My New Hat (Days 680 - 683)

This is my
"Why did I stay up until 4:30am making this stupid hat?"
face
I made a new hat for myself. It has construction issues, but it's warm, and that really is all I care about. It has attached "sleeves" with pockets on the ends. The sleeves also double as a scarf.

You can buy these pretty much anywhere right now, Target, Hot Topic, JC Penny's, for $25, which is exactly why I'm not selling them myself. Materials alone would cost nearly $20, and making my own took four hours. That, and the construction issues I mentioned earlier.

Quick, Easy, Simple Manicure

When I cosplay, I like to keep my nails simple and unnoticeable, as they are in most anime and video games, but of course I want them to look nice too. Outside of cosplay, my nails are usually crazy colors and can get pretty damaged.

So here's how to do a quick manicure that looks simple and pretty, even if your nails aren't in the best condition. Your nails have to be grown out a little bit for this to work.

Materials
  • white eyeliner or nail pencil - I really recommend the nail pencil. I use a Sally Hansen 2-in-1 Nail Pencil, you can buy them at Walgreens (and possible Target and Walmart, not sure).
    • small cup of water - optional, recommended if you're using the nail pencil, unnecessary if you're using the eyeliner
  • clear nail polish - Can be a nail-strengthening polish, a base coat, or plain clear polish.
    • nude nail polish - Optional, but you can use this if your nails are really unhealthy or have an odd color, try to use a sheer one though, otherwise this might not work.


Instructions
Preparation

  • Take off any nail polish you already have on
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water
  • Clean out under your nails
  • Push back your cuticles - There are lots of different tools for pushing back cuticles, but I prefer to use my nails. Be gentle, if you've never done it before, it can be difficult, be patient. You may also need to clip them, but I don't recommend doing this if you've never had it done before or don't have the right tool.


Step One:
If your nails have normal coloration, use one coat of clear nail polish. Any irregular scratches or scuffs will be disguised by the polish.
If your nails have highly irregular coloration, use a base coat of nail polish, a sheer nude color, and a top coat. Wait for the polish to completely dry between coats.

Step Two:
With either the white eyeliner or the nail pencil, color underneath your fingernails. If you use the nail pencil, you have to get it wet and keep it wet, I recommend a small cup of water.
Tip: The white eyeliner will color more on your skin then your nails because that's what it was made to do. It will work, it's just messier. The nail pencil will also get on your skin, but not as much. Both will wash off.

Finish:
Rinse off your hands in warm water, you don't have to pay any special attention to under the nails, the extra white should rinse of easily. If it doesn't, just leave it, it'll come off on its own. After your hands dry, you should be able to wash your hands and clean under your nails normally without the white coming off. (Though the eyeliner comes off a lot easier than the nail pencil.)
Bad picture, but this should be the end result. Kind of looks like a french manicure, but with way less hassle.
Durability:
Depending on how much you work with and wash your hands or pick at your nails, this could generally last anywhere from three days to a week. I use the nail pencil, and underneath my nails ends up stained, so even if I scrub under my nails, they stay white. Usually, the clear nail polish ends up chipping off, and the white runs thin in about a week. (Note: The white eyeliner usually only lasts me about a day because it washes off easier.)

BAC White Elephant/Yankee Swap

So on Thursday or Friday, my friend sent me a text asking if I was going to the BAC White Elephant/Yankee Swap. I hadn't intended to go because I didn't want to spend any more money on cosplay things this year. However, she offered me a ride and asked me to be a part of a Christmas Gurren Lagann cosplay group, and I really wanted to go anyway. I went as Christmas Yoko, even though I had originally never planned to wear it again, haha.

The White Elephant/Yankee Swap was basically a gift exchange. You bring a wrapped, unmarked gift, then people choose gifts and unwrap them. There's gift-stealing and trading involved, but that's the basics.

Line at Subway
When we arrived, fashionably late, but not as late as I usually show up to gatherings, we checked in with the group leader, Foxberry, and signed up for the gift exchange. Shortly after arriving, everyone parted ways for lunch. It struck me as a little odd, why not get lunch before the scheduled meetup time, basically just start the meetup later? But it wasn't my decision, I'm sure it made sense to the organizers. A whole bunch of us went to Subway, which was, in the end, a big mistake. We waited for what felt like forever to get our sandwiches and then walked back to the meetup spot.

When we got back, we took a group photo. The sun was really intense, and I'm pretty sure I'm shielding my eyes or keeping them closed for more than half of the pictures. After the group photo, we ate and then did the White Elephant/Yankee Swap. I ended up with a Domo toy, which I traded for a shark hat because the hat didn't fit the person who got it, and I don't like Domo anyway. (I don't dislike Domo, though I am tired of seeing it, I'm just not a fan.)

Afterward, we just sort of hung out and took pictures. A few of us also rode the carousel, but I don't have pictures of that (yet?). These pictures are from my camera, taken by a friend.

Photobombed!
Yoko and Nia goofing off.
Simon and the ladies

Days 673 - 679

Well school is over for the year (Winter Break), and Christmas is coming up fast! Hopefully over Winter Break, I can finish a cosplay or two. I'd like to finish Callie, but I'm pretty sure I'm broke until after Christmas.

I went to another BAC gathering really last-minute, I'll have a separate write-up for that. Also went to a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the same one I go to every year with my boyfriend and his family.

I've had the urge to sew a lot lately, I just don't know what to sew. I think I want to make a new hat, for myself, not to sell. I saw a lot of really cute hats the last time I was at the mall, but I didn't want to buy any because I knew I could make one.

Christmas Yoko (Days 661 - 672)

photo by AnimeCraft Entertainment
I went to Holiday Anime Faire this past Saturday, and you can read my full review of it here. There were about the same amount of cosplayers there are there are every year (not many), the cosplay contest went quickly and seemed to have fair judging. I cosplayed as a Christmas Version on Yoko (Gurren Lagann), the response to my costume was very positive, I had a photoshoot, and I won "Special Recognition for Costume Construction" in the contest.

Originally, I was going to cosplay Christmas Chi to the convention, I really wanted a holiday-themed outfit for the holilday-themed convention, but I also really wanted to bring my rifle (which I recently finished) to compete with. I decided on a Christmas version of Yoko mostly because I didn't feel like wearing a bikini to a convention in Winter that's geared more toward children. I couldn't find a Christmas version of Yoko online before the convention, though my friend told me of one later. When I looked it up, it turned out it was a bikini (of course), and I didn't like it anyway.

To make Christmas Yoko, I did temporary alterations (safety-pinned) on my Christmas Chi outfit, finished my rifle, and made fluffy wrist cuffs, a skull hairpin, and one sleeve. I also changed some of the clothes: a white tank top instead of a black shirt, a black studded belt instead of a plain one, flesh-toned leggings instead of white, black combat boots instead of character shoes, and fingerless gloves with a cutout instead of regular black gloves.

The skull hairpin was the first thing that I made, since it was the easiest, and at the time, I still wasn't sure if I was going to wear Yoko or Chi. Originally, I wanted to just wear a Santa hat and forgo the pin, but then I realized that not only would it be difficult to get a hat on over Yoko's ponytail, it would also make me nearly unrecognizable. So to incorporate the Christmas theme more, I put a Santa hat on the skull. (I later found out that the official Christmas Yoko has a reindeer skull.)

All that needed to be done on the rifle was detailing really (though it's still not 100% done). I added the black and yellow stripes, pink stripes, and pink strap so that I could carry it on my back. I also had to re-attach the scope because it had fallen off. The re-attached scope was much more stable, but still didn't survive the entire day at the convention. I'm not entirely sure when or how it happened, but the front two pieces that hold up the scope broke, so the scope was still attached, it just hung to the side. This was only really a problem when I went to do the photoshoot.

Making the one sleeve piece was surprisingly easy. At first, I attempted to make fingerless gloves accurate to Yoko's pre-time-skip outfit, but I didn't have enough fabric (also gloves are ridiculously hard to make). When I went to buy more fabric, they didn't have the kind I needed in the right color, so I ended up using fingerless gloves that I already had. The sleeve was made from an old shirt sleeve that had been cut off for another (abandoned) project. It has a slight curve to it that hits me right at the elbow, and it fits perfectly. It didn't fall down and needed no adjusting the entire day. Unfortunately, since it's not the fabric I intend to make my gloves out of in the future, I'll have to make another one if/when I cosplay pre-time-skip Yoko, but at least I can use this one as a pattern.

The fluffy wrist cuffs with bells on them were meant to look like Yoko's gauntlets that she wears pre-time-skip. Since my wrists are so small, I didn't have enough room to put five bells on each the way Yoko has five yellow... things(?) on each of her gauntlets, so each wrist cuff has three bells.

This costume was cute and fun to wear, I love cosplaying Yoko. I got recognized a lot, probably mostly thanks to the rifle, and I got a really positive response from everyone I talked to. I don't think I'll ever wear Christmas Yoko again though, unless I go to another Christmas-themed event this year, which I don't intend to. As fun as it is to cosplay original variations, I do prefer to stick to original artwork, especially with someone like Yoko who has so many official variations anyway.
There was an error in this gadget