Buying Cosplay

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What can I say? I like cats.

I am not posting this to debate whether or not buying cosplay is acceptable or valid. I think it is, and if you disagree, this probably is not the post for you. This is only to give advice for those who have decided to take this path.

Commissioning is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about purchasing a costume. It is a good way to get a high-quality costume,  and it is pretty limitless. However, it comes with a price tag to match, and you may need to save up in order to take this route.

Thrifting is a good option, although it can require as much creativity as starting from scratch. You may look for the pieces that you need, or you may look for pieces that can be reconfigured into the costume that you want. Coolirpa is an excellent YouTube channel that demonstrates upcycling clothes. While she mostly does everyday clothes, she does a lot of costumes as well.

Buying it as pieces is very similar to thrifting. Basically, you just scour stores and websites to look for pieces that will fit with the costume. Depending on the costume, you might be able to stick to department stores, but if it is a science fiction or fantasy costume, Halloween and party stores will be more useful. This takes patience, so give yourself plenty of time before the costume needs to be done.

Buying your cosplay can be just as much fun, and require as much time and patience, as making it from scratch. What have your experiences been in buying costumes and pieces?

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What I’m Working On

This morning I got some loom knitting done, something I have been doing a lot of lately.  Right now, I am working on a loom knitting project that will go with a cosplay I am planning to do. I would like to dress as Hermione Granger sometime, so I decided to start working on a Gryffindor scarf, based off the ones the trio wears in Prisoner of Azkaban.

I am using a 36-peg loom, and I am calculating the rows based off of this pattern. This is the first time I have changed color for a loom project and I am facing some challenges with it. Since I change colors plenty in it, I am hoping I get better by the end. I have no idea how to frog a project that is done on a loom, so any mistakes I make are staying there. Here are a few pictures of the project:

I had both of these colors in my stash. I’m trying to buy a little less yarn since I have so much to work with already, and very little space. It’s hard to do though when I have Ben Franklin’s within walking distance.

Are you working on something Potter-themed? Which Hogwarts house are you in? I’m a Ravenclaw.

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Time > Money

Remember in first grade when you learned about the greater than, less than, and equals signs and how the alligator always wants to eat the bigger fish? Well, in this case, the alligator in that title up there wants to eat the time, so it must be greater than money.

Now, normally, people say “Time is Money,” but I recently saw an inspirational quote on Pinterest that argued that time is much more valuable than money, and unlike most  quotes that show the back of a girl’s head, this one is true. Why is it true? You can always make more money, you cannot make more time.

This is important when you want to save money. Couponing and looking for sales is time consuming. Is that time worth it for the money you will save? A lot of times, yes, but sometimes you will have to be honest with yourself and say no. If you enjoy doing it, or you save a lot, that needs to be taken into consideration. So does what you could otherwise do with that time.

Another reason time is more valuable than money? No matter how much money you do or do not spend, you can usually find a way to get the results you want. But no matter what route you take, there will be a time investment. Making laundry detergent with supplies you already have? That takes time. Ordering it online to take advantage of a great deal without spending gas to get to the store? You still have to wait for it to be delivered.

No matter what your budget is, you can usually work around it. But whether you are planning a costume for an upcoming convention or getting supplies for the upcoming month, you will need to spend a little time to get it done. And because time is a finite resource, you want to make sure you spend it in the best possible way for you.

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Crafts to introduce kids to Yarn

If you are a knitter or crocheter, you most likely want to pass these skills along to children you see often. These are great ways to get them interested. I started by doing the crafts while talking to them, and letting them ask me about it if they were interested. Before long, they were begging me to get the yarn out, and one preteen girl learned to crochet on her own. pexels-photo-110876When they are ready to learn, here are some crafts to start with.

Finger knit and crochet: These are both very easy crafts that do not require any materials other than yarn. Both let kids practice the basics. Finished projects that you can make are limited, but some kids might just want to take it apart when they are done and start over. If they want to make something other than jewelry and scarves, there are lot’s of ideas on Pinterest.

Lucet: I have never tried using a lucet before. It is also known as a knitting fork. They are available on Etsy, and here is a good tutorial for making your own.

Yarn painting: This is meant for kids who may be too young to try the other projects, or are just not interested in them yet. It is a form of process art. There are a couple of ways to do this. You could let the child cover the yarn in glue and use it to make designs, or they could dip it in paint and drag it across paper and get creative with the design that it makes.

Drop spinning: If you have wool, or can get some, this is another fun activity, especially for children who always want to know where everything comes from. This tutorial shows how to make your own drop spindle, but it can also be bought on Etsy.

Spool knitting: Spool knitting has long been a great way to teach kids how to knit. It is a lot like loom knitting. While you can purchase really great spools online and in craft stores, kids can make their own out of household matierials. Here is a good demonstration of how to make one.

Making pom poms: This is a great project to do alongside some of these other ones. While I have made them using just my fingers and a pair of scissors, with kids I suggest using a fork or piece of cardboard for comfort, and to avoid cutting off circulation. Older kids may know not to wrap it to tight, so I advise supervision during this project. This article shows several different methods for making them.

Do you have crafty kids at home or school? What got them interested in yarn crafts?

 

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Crafty Ways to Earn

Love to sew, knit, or crochet, but don’t love the stress that comes with commissions? Are you concerned that running a shop would take too much time? Maybe deadlines just aren’t your strength. You can still make some side money without selling your product, and here are some ways to do it.

Teach. Many craft stores want local artisans to come in and teach people, so find a nearby store and see what they offer. You can also offer to teach your friends and family who have always wanted to learn. With the internet, there are also ways to earn passively. Youtube and Skillshare are two options.

Design patterns. This will take a lot of patience, but one pattern can continue to earn you money after the initial work is put into it. Craftsy and Ravelry offer platforms for selling patterns, and Etsy is another option.

Stream your work. Twitch is most popular for streaming video games, but it is used for all kinds of things, including crafts. People may want to watch you make products as a way to learn more, or just to connect with other hobbyists. Do your research and watch other streamers to learn what your viewers want to see.

Test patterns. Once someone has designed a pattern, they may want to see if it is easy to follow, or get a second opinion to look for errors. The penny hoarder published this article about it: http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/test-knitter/. If you are good at following patterns, and knowledgeable about knitting, it can be a good way to earn some extra money to spend on supplies.

Sell supplies. Even if you do not want to sell the finished product, you may have extra yarn, fabric, or other supplies on hand that you will never use. These can be listed on sites like ebay or etsy, or you can host a yarn swap with friends.

Crafting can be a great frugal hobby, but it can also be another source for extra money. How do you earn money with your hobbies?crafty-ways-to-earn

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Makeup Safety

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetWhether it’s for cosplay or everyday wear, the costs of makeup can add up, especially if you have concerns about natural products, animal testing, sensitive skin, or you just wear a lot. It is an excellent place to look for savings, but when you do, use caution.

I don’t really like to buy a lot of makeup and I have a pretty good stockpile of it. While I don’t put very much stock in use by dates, always test old makeup or products that you got from a friend before putting it on sensitive areas or using a lot. This is especially true if you do not know all of the ingredients. If a item is old, you may need to use more of it to get your desired look, so do a test before wearing it out or for photos.

There are a lot of places to get cheap makeup but make sure you do your research. Avoid already opened products for eyes, and use reliable sources. A good friend whom you know takes care of their products can be a great source for foundation they found out was too light, but if you don’t know a person, or you are buying used online, avoid eye products and items that are meant for sensitive areas. Insure that the item is unopened and unused.

There are a lot of cheap brands that market themselves as natural but don’t be afraid to do your own research. Look up ingredients that you do not recognize, and if animal testing is a concern, look for third party verification sources.

If you decide to sell or give away pieces of your own stash, give as much information as you can. Be honest about what brand and product it is, and how long you have had it. Don’t give away or sell something if you would not be comfortable accepting it for yourself.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

How do you save money on makeup?

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How to Make Money as a Cosplayer

Cosplaying gets expensive, going to conventions even more so. Actually making money as a cosplayer is incredibly difficult, but each of these things allow you to make a little something back on what you are spending.

Cash back sites. My favorite is Swagbucks, but I have also heard good things about ebates. Mypoints is another, and it offers cashback on a lot of sites that Swagbucks does not. Useful sites that offer cashback through these programs include ebay, etsy, Hot Topic, and Amazon, but only on certain items.

Sell some stuff. This can include extra supplies, old costumes you do not plan to wear again, or designs and patterns. You can start by posting in Facebook groups, starting an online store, or setting up a booth at a local convention.

Offer to Commission items. This means that you would take special orders for your services. Do not limit yourself to just doing complete costumes. If you are skilled at props or wig styling, you may consider offering specific services. Here are some useful tips to consider if you think this is a possible path. https://thegeekyseamstress.com/2016/12/19/10-essential-tips-for-first-time-commissioners/

Blog or Vlog. I do not think there are enough resources out there about cosplaying, and that is one of the reasons I have started writing more about it here. With blogs and vlogs you can make money with Patreon donations, affiliate sales, and other sources of income.  If you offer other services like selling or commission, a blog is a useful way to promote your services.

Professional cosplayers do exist, but most people put more money into their costumes than they will ever get out of it. That does not mean you can’t make things a little easier on yourself. If you do any of these things, please post a comment below.

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December Favorites

I’m going to jump on a bandwagon I’ve seen a few other bloggers participate in. Basically, I just tell you all my favorite items that I used last month.

Rat Queens Volume one: Sass and Socery

Burt’s Bees Lipstick

EOS lip balm

Flannel shirt from Christopher & Banks

 

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Goals for 2017

 

  1. 2017Get in shape. I want to wear more cosplays and take lots of pictures, so I want to look good while doing it.
  2. Go to at least one convention, and one Renaissance fair, be in costume for both. While I would like to go to an out of state and a local convention, I will also be going on a honeymoon this year, so spending on vacations has to be minimal.
  3. Do a professional photoshoot for at least one costume, and get lots of photos of all the ones that are completed so far.
  4. Commission a costume. I really want to do an all out costume of some kind while supporting another cosplayer. I don’t know what costume I will do, but I will probably choose one that is too complicated to take on myself.
  5. Make two Kimmy Schmidt costumes. I want to do the outfit from the first episode, as well as her outfit from “Kimmy goes to a party!”
  6. Completely make one costume.
  7. Get married and go on a honeymoon.
  8. Move into our own place. We’re living with a family member right now.
  9. Read more. I even read my first comic book.

Those are my goals for 2017. What are yours?

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Free and Low-Cost Hobbies

Everyone needs an outlet of some kind. Maybe you like being creative, or active. No matter what you like, lot’s of hobbies do not need a fortune to start.

  1. Upcycling. Use whatever you have in your house to make something pretty and useful. You could use pop tabs to make a bracelet, or make yarn out of plastic bags or t-shirts and crochet with them.
  2. Walking. This is an incredible exercise, and it you do not need anything to get started, besides a pair of comfortable shoes and a place to go. If your neighborhood is not safe or walker friendly, look for local parks or schools that have tracks open to the public.
  3. Finger crochet and knit. These are often recommended for people just starting out in yarn crafts. Chances are you have some yarn around your house somewhere. Youtube has lots of useful tutorials to get started.
  4. Exploring your town. Almost everyone thinks that their neighborhood has nothing to offer, and they are wrong. No matter where you live, there is likely a part that you have either never been to, or did not look closely at. Take a short drive or walk to a new area and just start looking around.
  5. Reading. While lots of people like to read, we tend to give it up when we don’t have enough time or energy. Look through your bookshelf for old favorites or books you bought but never read. You can also visit the library, where you can find audiobooks as well.

Having a hobby does not need to cost anything. Enjoy some peaceful time to yourself without hurting your budget. What are your favorite things to do that are also cheap?

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