Continuing Cosplay

Years ago we introduced our children to the world of cosplay. They loved the idea of being able to be a character from a show or video game. My wife enjoyed making their costumes. I enjoyed acting out the characters with the family. We all really enjoyed showing off at Comic Cons.

Pokémon Trainers and a wild Pikachu!

For me, that felt like a lifetime ago. We haven’t dressed up for conventions in years. Halloween was a wash for me last year, as I didn’t dress up. I did my Obi-Wan for May 4th, so I was happy there. The love of dressing up in cosplay is still rampant with our 18 year old. That also makes me happy- even if I don’t know the characters they are doing.

Out of the blue, our middle went to our next door neighbor yesterday and asked if they would come over to help with some cosplay photos. After living in our home for almost one year, this was the first interaction the two of them had. It was a positive one. Our neighbor, who is 16, has been interested in doing cosplay but was unsure where to start.

Good thing we moved in next door! Now our middle will have someone to teach the joy of cosplay to. I am really happy that my wife and I encouraged this activity years prior. It has helped with our kids expressing themselves through fandoms. Now that expression is being shared from our teens to others.

That’s pretty cool.

Hudsucker Proxy

Sometimes in my blog I like to share films that I enjoy. I don’t do any write ups or dissection of the films. Just that I enjoy them and why. Today I am writing about a favorite of mine that I really enjoy watching in the winter. That’s because most of the film is set around New Year’s and the idea of new beginnings.

The Hudsucker Proxy is set in the early 20th century. It has some of the best cinematography I’ve ever enjoyed. The sets are Art Deco, the timeline is flawless, the jokes are quick and perfectly timed. What’s not to love about the film?

The simplicity of the underlying story and the characters that drive the film make it relatable and a joy to be a part of. I enjoyed the film so much, I made a Cosplay of the lead character a few years back. It was such an obscure costume, that when I wore it to three different comic conventions- maybe ten people understood it.

If you haven’t seen the film, please check it out this season. It is a great movie by the Coen Brothers. Check out one of my favorite scenes on YouTube: Hula Hoop.

Halloween 2020

For obvious reasons- this year was a very subdued Halloween. We gave out candy to three groups of children for a grand total of eight kids. Our teenagers went up and down our cul-de-sac to hunt out some candy. Even though we had no real plans- my family still dressed up.

Considering how few homes they stopped at- they end up with a good haul and shared the candy amongst one another. Hooray for sugar!

For the notable costumes- Random did a mash up of Jack Skellington and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. Pretty good make up considering how she did it within a half an hour. Toying around with make up is one of her favorite things to do. Especially if it makes her look spooky.

For my costume- I did a fun take on Vincent Price from back when he showed up on The Muppet Show in the 70’s. Price is such an icon when it comes to classic horror. But I wasn’t sure how to portray him. I think it turned out doggone amazing.

I enjoyed my evening of viewing people’s costumes on Instagram all night. Some were very creative. As well, many people had small children who looked really cute.

How was your Halloween? Were you dressed up? Or did you just pig out on candy?

My Son is A Ghostbuster In The Making

I finished making my Halloween costume last week: Building My 2019 Costume. I’m really happy with how that one turned out. I guess it inspired my son to do his own build (With my help). After numerous costume ideas thrown around, he decided he wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Retro at it’s finest. Time to get going on it!

Of course we hit up Spirit Halloween to see what was out there. I love my son and I love Halloween… but forking over the kind of money this store is asking just for one night is kind of crazy. I did buy one piece to add to his costume. But the rest we decided to make together.

The Wand

This isn’t screen accurate at all. But it looks pretty awesome. It’s also the design my son wanted. A few years ago I had picked up two garden lights that had blue lightning effects. But because they used 8 “AA” batteries, I never used them in the yard. One of them I made into a “Steampunk Lightning Catcher that my daughter has used as part of her steampunk outfit for conventions. The other is now for my son to use as his Proton Pack Wand. I modified this one with a new rocker switch to turn it on, a metal grate and some “exposed” wires.

Proton Pack

The Proton Pack has been the most fun to assemble. Much like my Skesis head, I used pink foam insulation as the base. I cut the bottom of an ice cream tub for the “Cyclotron”. The top is from an old pressure washer handle and the rest is odds and ends from an old VCR and arcade parts I had laying around. A coat of black paint and some fairy lights hide most of the obviousness of what the items once were.

Ghost Trap

This is the piece we bought. As awesome as the Ghost Trap from Spirit Halloween is- I ended up using paints in order to weathering it. The result makes it seem more believable. So I used some techniques I’ve learned over the years. I think it looks good. But now I have to “age” the Proton Pack and the Wand in order to keep the aesthetics similar.

All that remains is the flightsuit and adding straps to the Proton Pack so our son can walk around. Not too bad for using stuff we already owned that was just gathering dust. Plus I enjoyed working with my son to build his props. I hope to do more like this with him in the future.

How are your costumes coming along? Do you love Halloween as much as I do?

Let me know in the comments!

Making of My 2019 Costume: A Skesis

During my life I have always loved costumes, Halloween and cosplay. The biggest attraction for me is making the costumes myself. For about a decade we were attending a variety of Comic Cons where we were able to have fun and showcase some costumes. I have written about costuming a few times including a couple of weeks ago where I shared photos of previous outfits: Get Those Costumes Ready

I also hinted at how I was going to push myself and this year’s outfit. Here is my work for this year. I spent about twenty hours building it. After this Halloween, I’ll probably use it as a prop for decorations in the future.

I present to you, my Skesis build. MmmMMMmmm

It started years ago when I wanted to build a Skesis outfit for Calgary Expo. The only downside was we didn’t have room in our vehicle to transport such a large piece from provincial to province. With five of us in the SUV and a metric ton of hats to sell at the show (My wife is still making hats, but we aren’t traveling any more for it. You can still buy online at Ningen Headwear FYI) we didn’t have room for extravagant outfits. My love of The Dark Crystal returned this year when Netflix did a prequel series. It was time to make this costume.

Research became a quick obsession. Viewing others who had made this costume, searching images, watching behind the scenes footage- you name it and I looked for it. I had to settle on what was going to be feasible in my spare time and what I could afford- my budget ended up being $30. Seriously. I had a lot of the materials readily available from previous Cosplay, thank goodness.

It started with some designs and foam. Foam insulation boards glued together and a roll of foam floor mat. My artistic ability is mediocre at best. My hope was that doing some of it and taking a break periodically would inspire me. Advice from my family was also key.

Making the inner framework was a challenge. I needed it to be sturdy and light weight and fit me inside. PVC tubing and a couple of straps are the basic inner workings. I used a heat gun to mold and form the “outer shell”. I also suffered numerous hot glue gun burns to my fingers throughout the entire process.

Once the foam for the head was dry, it was time to cut out the shape of the head. I mostly used an exacto blade and craved off laters if foam. I used a Dremel to smooth out the edges and add some facial features. The head still seemed blocky at this point. Adding teeth and ping pong ball eyes helped a bit.

To get the features more realistic, I formed a thin layer of sculpting clay around the head. Once it was dry, I used acrylic paints to get a good base coat of colour onto it. The features were beginning to POP but it was looking far too cartoon like.

Getting advice from my daughter, I added some dull fading to it and was throughly pleases with the results.

After spray painting the back shell with black and red, I hot glued it to my fingers the frame and began to add fabrics. Old bedsheets, curtains and sheer material have given this guy some life. I’m happy with the results so far. All that’s left is to try walking around in it. I should be able to see through the black sheer, but this thing might weigh more than I’m expecting.

I enjoyed the process along the way. I know some things I’d do differently if I were to make this again. I also know that it can look pretty good as a stationary piece later on.

Hopefully this Halloween, I can get some candy for all my hard work!

Get Those Costumes Ready!

In a little over a month it will be Halloween! I love this time of year! Dressing up in costumes is always fun. Since we haven’t been doing the comic convention circuit over the past while, it means that this is the only time I’ll really be able to express my artistic sense.

Over the years I have made some great and not so great costumes. I’m trying to push my artistic ability this year and hope it pays off. Usually I just fashion up some clothes and take my attributes (read as being a tall lanky white guy) to create the illusion of my character. I oftentimes have a simple prop that showcases who I am supposed to be. Be it a weapon, bow tie, or dog- it’s the accessories that finish of a costume. But a big part is also embodying the characters. Acting like the person goes a long way into making it more believable.

Have you started on your costume yet? Or do you prefer to buy a ready made one? Either way is wonderful. So long as you’re letting loose and having fun being something you’re not!

Only four weekends remaining to get ready! The pressure is on! Cosplay making skills don’t fail me now!

Daddy/Darwin Day Looking For a Costume

Today I spent with our middle child. We went out everywhere shopping. We were on the hunt for a perfect Halloween costume for her. Problem was- she didn’t know what she wanted to be.

Clearly we don’t have the time to spend making something as intricate or extravagant as some of the previous cosplay. I enjoy the Casual Cosplay with easy costumes of just outfits not needing too much work. So Value Village was one of our stops.

The VV Boutique has a big selection of packaged costumes. Very generic or simply cheap items. Meant for only a few hours then tossed aside. We tend to keep our costumes for future use or passing onto other people. So cheap crap isn’t our thing. After checking out the store bought costume section, we went on the hunt through the clothing donation area instead. We got lucky and found exactly what we would need.

Our daughter loves anime. Particularly Hello Kitty. She also loves Aggretsuko. So we went in search of a blue business outfit, a white dress shirt and an orange-ish wig. After a bit of hemming and hawing we found the perfect combination.

My daughter is super happy with the results. I think this is one of her better costumes that she has put together. Just a touch of makeup and a tail to complete the look. She hasn’t decided if she wants to do calm Aggretsuko or the Karaoke death metal version.

I guess we’ll see how she feels closer to Halloween.

The PPG

The City of Townsville”

When I first met my wife, she introduced me to two things: “Run Lola Run” and “The Powerpuff Girls“. I fell in love with both of them as I began falling in love with my wife. We used the PPG as a common ground to show our love for one another. Buying bedding, toys, Game Boy & N64 games, and clothing… most recently we picked up the Lego Dimensions Powerpuff Girls sets.

Anytime I see people dressed in PPG Cosplay, I have to get a picture with them. It’s nice to see other folks with a love of the girls. Even our children love the Powerpuff Girls. So much so that our middle daughter hung out with the female voice actor of “Blossom” at a convention for almost the entire weekend. Cathy Cavadini was so nice. She even gave my daughter an autographed Blossom doll and a dvd box set of the show.

That was the convention that we had our PPG Movie poster autographed. I received the poster back when I worked at the movie theater. When we screened the film, there was only four of us in the auditorium. My very pregnant wife and I, and two other fans. (Our first child was born less than two weeks later). It’s probably my most coveted piece of film memorabilia.

The Powerpuff Girls has always been very significant in my life. My Mojo Jojo shirt has been one of my favorite pieces of clothing- I was wearing it when Felicia Day kicked my ass at Munchkin back in 2013. It’s still in almost pristine condition. And I wear it constantly.

A couple of years ago, I made my own PPG character. He had purple hair (just like I did at the time) and beard stubble. He just needed to be a bit taller and he would have been a perfect cartoon version of me.

In the end, I have but one simple opinion: The Powerpuff Girls are the best.

Saturday’s Subculture Of Cosplay

Saturdays at a convention are the busiest of the days. Every. Single. Time. Today will be no different.

My Hudsucker Proxy Cosplay from a few years back.


My favorite part is all of the costumes. Saturday brings out the most creative and original cosplays.  People share their fandoms in hopes of photos and compliments.  Which they wholeheartedly deserve. The hours of work put into some of the costumes just to be worn once is astounding. 

I even love the cheap cardboard, tape and paint costumes. Budget cosplay makes me smile. It shows that fans can come in any shape, size, or artistic comfort level. Comic conventions are a place where we can all feel comfortable. Even just wandering around in a Marvel t-shirt shows off fandoms.


Time for me to go wandering and save the universe from villainous scum. We’re all fans here. Have a great Saturday Con!

Becoming a Jedi

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in Jedi Joe:  I finally became a Jedi. (For Halloween)


With the tremendous help of my wife, I finally looked the part of Obi-Wan from Episode 3. We followed an online tutorial on how to make a Jedi costume with a few modifications for my size. She did a great job on a custom robe and tunic for me. She loved every minute of it. I could tell through all the curse words and yelling.


My wife had to measure me a few times to make sure it was accurate. I’m a tall individual and there was no room for errors. We used almost all of the fabric we had purchased in order to make my look fairly authentic.


Because we were using the floor to lay out everything, our puppy had to get the boot outside for a while we worked. He was none too impressed. But at least it was sunny and warm for him.

Besides being the Jedi model, I did my share to help in the making of the costume. I searched the interwebs for how to videos and tutorials plus a few hundred different images. I was also put to work ironing the material.


In the end, my wife made me extremely happy. She took the time and perfected the details. Those who saw me on Halloween were equally impressed with her skills and my costume. I look forward to many more years of wearing it. 


I have now become a Jedi.

May the force be with you.

Last Minute…

Finally I’m off to bed.  I nearly forgot to blog today because we’ve been so busy trying to get ready for Halloween. It’s been one of those weekends where we wanted to do so much, that the final touches are getting done the night before. But we love our costumes and try to get the big details perfect.


We’ve been doing this for years- I have glue gun burns to prove it. My family loves  Costumes and Cosplay. We show our fandoms and others get to enjoy it as well. Not only are the costumes important, but acting the part makes the characters come to life. 

Biggest secret of last minute finishing touches? Knowing “where to trim the fat.” If a button or accessory is missing, most folks won’t notice. Especially if you can act the way your character does. This tends to distract folks from the little things. 


Plus after years of Cosplay, we have garnered quite the collection of outfits.  My daughters have shared costumes, and even “Cross-played” some of my old Cosplay outfits. I’m really excited to show off my latest costume tomorrow that my wife worked extremely hard on. I also can’t wait to see my children’s costumes. Our son has designed his own Steampunk outfit. And our daughters are wearing one costume for school (Steampunk Alice and Steampunk Mad Hatter) and a scarier one for the evening. 

Hope everyone has a good Halloween!

Jedi Joe

It’s finally going to happen.  I’ve decided to become a Jedi. No, I’m not announcing a “sad devotion to that ancient religion” or anything like that. I’m talking about a Costume/Cosplay for Halloween and an upcoming convention.


With my recent facial hair growth and the fact that I won’t shave it until the end of November (read about it here:Proving A Point) I needed to find a suitable costume idea that supported facial hair.  My wife suggested I go as a Wookiee because of my height, but it got me thinking about becoming a Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi to be exact.

Back in 1999-2000, I made an email address of joeywankenobi@hotmail.com: which is now defunct because it’s Hotmail and filled with spam. But the one thing that I enjoyed from Episodes 1-3 was Ewan McGregor’s take on Obi-Wan which garnered the email name.


Since I’ve always had an Enjoyment of Star Wars it makes sense to finally dress up for it. My height would make me a good Darth Vader (or a Wookiee as my wife said) but I don’t overly have the time or money for that. I just need to figure out if I’m going to go with a store bought Costume or try and sew my own at this time. Pretty sure I will sew a costume that is screen accurate one day.  Time to do internet research!

Help me Joey-Wan. You’re my only hope.



You Should Never Meet Your Heroes.

Comic Cons are great. A group of like minded people gathering together to share in favorite pastimes and fandoms.  We’ve been attending numerous cons for a few years now.  And I always find something new to be excited about.  This weekend was all things NASA.  I even bought a jacket- because I’m a dork. But something else happened today that surprised me. I don’t have any celebrity heroes any more.

I’ve mentioned before how I have met celebrities and spent time just talking to them. Most are people whom I think are neat and look bored. I’ve only ever paid for one photo and autograph a couple years ago.  I’d never do that again. But it was Bruce Campbell.  And he is pretty awesome. He was my hero at one point and he was a lot of fun to meet.  Even my brief meetings with him as we were ushered through were jovial and entertaining.


During our first trip to Emerald City- I won the opportunity to play Munchkin against Felicia Day. (She is currently starring in the re-boot of MST3K for those who know what that is…) She was a blast to play a game with and the time I spent was far more than just a quick 30 second smile and laugh.


This weekend it surprised me to see some of my childhood heroes at Silicon Valley Comic Con.  I didn’t have the courage or heart to go up and meet the cast of Sesame Street. They’re old and frail- not the young adults that I once looked up to as a child learning to count and read.  I couldn’t help but stare at them as they sat at their tables with one or two people lined up to meet them.  The only thing that made it more awkward was when David Newell (Mr. McFeely) yelled  “Speedy Delivery” out to me and raised his finger in the air- as I stared in wonderment. He was directing it straight to me because I was the only one around at the time. I smiled uncomfortably and nodded my acknowledgment back to him.


They say you should never meet your heroes. It takes away the magic that you’ve built up in your head of who they are. So I met someone else’s hero.  I met a cosplayer dressed as Wonder Woman. She was one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met.  We talked about being a hero and we posed multiple times together for some fun pictures.  She wasn’t exactly in character, but she was one of the most friendly Super Hero cosplayers I have ever met.  

Perhaps it was her lasso of truth that is making me write this. So it must be true.

Autumn Madness 

It’s here!  One of my four favorite seasons!

Yay Autumn!

Pumpkims from a few years ago done by my children and I.


I like autumn because it means Halloween is just around the corner.  I love decorating our home for Halloween.  I love carving pumpkins as well.  I have done some pretty intricatly carved pumpkins.  I have spent 4 hours doing just one.  I love it, it brings on a zen-like sensation as I zone out.

Our first Disneyland Trick Or Treat!


I love costumes as well.  That’s one of the main reasons I love conventions as well.  I get to cosplay.  Or I get to make cosplay for my kids.  I love it!


We have spent a few Halloweens down in Disneyland Trick or Treating.  I recommend it to anyone with children.  It is so much fun!  This year, we are not heading to California (sad Joe) but we will decorate and have fun at home for the first time in about five years.

The dilema is real.


What I don’t like about autumn is that it means the year is in it’s last three months.  Crazy scramble to finish projects, do those things you thought you had plenty of time to do nine months ago.  And I can’t tell what to wear.  This time of year is screwy.  So, zippered hoodies and jeans it is.

I also don’t like pumpkin pie.  There, I said it.  It looks like poop in a pie crust.  Same texture as a soft curly turd as well.


Nope.  Still not going to eat that.  Thanks.


But I will enjoy having beverages and a fire in the family room as I relax.  Especially Weaping Reaper by Dead Frog. Love that beer.

Cheers to cuddles on the couches and colors on the trees!  Enjoy the season everyone!

Adults think I’m cool.

Going to toot my own horn a bit today…

Toot-toot

It has been brought to my attention numerous times that my wife and I are pretty cool parents.  I’m sure our children don’t always agree…  But at the last Comicon we were at, I think it may be true.  

This is what cool looks like.


Since before the birth of our first child, we knew that we would try and be unique parents without being drastically over the top.  So our first born was named Random.  She has grown into her name quite nicely with everyone asking where we came up with it.  It’s the name of the girl from book five of the trilogy “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.  The last two remaining humans in the universe have a child, and she is named Random.  Kind of an Adam & Eve story. (Side note: My wife and I dressed as Adam & Eve for a Halloween party we had before we had children.)

Two years later, our second daughter was born.  Much discussion of her name to try and compliment her sister was had.  We came upon the name Darwin as a way to express our belief in evolution vs creationism.  People can use names from the bible, why couldn’t we name our children after famous scientists?  To this day- everyone who meets her, loves her.

Our son was born a couple of years after her… So we named him Theory.  It finished our naming combination for our children.  He is also a very talkative and curious young man, oftentimes surprising people with his knowledge.  That’s the rundown of our children’s names.  


Back to Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo- our two youngest were in a cosplay contest.  My wife sewed their costumes and I helped make a shield and accessories.  (Making props and costumes is something that I enjoy doing and I’m getting better as time goes on.)  Our kids went on stage and were immediately cheered by the audience.  The kids loved it.  The host approached to interview them and asked their names.  My daughter answered saying her name is Darwin and her brother is Theory.  The crowd cheered again.  The host said that they have the coolest parents ever for both making their costumes and naming them.  My kids were filled with joy.

Strangers think my wife and I are cool and have cool kids.  I couldn’t agree more.

Blue hair.

On the road back home.


I’ve always been a bit different.  However, this last time I dyed my hair blue I realized that I’m not doing it for shock value.  I was doing it for a one day costume.  Blue doesn’t look good on me like it used to.  My hair is thinning out and I’m getting older.  Not like there’s an excuse in those facts, but I really didn’t like the look as much as I used to. My kids still think it’s great, and I had tons of pictures taken as I dressed as Morty at the past few conventions.

Nobody exists on purpose.


Perhaps it’s time to put on my adult pants and blend into the world and disappear into the crowds.  

Nah.  I’ll just go for violet next time. 

Father/son time

I do my best to have some one-on-one time with each of my children on a regular basis.  This past Sunday, I had a great day hanging out with my son at Silicon Valley Comic Con.  We had the opportunity to dress up in a Cosplay that worked for the two of us.  It was a last minute idea, since I hadn’t found a Cosplay for myself prior to the show.  I put it together in about three days before we left for the Convention, so it was pretty cool that I got it done.  We went as Rick and Morty.

 

You’re a real good kid, you’re a real character.

 
We looked the part of Rick and Morty.  The costume itself was pretty simple.  (Making our props was the challenge.)  We walked together throughout the day and had a ton of fun.  We were stopped and asked for photos all the time as people recognized our costumes.  I decided to push my comfort zone for this cosplay and did my best to act the part of Rick the entire day.  Staying in character for an entire day is challenging.  I really enjoyed yelling MORTY in the crowds if my son ventured away. He also did a good job acting nervous like Morty, and posed for pictures without much of a fuss. I was also randomly stumbling and bending down to put my arm sound my son was a great feeling.  He’s turning ten in a couple of months, and is already starting to grow up not wanting his parents around all the time.

  
He may not realize it now, but I know that the years of him allowing me to show him affection in public are coming to an end soon.  I am hoping our father/son time keeps going over the next few years.  I love the little guy.  He’s a good kid, but he already knows that.  I only have one thing left to say:

Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub!

Cosplay

When we first started attending Comic Cons and such, we tried our hand at cosplay.  Our costumes were simple ones.  Mostly just clothes that we often found at our local Value Village and modified.  But we figured that if we’re going to a convention, it’s better to dress up and fully immerse in the experience.  It was fun!

My wife and I used to have Halloween parties and we often dressed up in “couples costumes” (dressing as Adam and Eve was great, but kinda chilly in late October).  As our family grew (as in baby number one showed up) we worked on “group costumes”.  Our family continued to grow and the children got older, doing a family set of costumes is getting harder each time.  They still enjoy dressing up and acting the part.  This is important in good Cosplay as well.

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Happy family in a happy land.

One of our first Anime Conventions, my son dressed as Baby Mario and his sister dressed as Toadette. What made the experience that much better was Nintendo had set up an area for people to play on the new DSi. Naturally, my children were drawn there and played games for most of our day there. The Nintendo people were asked repeatedly by attendees for pictures with my kids. My kids ate it up. Since that point on, my kids have done 1-2 different cosplays for each show.  I’ve slowed down my cosplaying because I find it difficult to make something fit my height. Plus, most of my time is being put towards my children’s cosplay and accessories.

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They grow up so fast.

We now attend the shows because of my wife’s Business.  My children have even made Perler Bead magnets to sell in order to contribute as well.  This has been a great opportunity for us to meet many artists and cosplayers who have been nothing short of amazing to us.  Sharing ideas and tips as well as business.
Some of my favorite people that we have met are:

  • Holly Conrad-who has a YouTube channel as well where she plays videogames and talks about birbs.
  • Victoria Schmidt aka Scruffy Rebel posts some normalcy in her everyday life as well as Cosplay on Instagram and Facebook if you wish to follow her.
  • Evil Ted Smith has some amazing videos on using foam for cosplay.  After meeting him in person and picking his brain, I finally decided to try and make some foam props this spring for my children.
  • Andy Rae is one of the nicest cosplayers we’ve met as well.  She offered some great advice to my young daughters last year.  Her costumes are very detailed and unique.

There are many more that we’ve met and seen some amazing costumes to boot.  With our first round of conventions coming up, I can’t wait to see all of our convention carny friends again!

We also met a really neat guy, Ejen, who loves Cosplay so much that he travels around the world and takes photos.  You should check out his book sometime:

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Cosplay in America

Home Depot


As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that I love doing home renos.  Over the years I have become a jack of all trades.  When I get inspired to remodel, I do as much research as possible to do it right.  One of the best places to learn is my local Home Depot.

  
I love/hate this store.  I worked there for a couple of years part time and learned a ton of valuable information.  Like most men, I know the store inside and out. (Not trying to be sexist, but usually I see more guys in the store buying stuff.)  I have spent hours wandering my local Home Depot.  I’ve made numerous trips back and forth buying 2×4’s, drywall, paints, etc…  I learned the most valuable lesson- always use the right tool for the job.  Cheap doesn’t cut it.  Quality tools make all the difference in whether a person would want to tackle a project again in the future.

The tools I have been buying are now being used for more than just home improvements.  Over the past few years, as I have mentioned before, we attend numerous Comic Cons.  Recently, I’ve been working on more Cosplay for my children and have had to buy foam, Dremel bits, glues, a heat gun, and other various supplies.  My arts and crafts are becoming more expensive, but I’m enjoying the hobby.  Steampunk is also one of my favorite genres and what better place to go but Home Depot to buy pipe and wood. The sales associates have looked at me strange as I walked the aisles connecting electrical conduits to plumbing pieces.  Now, the lighting department has special fixtures and bulbs that fit the Steampunk lifestyle.

My wife doesn’t like me going to the Home Depot for “just one item”.  I will return home with a car full of stuff and a credit card bill deferred for six months.  Maybe there’s something in the air at the store, like Disneyland pumping vanilla scents down Mainstreet, that causes me to spend money.  Or maybe it’s the big signs and the friendly staff.  Personally, I think it’s because it’s essentially a grown up toy store and I’m just a big kid with a credit card looking to play.

Running a Home Business 

My wife has a small home based business.  She creates fleece hats and hair clips in a small studio off the side of our home.  Shameless promotion here: Ningen Headwear

Her business started about eleven years ago as a way of making some extra money while our children were toddlers.  My wife attended craft fairs and sold on eBay from 2005-2010.  Etsy showed up in 2009 and she began selling there.  From that point on, she made numerous contacts and began focusing her products towards a specific genre.  We attended our first Anime Convention, and thus began a new way of life.

My wife’s business pays for our trips.  We incorporate vacation time with the Comic Cons.  As a family we love the Convention Circuit.  The kids are often dressing up in Cosplay, having photos taken, meeting celebrities, meeting fantastic artists and just having a good time.  It doesn’t feel like work when we are there.  But building stock and merchandise, that feels like work.

 

Inspirational view and sewing machines.

 

Last year I finally completed my wife’s studio.  Up until this point, our dining room and spare bedroom was where she worked 11.5 months of the year.  We only ever packed up for the two weeks at Christmas to make it feel like a home again.  Now she walks out the door and enters her own world.  She puts in full time hours but it feels like part time pay.  That’s the cost of running a home business.  No one tells you it will take twice as much time for half the results.

In my spare time, if I’m not doing housework or general home repairs, I try and help her.  I don’t know how to sew.  I don’t know how to measure and cut fabric.  I do know how to update her website.  I know how to sit at her embroidery machine and thread it (thank you movie theater experience for that!)

 

Busy making fan favorites!

 

My wife’s home business isn’t going to make millions.  But it does make her happy.  My wife makes her customers happy as well and their feedback is phenomenal.  That’s a job satisfaction that comes with taking pride in your work.  Her business also keeps us traveling.  Which allows for us to spend quality time together.  That is worth more to us than any amount of money.

Running a home based business isn’t easy- but it sure can be rewarding.