Monday, March 2, 2015

Oh, What A Weekend I Had!

So, aside from the very sad passing of Leonard Nimoy on Friday morning, it was a good weekend. I do want to say that I'd never before cried over the passing of any celebrity, but when I ready about Leonard Nimoy passing, I did get surprising teary eyed.

But onto happier things...

This last weekend, I went to my first con ever! I attended the Ring of Fire con in Virginia Beach. From what I'd heard, this was the second year for this con. I was there with the Rebel Legion, so I spent all weekend dressed like a Jedi...Ami-Lyn Kel's gotta represent! Freedom Base!!!! Ring of Fire Con is a multi-genre convention held in southeastern Virginia once a year to celebrate cosplay and fandom of all kinds. I would guess the age range of attendees was from about 7 to 60 years old.

This con was running 24 hours a day for 4 days straight. There were lots of cult movies being shown straight through, as well as video gaming tourneys, as well as the panels. However, at night, that's when the 18+ years panels were being held. A lot about bondage and fetishes. Like I told a co-worker...I was a Jedi in the streets but could have been a Wookie in the sheets, if I wanted to learn that stuff!

For the most part, I was manning the Rebel Legion table, flanked by the droid makers and the Mandalorian Merc's, and then the 501st, or Vader's Fist. But there were times I got away from the table. I had an absolute blast! (And BTW, I was the ONLY female Jedi in attendance, whoo hoo!) Let me tell you why.

I got the chance to meet and talk to some fun fellow Rebel Legion and 501st members.

I met and talked to some really cute cosplayers.

How cute is Flame Princess? She seemed legitimately surprised when I asked if I could take her picture. She's from "Adventure Time" on Cartoon Network, if you're not familiar. I also saw 2 Fionas and 1 little Marshal Lee (his mom was one of the Fionas.)

Here we had Doctor #10, with a very nice suit. I also saw Doctors #7 and #11 there.

You can't have Flame Princess without Finn. This guy pretty much looks like Finn as an adult. He stopped to look at the schedule and I yelled at him, "You know I'm going to have to take your picture, right, Finn?"

Beast from the X-Men

A great Wolverine, made from 3 morph suits and a diving suit, plus various other odds and ends. Some of the younger attendees didn't know this was what Wolverine looked like, back in the day. This guy made huge fins on the cowl, had whited out eyes and fangs. It was an impressive job.

The furries were in attendance. There's also an upcoming furry con they were promoting. I needed this picture, just because of it being a shepherd.

A very pretty Savage Land Rogue: I love her wig!!

A very cute Joker and Harley: these two were having fun together, and that's what counts.

Mr, and Mrs. Deadpool: they kept jumping onto each other and dancing. She jumped into his arms for me and they both yelled, "CHIMICHANGAS!!!!"

Nightcrawler looks like he stepped right out of the tv from "X-Men Evolution."

The most lovely, well mannered Joker, with creepy eyes and a creepy voice to match that would have made Mark Hamill do a double take.

This is a Doctor Who reference for anyone that doesn't understand it: why is this picture blank? What was I doing again?
I met Peter Mayhew! He was the special guest of the con. I was so afraid I was going to scream and flail my arms like Kermit the frog this entire weekend, but I kept it together. I mean, I was going to meet all time favorite Star Wars character! Let me tell you all of the reasons why. :)

Peter had a Q&A panel on Saturday that I attended.

Did you know that Peter was NOT the first choice to play Chewie? He said the first guy they offered it to didn't want to become known as a hairy creature, so he turned it down. That man was David Prowse, who went on to be the physical actor for Darth Vader. Peter said it worked out for him because he got the last laugh, meaning it was Chewie that gets the last line in Star Wars Episode 4.

When they were shooting the Hoth scenes outside in Norway, they were dealing with snow that was 15-20 feet deep, in white out conditions. Peter was very comfortable because he was wearing his Chewie suit. He did say at one point, George Lucas looked at him and said, "You don't have enough snow on you. Roll around in the show." So Peter dropped to the ground and rolled around. Once he was happy with the amount of snow on the Chewie costume, George started filming the scene.

I did decide to get up and ask a question. My question was this: in the original triology, there are close ups of Chewie when he's screaming and growling, and the inside of his mouth looks like an animals mouth. Was that a prop head used for close-ups (like how General Ackbar was used), or did he have a bunch of appliances in his mouth to make it look like an animal's mouth? There were even ridges in the roof of Chewie's mouth like what a dog has.

Peter said that was all him. The face for Chewie did cover his entire face, but it was split from ear to ear for movement. He had dentures in for Chewie's teeth and even had a rubber tongue to control when Chewie howled.

I even got my picture taken a few times that day. I'm not a face character with the Rebel Legion, but rather a generic Jedi, but that's okay because it means I am my own creation.

This is our group picture, taken by Angie Mayhew herself. Such a sweet, nice woman! She treated us all like we were old friends. Of course, she does know lots of these people already, but she was nice to all of us.

Someone even posted a video on You Tube already. You can see us waiting for the above photo to be taken.

VADER!!!!!! A nice guy but it was weird to hear a non-James Earl Jones; voice coming out of this helmet. There were actually two Vaders there that day. This was the first one I saw.

OMG, the man himself!!! I could have peed myself here! I had him autograph a picture of Chewie in the snow on Hoth, and I told him it was because he talked about it in his Q&A. This man personifies the term, "gentle giant." He's a soft spoken man who made time for everyone. When I shook his hand, I realized how big his hands are, and I was reminded of Chewie on the Death Star with Han and Luke, disguised as stormtroopers. Luke goes to put the binders on Chewie and he just loses his shit because he doesn't know Luke well enough to trust him, so he goes to fight Luke off with those big huge paws of his. I shook one of those paws and it was amazing to meet someone who helped to create a character I've loved for so long.

A group picture with the Mayhews.
Later that night, there was even a group supper for the Mayhews in Virginia Beach that most of us were able to attend. I took my husband with me. There was always a crowd around Peter but that was okay. Mrs. Mayhew stopped by our table of eight to talk to us. All she could say was that she and Peter are very happy with the script for Episode 7, and she has a picture of Peter in the Falcon that she can't wait until December to post online.

The next day was a shorter day. By the time 1 PM rolled around, only myself and Aayla in the above picture were left in costume (the blue chick). She wasn't blue anymore. She was dressed as Princess Leia as Boushh the bounty hunter from Episode 7. One of the guys from the 501st asked if we could stay until 3 PM for the closing ceremony. We both said sure but why? Turns out the con staff wanted Star Wars cosplayers to escort Peter on the main stage like they did during the opening ceremony.

Holy shit, could this con get ANY better??!!

So there we were...Cami as Leia/Boushh and me in my Jedi finery. I even broke out the Jedi robe for this one...main stage, flanking Peter Mayhew as he said his thank you's. I might have died and gone to geek heaven. I had the last song from Episode 4 playing in my head the whole freaking time.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am still so excited about it that if I talk about it to anyone, I seriously get a little teary eyed. Right now, my Peter Mayhew autograph is up on my wall in my crafting room, right next to my desk.

It was a good God damned weekend! The only way it could have been any more awe and/or pee inspiring was if the local R2-D2 builder could have brought him out, but R2 was stuck in the house because of the snow, so "Boba Fett" (one of the Mandalorian Merc's)  just brought his head for display. Or if a Chewie cosplayer had shown up. I would have needed to hug him. But I've heard he's working on his costume.

I can't wait for the next con!!! Tidewater Comic Con, here I come!

I was also glad to have worn my Jedi costume so much. I found come things to tweak on it that will make my next outing a little easier. I already made new pants on Friday night when I got home, but I'm going to open up the hip seams so I can add in pockets. The pouches on my belt just aren't enough to hold all my crap. :) I'm keeping my original pants and just altering those a little as a back up.

I love this crap! Thank you, George Lucas for creating it!!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Think I Had A Good Day Today

This week, I've been off from work for two snow days, because we've been hit with a really weird/abnormal winter storm. This is a part of the country that doesn't see freezing ice and wind chills in the single digits. I heard one of our local weathermen say on the evening broadcast that we're probably going to break a temperature low that hasn't been seen in about 100 years.

"It’s not often you see warmer temperatures in Montana, Wyoming, or Alaska in the winter."


Anyway, I was getting ready for work this morning finally, and I was dressed in layers. I haven't been hibernating or anything. In fact, I've been out on the road each day we were "working from home," so I knew what to expect on the roads. Chunky ice, slick in spots, frozen hard snow. And I started to over pack the car, just in case.

That was the phrase running through my head today...just in case. Just in case of what, I didn't know.

Since Mom passed, I've become a nervous traveler for some reason, I over pack for everything now. I think my thought process is this: prepare for anything and I'll be fine, no matter what. You should have seen how much shit I had in the car when we went to the Safari Park last summer. I hid it all in the hatch so my friends didn't see. 

It doesn't bother my husband but it bothers me. He did ask me once why I was asking so many questions and making so many suggestions when he was packing his motorcycle and our trailer for the first trip we made back home since Mom passed. His comment was, "That's a new thing." It was like I had verbal diarrhea and I couldn't stop. I admitted as much and told him I couldn't help it, that I wasn't second guessing him or anything like that. I told him I didn't like what I was doing and I was really going to work on it during the trip. (I tried keeping my nervous mouth shut more on that trip and think I did a decent job of it. That was the start of me trying a little bit to get myself under control.)

Anyway, I live about 19 miles away from work, and no where am I driving through a bad neighborhood or out in the sticks (like I did when I worked for the HVAC company...that truly was out in the country!). As I as just about done gathering my "supplies" to keep in the car, just in case I hit a slick spot, get stuck, have an accident, can't leave the office because of the road conditions, and on and on and on, I stopped. I started looking around and realized, in stages, that each thing I had set aside to pack was unneeded and my nervousness has to get back under fucking control. I was going to be at work for less than seven hours because we were opening late today,

I put it all back, except for my lunch and my purse. I was proud of myself. It's a minor thing, but I feel like I took some control back of my life. My over packing hasn't been an all encompassing, taking over my life kind of thing, but it's a nuisance to hear that little nagging voice in the back of my head suggest more shit to throw into my car, just in case, but what if...

I think I'm starting to really silence that little asshole voice finally.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finished My Spider-Man Hat

The pins are from where I'm just about done sewing on the right eye.

Doesn't every adult Spider-Man fan need her own bug-eyed beanie? Especially when it's about 10 degrees outside?

I've always waned to see Spidey with big curved lenses, as opposed to the more angular ones he normally has. I'd have to say my lenses/eyes here were inspired by  Erik Larsen's work as an artist as Spidey's artist, post-Todd McFarlane. And I always did like that little "pinch" of black in the inner corners of the lenses.

With the construction of this hat, I've decided for the next one I make for myself, I need to make it a little smaller for around my head, but make the pieces longer so the brim in a little thinner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Eyebrow Gate: Day 2

I filled in leftie this morning before leaving for work, and I swear to God, I felt like I had Bert's eyebrows from Sesame Street! I don't know how anyone didn't think to say anything to me today. :)

Note to self: tomorrow, only use eye shadow. Don't use the eyeliner pencil too.

I also managed to get two more hats done tonight. I made another Rafael hat for myself and a Spider-Man hat for Eden. While working on the TMNT hat tonight, I realized something else. That pattern is very forgiving when it comes to sewing straight lines.

For example: say you're not the world's greatest sewing (I'm raising my hand here), and you don't get the earflap piece sewn to the beanie part completely straight. If your sew line is a little wonky, it's alright because you're going to put that mask on straight and it will actually straddle both the entire earflap piece and the beanie part at the same time. It's going to hide your wonky lines.

Obligatory dork shot with me and my own TMNT hat.

The Spider-Man hat is just a variation of the TMNT hat. It obviously doesn't have a mask piece, but the eye pieces are sewn on separately. I purposely went with a more stylized/curvy shape to the eyes here. It just felt like the right thing to do, because it's a little girl that's wearing this hat. If I had been making this for a nephew, I think I would have gone more with a Todd McFarlane shaped eye.

Yes, this is the kind of shit I think about...the shape of Spider-Man's lenses. :) Welcome to my head.

I first sewed the white "lens" to the black felt with my machine, and then I did a series of tiny black hand stitches around the outside of the black to sew it to the red.

For this hat, there's no hiding a wonky sew line if you get it crooked.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Oh God, It's Been a Monday For Sure!

So it's kind of felt like a Monday for the ages. Come gather around, all you little geeks and nerds, and listen to how Amy Lynn is a giant dork.

I was so close to being ready for work today, but I decided real quick like, I was going to touch up the ole'eyebrows and then leave. The tweezers wasn't quite cutting it for me, so I grabbed this little personal battery operated groomer thingy I've had for a while. It does a really good job on the underside of my eyebrows, so I touched up one brow and switched over to the other.

This is where things get dorky. My right eyebrow needed a touch up underneath. My left eyebrow needed a touch up just above. So I ran the groomer over the top of my eyebrow, like ABOVE my brow and I got a little heavy handed.

I notched off the center of my left eyebrow!

I stood there in front of the mirror for a second, with my mouth hanging open. And then I started laughing like a loon. I just couldn't help myself.

So I had to get my eye shadow and an eyeliner pencil out and fill in my left eyebrow. I wasn't going to go to work looking like a rapper from the early 90's.

But just fixing my left eyebrow wasn't enough, because now my eyebrows weren't the same color, even though leftie was filled in. So I shaded in both brows, and they are darker than usual, but no one at work seemed to notice. However, I do have to admit, the slightly darker brows did seem to brighten my eyes and make me look just a tiny bit younger.

So yeah, thanks to Physicians' Formula eyeliner and the Color Workshop eye shadows I have, I will have two complete eyebrows until leftie grows back in.

Then, I had the chance to sew one hat for my sister's daughter. I will be sending a late package to her for Valentine's Day. I found a pattern link on Geek Crafts that lead to this over on Instructables. I've made her a Rafael hat, with the red mask. I've decided to make one for myself too, and it will be slightly larger. I did cheat slightly and I used felt instead of polar fleece I had an awesome gift card to AC Moore and they sell large folded, thick pieces of felt. It sewed very nicely and it wasn't like the thinner, individually sold felt pieces meant for lesser crafting.

I did find a few things about this pattern I will do differently for an adult sized hat:
  • Make the mask longer and thinner.
  • Sew the eyes onto the mask before sewing the mask onto the hat.
  • Make the ear flap ties longer.
The directions on the page are easy enough, but it took me a little longer than it should have, because I kept going back to re-read the directions, and I still managed to make a few (fixable) mistakes. And it's easy enough to adapt. I'm also going to make us matching Spider-Man hats as well.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Projects

My Sunday projects (as of so far):

  • I'm one step closer to marking another item off my bucket list: seeing Weird Al Yankovic in concert! I was able to snag tickets to his August concert at the Ferguson Center in Newport News, VA. 
  • I did some more sewing today for Nicole the Knitter. Because she still had some muslin leftover from her friend's bucket wheat hull pillows, she asked me to make her a new cover for her body pillow. Got that knocked out this afternoon.
  • She also needed some curtain sheers shortened so they can be hung on the window close to her bed. She's picked up a lot of curtains and sheers through yard sales and Craigslist (which is where these came from), which is great because her house has a ton of windows in it! I think it's kind of cool that she's having me cut up these curtains for her, because in a way, she's getting custom window treatments on the cheap.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Redid an 80's Lamp

I just finished up a lamp I got from Nicole the Knitter. It was actually a trade we made at the end of a yard sale we had in October: one of these lamps from her for a floor/gaming rocker from me, because neither one of them sold.

When Nicole moved into the house she now lives in, it was because the previous owner had passed away in his home after a long illness. His family removed most of his belongings and they said she could do whatever she wanted with the rest. It was some late 70's/80's knick knacks, some coffee cups and some furniture. She had two of these lamps, still with the original large papery shades.

You know the kind of shade, the kind that's a straight canister shape and taller than the lamp itself. While the lampshade at the left isn't the one that came with this lamp, it's pretty close.

(With Orion being such a spaz in the house, I figured I better get a back-up lamp, because she already knocked over one lamp here and partially broke it.)

Before: it still had an original price tag on it that read $99.99 from Montgomery Ward.

The brass was very tarnished.

There are 3-4 coats of a textured spray paint that I got from my favorite store (A.C. Moore) that was on clearance,

I had to take the harp off for the new lampshade.

I also used some of the leftover Behr paint from my sewing machine cabinet, and picked up a new lampshade from Target. You almost can't see the lavender, but there's a touch of it on top as well as on the bottom. I wanted to keep this project as low cost as possible, so I checked the furniture section of Craigslist but I couldn't find any lampshades for sale there that would have worked.
I actually figured that Nicole might want me to do this to her remaining lamp, but she said she doesn't like the lamp no matter what is done to it. It's actually a very sturdy, nice lamp, despite still having that oversized, curvy 80's decor body. But then again, I am a child of the 80's so I guess that's why this appeals to me. :)