Masters of our Fate

Tyrel is done with your talking...

Tyrel is done with your talking…

As a role player you get a perspective on life that’s generally inaccessible to the masses. You get to explore aspects of your personality that are being squelched in other areas of your life, find out what would happen if you went with your gut instead of with the crowd, take that chance on being a hero instead of hiding in the back of the battle and you learn exactly how little control you can have over an outcome.

At a recent game my ex walked right into a trap set for the inquisitive mind and sprung it by asking too many questions. The results were rather devastating to his character. It made me question my deep seated need to understand the world around me. Do I ask too many questions?

Anxiety is a terrible thing to live with day to day. A little fear now and again is good for the soul. A lot robs the soul of its vitality and its luster. “A life lived in fear is a life half lived” according to Strictly Ballroom and I’m watching this play out in my own, but without all the humorous moments and the wise asides by children. I’m also severely lacking in sequined costumes and men who dance as though David when the Ark returned to Jerusalem, but that’s a post for another day.

The price of understanding is knowing the answers to the questions and realizing that the bad results number far more than the good. Our world is not, in fact, set up for us to be successful. Too often the fear of those undesirable outcomes cause us to bring them to pass, which feeds our anxiety and creates an emotional maelstrom of a world to try and navigate. I don’t want to be like this anymore. My body can’t take it and my mind can’t handle it and my soul is aching from it… so what does one do to change their little world?

I have begun by rethinking my way through my entire worldview. Not the place most people begin, I know. Who is God? What is He to me? What do I want Him to be? Where am I going with my life? Is that really where I want to go? Is the music something I’m meant to do or something I’ve latched onto as personal therapy and naively believing that it will help someone else as well? What of the art and the clothing design/construction? I love them but should I be doing these things? Why am I here? What is peaceful to pursue and what is selfishly annoying everyone around me? Am I lovable? If presented with romance again, would I want to pursue it? Am I EVER going to own my own house? Should I? Am I, as I so often feel lately, in desperate need of being rescued or is this something I’m capable of doing on my own?

And then it hits me: I’m asking too many questions. And I am paralyzed.

Please, God, make me a stone… with a sweet nougaty center. In the above picture I might look like I can take on the world, but I assure you that my insides do not match my outsides.

My mother taught me that you eat an elephant one bite at a time, so tonight I am doing math. Tomorrow I will do paperwork and maybe move a thing or two. As I make these decisions and I actively choose one fear to face at a time, perhaps gradually my wings will grow lighter so that eventually, I’ll be ready to fly again.

Blessings on your new year regardless of your faith, religion or creed. My best to you all.

Inexpensive costuming

A marmot character. Photobomb courtesy of Gizmo.

A marmot character. Photobomb courtesy of Gizmo.

So what better way could there possibly be to spend your Memorial Day weekend than gaming in someone else’s chapter? So that’s exactly what we did. Dustin and I packed up the dog and a short list of gear and we headed out to Tecumseh, KS to play The Edge of the Wilds with Heroic Central. It was a really interesting experience as this game capitalizes on a tribal element that you don’t usually see in high fantasy games. And there were ticks. Lots of ticks.

 

So while I was up there I was amazed by the youthfulness of the Central player base and it got me to thinking. When you’re young you really don’t have a lot of cash to throw at your costumes. The above costume is roughly as follows:

turban: $6

red shirt: $8

blue pants: $12

boots: $15

black leather armor: $3.50

belt: $3

belt pouch: $2

shoulder bag: $5

furry gloves and tail: $8

paint: $6

foundation: $7

brushes for applying paint: $5

TOTAL: $80.50

You show that number to a high schooler and they’re going to explode with OMGs. This is just the price for the costume. it doesn’t include the price of the event, the Heroic membership fee that gets you insurance during the event as well as other extremely helpful doodads or the price of food during the event.

Now I’m really going to blow your mind. My costume was EXTREMELY inexpensive for the look I achieved. It could have been more inexpensive, however I hadn’t quite yet discovered the local thrift shops when I purchased the red shirt and the pants… and if I was able to sacrifice a stuffed animal for the fur. *shudder* I just can’t do it. It looks at me while I’m trying to rip the seams and makes me want to cry. Velveteen rabbit, anyone?

Now lets make it more accessible to the regular human being. My red shirt, blue pants, shoulder bag and boots were all purchased over a year ago for another character. They were just sitting around my house. My belt and belt pouch were also purchased for yet another character and were just sitting around my house. The turban is a length of fabric I purchased 10 years ago as a makeshift table cloth. The glove pieces under the fur on my hands were originally skeleton hands from a ruined Halloween costume we’d purchased to make packets out of. I paint as a hobby, so all the paint and brushes were sitting around my house. The black leather armor is a leather jacket my husband found months ago and picked up because it was stupid cheap at a thrift store and he figured we’d use it eventually for the leather in it.

For this specific character, I spent $15 and a reasonable amount of time for a pretty kick ass costume. Most high schoolers can scrounge up $15. If you don’t do something that requires the unique foundation/paint mix that I use, you could spend less than $10. Here’s how.

1. Check your closet, your mom and dad’s closets, your grandparent’s closets, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, best friends, garage sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, and talk to anyone you know that’s been doing costuming for a while. There’s likely a bunch of things just lying around that you can repurpose into your costume. Always start with the stuff that’s free to see if there’s something that might work. Another great way to save money is to hit costume shops during the off season or check into those “only open for Halloween” shops a week or so after Halloween is over and they’re trying to clear out their inventory before they close.

2. Learn to use one of these:

Thanks to Amazon.com for the picture

This is a seam ripper and if you’re trying to save money on costuming, it’s your best friend. My leather armor was a leather jacket that came to my knees. I used a seam ripper to take everything off it but the vest portion that I wanted. To avoid overheating issues I removed the lining (also with a seam ripper). Then I put it on and stuck a belt over it to hold it closed. The end. Easy cheesey. Just don’t stab yourself with the ripper. It hurts. A lot.

3. Learn to view every sheet, curtain, tablecloth, old couch or cushy chair, prom dress, coctail dress, ruined leather anything, blanket and comforter as a potential costume. My husband’s shiny mage shirt was a women’s plus sized dress shirt before I took a seam ripper and a sewing machine to it. His one shouldered monk robe was a women’s satin bathrobe with lace on it.

4. Learn how to sew on a button. It’s inexpensive, relatively easy to learn to do well and incredibly necessary when you’re learning to reclaim items into costumes.

5. Reassure yourself as you look at this weird jumble of stuff you’ve collected that costumes evolve over time. As interactive theater players or larpers, we have the privilege of wearing this outfit more than once and there’s nothing wrong with changing it up as you go. In fact, this is completely normal.

There’s the basics. As I continue blogging with my costuming how-to stuff I’ll be including ways to skimp on the cost while still providing a really amazing looking result. Stay tuned!

 

 

*please note the boffer weapon I carry is not included in this as I consider weapons/shields a separate crafting category. If you’re curious, my boffer is worth about $15-20? I didn’t build it so I’m not sure exactly.

A New Leaf

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You know, most of the time when people are talking about turning over a new leaf they’re referencing things in their personal lives, but since the pages of books are also referred to as leaves I found the duality quite suitable to my current situation.

Getting hit by a car gives you a lot of perspective. You stop taking crap from people you might have just put up with before because you now understand there’s not enough time and space in your already ridiculously full life to put up with their extra stress. You shove your fears aside and you do that thing you’ve been putting off forever because you just weren’t brave enough to face it yet. You try something new just for the heck of it. Well here’s another outpouring of me delving into the costume/prop creation world because it was something I’d been putting off/afraid to try for entirely too long.

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Today I feature my husband and hisĀ epic phys rep awesomeness. What you see before you is a spell tome he created for his new mage-style character for Heroic. This tome was created from scratch using materials we had sitting around the house and, in my opinion, it came out with a special flair of awesome. After about 10 hours of work we sure hope it would, right?

First he cut regular printer paper in half. (Folded it top to bottom and cut it on the paper cutter). Then he painstakingly sat there and tore ragged edges on the 2 short sides and one long side. The long side that remained straight goes into the binding.

Then he boiled and filtered coffee (expired from Starbucks) and dyed each and every page by hand! You have to understand, my husband is a fairly active person, so standing there with a hairdryer personally drying each piece as it came out of the dye pan is not even close to his style.

Next he sewed the pages together with a needle and waxed thread we use for sewing leather. Voila! The insides are done. Just this part took 6-8 hours.

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For the binding he cut to size a front, back and binding piece of thick plastic from an old sauna door that was sitting around in the garage. The sauna itself hasn’t worked in YEARS, but the plastic showed some promise.

Next there was an old leather coat with some pretty embossing and trim that he bought for next to nothing at a thrift store. He cut the leather to just wrap around the insides of the covers when the whole book was put together.

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Then the leather was glued onto the plastic covers, leaving a break between the cover plastics and the binding plastic so that the book would easily open and close.

The pages were then placed between the covers and the straight side of the pages was sewn into that space between the plastic covers and binding. He actually sewed straight through the top leather, pages and bottom leather to hold it all together.

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Finally, a couple of pieces of thin paperboard that were left over from some packaging from mailed Christmas presents were cut to size so they would fit nicely into the front and back cover. These were glued down to cover the leather edges and give the whole thing a nice finished appearance.

What a really fabulous result for us spending very little money. I’m so proud of him! I can’t wait to show you our next collaboration: the costume that goes with the tome! He even learned how to embroider for it!

Have you made a fabulous prop for next to no expense? I want to hear about it. Drop me a comment. I’d really love to see pictures of it too!

And remember: Keep on living ’cause the dying can sneak up on you!