Tag Archives: steampunk

Anachronistic Funtimes!

For my birthday party this weekend, we threw a Party of Anachronistic Funtimes; costumes were ardently encouraged. I went quasi-victorian, because I already had the boots, the corset, the dress, the skirt, the fan, the velvet cameo necklace… all the things, really.

My hair was braided and coiled round my head; it took a crazy amount of pins and clips to keep in place. It is, however, an excellent use for my waist-length hair:

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In other news, today is Pi Approximation Day! (For the uninitiated, July 22 = 22/7 ≈ 3.14 ≈ π.) In celebration of this mathematical occasion, I baked an apple and rhubarb Pi Pie:

It was delicious!

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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Craftiness


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Smiling winsomely at watchmakers

Following the sheer awesomness of last year’s steampunk ball, and its associated crafting, I was keen to attend again this year. I had serious plans – my costume was going to be more awesome, my role-playing more full-blown – I even managed to drag a friend into the madness. But my number one goal this time around? Cogs and gears.

Last year, having no clock-innards on my costume made me feel a bit left out. This year, I was determined to accessorize with gears. My dilemma was that I had no idea where to find them. Op-shopping for old clocks proved futile – any gears were either plastic and nasty, or horrifically expensive. Jewellery shops looked funny at me when I mentioned “steampunk”. Model-railway shops were a little more fruitful, but their gears just weren’t pretty at all. Ebay was time-consuming and frustrating.

So, I went cruising the phonebook for watch repairers, and armed with a list of obscure addresses, I ventured forth. Sure, they’d look at me funny too, but it was worth a shot, right?

The watchmakers I encountered fit broadly into two categories: the Organised, and the Collector. The Organised watch repairers had frighteningly clean workshops, with containers of beautiful gears and other minuate of the watchmaking trade. When I asked if, maybe, they had some cogs or gears that I could buy, they gave me a Look and patiently explained that all the gears they had, they used for repairing watches. Duh.

The Collectors, at first glance, looked remarkably similar to the Organised; their shopfronts were just as orderly, their magnifying spectacles just as awesome. But when I inquired about cogs and gears, they looked thoughtful for a moment, then they popped out the back, or levered a dusty briefcase out from under the counter. “No cogs or gears,” they’d say, “but would these do?” And they’d present me with a modest pile of broken watch mechanisms. Some old, some new, all totally beyond repair, and all COMPLETELY AWESOME. When I replied that, yes, these would be perfect, and thank you, and oh my god (and just generally geeked the fuck out), and asked how much they wanted for them, they just looked at me funny. “Take them,” they said, “they’re just broken mechanisms”. And I would smile, and geek out again, and leave with a handful of broken watches.

Once I brought home my haul (gleaned from several very nice Collectors), I appropriated my Mum’s jeweller’s screwdrivers, and went to work. Did you know that some watch-screws are reverse-threaded? That when you try to unscrew them, you actually tighten them instead? I know. I learned. Eventually. And after many hours of cursing, squinting, and the sad demise of the smallest screwdriver, I had this:


After some determined embroidery and glueing, my accessories were now 100% more steampunk.

In addition, I made some earrings by the simple expedient of putting an existing earring through a cog. Since I have two piercings in each ear, they looked like this:

I also adapted a tie for my companion on this steampunk adventure, sewing cogs onto his sharp op-shop find:

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I realise this post is now unfeasibly long. Nevertheless, a brief word on Olympia: A Steampunk Spectacular. It was ridiculously fun! I was given very little info about my character before the event (I was Miss Coxspring, an amnesiac outpatient of an asylum) but it soon became apparent that I was a genetically engineered psychic weapon who could read minds by having an “episode”. I was told by the game master that the better I roleplayed my fit, the more information I would receive. So I went to town on it, crying, whimpering and generally hyperventilating. As a result, I found out that the prisoners’ control collars were inactive, discovered people who were infected by alien parasites and uncovered Jack the Ripper (who was disguised as a Bishop).

If that weren’t enough, once during the evening, I could knock a whole bunch of people unconscious. I did this by screaming, loudly and repeatedly, and collapsing to the ground. I freaked out a whole lot of people that night. I also think I impressed the event organisers: “Most awesome scream ever!”, “My favourite Miss Coxspring, she set the standard for genetically engineered psychic weapons”.

It was a totally fantastic night, and I’m definitely going back next year.


Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Craftiness, Deviousness


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Anachronistic creativity

Huzzah! After interruptions, plane travel, compliments from random nonnas, unpicking and assorted tribulations, I have finally finished my latest Bloody Shakespeare stitchery: The Mad Blood Stirring.

The quote is taken from Romeo and Juliet, about half a scene before Mercutio dies. The pattern for the poppies comes from this extremely awesome vintage pattern, and the text was stitched freehand. I quite like the slightly mad, eye-bending effect of the text; the words follow the shape of the leaves, but the leaves loop and interweave, so the image echoes the quote’s theme of insanity. (I didn’t plan for this to happen, but I was pretty chuffed when it did!)

I really got a buzz out of stitching from a pattern that was designed in 1900, especially since I worked on this piece at last month’s Steampunk Ball. (Which, by the way, was exceedingly awesome, with some fantastic costumes and a really complex, twisty plot!) It was so nifty to be stitching in character, especially with a pattern that was contemporaneous to the Victorian-era aesthetic of the ball.

If you squint really carefully, you can spot me stitching behind the guy in the brown suit.

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Posted by on April 3, 2010 in Craftiness


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bring on the steampunkerie

SO, further to my previous musings, I’ve been madly crafting to put together an ensemble for the Maiden Flight of the Olympia, the Adelaide Fringe’s steampunk event.

As well as acquiring costume and corsetry, I’ve been making strange accessories that might work as steampunk – it’s my first foray into the genre, so I’m kind of playing it by ear. I’ve put together a hair comb and some earrings with a selection of the many thousands of beads that lurk in our house:

They’re sort of steampunk-ish … enough to get away with my first time out, at least.

But because I’m me, I’ve also wrangled some hand embroidery into my accessories.

Some months ago, I bought a Pilgrim locket with birds and flowers engraved on the front, but I hadn’t been able to work out what to put inside. The steampunk ball seemed like the perfect impetus to finish this locket off, so I figured I could stitch up some turn-of-the-century embroidery for it.

I spent a few hours trawling around the Antique Pattern Library, but came up empty handed. All the designs were too big – the locket is only an inch and a half long – so eventually, I decided to cross-stitch something freehand. The result:

Though I didn’t plan it that way, they ended up as images of technology surrounded by nature, which has a nice steampunk sensibility to it. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. Now all I need is an excuse to actually open the locket at the ball…oh well. I’ll know it’s there, at least.

Anyway, I think I’ve got it all together now:

accessories – check!

corset – check!

long skirts – check!

embroidered satchel – check!

lace shawl – check!

velvet sleeves- check!

leather gloves – check!

lace-up boots – check!

I’m actually really excited about the boots. For about a year, I’ve been looking for a pair of boots with functional laces (i.e. no zip! They lace up, why the hell do they need a zip?), and finally found a pair that weren’t doc martins or hooker boots. These look like Victorian governess boots; they’re beyond perfect. Wait, hang on – see?


Steampunk ball, here we come.


Posted by on March 12, 2010 in Craftiness


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It has been a fairly strange and hectic week (fortnight) what with actually getting shifts at work, submitting grant applications and, on the whole, acting like a proper grown-up.

It is also MAD MARCH here in the Festival State. So there’s the Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Womad, Soundwave and I don’t even know what. (There’s also some kind of “car race” but that only registers on the periphery of my consciousness as “unexplainable road closures”). So it’s been a bit mental, seeing cabaret (violet rapscallion is mindblowing), music (amanda palmer is here in Adelaide!), and theatre (I saw VS Macbeth last night. They had paintball guns. Made of awesome). I was also in the Fringe opening parade, wearing a high-vis vest, fluro fishnets and a hot-pink wig. Gotta love the public service.


But I am also going to the Steampunk Ball, and I’m more than a little crafty-excited about it.

For the uninformed, steampunk is like sci-fi meets Victorian-era. Clockwork, brass goggles, zepplins, long skirts, corsets and top hats. The Steampunk Ball could just as easily be called a Steampunk LARP – according to their website “You will be ‘boarding’ the air/Aether ship the Olympia on its first voyage to the moon. Among the guests will be Royalty, Explorers, Spies, Mad Scientists and many other people of Interest. All the guests will be give characters, back story and motivations akin to a “how to host a murder mystery” evening – albeit with 100 people.”

The upshot of all this is I get to put together a costume and craft some steampunk accesories. I have about three different costume options from my pre-existing wardrobe (which really does tell you something fundamental about me) but I’m thinking that some extra corsetry will be called for…I’m also going to upstyle my hip-length hair and make a massive feathery hairpiece. This whole thing has really captured my imagination, and I think it’s going to be fairly brilliant.


I’m also working on some other crafty projects at the moment, but I can’t post the outcomes. It’s quite distressing. But this weekend I’ll be able to fianlly put up the TOP SECRET gift for my Granparent’s wedding anniversary, in all its glory.

Another hidden-outcome project is my piece for the current Phat Quarter Swap, which I will not be posting until my swap partner gets it in the mail. Suffice to say, it’s a comic-themed swap, and there will be pie. I’ve finished all my prep and will be stitching like a manic this week.

Last but not least, I’m also working on a pattern for my next Bloody Shakespeare project. The base is from The Antique Pattern Library, and the quote (from Romeo and Juliet) will be stitched freehand on top. I’ll post some wip shots once I’ve put thread to fabric.

And now it’s time to stop blogging and get sticthing.


Posted by on February 28, 2010 in Deviousness


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