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A Breath of Fresh Air

I should start with a fair warning – this is a fairly text-heavy post that has very little to do with actual costuming. I’m in the process of expanding this blog from primarily Disney costuming to something I’ve always wanted to do – writing about all of the things I modify and create. I’m not just a seamstress or cosplayer, I’m also a DIY artist.

After my last entry in September 2015, I stopped writing. In fact, I gave up on this blog. For the longest time it seemed like there was no time in my post-divorce life for blogging about the things I loved. I stopped volunteering as Elsa after the Christmas parade in Victoria in 2015, and when 2016 began I felt like I started fresh all over again. 2016 brought a new me – a me that had learned that I could exist independent of a marriage, and that I had an identity beyond that of a navy wife. Up until that point it had seemed like my entire existence in this province was dependent on someone else and their title to justify my own existence, so when I was in the middle of making over the apartment I’d lived in for nearly 6 years I suddenly had an epiphany – after 5 years of that marriage and the heartbreak that followed, I had emerged on the other side victorious and re-discovered all the things about myself that I had always loved and been proud of.

It started with the apartment makeover. I was living by myself and working a decent job, and stuck in a city where the housing situation had gotten incredibly out of hand. Rent had increased substantially on new leases, and I was fortunate enough that my landlords loved me and had no interest in increasing the rent. I was staying in that apartment because it was affordable and convenient, even though it wasn’t where I wanted to be.

I woke up one day and decided I’d had enough. The majority of the living space was a light blue grey, but both the bedroom and living room had horrendous brown accent walls. I’d hated them the entire time I’d lived in the apartment, and had many times brought up the subject of painting them. Clearly, that never happened. Those brown walls were the tipping point, and after a trip to Home Depot they were charcoal grey.

Believe it or not, I’d made it to 29 years old and had never actually painted a wall in my life. I’d done minor touch up jobs here and there but never an entire wall, and never an entire textured wall at that. And wouldn’t you know it, because I was painting this wall a dark charcoal grey without any supervision, despite all of my drop clothes I managed to spill a large quantity of paint on the beige carpet in the bedroom.

Cue my instant panic, ugly crying, and promptly sending a picture of the spill to a few friends with the word ‘HELP?!’

Fortunately R and her partner came to my rescue with a carpet shampooer at the unreasonable hour of 11pm, and I managed to actually suck all the paint out of the carpet as if it never happened.

You’d think that I would’ve learned at this point. To paint those accent walls, I had to take down a couple of floating shelves that were mounted into the studs and also detach and safely neutralize some hard-wired wall lamps. Somehow the paint spill wasn’t a deterrent, and I decided to keep going.

I got a new couch and changed up my living room furniture, hung a giant Banksy print, picked up some faux fur for an area rug and got some extra lighting from Ikea (from amazing trip to Ikea with K in which we discovered THEY SERVE BEER!). I lucked into a French Provincial style bedroom set meant for a teenage girl (twin headboard/footboard combo and all) and discovered the magic of chalk paint and its ability to adhere to any surface. I re-wired a hard-wired chandelier into a plug in and hung it in the bedroom, built and upholstered a headboard, and also upholstered a boxspring and attached new legs to it with the help of R and her other half. I found an old farmhouse style kitchen table, picked up the chairs from someone else, and built a new tabletop (again with the help of R and her partner) and refinished the entire thing.

I got rid of all the furniture that I hadn’t chosen for myself but was left with, and re-made that apartment into something of my own. The apartment became both an ongoing DIY project to keep myself busy, and also turned into a shining reminder of the fact that I am capable of anything I put my mind to.

Shortly after this grand makeover that I poured (literal) blood, sweat and tears into, I did the unthinkable.

I sold the majority of it, quit my job, and moved.

I’d had enough of the city, and while I’d miss my friends and my job, I knew it was time to move on. I’d realized, during this grand apartment makeover, that I was still me. For the first time in years I did something entirely for myself, with ideas of my own choosing, with no one to tell me it was too silly or outlandish, and it helped remind me of who I really am and that who I really am is actually pretty awesome. My parents also made the big cross-country move from Ontario to Vancouver Island last summer, and since they were willing to move several thousand miles to be closer to me, a fresh start in a new city seemed like an entirely reasonable idea.

2016 brought a lot of change. I found myself in a serious relationship that had apparently been sneaking up on me for months without my realizing it. A friendship turned into significantly more; it seemed like it happened overnight and yet now, looking back, I wonder how it wasn’t so blatantly obvious to me (since it seemed everyone else knew) that it was just a matter of time. J has been an incredible partner, and I don’t use the term partner lightly. He actually treats me as an equal partner in our relationship. We have a relationship, not a dictatorship, and it’s been such a breath of fresh air experiencing this together.

Conveniently he already lived close to where my parents were moving, so the inevitable happened. We live together. A year and a half later we have an amazing home (that is still in the process of a full-blown makeover), different career paths than when we started, and the best yellow lab puppy we ever could have asked for. Our parents are nearby, we have the island at our disposal, and we make the most of the time we have together.

Since moving into the house last summer, it’s been an ongoing project. I’ve always heard that home ownership is the to-do list that never ends, and I’m learning first hand just how harsh a reality that is. There’s always something. Dishwasher breaks? Can’t call the landlord to have it fixed, as that is now our responsibility. Dog knocks stuff over and puts a hole in the wall? Better pull out the drywall compound and the paint, and be prepared for the exact same paint we put on everything months ago to no longer be a perfect match as the paint on the walls has aged. Roof starts to resemble a living carpet? Better be prepared to shell out a ton of money to get it replaced.

There are the practical things that need to be done, and they’re often where we don’t skimp. Appliances, a roof, those are the things that need to be done right. We leave the important (and risky) stuff to the professionals. But there are things that we can do ourselves (or more accurately, if you were to ask J, things that I think we can do ourselves and inform him that it is happening) and those are the things I enjoy. Those are the things I want to write about.

There will still be sewing and costuming on this blog – after all, it is my specialty. But I’m also branching out. I’ve always been more into DIY than ‘pay people to do it for me’. My parents are the same, and where I learned it from. My mother is very artsy (and has successfully been selling her chocolate and stained glass creations for years) and my father is an incredible woodworker. They took their house in Ontario that they bought in 1999, put in an insane amount of work themselves to make it over, and then sold it for nearly triple what they paid for it (thank you, makeover and housing market) and moved out here. They know what they’re doing and I’m very much my parents’ daughter. (For about 5 years, it feels like I forgot that fact.)

I plan to write about everything in my life that is DIY – sewing, costumes, my in-progress sewing room makeover, the DIY projects we do around the house, the antique Singer sewing machines I’ve started to collect and refurbish, the crazy projects I take on – you name it, and it’ll probably happen. I don’t do the princess thing anymore – my posts on those costumes will remain but aside from Halloween and possible conventions in the future, I am done with being a Disney Princess. I loved it – it was an amazing ~3 years, I met so many wonderful people and had incredible experiences, but I feel like I’ve grown out of it. The Disney parks cut off their princesses at age 26, according to the internet. I started being a princess at 26 and gave it all up at 29. I turned 30 this year, and that number seems to come with a sense of overbearing adulthood. I still dress up from time to time (J and I pulled off an impressive rendition of Bert and Mary Poppins for Halloween 2016) but I also enjoy putting my time and money into other projects with satisfactory endings like the multiple furniture makeovers we’ve done. I’m about to start work on an antique Singer model 127 treadle cabinet (from 1926!)- the machine is mostly cleaned and just needs to be re-assembled but the cabinet needs refinishing. There will be a little bit of everything here, and I plan to keep it interesting.

I’m back, and while it’s not necessarily in the way I used to be, I plan for it to be better than ever. I hope you’ll join me for this adventure.

Costuming, Public Appearances, Sewing Projects

A Long Overdue Update

A lot has changed in my life since the last time I posted, and while I normally wouldn’t go this into detail about my personal life on a blog about sewing and costuming, I feel like I owe some sort of explanation for not having written anything in months.

Shortly after my last entry, my life was turned upside down. I had been working from home for a few months trying to make sewing and costuming my full time job, and had actually landed a pretty decent contract. All of my materials had arrived, and then suddenly I was getting a divorce and possibly moving from BC back home to Ontario with my family before I’d even cut anything out. Things were difficult for a while; I made it through the sewing contract and got everything turned in on time (just barely.. as in 7am the day they were due by 11am!), and I started a new full time job that same day.

At the risk of oversharing, I admit that the divorce itself was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to face in my life. It was terrible timing (is there ever a right time for a divorce?), I didn’t know how I was going to start over or put myself back together. It took time, and a lot of learning about things that had happened during the marriage that I wasn’t aware of that helped me move forward, and I’m happy to say that I made it through okay.

With getting back into the regular workforce and putting my life back together I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I used to. I’ve made a few things here and there with fabric I had laying around the apartment – a Poison Ivy costume, a dress, and I’ve been gradually working on a leather jacket when I’ve had the time. Things seem to have settled into a routine now and I’m hoping I can get into more sewing projects before the year is out. Unfortunately the crappy Canadian dollar has put a limit on what I can do; usually I order my supplies online as it’s insanely cheaper, but with the poor exchange rate it’s not quite the same anymore.

With that said, my posts may be less frequent than they used to, but I will do my best to keep updating. My new job is wonderful but as it’s been quite a while since I worked full time hours away from home it feels like it’s taken over all of my free time. I’ve been trying to get back into doing birthday parties when I can; I really miss playing Elsa regularly but it’s a challenge to balance work and hobbies.

I do have some photos to share of the Poison Ivy costume as well as the dress to keep this blog going until I have something new. 🙂

Costuming, Disney Princess Series, Public Appearances

Queen Elsa visited Whistler Blackcomb

February was a very busy month! In addition to princess birthday party appearances as The Snow Queen I had the opportunity to volunteer in my Elsa cosplay for The Mustard Seed’s Coldest Night of the Year walk. The Mustard Seed is a local organization that acts as a street church, food bank, family counselling centre and an addictions recovery centre, all supporting Victoria’s vulnerable populations. The walk itself took place all across Canada while fundraising for the hungry, homeless and hurting. Marty the Marmot (the Victoria Royals hockey team mascot, and a good friend!) and the Superheroes of Victoria were attending the event, so I sent off a couple emails to be able to join. In Victoria we raised $17,000, and I’m very proud to have been able to help at this event.

 

A few days before The Coldest Night of the Year walk, I was visiting friends in Vancouver and took a day trip up to Whistler with my good friend (and absolutely phenomenal photographer) Mark Klotz. We’ve been discussing a snowy Elsa photoshoot since I started making my first Elsa costume, but given that where we live is not often snowy, it’s been a challenge. After I finished Elsa 2.0, I finally felt like it was worth a photoshoot, and after realizing the North Shore mountains were severely lacking in snow, we opted to take the 90 minute drive up to Whistler. After all, I’d already taken a ferry to get to the mainland, what was a little bit of a drive on top of that? It really became a go big or go home scenario, so after loading up on Tim Hortons we ventured up to Whistler.

It was an amazing and fun day, and one hell of a ridiculous experience. I wore my wig and makeup throughout the village and up the village gondola, and put my costume on in the lodge when we got up to the top of Whistler mountain.

And of course, all hell broke loose. A crowd started forming, people were staying a little bit away from us because they were incredibly confused . Who wouldn’t be? Disney royalty shows up at the top of a ski resort’s most popular mountain, not wearing skis, well.. I’d be confused too! A few people came up to ask for pictures and then we ventured outside into the snow. That’s where the crowds really started. If you’ve ever been to the top of Whistler, there’s the big Olympic rings and a giant Canadian flag. I ended up in front of that flag for a good 15 minutes just non stop taking pictures with people. It gave Mark a chance to adjust his camera for the snow so it all worked out, but it was pretty funny. We had some great funny moments while shooting; I missed it but Mark swears that while he was taking photos a guy was coming down the mountain behind me and ended up wiping out when he saw me. No matter where we stopped for our own photos I was taking more with others; it was so much fun and so many people were entertained. I even got to jump on a snowmobile!

After a couple hours worth of photos on Whistler we took the Peak 2 Peak gondola to Blackcomb mountain, and the shots we got there were just magical. It’s ridiculous really, we were looking at them all on Mark’s camera on the way back over to Whistler to take the village gondola back down, and I wanted to cry. They were so perfect, the lighting couldn’t have been better and I can’t stop looking at them now 3 weeks later.

These photos are some of the best I’ve ever had taken of me in my entire life, and I can’t thank Mark enough for collaborating on this project. He and I have both been editing them, his are posted in an album on Flickr, click here if you’d like to see his! Mine are also on Flickr, I’ve been editing in snow effects, and since it’s my own Flickr account I can actually embed an album into this post. There’s only 8 photos so far (we took nearly 400!), but I will be adding more to this album as I get through the editing process.

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This is one of the best experiences of my life, and I am beyond glad that Mark and I did this. It was worth the trip and the money, the frostbite and the cold that haunted me for two weeks after given we were at 7,000ft elevation and it was -17C. I would happily do this again!

Costuming, Disney Princess Series, Public Appearances, Sewing Projects

Queen Elsa v2.0

After nearly a year straight of wearing my Elsa costume on a regular basis for big public appearances and birthday parties, it’s time to retire my original costume and bring out a new one. I’ve enjoyed so many great experiences in my first design that it’s bittersweet retiring it, but after so many outdoor events its taken quite a beating and sadly.. it’s time. Frozen has had such a huge impact on my life this past year and it’s only fair that my favourite character get a new costume worthy of portraying her.

The upside of making Elsa for a second time is that I learned a lot from the first one, and there are way better fabric options available now. Sequins were a terrible choice as they cut into the organza cape and made the shirtsleeves pill, and the organza cape itself did not want to stay together anywhere there was a seam on the bias. With the popularity of Frozen there are new fabrics available that have been designed specifically for Elsa and Anna costumes, and I fully took advantage of that.

Supplies were ordered in late November, and even though a good chunk of them came from China they all arrived before Christmas! The early arrival was incredibly convenient as I actually ended up ridiculously sick over the holidays which led to loads of time sitting on my couch and therefore time for incredible amounts of detail. It’s entirely wearable at this point but I’m still wearing my old shirt; the new one is cut out but this time I’d like to rhinestone it before sewing it, and I just haven’t found the time yet this year to sit down and do that.

The skirt was first, and the same as my original with a slight change to the hem. My original had a pointed hem that flowed nicely with the cape, but made the skirt a lot more cumbersome when getting in and out of a vehicle. I’m usually driving to and from events/parties dressed as Elsa (unless lovely husband is available and willing to come with), so trying to fit the skirt and cape into the drivers seat was a challenge. The point also wasn’t accurate, which became more apparent when higher resolution reference material was available. This time I used fabric I purchased on Etsy, which was actually a bit more of a challenge than I expected. It wasn’t clear from the photos, but the silver threading in the fabric ran from selvage edge to selvage edge, meaning I had to cut my skirt pieces horizontally instead of the usual way. The back two panels are pieced together up at the waist; it was the only way to get the length I wanted and the seams are hidden by the corset. The skirt is fully lined with a periwinkle blue heritage cotton.

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Next came the corset which was the most involved piece of all this time. It’s the same overbust style I used for Snow White from Once Upon a Time with a few adjustments; I brought the neckline up a bit for some more coverage and trimmed the bottom edge for the refined point. This corset is four layers; the Etsy fabric and heavy twill flatlined together for the outer layer, and the periwinkle blue heritage cotton and heavy twill flatlined together for the inner layer. To keep the outer layer smooth all of the boning channels are on the lining layer; there’s flat steel in the center and at the lacing panel, and spring steel along each seam and in the middle of the panels. The grommets are hand painted, originally antique brass (as that’s all I have on hand that fits my press right now) but painted with a mix of Jacquard fabric paints to match the fabric. The edges were bound with the Etsy fabric after this picture was taken.

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Next came the part that nearly drove me insane, made my hands ache, but killed a lot of couch time while I was dreadfully sick. I took some 14 gauge vinyl and painted the back of the sheets with a mix of white, teal and blue fabric paints. It took a few layers until it was opaque enough, and once it was completely dry it was cut into rectangles. I did the majority of it a uniform shade but there is a section along the top of the corset that is a few shades lighter, I had some smaller sheets left that I added a bit more white into the paint to give it a bit of an ombre effect. After cutting each sheet into rectangles I then spent more hours than I am comfortable counting cutting each rectangle into a rounded rectangle.

IMG-20141221-WA0000 IMG-20141221-WA0003 IMG-20141224-WA0010 IMG-20141224-WA0002Of course, the tiny rectangle insanity couldn’t end there. Oh no. That was just nearly two days straight (and I do mean straight, from the time I woke up til the time I went to bed) of cutting. These little buggers still needed to be attached. Armed with a tube of E6000 glue, a lot of patience and the biggest bottle of Dayquil I could buy, I sat with the corset and my bowls of rounded rectangles and gradually glued each little rectangle down onto the fabric, one by one.

IMG-20141224-WA0015IMG-20141224-WA0017IMG_20141225_124405Once the rectangles were glued down I took a break, let it dry and then attacked it with rhinestones, beads and even more glue.

IMG_20141208_140754_nopm_IMG-20141226-WA0000 IMG-20141226-WA0002 There’s a modesty panel made just of fabric between the lacing panels; I’ve contemplated adding the vinyl rectangles to that as well but am concerned about the wear of the corset laces on it. I may experiment at a later date but for now, it’s just fabric.

I will admit that I bought the cape pre-made this time around. Making it last time was okay, but trying to find a fabric I liked this time that would also hold up to the methods available to me for putting the snowflake pattern on, well.. my choices were limited. I heavily contemplated chiffon this time over my previous organza, but as chiffon frays so easily I opted against it. I saw someone post a picture of a cape they’d ordered and fell in love , and after much digging I found a seller with it in stock. It was roughly the same price to buy the cape as it would have been to acquire fabric and supplies to make it, and saved me a load of time. As much as I pride myself in the things I make from scratch, the saved hours of labour and the screen accurate print were too hard to resist. Bought the cape, love the cape, greatly enjoy the cape. The below two photos are from prior to finishing the corset (and I realized after I hadn’t tucked the cape into the back of the corset) but it was Christmas Day, my best friend was here and she wanted to see it all together.

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With my old shirt, I wore this version out to its first event at the end of December. Ballet Victoria invited us to join them again this year for their production of The Gift, this time to greet children before the show and during intermission for their weekend performances. We met so many wonderful kids, and had a blast seeing my husband dressed up as Olaf. Anna had a hat and cape this time courtesy of Victoria Costumes, who were also kind enough to make it available to us when we walked in the Sidney Christmas Parade. I will get around to making them myself eventually, but other things keep getting in the way!

I’m so excited to have my new Elsa costume ready for the birthday parties I have lined up so far in 2015, and am scheduling as many appearances as I can.

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Miscellaneous, Sewing Projects

Once Upon a Time Costume Replicas

I’m afraid I’m long overdue in updating this blog; there’s been so many changes in my life lately and it’s been a challenge finding time to sit down and actually post! Back in August I resigned from my 9-5 office job with the intent of pursuing my costume design career while also offering princess parties and appearances.. and then along came Sephora. Many years ago I freelanced as a makeup artist (and continue to do so when possible) and had an opportunity to join as a seasonal cast member, so I figured why not? I had the intent of balancing both sewing and makeup, but as often happens with life plans reality came along and pretty much laughed in my face. I had no idea just how busy the holiday season can be for a store like that and now that I’ve experienced it I realize that trying to pull off both had landed me in the same boat as I was in while at the office; trying to balance a regular job, freelance job, and still having some semblance of a life.

With that said I’ve loved the ~3 months I’ve spent at Sephora; it was a great opportunity to work with some lovely people and learn new things. It’ll all be coming to an end shortly, and in preparation for that I’m in the process of getting back to all things costume related including party appearances as Elsa. I’ve re-opened the Etsy shop, updated social media accounts and am now working on the blog!

The project I’ve most been waiting to post about is my masquerade group from this year that I mentioned a few months ago. We ended up with 7 total characters from Once Upon a Time: Killian Jones/Captain Hook, Emma Swan, Snow White, Prince Charming, Queen Regina, Queen Cora and Belle. It took 7 weeks of insanity (while balancing Sephora and trying to sew!) with plenty of bedazzling assistance from J & D, but together we pulled it off. In the interest of not writing 7 individual posts I’m just going to include some photos and explain a bit about each costume; should anyone be intending on replicating these feel free to ask for further detail and I’d be happy to explain.

Killian Jones was my best fabric find; after some serious online research I tracked down one of the fabric sources that Once Upon a Time uses and managed to acquire the exact same fabric (even the exact same bolt it came from) that the show used for Killian’s jacket from S03E22, Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home. It’s a gorgeous embossed silk and was surprisingly easy to work with, just a challenge to press and steam without wrecking the pattern! My lovely husband was pleased to wear this outfit. The jacket was lined with a soft taupe cotton and French microtwill black facing and accents, with black grosgrain ribbon and more buttons than I ever again want to buy from Fabricland. I also whipped up a bright white sateen cotton shirt and coordinating French microtwill black vest as well; because I am determined, the vest itself was made entirely the morning of the masquerade. I am so beyond proud of his ensemble, the jacket is a particular point of pride for me partly due to fabric source and partly due to how it looks on the husband!

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Since he’s in the above photo as well, we also had Prince Charming. I’m responsible for his shirt and tunic, the pants and boots were his own (and he insisted on cowboy boots to make it more ‘him’). His shirt was the same as Killian Jones’, but in a soft ivory cotton instead. The collar was a particular pain in the butt, as Charming’s is quite frayed. I sat with it for hours with a pin gradually unraveling the edges to keep it frayed without letting it fall apart. The tunic is a beautiful black faux leather with a natural grain, lined in red Kona cotton and trimmed with chocolate brown microsuede. The real tunic has perforated leather sleeves, which was a fabric I couldn’t find, so we went with a diamond quilted pattern instead.

DSC2689The boys’ costumes were actually the easiest ones to put together, the ladies are the ones with all the insane amounts of detail. Regina nearly killed me; K chose her dress from S03E02, Lost Girl, and of course it was plastered in rhinestones, hand painted lace and feathers. I found the original fabric for this one as well, but at $30/yard with a 10 yard minimum order it was just way too pricey, especially when we only needed 7 yards. Instead I opted for a satin charmeuse that came in a black/fuschia print, which was then dyed piece by piece with iDye Poly in Crimson. There’s roughly 600 black rooster feathers and 2000+ rhinestones on this one (all individually attached), but it was a labour of love even though it took the longest. It’s two separate pieces, a big skirt with pockets and then the bodice, worn over a bum roll and a triple hoopskirt.

Photo courtesy of Morgan Turner PhotographyIn keeping with the evil queens we also had Cora, Regina’s mother. Our Cora was less of an exact replica and more of an ‘inspired by’ type of deal. It’s actually what prompted the whole group masquerade idea; husband’s and my original plan was Red Death Phantom of the Opera and Christine (her movie masquerade gown) but the fabric I ordered did not look anything like it had on the website. In the hopes of actually getting some use out of it I suggested J join us for the masquerade, which led to an interpretation of Cora’s wedding gown from S02E18, The Miller’s Daughter. This is a duochrome taffeta and tulle mix with beaded bridal lace and more rhinestones than I really want to count. Tulle is an awful skirt choice when done in single layer, by the way.. especially when you’ll be walking around outside, hence the uneven hem as this was towards the end of the night when it got caught on stuff. The top is a proper steel boned corset (also worn over a much heavier steel undergarment corset) and the skirt is a gathered poofy concoction worn over a triple hoopskirt, also with pockets. I really like ballgowns with pockets. Our Cora is also best friend J who is usually behind the scenes manning my Nikon to take photos of Elsa and Anna!

Photo courtesy of Morgan Turner PhotographyAnd now the non-evil ladies! Belle was the original OUAT take on Belle’s classic yellow gown, the one she was seen in through seasons 1-3. My version was done with yellow satin and dyed brown satin, as well as brown beaded and heavily rhinestoned lace. The top was a proper steel boned corset as well, with the pleated skirt and pockets. Worn over a single hoop skirt and a small bum roll. Unfortunately Belle’s gown best shows how much my garment steamer failed me the day of the masquerade; while I’d pressed my seams during construction I didn’t iron the entire thing in the process as I’d planned to put the men to work steaming while us ladies handled the makeup and hair. Sadly the Rowenta upright steamer I’d purchased just for this occasion decided to spit water instead, and of course I was informed of this when I was in the process of dressing everyone and it was too late to bust out the ironing board. Therefore, please pardon the creases in the fabric. 😦

Snow White is the purple gown she’s most often pictured in (the one worn to Cinderella’s ball) from S01E04, The Price of Gold. It’s a beautiful lilac shantung two piece (sensing a theme here?) with a proper steel boned corset as the bodice, covered in hand painted lace and plenty of rhinestones. The skirt was pleated and also had pockets, and was worn with a bum roll over a triple hoopskirt. She didn’t take a single photo, but I do have one of her with Charming!

DSC2678And last but not least, my own gown. This is Emma Swan’s fairytale princess dress from S03E21 & S03E22, Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home. I hate to point this out, but in the rush to get everyone laced into their dresses and to the masquerade I forgot to throw my bum roll over my petticoat, so I won’t be posting photos of me standing. I do, however, have a lovely photo that one of the photographers suggested that is my favourite! My dress was 10 yards of satin, with a steel boned bodice worn over a fully steel boned undergarment corset, and a massive pleated skirt with pockets over a triple hoopskirt (and designed for the bum roll I forgot to put on!). The original dress from the show had  bit of embellishment along the neckline but that was it; as anyone reading this blog knows I’m a huge fan of all things sparkly so of course I had to add more. The lace around the neckline was rhinestoned, but the hem is where it really stood out. It’s 9.7 yards around, and had scalloped lace sewn on the whole way. I then hand beaded that lace with Swarovski bicone beads and seed beads, and attached quite a few clear Swarovski crystals along with an insane amount of red crystals.

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All 7 of these costumes were a TON of work, but they were an absolute pleasure to do and one hell of an experience. We had a lovely night at the masquerade, and we all looked amazing! Hopefully we’ll be able to visit the mainland in the spring to do a photoshoot in Steveston, where Once Upon a Time films their Storybrooke scenes.

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Disney Princess Series, Public Appearances

Queen Elsa & Princess Anna from Frozen visit Westshore Parks & Rec

Last night we had another amazing outdoor showing of Frozen, with the biggest crowd we’ve faced yet! I’ve been told there were over 1500 people in attendance which is just incredible. Elsa and Anna started greeting children at 7pm and due to the overwhelming popularity we kept our lineup running past the posted 8:45pm time and stayed until 10pm to see everyone who had waited. We met so many adorable children and had a really great time getting to make them all smile.

The entire team at Westshore deserves a huge thank you for all the effort they put into this event. The staff made sure that we had everything we needed and the security team was beyond helpful. We couldn’t have moved around without their assistance!

Once again we had best friend J on hand to take photos for anyone without a camera as well as just to take pictures anyway, and they’re all available here on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackandgingerco/sets/72157646330220770/

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Disney Princess Series, Public Appearances

Anna & Elsa visit Uptown in Victoria for an outdoor showing of Frozen!

First things first, just.. WOW. I can’t say that enough. Yesterday was absolutely amazing and it’s all thanks to the awesome folks at Uptown. They’ve been planning this event for quite a while, and even when there were hiccups (like technical problems with the giant blow up screen they’d rented, leading to a last minute acquisition of the biggest TV they could find) they just kept rolling with it and did everything they could to try and make the experience as great as possible. I feel that the hardworking staff at Uptown deserves a massive thank you for voluntarily putting on a free event like this for the community. With an event of this nature it’s impossible to predict just how many people will come out, and let’s be honest, Disney themselves weren’t even prepared for the popularity of Frozen and are still struggling 8 months after it opened to keep up with the demand for merchandise. Uptown took on a huge challenge and did everything in their power to make it work.

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I understand that it was very busy and hopefully we’ll be able to see anyone we missed at our next event at Westshore Parks & Recreation Centre on August 21st where they’ll be showing Frozen on an outdoor screen. I have to admit I was surprised our line time was only ~45 minutes, as I’ve seen lines of 4+ hours at Disneyland and Disneyworld! We tried to meet as many people as we could and stayed longer than originally planned, but did have to leave as I am actually quite injured right now. I currently have a severely sprained foot that I’m supposed to be staying off of, and with all the movement yesterday it had swollen to a point where it was difficult to remove my shoe by the time we did leave. I greatly appreciate everyone being so understanding and accommodating with us. Anna and Elsa both had an amazing time and met so many wonderful children and we can’t wait to do it again in August.

The calm before the storm!

All of the photos taken by our amazing friend J (who also deserves a HUGE thank you for taking care of us as well as playing photographer) are available in high resolution on Flickr. The way my website is built, there’s just no tidy way to put 500+ photos on here without it being a huge mess, so I’ve opted for Flickr. Immediately following this paragraph is a direct link to the album on Flickr, and a slideshow below to see all of the photos. When you find your photos on Flickr, click on them and in the bottom right corner there will be a little download arrow where you can choose what resolution you’d like to download them in. Also if anyone has any photos or videos of us that you’re willing to share please send them to crystal@jackandgingerco.ca as we’d love to see them!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackandgingerco/sets/72157645257698748/

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