Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Sweater Uplifted

Just a quick one for you here.  Our house hold is currently recovering from a case of Norowalk (norovirus) and there hasn't been much going on besides couch, crackers, and lots of old school Sesame Street and Magic School Bus.

Luckily I found some more pictures hidden in the wrong folder, in the wrong folder, in the wrong folder. (yeah it's like that)

Anywhoo, here you go! A little Sweater Refresher.

Another one of my Value Village finds. A gorgeous yellow. And though the cabling in the "collar"  was really pretty,  it laid all strange, floppy and unflattering around my neck and shoulders.

So off it came!

A little bright orange for some subtle punch.

And done.

Though I did go back later and give is a second row of stitches later on which gave it a little more stability and over all better look.  Over all a quick and simple change to give it a whole new feel!

Now, back to my couch.  Hopefully I'll I've something more soon.

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Thursday, 17 January 2013

That thing that kept me so busy from September till mid November...

So, I'll start off by saying this isn't cute. This isn't sweet. It's not pretty. It's Halloween. 

Well is was a few months ago. Following fast on my sons' first birthday and the fan expo convention, Halloween was the next big thing to get in the way of all my usual crafting and occasional blogging.

Now as you may have seen from my last post. I love me some horror movies. And  I love Halloween. Thanks to some memorably tricksie neighbours I had as a kid, there long kindled a love of the scare in me.

Some of my favorites included the man next door who one year sat in a chair next to a candy bowl looking like a really bad over stuffed dummy.  Until you tried to reach for the candy that is. Now yes, I remembered being scared. But it was almost a literal scared silly as my friend and I ran away screaming and simultaneously giggling like idiots.

Then another year, funny enough in the same duplex but the other side, we walked up to the door as normal, rang the bell, and then prompetly ran away screaming our heads off as the door slowly opened (seemingly by itself) and a big towering Death himself; big, deep hood missing a face,  boney hands outstretched toward us, approached the entrance. Accompanied by the appropriately creepy music.

The real kicker though was when I was 9. Or some time around there.  For week and weeks before Halloween, thinking I was old enough to handle a haunted house, I begged my mom over and over to take me to a haunted house.  My home town had a few big ones that well really well known in the area. And after much pleading she finally caved.

I was so excited standing in line.

I didn't know what I was thinking. 

Why I thought I was ready for this. 

But as the cast in makeup and masks started walking up and down the waiting line, I quickly found out I wasn't. Some of the makeup was so good I was soon bawling to be taken home.

My mom, to teach me a lesson, wouldn't budge.

 It wasn't until on of the cast came over, came down to my level, and started trying talking to me. Her makeup was a really well done bunch of prosthetic pieces (as I can remember it anyways) that had the whole empty eye socket and melting skin with boney face effect.  One that had me particularly pee my pants scared.  But she explained the makeup. She offered to let me poke it to see that it was just rubber and paint. She told me about herself and a bit about the haunt. She gave me the little peek into the backstage of haunts and I was sold. I spent the whole walk through the haunt marveling at the makeups and effects rather than paying any attention to the haunt itself.

Now, keep in mind, I wasn't allowed to watch scary movies till I was almost 17.  And I'm talking things like The Crow or Silence of the Lambs. The real heavy stuff, (ghost or slasher) I didn't see till I was almost 20.  But I have found that I gravitate more towards the creepy than the gory.  Well, unless it's zombies or comedy then gore is all good. Like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland. Dead Alive.  They are a bit more wacky than serious.  Or if it's over the top and splashy like Freddy or Evil Dead.  But if the gore is surgical or precise cutting,  I'll spend more of those scenes with my face in my hands.

But no, instead, give me a good ghost story. Something to make me jump in my seat. Give me goosebumps and a sudden desire to sleep with the lights on. Maybe it's the adrenaline rush, ,who knows, but those are the kind of horrors I enjoy.  (Hey, there are worse things to be addicted to I guess.) (FYI: Asian horror corners the market in awesomely creepy ghost stories!)

Anywhoo,  I digress. . .

I swore to myself that some day I would build my own haunt.  And I got older. And things got in the way. Life got in the way. Then I ended up in Canada. (that's the really really really brief version of ages 10-24) There I got involved with the zombie walks and found I had a knack (and love) for the scary makeup fx used.  A few years later we bought our house and I thought yay Halloween will be so much fun!  But nothing happened. I didn't know where to start.

Then I met Rick.  While doing makeup on some student for a teacher friend of mine for halloween 3 years ago, Rick, seeing one of the students in the halls came and tracked me down and asked if I'd be interested in doing makeup for his haunt.  Turns out Rick, of the Leacock Haunt, has been building a haunt in his driveway (well now in the middle of his cud-a-sac because it's gotten so big)  for over 20 years now.  On top of that he was collection non perishable food as a ticket to go through and then donating it to the local food bank.  I apologized as I'd just picked up a seasonal job as a costume/party supply store for Halloween and wouldn't be available but that I loved the idea and to keep in touch for the next year.

Next year rolled around and RING*RING. Do I want in?  We got to talking about my love of haunts and horror and my longtime dream and instead we worked out a trade.  I help teach his people a few makeup tips and tricks and help make some small prosthetic pieces and in turn he came over and helped me build my first driveway haunt.

It was great and the neighbours loved it.  So when Halloween rolled around this last year I HAD to do it gain.  This time he didn't help with the build, but he looked at my ideas and helped me come up with a plan and gave me tips on how to build it. He also helped me gather my wood as he had a truck and I didn't.

Most of my plywood was gathered (with permission) from the junk piles of local subdivision construction sites. The 2x4s were bought cheep at home depot from their culled wood pile (anything with imperfections like mold or knots or warps).  I was supposed to build some props and special FX for him in return but his haunt didn't make it this year.

Hurricane Sandy had managed to blow her winds all the way to Canada and he had to take down his walls.  Me, I was too stubborn. I tarped the heck out of my frame work and prays for the best.  It was build strong enough to stand up to the wind but it was the rain the caused the most damage. 

Even with all the layers of tarp, the cardboard ceiling still got leaked on and caved in in some areas. But in the end she pulled together last minute with the help of some amazing neighbors and friends.

And here she is...

It was a very wet and cold Halloween.

Doesn't look like much from the outside does it?  Care for a tour? 

I painted in a few extras on this one like the neck and the color around the gums.

This one I repainted entirely as when I bought it it was just a simple light brown with a bit of dusty dark brown shadowing and no other color.

One of my high school volunteers

This way. . .

Are you my mommy?


This is an amazing lady who drove all the way out here (almost a 2 hour drive) just to save my butt last minute on Halloween because I couldn't find anyone else to fill this roll. Same with her guy pictures earlier behind the grate.

 This year I also put up signs to let people know to bring food donations in order to go through the haunt.  And it worked.  And my neighbours thought it was great and I even had some saying they wanted to help next year!

A great big diaper box and a big wipes box (hey I got a baby, you use what you got!)  full of canned foods. One neighbour even donated a $10 bill because she forgot to bring the food.

Pardon the unflattering photo. I was still exhausted and recovering from the lead up to Halloween.

 And there you have it.   I learned a lot of do's and don'ts this last time around.  Like PLAN AHEAD.  And start lining up help and cast LONG before I start building.  Not a month before Halloween.  And to expect and plan for the worst from mother nature.  Also, I think this year my idea kind of got away on me.  Next year I think I will try to keep it a little more simple.

So!  Onto the next project!  Un-burying my craftroom again because during all this madness it because a dumping ground for sluppies and things that needed to be put away.   Hopefully my next post will be of a slightly sunnier topic.  I hope I didn't scare too many of you away with this one. ;)

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Monday, 14 January 2013

Freaks, Geeks and Whovians

What is a Whovian?

This is a Whovian. . .

as are these. . .

How freaking adorable is that Romana?!?

and especially this. . .

And then there's me...

I love my crafting and art and all that is creative, but at heart I am pure geek.  From anime, comics, and manga, to gaming, star trek, and most definitely DOCTOR WHO! My husband introduced me to it when we first met and I have fallen head over heels in love with it. Old and new,  I love it all.  

So this year when fan expo came around and I found out that some of my fav celebrity geeks were going to be there including the one and only John Barrowman of Torchwood (a spinoff of Doctor Who) I couldn't resist the urge to make something extra special to wear.

So enter, the Tardis skirt.

See cardboard Tardis in the background?

*Note: A Tardis (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) for those that don't know, is the Doctors' machine that travels anywhere in time and space.  It's bigger on the inside....

Now, many people, as you saw above, do go out of their way to make crazy outfits for these conventions.  I decided to go a little more subtle so that I could still wear my skirt out in the every day world without it looking too costume. Of course, that did backfire a bit as it was so subtle many people didn't even notice it and those that did double took when they suddenly realized it was there. But I still got a good number of thumbs ups and compliments and even one person asked where I bought it, so I was pretty proud.

(And yay Photos because these have were taken with my phone and have been sitting on it since!)

It started with some Value Village shopping.  I found the perfect dark blue denim. And for the white I snagged an XXL white denim skirt which I am saving the left overs of for a future project.  Then off to fabric land to find myself some blue fabric to go with it. I think I could have gone a bit brighter as it blended in a little too well but, meh, oh well.

Step one: I figured out how wide I needed to make the panels.  since I didn't want them too thin I opted to shorten the number of panels by one row.  Looks a little stunted compared to an actually Tardis but it was the only way to make them look proportionate.

Next (not shown) I planned out the width of my blue strips and white panels and cut accordingly.  I also was able to use the long panels I cut out of the skirt for some of the smaller panels.  Here you can see the denim bits all laid out on the blue fabric for planning.

Next I sewed some blue ribbon onto the white window panels.  Then using a modified version of this technique here (I couldn't find the freezer paper so I made my own sticker like paper using card stock and spray glue) I printed the Police Telephone sign onto one of the denim squares.

First panel in!

Raw inside edges that later got zigzag stitched.  

 And DONE!

Now, showing my Doctor Who pride was great but I also love the horror section of the convention and I felt my other fandom was lacking.  And being that one of the people I was going to see there was Alan Tudyk, known more as Wash from Firefly, but more recently he and Tyler Labine made a comedic horror flick called Tucker and Dale vs EVIL.

So I decided last minute to throw together a little homage to my favorites. Here are some process shots....

Sketched out

Starting with some background and then the classic Nosferatu

Add in The Ring and start in on Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead

And right there in the bottom middle is my bit to Tucker and Dale vs EVIL.
All that's left are the zombie in the corner and Ash of Evil Dead as my top centre star.

Didn't finish it in time before the convention but I used it as is and still got some good responses on it.  Unfortunately it's remained in this state since then. Again, things got in the way. Hopefully I'll be able to sit down with it again soon.

That's it for the crafty side of things.  Next post will take us into October! (September was eaten by a visit from my mother and a lovely trip with her and my family to a lake house up north. A visit and trip who's photos I STILL haven't had time to go through and edit and clean up)

If you are of the geeky variety feel free to continue below for a few other things I saw at the convention....
She killed Sirius Black! She also made that dress and corset entirely herself including painting the fabric before sewing it!

The Man! Alan Tudyk!

The Legend


Pictures from the borrowed set of Frankenweenie

Powdered Toast Man

Sweet Gauntlet

Red Letter Media Dudes!

A sea of geeks

And me.... exhausted, giddy, and totally in love....

Barrowman! *shakes fist*
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