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Halloween Photoshoot with Charlotte Doran Davies


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It was an utter pleasure to shoot with photographer Charlotte Doran Davies a couple of weeks back at the incredible Pumpkins R Us!

Situated in Kenilworth, this wonderful location offers a mind-boggling array of pumpkins and Halloween decor! I enjoyed it so much last year that we went 4 times, and this year Ive been twice already.

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I had created a black and white outfit for myself and Betsy Rose that were meant to be worn at Crich Steampunk Event. My skirt was repurposed from a ballgown I used to sing in (but never fit very well). I cut out all the underskirts and re-draped the top layers; adding contrasting trim in orange and teal green. I created a bustle pillow for underneath and wore butterfly tights to compliment Betsy’s wings!

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I also had a wonderful black coat that didn’t make it into any of my chosen photographs. I have to work on the shape as it made me look bulky with my bustle. It was a long one I bought second hand off of Ebay that I cut and reshaped. The long coat had faux fur trim all around the bottom and up the front, so I reused this once I had cut it into shape. Its a pity it didn’t look right, but I will get it sorted!

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The hat I made from hessian, EVA foam, part of a wooden boat, pillow stuffing and Fimo, with some trim, ribbon and battery LEDs to finish it off. It is in homage to Travella; a character from Boodle – A Steampunk Story, by Tilly Copperplate.

Now onto Betsy’s outfit! The skirt was repurposed from a beautiful Laura Ashley one I have had knocking around for 10 years. It no longer fit me and was such a great fabric. I cut it down, took in the waist and used the trimmed fabric and netting to create a bustle effect. Trimmed with pom poms in the same colours as mine, it matched really well, without looking too ‘Mommy Dearest.’ The pierrot clown hat was made from EVA foam, with teal green pom poms, pleated fabric trim from her skirt and laser cut cogs. The back has a leather buckle piece to bring in more of the steampunk element.

The orange of the pumpkins worked so well with the boldness of the outfits. I wanted to create a slightly Gothic, Tim Burton-esque Steampunk feel and the balance was pretty tricky. The colourful trim helped with this I think and Charlotte did an wonderful job capturing our day.

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Thank you so much to Pumpkins R Us for letting us into their marquee and their fields before they were open to the public. Hopefully you will see some of our images gracing their website page next year!

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Steampunk Mary Poppins and Stratford Comicon 2018


Well this April Stratford Upon Avon hosted its very first Comicon! I ended up using this as an excuse to create a costume I’ve wanted to do for years…Steampunk Mary Poppins!

I have always loved the Jolly Holiday scene in the movie and couldn’t wait to start my project. On a very tight budget I managed to get a blouse, petticoat, overskirt, boots and corset. The corset, although XL, was small and the underbust certainly wasn’t ‘under’. I ended up having to cut the shoulder straps, add eyelets and add red cord to lengthen it! It is just a fashion corset and not for tight lacing, so wore my trusty waspie under the outfit for a bit more nip and pull.

The boots were black and white, so I painted them with acrylics and sprayed with an enamel top coat. They looked super and just about lasted the event before cracking across the toes. It was hitting, but there was nothing online that was right (she wore pale pink and white boots, not red and white). I also didn’t have enough money for leather which I could have permanently painted. Ah well, they did the job!

I cut down the hoop petticoat as it was ankle length originally and did the same with the tulle overskirt, chopping out the attached underskirt too. Adding the signature red velvet bows tied it into the movie.

The hat was an 80’s wedding hat! I cut down the depth of the crown and reattached the top, covering the whole thing in tulle that I had trimmed off the skirt! No waste!

Onto the exciting bits! I created the rocket pack in homage to Mary Poppins’ carousel horse and painted it in similar colours, with the same flower and swirl pattern. The pressure dial was inspired by her yellow measuring tape and the bottom of each rocket by her parasol umbrella.

I had bought a couple of papier-mâché vases ages ago in the hopes of creating a rocket pack for myself, so that was great! The carousel horse head was created from a papier-mâché unicorn and the dial from a cardboard gift box. I used craft foam for the rocket cones and parasol bases.

Next up, my emergency cup and saucer holster! Whether there is a tea duelling contest or just the need for a morning Earl Grey, this is the perfect accessory. I ended up creating the template around a silicone cup and saucer (the type you bake cupcakes in) as I wanted something very light and non-breakable (incase I had to carry Betsy). I had some very old scrap leather pieces that I used for the holster. These were easy to cut with standard scissors. I hot glued the edges together and painted it with acrylics to match the rocket pack.

Finally the leather wrist gauntlet! With a glass vial of ‘medicine’ and another full of sugar (to help the medicine go down) it is the ideal emergency kit for sniffly children. I mixed bubble bath, food colouring and glitter for the medicine before hot gluing the cork on. The strap were made from antique leather children’s belts that had dried out. I massaged some moisturiser into the leather and theft them overnight. The main gauntlet was made from the same scrap leather as the cup holster, hot glued onto a piece of craft foam lining. I used acrylic paint again and a special raised outline gold paint for detailing. I sprayed everything with a clear top coat to protect the paint.

On to the event! It only took about 1.5 hours to get round, so it was small, but for a first offering (and £5 entrance fee) it was expected. There was a good mix of stalls, illustrators, an epic cup cake stall, a replica Dalek exhibit and a large Simpsons sofa photo op.

Over the other side were the ‘celebrities’ and a green screen photo op. We went first thing in the morning and there were about 100 of us.

I made my way to an illustrator’s stall and then carried on around. The celebrity guests were sat looking a little bemused. I stood and chatted for quite a long time to Paul Warren and Julian Seager, who were very pleasant. I felt awful as I wasn’t interested in purchasing autographs from them and felt like they were friendly but also trying to butter me up to purchase something! Hopefully that wasn’t the case! I talked briefly to Virginia Hey as she needed to borrow glue for her nail and Chris Barrie who I had met previously at Goodwood Revival in the VIP area. It was rather amusing seeing Mr. Brittas back in a leisure centre!

I did have a photo taken with Betsy on the green screen, but it was just a shame that Betsy and my leg disappeared on the photo! Ah well, it was a nice memory and souvenir!

The good thing about the show is that it is walking distance to the town and park. You can come and go as you please, so can go for a wander and then pop back.

It would be nice to see some photo op lookalikes there, such as UK Negan, a Q&A stage (this could also be used for people to introduce their cosplay costumes), more food stalls and maybe a Jolly Comicon host to keep everyone up to date. There could be a screen with projected live Tweets from their Twitter profile, or new movie previews… maybe some of these ideas will reach the creators!

I have to say though that my husband’s Mugatu costume seemed to steal the show! He has worn it before, but I managed to alter a dog toy to make into Mugatu’s poodle and found some sunglasses to finish the costume off. He looked hilarious!

It was a great little convention to meet up with friends and I’m so glad that we finally have a Comicon of our own. It will get bigger and better I’m sure, but this was a good start!