Saturday, October 22, 2016

I Can't Leave Well Enough Alone

A few days ago, I was lurking in YouTube and I started watching videos by Cosplay Chris, a guy in Australia. I found out he had a video on redoing the prop Han Solo DL-44 blaster. And as it turns out, it's the same blaster I bought and did earlier this year, for my almost done X-Wing pilot costume.

So after watching Chris's video, I figured it was time to tweak my paint job a bit. The one thing I didn't do as paint the inside of the barrel. I kept that orange, because I will be taking this to cons and other public events so I want to be able to quickly show that it's just a toy.

My blaster isn't as weathered as Chris's and I painted my grips a little less than he did, but that's okay. I wasn't going for a Han Solo blaster replica. But that is also part of the beauty of the matter what you're working on, someone else has already done it and you can learn from them. Because of his video, I finally learned how to dry brush something.

However, I did have to do this quick comparison...

Friday, October 21, 2016

We All Float Down Here, Georgie

A few months ago, I was at Spirit Halloween and I saw some of their clowns. It was a 5' tall hanging clown. The main difference is that the one I got actually says about five different phrases.

He wasn't anything fancy, but I thought he had good bones and could fairly easily be turned into a clown reminiscent of Pennywise from It, at least the movie version, anyway. With my coupon and another special discount, I got him for $31 and change. Normally, he's $39.99 plus tax.

This is what he looked like when I got him home.

From the product page:
"This Hanging Clown animated decoration is quite the lively jokester! At 59" tall, this clown features light-up eyes, sound and kicking legs. There's mot much creepier than a well placed hanging clown!"

Fun note, a few years ago, Spirit Halloween released a 6' tall  animatronic Pennywise, but Lord almighty, that thing was UGLY! Not that mine is going to be much better, but at least I don't recoil in horror from it.

So, to get started on my lil'Pennywise, I ripped off the tuffs of green hair, the suspenders and the one lone pom-pom. There was residue of the glue from the suspenders and pom-pom left on his shirt, so I treated the glue like it was melted candle wax that I wanted to get rid of. I was able to heat it up with our iron and got rid of almost all of it, letting it absorb into a paper towel.

My inspiration...Pennywise as portrayed by Tim Curry.
I masked his eyes and mouth, and then primed and painted his entire face with new white paint. I liked his jacked up teeth and gums the way they are. Then I painted his clown face on. I would have liked to do his clown paint much finer than I did, but his lips and eyelids are raised (there's a lot of texture in this face). I thought it would look odd if the eyes and lips weren't filled in all the way.

Pennywise has a blue and purple stripped top and sleeves. I went to Joann Fabric to get remnant fabric and added some more neck ruffles and a little shrug. I tried to make him some new sleeves from the blue and green dotted fabric I got, but I just wasn't getting them right. I also made him three new pom-poms, although his are pink and the real version had orange (I used what I had here already).

I also got him some new yellow satiny-type fabric and made him some new pants. I had to remove the striped pants he was wearing, because the new yellow is sheer enough that you could see the stripes through it. It's not a complete match to his yellow top, but it's close enough. I also added a bit of elastic to the bottom to make them flare just a little.

The clown, in it's original form, was completely floppy. There was nothing to him. So I went in and stuffed his body with some Fiber-Fill from two old pillows I had here.

But something still seemed like it was missing. I didn't like how the clown didn't have feet. Pennywise wore black shoes. I got some scrap wood from the garage and traced around a pair of my Converse. I didn't down-size the shoes, because clowns wear big shoes anyway. I primed them and painted them the same color as my Han Solo blaster from earlier this year, not really black but more of a dark walnut, I think. I used two eye hooks,screwed in at an angle, in the heel area, to attach them to his legs. I think those eye hooks will create some good movement once he (hopefully) starts kicking his legs (he's motion activate).

The red hair was the hardest to come across. I called two different locations of Joann Fabrics, because the website said they each had red faux fur in stock. Turns out their website was wrong. I tracked this stuff down to Amazon. I hot glued it to his head in strips. As he's pictured below, I'm actually thinking about removing the last section I put on, to move his hairline back a little more.

The downside to all this is that he really doesn't kick so good anymore. His legs are hooked to a mechanism in his hips. The legs are just wire rods, about as thick as wire hangers, inside a foam tube. I keep having to adjust his legs like I'm some kind of weird chiropractor.

All in all, I think I spend, or used what I already had, about as much on him in supplies as I actually spent on him. But he'll be a welcome addition to my Halloween decorations.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Homemade Crackers/44 and 45 Recipes Down

Tonight, I decided to make some crackers, based on recipes from Sam the Cooking Guy. Both recipes come from Awesome Recipes & Kitchen Shortcuts.

One recipe is for Simple Won Ton Crackers and the other is for Sesame Won Ton Crackers. I had been wanting to make these for some time, but I couldn't find won ton wrappers, so I substituted egg roll wrappers.

What did I learn from this recipe? 
To be able to make homemade crackers like these is wickedly easy and they are wildly thin and crispy.

I learned, that at least in my oven, the recommended 15 minute bake time is a touch too long and the crackers come out a little too dark. I shortened the time to 13 minutes and was much happier with it.

However, the sesame seeds didn't stick to the wrappers after baking. I used some vegetable oil, as I was out of of sesame oil, but the sesame seeds don't stay on the crackers after they come out of the oven. As soon as I transferred them to a container, the seeds came sliding off.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Finished the X-Wing Helmet Tonight

Whoo hooo! After months of farting around with it, I have finished my X-wing helmet!

This awesome kit came from Darth Hair and was totally worth it. In fact, there's a couple more items that I need and I'll be ordering them from him.

This is my generic X-Wing pilot. I searched online for days, before I started the paint job, trying to find an existing female X-Wing pilot that I could have been, but I just didn't come across any.

I think I must have been inspired by BB-8's color scheme in the desert because look at all the orange curves there.

Got a little bit of carbon scoring here and there. If it can build up on droids, then maybe it can build up on helmets.

I still need to adjust the length of the chin strap. I realized tonight that it's too long right now.

BTW, helmet fun fact here...if you lay  your helmet down on it's side and you need to rest it on something, a large can of chicken and a sleeve of small tuna cans, stacked on top of each other, is the right height to rest the Mohawk.

Halloween Chicken Chili/43 Recipes Down

Supper tonight, Halloween Chicken Chili, was thanks to having a variety of ingredients for almost anything in the kitchen, and Sam's book, Just a Bunch of Recipes.

In all honesty, these two cookbooks by Sam have really opened up how I shop and what things I now consider staples to have in the house. Before, I wouldn't have kept an extra onion around. But now, I do things like that and I feel like I'm a better cook for it.

What did I learn from this recipe? 
Normally, I don't order chicken chili. To me, it's just not chili. A stew? Yes, absolutely, but my idea of chili is the standard mid-western version: beef with beans and the like.

That being said, I popped my chicken chili cherry with this recipe, and was pleasantly surprised with the whole thing.

And I realized tonight, while writing this entry and re-reading the recipe...I forgot to add the garlic and I didn't even think there was anything missing from it when I made it tonight!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Finishing Up the Leg Flares and Holder

Thanks to the on-going tutorials from JediXXL, I'm finishing up the leg flares and holder this afternoon.

As with other projects, I'll be using snaps to hold this on, outside the top of my boot. I wasn't able to find any olive drab 2" webbing (like what the belt and ejection harness are made from), so mine is made with some really nice olive drab canvas, with a strip of darker olive green 1" webbing.

The nice thing about the snaps is once I've got the costume complete, I can put it on and see if I need to adjust the straps to make the cuff tighter.

One thing I learned from this project: JediXXL recommends using thumb tacks through the back of the cuff to help hold the dowels in place. I'm using upholstery tacks, because I bought this stuff at Joann Fabrics and that's what they had.

However, I don't think one tack per dowel is quite enough. Granted, you won't lose the dowels, but there still might be some wiggle room for them to move around. I did get those loops as tight as I could around the dowels, but I decided to go ahead and add one more tack at the top of each dowel, for a little bit more security.

The next project is to get the flight vest and code cylinders ordered. And maybe figure out how to make a holster for my blaster. I've got plenty of that green canvas left. And I need to finish that damn helmet finally! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Ejection Harness

Thanks to the tutorial by JediXXL, I finished my ejection harness tonight for my X-Wing pilot costume.

I had to have Shane pin it on my back so I could get it lined up right. JediXXL recommended using Velcro to attach it, but I prefer snaps.

Actually, what I'm thinking is that I might actually run the whole thing through my sewing machine tomorrow night, and just sew the harness on the back of the flight suit. That way, it can't pull off. I'll leave the snaps on the front part of the harness though.

Plus, it will make it a lot easier for me to dress myself and not ask for help from anyone else. Just about all of the RL and 501st members I've met need some help to get fully dressed in their costumes. It makes sense: some of the need to be lined up a certain way or lessen your mobility.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Still Working on That Second Costume

God, I just realized I haven't posted anything about my X-Wing pilot since May. I'm still working on it, mostly putzing around with the helmet.

I did manage to get my orange pilot suit from Wampa Wear taken in a little bit. I took 5.5" off the length of the legs, 2.25" taken off the length of the sleeves, and took in both legs and sleeves to make them a little more fitted. I even got my gloves, just a pair of Darth Vader costume gloves, because the cuffs are flared.

Last night I finished my belt and mini flares, thanks to a tutorial from JediXXL. I did learn a few things from that project.

1. I absolutely hate sewing through Velcro. The kind I have here is the sticky back, but it's not really strong enough. Plus it gums up my needle anyway so I have to toss it out and get a new one going.
2. I prefer snaps over Velcro.
3. This webbing for the belt is extremely forgiving.
4. That buckle is heavy as hell, for a belt buckle.
5. Staples from a staple gun will poke straight through the front of the mini dowels, if you try to staple through the belt, through the back, to secure the mini flares. Plus, you can crack the mini dowels.

In a few minutes, I'll be starting my ejection harness.