Thursday, March 24, 2011

All-Con 2011 Recap

Wow, What a weekend!  There are parts of me and my habitation that are still recovering from that whirlwind of fun.  The folks at All-Con really pulled out all the stops this year.  There was excitement and entertainment well into the early hours of the morning and somehow we all woke up mostly on time and did it all again.

This year the DFWCG participated in three panels.  I have to say they were all a success.  Thank you to Everyone who came to our panels and double thank you to those who ran those panels!  We could not have been a success if it was not for either of you.

Friday we took it easy.  Jennifer Kubenka and Coleen Swafford were at All-Con early so they got our table started while I was still at work.  Thank you Very much Crandall for getting our information together so that they were able to do that!  We saw some great costumes and talked to a lot of cool people.  And some inventive people too!  Check out this Dalek interpretation:

Once the time came to shut down the tables we all broke away and then Coleen and I came back to enjoy the Dr. Horrible Sing-a-Long Blog screening.  I opted to come in Dr. Horrible costume along with a few others, but I was the only one representing the red lab coat.

Founding Member Traci Baker glammed it up in her new PVC corset outfit on Friday night.

What a great way to kick off the first night of the con!  

Saturday we were up and at 'em early as we had our knitting panel first thing.  Last year we had a large group of people who all wanted to learn how to get started.  This year we had a smaller group learning, but over all we were of differing levels.  Regina came to be our expert again.  And as usual she was fantastic and very funny.  We had another Regina drop by to show us how she spins fibers into yarn.  She's from Rose Path Weaving in Lindale, TX.  Our instructor Regina spoke very highly of this shop's yarn selections.

One of our knitters was brave enough to try making our little Jayne Hat Pin that Laura put together for last year.  We were all so busy learning last year that we never got around to making them so I had lots of leftover supplies.  The rest of us learned or practiced our basic knitting.

Our next panel on Saturday was the Fabric and Pattern Swap.  Each year this panel has grown.  I remember the first year when there was only two of us who participated.  This year, we covered nearly every table with swap items.  How fantastic is that?

We moved a lot of fabric and patterns during that swap.  Of course we also had so much more that wasn't taken home.  Although at first I was a little overwhelmed with the amount we had left and what on earth I was going to do with it, I have since decided to donate the remaining swap items to a local theater program or school.  Now I just need to choose where to donate.

During the swap, I met two ladies who are making some interesting innovations in dress forms.  They're Epps & York Apparel & Accessories.  And they make custom dressforms to mimic soft tissue.  In layman's terms, they squish better than a Uniquely You foam form.  They didn't have any forms on hand at this con for us to look at, but I am hoping we can see a sample some time soon.

Saturday afternoon was our beaded jewelry panel.  Our Treasurer Rondinella was gracious enough to be here  from Austin after her time at Gulf Wars in Mississippi to put this panel on.  She was also gracious enough to donate the supplies for the panel so people could go home with something they made instead of just watching a demo.  So a Huge thanks goes out to Rondinella for her contribution on Saturday!  Here's a sampling of what went down in the panel.

At posting, Rondinell hadn't had a chance to sort through her photos she took of the finished products.  I hope to have her photos to showcase soon.

The Beaded Jewelry panel closed out our panel participation for the day, but over at the club table we continued to see some amazing costumes.

 This family was a major favorite walking by.  It's so great when the whole family can participate.

And this Yellow Lantern Scarecrow looked really awesome up close.

I'm not sure what costume this is, but it also looked really great up close.

We officially wrapped up Saturday's club table in the evening so we could all break for dinner.  After that some of us rested and enjoyed the vacation of the hotel.  Others of us played well into the night and early morning hours taking advantage of the extended programming All-Con provided this year.

Sunday was to be a day spent just sitting behind the table and wrapping up our connections with new people. But at the last minute we were asked to sit on a panel about Master Level Costuming as the panelist couldn't make it.  That gave me a chance to sit on a panel with Cynthia, who also was a great help lending us a dress form for costume displays.  We all had to think quickly on our feet to fill the time, but I think the panel attendees were able to come out of the room with some helpful information.

I have to say that out of the 3 years the DFWCG has participated with All-Con, this year was my favorite.  I had anticipated a great time as soon as I saw the theme and I was even more excited about it as soon as I started to see the panels fill in on the schedule.  2012 has some big shoes to fill.  But considering the theme, I think we're in for another wild ride.  See you guys next March for "The End of the World"!

Monday, March 14, 2011

All-Con 2011 is almost upon us

Are you ready?  Have you rifled through your costume closet and found enough to put together a suitable wardrobe for 3 days of costuming?

If you're anything like me, your house or apartment is an absolute explosion of fabric and thread due to the last minute ideas and the refusal to be seen in "that same costume for a third time."  This last week my living space was transformed into a veritable sweat shop so I could fix items that were torn, or alter items to better mix and match.  I nearly finished one costume only to realize that what I really needed to finish was a large boarder at the bottom of the skirt.  And I almost altered a costume which was too big only to decide that if I took the fringe off of it and hacked away at an old brides maid's dress, the whole look would be infinitely better.

Am I finished?  No.  Of course not.  This week I finalize closures and rifle through what's left of my make-up stash that survived a bit of an apartment disaster.  And I start getting creative with my hair.  I have several ready to wear wigs, but I think for my steampunk I'm going to play with my new extensions for a fresh hair style.  I think I'm most excited about my Steampunk outfit.  It's Steampunk Light, but it's cute and is an example of how a person can take some regular closet items and cobble them together with other costume pieces for a decent Steampunk look.  I can't wait to share it!  Needs a hat though.

But it's not just the costumes I'm excited about.  For the third year in a row the DFWCG is presenting our Fabric and Pattern Swap.  Each year this swap has grown just a little bit more in size.  And I've heard that this year we should have some very interesting fabrics offered.  There's also going to be patterns and trims.  If you didn't stop by last year, you missed the opportunity to snag 2 yds of nice Italian silk.  Who knows what jewel will surface this year?  And remember, you don't have to bring something to take something.

We're also reprising our Knitting panel.  We had such a great time learning last year that we decided it would be fun to meet up again to see what everyone's been up to.  We've got instructors on hand for anyone who needs to learn from the beginning or who needs to refresh their lessons.  We will have extremely limited supplies for those who want to learn, but aren't ready to buy their own supplies.  Since those supplies are limited, we encourage you to go ahead and bring your own.  The supplies list for beginners wishing to learn is:

1. US 7, 8 or 9 needles - Hobby Lobby has great short 'learner'-type needles made by Red Heart in sizes US 7, 8, and/or 9, for a couple of bucks a pair - they're called 'basics' or 'learners' and come in red, blue and yellow, respectively

2. A light-colored yarn.
  a. Sugar and Cream dishcloth cotton, or
  b. Sinfonia cotton, or
  c. a non-novelty acrylic yarn (smooth yarn without any frou-frou crap in it - makes the stitches more defined and clean, and easier to see and understand), or
  d. Inexpensive yarn options available at big box stores:
    1. Red Heart Super Saver,
    2. Patons Classic Wool
  e. Yarn store options - reasonably inexpensive, and available in many colors:
    1. Cascade 220 (100% wool)
    2. Encore Worsted (acrylic/wool blend)

3. If you want to try to make some Jayne Hat pins to donate to the Austin Browncoats, also bring a pair of US size 3 or 5 straight needles. We have the instructions and the yarn supplies.

4. Patterns and projects to discuss.

For those who are a little more experienced, please feel free to bring anything you want to finish or for show and tell.  Like a proper knitting circle, we welcome folks of all levels to chat and work together.

And lastly, we have a special beaded jewelry panel that I'm excited about.  DFWCG Treasurer Rondinella is going to be showing us all how to make our very own beaded jewelry.  She'll lead you through tools all the way to construction of a basic piece.  I can't wait to see how this panel goes!

We hope to have enough room around our table to have some costumes on display again this year.  And we'll have some books out  for con-goers to look at.  I'll also have my camera out and I'll be handing out lanyard tags to wear with your badges.  So make sure you drop by to see us during the weekend.  We'd love to photograph you in each of your costumes and get to know you.  And also please let us know what kind of panels you'd like for us to offer for future dates of All-Con.  With your help, we would like to continue to build our con activity each year.