Welcome to Straywind.com!

Welcome to my Cosplay home on the net. My name is Rebecca (aka Stray Wind online). I've been Cosplaying since late 2001. I love the fellowship, challenges and creativity involved in making costumes. My forte is Cosplaying from survival horror video games as well as characters from Anime and games that I grew up enjoying. Since I began Cosplaying, I have worn over 80 costumes and I've attended over 75 conventions and major events. Cosplaying is an exciting journey and I look forward to future projects and events as my journey in the world of Cosplay continues.

-+- Updates -+-

September 27th, 2017
It has been a while since my last update. I've been complaining almost every update for the last couple of years that time flies, but for the first time in a long time this month has felt like the longest month ever. I've made mention of issues within my family in some posts in the past. Especially when it came to Fan Expo. I've mentioned that the con was a good distraction but there was a cloud hanging over the event. The cloud was my mother's condition. My mother had been in the advanced stages of heart failure since the summer of last year. She was in the hospital last year in October for nearly a month, but was able to come home. She wasn't exactly better then and was under palliative care here at home. I've spent a lot of time over the last year helping to care for her and just trying to be around for support. She did gain some strength over the winter and into the spring and she bounced back a bit. Unfortunately, over the summer her condition worsened and just a few days after Fan Expo, she entered the final stages and sadly passed away on September 10th. I am glad that I was able to be home with her for the weekend. Thank goodness it wasn't during Fan Expo. The end stages were both quick and yet prolonged, but it still felt like a surprise. I always hoped she would bounce back again, but realistically I knew she probably wouldn't make it to 2018. It was still a shock how quickly her condition would change. The only positive is that she is finally at peace after a long and difficult illness.

The last few weeks have been tough. First my family had to plan the funeral and then we had to start to organize our lives. I was trying to work on Kagome over the summer partially as something to distract myself when I could take some time to sew and partially because I thought she might pass and I wasn't sure how it would impact my desire to sew. Unfortunately, I ran into plenty of issues with working on Kagome so I didn't get it done before my mom was gone. I do still want to finish it and I am working on it slowly. Not sure if I'll still get it done for the Anime North Halloween event but I will try.

I still live at home with my family so I'm feeling the loss particularly hard. My mom was my friend, my rock and my supporter. She gave up a lot to make sure my brothers and I had good lives and I just hope I can make her proud. I wish I could have done more to let her know how much she meant to me in life and get to know her better. Hindsight is 20/20. I miss her a lot. Regarding costuming, she taught me how to sew and in the beginning made most of my costumes. It took me quite a few years to really take over sewing from her. Costumes like Princess Peach, my Halloween Witch Rei costume, Sakura from Naruto and my Madoka school uniform were pretty much all me in terms of sewing, but I still went to her for advice and when I got stuck (like when I was sewing the big puffy sleeves for Madoka she helped me baste the sleeves in place). I loved showing her my work whenever I finished something. It was always a great source of pride for me to get her approval on a costume piece. I'm going to miss that so much. :(

So a lot of my fall plans have been put on hold. Not sure if I'll do a shoot in the next month or so, but I would still like to get photos of Dilandau and my Costume Quest costume. I'm trying to move forward with my life, but it's going to take time to really find a new rhythm. I will still continue to work on Kagome and we'll see if I finish it for the Anime North Halloween event. Regardless, I am still planning to attend the event because I'm definitely excited for Halloween events as they should lift my spirits. The road ahead still feels pretty dark these days although this week is already better than last week in terms of the emotional impact. I can only hope that getting back into a routine will continue to make things feel more and more normal in the coming weeks.

-+- Past Updates -+-

September 6th, 2017
Fan Expo is over for yet another year. It was a pretty good year overall. I had a cloud overshadowing the event of a personal nature that I'm dealing with so I can't put my whole heart into saying that the convention was amazing, but I did have a good time and it was a nice distraction. There is something comforting about a local con which you can attend but still go home at night and relax. The early hours at which Fan Expo finishes really makes it an ideal commuter con.

Not a ton of obvious highlights for this year. My Madoka costume went over pretty well. I didn't see that many other Madoka Magica Cosplayers and sadly not one other school uniform Cosplayer from the series to get photos with, but I had fun. I actually felt like Anime Cosplay was a bit low key at Fan Expo this year, but maybe I just missed seeing where people were. Given that Fan Expo encompasses both the North and South buildings, it's super easy to miss a lot of people. I was able to stop with Pan at the Cosplay Recovery Lounge where we took some selfie photos and she took a few nice shots of my costume which show off the costume details including the back which I forgot to get photos of in the past. I added some new photos to my Madoka costume page. We traded as I took some photos of her as she was dressed as Isabelle from the Shadowhunters TV show. There were some fun moments on Friday wearing our costumes such as when a random person quietly said "Madoka died for our sins..." under his breath as he passed me. Silly little things like that really make Cosplaying exciting. XD

We were able to explore all of Artist Alley on Friday of the con which was quite a journey! The AA at Fan Expo is so fantastically big and diverse. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of Madoka Magica art, but I did find a couple of nice original character prints from Artist Alley and a beautiful Ariel from The Little Mermaid print. I also found my favourite steampunk ring seller and purchased 3 rings from them over the weekend. I have 9 rings now from Catherinette Rings. I absolutely adore that shop's style!

Checking out AA and then the show floor over in the North building were the only things we managed to do on Friday. Pan was able to meet a Power Rangers actress she grew up admiring (Cerina Vincent) and was quite heartfelt about it. It was a nice way to end off the evening.

Saturday was a bit casual. We didn't rush to go down to the con very early, but we did bring our new costumes (Wacky Wavy Inflatable Tube Men) which conveniently fold up into simple carrying cases. The laundry baskets pop out so they're great for changing into and out of. We explored a bit of the South building before changing into our costumes. They seemed pretty unrecognized until we started flailing our arms. As soon as we did it was instant recognition. We got TONS of compliments. Way more than I think I've gotten with any other costume. It was pretty flattering especially since last year my Barbara Gordon costume went completely unrecognized. We made a lot of people laugh and smile so it was mission accomplished. The costumes are fairly mobile (except for it being awkward to carry things) and we have great vision with the mesh of the laundry basket. Not sure if I'll bring my costume out to another con, but it's sure a crowd pleaser. You have to have a lot of energy when wearing it though. Once you start flailing a lot of people want videos and photos. Looking forward to seeing more photos and footage from the con of our costumes. I posted a costume page for the Wacky Wavy Inflatable Tube Man costume. You can view it here. I have some photos from my phone of the costume that I added to the gallery that were taken by my friend Elliot. He helped Pan and myself out a lot when we were wearing these costumes so I appreciated the help.

The Saturday night masq went really well. It was a smooth show with some great performances. It was fun working it as a stage ninja especially since acting as a catcher for part of the show meant I could see some of the acts from the front row. Sunday was pretty chill. I was able to see the exhibitors area of the dealer's hall in the South building, which was cool. I finally saw the Thor: Ragnorak movie costumes display with the actual costumes of the actors in the main roles from the film. Pretty neat to see the details up close. I wanted to check out the It VR experience, but I didn't realize you had to pick up tickets early each day so I missed out. ;_; Oh well. Looking forward to the movie. My Achilles heel for the day was the AtmosFX booth. I had heard they would be there and wanted to check it out. It's a company that sells projections for Halloween and other holidays. They make amazing scenes that you project onto windows, on walls and into doorways, and look super creepy and cool. I first noticed the tech a few years ago and I've always wanted it, but I don't have a projector. Of course, I talked to a staff member at the booth and they told me about a total package deal they had that included several scenes and a projector. It was very expensive, but it's a been a rough few months with my family and I really needed something to cheer me up so I decided to splurge on it. I bought it only half an hour before the con closed so it was almost a last minute purchase. Pretty excited to see how it'll look on Halloween. They have a Trick 'r Treat version that I'm super interested in getting. Also, a super cute singing jack-o-lantern trio that I definitely want to get eventually. The tech will really bring my Halloween display to the next level. I just hope that it works with my front window. XD

That pretty much concludes my con experience. I tried a bunch of different food options in the food courts in the South building and was pleasantly surprised by the food quality. I ran into quite a few friends over the weekend especially at the masq (as fellow ninjas) or in the Cosplay Recovery Lounge so it was pretty exciting. Pan was my buddy for the weekend and we connected very well on going to see everything that we wanted over the weekend. Although all the Fan Expos I've been to really bleed together for me now, it was a nice fixture for my year and was a great way to end off the summer. The crowd control for the con was great and the crowds never felt crushingly bad even on Saturday. The organization of the con has really improved over the last few years and I look forward to attending the convention again in 2018. (^^)

The only disappointing thing was that on Thursday night leading into Friday, I was not able to secure a hotel room for Anime North next year. Both Pan and I tried to book the Radisson but failed. Such a bummer. I'm not sure if I'll try volunteering to be part of a staff room next year or give up and commute. I'll have to figure that out eventually, but at the moment it's pretty low on my priority list. I'll probably start working on Kagome again later on this month. I'm still catching my breath from Fan Expo and not looking to jump into sewing again just yet, but we'll see if I can finish it for the inevitable Halloween dance. I may also try to squeeze in a shoot or two with my friend Amanda if we can before the weather gets too cold. Maybe Dilandau and perhaps Super Sailor Chibi Moon. I also still want to shoot my new Candy Corn (Costume Quest) costume around Halloween this year, but we'll see if we can get the group together for that. I have 2 other friends with costumes already made from the game franchise and I'm itching to decorate for a shoot. (^^)

August 30th, 2017
It has been quite a while since my last update. Didn't really mean to take so long to post, but it's been a very haphazard summer and nothing has really gone smoothly. I've been dealing with some issues with my family that are not looking that great right now. Hoping for the best, but sort of expecting the worst. Cosplay has kept me a bit distracted from my problems, but I'm also really restless so I haven't been super productive. I did finish a mock of my blouse for Kagome. I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the fit for it. In the end I couldn't use the blouse pattern that I borrowed from Pan. The copy that I made of it was still just a little too off for my measurements. I made a mock instead with an old pattern from my early costuming days. I last used this pattern for the blouse for Sailand Cooro from +Anima. XD The fit is a bit wonky around the arm holes, but the overall design is ok in the draft. I might run with it, but I only ended up finishing the basics of the blouse mock last weekend and with Fan Expo being this weekend, I definitely shelved the costume. I'm putting it off now until Halloween. I'm thinking it would be fun for the Anime North Halloween dance if I can go. It gives me time to finish the costume and the wig actually needs work. Plus I still have to paint and put together my bow... so lots to do.

Pan and I did finish our silly costume project. The idea was kicking around for an entire year before we finally finished them. I can reveal what they are now... it's Inflatable Wacky Waving Tube Man costumes! The kind of thing that you would see outside of a used car sale lot. I've seen various costume interpretations of these costumes over the years and always found them to be hilarious and fun. I wanted to make the costume for Halloween last year and Pan was going to help me. Eventually she decided to make one too and we thought they might be fun to wear to a convention. Pan documented the whole making of in short videos on her Instagram and Twitter so it's not really a huge secret. We're planning to wear them on Saturday of Fan Expo. It's pop-up laundry baskets with cape lining fabric over top. We struggled to find fabric that wasn't too heavy and wouldn't weigh the costume down. They're pretty simple to wear so we have a lot of freedom to put them on and take them off when we have time to wear them and we wear normal clothes underneath. We'll see how the costumes go!

So my plan for Fan Expo is to attend the con on Friday - Sunday. I had hoped to go Thursday afternoon and skip Sunday, but that didn't work out so we'll see how much of the con I can explore on Friday. I'll also be volunteering with the masq. It's a little up in the air as to if I'll be helping at the masq or some other costuming event, but whatever it is it'll take up part of my Saturday. Then Sunday I'll be able to check out any parts of the con that I missed. My plans for Cosplay are for Friday and Saturday only. I'm going to re-wear my Madoka school uniform on Friday because I'm still thrilled with the costume. As I've already mentioned, the Inflatable Wacky Waving Tube Man outfit will be worn on Saturday. It's easy to take on and off so I'll be in and out of it all day depending on the crowds and how the costume is received. It'll be casual Sunday again so I'll just show up in street clothes of some kind. The goal for Sunday is to relax. I could really use a break. I don't have any shoots planned since I do have some nice photos of Madoka already. Not expecting much for the Wacky Tube Man costume, but hopefully Pan and I will get some silly hallways shots. That's about the best you can hope for with goofy costumes. XD

Hopefully Fan Expo turns out to be a fun and exciting experience. I'm looking forward to helping out again with a costuming event and I do love the vibe of Fan Expo. It always feels so lively being in the heart of downtown. It's such a neat backdrop for costuming. Fan Expo really is a fun way to end off the summer like Anime North starts it off. This will be my 16th year going and it has been interesting to see how the con has grown and changed over the years. Just a few days ago I posted a photo on Instagram of my collection of badges and tickets from most of the Fan Expos that I've attended. It's one way to see the con progress. If nothing else the Artist Alley is never a disappointment and it's always nice to run into friends at the con. Can't wait to see what the con has in store this year!

Tomorrow night is also when the Anime North hotel room block fully opens up. I'm still bitter about missing out on the Delta, but hopefully my friends and I will be able to book a room at the Radisson. Hopefully we don't miss out. This stressful hotel situation is going to make going to Fan Expo afterwards even more of a relief.

August 5th, 2017
Another month is behind us and honestly July was not as productive as I had hoped it would be. I've been dealing with some family concerns and I haven't really had the interest or will to keep going much with making costumes. Kagome's skirt is about half done. I did actually completely finish it before I realized that I made the waistband an inch short so it was too tight. I had to take the skirt apart and start again. It's sitting right now with set pleats, but I need to make a new waistband and add the zipper. I kind of want to wait on that to make sure I like the thickness of my pleats. They look good, but I feel like they might be a bit large. At this point I might as well wait until the blouse is basically together to see how it looks as a whole.

I did borrow my friend Pan's Sailor Moon school uniform blouse pattern to use for Kagome's blouse since they're similar. Unfortunately our proportions are a little different and the mock she gave me seemed a little too tight in the shoulders and bust area on me so I have to enlarge the pattern a bit. I traced my own enlarged copy, but I need to test it on a mock so I sort of lost steam to work on that. I don't think I'll have time to wear Kagome to Fan Expo because I probably would only be going for two of the days. Chances are if I am going to Cosplay I would rather wear Madoka again because that costume is still my pride and joy. I'm determined to finish Kagome of course, but I might just take my time and make it over the fall to wear to events next year like March Toronto ComiCON and Anime North.

I am actually working on a silly surprise costume with Pan so I'm not technically in a sewing slump right now. We got together last Sunday and worked on the costume project. We probably need a handful more hours to finish them. They're not from an Anime or video game, but something goofy from everyday life. If we do finish them we'll probably wear them to Fan Expo because they are ridiculous and are costumes we can slip into and out of really easily and hopefully won't be difficult to transport. I'll keep it as a surprise but I may post about it just before the con if we're going and we can bring them.

I was dealt a blow to my typical convention plans for 2018. I normally stay at the Doubletree hotel for Anime North (Doubletree being one of the hotel's many former names. It was also the International Plaza hotel). Now it will be the Delta hotel. There was a mix-up with the room block being released early and most of the rooms quietly sold out weeks ago. The last trickle of rooms were available on August 1st and none of my friends were able to book a room. :( Such a bummer. I've been staying at that hotel for over a decade. I'm crossing my fingers that we can book a Radisson room or I might just have to commute next year. It's not such a bad thing for Friday night so I can take home my leftovers from the Nominoichi and my cash box, but it would suck for Saturday night. I'm also super sad that I lost access to the Delta's pool. That was one of my favourite things about the con this year. I was looking forward to swimming again next year. ;_; At this point I just have to hope we get a hotel room period and it sure was a sucky way to start off August.

I also haven't kept up with my promise to do some costume shoots this summer and I missed the Sailor Moon Celebration event. The weeks just fly by and I've been so busy and occupied by other matters that I haven't even looked into shoot options. Hopefully I can slot in something for this month or next month. I would at least like to get photos of Dilandau with Pan's Merle costume. Maybe then a Costume Quest shoot with my Candy Corn costume just before Halloween. I will work on Kagome slowly but surely and hopefully get that costume done in the next couple of months. It's not really a rush thing. If I go to the Anime North Halloween dance maybe I can debut it there. I'll update again before Fan Expo to confirm if I'm going and set my plans. Hoping I make it out to the con this year. I'm starting to get antsy with a desire to Cosplay and Fan Expo was surprisingly fun last year. It would be a nice way to end off the summer.

July 2nd, 2017
Another month has flown by. I started working on my Kagome costume over this long weekend. I decided to celebrate Canada Day by starting to work on the skirt. It should have only taken me a couple of hours to make, but I keep getting sidetracked while I work on it. I have it cut out and I just finished ironing the pleats so I just need to cut out and attach the waistband and add the side zipper. So far so good so I should finish that in the next few days. I'm a bit stuck for the rest of the costume. My awesome friend Pan has offered to lend me her pattern for her Ami Mizuno school uniform blouse from Sailor Moon. It's very similar to Kagome's so with that pattern I would be set for the blouse, cuffs and sailor collar. I just need to pattern my own dickey undershirt and the scarf and tie. The thing is that I need to set up a time to try hers on and borrow the pattern. I'll probably grab that sometime this month. My goal would be to finish the costume fairly quickly, but it's not really a huge rush. The aim is still Fan Expo, but that's nearly 2 months away. I also did get my bow kit in the mail. I'm going to get together with my friend Adrien to paint and assemble it. Should be fairly straightforward so hopefully it won't take very long. It is nice after the long hours of Madoka to work on something that seems like it should only take a couple of weeks to put together. It's like a breath of fresh air. XD

In other website news, Kris Byers messaged me recently to let me know that my Madoka school uniform photos from Anime North are now done. I was able to resize the photos and add them to my Madoka costume gallery. You can view them here. I'm so happy with them! She did a really nice job capturing a childlike essence as well as my fun props. My favourites are the photos of me sitting on a rock and a reflection shot in the window. Very awesome work on her part! It was my first time working with her and hopefully it won't be my last!

I do have to mention that I had planned to attend the Sailor Moon Celebration event last weekend, but I wasn't able to make it out this year. I've heard it went pretty well so I will make an effort to go next year. We're into summer now and I am hoping to do some shoots in the next 2 or 3 months. Dilandau is still something I want photos of this year when the weather cools off, but I'm crossing my fingers for Inkling Kid Splatoon photos this summer and Super Sailor Chibi Moon. XD We'll see what I manage to get photos of. At least I'll have a productive summer this year with sewing!

I did open an Instagram account that will mostly be Cosplay focused. I will post other random things there, but I'll try to keep the main focus on sewing projects, shoot photos and convention pictures. You can view it here.

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