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. In 2018, I was lucky enough to work with Henchmen Studios on behalf of Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm and I was the official Cosplay model for Orphea when she was announced at BlizzCon 2018. Cosplaying is an exciting journey and I look forward to future projects and events as my journey in the world of Cosplay continues.

-+- Updates -+-

May 4th, 2022
I finished my R. Dorothy Wayneright costume just before the calendar switched over to May. It was nice to put the final stitches into it after on and off working on the costume since the end of December. At times it was a real beast despite looking really simple. The hardest part was getting the sizing right on things. With details like the cuffs and cravat, I kept making them bigger than I thought might be necessary just so it wouldn't be too small and waste fabric right off the bat. That would turn into needing to do resizing work and sewing a piece two or three times, which could get frustrating. It's finally done now, though, and I look forward to one day wearing it if I ever figure out my con plans and a suitable venue for it. The Big O is an old Anime now so it really suits a con like AN where maybe a handful of people might still recognize it, but AN is in the middle of summer this year and a somewhat thick dress in black seems like a terrible choice for a summer con. I'll have to see where I feel comfortable wearing it. I did just get my wig yesterday for the costume so it's now fully ready to go. I went with an old-school brand natural coloured wig and I'm kind of excited to see how it will photograph for the costume.

Speaking of comfort, Anime North has finally announced plans for the Nominoichi this year. It's still a lottery system so there is a damn good chance I won't get a table regardless of applying. I mean, I never missed out on a table when it was first come, first served, but the second it switched to a lottery I was shafted back in 2019. (~_~) Anyway, I'm still not 100% sure if I'm comfortable participating in that event given the crowding and the fact it's going to be blazing hot in the middle of July. I literally can't find any friends willing to help me run a table. I might put my hat in the ring to see if I actually win the lottery and get a table given that my chances are low and hopefully find an assistant later if it comes to that. I have SO MUCH stuff I want to sell. I have enough stuff that if I sell out I could probably stock a full other table next year too. It would really suck to skip a year, but I'm still a bit on the fence with how easy it is to catch Covid. I don't know what things will be like come July, but I suppose I can always cancel the table if it's too much of a hassle on the off chance I actually get one.... I don't even know what my plans overall are for AN. A lot of my friends are skipping going and I usually stay in a hotel, but due to Covid, my close friend group is not doing a room this year. I don't know what days I'll go, who I'll even see there... the con is super up in the air for me right now.

I've also been a bit sad for the last few days because I decided to do a bit of organizing with costumes I've made in the last few years to check on them and try some of them on. Sadly, a few costumes will need major work to see if they're salvageable and some may be beyond repair. My Card Captor Sakura Clear Card costume barely fits. Or I should say the skirt barely fits and the blouse doesn't fit anymore at all. I have some excess material in the zipper seam that I can probably salvage to let it out a bit, but it's rough. I just went through this with the blouse for Sakura Haruno and barely was able to make it big enough to fit me. I actually removed the waistband on the Sakura Clear Card Battle costume I made in 2020 that I haven't even worn yet. It's about 1.5 inches too small now and I have to make a new waistband and re-attach the zipper just so I can wear it for the first time. (~_~)

The most heartbreaking thing is that that my Madoka school uniform has a ton of problems. I pulled it out to check it and the beige part of the blouse had quite a few weird grey/yellow stains on it. I think it's an age problem made worse by the fact the costume is spot treat only as the red and black bias tape detail can bleed into the rest of the costume. The white fabric I used for her dickey shirt and cuffs is horrible too and gets terrible yellow stains after a few years have passed. I didn't realize it would be an issue until I noticed the bad yellowing on parts of my Lisa Garland dress, which I made using the same white fabric several years before I made Madoka. In my attempts to clean the weird stains on the blouse, I wet some of the red bias tape and stained a few inches of the lace on the bottom of the blouse. It turned the lace pink from bleeding dye. It's so frustrating! I have plans fix the costume to re-wear it as Homura. I can replace the small part of the lace that was damaged if I can at least minimize the annoying staining on the blouse and maybe get one more wear out of it before I retire the costume. It makes me so sad because I worked so hard on this costume and it's one of my all-time favourite costumes that I've ever made. It was the last costume my mother helped me with too before she passed away in 2017. I'm really hoping I can salvage it and preserve it for storage even if I can't wear it again. It would be nice not to put it away looking kind of dirty. You never know how fabric will react to time, which really sucks. Also, a shifting body shape due to age and the sedentary nature of the pandemic is so frustrating. I never had an issue with outgrowing costume, but I doubt now that any costume made earlier than 2015 will fit me anymore and even some costumes made since are problematic. I'm not sure how many costumes Iíve made in the past will still be available for me to grab and re-wear in the next few years and that makes me sad.

Anyway, I'll continue to spend the next few weeks checking on old costumes, repairing some of them and making plans for shoots and some con plans for the summer. I think I would like to get photos of Sakura Haruno, Homura (school uniform), Dilandau and Super Sailor Chibi Moon. That and get some wear out of my Sakura Kinomoto Battle costume, Alice and Dorothy. These are lofty goals when con and event plans are still a bit up in the air. Hopefully the costumes will still be wearable in 2023 so I can space all this out, but those are the costumes I immediately would like to prioritize so we'll see how things work out for this year.

-+- Past Updates -+-

April 18th, 2022
Just a quick update since I've been working away on some costumes lately. I'm almost done my Dorothy costume from The Big O. I did post a progress pic over on Instagram. I just added the white cuffs this weekend. I need to clean up some seams, make the brooch and the cravat, but I've already started the cravat so I should definitely be able to finish this costume this month. I'm pretty excited to get it done. I did buy a wig for it a few months ago that, trying it on with the costume at about 80% done, I really don't feel like suits my skin tone or the costume. I'm going to buy a different wig soon that's better quality. It's been a struggle to find wigs for Dorothy. Her hair is presented sometimes as dark brown, sometimes as a natural red-brown mix and sometimes it looks fairly red. My original wig was a deep red, but the colour just didn't feel right to me. I really want a brown/subtle red combo that can look either colour depending on the angle and light. Wig companies like Arda tend to have the more intense colours covered or shades of brown, but it's so hard to find that exact semi-natural colour I'm looking for. I have a wig in mind, but I'm waiting on getting a new credit card before I can order it as my card was somehow compromised so I'm out a card for another week or two. Super frustrating, but I should get the wig by the end of May and have this costume ready to go for a con this year.

Arda was running a sale a few days ago and I ordered a new wig for my Alice costume. I do really like the colour of my original wig that I wore for a shoot last summer, but it was a very frustrating wig as it tangled easily and had a lot of static. I did already buy an Eowyn from Arda, but it was in lemon drop and the colour shade looked terrible on me. I decided to get a Nina silky this time and I really like the style. I ordered it in honey, which is the sister shade to the wig I got from them for Princess Peach years ago. It's actually more yellow than I expected, but not as bad as lemon drop so I think it'll look nice. It does fit the cartoon yellow vibe of Alice's look in the original animation. I'm excited to wear Alice again. Maybe to Fan Expo if I go or AN? Still not sure what I'll go to and what I'll wear, but I guess I do still have some time to decide. I'm just looking forward to finishing up some old projects so I can start with an open slate in the fall.

March 16th, 2022
I can't believe it took until March for me to make my first website update of the year. I know personal websites are pretty old-fashioned now and are pretty much defunct, but I still enjoy maintaining my little spot on the web. These last few years have kind of been a bit demoralizing in terms of Cosplay. It feels like ages since I last went to a Cosplay event and it really has been quite a long time (December 2019). Supposedly, here in Ontario we're "done" with worrying about COVID. I wish I could say that I feel like we conquered it, but now officials are pretty much hiding their heads in the sand as we stopped tracking cases. We really have no idea how much it's been spreading. The mandatory mask mandate is even going away for a lot of places starting next week and yet in other parts of the world new waves are popping up. I can't say my confidence with moving on is pretty high. (~_~)

This is the week of Toronto Comicon as I just Googled to check when it was. I'm not going. Given the fact COVID is rampant I just don't feel good about going to a large event. AN will be returning with a new summer date for the con. I already have a ticket for it, which is a rollover ticket from 2020. I'm probably going to go to that. The summer feels like it might be a whole different ballgame, but again, I don't know. I thought we would actually get to a point where we overcame COVID, but now the messaging is just live with it. Guess I'll just get sick one day. I don't think I ever got it during the pandemic, but I suppose it's just a matter of time now.

Things have been pretty busy for me these last few months. I've been at my new workplace as an Office Manager/Executive Assistant for about seven months now. The time is really flying by and there is a lot to keep track of so my days are pretty busy. So far I'm still working from home, but it'll be a gradual return to office life this year. I'm kind of hoping we adopt a hybrid model for work since adding a downtown commute really isn't that appealing from my current location, but getting used to returning to the way things were before the pandemic will be quite an adjustment. A bigger adjustment for me since I used to work walking distance from my home so I need to mentally prepare for transiting, but it's a nice workplace so going to the office does have its perks.

In terms of actual Cosplay related work, I did start my big sewing project for the year during the holiday break. I'm working on a Dorothy costume from The Big O. It took some trial and error to get the sewing pattern I bought to work for her outfit. I was thinking about making her outfit as a skirt and blouse, but I found a pullover dress pattern that I liked. I had to make a test version so I could make the fit better, add in a zipper, a new sleeve pattern and darts, but it's been coming along pretty well. I started the actual costume in February. The only downside is some of my seams aren't matching very well due to adding in darts, but the merge points are mostly covered by a belt. I also added some horsehair braid to the bottom of the dress to give it a bit of volume. I think making it a dress was a decent call and I'm liking how it's looking so far. I still have to add a sleeve, make the belt, make the cuffs, the cravat and brooch, but I'm sure I'll finish it by sometime in April. Not sure when I'll wear the costume. I have a bit of a backlog now of stuff to debut. I have that Band Sakura costume and Alice (although I would like to buy a new Arda wig for Alice before I wear it) that I also can't wait to wear to a convention. I'm pretty torn as to what I want to wear first. I should probably wear Sakura since it was made before the pandemic started and I've gained a bit of weight in the last two years and I'm concerned about the fit. (>.<);;

I think I'll try to maybe do Pretty Heroes this year and AN depending on how things are looking in the summer. Possibly check out a day of Fan Expo as well. I do still want to do a couple of shoots in the summer too and finally get photos of Dilandau and maybe Super Sailor Chibi Moon. Hopefully this year will make up for missing so much these last couple of years. I do miss the fun atmosphere and excitement of conventions. If things were better I would probably be going to Comicon this weekend, but I will cross my fingers that things will continue to improve and I can return to conventions in a few months.

December 14th, 2021
It has been pretty busy these last few months of 2021. Not so busy for me with Cosplay and conventions, but the weeks have really been flying by thanks to my job. I've been settling into my new work. Taking on an admin position at a growing mobile gaming development company has been very exciting, but there has been a lot to learn and many new responsibilities to take on. I definitely feel pretty tired by the end of each day even with working from home most of the time. Still, it's been really fun and I'm looking forward to starting a new year with the company.

In terms of the realm of Cosplay, I haven't worn a costume since I did my shoot of Alice in September. Fan Expo did run their limited edition con at the end of October, but with masks, COVID cases still swirling and crowds, I decided to pass on it. I mean, the pandemic isn't over, but also thinking about wearing costumes and getting Cosplay photos, masks really are a hindrance for shoots so wearing a costume to a convention just doesn't really feel as fun with all the restrictions. I'll see how things are looking for conventions in 2022 and if I want to wear costumes with masks anyway. At least at warm weather cons you can get photos outside and take your mask off then although masks and wearing makeup are not good friends. (>.<)

We did see a return of Halloween this year, which was great. It was super weird last year not to hand out candy here in Toronto. I decked out my house like usual and I was surprised by the number of kids out. I thought maybe people wouldnít really return to the tradition of trick-or-treating, but we ended up having a fairly big turnout here in my neck of the woods in North York. I had over 100 trick-or-treaters stop by, which was definitely one of the biggest turnouts in years. It was great to see people out and about and to get to decorate again. Iím glad the holiday was back. I've heard talk that AN will go ahead as normal next year and of course, after running the mini Fan Expo, Fan Expo is certain to be back in the summer. We now have a new variant around and things feel more uncertain. I'm still surprised that here in Ontario we're already about to offer booster shots for every adult for COVID. I thought that would be an annual thing so that's unexpected. This pandemic has thrown so many curveballs that I have no idea what to expect every couple of months. I do hope things are normal by this time next year.

It is almost Christmas and as a tradition for me, I usually try to start my next big costume project right around the holidays so I can work on the costume throughout the winter. I do have some time off before Christmas, which I'm excited about and I have actually gathered some materials to start a costume. I was looking for more inspiration in my past. Over the last few years I've loved making nostalgic costumes. I made Kagome in 2017 and a Card Captor Sakura costume in 2020 and I thought for this year why don't I look back at another Anime I loved growing up. My gaze fell on the noir mecha Anime The Big O. I first saw the series at the precursor to Fan Expo in 2001, where the convention Canadian National Anime Expo was showing episodes of the series each day of the con and I loved it. The series feels like Batman the animated series meets Gundam and has such an interesting vibe. With my height and paleness, the android Dorothy really stuck out to me as a Cosplay option back then, but I didn't want to deal with white makeup as she's paper white in the series. Now 20 years later, I figured why not just wear the costume without the makeup as I'm pale enough. I just don't want to have to worry about getting the makeup on evenly and also sealing it well enough that it doesnít rub off.

I purchased notions and fabric over the last month for the costume. It's a fairly straightforward design. I bought a pattern for the dress that'll need some alterations, but should be a good base. I'll probably work on a mock of the design over the holidays and start the costume for real in the new year. I'll aim to finish it by the spring, but there isn't a huge sense of urgency. I still have a handful of costumes that I need to wear to conventions and events when I can. I have the Card Captor Sakura Clear Card battle costume I made, Alice (which I only wore for a shoot so far) and older costumes like Dilandau and Super Sailor Chibi Moon that really need photoshoots done. I'm getting quite the backlog. Dorothy should be a fun costume to put together and super nostalgic for me. I'm sure it's so obscure now that no one will recognize it, but it'll mean a lot to me to Cosplay from that series. Now if only I could find a Roger to Cosplay with!

That catches things up to now. I'm happy I found a project to work on over the winter. I was worried I wouldn't find something to inspire me to want to sew. It's been a roller coaster of a year with unexpectedly finding a new job and seeing the return to some events and such, but with restrictions. I do enjoy that I can hang out with small groups of friends now, but I do hope that things will be more normal in 2022. I did make my new Alice costume this year so I kept on trucking with Cosplay and I'm happy that I can still find inspiration to enjoy the hobby for yet another year. Hopefully 2022 will be a healthy, safe and happy year after following a fun holiday season. :3

September 10th, 2021
This has been a pretty whirlwind of a year! I'm almost one month into my new job and I've been having a really good time. My new workplace has great people and a fun atmosphere and I've been learning a wide variety of admin tasks. So far I'm working from home, but we should be returning to the office in the next month unless things with COVID change. Kind of excited to be working downtown, although I will miss the ease of working from home (and the commute is going to be an adjustment).

In terms of Cosplay, I'm still trying to figure out plans for my next costume. I did a fabric run with my friend Pan last month at Fabricland, but didn't see any fabric for a costume like Suiseiseki so not sure if that will be a possibility. I did get a chance to finally wear my newest costume that I finished earlier this year. My friend Pan was kind enough to offer to shoot my Alice costume and we settled on shooting at Edwards Gardens. They had some neat hedge formations and beautiful flowerbeds there. Shame a lot of the flowers were out of season and the pretty roses were too crowded to shoot around, but we still got some great shots including seeing a little bunny, which was kind of perfect for Alice. I finished the Alice costume page, edited the shoot photos and added them to the costume section. It was quite a feat to finish that costume. It seemed deceptively simple, but parts of the costume were tricky to sew like getting the lace just right on the apron. I also struggled with the wig. It's just a cheap wig and is pretty thin. I had trouble getting the bangs in a style that worked. Pan helped me style them side swept, but I think that didn't frame my face that well. I'm thinking of either getting the bangs trimmed or getting a different wig. I don't really mind changing up the wig style if it does a better job of flattering my face.

The photos are just from my iPhone so nothing super fancy with the lighting and no camera effects. I also struggled a lot with the bright outdoor light with my contacts. Unless we found shady spots, I pretty much squinted in every photo. It was great to get some shots in the summer, though, and Edwards Gardens was a perfect backdrop. We had to dodge a few wedding shoots and some curious questions from random park-goers, but it turned out to be a really fun experience. I can't thank Pan enough for help with the shoot and her moral support when I worked on Alice. She's such an awesome friend! I'm really excited for my next sewing project whenever I find fabric and inspiration to work on something new. Hopefully by next year we'll be back at cons so I can wear Alice to an event too!

August 6th, 2021
Long time no update! My last update was at the very end of spring and there were months of summer to look forward to and now we're at the beginning of August and summer is heading towards its dying days. I'm actually not that excited about summer being over. I do love fall, but these bright and warm days are very soothing. It's been a very eventful summer. In my last update I was concerned I wouldn't be fully vaccinated until the end of this month, but things changed fairly quickly after my last post and I was able to get my second vaccination in June. It's been almost two months since my second shot at this point. Time is really flying by! I also had a huge life breakthrough. I previously mentioned that I was job hunting this year. I started looking in January and I sporadically looked at job listings and applied to a few things over the last few months. I actually got a job offer a couple of weeks ago and I just had my last day at my old job. I'm quite sad to leave Magitech where I was working in admin and game design for over a decade. It was a fun and memorable journey. I'll be starting in a more focused admin role at another game studio here in Toronto soon. It's exciting, but a strange time to find new employment. I'm unsure if I'll be working from home for a bit or if I'll head straight to the office, which will mean a daily commute downtown. My old work was a walk from my home in the suburbs so it's going to make for an interesting adjustment taking transit. Downtown life should be quite vibrant at least, and I'll be in walking distance of several food and bubble tea options so that'll be something. XD I'm looking forward to the new office, the job expectations and meeting co-workers so the next few weeks are going to be interesting.

I do have a few days as a break to decompress before I start. It's probably a good idea since I haven't taken any vacation this year and after summer and early fall, it doesn't feel as fun to vacation in Ontario. I might try to do a photoshoot. I have yet to plan one, but I'm kind of hoping to shoot my new Alice costume. I'm also still hoping to book a shoot before late fall for Dilandau so if I can shoot those two costumes that would be good enough for this year. I am also thinking about fabric shopping soon. I'm still debating a bit about what to make next, but I'm thinking about tackling a Suiseiseki costume from Rozen Maiden. She's my second favourite design from the series. It's a bit daunting with the multi-layered skirt and the vest top. I just think she's so cute and I've kind of wanted to Cosplay her for years. It might be nice to get material now and slowly work on it for months. Maybe finish it up for early 2022. I don't suppose many cons or events will happen before then. I know Fan Expo hopes to hold a smaller con in late October, but with the delta variant and vaccine hold-outs, who knows if that's realistic. I wouldn't imagine we'll be over this enough for a con until next spring. If we can get through winter without hospitals filling up, I suppose we've reached the point where we can live with COVID. At least it does feel a bit better now (speaking as someone who is fully vaccinated). I felt safe enough to go to a family gathering for my nephew's baptism, watch Black Widow in a movie theatre and apply for a job that is not fully remote, so I guess here it does feel like the world is slowly moving forward. I'm back to seeing a few friends for board game days and in a weird way it almost feels like the last year and a half didn't happen. Such a surreal time to process and hopefully things will continue to improve and slowly return to normal.

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