Typhoon Haiyan: How you can help!

Typhoon Haiyan: how you can help

Ever since the news broke about the widespread destruction and the lives lost due to Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, my heart has been aching, and I’ve been trying to figure out what I could do to help.

As someone who lived through the winds of Hurricane Katrina (we rode it out at my mom’s house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast), and who has dealt with the aftermath of the ensuing federal levee disaster that followed here in New Orleans, this particular disaster feels very close to my heart.

Luckily, Charity Navigator has put together a list of the best organizations working on the ground in the Philippines right now to help. Charity Navigator ranks non-profit organizations based on their financial health (how they delegate and use all of that money you donate to them), as well as on their accountability and how transparent they are about their finances and the work they do.

Click here to see their full list of charities providing relief to victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Typhoon Haiyan: how you can help

Personally, I’ve decided that now through December 31st, I’ll be donating 25% of all sales in my online shop, as well as 10% of all sales at Frenchmen Art Market and any other local events to Oxfam America’s relief efforts. I’ll also be donating 50% of sales of my new e-book, How to Make Money at Craft Shows, now through December 31st, 2013!

Want to donate directly? I’ve also set up a fundraising campaign through Oxfam America. You can click here to donate.

Typhoon Haiyan: how you can help

If you’re in New Orleans, you can also dine out this weekend at local pop-up Filipino restaurant Milkfish. You can learn more about chef & owner Cristina Quackenbush’s efforts to help here, or you can check out Milkfish’s menu here.

Girl Crush: Becky of The Pink Samurai

The Pink Samurai: Becky

I met Becky Helms in person for the first time back in August, at Texas Style Council. We ran into each other at the Friday night clothing swap, where she had already picked up one of my swapped dresses. (It fit her so much better than it did me!!) She mentioned to me that I had featured her crafts, long ago, here on Miss Malaprop. We quickly bonded that weekend over a shared love of all things geeky.

Becky is a bit of a crafty renaissance woman! She has a gorgeous Etsy shop full of crocheted goodness, and she’s a talented illustrator. She posts all sorts of crafty fun on her blog, The Pink Samurai, in addition to her thrift store adventures! Oh, and did I mention we share a mutual love of dinosaurs?? So it should come as no surprise that Becky is my latest Girl Crush!

Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m blogger, maker and vintage lover living in Austin, TX with my husband and two cats. I just moved back to Texas after living on the East Coast for about 15 years, so I’m spending a lot of time rediscovering my home state.

The Pink Samurai October drawings

Becky’s 365 project: she draws her outfits every day!

You’ve spent this year doing a 365 series of self-portraits, with a different drawing each day. What made you want to do this, and what do you think of the project now that it’s coming to a close soon?

I’m usually really bad at keeping up with daily challenges, and I really want to prove to myself that I could really do something like that all year. So rain or shine, through surgeries, vacations and moving across the country, I never missed a day! It’s been really fun seeing my style evolve and they’ve really helped me shape all of my drawing. It’s a little sad know the year’s almost over, but my husband and I are going to do a different daily drawing project next year that I’m really stoked for!

The Pink Samurai: handmade crochet scarves

Becky sells her crochet infinity scarves & cowls on Etsy!

Have you always been crafty? What are your first memories of making things?

Crafting has always been a part of my life. My mom was always making something and encouraged my creativity. I remember trips to the craft store and those little plastic stained-glass toys were some of my most favorites. I’d paint the little sections very carefully and was always so proud when Mom would hang them in the window. Both of my Grandmothers also taught me to sew at an early age, so that’s always been a part of my life, too. As a child, a lot of our making was out of necessity, because we didn’t have a lot of money. But all those skills of craftiness and resourcefulness that I grew up with have been integral in my professional life and my blog definitely depends on them!

DIY Cat Stamp Tshirt, by Becky of The Pink Samurai

a recent crafty project by Becky: DIY Cat Stamp T-Shirt

What are your favorite current crafts to make? What is a crafty skill you’ve always wanted to learn, but have yet to try?

Screen printing and crochet are my most favorites! I could do those every day and never run out of ideas haha. I’ve always wanted to learn more about jewelry making. The extent of my experience is gluing and using jump rings. I’d love to learn more about different techniques and really explore it more as an art. There’s just already so much cool stuff out there, it’s intimidating!

Amelia's Retro-Vogue & Relics

I know you love thrift shopping, and you’ve been documenting your thrift store explorations on your blog since moving to Austin. Do you have any favorite thrift shops in Austin so far? What types of things do you look for when you go thrifting? Can you share some tips for newbie thrifters?

Austin has so many amazing thrift stores and vintage shops, it’s just silly. I had no idea it would be so saturated! I love going to Top Drawer Thrift and Out of the Past on Burnet Rd. They’ve got great prices and there’s so much to see in both. I’m usually on the look out for mid-century furniture (the perfect coffee table has been alluding me for years!) and fun vintage craft books and always clothes. I’d say the most important thrifting tip is to not be too disappointed if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first go around. Go often and always keep your eyes open!

Becky: The Pink Samurai

What 5 things would you take with you to a deserted island?

  • My husband ^_^
  • A crochet hook…to make stuff out of the grasses and leaves.
  • A giant bag full of pencils and paper (is that cheating? haha!)
  • A copy of To Kill a Mockingbird
  • A laptop with a solar charger and a copy of the original cut of Star Wars: A New Hope in the disc drive. (also probably cheating :P)

Are you crushin’ on Becky too now? Be sure to check out her blog, The Pink Samurai, or shop her handmade goods in her Etsy shop. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

What I Wore: Star Wars Style

Death Star Star Wars outfit

Star Wars outfit

Death Star Fascinator

Outfit details:

Death Star fascinator – David & I made it together!
wig – Fifi Mahony’s
Star Wars dress – David made it!
belt – Rainbow
socks – from the Louisiana Renaissance Festival
boots – Dr. Martens

Last weekend David and I helped my boss celebrate her son’s birthday, Star Wars style! David was sweet enough to agree to dress in full Stormtrooper regalia for a bunch of 6 year olds. I contemplated wearing my officer’s uniform, but I had a feeling that the kids might not appreciate a woman in uniform the way they might a Death Star on my head instead!

Audubon Zoo was PACKED on a gorgeous fall afternoon, so we just made a quick appearance at the kid’s party and were on our way. We had to run errands at Home Depot on the way home, and my dress was strangely a big hit with the employees there!

Tux Press Modern Paper Goods

Tux Press Modern Paper Goods - Funny Greeting Cards

Tux Press Modern Paper Goods - Anniversary Card

Tux Press Modern Paper Goods - Cute Happy Birthday Card

Tux Press Modern Paper Goods - Funny Thank You Card

Tux Press Modern Paper Goods - Funny Greeting Cards

Designer Emily Rogers recently got in touch to let me know about her fun new line of modern greeting cards, called Tux Press.

Emily creates everything in her Etsy shop herself, from the design work to the printing, trimming, folding and packaging of each and every funny & fantastic card!

She told me, “TuxPress has been a dream of mine every since I started designing when I was about 8 years old and I finally made it happen when I realized there was never going to be more than 24 hours in a day.”

I love funny greeting card messages coupled with great design, which is exactly what Emily has to offer in her shop! I also really love her business tagline, “Let’s correspond like it’s 1959.” In this day and age of constant social media and email inbox nonstop, it’s nice to take a minute to hand-write a note or send a card!

You can check out more at the TuxPress website, shop online via her Etsy shop, or follow TuxPress on Facebook!

Creative Star Wars Costumes

Star Wars Stormtroopers in suits

While David and I are both official members of the 501st Legion, and we have screen accurate Star Wars costumes, I LOVE seeing the crazy and creative Star Wars costumes that people come up with at Dragon*con and beyond! With just a few more days til Halloween, I thought I’d share a few of them as inspiration!

Fancy suits Star Wars group

Fancy dress Stormtroopers, and all the rest, are always a big hit. (All of that plastic armor is hard to party in!) I’ve seen a bunch of variations of these costumes, but I do love the Admiral Ackbar in this group!

Disco and mirror ball covered armor always seems to be a popular theme, among Stormtroopers and bounty hunters alike!

Star Wars Disco Stormtrooper

Star Wars Disco Stormtrooper

Boba Fett Pimp

Not into big pimpin’? Maybe a steampunk Boba Fett is more your speed:

Boba Fett Steampunk

One year, many moons before we met, David had an exciting Halloween adventure as a trans-gender Darth Vader. From the descriptions I’ve heard, it was something like Frank-n-furter meets Darth. (I’ve yet to see photographic evidence of this phenomenon.) I’ve done a couple of variations of femme Darth Vaders myself, though. The first year we went to Dragon*con I layered up a bunch of black to play along, but this year I added my Blackmilk bathing suit to the mix:

Star Wars Lady Darth Vader

DragonCon 2013 Han vs Darth Vader

I loved this Mickey Mouse X-wing pilot costume!

Star Wars Mickey pilot

Biker scouts need a little vacation every now and then too…

Star Wars on Vacation

And last, but certainly not least, I present to you one of the most brilliantly inspired Star Wars costumes I’ve seen… Dolly Deathstar!

Dolly Deathstar

For more Star Wars goodness, check out my other related posts here on the blog, or hop on over to my Star Wars stuff page on Pinterest!

What I Wore: Red Ballerina

What I Wore: Red Ballerina

What I Wore: Red Ballerina

Outfit details:

earrings – made by me!
dress – Ballerina Dress, Trashy Diva
belt – gifted from a co-worker
leggings – Rainbow
shoes – Fluevog

Sometimes (a lot of times) I feel like I have more ideas than I have time or energy or know what to do with. My desk, and my brain, is a constant jumble of to-do lists, scribbled notes, Post-its… Somewhere in between all of the things I MUST do, are the myriad of things I’d LOVE to do… of which there are too many for one day, possibly one lifetime.

I often have trouble finishing projects I’ve started, because there’s just TOO MUCH TO DO. And all of it feels awesome to me. I recently shared on Instagram two different free-form embroidery projects I’ve started. While both have come along since these pictures, neither feels done yet. But how will I know when they ARE done, if I have no plan or motive?

Miss Malaprop embroidery

Miss Malaprop embroidery

I also recently set up a new online shop, after months and months of hiatus from the old one. It’s smaller and more compact, but I like it so far.

How do you break free from inspiration overload?
Or funnel all of that creative energy into a plan of action? Better to have too many ideas than too few, I suppose, but if I can’t actualize them, and finish them, what’s the point?

10 More Halloween Costume Ideas

Zombie Mr Rogers costume

So far this month, I’ve brought you some fun group costume ideas as well as costumes inspired by Doctor Who. Every year, we see so many brilliant costumes at Dragon*con, like the awesome zombie Mr. Rogers seen above!

Still on the quest for a brilliant Halloween costume? Here are more of my Dragon*con costume favorites that work great as Halloween inspiration!

Stuffed animal dress

I made a stuffed animal dress for Mardi Gras 2011, and wore it later that year to Dragon*con as well, but I’ll be the first to admit – she far outdid my job on her epic stuffed animal dress!

Tank Girl costume

Always a fun costume to wear: Tank Girl!

Battlestar Galactica Alter

David and I are both big Battlestar Galactica fans, so of course I loved this witty take on an alter to Gaius Baltar!

Drag Barbie

This costume required two handlers! Apparently it was an interpretation of a futuristic Barbie doll? Whatever the original reference, it was all sorts of awesome!

flying spagetti monster costume

I LOVED this Flying Spagetti Monster costume. It would be really easy to make this at home with a bunch of yarn or fabric strips.

Inspector Gadget costume

Go go Inspector Gadget costume!

Mars Attacks costume

I love this Mars Attacks! costume.

KISS & Elvis costumes

Two classic costumes are better than one. KISS meets Elvis Presley!

IT Crowd Moss costume

I was so excited to see this Moss costume from The IT Crowd!!

For more ideas for fun Halloween costumes, be sure to check out my costuming board on Pinterest, as well as my Retro Costume Ideas board and my Group Costume Ideas board!

Have you decided what you’re wearing this Halloween yet?

10 Halloween Group Costume Ideas

I covered Doctor Who inspired costumes the other day, but with Halloween just around the corner, there’s still so much more to inspire! I’ve seen some pretty epic group costumes over the years at Dragon*Con, so today I thought I’d bring you 10 really fun group costume ideas that you can use this Halloween.

group costume Disney Princesses

This giant group of male Disney Princesses is one of my favorites at Dragon*Con every year! It’s one thing to see a bunch of little girls emulating their favorite Disney characters (although if I had a little girl, I’d teach them why drag queens make for a better role model), but it’s a whole other thing to see a bunch of butch dudes with facial hair dressed up as Disney princesses. Check out these costumes to get started on a similar group costume look.

group costume eat more brayns

I love this group zombie costume, a parody of the Chick-fil-A “EAT MOR CHIKIN” cows. Instead, these undead cows are hoping they can “EAT MOR BRAYNZ”. Add some fake blood & gore and some homemade signs to a cow costume, and you’re ready to go!

group costume Inspector Spacetime

Community is one of our favorite shows, so I had mad love for this Inspector Spacetime group costume! Inspector Spacetime is an obvious Doctor Who parody, and this costume is just specific enough to make it awesome on a whole lotta levels.

group costume Josie Pussycats

I loved this girl group costume, based on the original Josie and the Pussycats look. (Not to be confused with the 2001 remake with Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid & Rosario Dawson. Which is awesome in its own right too.) Either version would make for a super fun & girly group costume!

group costume Muppets Old Guys

The first year we went to Dragon*Con together, these old guys from the Muppets were just holding court, sitting on a bench in one of the hotel lobbies and heckling! This is such a fun and easy group costume – all you need is a suit and the masks, which are easily available on Amazon: here’s the Waldorf mask, and the Statler mask.

group costume Muppets Sesame Street

Every time I see a version of the Yip Yip Martians from Sesame Street, it makes me immensely happy. (As seen here!) While there is a ready-made version of this costume available, it doesn’t look nearly as cool as these guys. You’d be better off getting some chenille fabric or other fuzzy fabric and making these guys yourself.

group costume PeeWees Playhouse

This was seriously one of the most epic group costumes I’ve seen at Dragon*Con. An amazingly well done Pee-wee’s Playhouse group (plus David, sitting with Pee-wee, in his Dune stillsuit). Pee-wee is an easy enough solo costume, but it’s all the puppetry and other elements of this group costume that really makes it spectacular!

group costume Stonecutters Simpsons

David is a huge Simpsons fan, so of course he had to get a photo with this group of Stonecutters! This would be a pretty easy group costume to make, with simple robes. Plus, you could carry around beer steins like these folks, to aid your drinking pleasure!

group costume Venture Brothers

This was a really fun Venture Brothers inspired group costume, featuring the Henchmen and Dr. Girlfriend. Anything Venture Brothers related always seems to be very popular at cons, and it makes for a great group costume theme!


Finally, one of my absolute favorite group costumes I’ve seen – Weird Science! This is one of those work-with-what-you-got costumes, as it’s more about how the people look to begin with, plus a little wardrobe, than it is about creating a big costume from scratch.

For more awesomely fun group costume ideas, check out my Pinterest board for inspiration!

Halloween Inspiration: Doctor Who Costumes

Doctor Who Dalek & Dune stillsuit at Dragon*con

David in a Fremen costume inspired by David Lynch’s Dune stillsuits, with one of the best Daleks from Dragon*Con

With Halloween right around the corner, and costumes always at the forefront of my mind, I thought I’d round up some of my favorite costumes I’ve seen over the years at Dragon*Con and beyond. The last few years, one of the biggest themes in costuming I’ve seen there has without a doubt been Doctor Who costumes. It’s one of those things I’ve gotten pickier and pickier about, as they are SOOOO common now.

Doctor Who Dalek

I thought this was a fun interpretation of a Dalek. A little steampunk, but most importantly, look at the hat and that GUN! It has all the power to EXTERMINATE!

Doctor Who london gasmask

I saw this fun & easy costume inspired by the Doctor Who episode, The Empty Child, a couple of years ago. I noticed her because she’s wearing an old Trashy Diva dress, but I also recognized the episode reference immediately as well!

Doctor Who Tardis

I saw this TARDIS around a lot during Dragon*con in 2011. I thought it was a pretty fun interpretation!

Tardis Princess

image credit: Tardis Princess

I’ve never seen her cosplay in person, but the Tardis Princess has one of the absolute best TARDIS costumes I’ve ever seen anywhere!

Doctor Who group costume with cute kids

David and I have been talking about the lack of epic Cybermen costumes for a few years now. This adorable group costume featured one of the best Cyberman costumes I’ve seen in person – and it’s a kid! Some friends have been hatching a scheme to build some Cyberman costumes, but they’re not completed quite yet. Although somehow, this year we missed seeing this Steampunk Iron Gentleman Cyberman costume in person at Dragon*con:

Steampunk Iron Gentleman Cyberman Doctor Who costume at Dragon*Con 2013

image credit: dailydragon.dragoncon.org

Doctor Who angel

This is me, acting afraid and looking away from a Weeping Angel at Mechacon! But seriously, I hate those angels. I hate them. (David keeps threatening to get a lifesize statue of one and put it in the bedroom while I’m asleep…)

I don’t take many pictures of Doctor costumes, because they’re SO common. They are, however, fun and easy to do. I’ve seen so many variations, including tons of great female Doctor interpretations. No matter WHO you want to be this year (see what I did there??), here’s some fun stuff to get you started:

Doctor Who costumes

11th Doctor Fez & Bowtie Set
11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver
10th Doctor Custom Made Long Wool Trench Coat
4th Doctor Striped Scarf

Doctor Who villain costumes

Doctor Who Her Universe Dalek Dress
Doctor Who Cyberman Vacuform Mask
Doctor Who Weeping Angel Vacuform Mask
Female Venetian Statue Costume Set

Want to dress like Clara this Halloween? Check out this post on how to dress like Clara Oswald. For more inspiration, check out my Doctor Who page on Pinterest.

The Invader’s Guide to New Orleans

The Invader's Guide to New Orleans

I recently got my hands on a copy of the new Invader’s Guide to New Orleans, compiled by my friend Justin and the folks at Invade. It’s a 200+ page guidebook, from a local’s perspective, on the best things to see, do and eat around town. It features short essays by a myriad of local writers on their favorite restaurants, bars, and boutiques, plus there are interviews with local artists, designers and creators at the end of the book.

Overall, I think it’s a good introduction to the best New Orleans has to offer for those new to the city or just visiting. The fact that there were so many contributors to this book means that the writing styles, and the lengths of each essay, vary a bit from one review to the next, but it’s a great first effort for a guide which hopefully will be updated from year to year. (And I’ll admit, it didn’t hurt to unexpectedly see my face on page 94 in a round up of local fashion bloggers!)

You can find out more & purchase The Invader’s Guide to New Orleans here.