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2018 and Beyond

As 2017 comes to a close, I get a chance to look back on the year and see what progress was made on myself and the business.

Truth be told, not as much progress occurred as I would have liked to. However, instead of wallowing in the sadness of a huge lack up progression, I am taking the time to make plans for next year. Specifically for myself, and more importantly, for this company.

Streams and Schedules

Earlier in the year, I started to do Twitch streams on a heavily sporadic schedule. After conversing with Lion for a little time we agreed we need to keep a set schedule for streams so people can expect us and expect what to see. Below is the stream schedule for both Rabbit Tales and Lion’s Den streaming.

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The stream schedule is effective today and we’ll be continuing this schedule until further notice.

The surprise days are just if we have the time, energy, and are at home. Which brings us to the next point!

Conventions and Artist Alleys

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Lion and I looked at the conventions we did last year and agreed we want to expand out more into other genres of conventions. Don’t get us wrong, we love MLP cons and we won’t be removing them from our list of cons we want to do. However, we want to grow more and expand more on the different skills we have. Currently, we only have one con confirmed for next year, but we are looking into other conventions as well. Know of a con or two you’d like to see us at? Comment below and we’ll apply!

Tutorials, Classes, Panels and Teaching

Speaking of conventions, if there are any cons that you’d like me to teach at, let me know as well! I’d love to run as panel educational panels as I possibly can and see what I can do to help people in the cosplay community!

Since I know I wont’ be able to hit every convention and teach every panel, I am getting back into building Youtube tutorials for cosplay and general sewing skills. I’m also working on building some fun tutorials on another Youtube account that is mostly for fun and something to just let me play a little here and there as well.

Along with the tutorials and panels, there are thoughts of doing monthly “watch and create with me” streams where you can purchase a box of goodies, watch the stream and make something with me. After the stream, the boxes will be available after and the stream will be posted that people can watch. So if you missed that stream, you still have a chance to learn a new skill!

Final part of this section is a desire to start studio classes in my home state. This is still a HUGE work in progress and may not be seen until mid 2018 to the start of 2019. It all depends on a lot of other factors that are somewhat on a slow process of getting done.

 

Naturally, there are LOTS of updates that we’re working on that we’ll be touching base on as we work through them (commission slots for costumes, wigs, glasses, props, etc etc, new embroidery designs and new goodies with embroidery, cosplay updates…). Until then, we just wanted people to know what’s going on, what are some future goals, and where we are going from here.

 

So, from Lion and Rabbit, we wish you a happy holidays! Let’s ring in the new year with some new, amazing ideas!

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Flights of Fancy – New Necklace Series

 

A lot has been happening at Rabbit Tales. I now have a part time job, I’m preparing to get back to school, and since there’s free time between those two, I have time to stream crafts and work on creating new items.

One of the newest projects? Resin wing necklaces.

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The creation of the wings was streamed on Twitch (which, if you haven’t subscribed, you totally should) and completed over the following week.

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I am now happy to announce all the necklaces are available on Etsy! If you’re interested in a certain color, I am more than happy to take requests! Click on the image of the necklace you want to get sent directly to the Etsy listing.

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Crystal Prep Skirt – Creation and Sales

Information on how to order the skirts and necessary information will be below the image. 

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It is finally time to post the information on how to order your very own Crystal Prep Equestia Girls Skirt!

Up first, let’s talk about the specs:

~The skirt is made with a plaid and solid color, 100% cotton flannel and is machine washable (I do recommend hang drying the skirt, followed by a nice steam ironing to get the pleats to pop back into place)

~Each skirt has been cut, sewn, folded, and adjusted by me. There will be small hiccups in each skirt. However, I will not send anything out I wouldn’t use myself.

~The length of the skirt is roughly 13in with a 2inch waist band. The back has a zipper and hook and eye for easy wear. Skirts up to 45 inches around will be the same price. If your waist/hips are passed that number, there is an extra fee. All information on pricing can be found on the etsy listing (posted below).

~The only measurement needed for the skirt creation is your hips/waist (AKA: where you want to have the skirt sit on you). I will probably add 1/2 inch to that measurement to make sure it’s comfortable. If the skirt does not fit right, you didn’t measure yourself correctly and that’s on you to be honest to yourself and myself as well! I don’t care about your size. I promise. It’s just another number to me that I will forget after I ship out your skirt.

~Turn around time is between 2 to 3 weeks. There is a chance it may be less if I have the fabric pre-created. If you want to know if there is any fabric made ahead of time, you can reach out to me. Please note that I cannot and will not rush an order. I have a life and it doesn’t revolve around making skirts all day and night.

~If you are interested in a longer/short skirt, this will be a custom order and I will have to treat it as such. This means you’ll need to message me with the length you are after. We will continue discussion after that.

~I do not know how long I can order the plaid fabric or if it will be discontinued in the near future! I cannot place holds or reserve an amount for you because you plan to buy it later. If the fabric gets discontinued, there is nothing I can do and I will end orders for the skirt until I find something else to work!! AKA: wait at your own risk!

 

Interesting in ordering a skirt? Click the link here to place your order.

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Nintendo Switch Fabric Cover

I recently had a friend ask if I could build them a pattern for a Switch fabric cover. Apparently the Switch has a little…quirk where the stand will scratch the screen, so people have been created 3D printed stands and also fabric covers for the screen.

After getting the measurements from my friend, I have finally built a decent pattern for the cover.

Please note: This is a rough pattern that I have not tried yet and there may be errors! Please take your time and be willing to test the design. Feedback on this pattern will help so much!

Seam allowance: 1/4inch, already included in the sizing.

Skill: Beginner

 

Front fabric piece (This will be the part that is visible. Make it as fun or nerdy as you want!

7.5in x 5in (Idea doodled onto a sticky note for those that prefer visuals)

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Back fabric: 7.5 x 4 in

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On the front fabric, fold 1/4 inch of the fabric twice to create a rolled hem and sew across to hold the fabric (I do recommend folding the fabric, iron the fabric down, fold again, iron, then stitch. This will keep the fabric still and make sewing easier.) Note: Fold the right side of the fabric to the wrong side of the fabric.

Repeat this with the back fabric as well. This will make the bases clean on both sides.

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With right sides together, sew the front fabric to the back with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. The front fabric will be about 1 inch longer so be sure to continue the seam down to seal the sides of the front fabric.

Now, if I did this correctly, (and you did as well) you should have a Switch cover that will fit snuggly and keep your controller scratch free!

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Sewing Machine 101 – Picking out the best for you

Today will be the start of a several part tutorial on sewing machines. I’ll be going over the process of how to select your machine, how to use your machine, and how to care for your machine so it’ll last as long as possible. There will be little blurbs along the way for tips and tricks as well.

I had the opportunity to work at a sewing machine shop (I sold sewing machines during that time) for about 6 months and I learned a lot about sewing machines, companies, and who’s the best for what type of sewing machine. Many friends have come to me for my opinion on what machine would be the best and why. After realizing I more or less say the same information every time, I decided it’s time to write it all down for others to enjoy and use.

*DISCLAIMER*

All the information below is biased, personal opinions and NOT sponsored in any way! You may have different opinions or information than I do and that’s okay! I’m not here to tell you who’s right and who’s wrong. This is all MY opinion and MY knowledge.

 

Sewing Machine Companies:

There are several different sewing machines out there. I am just going to touch base on the companies that I know the most information about.

Brother –

  • Sister company to Babylock (Which is why their machines look similar in a lot of ways).
  • Cheaper made machines (plastic parts) so prone to breaking if worked too hard.
  • Cheaper parts = cheaper machine so good start machines when learning or on a tight budget.

Babylock –

  • Higher quality machines vs Brother
    • (Fun fact! Babylock intentionally has Brother machines cheaper so you’ll want to upgrade to Babylock machines. They look the same for that reason. “Yes, it works the exact same as a Brother machine, but it won’t break as quickly.”  I have had a sale person tell me that exact line.)
  • Costs more than Brother due to the different innards used. However, the machines work just about the time.

Singer –

  • Not worth the time. Seriously. Just don’t. They use to be good, but not anymore. If you can find an older machine and a shop willing to service it, you’re set. However, do not get a new machine from them.

Pfaff –

  • See above. Same story. They got sold to China and the machines are just NOT the same anymore.

Janome –

  • Metal innards, so less breakage.
  • Higher end of the price range, but the cost is worth it for the machines
  • The company focuses on quilters and clothing makers.

Juki –

  • Not a lot of personal information available. I didn’t sell them, or service them.

Bernina –

  • Not a lot of personal information available. I didn’t sell them, or service them.

 

Best Kind of Machines from Each Company

Most sewing companies have one specialty they prefer to focus on, or one of the first companies to create that type of machine, so they more “perfected” on that type of machine.

Brother/Babylock – Embroidery machines were one of their focuses so their embroidery machines are setup pretty well. The sewing normal sewing is good as well. If you need a serger, Babylock is the company to get them from.

Singer/Pfaff – Back in the day sewing machines were great from them. Now a days, no so much.

Janome – Janome’s focus as been on sewing machines mostly. Yes, they are expanding to embroidery, but their sewing machines are the main focus if you were to get a machine from them.

Juki – Their older sergers are very durable. Not much information passed that.

Bernina – The sewing machines are good. Not much information passed that.

Where to Get the Machines

I am going to get a lot of flack for this answer, but it’s the honest truth: Go to a shop to test the machines, purchase online unless the shop has an AMAZING deal.

I love Ma and Pa shops. I worked at a Ma and Pa sewing shop. It’s a wonderful place because you get to play with the machines and test what you like. However, the prices aren’t always the best out there. HOWEVER! I have seen many good deals that make purchasing from a shop better than online. Some shops will have upgrade options (trade up the machine within a year and we’ll put the cost of the machine towards the new machine), or payment plans (Which, most cases this IS a credit card. Be sure your credit score is good enough to allow this). Ma and Pa shops may also offer extra goodies or classes that make shopping there worth the difference.

So keep and eye out on the deals and see if they’re worth it to you, or if Amazon has something better.

How to Decide What Machine is Best for You

This is one of the hardest questions to answer because what is recommended depends on what YOU want in YOUR machine. Do you want an old fashioned no tech machine? Do you want something that will automatically cut the bobbin and top threads with the push of a button? Do you want something that’ll warn you if a bobbin is low? How about speed control? Do you want the option to not have to use a good petal? How many stitch types do you want (As a side note: you need at least forward, backward and zig zag for the minimum. Everything else is a perk).

Depending on what you are after will depend on what you need in a sewing machine. The best idea is to have an idea of what you want, how much of a budget you have, and got explore. Check out a sewing machine shop, tell them what you want and see what they offer. Don’t tell them your budget or they will low ball. However, when they tell you the price, feel free to say “That’s out of my budget. What’s the next step down?” and keep going until you get a chance to see all the options for what you want. After you see it all, make a decision from there.

What I Own

I know this question is going to come up, so let me break down everything I have and what it does.

Brother SE400 – This was my first embroidery machine that has now become my normal sewing machine since my Babylock Encore has finally given up the ghost.

Brother PE500 – This is my embroidery machine and nothing else. This one doesn’t have the 2-in-1 option that the SE400 has.

Brother PE770 – I own 2 of these guys thanks to a friend selling her 770 to me because she didn’t use is. This has a larger size from the SE400 and PE500

Juki Serger – The model I have isn’t even created anymore. I was given this serger after my grandmother realized she was too blind to sew like she use to. This serger is very, very old, but still works like a dream.

Babylock Serger –  Yet another “This serger isn’t made anymore” moment. This was one that I’ve had for many, many, many years and still works well.

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How to Dye Wigs with Fabric Dye

I had made a tutorial on how to dye wigs with ink and since then, I have learned another technique on dying wigs: Using Synthetic Fabric Dye.

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The reason synthetic fabric dye works is because wigs are synthetic as well! Convient! Now, there are a variety of synthetic dyes out there that you can use. I have used the two dyes I just linked and they both have worked quite well for me.

So, here’s the process on how to do this. In most cases, just read the directions on the bottle and follow them.

Step one: Add the dye to the pot of water and mix.

I actually have a pot I use specifically for my dyes that we got. At the time of these photos, I was living in an apartment and I used the pot on the stove and did my best to clean any splashes so they can’t dye anything. In the future, the goal is to have a spot outside to do this.

As for what I use for stirring the dye and wig, I tend to just grab a few skewers and call it good.

Step Two: Insert your wig and make sure it’s all soaked.

I can already hear the questions popping up on the comments so let me answer it here: The color of the wig will affect the final color! The lighter the wig, the richer the color. No, you cannot dye a black wig another color, you cannot lighten a wig, and asking to change a red wig blue will end up purple. You treat wig colors like fabric colors when dying them.

Step three: Stir, stir, stir; wait, wait, wait

Friendly reminder that the pot of water needs to be hot! You will have the heat on and you need to keep mixing the wig! The longer you soak the wig, the more color will soak in. Also, remember that the color you see when the wig is wet will be lighter after it is dried. So if you see the perfect color, give it another few minutes to be just a little too dark. You will thank yourself.

Step four: Pour and rinse

I cannot stress the importance of rinsing the wig in a metal container. YOU ARE WORKING WITH SYNTHETIC DYE YOU WILL END UP DYING YOUR PLASTIC SINK OR SHOWER IF YOU POUR THE DYE. There is a reason fabric ends up in a washing machine to get rinsed out: they’re made of metal. Metal won’t take to the dye. Do not blame me if you get a colored sink. I just warned you.

Now, dye rinsing on wigs will take forever. FOREVER. Just let the cold water run through the wig. Once the wig is cool enough to pick up, you can start moving the fibers around and help. Also, yes, your wig will be a ratty tangled mess. I will show you how to fix that.

Step five: wash, wash, wash.

The amount of washing needed is pretty crazy, but you need to make sure all the dye is out of the wig. What I tend to do is wash, add shampoo, rinse out, shampoo again, rinse out. If the water is still colored, do it again. If it’s clear, start putting in the conditioner. However, leave the conditioner in.

Note: To answer the pending question: You can use your own shampoo and conditioner. You do not have to use wig shampoo and conditioner if you do not want to. I personally have not seen much of a difference if I use normal shampoo or wig shampoo.

Step six: Comb, detangle, rinse.

After the water is running clear, place the wig onto a wig head and stand and start GENTLY combing out the tangles. I tend to add more conditioner in this step and slowly, SLOWLY work my way up the wig and remove all the tangles. I cannot emphasize this enough, but you need to TAKE YOUR TIME when removing tangles. It’s better to work one tangle at a time, work from the bottom of the wig up, and do NOT pull on the fibers. Wigs cannot grow hair back. You lose fibers, they’re gone. So TAKE IT EASY.

Once all the tangles are gone, rinse out the conditioner and let the wig dry.

Step seven: Style and enjoy!

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(Photo courtesy of Lochlan O’Niel)

As you can see, the wig is much lighter than the photos of when the wig was wet. This is why it’s important to wait out the color just a little longer than what you think. A lot of coloring is trail and error.

Happy wig coloring!

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Where We Are and What We’re Doing

Sorry about all the silence that’s been going on for several months now. We have a legit reason for all the silence! It’s really long, though, but it’s time we explain everything in full.
Two winters ago, I made the decision to go back to school. I did all the paperwork in the fall, and was accepted to Metro State Univeristy.
This was something that was both exciting, and terrifying. the idea of getting back to school meant a lot of change; including a new job. So, Rabbit found a part-time job at a Ma and Pa sewing shop and started up school in 2015.

Sadly, the stress of school and the job caused me to break down and leave the Ma and Pa shop. The desire to stay in school was there, though and I finished up that semester. Over the summer, Lion and I decided that it was best to let me focus on school and “maybe cons will cover the bills a second job needs to.”

And they did!

….For a while.

By Fall of 2015 things weren’t meeting as well as we had hoped and I had no choice but to get another job.

Luckily, Lion’s job was hiring and they don’t mind spouses working in the same company (mind you, we’re in different departments). So, January of 2016, I was back to working 40 hour weeks, and going to classes in the evenings.

This left very little time for this little company and it has been showing over the passed 4 months.

HOWEVER! Recently, I was moved to a different team that works 9 hour shifts and I get to enjoy Fridays off every other week. This extra day has been so beneficial. The workshop gets cleaned, projects get worked on, and Rabbit Tales starts coming back.

So, I guess, even though this was a long ramble of why this company has been quiet, this is also my way of saying “I’m sorry, thank you for supporting and we’re coming back”

Rabbit

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New Program Translates to More Designs

Over the past 6 months or so, I’ve been using the Brother PE Embroidety designer to create my embroidery files. While the program itself is good, it is incredibly limited in detail, color and sizing.

Due to the limitations and ordering a new, larger machine, I had no choice but to hunt down a new program to use. My budget was limited in what I could purchase and a lot of the free programs were moot in what I needed to use. After browsing several embroidery sites and blogs, I say a trend stating that Embird was really good and easy to use. Price wise it was very much on the cheap end (when it comes to embroidery programs). The program lets you test it out a little (can’t save and test on the machine, though) so I gave it a try.

And what did I learn? Embird is awesome. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to manipulate. The detail option is awesome and the ability to adjust things is easy to understand.

Already, I’ve built up a nice stock of files to prep for new items coming up.

So, if you’re in the market for a new program and have about $300 to spend, I would highly suggest getting embird.

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Running of the Leaves Con Preparation

Running of the Leaves Con Preparation

I am very pleased to announce that the My Little Pony Heart Patches that I have been working on are finally completed!

Artwork from http://bamboodog.deviantart.com/ (who graciously gave me permission to create these)

The My Little pony heart patches!
Recently updated to properly match their colors and all set with iron backings.
These will be a convention exclusive. If you want to get your hands on them, get your Running of the Leaves tickets soon!!

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Upcoming Artist Alley Table

I apologize for not writing more often in here. I have, however, decided to try writing blogs ahead of time, and also stick to a schedule in hopes of keeping to writing.

With that being said, today’s blog will be an announcement of what’s coming up with Rabbit Tales.

On November 1st through the 3rd, Colorado is having its first My Little Pony Convention called Running of the Leaves. I have already reserved a table and am currently preparing all the items we plan to offer there. Some of the items will be available at the convention, and then after the convention while some items might become convention exclusives. Throughout the next few weeks, Wednesday posts will be unveiling the new items.

If you are located in Colorado or would like to visit, please stop by our table to see what I have! I hope to see you there!

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Cosplay in the Media: Why I don’t care

I’ve been asked by a few friends why I’m not upset about how the media is showing Cosplayers at this time. There is a new show out that focuses on cosplayers and news articles being written by people that have not done in depth research about the hobby. A lot of my friends have been upset about this, up to and including writing their own articles about how cosplay is given the wrong light.

I, personally, have been quiet and have been continuing on in my life like nothing is going on.

My reason? Because I don’t care what the media is saying about my hobby.

This isn’t the first time the media has shown something I do (or live by) in a bad light and this won’t be the last time this happens either.

Instead of standing on a soap box and shaking my finger at the media stating it’s wrong and giving my reasons why it’s wrong, I’d rather just keep going on like it doesn’t matter.

Let me give a past example about when this has happened before and what I did through it all:

I’m LDS (most people know the religion as Mormon), which has gotten a lot of attention by the media for many, many reasons and many, many times. I’m pretty certain that in the future, it will get just as much press coverage for something else. However, instead of standing up stating “the media has it wrong!” or “these are the facts!” I’ve learned to wait for people to ask me about it and get answers that way.

Time and time again, when people learn that I’m LDS, I start to get little questions that tend to end up in a fun, enjoyable, educational discussion about the religion. By the end of these discussions, most people have sat back and said to me “Boy, the media spun it in a completely different way.” Which causes me to laugh, nod and point out “Aren’t you glad you got it from someone that lives that lifestyle instead of just believe the media?”

Cosplay is the exact same way. Of course, cosplay is a hobby, not a religion, but the ideas of how to combat bad media is the same. Instead of standing on a soap box, writing articles and ranting and raving that “we’re not like that!!” I’d rather keep on with my life so when it does come out that I’m a cosplayer, the person has a chance to ask questions without feeling like I’m ranting and raving about the media being wrong.

I have a personal belief that cosplayers need to help one another to grow and progress if this is going to be an enjoyable hobby. The fact that people are expending their energy on writing articles about how the media’s giving us bad coverage instead of writing articles on how to create the best pleats ever, or how to find that perfect shade of wig, makes me a little sad. Since when did we care what “the normies” thought about us and when did it matter what people that haven’t sat down and asked us questions about why we do this think about us?

If we want to prove to the media that they’re wrong; that we have lives outside of cosplay, that we don’t spend our entire lives on this hobby, and that we don’t act how the media is showing them to act, we need to start by ignoring the media and going back to helping others in our hobby and enjoy our hobby that much more.

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Updates, life, and patches.

I apologize about the long delay in putting blogs up. Most of my time has been eaten up with some project(s) or another. However,  I know it’s very important to get back into the swing of blogs out on a regular basis.

So, to start this all up again, I’m going to post one of the reasons why I’ve become very busy:

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Attack on Titan Patches. I’ve actually created all 4 types available.

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All four styles are available on Etsy at this time in two sizes. Do note: Maximum size of all my patches is 4x4inch at this time. So, nothing bigger is available at this time.

To order, click here