In Memoriam: My Slush

Yesterday evening I received a phone call I’ve always dreaded. My mum rang to tell me Slush had been run over. That he was no longer with us.

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I’ve not heard my dad choked up since my granddad died when I was young. But last night we were both on opposite ends of the phone, and neither of us were able to speak. Eventually he managed to say, “I brought him home. I’m going to bury him in the garden.”

This is the man who was forever complaining about being woken up by Slush at 4am every morning, with a slap of the paw to his nose like, “wake the hell up, man! I need my chicken.” But dad loved him. We all did.

It seems daft writing this. Cats die every day, don’t they? But writing is my release, and I’m hoping that in preserving my memories of him, I can help myself heal. Everyone thinks their cat is special. Myself included. To keep him to myself is selfish, so I’m going to share him with you.

Slush was one of the most beautiful, funny, intelligent cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was loved by so many people, and I’m glad many of my friends had the chance to meet him, and devastated the others did not.

He became our cat not long after I began High School. He was gorgeous as a kitten in the palm of our neighbour’s hand, and he was even more so as an adult. I fell in love with him. Our other cat Holly didn’t. But she always tolerated him.

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When we got him, he hadn’t been mircochipped, wormed, neutered or looked after well at all. We had him treated for all of the above, but then the vet told us his teeth were all rotten. That he was in pain every time he ate. So he had them all removed.

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At first I felt terrible for him. But as time went on, he got used to eating without teeth, and it became hilarious to see him dribbling all over the place and his tongue casually hanging out. I had my very own Toothless.

He used to sit on top of the shed, overlooking the dogs next door, knowing he was just out of reach of them. They’d go crazy, jumping up to try and reach him, and he’d just sit there, not even flinching.

Slush’s favourite thing in the world to do, like most cats, was sleep. You could guarantee that any form of cushion or quilted soft thing had Slush on it.

I think his second favourite thing was being brushed. I used to sit there for ages holding the brush in my hand, with him rubbing his face against it. He would purr and dribble and I’d end up with grey fur everywhere.

His third favourite thing was probably sitting on the front wall looking all pretty, waiting for people to walk past and give him attention. And boy did he get attention. Yeah, he knew he was gorgeous. Each time we’d look out the window cautiously in case the passers-by stuffed him in their prams and ran off.

Slush was mischievous. He was the stereotypical walk-across-all-the-surfaces-knocking-things-off-until-they-wake-up kind of cat. At 2am he’d jump onto my chest of drawers, climb on top of the fish tank and nearly make the lid cave in, before walking across my keyboard, “clunk clunk clunk”-ing on all the keys.

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During my phase of disliking spaghetti bolognese Slush decided to stick his head in it. He ate the minced meat fine, but when it came to the spaghetti he had to keep flinging his head back to try and swallow it. It was beautiful watching a cat headbanging with spaghetti hanging out of his mouth.

We could never do family activities at home without him wanting to be a part of it. And rightly so. Whenever mum was doing a jigsaw he’d lie in the centre of it and pick the pieces up with his paw, or jump up on the table and slide across by accident, taking the entire thing with him. We couldn’t play Scrabble either.

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At Christmas he’d sit under the tree, knocking off any baubles he could reach. Once we made the mistake of wrapping up a cat treat Christmas stocking, and came downstairs to find the catnip had driven him wild and he’d clawed through it. The decorative beads became his favourite toy throughout the years.

In the Summer he’d sit under the rhubarb leaves like a mini parasol. He’d sit on the swing seat and happily sleep while you rocked it. He’d sit on the table and watch us eat, constantly sneaking closer to the food. I’d sneak him a bit of chicken.

Slush was always alpha cat. He started telling Holly off whenever he found one of her dumps after she unhousetrained herself. And when two strays decided to make a home out of our greenhouse, he put them in their place. He’d sit on the bench, just watching them, or grabbing the other’s tail between the slats when they got too close. This was his garden.

Slush wasn’t a lap cat, but he always gave the best cuddles. Usually these were in the early hours of the morning, but they were worth it to hear him purr. He loved being stroked under his chin. You could lie there with him on your chest for almost half an hour. Then he’d shake his head and give you a face full of dribble before getting off and sleeping.

He loved to sit in small boxes, no matter how uncomfortable he looked. On his mad half hours he’d do several laps of the house and attack anything and everything in his path. But he never hurt us. Either way, he never failed to make me laugh.

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He was a blue-eyed, fur-covered piece of perfection and happiness in my life. I was always happy around him, but that’s gone forever now and I have to come to terms with that somehow. I hope one day the tears will stop and the ache will lessen, but for now the pain of never seeing him again is unbearable. I wish I’d gone to see him just one last time.

At risk of sounding clichéd and soppy, it’s made it very real to me that bad things can happen to anyone at any time. That we need to make the most of spending time with the people and creatures we love. Because you never know when that phone will ring.

Goodbye, Slush. It was an honour to be your human.

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Toothless Cosplay: The Last Night Fury

So May ComicCon is over! Almost a year’s worth of work finally realised in the form of a dragon. It was often rather stressful and time consuming, but I think the end result was worth it:

10985437_10153867046575410_8148268110458630643_nTa-da! I’m so happy with it! Overall costing came to approximately £50, which I think is pretty decent. Although if I’d had more time I’d have attached more scales to the dress (and with a more secure method than super glue!!)

I did make a tail, however at the last minute I decided to ditch it; it hadn’t gone the way I’d wanted it to, and I had a feeling people would keep treading on it 😦

(I do enjoy imagining the face of the Premier Inn cleaner who found a tail in the bin of our room)

The response to my cosplay was amazing. Wherever I went I heard a *gasp* “TOOTHLESS!” And I even met a couple of other HTTYD cosplayers!

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Job well done methinks!

Toothless Cosplay: Hood

Almost a year ago I drew up the designs for my Toothless cosplay. University work has delayed its creation massively, but it’s finally coming together in time for London.

The hood took far less time to complete than the wings.

Materials and Spendage:

Black, long-sleeved dress – £8 (Boohoo.com)
Leftover Scuba-like material from wings.
Light green foam – 60p (local market)
Pipecleaners – 10 for 50p (local market)
Light green thread – £1.50 (Hobbycraft)

Total Spendage So Far: £42.08

The Hood

Begin by taking your measurements for half a hood shape. Draw and cut out a template. Double the material and cut out, leaving seam allowance as always. Hem the edges of these pieces, apart from the place where they will join together.

At any point in this process you can begin making the eyes. Take the green foam and cut it into the desired Toothless eye shape. I went for the one where he is free-falling in the second film:

You’ll want to sew the two hood pieces together, but not until you’ve cut out several small black semi-circles. These need to be pinned at regular intervals along the stitching, with the top of the circle facing inwards, between the two hood pieces.

Then you can sew it, carefully. Voila, basic hood is complete.

Now you have to sew it to the pre-bought dress. Make sure you wear it when pinning the hood on to get it right. Asking someone else to help you makes life a whole lot easier.

After that, start bending your ten pipe cleaners into the shapes of Toothless’ ears and extra sticky-outy bits.

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You’ll need to cut around these pipe cleaner shapes, then sew pockets for them to slide into. They’re quite fiddly, but worth it in the end.

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I had a fair amount of trouble from the actual ears. They never looked perfect to me. They have scales similar to the ones running down the centre of the hood. I found it awkward to align these parts on the hood symmetrically whilst wearing it. Again, I’d recommend asking someone to help!

When all of these parts are sewn on, you can attach the eyes. Then it’s just fine tuning, like trimming down the scales if necessary, or adjusting the angles of the ears.

But here you have it: one Toothless dress, all ready to go!

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Toothless Cosplay: Wings

Some of you may remember a while back that I had a little survey on which cosplay to do for Comic Con in May. The overall winner was Toothless! Well I haven’t forgotten, I have been busy!

Here is my initial design:

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Fancy, isn’t it?

Materials and Spending:

4 metres black scuba diving-like material – £20 (Local Market)
20 metres Garden PVC coated wire – £6.48 (B&Q)
2 bottles of standard kid’s PVA glue – £2 (Wilkinsons)
3 gauze bandages – (my mum’s medicine cupboard)
Duct Tape or Brown tape – (from the kitchen in the drawer)
2 metres thick black elastic – £2 (Local Market)
Black thread – £1 (Local Market)

Total spendage so far: £31.48

The Wings

Following my rough design, we lay the wire out into the basic shape, and built up the structure from there, securing with tape as shown below:

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Then I made a cheap modroc with old gauze bandages and PVA glue to make the wire frame more sturdy. This was a lot more difficult than it sounds, as my mother forced me to do it outside so I wouldn’t ruin the carpet. Let’s just say the friendly neighbourhood cats got a little too friendly…

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Once dry, this layer was quite rough, so I put a layer of newspaper over the top to stop it snagging on the material.

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Then finally we cut the material to slide the frame into. We sewed the bottom and the side first so we could turn it inside out and put the frame in before hand sewing the rest. Each individual bone part in the wing had to be sewn around to create a more awesome wing effect.
This. Took. Forever. But it was worth it.

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When all of the sewing was finally done (quite badly if I’m honest, but only if you look up close) I had to try and find a way to attach the wings to me and keep them attached. Cue elastic!

I made straps for my arms, but that failed miserably. The wings needed to be attached together at the top and bottom, but then that still didn’t work too well. So I made a belt too. Finally, they stay on properly. Here’s a few pictures of the finished wings. I’m rather proud! 🙂

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For an amateur cosplayer, I think they’re pretty good! Now just to get on with everything else! Can’t wait to get it all finished. I’m so excited!

Special thanks to my mum for some of the ideas and all the help she gave me :3

The Party Dragon Dream

It was my birthday. I woke up late and realised I’d missed half the day. I opened my curtains to see a dragon curled up in the garden. Not just any dragon though; Toothless. I gasped, and as I did so, he lifted his head and looked at me. He unfurled his mighty wings, got to his feet… and began stepping from side to side. He was dancing.
…It was then that I noticed it wasn’t really Toothless at all. It was a costume, and two familiar looking people were wearing it, flapping their arms about frantically to keep up the charade. Shame Toothless’ face was stuck in the same expression. But still, it was an impressive costume.
They seemed to notice I had discovered their presence, so they discarded the costume. Two friends of mine from a time long since passed, here to celebrate my birthday. It didn’t matter that the Toothless wasn’t real. I had started to believe in magic once again.
I raced downstairs to thank them, and look at the costume in more detail. The head was expertly carved, but from close up the paintwork was a little shabby. As I picked it up, the paint smeared a little on the ears. They had finished it recently then.
After spending a while on the trampoline, we went out on a night on the town. It was raining and cold, but that couldn’t dampen my spirits. Then suddenly, inexplicably, I was naked, surrounded by a crowd of people, and a police officer (clearly American by the uniform) was trying to slap handcuffs on me.
I pointed at a random man I’d been walking with, and said, “it was his fault!” He looked taken aback. Somehow, this was enough of an alibi for public indecency for the officer, who gave up on the cuffs and instead threw a large towel in my direction. Gratefully, I wrapped it round myself.
To be honest, I’ve had better birthdays.

How To Train Your Adult Not To Cry 2

The announcement came that there would be a second How To Train Your Dragon, and I believe I was more excited than any child ever was. I turned up at the cinema armed with my boyfriend, my boyfriend’s nine year old sister, and my Toothless plushie.
Yeah, really.
The film went ridiculously quick compared to most films I’ve seen in the cinema (but I’m used to Marvel films, The Hobbitses and the Hunger Games, so that was understandable). But every second of it was beautiful.
Without giving much away for those who haven’t seen it (and why haven’t you seen it yet? You’ve had plenty of time, hop to it!), it was even better than the first one. Toothless gets a hell of a lot more airtime doing all sorts of cute cat-like things, to the point that when I left the cinema, my whole being ached for dragons to be real. I needed Toothless in my life. For real.
In other words, it was good.
There is a whole load of new dragons, and one in particular is almost as cute as Toothless… although we all know that’s impossible.
His name is Cloudjumper. He acts almost like Toothless’ serious older brother, and their relationship is absolutely adorable.

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Cloudjumper and Toothless

But there was one particular scene that I’m always going to choke up on, no matter how many times I rewatch it (and believe me I will). Some stuff happens. Sad stuff. So sad that I was sat in the cinema, surrounded by dry-eyed children, tears streaming down my face. I would have been full on sobbing if it wasn’t for my dignity. I would not break down in front of a room full of children!
And thank God for 3D glasses making me look cool and unemotional when I was an utter wreck inside.

All I can say is good job, Dreamworks. I may need rehab but at least you created another masterpiece. Easily the best film of the year.

Cosplay Help!

I’m determined to get into Cosplay properly. I’ve only ever really made simple cosplays. I’m a complete and utter amateur, but I’m eager to give it a go. One problem though:

I’M INDECISIVE!

I have so many ideas but I want to do all of them! So I’d like you guys to help me out. I’ve compiled a list of characters I want to cosplay. All I need you lovely people to do is vote! And of course I’d blog my process, no matter how disastrous!

(By the way, I meant 2008 version of Prince of Persia, not 2003. My bad ^^)

Thanks for the help! Give yourself a cookie 🙂