Archive for the 'Wednesday’s Child' Category

Wednesday’s child is full of woe, and we won’t give her any reason to cheer up. Keeping it creepy every Wednesday.

Melissa

Wednesday’s Child: Happy October!

It is finally October! We here at Lothruin.com are looking forward to the season opener of Eagle Hollow Haunts this Friday, October 4th. Costuming is nearly finished, and I get to act while the season runs, which is something I love to do. I’ve been so busy the last week with last-minute preparations I really have nothing else to talk about. So I’ll simply leave you with this pastel drawing of a demon dog I once saw (and photographed) at a thrift store. I do not know its history, and I don’t think I want to. I can’t tell if it’s wearing a cape or not. All I know is, it was crazy-creepy enough to take a picture, but WAY too crazy-creepy to bring home with me. Enjoy!

demondog

Last week I showed you how I started making a straight jacket out of a martial arts uniform. I finished up the project by adding sleeve-caps and straps that allow the actor to have their hands free and available while looking like they are tied into a straight jacket. The results:

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Melissa

Wednesday’s Child: Straight Jacket

This year, I’m the official costumer for a haunted house. I’ve been given a number of interesting costuming problems to solve. Having found some fairly elegant solutions, I’d like to post them here.

If you buy a Halloween costume at a store, the chances are pretty good that you’re spending a pretty penny (or what I consider a pretty penny, anyway… upwards of $25…) for low-quality materials and low-quality construction, and a costume that is only superficially correct anyway. For many people this is probably sufficient. But I do a lot of costuming for a kid who’s going to want to wear that thing over and over for dress-up too, and I am a stickler for detail, and for those reasons I far prefer making my own costumes. Costuming for a haunted house is a whole other order of magnitude more hardcore. These are costumes that WILL be put through a rigorous beating. Construction is a main point; even more important than aesthetics, really, because the dim light and often quick glimpses don’t require quite as much attention to detail. Not that I stint on detail if I can help it.

So, for my first major project, I was asked to provide a straight jacket. Commercially available straight jackets, even specifically-costume ones, can range between fifty and hundreds of dollars. I was sure I could make a straight jacket from scratch if need be, but I far prefer modifying existing garments when possible, and I knew I could do that here if I could just find the right garments. Tutorials exist telling you how to make a costume straight jacket out of two matching button-down shirts and a number of belts… I knew that would never last, but it confirmed my ideas on how to approach a modification. Then, I found the thing. The perfect thing. A white canvas V-neck martial arts uniform, complete with top, pants and belt, for $6 used. These things are built to withstand significant stress; the canvas is high quality and the construction is excellent. This was my future straight jacket ensemble. My luck held out; it was sized for a 6 foot tall, 200 lb person, which meant that after modifying, it would fit the vast majority of our actors, so that the costume wouldn’t limit the casting. Bonus points!

So, this straight jacket ensemble includes the following materials:

One white canvas V-neck martial arts uniform
Approximately 1/3 yard of additional white canvas
Lots of twill tape
Various D-rings, buckles or clips to taste

I cut up the front of the garment to the middle of the V-neck, then cut the collar off. The front becomes the back and the back becomes the front. I cut two small wedges of canvas and sewed them into the V left by the neckline, to bring the opening in back straight and up to the neck. Then I cut the belt into three pieces. Two of those pieces were used to finish the back openings. I opened up the first row of stitching on each piece, and cut about 1/4″ of the webbing off because I didn’t think my sewing machine would like it much. Then I stitched it closed again around the raw edges of my back opening. That left just enough belt for the collar. This time, I removed all the lines of stitching (which was actually fairly easy once I realized that it could be unraveled by a quick pull on one end of the wrong-side stitching instead of picking each stitch individually…) and took out the webbing entirely. Then I sewed it on similar to a mandarin collar. (I DID trim down the neckline on the used-to-be-back to make it comfortable but still a crew-neck.) I also had to use some bias tape to finish the ends of the belt trim, too. I’ve measured and pinned down the straps and rings for the back closure in this picture:

Straight Jacket

There isn’t that much left to do, except actually turn it into a straight jacket by lengthening the sleeves and adding the strapping and tie-downs for them, and then aging/staining, etc. I’ll finish up next week!

Zombie Eggs 1It seems that no matter how careful I am while hard-boiling, a few eggs always get cracked. Perhaps they had weak shells, or the boil got a little too rolling, but whatever the reason, every Easter I get a few eggs that are a little the worse for wear before they even get to the dye. My daughter and I have evolved a tradition for taking care of these woebegone things. After all the pretty eggs have been dunked and dipped and set to dry, we start getting a little crazy with the dye. Red and green dye are dripped directly into the cracks and allowed to run around the eggs and dry, and then the eggs are dunked into whatever colors we want for however long we feel like it, which usually results in some pretty evil-looking colors. (Although, Kit sometimes likes to do a “fresh dead” egg; one that doesn’t immediately look all that gruesome.)

Zombie Egg 2And when you remove the shell, you reveal another little surprise! The food coloring seeps through the cracks and stains the egg white. If you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, eating something that looks so gross is a lot of fun! I recommend a dash of salt and polish sausage with horseradish as complements.

Melissa

Wednesday’s Child: Zombie Pinup

zpinupLast year for Valentine’s Day, I helped my husband prepare for a very special photo shoot. The Zombie Pinups website was hosting a Zombie Valentine contest, and we wanted to take part. Zombie Pinups is run by a friend from Zombie Army Productions out of Chicago, and last year’s contest was judged by Matt Valentine; a contestant from Syfy’s Face Off. The prize was a great lot of horror-related swag. So my husband gathered together a team of makeup artists from the area, I helped prepare the set and costumes and he found a model he liked for the part, and we put together an entry. And we won! You can see a gallery of the complete shoot at my husband’s website, but be careful, as some of the images are definitely more risque than others. The giant heart-shaped floor pillow seen at left was my major contribution to the effort, and you can find instructions in another post.

I have a huge collection of vintage and antique postcards. I love the look and feel of late-Victorian and Edwardian-era cards, especially those with holiday themes. I also love an irreverent sense of humor and a hint of gore. Perhaps that’s why, while developing a new feature for the Lincoln ZombieFest website, I pulled out my postcards, flipped through them aiming for specific holiday themes and dates that put the cards well inside the public domain, and then got funky with Photoshop. The result was zombie eCards for your one true love.

Melissa

Wednesday’s Child: Arteries

Wednesdays give us the opportunity to step over to the darker side of cool. As we’re still in the beginning of this venture, and I’m still collecting my resources and planning posts, I’m going to take the easy way out on this one today. Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to embroider the circulatory system? Ah, yes, I knew this would be a popular choice. Because I collect antique books, but don’t really have a ton of money to spend on them, I troll thrift stores, garage sales and the free book box at my favorite local used book store, A Novel Idea. I’ll buy very old books, even in fairly poor condition, because I can still utilize them, even if I can’t read them. Currently, my oldest book is from 1880, and is a German-language translation of a popular 19th century home medicine book. It is a wealth of graphics. Amongst them is this diagram of the arteries, seen at right. You can download a PDF containing the graphic at 10.5″ high right here and I’ll be uploading a high resolution, transparent-background copy very soon. Enjoy!