{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

September 21, 2017

DIY || Customise a Photo Album Set

diy-customised-photo-album-covers
Follow this tutorial on how to cover photo albums that don't suit your purposes.

I was at a shortage of creative ideas for Christmas gifts last year. It was a tough year for me creatively and I haven't felt really challenged by anything. It also didn't help that we decided not to celebrate Christmas last year, so I only had three gifts I needed to purchase.

After a visit to Typo, I found a set of three photo albums that would work perfectly for my mom. But when I opened them, I realised I didn't actually look at the cover properly and they were all travel-themed, something my mom will not be able to relate to since she hardly wants to leave the city we live in.

I decided to cover them with artwork by both her granddaughters and some handmade paper. My tutorial will show you how to cover your own photo albums, or indeed any book you'd like to customise.

What You'll Need:

A photo album (or a book)
Handcrafted paper
Sellotape and glue
Scissors
Pencil and ruler

Method:

photo-choice

To start, gather the photos you're going to use and cut them to fit the album pages (if they don't fit already).

artwork

Choose the section of artwork you'd like to include as the cover.

photo-album-outline

Place your album on the paper and pencil the outline of it. Add 1.5 to 2cm around the basic outline.

cut-mark-v

Where the binding of the album is, draw two v-shaped lines at the folds.

cut-out-album-cover

Cut out your cover, cutting the v-shaped marks down to the basic outline. You can either cut straight across where the cover will go over the binding or include a flap that you can also fold over the album. Also cut diagonally across each of the four corners, as below.

folded-album-cover

Fold the edges over.

cover-glued-down

I used glue to secure the flaps but you can use sellotape if you're not confident the glue will stick.

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And that's your cover done! I would love it if you shared your work!

September 13, 2017

9 Tips for Comic Convention Beginners

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While many comic and pop culture lovers simply arrive on the day of a comic convention to peruse the stalls and maybe run into a celebrity, many enjoy a more in-depth experience, such as cosplaying, documenting for online journalism or blogs via interviews or video, attending the numerous sessions of movie trailer premieres, guest speakers, or actor lineups, or even taking part in competitions. If you've never attended a convention before, it may all seem overwhelming, but it doesn't need to be!

For me, attending a comic convention would definitely be more in-depth, as I would not only want to meet some of my favourite stars, find out the latest news about movies and comics I'm looking forward to, take photos and make notes, but also do some cosplay. So yeah, my convention experience is one of the more busy ones!

The most important advice I have for you is prepare, prepare, prepare!

Follow my tips below to enjoy your first comic con:

1. Look through the official schedule carefully to find sessions or events you wish to attend. Highlight these on your calendar and think about how you're going to co-ordinate your cosplaying and shopping (if you'll be doing any) with the sessions you want to attend. Maybe you'll be lucky and all the sessions you're interested in will be on one day: then you can spend the rest of the time having fun! A lot of conventions use this site to register on, making it a great resource to find the information you need about the event.

I would be planning my visit around the sessions I'd like to attend, taking photographs or documenting when there aren't any. I'm not a serious cosplayer, but just enjoy dressing up so wouldn't be taking part in any major events.

2. Plan your budget! This will help you avoid overspending. Your budget should include your tickets, costume and props, travel expenses, and spending money. Decide on a saving plan if you need to.

3. Try purchase your tickets early. Early bird tickets are a must as they represent quite a saving and often give you access to special areas, too. Purchase tickets as soon as you can!
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Credit: By Matias Tukiainen from Espoo, Finland, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0
4. If you're cosplaying, decide on your costume as soon as possible, unless you already have one. You don't have to go crazy with the cosplay, and there will be many different types of cosplay at the convention. Don't be intimidated into making your costume an art piece: just have fun! If you do want to take it seriously, remember it takes a lot of time to properly emulate a character's costume, especially more complicated ones like Iron Man. Fans of the character will really appreciate your effort to be true. Book a makeup artist if you need to and if it's in your budget. If you're making your costume yourself, try to begin working on it as soon as possible. When I last cosplayed, it was a last-minute decision so I spent nearly three days straight finishing the costumes up. Find helpful links on cosplaying in the further reading section below.

5. If you're going to be documenting the event, do some research about the biggest sessions, who will be in attendance and so on. Prepare your questions for interviews and find a publication who is interested in your content.

6. During the months ahead of the event, practice your cosplay and characterisation if you're going to be a serious cosplayer. If you're doing your own makeup for this, practice as many times as you can to get it perfect (not everyone can afford a professional makeup artist!) Make a list of items you shouldn't forget, such as notepaper, cameras, recording devices, etc. Find out if there will be lockers available for hire to store your goodies.

7. In the week ahead of the event, charge all your batteries and devices, clear out your memory cards, and ensure you have all the accessories you need, such as tripods.

8. If you're planning on shopping, I always do so on the first and last day. On the first day you can scope out what's available and snap up what's likely to move quickly if you like, but on the last day, the stallholders usually mark down their prices to clear out some stock.

9. Bring a friend! There is safety in numbers, and it's always more fun to share the event with someone!
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Credit: Facebook/Comic-Con International
If you're a real fan, comic conventions are always rewarding. You'll get to see some amazing cosplay, have instant access to your favourite geeky gadgets and collectibles, experience the latest in gaming, and possibly meet your favourite actor. Of course, sharing the event with likeminded people is an amazing experience, too.
Here's to your first comic convention!

Further Reading:


{Image credits: 
Lead, clockwise from left: Sakura from Naruto, By Michael CarianCC BY-SA 2.0, file;Game Demo, Facebook/ICON CGC; Paper Tyrannosaur, Facebook/ICON CGC; Comic mural, By Bosc d'Anjou from New York, NY, USA - Erró 02Uploaded by tm, CC BY 2.0, File}