December 31, 2015

Year of Cosplay 2015

Hello there ~

I seriously have no idea where this year went... but what I know though is that it's been one of my weaker cosplay years and that's by miles I attended fewer events than what I've done since I started and yeah, I did very little cosplaying too; to a good lot of cons I didn't even cosplay and well, if I did it was for a very short time. I don't really know but I have something going on right now that I feel really uncomfortable, worried and self-conscious when cosplaying and it really drags down the mood and magic out of it. :/ It's making me sad that it has become like this when dressing up used to be my escape something fun and relieving. It's like I still have the cravings and excitement to make cosplays (my cosplay list is ever-expanding!) but as soon as I'm dressed up I don't want to be seen by anyone, lol. I feel so conflicted about this and I'm disappointed in myself for not being able to enjoy cosplaying the same way I used to; there's too much shit going on in my head that I can't really control.

Regarding the blog itself though you all must have noticed by now that this year the amount of circle lens reviews has skyrocketed – and it's a staying addition to my blog. ;) So yeah, I hope you all don't mind the reviews too much because I decided to do to them on my cosplay blog instead of my Lifestyle blog, even though they would technically had fit in the latter just as well. My main reason for the blog choice is that many cosplayers, me included, use circle lenses first-hand for cosplay purposes and yes, that's why I started using them. While I do use lenses for fashion wear as well I thought that the cosplay blog would be a better choice it has a lot more visibility and traffic than my personal blog etc. 
But hey, regarding the heightened amount of circle lens review during the years I want to tell you guys how big the change is! You see, on 2013, when I started using circle lenses, I only reviewed (and thus used) 3 pairs. On 2014 I reviewed 5 pairs – a slight increase. And now, on 2015, everything exploded and I reviewed a whopping 22 pairs!! Yes, the number almost five-doubled since last year! I've done at least one lens review per month during the whole year, except for December. :3 Oh and yeah, the number is likely to go up in future years too, as I have a shitlot of lenses waiting to be opened and reviewed... ~

Oh well, let's go back to what I typically post about on the cosplay year summary. Yes, it's the convention list ahead! (aka what cons I attended this year)

Desucon Frostbite - Lahti, Finland
Kemin Mangapäivä - Kemi, Finland
Kummacon - Oulu, Finland
Skecon - Skellefteå, Sweden
Närcon - Linköping, Sweden
Nerdcon - Umeå, Sweden
Kitacon - Kemi, Finland

Yeah, that's all. Only 7 events and of which three can be considered "local events"; I just didn't feel like traveling long distances because, well, even though I wanted to meet friends and all it didn't feel worth it to spend so much money when I wouldn't be enjoying myself enough. I've just been really self-conscious and kinda anxious this whole year and yeah, cosplay is sort of acting as a catalyst and makes it worse, when it used to help lift me up... *sob*
In some way I feel like I'm letting people and especially my friends down, even though I guess few would actually feel that way it's most probably just in my head, lol. It's frustrating because I have like 9483289538989 cosplay plans and I'm always excited about coming up with new characters to cosplay but as soon as I'm in costume I look in the mirror and see a potato staring back at me. It's like I always tell myself that it's gonna be alright, when I'm in costume at an event, and then there's still always something eating away at me.

This is really tearing me down and it's the reason I've actually just gone to conventions, in my everyday clothes, and noticed that I feel better this way sadly enough. :/ It's weirdly funny because, a few years back, I would never have done it because the main reason I went to conventions was to cosplay (and meet friends who live far away)...

I could even tell you guys about what cons I actually cosplayed at.
If we start in the right order: at Desucon Frostbite I only cosplayed Okita from PeaceMaker Kurogane on Saturday and I felt horrible all along; the other days (Friday and Sunday) I didn't dress up, unless wearing a horse mask counts. During Kemin Mangapäivä I didn't cosplay, mainly because I couldn't be bothered since it's such a small one-day event. At Kummacon, which is a one-day event, I cosplayed from Touken Ranbu and I was feeling sort-of-okay, actually. On Skecon I cosplayed Hajime Saitou from Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan and Sasaki Kojirou from Iza, Shutsujin! Koi Ikusa on Friday and Saturday, respectively. On Sunday I didn't dress up but I felt surprisingly okay. When it comes to Närcon, which is a four-day con festival I only cosplayed on Thursday and Saturday, which says a lot because normally on said con I'd do my damnest to cosplay on every single day. I was Kenshin Himura on Thursday and I was feeling pretty awesome because I had good company, but on Saturday I was Falkner from Pokémon and I felt so shit that I changed out of cosplay after just a few hours. During Nerdcon I only did a quick photoshoot run as Ukitake from Bleach on Sunday and immediately changed back to casual after that; I didn't cosplay on Saturday at all. And finally, at one-day Kitacon, I didn't cosplay either.

It's, by the way, really hard to pick a favorite convention of the year since, err, I feel like my experiences have been a bit underwhelming compared to earlier years. This is most likely just because I haven't been feeling my best so yeah, the conventions themselves haven't gotten any worse. It's just me. But if I had to pick a favorite convention for 2015 it would probably be either Nerdcon or Närcon. Nerdcon mainly because I had so freakin' much fun with my friends and Närcon because, even though some things were crap, I still enjoyed the mood and just walking around and chilling was surprisingly upplifting...?

You probably figured by now but I don't have any cool(?) cosplay collage to show you guys because duh, I cosplayed so little that I don't even have much in the name of new photo proof. u_u Yeaaaaaah. I don't even know what to tell about those few cosplays that I did/wore so yeah, sorry I just don't have much to say. ^^; My ratio of new cosplays versus recycling older ones to cons is about fifty-fifty. Next year I'll hopefully be more productive and attend some more events. I also hope that I'll get to work with some new materials and that I can get rid of the whole "I feel uncomfortable" part.

But seriously, I'm sorry about this being such an.. empty and BLEÄÄRGH final summary post of the year. OTL I'll finish by just leaving this here because it sums up this year so well...

Bye bye & Happy New Year 2016!

December 25, 2015

Samurai Deeper Kyo's Hotaru cosplay progress part.3

Hi guys!

This here is the third part of my SDK Hotaru progress posts – for the previous parts click here for the first one and here for the second!

Okay so, after I had painted and set the design on the sleeves it was time to actually start sewing the pieces of the white kimono. I zigzaged around all the edges at school and then, for once, I took my project with me during a visit to mom's and I of course took the opportunity to sew while there because, eff yeah, high-tech sewing machine and not some old crap!
I again started by sewing the backseam and then attaching the sleeves. Before sewing on the sleeves though I decided to pre-hem a bit of the end that would be the arm opening, for a nicer finished look. I ironed approximately 27 cm on each side from the center fold of the sleeves and then just straight stitched it down and ironed it again.

I apologize for the crummy cellphone-quality photos ahead; I didn't have my SLR camera with me in school/at mom's during most of this project. Most photos show the colors inaccurately.

Sleeve with the arm hole opening already hemmed. Notice
how the lower half is still raw. (full length of the sleeve is not visible)
After that I sewed the rest of the sleeves and finished them up. Of course when I closed in on the armpit junction I felt the rage coming. In case you've somehow missed it... I HATE SEWING ARMPITS, ESPECIALLY ON KIMONO. The reason for this is because it always ends up looking ugly as fuck, no matter how careful I am. I guess that's what you get from having straight pieces...? Oh well, whatever the reason for why it always ends up bumpy this time it was no different...

I hate you. All of you. 8C
Oh well, I was frustrated so I just started ripping up the armpit and meanwhile I was doing just that the solution suddenly came to me why don't you leave some centimeters of the back of the sleeves open? That way you'd get a neat appearance, without sacrificing how the final thing will look when worn, because the very top of the sleeves (aka closest to the armpit) will rarely be seen anyway; it's not the end of the world if there's a small "airhole" there.
So I tried that and lo' and behold, it worked wonders! I then just hand-sewed the folds/hems in place (those 7 centimeters of the opening) so that they wouldn't flop around once the ironing "press" effect wears off. 
Oh well, I went to iron all the seams open and then I tried to get rid off some wrinkles that had accumulated over the weeks. This seemed like a good and nothing-can-go-wrong idea at first but nope, of course not. Why can't anything go without problems with this cosplay? ;_; I swear I've been having horrible luck with this cosplay from the start – even things that are simple to sew fuck up for one reason or another; it's really irritating. But yeah, guess what?
So I'm just ironing my Hotaru kimono and it's going nicely (for once), until I accidentally iron the front, while the backside fabric is wrinkled right under it and –BOOM!– the back gets some super pronounced wrinkles because I ironed over it! All because I didn't double-check that the back was straight, ugh. ._. Oh well, I thought "no probs, I can just straighten it out" and then I turned the kimono body around, the wrinkles of the backside now facing me, and started to iron... AND THE IRON DECIDES TO BE A DICK AND LEAVES SOME NASTY YELLOW DISCOLORATIONS ON MY PURE WHITE FABRIC FFFFFFUUUUU-- (╬⓪益⓪)
Okay... so I'm definitely not happy at this point because seriously, when it was for once going okay something that is out of my control (aka the iron) screws up my cosplay... and of course when the fabric is a pure white out of all possible colors. (҂⌣̀_⌣́) The worst part is that the yellow discoloration got on those now-very-pronounced wrinkle folds on the back, near the sleeve's lower attachment point...

Fuck everything.
I'm almost panicking but at the same time I'm trying to tell myself "nah, it's okay, it won't happen again" so yeah, I continue in the hopes that it was just a case of one-time-only trolling. WROOOOOOOONG~~ :DD Surprise? No?
The iron poops again and this time on a wide area on the upper half of the right front panel. URRRRGHHH!! I just wanted to ragequit for the day, but I continued so that I would at least finish hand-sewing the other sleeve's backside openings. After neating up the backside openings me and mom went on a quick drive trip to a store to buy some stain remover because holy crud, if this thanks-to-the-iron shit doesn't go I guess I can call my cosplay some sort of ruined... or at least miscolored. But hey! Thankfully the following day I returned to mom's and tried the stain remover and guess what? It did work and my hope on this cosplay was thus restored!

In progress Hotaru's main kimono hanging to dry
in my apartment, after stain removal.
The next time I worked on this cosplay was in school. I cut out the pieces for the okumi panel (yeah, I had left it on purpose so that I could check some measures before) and then, before sewing them onto the main kimono body, I cut the bottom hem straight. For some reason, no matter how identical I cut the pieces and how carefully I measure them, they're never perfectly aligned once they're sewn together. ._. It's kinda annoying that I always end up having to trim them all into the same length (the shortest piece deciding) and thus my final product always ends up a few centimeters shorter than intended. Bleh.

Before straightening the bottom hem.
After that was done I sewed on the okumi panels, after having zigzaged them, of course. I don't enjoy fraying cosplays lol.
I finished this white kimono at mom's on Saturday, 12th December. I cut out a reverse drop-shaped half on each front panel's top (before the okumi starts) to make place for the orange collar, which I then sewed on; I of course ironed on some interfacing fabric, for stiffness, on the inside of the collars before I folded it in half and sewed it on. I finished the bottom hem by folding it twice. I also ironed out some wrinkles and steam pressed the sleeves so that they wouldn't bunch around.

Collars pinned in place, ready to be sewn on.
If anyone remembers on the second progress post I mentioned that the under kimono might have too short collars and well, I tried it on together with the white kimono on top and yes, it does. :( The collars would be okay if the kimono was worn "normally", but since Hotaru wears it rather open in the front (and so it shows his shoulders a bit) it really doesn't work; the collars of the chequered under kimono end before the overlap of the white kimono so, yeah, it just doesn't look okay because you can clearly see that the collars are too short; they just suddenly end way before the white kimono's collars do.
Oh well, the same fabric that I used for the obi was still selling for only 3 € per meter so I went and bought 3 meters of it. I'm not gonna go into detail on how I made it because it's basically the same as the white kimono, except no sleeve painting. -.- I'd feel like a broken record, heh. But I'll just say at least something and post a few photos of it because yeah, no progress proof is kinda boring, right?

Sleeve is done and I'm about to start sewing down the side seam.
Notice the small opening on the very top of the sleeve; it's to avoid
the issues I keep having with the armpits being all wrinkly.
As per usual I cut out all the pieces, zigzaged them (no one in school knows how to fix the overlock, not even the teachers so yeah, no nice overlock seams on this one... ._.) and started sewing the whole thing together. I realized after I had attached the sleeves and sewn them up that I had miscalculated the measures of the attachment point so yeah, I ended up with really narrow-fitting sleeves for a kimono; it feels more like wearing a dress shirt at the armpits than a kimono, lol. When I don't fuck up the collars I fuck up something else; I really have bad luck with this cosplay. OTL I really couldn't be bothered to redo it because I would have had to redo my pre-hems on the backside of the sleeves and, well, that'd be a lot of extra work and I honestly just wanted to get this thing done as fast as possible because yeah, I was sewing it together on 25th December, aka Christmas day. It's still wearable and won't show so yeah, whatever. (u_u)

Sleeves completely done and side seams sewn closed.
Behold my narrow sleeve attachment, ugh.
I ironed and steam pressed all the seams and the sleeves for a nice finish; I really dislike how bumpy big sleeves look after you've sewn them. It bothers me too much if I don't flatten them, lol.
One thing though – always check what ironing settings you need to use for your fabric! I namely thought that my fabric was 100% cotton but, before ironing, I had a scratching in my butt that I should double-check what the fabric care instruction note that came with the fabric says. Luckily I checked it because my fabric was in reality a cotton blend so yeah, ironing it on the three dots setting would have damaged it because the recommendation was two dots. Always be careful! Burning your precious fabric sucks...

Nicely ironed sleeve.
I attached the okumi panels, cut the neck area to round it off and attached the collar. I finished with hemming the bottom.

Sewing on the collar.
I sewed this thing together in a couple hours and it feels quite good because now I wouldn't miss the movie that I wanted to watch from television later, lol. xD With the under kimono completed I'm finally done with all the sewing work for Hotaru – now I just need to finish his sword (I've started it and there'll be a post when I'm done!) and make his tengu geta. I'll also do some kind of wig test and a preview post later, so stay tuned for those as well. ;)

Finished under kimono.
Thanks for reading and see you later!

December 22, 2015

Hetalia photoshoot: the Rising Sun – Japan!

Konnichiwa! ~

Today I had a photoshoot with Sacchan behind the camera! I decided to dress up as Japan (human name: Kiku Honda) from Hetalia and have a photoshoot outside – I've been wanting to photoshoot this new (and still undebuted) cosplay ever since I didn't get to cosplay him at Kitacon this year. I'm not a super-huge fan of Hetalia, if I may say so, but it was a show that I enjoyed nonetheless because of all the silliness, haha. My favorite character ended up being Japan, which is not a surprise at all.
I've been wanting to have a proper photoshoot this whole year and I've actually felt quite shit because of the lack of new cosplay photos. :/ But now I can finally leave this year behind me with a satisfied mind because hey, I got some fresh new shots!
But with all good things comes a bad thing – I was freezing my ass off during the whole shooting! It was like -3 °C outside, which is not much, but the thing is that there was a cold northern wind of like 5 meters per second so... yeah. I couldn't feel my toes and neither could I move my fingers after I had been standing outside for like 15 minutes or something – we had to go inside to take breaks and warm up! I also ended up having my legs shaking so damn much that it was out of my control and yeah, I was happy I was wearing a kimono because it didn't show at all, lol. Oh well, enduring the cold was worth it because the photos turned out fabulous! 
What won't we do for cosplay? xD

Cosplayer: Shiro Samurai (Japan)
Photographer: Sacchan
Photo editor: Shiro Samurai

Before anyone asks this is technically a closet cosplay for me and that's because all the pieces of clothing are authentic vintage kimono items from my collection, with the exception of the obi, which is borrowed from Jäätynyt Enkeli. The wig is from another cosplay and it was a perfect fit for Japan too. Generic Asian hairstyle lol.
I decided to take the sword as a prop because I seriously don't know how to pose without anything, lol. Besides, Japan does use a sword at least in one episode, so it's legit!
By the way, for anyone curious the circle lenses that I'm wearing are the I.Fairy Ruby Browns – just click on the name to get to my review, if interested. ^_^

On those photos above with the sunlight I was actually facing/watching the rising sun, literally. Fun part is that the clock was 10:00 in the morning... yeaaaaaah. ._. You see, I live very high up in northern Sweden; we have the darkest time of the year at this very moment and that's because of a thing called polar night, aka right now we only get 3 hours of sunlight per day try to imagine that. Yep, that means that if we had extended the photoshoot for a few more hours I would have been watching the sunset as well. Go figure.

Only fullbody photo.
Oh and yes, I don't think that Japan wears a kimono outift in exactly these colors in the anime so yeah, consider this an original version. He does wear almost the same thing on a promotional artwork for the World Series though, except that I basically used the reverse colors meaning that I used a plum colored haori instead of a blue one and a blue kimono instead of a plum one. 
Why are you looking at me like that?【・ヘ・?】
Actually... I honestly just forgot to check my reference picture when I dressed on the morning so yeah, I had somehow managed to swap the colors in my mind. xD Not like it's a big crime or anything; it's still something I can easily see him wearing I mean, he's friggin' ~Japan~ himself after all, he should own plenty more than just two sets of kimonos... LOL.


Eeheeeey, that's all for this round!
Shiro Samurai out! Thanks for viewing ~

December 16, 2015


Hellou everyone!

15th December has passed us by and today it's time for Star Wars and with that the Mini Giveaway has ended. What is left to do is to announce the lucky winner and that's exactly what this blog post is for! Let's go! ~
But first let me just give a big thank you to everyone who joined the giveaway (and even to those who commented without wanting an entry!) and I hope you are all looking forward to who won it all!
Thank you to everyone for your continued support, I love you all!

Without more ramblings I'll get straight to the point but first I just want to clarify how the winner was chosen! To pick the winner I used a random number generator online. The first number that I got on the generator was the winning one and I matched it up with who posted the comment of the same number on the giveaway entry post. There were 9 valid entries/comments out of 11 in total.


*~* Here comes the results !!! *~*


The winner is...
FankiKitsune!! \(*゚∀゚*)/


I will contact you soon about the prize! :D

That's it for this time. I hope you all enjoyed this mini giveaway and don't worry, there will be more giveaways in the future! ;) And yes, with different prizes.
Before I call it a day I just want to once more thank all my followers, both new and old ones! I hope you enjoy my writings and will stay around for a long time! Cheers!
~ Shiro Samurai

December 13, 2015

I made a Jedi robe from Star Wars!

Hello geeks! ~

Okay, so I sewed a brown Jedi robe/cloak from Star Wars from scratch in like, two days. 
– The reason?
I thought I could dress up for the upcoming world premiere of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, since I'm a volunteer worker at the town's cinema. And hey, great excuse to be nerdy and cosplay outside the walls of my apartment! :D Bonus points for the cinema encouraging the workers to dress up! For example: when the James Bond movie Spectre premiered earlier this year all workers on that day were formally dressed and wore black/white suits.

So yeah, I went to mom's over the weekend and spent like all my time sewing this robe together. I'm sorry but I don't have many photos of the progress because I was in such a hurry to get it done in time. I'm still gonna try to tell at least something on how I made it, even though this post won't really be detailed enough (I guess?) to function as any kind of tutorial on "how to make a Jedi robe". Sorry. ^^"

As a base pattern I used some very basic men's fleece jacket in, like, the biggest size possible – XXL. The pattern was then widened and lengthened to the galaxy moon and back. The pattern was also modified so that the sides of the body widened towards the bottom and the underside of the sleeves curved into small "trumpets" towards the arm openings, aka what I'd call 'wizard sleeves'. The hood was greatly enlarged too, to the point it looked comical. The hood was cut out twice (four pieces in total) so that it would be doubled on the final product.

I started by overlocking all the edges, of every single piece, to keep them from fraying. After that I sewed the shoulder seams together.

Shoulder seams done.
Next up I took the sleeves, folded them to mark out the center back and ironed them. It doesn't really show on the photo below but the edge further away is the arm opening and the end hanging off the ironing board has a slight tip (because of the trumpet style) which proved to be an annoyance when I hemmed the sleeve mouths later, lol. I actually had to hand-stitch the tips in place so that they'd stay flat.

One sleeve folded and ironed.
I first sewed on the sleeves and then sewed the underside of the sleeves closed and continued all the way down the side seams. Now it started to look like something!

Sleeves attached and side seams closed.
I hemmed the arm openings by doing a big fold of a couple centimeters. I always steam pressed seams open when I had sewed something together and I also ironed folded edges before hemming them. This fabric is elastic so yeah, it was needed to iron things in place because the fabric is seriously alive and did cause me some inner cursing during the process, lol.

One hood piece put in place on the fabric, to act as a pattern for cutting out
the "double hood".
Next up I think I went to straighten (read: cut) the bottom because, as is tradition for me by now, it's never ever straight down there – aka all pieces are not the same length. I don't know why this keeps happening because I sure do cut the pieces the same way and I always iron to mark out the center spots (shoulder folds etc) before sewing so yeah, it should be aligned perfectly but lolnope.
Oh well, I went to the trusty overlock to get the job done faster but guess what? I possess the luck of Donald Duck (it rhymes, hihi) so of course when I started sewing the machine made some really loud and scary sounds that sounded like I just tried to start a fucking lovechild of a chainsaw and a snowmobile – and a really old painful one at that.

Overlock, y u do dis to me? ;__;
Yeah, that's how much I had time to sew before it died on me...
Oh well, no can do except take out the ordinary scissors, cut the shit straight and do the good ol' zigzag instead. With the bottom hemmed I was nearing the end – now I just had to hem the front and sew on the hood. The hood did reveal itself to be the most annoying part of the whole thing though. xD I did hem the front "flaps" first all the way down to the bottom and then I started to sew the hood together; I first took two of the four pieces and united them so that I got one complete hood – a crazy big one at that. I then took the remaining two pieces and did the same thing to them and now I had two hoods. What was next was to sew both of these hoods together into a single hood that wouldn't show the underside (aka seam side). I thought that this was a good idea because the guys in Star Wars don't always wear the hood so yeah, when it's just chilling on the back it would still look neat and clean since even the inside of the hood would look the same as the outside.
The thing with sewing the hood was that the neck (aka the spot for attaching the hood on the cape) was only around 60 cm around while the hood was 112 cm.
See what this means? – Yep, make huge-ass pleats so that it will fit in!

Pleating in progress. I decided to make three deep folds on each side
of the middle seam of the hood.
I sewed the pleats in place really carefully (so much fabric layers!) and I was kinda expecting the needle to break on the sewing machine... but it didn't, phew. Next up was to take the "inner hood" and pleat it as well.

Showing that the underside (seam side) of the outer hood is pleated and sewn on; the
"inner hood" is yet to be pleated and attached to the body of the cloak.
"Inner hood" pleating in progress – one side done.
I did some fancy stuff by sewing the pleats of the "inner hood" in place without actually attaching it to the cloak itself yet – this made it possible for me to hem the "inner hood" on top of the outer hood's seams and thus hide all the seams for a very clean and professional look. The problem is that, meanwhile I was pinning the hem folds, mom came and took a look at it because I had joked that this is sooooo gonna break the whole sewing machine – worst part is that she agreed because holy crud so many layers and pleats had accumulated in that hood attachment spot by now that sewing it by machine was out of the question; not even the thickest 100 numbered needle would make it. So yeah, I had to sacrifice some Neatness Pro™ points and just skip the actual hem folding and just sew it on as a single layer, no folding. I still of course sewed the edges of the "inner hood" on top of the outer hood's seams, to hide the "mess". Not like it was messy because clean overlock seams but yeah, still looks better.

Finished Jedi robe!
Back view of the hood when not worn.
So yeah, this is what I've been sewing on the whole weekend. It was really stressful to make it in such a short time (intense sewing, go!) but at least I can't call it rushed because the sewing work is still clean, save for a few really minor things (mostly hemming) because of the fabric living its own life...

It's gonna be fun to wear this at the cinema and be a random Jedi knight!
The issue is that I'll have to throw the rest together from whatever I can find from the closet since I won't have time to make or buy the rest of the parts. Now if only I had a lightsaber...

That's all I have for this time!
Shiro Samurai says goodbye!

December 5, 2015

My cosplay strengths & weaknesses – REVELATION TIME!

 Hello geeks all across the world ~

Let's get straight to business! One ordinary day not so long ago I was living through my daily life, checking internet and just chilling around and them –BAM!– a thought suddenly struck me! I couldn't brush it away because it actually made me really think and get motivated to do another one of these "cosplay as a hobby" thought-filled posts soooo... here we go!

What if I made a blog post about how I am as a cosplayer and what I'm good and not-so-good at in this hobby?

I'm not sure if this has been done before but I figured that it might be an interesting thing to actually write down, if nothing else! Hopefully it will serve to let you all know a bit more about me as a cosplayer and maybe inspire others to do similar posts and appreciate their own skillsets too, both in good and in bad! After all, I'm far from equally talented in all the different fields that this hobby more or less requires from us and eey, ain't nothing wrong or weird with that. :) I thought this could be a fun way to show that yes, we all have things that we aren't as good at as others but that we also have our strong points! Yay for skill diversity appreciation!

So yeah, what's on the plate today is a breakdown list about my strengths and weaknesses as a cosplayer and yep, this is of course all 100% truth about me – seen from my own perspective. Leeeeeeet's goooooooo ~

With each category I've put a grade scale from 1-5, which is a way of indicating how good I personally think I am with each of them, with my enjoyment level counting in on the final grade – so yeah, some scores have an enjoyment bonus of 0,5-1 point added in. A low number means that I perceive it to be one of my weaker points and a high number means the opposite.
Note: the scores are of course not permanent since they only reflect my current situation. 

Patterning (2/5): This is definitely one of the things I dislike the most with cosplay, no joke. I think that the pattern making part is tedious, boring, complicated and just not my thing. Sometimes it happens that I lose my cosplay crafting motivation before I even get to start properly because of the damn patterning. ._. I just don't pattern. such difficult. much annoy. very bore.
So yeah, while I have managed to draft the patterns from scratch to, for example Masamune Date's blue coat from Sengoku Basara, I really don't think that I'm cut out for this bull. I get a lot of headaches trying to figure out how to make it work and yeah, it's such a demotivator that it huuurts.

Fabric cutting (1/5): UGH. UGH. UGH. Along with drafting/understanding patterns placing the darn paper pieces on the fabric the right, most clever fabric-saving way is just something that I don't get right and I always have a huge fear of screwing up and wasting ~le expensive fabric~ or cutting something the wrong way. I'm just not good at figuring out the best way to go about using my fabric wisely and it's really one of my weakest points on the whole sewing part – maybe silly but it's true. >_< Not to mention that I never got the gist of the whole straight grain thing no matter how many times someone explains it to me. ;_; I feel stupid for saying this but it just confuses me every time and I keep forgetting...
Oh, and being left-handed really is an additional shade of bother when the whole world always assumes everyone's freaking right-handed! Hello, impossible cutting angles. ._. (and before you ask: yes, I've tried left-handed scissors but lord they feel even more retarded than using right-handed ones! Maybe it's just me not getting many chances to use them when growing up...)

Fabrics (5/5): I'd like to think that I'm honestly good at figuring out what fabrics will give me the look and/or purpose that I want/need when it comes to making my costumes. I can touch and look at a fabric and pretty instantly be able to tell if it's what I'm looking for or not – if it has the required qualities of drape, texture, sturdiness, softness etc. I'm also fairly good at telling different types of fabrics apart when I see/feel them. I'm quite picky on what I choose to make my cosplay out of – it has to be right!
It's not a secret that I had prior fabric knowledge before starting with cosplay and yeah, that's mainly because my mom owned her own fabric store for yeeeeeeeears and I spent most of my childhood hiding between fabric rolls (hide-and-seek!) and helping her move stuff in the store etc. I learned a lot from her, both directly and indirectly because I've spent all my life surrounded by fabrics. Heck, mom's attic is still filled with fabrics from those times. ♥ I love the fabric smell, lol.
I always thought that fabric choice was an important part of cosplaying – hence why I didn't enter my cosplaying hobby in a beaming cheap satin monster or in a, what I'd like to call, "bedsheet cosplay". There's nothing sinfully wrong with those (we all start somewhere!) but yeah, I was always willing to pay a bit more to not look like I'm walking around in a potentially shiny potato sac. ;)

Sewing (4/5): I'd say that I feel pretty confident with my sewing skills; I haven't gone any proper schools for it or anything but mom taught me a lot and I'm thankful for that. Sure that I might not know the high-end professional ways of sewing and there's obviously many things out there I'd have no idea how to even sew! But yeah, the point is that I know the basics well enough for my standards/needs and I'd personally say that my sewing work is generally clean and looks proper – or at least I always strive first-hand for a neat final appearance.

Props (4/5): Pretty good, I guess? I'm by no means bad at it but I wouldn't personally say that I'm a Prop Master Deluxe™ either. I've done some weapons back in the days, especially from the Bleach series during my early cosplay years, that have received a lot of admiration at conventions as well as online, but I do think that I could still have made a better job on some parts of them – even when I originally made them. So yeah, I think I'm pretty okay on the prop making department, especially when it comes to weapon-type props. I do enjoy making props a lot and learning to use different materials, tools and techniques!

Armor making (3/5): Tough one. I really don't know what to answer on this one because creating armors is still a rather new side of cosplaying to me. In the beginning I was really hesitant and unsure of how to make it happen and I was indeed standing on shaky legs when I first experimented with craft foam and, later on, polystyrene sheets. Once I dived into the worblerful world of worbla (yes, worblerful) I've reached a new enlightenment in terms of creating armors and hey, I think that I might be able to go quite far on this part!

Wigs (3/5): Eh. I'm fairly good at shopping for wigs that give me the look I prefer but I'm not very fluid at wig styling; I have cut and styled some wigs before and they've all been rather small alterations so far. I haven't done any hardcore modifications like stubbing, gravity-defying giant spikes, widow peaks and such. I don't feel too confident handling wigs and I lose my patience perhaps a bit too fast when it comes to untangling long wigs and carefully moving layers of wefts. It's not quite my favorite part of cosplaying but it's doable. I do love shopping for wigs though (and the quest of finding the perfect one) and wearing them!

Makeup (2/5): I do acknowledge and feel that I'm way below many others when it comes to general makeup knowledge and application etc. If I'm brutally honest half the time when I'm applying makeup I'm not even too sure of what I'm actually doing, lol. 
My main issue is that the whole makeup world is so big and confusing and –to make matters worse– you need to have a lot of prerequisite knowledge of, for example your skin type, to actually get the makeup itself to work and look/perform the best on your face. I went into the makeup universe not knowing jackshit and boy was I lost – HECK, I STILL AM. NOT GONNA LIE.
I feel really unsure every time I try on some new makeup techniques and/or products because –fuck me sideways– I don't even know if I'm using the right applicator for this crap! D: As a proof of point I have a 32-piece brush set and I don't even know what 3 of them surely are for so, err, go figure. -.- The more I try to learn the more overwhelming it gets and then I just end up getting frustrated and feeling even dumber than before.
I didn't even know about the existence nor importance of primers, moisturizers and concealers until this year. Can you believe it?? Yeah, that means I did 4 years of cosplaying without preparing my facely canvas properly. Ugh. I'm not even sure if I want to know what other important products I'm completely missing as of yet...
So yeah, I really don't think that I'm honestly good with makeup and, to boot, I'm unaware of so many things that would probably be considered essential to know. I just scribble something on my face for now and hope it looks at least decent meanwhile I wait for some knowledge expansion miracle to befall upon me. Yeeeeah. #makeupishard

So yeah, as you can see I don't perceive myself as a super amazing cosplayer. I'm average – good at some things, less good at others.
And you know what? – That's perfectly okay!
Along the years we'll keep improving, learning new things and shaping our cosplaying selves! I think that a big part of the fun in cosplay comes from the challenges and new things you get to tackle and experiment with! It's a given that failures will happen but so will successful creations too. I love the diversity of cosplay and hey, you aren't forced to like everything that this very wide hobby brings with it! I don't like those super-long wigs either when they get tangled into a... Tangela... after I just cast a look at them.

That's all for this time!
Hope you enjoyed this blog post and feel free to comment! ╰( ・ ᗜ ・ )╯
Shiro Samurai out ~

December 1, 2015

Blog 4-year birthday + MINI GIVEAWAY!!

Hello folks ~

Today, on 1st December, is my cosplay blog's birthday! Woop! ╰( ・ ᗜ ・ )╯ *throws candies*
It sure does feel a bit surreal to think that this blog has already been around for 4 years but hey, I'm really happy that I decided to create this thing and if I regret anything then it's that I didn't make this blog earlier. :'D After all, I did start "officially" cosplaying already at late 2009 so yeah ~

To celebrate this 4-year blog birthday I decided to hold a mini giveaway for all my readers! Because hey, you guys mean a lot to me! ^o^ While I did start this blog mainly for documenting my own progress (and sharing my costuming knowledge to others) I never really expected over 200 people to be interested in my writings! (⊙_☉) I don't know where you all came from –or why you decided to follow my costuming adventures– but I sure do enjoy knowing that I'm not only writing for myself anymore, if that makes sense. Sure that I still keep this blog mainly for my own pleasure (so yeah, it would have been around even if the only signs of activity came from myself lol) but hey, having actual readers just makes it 20% cooler! o(^◇^)o

But yeah, let's get to the giveaway now, shall we? ~
Without any further ramblings the prize I have up for grabs comes here...


These are the lenses that you can win! ~
You recognize these things? – Of course you do!
It's the Kimchi Flora Greens which I've recently reviewed here, so go ahead and click that link if you wanna see what lenses this giveaway is giving... away. x)
The lenses are of course authentic, unopened and still in their original vials. This pair is plano prescription, which means that there's no vision correction.
These are yearly lenses too, so if you take good care of them they will last you one year once you open the bottles. I personally recommend 6 months though, but it's up to you. :)

Note: expiry date is summer 2016 on these, so be sure to open them before that!


• You must be a public follower of this blog, through Google Friend Connect, to participate.*
• Comment on this blog post to get an entry to the giveaway! You MUST write your email address in the comment so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner!
• There's no country restrictions!

* = If you don't know what GFC is it's all those 220 readers (at the moment of writing this) on that little box to the top right side of the blog. :) You can enter the giveaway even if you join/follow my blog through GFC now!

The winner will be drawn randomly and contacted. The prize will be shipped out to you, unless you live close to me and/or want to pick it up personally at an event we both are attending. I will pay the shipping cost.
This mini giveaway is running from 1st December to 15th December
A follow-up post, revealing the winner, will be posted after the giveaway has ended.

Don't forget to enter now to win a pair of free circle lenses – perfect for Christmas!
Best of luck to everyone! ~