Sunday, August 9, 2015

Another sneak peak

Still working really hard at finishing the family cosplay outfit... (If only I was that dedicated to finishing the methodology chapter of my PHD thesis........)

Here are some mini-for-fun-photoshot with me and the kids as we did some costume fitting session.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hard at work... sneak peek

Here is a sneak peek of my 3 years old daughter in her Sakura cosplay. The dress is done and the wig styled. I am very happy at how the dress turned out as I added decorative stitch and used pleather. I wanted the dress to have a "real cloth" look as opposed to a "costume" look. So I used heavier material. The dress is really big on her but they grow so quickly at this age, I couldn't take a chance that it might not fit in a few months.

We tried make up on her for the first time... not so happy with how that turned out. I really need to get better at make up.. and well... she's 3 and won't stop moving :-) We did the latex tutorial from pinterest to "hide" her real eyebrow... used the wrong foundation color... so not so great looking. We will try again. I think we just need more practice. We also need a different pink for her eyebrow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Naruto shoes DIY

Wow, it's been a long time since I have posted anything to this blog!! Blame my PHD getting in life's way ;-)

In the last year, I have studied for and written my comprehensive exam. Submitted my proposal. Organized a international conference. Travel to Vancouver and Florida to present papers and off course taken care of my two amazing kids who are now 1 and a half and 3 and a half!

Right now, I am working on my thesis! Yeah! It's the last stretch... so what do I do... decide to get back into cosplaying!

Well I can totally blame my thesis director for that... As I study asian influence in francophone picturebooks, on my reading list for my exam were quite a few "manga study" books I had to read. One of which was a Naruto case study. Add that to my own daughter finding the manga at home and being all excited to have found a "new coloring book"... and there we are... getting the kids ready for their first cosplay experience! Fan Expo 2015 here we come... Naruto style.

So that brings me to the footwear issue... How do I get my not quite 2 years old son and my not quite 4 years old daughter to have awesome looking Naruto shoes (in their size) that are comfortable enough for them to spend the entire day walking in them! (Yes cosplaying with Toddlers is a whole different ball game! But more on that in a different post!)

Dollorama to the rescue!

Here is a tutorial on how to make Naruto shoes from 2$ dollorama crocs.

Note that these ones are black-ish as they will be for my daughter who wants to cosplay as Gaara. On some pictures, you will see a blue-ish variation that are for my husband (Kakashi). 

I kept the whole thing very simple and affordable as
1.  I have 5 pairs to make and really I should be working on my thesis... not on making Naruto shoes.
2. Two off the pairs are tiny and do not leave much room for details.
3. Everything should be simple in life.
4. Shoes  2$, for the rest I used scrap fabric and some craft foam (also from Dollorama)

Also, the shoes are not meant to be replica of the anime version (they could if you wanted them to be). We decided to make our cosplay more like the Naruto Live Action. Therefore we did some variation and intend on making them look like they have seen some real action :-)

1. Cut the shoes
2. I added a leather insole for comfort. You could skip that step if you wanted too.

For the top of the boot
1. Cut a long rectangle on the fold. Make sure it is long enough to go around your ankle, with enough space to slip your foot in. Make sure it is high enough for the height of the boot (add about and 1 inch to the desired height.The fold should be at the top of the boot.

2. Open up your rectangle, and sew the "height" together into a tube. Once you are done, flip it over and fold it back in half.

3. Inside the fold, slip in the foam noodle (for the kids shoes, I cut the noodle length wise, to remove half the bulk. For the adult shoes, I left it as is. Make sure it is completely in. I used pins to keep it in place. Make sure the bottom hem is even. This is also a good time to try it on. Your foot should be able to slip in easily.

4. Sew tightly against the noodle. Push the noodle in and gently pull on your fabric as you sew. To make sure the noodle is all the way to the top nice and even.

5. Once it is done, you will see how nice and structure the top of the boot is.

6. Now slip in the foam between the two layers of fabric.

 7. Quickly baste around the bottom hem to keep the foam in place. By now you should have a nice structured upper boot.

On the fabric, mark the shoe length from the toe cut to the heel.
Add about an inch to the length and expend the toe area upward.
Cut two piece for each shoe (so 4 in total)
Sew the heel together, and the top (if you don't want a seam over the toe area, cut the fabric on the fold)

Turn over, attach the shoe cover to the upper boot part.
Align the back seam of the upper boot, with the heel seam.
Turn it over.
Finish the hem around the bottom.

Here you have two choices

1. finish the hem over the toes, OR 2. add another piece that will fold back into the inside of the shoe. It is not anymore work and makes for a nicer finishing.

Last, I added elastic underneath for greater stability.

Once the shoes are done, go a head and add any details you might want to add. I am still in the process of distressing them, once done, I will add a picture. But this is a basic Naruto shoe that is extremely comfortable.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We made it to 9 months!

One is 9 months, the other is 32 months... both are sick... The summer is in full swing. It is hot and humid. I don't like it, Phenix doesn't like it and Hudson... well she's fine with it.

This last months was pretty awesome though. Phenix is a very effective crawler and like to get into everything. EVERYTHING! Especially house plant! I don't remember it being that bad with Hudson.

Difference #1

Hudson could go for a long time but had no speed (endurance)
Phenix has super speed but no endurance

The last few days were spent dealing with a never ending fever while enjoying some time in the pool. Hudson surprised us and did her first pool lenght. She can swim under water very very well.

Phenix also enjoys swimming and is making great progress. He loves jumping in the water and tries really hard to make bubbles.

Difference #2

At 9 months, Hudson was sick for the first time.
At 9 months, Phenix has never been well for more than 4 weeks at a time! Oh the joy of being a second kid!

The school year ended for everyone. Hudson enjoyed 2 days with daddy at his school as she discovered the joy of kindergarden. She made lot's of friends and was really happy to pack her own lunch in her own lunch box. Phenix also enjoyed the time he spent surrounded by other kids.

Difference #3

At 9 months Hudson was walking and had no hair and teeth.
At 9 months, Phenix show no sign of wanting to walk but has a full head of hair and 2 teeths.

Today is Canada day!!! Happy Canada day! We will be celebrating coast to coast (well almost) as we spend some time in Barrie, Brampton and Vancouver! I just hope we have a good flight as we will be flying with 2 kids for the first time!

Difference #4

On her first flight Hudson screamed for 6 hours in a row.
On his first flight Phenix slept the entire time.

As I write this, Phenix is still under the weather... Poor little one. His stomach has a hard time processing food. Which led to 2 things......... yes you know what I mean.... Luckily Phenix poos on the toilet. We did have 2 accidents (just couldnt run fast enough) but otherwise, Phenix is very good at making it to the toilet! 

Difference # 5

At 9 months, Hudson still had weekly accident
At 9 months, Phenix barely had any accident (2 accidents in 2 months)

Well that is it for today! Have a great holliday everyone ;-) 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DIY wall art : World Map

We are finally coming around fixing the kids' bedroom! Yes, they both still have a mattress on the ground in our master's bedroom (not that they even use it, as they are full time resident of our bed). Before Hudson's was born, we made a playroom for the kids. At one point we thought it would be a great bedroom is we only added a mattress on the ground, but as we dealt with some serious sleep issue, it became a no-go (although there is now a mattress in that room, it is mostly being used as a trampoline and guest bed.)

We decided was the kids really needed was a low sensory bedroom. No toys, no distraction, minimal colors... So we decided to turn our guest bedroom into a sleep heaven. When the bedroom will be done, I will post more about it ;-)

As the room started taking shape, we decided to put just one visual focus. Something meaningful, that would grow up with the kids and something unique. We decided to make a collage on the double closet sliding doors.  Since we travel a lot and have family and friends all over the world, we decided on a world map in which we would highlight Canada and China. For the collage itself, we thought about a few different material (newspaper of the date the kids were born, book pages from our favorite stories....) but decided to use some of the ridiculous amount of origami paper I bring back every time I go to Japan!

Here is a break down of the material we used
-mod pudge (about 4 oz)
-enamel primmer white for the doors (left over from another project)
-8 oz paint for the back ground. We used Behrs Free Spirit color
-the image you want to trace on a computer

-pencil (we used a pen to trace and regretted it as the ink ran when we brushed the glue)
-paper (we used about 15 different papers in 5 different shade). We found the thinner the paper was, the easier it was.
-A paint brush for the glue. We found a short hair, flat head worked best as it allowed us to press the air bubbles out.

First I painted the doors, two coats of the primer and two coats background color.

Then I projected the image and traced the outline of the picture.

 I had to cheat the map a bit so that half would be on one door and the other half on the other door.

Then I started gluing, and gluing, and gluing some more... my sister came to help as it turned out to be a very tedious job.

We did a different color per continent with Canada and China in red.

The hardest part was when ever we had to border two different colors. (Like in Asia). What worked best was to do both colors at the same time, so that we could adjust the frontiers before the glue had set.

 We also added a Rosetta.

It was a time consuming project but the results are stunning.  


In all, the total cost was about 20$

*** This was really exciting to do as the final results was even better than I expected. It was time consuming but easy enough and did not require much skills!***

Saturday, May 24, 2014

8 and 31 = two happy kiddos

Well it is this time of the month again! Today Phenix turned 8 months while his sister turned 31 months! This last months has been very very busy for the entire family! It started with Mommy and Phenix flying to Vancouver. While mommy attended a conference at the University of British Colombia, Phenix spent some awesome time with his awesome aunt Coco! 


He also got to meet his cousins, great aunt and uncle and one of mommy's past life friend. Some of the highlights of the trip was seeing Ama quickly at the airport before she left for the Philippines, seeing some contestant racing for the amazing race, feeling what summer feels like for the very first time (he was NOT impress by the heat), seeing his first cherry blossom and the Pacific ocean!


Hudson stayed behind and had a sleep over at Grand-ma. It was her first time not nursing for more than 3 days. She did great. Mommy hoped she was going to wean... but at last no... she is going as strong as ever.

While we are talking about food... Phenix slowly started solids. Very slowly. He really only started ingesting it about two weeks ago. He seems to like asparagus and carrot best! His fine motor skills are not quite was his sister were at this age but otherwise he is meeting most milestone at the same pace she did! (except that he has 2 teeth already with 2 more cutting, while she only got her first at 12 months). Oh and I should add... Mommy has not had to change a poopy diaper since may 6th!!! Phenix has gotten very vocal about asking (specific grunting)... 

Otherwise, the whole family has been working on our gardens, harvesting fiddle heads at our local parks and trails and doing some small renovations around the house.

Today Hudson officially inaugurated the swimming season with the first jump and splash in the pool (70C not bad) and Phenix who has been army crawling and standing up with furniture finally figured out how to go from belly to sitting! 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

End of May! You know what this mean?

Fantine from the broadway production of Les Miserables

It is the end of May, and in this house, it has typically mean 3 things... School is almost done!! (We are all teachers or students!) hockey and basketball playoff is full own! AND the most important of all.... time to start thinking about Halloween!

Hello Kitty (can't see the tail in the picture)
Yes! I know, for most of you, it is way to early to start thinking about this "one day" step out of the routine at the end of October... but for me who loves to sew, Halloween is the focal point of every year (that and the few "con" we attend). And off course, with Hudson's birthday being just a few days before Halloween, it is now EVEN more important!!!

Unfortunately, last year, with Phenix being just born, I ended up *gasp* BUYING costumes.... (that was a really sad day for me...) Still my sister rocked a homemade Mary Poppin outifit!

So, as I scavenge around for ideas... Here are pictures of past costumes I made (most wigs and accessories, were made by my sister)

 Our most notorious round was without any doubt 2007-2008 as a full assemble "Bleach" group! We even won some prizes! I know I have somewhere laying around a great professional photograph picture of all of us...


 We also had all the Eito Rangers in 2009! (Yellow is the one taking the picture!)


 And a bunch of Ouran Host school girls! (Also in 2009)

This one is near and dear to my heart... Made in 2007 from an actual pattern from the 17th century!!! (Most of it was hand sewed with hand embroidery (which you can't see on the picture)

In 2010 Marie and I painted our own Zukkoke Otokomichi outfit! This was a labor of Love!!! As it was grueling!

Then there was the Naruto crochet outfit for Hudson! I spent close to a year (or more precisely my whole pregnancy working on this!! I had never crochet before! I am particularly
proud of the hat!

These are just some of the many many costumes from the past few years!!!! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Toys from your garden! Part 1

Last year, a good friend of mine, through a special playground, introduced me to Waldorf style (education? parenting?). Although in all honesty, I never went back, and although our daughter very happily attends a Montessori school, many aspect of the Waldorf philosophy caught my eye! Nature, nature and nurture are really important to me! So it was not surprising that I fell in love with all the wooden toys, felted animals and organic material. (In a way, not so different than the tactile material used in a Montessori classroom which not only takes on household items, but also features many wooden activities, water, rocks....)

Needless to say, as a two and a half years old, my daughter LOVES playing timber! You should see her and grand-pa! It can get loud and wild! At home, I often let her built tower taller than herself in toilet paper roll! I call it, my quiet version of timber (although if you heard her laugh... you would say "doesn't sound quiet to me").

In the last 2 weeks, my husband and I have been working our garden (still working on becoming produce sustainable through permaculture). Last year, a strong wind storm took down big branches from near by trees, we also had to prune our plum trees, and therefor ended up with lots of branches! Some of which will be used in our fire pit, and some of which we decided to turn into toys! Wood toys! We already have a few Melissa and Doug toys (but I don't like the fact that they are made in China) and even fewer Hape toys (who can afford those???), so my husband decided to turn into Ghepetto and here are some of the project we are currently tackling!

- Timber pieces to play timber!
- Numbered disk
- Fine motors pieces for Phénix
-And old fashion buttons! 

In the next few days, I will be posting individually about these projects!

First up today is "Numbered disk" Now I am not going to lie... this is taken straight out of Pinterest! A branch cut into 1/2 inch thick disk with numbers from 1 to 10 painted on! They can be used as a counting tool, ordering tool, timber toys or even as a memory game.

To do mine, and because I have no artistic skills, I used a "pochoir", but if you have a nice handwriting, the sky is the limit. I also decided to not paint "10" on one disk. Instead I painted an extra "1" and an extra "0". This way, the set can be use to teach beyond the first 10 digits. Another variation possible would be to paint letters, or 2 each of a picture to use it as a memory game.

If you have older kids, this can be a fun rainy day project! Provided you have a branch and a saw and are reusing left over paint, this project is free! Eventually I plan on having the kids "pochoir" the letters to their name, so then we can use it as a spelling puzzle!

To finish it off, I sew a bag out of canvass on which I painted with the same pochoirs "number". Instead of using a drawstring (which could be potentially dangerous as it could strangulate a playing kid, I used a soft elastic, which leave the opening wide enough for a hand when unstretched and wide enough for a wood disk when fully stretched.