Remembering History

Monticello

Although this blog is usually only about my costuming adventures, I thought it was important to take a pause and acknowledge some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head during the past week. I live in the Washington, DC area, which means Charlottesville is just a short car trip away. I have visited there several times, including earlier this year, in order to see the wonderful museums and enjoy the small-town atmosphere. (Where else can you find multiple independent book stores on one street?) I have friends and colleagues that either went to or work at the University of Virginia. To me, Charlottesville is a place of learning. So to see what happened last Saturday left me both speechless and immensely saddened. It is only after several days of reflection that I can put in words a small part of what I am feeling.

Specifically, one thing I was struck by was the furor and emotion raised by the prospect of removing Confederate statues and monuments. The reaction that stood out the most to me was the idea that taking these statues down was “erasing history.” And that somehow there is a straight line between removing a statue of Robert E. Lee and one of George Washington.

Think back to the last time you saw a statue of a person in a public park or in front of a public building. Chances are, that statue had very little information about it presented with it. Maybe the person’s name was written on a stone base, or there was a small plaque nearby. Maybe there was nothing at all explaining what the statue was for or who it was of. When people erect monuments, it is not about teaching history, with all of its complications and context. Instead, it is about eliciting an immediate reaction from an observer, be it pride in a past victory or sadness at a past tragedy. A statue of a person cannot possibly provide the whole story of their life. Its purpose is rather to use that person’s image as a symbol. We interact with that symbol in much the same way we would with a logo or a mascot.

Given this, a statue’s meaning is what we, as the current observers of it, make of it. If today a historical figure is most identified with the Confederacy and slavery, that is what his statue will stand for, even if he also did many other things in his life. By the same token, if a person is most remembered for being a founding father of the United States, that is what his statue will stand for, even if he also owned slaves. Thus, that is why a statue of Robert E. Lee is different from one of George Washington. Removing one and leaving the other is not “erasing history,” but rather, aligning our public symbols with our current ideals.

A better way to explore the full story behind both men is in a museum or book, where context and detail can be provided far beyond what can be communicated in a statue. Indeed, focusing on a statue instead of visiting a museum strikes me as truly “erasing history.”

My Costumes at Awesome Con 2017

This year I decided that I had time to make only one new costume for Awesome Con, which meant I would be re-wearing two older ones for the other days. I waffled on what my lineup should be, but in the end decided to embrace my historical costumer side and wear my Rockford Peach uniform on Friday and my Claire Fraser Outlander ensemble on Sunday. Saturday was reserved for the debut of my new costume, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, mid-1700s style.

Friday
I’m glad I opted to wear my Rockford Peach uniform on Friday, because I was unsure how much of a zoo it was going to be, given that the con was instituting new bag inspection policies. Our entry to the convention center was pretty smooth, but it was nice not to have to worry about weapons check, since I had no props. I had originally considered wearing my DC Comics Bombshells Batwoman costume, but that has a bat, and I did not want to run afoul of any prop weapons policies.

For photo taking, Mike and I found an area with large plate glass windows on the top floor of the convention center, which afforded great light. However, it was a little warm, as the AC wasn’t as strong up there and several of the windows were in direct sun. We returned there for photos on Saturday and Sunday, and by that time they seemed to have turned up the AC.
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Awesome Con

For the second year in a row, Maggie joined me as a Rockford Peach. I love the reactions we get when people see us on the con floor. And we continued our record of having someone sing us the Peaches fight song!
Awesome Con

Maggie and me, goofing around
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Mike requested “Anime Fingers,” per usual. That may have been the first time we sprung that on Maggie during a photo shoot, though! We had to explain what Mike meant.
Awesome Con

Saturday
On Saturday I debuted my new Provincial Belle costume, based on an illustration by Wickfield (Nina S.). I’m very happy with how it turned out! In addition to referencing Nina’s art, I also took inspiration from a number of images of 1740s-1760s middle and lower class women.
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

I am so happy with this photo. I had a vision of how it should look, and Mike worked with me until we got it.
Awesome Con

I did not have an 18th century French book to tote around (nor would I necessarily want to subject a book that old to a convention environment). So instead, I used my vintage copy of Sir Percy Hits Back, one of the Scarlet Pimpernel sequels by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. It was the right color to stand out in photos, and I thought a pulpy, romantic story set in France was appropriate for Belle.
Awesome Con

I’m wearing a ribbon-tie coral necklace, which is available in my Etsy shop, In the Long Run Designs.
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Lastly, I had to try and recreate the original artwork that inspired this costume. A huge thank you to Nina for creating such a wonderful illustration and for graciously agreeing to let me cosplay it!
Awesome Con

Sunday
On Sunday I re-wore my Claire Fraser costume. The only new part of this outfit is the cowl, which I knit using a pattern in the book Highland Knits. I thought my last cowl was a little too small. But I only wore the new one for pictures, because it was so warm that day. The old cowl came in handy for wearing in the expo hall, to still get the look but without such a large layer of wool around my neck.
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Awesome Con

With my friend Andrew, who was also cosplaying Outlander, but in the Star Wars universe, not from the Diana Gabaldon books. Here you can see my smaller knit cowl.
Awesome Con

My friend Rebecca met up with me for a couple photos. I love how these came out with a slightly atmospheric, foggy look to them, even though we were in a hallway in the convention center.
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

And that’s it for my Awesome Con recaps! If I’m not mistaken, I am now totally caught up on costume event blog posts. Which is great, because Costume College is next weekend. I will definitely have a bunch of photos to share when I get back from California!

Awesome Con 2017 Cosplay Hall Photos

Awesome Con has been an active cosplay convention from the start, and this year was no exception. Everywhere I looked there was another cool costume. Plus, now that I’ve started meeting and getting to know a number of cosplayers in the Washington, DC area, I was extra excited to see in person the costumes that friends had been working on.

Without further ado, on to the photos!

Friday
Harley and Joker (Front Royal Joker and Harley)
Awesome Con

Wonder Woman (Ana B)
Awesome Con

Black Widow (Becki)
Awesome Con

Aquaman
Awesome Con

Black Canary
Awesome Con

DC Comics Bombshells Mera
Awesome Con

Nightwing
Awesome Con

Ruby Rhod
Awesome Con

Left Shark (Kevin)
Awesome Con

Batman
Awesome Con

The Flash
Awesome Con

We found another Rockford Peach! This was the first time that had happened, and it was the third time I wore this costume to Awesome Con!
Awesome Con

Claire Fraser (Mama B)
Awesome Con

Bitch Planet
Awesome Con

Dark Phoneix (Jazmine)
Awesome Con

Robin (Andrew)
Awesome Con

Saturday
Zelda and Link
Awesome Con

Elsa (Sara)
Awesome Con

A father and son family portrait!
Awesome Con

Doctor Strange
Awesome Con

Love this take on Ursula (McKenna)
Awesome Con

Squirrel Girl
Awesome Con

Me with Gaston and Belle
Awesome Con

This Beast cosplayer offered me a rose!
Awesome Con

Me with my friend Jennifer as Wonder Woman
Awesome Con

Yondu (Jon)
Awesome Con

D.Va (Laura), Soldier: 76 (Rachel), Harley Quinn (Nico), and a Destiny Hunter (Anth)
Awesome Con

Sunday
Aladdin
Awesome Con

Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde
Awesome Con

An Imperial Officer
Awesome Con

Loved this Nintendo Switch idea!
Awesome Con

Agent Carter
Awesome Con

A Rebel Soldier
Awesome Con

Rey
Awesome Con

Eddie Valiant (Iggy) and Jessica Rabbit (Evil Queen Jacky)
Awesome Con

This was such an awesome idea for a group cosplay! (Featuring Michael)
Awesome Con

Black Canary
Awesome Con

Willy Wonka
Awesome Con

The Flash
Awesome Con

Captain America
Awesome Con

Andrew rocking his Star Wars: The Old Republic Hero of Tython cosplay
Awesome Con

Ms. Marvel
Awesome Con

Huntress (Canary Cry Cosplay)
Awesome Con

Squirrel Girl
Awesome Con

Bodhi Rook (JK) and Aladdin (Carmella)
Awesome Con

I haven’t seen a Big Lebowski cosplay in person before!
Awesome Con

Belle (Reece)
Awesome Con

Belle (Feara Winters)
Awesome Con

A big thank you to all of the cosplayers that we photographed!

Awesome Con 2017

Awesome Con was in mid-June this year, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center right in downtown DC. It’s great that a pop culture convention has managed to flourish in the District. Mike and I have been attending since the first year in 2013, and it has grown exponentially. It used to take only a small section of the convention center, but now it basically occupies the whole thing. This was our first time going all three days, including Friday.

This post is about the con experience itself. I will follow with additional posts on cosplay hall photos and the costumes I wore.

The convention didn’t start until noon on Friday, so Mike, Maggie, Doug, and I took this opportunity to have lunch at China Chilcano. They have a great lunch special menu. We had siu mai pollo dumplings and dancing yucca fries for starters, aji de gallina and atun picante for entrees, and grapefruit sorbet for desert.
Awesome Con

For the first time, the convention had to institute bag checks due to security concerns. For that reason, we opted to wait at least an hour after the doors opened to avoid the crowd. We got to the convention center around 1:30 PM, and there was no line. Mike and I went up to take photos of my A League of Their Own costume (which I’ll share later).
Awesome Con

The exhibit hall. You can see the “Future Con” area, which included booths from organizations like the Air and Space Museum and NASA.
Awesome Con

There were a lot of photographers making their own impromptu studios in the convention center. Here is Dan Arango photographing Zara. It was cool to watch Dan work.
Awesome Con

Summer Solstice assisting Dan with lighting
Awesome Con

We went to a Q&A panel with Phil LaMarr of Samurai Jack, MADtv, and Pulp Fiction fame. He was a really interesting and engaging speaker.
Awesome Con

Another photographer at work
Awesome Con

They had a costume from Wonder Woman on display in the exhibit hall.
Awesome Con

The details were very cool to see!
Awesome Con

Selfie time!
Awesome Con

We finished the day at Ping Pong Dim Sum.
Awesome Con

On Saturday, the first thing we did was attend a panel given by Yaya Han. She explained the construction techniques she used in two of her costumes, which was very educational to hear.
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Then Mike and I went to take photos of my new Provincial Belle costume (which I’ll post separately later), followed by a selfie.
Awesome Con

Later we attended a panel given by Maggie and several of her coworkers about the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). They did a really good job!
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

Immediately afterwards, we went to a panel given by John Mather, a Nobel Prize winner in physics and a senior scientist working on JWST. His talk was both interesting and surprisingly accessible. Afterwards a line of maybe 15 to 20 people formed to take photos with John. Maggie helped him do autographs and selfies, while Mike and I minded the line and directed traffic. It’s the first time I’ve helped with an autograph line for a Nobel laureate, and it’s also probably the first time someone has done that while wearing a Belle costume.
Awesome Con

Awesome Con

We finished the evening at Graffiato, one of our favorite DC restaurants.
Awesome Con

Dinner selfie!
Awesome Con

On Sunday Mike and I started again by taking photos of my costume, followed by a selfie. We’re both a little tired in this picture. Sunday mornings at a con are always tough to get started.
Awesome Con

Then I stopped by Yaya Han’s booth to get a print signed. She was very nice to talk to and recognized my Outlander costume immediately. She must either watch the series or has a good memory for different cosplays, because not that many people at the con knew where my costume was from.
Awesome Con

We spent most of the rest of the day in Artist Alley. There were a lot of cool things to look at!
Awesome Con

My purchases. A Mulan print from Yaya Han, and three My Little Pony necklaces from Natural Pop. Not a large haul, but I’m very happy with it.
Awesome Con

Victorian Picnic 2017

Kat threw another amazing Victorian picnic this year. Every summer, when June rolls around, I’m always excited to attend Kat’s party. The food, the conversation, the fun…it’s a great time every year.

Kat has so much awesome tableware!
Victorian Picnic 2017

Judy in dramatic black and white. She is wearing earrings she commissioned from my Etsy shop, In the Long Run Designs.
Victorian Picnic 2017

Our hostess, Kat!
Victorian Picnic 2017

Cheers!
Victorian Picnic 2017

Steve hamming it up for the camera
Victorian Picnic 2017

Michael
Victorian Picnic 2017

Carolyn made an amazing new dress and hat for the occasion.
Victorian Picnic 2017

The fit of Lara‘s gown was amazing.
Victorian Picnic 2017

Steve, looking very dapper
Victorian Picnic 2017

I rewore an old outfit from the closet, which consists of a thrifted 1980s silk blouse that passes for early 1900s, and a wool 1910s skirt I made.
Victorian Picnic 2017

Victorian Picnic 2017

Ashley went all out trimming her hat!
Victorian Picnic 2017

Victorian Picnic 2017

Judy directing traffic during the croquet game
Victorian Picnic 2017

Victorian Picnic 2017

I love the red and white stripes of Kat’s gown!
Victorian Picnic 2017

Victorian Picnic 2017

Group photo
Victorian Picnic 2017

The gentlemen of the party
Victorian Picnic 2017

The ladies, having perhaps a bit too much champagne! (But let’s be real, you can never have too much champagne.)
Victorian Picnic 2017

Judy and Steve are hilarious.
Victorian Picnic 2017

Victorian Picnic 2017

A cool edit of the group photo by Tammy Lynne.
Victorian Picnic

All of my photos are here.

Winterthur Point-to-Point

Mike and I attended the Winterthur Point-to-Point for the first time last May. It’s a group of steeplechase races held annually on the grounds of the Winterthur Museum and Gardens. Not only was it a cool event in terms of costuming, it was also a unique equestrian experience. There were demonstrations related to fox hunting and carriage driving in addition to the races themselves. Winterthur is a lovely setting, featuring lots of open space on the grounds of a house formerly owned by Henry Francis du Pont in the early 20th century.

The only hiccup was the weather was pretty cold. Somehow I managed to go to the warmest Fort Fred Market Fair in years, followed by a cold and rainy Point-to-Point a week later. Welcome to spring in the Mid-Atlantic, I guess!

Judy and Kat had one of the swankiest tailgating setups!
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Kat’s hat and coat were showstoppers!
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

I said it was cold! In order to keep warm I wore a jacket under my stole and wrapped a shawl over my head. Plus I had another scarf under there somewhere. I also wore two pairs of thick dance tights.
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Drinking tea. Judy brought a contraption that used heat packets to boil water. It sort of worked!
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

I wore a 1940s-esque modern dress with a 1960s fur stole that I bought at the Williamsburg Antique Mall a while back. Topped off with a little fascinator hat I trimmed for the Lit Up Ball a couple years ago and some paste glass rhinestone earrings that I made.
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Mike wore a thrifted tweed jacket and a fedora for some vintage styling.
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

A junior rider in the pony race
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

More from the pony race
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

What a cute pony!
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

The parade of foxhounds
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

This hound was a straggler.
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Sidesaddle riders (Sara Gartland and her sister)! Someday I’ll try sidesaddle.
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

The carriage parade
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

One of the races
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

An outrider
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

A rider withdrawing from the race
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

The kids competing in a stick horse race
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Check out their faces. Some of them are pretty intense!
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

At the first fence of one of the races, a rider fell off (I believe she was okay). The horse continued the whole race on its own.
Winterthur Point-to-Point 2017

All of my photos are here.

Fort Fred 2017

After missing the Fort Frederick Market Fair last year (because it conflicted with PAX East), I was excited to attend this year. I had missed the shopping! The one downside was it was the hottest weather it has ever been since I started attending the fair in 2011. So we had to take it slow in our walking around, and several of our planned group ended up not attending. Ah well, there’s always next year!

I made a new chintz gown for the fair, so I insisted on wearing it, even though it was a bit heavy for the heat. Thankfully, it’s machine washable! (The fabric is “India Garden” from Colonial Williamsburg.)
Fort Fred

Fort Fred

I made a lapis necklace and earrings to coordinate with my dress.
Fort Fred

Jess in her spring-y jacket and petticoat
Fort Fred

Me with Ashley, in her beautiful striped gown
Fort Fred

Rebecca made this zone front jacket new for the fair. It’s only her second 18th C outfit, and it turned out excellent!
Fort Fred

Cap ribbons on display
Fort Fred

Kerchiefs hanging at The Silly Sisters
Fort Fred

Clouded stockings at 96 District Fabrics
Fort Fred

More stockings at 96 District Fabrics
Fort Fred

Basket of threads at 96 District Fabrics
Fort Fred

Caps on display at Fashions Revisited
Fort Fred

Robert Mouland performing period music
Fort Fred

Fort Fred

I bought myself a turquoise blue bonnet at the fair, and it went perfectly with my outfit!
Fort Fred

All of my purchases: the aforementioned bonnet, some silk ribbon and dress pins from 96 District Fabrics, wool tape from Wm Booth Draper, a straw hat from The Silly Sisters, some leather stocking garters for Mike, a fichu from Smiling Fox Forge, and a cap from Fashions Revisited
Fort Fred

And one more photo of the lovely cap from Fashions Revisited
Fort Fred

All of my photos are here.

The Big-Ass Hat Tea

Combine amazing 18th C costumes with fabulous food, and what do you get? Jenny-Rose‘s “Big-Ass Hat” tea! The idea was for everyone to wear 18th C costumes, accessorized with the largest hats possible. The folks who attended definitely delivered. Plus, Jenny-Rose and her family were such great hosts. We were treated to an absolutely scrumptious tea menu.

My pretty place setting
18th Century Tea

The food was soooooooo good!
18th Century Tea

Jess, Adrienne, and Samantha seated at tea.
18th Century Tea

After tea, we went into the yard for socializing and picture taking.
18th Century Tea

I love the stripes of Leia and Carolyn‘s gowns.
18th Century Tea

Alice and Katy
18th Century Tea

Adrienne’s hat is so beautiful and dramatic!
18th Century Tea

I really like the lavender trim on Katherine‘s dress.
18th Century Tea

Samantha and Ginger with contrasting hats in black and white
18th Century Tea

Maggie in her lovely silk jacket. She commissioned the fan from my Etsy shop, In the Long Run Designs.
18th Century Tea

I rewore the dress I made for the Francaise Dinner, because it matched the one 18th C hat I already had. Plus, I liked the fit of this dress so much, I wanted to wear it again.
18th Century Tea

I made myself new earrings from these large acrylic pearls I had in the stash. (I also have a pair for sale in my Etsy shop.)
18th Century Tea

Robin and Amanda playing graces.
18th Century Tea

Amanda looks like a Fragonard painting! Her chintz gown is perfection.
18th Century Tea

18th Century Tea

18th Century Tea

I love the cream and pink colors of Samantha’s ensemble.
18th Century Tea

Robin modeling Carolyn’s amazingly large hat.
18th Century Tea

Sara looks perfect in her dramatic blue ensemble.
18th Century Tea

I LOVE Carolyn’s hat!
18th Century Tea

Sara and Aubry chatting at the end of a wonderful event.
18th Century Tea

Thank you for an amazing time, Jenny-Rose! All of my photos are here.

My Costumes at PAX East 2017

I brought three costumes to PAX East this year: one new and two old. The rewears were DC Comics Bombshells Batwoman and Princess Luna (though I did make a new crown for the latter). The new costume was one of my dream projects: the purple Jim Balent-style Catwoman design. All three worked well, but I’ve already started on a new version of Catwoman. The cowl I had is a bit too small for me, and the bodysuit could be longer through the torso. But I was still happy with the resulting cosplay at PAX!

The only major hiccup I had was I forgot my belt for Batwoman at home. Mike and I searched everywhere through our luggage for some sort of replacement. (Of course I discovered the problem only the Friday morning of the con, not when I went fabric shopping the day before). We hit upon a white balance card lanyard that I promptly sacrificed for the cause by cutting apart.
PAX East Trip

I was able to sew the ends of the lanyard together around myself. I think it worked out okay!
PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

A selfie after the photo shoot
PAX East Trip

On Saturday I debuted Catwoman!
PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

And a big shout-out to BelleChere, whose Catwoman cosplay was one of the inspirations for mine. Her styling was just spot-on, so I tried to emulate it. I have a print signed by her hanging in my sewing room.
Catwoman

On Sunday I went with a casual, comfy costume: Princess Luna. Other than the new crown, I had worn the costume before.
PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

PAX East

I had a wonderful time at PAX East this year! And I was even able to salvage the white balance card lanyard. Just a few stitches, and it was good as new!
PAX East Trip

PAX East 2017 Cosplay Hall Photos

And now for the hall photos we took of cosplayers at PAX East. Overall, I would say that we saw fewer cosplayers this year than last year. But the ones we did see had a number of impressive costumes and still represented several different fandoms. I did notice that Overwatch appears to have overtaken League of Legends as the most popular game to cosplay from.

McCree from Overwatch (I believe this is the American flag skin)
PAX East

Thor
PAX East

Abyssal Cosplay as D.VA from Overwatch
PAX East

Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn
PAX East

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The only kind of horse allowed in the Expo Hall!
PAX East

Final Fantasy group
PAX East

Not totally sure, but this may be Marth from Fire Emblem.
PAX East

Batgirl
PAX East

Ahri from League of Legends by Lily Spring
PAX East

Samus Aran from Metroid
PAX East

Chell from Portal
PAX East

Mei from Overwatch
PAX East

Pizoobie as Mercy and Bonnies Cosplay as D.Va from Overwatch
PAX East

Me with an adorable gender-swapped Harley Quinn and Joker pair
PAX East

Hanzo from Overwatch
PAX East

Zelda and Link
PAX East

Agent 47 from Hitman
PAX East

Assassin’s Creed
PAX East

Black Canary
PAX East