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Insomnia 61

Today found us in Birmingham, at the NEC Exhibition centre once again for Insomnia 61, a large gaming convention we attend every year with our munchkin.

As far as this blog goes, I’ve mixed feelings about it so far (I’m sat pondering everything I’ve seen while sat in the cosplay zone as I type this) so not sure where to start…I suppose by explaining one of the reasons I was scrutinising the event a bit closer than usual.

I recently requested the costs through for exhibiting our leather work in the slooooowly expanding #cosplay zone at Insomnia 61 or maybe later at 62.

When they [insomnia] came back to me, I was told they were trialing an expansion of the cosplay zone and as a result the new cosplay area pitches would be 50% discounted than those other pitches in the main trading areas of the event…but costs at this discount are equal to those quoted me for places such as London Film and Comicon! (WOW!) REALLY expensive, especially for a small business not sure of the potential of the footfall over the weekend in terms of making a profit.  I only saw a couple of traders that might have made up this new zone, (wigs and flexi-paint suppliers) and now I know how much they have paid, I’m genuinely curious as to how they found it financially.

To be sure I have made the right decision for next year’s trading events, I’m looking at Insomnia this visit, not through the eyes of my rather excited daughter and hubby who are gamers, but as a seasoned cosplayer and a small business owner who caters to the UK cosplay community.

The fact that I’ve not been here an hour yet and am writing this says it all really…

You have Dan TDM here for goodness sake, and some other awesome Youtubers the kids adore…where the hell is everyone?! I was expecting to be squeezing through tiny gaps in crowds of adoring fans, but it is honestly no busier than any usual sunday! Really surprised!

Don’t get me wrong, we have a nice time each event as a family of attendees, but I’ve found myself being more critical and a little disappointed the last couple of events with certain things suddenly not being there or reduced in size each event.

The event jut seems to be continually shrinking…I mean, where was Microsoft? XBox? this event, Why was there no Battlefront II areas with it being due out soon? Where on earth have the masses of independent games gone, now dwindled down to a few small, very cramped and unwelcoming isles.

In under an hour, without indulging in the game playing side of things, I’m done….and underwhelmed, hungry and not very entertained (£5 for a pancake with nothing but lemon juice, £3.50 for a bottle of sprite on one stall FFS!…taking the piddle there Insomnia…)

The MASSIVE and fun Minecraft section that kept us entertained for at least an hour on it’s own last event was reduced to a couple of computer areas, which was a big disappointment 😦 I didn’t find it a good sign that a business that size expanded so large, then suddenly reduced it back to such a small area either.

I’m wondering now, whether there has been some big price hikes on pitches as there are fewer smaller traders (also…where was the awesome GAME pirate ship?!) and most importantly (I’m going to chat to the #cosplay masquerade folks to confirm my suspicions on this) there just doesn’t seem to be the cosplay footfall to justify the cost of being involved in the cosplay area, not when I can go to a huge London event with thousands of cosplayers there all weekend for pretty much the same budget for 2 tables of space.

I chatted to various people who have been there all weekend, and yes, the footfall was larger on Saturday, but if the Friday and Saturday are slim pickings, it does not make the pitch costs a financially sensible risk for us which is not the conclusion I was hoping for

😦

Now for all the stuff I enjoyed as an attendee! It’s been far more critical so far than I realised!

One of the things we took part in that we do not usually do, is the table top gaming demo’s set up by one of the traders (name escaping me currently) where we discovered the joys of “Timeline” and “Dobble” card games..These are LOADS of fun to play, thanks to the demonstrating team for explaining them to us…the staff working for you were friendly and fun and excellent at getting us started 🙂

The food area was set up much better this event and a good variety too, even if some of it was seriously over priced (“welcome to conventions” isn’t a good come back folks, it’s getting ridiculous and someone needs to step in from the event management position and cap the bloody food vendors! I’ve got a lovely local hot food van that could feed a family of 5 for the cost of 3 pancakes!)

The cosplay zone is indeed looking more and more polished each visit, it would be nice to see even more variety of demonstrations of skills and tips/talks though. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the one I caught.

Maybe in a few year it will pick up again. – Jules

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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Wales Comicon April 2017

This blog is a little late due to workload, apologies! – Jules

It doesn’t hurt that the Wales spring event is always really warm and sunny, but we find that it’s the other attendees that really make Wales Comicon such a joyful event to immerse yourself in.

Jaime and the gang who organise and run it started out with a nicely bustly single day event and through consistent thoughtfulness and impressive guest list have expanded into a highly successful full weekend.

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I remember the first one well, I came home and declared that I had much more fun in that one afternoon as I did at whole weekends at some other more dominant London based cons at times! SO I was hooked and a regular cosplayer there each year 🙂

At Wales Comicon, there are always a good variety of traders, mainly in the autograph building and large tent outside, also they are nicely scattered about through the main halls in the main building..and not just Pop! figures either *gasp* There is a cracking little room full of table top gaming supplies too.

The guests are always top notch and if you are a wrestling fan, this is the place to be!

I’m personally a huge Bones fan and to finally get to meet my favourite actor T J Thyne again, and I love that Matt Ryan is there every year for another hug off me 😉

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This was my second time meeting TJ and we were literally in the middle of laughing at my corpse hand when the photographer went *right! SNAP!* hence the bizarre faces haha!

**QUICK EDIT – 20th Aug**

I hate Wales Comicon, of all the freaking years I’ve been going, waiting patiently for the rest of the Bones cast to jump on board this con, he manages it the ONLY year he pushes the dates back into December, when we are trading at For the Love of Sci-Fi.. Jules is gutted to say the least 😦 *quietly sobs*

…Moving on..

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Matt Ryan is bloody scrummy and so lovely when you meet him, this year I decided to see if he could help me re-animate my hand, Hey, the Smithsonian was struggling with something, we were open to anything at that point 😉

There is always plenty of parking, but it has been known to over flow to the shops opposite, beware their individual time limits though!

Food vans can be found outside and are pretty nice fodder and not too over priced, and there is the university cafe open inside too.

One of the things I always look forward to are the talks, they are free and always good fun to listen to!

Practical note, there are plently of toilets and all in lovely working, clean order!

 

Obviously we’ll be missing this winter event, but will see everyone there in the spring 🙂

DO feel free to post your own Wales Comicon images in the comments!

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First time I met TJ Thyne, I was the only person in a Bones cosplay, now we have a whole department ;D

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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Events, Reviews

 

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Measuring Up!

Okay my beauties, this blog is going to be the detailed, image intensive guide to measuring yourself up for pretty much any item you might order from us…when you order in fact, I’m going to link to this blog page for your referencing pleasure 😉

I’ll use a mixture of male and female figures on the charts, but the measurement lines translate to either gender.

Rules!

  1. Unless stated otherwise, our definition of MEASURE = Taking a flexible tape measure around the area needed, keeping the tape snug to the body.
  2. If you are not going to be naked when you wear the item, ensure you are wearing appropriate clothing or the actual costume it is going over before measuring up for anything!
  3. Measure each one 3 times and please get someone to help you if you are unable to hold the “pose” required and measure at the same time.  Second pair of hands especially useful for arm and head measurements!

Belts are a good chunk of our items available on the website, so we’ll start there!

When we ask you to measure your belt line we are asking you to consider not where YOU wear your belts, but where the CHARACTER wants their belt to sit.  Have a reference image of the character in front of you as there may be slight deviations from the charts provided.

Sometimes a belt, such as the one Rey wears in Star Wars – The Force Awakens is split, so we ask for both the belt line measurement and hips measurement (over the widest part).

Occasionally there is also some form of leg strap for a holster etc..so ensure all measurement we ask for are included with your order as this will reduce delays our end while we try to contact you to find out.

Reference Chart A)

belts

Belt Measurement reference for Cosmic Workshop

15 is around the waist, this is the smallest part where the body generally pinches in slightly.  Think where a pair of very high waisted trousers would sit.

16 is what I would call your usual belt line, where a regular (not hipsters) pair of jeans or trousers would sit. This can be found by feeling for the top of your hip bones and going around here,

17 would be measured for a belt that hangs off at a jaunty angle 😉  So for example, Jyn Erso  from Star Wars Rogue One.  You would need to drape the tape measure loosly around your belt line, letting it droop to the level you require.

20 is what we refer to as your hips measurement.  This would be the widest part please, not like 16.

21, 22, 23 are all thigh measurements used for leg straps used on a variety of thigh holsters etc.  Basically it’s the TOP, the MIDDLE then ABOVE KNEE.

Head and Neck items

Reference Chart B

head-and-neck

Head and Neck reference for Cosmic Workshop

1 goes from the mid forehead, vertically over the head to end at the middle of the back of your head (think of it as the mirror of the mid forehead point)

2 is a horizontal measurement around the whole head, sitting mid forehead and above the ears.

3  goes from top of one ear, in a straight line over the head, to the top of the other ear

4 Not often required, but for thoroughness sake included here.  At the side of the neck, go from the bottom of your jaw, following the shape of your neck, to the top of your shoulder.

5 is simply measured with head held looking straight forward, from the bottom of your jaw to middle of the little dip at the base of your neck

6 again is not often required, but included non the less,  above ears in a slightly droopy curve to the top of the shoulder.  Don’t follow against the skin, imagine more how a piece of fabric would drape if pinned to both points…vertically down then a scoop out towards the shoulder point.

Arms are next up on the list!

Reference Chart C

arms

Arms reference for Cosmic Workshop

7 is your bicep..round about the middle of the top of your arm is the bicep muscle, when you flex, it is the muscle you feel tighten on the inside of your arm.  When measuring, please keep your arm relaxed…if it is flexed and larger when you measure it, whatever we make will simply fall straight down your arm when it is relaxed…see…makes sense 🙂

8 is asked for when we are creating shoulder pieces, it helps us make sure they do not come too far down the front and back of your arm and restrict movement,   So stand in front of a mirror with your arms by your sides.   You see the top of the line where your arm connects? go from there, over the top of your shoulder to the top of the join line at the back of the shoulder.  You will need a second pair of hands for this one.

9 is straight forward..bend your arm and go from the tip of your shoulder, down to the tip of your elbow..again, tricky without a second pair of hands.

10 is simply from tip of shoulder to the bend of your wrist…keep arm straight.

11 is around middle of your forearm, keep arm relaxed.

17 bend your arm and go around your forearm just below your elbow.

18 is the distance between 17 and 19, especially important when ordering vambraces (bracers) so we can make sure you have good movement ability.

19 is simply around your wrist.

Body Beautiful heart

Just a little break to add a note from the whole crew here at Cosmic Workshop..

We create costumes and accessories for people all over the world, all shapes and sizes and all ages and gender identities.  You all rock! you go out there and put yourselves in the position of potential vulnerability at comic cons, re-enactments, LARP events and even just for your significant others…seriously..YOU ROCK!  How amazing that you choose to celebrate your fandoms and hobbies in such a public manner! how spectacular that you, even if for a brief moment in time, feel good about the way the world sees you…you should keep those thoughts up my friends! Just another day in the office? Strut around like you really are Wonderwoman under that corporate image of woman!  Truck driver? Remember those feelings of adoration you got when kids really thought you were their favourite character at comic con!  

We love you all and love that we can help, even if in a small way, help you feel great about yourselfheart

Now..about those bodies!

Reference Chart D

body

Body reference for Cosmic Workshop

12 is required for items such as sword baldrics and bag straps etc.. Just start the tape measure from one mid-hip point, wrap the tape over the opposite shoulder and around your back to meet the tape at the starting point.

13 goes from the middle of that dip at the bottom of your neck, where your throat is all the way down to level with the top of your hips

14 Needs to be taken from the back, across the shoulders, from tip of shoulder to tip of shoulder

15 is the chest measurement on a man, and bust measurement on a woman, please wrap the tape around the body…keeping it as horizontal/level as possible and go across the nipple line.

24 goes from armpit to top of hip bone

25, 26, 27 all start at the base of the neck at the back; Neck to top of hip bone level, Neck to bottom of your butt level, and neck to back of knee level.

*EDIT* Just noticed that there should be one more..same as 25-27..start at neck, but goes all the way to the floor..we’ll call this 27B until we adjust the image!

Lastly are those pins of yours 😉

Reference Chart E

legs

Legs reference for Cosmic Workshop

21, 22, 23 are just the same as we discussed in the very first section on belts

34 take the tape measure around just below your knee

35 is all the way around the middle of your calf

36 is around your ankle

28 needs to be measured from the top of your hip bone to the middle of your thigh length

29 goes from the crease where your leg joins your body to the top of your knee

30 would be from the top of your knee to your ankle bend.

31, 32, 33 all start at the top of your hip bone and go straight down to the top of your knee level, mid calf level and to the floor.

This was a really long blog, but I hope it is of use!

Jules x

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Customer Info, Uncategorized

 

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Dealing with mouldy leather

This is probably the most common care question we are asked when people stop to chat to us at events and we thought it would be the perfect topic for our blog! Hope you find some useful tips here, they are all tried and tested within the workshop unless otherwise stated.  Do you have another tip for ridding leather of mould? Drop it in the comments, if we think it would seriously work, we’ll okay it.

The first thing we would like to point out, is that if you own anything leather, be it a favourite jacket or great aunt Mavis’ old school satchel..storing it correctly will avoid pretty much all issues.

You can check out our basic leather care page on the website here

So, you are rummaging around and discover a long lost piece of historical leather, or you just realised you have had your leather chucked to one side in your damp garage..you take a quick look and EWWWW! it is covered in patches of white or green fur and possible slimy bits *shudder*

IMPORTANT!

Before tackling any cleaning of mould covered items, please take outside and wear a good quality dust mask and gloves.

Mould spores are not nice if breathed into your lungs, and when cleaning commences, they will be microscopic debris that will settle on anything in the area, spreading the furry manky looking love to other precious items!

You will also need an old or disposable soft bristled brush and cloths that you do not mind disposing of in the bin afterwards as they will get impregnated with those same nasty spores.

An old toothbrush or small stiff paint brush will also be handy for getting into any stitching or creases.

Using the brush or cloth, remove as much of the mould as you can, utilise the small brush or toothbrush to get into awkward nooks and crannies.

IF POSSIBLE!

Test any cleaning solution on a small, not easily noticed patch to check no staining or discolouration will occur!

Next we would suggest cleaning the leather with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. This both cleans the leather and changes the Ph level of it and reduces the possibility of the mould surviving.

HOWEVER…If you are dealing with untreated leather, then a simple saddle soap solution would be the way to go as the acid of the vinegar would cause staining.

To check whether your leather is treated, sprinkle a few drops of water on the leather.  If it soaks into the leather as if it were paper rather than beading on top of it, it is untreated leather.

You need to now leave your leather item to dry fully.  Under NO circumstances apply heat…step away from the hair dryer!

Leave in room temperature area that is away from direct sunlight (it’s amazing how quickly the sun can bleach leather) and in it’s original shape to avoid any warping.

Once dry, your leather item may feel very cardboard-y and horrible, this is normal due to the fibres of the leather stiffening up.  So the next step is going to be to nourish that item as if it was your own body skin!

Here at Cosmic Workshop we love Aussie Leather Conditioner, or “The Goo” as we call it.

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It has the consistency of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and is exactly what your leather will love right now!  With a lint free cloth or bath sponge, apply a thin-ish layer all over every side and edge, then proceed to massage it in for a few minutes, gently flexing, bending and re-softening those dried fibres.

Use a lint free cloth to now buff off any excess goo and bring it to a lovely healthy sheen.

A lot of conditioners replace lost oils from old dry leather, so expect a darkening of the colour to occur.  Like anything, testing on a small patch first is best practice.

Tandy Leather do a marvellous range of conditioners and cleaners for all kinds of leather specifications, check them out here or go to your local store and chat to the folks who work there, we find them to be a fountain of knowledge when we have a query!

Do feel free to ask us specific questions too, this is just the basics of getting the job done, if in doubt, double check!

Jules and Pod

*EDIT*

Replying over on Facebook Simon from Eldritch highly recommends this product:

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Hellboy 3 Reboot response!

duncan-fegredo-hellboyOkay, I’ve been inundated with tags and links to Mikes’s announcement about bringing Big Red back to the big screen….I’ve had a coffee and a think so I’ll now pen my personal response to this decision.

Guillermo Del Toro is an amazing guy. The look and feel of his films is magical and surreal and incorporate mind blowing SFX with great storytelling.  He is a God among film makers.

Ron Perlman brought a good range of Hellboy’s personality to the big screen and had the physical features to pull off a “realistic” version of the character in terms of looks. I loved the movies, l LOVE the movies but there were elements of Hellboy I felt were missing in the first two movies so I really am genuinely interested in them now bringing a more comic accurate version to the big screen.

The thing we as fans have to remember is that although we are seriously pissed off that we do not get the end to our original Perlman trilogy ( I have witnessed some very impressive raging online this morning!) we might now get an even more comic accurate representation of our favourite Big Red Ape on the big screen for a full trilogy!

For those who ARE enraged at the thought of a re-boot as opposed to the final part of our beloved trilogy, remember… Mike Mignola created Hellboy, we should respect his decision and trust that he is capable of helping ensure it does his character justice.

With the success of movies such as Deadpool and other comic franchises, the reboot might actually get the marketing and budget it deserves and the footfall to ensure is gets a fully visualised start, middle and end.

One last thing…How in the HELL are they going to do justice to Abe without Doug Jones involved is what I want to know!

Jules

BigRedApe

*In Addition* I do wonder why they don’t go down the route of a tv series…the BPRD has so many story lines!

 

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Trading Dates 2017

I’ll keep this post updated as and when we book into events, it’s our first year of pushing ourselves into getting out there more so probably only a few in 2017 but with a view to doing at least 6 in 2018 including a London based one.

Yorkshire Cosplay Con – June 3-4th Sheffield Arena

For the Love of Sci-Fi – Dec 2-3rd B.E.C Arena, Manchester

Yorkshire Cosplay Con 2018 – June 2-3rd Sheffield Arena

(TBC) London Film & Comicon – July 27-29th 2018 – London Olympia

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Events

 

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True Believers Comicon 2017

Trying to get to more comicon that I’ve never visited before in 2017 so when one of our minions needed a ride down to Cheltenham to attend True Believers it was like the cosmos wanted me to scope it out!

Wasn’t a bad ride..about 2.5 hours from Cheshire…

It’s quite a lovely venue (Cheltenham Race Course) and for the relative to the heavy weights, smaller size, there is a really good proportion of amazing cosplayers. 

The lower level is chock full of nicely varied stalls and a really good selection of independent comic artists and better known names.

Cosplay alley is on an upper level off the mezzanine and there is lots of space around both inside and outside for photo opportunities as well as a really nice catwalk set up in the middle.

On a personal level it’s really awesome to see the likes of Food and Cosplay away from the London scene 😉

All in all I’m impressed..cosplayers and non cosplayer attendees young, middle aged, older, #63, disabled, able, and everyone in between all having loads of fun, supporting artists, small businesses and generally creating an air of “we love being here”.

…you should hear the cheering for the catwalk cosplayers! Well done everyone!!

Before I forget…a special shout out to my new favourite trader at a comicon “Wonderland Scentopia” created by their 17yr old son all hand crafted scents (all legally tested and cleared too I might add!) inspired by Alice in Wonderland…OMGS the Parma violet room spray, bubble bath and candles are to die for! Other scents include a rather scrumptious lemon meringue!

Here are his super supportive parents at the event today…go buy their stuff!

So maybe a bit of exhibition space here is in our future too..

Next up is possibly Telford next weekend!

Jules



 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Uncategorized