Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011

Larping for Newbies

January is gonna be busy! Not only is it my birthday this month, I'll be an uncle soon. Also, I'm premiering a new Larping chapter in Austin. We'll be at Ikkicon on Friday to run a recruiting panel and demo, but the real fun is two weeks away. We are running an Adventure Day event at Emma Long Park in Austin, so if anyone is in the area and wants to try it out, you know where we'll be. Heroic Austin Meetup page Heroic Austin Homepage Ikkicon : Panel 4, 7:30 Friday

Aftermath LARP: Post-apocalyptic mayhem

John here, reporting in after another LARP event. This time, Diana and I went to Aftermath , at Lake Murray, Oklahoma. We were hanging out with such creatures as cyborgs, gunfighters, bug-men and barbarians. It was a great event, I just wish I had more time to work on my costume beforehand. I've got more tutorials planned, like weathering leather, painting Nerf guns, and making holsters and cartridge-belts. I've also got new ideas for my Austin LARP chapter that will be starting next year.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Sewing Machine?

If you've just started costuming, it's very likely that you've never sewn anything in your life. Why should you? Your clothes are already put together when you get them from the store, and you have people like moms and great aunts for when a button falls off or you need that bridesmaid dress hemmed. So you think "Sewing is hard, and sewing machines are scary. I'll just buy a costume." Neither of those thoughts are true! Sewing is easy, and sewing machines are fun and fast. If you scour garage sales and especially estate sales, you can find old but AMAZING sewing machines for very very cheap prices. Like under $30! Take it into a shop for a quick tune up and you'll be set to go for years, and if you do break it,'s not like you spent your life savings on it. Old sewing machines also have the advantage of being harder to break and easier to fix when they do mess up because the insides are more metal than plastic and have no electronic parts.

Maternity Costumes

The Lake Gown. By the time Halloween rolls around, I'll be 6 months pregnormous and of course not able to fit into any of the costumes I have on hand. Which means making a new one!! John is hosting a small local local LARPing even on Halloween, and the theme is there's that. I'll probably modify an old empire-waist fairy dress for the occasion. It will be comfy and cute and adjustable for the unpredictable central Texas weather. However. Ever since I saw Episode III I've wanted to do a pregnant Padme costume. Particularly her steel silk nightgown . It's so flowy and beautiful, one of my favorites aside from the Lake Gown. Which, according to Dressing a Galaxy , George Lucas originally wanted to CG onto Natalie Portman instead of making a costume, but the costume designers were like "Um, don't be stupid." And so the Lake Gown was born. Both of those are incredibly challenging materials and designs, and I could just as easily wear th

A-Kon Follow up...finally!

Hello again blogosphere! (Do I get points for using that word? Or maybe points taken away?) Random Lightsaber Duel! It's been a while but I'm finally feeling better, along with actually looking pregnant and not just like I had too much to eat at lunch. This is a good thing because it means that all is going well with my unborn future costumer, but it is a bad thing because I desperately need a job and am afraid of that little thing called discrimination. Ugh. We left off right before A-Kon 2011 in Dallas, where I was supposed to try and survive the con as cheaply as possible. Unfortunately, Friday night I had some serious complications due to the pregnancy and when I called my doctor first thing in the morning, he put me on bed rest until I could go in and see him. Obviously that changed things quite a bit. He didn't think that I had miscarried or he would have sent me to the hospital right away, but he told me to be as careful as possible and come see him as soon

Cheap as--Oops

Well, the day after I wrote up my plan for the Cheap as Free Con, I found out that I'm pregnant! This is exciting news for me and my husband Gunnar, but it definitely throws a wrench in my thriftiness. For the sake Lil'G (who is due Jan. 25th!!!!) I'll have to revise my proposed dry ramen and gatorade diet to include real food which will keep me and Lil'G healthy and not make me barf every hour. Luckily, since it is so early in the pregnancy not much else will be affected. I'm still volunteering, I'm still cosplaying, and I'm still sleeping in the crash space! Wish me (us) luck! -Angela

Cheap as Free

So remember my $200 Con article?? Well, that's all well and good advice if you have a real job (as in, you're not working on a novel and costuming/gaming full time) but this year, I find myself a bit short on money and will attempt a feat that I have only ever heard about: Going to a Con for Free. Now, I've already done the number one most important thing and been accepted as a volunteer. This means three things: 1. I get a free badge 2. I will have access to crash space 3. I will have a (limited) source of food I also plan to: 4. Hitch a ride with my brother, who has a car which seats seven and gas can be split thusly 5. Have friends/family whom I may be able to mooch some food off of 6. Picked a comfortable costume which will allow me to carry everything I need for the weekend, and even sleep in. (Chell from Portal 2, if my last post wasn't clear enough about that.) So my budget, after costume-making, is approximately $30 which includes gas and two or three small me

More Games, Less Costumes This Week...

Actually, I had more games and less life in general for the last week, since I played both Portal and Portal 2 pretty much exclusively to everything else in the world. I was playing them both for the first time and they were AMAZING!!!! I actually only needed John's help once in Portal and game FAQs help three times (in the last few tests) on Portal 2, but I guess I'm smarter than I give myself credit for because I managed to solve all the puzzles myself for the most part. Very satisfying. I won't give any spoilers away for you unlucky souls who haven't finished Portal 2 yet, but I will say that my next costume will indeed feature a companion cube and a potato.

What's in your closet?

I was browsing Craftster a while back and someone made a thread asking: What's in your costume closet? and How do you organize your costume closet? The thought is terrifying. Especially now, because I'm having to confront it head on while trying to get packed to move! I'm literally wading through a pile of costume pieces, fabric remnants, and boxes. In the craftser thread, I ESTIMATED what is in the costume closet presently, between myself and John, and spread out between Austin, Round Rock, and Nebraska. In about a month after me and my husband move and John graduates from college and moves back to Texas, we'll do a REAL inventory of what we have. But for now, this is what I think we have.Oh, and this is only RENFAIR gear. In other news, Ember just had her 11th birthday! Tops -Light Pink Flowy Fairy Top -Red "Susan" dress -Silver "Susan" dress -Leather Armor Breastplate -Black Sleeveless Pirate Shirt (round collar) -Black Sleeveless Pirate Shirt

I've been crafting, I swear.

Just not... real life crafting. I've been crafting in MINECRAFT . It's an awesome indie sandbox game which is actually still in beta, so there's cool updates every month with new features. I've been playing for a while, but I just started a world with the seed "Amerasteras" and downloaded a texture pack (gerdoku) and have been having lots of fun building a cool base in this epic world. My base from the outside. This is the main part of my base inside at sunset. I built a lava-heated onsen. Some people build some truly epic stuff in minecraft. There are lots of tutorials and demo videos on youtube, and a thriving forum where people post ideas and give feedback about the game. It can really suck you in and is great for people of all ages. So that's what I've been doing six hours a day for the past two weeks...

Spring Break!!

John's super-cool-awesome friends came made the 12 hour road trip from Lincoln Nebraska to Austin Texas with him for Spring Break! From left to right: Judy, Diana, and Katherine. THEN we all drove another four hours south to the beach in Port Aransas! At some restaurant in Port A. The girls getting eaten by a shark. We buried people in the sand. John was buried the deepest. He's actually sitting in a hole, not laying down. Skim boarding. We weren't very good at it. We looked up some tuts on youtube at the hotel, but there was so much seaweed even a pro would have had trouble. More costume stuff to soon as I can figure out how to convert the RAW photos my friend gave me into something I can use on my computer... I'll give another hint about the costume I made--it fits right in with my beach theme!

Working on a new costume....

Guess what it is!!!

Costume Emergency Repair Kit

John and I both like to be prepared, like Scar and the Boy Scouts. And I have to say that the Costume Emergency Repair Kit has saved me and my friends from some truly terrible catastrophes. Like giant rips in the crotch of home-made pants. Like buttons popping off in the middle of the Renaissance Fair. Like getting to the hotel and realizing that key pieces were smooshed/ripped when you shoved them haphazardly into your suitcase. Like bra straps that won't stay covered up. (That last one was was actually at a wedding, and the subject of my repair kit's ministrations was the maid of honor.) You get the idea. Repair Kit=Extremely Handy. The key, however, is to keep it with you while you're at the event. If you have a pocket, put it in your pocket. If you have a purse, that's a good place too. If you have a husband, girlfriend, or accomplice, you can ask them to hold it for you. But if you're in a ripped costume ten minutes before the cosplay show and it's in y

Zuko and Azula Costumes

Back in November, John and I went to Nebraskon in Omaha! I know...this is like the latest post about a con ever, but at least it got here, right? -_- It was cool being dressed as brother and sister and actually, ya know, being brother and sister. I mean, we could have done Katara and Sokka, except that they are totally lame and can't shoot fire or lightning out of their fists. There were a few awkward moments, however, when we happened upon some Azuko shippers. (Ew.) "Oh-Em-Gee! Are you a couple?" "No, he's my brother ." "Yeah, but in real life are you a couple?" "Um no. In real life, he's my brother ." "Oh." (Awkward, disappointed silence.) Looking surly. Looking smug and EVIL. With our handsome uncle. These pics are by our dear friend Katherine! We also have professional photos on the main site by Shattered Images Photography, taken at Ikkicon, and two related tutorials: 1. Zuko's Scar M

Raving about Azula

So one of my favorite things about my Azula costume (Besides being able to make faces as if I am criminally insane power hungry maniac) is that I fully lined the velvet outer-dress and can wear it by itself for things like Convention Dances!!! Also note the glow-sticks around my neck, for added awesomeness: I look way thinner without the hundred under-garmets. Princess seamed Dress Detail of the belt and Sculpey Fire Nation Emblem The back, which has a zipper: I wore biker shorts underneath because otherwise people would see my undies. Bonus Making-Of Pictures Mock-up pattern pieces (based on an old dress I once tried to make and never finished) Trying on the mock-up so I could figure out how high the slits should go and the angle of the skirt. THE END!!

King's Crossroad LARP game

John here! This last weekend, we started a new LARP game in Kansas City, called King's Crossroad . It's set in a " Soloman Kane " themed setting with early industrial firearms (NERF guns), an underpowered magical presence, and a high mortality rate. This game was extremely new-player friendly, and we are trying to recruit as many new players to this game as possible. Here are some of the PCs that made up the hunting party: As the night went on, they started realizing that it was actually me who was hunting them: Overall, after five separate assaults on the party, I managed to convince them to send the strongest half of their party off into the woods after me. I circled back to their camp and attacked the rest of the PCs. I did eventually die, but only after leading them on a 4 hour chase and killing 25% of their forces. Other highlights of the event: A crazed, funny, grenade happy gnome; 5 solid meals cooked by Sally Sasparilla, the tavernkeep; ghouls setti

Con Horror Stories #1

Ushicon 2005 was the first convention that I was allowed to go, spend the night, and basically have the entire con to do whatever I wanted with my friends and no parents. I was 18 and a senior in high school. I was PSYCHED. It happened, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, that I was promoted suddenly to Battalion Commander of my JROTC unit. The date of the military ball was announced, and I was extremely upset to learn that it was the same weekend as Ushicon. But not only was it the same weekend, but it was at the same hotel. I was generally a painfully honest young person, but I wasn't about to give up a weekend of convention awesomeness for a military ball. No way. My teacher, Major, wouldn't let any of the girls wear civilian dresses and I didn't have a date, so the matter was pretty much settled. I told Major that I had to go out of town that weekend, worked diligently on my costume, and just vowed to stay the hell away from the second floor on Saturday

The Art of Convincing People to Cosplay

We understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have such laid back, awesome family members and friends as John and I do. I mean, not everyone's (handsome, popular) little brother will just say "okay" and come along when handed a costume. Some people might have an aversion to dressing up like a cartoon character, a barbarian, or a Pokemon for some reason. To convince people to cosplay with you, it really helps to know the reason why a particular person doesn't want to make a near-fool out of himself for the sake of your costuming dreams. Certain reasons are harder to overcome than others, and many times the reasons are stacked on top of one another. It takes cunning and skill to figure out the why and how to convince an unwilling friend to Cosplay with you, but hopefully the following tips can help you achieve your costuming dreams. Level One: Lazy The first big block is, fortunately, the easiest to overcome. If you ask someone to cosplay and they hesitate or give

Early Costumes: Ranma 1/2

Nick (Spider Boy) and John and Angela in their first real home-made costumes Halloween 2002 I was going to say wow, we sure have come a long way since we started making costumes...but actually these aren't too shabby considering that we were only 12! Though the Spider-Man costume (worn daily by Nick from age 6-9) was store bought. The idea came from our favorite anime at the time, Ranma 1/2 . (Actually it's hilarious, you should check out the manga or the show if you can.) I had gone to the very first Ushicon Anime Convention in Austin the year before and told John all about it, so we decided that the next time around we would go with our friends and dress up as our favorite characters. The material for my Ukyo costume was a lucky garage-sale find of jersey knit in the perfect color and strips of cotton for the bindings. I spread my brand-new karate gi on the floor and traced the basic outline of it onto the blue knit, then cut it out and bound the edges with the white

Angela is a Tough Mudder!

This weekend I (Angela) finished the Tough Mudder course! I was waaaaay out of shape (by my standards, anyway) so I did more trekking than running and skipped a few of the 19 obstacles spread over the 10 mile course... but I got muddy, challenged myself, and made lots of great memories! That's what counts, right? I volunteered on Saturday and then ran the course on Sunday. And I survived!! I was pretty pleased with myself when I got home. The shirt I was wearing and my number. It looked worse after I cleaned the mud off and realized just how many scrapes and bruises I had. But they were so worth it. These have to be thrown away now... I'm just glad they stayed on the whole course! You know how sometimes when you're falling asleep after swimming all day and you feel like you're floating? Well as I was falling asleep Sunday night, it felt like my feet were being suctioned down into the mud! Overall it was a great event, both volunteering and participating! They travel ar