I 'Maid' Stuff! (Days 768 - 783)

*ba dum psh* So I'm going to be cosplaying Maid Yoko, and I've been getting solid progress done. I made a vest, but it didn't turn out the way I wanted, and I found a better, more accurate vest to alter instead. I altered the sleeves of a dress shirt to be shorter and puffier. I still have a ways to go until it's complete, but I feel like I got a lot done just because those sleeves were a nightmare. I don't have any progress pictures, unfortunately. I'm making everything out of stuff that I already have, trying to spend as little money as possible, since I'm saving for the badge and hotel for Fanime still. Kind of freaking out trying to figure out I'm going to get enough money in time, heh. Not to mention getting the money for my White Mage cosplay. I try not to think about it, because it's a lot of fabric.

NorCal Spring Gathering 2012

I attended the NorCal Spring Gathering on Saturday, March 10th with my boyfriend and two friends, I cosplayed a genderbent version of Link from The Legend of Zelda.

Usually, I don't report on getting ready for gatherings in the morning, but this morning was particularly... Stressful. Which made it hilarious for anyone I told about it (not many people though), so I'll share. Getting ready started with hunting through my dresser drawers to find three pairs of tights that I could layer so I wouldn't be cold. I found a pair of panyhose (flesh-toned tights) and two pairs of white tights. Both pairs of tights had holes in them in different places, and I couldn't find my one good pair. I couldn't pick an order to put the tights on in. I changed them three times before giving up and just putting the ones with the best color on top.

Then came the ears. The night before the gathering, it suddenly hit me that since I was going to be cosplaying Link, I got to wear my elf ears. I was extremely excited. I love elf ears (way too much, in fact), and had been looking for an excuse to wear mine for weeks. So of course, in all of my excitement in the morning, I go to put them on, and they won't. Go. On. I spent a good fifteen to twenty minutes trying to put them on. The experience is best described as a conversation between me and the ears (I'm not crazy, I swear).
Me: Yay, elf ears!
Ears: Forget you~
Me: Okay... Wait. No. You know what!? Forget you!
Ears: No wait, come back, we love you!
Me: That's what I thought...
(I didn't actually have this "conversation", it just went through my head as everything was going on.)
Essentially, the ears were a pain in the butt, but I got them on anyway, and they looked fabulous.

Now on to the actual event.

After a bunch of mild freaking out the night before, trying to figure out who was driving and whatnot, as the masters of leaving on time, the four of us ended up leaving around 12:30 in the afternoon. Our original departure time was 12:00pm, but, as I sarcastically said, we are the masters of leaving (and arriving) on time. (The gathering officially started at 10:00am.) We arrived some time after 1:00pm, and followed a car with a Gurren Lagann bumper sticker around the parking lot for a little while before finding a parking spot.

I was pleasantly surprised that shortly after getting to the gathering, I was pulled away for a photoshoot. I felt really bad leaving my boyfriend right away, since he had only come because I went, but he was okay with it and hung out with our friends while I was gone. I was also pleasantly surprised that I got three photoshoots almost right away. Again, I felt bad running off on my own, but at the same time, at least I got all of them out of the way so that I had the rest of the day to just hang out. I was asked for photos by random people throughout the day, but those go by so quickly, they're barely worth mentioning.
Me with my fairy in a bottle
Photo by Oscar C Photography

Photo by BlizzardTerrak Photography
My boyfriend and I went back to the car to get the park toys that I had brought. I bought them a couple of years ago specifically to bring to gatherings, because no matter how many friends are there, no matter how good the conversation is, I need things to do. Once we returned to the gathering, I started blowing bubbles. Strawberry-scented bubbles. (I brought two containers of bubbles, one strawberry, one grape.) These are not edible bubbles, and I told people that, but some people attempted to eat them anyway. They made funny (disgusted) faces afterward, which was hilarious to me with my I-told-you-so attitude. I ended up blowing bubbles for a pretty long time, mostly because there was a little girl there who wanted to play with the bubbles. She was so cute, I didn't want her to stop playing haha. Eventually, I got a little short of breath from blowing bubbles for so long, so I had to stop.

Shortly after this, it was time to take a group photo of everyone in the gathering. I found out later that there had been another group photo earlier in the day that we had missed, but at least there was a second one that we could be included in.

Photos by Bart Zidane Kamiki

My friends and I played with one of the Frisbees I had brought for a while, with cameo appearances by other people from the gathering. I found it a little strange, since Frisbee is usually insanely popular at any gathering that I've ever been to, yet no one seemed all that interested that day. Oh well. I got bored soon, maybe because there were only four of us playing, I don't know. We decided instead to go adventuring in the park. We had all talked about it, but we finally decided to just walk and see where we ended up. This turned out to be my favorite part of the day.

We grabbed some sodas and water from the gathering and snacked a little before beginning to wander. We decided to follow the road alongside the nearby train tracks, but a park ranger in a truck needed to pass us in the road, so we ended up walking on the train tracks. The ranger saw us walking on the tracks and didn't say anything, so we figured it was okay to be there. They were small tracks, and any train that would fit on them would be moving slowly enough that we could hear or see it and move out of the way (it turned out that the tracks were very, very old and there was no train anyway).

So we were walking on the tracks, one of my friends was out in front with a large stick that someone had found earlier, my other friend was behind him, in front of me, and my boyfriend was slightly behind me, walking next to the tracks. Nothing eventful is happening, other than me really enjoying walking on train tracks for some reason, when my boyfriend says, "I feel like we're in Lord of the Rings." We all laugh, then he explains, "We're adventuring, and we're being led be a really talk guy with light hair and big stick." We marvel at his genius, and then I remember that my friend that's walking in front of me hates being called short, and consequently hates being called a hobbit. So of course, I had to say she's a hobbit. We continued walking, some other Lord of the Rings comments were made, and it suddenly hits me, "Guys. I'm an elf!" It was all too perfect, which made it hilarious. My boyfriend didn't know who he was, so I told him he could be Aragorn. He didn't want to be Aragorn, and we briefly discussed the possibility of him being Gimli, but I cannot stand the Legolas-Gimli pairing, and as the elf of the group, I was not going to let my boyfriend be Gimli, there was just no way that that was happening.

Eventually, it was decided that we were done being Lord of the Rings and we were Star Wars instead. Then we were super heroes. And then I don't even remember the rest. Basically we were gigantic nerds, it was a lot of fun, and I regret nothing. The train tracks looped around past where the gathering was and came to an end (this is when we realized that there was no train). From the end of the tracks, we could see a giant bridge, and we decided that we wanted to cross it. We climbed a small hill toward an open gate, where we found the entrance to the Sleepy Hollow Park and Zoo. Random people made baffled comments at us being in costume. It was a little rude, but more amusing than anything. I mean, what did we expect? We were at a zoo (albeit on accident) in strange costumes, people were going to make comments.

We made our way to the bridge and began to cross it. There isn't much to say about the bridge other than it was a giant cement bridge. For some reason, maybe the lack of train tracks, my feet felt unstable, but no one else seemed bothered when I mentioned it, so I guess my balance was off or something. Maybe it was my shoes. Anyway, at the end of the bridge, there were bathrooms. Yup. Bathrooms. Oh, but the bathrooms were closed. There are also a circle of benches that looked like rocks, so we all sat/stood around being stone statues for a little while before heading back to the gathering.

Things were pretty uneventful once we got back, the most memorable things I can come up with are being given a paper target that looks like Navi (The Legend of Zelda), and me sitting on a rock near some water finally getting to play my ocarina. A random lady took a picture of me playing (at least I think it was a random lady, I only saw her out of the corner of my eye), though I really wish I could see the photo. Sitting there playing felt really calm and serene, it would be cool if the picture that she got reflected that.

We left for home around 5:00-5:30pm, the gathering ended at 5:00pm anyway. We stopped by In-n-Out before dropping everyone off and going home. Which reminds me that we were really disappointed to have paid $5 to attend a gathering that did have any actual food, only snacks. All in all though, a really fun day.

(More pictures coming when I can get them.)

Photo by Oscar C Photography 

Helping~ (Days 763 - 767)

So super, super last-minute, I decided to go to the NorCal Spring Gathering this past Saturday (I'll do a write-up separately). I remembered that I had my fem!Link cosplay already finished, and I had only worn it once and gotten no pictures, so I figured I'd wear it again.

The night before the gathering, I went over to a cosplay buddy's house and ended up helping her sew some of her stuff for the gathering. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed working on a costume for someone else as much as I did. I mean, I make costumes for my boyfriend on occasion, but I stress just as much about those as I do about my own costumes. Working on one for someone else, I was just as careful (if not more-so) than I am with my own cosplays, but it was more relaxing for some reason. Maybe because I didn't feel particularly rushed because, quite frankly, it wasn't my responsibility to get it finished by the end of the night, I was just doing whatever I could in the given time frame. In any case, I enjoyed it. I think I've mentioned somewhere before that I would enjoy doing costume commissions if people were willing to pay what they're worth.

I also sketched out the designs for my White Mage and my boyfriend's Black Mage cosplays. We thought that the basic pixel designs from Final Fantasy 1 were too simple and would look boring if we tried to translate them into real life. (Also, I've seen one too many Black Mages that look like a scarecrow in a snuggie.) So we talked about taking the basic design and adding minor details to make them look a little more interesting. Knowing how badly these things can go, we kicked around ideas for a long time, thinking about what would look good, how to keep close to the original design, and what would be too over-the-top or far from the original.

I had all of these ideas floating around in my head and decided one night that I needed to just put it down on paper to see what it all looked like, because no matter how good it looked in my head, I knew that the reality would probably look really different.

I compiled a bunch of reference pictures, starting with the Black Mage first, since that was the design I was most concerned about. I noted which game each of the references was from, and picked out things that I liked from each design. To me and my boyfriend, the most important thing was that the designs stay simple. So keeping that, and the basic shape from Final Fantasy 1, I began sketching. I don't have the sketches is digital format, but here are the reference pictures I used from Black Mage. (Note: The costume in the top right is what I didn't want it to look like.) I took structural elements from the first Final Fantasy Tactics reference (on the left), and yellow details from the Hume Black Mage (Final Fantasy Tactics also) in the middle. I kept the basic shape of the design in the bottom right (FFI), and I ended up completely disregarding the Mario Sports Mix design. My boyfriend had told me that he wanted a staff, and he wanted the gnarliest, most branch-like one, so I looked up a list of all of the staffs used in Final Fantasy and chose the one that was closest to what he wanted, it ended up being from Final Fantasy IX. It's not 100% decided yet, but I believe we're going with the shoes from the design on the far left as well (or at least something similar, since they'll most likely be covered anyway).

For my White Mage design, I kept extremely close to the original, but I took some structural elements from the Final Fantasy 3 White Mage, making it look extremely similar to the Final Fantasy Tactics Black Mage. It adds a lot to the design without changing much, and it makes the White Mage design look like goes with the Black Mage one I ended up with. For the overall shape, I stuck with the design from Final Fantasy 1 (top left corner), which is conveniently exactly the same as the shape in Final Fantast Tactics (for the female White Mage). (I disregarded the male White Mage from Tactics entirely.) I took a couple of minor details such as the stitching and the cross from the Final Fantasy 3 design, as well as the boots (again, or something similar, since they'll most likely be hidden under robes). My White Mage will be blonde, mostly because I decided on this cosplay after playing the FFI remake for the PSP, in which the White Mage is very clearly blonde, but also because I already have a blonde wig that's perfect for this. I decided on the hair style of the Final Fantasy Tactics White Mage, since the hair style of the FFI White Mage is pretty much nonexistent (it's just plain and straight). For my weapon, I chose a hammer, and I found a picture of a White Mage hammer that another cosplayer had made to match the White Mage robe. I thought it was a cute idea, but when I drew it with the rest of my sketch, it just looked like a lot of white and red and triangles, so I'll most likely go with the original blue hammer seen in Final Fantasy 1.

I am aware that some people may not like the fact that we are changing the designs of the versions that we're cosplaying, however I did put a lot of time and effort into these, and I love and adore the designs came out. We're not changing them so that we can cut corners on construction (because we definitely won't be), and we're not changing them so that we can be original or unique or our own characters or anything. We're changing minor details so that the costume overall looks better than it would if we were to translate it directly from pixels into 3D clothing. If that's the case, why aren't we cosplaying different, more detailed versions? I can't speak for my boyfriend here (though I know he loves being generic characters), but Final Fantasy 1 was the first Final Fantasy game that I played all the way through, and the only one that I've played that had a White Mage design with white robes. I loved my White Mage in Final Fantasy 1 to death (quite literally, as she didn't survive the last battle), and I can't imaging cosplaying any other White Mage right now.

Days 752 - 762

I haven't worked on much, though I have been productively saving for Fanime, and it's going a lot quicker than I thought it would. It's making me more confident that I'll be able to make my White Mage cosplay in time for Fanime (since I'm not starting on it until I have enough for the hotel and badge).

Speakikng of Fanime, I forgot to post this! My panels for Fanime have been approved. My boyfriend and I will be hosting "Magikarp" A History" and "Rattata: Top Percentage" at Fanime 2012! Currently, "Magikarp" is scheduled for Saturday, May 26th from 4pm to 5pm, and "Rattata" is scheduled for Sunday, May 27th from 5pm to 6pm. I'm unsure if these are the finalized times or not, but I'm under the impression that they are.

I have been sewing some, or at least I cut out patterns and altered them some for a project using scrap fabric, since I"m not buying any new materials until I've saved up all of my Fanime money. I'm planning on doing a few things with scrap fabric, but none of it's set in stone.

In other news, ballet is paying off, and I have abs again!  This is quite exciting, since I think it makes my Yoko cosplay look that much better, along with any other bare-midriff cosplays I may or may not have planned. Plus, I just like having abs, who doesn't? These are the result of ballet class two days a week, which is a lot of core work, we also are supposed to do fifty crunches every class. To be honest, I'm not sure who else in the class actually does all fifty. I'm assuming the guys do, and I'm sure a couple of the other girls do, but for some reason, I always take longer doing my crunches, pushups, and stretches than everyone else does. A lot longer. Though I know for sure that I stretch longer because I'm really determined to be able to do the splits again. In any case, I'm rambling. Yeah. I'm happy to have abs back.