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.

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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

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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.

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Dragon Age: The Gathering – Warwick Castle

(Okay, I know I ramble when I write posts so if you’re just here for the video, scroll to the bottom!)

Back in January, Abi of Butthead and Pastry cosplay suggested a summer Dragon Age shoot at Warwick Castle and asked if anyone would be interested.  I fired off my response with less than thirty seconds of consideration.  At the time, I had Lavellan half finished and wasn’t sure whether my work would be anywhere near the quality of the more experienced cosplayers, but I was so eager to be part of it.

Warden-Commander Mahariel was next on my list of “Must-do Cosplays” and my experiments were already underway, so once the date was set for August I had less than eight months to get her finished, alongside all my other projects.  In retrospect, I could have done with dropping a few things so that Mahariel could be a little more polished but, life being what it is, I made do.

I always pack more props than I’m likely to need, just in case, and The Gathering was definitely no exception! As well as my Antivan Fire grenade and Jar of Bees, I packed a few lyrium and health potions, my Warden’s codex , two plush nugs and a mabari.  That was as close to “packing light” as I really get!

hotel room

I also found a gorgeous label for Aggregio Pavali (by taye_x on Reddit), which inspired us to make some more based on Inquisition’s Bottles on the Wall collection!  From left to right: Golden Scythe 4:90 Black; West Hill Brandy; Butterbile 7:84; Aggregio Pavali; Dragon Piss.  Eventually, we may actually get around to doing the rest of the collection.

Bottles

I tend to be an anxious person, especially in new situations.  The Calling, held at Beverley Friary in June, was my first big non-MCM event.  Aside from my husband and brother, who got dragged along, I had never met a single attendee before and not only survived living with everyone for a long weekend, I loved every minute of it.  Although Warwick Castle is on a much grander scale than Beverley Friary (and utterly crammed with tourists!), I felt much less intimidated by the idea of meeting so many new people than I had on the way to The Calling.  It helped that I’d already met Abi and Jay, who organised the shoot, as well as a few others, at conventions earlier in the year but I was so worried about whether my costume would look terribly gauche compared with the fantastic work I’d seen the others posting on Facebook in the months before.

On the morning of the shoot I realised that I’d neglected to pack the tiny invisible elastics I’d bought for Mahariel’s braids, so I ended up having to use a random hairband I found in my makeup bag to pull some of my hair back in an approximate style.

Hide my hair

I had such anxiety over my hair that I wondered if I’d get away with hiding it under my hood…

Elfie selfie 2
Finally on the way to the castle!

I won’t drag out a blow-by-blow account of the day, but I really want to say how fantastic the day was.  All the cosplayers, roped-in partners, photographers and The 86th Floor, who did all our professional shots and filmography were amazing.  It was a real pleasure to hang out with them all day and the cosplayers looked absolutely incredible.  Even though I’d seen photos of a few of the costumes on Facebook beforehand, the detail and designs were so impressive.  I’ll put a full list of all the cosplayers involved at the bottom of this post – please go check out their work and give them some love!

The big surprise of the day was how much the tourists enjoyed us being there!  We knew that the castle was going to be open to the public – we were all there on day tickets, after all, and I expected we would probably get some funny looks and possibly some derisive comments.  Some thought we were employees of the castle, in all our fantasy regalia, and a lot of us were stopped regularly so that visitors and their kids could have photos taken with us.  At one point, I was sitting in my wheelchair waiting with Ellie (our fabulous Zevran) for a turn in front of the camera and we had an almost constant stream of people come, one after another, to pose with us for the better part of about fifteen or twenty minutes.  They were queuing.  It was the most surreal thing I’ve experienced in cosplay, so far!

Nym & Zev
Zevran and I at the end of a long day!
The Wedge of Destiny
Of course, with tiny cheese wheels to hand, I had to recreate the Wedge of Destiny at lunch!

We didn’t manage to get as many photos as we would have liked, especially of the Inquisition crew (Warwick Castle itself is not very wheelchair friendly and a lot of their shoot was done indoors) and somehow completely failed to get any of Catbutt Cosplay’s fantastic Yavanna and Phil the Despair Demon.  We did manage to get a few nice ‘behind the scenes’ pictures, though.  Go and check out the professional photos at The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music  and The Space In Between Photography!

Photography by D. Allen

Hawke - Welcome to Kirkwall!” width=

The Champion is wondering what she did to get stuck promoting Kirkwall’s Office of Tourism

Varric - Kirkwall Office of Tourism” width=

Naturally, the Viscount got roped in to promote Kirkwall as a tourist destination…

Yavanna - 86th Floor” width=

Yavanna – Photography by The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music

The Space In Between - Abi, Josephine, Kez
Inquisitor Lavellan; Hawke; Phil the Despair Demon; Warden-Commander Mahariel  – Photography by The Space In Between Photography
Mahariel - The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music
Warden-Commander Mahariel – Photography by The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music
Squad - WinnTeam
Dragon Age Squad – Photography by The WinnTeam

Dragon Age: The Gathering

Credit Where Credit Is Due:

Cosplay Music Video by The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music
Lead photographer – Chiara Fulgoni

Dragon Age: Origins

Alistair Theirin – Arctic Wolf Cosplay
Zevran Arainai – Ellie Short
Morrigan – Keira Hawke Cosplay

Dragon Age II

Hawke – Squeegee Cosplay
Anders – Karclan Cosplay
Aveline Vallen – Cavahn Creations
Merrill – Boris Gambrell
Tallis – Alex Gosling
Varric Tethras – Megatron Cosplay

Dragon Age: The Silent Grove

Yavanna – Catbutt Cosplay

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Inquisitor Lavellan and Cullen Rutherford – Butthead and Pastry Cosplay
Cassandra Pentaghast – Pastel Pirate Cosplay 
Cole – Kawaiiju Cosplay 
Despair Demon – Catbutt Cosplay
Dorian – Rapture Shock Cosplay
Lace Harding – Chiara Fulgoni
Sera – Zomby Boi Cosplay
Solas – HanKhar Cosplay
Vivienne – Kizuki Cosplay 

Our thanks to Warwick Castle for letting us come and play on the site; Abi and Jay for organising everything; The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music for all their hard work; The WinnTeam and The Space In Between Photography for helping to capture the day; all the cosplayers and helpers for making the day so much fun.  You’re all so amazingly talented and it was a real honour to be part of this project with you.