Recently I received an email from someone who had read my post about Cosplay for Old Fogies, sending me some suggestions for generously proportioned, mature women. Luckily for me, that someone – Diana Joan Bass – doesn’t yet have her own blog to put her most excellent ideas out there, and she was kind enough to consent to allowing me to publish them. Diana says about herself:
I am short and fat and I like costuming (I got into it before everybody started calling it cosplay.) I’m good with makeup and O.K. with wigs and hair, with basic sewing skills.

(Diana forgets to mention that she is also generous, thoughtful and creative – surely, the most important parts!).

Diana’s suggestions:

Miss Piggy
A good reference pictures of Miss Piggy will give you inspiration. You will need –
• Long blond wig.
• Pig snout pieces (I recommend the type that have an upper and lower segment).
• Suitable facial glue.
• A good base makeup that will go over the snout.
• Full evening eye makeup with extra false lashes .
• Satin gloves, outsize diamond look ring, string of pearls.
• Floor length evening dress or designer look tailored skirt suit.
• If you are comfortable in heels, a cuban as opposed to a stiletto, possibly in a leopard print. If not, go for the full length evening dress and flats.

• Reasonably high recognition factor.
• Comfortable clothes unless you find it awkward wearing gloves.
• Can be accessorised with designer look bag.
• The clothes can come from your wardrobe.
• Easy to move in.
• Can be solo or couple costume, if solo Kermit puppet optional.

• Requires learning how to apply a prosthetic; you’ll need to practice applying and removing it properly.
• If you haven’t worn a prosthetic before it gets hot having something glued over your face, particularly your nose.
• Wigs can also be hot like wearing a fur hat in summer.
• Having to drink with a straw – eating at all in this is tricky.

Ursula The Sea Witch from Disney’s Little Mermaid.
Costume –
Black strapless bodice with tentacle legs/skirt. My version has a stolen trident to lean on. The legs I did included disguising my legs as two of the six tentacles. There are several good versions that made a skirt with tentacles over it; decide on what is the most practical for you.

Makeup –
Golden shell pendant makeup is basically a violet skinned woman makeup over emphasised to the level of a drag queen. The near vertical hair can either be your hair and a lot of coloured hairspray or be done with a wig shaped with glue and dried upside down. Here is my favourite Ursula of those I’ve seen online:

• Good recognition factor.
• One you can be really outrageous in.

• Body paint is like really cheap fake tan – you will leave marks though powder helps and you can get violet powder as it is used to adjust skin tone.
• Strapless gowns are risky if you have to bend and people with no manners may try and get a photo down your cleavage.
• Walking in tentacles, people may not allow you enough room.

Princess Fiona from Shrek
Costume –By Thelmadatter (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
• Deep green velvet long sleeved dress.
• Deep green velvet slippers.
• Green tights to match the body paint.
• Auburn wig.
• Green ears can be made from felt and either fixed into wig with hair grips or sewn onto an alice band and style the wig over it.
• Green body paint and and base for the face. Allowing for the altered colour, it’s a fairly normal makeup (freckles and lips are normal colours).

If you wish to do a Fiona from Shrek Ever After you can use body paint for all skin areas or use green tights and green sleeves so there’s less area to paint. The costume for that is:
• Suede or sturdy cloth top in brown.
• Wrist bracers and boot/shoe covers in the same fabric.
• Shoulder pads and protective covers on the front of the boots optional.
• Brown leather belt (see the film for details of the large metal buckle).
• Skirt is a piece of torn tartan so little or no sewing for that bit.
• Bead and claw necklace.
• Big stone effect double headed axe.

• Good recognition
• Both costumes are reasonably comfortable.

• Body paint as above; yes, you can get green powder.
• Giant prop weapons get really heavy after a short while even if you think you made them quite light.

Guest from the ballroom scene in Labyrinth
You will need –
• Cavalier/Restoration inspired fantasy gown.
• Half mask held on with long ribbons.
• Nature inspired accessories made to look slightly creepy. Can be used as ornaments on the hairstyle hair extensions or wig for the hairstyle itself.
• Ballet shoes or period shoes.

Even if you don’t sew much you can make something fairly good from a couple of old bridesmaid dresses. If you do sew well you can make a historical gown that will be useful for several other characters. You can do up a half mask with animal and nature inspired detailing. Either a direct copy from the film or simply in the general style works well.

• A half mask doesn’t get in the way when you eat.
• The look is slightly dishevelled so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
• If you are doing the full historical gown take a look at court portraits from the era of Charles 1st and 2nd. You’ll see how good larger women look in that style.

• Not as widely recognised as some others.
• Moving around in a full skirt.
• Eighties/ historical hair and the time it takes to do it and all the fixing spray/mouse/gel you have to get out afterwards.

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego
Looks very good on a tall woman. You will need –By istolethetv from Hong Kong, China [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
• Red Trenchcoat and matching hat.
• Black cuban heel boots.
• Tights.
• Gloves.
• Dress.
• Glamorous makeup.
• Long flowing hair – yours or a wig.
• Optional suitcase with stickers from all over the world.

• Good recognition
• Comfortable clothes

• Wearing a coat indoors
• Being found a lot.

Freestyle Steampunk
Joe Mabel [CC BY-SA 2.0 ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsVictorian/Edwardian inspired Science Fiction. The tabloids focus mainly on the girls in a corset and short skirt but there is a wide range to work from. My first outfit was a Victorian style blouse, long skirt, waistcoat, bowler hat and goggles. Take a look at various steampunk sites for inspiration.

• There’s room for a lot of variation.

• Being asked to explain all about steampunk by somebody who read a badly written article. (Actually, this happens to all brands of cosplay – if one person is in costume, they should know everything about everybody else who wears those costumes and it should agree with this article somebody wrote to fill space.)

Sorceress/high priestess
You will need –Louis Welden Hawkins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Long flowing robes and regalia to taste.

• Comfortable loose clothing

• May get a couple of “Who are you meant to be?” comments.


You Me & Cancer COVER

You and Me and Cancer Makes Three is a poetical journey about survival from cancer. An uplifting and enduring tale of his journey with Cancer. John held his hands around his own mortality, yet leaves the clinic whole, with much more than he ever expected: he discovers the true meaning of friendship, redemption and hope as told in his poetry. Discovering he had skin cancer, John Irvine had routine surgery in 2009. However, a few cells had gone feral and radical treatment became necessary. On the advice of his oncologist, he checked in at the Lions Cancer Lodge at Waikato Hospital in New Zealand for five weeks. In this unique poetic memoir, John Irvine tells his story with wit, honesty and emotion. The friends he makes at Waikato will become your friends; you’ll share frustration and laughter and bittersweet tears. You and Me and Cancer Makes Three by Pohutukawa Publishing Limited brings well known New Zealand poet and author to the spotlight with needed attention to cancer survivors.

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Cancer. Two little syllables that conjure up dire images and emotions. Anyone who have ever had anything to do with it will know what an ugly, vicious, all-too-often fatal affliction it can be. The temptation with such daunting subject matter might be to dwell on the horror, the grief, the fear and the pain. Alternatively, one might be tempted to tell stories of miracle cures, those one-in-a-million recoveries that are meant to be uplifting but are ultimately mocking in their rarity.
Author John Irvine is having none of that. “This is no sob story,” he says, right from the get-go. This is a tale told with simple eloquence, of life. Love. Laughter. And that peculiar Kiwi stoicism that rejects self-pity in favour of friendship and connection. Irvine complements his accessible verse with photos taken during his time in treatment, contrasting the sterile, high-tech environment of hospital treatment rooms with portraits of his fellow “inmates”, the latter radiating humour, resilience, and lives well lived.

Amazon purchase link:

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About the author:

Although born in NZ, just five months after Hitler liberated Luxembourg in May 1940, John Irvine lived in Australia for 28 years, three months, fourteen days and approximately fifty-seven minutes, drifting about like a hungry Cryptococcus spore on an unreliable breeze. He is now Poet Laureate for Life in the tiny village of Colville, on the northern Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. There, on each waning moon, he lets his dark side out to play with the sheep.

He has had several collections of poetry published by non-discerning editors, including himself, and in spite of past financial losses, and against all sensible advice, he did it again in 2011 with a collection of dubious stuff euphemistically called ‘speculative.’ What might save the thing are the utterly splendid illustrations supplied at no cost by empathic and desperate, internationally acclaimed artists suffering similar ongoing delusions…

QuarterReads is an online initiative created by Oregon writer and web developer Ian Rose. As the name suggests, QuarterReads is a site where fans of short fiction can read short stories for a quarter of a dollar each (25 cents to us non-Americans). As you would expect from a web developer, the site is clean, clear, and easy to navigate. The site is still in its infancy, but already it features stories from 250 writers, including prominent writers in the field of short fiction such as Ken Liu and Cat Rambo . It’s a win-win for authors and readers; readers get access to top quality short fiction for small change, and authors get fairly compensated each time their story is read.

I’m always a fan of simple ways to get my work out there, so I have a few short stories listed with QuarterReads (with more to come as non-exclusive rights revert to me). I’m especially honoured to have one of those stories featured as the Free bleed coverStory of the Week (admittedly, I’ve been a bit slack about blogging about it, as there are now only three days left of that week…).

The story is With “Paper Armour and Wooden Sword”, originally published in the charity anthology Bleed.  In this story I confront what is for me the greatest fear of all – the death of one’s child.

Once you’re done at QuarterReads reading some free fiction, take a little time to browse around and see what else might take your fancy.