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My #BestNine

And there it is. The last day of the year. Another year, 2021 in this case, flew by and we’re on the verge to start a new one in less than a day now.

And with the year drawing to an end, there’s many many highlight reels popping up all over my Instagram newsfeed with creator’s ‘#BestNine of 2021’. For years I have done the same. Go to a website, fill in my username and an image pops out which shows just how many double taps my content had received in that year and also, which 9 posts have ‘performed’ the best.

Last year I already chose to not do exactly that, but instead, go into my statistics in the Instagram app and find the 9 posts that got the most ‘saves’ and post those instead.

Not today

But this year, I plan to skip the #BestNine completely. Because what does it mean after all? It just shows which of my posts were picked up by the algorithm the best. Which posts got pushed into the ‘explore page’ of other users of the app. It doesn’t show which of my posts where loved the most by my audience. Because my audience doesn’t even get to see all of my posts on their news feed. Only if the algorithm decides to be nice that day.

Not an easy year

So what should I post instead? I do want to post something that makes me think back to the whole of 2021, and to everything that happened and what I have achieved in this year. Some people post a collage with pictures of all the costumes they have created in this year. But I also hear lots of cosplayers who are sad that they just didn’t get to finish costumes at all. For multiple reasons of course. The pandemic surely doesn’t help with most of our wallets. So getting all the supplies for making costumes can be more difficult in these times. And of course, there were nearly no conventions. And if there were some, they mostly had restrictions for the cosplayers because of the Covid guidelines. This also didn’t make it easier to even find motivation to start working on a costume and finishing it. The ‘concrunch’, even though that’s not necesarily healthy, was not really a thing this year. On top of that, staying mostly at home and not being able to meet a lot with friends, will have surely taken a toll on lots of people’s mental health’s as well. Being excited for cosplay was probably not the first thing on everyone’s minds this year. The thing that people probably thought more about, is probably the pandemic, and how long it will still take before life gets back to normal, or if you and your family and friends will stay healthy, or at least, survive. Because Covid is scary and it has caught up with many of us. And if you have a business, or work in one, of course you want it to survive all of this. And worrying about all of those things can surely take up quite a bit of time and head space.

So would it make sense for me to post to my Instagram about all the costumes that I created this year? Or would it only bring other people down, because they didn’t get to maybe even finish just one costume? I’m not sure to be honest about what’s the best thing to do.

My projects in 2021

When I look back at 2021, and look at the cosplay crafting progress pictures and photoshoot pictures that we all took this year, I realize that, even in another weird year, I still created several costumes, of which I am all proud. I also managed to craft some props, which I also translated to digital PDF patterns and tutorials. I even filmed the making of those. Like other years, again, this year, I didn’t manage to edit all of the creation videos into tutorials for Youtube. Editing videos just takes so much time, and my days are already filled with creating costumes, props, tutorials, and making items for my Pretzl Collection. So I end up procrastinating on the tutorial videos. Which is a shame because I always get so many positive feedback on those videos! And when I meet people at conventions, I often hear them say that they loved my tutorial videos so much and that they have been so helpful. So, already as a Newyears resolution… I want to edit more videos next year 😉

I should write a seperate blog entry about all the projects that I finished this year. This post that I’m writing right now would become too long if I would also write about all the projects of 2021…

Nine things I’m grateful for in 2021

So for my #BestNine2021 I want to focus on the things that made me proud this year, and the things that make me grateful and happy.

And to stay in the mood of the #BestNine, I picked exactly nine things. You can do it too if you want! And don’t think nine is too many. I believe that if you just think well enough of what you are grateful for, about 2021, you will surely also find nine! Or even more!

This year I released my Foam crafting book

The fact that there weren’t lots of conventions was not only bad. For me, it meant that I could spend more time in my little atelier, working on projects that mean a lot to me. One of those is compiling my cosplay knowledge and writing books. I personally love writing, and it’s so great when I can also help other people, starting and advanced cosplayers, to learn more about their favorite hobby. Last year in 2020 I managed to release my Worbla book, and then I was so inspired that I wanted to create a book about Foam crafting too. I got so many questions about when I would finally write a book about Eva Foam. First I didn’t think I could do that. I wasn’t confident that I would have enough experience with the material to write a whole book about it. But when I started to write it, and started to gather everything I knew, and everything I had done with the material, I actually found that it was a lot that I knew! And the book became bigger and bigger. Until I had to make myself stop writing because it would become too big eventually.

The book ‘The Ultimate Guide to Foam’, is now a real book. And I have it in stock, in my workshop. Ready to sign and ship! Together with my Worbla books. And the cherry on the cake is that some of my favorite cosplay supplies stores carry my books too! It’s like a dream come true. My books can be bought at Minque in the Netherlands, Cosplayshop Select Style in Belgium, Mamike in Switzerland and Mycostumes in Germany! I can’t even believe it when I’m typing it. But it is true! My books are in actual shops! All over Europe. Wow. So cool!

And of course, the books are also available in my own webshop. And also on my Etsy. But if you decide to shop from me, then I prefer my webshop over Etsy 😉 Because Etsy takes so much fees :3

Ps… I’m writing my next book already!

I made new crafting patterns

This year I made several new crafting patterns and pattern sets. I have been making digital patterns for cosplay crafting for years now, but recently I started to make some base patterns too. So patterns for pauldrons for example, or patterns for bracers or breastplates. These are received so well and it makes me so happy to see other people using my patterns to bring their imagination come to life. Because those ‘basic’ patterns are received so well, I decided to keep creating patterns like those. I just want to help the cosplay community the best I can. And of course, it’s a great way for me to make an income and to pay my bills so I can keep doing this. So thank you, if you bought any of my patterns or other products. You make it possible!

I finished new costumes

Not a new costume every month. But that’s OK. It would have been way too much anyway! But I did still finish some costumes and also props. In 2021 I created some fun props like my shield and axe for my fantasy Viking, which light up and have animated LED’s! I created a spellbook with foam, which is secretly a bag. And I also crafted a foam beerkeg which is also a bag! And a cute foam tankard to go with it.

I made a foam corset belt, adorned with mushrooms sculpted with foam clay. I sewed a Viking apron dress and crafted oval brooches and made beaded decorations to hang between those brooches. I finally finished my Espeon armor, with Worbla and foam combined, and did a cool photoshoot with it. I even wore this costume to two conventions this year!

I sewed a warm LARP style dress, wich looked totally cool with my viking props. And my fantasy Viking costume, I also made in this year. That costume is now one of my favorites and it is so comfy to wear! I keep adding to this costume as well, because I made a new skirt for it recently.

I created a Lady Dimitrescu cosplay, complete with enormous hat. The sewing pattern for the dress and crafting pattern for the hat have already helped various cosplayers for their (Halloween) costumes this year. And we did a cool photoshoot with Lady D in an old Monastery! And fun fact… The dress for Lady Dimitrescu was made out of an old table cloth. You know, one of those big ones, made with thick lycra fabric.

And lastly, I created a cosplay that I have wanted to make for a long time. And that’s Yennefer of Vengerberg. I’m so happy that I finally made this costume! And I feel so awesome while wearing it. We still need to do a photoshoot with this costume, but I know it will be great!

We did some awesome photoshoots this year

Even though traveling wasn’t always easy this year because of the pandemic, we still got to do some amazing photoshoots! When we were in Switzerland for Fantasy Basel, we took some days to relax in the mountains after the con. And the mountains were so beautiful. Really unbelievable. Of course we couldn’t resist to do a photoshoot in the mountains with my new fantasy Viking costume. And the results are amazing.

Another awesome photoshoot was with Lady Dimitrescu in an old monastery. I felt so grateful that we got the opportunity to do a cosplay photoshoot here! The atmosphere was totally perfect for this cosplay. So spooky and full of history.

New tutorial videos on Youtube

Not as much as I wanted (because these things take lots of time to make!) but I did finish some tutorial videos for Youtube this year. I uploaded a total of 13 videos to my Youtube channel this year! Which is a lot for me 🙂 The videos ranged from a tutorial about making faux fur ears, to a workshop tour where I show you all around my working space. Definitely check out my Youtube channel if you want to see some cosplay (crafting) content!

My business is still here

In the pandemic, I still kept my business afloat and I’m proud of that! I love what I do for a living, and I want to keep doing that. To make it work without many conventions to go to, I focused on my webshop a lot. I focused on making new helpful patterns and tutorials and of course writing my books. I’m very grateful that I can do this fulltime, and I am willing to work for it to make it stay like that.

Thank you if you bought something from me in the past year(s). If it wasn’t for you, I couldn’t do this as my fulltime job. So thank you!

We went to three conventions

With many many conventions being cancelled or postponed, there were nearly no events to attend. But during summer and autumn, a few events were still held. In the end, we got to go to three conventions this year. Fantasy Basel in Switzerland in October, FACTS in Belgium in November and Comic Con Portugal in December. So the last three months of the year were filled with conventions for us! I’m grateful that we were invited to those amazing conventions, as cosplay guests. It was such a great experience to be at a convention again, after nearly two years of none at all. Everyone was so happy, so filled with joy, that there could be events again! We could meet other cosplayers again and just soak up the great and warm atmosphere that we remembered from conventions. Like a warm bath 🙂

Yes, I sure cherish that we could go to these events this year. And made new friends and new memories that we won’t forget.

Fantasy Basel!
FACTS Belgium!
Comic Con Portugal!

We got vaccinated

This year, we finally got vaccinated for Covid. Which meant we would be one step closer to get out of this pandemic. It sure is all so weird, and I would have never thought that we could experience a worldwide pandemic within our livetimes. But we got this! Which brings me to the next point…

Staying healthy

We didn’t catch Covid, and I hope it will stay like this. Because this virus can be so dangerous! Of course we take care and are careful. Let’s keep it this way and hope we won’t catch the virus.

And it’s a wrap

Oh wow this blog post got way too long! When I started writing, I thought it would be just a short list of things that I’m grateful for this year. But it ended up being a whole novel haha! I’m sorry for that.. But if you read it all the way till here, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my writings.

I hope for you, 2021 also had some great things. Even if the whole year may seem not too good, just try to think of the things that were good. There must have been some.

And will I post a #BestNine to my Instagram? Not this year. I think I will make a post about the things that I’m grateful for. And perhaps about the props and costumes that I made. Or maybe writing this blog post was enough. Who knows 🙂 It’s all good!

For now, I wish you a happy New Year! And let’s make 2022 an awesome year, filled with lots of cosplay and new memories <3

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