Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Green Hero Process Part: 3

Hello there folks!

Quite some time ago I worked on my Link cosplay a little. Even if it really was a minor progress that time. I decided to shortly write about it now. Before I move on to the progress I will also mention that I have bought the elf ears for Link from Aradani Studios a couple of weeks ago. I love those ears, even if I haven't tested them on yet! I went to get the same green fabric as I have been using for this cosplay. Because mom wasn't home I had to do it all on my own. What I needed to do this time was to re-do the lining thing for his shirt (front side with the cut on). Seemed like both I and mom completely forgot last time that the shirt was supposed to have a v-shaped cut on it. Oh well, you can't remember everything, moving to the progress!

Yeah, you see the v-shaped cut on the shirt.
I took the fabric, placed it on the kitchen table (after cleaning the table) and made sure that I placed it right and afterwards I drew the shape of the lining piece. I tried to figure out a way how to do it by measuring different parts of it over and over again. The first piece I cut out and got in my hands I thought looked all nice and accurate so I was hoping that it would work. But as soon as I placed the lining piece on the shirt I saw the major flaws and thought "How did I think when I made this? No way in hell it would fit!". So I needed to make the cut bigger and especially re-think the shape of the whole thing. At least I was cutting on the hanging leftover pieces of the fabric, those that are the "throw-away-pieces" unless you are doing small stuff, such as linings and details. I re-did the progress and the second time it all looked waay better, I guess I improve through time... sometimes I wonder how the heck I think when dealing with sewing.

 - Bad quality because I used my mobile phone camera again, I didn't have any better for the time being, sorry -

Preparing to cut out the lining piece, using the original piece as a pattern to later adjust.
Cut out the desired shape of the lining. I check its size by placing it on the shirt, where it shall be.
After doing the cut and measuring the exact length of it.
That was all for that progress day. Next time I will do those cross shaped band/ribbon stitches that he has on the v-shaped cut.

Alright! See you all around!

Frozen Angel out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Närcon Vinter 2013 Summary

Närcon Vinter was held during 22nd-24th February and you might wonder why I post this summary this late. Well, let's sum late-ness up with these four words: Tired, busy, sick and down.

I guess I have to start somewhere to get this done, so let's go.

Thursday

Yeah, so mine and Shiro Samurai's trip to Närcon Vinter started on Thursday the 21st February. We, like usual, took the looong "first bus and then train" trip down to Linköping in southern Sweden. There's nothing "cool" or "nice" worth mentioning about the bus trip so I won't write anything about it. After some long hours in the bus we finally arrived at Luleå, where the Stockholm train waits for us. When we arrived at the train station I expected us to quickly find the right train cart to head into, but lolnope. It actually took us a while to even find the right cart! The numerical order of the carts were screwed up. We managed to find the right cart after a while. Once inside we went to our seats, seated us down and did what a normal congoer would do in preparation for a long trip. I sum it up with three activities - eating candy/snacks whatever, talking about the con and playing some sort of games. When the train had started to move towards south, the two of us looked around if we could spot any other congoers in the same cart as we were in. We didn't spot anyone so we kept doing whatever we were doing at that time. The hours went by and the train finally reached Skellefteå, some people from the city boarded the same cart as we were in. At first I just semi-listened to what the Skellefteå people were saying because they talked about more or less "nerdy stuff" which congoers use to do. It was a jackpot when one of them mentioned "Skecon". At first we just wondered what to do, but soon enough Shiro Samurai decided to go to them and pick a chat, to see if it really was the Skecon folks. So he went to them first and I came afterwards after receiving the "A-OK" feeling. We both took our belongings to their table, except our luggages. Yes, we temporally changed seats, like anyone cares anyway? Because it's more fun to sit and chat with people who share common interests than be forever alone somewhere. We talked quite a long time with the Skecon folks, if I remember correctly we were still talking even past midnight before we went to sleep in our own seats.

We talked about things like Närcon Vinter, Skecon, what everyone will cosplay and if anyone likes similar animes/games and so on.

Myself (left) listening to the guys at the other table (not in the picture, obviously).
Around late evening I started to feel very tired, hardly capable of listening to anything or anyone so I and Shiro Samurai returned to our own seats to sleep. This is the main reason why I was so quiet during the whole trip. Don't get me wrong, dudes. I did enjoy the company. Couldn't sleep for shit that night.

Friday

After an almost sleepless night and early arrival at Stockholm on Friday morning, it was time to move that tired butt of mine out of the train and into the train station central. While inside the central -still in full group with the Skecon company- we discussed what everyone wanted to eat. There was different options mentioned but in the end we decided on a sandwich cafeteria. Myself, I didn't buy anything so I ate my own sandwiches, which I had saved just for a case like this. We took a good time to just chill, talk and eat with relaxed minds. Our gang split for a short while and I went to fetch a Coca Cola bottle before we all headed to the track where the Linköping train would arrive. It arrived, we jumped in and nothing particular happened during the trip so I won't write about it. Finally at Linköping, our big sister meets us up at the train station and we walk to her apartment to drop off our luggages, take out our cosplays, say "Hello we're here" and ask her about the way to the con building. She seems to know were it is, so we get some speedy instructions how to get there and back and then we roll out! I and Shiro Samurai decided to walk to the con. There was no hurry. Of course we were sort of confused and lost the first time because we never walked this way before, so we asked other congoers along the way and finally we found our way to the con building. But when we reached it, the whole building seemed very empty. We saw a door right in front of us and other cosplayers inside the building. So we thought it was okay to go inside.

When we got inside we asked different people from the con crew about the ticket registration and they all gave different answers, I also asked if we could change to our cosplays inside. It was an "Yes" from one of the crew members. So I went to sit and told Shiro Samurai that he could change to cosplay, he went straight to the toilet to do so. Minutes rolled by, I watched the con crew run with merchandises, drinks, food and other stuff back and forth, I started to get the feeling that we were waaay to early inside. I didn't need to wait and sit long on the wooden bench until a familiar face from the crew showed up and told me to leave the building as soon as possible. Why? Because they were still preparing for the con and no congoers were allowed inside. As soon as I heard that, I got a bad conscience and hurried to the toilet where Shiro Samurai was, to tell him to get out of there now. I kept on banging constantly on the door and asked him to get out, seemingly he had told me to wait a bit but I couldn't hear that because it was so noisy outside at this point. Sorry. Once he was outside I explained the situation and we hurried outside to secure our place in the growing line. As soon as we got our line places secured I saw MangaRINer just behind us in the line. I went to say hello to them and we chatted a bit until Shiro Samurai went all "Asdfsdfsdfd a wild Ri-kun appeared!" and went to get Ri-kun. They were cosplaying as Ken Ichijouji from Digimon Adventure 02.

Lining time, lining time ~
The lining was okay at first but it started to get more and more boring and painful in the length because of the extreme cold. We stood and waited to get our con bands in hours and the line moved very slowly but so was the ticket registration. We arrived somewhere between 10:00-11:00 at the line and the con opened first 13:37. So I, Ri-kun, Shiro Samurai and many other congoers waited and froze for hours. I could hear so many annoyed congoers complain about not feeling their arms and legs thanks to the cold (mine were also numb). The atmosphere was so full of annoyance and bad moods that I could almost touch it. I was upset on how slow this line system was but not only because of that - the con crew didn't even do a thing to keep our hype up high! Not even music! Neither did they sell us anything warm to eat or drink unlike their summer counterpart Närcon, who offered free water to the congoers in the line.

My opinion: Worst con line ever. Hands down.

Once inside the building after being tortured by the cold outside for hours, I headed straight to the toilet and changed to my cosplay which was Silver from Pokémon  HeartGold/SoulSilver. But before I went to the toilet I saw Psycho Cat and said hello and changed some words with them. It didn't take long for me to change to Silver, so when I got out of the toilet and when Shiro Samurai was done fixing his Hitokiri Battōsai (Rurouni Kenshin) makeup and when the rest of our group was ready to explore the con together... we split up! The first thing I did when we got separated from our group was to search after MangaRINer with whom I had planned to spend this day with, they wanted to be with me as well. As close friends we talked a lot and we had our talk in the area near the Japanese spa at the con. I had a very nice time with them and I was glad that they could take some of their time to just be with me for a while. But I was very surprised to hear during our talk that they had bought me a Christmas gift! The gift made me really happy even if it was small because it meant a lot to me. After that I had received the gift MangaRINer's friends came by and asked if we were done, which we were. I asked if I could give them company because I was for the moment on my own. This was no problem and they gladly accepted my company just like in Närcon 2012, so I tagged along with them.

We went to check the Dealer's Hall together and during the evening they went to sing karaoke. I didn't participate, I just went there to hear them sing and wish them good luck. I spend all day by hanging around with these kind souls. During the day -still in the same company- I came across some very nice Tales of cosplayers who traveled together as a group. Happy as I am to see other Tales of cosplayers I definitely took a photo of them! Yay, spread the love fans! <3

Fon Master Ion from Tales of the Abyss (left), Raven (middle) and Yuri Lowell (right) from Tales of Vesperia.
My day went smoothly to evening as I walked around the con building with MangaRINer and their company. We enjoyed what we saw and of course I started to get hungry meanwhile. Knowing that there was a cafeteria in the building's main area, I went there to see what they had for sale. Hoping that they had something more healthy this time because Närcon 2012's food alternatives wasn't that nice. After just glancing quickly through several pies, lots of candy bags, lemonades, micro pizzas and cup noodles I almost lost my appetite. But I rolled with cup noodles and a cold drink in the end. I had no will or even energy to go out in the cold again to search after restaurants or food stores. I ate the cup noodles together with the company I had. The noodles were neither good or bad but more at the good, I mean "basic" good side. But I won't have them tomorrow, no, I want real food. I've been living on junk food more or less the whole week -even a day or two before the con- no more, no. After the "meal" I kept walking around the con building together with my company and saying hello to the familiar faces that I saw along the way. Around 22:00 I and Shiro Samurai wanted to head back to big sister's place to have some sleep and probably soothing calmness after the long trip and the noisy con. We took the bus to Resecentrum in central Linköping and we walked the rest of the way to big sister's place. No big deal to walk as it wasn't cold anymore, it was quite pleasant actually.

At big sister's place I slept on a couch and it was like the best thing ever. I was so tired.

Saturday

The main day or should I say the Hakuōki day? But that doesn't mean it was easy to get up in the morning. I don't know when I was this tired last time, probably in Närcon 2012? Anyway! There wasn't more to do about that than to wake up because every con hour is precious. I got up -I had to- so I started to smoothly change to my Keisuke Sannan cosplay. Shiro Samurai told me to learn to tie my obi on my own, so I gave it a go with the blurry, speedy how-to-tie-obi images in my head, guess if I succeeded? Do you seriously think I did? Hell no.

Me with just the kimono on.
After some waiting until Shiro Samurai was done with putting on his Toshizō Hijikata cosplay he finally decided to help me with the obi knot. Finally when we both were ready to leave after something that felt like a long time, big sister woke up and asked if we are seriously planning to go out and look like samurais... no just kidding. She was concerned about our clothing if it would be too cold for us, not that we looked like kimono dudes with swords. We explained that our kimonos are warm and she went back to bed and we left the apartment and headed out. Like yesterday we decided to walk all the way to the con again, it was just around minus 6 degrees outside, not bad I thought. When we were near the Anders Ljungstedt Gymnasium (con building) I started to freeze but only on my left arm. I took a look at it and my face went "Oh sweet how red it is! Freaking numb again... sweet". Inside the con I and Shiro Samurai headed to the handicap toilet so that we could do our makeup as this toilet was big enough to fit two persons. Before I started to put on my makeup Shiro Samurai told me that it's a good idea to wash your face with some water to get off the "shit that you might have in your face that can affect the makeup" before applying makeup. I took water in my palms rubbed my face with it and then I stood there -in the toilet- thinking and looking around with one single thought in my head "How the hell do I dry myself?". There wasn't any kind of toilet paper left or towels to dry yourself with. But this wasn't a problem when I took a closer look around.

AAWYEEAAH! THIS THING EXIST FOR A REASON YOU KNOW!
When I was done with my makeup (Shiro Samurai helped me with the eyeliner) I took my belongings and left the toilet because he needed some peace of mind to put on his makeup. I went to wait together with Ri-kun who was cosplaying Hajime Saitō and Psycho Cat who was cosplaying Rasetsu!Keisuke Sannan until Shiro Samurai was done with his makeup. But it didn't take long before I noticed that something was missing and that was my glasses! Sannan without glasses is no Sannan! So it was straight back to the toilet to get my glasses. I knocked on the door asking if I could get my glasses and indeed did Shiro Samurai answer but I couldn't hear a single word he said! I kept on banging and telling him to either open the door or speak louder, I stopped banging when I got the idea that he might have been in the middle of that derp makeup or dealing with the contact lenses. He later opens the door and I take my beloved glasses. Once Shiro Samurai was done we started to look after the other Hakuōki cosplayers together. It didn't take long before we came across everyone except our Yukimura Chizuru and Chikage Kazama. When we had everyone together our group went to the con building's main entrance area with lots of wooden benches. There we waited for our Chizuru and Kazama to show up and for the clock to strike 13:00.

Photographer: Psycho Cat

Shiro Samurai randomly roaming the con area in search after Chizuru and Kazama.
Our hakama err, I mean Hakuōki group waiting at the benches near the main entrance area.
Still waiting.
Chizuru and Kazama arrived a bit late but it was okay. Finally we could start our planned Hakuōki Espresso House trip raid, what the 13:00 clock strike also meant. This was the first time I used real tabi socks and zori shoes. Socks were comfortable but not the zori and walking with this combination was kinda... exotic. I didn't mind the zori at first but I started to mind them when they little by little started to hurt like... crazy bloody hell! I never imagined these shoes to hurt that much! It was a real pain to walk to the Espresso House in the town and felt like forever. My zori slipped away all the time too! Our group had to constantly stop and wait for me both on the trip to the Espresso House and back. How to describe this pain? It felt like I had some kind of metallic plate constantly pressing against my toes and that there was another sharp metallic object pointing between the toes. It really hurt like hell.

Here are some photos from the walk to the Espresso House and back.

Photographer: Psycho Cat

On the way to the Espresso House.

When our group arrived at the Espresso House, some of us bought something to eat others did not. I was one of the persons who bought something as they had this one mudcake with white chocolate and blueberry on top of it that looked really delicious and so it was. We ended up being in the Espresso House longer than expected because we derped and herped a lot before we started to head back. The shinsengumis got their tummies full of coffee and bakery and then it was time for them to patrol back to the con... or not. I needed to go to Hemköp (food store) to buy something to eat and I think someone else needed to go there as well. It was a relief to get inside again to have a chance to take off these zori shoes and do this with them:

What? I can't carry around them in a store when I need to buy stuff. Photographer: Shiro Samurai.
When we had done our speed shopping we all headed back to the con. At the con we all wanted to go to photo studio to take some photos of our group both inside and outside.

Photographer: Filippo Malvisi

Myself (left) and Psycho Cat (right) both as Keisuke Sannan.
Our fabulous Hakuōki: Shinsengumi Kitan group.
I didn't feel like being photographed outside but I must mention that walking with zori in semi-deep snow was quite... a cool experience. Oh man, it was so cold to just stand there and watch the others -or at least some of them- get photographed! During the day we also met Thyme, a Finn from the Närcon and Aniki.fi forums who I, Ri-kun and Shiro Samurai spent the evening with after that our Hakuōki group separated. Back inside the building and tired, I came across some cool Fullmetal Alchemist cosplayers so I asked for a photo. I recently finished watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and oh dang it was so amazing!

Riza Hawkeye (left), Roy Mustang (middle) and Maes Hughes (right).
The day was coming to its end and I went to see if I could find those Tales of Vesperia cosplayers again as I felt that I want to stay in touch with them. I found them quite fast and we hanged around for a while, speaking of different things and the more I spoke with them the more we noticed that we had in common! It felt amazing that I and SilverRacoon (cosplaying as Raven) turned out to have exactly the same favorite characters in some series! I kept hanging with them and it started to get late, so I wanted to eat something. Not noodles, real food. I heard from Prince (cosplaying as Yuri Lowell) and SilverRacoon that their friend was going to head to town to buy some food and that their friend could take an order from me. Sounded nice! We waited and that friend called later and said that they bought pizza in the end instead of what they were first talking about of getting. Because I can't eat "normal" pizza and don't feel like explaining why and ordering through a phone, I had to roll with the cup noodles again after protesting against it quite much earlier. Luckily this is soon over and I can go home and eat real food. I ate together with the them and after the "meal" we went to chat some more, seemed like we chatted quite a long time and I had lost track of time completely. Luckily Ri-kun found me in the end and told me that Shiro Samurai wanted to head back. I said goodnight to my newly found friends and left with Ri-kun to see Shiro Samurai, thereafter I ordered a taxi to pick up the two of us.

Sunday

I actually thought when getting up "I'm so tired, do I really have to go to the con? It would be rather nice to just have a day off or something..." but then I remembered that I had a new cosplay to debut, so there was nothing else to do than to get my butt off the sofa, have some breakfast and head to the con. This time we took our costumes with us when there wasn't much package. At the con I changed to my cosplay -and failed with the obi knot again- and said hello to Prince (SilverRacoon wasn't there for the moment but appeared later). Afterwards I and Shiro Samurai went to have a photoshoot with Psycho Cat as the photographer. Shiro Samurai photoshooted Ri-kun's Reid Spencer (Criminal Minds) cosplay on the same run.

Cosplayer: Frozen Angel (Gijinka!Sandshrew)
Photographer: Psycho Cat

My kimono inspired Sandshrew (Pokémon) gijinka.
The con day was very short so there wasn't much to do. I just walked around the con building -after the photoshoot with Psycho Cat- and said goodbye to all the friends, both new and old ones that I could spot before the con ended. It ended already at 12:00. I'm gonna miss these people! During one of the days I bought a metallic Fullmetal Alchemist necklace and ring. I mainly wanted the necklace but the ring came in the box as well, so I guess I have to start using it too.


Before we went to Resecentrum to start our journey back to the north we ate some pizza together with big sister. After the pizza I went quickly to the small food market near her apartment to buy things for our trip back home like candy, yoghurt and something to drink. When I got back from the store, I and Shiro Samurai started to pack and prepare for the leave, hence we left first during the evening. We left for Resecentrum during 19:00 and jumped on the train to Stockholm. In the Stockholm train there was a Sebastian Michealis (Black Butler) cosplayer right next to our seats, which was quite a nice sight this late. Many congoers had probably taken the earlier trains by now. The drink that I bought -Loka mineral water- was a troll!Loka! Both mine and Shiro Samurai's Loka bottles exploded in the train when we opened them and I swear that I didn't shake them at all on the way back from the store! Nothing more interested happened during the rest of our trip back home and here you guys have my Närcon Vinter experience.

Thanks all and see you next time!

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See a photo of yourself in this post? Want it? Just send me a mail and I will send the photo to you in its original size! My mail address is MercenaryKratos@gmail.com. You can also contact me if you took my photo during the con.

Frozen Angel out.