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Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Subject:Sexy new tools!
Time:2:00 pm.
Mood: artistic.
I’ve been talking a lot lately about my love of the power tools I’ve been acquiring, but there are a couple awesome new tools I’ve been working with that don’t fit into that category. So they’re going to get some love now. ^-^

The first is my quick-change airbrush, a surprise from my last birthday. It’s pretty simple as far as airbrush set-ups go—much as I love it, I know I won’t use it enough to justify owning a compressor, so I run it off of compressed air cans. It can also get a bit finicky when it feels even a little gunked up, something it’s prone to, but that’s usually fairly easy to fix, especially now that I have some proper airbrush cleaner. I’ve only been messing with it for a few days but I think I’m getting used to it, and it’s making my coloring projects go really nicely.

The second, another birthday gift, officially gets my Sexiest Tool I Own™ award. It’s just called the Ultimate Craft Tool; essentially it’s a hot tool that comes with a number of different points that let you do projects ranging through wood burning, stencil cutting, and soldering. I got it primarily for the stencil cutting and it works so much nicer than the other proposed method for it (exacto knife). It was literally as easy as putting a hot knife through butter. Of course that also means that you need to be real careful to stick to the lines you’ve put down, because it’s real easy to melt away where you don’t want to, but it’s still pretty awesome. It heats up incredibly fast, though, so you also have to mind that. (I wondered if I’d be able to tell it warmed up, but the hot-melty smell the metal begins to emit is pretty unmistakable and crops up after only about five minutes, if that.)

Great tools I’d definitely recommend if you’ve got projects that could be served by them!

(And while I’m at it, I’ll also recommend the supply site that I linked to here, Dharma Trading Company. It is most awesome, with good pricing and service, and a ridiculous amount of great supplies.)
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Subject:Unexpected awesomeness
Time:6:35 pm.
I’ve been mentally putting together a list of tools I’d like to acquire sometime in the near-ish future to help me get better with my crafting, and costuming in particular. After a little bit of by-hand embroidery for gift exchange I realized that an embroidery machine was near the top of the list—I’ve got some large patches I’ve got to do this year and doing them by hand would be ridiculously difficult. (Plus, I know they wouldn’t look as nice, which would only be more noticeable because of the size.) So I was talking about this with my mother and found out, much to my surprise, that my sewing machine is actually built to do it already! All these years I’ve been using it and I had no idea!

I’m so happy I won’t be taking the financial hit for a new machine for a while yet. Now I just need to start practicing—consulting the book, thankfully, tells me it’s even simpler to do than my mother thought it would be (she’s had the machine longer than she’s had me, but never used it to embroider). That’s like a bonus.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Subject:Like Rumpelstiltskin?
Time:10:48 am.
Mood: sore.
I’m officially calling myself done.

I finished all of the Bleach costumes, so everything new is taken care of. I’ve got some Hellsing patch-ups left that aren’t necessary but they’ll get done before Friday. This is the first time I’ve had so much breathing room before a convention; it’s kind of nice. Now the only thing I have to worry about is making sure that everything of mine still fits properly. It shouldn’t be a problem I have to worry about but, at the very least, I have to check on how all of Gin’s clothes cover to make sure I’m not flashing thigh in my hakama.

I wound up having to braid Tousen’s wig by hand (rather than a braider I had) and I’m really happy about it—it just took a good while. XD And there shouldn’t be any problem with the gloves, they stayed on well enough when I was working with them. (Though I think I’ll always feel bad for mutilating something that costs twenty dollars. x_x) Though I’d have to say the roughest part of the Bleach costumes was the waiting. Every time I pricked myself hard (as tends to happen a lot) I had to wait until the bleeding stopped completely to make sure I didn’t get it on anything—too much white fabric! @_@

But lets hear it for actually having the time to pack properly! Right now I’m looking forward to the bath I’ve got running (so in need of a soak) and the celebration lunch Lexi’s taking me to later today.
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Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Subject:“It’s great, it’s really, really great.”
Time:5:20 am.
Mood: bouncy.
Or: “Oh, my God—you’re flat as a board!”

I got the new binder for my chest in today! *squees* And, now that I’ve finished play-testing it, I can say with confidence that it’s fabulous and the best thing I’ve ever owned for the purpose. Once I get it on and adjust myself a bit it’s marvelously effective but, more than that, it’s comfortable. It’s a compression shirt so there’s no uncomfortable squishing (the kind that shouldn’t happen) and no horrible stays to leave those terrible marks after a long day. >_< .

Of course, because it is a shirt, it won’t be ideal for some things—like it would show under an Envy/Wrath cosplay, for good reference. But since I personally don’t wear costumes that skimpy (and not every costume that some of you wear isn’t) I’d totally recommend it if/when you’ve got the cash to spare on cosplay under-things. You just need to know your measurements and then take them here to look about. The one that I chose was the tri-top but y’all might like something different.

The quotes above come from my mother who was very supportive and happy for me but then spent the rest of the night quietly creeped out. XD She’s never seen me quite so flat before and was having difficulty getting used to it. (I suspect certain cancer-related procedures might be the root of this. ^^;) I'm so happy though, I can't wait for my second shipment to get here! ^^

Tried working on Tousen’s wig tonight but found that my wig comb has disappeared. -_- I’ll be tearing things apart a bit later to try and find it.
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Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Subject:Gin for the win!
Time:9:08 pm.
Mood: blah.
So, the hakama arrived today! They look so nice, I can’t wait to order my own pair. But even more fabulous than them just arriving is that they arrived with a little instruction booklet that tells us how to put them on and fold them up again properly. Yay!

But the real thing that saved my day today was the finding of the wig I wanted to use for Gin. It was originally going to be dyed and styled for Zorin but completely untouched—the style in white—it was easy enough to switch it over to Gin. The only problem was that I had lost track of it in my wig-shuffling and I needed to try it on to see if I’d need to add any hair to it. (It would be for the bangs, primarily. The length of them seems to change slightly from wig to wig that I get in that model.) But—to my great happiness—I found that it’s just perfect that way it is! All I’ll need to do is chunk out the bangs properly and voila! I’ll also have to trim some of my wispy hairs at my ears and nape but I’ve been meaning to do that for better wigging for evers now.

Now I just need to get on the stick about the swords. I’m a good bit intimidated for the use of new supplies and tools, and I need to get over that.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Subject:Win, fail, more win!
Time:4:46 pm.
Mood: ecstatic.
So, over the last week I finally got to do some of the more hardcore supply-shopping that I need to do. My first stop was my local Rags. The first section I tried to hit was the pattern cabinets but once there I found that they’d completely stopped selling Simplicity patterns, which is what I use—at least as a base—for the vast majority of clothing that I make. Right there my fabric-buying for the day was almost entirely fucked; without the patterns I really had no idea how much of each fabric I was going to have to buy. So I had to scratch that. The fabric-buying was further hampered by the complete lack of plain, matte orange. You’d think that no one ever wore the color ever for how little there was of it! And what they did have always had some sort of pattern on it; it was very daunting. -_-

The really fabulous thing about the Rags shopping, though, was that I found several things that I wasn’t expecting to find that will make certain items endlessly easier for me to make! The number one of which being the gold bias tape, because it means I don’t need to hand paint my own to get it. @_@ The second of which being a pattern that’ll be perfect for some of Miine (read: the cutest, girliest thing I will have ever made). I also scoped out the fabrics I’ll be using for Aya’s white kimono. Hopefully the outer fabric won’t be too sheer, because I’ve fallen utterly in love with a brocade that I want to line it with. (He doesn’t usually wear patterns on the outside, but I think he’d flash out the inside.)

Later in the week I decided to hit up my most-local Wal-Mart’s fabric department in an effort to avoid ordering more patterns online. But Wal-Mart turned out to be more good to me than I ever could have hoped! Not only did I find most every pattern that I needed but they had a perfect shade of plain matte orange and all the colors that I’m going to need to line my Bleach Captain’s kimonos in! They match exactly! It’s a dream come true. Now I just need to find a proper white. x_x Wal-Mart had one, but it was rather obvious that there wasn’t nearly enough of it. So I’ll have to do a little more searching. But for now? Victory!
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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Subject:The cavalcade begins!
Time:9:06 am.
Mood: bouncy.
My shinigami socks came in the mail! Which rocks because it helped me gage what the sizing would be like, how much give is in the material, etc. (Also that the site appears to be wrong about the warning that they may not fit a wider foot—I know I tend to have fairly wide feet—which was something that I worried about.) My eyeliner and professional brushes showed up too, a few days later, and I’ve started giving them a shot. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d feared, I’m doing well with it already, I just need to work on not poking myself in the eye with the brush when I do the left side. ^^; I’ve got a good feel but I’ll have to start practicing full face-ups for Gin soon which will probably require help from someone else when I do my eyes. (I actually dreamed the other night that I’d gotten it perfect—I knew it was a dream because I could see how it turned out with both of my eyes closed. XD *geek enthusiasm*)

I also got to go on my first official craft run of the season over the last few days—I love that feeling! Afterward I realized I must look like the most random-ass craft shopper ever when I do that. XD There’s no one project you can make from the assortment of supplies I got. But, with them, I’ll be able to start working on the bitch-ass shinigami sandals and—even scarier—the swords soon. *crosses fingers it all turns out well* Plus I finally remembered to bring home the wig that Brandi sold me (at slight discount, yay!) last week for Tousen, so I can start working on that in earnest once I do some experimentation with my methods.

And finally, I’ve come to the conclusion of which Aya I’m going to upgrade to this year. It’s going to be my favorite of the artbook scans. I’ve always loved the outfit and so, since I’m going to be making a bunch of white kimonos this year anyway, I decided why not? My excitement continues—hopefully I’ll be able to get to my Rag Shop within the next week to pick up fabric supplies!
Comments: Add Your Own.

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Subject:A observation on cosplay
Time:12:46 am.
Mood: bouncy.
Since we weren’t sure until recently if anything was going on Saturday, Brandi was thinking of coming over to hang out. We weren’t sure of what we’d do aside from girl talk, which prompted Lexi to say, “I love how our version of girl talk is talking about cosplay.”

After a minute a realized, “Hey—clothes, make-up, and hair. Where’s the difference?”
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Friday, March 16th, 2007

Subject:Callooh! Callay!
Time:3:52 am.
Mood: bouncy.
I officially have my first cosplay commission!

I knew that Kyle wanted my business, I have for a while, but it’s all nice and official now as he’s put in his proper order a few days ago. He decided on Kaname Tousen, from Bleach. I was so excited when he told me—much chicken-headed bouncing and shouts of “Kyle wants to be Tousen!” were had—because not only am I getting paid for doing something I love, but it’s a character that I know and love too. Double bonus!

It’s interesting, though, since it is my first commission, because I’ve never had to figure out how much to add for time and labor. On one hand it’s pretty cool but on the other I feel a little bad—where the wig’s concerned, for example, I know I’m going to have to tack on at least an extra twenty dollars since I have to dread the thing (the picture doesn’t do his hair justice, it’s long!). Thank goodness I have a few little appliances to help me, or else I’d be worried. ^^; But I may be able to factor in a tiny price break (yay, no shipping!) thanks to the grace of Kittens.

So exciting!
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Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Subject:Hit or miss?
Time:2:54 am.
Mood: awake.
A few of my cosplay misadventures for this last round:

About three days before the convention I was working with my sewing machine and noticed (rather quickly) that my bobbin just wasn’t…bobbing. So I fiddled with everything I knew to fiddle with in an attempt to fix it—re-threading the bobbin, fucking with the tension, etc. Nothing worked. So I started thinking to myself, “Fuck, I do not have enough of this coat sewn to finish it in time by hand!” But my mother (based on her reaction to other situations earlier in the year) must be rubbing off on me because almost immediately afterward I started thinking to myself, “Okay, well, I’ve already got a proper suit and the glasses—if I play with my hair a bit I can pull off Brazil!Alucard; I just need to paint a tie!” This seemed a fairly sound emergency plan but, just in case of a miracle, I worked on the machine a little bit longer. As I was poking at the bobbin again I happened to look up and notice it—one missed step in the threading of the upper level of the sewing machine. I thought to myself, “There’s no way that could be the problem, it’s in the top of the machine!”

I spent the next ten minutes simultaneously overjoyed and headdesky, happy I was able to fix it after all but annoyed as hell that it had been such a stupid mistake in the first place.

The last thing I had to do—as I’d planned—was style my wig. I left myself plenty of time to handle it since I knew it would take a while; the best way to accomplish the style that I was going for was to root more hair into the scalp of wig to be spiked accordingly later, a long and repetitive process. I got one row of bangs in—the most important part, I feel, because they hang into his face so it’s what you’d see most. Thank goodness I’d finished the row! When I went back to start again after a short rest for the sake of showing my in-progress work and getting it on film for tutorial purposes my needle broke on the first extension. Since it was the only one I had of proper size that meant stopping early. (I wasn’t overly worried since I know I’ll be wearing Alucard again, so I’ll be able to add more for then.) I cut the bangs to the appropriate choppy lengths and, after trying it on, I decided to forgo the gel for now. (When I get the rest of the hair in I’ll spike it up proper, for just the bangs it looked good without.)

Despite starts, stops, and a few misfires, everything turned out pretty damn well. I’m looking forward to future additions and improvements.
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Monday, November 13th, 2006

Subject:Victory!
Time:3:42 am.
Mood: happy.
So today we piled into the car to head out to Franklin Mills to look for a suit. My mother had seen a place that was selling them three for a hundred dollars—a bargain no Hellsing cosplay could pass up. We got up there and found the story but it turned out to be a waste. Not only had the sale changed, but there was also a terrible salesman who fairly shrieked, “I’m a small-minded European!” at us. There is little more irritating to me than being spoken down and treated poorly just because I’m a woman. When we asked him if they had anything double-breasted and he snidely replied, “Ha—no one does that anymore.” We left. ^^

But if the story ended there, this post wouldn’t be titled “Victory!” would it? We had to do a bit of a hike to another store and on the way back from that we found this marvelous place that was also having a sale. There we found several lovely double-breasted suits (snark was had) and I ducked into the dressing room. (One of the employees milling about was slightly put off by this; he didn’t know quite how to handle a girl in the dressing room. But, unlike the guy at the other place, he wasn’t rude; he just took a minute for himself to reconcile the idea before politely asking if we needed help.) The suit fit and we went to get rung up—another salesman that was apparently lured in by the power of Lexi’s Femto shirt* waited on us; not only did he stop the girl at the register from forgetting our discount, but he then gave us another small one on top of it. So I was able to get the suit and the shirt that I needed there for less than what I’d estimated the suit costing by itself. Victory!

On a side note, I’ve also found it easier to speak and move my mouth with each successive time I’ve worn my fangs. And it’s not that I’ve been specifically practicing, it’s just gotten oddly easier. ^^; I can even pronounce Ss now! This makes me endlessly happy now because it means I won’t have to worry about taking them out if I get to…meet someone.

*Being that I was walking through stores holding picture references of Alucard for the suit I was half expecting to run into an anime fan because that sort of thing tends to happen to me. I didn’t expect to find Berserk fans flocking toward Lexi, but I cackled in the changing room when I overheard it happening. Clearly, Femto is a good luck charm.
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Saturday, October 21st, 2006

Subject:Not quite a GIP
Time:4:18 am.
Mood: let down.
Since there's actually content, too. XD

Anyway...both my wig and boots for Alucard came in the mail over the past week. I still can't wait to style the hell out of the wig. And this time, blessedly, the boots fit! They are super comfy too, which is amazing compared to what I'm usually tromping around in for whichever costume. The fact that they're about an inch (at least) for my feet isn't a problem either; it makes them work better aesthetically and the way the leg is built keeps me from sliding around in them. I'm very pleased.

But I'm also feeling rather down right now, too, and it's fucking with me. So I'm now doubting my abilities to get Alucard finished by Halloween. Oh well. I've still got a perfectly good Greed waiting for me to wear him again. I'm going to get Seras fucking done though, that's an over-due priority.
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Thursday, October 12th, 2006

Subject:Vampires marching on
Time:11:03 pm.
Mood: accomplished.
I got to make a trip to Rags this Tuesday and it went very well. It was totally one of those trips where I was just about to give up on finding what I needed, was talking about just ordering the damn stuff online instead, and then found the fabric that was ten shades of perfect. (To my utter happiness it was even the type of material I thought I would need, rather than just the proper color and finish.) I also found the perfect buttons to go with it; just the right amount of color and transparency to work out really well. (And it was really cute seeing Lexi mystified by the fact that I found

I’ve been re-do-dadding throughout today. After looking a few things over, spot-checking and such, I decided that I wanted to improve upon a few things. As such I’ll probably wind up hitting Rags again this weekend at some point in search of a better set of black buttons along with a few other things that would be really nice right about now.

My biggest adventure today was actually getting my fangs properly fit. The new putty that I ordered got here today (after the other half of my order from the site got here yesterday and I panicked a bit) so I tried it out again and learned some very important things. First, the idea that I had of only mixing enough putty for one fang at a time was as effective as I’d hoped it would be; I was able to get it mixed (the solution is two parts that start to harden as soon as they mix, and so are sent separately), applied, and set without difficulty. Second, the fangs+putty combination worked like I thought it was supposed to—it’s a one-time application that leaves an impression of your tooth within the fang. My set now fits my natural teeth perfectly and I can put them on and wear them safely without the use of any kind of adhesive.

Of course, part of the learning very important things was learning the downsides as well. Despite the fact that the fangs I bought are a professional prosthetic designed to be comfortable as well as functional (no speech impairment, etc.) the curve of my natural teeth complicated things for me. The Greed-esque interlocking and slanting that I’m usually quite happy with leaves me unable to fully close my mouth by a wide margin with the fangs in; my real teeth don’t touch at all. And, while not completely impossible to talk, my speech is more than a little impaired. 9_9 Considering how easy they are to put in and take out now I may just wind up carrying the case with me so I can pop them out for things like talking to people. For the sake of the hordes of photos we’ll be taking later I may just leave them out until the shot depends on them. Or, you know, just get really good at doing the tongue trick for the camera, whichever.

This weekend I have the house to myself, so I’ll be taking full advantage to really get things done. If all goes well we may actually be able to debut these costumes by Halloween. *knocks wood*
Comments: Add Your Own.

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Subject:Grr, arg, and such.
Time:7:01 pm.
Mood: bouncy.
Got Alucard's boots, have to send them back and get the proper size. 9_9 I should have followed the directions on the site that I didn't order from when it came to picking the proper size. The yards and yards of lovely red that I ordered for him got here (a week before I was told they'd arrived x_x) and I should be dying them tonight (to give them a little bit of extra zing). I tried to play-test the fangs and found that the putty either didn't mix at all or mixed too well. They weren't kidding when they said it hardened fast. x_x So now I have to put in the order for more of that. It really bothers me that I have a perfectly good set of fangs waiting to be used and I can't use them. =_= But at least I have all of the gloves I should need for the multitude of Hellsing costumes I'll be producing this year.

October's started and I'm doing more shirts to commemorate it since it's my favorite month (birthday aside, Halloween's always been my favorite holiday). Since it is the Halloween month I'm going for a vampire/demon theme which means more Hellsing and Trinity Blood swag abounds. XD I've already finished one design but, even though I usually post like a spaz as soon as I'm done, I'm holding off to do one big group post. I'm excited though, and I'm pre-shrinking a batch of virgin t-shirts right now. ^^

Current Shopping List:
+More gloves (Lust)
+Black suit
+Wig
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Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Subject:Was it God, or the devil, in the details?
Time:6:27 am.
Mood: bouncy.
I think it depends on how happy you are with the result. ^^

I’m trucking along pretty steadily on the cosplay front. Do-dadding the hell out of the base Seras costume is an on-going process, and I’ll probably fit Lexi with it one more time before I make a few of the remaining alterations. I also lucked into an unexpected contact with an engraving machine today while out with an old friend, and so I’ve started poking about for real metal nameplates so that I might make good use of it. *_*

I’ve recently put in the orders for a lot of the supplies I need for Alucard. I’ve got a proper set of boots (one of the more over-looked details of the costume) making their way toward me along with the requisite bolt of red fabric and another of the appropriate contact lenses (I already have one for my Zorin set, so I got to same some cash there). On the front of “I’ll do it if I have time” I’ve also put in for some basic millenary supplies and I’ve already acquired what I need to (hopefully) craft the guns. Neither of those things are strictly necessary but, if I have the time, I’d feel better having them. All I really have left that I need to order is the wig, which I’ll thankfully have some help on since it’s also doubling as part of a prop for Seras. And I can’t wait to style the fuck out of it!</i>

I’ve also taken steps toward some of the reformatting that Greed and Lust need. I’ve ordered a new set of contacts to replace the ones that proved themselves painfully unreliable at Otakon and, after some size-checking, found that I can order a new set of gloves from the same site that I got the pair for Sloth earlier in the year (though I’ll be spot-checking these for any complication-producing seam-tears. 9_9) Once they get here I begin modifying them; now that I’m more comfortable with the latex I’m sure I’ll do fine. (And no more dying for the both of us, yay!)

Current Shopping List

+ Gloves (about five pairs, all totaled, for varying degrees of modification)
+Black suit, double-breasted (so looking forward to that)
Comments: Add Your Own.

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Subject:Belated squee!
Time:5:34 am.
Mood: bouncy.
My Alucard glasses came—yay! Or at least my would-be Alucard glasses. I just need to tint the lenses and I’ll be good. (Perhaps padding the arms and bridge piece if I’m adventurous which we all know I am.) They fit well, too, so all is well.

Glove shopping will hopefully happen this week and then I can get those done too.

I’ve also made a different version of the Hellsing Riot shirts, using a transfer rather than the hand drawing. To compensate for the lack of metallic silver I did some shading on the “Hellsing” letters that turned out rather nicely. Pictures of that will be up as soon as possible.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Subject:One week later, here we go
Time:12:29 am.
Mood: awake.
I know some have already gone to their owners, but for everyone else who requested one, here are the Hellsing riot shirts. I'll be shipping them out soon. ^^

Pictures under the cut!Collapse )
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Monday, July 31st, 2006

Subject:The scent of rubber and cow
Time:11:04 pm.
Mood: artistic.
So right now I am...about five and a half hours into my nine hour test run for my Greed costume. First it was just a matter of making sure the two main parts---shirt and pants---worked well together. (Many thanks go to Lexi again for making this possible! ♥♥) Was very relieved to find that it's far easier to get into the shirt when I don't have clammy skin, as I'd thought. Anyway, I then decided to keep it on for nine hours, or rather, to see if I could.

The reason? Last year the time that I clocked on my most uncomfortable costume was about nine hours. (Which is the binding incident that people keep pointing to lately. XD) So in my all-together---all of my binding followed by the rather binding costume---I'm testing myself. It took the first hour or so for my breathing to adjust itself but that's to be expected and I'm doing so pretty normally now. Everything fits lovely though, due to the constriction around my torso with my Boob Lessener™, sitting and bending can still be a bit of an adventure. Does wonders for my posture though. ^^

As for adverse conditions...I've also found that, should I need to use the bathroom, it won't be nearly as annoying as I'd feared; the different layers are all very negotiable. More importantly, though, I can withstand the heat in it. Latex and leather don't breath so I was a bit worried. But I was standing around in disgusting heat today for at least an hour today and as long as I keep hydrated I'm fine. It's certainly not the most pleasant experience, mind, but it's certainly liveable.

Also of important note---as of tonight, I hit my goal! All of the significant costume construction has been completed, now it's just finishing touches! Whoo-hoo!
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Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Subject:Vive la vie Boheme!
Time:10:04 pm.
Mood: motivated.
No, this isn't goint to be about Rent. XD

A few years back I fell in love with the movie Moulin Rouge and found myself insanely inspired. At the time I was also having a rather heavy affair with Sharpie markers in my clothing-design pursuits and was particularly fond of using them on denim. Thus, this jacket came to be.

This is a story about Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and above all else Love.Collapse )
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