Crafts with Pizzazz: SpongeBob SquarePants!

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Hello from Bee!

Sorry for the delay in posts; Boss-Bot and I have been incredibly busy this month preparing for and attending a comic convention (you know it’s convention season when there are fabric scraps, cardboard pieces, and tons of glitter sprinkled throughout the house!).

We had a fantastic time at the convention! For the first time, we were able to attend all three days, which meant we could actually sit through some panels as well as walk around the exhibit halls. As for costumes, we complimented each other as Batman vs. Superman, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, and one day of individual costumes, where Boss-Bot went as Scream from the TV series and I went as Captain America (with a little Bucky Bear!).

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Unquestionably, the highlight of the convention was meeting signature guest Tom Kenny, voice of SpongeBob SquarePants (of which Boss-Bot and I are HUGE fans) and so many other classic characters. He is the NICEST guy! He really spent time talking with us and quoting/singing all our favorite classic SpongeBob moments. He clearly loves what he does and was very touched by all of the fan love, including when I gave him a crocheted SpongeBob.

Making SpongeBob was a bit of a challenge because of his shape. There are several ways to create a three-dimensional square shape for amigurumi; I decided to crochet six flat yellow pieces and sew them together, stuffing the resulting shape before attaching the final piece. Afterwards, I crocheted a flat piece with white and brown yarn for his shirt and pants and sewed it over the square. I did make his arms, sleeves, legs, and shorts in-the-round, creating fingers with the same chain technique I use for bandannas. The face and other details are felt, yarn, and embroidery thread.

Have you been to any conventions? What are your highlights? Please comment below! 🙂

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Crafts with Pizzazz: Costumes: Captain America!

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Hello from Bee!

First of all: Great Scott! Happy Back to the Future Day! Today, October 21, 2015, is the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown visit the future. Let’s all celebrate by going hoverboarding! 🙂

All right, back to the posts…

Last week, I introduced the concept of semi-homemade Halloween costumes, citing my own Bumblebee convention costume as a (Optimus) Prime example. 🙂 I’d like to continue with this topic, focusing today on the “semi” part of “semi-homemade” and featuring my Captain America costume!

As I mentioned last week, when I start putting together a costume, I first go “closet-shopping” – searching through my own wardrobe for pieces that are already usable. This is a great place to start: just look at the “DisneyBound” Tumblr by the incredible Leslie Kay, who pieces together awesome Disney-inspired outfits using common articles of clothing! As for me, having done theatre for so many years, I’ve built quite a collection of costume pieces for myself, and usually end up with a decent foundation for an outfit after rummaging through everything.

After perusing my own closet, I always look through the wardrobes of my family members, as well; often, they have items that are old or unused that I can repurpose to fit the desired look. For example, my father seems to accumulate baseball caps which he never wears, and occasionally passes them along to me; I took one of these hats, carefully pulled out all of the stitching, and felted it over to make an awesome Cap cap!

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In addition to the baseball cap, I found a plethora of old, unused white t-shirts in another closet that have already come in handy for so many of my costuming projects – an entire Princess Leia outfit and a Renaissance Faire blouse, just to name a few. For my Captain America costume, I cut off the bottom of one such t-shirt and sewed it to the top half of a blue t-shirt I found on sale at a craft store. I did the same with the white t-shirt sleeves, adding them on to the blue sleeves for that signature Captain America look. The leftover white material was used to make the star. In addition, since the craft store sale was a buy-one-get-one, I had also picked up a red t-shirt, whose bottom became the stripes, and whose sleeves became a really neat pair of fingerless gloves.

Of course, if I didn’t find those t-shirts in the closet or on sale, I definitely would have paid a visit to the local secondhand clothing stores. These are excellent places to find inexpensive costume pieces – especially if you’re looking for something a little more vintage. (I actually found the rest of my Ren Faire outfit at one of these shops; whereas a good store-bought medieval costume costs anywhere from $40 upwards [accessories not included], I put my entire look together for less than $20!)

Now, with a sewing machine, all of the stitching for my Captain America costume would probably have taken a week at most. However, as I do not own one, I had to do the entire project completely by hand, which ended up taking almost a month in between work and other activities. Nevertheless, I’m incredibly pleased with the way it turned out!

Have you found costume inspirations from your closet? Did you find some cool items at a thrift shop? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!

Crafts with Pizzazz: Costumes: Bumblebee!

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Hello from Bee!

So sorry for not posting last week; this month is proving to be quite a busy one for me! I am, however, going to try to maintain our regular posting schedule, so please bear with us!

Speaking of months…as you are well aware, it is now October, which means fall, which means Halloween, which means plenty of crafting opportunities! As such, I would like to kick off a series of posts dedicated to geeky Halloween fun!

For me, the absolute best part of Halloween is dressing up in costumes. When I was little, I always looked forward to that fall weekend where I would get to pick out my Halloween costume from the local party store (and subsequently model it at home on the days leading up to the big night of Trick or Treating!). My favorite was a pirate costume that I actually wore for several Halloweens, especially after Captain Jack Sparrow made his silver screen debut.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve really developed a love and appreciation for homemade costumes. It feels so great to wear something that I created myself (not to mention that so many store-bought costumes nowadays are expensive and inappropriate, to say the least).

Therefore, for the past several years, I’ve been happily crafting and wearing my own costumes. Of course, as with most people, I am on a rather tight budget; I do not have a sewing machine, nor do I have the funds to buy tons of materials and make absolutely everything from scratch. As such, I always start by going through my wardrobe to see which pieces of a costume I already have, and then proceed to fill in the gaps with converted articles from discount or thrift stores. You’d be surprised to see how many great costumes can be semi-homemade!

As an example of what one can look like, I present my Bumblebee convention costume! This costume actually came about because my original costume idea fell apart at the last minute (literally – the glue wasn’t holding 😉 ). I quickly reevaluated and, with Boss-Bot dressing up as Optimus Prime, I decided to complement him and go as Bumblebee.

I already had a yellow shirt, black capris, and yellow crocs for the basis of the costume. Boss-Bot found me a leftover cardboard box from his own costume-building and helped me cut out the holes for my head and arms. (I eventually put felt over these holes so the cardboard wouldn’t scratch me.) We spray-painted the entire box with a base coat of black, over which I glued yellow construction paper, gold and silver glitter, and some spray-painted paper-plate wheels. (The other two wheels I tied around my ankles with felt and embroidery thread.)

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The hat was a basic black and yellow “snapback” cap I bought and completely felted over to look like Bumblebee. I also bought a pair of plain black costume gloves – those have actually proven quite versatile and have been used with several other costumes.

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All in all, I did not have to do much spending to make this costume, and while it did take a good solid week of work, it came together very nicely and got me a great deal of compliments at the convention! 🙂

Are you a fan of homemade costumes? Have you created one of which you’re super proud? Please comment below and share your techniques and photos!