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Welcome to the Chickobo Shift Parade! For those not in the know, this 24-hour week-ish-long charity marathon has four daily shift changes to allow folks to actually get something called "rest". On the left side, we have the banners for Dawn Guard (orange and yellow) and Alpha Flight (red). Over on the right side, we have the banners for Night Watch (blues) and Zeta Shift (purples). In the center... that is the land where time no longer makes sense at the very end of this marathon, and we call that Omega Shift. These very specific banners were inspired by JonDale1's work here.
Seeing as how this is the tenth year (I recounted three times) I am making prizes for this magnificent marathon and delightful charity, I decided we needed a little extra celebration. I also decided that surely making five smaller chocobos would be easier and take me less time, right? Well, the chocobos did. ...The layered felt banners with clearly hand-stitched embroidery and then stands to keep them on, which I ultimately decided they ought to be able to be removed from and so decided that magnets were obviously the best solution, however... Yeah, let's not talk too much about that.
Well, we can definitely talk about how the banners can be refrigerator magnets. Or just stick to metal things, because that's fun. The chocobo chicks are also up for some fun, but mostly they just really like to be adored. They're all acrylic yarn and polyfill, with wired poseable feet and semi-precious gemstone eyes (green jade, obsidian, tiger's eye and ametyst). I also decided to fancy up the mostly wood (with some clay and iron wire) banner stands with a little bit of gold paint at the bases and super tiny green Desert Bus trees on the front "foot" to indicate what side the magnets will best stick to. There's also some dark green real silk velvet at the bottom of each for extra fanciness. And also extra green.
Despite taking a little longer than intended because I just had to have Brilliant Ideas, I'm really happy with the result. I hope whoever wins them will ultimately be even more happy. As per the last nine years, it's an honor to be a part of something so joyful and hope-instigating.
This give-away raised a grand total of $2,331. THANK YOU, and congrats to obladerek!
You know what 2020 needs? A bright, cheerful, soft chocobo, big enough to help you barrel through! Solana is just such a chocobo, sweet and friendly and ready to remind you there's light at the end of that tunnel, but sometimes you just gotta kick your way through. She offers her services.
I felt an exceedingly bright rainbow chocobo to be extremely necessary for the Desert Bus for Hope Craft-Along this year. I had not actually planned on doing fully wired legs, but that just kind of happened. And then a simplistic wired tail to go along with it... and while it doesn't necessarily look like it, simplistic wired wings for a few poses. There, see? Simplicity! With a few very small beaded accents that are actually ridiculously rainbow, but photographs just do not show them off. And some iridescent pigment that is almost too subtle for the camera, which is a surprise but also the intent, so score there.
I am pleased that I did not accidentally lie about the size, because she's less than 15 inches in all dimensions. 12.5 inches tall to the top of her head (just under 15 inches including crest), with a full wingspan of 12 inches, and just under 7 inches from chest to tail.
Sold for a much appreciated $2,350 to duaiwe!
Luxie's part of a grand tradition, stretching back to ancient times: once a child has reached the age when they want to go off adventuring, a grandparent figure will make them a plush chocobo to go with them, protecting them from harm and keeping them company until they return. They're very good listeners, these chocobos, lending an ear in exchange for head scritches and hugs. This one in particular has chosen Luxie as their name, and would love to accompany an adventurer of any age!
Look, I legitimately did something simple. ...Simpler. No wire, okay?! But really, I wanted something simple and straight-forward and succeeded even though I gave in and did more for the tail than I was intending, but it all worked out and became one piece eventually. I wanted to revisit some old styles while applying techniques I'd learned over time, and a sitting chocobo seemed like the best way to do that. Plus I got a discount on the yarn and the polyfil, so bonus.
Congrats to sheikun07, and thanks to everyone for raising $1,842 for this chocobo!
"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." - Sarah Williams
Kind of couldn't help but think of the quote while I was finishing this. I needed a little something different, again, and I'd been picking and different kinds of layered bracelets lately, so this happened. I really wanted something to showcase that "cheap plastic ring" which did not in any way look cheap to me. The blue highlights are so subtle that they're hard enough to pick out in person depending on the light, nevermind trying to get decent pictures of them, but I hope I've succeeded enough for folks to be able to adjust their monitors and marvel. Or something like it.
Have you been wanting to keep a chocobo of your very own, but they're just too big? Have you ever wanted to cuddle your chocobo indoors? Have you wanted the companionship of a big feather friend in a smaller friend-shaped package? Drake Chocobo Ranch has the solution for you - miniaturized house chocobos! Loyal, soft, and bred to smell like cedar! (Mostly. Within reason.)
I have to admit... she was kind of an accident. I'd meant to do a regular Play Art Kai-scaled chocobo! And then I just... made the feet too big. And thought, "Well surely putting the claws on will take some length off the toes." ...And it did. ...And it did not matter that much. I spent a good couple of hours considering starting over with smaller feet, but then I just sort of. Didn't. And here we are. I needed this, long story short. Even if the work took way, way longer than I could have imagined, and challenged me much more than I was prepared for. No sob stories here, folks; it's been A Year, and it's my most sincere hope that Sable will make people happy and do a lot of good. And before anyone asks, no never again. (A fabric one, maybe, someday. But not soon.)
The skeleton/armature is comprised of several wound heavy gauge steel wires and occasional flexible plastic rods. The armature itself was covered in felt to make the structure lighter, with the crocheted acrylic yarn more or less being built up around the structure and stuffed with polyfil as I went. Her beak and claws are made of epoxy clay, the beads on her tail are hemalyke, and her folding wing structure is composed mainly of plastic-coated wood, wire and steel. Her collar was an old bracelet of mine, but the tag was etched by EngraverSteve on Etsy. Her eyes are dichroic cabochons made by WillowGlass on Etsy.
Side notes: in Episode Duscae (the first FFXV demo), occasional encounters with black chocobos made them appear to have "sparkly eyes", I believe in part due to some light/reflection error. (Then again it might have been intentional, and that would make me happy.) So yes, I based the design more or less on the FFXV art book's "ancient black chocobo" concept art, with my own little touches. Her feet and legs are poseable, as well as her neck, and all of her tail feathers are wire with either soft or solid heavy gauge wire cores. Her jaw is hinged, the top of her crest is wired, and of course her wings either hang a bit loosely folded at her sides or opened; but due to the nature of the heavy yarn and the stability of the smaller materials needed, her wings can't stay in place when they're raised. That's why I'm including a very simple "wing support bar" that enables the wings to raise at her sides and stay supported. It must be said that her legs are made from a very solid but lightly "springy" wire, and getting her to stand just right may take a few little toe and leg adjustments. The tail itself is designed for better weight distribution, but sometimes she tilts a little. let her stand next to a friend when possible, okay?
All told, Sable wound up about 25 inches tall to the top of her head, and 17 inches from her chest to the very start of her tail. 28 inches long, including the tail. Her full extended wingspan is 27 inches, and she's about 16 inches wide with folded wings at her side. She also weighs in at roughly 6 pounds, so I'm pretty sure any effort made in lightening her frame is definitely looking like a good decision now.
This girl was auctioned at Desert Bus for Hope 2018 for an enormously generous $2,641.94 from ekimekim.
As is usually the case with these sorts of things, I'd been meaning to try my hand at PAK-scale FFXV chocobo chicks. I finally decided, why not get a group of them together to give to the English chocobro voice actors and director just before EXPcon 2017 because I am not always altogether that intelligent when it comes to planning for time or effort?
I played with various types of similar-weight yarn, getting the basic body shape down. Then I promised myself that I would attempt some form of simplicity. I... mostly succeeded there, though each remains a multi-day process. The details aren't too extreme, even though they each took a great deal of time because I insisted on wired legs, feet and wings, as well as tail feathers and little bitty head crests. Making the wings a little smaller than they technically "ought to be" was a purposeful choice, because I was determining how large the wings should be, holding them up to the very plump bodies and... I mean, can you blame me? Adorable fluff-ness won. Their eyes are all artificial pearls, and I attempted to incorporate a little bit of their character's hair styles into the crests. Which was about as difficult as it sounds.
In presenting the chocobo chicks to each VA, I insisted that they pick the names themselves. I could not be happier with the results. The yellow chick was named "Orinthall" by Robbie Daymond, Prompto's VA. A good and fine name for a battle bird. The blue chick was named "Orin" by Ray Chase, Noctis' VA, which was entirely too smooth but appreciated. The purple chick was named "Purple Verve" by Adam Croasdell, Ignis' VA, after asking for an additional day to come up with a name. I remain pleased. The green chick was named "Ray" by Chris Parson, Gladiolus' VA, which will continue to make me laugh. The black chick was named "Henlay" by Keythe Farley, the English voice director, having taken up until the last signing to choose. I spotted the chick on his table at that point and was hopefully able to make words goodly at that point because hg;afljghfjdg.
"...And that's how he got the name Apocalypse McGillicutty." The joke is, everyone always walks in on the last line of that story, and has never actually heard it. As far as anyone is aware, he's a space punk adventurer with a heart of gold, and that is truly all that will ever matter.
So. Wow. This year's Desert Bus for Hope donation is. Bigger. Than I'd planned. I hadn't quite realized this until I was halfway through the body. I mean, I'd made the legs and feet a little bigger than usual, sure, and so compensated with the body... and started to realize when I was getting to the details that he was more than just a little larger than last year's chocobo. It wasn't until I'd finished the wings and was halfway through the tail that I realized 1.) I'd run out of yarn, and 2.) the color was not readily available at any retailers near me and I would have to wait for a mail order. Time was a bit of the essence, and so I decided to embrace the space punk way, grabbed the closest rainbow yarn I could find, and finished him up with that. ...It worked out really well.
Apocalypse here has a stainless steel wire frame comprised from six (6) to eight (8) individual round wires for stability. His neck, top and bottom beak, all five crest feathers, wings, first four primary feathers and "thumbs" of each wing, legs, toes, and eight of his tail fathers are all wired and poseable. His extended wingspan is a whopping 21 inches, and he stands at 15 inches to the top of his head, 16 inches to the top of his crest. His eyes are large green glass beads, and his claws are comprised of incredibly hard but smooth (not sharp, in other words) Apoxie Sculpt, because I really wanted to try it, and had great success. He can clearly support not only his own weight, but that of a PAK figure. And, most importantly, he is still soft and squishy.
This guy is a great triumph. The extra size took quite a bit more time than I'd anticipated, but this is nothing new in the realm of my projects. I'd been wanting to do a "rainbow space chocobo" (see: old FFVII rumors) for years now, and when the yarn ran out... yeah, I decided to go for a punk space chocobo because that's how we do things around here. The fact that my housemate had suggested I give my next chocobo a "mohawk" only helped matters, and so there's that slight cockatiel thing going on. I'd also wanted to make it quite clear that, despite a "soft wrist" (the first four primaries of each wing have a much wider, softer range of motion than previously), he's still able to hold things thanks to the wire itself.
Congrats and a great big THANK YOU to mflGrMp for the strangely appropriate winning bid of $567.89!
Kaquel's what one might call a "world hopper"; they like to explore the galaxy by "hopping" between various planets, taking in the sights and sounds of different worlds and never really staying in one place too long. It's the nature of their species to be able to survive almost any kind of atmosphere, which is a really lucky thing as they haven't completely perfected portals and wormholes yet. That seems like a minor inconvenience, really.
I went a little "back to basics" here. There's no internal spine structure, but the legs and toes are wired. There is a criss-crossing wire down their back and tail, though, which does allow for a little posing. I started this with no particular ideas of where I wanted to go with it, so the felt horns just sort of happened. I had some leftover snake/skin agate beads, so those seemed idea for the eyes. Then of course I couldn't stop there with the shiny, so I mixed up some fabric paint with iridescent pigments, and ta-da or something. It was a nice, refreshing project. Somehow.