Sith Happens when more than three show up….

Okay, I have engaged in the creative craziness again by wanting to create three new costumes for Halloween.  And the party is scheduled for 28th of October, so I have even less time to get things done.

We decided to go Sith this Halloween since we normally play Jedi.  My husband choose Kylo Ren and our best friend was told he was playing Darth Sidious since we think he could manage that character along with the costume requirements.  He wears a Wookiee mask as Gungi, so he needed a bit of a break from the super hot costume.  That left me.  I needed a break from the makeup intense Kage Warrior Jedi that I have developed.  So I wanted a mask.  Love Darth Vader….but to me….he should be a tall hulking and very male presence….I wasn’t going to do that.  I can’t pull it off.  Darth Traya was a thought but she has the white hair like my Kage and so I didn’t want them to get mixed up.  So I selected Darth Nihilus.  ……what a truly dark character…..creepy, scary….monster of a being…..

And yes, I am completely stressed about getting these costumes done.  My husband and I are working diligently on these projects.

One thing I have to suggest is if you are sewing from the Kylo Ren pattern, don’t do the goofy sleeves with the zippers.  Use stretchy knit fabric that will flex when the wearer bends their arms.  I like being comfortable in my costumes.  I want them to be like clothing.  Here are some quick pictures of the process we used for the altered sleeve design.  It does take time, but saves a lot of stress and anguish later on.

You will need about two yards of black knit fabric depending upon the size you choose to make.  Pick some substantial knit fabric and nothing too wimpy.  Make sure the direction that you pleated the fabric will be the same of the stretch of the fabric.  Check the fabric before you purchase it.  Here are some quick pictures to help you get the idea.  We pleated the fabric before we cut the sleeve.  The pleats are sown to make sure they stay pleated.

Measuring and drawing lines for the pleating process...

Measuring and drawing lines for the pleating process…


Pining the section before sewing it....

Pining the section before sewing it….


This is what the fabric will look like when you are done. Iron it, but be careful not to make the iron too. It could damage the fabric.

This is what the fabric will look like when you are done. Iron it, but be careful not to make the iron too hot.    It could damage the fabric.


This is how it looks close up and it does not hurt or restrict blood flow when he bends his arm.

This is how it looks close up and it does not hurt or restrict blood flow when he bends his arm.

darth_nihilus-500wThe Darth Nihilus mask is such an important part of the costume that I decided to order it from a mask maker in Canada.  I knew I could not make this mask the way I wanted it to be with such a short amount of time, so I opted for this investment.  It was well worth it.  The mask maker is Khro’s Nest.  They also have a facebook page where I was able to chat with the mask maker, who was amazingly helpful.  Kim at Khro’s Nest even made sure I was able to find the specs from the 501st concerning their requirements for making the costume.  Below are a few pictures of my preparation for getting the mask ready for use in the costume.

darth-nihilus-mask-01I sanded the mask first and then used a grey primer and then a flat white spray paint.  I have decided to not battle age the mask.

Then I hand painted the the red and the silver onto the mask with acrylic paint.  The lines are not perfect but I don’t do well with painting over stencils although I was able to use the ones I was given to get the correct shape of the lines.  I will give the paint some time to cure before putting a protective coating over the paint work.  I am pleased with the results and think my first Sith costume will be a lot of fun.  I still need to study the history of the character before going to the party.  It’s important to understand who you are dressed as.  😉


Hopefully, I will have some updates of the costumes soon and can share what the end results of the projects has been.


G.Winkler  © 2016




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Posted in Art, Costume, Halloween, Star Wars

SNAFU 2016 – 100% improvement!


Voice actor Warky, aka Steve Nunez, is entering the audience and his fellow panel guests on Saturday at SNAFU con in the Main Event area.

I am back from attending a small anime event called SNAFU, which stands for Sierra Nevada Anime Fans Unite.  I went last year and was not impressed.  That was their first year at the Nugget Hotel location and several other 21 and older Halloween events were also occurring at the site at the same time.  Needless to say 2015 was disappointing and several of us had to be talked into attending the event again by a colleague.  He really pushed to attend the event again and we agreed to give it one more try.  It was worth it, and if SNAFU continues in this positive direction they will have an amazing event worth traveling far for.  So you might ask, what was so much better this time?

Let me list the ways…..

  1. The layout of the event was better.  The Artist Alley was now easily accessible and one could easily see what was being presented.  The  Main Stage area was large, open, and inviting unlike last year when it was stuffed in the back down a long dark hallway. The Vendor room was no longer tight and claustrophobic in nature, and the vendors seemed to be in better spirits this year.
  2. The attendance of Cos-players in great costumes was certainly up in numbers and in quality.  One could tell that many of these people put some serious time and effort into the construction and design of their costumes and props.
  3. Another aspect that is harder to quantify was that attendees and event staff all seemed happier this year.  People were friendly no matter who you chatted with and I never observed anyone getting out of line or being rude.  So if there was a jerk in attendance, then I missed him and that individual had no affect on others that I could observe.
  4. The media was treated well and we were informed of any details and assured that if we had any questions or concerns that we could ask the staff about anything.  This positive attitude was greatly appreciated by the User Friendly Team, @1UserFriendly, that attended and filmed parts of the event.  Thank you Tasha Costa.
  5. It was easier to access the event location unlike last year where sections of the hotel was blocked off to prevent the two different event attendees from getting mixed up.

20161007_163140Did all the concerns that I had from the previous year get resolved?  I have no idea.  We chose not to stay at the Nugget again since our rooms last year had black mold in the bathroom, so we did not have the option to attend some of the late night events that we did last year.  But the problems with the hotel facility is not the fault of the event staff, and hopefully the new owners of the Nugget will work to improve the condition of the aging casino.  This single event should be a wake up call to the new owners that these multi-generational, multi-media, multi-interest types of events are an attraction and to be taken seriously in years to come.  The Reno area has lost the annual  Wizard World Comic Con event and SNAFU is just one of a few smaller events that could blossom to fill a void that has been left by the lack of entertainment in this market area.

I look forward to seeing this event in the future.

G. Winkler ©2016

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Posted in Anime, Comic Cons, Travel

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

Sac 2016 WizWorld 01

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.

The Lok Twins - Star Wars 1000w

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.

Kage gloves 03 1000w

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.

Kage gloves 01 1000h

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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SW April Foolin 02

SW April Foolin 03

SW April Foolin 04

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