Cosplay my way parts 2 and 3- the result

Well with giving myself two weeks to get a cosplay outfit of Harley Quinn done for Halloween, I realized that I did not have enough hours in the day to do this justice or right but still pressed on. Amazingly, I finished it in time for last weekend, and even won 2nd place at the local bar’s costume contest, and a 50 buck gift certificate! I definitely has some things to tweak before I go to a Comic Con (and this costume was not appreciated. Everyone thought I was a slutty/crazy nurse), but I was happy with the result!

Harley Quinn Costume

Halloween pool with fruit stripes zebra

Thigh Boots:

I had found online that you could build duct tape boots off of sandals. However, after thinking about my skills, I realized this wasn’t going to happen…..

My slacker way:

I took an old pair of knee high boots from good will and covered each with duct tape. (One was red and the other was purple. ) However, I had a problem. Harley Quinn had thigh high boots, mine were knee high . To fix this problem, I measured the height up to my knees, and then made a a duct tape strip that made up the difference. Once, I had the strip, I cut it out to resemble her boots and used black duct tape to accent it. If my boots had zipped in the back, I could have duct taped it in (it will hold securely without duct tape if your boot is tight, mine did but I wanted extra piece of mind), but since mine zipped in the back, I had to first duct tape the add on and fit it to my thigh, then place my boot on, and duct tape it together.

The look, though was amazing and only took a couple hours to complete.

The corset:

I had originally wanted an actual corset out of duct tape (ribbing and everything), however I found myself working on it the day before I was to go out, so that was out of the question for me.

My slacker way:

I decided to make a belt for the shirt I sewed up. I started by measuring my waste. I then made a belt that was about six inches small than it in the primary color red. Harley’s corset was red with a purple center. To make this look, after I had made the red belt, I made a smaller purple belt ( at 8 inches or so.), and duct taped it on on end (about three inches in) to the backside of one side of the belt. I then poked matching holes on each side and laced it up with red ribbon. I kept it loose enough to slide on and then used the lace to tight it.

Note:

The corset was tight enough to stay up on its own and the purple strip stayed in place, however, I wanted more security again. I taped the other side of the corset (the purple belt underneath to the red belt) and then made straps for the corset by cutting one long strip of duct tape in half and rolling it. I had to tape myself into it, but it really looked well and worked!

Make up:

I used make-up for all of it, minus the white base which I used Halloween white base. For the mask, I used a black and a purple eye shadow, and used black eyeliner to sharpen the edges.

Other notes:

Do not use Rite Dye for dying the tube socks. It will not take. I followed the instructions and after dying it twice, my red one was pink, my purple one was sort of blue. I ended up using puff paint afterwards.  It did not work very well either. It was streaking, took multiple coats (I could only get two in with my time) and you should double the drying time.)

Anyway, for anyone wanting to make this costume, hope it helped, and if you have any questions, post here and I can answer them. I know this was a short account of how I did it.

Oh and HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!

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A loss, my art, thoughts

My poetry piece was perform today at sandbox theatre. The timing of this poem, which explores the paradoxical nature of beautiful in the regeneration death, is fitting with changing of the seasons and my personal life.

This week, I lost one of my closest relatives, my aunt who was a second grandmother. As a writer, I have found my craft has failed me, that no words could describe my the selfishness and sorrow in loss, or the gratitude that I had 27 years with her.

And that, though it is past the performance, and now my art lives on through a share experience, I would like to dedicate this to you my aunt, my wonderful angel, now home.

Cosplay my way, a 3 part series

For Halloween this year, I have decided to transform myself into Harley Quinn from Arkham Asylum. This might have been an easy task, however, I’m not someone who sews or does much with clothing. I’m also on a very tight budget.

So my journey to make a cheap yet awesome costume has begun. I started out by raiding Good Will, the mecca for anyone on a budget and trying to make an awesome costume. There I found the perfect white skirt and a blouse that will serve as a base my top.  The total cost was less than 10 dollars.

Last week, I used my sewing skills to shorten up the shirt. I started with a normal shirt, and tucked it up where the tails of it ended, creating a half shirt.  I am then going to construct a duct tape corset to attach to it.

Here is what I have so far.

sewed up shirt

I’ve also created my arm warmers and bracelets. I took two tube socks (5 dollars for two pairs) , and cut a circle at the big toe of each , a small circle. The directions I found online said to sew at the seems however, on my first test that failed miserably. You would have to have baseball mitts for it to fit your hand.  So my advice, find the big toe hole and cut a small hole and then go from there. After that, I put it on my hand, and cut off the sock right above my knuckles. It naturally rolled down. I let it and sewed it down to make a sort of border and to make sure it doesn’t unravel.

BTW don’t through your toe away (if you are making it like I am), you can use them to make a bracelet. Again, once its cut off, it will roll on both ends. Just let it and put a few stitches in it to have a bracelet!

Now I know they aren’t the right color, but this weekend, I am going to use rite dye to create the red and purple look.

I still have a lot left, so I will post you on the updates as they come.

Online Publishing, taking the plunge

I’m not sure if all writers/artist have the same editing, focus problem as I have, but I think its time I address it. I write, a lot, all over the place in fact.

I start a story, scrap it, or more often than not finish it, but then get distracted by some new wonderful project that stirs the creative juices, leaving me, with a bounty of finished, but unedited projects. I swear I will come back to them. I promise myself, but I find that over the past eight years, I have finished three novel size pieces, a few novellas and many a play.

And they just sit.

So I’m doing something about it, starting today.

And I know just the project.

Three years ago, when I was just out of grad school, I was contacted by a former flame of mine, and artist, and commissioned to write a story for him to illustrated from a graphic novel. Not my bag at all, but I figured why not branch out.  I spent the bulk of my summer, writing and editing a hundred page story for him to fashion a graphic novel after ( I know also not the traditionally way to do it but its how he wanted to.).

I was excited for him to start work on it, but soon it pandered.  He complained he didn’t have time, though I was able to give up my free time to write it and that I wasn’t dedicated, because I didn’t want to model for the book nor did I have time to be driving the three hours away to do that. (I also offered to help pay for a model but that was  shot down….)

The project died.

After considering the pros and cons of online publishing and a lot of research, I have decided to take the plunge,and am I committing myself to finishing it and having it online by the end of this year. It’s going to be a lot of mundane editing and reworking, but my story is worth it and I am worth it.

It’s time I put my longer works out there and give a chance for my voice to be heard.  Shortly, I’ll be posting little excepts and teases to wet your appetite.

An open letter on health care

I graduated first in my high school class, made it through college in 3 1/2 years, and went directly into graduate school which I graduated. I am a published poet, playwright, and essayist. And in my job that pays the bills, I work with disabled children.  I have worked full or part-time since I was 19.

I vote. I volunteer. I try to make the world a better place.

And I’m scared to death.

If Obama care or the healthcare changes are repealed or amended, so many people will be harmed.

Backstory (aka how Obamacare saved me)

At 25 I was diagnosis and treated for cancer.

I had just left an abusive relationship and quit my job ( I worked in the banking industry which I did not ethically believe in and which with leaving a mentally abusive relationship, could not preform my job function.) Because of Obama care I was able to stay on my parents insurance. And I am still able to get insurance. The surgery cost over 50k. I don’t have that much in saving. I would have gone bankrupt. My financial history would be ruined because I had the audacity to become ill.

I wish I could describe to you what feelings run through you when you are faced with a life threatening illness, the fear and pain, the guilt for having people take care of you, the pain of the treatments, all of it.  And moving on, putting your life back together after month (or years of uncertainty), but there isn’t any way to tell make you understand how hard it is, and honestly I hope you never know.

The fact is people don’t ask to get sick ( I was a former college athlete, didn’t drink or smoked, worked out, had no family history, etc….) and after blaming myself, I asked the doctor what caused it. He said the only common trait in most people, was that they were young otherwise health woman with  no history. Lucky me right!?!

And while you are fighting for you life, while afterwards, when trying to get your life together, the last thing you need is to worry about healthcare costs.

But the fact as is, as long as health care is a business, I will be seen as a liability, as someone who already cost the company. I will be define by the worst moment of my life. And I will be punished for it.

People don’t have a choice in healthcare, not for a lot of things. You treat it, or you die. Keeping it privatized just creates a circle.

Can’t afford rates, no insure. Why are rates going up?…The uninsured.

That isn’t going to change unless we look at healthcare not as a business, look at people and not the bottom-line.

I know in my work I make the world a better place. I care for children that are hard to care for. I help them grow. In my art, I illuminate the world. I deserve the chance to do this.

As does everybody.

People, are what matter not profits.

Who is anyone to tell us our lives aren’t worth something because we are sick? Or that because we can’t afford the outrageous healthcare cost, that we should die.

How much would be lost? How much has been lost?

I’m not saying Obama care is perfect, actually I don’t think it goes far enough, but it is a step in the right direction, and as a society we need to look at what matters, people or profits.

On a personal note, this is hard for me to share. My health problem is something I prefer not to relive or share, but I can’t in good conscious say nothing while other people may get screwed.  And I’m sorry that it isn’t something better written, but frankly in regards to this topic, I always find myself at a lose for words.

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Boxcar children meet Lord of the Flies.

In  what  I hope to be a bi-weekly series,  today, I’m going to talk about the book or series I’m reading and share thoughts on if you too should pick it or skip it.

This week:

Gone (series) by Michael Grant

Verdict:  Pick it.

If you don’t want some of the plot reveal now, just stop reading and go buy the book. You won’t regret it. I swear. 

The Gone series follows a group of  Perdido beach (Cali surfers)  kids who are wasting another day in school when everyone 15 or older disappears. Simultaneously, walls appear, trapping the now adult-less kids in their hometown.

Shenanigans ensure.

Puppy love.

Adventures.

Everyone rising to the occasion and caring for themselves.

Or they might, if this had been handled by another writer.

Left alone, the now “adults” 11-14 year-olds handle the burden about as well as you think children would handle it, piss poorly. Grant apparently feels that unlike many a happy children left of their own adventure story, little children would not be able to keep up with the complex infrastructure they were accustomed to. Most freak out about caring for their younger children. They squabbled. They engorge on candy while a few try to figure out the chaos.

Add in  mutant powers (and the societal unrest it brings to the normal children)  and an evil nuclear space monster (it’s more plausible than you think) and you have the perfect setting for a distopian novel.

The slow descent of many of the character into adult vices, drugs and alcohol abuse, depression, bigotry and even cannibalism is what makes this novel so interesting and yet at times so difficult to read. Take the tale  of Mary, the young woman who ends up caring for the children.  An all around likable character, and beloved by the town, by the third novel she is unrecognizable.  The constant stress of caring for the young  drives her back to former demons (anorexia and bulimia). To cope with her eating disorder, she start popping pills like a pro. This descends her into madness culminating with her plan to save the children, by committing mass suicide. Though the plan is thwarted, Mary takes the leap and disappears.

Extremely disturbing to the reader at times, the complex nature of this, loss of childhood innocence coupled with the rises of the human spirit make this gloom and doom series hard to put down.  In fact, I just ordered the fourth book off of Amazon today.

This book series isn’t for everyone. It isn’t a light and breezy feel-good book. The characters aren’t black and white but rather tragically human, trying just to survive though knowing they probably won’t and often times giving into the weight of that knowledge.

There are a few issues in this book with pacing. Long drawn out passages and frequent perspective switching are at time distracting, though nothing unforgivable.

If you liked Hunger Games or the Divergent series, give this series a try. You won’t be sorry.