Cosplay Photoshoot at VERA Studio!

Cosplay Photoshoot at VERA Studio!

A month back, I had my very first ever cosplay photoshoot! I have done my fair shares of costumes but the photos are always taken by my brother (my best bud in all things) and often impromptu in public places, using our digital camera. Sometime last year though I met Kevin, who expressed interest in photographing my Fire Emblem: Awakening Tharja costume. We spent a lot of discussion spanning months over where and when we could hold the shoot, looking up various locations and studios that could be suited. Eventually, I saw someone recommend/share VERA Studio to other cosplayers, and promoting they had a discount and loyalty program for cosplayers. It was within our price range, so I booked a slot as soon as Kevin and I saw our schedules freeing up. We also invited Argel, our FE cosplay group’s Inigo and another photographer, to tag with us since the more the merrier~!

The studio was located in Intramuros, which is convenient for me because I’m familiar with the area, and those commuting will find it very easy to locate since it’s right beside Manila Cathedral, which is a very popular landmark. I was charged P30 for a pedicab ride from near the Letran gate to the studio. (I found it better to take one rather than walking because I was carrying costumes and props by myself.)

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I waited for Kevin and Argel for a while so I took a few snaps of the place. It’s spacious and isn’t cluttered, with a shabby chic/vintage feel. We were given free drinks (in cute mason jars) and chips. The studio had interesting furniture and items you can borrow for your sets, a restroom/changing room, and a vanity for doing your makeup. There’s a lot of natural light from wide windows.

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There’s a cozy room set aside for the studio photography. I barely know a thing about photography equipment but I know the dudes were very satisfied by the equipment that the studio had. They had a white and black backdrop available, and some couches and things to borrow as props.

 photo IMG_3631_zps7tr4thnb.jpgSelfie! I also shot my FE4 Ayra costume here. Unfortunately it was rainy during the day, so we don’t have a lot of photos of this baby. Hnngg we will come back to reshoot you, dear Ayra!

Here are some photos Kevin and Argel took~
 photo received_10153371575693351_zpsedrtycur.jpegFire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu Ayra. Costume and props all made by me. Photo (c) Kevin Vincent.

 photo received_10153367458423351_zpsku4m6dpj.jpgFire Emblem: Awakening – Tharja. Costume and props all made by me. Photo (c) Kevin Vincent

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Photo (c) Weeaboo with a Camera

The rooftop area boasts a great view of the Manila Cathedral. It’s gorgeous at day, but if you want to be experimental, check it out at night too. The catherdral lights and the color of the skyline is really amazing as the day starts to turn darker. It also fits the colors of my costume perfectly huehuehue

You can also check out Argel’s Facebook Page, or Kevin’s Flickr stream for more photos, apart from my personal cosplay page.

I’ll be posting more photos of the photos we took in a separate blog post, but I hope these are enough to convince you to try out VERA Studio~ The people are accommodating and it’s really affordable too, especially if you’re splitting the bill around. Don’t forget about their Cosplayer Loyalty Card, which will entitle you to 20% off on their services for your next visit~!
– Xarin

Polymer Clay Cookie Sandwich Tutorial

Polymer Clay Cookie Sandwich Tutorial

HELLOOOOO KITTENS!! We’re finally back to blogging, technical issues with our internet connection and our website provider are now solved. *tears of joy* We’ve acquired quite the backlog, so let’s start and get our DIY ready right now! Today we bring you a polymer clay tutorial on how to make a “cookie sandwich”–a chocolate filling sandwiched between two crisp cookies… except it’s in clay and isn’t edible. xD

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While you can’t eat them, they’d be perfect as keychains or phone charms, right?

 photo ingredients_zpsycshtbmy.jpgOur materials are as follows: Tan, white, translucent and yellow clay. Texturing tools like an old toothbrush and a pointed tool. Brown acrylic paint (i suggest something that’s not a dark muddy brown and instead is like a burnt or acorn brown), and your usual claying tools, like your roller and oven. We’re making cookies, so you also need cookie cutters in the shape you prefer.

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Mix all your clay colors in the proportion pictured in the materials photo. You can actually just use one color of your preference, but I decided to mix colors because I really wanted to get the pale cookie dough look. Feel free to experiment with what colors you have available or what proportions you want. I want a classic cookie, so I’m using these colors.

 photo cookiesandwich_2_zpsphgpjqgh.jpgMix all the colors into a uniform, even sheet, and then take your cookie cutter out and cut out two cookie bases.

 photo cookiesandwich_3_zps5gybi7bj.jpgUsing a pointed tool, poke out holes in a uniform pattern that’s usually seen in cookies.

 photo cookiesandwich_4_zps6jxz0fdg.jpgRoughen up the cookie and make it look imperfect/not so smooth by dabbing an old toothbrush all over it.

 photo cookiesandwich_5_zpsmschppm6.jpgThe textured cookie should look like this. With that, you can bake this cookie in your oven according to your clay’s instructions. Don’t worry if it looks like it’s still raw and doesn’t have that golden-baked color! We’ll get to that after the baking~

 photo cookiesandwich_6_zps0t9qmkyn.jpgAfter the cookie is baked, take your brown acrylic paint and dab it onto the corners of the cookie, where the color should be more concentrated.

 photo cookiesandwich_7jpg_zpsi2ilwzee.jpgSpread the color from the corners towards the center. Looking more edible now huh?

 photo cookiesandwich_8_zpsklbo2b9s.jpgIf the color has become too strong for your liking, you can use a wet cloth to rub off the excess color to desaturate the color. After this, you can embellish the cookie by using some liquid clay/deco glue stick to make fake icing or such.

The cookie is perfectly fine as it is now, and I can imagine you can make pretty things like bracelets and earrings with a flat, one-layer cookie.

Oooorrr you can make a cookie sandwich!

 photo cookiesandwich_9_zpswu9pctpp.jpgSimply roll out a log of clay in whatever “filling” you prefer, and use some liquid clay to attach it. And then sandwich it between two cookies, and bake again using your clay’s instructions.

 photo IMG_3521_zpshgwrxfa5.jpgYum yum!

Happy crafting!

Let’s Make (Fake) Macarons! Polymer Clay Macaron Tutorial

Let’s Make (Fake) Macarons! Polymer Clay Macaron Tutorial

MACARONS ARE FAMOUS worldwide not only as a tasty treat, but as a fashion statement and an absolute staple when it comes to fake sweets crafting. Today I’m going to show you how to make a macaron out of polymer clay, a project easy enough for beginners and still enjoyable for crafters of all levels. Here comes our polymer clay macaron tutorial!

 photo IMG_3393_zpshjxzmnhn.jpgMaterials:

  • Polymer clay for the macaron shell. I’m using Mint from FIMO Accent, but use any color you want!
  • Polymer clay for the macaron filling; I’m using Flexiclay 3 White.
  • Polymer clay template. Optional, but helps a lot. You can easily substitute it with a circle cut-out from paper. Cut out a circle that’s as big as you want your macaron shell to be.
  • Craft Knife
  • Chalk Pastel, preferably a color darker than the color you’re using for the macaron shells. Optional, am just going to use it for a more realistic look.
  • Toothpicks, needles, or other pointed tools for texturing
  • Old toothbrush. Optional.
  • Any object with a flat top that can be used to press your clay. Can be your own acrylic roller.

 photo IMG_3396_zpszcfszhyo.jpgCondition the mint clay and then roll out an even sheet with your acrylic roller or pasta machine. Thickness depends on the size of the macaron you are making, ideally 1/3 or 1/4 thickness of your shell. Cut out two circles of the size that you want your macaron shells to be. I use 3/4 inch diameter. These disks will be the “feet” of your macaron. Set aside.
 photo IMG_3397_zpsnebury5e.jpg photo IMG_3400_zpsxymbk3rr.jpgPrepare two balls of polymer clay of the same size.  Using any object with a flat, smooth end, press each ball down into the same size you made your flat disks earlier. Make sure the clay is conditioned well so there are no cracks when you press them down!
 photo IMG_3404_zpsadwjuopn.jpgLayer this flat-top dome and the flat disks you made from earlier like so.
 photo IMG_3407_zpsnwgvnaul.jpgUsing pointed items, like toothpicks or needles, add texture to the flat disk part (the “feet” of the macaron) by swirling your needle/toothpick around and just making random movements. It will make “crumbs” in the surface, to imitate what the feet of a macaron look like. (yes that part’s called the “feet”)
 photo IMG_3409_zpskljysqce.jpgTo add texture, you can take an old toothbrush and roughen up the top shell, for a more realistic look. If you’re going for the smooth look though, you can skip it!

I like to bake my shells after this step, to preserve the texturing on this feet. Too much handling can make you lose the “crumbs”, so I like to bake it as soon as I can. I also like to just make many shells in one go and store them, adding the filling later.
 photo IMG_3411_zpsiqy51cvo.jpgWhen it’s baked and cooled, again, for a more realistic look, brush on some sealer/gloss (I use New Future gloss) onto the shells and scrape some chalk pastel with a craft knife onto the macaron shells. The still-wet sealer will help the chalk powder stick to the shell. When the first coat is dry, brush with it another layer of sealer gently, as to not rub out the chalk pastel. I find real macarons sometimes have darker sections in them and are rarely as smooth and perfect as decoden ones, so I decided to add “spots” to mine. Some macaron flavors also intentionally have this look–say, chocolate orange macarons. But if you’re going for the smooth look, feel free to skip this as well.
 photo filling_step_zpsbrrl7dcr.pngRoll out your white clay into a long, thin log. Make it as thin/thick as you want the filling to be. Take this log and cut it up just enough to go around the macaron. This will be the “filling”–it’s ok if it’s hollow inside since no one will open it up anyway! Finally put the two shells together sandwiching the filling inside. Put in any metal findings like eyepins at this step.

Apart from clay for the filling, there are alternatives like silicone icing, or air-dry decoden icing that are available in specialty craft online stores.

Bake again~ And you’re done!
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Have fun!

Cosplay: Maya Fey from Ace Attorney

Cosplay: Maya Fey from Ace Attorney

Last month my brother and I held a mini photo-session of my Ace Attorney Maya Fey costume! Here are some photos we took.
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 photo me_et_joey_zpslup1fbsy.jpgThank you for my brother who’s always there for me and my costuming/cosplaying hobby! One of my bffs right there! Can’t wait for him to join me as Nick!

Costume is made entirely by me, so I’ll be posting construction notes for this costume next time for those who’ll want to make their own Maya costumes! Stay tuned!

 

Review: Crystal Marble Grey Contact Lenses

Review: Crystal Marble Grey Contact Lenses

Today’s blog post is a review on Crystal’s Marble Grey contact lenses! This is one of the very first lenses I ever bought, for my Fire Emblem: Tharja cosplay. As usual, I bought my lenses from GWYSHOP, which carries one of the cheapest prices for these lenses.

 photo IMG_0749_zpsmjlaw8mi.jpgThe swirlie patterns on them make them (to me) a good fit for a “mysterious” character, so I got these as I intended to use the for my Tharja costume.

I must say that the reason this review was so delayed was because it was not going to be favorable… this has been one of the most uncomfortable lenses I ever wore. It was softer than the other lenses that Crystal carried, making it harder to put in since it tends to flip over and lose its shape. It was unbearable for long hours and whenever I tried to go out wearing it (to take photos of it in proper daylight) I’d end up taking them off more or less so I wasn’t able to get those photos for the longest time.

 photo marble_grey3_zpsrk4swaby.jpgBUT FINALLY they were able to become comfortable!!!! Since I’m a cheapskate I used to buy the cheapest contact lens solution in the market *cough*EO*cough* and on a whim I decided to change brands and splurge a little more. Our eye doctor recommended what she claimed was the best brand for lenses, as they really preserve and embed moisture into the lenses. The solution was expensive tho since it only comes in a 300ml bottle and was P300+… BUT IT WORKED LIKE A MIRACLE and I must say I can barely feel the lenses now and put them on all day. You can really feel, even just to the touch, that they have more moisture. The previous brand I was using left them feeling rough after being stored in the solution.

The design itself (to me) really is good for characters with more mystery, and the thick limbal ring gives the eyes a doll-like effect. The color also shows up rather well in photos! These are good everyday or cosplay lenses.

 photo burgz_zpspjyygz5h.jpgBottom Line: These are good contacts–if you’re willing to shell out extra for good solution. Otherwise, don’t get them, and if you’re very sensitive, I wouldn’t recommend this series as they’re very soft and hard to put on. 

Hope that helps!

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