Jul 26, 2016

Star Wars: the costume awakens

So.  Costumes.  I like making them.  The trick is finding a time and place to wear them, which I'm guessing is the reason people get so excited about Comic-Con.  We are all just looking for an excuse to dress up.

The most recent excuse was the premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  (I am only 8 months late posting this).  Me and my sisters all decided to dress up in different outfits of Princess Leia's.  You can do fun things like that when you have roughly a million sisters.

Just to clarify, one of the people in that picture is my brother, and a few are nieces.  Not everyone conformed to our Leia Manifesto.  Demi even went so far as to dress up as Rey.  She is such a rebel.

I wanted to go as Leia when she is wearing her Boushh disguise.  Here is a shot from the movie for reference:

It is awesome.  But I didn't feel the need to be totally authentic. I think the fun is seeing what I can change to make it work for me, and what I can put together based on stuff I already have. She is wearing a waist band and those shoulder things, but instead I just made a vest.  I made a tunic type shirt and some gauntlet sort of arm bands and then I just had to make her bandoleer.  That was my favorite part.  

In case you are a giant nerd I should tell you that, Yes, I know I am wearing it on the wrong shoulder.  I looked at the picture and figured out what shoulder to put it on and carefully set it up so it would go on the correct shoulder, but maybe I am a little dyslexic because I clearly got it wrong.  Tragic!

I made it by cutting some squares out of craft foam and then I went digging in the junk drawer.  I used hot glue to attach beads, wire, legos, brads, and more pieces of craft foam.  Then I spray painted it black and then brushed on some silver craft paint.  Those little dowels were made out of one long dowel, cut into pieces and painted silver.  Real technical like.

Richard's costume came to me one night just as I was drifting off to sleep.  Or, at least the basic idea did.  Since I was dressing as Leia in her Boushh disguise, it only made sense for Richard to dress as Chewie.  But how to do it?  We considered him wearing a Chewie robe, Chewie pajamas, or a Chewie hoodie, but that night, in the hazy realm between sleep and wakfulness, it suddenly struck me that he should dress the way Chewbacca would dress if he were Human.  But it wasn't till I told Richard my epiphany in the morning that he said, "If Chewie were human, he would be a trucker."  And the costume just fell into place.

I apologize if you are here to look at pictures and attempt to exactly replicate the 70's Chewie Trucker  costume, because these are the best pictures I have.  Richard was nice enough to wear this for me once but I don't know if I can get him to put it on again.  You might be able to see the lack of enthusiasm in the above picture.  But it was a pretty simple costume.  I made a vest out of the only fur material I could find at Joann's.  He got a kicky little bag made out of the leftover faux leather from my vest, and more craft foam spray painted silver.  His awesome mustache is more of the same fur, just trimmed a bit, and glued to his face with some cosmetic adhesive.

The hat, however, was a bit of a disappointment.  I spent a ridiculously long time making this stencil to paint on the blank hat I had bought online.
kashyyyk truck stop Final black
But then the vinyl wouldn't stick to the hat long enough for me to paint anything on it.  I eventually painted the stencil on some cotton fabric I had and then used spray adhesive to stick the cotton onto the hat, but that wouldn't stick either, and it fell off after a couple of hours.  What I needed to do was some sort of embroidery, but that was outside of my wheelhouse.  Maybe next year.  Maybe without the mustache I MIGHT be able to convince him to wear it again.  Maybe even just the bag and hat. (In the following picture, the rebel pilot is my brother in law with his son, Little Han.)

The secret to cosplay, I think, is to act like you DON'T feel at all foolish, when in reality, you probably do.  But you don't show it.  You strut your stuff like it makes you feel awesome.  And it is just possible that half of the people who see you sorta wish that they had gotten dressed up too.  You're an inspiration.  And you look fantastic!

Jul 24, 2016


Much to tell.  I think the pictures can say it better than I, so I will be brief (Maybe.  You never can tell when I will start rambling, so stay alert).

Last Thursday, July 14th, Lani the Builder called and said, "I think we could get your driveway in this weekend."

We said, "Woohoo!"

Except we weren't actually READY for a driveway, so then things got a little crazy.  Lani came down and he and I tried to finalize the layout of the driveway; How wide, how long, etc.  One fun issue is that our Water Main (or Water Meter?  I don't even know what it is.) sits right where we wanted the driveway to go.  We tried to just move the driveway over, but there is some other water box on the other side.  The only solution for the Water Main problem was to put in some big fancy cone topped with a man-hole cover.  The cost to do that was about $1200.  We were going to just do it, but the cost for the driveway was adding up fast, so instead we decided to do this:

At least, Lani and I agreed that it would be a good idea. It would save us the cost of the cone, and save us some in concrete costs, since the driveway would be narrower most of the way.  However, I could not get in touch with Richard to confirm that he would be ok with it.

The other problem was this:

This is a big 'ol pile of concrete.  It is the concrete from our original front porch, and from the foundation of an old grainery in our backyard.  We had decided to pay a guy down the street to haul it away in his dump truck, but we hadn't done it yet, and somehow we were going to have to get it done before the day was through?  All I could do was ask, so I walked down to DumpTruck Guy's house (I'm sure that is what he likes to be called) and asked him what his schedule was like and wonder of wonders, he was free.  He said he could come over in about 30 minutes.  Luckily Richard called me back at that point and I told him he better come home.  That concrete wasn't going to load itself into a dump truck.

Is this story exciting?  Are you enjoying it?  Good, cuz I'm just getting started.  See?  Rambling!

Here we have a picture of Richard driving the Back Hoe, scooping up concrete and dumping it into the back of the dump truck.  It took us 3 trips to the dump.  Wanna guess how much all that concrete weighed?



Ha!  Not even close!

Oh, now you aren't even trying.

About 25 tons.

I know I exaggerate a lot, and may say things that don't actually have any basis in reality, but not this time.  The total weight of everything we dumped was 24.78 tons.  Truly, the mind boggles.

While he was driving the Back Hoe around, Richard also approved my driveway design, so we contacted Lani the Builder and told him we were a Go.

While all this was happening, we also had a very large truck roll up and dump a huge pile of gravel next to our house.

It seems sort of sad to have spent so much time hauling away what was basically large rocks, only to have them replaced with small rocks, but that was the way it had to be.

I have a vague feeling at this point that this story may not be as fascinating as I had originally thought, but I think it is too late to back out of it now.

So Friday Richard and Lani spent the day getting the area as driveway ready as possible.  First they had to pull up an old driveway approach, that was halfway between our lot and our neighbor's lot.  They wrapped a chain around it, hooked it to the Back Hoe, and lifted it up.  It took a few hours, and then what did we have?  Another pile of concrete!

They spent the rest of the time marking out the boundaries of the driveway and the new sidewalk.  It was like 102 degrees.  Fun times were had by all.  But they had to finish, because people were coming to flatten and level out everything, and then add the gravel.  They were supposed to get there for final driveway prep at 3:00pm.  They finally got there at 8:30pm.

It was late and they had to do some work in the dark, but they didn't have much choice because the concrete was scheduled to be delivered at 6:00 am the next morning.

And it arrived, just like it was supposed to!  We spent the morning sitting on on the porch, eating doughnuts and watching the concrete workers like it was paid entertainment.

The filing cabinets enjoyed the show too, as you can see.
And guess what we got to do today?

Park in our driveway.  For the first time in 12 years.

Does life get any more exciting than this?