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Irene [userpic]

Gishwhes Item #100

August 4th, 2016 (09:13 am)

Gishwhes Item #100

Rob Benedict created a video instructing people how to detect someone having a stroke so people can help save lives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aTFThB8D4M. Tweet this link from 15 different twitter feeds and put links to all 15 twitter posts into a single screenshot that you submit.

View this screencap online, with live links.

Irene [userpic]

Seeking Costuming Advice

April 1st, 2016 (11:21 am)

As I mentioned over on facebook, I’m looking for advice/input/ideas from any of my friends who do costuming, sewing, or who just have a strong fashion sense.

I need to add short sleeves (covering the upper arm area) to one of these styles of dresses. (Clicking on any image will open it in a new window, sometimes bigger.) But I don't want to just slap on generic short sleeves that will clash with the style of the dress. I want them to look like they belong.

Possibly helpful information:
* The two dresses on the left are about knee-length. The two on the right are full length.
* Yes, they are from Game of Thrones.
* No, I’m not trying to recreate a specific dress. I’m just trying to come up with something that fits the general style/aesthetic of the costumes from the show.
* No, I don’t actually watch the show, nor have I read the books.
* Long sleeves are -maybe- an option. But I'm trying to make the dress as cool as possible as it will have to be worn in a very hot environment.
* This isn’t for me. It’s for a friend.

The only idea I have so far is for the rightmost one, but I'd like to offer more than one option, thus why I'm asking. Also, I'd love a second opinion (or third, etc.) on my idea. So... Take at look at these very similar dresses (worn by the same character, even).

I'm thinking of a semi-detached sleeve like above left, with some shoulder showing. Maybe even have it only be loosely linked/tacked to the dress like the epaulettes above right. The sleeve would be pleated at the top edge with tiny pleats like in the skirt, and then flaring out into a much wider hem. I'd have the sleeve stop just above the inner elbow in front, but probably be at least a bit longer (maybe very much longer) in the back, so that it hangs behind the arm. The fabric for the sleeve would either be the same as the skirt, or (ideally, if possible) be a lighter weight or more sheer version in the same color. (I'm thinking habotai for the skirt, and chiffon for the sleeve, both from the same supplier in the same color. Or maybe dupioni for the skirt, and habotai for the sleeve.)

Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions?

Irene [userpic]


October 3rd, 2015 (11:34 pm)

My how-to of how I made my Suicidal Teddy Bear costume is now up at Flickr. Because I am a crazy woman, it includes 199 photos with detailed descriptions of pretty much every step. Enjoy!

Irene [userpic]


March 26th, 2015 (12:27 pm)

Anyone out there interested in taking part in this year's GISHWHES?

One of my con-buddies and I talked about it at last year's Salute to Supernatural. Neither of us has done it before, though she did help out a friend who participated last year. And while we're not sure how much time we'll actually be able to devote to it (work, unfortunately, coming first) we both think it sounds like a blast. So we're going to sign up to do it this year, and we're going to get on the same team.

So I figured I'd check to see if any of my friends out there might also be interested in joining our team.

Irene [userpic]

IKEA Hack Desk & Office Revamp

December 27th, 2014 (07:47 pm)

I finally got around to posting photos from my office revamp, which includes building myself a new desk via an IKEA hack.

Click on any photo below to go to the Flickr album where I give step-by-step details.

Irene [userpic]

Merry Christmas

December 21st, 2014 (03:31 pm)


Click through to see the full "card" at my website.

Irene [userpic]

Excuse me while I go attempt to pick up the pieces of my mind.

December 6th, 2014 (08:12 pm)

I just finished watching the movie 'Looper'. Wow! That was incredible. And I can't think of a better/worse example of a preview completely misrepresenting a movie. When I saw the preview when the movie first came out, I was completely convinced it was going to be a pointless shootem-up action movie with a sci-fi veneer, and an unlikely premise to boot. But earlier this evening, feeling sick and not having the energy to move off the couch, I figured what the hell, I could go for some brainless action. I could not have been more wrong. My mind is freakin' blown.

As an aside, I'm very much looking forward to seeing more work from Pierce Gagnon. I'd never seen him before I started watching 'Extant', and now in the past couple months I've seen him in two other things. Remarkable talent for one so young.

Irene [userpic]


November 22nd, 2014 (07:24 pm)

Yay, I have a new desk! And internet too! (That's always up in the air whenever I have to disconnect my modem. It oftentimes doesn't like to reconnect properly. And no matter what Comcast may believe or try to sell you, they really don't have a freakin' clue about Mac tech support.)

Anyway, back to the new desk... Now comes the challenge of fitting everything back into the office, finding new homes for it all. I also still need to assemble the new shelves that will go next to the desk. But I'm beat, and I think I'm pretty much done for the day.

Before and after pics to follow as soon as I've attained 'after'.

Irene [userpic]

Operation "Time For a New Desk" Is a Go!

November 22nd, 2014 (11:24 am)

After way too many years with a desk that just doesn't work well for me, I'm about to replace it. But it's going to require a lot of work. First I need to move everything currently in my office somewhere else (probably just piled up in the sewing room and living room). Then I need to disassemble the old desk. Then I get to assemble and modify the new desk. (I'm doing an IKEA hack.) Then, if everthing goes as planned, I'll be able to put everything back into the office in a much more neat and organized manner.

Anyway, I'm about to shut down my computer so I can start tearing everything apart. Cross your fingers for me that I'll be back online again by the end of the day.

Irene [userpic]

In Which Girlygothic is Kinda Like a Husky

November 8th, 2014 (04:57 pm)

You know that video that's been going around lately of the husky playing in the ginormous pile of leaves? Picture how big that pile of leaves is in relation to the husky. Then picture one equally as large in relation to me. Yeah, that's what you get when you load up an 8x10 tarp with leaves... 8 and a half times. That's what Dad and I raked up from the front and back yards today and moved into the woods. Fall down go boom now.

Irene [userpic]

End of Day Update

October 25th, 2014 (07:30 pm)

Ugh. As always, everything takes longer than I think it will. Lots of great progress today though.

  • Corset - Complete
  • Petticoat - Complete
  • Dress - Probably about 75% complete. The body is fully assembled, and the skirt is hemmed. I've also formed the boning into the neckline support. I still need to fit the neckline to the support, finish the armholes, and make and attach the beaded trim.
  • Tail - 0%
  • Mask - Maybe about 25% complete. Still waiting on the paperclay to dry before I can work on the next steps.
  • Corona - Complete
  • Jewelry - Complete
  • Talons - 0%
  • Stockings - Undecided, but no actual work to be done.
  • Shoes - 0%
I'm pretty beat at this point. But I'm not going to call it a night just yet. Instead I'm going to work on the beaded trim for the dress for at least a few hours while catching up on/clearing space on my DVR.

Irene [userpic]

Halloween Costume Progress Report

October 25th, 2014 (10:51 am)

I've been offline most of the last few weeks, working almost every spare moment on my Halloween Costume. (Ugh, I have over 300 Facebook notifications to catch up on.)

Anwyay, today's a big push day for getting stuff done, so I'm probably going to be updating all through the day to take breaks and try to keep myself motivated.

This year I'm going as a peacock. Yeah, I know, peacocks are male. So I guess you could call me a transgendered peacock. Anyway, the components of the costume are:

  • Corset - Already on hand from prior costumes.
  • Petticoat - Done! After several days of wrestling with the netting and tulle, I finished it earlier this week.
  • Dress - I'm making this out of royal blue panne velour, as that's the fabric that best mimics the body feathers of a peacock. The circle skirt is mostly assembled, except for the center back seam. lady_gaby came over last night to help me drape the bodice. Earlier this morning I basted all the seamlines we pinned last night, and just a little while ago I did another fit test. Just a few more tweaks and I'll be ready to sew all the seams for real. After that will be finishing the armholesscoops and wrapping the upper edge over the boning that will stiffen the off-the-shoulder neckline. Then the finishing touch will be several yards of beaded lace trim for the neckline (and if I have time, also the waist seam).
  • Tail - This will be the focal point of the costume. I have about 150 peacock tail feathers on hand that I'm going to build into a tail that can move between the upright displayed fan shape and the collapsed narrow tail shape of an actual peacock. This requires a somewhat complicated harness. But thankfully I found a tutorial online of one very similar to what I had conceived. So that's saved me a lot of designing/figuring things out.
  • Mask - I didn't like how any of the bird beak masks I could find for sale fit my face. But I did find another mask that does fit my face well. So I added a beak with paperclay. It's still drying, but in another few days it will be ready to sand and paint. Peacocks beaks are whiteish, so I'm going to use a pearly white paint. Then after I cover the non-beak portions of the mask with scraps of the velour I plan to embellish it with more beaded lace trim and peacock body feathers.
  • Corona - I've already covered a chignon form with the velour, and made a wired beaded lace bun-cover-crown/tiara thingy. I still need to attach peacock corona feathers to it.
  • Jewelry - I've already made a set of matching necklace, earrings, and two bangle bracelets from beads that coordinate with the ones I'm using for all the beaded lace trim.
  • Talons - Again, if I have time, I'm going to make talon shaped fake fingernails, painted the same pearly white as the beak of the mask.
  • Stockings - I'm undecided whether or not I'll be wearing white stockings. Peacocks legs are the same whiteish color as their beaks, so I want to make my legs white. But my experience shows that white stockings will fluoresce under blacklights, and I'm not sure I want that to happen. So I may leave my legs bare.
  • Shoes - If I have time, I hope to cover an old pair of china flats with velour, and embellish them with more beaded lace and feathers.
Okay, back to work on the dress.

Irene [userpic]

Sewing Irony and This Year's Halloween Costume

October 13th, 2014 (11:39 am)

I hate netting. I hate tulle. Working with them is a complete bitch and a half. So why, then, do I continue to design costumes that make heavy use of them?

I have this dream that eventually I will have enough different colors of petticoat that for some future costume I won't need to make a new one. But at that point the properly colored petticoat will probably be the wrong length.

Anyway... The following is an attempt to keep myself motivated.

I started with 8.5 yards of yellow netting, and two 4.25 yard lengths of gold foil tulle. (I suppose I should be thankful that the store didn't have the 8.5 yards in one piece, as it saved me some cutting.)

  1. Rough cut netting into two 4.25 yard lengths - Done last night.
  2. Square up one end of each piece of netting - Done last night.
  3. Mark cutting lines and alternating 1"/2" pleating points along both edges of each length of netting - Done last night.
  4. Square up other ends of netting - Done last night.
  5. Layer tulle over netting and baste along one edge. At the same time (as I work along the length of the fabric, sliding it down my cutting table) mark cutting line to divide length of yardage into two widths, and baste along either side of that line - Done this morning for one of the netting/tulle sets.
  6. Cut netting/tulle sets into two widths.
  7. Baste last 4.25-ish yard long edge of tulle to netting.
  8. Cut along remaining cutting lines.
  9. Serge ends of each of 4 pieces together.
  10. Fold each tube in half, and pleat/pin along cut edges.
  11. Assemble cotton yoke.
  12. Pin all 4 layers of netting/tulle to cotton yoke.
  13. Machine baste netting/tulle to cotton yoke, and remove pins.
  14. Serge cotton/netting/tulle seam.
  15. Encase seam in yoke lining.
  16. Insert elastic into yoke waistband.
And that will be the petticoat. After that I still need to make the dress (including beaded lace trim), tail and harness, hairpieces, mask, jewelry, shoes, and talons.

Update 1:00pm - Steps 6, 7, and 8 completed for the first netting/tulle set. Now time for lunch.
Update 5:30pm - Steps 5, 6, 7, and 8 completed for the second set. Think I'm done for the day, as my arm is starting to bother me. I could maybe push further, but I need to pace myself for the long haul.

Irene [userpic]

Photos Delay and State of the Me

October 2nd, 2014 (12:22 pm)

Last year I took so many photos at the con that they became daunting. So I never really did get much work done in sorting them out so I could post the good ones. So this year my plan was to not fall into the trap of thinking I had to get them all done before I posted any. I was going to work on sets/panels one at a time, and post them piecemeal.

Well, as you might have noticed, that didn’t last long. But what’s really frustrating is that for once it’s not a case of lack of motivation - Every day I’ve really wanted to work on the photos. Unfortunately, I just physically can’t right now.

See, for several months I’ve been dealing with an RSI issue in my arms, and after the con it flared up badly. So after being on the computer all day at work, I just haven’t been able to spend any real time on the computer at home – it just hurts too much.

But the good news is that I finally saw the orthopedist, and I’m now doing physical therapy. And according to my physical therapist, I’m already showing signs of improvement. I’m glad he can see it, because I can’t. And I hate to admit it, but doing the damned stretches I’m supposed to do twice a day turns me into a whiny child. I hate them with an unreasonable passion, considering they really don’t hurt that much. But it helps that I do love the heat therapy I do with them. So that’s making it a little easier to try being diligent about doing them.

Anyway, hopefully soon I’ll start seeing the improvement too. And hopefully after that I’ll be able to slowly get back to work on the photos.

Irene [userpic]

The Saga of Mr. Fizzles

Sorry, this got long. Feel free to skip to the photos at the end.

Months before last year's convention, I knew there was a costume contest. But I just couldn't come up with any ideas, so I hadn't planned on entering. Then just a week before the con I was suddenly hit with inspiration – I could make a Mr. Fizzles costume!

I had so little time, but I decided to give it a try. So I bought all my materials and worked on it every night. But the day before I was scheduled to leave for the con I discovered I'd miscalculated some measurements and as a result needed to do some redesigning and probably get more fabric. Also, when I put aside my emotions of really, really wanting to finish the costume I realized that it just wasn't going to happen in the time I had left. So I stopped work and instead got a good night's sleep.

After the con, I did intend to finish the costume for next year. But I had 16 months – plenty of time. Time passed. No need to work on it right now. More time passed. Still plenty of time. Until a month before this year’s con. Whoops! Time to get to work.

Of course I had tons of other projects to get ready for this year too. So for a while it was touch and go whether I'd get it done in time. To complicate matters, for a long time I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to construct what I came to think of as the "skull" – the support for the heel area of the sock. For a while I was going to use EVA foam. But then I realized that for foam to work, I needed a pattern. And to create a pattern, I needed to know the shape of the skull. But while I had a general sense of how the skull should be shaped, I didn't know exactly. So I finally decided to do a wire armature, as it allowed me to build/sketch out the shape of the skull in pieces/arcs as it was formed.

So I created the wire armature for the skull and padded it out so the wires wouldn't show (as badly) through the polar fleece. I also used pvc pipe, foam, and cotton webbing to create a support/harness for the skull to hold it in place on my shoulders. Everything was going great... until the final fitting.

Saturday before the con a friend came over to help me hem the lining and the "leg" of the sock. But once I got the costume all assembled and on me, things started to go wrong. First, the combined weight of all the elements of the costume wound up pulling on the wire skull more than I had expected, and it started bending. Then the distortion caused by the bending made the supporting harness not want to stay in place. Then we discovered that the pvc handle for the upper lip was showing badly through the polar fleece of the face. So I tried inserting a pillow into the space between the handle and face to soften the line. That solved that problem. But it made the face even heavier, and the skull bent more. To top it all off, somehow the proportions of the leg came out way skinnier in relation to the head and face than I expected, and I just wasn't liking the way it looked. Then the last straw was that, while I knew a costume that covered me head to toe in polar fleece was going to be hot, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how hot it was.

I was crushed. I had put so much time and energy into this project and it was falling apart before it was even finished. After much crying and lamenting, I gave up. I couldn't finish it, and there wasn't time to come up with anything else for the costume contest.

So I spent a few hours clearing up space on my DVR, trying to pull myself out of feeling so down in the dumps. And then it occurred to me... That pillow I used was really old. I chose it because it was kinda flat. But it got that way from being slowly squished flat over time from a full size pillow. So it was pretty heavy for its size. So I pulled it out and shoved in some batting scraps. They weren't the right size or shape, but were enough for me to tell that batting would do the job of masking the outline of the lip handle just fine, without adding nearly the weight. And while the skull was still having some weight/bending issues, I decided I was going to try after all. It was entirely possible the whole thing might come apart while I was on stage. But I was going to finish the construction and attempt to make it through the contest.

So Sunday I got more batting and fixed the face. I also added the finishing touches of the hair, eyes, and lips. (Though I did simplify the hair a bit from my original plan.) I still didn’t like the odd proportions of the leg, but with the full face in place it looked a lot better. I still wasn't sure if everything would fall apart while wearing it, but I was all set to enter the contest.

Well, I'm very glad I pulled myself out of my funk and decided to solider on. I did have to keep unbending the skull and adjusting the harness from inside the costume. But it held up, and as I mentioned the other day, I won! After all the hurdles getting it made, it was so gratifying to get such a positive response from the audience. Many thanks to everyone who cheered for me.

Okay, onto the photos...

 The day of the contest, I ran a bit late picking up the costume from my room and by the time I got back to the hall everyone was already lined up. So in my haste to get into the costume I somehow managed to put the lining on backwards, thus the weird twisting in the leg. Whoops.
 Mr. Fizzles is ready for his close-up.
 When I first got on stage, I could tell that Adam from Creation Entertainment had no freakin' clue what to make of me. He was like, "And here we have......" But then tons of people in the audience yelled, "Mr. Fizzles!"
 Mr. Fizzles talking to the audience.

One of the aspects of the costume I was pleased with was how the mouth moved. The lips were formed around sections of pool noodle, with large wooden beads for the corners of the mouth. I ran a cord through through all of them and into the pvc pipe handles to keep everything connected. It worked great, as the pool noodles have enough flexibility to allow the lips to curve when opening the mouth. Yet they also have enough rigidity to hold their shape when the mouth is closed.

 Say Ahhh!
 Lots of people asked to take photos with Mr. Fizzles. If you know any of them, or anyone else who got photos or video of the contest, please have them get in touch with me. I'd love to get copies if they're willing to share.

Irene [userpic]

My Photo Op!

September 12th, 2014 (05:26 pm)

Checking my email this morning before work I saw that the jpeg of my photo op had arrived, but I didn't have time to post it. I've been going bonkers all day having to wait.

Anyway, first I'm going to finally share my photo op from last year. I haven't before now because I kinda hate it. Not that that's a surprise - I hate 99% of all photos of me. And I'm not saying I regret having gotten it - I don't at all. But still, I hate how I look in it. I completely froze and I was so nervous that I manged to smile crooked so I look like I have some sort of palsy. Plus I forgot to take off my badge so it's very distracting hanging in front of my leg. But hey, the boys look great!

This year I actually came up with an idea for what to do in the photo op. I made up a dummy version of Ruby's knife with only about an inch of blade, and the plan was to have the boys kill me. The beauty of this idea was that it wouldn't matter if I made a stupid face, because they'd be killing me. I was so nervous about whether they'd do it or not, as Creation makes it very clear that special requests are always at the guests' discretion. But they did it! Then of course I was all nervous about whether it would come out good. But then when I went to pick it up and saw it for the first time I must have squealed to the point of hurting people's ears, and I know I jumped up and down. It came out so great!

I love the incredible looks on their faces. They look like they hate me. Awesome!

Irene [userpic]

Miscellaneous Convention Photos

September 11th, 2014 (10:06 pm)

I had no energy when I got home tonight. So I wimped out and started with one of the smallest sets. But hey, at least it's some progress.

So yeah, I went to the Salute to Supernatural Convention last weekend. I had such a great time last year that I upgraded/locked in my ticket for this year. But they changed the time of year, so it was actually a 16 month gap. In that time, I completely spaced about getting a hotel reservation, so for a while I thought I was going to be stuck at the backup hotel down the street. But then I thought to get in touch with Chrissy, who I met last year. As I suspected, she was much more on the ball than me, and already had her room reserved - and yes, she was interested in splitting costs. So I got to stay in the convention hotel (much more convenient for running up to the room to pick up/drop off stuff), for all 4 nights, within budget. Thanks again tons, Chrissy!

Anyway, here are some miscellaneous photos from throughout the convention...

They had this banner hanging over the registration/ticket tables. Between the greenish tone and the stern looks on their faces, I couldn't help but think that Jensen and Jared looked kinda carsick.

 We will ignore the unfortunate misspelling and focus on what's important about this sign - keeping those damned creepy looking clowns away!
 They had this gorgeous banner of Baby hanging across from registration, so of course I had to get a photo.
 Then Chrissy took one of me with Baby.
 Then Chrissy discovered it's hard to hold the camera still when you're going, "Oooh, oooh! That's Rob Benedict cutting in front of us!"
 This is Abe and Awesome Tara. Abe is the door. Awesome Tara is the volunteer who introduced us all to Abe, who we got to visit with several times while waiting in line for various autographs. Awesome Tara is awesome because she managed to make waiting in line fun.
 Monday morning while Chrissy was in the bathroom I happened to look out our hotel room window and notice an Impala was parked right below us. I had chewed through my camera battery the night before reviewing photos, so I plugged it back in to get a bit of a charge so that I could take a photo. When Chrissy got out of the bathroom I told her about the impala, and we both looked just in time to see it starting to back out of it's spot. Thankfully I was able to grab my camera just in time to get a photo before it pulled away. It's not the most well-composed shot, as there was so much morning glare off the window I really couldn't see where I was pointing the camera. But thank goodness for photo editing and filters. Oh, the license plate, which you can't see from this angle, read "SamDean".

Irene [userpic]

Convention Photos Update

September 10th, 2014 (06:14 pm)

The sorting is done. I have 3985 photos in 20 sets. Ugh. Next I'll start working my way through the individual sets - perhaps in order, perhaps not.

Irene [userpic]

Salute to Supernatural NJ 2014

September 8th, 2014 (01:06 pm)

I just got home from the con! It was so wonderful in so many ways, I'm still riding high even after a four hour drive home. Just a few quick highlights for now, and I'm going to do my damnedest to follow with pics and more details over the coming days.

* Massive thanks to both Chrissy and Aki for saving my bacon in different ways, and turning what could have been misery and disaster into mere hiccups.
* Taking extra time off work and doing Thursday through Monday was soooooo much better than having to get up at the crack of dawn on Friday and drive home right after the con on Sunday like I did last year.
* I'm blurry, he's blurry, and you'd never know it, but I have a pic of Rob Benedict photobombing me. Woot!
* I won the costume contest! Yes, I will now be internet famous, and nobody will recognize me, because my costume covered me head to toe - I was Mr. Fizzles.
* Mark Sheppard sat in my seat! There are not enough exclamation points for this!!!!!
* My photo op with Jared and Jensen could not have been more perfect! I got them to kill me! I will definitely post it as soon as I get the jpeg.

Okay, gotta go try to come down off the con-drenaline now.

Irene [userpic]

Help With X-Files Screencap?

August 12th, 2014 (10:24 pm)

Do you have Season 1 of 'The X-Files' on DVD? Do you have the ability to do screencaps? Would you be interested in trading favors and getting me a screencap of a specific scene from the episode 'Fire'? (Some sources say it's episode 11, some say 12.)

I have a backup that's not bad. But I really, really would love to get my first choice scene for when I get Mark Sheppard's autograph next month.

If you can help, let me know, and hopefully we can work a good trade.

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