2022/2023: rebooting the blog
Hmmmm, my last post was at the beginning of 2020... I wonder what happened there?!
The pandemic has hit us all differently, and while in a perfect world I would have used the break from conventions and new costumes to get all my photo folders organized and my website up-to-date, that's clearly not what has happened. I didn't quite stop cosplaying altogether during 2020 and 2021, but pretty close. I buried myself in Animal Crossing, Drag Race, working (not from home) and didn't leave much room for anything else. 2022 brought big life changes and a moderate return to cons and cosplay, but also trying to deal with the nightmare my digital backlog has become. And now here we are. One month+ late with my previously annual New Years post and a lot of "coming soon" galleries. But the important thing is that we are here. Let's take a little look at 2022...
Rosalina by Desi-Desu became my white whale during quarantine. The wig was sponsored by Cactus Mafia and I was supposed to finish her by the end of 2019, but had bitten off much more than I could chew on the deadline I had committed to. Then... well you can guess. I managed to put the bulk of the work needed into finishing her in time to enter the Con-G Virtual Masquerade (right after a big move), and then the final finesse was added before Meagan's Walk in the spring. She finally got her convention debut at Youmacon 2022. Photo from Elemental.
Megara happened because I watched Disney's Hercules for the first time near the end of 2021, and really liked Meg. When I was looking for a new cosplay I could put together before Yeticon (as opposed to something I started years ago and was feeling stale), I found the perfect base wig on sale from Arda, and Meg plans were sealed. I was even able to cosplay in an amazing group at Yeti with Ice Phoenix Art and Lulu Rush Cosplay as Hades and Herc respectively. Photo from the Video Ninja.
"Tennis" Rosalina was the result of wanting to cosplay Rosalina (and make use of that labour-intensive wig), but being fully aware that the fancy costume would be a bad idea in both heat and high winds. So I did something I've never done before and bought a costume online. Of course, I had to make myself custom accessories like the racket, shoes, and shorts for under the dress. Photo from WCES.
Amity Blight "3.1" was a relatively unplanned costume. I was thinking of a comfy costume to wear to YoumaCon as a break from Rosalina and Megara, and landed on one of Amity's costumes from the recently released Owl House special "Thanks to Them". It's mostly a closet cosplay but I hope I can take her to at least one bigger Owl House meet-up. I'll have to put together her season 2 outfit sometime so I can have one cosplay from each season hahaha. Photo from WCES.
Miss Elizabeth wraps up the year - I've never been a wrestling fan but this is what happens when you let other people choose your Halloween costume: expanded horizons. Again, very much closet/thrifted but a lot of fun. Photo from Valius.
Let's face it - there isn't even a legit reason to have a separate section for slothplay this year, but it's not up there, so here we are. I only did one costume which I think qualifies, and it was Fierce Deity Link for April Fools posts. Enjoy.
Obviously I don't have any blog posts to link to (unless I sneakily write them now and post-date them hmmmmm) so we'll stick with the very brief summary versions of "con reports".
Con-G Geeks @ Home (panelist and virtual masquerade entrant) Android 18, Rosalina
YetiCon (attendee) Plague Doctor, Megara, Amity Blight (S1)
Anime North (Masquerade staff and Craftsmanship contest entrant) Android 18, Megara, Tennis Rosalina
Youmacon (attendee) Megara, Rosalina, Tennis Rosalina, Amity Blight (S3.1)
My non-con highlight of the year was definitely being invited to Meagan's Hug - a fundraiser for paediatric brain tumors. Every year cosplayers are asked to attend as entertainment/morale boosters and it was a fun event, even though doing a 5km walk in Rosalina in the May heat wasn't my wisest decision ever. I very much hope that I am invited to return again next year.
Otherwise, I'm still trying to find the local cosplay scene in my new city. I have a couple of leads, and our local con is returning again in 2023, so wish me luck finding them.
Let's move on to bigger and brighter days!
My calendar year started off a lot slower than I would have liked (*ahem caught Covid for Christmas ahem*) but I'm ready to work hard (OK, not too hard) at keeping up better this year. In the past month I've already got the ball rolling on finishing some projects which have been neglected too long.
Much like in my last post, I'm going to tell you that I really want to complete some unfinished projects, with a few new things tossed in to keep my motivation up and to join groups with friends. I'm at a point in my life now that most costumes made/started before the pandemic hit no longer fit, so I'm also trying to be logical about which costumes are even reasonable to attempt. I'm also hoping to stick to my guns better than I have in the past and not multitask cosplay (finish one before picking up another). Maybe I'll pull it off.
So here is how things look at the beginning of the year:
Mom/Grace from Umbrella Academy was on this list in 2020, too. But this year, she's finally getting finished. No question. The skirt is almost finished (I’m trying to engineer a simple hoop for the hem) but there’s some wig styling left to do and the shirt to sew. At least I don’t have to paint any more polka-dots.
War was a bit of a debate for this list for me... I'm not feeling super motivated to finish her, mostly because I don't know when or where I'll have the opportunity to wear the costume. On the other hand, at about 75%, she's so close to done that it almost feels like a shame to not just do it, and then she'll be ready to go for some Good Omens get-together in the future. The to-do list includes making a hairpiece, replacing the pants, and making a cool flaming sword. NBD.
Emi from DDR is a new addition because I just can't resist a fun group. Already dreading a repeat of the Umbrella Academy custom-painted polka-dot hell.
Cybersix. Yeah. The costume which has been on my bucket list almost as long as I've been cosplaying. I got motivated by Zeekay's Adrian cosplay last year, bought some new fabric and a pattern on an impromptu trip to Joann's, so now I just need to find the time to build it.
Midna has been on my list even longer than Cybersix. That bodysuit is basically done (if it still fits). I have the supplies for her outfit (since 2010). I can do this.
Milotic is on this list because I have access to the beach again, and where else are you going to cosplay a Pokemon mermaid? Only hundreds of hours of painting scales stand between me and that shoot XD
As always, I'm sure lots of other fun things will pop up along this journey as my whims take me elsewhere.
I have the first half of the year planned out so far: Con-G Geeks @ Home virtual con again, then my local-ish SPCS and KCExpo, followed by my standbys Anime North and Yeticon. I'm definitely open to doing Youmacon again, and maybe even Fan Expo if the timing and costs work out. I'm a lot farther from the GTA now though, so I have to be a bit pickier about what I can travel for than I used to be.
As always, I would love to connect with people - visit new cons, join new cosplay groups, shoot with new photographers, and have new experiences. You know how to reach me ;)
2019 Cosplay Year in Review
2019 is over!
In terms of cosplay, I succeeded well beyond my expectations for my small goals, but failed big-time for all the big ones. I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year to do 12 new casual cosplays/makeup tests over the course of the year because I miss putting together “slothplay” costumes (since I can’t stream with Dan the Video Ninja anymore). In terms of long-term plans, I wanted to finish Amaterasu, make something for the Costume Con 37 Single Pattern Contest, work on some older unfinished projects, and of course add new things because I have no self-control. The slothplay went great… the rest of the year was a mess of missed deadlines, over-shot budgets, and getting bogged down in tedious work.
Real talk: I’ve always struggled to keep up my motivation and energy for making cosplay, but this year has been worse than ever and some days it’s been exhusting just convincing myself to put on the finished costumes. I’m probably going to be changing how I do cons in 2020; but that’s a discussion for the next post.
Let’s look back at 2019!
Yuletide Cersei is a bit of a cheat since the costume itself was finished previously *cough2017cough* but adding all the festive decorations took a few days of work so I’m counting it. I had wanted this to be my holiday cosplay for 2018 but those couple days of sewing got in the way, and so I had to wait until January to get it all together. I added the garland around the hem and faux fur muff with matching collar, and then decorated it all (and my wig) with lots of berries, poinsettias, and pinecones. I think it’s really nice aesthetically, but the garland was really uncooperative and sadly I probably won’t wear this variation again. Photo from Mr Stark.
“Imperial Phase” Amaterasu was another delayed project; I had originally intended to finish it for Halloween 2018, but between my first attempt at draping, and all the little armour-y bits I was pushed back to March 2019. Fortunately that meant I got to wear her throughout the spring, including pairing up with Kurumasha’s Morrigan! Photo from Elemental.
Plague Doctor was a surprise for the year. In February I needed a mask for a party so my Slothplay for the month was a plague doctor mask… which then evolved into this Darkest Dungeon costume. This particular skin is from a mod, but was chosen to suit the Single Pattern Contest rules… which of course I missed the deadline for since the costume turned out to be more work than I expected. (see the theme here yet?) Photo from The Video Ninja.
Vanellope Von Schweetz and Shank were unexpected projects (and could easily be debated that they should be Slothplays since it’s mostly altered clothing). The Munchkin decided that she wanted to cosplay Vanellope this year, so I helped out by making the pleated skirt, painting the pants, and decorating the wig. While I had always assumed that if I ever cosplayed from Wreck It Ralph I would be Calhoun; but it turns out that Shank is a lot easier! I had a lot of fun putting the outfit together even though the only thing I made was a belt buckle. Photos from Elemental at Cosplay for a Cure.
Android 18 was another surprise. Mr Stark spent a big part of the year making a Perfect Cell costume - and watching the Dragon Ball Z Cell Saga on loop for most of that. By the time his costume was done, I decided that I enjoyed 18 enough to cosplay her (especially when I figured out that everything I needed to put the costume together could be thrifted). I hope we get to keep wearing Cell and 18 together in the future! Photo from Skyleaf at Cosplay for a Cure.
While those were my “big” costumes for the year, here are the smaller “slothplay” projects. Plague, Shank, and 18 all started out as Slothplay costumes too, but they graduated LOL. Definitely hit my goal of 12 (and then some).
Amanda Ninja goes back to the source of all this Slothplay nonsense - a costume for streaming a playthrough of Dream Daddy with Dan the video Ninja
Hufflepuff… thing (Casual? Yoga? Sorority?) because I wanted to be very comfy but also vaguely witchy for the CC37 Friday night Social, and it turned out cute.
Beauty and Flycatcher from The Wolf Among Us - this literally happened because Mr Stark is very good at catching flies. It snowballed a little. And I’m proud of that frog hat.
Michael and War are both from Good Omens - that book was my introduction to both Prachett and Gaiman and so of course I was going to fall in love with the show. Michael is likely never getting further than the makeup test, but War is in progress as a full costume. She should have been done this year, but I just couldn’t manage.
Astarte a.k.a “Lady Moontits” is a costume made by Bethany Padron which I got to wear in the Historical Masquerade at CC37. The group won Best in Show for stage presentation… and I’m still super intimidated by historical costuming hahaha
Mom/Grace from the Umbrella Academy Nexflix adaptation is another costume that should have graduated from the Slothplay category this year but somehow didn’t. I missed like 4 deadlines to cosplay with friends in this costume so at this point finishing feels like a much bigger obstacle than it actually is. Fingers crossed for 2020
Jessica Jones is a costume I wore to Tri-City just because I didn’t feel like putting on anything else from my Tickle Trunk and it’s almost the same outfit as Shank ~_^ I don’t like how I looked in the costume (my first instinct was that I did a bad job with my makeup but it might have just been the wig…) so I’m kinda glad that all the photos are super dark.
Lup happened for Halloween at work since my coworker (Icephoenix Art) and I wanted to coordinate and landed on fantasy/D&D type characters. Since I don’t play, The Adventure Zone: Balance was in the front of my mind for inspiration, and I had a lot of fun pulling parts from literally 7 other costumes and only having to buy a hat.
The next look doesn’t have a name. I just wanted to have a spooky look for a Halloween party instead of putting on a costume.
Sonia is wrapping up the year - as soon as she showed up in Pokemon Sword/Shield, Mr Stark challenged me to closet cosplay her. So I borrowed Amaterasu’s wig and I did. It’s not perfect but it is fun and I’m hoping to make a few small upgrades to keep wearing her next year.
At this point I would usually reference my plans from the beginning of the year… but I didn’t make one this time and it’s pretty much already been covered above.
I stopped writing blog posts for conventions over the last couple of years, so this time I’m going to summarize with the costume I wore to each event instead of post links:
Anime Shogatsu (attendee) Milotic
Costume-Con 37 (attendee) Hufflepuff, Amaterasu, Marvellous Coat, Astarte
Sarnia Pop Culture Show (attendee) Plague Doctor
Anime North (Masquerade staff) Betty Cooper, Amaterasu, Plague Doctor
Niagara Falls Comic Con (with Cosplay for a Cure) Marvellous Coat, Wendy
YetiCon (attendee) Wendy, Plague Doctor, Amaterasu, Mom
Pretty Heroes (attendee) Shank
Fan Expo (with Cosplay for a Cure) Hufflepuff, Rock Alice
Unplugged Expo (attendee/handler) Android 18
Tri-City Supercon (attendee) Jessica Jones
London Comic Con (attendee) Android 18, War
Hamilton Comic Con (with Cosplay for a Cure) War, Android 18
Fan Expo Holiday Market (attendee) Sonia
Moving to KW has really decreased the number of other cosplay events and shoots I can attend. Toronto isn’t that far away, but it’s far enough that it’s unrealistic to visit often and for short events. There really isn’t much of a cosplay “community” here like I was used to having around. However, I did make it out to a WONDERFUL “Women of the MCU” photo shoot that NerdCred Cosplay arranged and wore versions of Hufflepuff and War to a Witches and Wizards market in Stratford and a Cybertronic Spree music video shoot in TO respectively. And of course I made sure to visit Ottawa for the Heroes and Villains party with Kurumasha again.
Overall… I feel like this post got a little negative. More than I meant it to be. But sometimes mental health makes hobbies a bigger challenge. Sometimes photoshoots have to be cancelled due to the weather. Sometimes we can’t afford to pay for photos. Sometimes we have poor experiences at cons due to event staff, other attendees, or our own bad planning (all of which happened this year). There were good things too though - I got to cosplay together with a bunch of my best friends this year. I met some awesome new people (looking at you, CC37), my costumes were generally really well received, I won a stage award at CC37 for Amaterasu and an Honourable Mention at H&V for Plague Doctor. I took on a big project for a sponsorship opportunity with Cactus Mafia (Rosalina is going to be awesome when she’s done!) and I’ve gotten a lot more confident with wig work (even if I’m still very slow and nervous). Let’s not forget about my Slothplay success too! And I’ve started following some super cool artists and media which inspire me… and which I hope I can continue to tell myself “no” to starting more cosplay for. LMAO
Watch for my 2020 plans post coming soon!
2017 Cosplay Year in Review
It's that time of year again! (well it's past that time of year but I'm fudging the date of this post to squeak it in on time. Try and stop me!) The year didn't quite go as planned - but that's hardly anything new. On the other hand.... until I hit July, I had been working surprisingly on schedule! I managed to finish all my "mostly finished" holdovers from 2016 plus a few brand new projects, but then I burnt out, and my free time started getting channeled into other things; mostly trying to figure out my upcoming move. Still... I'm going to focus on the positives here!
Positives like: actually hitting several of my cosplay deadlines, especially for Costume-Con since I entered two costume contests and won awards for both my costumes there!!! I kinda feel like it's some sort of validation since I don't have the opportunity to enter contests often anymore and I also spend a lot of my time on casual costumes instead of show-pieces.
Professor Burnet was the only one of these six which I hadn't been planning at the beginning of the year. But Mr Stark gave me Pokemon Moon for my birthday, and I totally got sucked in. It was a relatively easy costume (wig aside) since it's entirely modified purchased clothing, but it was fun to pair up with Mr Stark to be professors together. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Veber.
Milotic wasn't on my list at the beginning of the year, but that was mostly just wishful thinking that I might have finished the other 10 costumes before getting to summer and beach costumes... HAH! But I got mitotic done anyways! My deadline was YetiCon to do the pool party with my friends in their water Pokemon swimwear outfits, and while it was wearable at the con, I managed to *actually* finish it in time for a great shoot at Kew Beach in Toronto! Photo courtesy of OOC Photography.
Rock Star Alice was mostly finished in 2016, but I spent time this year putting the finishing touches and additions on the costume, plus actually making my flamingo bass. The bass isn't perfect, but I still love it, and took it to so many cons this year that it now needs repairs from the wear and tear XD. Photo courtesy of Paul Hillier.
Cersei, like Alice, was wearable in 2016, but didn't actually get finished until this year. I put hundreds of hours into hand-painting the lion appliqués, hand-sewing them on, replacing the belt, and making a ring for her this year and got it all done by my deadline of Costume-Con 35. Photo courtesy of Dream Land Photography.
Holtzmann is the third costume which I had been able to wear in 2016 but which didn't get finished until 2017, which meant finishing all the accessories on top of making myself a placeholder "prototype" proton pack. Photo courtesy of Elemental Photography.
A Marvelous Coat was my Costume Con project - I put my own spin on a pre-selected commercial coat pattern and took my design inspiration from Captain Marvel of Marvel Comics. Even though I incorporated some tedious design choices, it still ended up being a surprisingly smooth and enjoyable sewing project, and a real nice change of pace to spend less than 2 weeks on a single costume. Photo courtesy of Very Frank Pictures.
While those were my "big" costumes for the year, I also did a lot of smaller/casual costumes, accessories, and other projects; a lot of which were for my weekly streaming nights with Dan.
1 Ghostbusters jumpsuit for Mr Stark, made to match the rest of the group (sorry this is the best photos I have LOL)
2 Julie from Warm Bodies - total closet cosplay just for a special Halloween-y photoshoot.
3 Betty Cooper from Riverdale - I customized the sweater with the crown appliqué and liberal adjustments for fit, but the rest of the outfit is from my closet.
4 light-up Navi headband (LoZ: Ocarina of Time) for Twitch streaming.
5 Gremlins-inspired closet cosplay for an 80's theme party - I mad the ears out of felt, pipe cleaners, and a headband, and the rest is purchased clothing.
6 Captain Marvel shrug - I bought the shrug from We Love Fine, not realizing that all the yellow parts were lace... and not only that but it was the scratchiest lace EVER. So I replaced the lace with a nice buttery double-sided faux suede.
7 Zelda's crown from LoZ: A Link to the Past for Twitch streaming. Made out of craft foam.
8 Temmie ears from Undertale for twitch streaming. Made out of cabbage swirl fabric and a headband.
9 & 10 Jughead hats based on Riverdale - I've actually made 3 versions in grey now for various friends in addition to the colourful one for myself ^_^
11 Thor hat for Twitch streaming - I used a papercraft template and the shiniest paper I could find to make the wings to glue to a touque in one of my more ridiculous Twitch costumes.
12 #DRINKIT shirt in the style of Tee K.O. for Twitch streaming.
13 #DRINKIT shirt in a much cleaner style painted as a raffle prize for Extra Life.
14 Rose Red shirt based on Fables for Twitch streaming.
As usual, now we compare to my plans back in January:
I have to fight my instinct to scold myself here for only finishing half the list... because if you compare to my track record in 2016 and 2015... five completed out of ten planned is great! Plus a little bit of progress on Captain Marvel and Gwenpool even though neither was finished. I'm staying positive: on top of all the extra little projects and Pokemon costumes, this is good! Besides, I even said last January:
And if I happen to actually finish those 10 costumes? You bet I have a list of 30 more just waiting for my attention. But let's be realistic here, there's no way I'm getting more than 5 of these done in 2017.
..and with that, my "workbench" sidebar progress tracker gets wiped clean in the annual re-set.
Going into 2017 I was working on the assumption that I would be attending fewer conventions this year, simply because I was planning to leave Toronto during the summer, and with less easy access to conventions comes fewer cons. However, since my move didn't end up happening until December, I was at just as many this year as I was in 2016! Just like last year, I was at most of them either as a volunteer for Cosplay for a Cure or for costume contests... and also spent a few behind tables in the AA or as a guest!
FrostCon - with Cosplay for a Cure (blog)
Toronto Comic Con - Cosplay Craftsmanship Contest staff (blog)
Kitchener Comic Con - attendee (blog)
Costume-Con 35 - attendee (blog)
Anime North - Masquerade staff (blog)
Niagara Falls Comic Con - with IcePhoenix Art's table (blog)
YetiCon - attendee (blog)
Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration - with Cosplay for a Cure
Toy Con (July edition) - attendee
ConBravo! - Masquerade staff (blog)
Fan Expo - with Cosplay for a Cure (blog)
GTA Comic Con (November edition) - cosplay guest (blog)
Toronto Fan Days - attendee (blog)
Toy Con / City of Kitchener NYE party - cosplay guest
I did end up going to fewer "cosplay hangout" type events this year, keeping my non-con stuff to just Free Comic Book Day, TCAF, Kew Beach, Niagara Wine Parade (blog), and Halloween parties (blog). In addition, I spent almost every Thursday night this year streaming games on Twitch with my friend and neighbour Dan The Video Ninja... I made a lot of very simple "costumes" for those nights ^_^
Other Big Changes:
Did you notice that you're on slothcore.ca now?
Well, the big one is something I haven't posted about directly but slowly over the last 6 months or so I've re-branded all my cosplay stuff to "Slothcore"... no more Mai Sheri. I think that Slothcore is much more "me" these days, and I also like built-in reference to how slowly I tend to work on my costumes.
The other thing, as I alluded to earlier, is that I moved from Toronto to Kitchener, Ontario in December. While I already miss all my friends in Toronto and it will be much more challenging to go to photoshoots now, it was all for the good cause of moving in with Mr Stark and doing that whole "next step in the relationship" thing XD. As a side effect of the move, I don't have studio space anymore... and while I might be able to do smaller projects in the space we have now, most of my sewing and crafting supplies are in storage because there's just not enough room. We will be moving (again) into a larger place in the spring where we will have room for cos-making so I probably won't be making much progress on anything until that happens.
I somehow met a lot of new friends through all the cons I went to this year, and I'm doing my best to keep up with everyone, old friends and new. You're all so talented ^_^ I hope to cosplay with you or at least say hi at cons again next year! Speaking of which... expect to see my 2018 plans post in a few days!
I can't believe we're at the end of 2016 already. October seemed to last a reasonable length of time but November and December have been a blur of work and cosplay and streaming and oh gawd why did I decide to make so many gifts for Christmas??? Oh, and spending the last 2 weeks being QUITE ILL. But let's not get bogged down in that too much.
It was once again an odd year for new costumes.
Flashback Tizzie was a "casual cosplay" which took far too much work to make and which only exists because Sha suggested wearing elf ears at G-Anime. I did at least get to start work on my actual Tizzie costume via the necklace (and also play with Worbla's TranspArt a little).
Weirdmageddon Wendy was another quick and dirty variant costume put together for my birthday party.
Rock Star Alice isn't technically finished, but since I've worn her a few times and the missing part is just a prop, she's added to the list. This Alice is an original design to go with the Rock Star Disney preincesses that the Cosplay for a Cure girls made. Looking forward to group photos as soon as my instrument is done.
Chihiro wasn't made by me. The costume was made by Kurumasha as part of our Anime North group cosplay efforts. Since I wanted to keep wearing the outfit, I added the wig and shoes so I wouldn't be a "generic bathhouse worker" while solo.
R had been in my to-cosplay for a while, and since Unplugged Expo was a week before Halloween this year, I figured it was time to crossplay again.
Luci and Ammy were both originally just makeup tests I did one weekend after picking up WicDiv. Both turned out so well that they each became a comfy, "low effort" costume to take to cons.
... and finally, Holtzmann. The costume I did because everyone was asking when I will do it LOL. "Fashion" version was for Halloween since it's more work appropriate than just about everything else I own, and I finished the uniform just in time to take to DTAC. There's a little more work to do on her, but since it's more than wearable, she has earned a spot on the list!
You might be thinking, that's a lot of casual/off the rack costumes, even for Mai Sheri, and you'd be right... but a lot of my effort went into still unfinished costumes (like Cersei, Alice) and a lot of the rest of my sewing energies went into costumes for other people.
That's right, I went back to my roots and made a new Pokemon hoodie (this time Blastoise for Mr Stark)! And a Wooper bathing suit (with tail/skirt) for Hikarimoro; who doesn't like water-Pokemon pool parties? I painted up a shirt and sculpted a pendant for The Video Ninja so he could be Baphomet for Kurumasha and I at Snailoween. And then there's my last project of the year: a kid-friendly costume of Princess Zelda from Hyrule Warriors (her Daddy is in charge of making the crown).
.... but back in January, I posted a plan for the year. let's take a look at that again, shall we? .... UGH.
On one hand, there isn't much to talk about here, but on the other, it does go to show how bad I am at sticking to my plans, and also how easily those plans can be set aside to play with new ideas instead. I'm sad that I didn't finish any of these costumes (or even touch most of them), but I am quite happy with what I did make this year, so there's that. I still haven't figured out a way to lay out my plans so that I stick to them though. Maybe in 2017.
......and with that, my workbench sidebar gets wiped clean!
My original plan for 2016 was to attend fewer convnetions than I did in 2015. And technically I did, but 12 cons vs. 13 isn't much of a cutting-back success story hahaha. I did go to fewer "just for fun" though. This year, most of my cons were volunteering - either as masquerade staff or with Cosplay for a Cure. Due to that, I also took a lot fewer photos and didn't write up blog posts for all of the cons.
Toronto Comic Con (blog)
Kitchener ComiCon (blog)
Civil War Geekery Con (blog)
Ottawa Comic Con (blog)
Anime North (blog)
Fan Expo (blog???)
Hamilton Comic Con
Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show (blog)
And of course, all the cosplay-related events like Free Comic Book Day, Mississauga Picnic (blog), Centre Island (blog), co-hosting a GoT trivia night, BrianCon36, Wine Parade (blog), Snailoween, Halloween, and I started a bad habit of cosplaying while streaming games with The Video Ninja (no comment. OK, more comments later). The number of cosplay events in Toronto continues to be crazy, espeically with the increase in geeky bar/food venues. *is still overwhelmed*
First off, there's all these other things that I made! (I sewed a whole bunch of Christmas gifts too but since there's not geeky, they don't matter)
I made five lumas for various charities/fundraisers, plus a Hawkeye one. Also, there's a selection of hats; Castle crashers, Pokemon GO trainer, and Link.
Unfortunately, the "Tutorial Tuesday" series I started last year didn't last very long, but on the up-side, the stencils and FX makeup ones were received very well, so I'm happy with that! I will do more tutorials if people ask and if I think it's something worth teaching.
Streaming has somehow become a thing this year??? Mostly because Dan the Video Ninja got himself all set up on twitch and after doing a couple guest-type spots I caught the bug. We started with the Yooka-Laylee toybox, then a pre-Halloween sit down with Costume Quest 2 (video isn't available but there are some highlights in this compilation), then I tagged along for a chunk of his Extra Life fundraiser. Now we're streaming a play through of Ocarina of Time, every Thursday night, at 9:30pm EST. If watching game streaming is your thing, or you want to bug us on chat while I Save Hyrule, find us at twitch.tv/dan_thevideoninja (or watch social media for the #JenSavesHyrule tag LOL). And if bite-sized edited down versions are more your thing, it's all getting a youtube edition, too.
While the discussion of where things are going in the future is the subject of my next blog post, I wanted to touch on just a few things here. Some big life changes are going to be happening in 2017, so cosplay progress and convention attendance are both going to be more unstable than usual. Along with that, though, comes the potential up-side that I'm going to be selling most of my older costumes - anything that I don't wear anymore or which doesn't fit. Sales posts should be coming before the end of Jan (and will be on all my social media feeds too)
Anyways, thank you to all my readers and friends and family for a fantastically supportive 2016, and I'm looking forward to the things we can do together next year.
2015 Cosplay Year in Review
Previous years, I've tended to post a lot in December. Trying to put out all the content which has piled up through the year, usually. But this year, I just backed off from blog posts and website updates to fully enjoy the holidays and make sure that all my real life obligations and mental-health got taken care of first. So I guess that's a sorry-not-sorry for the lack of updates through the end of 2015, but nobody missed out on anything either, because I didn't really do anything new ~_^
However, I am itching to get a year-end wrap up post done! My cos-cation feels like it might be wrapping up soon (which means getting back to the sewing machine!) and I'm looking at which cons fit my schedule and everything is exciting again. I accomplished so much in 2015 (despite burning out in October) and I'm going to do my best to keep the ball rolling into 2016!
So.... Here's what the last year looked like for Mai Sheri.
I set a new personal record for convention attendance this year, and cosplay events, too! While it's not necessarily a good thing, it did mean that I met a LOT of new people this year that I otherwise wouldn't have. There were so many this year...
Frost Con (blog)
Kitchener Comic Con (blog)
Toronto Comic Con (blog)
C2E2 (blog) and the Crown Championships of Cosplay (blog)
Anime North (blog)
Niagara Falls Comic Con (blog)
Atomic Lollipop (blog)
Fan Expo Canada (blog)
Forest City ComiCon (blog)
Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show (blog)
Oh, and there's the various other cosplay-type events... Free Comic Book Day, Medieval Times, Centre Island Picnic (blog), Woodbine Beach Picnic (blog), High Park Picnic (photos), Parkinson Superwalk, Niagara Wine Parade (double blog), Halloween parties & Snailoween (bloggity), and the Star Wars New Years Eve party.
... and I skipped a lot of events, or couldn't attend because of other conflicts. It's crazy how many events and conventions there are in Toronto, let alone including nearby cities. On one hand, we're so lucky to have such a large and enthusiastic and involved cosplay community - I know a lot of my non-local friends don't have the privilege of easy access to other local geeks, but on the other, it unfortunately also comes with pressure to attend everything. And shoot with everyone. And always have new things to wear. But also wear the older costumess that so-and-so missed last time XD
And speaking of doing photo shoots...
I set out in 2015 to try to shoot with photographers that I haven't worked with before - as many as I could manage. Because of complicated reasons, my pool of photographer-friends has shrunk in the past couple years, and i wanted to do something about that. Unfortunately, I couldn't manage as many as I ideally would have liked, sometimes because costumes didn't get done, or schedule conflicts arose, but mostly because I can only budget for one paid shoot per convention, but I did my best. Unfortunately, that whole budget thing means that I haven't been able to shoot again with some of my favourite "new" photographers, but I'm going to be trying to catch them again in 2016 ^_^
So, big shout-outs to everyone who scheduled a shoot with me for the first time this past year!
Very Frank Pictures (Modern Mai and Postal Warriors group)
Trillance (Pepper Potts)
Sean's Photography (Mrs Impossible)
SleepyMeow Photography (Cersei Lannister)
Alex Rose Photography (Cersei Lannister)
Eddie B Photos (Katie/Hawkguy group)
Dream Land Photography (Clint Barton and Holiday Midna)
... And of course lots of love to those of you I shoot with every year - you know who you are! <3
Ahhh, here we get to the meat of the post - my beloved costumes!!! While most of them weren't particularly complex costumes, I managed to complete a whopping 9 costumes this year - much better than usual for me! Pretty sure that a big reason for that change is the long break I took from cons in 2014. Worth it.
Firstly, Izabel is not included in the list because even though i "finished" that costume in 2015, it was basically finished in 2014 and I just did some upgrades in preparation for C2E2. First official costume of the year was Modern Mai for Toronto Comic Con (I'm still hopeful that friends will make the coordinating characters), then Cover-art Kate Bishop for a Hakweye group at C2E2. For Anime North I brought out "Postal Midna" in addition to my Postal Warriors friends. Summer contained a mad-rush of costumes all finished about the same time including the relatively casual Extremis Pepper (because Mr Stark made most of the arm), L.A. Woman Kate, Hawkini Kate, and Clint Barton (all in the Hawkeye gllery). I also got all the sewing and about half the painting done on Cersei Lannister - I'm counting it as a completed costume because the rest of the embroidery is really just an "upgrade". And finally, my Space Warrior from Costume Quest, which I finished in time for Halloween but didn't actually wear anywhere, so I haven't been pushing photos out on that one. Some will be coming soon though, I'm sure.
So how did I do relative to my plans at the beginning of the year?
... obviously I added a lot of costumes to the list, and I finished them before I completed the top row, which my goal was not to do. But I had fun, and that's all that really matters, right? Didn't even touch the bottom "Phase Three" row, though, which is sad because those were to come after I made things for other people. Some of which I took care of before Christmas, and some of which I didn't. I also ended up doing some work on Midna's wig just in December which isn't reflected in the percentages yet, but I'm hoping that little bit of work will make it easier to get back to actual progress shortly.
And with that, my ongoing progress list for the year on the side-bar will be wiped clean to start fresh for the new year!
Do you enjoy "let's play" videos? Because it was quite the year for them! I played Yoshi's Woolly World with Dan the Video Ninja (highlights above). I also played the Telltale Game of Thrones series with Dan and Whitless! And... OK, I guess that's it, but it's a lot of game in those two series. Expect more Dan-and-Mai play cartoony games in 2016!
Finally, the last highlight of 2015... a brief update on the little side-job I picked up for a few days in the spring. Remember that? No? It's OK; I'll forgive you. Over Easter weekend I got the opportunity to do some last-minute-level sewing on a costume for Hannibal, which was very surreal. No only because I spent 3 days in an FX workshop literally full of various mutilated (fake) body parts, but because I was actually working on something for a legit TV production. Awesome. And while back in the spring I couldn't discuss what the costume was before it aired, I can talk about it now! Except I'll just share a couple photos instead, and I'm just going to link them in case people want to avoid spoilers (it's from one of the last couple episodes after all...)
Anyways, overall I'm really happy with my 2015 year-in-cosplay. I even still have some photos to post which I'm holding back for now (various reasons)! Looking forward to an even better 2016.... which I'll talk about in my next post!
2014 Cosplay Year in Review
It's that time of year when all the retrospectives and "Top # whatevers" are being posted, but this year I don't have much of anything to post about, which makes me kinda sad. I mean, I went out in the world and did a whole lot of stuff! but I also made very few costumes and very little progress on ongoing projects.
I went to 9 conventions in 2014, including Tri-Con, Con-G, Ad-Astra, Costume Con 32, Anime North, Colossal Con, Atomic Lollipop, Con Bravo, and Fan Fare Geek Fest II. I also did a photo shoot with the Oakville Camera Club, got to go to the Game of Thrones costume and prop exhibit, saw my costumes on display at the CNE, hung out at Lookin' for Heroes for both Free Comic Book Day and the shop's 25th anniversary, saw Welcome to Night Vale live, and partied hard at Snailoween. And I can't forget travelling to Ottawa to spend a weekend with most of my Ottawa cosplay friends! At the conventions I went to I got to be: on the runway for Simplicity designer Andrea Schewe, a cosplay guest, a masquerade judge, a cover model, and part of a massive cosplay music video.
But unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day, and I am not a "professional" cosplayer; I have a full time job and a boyfriend in another city and friends to spend time with... so I often don't have much time and energy left for making things, which was especially true this year. I only made 3 new costumes for myself: T-shirt Chell (very simple and casual), Erika (which was a fair amount of work, but a lot of which had been "accidentally" done long before hand), and Izabel (which is cute but I'm not sure that my time-spent is apparent in the result). I also made a light jacket for myself, an Iron Man dress, and a River Song dress for 'Manda. ...and one or two goofy things. I made progress on the ongoing project of Twili Midna... but there is still a very long way to go on that. As with all my ongoing costumes.
I really don't know how other cosplayers keep up such a high creative output... it's something that can really get me down on myself when I see how much awesome stuff my friends are constantly posting on social media. I know that some don't need day-jobs and can build and model full-time, some put less care and detail into construction than I do, some collaborate a lot to lighten the work-load, and a multitude of other differences; but I have never been able to get that time management thing working for me. I can either make costumes, OR play video games/watch movies and TV/read books, OR see my friends and boyfriend, OR get an adequate amount of sleep - all things I love to do. OR quit my day job to give me time to do all those things, which part of me would love (LOL) but would be very problematic in terms of paying rent and bills. Despite taking a break from conventions the second half of this year, my costume output has not increased, if anything it has stagnated further.
But hey, at least the break from cons has given me enough time to spend actual energy with my fandoms again, like reading Saga, Fables, and various Marvel titles; playing video games both off and on camera; finally discovering The Thrilling Adventure Hour; binge-watching GoT, Veronica Mars, Castle, Brooklyn 99, and Archer; and of course, planning new group costumes with my friends which will probably never actually get done (hey, at least I'm self-aware enough to know!)
In any case, here's to a 2015 with new costumes, new conventions, and better time management! I only have four conventions confirmed for this year so far (as usual my home page has the current list) but I will consider anything else that looks interesting! :)