It is officially that time of year again: that time of year when I design, render, and build six Ren Fest costumes and keep my costuming skills alive! This year, in case you couldn’t tell, we went as the Merry Folk of Fulshear. The story behind this is as follows: right after last year’s Ren Fest, I asked my little nephew, “what do you want to be next year, Liam?” to which he responded, “an archer!” to which I responded, “an elf archer?” to which he responded, “no, just an archer,” to which I responded, “how about a faerie archer?” to which he again responded, “no, just a normal archer. Just an archer, Aunt Elisa.” Well, when I asked him again in August, when I had a week between summer and fall classes to work on costumes, he said exactly the same thing as last fall. I was amazed he actually remembered! At that point, Kristie (my big sister, and Liam’s mom) proposed we pick that up as a theme and go as the Merry Folk of Fulshear. Kristie is delightfully clever with wording, and I quite fancied the idea, so we went with that. While I was doing my initial sketch renderings, it became very apparent that the costumes I was planning did not fit into the medieval-England technology box (the kids had specifically asked for shiny buttons and no laces, this year), so in the end, we were a sort of Dungeons and Dragons/Robin Hood group of three archers, one crossbow-wielding scout, a quarterstaff wielding quartermaster (Little Joan?), and “Cleric Tuck.” My friend Travis (you’ve seen pictures of him from previous years, if you’ve seen my previous costume posts) was slated to be Cleric Tuck, but he couldn’t make it to the fair on the same day as the rest of us, so I don’t have pictures of that costume to include in this post. I may show you pictures of that costume at a later date, but today, I’ll give you the rundown of those of us who were there. First of all, if you look on the far left of the above picture, you will see my brother-in-law’s cousin Jonathan, who went as a Knight Templar. I did not build his costume, but Kristie and I decided he was our King Richard the Lion Hearted. He did not like the idea at all, but the idea stands in my imagination.
Next! Here’s me:
The quarter-staff is actually one of my weapons from my Tae-Kwon-Do days, and you may recognize the dagger from last year’s costume, though I re-embellished it for this costume. The boots are from a sketchers outlet, but I embellished them myself. Everything else in that costume was hand-made by me. Yes, I actually made myself pants this year from the same faux-suede with which I lined the bodice. I would like to point out the gigantic pocket-bag I had hanging off of my belt this year. That was among the best ideas I’ve ever had! It was super-handy, and I couldn’t possibly lose the thing as we wandered the fair. Finally, did you notice the hat detail? I made 4 Robin Hood style hats out of wool/polyester blend felt for our costumes this year, and that was a bit of a process! Like most of the things I design, I made up the pattern as I went along, and I’m pleased with how well those hats turned out in the end.
Next! Kristie, the leader of our merry band:
You may want to click into that image for the full-sized version. Anyhow, I love the pockets on Kristie’s vest this year, though they were surprisingly hard to make. You may recognize the pouch, riding tunic, and archer gloves from Kritter’s previous Ren Fest costumes, but they were just as hand-made-by-me as the new elements (granted, last year and the year before respectively). I thought her idea to affix the pouch to the strap of her quiver was genius! Also, she is significantly more photogenic than I am!
Next is Ryan, who made my costume-making-year by agreeing to let me build him a costume and join in on the family fun!
Bearing in mind that the sunglasses and the wristwatch are not part of the costume, Ryan is sporting the “forward scout and crossbow wielder” costume I designed and built for him this year! WOOHOO! Did you notice that he’s the only person in our Robin Hood group who is actually wearing a hood? Originally, the quiver was designed to buckle to his thigh, but he found that uncomfortable, so we moved it to his waist-belt. The waist belt is actually from Kristie’s 2012 ranger costume, but everything else is new to this year’s set, including the boot-caps. This was actually my first year making adult-sized boot caps, and I think they turned out quite well.
Here’s Liam, the origin of the archer idea:
WHAT A CUTIE! Liam’s costume this year is pretty much all-new, though you may have noticed that he used the backpack I built for his costume last year. It actually contains the kids’ cloaks, which they never had to wear this year, because it was actually quite hot the whole time we were there. Sooo… this marks the second year in a row that I don’t have pictures to show you of the outerwear I built for them. Anyhow, Liam and Oona picked their own costume buttons and chose their own costume cloth. They also both requested “castle sleeves,” which were BEASTLY difficult to manage with the fabric Oona chose for her costume (which was, incidentally the same fabric I used for the Cleric Tuck costume). Speaking of…
Oona! Our final costume for the day:
I’ve got to say, she wears it well, and she was just as super-cute as Liam. She is actually wearing the boot caps I made for Liam two years ago, because they fit her now! Funny how kids grow like that. She was getting pretty good at using that toy bow by the end of the day, thanks to the help of her cousin Jonathan, the Knight Templar.
To round off the post, here are a couple of nice family shots, though I have no idea what Ryan was looking at…
Until next year! -E.G.D.
GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I… sort of forgot I had a website there for a while. I’ve been very, very busy, but it’s been the sort of busy that should lead to posts, not stop them! San Jacinto College Central’s department of Theater and Film presents Little Shop of Horrors this very weekend! In fact, as of posting this, we’ve already had three shows >_>. Come on down and see one of the three remaining! Friday: 7:30PM (yes, that’s in 20 minutes), Saturday: 7:30PM, Sunday 2:30PM. It’s a great ol’ musical with a homicidal plant~! What’s not to love, right? Also, I’m the music director, even though it doesn’t say so in the program. Thanks, and I hope you can still make it! -E.G.D.
So much for barbecue and pool parties! Apparently, what I do on Labor Day weekend is design and sew. I am now officially finished with all six of the renaissance fair costumes (we’re going as the “Merry Folk of Fulshear,” in a sort of fantasy Robin Hood theme this year), and I spent Saturday turning 3 ¼ yards of fabric into three dresses and two shirts. Now I know many of you out there who sew are thinking “the heck, you say?” but let me clarify: Two adult-size-8 sundresses, one adult-male-medium shirt, one kid-small shirt, and one size 6T dress. Aaaaaaaand I will be the first to admit that the adult shirt turned out certifiably weird, because I made it last, and by that time, I had a motley assortment of scraps, and even those were not in consistent and easy-to-use shapes. I think that perhaps the only reason I pulled it off was that I didn’t use a pattern for any of the above (at least not a paper one… I basically used a marker and a clear-view ruler and drew straight onto the fabric), and that freed me up to go a little crazy with shapes. Also, almost everything wound up roll-hemmed, so I didn’t need much seam allowance. The real challenge throughout the project, in the end, was in keeping the lines on whatever bits of fabric I was using up-and-down and side-to-side (3 yards of the fabric was woven in a grid pattern), because I decided that I didn’t want any of the final pieces to look like a crazy train-wreck. All five pieces wound up looking neat and tidy, even if the adult shirt is interestingly colorful.
The only reason I am writing this post at all, and I know some of you are wondering, is that I did a load of laundry today that included the shirts and dresses, and when I hung them up to dry in my apartment, they made a pretty neat picture; so much so that I grabbed my camera and took this shot:
If you are wondering, as anyone who sews should be, why I was washing the finished products when I should have washed and dried all the fabrics before using them… erm… well… I’m in a coin laundry situation, and I am saving to buy a house. And all three are non-natural fibers, so they were unlikely to shrink. And yeah, I know, I’m still lucky they didn’t turn into misshapen and color-bleeding lumps. Moving on, after I took that initial shot, I rearranged the clothes so the colors balanced better (at least in my mind), and took this shot with my camera in portrait-mode:
And because I am still amazed I pulled this off, I gathered up the sum total of the scraps left from these fabrics and took a picture of me putting the lump on my coffee table. And yes, all the scraps fit easily into my left hand before I started to let it go:
Finally, in my defense, my family and friends are out of town this weekend, and I am not. I am not a totally crazy, anti-social, Labor Day party pooper! I’m just not very good at not doing anything, and I recently cut back to three jobs (gasp!). Aaaaaaaanyhoo, happy Labor Day, everyone, and welcome to the unofficial start of fall! I finished a batch of summer clothing for my family just in time, right? Yyyyyyeah –E.G.D.
Soooooo, I am having a really interesting and rewarding summer, but the summer semester will come to an end before the end of the month! It is time to get my ducks in a row for the Fall semester, and I have a veritable flock. I will be teaching two sections of Theatre Appreciation at LSC- Atascocita Center, and SanJac Central has engaged my services once again as their visiting professor of Musical Theatre and the music director for their production of Little Shop of Horrors. Also, I’m slated to be involved in LanFour Productions‘ production of Happy Hour, though I’m not clear about in what capacity. Aaaaaaaaaaand, of course, I am still performing for Mad Science of Houston on a fairly regular basis. Incidentally, I have parted ways with Starbucks/Kroger (on good terms, of course), which is a very good thing because it doesn’t make much sense to have more than four jobs in any given semester. Between the jobs and the royalties from the three books, I expect I’ll do pretty well for myself, all told. If I neglect to sleep or go out with friends, I might even get another book out on the market. I am officially living the dream! I will, of course, keep the internet world posted. Have a great rest of the summer, everyone! If you can, I highly recommend you hit the beach at least one more time before the regular school year descends. – E.G.D.
Ooooooh yes, precious. Curse is finally out in the world after copy-editing struggles of truly epic proportions, the likes of which I shall not relate at this time, because you’ll probably all wind up vexed at me for not getting to the real point. Which is, of course, Curse! Likely the (from a technical standpoint) best book I have ever written, and certainly among the longest, Curse is now available in paperback from Woven Weird through the link in this image:
It’s also on Amazon and the like, of course. I hope you all enjoy it! -E.G.D.
Well, many of you know I was at all four days of Comicpalooza! this year, and I was in costume all four days. I had a good deal of fun, helped a friend sell enough stuff for her to more than break even on her trip here from Rhode Island, and I confused a great many people because the costumes I wore the first three days were not specific to any particular comic book. My favorite of the three was a remix of last year’s Ren Fest dragonrider costume. When people asked what I was supposed to be, I replied “Prepared,” but really, I was a time traveler who wasn’t entirely sure when I’d landed. “Um… anybody seen a newspaper around here?” I thought it would be fun to share:
Tada! I really enjoyed wearing this all day, largely because it was really quite comfortable, and the satchel had lots of space for comic-related schwag. Three cheers for pulling from costume storage (an age-old theatrical tradition). -E.G.D.
As I mentioned previously, I have a poem in this anthology, and I think anyone who enjoys my dark fantasy genre work will probably love everything else in here, as well: