Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend Dragon Con this year. One of my elderly kitties, Blaze, got sick and was hospitalized and I couldn’t handle the guilt of leaving him. He’s a delicate little lotus blossom who only shows himself to me and my husband. If anyone else is in the house he visits Narnia via the kitchen cabinets until a couple hours after our company has left when he’s sure the coast is clear. I was afraid the stress of being picked up and cared for over the long weekend by someone other than myself or my husband might worsen his condition. There was also the possibility of having to give him meds once he was discharged so we opted to stay home this year to tend to my little mama’s boy.
Blaze got better and he sat in my lap contentedly as I pouted and pored over the deluge of posts on Dragon Con’s FaceBook page. Since I was following the page so diligently I was able to buy our tickets for next year as soon as they became available. I also made a reservation at the Ellis based on intel saying they were working on a convention rate for 2016. According to what I’ve read since, it seems negotiations either fell through or it was a ruse from the start. Fortunately, they allow you to cancel your reservation without penalty. Guess I’ll be competing in the 2016 D*C Host Hotel Hunger Games after all. Yay?
Even though I didn’t get to go this year I prepared and packed like a pro. I used this list as a starting point and customized it to my specifics resulting in a glorious packing manifesto. When I realized I wouldn’t be going after all I got to work making a fancy schmancy version on the ‘puter. List-making can be quite therapeutic. I haven’t stopped revising it since I made it that weekend but the bulk of it is satisfactory now. No specific costume items are listed here, only general undergarments and such that I use for most things so that I can use the list every year. I have a separate list for the specific costumes I’ll bring which includes any special repair items I might need.
The cooler was always a pain to haul to and from the hotel room so this year I got a rolling cooler to alleviate some of our travel woes. To the same end, I also purchased a Versacart to house any odd-shaped costume items or other what nots that wouldn’t travel well in a suitcase. I’m a huge proponent of putting wheels on everything, it just makes life easier. Before next D*C I think I’ll upgrade our luggage to hardside spinners as seen here to prevent any unfortunate costume squishing.
After my cat shredded my nearly completed Supergirl boots right before DragonCon it was a long time before I even wanted to look at them let alone repair them. Now that I’ve had a couple years to mourn I realize that my cat may have been on to something. I wanted to test out some vinyl repair compound I’d purchased before using it on the boots so I grabbed a scrap of the vinyl and used a staple to simulate the damage. It was then that I realized just how easy it was to mar the surface of the vinyl. I was even able to do permanent damage with just my fingernail. So why would I spend hours crafting footwear out of fabric that really isn’t suited for the rigors of walking around, even if it is only for costuming? Duly noted, Rogue.
I had tried the vinyl repair compound soon after the damage was done hoping to rehab them in time for DragonCon but the results were disappointing. It didn’t really do much to hide the claw marks and as soon as they were stretched any improvements it made were undone. That was when I knew the boots were toast so I tucked them away for a while. Fast forward two years and here we are. I pulled them back out and they didn’t make me feel nearly as nauseated as they had before. Yay!
My first thought was to purchase a second pair of base shoes but I was unable to find another pair that had that distinctive 80s shape. With no other acceptable alternative I’ve begun the task of pulling the ruined uppers off their base. I used Shoe Goo to attach them so removing them has been a chore. What seems to work best is grabbing an edge of the glue/fabric with forceps then rolling it to peel the upper off. It’s tedious and slow but it works, I already have one shoe free and ready for a new upper.
Now I just had to decide on the new material. I had some leather in my stash which I considered but there didn’t seem to be enough unblemished area to get two boots out of it. However, it had the same amount of stretch if not more than the stretch vinyl and it is far tougher. My search for garment grade leather commenced. I looked at a lot of expensive possibilities but eventually settled on this Perfection Fused Leather from Fabric.com. I ordered a sample in Ivory and a bottle of Angelus acrylic leather paint in Red to possibly paint it with. My materials arrived and I gave them a test run. I also tested the Dye-Na-Flow that I had on hand just out of curiosity. As you can see it didn’t quite take. The Angelus paint, on the other hand, looks pretty good. It has some streaks but I may be able to avoid that with practice. The bottle mentions that it can be used in an airbrush so I’ll consider that possibility as well.
I made a short video showing how well the Angelus paint holds up to stretching. Pardon the video quality, it’s my first video and I have lots of room for improvement.
It held up to my abuse remarkably well. No more Krylon Fusion or craft paint for my costume shoes! I also have a can of Nu-Life Color Spray that I bought for my Harley Quinn boot that I have yet to use. I may test it out on my scrap as well before I make my final decision on the finish.
My granny wanted a storage bin for her gardening tools (of which she has many) and I ended up getting the job. She has scads of scrap lumber so the only thing we had to buy were the casters. I used this write-up as a starting point and modified it according to her needs. The finished piece is 6′ x 2′ with dividers placed at every foot mark except for the center which was left open 2′ to accommodate larger tools. I suggested the casters because she wanted to keep the bin up off the floor in case water leaks in. Plus I just like putting casters on things.
I’ve filled in the little imperfections with the first round of Bondo on the blade. The cross-guard had some substantial boo-boos that had to be corrected with Bondo as well. I had to cut it out with…wait for it…a saber saw, so it went a little wonky on the back side. I’ll fix it up on the belt sander then drill a hole down the middle for it to be fitted onto the threaded rod that forms the backbone of Excalibur. I’m hoping to get a lathe soon to turn the handle but it may have to wait until after DragonCon.
Alignment: True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.
Race: Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.
Class: Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter’s dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger’s Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.
My long overdue bookshelf photo featuring the wonky ceiling. I ended up not being able to do them completely floor to ceiling because my agents of chaos and destruction (cats) pointed out the flaw in my plan by cavorting around on the lowest shelf. I fortified it by putting my larger books down there so hopefully they can’t squeeze in now. Most of my design choices are made that way. “How can I arrange this so the cats can’t demolish it?” They’re like little drunk ninja toddlers who are constantly plotting. I digress. Though they didn’t turn out quite as planned (originally they were going to be legit built-ins) they still cut quite the impressive figure in my living room. They could use some organizing but my library is always in flux so I’m not sure that’ll ever really happen. At this point I will shake my fist at Hasting’s and their fabulous selection of used books and be on my way.
Investigation has begun for Velma. I’ve located just about everything but the sweater. I’ve found a few turtlenecks that’d do in a pinch but I’d rather have the cowl neck. I did find a pattern for a cowl neck shirt but I’d have to find just the right shade of orange sweater knit fabric (or dye it) and even then it wouldn’t look right without the ribbed band at the bottom. Searches for white sweaters to dye didn’t turn up much either. I found similar styles but the fibers won’t take dye. Velma really shouldn’t be this difficult. I can’t find red suede mary janes in the correct style and shade either but I did find a pair of red patent mary janes that are the right style. I think I might try flocking them. The socks are going to be hit or miss. I’ll just have to order some and see if they’ll do. Luckily it looks like they don’t have to be an exact match for the sweater. Unless my eyes deceive me they appear to be slightly more yellowish than the sweater. I haven’t really put much effort into finding a wig yet, I don’t anticipate that being too difficult. I found a skirt pattern that’s pretty much an exact match except for length, I just need to order it and get myself to Joann’s to look for fabric. I may use the costume glasses I already have but I also have my eye on this pair from Amazon. They’re more like the classic cartoon version though. They’re cheap enough that I may just get them anyway.