just plain sara: 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Online superhero generators

I can't draw well at all and I tend to rely on the City of Heroes character creator interface inside the video game to muck about with costume ideas; however there are some online creators that are free and fun. I like the UGO hero machine but it actually doesn't have the one thing I'm looking for which is a basic bodice like Wonder Woman.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top 2008 Baby Names

I'm happy to say that some of our traditional though slightly boring American names have dropped in standing from the Top Baby Names lists though they still appear. See for yourself, the influence of comics and pop culture on the new 2008 lists for Boys & Girls (Logan appears on both). Apparently the name Isabella may be due to the popularity of "Bella" from Twilight and Britney Spears may be responsible for the upsurge of both "Jayden" and "James" which is the first & middle names of one of her sons. It's fun and exciting to see "Luke" and "Grayson" on the Boys' list! I actually know a little boy named Grayson (the Robin in my Wonder Woman Day pictures) and he is named after Dick Grayson.

While I first the name "Brooklyn" used for a baby girl on General Hospital many moons ago, it's one of the sons of David & Victoria Beckham which probably explains its popularity on the Girls' & Boys' lists; not to mention "Peyton" which is on the Boys' list though I've heard it for girls too long before I knew who Peyton Manning is.

"Sarah" probably doesn't have a single thing to do with the Terminator as it is a classic, but we can always say that her kick-butt attitude is a driving force for any young girl to grow up and aspire to; since "Connor" is on the Boys' list... well, we can piece those together as a significant correlation.

There are plenty of others obviously, given the many decades of comics and television we can pull from. "Micah" for example was a character on Heroes though he barely appeared in volume three. See what others can you find.

Top 50 Baby Boys' and Girls' Names of 2008

By the editors of Parents.com

We've rounded up the hottest baby boy and girl names of 2008. See what names our readers love -- and get inspired.

Top 50 Girls' Names of 2008

1. Isabella

2. Ava

3. Emily

4. Elizabeth

5. Abigail

6. Madison

7. Emma

8. Addison

9. Madeline

10. Olivia

11. Chloe

12. Hannah

13. Sarah

14. Sophia

15. Avery

16. Riley

17. Jessica

18. Hailey

19. Ashley

20. Samantha

21. Makayla

22. Arianna

23. Mia

24. Mackenzie

25. Nicole

26. Dylan

27. Logan

28. Aaliyah

29. Zoe

30. Alyssa

31. Ella

32. Rachel

33. Brianna

34. Kaylee

35. Hayden

36. Michelle

37. Lauren

38. Jennifer

39. Leah

40. Bailey

41. Brooklyn

42. Allison

43. Isabel

44. Teagan

45. Alexis

46. Taylor

47. Amanda

48. Layla

49. Rebecca

50. Megan

Top 50 Boys' Names of 2008

1. Aidan

2. Jayden

3. Jacob

4. Michael

5. Ethan

6. Caden

7. James

8. Caleb

9. Andrew

10. Matthew

11. Ryan

12. Joshua

13. Avery

14. Grayson

15. Riley

16. Jordan

17. Peyton

18. Christopher

19. Daniel

20. William

21. John

22. Alexander

23. Dylan

24. Logan

25. Nicholas

26. Zachary

27. Anthony

28. Aaron

29. Hayden

30. Cameron

31. Bailey

32. David

33. Brooklyn

34. Elijah

35. Taylor

36. Connor

37. Brayden

38. Noah

39. Tyler

40. Joseph

41. Micah

42. Robert

43. Benjamin

44. Jackson

45. Kendall

46. Jack

47. Gavin

48. Luke

49. Tristan

50. Brandon

Baby Name Finder: Search 1,000s of Names Here

This list is based on the names receiving the most traffic on Parents.com between Jan 1 and Dec 10, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Meredith Corporation.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Firestar wip - 99% complete

I am just about complete with my Firestar costume which I'll be wearing to NYCC '09! I am working on the mask right now. This suit has a collar which matches the illustration above which differs from the costume usually seen in the cartoon, Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. Once again, I'll say how much I love this wig. It's New Look brand and I have been very pleased with all of their wigs (only need to trim the bangs on them when they arrive but they're good right out of the box).

My gloves are little bit too short and that's because I'm using some of the fabric to cover the mask so that they match.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Now it's Obama's Turn... What shall he wear to his Inauguration?

Richard James Savile Row look for evening
Sean John look for evening
Salvatore Ferragamo look for day
Nautica look for evening
A Tommy Hilfiger look for day
A Countess Mara tie

With all the focus on what Michelle wore or should wear, both during the campaign and her anticipated outfit for the inauguration, we can be forgiven for forgetting what the President-elect should wear. Luckily some of the world's most adored menswear designer are on the ball. WWD.com has exclusive sketches from designers ranging from Salvatore Ferragamo to Sean John. See the slideshoe below for all the sketches of day and evening looks plus some snazzy ties. My picks are above.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Firestar wip pics

Ok, I found the camera and here are some close ups of how I created the signature flame designs on Firestar. I decided to go with two layers: a spandex layer and the accessories layer. The spandex layer was tricky.

I had traced the flame pattern from the boot cuffs I bought onto the orange spandex including the portion that would be the lower leg. I put in a basting stitch just to hold the yellow to the orange about an inch below the flames (top picture). I tried stitching from there but all the curves of the flames were not cooperating so I had rip out the stitches, glue down the flames and wait a day to stitch over it; this did cause a lot of jamming which I was expecting. You can't stitch successfully through glue but I wanted stitches not just glue. The reasons are because 1: I didn't have the neatest cut edges and 2: the dried glue is visible through the fabric so I wanted to try to cover it with wide zig-zag embroidery stitches. I also wanted to do two lines of embroidery stitching, one in orange (2nd picture) and one in metallic gold (3rd picture) to outline the flames.

I was worried that the height of the boot toppers would cover the spandex layer but it came out just right. Since the cuffs aren't attached to the boots, I can lower them to the right height. (bottom picture)

League of Heroes honors

I couldn't wait to share the news. The community members at the League of Heroes (LoH) were nominating members at the 2008 MVP and my name got brought up. I was surprised and in awe quite frankly that I was mentioned in the same forum as other folks who really know what they're doing. I'm an experimenter. I just wing it and see what works. I ask a lot of questions along the way but essentially, I'm not trained in any of this. I do love to search for the best tutorials and online shopping deals which can help other people putting together costumes too. 'Lo and behold, the community members think I'm doing a good job at that and awarded me the MVP honors!

Meanwhile, back in the Wonder Cave, I've gotten a considerable amount done on my Firestar costume. I wanted to post some progress pictures but I can't find the camera. We took Caico to see Santa last night so I suspect the camera is in Ron's coat or in his car.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Michelle's Inauguration Ball Dress Options

Oscar de la Renta sketch for Michelle Obama and daughters
Christian Lacroix sketch for Michelle Obama
Diane Von Furstenberg sketch for Michelle Obama
Badgley Mischka sketch for Michelle Obama
Elie Tahari sketch for Michelle Obama
Tuleh sketch for Michelle Obama

What should I wear? - The question uttered by women across the world countless times. If you think you have it bad, try being Michlle Obama deciding what to wear for the most historical evening in American history and the proudest moment of your life. As daunting as it sounds, at least she has a handful of accomplished designers clamouring to design her something to wear. WWD.com has 42 sketches posted online from some of the world's most renonwed designers. View the article and sketches at WWD.com or watch the slide show below. Above are my top picks. What are yours?

Friday, November 28, 2008

WiP - Twilight Guardian, Firestar

I was so excited when I got my mail today because a bunch of costume goodies were in all kinds of packages. To start, here's a trial shot of Twilight Guardian with her kitty companion. I didn't have the mask on so I was just balancing it on my face. The vinyl suit is just really loud when I move! I might just switch to my workout pants which are matte with a black shirt; it won't be right but her suit isn't supposed to be so shiny. It's supposed to be a black cat suit that zips up the front with a grey hoodie over it - pretty darn simple. But I'm not sure about this catsuit. I'll ponder it and take some other test photos some time. I also have a wig on order too.

I also got my Firestar boots, gloves and flame cuffs. The gloves are quite bad - very big and baggy so they'll need to be modified. The cuffs for the boots are better than I thought because the inside is shiny whereas the outside is more matte finish; by wearing them inside out and upside down so the flames go up, they'll actually match the boots better. The boots are not comfortable at all. Hopefully I'll be able to walk around in them.

I got a couple of sweet critter companions for certain suits. The black kitty for TG as seen above and this wild african dog that's going to work as a hyena for Harley Quinn. Just ignore the peanut butter in the shot. I snapped this in my kitchen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joker Alert

For all you Jokers out there, I found a treasure for you. A couple weeks ago in our Diamond delivery was the replica Joker cane and for a mere $250 it can be yours. And don't forget your Joker socks are available at Sock Dreams - look for their "Midnight Mosaic" design.

NYCC is just around the corner (are you sick me saying that yet?) and I'm so anxious that I haven't been sleeping. One Tylenol PM was just not enough to get the costume excitement out of my head. My husband is concerned over my increased addiction to coffee but as I say, it could be worse and I've been hooked on worse so coffee it is!

I'm experimenting with different materials to create the mask for Firestar. I've been posting my experimentation process at the League of Heroes tutorial forum. Once again, I'll reiterate that this is the best place for costuming advice even if you're not into the Superhero genre; got Sci Fi costume questions - doesn't matter, post them and people will help. There are experts on Predator and Halo costumes there as well. Now getting back to Firestar, I have the wig now too and it's gorgeous! The last several wigs that I've purchased have been New Look brand and it's the best I've had so far. The best prices have been with Cosworx.com. The boots (Pleaser go-go boots) and firey cuffs have been ordered as well but have not arrived. I'll be shopping for the spandex this weekend during my first NYC "rag district" shopping trip. Hopefully the stores will be open as I've heard that Saturday many of them close for Jewish Sabbath; and it's "black friday" weekend which may be insane.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NYCC costumes in progress

With the decision to construct the Firestar (Marvel) costume from scratch, I was debating a lot about what to do for Twilight Guardian. She's a lesser known character whose new book has not even come out yet; it's the winning Top Cow Pilot Season 2008 series so there has been one issue to introduce the character.

For Firestar, I'm making the bodysuit, the mask, and modifying the gloves & boots from store bought pieces plus a wig.

So for Twilight Guardian, I decided that since it's just a very plain costume, I'd easily find all the components. A black pleather catsuit and grey sweatshirt (gave up looking for mine which disappeared months ago) plus kitty of course. I already have the black domino mask (as seen in my Harley Quinn pictures). I spent several hours online comparing prices and quality and decided to go for the more expensive Lip Service brand vinyl stretch catsuit which is setting me back about $100 through ebay; that's actually the best price + a coupon used to save 10%. Then I found a cute girls large grey sweatshirt with an interesting "inside-out" design and won the 99 cent auction + $6.95 shipping. Kudos to me. Hopefully I will manage to squeeze into a girls large. Then I decided to search for the right all black stuffed kitty cat companion and found one for around $7 + shipping, so around $11. I'll complete it with my black ankle boots. I also saw an appropriate wig on cosplay.com's marketplace for $17 but I'm not sure if it's necessary.

For anyone interested, that Lip Service catsuit looks perfect for Marvel's Black Cat. It's the only one I've seen on the market with the appropriate collar - just add fur to the collar, arms (or gloves) and legs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Checking in personally...

I need to get going on deciding what to wear for NYCC and that means I also need to get my butt on a fabric shopping trip. That's plaguing my mind at the moment.

I also now have one pink eye to compliment my half purple hair (yay, love me new hair!); I have no idea what I did to my eye but I think walking about with an eye patch is just asking for more trouble then answering a hundred people asking what's wrong with my eye. I have no idea what's wrong with it so I'll just say I scratched or allergies or something.

So, once again to remind you... I'm considering the following characters to be for NYCC and feel free to post your vote(s) so that I can see what fans are looking for:
1. Star Sapphire from JLU animated
2. Ace (Royal Flush Gang) from JLU animated
3. Twilight Guardian (Top Cow's newest blockbuster)
4. Firestar from Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Introducing Born as a Raggamuffin...

Above and below are designs from the "Born as a Raggamuffin" line
Welcome to the world of "Born as a Raggamuffin" - an avant-garde eco friendly label for those individuals who do not readily conform to the rules of society and prefer to follow their own path and individual style. Designers Zebi Williams and Wendy Del Orbe, from Jamaica and el barrio de Santo respectively, create all of their pieces out of recycled T-shirts and consider themselves to be an artistic brand for the creative and the creators. Their pieces have attitude, sex appeal and cultural substance. Founded on the principles of social and environmental responsibility, "Born as a Raggamuffin" is leading the way for the more conscious designer. Visit www.bornasaraggamuffin.com to check out videos from their fashion show, read their blog, learn about upcoming events and of course buy their clothes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kick-Ass: the suit

The good folks at Newsarama have procured images from the set of the Kick-Ass movie based on the hot selling comic book by Mark Millar. It's an entertaining read for sure, though in true comic's fashion has unrealistic events spurned from what could easily be your real life.

What is realistic about it is the basic premise -- a nerd gets fed up with life and decides to be a superhero so he dons a scuba suit and beings patrolling his neighborhood; rather then finding success, he gets his ass handed to him repeatedly while trying to help out a stranger. He ends up in the hospital with a truly long recovery period and vows never to go crimefighting again. But then... a witness to the brutal event had been recording the fight and posted it to YouTube for the world to see. This act of heroism inspires other people to become vigilantes including a petite nine-year-old girl who easily hacks drug dealers to tiny bits with a katana and help from her huge dad.

I suspect that the 2009 comics convention season is bound to have one or two brave souls donning the neoprene style of the teen vigilante, Kick-Ass.

BlizzCon coverage

Sadly, I was not there to produce a synopsis myself of BlizzCon but Yahoo has done a fine job gathering photos of the of the annual World of Warcraft gathering. There even seems to be a little steampunk flare among the medieval warriors.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Take a Leaf Out of Her Style Book: Garcelle Beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais at a recent event earlier this year.
Garcelle Beauvais arrives at the Spring 2009 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox studios on Sunday October 12th in Culver City, California.
Garcelle Beauvais arrives to the premiere of Lionsgate's My Best Friend's Girl on September 15, 2008 at The Arclight in Hollywood, California.
Garcelle Beauvais at the Vogue and Step Up Women's Network fashion event at Bally on October 28, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.

Cool temperatures require that we cover up from head-to-toe or at least toe-to-high waist. Take a leaf out of Garcelle Beauvais' style book and invest in some classic wide leg, high-waisted pants. They are still very much "in" this season and give a polished look a laid back elegance. Note how Garcelle keeps things simple with simple accessories and classic make-up. For further inspiration also look to the pioneer of the wide leg pants, Katherine Hepburn.

My Picks!

Left to right: MIH Jeans Valencia Wide Leg Jeans, $265, www.net-a-porter.com; Saint Grey Wide Trouser by Thomas Burberry, $201.32, www.my-wardrobe.com; Saint Grey Wide Trouser, $158, www.fcusbuymail.com; Zip High Waisted Trousers, $80, www.topshop.com
Left to right: Cuffed Wide Leg Pinstripe Trouser, $28, www.forever21.com; Wide Leg Wool Blend Trouser, $27.80, www.topshop.com; Wide Leg Trouser, $80, www.topshop.com; High Waist Knit Pant, $29.50, www.store.alloy.com

Whether you prefer high-waisted or low-rise, wide leg pants give any look instant sophistication. Whether it's to work or on a hot date, keep your pants w ide. To complete the look wear high round toed heels, a waist belt and statement blouse. French Connection has some great wide leg pants online. Also check these Ryo Stretch Trousers ($138) - tres chic!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NYCC: What should I wear?

I have an informal poll at my Live Journal about what I should construct to wear to NYCC in February. It will be cold. That's a given. But inside, there is a coat check of sorts; it's not really a coat check as it is a huge open space where people pay to have their stuff "watched." Why can't they have lockers or a more closed off room? *sigh*

I've narrowed my choices down to Wonder Woman which I already have completed, Justice League Unlimited "Ace" from the Royal Flush Gang, another JL villain "Star Sapphire," Marvel's "Firestar" or Top Cow's "Twilight Guardian."

You can post your vote here but to see pics, just click over to the LJ link. I'm pretty sure I'll get one Twilight Guardian vote here ;)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pregnant Pause

Above: One Shoulder Chifon Corsage Dress, $88, www.asos.com
Left to right: Taffeta Prom Dress, $64; Paisley Print Dress, $48; Pleated Swing Coat, $140; Embellished Strap Babydoll, $72 all available at www.asos.com

Expectant mums shouldn't have to sacrifice style for maternity but it can be a real struggle to find fashion-forward maternity wear. Luckily the UK's leading online fashion store, asos.com, is launching an on-trend capsule maternity collection. Launched this November, the asos.com maternity collection features a selection of frocks taken from the main asos range which cover all the key trends including lace, the prom, the maxi and the one shoulder dress, plus a carefully edited collection of tops, denim, gorgeous winter coats and loungewear. I'm in love with this One Shoulder Chifon Corsage Dress. Almost worth getting pregnant for! Click here to see the rest of their stylish collection.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Vogue Tradition: First Lady to be on the Cover?

I know many of you are still on cloud nine following Tuesday night's election results. It still seems so surreal. Now that we have a new and greatly improved president and first family waiting in the wings, the talks must be underway for Michelle Obama to cover Vogue magazine. Traditionally, the December issue features the new first lady (and in some cases the first kids). According to a spokesperson from the fashion magazine:

"Starting with Eleanor Roosevelt, it's been a long-standing tradition to photograph the new first lady. So needless to say, we are very interested in working with Mrs. Obama. Precisely how is still being discussed."

If Michelle accepts the offer she'll become only the fourth black non-model woman to become a Vogue covergirl. Former first lady and Democratic senator Hillary Rodham Clinton also appeared on the front page of the December 1998 edition. Can't wait to see Michelle strike a pose!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

GEN pumpkin contest

I submitted the two Geek pumpkins which I still have in my possession, Black Cat & Captain America to a contest. I give most of my carvings as gifts or prizes so I don't have them on hand to take additional photographs following guidelines. So with my two beloved pumpkins, I entered the Girls Entertainment Network Geek Carving Contest and won!

Since I know the Girls of GEN are into cosplaying Black Cat, I had a feeling that particular carving would go over well. I won a prize pack from Top Cow and some goodies from GEN; don't know what they are yet but I'm squeeeeing like a complete dorkfish!

To see my entire gallery of carvings, visit my comicspace gallery. Now I definitely have to up my game for next year! It'll have to be DC, don't you agree?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bloggers Choice Awards

This blog has been nominated for a Bloggers Choice Award for "Best Hobby Blog." If you've enjoyed the costuming tips and feedback as well as the progress photos please head over to the BCA site, register to vote, and cast a click for Hero Fashions!

My site was nominated for Best Hobby Blog!

AND, being the attention whore that I am, I've also nominated my YouTube channel of comic book reviews for "Best Video Blogger" - http://bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/60360

Monday, November 3, 2008

Black Girls Rock!... Yes We Do!

Regina King, DJ Beverly Bond and Estelle
Kenya Moore and Veronica Webb
Malinda Williams and Vanessa Williams
Iman and Sylvia Rhone
Teyanna Taylor and Erykah Badu
June Ambrose and Sylvia Taylor

Last night, New York played host to VH1 Soul's 3rd annual Black Girls Rock extravaganza! In attendance were honorees singer Estelle, as well as actress Pam Grier, and 70s models Bethanne Hardison and Iman. Other guest included singers Faith Evans, Teyanna Taylor and Erykah Badu; actresses Malinda Williams, Vanessa Williams, Kenya Moore and Regina King; and Veronica Webb, June Ambrose, Susan Taylor and of course DJ Beverly Bond. See the pics above for red carpet shots of all our favorite divas. My personal favorites are Ms. Moore's and Veronica Webb - work it ladies!! If you want to feel like the fabulous sista that you are, click here to buy a "Black Girls Rock" t-shirt.

Say It Loud, Wear It Proud

Top: Star Logo Tunic, $62; Right On, $62; Star Logo Tank, $62; Guitar Muscle Tee, $29 all available at www.blackgirlsrockinc.com/BGR_STORE.html
Bottom: Grace Jones, $62; BGR Logo Tee, $29; Afro Tee, $62; Guitar Tee, $29 all available at www.blackgirlsrockinc.com/BGR_STORE.html

More pics from Wonder Woman Day

Our new friend Leonard took some stellar shots of us at Wonder Woman Day at Comic Fusion in Flemington, NJ.