and I know for sure that I will be using them for that costume's makeup the next time I use them. (Example: I use them for Mello's makeup and know that the next time I will use those particular brushes will be for Mello's makeup again.)
To check if a brush really need to be cleaned, rub it on the back of your hand, as if applying makeup, and see if anything comes off. If it does, you definitely need to clean it. If not, you could probably get away with not cleaning it.
So here's step-by-step on how I clean my brushes:
• Hold the brush in your dominant hand (I am right-handed), place the bristles on your non-dominant hand (in my case, left) and run it under warm water.
• Put a small amount of soap in the palm of your [left] hand, preferably something non-scented and with minimal chemicals, baby shampoo / soap is good.
• Move the brush in either a circular or back-and-forth motion in the soap until the soap changed into the color of the makeup that was in the brush.
• Rinse and repeat until the soap either doesn't change color or it's a really light color.
• Run the brush under the water and move it in the same motion as when washing it with soap. Continue until the water runs clear.
• Use your hands to wring out the brush and set it down so that a majority of the bristles are not twisted or curved. The brush should retain its full form once dried, even the cheap ones.

Storing Your Makeup
I have two makeup boxes, and I still don't feel like it's enough. I sort my makeup by brushes, eyeshadow & liquid eyeliner, face makeup (cover-up & glitter), lip makeup (lipstick & gloss), "crayon" eyeliners, mascaras, and extra makeup "parts" (sponge pads, eyelash curler cushions, etc.). I also have a separate box for makeup & brushes I use every day, and another box specifically for theatrical makeup (body / face paint, liquid latex, Spirit Gum, etc.).

I may come back and update this post on occasion. If you're interested, bookmark the page. =]

Green Luma (Day Fifty-Eight)

Feeling much better today than I did yesterday =] I was extremely surprise at my own quick recovery. I've never gotten better that fast.

So I went back to JoAnn's today for a better quality black lace, quarter-inch-wide elastic, cord elastic (which I wasn't even looking for & didn't expect to find, but did need), stretchy white fabric (which is luckily fuzzy too, which I like), and green fleece.

I made my cousin a green fleece Luma for Christmas (pictured left). Every time we play Mario Kart Wii, she plays Rosalina and says that she wants a Luma, so I made her one in the color of her choice. It was a pain in the butt, but it's not so bad for my first plushie, though you can definitely tell it was hand-made. The arms are all lop-sided, and the eyes are off-center, but I still hope she'll like it...

I also went back to work on Chi's dress. Added black lace, and I'm hoping to add more black ribbon before the end of the night. Tomorrow I need to clean my iron, haha. I like to use iron-on hems, I forget the real name, but it's like double-sided tape for fabric that you iron on to make sticky. However, you're not supposed to put the iron directly onto it, it's supposed to be sandwiched between the fabric you want to stick together. But somehow, I always manage to get it on the iron anyway. So there's all this burnt gunk on my iron. (Random, but I want to name my iron. I named my sewing machine, Koko, and I named the one I use at school, Kiki, but my poor iron has no name... I'll get back to that later.)

Day Fifty-Seven

I got really sick today, so I did nothing. I'm going to go get more rest now...

Chi Collar (Day Fifty-Six)

I feel like I did a lot more today than I did. I made a Lolita-style collar to go with my Chi outfit. I can't find a picture of what I was going for, but it's basically just a collar with rounded edges. It doesn't attach to the dress, it's just worn as a necklace basically. It's white with a big, black button. I'll get a picture on soon. I don't know if I'll wear it with the costume or not for sure, but it is rather cute.

I'm not finished with the dress, it needs more black accents, but I didn't have enough ribbon, lace, or fabric to come up with something, so it's back to the fabric store tomorrow.

I sorta of forgot about my Amaterasu mask today, but I checked on it and I'll probably add another layer of paper mache before covering it with the felt / fur, just to make sure it's stable. I'm hoping to get it finished over the weekend, but I never know.

I have a convention meeting tomorrow at nine and then it's off to the fabric store. After that, I have a doctor's appointment and I'm going to the mall with a friend who's fallen on some rough times. She needs a pick-me-up and I need a headband and white thigh-high tights. =]

Material Shopping at JoAnn's (Day Fifty-Five)

I intend to work on stuff tonight, but we'll see. I got a mask to use for Amaterasu, fuzzy felt stuff to put over it once it's altered, and a pattern and fabric to make bloomers. I forgot the friggin' elastic though! Ugh. *faints* I'm dumb.

So I figure I'll tackle the mask tonight, I have to alter it so that it look like it has a dog nose / snout, cover it with the fur / felt stuff, then draw the red circle and lines. I was going to make the red part out of red fur / felt stuff, but then I thought it would look weird and stick out funny if I glued it over the top, and if I cut out a space for it, you know it wouldn't fit in right no matter what I did. (You just know it wouldn't...) And I already know from experience that fake fur takes Sharpie quite well if you do it right, so theoretically it'll work on this fur / felt stuff too. I'll have to test it first, of course. I'm a little worried about molding the snout / nose because I have the feeling it's not going to want to shape right. I'll be making out of a toilet paper tube, cut to size with a vague shape, and then paper mache-ing over it to give it more definition and blend with the face better. So we'll see how all of that goes. Wish me luck!

Chi's Ears (Day Fifty-Four)

I like how "Chi's" sounds like "cheese" =] It amuses me all the time..

Anyway, Chi's ears are harder to make than I thought they'd be. The pink and white parts just don't want to fit together. And there wasn't enough foam to make the pink pieces long enough to go from the tip of the ear to lay flat against my head. In addition to all of that, 'm having trouble getting them to be the right shape. I'm hoping to finish them tonight, but who knows. I could be at this for weeks.

After they're built, I have some almost-clear silver paint that I may put over them to make them look more metallic, as they should be.

Chi's Dress (Day Fifty-Three)

I worked more on Chi's dress today. A lot more. This is probably the most detailed project I've ever done, and I'm not even making it from scratch, I'm just altering something.

So, I added some ruffles to the back of it to match the train of the dress. I did some detailing with black ribbons as well (I felt like it needed more black than just the bow in the front). And I ran out of lace T_T It was nice lace too. I have about six inches left of the five yards I started with. Never in my life did I ever think I would wear five years of lace. Doesn't even look like five yards...

Even though this dress is not an exact replica of Chi's dress, I am so proud of it. I love it's design (my mom helped a little with that), and I'm so proud of my creativity with it's design and the materials I had.

I can't decide if I'm done with it yet, I want to do more, but I'm not sure what. I may work on the fit of the dress some more, though that'll be hard now that it's one giant ball of POOF.

I'm also really glad that with it's new design, I don't have to wear a petticoat with it. Petticoats are ITCHY! No fun.

So now what I have to do is get a new wig (hopefully I good-quality one), Make the ears (which I'm really looking forward to for some reason) buy and possibly alter a pair of wight thigh-high leggings, and somehow get ahold of some bloomers. I hope they're easy to make, because I think the only place that'd have those would be a second-hand shoppe, and let's face it, ew.

Chi's Beginnings (Day Fifty-Two)

I sewed today! Yay! It made me happy =]

I spent several hours altering a dress just to make it fit! Ugh. I got really frustrated because I didn't feel like I was making much progress. But then eventually I finished that and got to work on making it look more like I wanted.

I will be cosplaying Chi from Chobits for Fanime on Sunday, May 30th. I will be going to Fanime other days, and I'll list what days and costumes when it gets closer. I chose Chi for Sunday though because this year, I really want to attend the Black and White Ball, and Chi has some formal-ish dresses. My boyfriend will be cosplaying as Hideki in his work uniform that day so he can attend in cosplay as well. I'm super excited! After high school, there isn't much opportunity to attend formal events, so this makes me really happy. =]

On a side note, I tried to make a collar that matched the dress, just to wear around my neck, not attached, and I kinda, sorta managed to super-fail a little bit, so I gave up, haha. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow when I'm thinking better.

I may wear Chi other times too, but I'm still in love with my Amaterasu costume and haven't had the chance to wear her with the wig yet, so that's set for Animation On Display in January for sure. I'll probably wear Chi for Kin-Yoobi Con in August, since I'll be staffing and want something comfortable and easy to move in. I need a new wig though. I completely messed up the one I had T_T

Day Fifty-One

I feel so lazy... I was going to sew today, but decided instead to paint my nails, which of course prevented me from sewing. Ugh. Maybe I'll work on some hand-stitching tonight or just get some stuff ready for tomorrow so I can work then. At least make a list of things to buy or something. Anything to get me more motivated.

Day Fifty

Woo! Fifty days! That's gotta be some kind of milestone. Oh, how this blog has grown. It started with no followers.. Now if has three! Yay! (Haha I'm probably more happy about that than I should be, I'm pathetic.) Now for some actual blogging.

I, of course, have still been slacking. I really need to get my Amaterasu costume finished up for Holiday Anime Faire, because that is definitely going to sneak up on me really fast.

I told my mom that for Christmas, all I want is for her to drive me to Sacramento (two hours away) so that I can go to Sac Anime Winter. She's not biting. I told her she didn't even have to buy me anything, and she's convinced that gas money would cost more than whatever I want. So I'm gonna push for a PS3 and see how that goes! (Man, I'm spoiled.)

What Not to Pack in Your Convention Backpack

This will be a much shorter post than the last, I promise, haha.

I didn't do anything cosplay-related at all today, but I have confirmed, for the millionth time, via my Costume Construction class, that I HATE sheer fabric more than anything else on this planet. Well. At least more than any other fabric. Today, I told it to go to Hell and stabbed through it with a pin. It's literally making me crazy.

So, today's topic: What Not to Bring to a Convention. Since yesterday was an extensive list on what to pack.

Real Weapons - Most cons specifically state "no live metal" in their rules on their website and convention packets (if they have them). Just don't do it.

Anything That Could be Used as a Weapon - Hammers, wrenches, large wooden objects. Most conventions have even banned yaoi paddles. (Of course lightweight props are usually alright.)

Spray Cans of Anything - Avoid them as much as you can. This means perfume, body spray, Axe, and even hairspray if you can get around it. If you must bring one of these, please wait until you get into the bathroom to use it. I don't need to walk through the hallways and come out smelling like a mixture of Irresistible Apple, Strawberry Passion, and Pine Sol. Thanks. (Not sure where that Pine Sol remark came from... Sorry.)

Large Quantities of Food - Snacks and water or soda are understandable, but full meals are a bit silly. I'd suggest using Google or MapQuest to find local eating places outside of the convention. Eat before arriving, and leave any other food in the hotel room or at home.

Giant Music-Players - Small speakers for you and your friends are one thing, I've done that myself. They were so quiet, you had to get at least close enough to talk to us in order to even hear it, and even then, sometimes you couldn't. There's no need to blast music down the hall. Just because you think it's good, doesn't mean everybody does, and I guarantee somebody will hate it and get annoyed.

FREE HUGS Shirts & Signs - They were fun for a while, but now they're old and obnoxious. After being borderline sexually harassed by a "Free Hugs!" guy (some say it was sexual harassment), I've come to dislike almost all of them.

I'm sure there's more, but I have a general rule: If you can't get it through airport security, re-think bringing it. Now, of course, airport security is much tighter, but with good reason. If you can't get it through airport security, it's because somehow whatever object it is has caused harm to someone. Ask yourself how that is possible, and see if there's another object you can take in it's place. (For example, I cheap, cardboard nail file instead of a metal one.)

I may come back and update this post on occasion, but I'm tired right now.

Packing a Convention Backpack

I may come back to edit this post every now and then, so if you find it helpful, you should probably bookmark it and check back before each convention. In addition, feel free to post anything that you bring to a convention that I have not listed. If I find it useful enough, I may add it to the list!

I bought two new mini bags to put in my convention backpack to organize it more and make things easier to find. Other than that, I didn't do anything cosplay-related, so here's today's topic: Packing a Convention Bag.

First, let's start with bags. Some people can fit everything into a small purse, others, like myself, need a backpack. It really depends on exactly how prepared you want to be and how much you can carry around all day. Most items that I carry are small and could probably fit into a small bag, however, I often pack for more than one person, and I like to be extremely prepared. So, I have a regular school backpack with three pockets, a mesh front pocket (which is nearly useless), and a mesh side pocket, supposedly for a water bottle. I also have two miniature bags that help me sort my items, each has two pockets, but one is about twice the size of the other. These can be substituted with plastic boxes for extra protection of fragile items, if you don't mind the extra weight and bulkiness.

Now for a break down of what's in each pocket, starting with the biggest pocket, and moving forward to the smallest pocket and then the outside. Wherever possible, I'll provide links to places that you can buy certain things. Remember, this is just what I bring and where I put it. How you organize it is totally up to you, this is just what works for me.

Main Pocket:

Lanyards & Badge Covers - I keep these safety-pinned to the top of the side of the main pocket so that they're easily accessible. I hate when conventions only provide a clip or safety pin to hold your badge on. It ruins my cosplay, and it's hard to hide them for pictures.
- I use the old badge covers and one lanyard from previous conventions, and I bought my extra lanyard really cheap from a place called Daiso Japan. You can also find lanyards, for a price, at Spencers and Hot Topic.

Small Bag with two pockets which includes:
(main / larger pocket)
Deodorant - I have a travel-sized, store-brand stick deodorant (as opposed to gel). I prefer my regular-sized, brand-name one that I use on a daily basis, but there have been way too many times that I've forgotten to pack it, so I finally broke down and bought a travel-sized one.
- They're harder to come by than I thought they'd be, but I found mine at Walgreens®. You can also probably find them seasonally (during the summer) at Target or Walmart.

Hand Lotion & Chapstick - This is just because I have dry hands and lips, but you never know.
- Chapstick can be found pretty much anywhere, and I think I got the hand lotions (mini bottles) as promotional giveaways, handouts at the doctor's office, or at Walgreens®. You can also probably find them at Target or Walmart.

Miniature Hairbrush - Whether it be for wigs or your real hair, it's probably a good idea to bring one. Clean it out after every convention that you use it at, though, just to be safe. I suggest a cheap one, since you'll only be using it a few times a year, and a small brush will be lighter and take up far less space, just be sure it's still functional, not like a Barbie brush (although those are handy for brushing out wig bangs).
- I honestly have no idea where I bought my miniature brush, I think it came with a kid's hair styling set, but I would check Walgreens®, Walmart, Target, Ulta, or any place that regularly sells cosmetics and hair products. Remember to check kids' sections too, sometimes stores hide the tiny, cheap stuff there.

Cheap Nail File - Just one nail file that will help you get through the convention. It doesn't have to be metal or especially well-made, just something to file off hangnails so that they don't snag and rip your nail off, or worse, destroy your costume.
- I bought twenty nail files for one dollar at Walgreens®, but I assume you can also find cheap ones at Walmart, Target, Ulta, or any place that regularly sells cosmetics.

(side / smaller pocket)
Miniature First-Aid Kit - Mine includes bandages of various sizes, disinfecting wipes, and pain-killers / fever reducers. I suggest a small handful (five to ten) regular sized bandages, three to five small bandages, and one or two large bandages. In my opinion, the disinfecting wipes are the most important. However, I'm a germaphobe at conventions. Disinfecting wipes (not to be confused with wet-naps) can be misplaced with a cream or spray, such as Neosporin®, but I would stay away from hydrogen peroxide, mainly because it can spill and requires either cotton balls or a sink for proper application. The pain-killers / fever reducers, (also known as Tylenol® or Motrin®) is purely optional, unless you suffer from serious ailments such as migraines, arthritis, or scoliosis. I am not entirely sure on the legality of bringing this to a convention either, as it is a drug. If possible, check the convention rules for this. If it is not specified, it's probably okay to bring. Please note that this does not have to be a full-sized first-aid kit, and I don't recommend that it be. My interpretation of it is that it just needs to be enough to take care of small cuts and scrapes and prevent infection for long enough to reach a first-aid station or get real medical attention.
- I got my first-aid kit from my mom, who I think stole it from a hotel room forever ago, so you may have to build your own. I would start at Walgreens®, of course, they have a large selection of first-aid products and are well-organized. However, you will probably be able to find any of these things at Walmart, Target,or any other place that sells first-aid.

Emergency Sewing Kit - My ESK includes two needles and black, white, tan, pink, red, and gray thread. You may choose to pack threads that match the color of your costume, but I personally would not pack a whole bobbin of thread. Get a small piece of cardboard (no larger than a 3X5 index card), and cut slits into the sides directly across from each-other. You may wish to widen the slits to more than just one cut to prevent it from cutting your string. Then take about one yard (three feet)* of thread and wrap it around the cardboard piece, tucking it into the slits you made on the sides. This will keep your thread separate and free from tangling, as well as making it far less bulky than a bobbin. You can store as many different colors on the cardboard as the amount of rows of slits you can cut, and you can also poke your needles into it in a way that they lay flat, saving space, and won't get lost. If you're really ambitious and organized, you can make one cardboard holder filled with string and two needles for each one of your cosplays. Then all you have to do is swap them out based on what you're wearing that day.
* Note: When measuring the thread, what I do is hold the end of the thread in my right hand and the bobbin in my left hand. I then pull the bobbin to around my neck or left shoulder. For me, this is a little less than three feet, and more than enough to stitch something up, even if I double the thread (tying both ends together after threading to make the thread thicker / stronger).
- I took my emergency sewing kit out of my mom's (formerly my grandma's) sewing cabinet, so you'd probably be better off making your own. I'd recommend Joann's or any other fabric store for thread and needles. Some craft stores, such as Micheal's also carry a few sewing materials, but not often. Walmart also has a small selection of thread and needles.

Manicure Set - My manicure set is actually a part of my emergency sewing kit, which is very convenient, but, again, I don't know where to buy one of these. This is just a simple manicure kit, tweezers, nail file, and things to clean under your nails with (I don't know what the technical term is for those). Yes, I know I mentioned to bring a cheap nail file, I'd actually suggest one of those over the metal ones that come with most manicure kits, because the one sold in kits are usually metal, and could potentially cause problems with convention security if for any reason you happen to get your bag searched. Tweezers are handy for if you get splinters or a loose string that's too short to cut and too long to ignore. Cleaning under your nails is just polite, and sometimes I know I get stuff stuck under there that really bothers me, and there's no room for any unnecessary discomfort when cosplaying.
- As mentioned before, I don't know where this was purchased, but hese items can probably be found at Walgreens®, Walmart, Target, Ulta, or any place that regularly sells cosmetics.

Miniature Roll of Scotch Tape - You never know when you'll need tape, and miniature things are always easier to carry.
- I believe I bought mine at Target during their annual back-to-school sale, but I'm sure they can be found other places, such as Walgreens® or Walmart, during their annual sales.

Medications That You'll Need During the Day - If these are prescription, I would highly recommend taking a copy of your written prescription, not the original. I don't like to take the original of anything not easily replaced at conventions, except my ID, which stays on my body at all times. These meds will vary from person to person, of course. For example, I am lactose intolerant, yet I still eat and drink dairy products. Most of the time, I'm actually okay, but sometimes I get massive stomach cramps, so I have packed my Lactaid® pills, which allow me to eat dairy with no consequence. Anything like that, which is taken on a case-by-case basis, I pack two doses of. I would try to avoid bringing liquid medications as much as possible, and check convention rules to be sure they are allowed.
- Obviously, where you get your medications varies, but Lactaid® pills are sold at any drugstore, including Walgreens® and Walmart, just in case you were wondering.

Second Pocket:

Pens, Pencils, & Other Writing Utensils - I have three pens - blue, pink, & purple -, a red pencil, and a silver Sharpie®. What you brig is up to you, but I suggest at least a blue or black pen, because they are easiest to read. I bring more than one pencil because I've ended up loaning them out to people at conventions before (they've always been returned :D ). The Sharpie® is in case I want somebody's autograph on something dark and they for some strange reason don't have one. The pencil is red because that's what I just threw in there. I'd personally rather have a regular-colored mechanical pencil and extra lead. the red pencil is mechanical, and i suggest mechanical so that you don't have to worry about carrying a pencil sharpener as well.
- Pens, pencils, and Sharpies® can be found pretty much everywhere, please don't make me list all of the places...

Tide to Go Pen - Brand is unimportant, but Tide to Go is the easiest to find, other than store brands. This is obviously for any accidental spills on your clothes.
- I bought my Tide to Go pen at Walmart, because that was literally the only place that I could find it. Although, I suspect Target of hiding them from me.

Hand Sanitizer - This may just be my inner germaphobe again, but there's nothing worse than touching something gross and feeling like miles away from the nearest sink. I have a Walgreens®-brand, spray-on hand sanitizer, but anything works in this case. Most people rely on Purell® I happen to like the spray one because it's easy to store with my pens and pencils, and it sprays the almost exact amount you need every time so you don't waste anything.
- These are found tons of places, especially in the winter and whenever there's a new flu (which feels like just about all the time in the US).

Mints - For the love of Pocky, please bring mints! I beg of you! I have what are basically a cheap knock-off of Altoids as well as Listerine Strips®. Don't rely on gum because chewing it causes you to produce more saliva, which makes your breath worse.
- These can be bought a multitude of places, in fact, I bought my Altoid knock-offs at a convention! So please don't make me list places.

Something to Write On - I carry a Death Note with me, but it's actually quite heavy for it's size and makes up over half of the current weight of my convention backpack, so I'm hoping to get something smaller and lighter.
- I bought my Death Note at Sanrio, yes, I know, hard to believe, but notebooks can be found anywhere.

Random Rave Stuff - Glowsticks, light-up things, etc. I have Finger Laser Lights, which I have yet to use, and I keep them in ring boxes (the kind you get when you buy a ring or necklace).
- I bought my Finger Laser Lights at Hot Topic. Glow sticks and light-up things are sold at conventions, but they're pricey, so watch out.

Third (smallest) Pocket:

Small Bag with one and a half pockets (one pocket is literally just for tissue), which includes:
(small / tissue pocket)
Tissues - Just a small pack of pocket tissues. These go in the small pocket in the mini bag because the one I have is specifically for tissues.

(main / larger pocket)
(If you're a guy, you can skip this part)
Feminine Care Items - I carry two full-sized pads, two panty liners (thin pads), two tampons, two feminine wet wipes, and two to three doses of Midol. Much like the first-aid kit, these should only be enough to get you secure enough to acquire more serious protection. If not for yourself, then for other girls who have forgotten such things. Even if you think you're cycle's not supposed to start or you're not on it, bring them. The one time you forget them, you will need them. I even have the bag for them on a chain attached to an easy-to-find place in the pocket so that all you have to do is un-clip the chain and you can take the bag into the bathroom. The bag that I have is shaped like a miniature purse, so you can also hang it on the back of the stall and don't have to hold onto it while taking care of business.
- The mini bag, I bought at Daiso Japan, feminine care items are most commonly found at Walgreens® and other drug stores, but you can also find them at Walmart and Target. The chain came with a purse, but I do not remember where I bought it, so you can buy chains at Hot Topic, or you can make one yourself by using an old necklace, a key ring, and a convention badge clip. You're smart, you can figure out how to do that.

On the Outside:

Water Bottle - My backpack has a special pocket for a water bottle, so I use that for one and put any other in the main pocket. I'd actually like to get a reusable water bottle, but I haven't gotten the chance to yet.
- Find water bottles, including reusable ones, at any grocery store, though I'd hope you already have some in your house.

Safety Pins - I pin them on the outside so that they're easy to find. Plus, they kind look cool. They've already saved one of my costumes, so now I refuse to go to a convention without them.
- I honestly don't know where my mass amount of safety pins came from, but I'd guess you could buy them at Joann's, a craft store, such as Micheal's, or Walmart.

I know it seems like a long list, but it's mostly small items. I can't say exactly how much I've spent on my convention backpack, as it is items I've accumulated over the years, but I'd guess that if you're nearing $50 for everything, you're spending way too much.

Also don't forget money, an emergency credit card (even if it's just a pre-paid one from Walmart), and some form of Identification. Also anything costume-specific, extra ACE Bandage Clips are a must-have for female crossplayers.

If you're staying the night in a nearby hotel, I'd suggest bringing a larger bag to leave in the hotel room that includes a complete feminine care bag, sewing kit, and first-aid kit.

Cosplay, Race, & BodyType

Today's topic: Cosplay, race, and body type
(I'll try my best not to offend, but I think I'm too blunt for my own good sometimes.)

I'm going to start out by outright saying, I do not discriminate against anybody. I honestly believe that any race or body type can cosplay anything or anybody they want.

HOWEVER! I do not enjoy seeing extremely overweight people half-naked. I won't make rude comments or gestures at them or behind their back, but it's not enjoyable to see, and I definitely won't ask for a picture. On the other side of the spectrum, skinny people don't look good as overweight characters, and it even makes them hard for me to recognize sometimes.
I also greatly admire people who use cosplay to motivate themselves to work out and lose weight. I'm thin, but even I've worked out to make a cosplay more accurate (getting abs for crossplay).

I know that race can be a tender subject, but here goes. I'm less likely to ask for a picture of a cosplay if the person is not the "correct" race. There are exceptions though, if the cosplay is just spectacularly made or I get to know them and they're just an awesome person that I want to remember. Also, I once saw a really dark African-American Link (The Legend of Zelda) cosplayer with a blue tunic, instead of the main green one, that complimented his skin tone so well, I would have died to get his picture. In any case, I am no less likely to compliment their costume or talk to them. I also don't particularly like when people use makeup to change their skin tone. It has to be really well-done and really convincing.
That being said, as with cosplayers who aren't the "correct" weight, I still do not make rude gestures or comments.

As for body type and skin color affecting my cosplay choices, it honestly does. I' a people-pleaser and a perfectionist, a terrible combination for a cosplayer.

I could never bring myself to cosplay a heavier character because I'm so ridiculously tiny and I'd be afraid I'd offend someone. (The words "but there are so many skinny anime characters" come to mind...) I get grief about my weight as it is, whether I'm cosplaying a character just as skinny as myself, or even if I'm not cosplaying at all. People seems offended by my size, as if I'm purposely perpetuating the stereotype that only skinny girls are pretty, Yes, I'm skinny. Yes, people say I'm pretty. Yeah, there might be some correlation, but, really, I wish I weighed more. It affects my health and I'd really like to get people the F off of my back. But that's my problem, not the cosplay world's.

I'm less particular about race though, probably because I've never had real problems with race. I've been toying with the idea of cosplaying a darker-skinned girl with the same body type as myself, but my skin is so light, camera flash reflects off of it, and on top of that, it's a fairly revealing cosplay. I'd have to get a tan, which is near impossible, though I'm not entirely against fake tans, good ones, I mean, but that's money. Anyway, it is mostly the skin that's holding me back, not how revealing it is. I'm not against altering the costume to make it less revealing, even if that really did hold me back. It's easier remedied than skin color.

So, does skin color matter in cosplay? Yeah. Do weight and body type matter? Yeah. Should you let that stop you? No. Does that give people the right to be rude to people whose bodies or skin doesn't match? No.

After all, if a boy can be a girl, and a girl can be a boy (crossplaying), why can't a skinny person be an overweight person, or a white person be an Asian person?

Day Fourty-Six

Nothing of interest today. Man, I've gotten boring lately. Cosplay-wise anyway. I've been thinking about cosplay! But I guess that doesn't count. =/

Naval Piercing (Day Fourty-Five)

I got my naval pierced today. My mom hates it, haha, but she knew I was going to get it. What upsets me is that I won't be able to cosplay Mello, or anyone else who shows much of their stomach. It's a good thing that my boyfriend and Mom have always made me do conservative cosplays, otherwise I'd have nothing to wear. I don't consider any of my everyday outfits to be slutty, a little on the provocative side maybe, but I'm also not one to be modest. And it just so happens that I like some characters that are more on the really-not-modest side. I'm rambling. In any case, Mello will stay in the closet for a year. Or until I get a proper flesh-colored shirt. I have to say though, Mello's not the most comfortable costume to wear, what with the wig and the scar. I've been wanting to make some more comfortable costumes anyway.

Thrift Store Treasures (Days Fourty-Three & Fourty-Four)

Ah, I forgot to post. I'm addicted to Mine Sweeper. Seriously. I've been playing for hours. Anyway, I had some awesome trips to thrift stores. I got a paper parasol, studded boots, a tie that matches one of my pleated skirts, and a freaking green backpack with a freaking stuffed Pikachu on it. That's right. You're jealous.

Sheer Fabric Must Die (Day Fourty-Two)

Convention planning meeting tomorrow at nine in the morning, so this will probably be short. Costume Construction class has taught me something very, very important... I HATE sheer fabric! Hate. With a capital H - A - T - E. It slips and slides and stretches and frays and is irritating as hell. That is all.

Day Forty-One

Darn me and my after-midnight posts. This is why I don't title my entries with the date. I'd confuse myself to no end. I got some feedback on my Eevee and evolutions costumes today, but other than that, nothing really happened. I've been working on my final project for Costume Constructions I, which is to read a play and, among other things, design costumes for at least three characters. It's way too fun for me to take seriously, haha.

Eeveelutions Have Been Sent to Bill's PC (Day Fourty)

I've been so busy making costume designs, I didn't realize it was after midnight, haha. An any case, Eevee, Umbreon, and Leafeon have all been designed to their fullest. They're going to go into the cosplay binder, probably never to see the light of day again, hahaha. I simply don't have the time or money at the time. Not until Chi is finished at least. And Harley. And I really want a kimono. And a lolita outfit. Gah.

Eeveelutions Concived (Day Thirty-Nine)

This morning at around four, I got really bored and got to thinking about Pokemon Gijinka cosplays, since I saw a really cute Pikachu at Yaoi Con. So I designed a "set," if you will, of Eevee cosplays (Eevee and all the evolutions). Now if only I could get eight other girls who would make and wear them. HA. That's funny. I'll probably re-draw a few of the Eevee evolutions, since I only drew out Eevee, due to laziness. I sketched out the others, but they're not very good, so the concept's kinda hard to see.

Cosplay Fan Service

No cosplay today, so here's a post with a cosplay topic again.

Fanservice! Who, what, when, where, why, and how? (Not necessarily in that order.) and loosely define fanservice as unnecessary romantic fluff or sexually-derived situations (not in those exact words). These can include romantic scenes between two characters, wherein the scenes contribute nothing to the main plot, or shower / bath scenes with only one character. The term "fanservice" is not an anime-exclusive term.
In relation to cosplay, this would be one or more cosplayers pose for a picture or act in a way that is out of character and caters to the whims of fans. This could be anything from a silly face to publicly indecent acts.

I've heard stories of cosplayers being pushed and into fanservicing by rabid fans, but I've never experienced this myself. I've been asked to do yaoi poses before, but usually my partner isn't ready for it and we end up standing there looking like idiots. However, on the occasions that we're not caught completely off-guard, my boyfriend and I usually pose and the fan snaps a picture, thanks us, and leaves.

I've also seem some extremely indecent acts in convention halls being cheered on by a circle of fans. No, I don't encourage them, although sometimes my inner fangirl lets out a mental squeal, and I just walk away. Yes, it does bother me most of the time, these people would probably not be doing such inappropriate things if they weren't in costume, nor would others be cheering them on. Not in public anyway.

At Yaoi Con, there was almost no fanservicing, believe it or not. I think this was due to the age cut-off of eighteen. Which upset me only because this means that it is the younger age group (most likely young teens) who are both giving and encouraging fanservice. Which is just wrong on so many levels.

Personally, I do fanservice because I like to entertain people. I don't go out of my way to get people's attention, but if they ask, I deliver. I also never to anything indecent. I think there was only once I kissed for a picture, and it was a kiss, not a full-on make-out session. Still, if you want to call this attention-whoring, I'm not going to argue details, that isn't the point of this post. However, I'm sure that many people use fanservicing as a form of attention-whoring.

My boyfriend and I have basically been asked to fanservice for friends when we're not in costume. I guess they just want something to "aww" at and call "adorable." So we're used to being asked to be "cute" in front of others or the camera. It's usually the girls who don't have a boyfriend, but sometimes it's ones who do. I'm assuming the same theory could be applied to cosplay fanservicing. All types of people ask for it, and all types give it.

I don't believe that it's wrong to give. I also don't think that fanservicing in general is indecent. It's the way that it's interpreted that usually ends up wrong.

Halloween Fail (Day Thirty-Seven)

So you'd think that Halloween would be the best day ever for a cosplayer. Yeah, I thought so too. Today sucked big time, my party bombed, and I'm out fifty bucks. FML