Thursday, September 30, 2010

Work Progressing On The Weeping Angel Wings!

The last two days have been devoted to the wings for the Weeping Angel costume. I'm trying to make them early-on, so I'll have time to fix mistakes. Meanwhile, they are making an unholy mess of my living room, there are bits of foamcore & craft foam everywhere!

Designing the pattern, I drew it out on paper first. Spent a lot of time squinting at pictures of the Angels' wings to get an idea of what they looked like, then just used a small dish for a circle shape and freehanded it on newspaper...

In detail...

I had to size them to fit the kid. The core of the wings will be made of foamcore, I got one of those tri-fold school science project boards and cut it up. The fold works nicely as a hinge, so each wing will have a double thickness. I'll glue fabric (so the glue holding the wire to the foamcore has something to grip) to chicken wire, then sandwich that between the fold in each wing core. I'll make her a harness of backpack strapping & buckles, and attach that to the wings so she can wear them.

These I've since painted gray, using the rag-on technique so it isn't one uniform color.

Then I cut individual feathers out of the thin craft foam, and used a dull pencil to mark & score the feather details so they'll have a 'carved' look. I also cut some chunks out of some feathers here and there to match the ones on the show. I made the feathers various lengths, the ones that will line the long edge of each wing have a bit of a curve to them as well.

The smaller feathers at the top are a little different:

Then they got their first coat of gray tempera paint, ragged on with a paper towel. The tempera works well since it gives a nice, flat look. After the gray dried I brushed some black paint into the grooves, then wiped most of it away, leaving some in the grooves. When I did this it also helped the look of aged stone with the black 'running' down the feathers.

After that dried, it was time for the finer detail. I put a few drops of black and white tempera paint on a paper plate, and used a round brush to 'pounch' it onto the feathers, using a paper towl to help blend. After that dried, I mixed a drop of 'Iron Oxide' color paint into some water, then applied a few drops at the top of the feather, allowing it to run down.

Here's how the feathers looked after the final coats of paint:

After this dries, I'll apply a thick, uneven coat of matte Mod Podge for texture--the finished wings need to look like stone, without weighing as much as stone!

They are looking pretty good so far...but they really ARE taking over the living room, darned things are everywhere! I got some fabric stiffener for the dress, that should help the 'stone' look along nicely. I'll have to brush some of the same paint layers onto her dress and onto the gray tights that she'll be wearing on her arms & legs, so that everything matches.

This is an interesting project so far, because I've never done anything like it before and I'm just kind of winging it (ha) and putting my trust in paint--!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Halloween & Weeping Angels

Halloween is approaching, yay!

The kid has decided that she wants to be a Weeping Angel from the Dr. Who episode 'Blink'. If you've never seen 'Blink', get it. WATCH IT. I'm not especially a Dr. Who fan and it was freakin' awesome. One of the best fantasy TV episodes I've ever seen.

Anyway, the villains in the show are called Weeping Angels, and go from innocent this:


So now the kid wants to scare the ever-living crap out of people by standing in our front-yard graveyard looking like a statue, head bowed and with her hands over her face until people draw near then suddenly uncovering and hissing at them. We figure it should make for more than a few soiled undergarments.

The trick will be to
1.) Make a convincing costume, and
2.) Make a convincing graveyard where a stone angel would not look out of place.

So I've done some online research and found a woman who goes by Penwiper online, who does a lot of cosplay and worked out some awesome Weeping Angel techniques. Here is the Weeping Angel:


So far I've got the wig done, I just used a good ol' cotton string mophead and dyed it gray, then styled it:

And done!

I've also added a gray headband. The pics don't really do it justice, it looks better in person. I simply turned the wig ends under, it was too thick to attempt making a bun in the back.

Now I've moved on to the dress...I got some unbleached muslin and dyed it gray to match the wig, although the pattern set me back nearly $11.00, on sale and marked down from $17.00! Yikes, what are pattern makers THINKING these days?! It was a pretty darned simple pattern, too.

I'm using the one for the green dress on the right, only shorter and with shorter sleeves. Yeah, I probably could have faked a little dress on my own, but didn't feel like fussing with it that much. The finished dress will have short sleeves and end at her kness--I don't need her tripping on it chasing after people.

So I've got the fabric cut out and ready to sew.

Another idea I got from Penwiper (and THIS is genius as far as I'm concerned, after going through slathering my entire family in zombie makeup last year) is to take a couple of pairs of tights and dye them gray, slipping those on as gloves and leggings instead of using makeup on your arms & legs. SO much neater and easier! Yesterday I dyed some of the kid's old tights she'd outgrown and tried it...darned if it doesn't look GREAT and work like a charm! So now I've got to sew & cut the ends of the tights for her fingers so that they are more like gloves and sew together the dress. I am going with face makeup for the kid rather than a mask, as I want her vision unimpaired at night. Also, masks are uncomfortable, hot and suck to wear for any amount of time.

I've still got to order decent makeup online, I figured on using Ben Nye--the cheap stuff they sell in Halloween stores doesn't cover well at all, as I found out last year, and I'm sure I can get much higher quality (and likely cheaper in the long run) online.

After that the final costume hurdle will be the wings...again, I'm going to follow Penwiper's advice and go with the foam painted gray. I still have to put the finishing touches on the completed costume so that it really LOOKS like a stone angel that's been around for a few hundred years, but I'm waiting until I've gotten the entire thing completed.

THEN will come the headstones! Halloweenforum.com to the rescue!


Another Halloween project, that may or may not get done this year, is to make a Grim Reaper yard decoration:


For the last few years J. has been posing as a scarecrow on the lawn Halloween night, he waits until people have walked by him and come up to the door, then when they turn to leave he's RIGHT THERE in their face. He is wearing plasterer's stilts so he is about 7 feet tall, no one suspects that the scarecrow is a real person!

This is what happened last year, he scared this group of girls so badly that they trampled me and used me for traction, they actually came into the house to get away from him. Great fun! You can also see N. running around in her zombie makeup scaring people. I've got door answering duty. The best part is the first 3 1/2 minutes. WARNING: These girls scream LOUDLY, watch your speaker volume!


Or we may make the Reaper costume and have J. wear it instead of his scarecrow costume. Since J. has been doing his scarecrow for a few years now, people have gotten wise to the fact that the scarecrow moves. This year we may change it up and make either J. in the Grim Reaper or me into a fake 'shrub' that comes after you. I'm thinking of incorporating some glowing eyes and nasty, pointed teeth into the shrub, too. Although making J. up into a 7 foot tall Grim Reaper would be awesome as well...

I see a trip or two to Home Depot in my future...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Perfect Match!

...the sewing, not so much. I'm not really thrilled with this one.

After this one, the next will be delayed a bit as N. starting 6th grade and her 11th birthday kinda take over all my free time, not to mention my finally getting the pain control injections to my right knee done.

Also, our 6 month old crippled housechickens are feeling their age. This morning Guardian, a gray Giant Cochin rooster, crowed. And my GOD, was he ever LOUD. He's never even attempted crowing before, so it was more like a single-note yell.

But he's a big birdie and makes a big noise!

He looked a bit surprised at himself, and he immediately got Phoenix, our Head Roo out in the back yard, crowing back as Phoenix wondered who the Hell the big guy in the house was.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seventy-Three Dollars Later...

So last night the kid finally brings home the school supply list from her 6th grade teacher. This is after, mind you, the special 6th grade orientation we went to the day before school started LAST week, and a week after school has started. This morning, after dropping the kid at school, off I go to buy the school supplies.

Needless to say, Office Depot looked as if the 7 year locusts had been through, the shelves were cleaned of nearly everything. They had 'out of stock' stickers everywhere. The employees just shrugged, laughed it off and said, 'Maybe next week we'll get more in stock.' Haha, how amusing for parents! Thanks guys, way to be prepared. I'd think, in this economy where businesses are struggling for their share of the customer pie, it'd behoove you to stock the freakin' shelves. I saw two other parents I knew from the school, also doing their shopping with similar bemused/angry/frustrated expressions, and they both stopped to chat about how they couldn't find everything. Pretty basic stuff too--binder dividers aren't exactly exotic items.

But anyway, here is what $73.00 in school supplies looks like. Not pictured are the package of glue sticks, Kleenex and Lysol wipes that the school requires.

Pens. Pens were ridiculously expensive for the little bits of cheap plastic and ink that they are. And you had to get JUST the right ones, too. Non-erasable (OK, that makes sense, cheatin' lil' buggers), a certain number in one color, and another in a different color, ball-point only (no gel, cartridge or markers).

It was like a scavenger hunt, minus the 'fun'.

The kid also had to sign an unbelievable number of 'classroom/school rules' agreement forms (we parents, too), wherein she promised never to put a toe out of line or muss the school grounds in any way. I could understand the one in the student handbook that covered ALL the rules, but the three others from two seperate teachers we got this week were a bit of overkill. She also had to sign a form for her textbooks, her locker lock, her PE clothes, one about bullying, another for permission to be photographed for the school website, one for electronic devices (school computers) and one about Internet useage while NOT at school when it regards schoolmates (Facebook bullying, I assume).

I agree that signing a form agreeing to follow the rules likely makes an impression and helps keep kids in line, but you can only shove so many pieces of paper under a 10 year old's nose for signing before it becomes meaningless.

Now to mark everything with her name to try and prevent loss/theft. She has already managed to lose the $5.00 school agenda thingy after only three days of school, it's gotta be some kind of record. Sheesh.

Ouch, But...Yay!

Right knee has been bullied into submission thanks to pain control injections directly into the thrice-damned thing by my trusty pain doc. Today I can actually walk on it again, yay!

The injections sites hurt, and I didn't get much sleep last night, but today the over-the-top pain that I'd been dealing with since June has been thwacked into submission most of the way.

He wasn't able to drain the cyst, he said it was 'too spongy' (ick). That is something that may have to be cut out, time will tell.