Wintermarch Update

So, at the beginning of the month I got to spend a lovely weekend being shuttled around hospital wards, where I was treated to a number of blood tests, IV antibiotics and a lot of morphine. As it turns out, some gastro-intestinal issues that have been worsening over the last year, which I had put down to “just one of those Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome things”, were actually symptoms of cholecystitis which (likely thanks to the EDS, which causes delayed healing and fragile scar tissue) has not only caused some serious scarring but had given me infections in my gall bladder and liver, hence my horrendous pain. At the moment, it sounds as though surgery is the intended way forward, assuming all goes well at my next round of scans and blood tests, which has meant that quite a few things I had planned for the spring, cosplay and otherwise, may have to be put on hold while I recover.

I’ve had a few weeks to take it easy and deal with my infections and increased pain levels, but I’ve reached the point of going stir crazy, so I’ve had the drive to get my lovely new craft room sorted out and to start prep for my first costume of 2019.




Looking forward, here’s how I’m hoping the next few months are going to shape up:

Vallaslin Blog Posts

Vallaslin banner (reduced)

Back in December, I promised to write some posts detailing how I create my Dalish vallaslin make-up.  I haven’t forgotten, and two of what I think will be a three-part series are currently underway. I’m not sure whether it would be more useful to publish them all at the same time once I’m finished with the whole process, or whether it would be better to post them individually as soon as they’re done? Let me know on my FB/Insta/Twitter if you have a preference.

Dragon Age Quiz


If anyone missed it, I have an A2 print of our Hanged Man poster and Inquisition-themed Wicked Grace cards to give away but my untimely hospitalisation meant I had to put a pin in my plans. The quiz is written and ready to go as soon as I figure out the best way to get answer sheets back from entrants. I had planned to set it up here as a form, but WordPress have apparently pulled Plug-Ins for basic blogs, so I’ll have to think up an alternative. One way or another, I plan to have it up and open on Friday the 1st of February, so it’s time to start swotting up!

Cosplans 2019

warden inspired gown - shaded

Grey Warden Inspired Gown

I’ve been thinking about a few different versions of this gown since the first Calling convention in summer 2016, and inspiration struck at Tandy Leather’s workshop back in December.  I’m attempting to get this ready for March but I have a back up in mind if I run out of time.  I’ve sourced some lovely fabrics for it, so expect lots of work in progress pictures in the weeks to come!

Upgrades:  Lavellan’s Superior Prowler Coat

Photo by Max Mace
Photography by Max Mace, 2016

I’ve been really looking forward to upgrading this one.  In much the same way as I upgraded Mahariel’s Regalia of Weisshaupt last year, I have a lot of work I want to do to bring Lavellan’s wardrobe up to version 2.0, including some new props and weaponry.

Events 2019

Unfortunately my next round of blood tests and scans has already struck my first con of the year, Middlesbrough Unleashed, off my calendar.  My surgery has been estimated for March/April, so the following events have been marked as “definitely going as long as I’m not in surgery/recovering from surgery.”

I’ve also got a couple of photo shoots planned and several other projects that I’m really looking forward to sharing so, medical stuff aside, 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year.


Make-up test: scars

After a Blight, battling the Archdemon and a decade of Grey Wardening, I thought that my Hero of Ferelden would probably have some interesting scars and some dramatic stories about where they came from.

It’s been a lot of years since I last did SFX stage make-up and back then, I would have spent hours painstakingly painting scars to make them look something vaguely like 3D.  While trying to work out a way that I could make scars work without having to get up at the crack of dawn to paint them, I came across Mehron’s rigid collodion and it’s become my favourite tool in my make-up box!


Mahariel's scar 01

Mahariel's scar 02

This scar will, eventually, bisect Mahariel’s vallaslin and end at my hairline.  I’m planning to make a start on vallaslin tests over the weekend (if I get time around finishing my first piece of scale maille!).

Vallaslin – Part Two

Another day, another make-up attempt!  Today’s effort was a mix of cream-to-powder eyeshadow with some pale brown and white water-based facepaint I had on hand.  It went on easily enough and dried quickly but the eyeshadow looked far more sparkly than it ever has when used as intended and, again, smudged without much effort.

I’ve been trying to find out if there are any stockists of decent theatre/SFX make-up in the local area, as I really begrudge spending a fortune on make-up over the internet, where I can’t really make out how the colours will look in person, but unless I can track down a shade I like in liquid or gel eyeliner with real staying power, I might not have much choice!  I spent almost two hours looking at temporary tattoo pens, which would be great if I wanted quite a bright primary colour or black, but I really like the almost-translucent colour of my Lavellan’s vallaslin, so I’m determined to find something as close as I possibly can.  At the moment, although I have a ticket for MCM Birmingham on November 22nd, I’m not sure whether I’m going to be approved for my carer’s pass, and I’m not convinced I’ll have any costume worth wearing by then anyway, so I probably won’t be cosplaying at any events until spring of 2016, which gives me a fair amount of time to figure something out.

vallaslin 02

Vallaslin – Part One

While looking through my screenshot folders for this post, I was amused to note that I had given both Lavellan and Mahariel the simple version of June’s vallaslin.  Fortunately, I didn’t go with one of the more complex designs, otherwise I would have probably spent a week trying to replicate it, followed by a further week of indecision while I decided what to replace it with!

So, my first attempt at Lavellan’s vallaslin was a bit hit and miss.  I have learned that: 1. being both an artist and a person who wears make-up have zip to do with being able to draw straight lines on one’s own face; 2. I need a lighter shade of brown, and; 3. I need a thinner angled brush.

Considering that it’s nothing more than liquid eyeshadow and setting powder, I was reasonably pleased with how well it stayed… until I forgot I was wearing it and touched my face!  Considering that my final plan is to have a leather bodice and coat over a cotton shirt, and that I will have to wear a compression top underneath to support my shoulders, I expect that it will probably sweat off within the first hour or so, or else will smudge into a strange, streaky tan.

I’ve been doing some research on Kryolan and Mehron, but I still have a few things I want to test out before I start buying new make-up.

Vallaslin 01
Vallaslin #1