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 -+-

November 4th, 2017
I was able to go through the photos that I took during the Anime North Halloween Festival a week ago and I found a few highlight photos of my new Kagome costume that I could share here. Keep in mind that the costume is still a work in progress. I'm still making my bow and arrow prop, my actual wig needs to be styled and I need to fix the zipper on the skirt, but it was a pretty good test run. I added a costume page for my new Kagome costume which you can find here. If you scroll to the beginning of my costume gallery, you can see my original Kagome costume from 2002. What a difference 15 years makes! I'll always look back fondly on my original Kagome costume because it was one of my first costumes and my mother helped me out so much with it. It feels great to re-make the costume, though, and really improve the design.

Halloween was earlier this week and I'm still recovering a bit from how hectic the day was. Pan and I decorated the front of her uncle's house in a very child friendly area. We spent about 3 and a half hours decorating (and about another hour and a half taking everything down) but we had a great afternoon and evening. We saw tons of trick or treaters. We probably gave out over 300 pieces of candy and we saw some adorable and creative costumes both handmade and store bought. Star Wars, Marvel (Hulk and Thor in particular) and animal themed onesies were popular costumes this year. I used my new AtmosFX projector, the Jack o Lantern Jamboree DVD in conjunction with 3 uncarved pumpkins to create a really cool display among a little graveyard. The DVD creates faces on the pumpkins which are animated and can talk and sing. We mystified quite a few kids and parents. One little kid dressed as a lion would not leave the display and sat for about 20 minutes watching the pumpkins sing. His dad kept trying to get him to leave, but he was glued to the display. It was adorable. XD It was a lot of work to move my decorations to a new location and I had to scale back my display, but it was a great neighbourhood that was really invested in the holiday. Better than my own area. It was just a shame that it ended so abruptly and fairly early. We had a huge rush of kids just before 8PM but after they left, the neighbourhood was quiet and every other neighbour had turned off their lights and gone inside. Everything ended so quickly, but it definitely was a really nice location to celebrate Halloween.

Next up is the December Fan Expo Holidays Show. I may re-wear Kagome to it. That's my big goal for the month. I would like to buy a new zipper for Kagome to fix the skirt and I want to work with Pan to style my wig. After that I need to make a new pair of boot covers for my Sakura Haruno costume. I'm hoping boot covers over sandals will be more comfortable. I also would like to trim my Sakura wig. I'm not sure if I'll get Kagome fixed in time for the Holiday Show but we'll see. Otherwise, I'll probably fix it up and wear it to March Toronto Comicon. Not sure if I'll sew anything else over the winter break, but we'll see. Right now I'll probably do some video gaming. I have to tackle the stack of games that's been building up un-played since the summer....

-+- Past Updates -+-

October 28th, 2017
It's the day after the Anime North Halloween Festival. I thought I would update here really quickly with my thoughts on my Kagome costume and the event. The event was alright. It felt a bit fresher last year, but that's probably because last year was my first time going in close to a decade. I think it felt busier this year too. It was a bit disappointing that the gourmet desserts did not make a return this year although the snack table was nice. I did have a fun evening seeing some friends and Cosplaying again.

I did debut my new Kagome costume. It didn't go 100% according to plan. I forgot to take into consideration that I always wear shorts under short skirts and the shorts made my skirt a little slippery. The skirt ended up being about an inch too big so the shorts made them slide a bit. I ended up having to pin the waistband so it would hold up a bit better. A bit disappointing, but better this happen now then at a con. So I'll have to take out the zipper again, bring it down to below the waistband and put a snap in the waistband to get a slightly tighter fit. Should only take a couple of hours, but I'm debating about waiting until I can go to the leather surplus store downtown that sells hundreds of different zippers before working on this again. The emergency zippers I got from Fabricland are slightly too dark for my fabric. The one I bought downtown (that I ripped) was pretty much a perfect match. I think it would be better to match the material more exactly. Therefore, it might take me a month or two before I finish fixing Kagome. It's not really a huge rush, anyway, the next Cosplay event that I'll be attending is the Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show in early December. I may or may not Cosplay to that so my next costuming event might be March Toronto ComiCon. I guess we'll see.

In terms of this site, I do plan to add my Kagome costume page in the next couple of weeks. Pan took a few photos of my costume on my phone from the Halloween event so I can share some highlights. Although I have to keep in mind that this is just version one and it'll look nicer with my new wig when Pan and I work on that in the next month or so. It was fun to Cosplay as Kagome again. I first Cosplayed the character in 2002 and my mother did most of the work on it. Back then we bought a shirt that we just added the collar and cuffs to. The green material was just broadcloth and the white ribbon was loosely sewn on so it looked a little rumpled. It took a ton of trial and error to make my new Kagome costume, but I'm pretty proud of what I accomplished and how crisp the details are on the blouse. The skirts a little meh, but hopefully with the new zipper it'll sit a little nicer. So until I work on Kagome again, I'm going to take a sewing break. Halloween is almost here so I need to find my decorations and organize them and then I can't wait to start video gaming again. It's been too long since I played anything. XD

October 26th, 2017
It's been a few weeks since my last update. I did intend to update here as I worked on my Kagome costume, but I've been so busy with sewing and other things that I've barely turned on my computer all month. I guess I shouldn't see that as a bad thing as I've been quite productive.

October has been pretty bittersweet. I'm still really looking forward to Halloween and I've been gearing up for the holiday by stocking up on candy, some new decorations and buying pumpkins for the big night. At the same time as I'm excited for Halloween, I'm still grieving for my mother. It hits me a little every day in different ways. In terms of sewing, I had to consolidate the various sewing baskets and supplies that were my mother's with my own. Every time I use a pair of sewing scissors that were my mother's specifically, it's a weird feeling and just brings me back to reality, but I'm trying to soldier on. I've spent at least a little bit of time most nights since the beginning of the month working on Kagome. When I first started working on the blouse for real it seemed so simple and straightforward but I've run into so many little issues. I suppose that's just pretty typical with my sewing style. It's one big reason why I like to work on costumes weeks or months in advance since I'm very slow and I have a tendency to measure wrong and make mistakes. I'm definitely more right-brained so I struggle a lot with making calculations and visualizing as I pattern and sew. I usually have to guess and I end up reworking parts several times. Something that should take maybe 10 minutes will take me an hour and probably won't be perfect. Sometimes I feel really sad that I struggle so much with sewing, but at the end of the day, when I actually finish a costume and wear it, I really do have a great sense of satisfaction.

I struggled a lot with getting the cuffs of the sleeves to the right length and getting a decent gathering on the sleeve edges leading into the cuffs. It took some finicking to get the collar the right size and shape and making the red scarf was some serious trial and error. In the end the scarf halves are two separate pieces that are strategically sewn down within the tie so it'll hang properly. I'm pretty happy with the final look. The blouse sizing is a bit weird. I had to work with an oversized shirt pattern which I mostly traced out to enlarge the v collar and make the back a single piece instead of having room for a zipper closure. I'm fairly happy with the shape I achieved, but it is still a bit overly large on me. Kagome's blouse is not meant to be fitted like Madoka's. It's loose fitted, but that's kind of harder than making something fitted because it's difficult to tell if you're going too loose. The pattern I used had very low set sleeves so I'm not super happy with how the sleeves sit, but I was afraid that if I modified the sleeve holes too much the shape and fit of the blouse would be lost. At least the sleeves took to the gathered edges pretty well.

The skirt was a HUGE pain in the butt. I first started working on the skirt back in July. I actually completely finished it over a weekend, but I realized once it was done that I had cut back the waistband too much and the skirt was now about an inch too tight. ~_~ I wasn't 100% sure if I liked my pleat thickness so I decided to put the skirt on hold until I finished the blouse to check the pleat depth. I started the skirt again over last weekend once the blouse was mostly done and I nearly finished it on Tuesday night. I was putting the finishing touches on by adding the zipper when the zipper got caught and ripped the zipper fabric beside the zipper teeth. The zipper got stuck in that spot and I had to cut the zipper teeth to actually get myself out of the skirt. Ugh. I was a bit panicked due to timing, but thankfully my friend Pan helped me out a ton by going with me on Wednesday to Fabricland to buy more thread and a new zipper so I could finish the costume for the Anime North Halloween Festival which is tomorrow night. It was pretty much down the wire! I still had to redo one of the cuffs on a sleeve too (for the 4th time) because the cuff was a bit bigger than the second cuff. Nothing went according to plan and the ruined zipper was the first time I made such a big mistake that I couldn't work around last minute without buying more supplies. That'll teach me to try sewing the week something was due! At least the costume came together in the end and hopefully it'll be fun to wear!

Having said that, the costume isn't really done. I'm still working on the bow. I bought a bow kit from a Chinese eBay store. Adrien helped me assemble it and I painted it red. I have medical tape to wrap around the middle and I bought elastic string that I need to add. I also need to figure out if I want to make arrows although I don't plan to make Kagome's quiver. I also don't actually have my wig done for the Halloween event. I bought an Arda wig, but it's too curly at the moment. My friend Pan is going to help me adjust the bangs and straighten it a bit, but it'll take a few hours that I don't have. So instead I'm borrowing a black straight wig from Pan for Friday and sometime in November I'll work with her on the wig. Finally, I thought it might look nice to have slouch socks with the costume so I ordered a pair, but I doubt I'll have them by tomorrow night. I have regular white knee high socks in the meantime, but hopefully I can wear the slouch socks next time.

So I'm pretty much giving Kagome a test run tomorrow night. Hopefully the sewing is at least done so I can just focus on the prop work and the wig. I'm actually really looking forward to taking a break from sewing after Kagome. I have a big stack of PS4 games that I haven't played that I want to catch up on. I haven't played a video game since before Fan Expo and I still need to help with a TON of cleaning around my family's home. I've really put that on hold lately so that I could sew.

My only big plans for partying this Halloween season is the Anime North Halloween Festival tomorrow. I'm not participating in any other costuming events although I will wear a store bought costume on Halloween night. Too bad it seems like it'll be cold next Tuesday! I just hope it doesn't rain! My usual Halloween tradition is to decorate my family's house extravagantly and hand out candy. I've been decorating my family's house for the last several years since I stopped going to Youmacon (which was often held during Halloween). This year, because of my mother's death, my father has requested that I don't decorate the family home. Instead my awesome friend Pan has found a relative's house in a very trick-or-treat friendly neighbourhood who has agreed to let me take over the front for the night. I am sad that I can't be at home this year, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of transforming this different property.

As for other Cosplay news, I unfortunately never had time to look into doing shoots so sadly this year was a bit of a bust. I did do a shoot of Madoka during Anime North and that's about the only shoot that I did this year. Hopefully I'm more successful with my plans in 2018. I'm definitely going to aim to get photos of Kagome, Dilandau, Sakura (Naruto), Super Sailor Chibi Moon and my Costume Quest Candy Corn costume. Hopefully I'll get photos of more costumes as well. I have a pretty big shoot backlog. I would like to work on another Sailor Moon alternate outfit for cons next year. I might look into starting that during winter this year, but for the time being I'm just super excited to have a sewing break. I am pumped for the Anime North Halloween event. I'll report back here afterward with my thoughts on how it went, but if it's anything like last year it's sure to be a great evening. (^^)

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.

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. (^^)

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