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Gifts for the Ren Faire Participant In Your Life

4 Dec

It’s almost Christmas! You’d never know from the weather ’round here, since it’s like 75 outside, but I just looked at the calendar and it! is! almost! CHRISTMAS!

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Christmas is my favorite holiday. This is true for many reasons, among them Jesus, carols, wassail, Spree-flavored candy canes, and cheap-ass holiday cookies. But food isn’t the only thing I love about Christmas! I also like gifts!

Gifts are awesome. I know that; you know that. So let’s talk about gifts for the ren faire participant in your life, since I know all of you have at least one faire performer in your life.

Which is to say, me.

Ahem.

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Dressing for a cold faire

25 Oct

I’m in the middle of the Carolina Renaissance Festival, and it’s cold. Previously my biggest concern in outdoor performance was staying cool, what with working late spring ren faires, 4th of July events, and summer seasons at theme parks built around gigantic hunks of granite carved with the likenesses of traitors. Occasionally there will be cold days (one time it snowed!), but for the most part frostbite has not been a concern. It’s still not, but it sure feels like it some mornings. Being cold is my kryptonite.

The other day my talented and well-dressed harpist friend Sarah turned me on to her newest purchase: a pair of fleece-lined leggings from Anthropologie. They’re kind of amazing: soft inside, matte and opaque outside, comfortable, warm, and not the least bit bulky. High-waisted me could wish they had a slightly longer crotch seam, but if we got everything we wanted we would have nothing to bitch about. I think I’m going to need to add one more layer of tights or leggings when it gets super cold towards Thanksgiving, but for now they’re the best.

That got me thinking about other ways I’m keeping warm. I’m a little out of my depth here, but fortunately I have friends wit experience who can offer suggestions. And really, it should not be that complicated to adjust a Renaissance Europe-era costume to cold weather. Europe in the 15somethings, as it turns out, was smack in the middle of the Little Ice Age, and they all managed without central heating and insulation and fuzzy socks. This should not be hard.

So far, here in mid-to-late October, I’m getting along with the bare minimum of warm shit. I’ve got the basic costume (I adjusted a few things, more on that later), I just added some things: narrow sleeves (made of an 80/20 silk poly blend that’s heaven under 75 degrees and hell over), fingerless gloves (which also keep my shirt sleeves from riding up when I put on my sleeves), a black velvet scarf I keep forgetting to remove the tag from, and a black, rose-patterned shawl I found under the receptionist desk at my last full-time job. And then, of course, warm socks.

Next week I’m going to put together a new cloak. I have a full-length cloak in dark green wool and black fleece that’s gorgeous and comfy, but a) it’s not terribly character specific, and b) I’m using it as an extra blanket, because we’re camping without power hookups. The pattern is obviously seriously not period, but frankly it’s already 32 degrees outside when I leave the RV and it’s only October don’t judge me. With fewer (which is to say, no) ruffles I think option C will be just fine. Fleece Fest was happening at Hancock, so I got a pretty pale yellow for the lining, and I thought I was going to use my 50% off coupon on a black wool blend that was marked at $14.99/yd, until the lady who was about to cut it told me it was already on sale, it normally retailed for $27something, and so I couldn’t use my coupon. I was like “wtf, that’s the opposite of what it says on the bolt right there,” but it was almost closing and I was desperate for dinner so I let it go. To hell with Hancock Fabrics. I have got to stop going there. I’ve got some velveteen left, so I’ll use that, and the cloak will look like an extension of the costume. Which is what I want anyway. I just hope the velveteen and fleece is warm enough. Maybe I’ll interline it with something?

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing to keep warm so far. I’m going to need a pair of actual gloves at some point, with a water-proof outside and a soft lining and, ya know, fingers and whatnot. I’m also going to make a new pair of sleeves in a black velvety fabric of undetermined content, because options!

Tell me how you keep warm, persons who do historical outdoor events in the cold. This is for science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

Repost: Halloween Costume Etiquette

10 Oct

About this time last year, I wrote a simple, easy-to-understand post about How Not To Be A Dick While Shopping For Halloween Costumes. It includes helpful reminders, swearing, and a reference to The Rock. In the absence of any fresh content, I suggest you go read it.

That dress that makes your breasts/legs/ass look great

20 Jun

Every time I work a faire, I discover some new Awesome Thing That I Can’t Live Without. My teensy apartment is full of wooden straws, leather pouches, and striped knee socks. It’s a problem.

The 2012 Scarborough Ren Fest saw me discovering My Favorite Dress. Their shop was right next to the pub sing, and I fell in love with one of the short dresses (in vivid purple and blue) so hard that I bought it without trying it on, which I hardly ever do, because I’ve got an enormous rib cage, broad shoulders, and long arms and legs. So I went home and put it on and have basically not taken it off since then, except eventually I wanted some variety, so I bought another. Same dress, different color (darker purple and black).

I have basically lived in these dresses since then. They’re gorgeous, comfy, unusual, and they make me look fantastic. They go everywhere. I can dress them up with leggings and a shrug and a hat, or wear them over jeans to be casual without being schlubby. They have a lot of flounce, and the cut is stupid flattering. And and and, miracle of miracles, they’re long enough for me to wear without anything under them! I have a 36″ inseam; finding dresses that are long enough to be decent has been a challenge since I was a tiny tot. But they’re still cute short dresses! WTF THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

So, I love these dresses. We’ve established that. I highly recommend them. And while wearing them (and, let’s face it, admiring myself in the mirror) I remembered how much I like kicky little dresses that can go with anything. I am, at this very second, wearing a dress that is actually a bathing suit coverup from Target, which I bought last year and typically pair with jeans and just look so damned cute in. I also have a couple of sarongs that I like to wear. I come to you, Gentle Readers, because I need more.

So recommend me your favorite dresses. They should be adorable, and purple, and forgiving in the approximate region of the midriff.

Poll time!

3 Apr

I promise some fresh, substantial content is coming, but in the meantime, please tell me: should I get a serger, or an adjustable dressmaker’s dummy?

I need your help: Hunger Games costuming

30 Jan

You may be aware of a book called The Hunger Games. If you’re not, you should become familiar for two reasons: one, it’s a good book, and two, this post will not make any sense otherwise.

The movie of the book comes out in March. And I am going. At midnight. In costume.

There are lots of options for Hunger Games costuming! Katniss has half a dozen outfits, each described in just enough detail to keep the interpreting of them fun. Once a book becomes a movie, costuming fandom tends to overlook book-inspired takes on the characters (OH HI, HARRY POTTER) that don’t match the movie’s costuming, so AFAIC, the premiere of a movie is the last chance to have fun with dressing up. And “for fun” is the only legitimate reason in my mind to dress up.

So.

I didn’t think too hard about what I would want to dress as. To be honest, I didn’t think about it at all before I made my decision. I mean…I am not going to cover myself in coal dust. And I am not going to sew anything. So as Lord Elrond would say, I have only one choice. The Ring must be cast I am going as a citizen of the Capitol.

I have a ridiculous, horrifying, slightly stinky faux fur coat that I bought for  a Jane Austen’s Fight Club costume a few years ago. In my stocking this year, my parents gave me temporary lip tattoos*. I have a purple bob wig that my hair may or may not completely fit under. To be perfectly accurate, I have an entire closet of questionable fashion choices and a lifetime’s worth of loving tacky shit at my disposal.

With Capitol residents, the sky is the limit–whiskers, green skin, gold facial tattoos, blue lips, the list goes on. I admit to being a little daunted by the world of choices before me. So help me out! Give me suggestions, people! What would YOU say are the absolute must-haves for a Capitol citizen costume?

*the latest in a long line of silly things given as stocking gifts. One year I got a Catwoman Happy Meal action figure. I was 20. She lives on my car’s dashboard and rattles when I go over 70.

Quick post – Halloween links you should check out

26 Oct

Take Back Halloween! – in their own words, this is “A costume guide for women with imagination.” It’s a great jumping off point if you’re looking for something a little more interesting/less ridiculous than Sexy Big Bird or Sexy Firefighter.

Native Appropriations: Open Letter to the PocaHotties and Indian Warriors this Halloween – as I mentioned in the racism post, Native Appropriations has a number of posts on the topic of costumes. This is a good place to start, as the author includes a link to many of said posts.

And finally, allow me to present the only “Sexy [Thing]” costume I won’t judge you for wearing: Sexy Scrabble Board! Because it’s HILARIOUS.

 

 

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