Dogs and Cats

My pets have definitely helped keep me sane during this pandemic. Everyday they seem to do something new and ridiculous to make me smile.

Yesterday, for example, Mari, our Shiba Inu, decided she wanted to share the last sunbeam of the day with our cat, Usagi. Usagi is 16 years old, and as a senior cat, she does not like to put up with any crap from her seven year old younger dog sister. So when Mari started inching toward the sunbeam, Usagi just started glaring at her like the dog had killed her grandma. When I took the picture of them together, I thought Mari was being super cute about it and trying to share. I was wrong. After a slow, 10 minute long crawl across the floor, Mari had taken over most of the sunbeam and ran Usa out of her space. The cat glares were transferred immediately to me for letting such a hostile takeover slide.

Shiba Inu and cat sharing a sunbeam on the floor
I thought it was adorable, but Usagi knew what was up.

Today, Usagi decided that floor sunbeams were overrated, and that couch sunbeams were a much better spot. She curled up against the Marauder’s Map pillow on our couch, which I’m pretty sure is just her motto in life. Or, I guess it’s what she’s making do with, since we don’t have a pillow that says “revenge is a dish best served cold”.

Cat sleeping on a couch with a Marauder's Map pillow.
Definitely up to no good, as soon as she’s had her nap.

Costuming Days

I’ve been working on some of the undergarments for my Carmilla cosplay, mostly to keep me sane while I’m wrangling work and childcare and not being super comfortable leaving the house. I’ve made some pretty good progress on my corset. I had to do two different mockups to get the shape I wanted. As much as I want this to be a historically accurate Elizabethan outfit, since Vampire Hunter D takes place in a sort of futuristic setting, I’ve been taking some liberties with the historical aspects of the corset design. Mainly, I added cups to the corset to maintain the right shaping (Carmilla is… ahem… well endowed). The straight lines of true Elizabethan stays won’t work with the dress, so I improvised.

Corset pieces cut out
All the pieces
My cat laying on fabric
Usagi is definitely helping

I also did more than one mockup because I found some perfect fabric in my stash, but had just enough of it to get by, and definitely not enough to make any big mistakes, so I had to make sure my pattern was good from the start. The main corset is three layers. The bottom layer is duck cloth for structure, the middle is white silk dupioni, and the top layer is a gold lace. I also made my own bias binding out of pretty cotton I had leftover from another costume.

Bias bound corset tabs in progress
Putting binding on tabs in four stages
Detail of bound corset tab
Detail picture! I love how the little flowers show up on the binding.

Now, I’ve got the lining attached to the main fabric, the boning channels sewn in place, the tabs attached to the bottom, and the bottom binding in place. I’ve got some hand sewing to do to finish binding the bottom edge, then it’s time to add boning and grommets.

Corset in progress
Getting there
Interior of a corsrt
The lining with all the boning channels
Cat in front of a sewing table
Definitely still helping and not trying to eat thread


Cat hiding under a sofa trying to sleep
Usagi hiding under the couch is my spirit animal right now

I’ve been having trouble posting here recently. The point of this blog was to write more, which I haven’t really been doing. I also wanted to get back into web design again, and finally learn how to make a WordPress theme. But right now, I’m just tired. I’ve tried to cut myself some slack, given the state of the world right now, and not be too hard on myself or have too high of expectations. But I want to find time to write, even if it’s hard. I’ve been doing little stuff, like working on my Carmilla costume and posting more frequently on Instagram. I also have a couple of short stories in the works that I might be able to clean up enough to share here. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep trying the best I can, to just keep going. One day at a time. Or just start hiding under the sofa with the kitty. That may also be a valid choice.


I’ve been tired for the last several weeks. Well, for the last several months, actually, if I’m honest. And this week has been rough, between my job sucking and my wrist being injured again. Even so, I’m trying to find the joy in life around the anxiety and annoyance.

Like this, for example. My silly Shiba decided to be a goofball and roll around on the couch. She posed with the cutest face, and I just managed to get an adorable photo before she moved.

Shiba Inu face
Mari will make everything better


I took part in the Gish mini one-day hunt over the weekend, and it was a blast! These are some of my favorite contributions to our team’s efforts. I got to recreate the cover of one of my favorite books, using parts of old costumes and some improvisation. I made a Tolkien style fantasy map of my house and got to come up with cool fantasticical names for mundane rooms. I baked an anatomy cake, finally finding an excuse to use my Halloween skull cake pan that has been untouched in my kitchen cabinet for years. I built a photo backdrop for me and my dog out of old cardboard boxes. Many treats were given for Mari’s participation in that last one. I had a lot of fun and could help a great cause at the same time. I also met some awesomely creative people on my amazing team Huffleclaw! We all came together to do some incredible stuff!

A recreation of the cover of A Handmaid's Tale
Wearing a Harry Potter robe backwards to make this work
A fantasy style map of my house
The Land of House
A skull shaped cake
A cake decorated like one of those anatomy teaching tools
Me and a dog in a photo backdrop
The Illusive Shiba Fish

Wishing For Naps

I’ve been feeling really exhausted recently, and this week has hit me super hard. It kind of feels like every week hits me really hard nowadays, but still. I’ve been trying desperately to actually be productive, and work on my Carmilla cosplay or other projects. But everyday this week I’ve ended up napping right along with my son instead of doing anything. Maybe I can break the cycle today.

In the meantime, at least I’m not the only one in the house who needs a nap as much as my two year old.

Shiba resting on the couch
Couch potato Shiba, with remote control at the ready.

An Ode to a Fictional Character

Today is a weirdly special day.  It’s the in-game 98th birthday of my old Vampire: the Masquerade character.  It seems strange even to me to still be invested in a character I haven’t played since 2016 when the campaign ended, but she – well, they, as you’ll see in a second – still hold a special place in my heart.  

Shrine to my gaming character
Because who doesn’t have a mini shrine to their gaming characters in their office?

Briony and Aughra Bonaforte were my split personality Malkavian vampires.  Even though one was technically a figment of the other’s imagination, they believed that they were twin sisters.  They had a very Jekyll and Hyde style to them, as Briony was innocent and kind of idealistic and Aughra was very angry, bitter, and prone to violence.  Courtesy of a very traumatic human childhood (because I can’t write a character without a tragic backstory, apparently), Briony had no real memory of her human life, although Aughra did.  They met their sire Ramses when they were 15, and by 16, they agreed to a willing embrace.  They were so much fun to play.  Unlike Jekyll and Hyde, the twins were very much aware of each other and interacted all the time, so I got to play talking to myself a lot in-game.  It took some getting used to, but it was a blast.  During the campaign, I started writing out the girls’ rather involved backstory, so maybe I’ll post it here as a series at some point in the future.

My character sheet
My character sheet at the end of the campaign

Even after all these years after the campaign ended, I still love these characters.  By the end of the game, they were living in Linda Vista Community Hospital, an old abandoned hospital in Los Angeles, and I imagine that they’re still there, protecting their city and trying to change the world.  Happy Birthday, you two.

Cosplaying my vampire character
The obligatory cosplay

Swatches and Sketches

I’ve actually been working on a cosplay again. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’d made an honest to goodness costume. 2011. So, you know, almost nine years ago. I’ve made stuff since then, but it’s mostly been original ideas for Halloween or fun fandom based outfits. There’s been nothing where I have to match reference images or figure out crazy patterning, and nothing that I’ve planned to enter a competition in. It’s really fun getting back into proper cosplaying again.

On that note, I got an absurd amount of fabric swatches in the mail yesterday from Silk Baron. I love all of them, but I think I’ve chosen my favorites for Carmilla.

Costume sketch and many fabric swatches
So Many Choices…
Costume sketch and fabric swatches
My Favorites

I’m super hesitant to use velvet, but dang if I don’t love how that bright “Rose Petal” red velvet looks, so I’m doing it anyway. Also, I totally want to be able to call this my red velvet cake dress. The gold accents are really tough. I want the color to be bright and eye catching, but not so bright it looks cartoonish. I’m hoping the slight dotted pattern on the “Sovereign” color I picked will tone the color down just enough to give me the effect I want. The pink and black (sort of) accent colors are equally confusing. The reference colors from the anime aren’t consistent at all, but I’m thinking a coral-ish pink and dark purple together will pop against the red, and give a little richer color combination than using plain black. I’m not sure though. I reserve the right to change my mind, especially since it’s going to take me a while to make the absurd number of undergarments I need for this costume and even get to the point where I’m ready for fabric.

Cosplay Plans

I finally got this beauty into a condition I’m happy with.  

I wanted a way to keep all of my cosplay stuff organized, and although I like storing stuff digitally, when it comes to costuming, I do too many pen and paper sketches not to have some kind of physical planner for everything.  I picked an A5 size planner from Carpe Diem, since I have one that I used for organization on our trips to South Korea last year, and I love it. I had a bunch of stickers, dividers, and paper from their Reset Girl collaboration that felt perfect for a sewing book.  I’m happy I finally get to put them to good use.  

I also picked up a printable cosplay planner from Alice In Cosplayland.  I didn’t end up using all the pages from it, and I did make a few pages of my own, but the printable planner pages are awesome!  I finally feel like my cosplay and plans for future costumes are all in one place and neatly organized.  

And clearly, I have to have pictures of this insanity.  

The Front Cover
My To Do List for Carmilla
An Artistic shot of my “Current Projects” divider.
All my costumes ever. It’s weird seeing them all in one place.

Next on the list is retaking pictures of all my pattern envelopes so I can add them to this book.  I might need to wait until daycare reopens and I have a toddler-free day for that adventure.