Thursday, September 8, 2016

Don't Try This! - Dremel Lathe

***Don't try this at home! It was done on a lark, and is potentially dangerous! This post is intended as a look at the wacky stuff we try in the name of cosplay!***

Assembling my own Rey staff was absolutely the right call for me and my cosplay. Good internet versions are upwards of $150 and still need to assembled with a wood or PVC core, and weight and scale was important to me.

 Also, the fun of assembling PVC pipe fittings into a staff on the floor of a Home Depot was a fun group activity. (as well as the  $100 savings...) The store associate had a lot of fun helping me select PVC couplings.

Of all the things in the fittings collection, I could make all but four parts of the staff. The parts I call 'fins' required some craft foam and hot glue, while the little angled bits are worbla formed around shot glasses, and stuffed with craft foam rounds.

Then, there's that bit in the middle, which became the bane of my crafting existence.  I cheated it for CTCon with a styrofoam craft ball and a paracord wrap, and it did the job. No one who hasn't made this staff even knows this part exists (other than the folks on the internet who think it bears a resemblance to a lightsaber, and therefore a key to Rey's parentage)

Action shot! That bit I'm holding forward is the temporary fix.
The biggest challenge of the part is that it is both continuous, and shaped in 3D. It's exactly the sort of thing a 3D printer could do. Or a lathe.

You know what's not made to do this? A Dremel.

Guess which one I used?

Yeah... it seemed clever at the time
That's my Dremel 7700, a length of scrap PVC the same size as the end of the staff (I used 1/2" for the ends, 3/4" for the center part), and a cylinder of floral foam.

The original plan was to hold the pipe and brandish the Dremel like an electric knife at a Thanksgiving turkey. That might have worked, if not for my entirely lacking art skills.

I tried to envision the universe where this actually worked out like I planned, as I sat on my living room floor, holding both of these things in my hand.

And then I shoved the PVC pipe on the end of the Dremel sanding end.

Why? I don't know. (Real answer? Because it fit perfectly, and I couldn't pull them apart without disassembling the Dremel tip)

The new plan was -- use the Dremel like a lathe, carve the foam with the heavy cardboard template I'd made in hopes of keeping the hand carving even. The cardboard-drag was too much for the Dremel motor on low. (I kept in on low to avoid displacing the PVC pipe)
So... I got a blunt dinner knife, and started carving.

Before and After
Cardboard Template Result
Dinner Knife Result

I have no long history of wood-turning, but as far as 'ideas that go exactly the way you thought they would,' this was a home run. I used the butter knife to trim out the extra bulk around the middle, and coated the whole thing in layers of mod podge.

Safety glasses are NECESSARY for this project. If I'd known how much debris would go flying, I would have worn a mask too. All of this is also probably a million different violations of the Dremel manuel. Be safe people -- don't try this at home!

Is it perfect? No, it's still too big, and where I cut out the extra bulk could have been sanded instead of scraped out, and it might not have left such an obvious mark.

But, as far as I'm concerned, it's pretty darn good enough for a part no one but someone who has made the staff will ever notice, and cost me $2.99 in floral foam and an afternoon vacuuming the whole house.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tea Test: Welcome to Night Vale

I love tea. At any given point, I easily have a dozen varieties in regular rotation, a full cup sitting somewhere nearby, and a kettle warming in preparation for a new pot.

I also love it when fandom extends beyond the medium of the original source material and is expressed in new and interesting ways. It's especially fun when that fandom is expressed through an entirely different sense. That being said, Adagio's fandom teas have been on my radar for some time, but with so many to choose from (and an overflowing tea chest), I never quite got around to trying them.

That changed over the holidays when Kitty gave me a sampler of the Welcome to Night Vale tea set created by Amy Van Siclen

I couldn't wait to get a taste of the small desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and strange lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.


I let a half teaspoonful of each tea's leaves steep for 3-4 minutes and watched the water take color. I took note of how the scents developed. Like a certain scientist with perfect hair, I decided to approach this taste test with deliberation and documentation using forbidden writing implements.

Welcome to Night Vale

Description: peach and almond oolongs, hojicha for the freshly cut wood, and rose hips for tartness

Scent: Dry, it smells musty and strangely familiar. The peaches from the description are very present, as is a mild creaminess - almost like a forgotten dusty packet of peaches-and-cream oatmeal forgotten in the back of the cupboard. When steeping, the steam has a distinct sweet peach scent.

Taste: Very dry and earthy (probably from the almond oolong or the roasted flavor from the hojicha), with the peaches and rosehips giving it an alternately sweet and tart notes.

Comments: I wasn't quite sure what to make of the flavor when first tasting it. It was pleasant and interesting enough, but I never quite associated Night Vale with peaches before. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized how clever this blend was: the earthy roasted notes were perfectly representative of a desert community, as was the unsettling, indescribable familiarity. Plus, despite any strangeness, everything really is just peachy.

All Hail the Glow Cloud

Description: citron green tea, lemongrass, and vanilla green tea accented with marigold and safflower petals

Scent: Initially vaguely herbal and medicinal, it develops into a citrus-y lemongrass scent, with just a little bit of vanilla creaminess around the edges.

Taste: Nowhere nearly as sharp or astringent as I might have expected, this blend is very smooth and bright, with a yellow-green citrus flavor.

Comments: The bright citrus flavor made perfect sense to represent the Glow Cloud's glow, while the vanilla and flowers gave it smooth, fluffy cloud edges. It was a surprisingly soothing tea and an early favorite of mine during the taste test, despite the fact I don't normally care for lemongrass teas. Clearly, it was enacting some mind control. All Hail.

Radon Canyon

Description: peppermint, chamomile, and decaf vanilla with ginger and lemon verbena

Scent: Even dry, this blend is dominated by cold, tingly mint, with just a little bit of vanilla at the edges. Once steeped, the vanilla dissipates and the steam is just chilling mint vapor.

Taste: This is a very nice mint-chamomile tea, at once cooling and soothing. My taste test didn't pick up much of the ginger or lemon verbena, but the overall blend seemed like it would probably be very good to settle an upset stomach.

Comments: Radon Canyon is a mysterious place marked mostly by its high levels of radon gas. The flavor and chill of the mint capture the intense radioactivity very well.

I Am A Scientist

Description: black tea with caramel, Earl grey lavender, and cream, accented with lavender 

Scent: Very dark. There is an earthiness, but more of a burnt caramel scent, with a little bit of dark citrus at the edges.

Taste: The burnt caramel is front and center, which mixes with the bergamot of the Earl grey, giving this blend a strong dark flavor that plays between bitter and sweet. There is a light creaminess to it, but I don't pick up on much of the lavender.

Comments: I had high hopes for this blend, since "a scientist is always fine". Conceptually, this blend is a perfect tribute to perfect Carlos, dark and sweet, with a bit of a mysterious edge. Flavor-wise, however, it didn't quite work for me. While I was glad I didn't get much of the lavender accents, I just couldn't get past the burnt-caramel flavor. A second try may be worthwhile, though; I imagine it might be better if taken with cream and sugar.

The Moonlite All-Night Diner

Description: strawberry black tea, strawberry herbal, and peppermint with strawberry pieces

Scent: Strawberries. Sweet, sweet strawberries with a little bit of a coolness coming from the mint. When steeped, the steam carries the strawberry scent a fair distance.

Taste: It tastes exactly as it smells, juicy and fruity, full of sweet and tart strawberries.

Comments: The Moonlite All-Night Diner is well known for its pies. Specifically, its visible and invisible strawberry pies (you hate invisible pies). This blend beautifully captures both. The mint serves double duty, giving the sense of invisible pie and acting as an amazingly on-the-nose reference to how the Night Vale landmark has been described, "The Moonlight All-Night is radiant green. A slab of mint light in the warm darkness."

Water Failure

Description:  vanilla, cinnamon, and almond black tea with a hint of cardamom

Scent: A blast of cinnamon, with a tiny bit of fruitiness that I can't quite figure out given the description. It reminds me of chai.

Taste: This blend is a smooth, chai-like cinnamon vanilla, lightly sweet, not too spicy, with the black tea giving it a little bit of a bitter edge to ground it. It is a surprise favorite of the set and would probably be even better at double or triple strength with cream and sugar.

Comments: As an episode, Water Failure was fun but not entirely memorable, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this tea. I thought perhaps the blend was intending to be a joke, evoking a brown, muddied flavor to reflect dry pipes. Revisiting the episode (and the blender's notes), it appears this flavor was a much more direct reference: "In Night Vale, if you are more than 60 days behind on your water bill, carbon monoxide starts coming out of your faucet instead of water-- except it smells like French Toast, just to make the experience a little more pleasant." The flavor was wonderful to begin with, but the specificity of the reference made the tea that much better.

~ ~ ~

Overall, I very much enjoyed the Welcome to Night Vale teas. With things like this, it's hard to know what you're going to get - everyone has their own interpretation. While not all of the blends were flavors I would have naturally chosen for myself to drink or even imagined in relationship to the people and places of the podcast, they were well-considered, both in flavor and reference. I really appreciated the thoughtfulness that Van Siclen put in to developing her blends and, especially when I understood what she was doing, it made the experience that much more fun. 

I look forward to trying other fandom teas from Adagio someday, and perhaps even the other Welcome to Night Vale set that is available. What sets have you tried? What other sets would you like us to review?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Revisiting NYCC 2014: An Interview with The Hound and Arya Stark

It's be been how long since New York Comic Con?

It was a long, crazy weekend and in some ways we’re still processing all that we saw and did! Cosplaying as Arya and Brienne was one of our most ambitious endeavors to date and participating in the Game of Thrones cosplay meet-up was a highlight of the convention.

Among the amazing cosplayers we met, we were especially impressed with the Hound and Arya Stark cosplayed by David Baxter and Cecilia Ewing. We had heard about their costumes well before we saw them. Their incredible costumes had people buzzing, both on the show floor and after the Con. They’ve since been featured in a number of “Best of NYCC” galleries and videos, and David’s costume has even been given a nod of approval by George RR Martin! 

They kindly agreed to chat with us about their cosplay and convention experiences.

Can you tell us a little about your cosplay background? 
DB: I’ve been doing cosplay long before the term existed.  I’ve been making handmade (or friend/mom made) costumes since I was probably ten.  My first major costume was Cornelius from Planet of the Apes.  I really started cosplaying in earnest in the early 1990’s when someone remarked at a costume party where I dressed up as Darth Vader that I was slightly taller than the actor who portrayed him (David Prowse) and that they knew how to get a screen-accurate costume.  That put me on the road to where I am now.  I mostly dressed as Vader and was the first So Cal Vader in the 501st.  We went to LA Children’s Hospital and City of Hope a lot and had a great time.  The pinnacle of that cosplay was being the official Vader for the premiere of Attack of the Clones at the Chinese Theater in LA. 

Besides Vader I’ve done Hellboy, Frankenstein, and Gandalf the Grey.  I was actually Gandalf in the Denny’s Hobbit Menu commercial.  You can still find it on YouTube.  The recurring theme was always playing larger than life pop culture icons.  I guess the character of the Hound was just a nice fit.  He seemed more complex than trying to play his brother The Mountain.

CE: Arya was my first cosplay ever. My mom is an amazing seamstress so I have always had really elaborate Halloween costumes, but I haven't had the opportunity to really do more with it until the last couple of years. The more stuff I started to get into (shows, movies, etc.), the more I was wanting to go to conventions and cosplay, but it wasn't until this summer that I finally did.

What prompted you to dress as your character? 
CE: I started watching Game of Thrones at the very beginning of this year because of my roommate, and I got hooked. Then over the summer I was hanging out with friends and one of them (who is very tall) joked that I should dress as Arya. And so, my mom and I started working on the costume... 

DB: I like the complexity of his character.  He’s a realist in a harsh world.  Not evil, necessarily.  He has a code he follows.

How did your cosplay collaboration happen? Were you friends already? 
CE: No!  We had never met before. I was volunteering at FantasyCon in Utah this summer and ran into him. I was just finishing my volunteering for the day and ran into him and my friends told me I just had to get a picture with him, even though I wasn't in my costume. When I went up to him the first thing he asked was "Why aren't you dressed as Arya?!" To which I said I would be that Saturday. He immediately told me we should compete together in the FantasyCon cosplay competition. And we - along with Michael Coleman as our amazing Little Finger - won best fantasy entry. It was awesome. 

DB: We hit it off immediately.

Do you find yourselves behaving differently or having a different dynamic when you're in costume, as opposed to when you're being yourself? 
DB: Absolutely.  I am much coarser and swear as The Hound. In everyday life I’m more laid back.  I find that whatever character I portray I take on some of their characteristics. 

CE: I definitely think we take on more of the characters when we are taking pictures, though. David totally gets into it, which is a lot of fun. And I like the opportunity to play it tough, because I don't think I'm like that in real life at all.


How did your costumes come together? 
DB: The costume was put together by myself and lots of people who either worked on it for free, or I paid them.  The latest incarnation had my leather armor made by and the gorget, chainmail and knee bracers were all done by the amazing David Powell.  It took over a year to get it to where it is today.  The reason I did the costume originally was for a Game of Thrones birthday party for my 50th last year at Wondercon.  I met so many wonderful GoT cosplayers that I decided to keep improving on the costume. 

CE: My mom makes incredible costumes, so she did a lot of it. Most of it, really. I was just along for the ride. I've done a bit of everything. But she created the whole pattern for the vest/jerkin part of the costume. I found just a ton of reference photos and she found all the materials. We bought an absurd amount of belting and measured it all out. We punched every hole in the vest and tied it all together. 

The whole thing took a little over two weeks, but that was under pressure. I didn't know I was going to FantasyCon until around then, which is when we really started working on it. I had originally been planning on just wearing it to NYCC. But we worked really hard and stayed up very late for a couple of weeks and got it all done. We were up at 10pm the night before dyeing it and wearing it out. Worth it!

What was your NYCC experience like?  
Photo courtesy of Cecilia Ewing
DB: NYCC was fantastic!  I got to see Cecilia again and we had a blast and won the Geico Cosplay contest.  The most memorable moment was the group picture with all the GoT cosplayers.  So much fun.  I’ve been to Wondercon, SDCC, FantasyCon, NYCC, and Comikaze with my Hound.  May need to change it up for the next one. 

CE: It was amazing! This was my first NYCC, and my first big convention in general. FantasyCon was really small, so this was a totally different feel. I was planning on going to NYCC with a friend anyway, so it was
awesome when David said he was going to be there. I think the most memorable thing was just the sheer crowds of people who would gather around us to take pictures when we stopped. It was not like anything that I have ever experienced before. There were just so many of them, and so many camera snapping. It was insane. There was also the awesome experience of the Game of Thrones cosplay photo shoot. It was so great to see all of the other amazing Game of Thrones cosplayers. Plus it was great to pose with all of them and just be the character.

What was the most common reaction to your costume? Did people request any specific interactions?  
CE: Oh, man, I loved the reaction I got second-hand. See, David is this really imposing figure. You can see him coming from very far away. And you would hear these people yell, "Oh, look! There's The Hound!" And they would all get really excited and then I would come out from behind him and people would go "And Arya!" It was just so funny. It happened all day. 

DB: People seemed blown away by my presence in the costume. At 6’8” I’m just right for making a big impression! 

CE: The most common request I got for posing was people would ask for me to point Needle at them. Which I loved. They would go "can you just pretend to stab me?" And how can I possibly say no to that?? Of course I can pretend to stab you! That's only a dream for me to live out! 


David, did you expect the chicken to be as popular as it was? 
DB: Everyone seems to love my Colonel “Sandor” bucket and chicken.  I thought it would get the reaction that it did.    

Did anything surprise you about cosplaying your characters? What was the most fun part? Least? 
DB: Least fun is the heat.  It’s very hot to wear that much armor and it’s quite heavy.  The most fun is just people’s reactions when they see me. 

CE: I think I have more confidence when I am cosplaying Arya, which I didn't expect. Especially when I got to go onstage the first time. I have terrible stage fright, but when I walked out I just felt in control. It was amazing! I totally love the confidence cosplaying Arya gives me. Least fun? Probably how exhausted I get, haha. There is a lot of walking around. And I get very hot. But I love it too much to let getting tired
bother me.

My other favorite was that I got to meet some really cool people. I got to meet Riddle (@Ridd1e) at FantasyCon (she was one of the cosplay judges) which was so exciting. Also, I got to talk to the totally amazing Doug Jones a few times that day. I am such a huge fan of his and he came backstage at FantasyCon to tell me he just loved me and then he gave me a hug. One of the coolest experiences ever.

Do you have any other characters you'd like to cosplay or fandoms you’re interested in? 
DB: I’d like to do a cosplay with my six year old son.  Maybe Hodor and Bran from Game of Thrones or Hagrid and Harry Potter.  I’d like to do Sauron or the Witch King from Lord of the Rings at some point but these would be very expensive. 

CE: David has a really great Gandalf cosplay, so I am planning on creating a Frodo costume with my mom next time I'm home from school. I'm really excited about that one because I love Lord of the Rings. One on my own I would really like to do is Olive Snook from Pushing Daisies. That is one I absolutely have to do at some point. Also Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale. Other fandoms... So many. Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, Harry Potter, Hannibal... there are more. I'm currently watching Buffy, which I adore.

What were your Halloween plans this year? Did you dress up?
CE: Ah, Halloween. So, I had planned to go as Arya, but I ended up... not doing that. I went to the Halloween parade in the Village and I wanted to bundle up. So I threw on a long blue sweater, braided some of my (now blue) hair, and claimed I was modern Elsa. Yeah, not my best, but it didn't really matter when the sweater was under a coat, and the hair was under a Ravenclaw hat. Maybe next year! 

DB: I was the Hound at ComiKaze! 

It was so much fun joining in on the cosplay fun at NYCC. Kitty “punched” the Hound (and managed not to break David’s nose), while Kae got to stab Joffrey with the “pointy end.”   


Best of all, we've got two new awesome cosplay friends! 
Thanks, David and Cecilia!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Field Report: #DWWorldTour New York City Premiere & Fan Event

Last Thursday was the Doctor Who Series 8 US premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. As part of the Doctor Who World Tour (#DWWorldTour), tickets for the event were ridiculously difficult to come by, especially given that the theater only holds around 1100 people. Fans from all around the country were willing to fly in to see the event, so when the website appeared to sell out in under six minutes, I resigned myself to the perfectly acceptable alternative of watching it on TV, curled up on the sofa. However, thanks to a friend's combined good and bad luck, a ticket freed up and I found myself suddenly able to attend!

According to the Doctor Who on BBC America Twitter, even with tickets, fans had been lining up since nearly 1am.

Dedicated Whovian though I may be, I realized that such a long wait would probably kill me. I decided to take my chances in going after work and waiting the far more sensible (?) four hours.

"Is this how time normally passes? Really slowly. And in the right order?"

Unsurprisingly, by the time I got there, a lengthy queue had formed, winding next to the red carpet (which was actually TARDIS blue for obvious reasons). There was also a second line for fans hoping for leftover tickets.

The Fandom That Waited found plenty of ways to amuse itself. At one point, the front of the line collectively and spontaneously started to tap out the Master's four-beat rhythm from The Sound of Drums, raising eyebrows and momentary concern from event security. A few fans took to doing chalk drawings and scrawling "Bad Wolf" along the pavement:

Cosplay was also a great source of entertainment and conversation while waiting. I saw a fantastic Idris and weeping angel (sadly, neither of which I was able to get a photo of) and an enthusiastic teen in the 6th Doctor's outfit who kept walking up and down the line, talking to everyone. He was quite the presence and even made it onto the BBC America event gallery. He and I chatted for a few minutes, comparing notes on our coats (I was decked out in my Series 7 11th Doctor outfit with the purple frock coat) and he offered to show me how to access the "secret sounds" on my sonic screwdriver.

Event staff also kept the crowd enthused, interviewing people on the line for various promo segments, prompting screaming waves of "wooo!" (or, perhaps, "Who!") and throwing/handing out little giveaways like tour wristbands and (later) autographed postcards. 

A Cyberman patrolled the line, stopping to confuse nearby traffic, take pictures while strangling fans, and charge at obnoxious press. 

After several fake-outs by passing limousines, a vintage yellow cab pulled up to the carpet. My place near the end of the line put me, incredibly, in a perfect spot to see Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, and Jenna Coleman as they approached the venue.

The woman next to me shouted so loudly that Capaldi came by and took a selfie with her. It took a long time for the trio to make their way into the theater, especially as Capaldi came bounding back down the carpet a second time to wave at the fans who had amassed across the street. 

The crowd slowly found their seats in the theater. A friend texted me to say that she was following the event online and was excited to hear that Neil Gaiman was in attendance. As I responded that I hadn't seen him and wasn't really expecting to, someone pointed out that he was actually sitting across the aisle! I may have bothered him for a picture... He was immensely gracious and generous, patiently waiting as I tried to figure out my camera, and made sure the picture came out clearly.

And then the episode played.

Naturally, everyone who attended the event was given explicit instructions not to tweet, blog, text, post, or generally spoil anything in the episode, under threat of Cyberman deletion.


So, until the episode airs tomorrow, as River Song would say, "Spoilers!"

What I can say in advance is that the new title sequence is exciting and gorgeous, and that the title of the episode, "Deep Breath," is very appropriate on a number of levels. Capaldi's Doctor is certainly darker as promised, but also far funnier than expected. He very much puts the audience and Clara on edge. We also get to see some new sides to Clara. The tone and pace of the show feels entirely different from past years, but (in both good and less-good ways) Moffat's fingerprints are still clearly visible. This episode is sure to draw out lots of strong and varied feelings and opinions. I look forward to seeing where the show goes from here.

After the screening, Chris Hardwick hosted a Q&A with Capaldi, Coleman, and Moffat.

The content of the Q&A has been covered on a number of sites including the Nerdist and The Mary Sue. A video of highlights from the Q&A is also available from the official site.

Perhaps most striking in the Q&A was just how excited Capaldi is to be the Doctor. He spoke extensively about selecting his costume, talked about pushing the show on his daughter, and joked about his enthusiasm to have been part of it at all in The Fires of Pompeii, quoting his agent, "maybe you should read [the script] first, to be a bit professional?" He shared in the audience's collective cringe when his character in Fires, Caecilius, was misidentified as Julius Caesar. His appreciation for the show was clearly apparent and was very much appreciated by the audience in turn.

After such a hugely hyped introduction, it will be very interesting to see how the rest of the series unfolds and how fans respond.



Kidneys? Into Darkness!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Team Stripey Socks Cosplay Compendium

Cosplay snuck up on us. Seeing the amazing work at Cons and on the internet, we somehow made that fateful leap from "that's so cool" to "we should try that." Like everything else, we didn't do it halfway.

Last year's trip to NYC Comic Con featured a different cosplay every day. Here's a rundown of what we've done and what is in the works for the future.



Kae's List

11th Doctor (Doctor Who, Series 5)
It all started with the jacket. While shopping for work clothes, I stumbled upon a blazer that was so perfectly the Doctor's - the tweed, the buttons, the pockets, the elbow patches... I'd never thought about doing cosplay before, but the fit and the price were right and, to quote the Doctor, "my whole brain just went 'what the hell!'"


11th Doctor (Doctor Who, Series 7)
By happy coincidence, the Doctor's new outfit in Series 7 included a gray vest very much like one already hanging in my closet...

Watson (Sherlock)
This was prompted by an appropriately Sherlockian message from Kitty: "I have an awesome terrible idea..." (Perhaps it didn't have quite the same ring as "Come at once if convenient," but it amounted to more or less the same!) We both love Sherlock and it was a ripe opportunity to play off our respective heights - of course I was in! It helped, too, that Watson's sensible wardrobe fit with my personal tastes and offered lots of potential for wear in other contexts.

Jack Harkness (Torchwood)
As I was putting together the 11th Doctor's outfit, I noticed that, coat aside, Jack's was very similar - blue button-down shirt, burgundy suspenders, black pants... Plus, I even had a leather cuff bracelet that looked a lot like a vortex manipulator. Upon hearing that John Barrowman and Gareth David-Lloyd were going to be at NYCC, this just had to happen.

Hogwarts Student, Ravenclaw (Harry Potter)
Harry Potter was one of my earlier fandoms and I'd wanted a set of wizarding robes for forever. I had little interest in dressing as any of the main cast but wanted very much to be part of their world. On the recommendation of a friend who worked at the Harry Potter Exhibition, I was able to do so with the help of a robe and uniform from Whimsic Alley. The hardest part was picking the house!

Kitty's List

9th Doctor (Doctor Who, Series 1)
Once I saw Kae's 11, I knew 9 needed some love. The whole look is pretty close to every day clothes for me, solid-color sweater, dark jeans and boots, and a ponytail. The perfect leather jacket became a bit of a quest, but the result is recognizable, and totally worth it.

Elizabeth Comstock (BioShock: Infinite)
I pretty much played the game because I love the look of it. It turned out I love the play and the story of it too. Most of my sewing last year went into the Elizabeth costume, but the jacket never got made. The BioShock cosplay community is amazing, so I'd love a reason to trot this out again (though I'll have to get my butt in gear to make that jacket...)

Femme!Sherlock (Sherlock)
I wore heels for fifteen hours, walking the show floor for this look. I also spent an hour curling my hair and protecting it from any influence that might uncurl it. The purple shirt was a Goodwill win, as were a pair of shiny black-patent brogues. Thankfully, Kae found me a blue scarf, and the whole thing was a winner. I think I spent the day being meaner ("in character") to Kae than usual. Finally a good reason to snark at everyone who speaks to you. As if I needed one. Obviously.

The Team with The Original Thom a.k.a. The Other Doctor

Hogwarts Student, Gryffindor (Harry Potter)
Kae got a set of robes, so obviously I needed one. Picking a house was impossible. Even Pottermore gave up, and told me to pick for myself. I was soundly on the Hufflepuff/Gryffindor line, and to be fair, I look very poorly in yellow. Thanks to the CyberMonday sale, I have a full uniform, and most of it has been worn to work at one point or another.


Kae's List

Osgood (Doctor Who, Day of the Doctor)
In discussing the 50th Anniversary special, several friends noted that they'd thought of me when Osgood the U.N.I.T. scientist appeared. (Thanks?) I took that as a cue to make sure that my lab coat and inhaler were readily accessible, and I had been looking for a reason to knit a more wearable 4th Doctor scarf...

Arya Stark (Game of Thrones)
Game of Thrones is not a show I ever thought I'd do a costume from, especially given how rarely the women are fully clothed. However, Arya is easily one of my favorite characters in the series and one I've felt I could pull off reasonably well - she's dressed, she's short, and we even have similar hair! The sword and training armor only sweeten the prospect.

Jayne Cobb (Firefly)
Possibly the least probable choice of costume for me ever. This is all because of the cunning hat.

Kitty's List

Delsin Rowe (InFamous: Second Son)
I love the series. I couldn't pull off either of the females in the first two games (Kuo would have been okay, but much like Sherlock last year, it would have begged the "Cosplay or Office worker" question). I seriously considered Fetch, but I can't live with a wig, and pink highlights are as far as I'll go. 
I like Delsin's look, loved his character, and I knew I could recreate it. When I got the collector's edition of the game, complete with beanie and pins, I knew it was game on.

Belle (Disney's Beauty and the Beast)
After seeing a few Hipster Ariels and good Snow Whites, I have been kicking this idea around for a few years. I like Belle, she's smart, loves books, and always knew Gaston's only true love was himself.
Sew a blue dress and an apron, carry a basket with a book... how hard can it be? (I'll tell you the answer when I'm crying and sewing at 3am in October...)

Femme!Booker DeWitt (BioShock: Infinite)
I loved the BioShock community last year when I showed up as Elizabeth. I was tempted to do it again, but the too-big corset from last year still made for a giant question mark. I didn't want to buy another white corset, and I haven't played Burial at Sea yet.
The internet got me thinking about doing a female Booker costume, so did this Ask Lutece post
I found a nice pair of slacks as Goodwill, and most of the costume could be off-the-rack. We'll see how this goes. Burial at Sea is coming up, so this might be backburnered for BaS Elizabeth. Who knows.


Kae's List

Cecil Palmer (Welcome to Night Vale)
I'd heard a lot of buzz about Night Vale leading up to NYCC but became even more intrigued when I saw the cosplayers wandering around. It continues to fascinate me that the fandom of a radio series has seemingly come to a collective agreement as to what the main character looks like, even though he's never actually described! I fell in love with the show and with Cecil, and already have a vest and microphone available...

Vanellope Von Schweetz (Wreck-it Ralph)
While it's not a top priority in choosing my costumes, I enjoy when I find a character whose body type vaguely corresponds with mine. Vanellope is a pretty easy fit: she's little, slightly pudgy, and has a black ponytail. Even better, her sugar-fueled personality offers a perfect character-appropriate outlet for all the energy I have when we go to Cons.

Hobbit (The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings)
A recurring comment in my house while watching the shire scenes in The Hobbit is that hobbit clothes look really comfy. Costume-wise, comfy is a huge selling point. And being hobbit-sized anyway, this was inevitable.

Kitty's List

Brienne of Tarth (Game of Thrones)
All the talking we've been doing about Kae's Ayra costume and all of my friends diving deeply into Season 4 of GoT got me thinking. Brienne is pretty much my favorite character, making the costume would allow me my first chance at making body armor, and it's a great way to play up my size/not worry about needing to be pretty.
The more I think on it, the more fun it is, but this one is going to take some time.

Gandalf (The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings)
Do I really want to be Gandalf? No, not really. Do I like missing an opportunity to be a punchline for Kae's jokes? Never! It seems like it'd be good fun, and a pretty decent outfit. 

Burial At Sea Elizabeth (BioShock: Infinite DLC)
I love a retro look. Love it so much I taught myself pincurls and belong to retro-fashion message boards. A chance to combine that styling with BioShock? Yes please. Problem is, it requires a lot of sewing, and a lot of styling, and if it's not done right, it can look a mess. Like a Brienne costume, this one just can't be rushed.