Chula

I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but hadn’t found the time. However, I knew I wanted to write the story out so as not to forget some of the little details that really make this story what it is.

On February 21st around 1pm I got a text from a couple of friends of mine asking me to come over as soon as I could, that it was an emergency. I asked them what was wrong and whether or not someone was hurt and I was sent the following photo:

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If you’ve ever seen the show “Pit Bulls and Parolees” you’ll know what I mean by this reference; I felt like Tia Torres for a moment. Time was of the essence, this poor dog had clearly been neglected to the point where we weren’t sure if she was going to make it or not. I pretty much dropped everything that I was doing and drove over as quickly as I could. I am a dog lover by nature, and seeing this photo still breaks my heart. How could someone do this? Or how could someone see her and not have done something sooner?

I got the full story when I arrived. My friend said he was visiting some friends in Toledo, Ohio (roughly a half hour from where we live) when the topic of dogs came up. His friends told him that a dog had wandered onto their back porch roughly a week before, but they didn’t have enough money to care for her and that she was in bad shape. They were holding on to her with the idea that she was at least better off there then on the streets where she could be killed. Now, my friend is currently employed by PetSmart and though he had never owned a dog himself, he knew quite a bit about them. So they showed him the dog and he immediately asked that they write the dog over to him. They told him that they didn’t have any official paperwork as it wasn’t actually their dog, but they wrote a note saying they were giving the dog to him (for legality reasons, we didn’t want to get the dog healthy and then be legally responsible to return her to where she got this bad in the first place). He brought her home, but he and his roommate had never owned dogs before so they weren’t entirely sure what to do, which is where I come in. My family has rescued two dogs before, one was a stray that wandered into our garage and the other we got from the Humane Society where he had a week left on the “kill list” (basically the list of dogs that do not get adopted and therefore get put down). I took a few photos myself of her to post online to see what advice I could get on getting this dog back to full health.

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Her name is Chula, which was given to her before we rescued her. I later looked it up to find out that it is a Spanish word meaning “pretty or sexy girl.” We discussed changing the name at one point, but after finding out the meaning decided that “pretty girl” was appropriate. My friends had tried to take her to the Wood County Humane Society, which is the only no-kill shelter in the immediate area, but they were full and unable to take her in. However, the wonderful people there told us that they would supply us with food, supplements, and a lead leash so long as we took her in (which we gladly did, especially knowing we could now afford to). We immediately made plans to take her to the vet. Thankfully, my friend working at PetSmart gave us an advantage as we could get her supplies at a discounted price, but we also were able to find out that the first vet visit there was free (which was great seeing as we are all rather poor). We took her into the vet, fearing the worst. As she walked through the store we got a mix of different expressions: Some full of pity, others full of anger as though we were the ones to put her in this state. However, most of the reception was positive and there were more than a few kind people who offered us money to help pay for supplies and genuine support for what we were doing.

Chula weighed in at roughly 30 lbs, extremely underweight for a dog her size, and less than a year old (8 months to a year and a half was the time frame we were given as far as speculating how old she was). After looking her over, it was decided that she was most likely a pit bull/boxer mix, though ridge-back and a few other breeds were tossed around as well. Her incredibly sweet demeanor won over the store and the vet’s office. After she was looked over, they said that she was healthy aside from being incredibly dehydrated and malnourished. The only concern was an infection in her mouth (which we found out may have been caused by her having to eat a cat to survive) and the possibility of parasites which would have been what caused her to get to the state she was in. We were given parasitical medication and asked to return with her the following week for a check up.

Chula's winking face

Chula’s winking face

As Chula became more comfortable with us, some of her personality began to come out. We could tell from the start that she would be an incredibly loyal and loving dog. However, due to the state she was in, Chula slept a lot and seemed timid, though she loved being cuddled and talked to. Using what money we had, we bought her a blanket as well as some of the things the vet had recommended. Since she was too skinny to bathe, we got her puppy wipes to help wipe off some of the dirt that had collected on her.

Chula's first puppy grin!

Chula’s first puppy grin!

We were relieved to see her smile and knew that she was going to pull through. However, she had no concept of how to be a puppy. Even when we gave her her first ever bone she hid it out of the fear that it would be taken away. When I tried to recover it, she nipped me very lightly and then immediately hid out of fear that I would do something or take it away permanently. We managed to reassure her that we had no intentions of taking anything away from her if we could help it and she slowly started to trust us more.

Chula with her first bone, l ooking rather terrified as if she didn't think she was allowed to have it.

Chula with her first bone, looking rather terrified as if she didn’t think she was allowed to have it.

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As if anyone could deny this face.

After roughly a week, we began to see a definite improvement with Chula. A friend of ours donated some toys and though she didn’t know what to do with them at first, she steadily began to become more playful. She remained quiet and still slept quite a bit, but she began to fill out and enjoy going outside more. At one point we took her over to my apartment for an hour or two to visit with Play-Doh. Doh liked her at a distance, but wasn’t sure what she thought of her close up. Chula, on the other hand, LOVED Play-Doh!

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Chula looking more attentive and less scared

Chula LOVES Play-Doh!!!

Chula LOVES Play-Doh!!!

Chula weighed in at over 40 pounds at her next vet visit, more than 10 lbs more than she had been the week before. We were ecstatic! She had more energy, smiled more, and was beginning to gain muscle. Additionally, she became house-broken relatively quickly and learned the commands “Sit” and “Lay down” within a couple of weeks of having her (she is VERY treat motivated). The infection in her mouth disappeared and whatever parasites she may or may not have had disappeared. Chula was starting to jump around and decided that she was the perfect lap dog (which, size aside, she kind of is). Her toys began being used and she discovered that Fetch and Tug were her two favorite games to play. After about three weeks, she discovered belly rubs and has been rolling on her back begging for them ever since. Here are a few more photos as weeks progressed.

"Pretty Puppy"

“Pretty Puppy”

Roughly 3 weeks later, starting to fill out and see less ribs

Roughly 3 weeks later, starting to fill out and see less ribs

One of her many goofy smiles

One of her many goofy smiles

Her favorite toy, "Gator," has pretty much been de-stuffed

Her favorite toy, “Gator,” has pretty much been de-stuffed

At about 4 weeks in we decide that Chula was ready to make her public début. She was getting too playful for the apartment, which is very small, and clearly wanted room to run and stretch out. So I did some research and discovered Findlay, Ohio’s K-9 Field of Dreams. Field of Dreams is a free dog park roughly a half hour away that allowed any and all types of dogs. It is also one of the few dog parks in the area and the only one that doesn’t charge or have a ridiculous set of rules and regulations to make sure that only the “perfect” dogs were allowed in.

Chula anxiously wondering where we were taking her and when we would finally get there.

Chula anxiously wondering where we were taking her and when we would finally get there.

Our biggest concern was how Chula would react to the other dogs and she was slightly intimidated at first. However, that lasted about a minute before Chula instantly bonded with every dog there. I felt like a proud mom watching her run around with all the other dogs. She ran for about three hours straight, chasing and playing with the other dogs, before we could tell she was getting worn out. It was the happiest I had seen Chula yet, she was truly a beautiful healthy dog now and absolutely won over every dog and human at the park that day.

Chula and some of her playmates

Chula and some of her playmates

Chula running around so much that her ears were stuck in that position for a while

Chula running around so much that her ears were stuck in that position for a while

Photo from another day at the park where we played with her frisbee

Photo from another day at the park where we played with her frisbee

Another frisbee photo

Another frisbee photo

Chula flies!

Chula flies!

After the park, Chula was one tired puppy and fell asleep on the ride home. After we got back, we got to give her her first ever bath, which she hated, but she enjoyed all the praise and being told how pretty she looked.

Sleepy Chula...

Sleepy Chula…

After the first bath, Chula was unsure of what to think

After the first bath, Chula was unsure of what to think

It’s been over a month now and I could not be more blessed to have gone through this experience with Chula. Her passion for life and fight to live has truly been inspirational and it makes me glad to see her so happy now. She is loved by everyone who meets her and has more puppy in her then we can handle. We have decided that we are going to try to keep her and we’ve been blessed to find a temporary home for her until one of us (most likely my friend) gets an apartment big enough to handle her. Chula has one of the biggest dog grins I’ve ever seen and has a unique personality that is coming out more and more each day. I could honestly go on for hours about her, but this is the majority of her story. The rest of her days to come will be filled with love and she will be spoiled beyond compare (as she already is). I cannot express how glad I am that she is going to live out the rest of her days knowing that neglect is not her fate or lot in life, that there are good people out there who truly care. Below is the original photo again, next to one of my most recent photos of her, taken just a couple of days ago.

Chula before, back in mid-February

Chula before, back in mid-February

Chula now, after more then a month of proper care

Chula now, after more then a month of proper care

She truly fits her name: Chula, the Pretty Girl. In the future, you will most likely see photos and updates on Chula and her progress, but I am pleased to say that she is out of any danger zone. She’ll never be a “normal dog” because of her experiences, but that just helps to make her the wonderful, lovable dog that she is. She doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body despite everything that has happened and her loyalty to us border lines concern as she does have some separation anxiety. However, after seeing her pull through everything she has, separation anxiety will be a cake walk for her to overcome. Rescuing a dog is an experience unlike any other and despite all the stress and anxiety it may have caused in the meantime, I would do it all over again.

Our happy puppy

Our happy puppy

Chula and I

Chula and I

“My mission is to rescue, my dream is that one day I won’t have to.” – Tia Torres

 

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Still Laughing

Hello again, long time, no post. My bad. Let’s see how long it takes for me to play catch up!

The background screen for me at Stand Up Toledo 2013

The background screen for me at Stand Up Toledo 2013

Okay, so Stand Up Toledo 2013 happened and it was a blast! I had a great time backstage with the comedians and we had a fantastic crowd. Toledo.com came out to cover the show and took some really sweet photos (some of which are featured on my comedian page). I took a few photos myself, but mostly I hung out with the camera people and comedians backstage, snuck out to watch some of the show, and ran around with a home-made “CENSORED” sign, censoring comedians and guests alike (for my own amusement, if not for the amusement of others).

My homemade censored sign

My homemade “CENSORED” sign

But of course, the show, as in life, must go on. They will be doing a showing of the DVD in a few months and I now have a copy of the last one to watch (and cringe as I watch myself in it) to entertain me. Additionally, Valentine’s Day is coming up which would normally mean cutesy, flirty interactions and gifts with significant others or defiant, “I don’t need a man or a day for love” it-rocks-being-single attitudes, but not for this chick. Nope, the laughs must go on! Therefore, I am once again emceeing for the wonderful, enigmatic magician/hypnotist/comedian Michael Night! Alongside me will be the feature act, the wonderful Corey W. King, who was in the recent Stand Up Toledo with me as well as the previous one. I absolutely love working with both of these guys, so I consider myself a lucky girl to be working with them on V-Day 🙂

One of the posters for the show, the other is featured on my Comedian page

One of the posters for the show, the other is featured on my Comedian page

So the laughs will undoubtedly continue long into the month of February. Outside of comedy, I am receiving opportunities for work outside of my normal acting scope. I don’t want to go too much into it for privacy reasons, but I have an opportunity to audition for a full-time position as a children’s performer! There have been a few bumps in the road concerning this (mainly with sending information back and forth via snail mail), but I plan to do my best in spite of this and to give as good of a performance as I can, despite the shortened practice time due to the lack of luck with the postal service. There are also opportunities coming with my former school and their “Right to Read” week, as well as some fun with Already Indie (such as this video clip).

And that’s that! At least for now, more updates to come as always (hopefully sooner next time around). As always, thanks for reading and feel free to share this blog with your friends!

The comedians of Stand Up Toledo 2013 (photo courtesy of Toledo.com)

The comedians of Stand Up Toledo 2013 (photo courtesy of Toledo.com)

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”  ― Herman MelvilleMoby-Dick

 

A New Year

I’ve never been one to make New Year resolutions. Not because I don’t think there is any merit to doing so, but because I don’t believe there needs to be a specific day in which to make a change in your life. I feel that if you want to make a change or break a bad habit you should do it immediately instead of waiting for the first of the year. That being said, there are some “resolutions” that I have been making in my life over the past month and ones that I need to start working on more. So, in the spirit of the new year, I’m going to write some of these out. Don’t worry, I’ll interweave some photos as well so you don’t get bored.

1. Stand Up Toledo

In case you haven’t heard, I was one of five comedians voted to come back for a second time to perform at Stand Up Toledo! Stand Up Toledo is a showcase of 10 local comedians at the Maumee Indoor Theatre. I was one of the comedians back in 2012 and I had a great time! This year, I am hoping to improve and do even better than last year. Ideally, I would like to be able to perform all new material, but I think that there will be a couple repeats only because I have improved on a couple of the jokes that I have been telling for a while. If you buy your tickets from me, they are only $15, otherwise they are $20 at the door, which opens at 7pm on January 20th. If you’re in the area, this is definitely a show you won’t want to miss! Along the same vein, I want to try to get as much stage time as possible and start doing comedy outside of the Toledo/BG area.

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A painting I did as a Christmas present to my parents

2. Acting

I want to start acting way more than I am now. After all, it is what I want to make a career out of, but I’ve discovered that just having representation isn’t enough, at least not for me. I appreciate the fact that I am being submitted for work, but thus far I haven’t been getting so much as an audition. So, rather than just giving up or waiting, I am taking a more active approach to my acting career. Thus far, I have submitted myself to multiple websites, casting calls, and have sent out countless emails to local casting calls, such as student films and local filmmakers. I want to get my face and resume out there as much as possible in hopes that the right person will see it and decide I’m worth a shot. Until I get cast, I plan on doing as much local theatre and film as I can and build up my résumé, as well as networking where ever I can.

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My roommate’s parrot, Play-Doh, enjoying the snow

3. Working out

Here it is, the cliché New Year’s resolution: Working out. We’ve all thought it or said it out loud at some point in our lives, “I should really work out more.” But hear me out, this has a bit more weight to it, pun not intended but hopefully appreciated. I have fibromyalgia, so working out has always been a point of hesitation for me. I’m not particularly out of shape by any means, work keeps me pretty active, but I want to start building up more of a resistance to the pain caused by fibromyalgia. Ordinarily, working out is a painful experience for me because of fibromyalgia, but the theory is that the more you work out, the more resistance you build against that pain. I don’t know if that has any truth to it or not, but I think it’s worth a try. It really doesn’t have any negative drawbacks to it, aside from being in a bit more pain then usual. Plus, losing weight wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world

Sam wearing his reindeer costume.

Sam wearing his reindeer costume.

Naturally, I have other things that I am working on improving, but those are the top ones at the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading, or at least enjoyed the photos and I’ll be posting again soon. In the meantime, have a great start to 2013!

 

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool. – F.M. Knowles

 

Steampunk’d Encore Edition: Doctor Faustus

Back by popular demand, my steampunk series returns to feature Lionface Production‘s Dr. Faustus!

The poster for this amazing show! Features Zach Navarre as Doctor Faustus and Kat Moran as Mephistopheles

That’s right, for Lionface Production’s second show of the season, Christina Hoekstra directed a steampunk version of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. For those unfamiliar with this work, the story revolves around Dr. Faustus, an intelligent doctor who has become bored with the every day sciences and decides to try his hand at necromancy. He is guided by a Good and Bad Angel, each pulling him one way or another. He summons Mephistopheles and Lucifer, who agree to give him 24 years on earth with Mephistopheles as his personal servant. Faustus ultimately wastes this power doing nothing worthwhile and is ultimately damned to hell. In this version, the magic and power that Faustus receives is portrayed through steampunk. Emphasis was put on the various timepieces and clockwork in the show, symbolizing Faustus’s time running out. In this production, I played one of the scholars and the part of Robin the Clown, one of the comedic relief characters in the show.

Our set was simple, yet very cool. We performed the show in a church, the same as when Lionface did Murder in the Cathedral, and the it ended up really working out in our favor. The set was designed and built by the very talented Meghan Johannes, who was able to pull it off on an incredibly small budget and still make it look super professional.

One of the coolest set pieces were these blocks that Johannes made. I wish I would have gotten a better photo of them, because they were seriously boss. You can’t tell by this photo, but behind each block is a hole lined with what looks like a cog, so that props can actually be stored inside the blocks. Each block also had handles, wooden gears painted gold and/or copper, and the copper wiring seen in this photo. One of the blocks was raffled off, but unfortunately I didn’t win one.

Another unique piece was Mephistopheles’ cane (also raffled off, also didn’t win, sad face) which featured a time piece as the hilt. Again, I wish I had a better photo, it was much cooler in person. It was tailored to be the length of the average cane and was able to be swung around without worrying about any pieces falling off (including the copper wiring you see towards the middle).

What could make a steampunk play even cooler than it already is? Throw in an awesome sword fight! To see a video of this check out my Facebook page. I wish I could say that was me doing the sword fight, but alas, it was another awesome ginger. And yes, those are in fact real swords being used, so it took a lot of stage combat choreography and practice to be able to pull it off without causing injury to one another. By the end of it, these two had the fight down so well that when one would make a mistake, the other would immediately adjust to make it safe again without having to stop the fight. Talent, plain and simple.

Myself as Robin and my cohort, Griffin Coldiron, as Dick

One of my most favorite part of the shows was working with this guy, Griffin. One of the best things that can happen in a show is to get paired up with an actor that you can really work off of and that definitely happened for me in this show. So a special shout out to Dick, thanks for rocking out the show with me! “Oh brave, an ape!”

And that’s it for my steampunk series! I may still post steampunk-esque photos now and then, especially since I’ve been getting more into jewelry making as of late, but this particular chapter of Halloween/Faustus steampunk is closed (at least until next year’s Halloween). In coming entries, I’ll be doing some updates on Stand Up Toledo 13, Already Indie, and the other happenings in my life. I hope you enjoyed reading!

“Bene disserer est fines logices. (The end of logic is to dispute well.)” – Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

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Steampunk’d: The Chest Piece

Hello again and welcome to the last installment of my steampunk Halloween costume series! In previous episodes/entries, I showed you how I made a prosthetic eye piece and several different accessories for the costume and now I will show you how I made a pretty sweet chest piece.

I started with a thick layer of liquid latex in the shape of a sloppy triangle. I left the end of it curved for when I would add the clock piece. If you plan on doing this, you want to do it on a surface that the latex can be peeled off from, so a smooth surface that won’t have any chipped paint pieces or anything like that. I ended up using an old lid to a shoebox, which worked very well, especially if you want an easy cleanup and for your project to be portable while you are making it . After this layer dried, I added another one right on top of it so that the base would be thick and not fall apart when I added pieces to it.

I added a third layer of liquid latex and began to add pieces. As you can see, some of the pieces got another layer of latex over parts of them to make it looks as though pieces of flesh were growing over them. It also gives the impression that there are more gears inside the body, behind the ones that you can see.

Interestingly enough, as the liquid latex dried, the colors from the gears actually caused the latex to change colors. So, naturally, I added another layer over it and some more gears to see if that would cover it up. The liquid latex continued to react to the gears even as I added more latex, so I ended up leaving it the way it was. In the long run, it actually worked in my as it looked as though the gears were having a reaction to my body and therefore leaking pus. Disgusting, yet very effective in what I was going for.

Paint time! Using the same red and black acrylic paint that I used on the eye piece, I painted the latex around the gears and added some red on the gears to make them look as though they are covered in blood. After the paint dried, I used a knife to cut away some of the latex so that you could see more of the gears and I cleaned up the paint on the gears so that they would still reflect off the light. Then, I used paint again to clean up the latex pieces that I had cut away from the prosthetic.

This is actually the piece once I took it after wearing it. I attached the piece to my chest with spirit gum and then added the watch piece separately. It was actually a watch piece that I had gotten from Wal-Mart and added copper paint to it in order to keep with my gold and copper color scheme. I also repainted over some of the gears to make them stand out, as the ones from Hobby Lobby were a bit darker and less shiny then the ones I had purchased at Costume Holiday House. Once I had the pieces applied, I made strips of latex about an inch wide and about 3-4 inches long on the shoebox lid. Once I had two layers dried, I peeled them off and added them to the top and bottom of my piece to give the effect that the skin was cut apart and hanging over. It also helped to make the wound look deeper and more three-dimensional. I made a few more inch by inch pieces of latex to fill in the spots that weren’t covered on the far side of the watch piece. After all of that, I used makeup to color the latex to my skin color and to make it look a bit more bloody and natural. I topped it off with some liquid fake blood, which gave it a glossy look and made the clock look as though blood was dripped on to it as well.

Here’s what the piece looked like when it was applied. This also shows why I added the extra layers last, so that I could attach them to the skin as well as the wound and make everything look seamless. I had no trouble keeping the pieces on once the spirit gum had dried and actually had this piece on for most of the day. Now, I’d also like to point out that the watch piece is a working one and actually lit up with a blue light when you pressed a button (which was located near the number 2 and could be pressed despite the latex). Initially, I had considered using a bigger watch piece and trying to make it seem as though my heart was a clock, but I felt that this looked more realistic than that would have, so I adjusted accordingly. All in all, I was very happy about the way that this piece turned out and it will actually be featured again very soon in Lionface Production’s Dr. Faustus on the character of Mephistopheles. Pictures to come!

Photo courtesy of Laura Fairman Photography

Now we have come to the end of my series and now you know the story behind the creation of my steampunk costume. I may be doing an encore post as well in regards to Dr. Faustus, given that it is being done in a steampunk fashion, so stay tuned for that. In other news, I was voted one of the top five comedians from last years Stand Up Toledo, which means that I will be in it again this year! More information on that as it gets closer as well as some updates on Already Indie and life as an actress. Thanks for reading!

“We can control the future, my boy, just as we wind up the mechanism in a clock. Say to yourself: I will win that race–I will come first–and you wind up the future like clockwork. The world has no choice but to obey! Can the hands of that old clock in the corner decide to stop? Can the spring in your watch decide to wind itself up and run backward? No! They have no choice. And nor has the future, once you have wound it up.” – Philip Pullman, Clockwork

 

Steampunk’d: The Accessories

With any great costume comes great accessories. Or at least decent ones. You can decide what you consider them after you see the ones that I did to accent my steampunk costume. All except for the awesome chest piece prosthetic, which will be my third and last installment of this series. So let’s get to it.

In any makeup job I do, I try to accent the eyes the best I can. As you may have seen in my earlier entry, I had a large prosthetic eye piece, so I wanted to do something simple with the other eye as to not distract away from the piece. I went with a simple brown eyeliner color and flared out the corners a bit. However, the accessory part is the three golden gears that I spirit gummed along my cheekbone. Simple, but it ended up looking really cool.

The next piece is the hat. It was just a simple, $5 black hat that I got from Spirit Halloween. The black, ribbon band was already attached to it when I bought it. I was unable to find any feathers that I liked, until I came across a pair of cheap, black feather earrings. I took the earrings apart and, using craft glue, attached it to the hat. I then used some of the gears that I got from Costume Holiday House and one from the package of gears I got from Hobby Lobby, to complete it. Again, nothing too fancy, but this particular piece actually captured the attention of my director for Dr. Faustus. I will actually be wearing it as the part of Robin in the steampunk version of the show, put on by Lionface Productions. The next couple of pieces will also be featured in the show, but more on that in a later entry.

Now we get into the more complicated accessories. This choker started out as a blue and white Victorian portrait jewelry piece that I got from Wal-Mart. I started by repainting it so that it would match the copper and gold color scheme that I was going for. I then attached it to a piece of black ribbon using a mixture of black thread and craft glue. I had to sew it on to keep it attached and the craft glue to keep it in place. I then used some copper chain that I had gotten with jewelry piece and cut off two parts, which I sewed on. I added a clasp and loop to the back and accented it with a couple of gears where it clasped at so that the back was decorated as well.

Finally, I created a handflower out of some of the remaining chain and gears (again, one from each package). This was a little more tricky to make. The ring part is fit to my size and is made from the chain, which wraps around my middle finger and connects at the gear. I then made the wrist part using one of the large gears and doing basically the same as the ring, only this time I split the chain and attached it with a clasp. I then measured out three lengths of chain which I used to attach the two pieces together. I used ordinary black and brown thread to attach all the pieces, and then used a layer of copper paint to help lay down the stray pieces and make it look more metallic. It took me a couple of hours to get it the way I liked it, but out of all the pieces that I made this is probably the most impressive.

Play-Doh enjoys the hat the most

And that pretty much covers it for the accessories. As stated before, my last installment is how I made the chest piece and put everything together. Thanks for reading!

“If you want something you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you’re willing to risk failure.” – Philip Pullman, Clockwork

Steampunk’d: The Eyepiece

Hello all and welcome to the first installment of my Steampunk series! I’ll be going step by step of how I created my Halloween costume starting with the most complicated piece: the eye piece.

It started with an empty pill bottle. I tore off the labels so that I was left with the just the translucent orange bottle. It’s a regular, prescription sized bottle that I am sure many of you at home will have lying around somewhere.


The next thing I did was use Crayola Air-Dry clay to do the mold. In retrospect, I should have used a stronger clay, as the air-dry one was very brittle when it dried, but  in the end it worked for my purposes. I went with it because of how light it was, as I knew that the weight would make a difference when it came to applying the prosthetic to my face. 
Afterwards, I sanded it down to make it smooth and flat on all sides and to clean up any of the dust left over during the drying process. As you can see, as it dried the clay actually cracked on the bottom. Oddly enough, it still held onto the bottle, unlike the top piece which I reinforced with craft glue. I actually ended up having an issue with Play-Doh the parrot where he bit off part of the top, but I was able to work around it and piece it back together. The clay was really easy to sand, so I had to be careful not to overdo it and shrink the size of the piece. I wanted to make a big impression with it and for that I needed it to be the size that I made it.

After sanding it, I gave my eyepiece its initial paint job. I went with copper and gold colors with a silver accent in the center of the eye. I also used black to accentuate the crack in the clay. When things go wrong, sometimes they can work to your advantage and this was a great case of that happening.

After the paint dried, I began adding liquid latex to the piece. I used small pieces of cotton in between the gear spokes to make it look like there was skin and muscle protruding around the gear. I also added a couple of golden clock hands which I submerged into the latex. In this photo you can actually see where Play-Doh bit the clay and cracked the top piece. Later, I find a way to make it work by adding a flat gear to the top, which actually made it look like it could be part of a gas mask.

I had to make sure that I applied the latex on a flat surface that it wouldn’t stick to, so I alternated between an upside down metal trashcan and the lid to an old shoebox. After the latex dried around the gear, I peeled it back to make it look as though it burst out of the latex.

Paint job #2! After the latex dried, I painted it with black and red acrylic paint. I also touched up the eye piece paint and added a flat gear that I got from Costume Holiday House to the top. I spatter painted red on the eye piece itself to help complete the illusion that it had burst out of the eye not too long ago.

And that’s how I did it! It ended up looking really cool though it took A LOT of spirit gum to keep on my face. Next blog, I’ll show you some of the accessories that I made to go with the costume and then a chest prosthetic that I made which features a working clock that lights up. Until then!

The finished product!

“To some, ‘steampunk’ is a catchall term, a concept in search of a visual identity. To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance. –  Jake von Slatt