Time for Recreation…

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Hey hey, my Rebel guy is gonna flee like the Rebel scum that he is……

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Look, I brought my chicken walker.

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Well, my Imperial speeder bike guy will hunt down your Rebel dog.  And your chicken walker is useless.

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Lord Vader!..@#!%@$#…….I just shot my chicken walker by accident.

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-Heavy respiratory breathing then deep voice –  I have brought my TIE Fighter.

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Uh, yes Lord Vader.  That TIE Fighter outclasses everything we’ve got.

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I hope you enjoyed another one of my Star Wars oriented photo stories. 🙂

G. Winkler ©2016











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Posted in Star Wars, Toys

Beach fun – Star Wars Merc style

Went to South Shore Lake Tahoe in California the other day for a bit of relief from the heat and to enjoy the lovely water there.  It is my favorite lake.  There were some strange guys there…..

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Not sure why an Assassin Droid wants to sun bath, ….but I don’t want to run afoul of the nefarious Fett either.  So I am not saying anything.

Hope you got a good chuckle out of those pictures.🙂

G. Winkler ©2016

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Posted in Photography, Star Wars

Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con

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Just got back from the Sacramento Wizard World Comic Con.

It was different from last year.  Some things have changed.  Not sure how I feel about the changes, so I think I will just list out what I recall and let you decide if you like those changes.

  1. My companions and I purchased our tickets ahead of time, and then in the last few days they dropped the prices to half.  It left us feeling like we were punished for saving up for the tickets and buying them in advance.  We had invited others to go with us, but they did not because of the ticket price.  Had the ticket prices been lower those friends could have come along with us.
  2. Security at the site was heavy.  More than last year.  Lots of guards but what their scanners were picking up was questionable.  One of the security guards, who was a nice older gentleman put a scratch on my lightsaber by accident.  It is a $400 piece of equipment that I keep stored in a protective container, so I am a bit upset although I do know he did not meant it.  He was required to put a weapons checked tag on the lightsaber, which they have done in the past but not at the front door.
  3. The people in the green shirts….still friendly like last year.  That did not change. 🙂
  4. Chatting with the vendors and other cosplayers – all friendly – that has not changed.
  5. If you like visiting the booths and going shopping for stuff – there was a lot less of that.  I missed seeing Con TV that had been a presence at the Wizard World events these past years.  We were planning on stopping by and saying hello.  Ultrasaber was also not there either and we were under the impression that they were supposed to have been.  Missed them too.  It seemed like there were a less artists and T-shirt vendors present as well.
  6. The gaming section was enormous.  It appeared to be nicely done.  I am not at all into spending time at a computer to play video games at a Comic Con, but it looked nice.  It appeared to take up about a third of the convention floor.  They also had a space were visitors could paint D&D type figures, which looked like fun, but I was in costume, so I was not interested in getting paint on my Jedi clothing.
  7. There seemed to be less Cosplayers.  I like dressing up in costume and I like seeing other people dressed up. I like seeing the interaction between the cosplayers and the other visitors and between Cosplayers themselves.  That seemed to be less this year.  Now, we were there for only Saturday, so perhaps the other days had more people geared up.
  8. During the costume contest we got stuck waiting in a very hot hallway.  I actually felt dizzy like I was going to pass out.  We told the green shirt people that some of us were feeling overwhelmed by the heat – and it was not as hot outside as it was last year.  The green shirt people opened some doors to get some better circulation.  Thank you Green shirt people!
  9. There were no photos taken after the costume contest.  All the other Wizard World events that I had gone to, we had photos taken just after exiting the stage.  This time – nothing.  This was a fun memento of the events that we had gone to previously, especially after spending hours on creating a costume and then hours getting ready.  Some gear requires extensive makeup time.  It was also fun to see other performers in their photos.  This was a disappointment.
  10. Then the contest itself had a failure.  The lady that was selected as the big winner could not access the stage because she was in a wheelchair.  The only reason why my companions and I saw her was a chance meeting in the street as her husband helped her and the children get out of their vehicle.  Her costume as a mermaid was fabulous and no one in the back part of the audience could see it.  It was a shame and anti-climatic.  They should have found a way to get her up on the stage or…..gotten the camera crew to grab the camera and some lights and showed her on the big screen that was showing the judges and the contestants on stage.

This is how the Sacramento event went.

All in all this left us feeling like it was a very mediocre event.  I actually felt depressed the next day and not exhilarated from having a great experience.

We had our own difficulties and disappointments that were no one else’s fault.  I worked all week to get the new Gungi mask completed.  I finished it the day we left.  Put it in the box for safety and drying.  It looked pretty good.  It was better than the old Wookiee mask.  I was excited to unleash our Gungi creation onto the world.  As our friend put the costume on, he started to feel sick.  The glue on the mask had not dissipated in it’s odor.  He could not wear the costume, and since we had driven two hours to get to Sacramento, there was no way to go home and get the old mask.  I was crushed and I felt really bad for our friend, who looks forward to his role as Gungi, the only Jedi Wookiee.

Gungi and Reg Wookiee mask

New Gungi mask on the left and generic Wookiee on the right.  The Gungi mask has a moving jaw and a more supportive interior foam system for better comfort.  I even made nostril holes to help make it more comfortable.

We do have some quick photos of him in the hotel room.  Not sure where we will go to present our new creation, but hopefully it will be soon.

Ky-Undi and Darth VaderMy own costume had some improvements since last year as well.  I am on my fourth white Jedi undershirt.  Nothing has worked right until I found this store bought item and modified it.  It may need another snap to be better.  Also, I have been trying to find better makeup.  I don’t normally wear makeup in my day to day life except maybe some blush or mascara, so the putting together a makeup kit has been hard.  I also have many allergies.  Then the braids are the latest addition to the look of my grey Jedi.  Big improvement.  Star Wars females rarely have hair that just hangs, so figuring out how to change the wig into a proper hairstyle has been great.  Strange thing was that two people thought I was another character from the Old Republic.  I did not recognize the name.  I need to research that.  My grey Jedi is a Kage female Padawan that escaped the General Order 66.

Our Mandalorian, who plays my twin brother, also made enormous changes to his gear as well.  He purchased a new helmet and repainted all of that, made a new girth belt, new pistols and rifle, repaired his chest plates, got a new jumpsuit and customized it, and made a new neck plate as well.  He has plans for more improvements to be made to his gauntlets.  His costume was originally started in 2006.  It was his gear that inspired my character and our suggestion that our friend go as a Wookiee.

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The Lok Twins – Jedi Padawans that escaped General Order 66

If anyone has some west coast suggestions….I am all ears.

G. Winkler ©2016




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Posted in Comic Cons, Costume

Kage Warrior: Star Wars the Clone Wars Series Costume

So I have been busy lately and have not had much time to write for my blog.  I have a new costume that I have been working on that is a Kage Warrior from the Star Wars Clone Wars series as well as the update to my friend’s Wookiee costume.  He was originally a generic Wookiee, but as time has gone on he showed an interest in playing Gungi, and well, that has turned into a whole bunch of little projects.  His gear needed to be updated.  Gungi wears special gear, carries a lightsaber, and has a unique facial feature of the one long fang.  Now with all this costume work, I am working on writing a set of Star Wars novels that I hope to get published someday.

There is a lot of research involved in the books as well as the costumes, so I apologize for neglecting the blog.  Especially to those that find it useful or interesting.

Having silly fun amongst the guests of the Crawl Reno event. Drunk people can be somewhat unaware of spinning lightsaber blades. One really has to be a Jedi at these events. Always mindful of one's surroundings.

Having silly fun amongst the guests of the Crawl Reno event. Drunk people can be somewhat unaware of spinning lightsaber blades. One really has to be a Jedi at these events. Always mindful of one’s surroundings.

Just recently my husband and I decided to go have some fun and went to one of those dress up and walk to various bar scenarios – you know pub crawls, but in costume.  This particular event had a lightsaber battle as part of the theme, so how could we resist?  Anytime I can wander around in public carrying my lightsaber is a happy day.  It’s even better when I can wear the costumes too.  Yah, I’m a big kid.  But I will let you in on a little secret…..this is great for my research for the stories I am writing.  Wearing the clothing and gear for various characters can actually give me a better insight into the types of people they are.  Think about the Imperial officers and how sharply dressed they are.  No wrinkles on their uniforms, everything matches perfectly, no rips or stains, and the clothing is perfectly tailored to the person’s body.  Put yourself into this costume and think about trying to maintain this look throughout the day and being impressive and sharp all the time.  No wonder why the Imperial army looks a bit tightly wound.  They are stressed.  So I like to make some of the costumes of the types of characters that are in my stories.  It makes them more real to me.  And hopefully more real to my future readers.

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So I wore part of my new Kage Warrior costume to this pub crawl to see how comfortable it was.  I wasn’t planning to compete in any costume contest – just go out and have fun.  I wanted to test the comfort of the costume.  And well, I learned something.  I bought some simple cotton gloves to adhere the gold armor pieces to.  I wanted the cotton because I am always so warm at the comic cons.  So I was thinking that cotton is very breathable.  I forgot something very important.

What did I forget?  I found out as soon as I had my Ultrasaber in my hand and was using it and it slipped out of my hand.  The damn cotton gloves have no grip.  Luckily, my lightsaber did not fall too far and I was able to repair the part that popped off, but my heart sank and I felt sick.  My Ultrasaber is really bloody expensive and I love that darn thing.  It’s awesome.  So if you have to carry something in your hand make sure that you have a material that will allow you to grip the item.  Now I have to adjust my gloves by adding some leather to the interior of my gloves.  I will also need to make Gungi a new set of gloves as well because the Wookiee currently has soft fabric hands that will not grip a lightsaber.

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So I glued leather into the palms of my cotton gloves.  Very hard to glue.  I first used Ailene’s glue with my hand inside the glove to make sure the placement of the leather made practical sense, but some of the edges came lose, so I used a small amount of Gorilla glue to set the edges.  :(     Bad choice.  The Gorilla glue dried very hard and made sections of the glove very uncomfortable to wear.  Grumble.  Grumble.  I should have stuck with leather gloves or perhaps some old Isotoners.  Either way, I can’t wear the gloves I made.  So I will not be wearing this costume to the Sacrament Comic Con this year.  I won’t have it ready.  There are too many parts that need need to be constructed.  I am disappointed, but for me the costume has to look right and be comfortable or else it doesn’t serve its purpose.

Leather fixed the grip problem but the glue introduced a new problem.

Leather fixed the grip problem but the glue introduced a new problem.


So my advice is to test your costumes and think through carefully what the character is actually doing with the gear they are wearing.  Cloth gloves may look pretty or be more comfortable, but they may not be practical in the end and cost you more time.


G. Winkler ©2016

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Posted in Costume, Star Wars

April Fools, Lord Vader!

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I think Lord Vader was expecting the Death Star to be bigger.  It is unwise to play an April Fools joke on Lord Vader.



Gretchen Winkler ©2016

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Posted in Art, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Reminder of the value of the land

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This past weekend was the annual Eagles and Ag event held every February during the calving time of the year.  What is calving?  It’s when cows give birth to their young.  And what has that to do with Eagles?  Well, when an animal gives birth, there is stuff that comes out called afterbirth, and well, the birds clean up the mess.

Eagle Minden NV 12 Dangberg 1000hWe live in a society where we forget where our food comes from and how the circle of life is an important role in the ecology and survival of all of us who live on this round rock called Earth.  So attending this event will afford you the opportunity to understand a bit more about the ranching way of life and how the agriculture is an important part of preserving not only a way of life for people but for nature as well.  As the years have gone by many small farms and ranches have disappeared from the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.  These large open spaces not only provide food for us, but they provide large protected open spaces for the wildlife as well.  Plants too.  This is not ranching or farming propaganda, but the truth.  My childhood neighborhood used to be surrounded by ranches and farms and now they are gone – and so are the animals and plants that I used to see so commonly as a child.

Eagle Minden NV 20 1000wI’m going to share with you some of the photos I took while attending this event and hopefully, it will inspire you to appreciate the natural beauty of the open land, the hard work people put into being ranchers and farmers, and how we can protect the environment by working with these people.  Perhaps in the future environmentalists can help keep the small rancher in business and he can help protect endangered species of wildlife and plant life.  It seems like a perfect partnership.

So with all that inspirational stuff said…  I can also simply say…the air smelled clean and fresh, it was nice to walk about, fun to explore and search for interesting things to photograph, and a nice way to meet other people.  The pictures contained within this blog are mine that I took during the event.  I didn’t get any good clear photos of the birds, but I was able to see them through the telescopes that the presenters had ready for their guests.  These people were volunteers and did a nice job.  There is a photo contest for those with luck and fancy cameras.  Here’s a link to their website, so that you can plan for this event next year.

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Dangberg Ranch – website

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A barn owl that was very difficult to photo!

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I have to admit that while standing here in the morning on this historic ground – I felt like someone else was with me that I just could not see.

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Two young Eagles hanging out with the calves.

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Settlemeyer Ranch property

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I think these are herrings.

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I think this is one of my best photos of the River Fork Ranch Preserve near Genoa, NV – website.

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And what kind of ranch doesn’t have a bunch of fuzzy buddies to hang out with.  Love this picture.  Only ten cats are in this photo, but I think there were about 30 present before I got my camera out. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed my photos.


G. Winkler ©2016

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Posted in Digital Photography, Travel

The Force has really awakened for me

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I am currently in a holding pattern again, but this time it is for better reasons than in the past.  I am waiting for contracts to be put together, gone over by lawyers, and then to be signed.  I am on the doorstep of my lifelong dream of publishing a novel.  And not just going and having it printed for myself, but people actually believing in me and going to bat for me at the publishers.  It’s not a certain thing, and there is still much work to be done.  There are no participant trophies in real life.  It’s the Yodi saying, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”  – The Empire Strikes Back.

So with this in mind I either fail or succeed and all my efforts will be towards success as the goal.  And if I fail, then I get up, dust myself off, and do it again.  And perhaps that next effort will be with new knowledge.  I have been down this path many times already, but this time I have an ally.  I have someone who believes in me that is knowledgeable about publishing and Star Wars.  And I am in the process of making this person my literary agent, which is the best friend that a writer could get in this profession.

It was a long held belief of mine that obtaining a literary agent was just as difficult as getting a publisher to read your manuscript, so how did I manage to get a literary agent interested in my work?

Well, first one has to have something for them to read that is worth their time, and my unfinished manuscript about a school for Templar Knights is what caught his attention.  I worked on this manuscript for three years during the NaNoWriMo event that is held every year in November.  I wrote different sections of the story and it is currently halfway completed.  I put a great deal of time and effort into this piece.  I researched the area around Toronto, Canada, and used other references from real life that I could call upon.  I edited and proofed the sections that I had completed many times over.  It was a labor of love and passion for the topic.  So what am I getting at?  I didn’t expect the novel to ever be published or seen by anyone, who would care in the literary world.  I wrote it for a certain group of people with love and dedication.  The work I put into it was not a waste of time.  Don’t let people crush your dreams because they don’t understand the value of your efforts.  If I had not written this piece of work, I would not be sitting here waiting for contracts to be completed.

Doing things that are difficult and doing the work involved is not a waste of time.  Don’t settle for a silly participant trophy.  You can do more than that.  And when you fail, that’s just experience and knowledge for the next effort that will build your ability to achieve your goals.  I know.  I have been writing novel sized works since I was in Middle School with no success until now.  Currently, I am on the doorstep now, but I will make it through that doorway and into the building.   Perseverance.  Dedication.  Practice.  It’s up to you to create the foundation and not someone else.  Make that opportunity happen by being prepared to show the quality of your efforts.

May the Force be with you in your dreams and goals no matter what universe they are in.

G. Winkler ©2016

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Posted in Art, Star Wars, Writing