It’s one thing to really like a book, movie, band, TV show or any form of entertainment for that matter, but it’s another when that material transcends the medium and really becomes part of your life. Over the past six months of writing this Countdown, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some brilliant writers and artists that not only value Suzanne Collins’ work, but make it a mission to spread the story and express their love for The Hunger Games in some pretty creative ways.
When Down With The Capitol’s Shylah Addante isn’t busy feeding the hungry in East Africa via Hunger is Not a Game, she’s putting her artistic talent to use, crocheting Hunger Games blankets. “I started crocheting almost ten years ago because of another popular series: Harry Potter. I remember seeing the first movie, and all I could focus on was how much I wanted one of those house scarves,” she explained. After some trial and error and a little help from Ravelry.com, a social networking site for knitters, Shylah started churning out Harry Potter-themed blankets, hats, sweaters and more.
“Then I read The Hunger Games, and the first thing that I thought of when I finished Mockingjay was to hop onto Ravelry and start downloading patterns. So I did.” The problem was, Ravelry was devoid of Hunger Games designs. Shylah had no choice but to take matters into her own hands and populate Ravelry’s Hunger Games collection herself. Since, Shylah’s produced a number of notably professional designs including a Mockingjay pin blanket inspired by Andy Warhol’s pop art painting of Marilyn Monroe, book cover blankets and, my personal favorite, her District by District blanket showing off each area’s principle trade. You can buy one of these blankets for yourself right here or, if you’d like to give making one yourself a shot, check out Shylah’s patterns here.
When you’ve got an intense appreciation like Shylah has for The Hunger Games, it’s impossible for that love not to bleed into your family life and delightfully, David Addante, Shylah’s husband, embraces it. The two joined forces to bring a series of Hunger Games pumpkin carving designs to Down With The Capitol. Shylah revealed David’s secret, “David uses Photoshop wizardry to turn pictures of real people into pumpkin carving patterns. He converts the image to black and white and then does a lot of manual coloring and shadowing to take it from picture to stencil.”
It started with the characters from The Office and then became a tradition, the Addantes tackling our favorites from Toy Story and Twilight, too. This year, not only is The Hunger Games the theme of their pumpkin carving venture, but they’ve amassed enough designs to practically bring the entire story to life via pumpkins. You can access their carving stencils for the Mockingjay, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, all of the District seals and all of the book covers right here.
As someone who primarily wears jewelry with some sort of meaning or sentimental significance, I can really appreciate the value of The Hunger Games Trilogy’s Kate Farrell’s Hunger Games friendship bracelets. “I don't make any large scale crafts,” Kate admits, “but I make friendship bracelets with a twist.” She further explained, “I choose the colors of the thread and the number of colors based on the occasion that I am making the bracelet for.” For example, the bracelet pictured here has a black thread for The Hunger Games, a red one for Catching Fire, a light blue one for Mockingjay and some yellow and gold thread representing the Mockingjay pin to bring it all together.
Also in the jewelry department is the work of Lina Zol who’s created a variety of Hunger Games inspired bead bracelets including her “Real/Not” piece. More than anything, Lina considers herself an artist, so these newly developed hand painted bracelets are particularly exciting for her as they really put her talent to use. She explained, “The names or words are embossed into an imitation leather strap which gets hand painted with designs pertaining to it and then sealed with a protective finish.” You can find Lina's work right here at her Etsy shop. Can’t find a piece that’s right for you? Lina takes costume orders, too!
More wearable Hunger Games fare comes from Ariel Birdoff who designed a Katniss costume. “When I first read Hunger Games, I knew I had to be Katniss,” she explained. However, what began as a one-costume venture turned into three – the “Girl on Fire” outfit, Katniss’ Reaping Day dress and her arena uniform. Ariel even got to show off one of the designs to author Suzanne Collins herself.
One particularly inspiring thing about Ariel’s work is that she does it on a budget. “Most costumes I make involve many trips to Michaels and TJMaxx for inexpensive items that could very much resemble the outfit I am going for.” For example, all of the pieces necessary for the Reaping Day look came from an Etsy store and TJMaxx. From there, all Ariel had to do was nail Katniss’ hairdo. However, Ariel lamented, “I am hopeless when it comes to intricate hair styles. Immediately I called my friend, Kelly, who is a performer and model.” She added, “With just 20 minutes of me sitting still in front of a mirror, my hair was braided and pinned perfectly.”
Now how about for something a bit tastier? Literally. The Hunger Games isn’t Crystal of Mockingjay.net’s only passion; she loves to cook, too. In fact, she also writes for a site called FictionalFood.net, a blog that focuses on food inspired by books, TV, games and more. Even with the extensive amount of tasty treats posted on Fictional Food, Crystal admits she never used to consider herself a “foodie,” but, “I've always been fixated on the scenes when the characters sit down and eat.”
It was the George R.R. Martin Game of Thrones books that first inspired Crystal courtesy of the author’s detailed descriptions of the meals and banquets and then she noticed a similar trend in The Hunger Games. “From Katniss and Peeta's first encounter with hot chocolate to Katniss munching on puffy bread and goose liver in her Capitol quarters to the infamous lamb stew on wild rice, I just couldn't contain my excitement any longer and began my blog Fictional Food.” And so the cooking began. The site is absolutely overflowing with delicacies, most of which are legitimately works of art. Crystal’s Mockingjay cupcakes are absolutely pristine, rocking an exceptionally detailed Mockingjay design on top. Ever wonder what Katniss’ beloved Capitol lamb stew looks like? Crystal’s got that too and, even as a vegetarian, it makes me hungry just looking at the image of the dish. Check out the whole Hunger Games collection over at FictionalFood.net.
Now, let’s get digital. Sam Cushion’s been writing music since he was just 13-years-old. What began as your typical teen-in-a-band phase transitioned into a deep appreciation for movie scores and trailer music. As for The Hunger Games, Sam recalled, “I read The Hunger Games in September 2009 and immediately after reading it, I wrote ‘Rue's Lullaby.’ About a year later, I wrote another 26 songs to complete my first ‘Unofficial Score’ for The Hunger Games.” The album became available for download in September of 2010 and Sam amassed quite the following.
As of now, Sam is hard at work at what he calls his Mockingjay score, “Music of Panem Pt III: The Rebellion.” Sadly we have to wait until December 12th, 2012 for that one to hit iTunes, but, in the meantime, check out Sam’s Mockingjay overture right here.
To wrap things up, we’ve got an update from the one and only John Lyde of Mainstay Productions. John treated the fandom to two stellar Hunger Games shorts, “Katniss & Rue” and “The Second Quarter Quell,” but, if you caught our interview with John back in August, you know Mainstay Productions isn’t stopping there. John is hard at work on not just one new Hunger Games short, but a whole series about Finnick and Annie. “The plan is to travel down to Lake Powell next weekend (Oct 20-22) and film some Finnick and Annie.” He added, “There are 7 short films in total and we are hoping to film 5 of them next weekend. The remaining 2 will have to be filmed in an interior location after we get back.” The 18-person team consists of family, crew and cast. While some of the stars are new to acting, John notes others are familiar faces.
On top of the Finnick and Annie series, John hopes to release his short “Maximum Ride” this month and aims to finish up a 40-minute short called “Abide With Me” by the end of the year. The latter features a few actors you might remember from the previous Hunger Games shorts. Check them out for yourself in the images below.
The Hunger Games Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday. There are 155 days until release.