As far as costuming goes: so much work...and nothing to show for it (yet).
Current projects: the sword (yes, still), the prototype Zhang He armor, and the sashes. Don't ever spray paint when it's windy. The one side of the sword has some concentrated spots of pigment on it. I'll probably sand those areas with very fine paper and possibly reapply a bit of paint if necessary. It's a base coat, but I want it to be a good base coat. It turned out that the other side needed to be sanded down, too, so I did that today and am already on the second new primer coat. It looks so much better already. I'm glad I learned this stuff via trial and error now so I'll be able to do a more efficient job at finishing my claws.
Speaking of which...I gave up looking for Ultracal 30 locally and just ordered a pail online. Shipping wasn't too bad. I can't wait till it gets here so I can make my spiffy-ass claw mold. I also can't wait for the random $20 gently used white knee-high marching boots I found in my size. If they're more than gently used and the crappy areas won't be covered up by the painted detail, I can always cannibalize them for another costume. I also found inexpensive black knee-high boots to fit Randy's big feet. w00t.
The stupid armor prototype took me several hours and it's nowhere near done. It's just some 1/4" craft foam hot glued and taped together and Mod Podged on the back to stiffen it. When I finalize the pattern, I'll put some plaster strips in there to make it nice and rigid. At least the Mod Podge helps it hold a shape as I squish it to fit my body. It needs some additions so we can put pauldrons on and the back won't look gappy and dumb, but Josh is going to help me figure that out.
The squiggly fabric dealys above Zhang He's waist sash are such a farking pain in the ass to finish. I tried turning under and topstitching them like I did with the dangly sashes. That did not go well. Thus, all I could really do was make a front and back cloth sandwich and then try to turn it as best as I could. It took forever, but it really didn't turn out too badly. At least I got one of the points pointy and the other doesn't look like complete ass. It's rounded, but eh, I can deal. I also managed to get rid of the stupid pucker at the part that curves inward to form a concave point. I couldn't make that point (it's rounded), but at least it lays flat and (again) doesn't look like complete ass. And now I have to try to make the other one not suck. You'll see pictures at some point in the near future.
Don't you hate it when you set fabric paint and it looks blotchy because you realize too late that you hadn't mixed the paint well enough before applying it? ...yep. I have to recoat some of the painted sashes. Hooray for more work.