Saturday 30 January 2016

Living with Disney

So I was having a think about what my next blog post should be (it's been a while since my last....) and realised the reason I was finding it hard was because it's almost a year since I was last in a Disney park and there is no sign of a visit anywhere soon.  So how do I live with my love of Disney when I can't get to the parks?

To some people that might sound a silly statement to make but for those of us with a deep love and appreciation for Disney, and in particular the parks, it can sometimes be a difficult task.

Social media is great for finding out all the latest news but when you can't get to experience any of it in person watching your news feed can become quite a challenge. I will admit that sometimes I can be jealous of those who are gleefully experiencing all things Disney; or at least a strange combination of feeling happy for those getting to do Disney but tinged with a sense of petulant 'I want to be there' (imagine a toddler tantrum!!).

So here we are at the end of January 2016 and my mind drifts back to this time last year and my preparations for our visit to Disneyland Paris; even Facebook reminded me today with this photo!
New hat ready for exploring Disneyland Paris in February!!
And then I realised that we have no Disney vacation to look forward to this year, and part of the whole visiting Disney experience is the build-up to getting there. So what do I do to keep myself sane and the love of Disney strong?

Well I suppose I am lucky in that I co-host the Disney Dream Girls Podcast and get to talk with my good friend Michelle and our listeners most weeks about the parks, the news, the happenings and of course the food! (we always get onto food somehow!!).

I keep Disney close to me every day as I always wear something with a Disney connection. Most days I will wear one of my three Mickey Mouse watches, a bracelet with 'Mickey's' in it, a silver ring that is a mix of bling and 'Mickey's', my new Mickey Mouse necklace (birthday pressie from Simon) and always a pair of earrings and yes most likely Mickey shaped! My mobile phone has various covers; the current one is from Walt Disney World and it also has a case that is embossed with Mickeys! My handbag is covered in Mickey's and Minnie's and so is my purse! And my car is always adorned with a Mickey antenna topper; current one is a sparkly affair!! And then we get onto clothes; I have lost count of the number of t-shirts, tops, one dress, scarves and numerous hoodies with a Disney theme, never mind the pairs of socks and knickers!! I also have my four Disney tattoos to keep me company...soon to be expanding tattoos!!  More on this in another post!

Oh and don't forget pictures, posters, ornaments, soft toys, magazines, pins, toys and lots of mementos from park visits - I have all the park maps and time schedules from every visit going back to our first in 1991!! And then add onto this the books and DVD's & Blu-rays and it becomes pretty apparent the large part that Disney plays in my life. Even my most recent purchase will help to keep me distracted with a Disney vibe;

So while I may not get to experience Disney in person any time soon I will keep it close to my heart and appreciate it any way I can!

Sunday 3 January 2016

Black Thread and a Heat Gun

So here we are into the New Year and my last few days off before work starts again and what do I find myself doing? Well it involves black thread and a heat gun!

I have spent the afternoon sewing (by hand!) and Simon has been heating and moulding let me explain.

In July of this year Simon and I will be attending Star Wars Celebration in London; this is a 3 day event celebrating all things Star Wars. As Simon this year celebrates one of those 'milestone' birthdays we thought we ought to do something special to mark the occasion and as he is a big Star Wars fan this seemed the ideal thing to do, plus we get a three night stay in London without the kids!

Now almost as soon as I'd booked the tickets Simon commented that if we were going to do this then we ought to throw ourselves into it and go in character/ which I said that's fine as long as I don't have to wear the Princess Leia metal bikini!

After an initial look at buying cosplay outfits it quickly became apparent that to do it properly would cost an awful lot of money unless we made it ourselves! Now this really appealed to Simon's artistic and creative side and gave him the chance to go back to his childhood and actually 'make stuff'. But what should we go as? Well we decided that we ought to either go as the same characters or one's that complemented each other but if we went as the same then it would have to be something that could be either male or female. This is when Simon came up with the idea of being Mandalorians, or to help clarify think Boba and Jango Fett from the movies and you'll get the idea.

Well the lengthy process of making our costumes is now well under way with great progress being made since we started last July. Please note that when I refer to 'we' I do of course mean that Simon is making them whilst I offer lots of support, the ability to hold something still whilst it is cut or heat moulded and of course provide cups of tea and/or coffee as and when needed.

So what have 'we' made so far then...well...

...his and hers blasters! I get two!! These were made first and involved wood, foamex, piping and a surprising array of household objects...nothing gets thrown away now without first consulting Simon to see if we can make use of it somewhere!

We've made from scratch our belts each with handmade pouches...each pouch was covered with pleather (fake leather) and then had a piece of pleather attached over to give each pouch a closing...this meant stitching 16 individual pieces, thankfully this was all done by sewing machine.

Various pieces of armour are also being made, these pieces are our knee armour complete with mini blasters!!

But under the body armour we need flak jackets which we are having to make ourselves. For this we had to devise our own pattern as the ones we found on-line just didn't seem to fit right, so we tried lots of paper patterns before we committed to fabric. This is Simon's; the body part and shoulder pieces were made with pleather and a cotton lining which were all constructed with the help of the sewing machine. This was the first time I have ever used a sewing machine...ever!

I then had to hand sew the shoulders onto the jacket which I have managed to complete today.

The paper attached to the jacket in this photo are the templates for the body armour Simon has been making today.

Here is a collection of what we have made so far including our helmets and gauntlets. Most of this is now ready for the final stages of painting and weathering so that they will match the blasters and look as though they have seen some battle action!

Through all of this construction we are trying to be as true to the movies as we can possibly be and so we have joined an on-line forum run by an organisation called The Mandalorian Mercs. This is a world-wide non-profit Star Wars costuming organisation comprised of, and operated by, Star Wars fans and volunteers. It has proved to be a great source of ideas and encouragement. And much like the Disney community we are making a heap of new friends from across the world and some surprisingly local to us as well!!

We are hoping that once our outfits are completed we can meet the high standards for official entry into the Mercs and join in with their future events and charitable fundraising initiatives.

I shall keep you posted as we get closer to the completed outfits!