Saturday, November 7, 2015


The group voted on costume themes and we went with Star Wars.

I debated between a twi'lek and a tauntaun, ultimately deciding that I'd rather make horns than head tentacles, and a creature from an ice planet would be more in line with the northeast Halloween weather than a member of a race known for their tendency to skimp on clothing.

If you're not familiar, a tauntaun is the thing that they ride on the ice planet; the moment in the movie that tends to stick with people is the scene in which Han Solo slices open the carcass of one and shoves Luke inside so he wouldn't freeze to death overnight. This scene was very upsetting to me as a kid, so I have mixed feelings about referencing it in the costume plan, but I couldn't not. It's just too good a setup.

Overall plan: light gray, tan/gold accents. Coverage somewhere between bikini and fur suit.

I started with a light gray wig from Arda and made some ears and horns to clip in.

Ears were made by following the steps for these deer ears, except I sewed the ears to individual hair clips instead of a headband.

I thought I was going to make horns from paper clay, but cardboard with paper clay smoothing ended up being lighter. I followed this tutorial, but mine didn't come out nearly as symmetrical and I had to undo the larger rings and re-shape them around photo #2 so they'd sit better on my head. I also scrapped the wire guide once the cardboard was glued in place to keep it as light as possible.

Painting is my favorite part! Base coat of white, medium hue coat, then add darker and darker shadows and light on highlighted areas until there's an obvious top and bottom.

The horns were glued to a circle of felt and sewn to a comb, and that was stuck into the wig and sewn in place. It was a huge pain to get the ears and horns symmetrical, and I'd hate to have to try to fix it in a bar bathroom because one of them got bumped and fell out.

There is something about a wig and horns that just lights up the brain just right, no?
Gray hoodie, gray pants, belt with grenade pouches (to stand in for saddle bags, and I got them for a different costume years ago), and tan boots to reflect the color of the horns and belt.

I found this fantastic two-toned fur on Amazon to use for accents.

I used a random piece of felt to help me with shape and placement, but overall the shapes I cut out of the fur were pretty basic. Mostly triangles or rectangles.

These boots are one of those amazing finds that are why I love thrift store shopping.

I was a little concerned that I'd look ridiculous with the giant inverted triangle of chest hair.

But once all the fur was added it didn't look out of place.

My favorite part of this costume might be the little cartoon Luke on my shirt under the hoodie. I like to think it's clever, and it's darn cute.

Finishing touch: tail. Stuffed with a few handfuls of filling from a pillow we were going to throw away.

Detail: fingernails painted silver with gold flecks.

I managed to get fake eyelashes on for my makeup, not that you can tell because the wig hides so much of my face, but attention to detail never hurts.

Total time about 30 hours, most of it split between the horns and hand-sewing all the fur.

Bonus: husband went as Slave Leia.
Or, as one friend pointed out, Slave Neigh-ah.
You're welcome.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tokyo Treasure Hunt

Okay, this isn't really a costuming thing or a physical piece of art, but it took just as much planning as my more ambitious costumes and I'm pretty impressed that I managed to pull it off.

At the time, we had lived in Tokyo for five years, and were about to move back to the US. Together we planned a farewell party for a Saturday night, but I wanted to surprise him with a treasure hunt before that as an early birthday present. The planning took months, the schedule coordination took weeks, and more than 20 people took time out of their day to be a part of this. We have some pretty great friends.

I said, "I have plans for you today, put on pants." He only asked what kind of pants he should wear. That's trust!

I made an excuse to leave the house, then sent him a text.

Clue #1: A photo of the lockers in our local train station, a locker key, and an envelope of money labeled "for drinks."

Clue #2: a photo of Ichiran in Shimokitazawa, his favorite ramen restaurant in a neighborhood just two train stops away.

At the ramen restaurant, he was met by a friend I had conscripted. This friend went on the quest with him all day and messaged me at every stop so I could keep them on schedule. They had lunch and GuideFriend handed over Clue #3, a photo of a small bottle shop just a couple minutes' walk from Ichiran.

Unfortunately, the shop was unexpectedly closed. But Clue #4 friends met him outside and they went somewhere else to have a drink and look at the clue.

Closed! Boo.

Clue #4: a photo of lockers in Shinjuku station and a locker key

Inside the locker, Clue #5 has a photo of an Irish pub not far from the station and a paper beer glass

Inside The Dubliner's Irish Pub they met another friend for Clue #6.

Clue #6: With the Crossing behind you/ and Loyalty to the right/ The lockers are ahead of you/ Just beyond the smoking site
Fun fact: when this photo was taken, I was on the other side of the building handing off Clue #10

Clue #7: A photo of Ningen Kankei, one of our regular bars.

(Photo from here)

And here some friends that brought us to said bar in the first place, ready to hand over Clue #8.

Clue #8: a photo of lockers in Shibuya station and a locker key

Clue #9: three photos
The sign says "Nakameguro Gate Town" so he would know to go to Nakameguro station.
On the back of one photo I wrote which exit, and "Baird" on the back of another.
On the second floor of the building is a pub called Baird's Beer Nakameguro Taproom.

Clue #10 was handed off by this couple at the Taproom.

Clue #10: a photo of lockers at Ebisu station and a key

Clue #11: a card with the URL, which goes to a short video of the Pirates of Tokyo Bay saying, "What the Dickens!"

The Pirates of Tokyo Bay are a bilingual improv comedy group, and What the Dickens is their regular venue.

(Photo from here)
The bartender was a little surprised to find my clue at the door, (they weren't open when I dropped it off and I couldn't stay), but she played along and gave them Clue #12.

Clue #12: Lockers in Roppongi Station

Clue #13: Another video clue! ( Friends in the States lent their kids to the cause to direct the treasure hunt to the next stop, Pizzakaya in Roppongi.

I knew this treasure hunt was going to be a surprise when Husband kept trying to make other plans for that day, like an office pizza party. In a different pizza place. I managed to get a message to them to change the location to Pizzakaya, so it still worked out. 

I had a great photo of the owner holding Clue #14, but my phone decided not to save it. Harrumph!
(Photo from here)
Clue #14: A poem leading to the going away party we had both planned for that evening
You've had beers (at least one or two)/ But this is an important clue!/ It's no real surprise/ But to you I advise/ To come bid our good friends adieu!

At the party, I gave him the final clue.

The final clue is a puzzle, because why not?

 The assembled puzzle:
is the REAL treasure
hurr hurr hurr (¬_¬)
(But also look in the attic)
Into the attic!

Treasure chest!

We joked for years that the ¥500 coins look like gold dubloons and we should fill a treasure chest with them. So I did that.

I saved these coins for months.

He calls me "mew." It's our version of "honey" or "sweetheart."

Bonus image: how I kept track of everything.

I would not be upset if this is one of the things I'm remembered for.