The Moment

When I posted Spring Updates I wasn’t sure if I’d be posting again about this prop, at least not until I had completed the costume to go with it. But that has been postponed for a smidge, so I think its time to share!

If you don’t recognize this prop, you probably didn’t see the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. That’s okay! What you should know is that it’s central to the storyline, as its the most dangerous weapon in the universe, so dangerous that it has a conscience, who just so happens to appear as Billie Piper’s character Rose, or rather her image, but calling herself Bad Wolf. If you find that a reasonable thing, then you should definitely join the Whovians!

Anyway…

Last October I fell in love with a (relatively) new technology: LASER CUTTING!

And when I say fell, I mean I fell hard.

The panels of this prop were the 2-7th things I ever laser cut.

So I was completely new to Illustrator, but this project (and everything I’ve designed since) has taught me so much!

Back to the prop… I used photos found on the RPF (here and here) as references, and then designed all the sides. 5 of them were reasonable, since there would good references, but the one with all the Gallifreyan was more difficult. Only half-ish was ever visible, so I made a lot of fake Gallifreyan… Which was entertaining. And some of it looks reasonable, and others… Don’t. Luckily it’s only about 12 by 6 inches of ridiculous.

And I’ll probably be one of the few that cares.

I went on a week long “bender” of designing and laser cutting. I would design something one night, cut it out the next day, and then turn around and design the next one that night!

Then came time to take them all home and paint them. All the metallics are Jacquard Lumiere paints, and I used some cheap acrylic paint for other bits.  I think I had everything painted by December. And then my project brain stalled. (In January I found myself working 2 part time jobs, plus my grad school research so everything shut down. Like this blog, for the most part.)

In March, when things had mostly settled, I found myself with the inkling to get in the wood shop to make the frame. I ended up splitting two by fours for the final product, and creating an empty cube. I spent a lot of time sanding it down and trying to get many of the imperfections out. Some of the wood I had used had some kind of black paint on it, so I had to sand it down a lot in places.

Then I made the bad decision to wood burn the frame by hand. In the show prop, it was probably laser cut, but I wanted the deeper worn look. I spent 6 hours over 3 nights working on it (from 10pm to 12am) which was not my finest decision…

I borrowed some stain from a friend, and stained the entire thing, which was a kinda messy affair. My bathroom looked like a crime scene for a few hours. The stain was oil based Zar, in color Rosewood.

Then came Easter weekend. The laser cut panels were “installed,” meaning pressing them until they fit and attempting to glue them together cleanly. I had installed a small “door” into the corner of one of the sides, so I installed hinge hardware, and used some foam board leftover from a friend’s project to fill in some gaps between panels.

I was marathoning the project at this point, so I managed to get on Tinkercad and designed the corner caps, which are essentially 3 sides of a cube with a half sphere, and printed them. For a first 3D project, they turned out unexpectedly perfect! I primed each with some cheap primer spray paint and then painted the corners grey with acrylic paint mixed with some silver Lumiere paint. Then everything got glued together and I used a clear coat over everything, from the wood to the 3d to the laser cut stuff.

But this thing is huge. It’s bigger than the actual prop, and I can hardly hold it. So it takes up a remarkable amount of floor space. So I laser cut an acrylic topper, and I use it as a coffee table!

The intention was that this would be a prop useable for DragonCon, but as I said it is huge. I think it measures 16 inches cubed. I have trouble picking it up, due purely to the dimensions, though the weight would be a problem an hour in…

I’m thinking that it might be worth it to make a smaller one. I’ve only got two months, but I think I can cut down the working time to a two week period, if I do it again, since I know all the steps, and the only real thing I’ll have to buy is stain for the frame. I would definitely laser cut the frame though, before assembly, since it was way too much time to burn it by hand…

We’ll see what that idea comes to!

Sandals of Glory!

Otherwise known as my handmade sandals that aren’t terribly comfortable…yet, but they will be, and they are tailor-made for my feet!

Kaylee

I was looking for sandals appropriate for Kaylee and Nausicaa, since I don’t wear flip flop types and I didn’t want to wear actual boots in the Georgia late summer, and I found a couple in TJ Maxx that weren’t awful, but also weren’t perfect for my feet. I’ve got strangely shaped feet…

So I drew around my feet on tracing paper, and then added some clearance around… Too much in fact, so I ended up removing a lot, then I made paper “straps” to test the pattern, and then started winging it. I cut out four heel pieces, and then three soles and two straps for each shoe. I realized then that slide shoes were also not going to work for me. My feet don’t feel secure unless they’re tied or strapped into things, so I also cut some strappings to add to the heel to secure some ties.

heels

So I had bought a pack of Shoe Goo (side note, did you know it came in colors? I missed that fact when I got it from Amazon, and bought black… not a good plan… In hindsight I should have read the description better) and ended up using all 3.7 ounces of it. And all of the leather was from a couple of vegetable tanned leather bellies from Tandy. I had gotten a couple of extra the last time there was an online super sale of 10 dollars a belly. And by last time I mean a few years ago… It’s been awhile since I really worked with leather. This stuff is thick, but perhaps not quite as sturdy as real sole leather, but it’s working out so far!

side

The heel came first. I glued the 4 pieces together with a (rough to smooth) and (rough to rough) then glued the sandwiches together rough to smooth leaving a smooth end on either side of the uber-sandwich… I used my swivel knife to rough up all smooth surfaces that were being glued with a crosshatch pattern.

For the straps I skived off the excess thickness and glued them in place to the first of the soles. For the hook at the heel, I couldn’t quite skive the leather thin enough, so I cut out a notch in the middle sole, and glued the top to that middle rough to smooth. And for good measure I glued the bottom as well, rough to rough, leaving smooth sides on the top and bottom.

binding

This might be a good time to mention that I was using HUGE binder clips as clamps. Which might not have been ideal, but they worked out pretty nicely!

A couple of hours later I glued the heel sandwiches to the sole sandwiches, but since my binder clips wouldn’t open that far, I got out my old biology and physics textbooks to weight it down (Campbell Biology for the win!), I think with a can of leather conditioner to help “concentrate” the weight in the proper place. I then left the shoes alone for some time to finish drying.

But when I came back, I found the left one was a little too big around the toe strap, so I glued the strap to the top of the sole on the edge to help reduce the length. I had to glue on both sides of the foot to properly balance it, but it’s been working out so far…side foot

I lace them up with some green leather round lacing that was a Tandy clearance buy a few years ago, and actually the same that I use to lace up my TARDIS corset belt. The ties run through slits I cut in the darker strap, then wrap around my ankle and themselves to cradle my foot. I tend to need to tighten them after a couple of minutes of wear, which I attribute to foot wiggling and leather stretching…

Another thing I’ve been doing is wetting the top of the sole lightly in order to bind to my feet a bit during wear, but also so it starts to take the shape of my feet. I know from experience that wearing someone’s well worn Birkenstocks can be uncomfortable because they start to pattern to their primary wearer’s feet, and that’s where I’m hoping to get with these. But maybe not that drastic. I’m definitely interested to see how they wear.

The other thing I’d bought for these were some rubber soles, but I haven’t actually put them on. I’m currently deciding if I really need to, and so far I don’t.

top

The past couple of weeks has been nuts with costume flurries, but slowly and surely I’ll be posting what I’m working on! DragonCon is in just over two weeks, and I’m not ready yet! Not even close!

Snow Day!

And when I say snow day, I actually mean ice day, but it doesn’t have the same sort of ring, does it?

This weekend I learned a few things.

  1. I own no items of red clothing. I mean, my Kaylee dress has a little red in it, but its not a winter dress by any means. I own and elastic red belt. So much for getting a raffle ticket for wearing red (at a dance on Saturday)!
  2. Trying to carve wood will bring on instant flashbacks to Brave.
  3. Even when I own a plethora of food, I don’t like seeing an empty fridge, and I’ll set out to fill it. Which will inevitably lead to buying other stuff too. I’m dubbing it the Valentine’s food run of 2016.

Because its rather cold outside, and therefore inside too, I’m holding off on taking garment photos, because I’m unwilling to take off my knee socks to change into tights. Or to put on jeans. My pajamas are just too comfy. Plus then I’d have to comb my hair.

So once it warms up later this week I’ll be able to photoshoot.

But to catch you up on my wintry day activities, beyond the research I’m also supposed to be doing, I’ve been working on the following projects:

sweater

I cast on the back of the Vale Cardigan last year, sometime in the fall I believe. I’ve now progressed past the armscye shaping, and I might be able to bind off tonight. I’m then going to make the sleeves, and then the fronts, to see how much yarn I’ll have left.

My fingers have been twitching on the interwebs some more, and I spent a few nights lost on the RPF looking at builds of Claudia’s mini Tesla pistol. So I immediately (and slightly regrettably because it was unplanned and hasty) went to work on it.

tubes
and there’s more tubes…

I got some vacuum tubes, bought a dial which is way too big for the build, but may work for the TARDIS, and bought wood carving tools from a craft store.

tools

At first, I only bought a set of chisels and some wood blocks. I got the one I’m currently working with for 25 cents, on clearance. It’s pine, which is not recommended for absolute beginners, but it was cheap. I’ve got some other pieces of wood, of the more beginner variety, so maybe I’ll return those, or I’ll use them for another project.

After some trouble with using just the chisels, I went back to the craft store (on the Valentine’s Day food run of 2016)  and bought an x-acto knife with some extra blades. Things have gone much more smoothly since then. Although I’m even more scared of cutting myself.

pattern

After all, my hands are angry at me enough after working with the chisels and my hand saw. They don’t need any more reason to hate me. For instance, blood. Blood would be bad

In other news, I’m mulling over drafting and making a sweater out of some lovely navy blue sweater knit…

Plenty to keep me busy on this wintry day!

Shiny

full

This project took me forever.

I was looking up when I ordered the parasol in the first place. It was the end of September. That was a long time ago, wasn’t it?

This is basically the same one I got, which is the perfect size in every way, except it doesn’t fit well on my desk… So painting it sometimes got touchy.

Now, I then didn’t start painting until the first of our snowstorms. Because what else was I to do? So that was February…

I also have nearly no in progress shots, because I worked on it mainly at night, or when it was raining/snowing, neither of which provide enough natural light to take nice pictures. I do have this one though.

swirly

For paints, I used the cheap acrylic for all of them. I’m talking the 50 cent paints at Walmart. Maybe they’re a dollar, but either way, very inexpensive.

This might be why I needed nearly three coats to get the green to look solid, not streaky. The yellow and red didn’t have that problem, but the green and I were not getting along.

me

But the funny thing is, a few days after some snow melted, and we were back in classes, the power went out at home. I’m pretty sure that’s why I woke up before my alarm. Since it may have been three hours till it came back on,  as expected by the power company, I decided to pack up the project and take it into work.

In my defense, I’m still basically only taking classes. This first year of grad school is basically undergrad part 2. So when I don’t have a class until 12, am I going to do work in the morning? Or rather, on a Friday, with no homework due in that class, what am I supposed to do in the early morning?

So I finished it up, and during my mass photography escapade (where I also photographed my shawl, and a yellowtail cami that’s upcoming, and maybe something else too), I got some nice pics.

And there you have it! A lovely parasol in a Kaylee style. Yes, I did wait for the entire post before I mentioned Firefly. Can you notice my restraint?

folded

Because I’ve been squealing internally ever since it was finished.

My Own Thread Holder!

Over the break I inherited a large quantity of thread.

Now, this may be the best thing ever, since I almost never remember thread, and often the seams of my clothes end up in black or white, depending on the color of the material.

So now I have colors… but I had nowhere to put them. They were holed up in bags stuffed up next to other sewing notions.

There are so many cool thread holder tutorials on the internet, and plenty more without for inspiration. I needed a low profile one, so I could hang it on a wall, regardless of whether there was a table underneath, and one that I could customize for different sized yarns.

So I bookmarked a few tutorials and said, once I get my paycheck I’ll go out and get supplies.

desk

This Saturday I did! A few paychecks later, of course. Because procrastination is my middle name.

All in all, the wood, sandpaper, and nails came to about $15. I already had E600, and then I spent $2.50 on acrylic paints, which left plenty over. I also got a piece of foam board from the dollar store to make a back, and I need another to cover up the top shelf.  Home Depot has a cutting station, so I asked them to cut the furring boards into two foot pieces. (For materials and a word-walk through, see here!)

Saturday afternoon and evening I put together the frame. It took me much longer than I had to, partially because I don’t have clamps, and partially because I had to cut an inch off of two of the boards.

Be warned that when the cutting station has a sign that says they can’t guarantee exact measurements, it’s probably there for a reason. Like they don’t always get even cuts.

So I got out the dinky hack saw that my dad insisted I put into my toolbox, and sawed. Pretty badly too, but I got it done, and managed to sand away the worst of my mistakes.

backlight

A few of the pieces were a bit warped, which I think adds to the charm, and so I didn’t care at all about getting perfect right angles, as long as the pieces fit okay.

The next morning I rescued the frame from the cold outside and hammered nails into each shelf to keep the entire thing together and then set to work on hammering in millions of nails for the bobbins. I wasn’t terribly successful, but I managed to get about 23 in per shelf, spaced one inch apart. It’s probably best to not look at my thumb for another couple of days… It was hit too many times.

Because so many of the nails were very crooked, I decided to paint them blue just like the rest of the insides as an attempt to cover up. I think it worked out pretty well!

The aqua and the white match it up well to the rest of my decor.

For the first woodworking project since I was in middle school in shop class, I think I did alright!

A tip though, get the size nails they suggest. Substituting longer and thicker ones was not much fun.

sofa

All in all, for about $20 I have a nice little functional bit of thready fun!

Tardis Corset Belt

right2

I had already told you a few months ago now that I wanted to work on something new with leather, which is why I needed to finish the quiver so desperately.

It really was the need to make my Tardis belt.

right1

As I’ve told you before, I wanted to wear at least part of my costume for Halloween, and a big part of the costume for me at least was the corset-belt, since it was supposed to represent a good portion of the Tardis. Before starting it, I had planned for it to represent the console, but upon further reflection (and me forgetting that was my plan) it all changed.

left2

First up was the “muslin”, in order to see if my design would even work. I used the same cardboard from my quiver, and cut out a pattern that would fit around my hips, go up a bit in the back, and not impede any future bustle arrangements. It took some wiggling and some cutting down before I hit the right shape, but it was worth it.

I took a leather belly and lined up my pattern pieces to fit on it efficiently. My goal with leather is to always keep as much as possible, and since there isn’t exactly a grain this is totally possible, unlike fabric.

left1

I used this funky tool that I had found in a scrap drawer to draw my pattern, and cut it out with a swivel knife very carefully to keep the circles as circular as possible.

I then got to the tooling, which ended up being more strenuous than I thought. I had run into the quandary of how much of this should be in relief, and how much raised. I ended up deciding that the round things should be raised, so I had to tamp down the entire background. Love the round things! A sore wrist later, the tooling was done.

more full

Lacing was kind of required, though, since this was destined to be a corset. But how? I tested a few methods and lacing cords, but punching holes ended up being the best option.

At that point I considered it done… until Halloween morning. Then I decided that sparkles were necessary, and I painted the borders gold and glued on sequins to the round things.

roundthings

And finally it was truly done, at least enough for Halloween! I may end up painting some more, but I’m pretty pleased with it!