The Two Week Thorin Costume

Remember a few weeks back, when I posted about the two week Thranduil costume that I made for my husband? Well, there’s a reason I’ve been so quiet since – I got it in my head that I should follow that up with a Thorin costume for myself… again in only two weeks!

Where Porter’s costume was mostly a feat of sewing and logistics – about 200 pieces of fabric to juggle in just his coat! – the Thorin costume was a bunch of different techniques, and a TON of pieces to make. What can I say, I like a challenge!

Much like the Thranduil costume, I started with making the jewelry first. It was pretty simple: two rings, two large gold “bands” for braids in the back of the hair, and two more – smaller, silver – ones for the braids pulled around to the front. Everything is made from Sculpey and painted:

From there, I built the boots. These started off as a pair of winter boots I bought at a thrift shop. I sewed the covers from fun fur and attached it down. The buckles were made from Sculpey and painted before attaching to the pleather strapping. The toe boxes were made from craft foam and plastic canvas, with several layers of paint to give it an aged metallic look:

The most time consuming aspect of this costume build was the armoured tunic. I’d never done any sort of casting before, but there was NO way I was going to individually sculpt over 350 pieces of armour plating!

So, I sculpted one “blank” each of each style and size of plating, and baked them. Then I made molds off of those pieces, and my husband and I spent HOURS casting and baking the armour plating. We then primed and painted with metallic paints. Eventually, we’ll be “aging” them with black acrylic.

The pieces were laid out on the actual tunic (which was several layers of durable fabric itself, with reinforced seams everywhere – engineered to withstand holding the crazy amount of weight those armour plates would add!) and glued down:

I used the same techniques for the bulk of the belt, which I made from a heavyweight pleather and a lightweight navy blue corduroy:

I didn’t actually take any real progress photos of the other garment construction, as it was “just” sewing. Plowed through it too fast to bother!

About a week after starting, I was done everything except the leather bracers, and the wig/beard. My friend Todd is an experienced leather worker, and does amazing cosplay… and he graciously gave up a whole day to teach me how to work with leather, and supervise me making these bracers. He showed me how to trace out my pattern, cut and bevel it, texture it, and everything. 7 hours later, I had a gorgeous pair of bracers – I was SO proud of myself! Todd was an excellent teacher:

The day that I went to Todd’s place to do the bracers, my husband was busily building me a gorgeous “Orcrist” sword. He started with a sheet of plastic – very similar to the kind that cutting boards are made from. He cut, sanded, and beveled it, before passing it off to me to sculpt the hilt.

He attached the hilt, primed and sanded it many times, and finally sprayed it a shiny metallic silver – you’d never know it started as plain white plastic!

I added the final touches – detailed painting on the hilt, raised details on the blade, and a few crystals attached to the very end of the hilt. Gorgeous!

This whole time, we were stressed out about the wig. We had ordered two wigs online, which were to arrive on December 3rd.. giving me plenty of time to take the wefts from one and sew it to the other.

Well… a week after the supposed delivery date, it was declared lost in the mail. (I’m cutting out a lot of the drama here, including hours on the phone with UPS – it was a LOT of stress!)

Then, the next day it arrived. When I opened the package, one wig was completely the wrong colour, and the other one was very… girlie. There was no way it was going to work for me (see the second photo below… I look REAL amused, eh?). I decided it was time for me to learn to make wigs. I think the lost package kind of broke me! We went to a weave supply store, bought some bulk “braid” hair, and I set about making wefts for my new wig on Thursday – the morning before the movie premiere!

It took all day, but the wig looked really good… aside from the “kink” to the hair fibres. I put the wig on my husband and styled it that night, adding the braids and hair jewelry.

The next morning I decided to try ironing the hair, and that went well – smoothing everything out well. Thorin doesn’t have straight hair, though – it’s wavy. I didn’t have curlers, a curling iron, or anything of the sort, myself… so I just braided the rest of the hair and ironed the braids to set the hair into wavys – it worked perfectly! Added a couple strands of grey hair at the temples, and it was done:

With all of THAT behind me, it was time to deal with the beard. I’d never done a beard before, and I am NOT good with makeup.. so this would be an adventure. It took me about 2 hours to build the beard, mustache, and widow’s peak right on my face, but I loved how it turned out! I used leftover braiding hair, and a ton of liquid latex:

Want to see the final costume? Click here to go to another entry to see photos from the outdoor photo shoot we on Friday!

Additionally, we went out for a fun photo shoot a couple days later. As we’d never had an engagement photo shoot when we got married, we thought it would be fun to do one… in costume. 7+ years late, sure… but WAY more awesome. Check out those photos in a gallery on new Costuming Facebook page, here.

While you’re at it, be sure to “like” the page, to keep up on my costuming endeavors! (Which are usually not posted to the main Celebration Generation page!)

Happy Anniversary, Yankee!

Seven years ago today, I married the coolest guy on the planet.

At the time, pretty much nobody knew about it – we had been planning a big, “proper” wedding for August.

Well, then I had to see a doctor here in America to get my thyroid checked up on, and the bill came in – $500! WHAAAAAAAAAT?!

It was definitely a shock to someone who’d taken universal healthcare for granted all her life, so we immediately decided to have a very private, secret, quickie wedding to get me insured in the meantime.

First, we were going to have it at the courthouse. Then, Porter decided to suggest that we have it on my absolute favorite day of the year – St Patrick’s Day. (Irish-Canadian here, so … HELL YES!).

Well, then things snowballed. It went from “Jeans and t shirts at the courthouse” to “We should at least have it at a chapel of some sort”, to “We should dress for the occasion”, to me rushing to throw together a wedding gown (hand painted, but out of cheapo cotton! LOL!).

Well, if I was wearing a gown, we should get personal flowers together (I made them from cheapo silk flowers), and our witness should be dressed up too (So I made her a green gown with a subtle shamrock pattern woven in!), and then SHE should have a bouquet too … it was all very “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.

We giggled and crossed our eyes at each other through the whole ceremony, and then we were married. The Claddagh ring I put on him at our quickie wedding served as an “engagement ring” for the months to follow, as no one knew we were married.

… and here we are, 7 years, a tornado, and many crazy adventures later. I haven’t actually looked at these (crappy point-and-shoot camera!) photos in a few years. Can’t believe how different – how YOUNG we look.

Can’t wait to look back on photos from our life together, when we’re 80 and yelling for kids to get off our lawn. Together.




The Toilet Paper Wars

My husband has a habit of leaving approximately 2 squares on the toilet paper roll, just so he doesn’t have to be the one to replace the roll on the holder. I find this annoying, so when he does it, I’ll take a new roll out, and just not put it on the holder. (Mature, I know.)*

A short while ago, we both took toilet paper passive aggression to all sorts of new levels. So, in honor of The Bloggess visiting Minneapolis this week, I finally give you the story of The Toilet Paper War.

DAY 1:

That morning, I was faced with another all-but-empty roll of toilet paper on the holder. I took out a new one, put it on the edge of the sink, and didn’t think much of it.

The next time I went to use the washroom, I found that he had tied the end of new roll to the remaining sheets on the old roll, still on the holder. This was new…

So, I carefully undid it, used some paper off the new roll, and then tied the end to the old roll… looping it under the holder, so he would know that I had seen it..

… so he did it again.

… so I tied a big-ish, pouffy florist-style bow and attached it to the old roll. In my mind, I was thinking: “If he wants to get into passive aggression through bow making, I’ll win. Just watch me!”. I had NO idea that this was just the start of a “cold”war over bathroom tissue.

I took a photo of that bow and posted it to a private Facebook group of friends. The plan was that I was NOT going to say a word to him about it, and see if he would “break” first. As such, I needed to tell SOMEONE.

So, I let my friends know:

“ If he does it again, I may just use all that remains on the new roll (minus 4 sheets or so) to make a HUMONGOUS bow, and tie it on. An almost empty roll, attached to an almost empty roll. That would be a win, right?”

… and was immediately told that I have the best marriage ever. Pretty sure that it wasn’t sarcastic, either!

As it turned out, he was having some of the same thoughts as I was. The next time I went to use the washroom, this is the sight I was greeted with:

I posted the photo to my friends, and the fun began… Including one suggestion that I slip him an Ex-Lax. (Yes, I have weird friends)

“I was expecting the old roll to be on the holder, and the new roll to be on the sink. So obviously one of you *did* change the roll.” – Stacey, 2:57pm

“You know what, you’re right. I was so focused on the fact that they were tied together, I didn’t notice. Now I have no idea at which point this happened. I’m thinking he may have done it after I tied *MY* first bow. I’ll have to ask him, when we’re finally discussing it. Actually, yeah – it would have had to be on his second bow, because I wouldn’t have been able to loop it the way I had on MY first tie. – Me, 3:02pm

“So if he actually did change it, but tied it together all pretty like that, then I guess you “won” the PA toilet paper challenge. ;-)” – Stacey, 3:05pm

“I did… damnit. I was looking forward to my next bow!” – Me, 3:06pm

“Damn. I gotta find me a man who does shit like this ;-)” – Josie, 3:07pm

“God, I’m such a jackass. He’s out back – took the day off to work on the car…. So I just went out to “check on things”, and bring him a snack. We have a bunch of dried fruits in blue bags. He ate it before asking what it was. Yup. a big, FAT prune. Haha!” – Me, 3:11pm

“That is beautiful…ROTFLMAO!!!!” – Desiree, 3:13pm

“So, if it’s not a passive aggressive competition any more, keep it going as a bow competition. Or a “who breaks first and laughs” competition :-D” – Pamela, 3:14pm

“I almost broke when I had to say “It’s a prune”.” – Me, 3:15pm ·

“LOL I just chuckled out loud here in the office when I read the word “prune”.” – Heidi, 3:16pm

“ It is SO wrong that I can’t wait for him to use the can again. I’m guessing he’ll say something this time… but if he doesn’t, I’m taking a photo of whatever he does with the roll.” – Me, 3:19pm

“Hmmmm… have you any mineral oil or cod liver oil in the house?” – Heidi, 3:19pm

“We’re going to a movie in a bit, I don’t want to do anything that will make being stuck beside him a punishment for ME!” – Me, 3:20pm

“OMG he just came in. He’s washing his hands in the kitchen, and I am trying SO hard not to laugh”. – Me, 3:26pm

“SO WHAT IS HE DOING NOW??????” – Heidi, 3:30pm

“I DON’T KNOW! He was washing his hands, and now nothing!” – Me, 3:31pm

“Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! I have to leave work soon! I need an update! You’re going to go in there and he’ll have a whole papier mache zoo going on.” – Heidi, 3:40pm

As it turned out, he had gone out back to take the car for a test drive. When he came back, he had the mail with him – including a corset I had ordered for an upcoming event. He helped me into it, and even followed me to the bathroom as I checked it out in the mirror… and he DID NOT EVEN GLANCE at my most recent work of passive aggressive bow making art:

Little did I know, that was the moment that he decided that this had gone from something “cute and funny”, to a CHALLENGE. In his mind, it was now ON.

The best? This was late afternoon, and had started before lunch. Neither of us had yet said a word to the other about it. I’m still shocked that neither of us even smirked at each other. The toilet paper war was temporarily put on hold while we went to a movie and ran some errands… And the discussion online continued…

“ I love how you guys are TPing your own bathroom. After the movie, maybe it will creep into the hallway, then outside. Who needs neighborhood hooligans? 😉 – Stacey, 4:35pm

“ I was thinking of leaving a roll in the bed next to him when I wake up tomorrow” – Me, 4:54pm

“If you do, it should so have a TP rose on it……. :)” – Pamela, 5:01pm

“I wonder if he’s trying to figure out what the TP game is but doesn’t want to ask. :-)” – Stacey, 5:16pm

“So we’re getting ready for bed, I go to use the washroom, forgetting about the toilet paper thing. I have NO IDEA when he had time to, but he made his next move. He must have opened a package of tp that wasn’t in there earlier … and placed rolls EVERYWHERE. one on the faucet, two on the toilet, 2 on the towel rack, one on top of a mirror, one balanced on the corner of the medicine cabinet. Didn’t have my phone to take a pic of the ridiculousness, so I passed on making a move. I came upstairs, he went down and came back up … still not so much as the hint of a grin over it from either of us. NO ONE is acknowledging it in any way! LMAO! ” – Me, 10:01 pm

DAY 2

I woke up earlier than he did, and was finally able to snap a photo of his previous night’s move… but was greeted with even MORE of it than the previous night:

“LOL! Porter TPed the hell out of the bathroom last night. In addition to the 9 rolls all over the place, he draped 2 long banners of it from the back of the toilet and the roll holder, up on the mirror, across the bathroom, draped low… it’s kind of magnificent. I can’t take a picture from in the bathroom though, and I’ll feel like he wins if I “acknowledge” it within his view (taking a photo from outside of the bathroom). So this morning before he got up, I individually “mummified” every one of his bottles, toothbrush, razor, etc that’s in the shower. Bwahaha!! He’ll have to unwrap them before showering (or they’ll get gross), which means that he’ll have “acknowledged” my work by undoing it… and I win. Right?” – Me, 9:26am

“He’s making breakfast, so I was able to snap a quick photo. He must have seen the shower, because now he’s getting really fancy with braids and knots. Not a word or even smile about it from either side! We’re having a normal weekend morning, too. Got up, went to the farmer’s market, spent about an hour in the kitchen together, cleaning up the fridge, he washed dishes as I cut up produce and made some soup stock… LOADS of interaction. Still not even a hint about this. LOL! I think he may be winning. I have no idea how to top this ” – Me, 9:57am

“It’s hard to “win” when you aren’t sure what the game is, but remember–you got him to change the TP roll in the first place, so you already won. If he “wins” the “let’s TP the house” contest, that’s OK. :-)” – Stacey, 10:02am

“I suggest a wreath effect, with lots of floral style bows that are then affixed to every sconce, and then small bows on the shower hooks.” – Desiree, 10:07am

“Wait. Are you guys each UNdoing what the previous person has done? Or are you just building on what is already there? You could remove your shower curtain and replace it with one made from toilet paper.” – Nicole, 10:14am

“We are headed out to run errands, I will take your suggestions and run with them when we get back! CANNOT tell how much willpower it took to NOT ask if we need tp when doing shopping list together!” – Me, 10:21am

“When you’re shopping, just go and find the biggest pack of toilet paper you can find and put it in the cart. Don’t make eye contact and don’t say a word. Does he have a place in the house that is “his?” Ie: a desk or workbench? When he’s out or asleep, I’d lead the TP from the bathroom to whatever it is and then completely cover that in TP.” – Michelle, 10:24am

“You guys are insane. I love it.” – Vicki, 4:44pm

“He has since wrapped the scale, so I wrapped the hand towel. Still not so much as a word.” – Me, 6:16pm

“So we were getting ready to go out, I was in there doing hair and makeup (omg difficult!), he was upstairs getting dressed. So, as I finished up, I rigged a roll to fall on him when he opened the door. Went and got dressed, he used the washroom… I didn’t get to see what happened, but there’s no way that it DIDN’T fall on his head. Still not a word.” – Me, 6:36pm

“I can’t believe that neither of you can hear the other cracking up :)” – J.M, 7:13pm

“You two are crazy, I love it.” – Diana, 11:16pm

“He wrapped the door handle on the inside of the bathroom, so I wrapped the shower head, bath faucet, and tap handle.” – Me, 11:59pm

DAY 3:

I woke up to find that my husband had found the opportunity to make his move at some point after going to bed: He had wet a strip of toilet paper, and just applied it to the wall in a straight line.

As he slept in, I followed with the move I’d been looking forward to for the past day:

“He just went down to the washroom… I’m guessing this all ends today. LOL. The bathroom is only very barely functional now” – Me, 9:03am

“He took it beyond the bathroom! Just went downstairs to find that he’d wrapped my keyboard! Unfortunately, I was VNC’d in to that computer at the time, so now I’m worried that he saw this thread. If he sees me “acknowledging” it to a private group, does that count? Crap, I think I may have lost the game!” – Me, 9:48am

That would end up being the final move of the “Game”. We were running out of space to do anything in the bathroom, and with the next day being a workday… yeah. It all had to come down. I waited as long as I possibly could that evening, but he held out. I was going to have to be the one to address it. After three full days of neither acknowledging the growing, uh… installation… in the bathroom, it killed me to be the one to crack!

Sitting there, watching TV, I just brought it up, out of the blue. “I guess this means that I lose, but we’re going to have to clean up the bathroom tonight”

He busted out laughing, and we got to work disassembling our passive aggressive toilet paper art. (No worries, none of it went to waste – the bathroom had recently been cleaned, so we piled up all of our bows, swags, and braids into a shopping bag for use.)

You know, before we met… I guess I had some pretty standard ideas about what marriage was supposed to be. Reality – with my particular husband – is about a million times more fun than I ever could have pictured.

* He wants me to state that it’s the opposite, and he thinks that*I* leave 2 squares on. Um, no. Sorry sweetie!

Edited to add:

I forgot that he had gone in with a wide angle camera to take some better photos, before we took it all down…