Can you do me a quick and easy favor?
15 years ago in 2001 I started making jewelry. It was a hobby at first, but people liked what I did and eventually 10 years ago in 2006, I opened my PhoenixFire Designs etsy shop. I continued to run my business part-time while also managing a normal day job.
Well all that changed five years ago in 2011 when I wound up in the ER. Long story short, I had nearly 3lbs of tumors in my uterus and after months of treatments, I had a hysterectomy at age 34. During this time on medical leave, my day job laid me off. (Nice, right?)
So with the support of my husband and a TON of fear and uncertainty, I decided to try and run my business for real as my only job. It’s been a ton of hard work but it’s been so rewarding. After over a year of recovery, I’m back to good health and I’m happy.
Here’s the favor part. I got nominated for “Best Handcrafted Jewelry” in Tampa Bay. I would LOVE to win, especially given this year marks 10 years of my etsy shop and 5 years since my medical crisis. So can I get a vote? It’s just an email address (they don’t email you anything) and selecting “PhoenixFire Designs” under the “Best Handcrafted Jewelry” category. One vote per EMAIL address (not necessarily per person.) No prize money or anything but it would be an amazing honor to be able to say I won.
Thank you for your support!
The victims and families of the mass shooting in Orlando last night don’t want your prayers or your thoughts. They want your OUTRAGE that a small percent of gun nuts have successfully lobbied against passing ANY common sense gun laws and have put their profits over the lives of human beings.
RAGE to your elected officials that they won’t stand up to terrorist organizations like the NRA who not only allow these mass shootings but who PROFIT from this fear and horror and death.
RAGE to your elected officials that they won’t listen to the overwhelming majority of the US population that WANTS common sense gun law reform.
And VOTE to change the broken system and elect officials who WILL stand up and do the right thing and work towards a SAFER future for all of us.
This year, we had even higher stakes as none other than Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd was going to be there!!
I bought us tickets for Saturday, bought a 1:30pm photo op with Christopher Lloyd and dusted off the old Marty cosplay outfit. I was psyched!!
A little after 7am early Saturday morning, the alarm went off after about 4.5 hours of sleep. I wanted to make sure we got an early start so we could get there close to the 10am opening of the convention. We got ready and headed out, leaving a little later than I had wanted at around 9am, but given it was only a 90 minute drive, I figured that would still get us there by about 10:30am and probably in the building around 11am.
We set off on I-4 from Tampa to Orlando. Made great time until….we came to a screeching halt somewhere around Auburndale. It was just an absolute mass of cars, literally crawling forward an inch at a time, stopping, then moving forward a tiny bit more. Repeat until you go insane. (We came to a near dead stop somewhere around mile marker 50 or so and had until exit 72 for our exit. All of which was just jammed.)
What should have been an hour and a half turned into over THREE HOURS of absolute maddening traffic. We didn’t even get to the convention center until noon. Where we then further got stuck in a never-ending line to the toll booth trying to park.
As we sat there the time just kept ticking by. I had a 1:30pm photo op that was booked and paid for! By the time it was nearly 12:30, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I actually threw the car in park, grabbed my stuff and left Love to park the car.
I took off, running in 95F heat through acres of parking lot, past other concourses of the convention center trying just to get to the building. After literally over MILE of run/walking (I measured it on google maps later), I ran smack into a line extending the entire length of the West Concourse, OUTSIDE stretching back just to get in the door!!
About 15 more minutes of this line, I finally made it in the building. Only to be faced with ANOTHER LINE that literally WRAPPED around the entire perimeter of the massive room within the convention center! I had prepaid for my ticket but I needed my wristband and the line to get it was several thousand deep! I knew they were expecting over 100,000 people for the weekend but I never expected they would ALL be ahead of me in line!!
At this point, it was 1:15pm. That was the time I was supposed to line up for the photo op and I didn’t even have my wristband yet! I got out of line, found a person who worked there who directed me to a manager. Another guy came up at the same time who ALSO had the same 1:30pm photo op and she escorted us both all the way up front, direct to the ticket taker and got us our wristbands. Success!
Except the photo ops were on the entire other side of the convention center. And it’s a MASSIVE space that was FULL of people. The guy and I (never caught his name) stuck together, weaving in and out of people, dashing like mad fools trying to make our way to the photo section. We arrived literally right at 1:30pm. We were able to get in line and thankfully, Christopher Lloyd was running a few minutes behind.
I was DRENCHED in sweat at that point despite not even having my jacket or vest on and fighting to stop panting from the non-stop running I had done for the past hour. Remember, I bailed out of the car around 12:25pm and it was now 1:30pm and it took that long just to get from the parking lot to the line!
Again, thankfully, the photo op was running behind so I had time to cool off enough to put the rest of my costume on, touch up my makeup and reapply my lipstick. By around 2pm I got in and got my pic with Christopher Lloyd:
Mission accomplished!! 😀
Today is my 39th birthday. (Woah, I know!) I spent the day going to see Captain America: Civil War (#TeamCap!) and generally had a low-key but fun day. Here’s an obligatory birthday day selfie:
Saturday, April 16, 2016 was Dapper Day at Walt Disney World. This time, it was a Spring Fling in Magic Kingdom! Dapper Day, for those who might not know (such as most of the “regular” park guests for the day, all of whom felt I looked friendly enough to ask LOL) is a day to dress to impress. When Disneyland first opened in 1955, people wore their Sunday best; men in suits and women in dresses, hats, gloves. So Dapper Day is a twice-a-year event dedicated to bringing a little style and class back into the parks. It’s not about being “vintage” specifically nor does it require a certain time period (though many do chose to embrace a mid-century 50’s or 60’s style.)
I went last year for the first time to the Fall Soiree held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That day, I opted for a “provincial town” blue dress Belle Dapper Disneybound. (A Disneybound is when you dress inspired by a character, movie, attraction, etc. without going for a full, 100% accurate cosplay.)
This year, a few months ago I got the idea to do something with one of my favorite attractions, The Haunted Mansion. I found a perfectly Dapper green and black dress which reminded me of the “Maids” and “Butlers” that work the attraction. From there, I spent a lot of time finding and modifying various aspects to complete the look. (Including making a Bat Stanchion Necklace) I’m happy to report it was a total success!
Feel free to check out my entire album including more group shots and other shots with fellow Dapper Darlings here on my facebook page.
I handmade the Haunted Mansion “bat stanchion” necklace I’m wearing for the day and had so many people inquire about it that I will be doing a limited run of them for sale. Follow PhoenixFire Designs to be updated when they will become available. I need to get additional supplies and materials plus get more cast and painted. Update: Pre-orders for my Haunted Mansion Bat Stanchion Black Lace Choker Necklace Here!
Trigger Warning: abusive father bullshit ahead
This one is dark and heavy. There’s also lots of cursing head. Fair warning.
It seems that I only write a post once every four years these days. Regardless if that’s accurate or not, I just had to post something today to have a date stamp of February 29th on the blog. 😉
Happy Mathematical Construct Day everyone! See you again in four years. 😀
I know I should probably find it “cute” or something, but I just can’t. Every single day, I am “treated” to the…let’s be generous and call it “singing” of the small child in the apartment below me. He (?) sings as loud as he can, shrill and screechy and ungodly out of tune over and over and over again. All day long.
Yesterday I was woken up around 8:30am to the dulcet sounds of For the First Time In Forever from Frozen. It was a living nightmare.
The approximation of the sounds that come out of this kid’s mouth is something like WHAAAAAAAAAA aaaah wwawawawa MmmmAAAAWWWWW and about as in-tune as bagpipes in a garbage disposal.
The “singing” is of a volume and frequency that it travels through the floors and walls from his apartment to mine. I will sit, listening to this Hell for 10 or 15 minutes until I can’t take it any longer and play the I have over 5,000 songs on my pc and speakers louder than you game.
This morning we discovered that Imagine Dragons > his punk ass.
I just love apartment living.
Marty: All right, Doc, what’s goin’ on, huh? Where are we? “When” are we?
Doc Brown: We’re descending towards Hill Valley, California at 4:29 PM on Wednesday, October 21st, twenty-fifteen.
Marty: Two thousand fifteen?! You mean we’re in the future!
Welcome to the future!
I recently found a copy of Starlog Magazine from January 1990 while cleaning. The cover story? An interview with Robert Zemeckis on the filming of Back to the Future: Part II! This is a timely find given that we are nearly at the future – October 21, 2015.
It features some great production photos from the film as well as a Q&A with Zemeckis. Since this is a 25 year old issue and I’m sure most BttF fans don’t have a copy laying around to read, I’ve scanned all the pages and uploaded them for reference and review.
The full gallery (including much larger versions of the scans) can be found here on my G+ account.
As a bonus, here’s the back cover of the issue. It was a full page ad for the Back to the Future fan club. Man, I wish I had gotten in on that! (Only $9.95! 😉 )
Great Scott! (I know, this is heavy!)
The brand new PhoenixFire Designs Shop on Handmade on Amazon is now LIVE!!
There is currently a limited selection of our signature tree of life pendants and wire wrapped jewelry but there’s more to come!
(Warning: There is bugs in this post. Specifically ants. There’s also A LOT of cursing.)
I have had a fucking week from hell and I’m just over it. All I want to do is lay down and fucking cry. I have no one to vent to so I hope you will allow me to share here.
Sunday night around midnight, my husband is going to bed and…there’s a fucking invasion of ants in our master bedroom. Couple weeks ago, the apt below us had a swarm in their master bedroom closet.
I need to point out that I have a hardcore phobia of ants. Like, even trying to talk about it gets me all shaky. So needless to say I had a fucking panic attack that night. They were on the floor, the bed, the curtains my fucking pillow – everywhere. I was hyperventilating and sobbing my eyes out and shaking so hard because I was so freaked out.
Meanwhile, my poor husband is trying to kill them, wipe them up, smoosh them, etc and every time he moved something, there were more.
I wound up doing like 6 loads of laundry (they were in the bedding, extra linens, clothes, etc.) and couldn’t even bring myself to sleep in my own bed because I was so freaked out. I was up until 7:30am before I was finally able to doze off for about 3 hours on my couch.
Of course, my apartment complex is made up of fucking assholes. So Monday they were – big surprise – total fucktards about the whole thing. “Do you eat in your bedroom? was their reply.
First off, no I don’t.
Secondly, who the fuck cares because I’m pretty damned sure the people below us don’t eat in their closet so it’s ridiculous for you to act like I somehow brought this on myself!!!
They were absurdly unsympathetic telling me that *I* had to put out traps because they couldn’t for “liability” reasons. Oh and I needed to move every single piece of furniture away from the walls by the so they could spray Tuesday. They couldn’t help me in any way because, of course, of “liability” reasons. I told the property manager I have permanent neck damage so there’s a very low limit to what I can do, and she was like, oh well that’s what you have to do.
So Monday night my husband and I do our best to make sure you can at least get to the baseboards as best as possible. Furniture doesn’t fucking float so there’s only so much it can be moved since we still need to, oh I don’t know, access the bed! The living room is a disaster with overflow of laundry & linens I haven’t put back away and now furniture and things taken out of the room for access.
Tuesday I sit around all day and….pest control doesn’t show! Who’s surprised?
Oh the pest control company had “an emergency” so they’ll be here Wednesday instead. First thing, before noon, promise.
I get up early Wednesday and…wait. By 12:30pm still no sign. So I call. “Oh they’re supposed to be here sometime today, you’re on the list.” Thanks.
Finally come about 2pm. The guy asks if I have any allergies or sensitivities. Uh, yeah to almost everything. Especially scents. (My husband can’t wear cologne because it gives me migraines. Even his stupid deodorant reeks to me. I buy unscented everything.) Oh well, he says, this stuff is horrible. It even gives ME headaches and I don’t have any sensitivities.
And this is what you want to spray in my BEDROOM??
So after all that, he wound up baiting and setting up traps instead, no spray. He said he’d spray outside heavily (which is the problem in the first place IMO since our whole building is swarming in ants. Like, they are everywhere!!)
Meanwhile, my husband has like 30 huge, puss-filled awful bites all over his arms and legs. I have about 4 on my feet since he was one the one right in the mix of it. Apt complex does not give any shits.
We haven’t seen any more since but I’m so nervous now and worried because we never had them before and the just BAM! a ton all at once. They had to come from somewhere and I’m so afraid they’ll be back.
I’m so done with this place and so very, very tired of their bullshit. I wish I could just pack up and leave tomorrow. Of course if we wanted to leave it would be thousands and thousands of dollars in early termination fees and if we just left without 90 days notice, we could never get a place anywhere else ever again. Not like we have the money to move anyway which is why we’ve been stuck here so long in the first place.
It’s just become nearly unbearable and I’m just so damned depressed lately about everything and so overwhelmed. I feel like just laying down and crying. It’s all I want to do. I have no motivation, no energy, nothing. I’m just so done with it all and I’m tired of being powerless and beat up.
A few months ago I decided I wanted to attend my first ever con: Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015. And if I was going to go, I was going to cosplay. Back to the Future is my all-time favorite movie (and movie trilogy) and 2015 is not only the 30th anniversary of it’s theatrical release (originally released July 3, 1985) but in Part II, 2015 is “the future” that they travel to. (October 21, 2015.) So it just made sense that my first ever cosplay should be Marty McFly!
Of course having an idea to do a female Marty McFly cosplay and actually putting it together is two different things entirely! Because as it turns out, Marty’s 1985 outfit is not only more complex than it initially looks, it’s also full of rare, vintage pieces – all in men’s sizing. And while Michael J. Fox may be small guy, he’s still a guy. And I’m not. 😉
So I needed to find suitable outfit parts that would still look like the original and yet be made for a woman. I was also unwilling to spend hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars on this outfit and wanted to do it inexpensively as possible. It quickly became clear that I needed to approach this creatively.
In other words: this was going to take some work.
To start, this is Marty McFly’s famous 1985 complete outfit:
It’s a LOT of layers.
- a burgundy tee shirt
- a white button up with a black windowpane pattern
- black suspenders
- custom Guess jacket with those distinctive dark blue accents
- burnt orange puffer jacket, jeans
- Nike Bruins red and white sneakers
There’s also a ton of details like three pins on his jacket, his headphones and walkman, his marron Eastpak backpack, etc. I spent a lot of time looking up reference photos and learning all about what the original parts were so that I could find, make or modify compatible female pieces.
For example, the white and black windowpane button up shirt. There was a limited run of a reproduction version a few years ago by Shah Safari. Of course, they were in men’s sizing. And if you could find one on ebay, they were going for $100 and up.
So I scoured the web and wound up finding this women’s shirt. It cost me about $10 shipped and looked really good. Plus, it had the added benefit of actually FITTING me as a woman!
Next up was the puffer vest. I admit I never wound up finding exactly the right vest. I ordered four separate pieces over several months and settled on a red one. Yes, I know that it’s technically orange in the film. It’s a burnt orange color. Due to the lightning process and coloration of the movie, it looks red. (There’s even a big debate among casual viewers if it’s orange or red!)
The original is by Class-5. They went out of business in the early 80’s, so finding an authentic one is not only nearly impossible, it’s an extremely expensive proposition. Even if I did find one, again, it would be in men’s sizing and thus too large for my size 4 frame.
I wound up settling on a red puffer vest. I also did buy an orange one but it was too neon; much more of a bright safety orange vs the darker burnt orange puff vest original. I also bought a woman’s size one to help give it a little bit of shape. Puffer vests really do nothing for your figure so I opted for one that, while not screen accurate, looked good on me and still gave the impression and look of Marty’s original outfit.
Like everything, Marty’s original shoes proved hard to find as well. Through research I found out the originals were Nike Bruins but they don’t seem to make this color combo any longer.
I spent time searching ebay and various websites but the few white-with-red swoosh versions I found were nowhere near the right size. I wear a women’s 6.5 which would mean I’d need a men’s 4.5 (which really is a boy’s size at that point.) I finally had a lucky break when I found a vintage pair of red and white Nikes IN MY SIZE that had a very similar look. They are labeled “ACE ’83” but were really an excellent find.
Marty McFly also has a very distinctive cassette walkman that he uses in the film. The original is a AIWA HS-P07 (or AIWA HS-P02 MII apparently one version was US and one was international but they both have the same styling.) These very rarely come up for sale and when they do…you guessed it. They sell for hundreds of dollars! I figured getting something with a similar “look” was close enough so I found this for about $10 on ebay instead:
Marty wears a distinctively 80’s digital watch. When he’s trying to call Doc Brown from the payphone in Lou’s Cafe in 1955, it beeps. This was the easiest piece to track down because They still make basically the exact same model! Casio Men’s CA53W Calculator Watch. It’s available for about $15 on amazon!
Marty’s backpack seemed like it would be easy, but it turned out it turned into one of those 30 years later challenges. The original is a marron Eastpak. A few years ago, they even re-released it as the Eastpak Pak’r Returnity Red but…those are sold out too.
I wound up buying a vintage Jansport bag. I took off the logo and added some handmade “pig ears” out of sued leather to give it the look. (The leather diamonds are sometimes referred to as “pig ears.”) Another $10 ebay find.
Of course, the biggest challenge was THE JACKET. A one-of-a-kind, made by the studio just for the production, it was my biggest hurdle. And it deserves it’s own post so….to be continued!
See Part II: The making of my Marty McFly 1985 Jacket here!