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Kaito from Vocaloid Cosplay Photoshoot

3 Dec

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On Sunday, my husband and I picked up our good friend Diego for a fun cosplay photoshoot on the beach in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

Diego is a cosplay buddy from California (in fact, the last time I saw this guy, he was cosplaying as Hugh Maes from Fullmetal Alchemist at Ani-Me Con in Fresno, California), but as luck would have it, he moved here to Pensacola, Florida to attend Pensacola’s Christian College around the same month we moved here!

I’ve been itching to do a cosplay shoot with Diego for ages now, and I never fathomed we would eventually get around to it… on the Gulf of Mexico. Haha! Life sure is a twisty, turny, never-know-whats-coming-next thrill ride, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, check out the shots we got of Diego’s Kaito cosplay from Vocaloid. He made it from scratch with his mum. Whatcha think? ^_^

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DIY Baby Pixie Hats from Old Sweaters

2 Dec

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It’s starting to get a bit nippy out here in the sunshine state, and baby Tessa is in need of hats, having outgrown her little infant beenies. But even when they fit it, I’ve discovered I don’t really like baby beenies. They are awkward, they slip off tiny heads, and I spend more time adjusting them and keeping them from slipping than they actually spend on her head keeping her baby ears warm.

I finally decided to make Tessa a couple of bonnet style hats that tie under the chin and completely cover her ears and cheeks to keep her warm on family outings. I was ruing the fact that I am still far too impatient to learn the art of crochet or knitting, and then the lightbulb went off. Just buy some old sweaters at the thrift store and turn them into pixie bonnets! Brilliant! I could even use the finished edges and hemlines of the sweaters for decorative trim! Woohoo!

So, as with every “original idea” I have, I ran online to find that… well, it’s already been done. Many times, in fact. *shakes fist at the internet heavens* So rather than reinvent the wheel, let me point you to a few good tutorials on turning an old sweater into a do it yourself baby pixie hat.

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Ella Bella blog has a great no sew tutorial on upcycling sweaters into pixie caps. The only warning I have with this method is that the fuzzier and looser knit the sweater is, the more likely it is that the “steam a seam” or “stitch witchery” won’t hold. Likewise, some knits don’t do as well and the no-sew method works better. (We’ve used BOTH sew and no-sew methods in making our pixie hats.) Also, this tutorial leaves raw edges on the bottom of the cap, which will cause your hat to unravel and not be machine washable. So do whatever works for you!

I Am Momma Hear Me Roar has a great tutorial that involves using bias tape to edge the hat so it is machine washable. I personally prefer not adding any accents to the hats, but this is definitely a good sturdy tutorial. If you’re looking for a long term keepsake hat, I’d recommend this method.

Sew Liberated also has a sewn pixie hat tutorial, this one from scratch in case you’re itching to use some fabric you had no idea what to do with up till now.

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For my pixie hats, I used the basic outline of Ella Bellas pattern, only I lengthened the points to various legnths to get more of an exaggerated tail and to change it up a bit (I also found that the 6 by 7 inch measurement was spot on for Tessa’s 3 month old head). Then I sewed the seams. For the neckline, I gave it an inward curve so it fit Tessa’s head more snugly. I also turned the raw corners in and hemmed them with very light interfacing so the hat won’t flap around on her when it’s tied, and so there’d be no loose edges for machine washing.

And voila! The husband and I cranked out 6 hats out of 3 different sweaters in about 1 hour on Thanksgiving. (Yes, we have odd date nights, I know.)

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Anyhoo, if you make one of these, post some pix and share! I think they’re crazy adorable!

Anna + Cameron – Engagement Photos at Barrancas Beach

1 Dec

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When Jonathan was in boot camp, he told me his best friend was a guy named “Mason”, and that I should look him up on Facebook and add his fiance Anna as a friend. So I did!

Mason is also going to Pensacola A School with Jonathan, so it’s been awesome already having a friend in the area before we had even moved here! Mason has been a great friend to our little family – he’s helped us move into our new place, he’s watched our house and babysat out cats, and has been an all around fun hang out buddy. Over the past few months, Jonathan and I have been super impatient to meet Anna.

Anna (who is also in the Navy) just graduated boot camp shortly after Mason and Jonathan did, and now that she’s all settled at her A School in San Antonio and acquired leave to come visit Pensacola, I’ve demanded they let me do their engagement photos.

So they let me! Today was our first day meeting Anna, and it was awesome finally getting to know her after all of the lovesick pining Mason has been doing these past months. “Anna this, Anna that, I miss Anna, waa waa waa!!” < —- (that’s how Cameron sounds)

So here are a couple of the photos we took of Anna and Cameron at Barrancas Beach at NAS Pensacola. Yes, that beach is on the Navy base. I still maintain this base is less a military training facility and more a luxury beach bum resort. But I digress. Check out the lovely awesomeness that is Anna and Cameron:

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Hiking Along the Gulf Islands National Seashore

17 Nov

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When Jonathan and I had just met, the one event that launched us from “just friends” to “future mother / father of my baby” was a three day, 22 mile backpacking trip along the High Sierra Trail in the Sequoia National Forest in California. We went into those woods all prettied up, looking our best, full of energy and secretly crushing on one another, and came out rugged, dirty, exhausted and madly in love.

I love hiking. And backbacking. And camping. So so so much. So does my handsome husband. It’s one of our many “things” we share, made even more special by our earliest memories forged together – trudging mile after excruciating mile over rocks, rivers and meadows, savoring campfire coffee while laying out under breathtaking starry night skies, talking about God and grace and cosplay and fantasy novels and everything in between. Sparks flew as we chopped firewood, dried out socks, purified alpine spring waters to fill our canteens, tended to blisters and hoisted 80 pound packs in the towering trees so the bears couldn’t reach them. We fell in love with our hiking boots on.

So now that baby Tessa is here with us, and I’m finally feeling up to being active again, I’ve decided to hike on one new hiking trail (or two) every week. I am a sucker for National Parks, and since we’re an easy 30 minute drive from the Gulf Islands National Shoreline, I’m making it a fun challenge to hike as much of the 80 miles of Florida District trails as I can while we’re stationed here in Pensacola.

I so want my little girl growing up feeling at ease and a fondness for nature and the outdoors. I don’t want her to be a stranger to the beauty of God’s creation, from the macro to the micro. And I figure, she’s never too young to start, eh? Wrapped up snug and warm on my chest with our ring sling, my baby girl has seen more of the world than most two month olds! It’s a habit I don’t want to break.

I started this little challenge just four weeks ago, and have had the joy of hiking with my tiny baby girl on the Trench Trail, the Woodland Nature Trail, the Brackenridge Trail and the Fishing Trail. That’s 5.9 miles down! Can I get a w00t w00t?!

These trails are far different from the giant redwood, majestic sequoia, waterfall lined, mountain vista views I’m used to. While part of me longs for the crisp alpine air of the John Muir meadows, I must say I am quickly growing fond of these new sights and smells on my outdoor treks.

The air is humid and salty, with the sound of ocean waves mingling with the sounds of tropic insects and palms fronds swaying in the gentle breezes. Exotic seashell fragments and stark white sands line the trails underfoot. Spanish moss and tropic vines hang from oak and hickory trees overhead, and every once in a while you can catch glimpses of brightly colored lizards and vibrant green tree frogs in the foliage. Everything is so tropic here (it is a stones throw from the Caribbean, after all) that I often find myself exclaiming asinine geeky things like, “That tree with the mushrooms on it looks like something out of Ferngully!” or “The moon over the waters looks like Pirates of the Caribbean!” or, most often, “OMG, this looks just like Jurassic Park. I keep expecting a dilophosaurus to jump out and spit at me!”

This park is chock full of history and mystery – more than 80 percent of the park is submerged lands teeming with marine life. It’s America’s largest National Seashore and one of the oldest “discovered” portions of America.

Europeans first visited the northern Gulf of Mexico in the early 1500s. Spain, in 1559, established a settlement in Florida on Pensacola Bay, but the place was abandoned soon afterward. Spaniards revived the settlement in 1698, surrendered it to the French in 1719, regained it by treaty in 1722, ceded it to the English in 1763, and repossessed it by force in 1781. The park is cluttered with historic forts, buildings, relics, and historic points of interest. I mean, how could it not be?!

The Gulf Islands are vibrant and fascinating in a very energetic way… far from the serenity and absorbing nature of the Sequoias. They’re two different beasts, and each appeals to my sense of adventure. (Though in my heart of hearts, I am a mountain girl through and through.)

I’m excited for the many more miles to hike before the Navy whisks us away to who-knows-where. And I’ll keep posting our adventures here on my blog. But in the meantime, here are some snapshots of the trails we’ve trekked thus far:

The Woodland Nature Trail by Fort Barrancas:

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The Trench Trail by Fort Barrancas:

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The Brackenridge Trail by Naval Live Oaks:

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The Fishing Trail by Naval Live Oaks:

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Cosplay Photoshoot

4 Nov

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I took to the beach with some new friends from the Pensacola Costumers Guild for a mini cosplay photoshoot this morning!

The beach we were at was called Chicken Bone Beach in Gulf Breeze, here in Pensacola. It was freezing cold, there were jellyfish EVERYWHERE and I stepped on a bunch of evil devil stickers that I STILL have in my feet. (First I mash my finger with a screwdriver, then this? I’m a rugged man-woman… lady. Or something.)

Anyway, we had a lot of fun taking pictures of their characters from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Aren’t these gals LOVELY?!?!

By the way, I just learned that the name Chicken Bone Beach is derived from the practice of Pensacola’s black peoples inability to pick up their chicken, but instead leave the bones spread around the sand in a most ignominious tomb. However, prior to knowing this interesting and highly racist factoid, I had the song Chicken Bone from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack stuck in my head. Still do, as a matter of fact.

Dreamin’, dreamin’, dreamin’ of the chicken bone…. happy, happy, happy with the chicken bone….

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American Cosplay Experience Pick of the Month

2 Nov

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I always get fangirly giddy whenever one of our cosplays get’s featured, or reblogged, or mentioned in some random way or whatever. I was just talking about that not too long ago.

Anyway, it looks like Jonathan’s Spike Spiegel cosplay from Cowboy Bebop is the American Cosplay Experience pick for the month of November. If you go to the main website here, you’ll see his pic in the top right corner, in a little window of awesome.

So every time fellow nerds log in to troll cosplay photos, upload their own works, yadda yadda, they’ll be assaulted by my handsome hubbies awesomeness. Considering there’s like a bajillion registered costumes on that site, and only a handful of “Pick of the Month”s, I think it’s pretty frikkin’ sweet. (Oh, the things I swoon over as a doting wife….)

You can see our full Cowboy Bebop cosplays and photoshoot here. It was one of our best shoots, if I do say so myself. ^_^

Tessa’s First Halloween!

31 Oct

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Happy Halloween!! The Freeman Family will be spending Tessa’s first Halloween sitting on the couch, watching scary movies by the fire, eating home made split pea soup and homemade cookies and handing out candy to visiting trick or treaters. Good, fattening, name brand candy that would make this woman’s blood boil. (No, I don’t harbor any resentment to the houses with cheap tootsie roll and temporary tattoo Halloween handouts… why do you ask??)

For baby Tessa’s first Halloween, she will be wearing her Sheriff onesie (first Halloween costume – she’s going as her Grandpa! haha). In the following years she will be doomed to wear the most fabulous, elaborate costumes that her cosplay parents can craft for Halloween. I seriously cannot wait!

Happy Halloween everyone! Oh, and check out these cute holiday photos we took yesterday…. One of the perks of motherhood is being able to stick your pumpkin sized baby into a baby sized pumpkin. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

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