Sunday, December 18, 2011

Steampunk on Sunday and Time Travel

For reasons beyond my control, Steampunk on Sunday was actually on Tuesday. Here 

Apparently, my Time Machine really works. If only it could give me a few more days before Christmas...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Merry Steampunk Christmas

Mary Ann's blog, A Cloth Doll Maker's Diary  
(a wonderful source of all kinds of dollmaking videos and tips and some amazing steampunky goodness,)
 has posted this about Macy's Christmas Windows for this year.

If you want to see Christmas and Steampunk and glitter and excitement, fly over at once to  


The windows are in support of the Make A Wish Foundation, 
and visitors to the window can crate a 
virtual Christmas ornament, from their own wishes 
that they can then post to their  facebook or, I guess, their blog.

It's funny, I've read several reviews of the windows this morning, 
all very happy with the display but not one of them has used the word 'Steampunk.'
And I thought we'd gone Mainstream!

Have a wonderful day and get Christmassy! It's coming!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Steampunk on Sunday and the Wallpaper Film

What, you may well ask, is a wallpaper film?

A Wallpaper Film,. in my household, is a film that you love, but you don't actually have to watch. 
You have it on in the background  because it keeps you company. 
Or because you and your heart's desire  (ie, Hubby) are doing separate things but you'd like to feel you're having a shared experience.  
Or because you're doing something that requires your attention, but you  want to be entertained. 
 In other words, visual, aural wallpaper.
I'd imagine you're familiar with the concept, even if you haven't given it a name

Now, why would you need a Wallpaper Film? 
Because you have to be wrapping presents and writing cards, that's why.
In fact, you feel guilty about sitting here reading this blog.
because you're supposed to be adding glitter and spraying
glue and stuffing mittens with polyester fibre.

I have a lot of Wallpaper Films and a fair number of those film are Steampunk. 
and  some are Steampunk and Christmassy

La Cité des enfants perdus, or The City of Lost Children
is my favourite and possibly the best expression of Steampunk in a film, 
without actually mentioning any steam. 
It is weird, disturbing and
probably more scary for adults than children.
Apart from the scene with the eye...
. Or the opening with the scary Santas.
Or the fleas with the brainwashing poison.

Maybe it's not suitable for children?

Well, how about something a little more family friendly?
How about 
Howl's Moving Castle?

(Sorry about the wierd script. Blogger hates s it if you cut and post.)

This appealing film is from the same source as
 the wonderful Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.
I'll not give away the plot and the trailer tells you what you need to know.

Incidently, the book is also wonderful, but very different to the film.
The title is actually a play on names.
 Howl (spelled Hywel but pronounced 'howl') 
is a frequent boys' name in Wales 
and a portion of the book is actually spent in contemporary Wales, 
with Howl's exasperated family.
It's really worth a read if you're looking for books
 for ages 9 to about 

Howl also has the nicest bedroom in any film, ever.

Maybe you're not into fairy tales.
Maybe you like things a little gritty?

Cute but gritty?

I always had a crush on Edward Scissorhands.
(A different kind of Team Edward)

Right from the opening, with the cookies and the snow
 and the wonderful machines making them.
. I used to show this film to classes as an example of a 
Creation Myth.

How is it a creation Myth?
Edward makes it snow...

Here is the wonderfully absurd cookie making machine
(Which is, oddly enough, what I am doing right now!)

 More recently, there's been the new and steamy Sherlock franchise

(I haven't seen the new one, so don't tell me what happens!)
It's steampunked enough and I'm happy with the intetrpretation.
Conan Doyle wrote about Holmes as an unstable man of action and Watson as a war hero;
it's about time that aspect of them was made apparent.

For the flavour of an exciting alternative world, 
and Mr Downey's fluid acting 
and the genius of Holmes the man,
 here is the Irene Adler scene with Sherlock on her trail in disguise.

If you can suggest any Steampunk films, I'd be grateful.
And I wish you a Merry Christmas 
as you wrap presents to Wallpaper Films of your own.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Steampunk on Sunday : Fairy Lights

Who invented the electric lightbulb?

This is not a steampunk mash-up. This is the real deal!

That's right.

 Joseph Swan!

What does that have to do with fairy lights?

In 1882 Gilbert and Sullivan premiered their new production of Iolanthe

at the Savoy Theatre. 

Joseph Swan created the lights,
 making it the first public building in the world to be lit by electricity.

 That's all very well, but, 
what does that have to do with fairy lights??!

The plot of Iolanthe has a lot of disaffected fairies,
 death sentences and satire.

To offset the satire,
(and the rather dumpy fairies)
Gilbert and Sullivan wanted their costumes to be magical.

The costumes were fitted with little lights,
 powered by a battery on the shoulder which was covered by flowing fairy wigs.
and the singers carried glowing wands.

Yes, yes. I know we've all seen this fairy picture.
But it's a nice fairy picture and it's bleedin' three o'clock in the morning

(And you thought your LED Christmas earrings 
were cutting edge technology...)

The effect had such a charm for the British imagination,
 they call Christmas tree lights 'fairy lights' to this day.
The idea of little lights seems to have caught on rather well.
 Huzzah for Joseph Swan and the invention of the light bulb.

Edison? Never heard of him. 
Wasn't he a poor second to Tesla?



The Fan

Want to add a little Victoriana to your tree?
Something pretty, antique-y and yes, a little girly?

Go and see these lovely graphics, 
all cleaned and spruced
 (that's a Christmas tree pun, for those of you who missed it)
 and ready to use, from Plush Possum Studio.

Here's my own effort. 
I have a  load (like, a coffee-tin full) of 
little gold tassels I bought for a dollar somewhere.
They're perfect for these little fans, looped through the base to hold the layers together
 I hot-glued the vanes of the fan, 
partly because the blobby bits of glue give a little three-dimensionalism
and partly because 
and I don't have time for glue to dry...

Then I glued it onto a peg (Clothes-pin) 
and hung it on my Fairy Tree 
which should have its Christmas transformation soon.

Go make one!

Or lots!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's not Halloween...

 I hope you've been good! 

I'm not making this up. 

Krampus is a companion to Saint Nicholas,
and while dear Saint Nick is handing out
dolls and toy trains and comfits to good children,
Krampus is walloping the bad ones with his bundle of sticks,
 before shoving them in a sack and carrying them off.

In between abducting and beating the mischievous,
 he also has a weakness for teasing pretty girls
In some villages, men will dress up as Krampus
to catcall and pester comely young women!

The very thought!!. 

So, anyone else bothered by St Nick  here? Is he concerned? A voyeur?
Making a list and checking it?
Bwhahahahahahahah.... *coughs*  

Wow, The evil laugh thing is hard....

This is the photograph I was looking for.
 It looks evil and like the child is a victim of some sect
and should be placed in care at once.
However, we know better, don't we, boys and girls?
The lolling tongues and the bundles of switches, give them away.

Those are some guys dressed up as Krampus
and the kid's about to get some toys and sweets.

No, really. He is.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Steampunk on Sunday: I Saw Three Airships Come Sailing In...

Chime the First

(this is a work in progress...)

Yes indeed. Christmas is coming, whether you've been good or not  And here to help you, with but THREE FREAKIN" WEEKS to go, is Rhissanna with her helpful hints and tips on what to get your  batman, your parlour maid and your rear gunner for Christmas.

Cue a Christmas Song

Ah, I hear you say, no one in my social circle is at all interested in steam, top hats or monocles.

Upright Gentleman from Plush Possum Studio

I quite understand, but trust me, my dear adventurers, 
there is an inherent charm and worthiness in all things steamed.

Plastic does not acquire a patina. Digital delights need batteries
Vinyl will flake and screens will crack.

But  brass and leather, paper and glass,
these are materials that reward our senses,
 that improve with age and care
and have an inherent worthiness.
Read on.

It's a problem finding steampunk goodies for Christmas, but then,
 it's hard finding the ideal present for anyone..
And like true adventurers, we're racing the clock..

I'm starting with  my go-to favourite gift.
The Pocket Watch

Pricey?  Not so.

I buy all my watches from Ebay. 
In fact, type in Steampunk Pocket Watch
and you'll get pages of watches
for absurd prices,
 Some will be mechanical

To put that into context for
some of you young whippersnappers, 
that mean the watch needs to be wound.
 By hand.
It means the ticking you can hear is the
 beating of its little clockwork heart.

Think of it as a temporal tamagotchi.

Most of the mechanical watches have a window 
so you can see it working.
All those happy cogs, tick tick tick!
Now tell me, who wouldn't want one of those?

(Gentle reader, this is a work in progress, 
Watch this space for more hints and tips for the festive season
And, if you are a seller of steampunky goodness 
or can recommend something,
 Link it to Steam Tea Travels. from noon 4th December.
Details of the Linky Party here at Plush Possum Studio)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Not a knocker, but Marley's face...

Ok, look, I promise there will be more later, but for now...

This is just amazing! This is just the best, most amazing Christmas Wreath you have ever seen. 

 If you hate it when Halloween is over, you're gonna love this! 


 And I'm so bowled over by  this, I'm posting it  right now.
Without even spellchecking or anything.

Please, please, do yourself a favour and go over to 
 He is very talented and nice and he MADE this amazing thing!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bloggers are such nice people

And how do I know?
 I won two (count them, two) giveaways!

I know!

I'm as amazed and astonished as you are! Possibly even more so...

I won these stamps from the wonderful and talented Lynn at

and this dress, from the amazing and gifted Kristen

So, how's your day been?
 Mine's been just peachy, thank you.
Even in a house with no water!

Thank you everyone who made this possible 
and congratulations to the other winners.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Steampunk on Sunday : The Extraordinary Vision

Yes, yes.  I know.

Christmas is coming...

I promise, next Sunday, there will be a plethora of pulchritudinous goodies relevant to the season. Gift ideas! Therapy and fashion! Timepieces and walking canes and all kinds of delights for every purse, from the modest housemaid to a daring duchess.

Next Sunday, while we await to board on our Steam Tea Travel, all cosy in boots and gloves and mufflers, there will be everything to delight your clockwork heart .

This Sunday, I just want to show you some Steampunk art,

Eric Freitas is an America artist who became a self-taught clock maker in 2004
and creates designs that are part whimsy and part dark vision.
 He makes each piece himself, cutting and shaping from metal..
 He ages each piece to a convincing patina 
and joins them with hand-threaded screws.
 Each clock can take 400 to 500 hours of work.

His clocks are a satisfactory fusion of organic forms and solid metalwork, 
that make these sculptural creations look as though
they're part grown and part forged.

Like the very best of Steampunk artefacts,
 they make an alternative world seem solid and real, 
objects of genuine escapism..

And in answer to your next question,
no,  you can't afford one.
But he does sell prints on Etsy.

Kris Kuksi's vision is more disturbing,
 but made from objects that are entirely familiar. 
Old toys. Broken ornaments.Model kits.

An American artist, he takes the discarded,
 the kitsch and the tawdry and recreates them into 
fabulous machines,

 tormented cities 

and creatures of wonder.

If you just want a rest from candy canes and glitter,
this is just the tonic you need.
 Kuksi's dramatic creations are provoking and original; 
as artists, this is what we need. 
Something New! 
Something Challenging!

You want to see something a little smaller? 
Something you could pick up, maybe? 
I have to admit, these wold make the
 perfect Steampunk gift for some people I know

These are the insect creations of
  Dimitriy Khristenko or  Dkart71
(And, if you're not a member yet, why not? 
It's free.
 It's really no more deviant than Blogland. 
And you'll meet a lot of talented people)
 His insects are made from familiar bits of metal; 
 nuts and bolts, gauges and wire 
and sometimes, real insect parts,
like these dragonfly wings.

There is careful attention to form and function. 
This grasshopper looks as though it can leap and chirrup

He also makes some very steamy, brassy clocks.

Well, thank you for your patience. 
I hope you can now return to your snowmen and gingerbread, refreshed. 
And if you feel the urge to build a sugar cookie Zeppelin 
or a door wreath of cogs and glossy copper wire,
please come back and share it with us.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Steampunk Wrapping

Dr Algernon Crupper's patented gift container.

For the tutorial go here

No. We're not talking about wrapping paper with printed with cogs, although it may come to that. We're not even  talking about using the blueprints for a particularly luxurious Time Machine, because I'm keeping those under wraps (A pun! Geddit?) until my experimentation is complete.

No, this is genuine Steampunk Giftwrap, for wrapping smallish non-animate objects to delight and surprise your friends and laboratory assistants.


You, yes, you there, can hermetically seal items inside a tin can
Taking Mr Donkin's excellent and entirely safe invention, you can place items in a steel cylinder and seal them there, making their contents a delight and surprise for your friends, your servants and your co-pilot.

Mr B Donkin

' How?' I hear you cry!

With these few and readily available items.

Well, if you're still with me...

I had this idea a while ago when I made the discovery that the little metal disc 
on the top of a frozen orange juice tube fits, 
with mathematical precision, 
onto the bottom of a standard small tin 

(That's a can to you).
 You know the kind of thing.

  It usually holds green chilies or mushrooms or chopped olives.

This is my original design for the label...
with  graphics from the glorious, the generous, Miss Possum at 
I then measured my tin, all around and up and down
 (I should have done this first, of course. I know that now)
 and altered the graphic to that size, adding a bit for overlap.
 Like a real tin lable, see?

Then it was a simple matter of

and sticking.

I'm using E6000, and letting it dry with a weight on top
. Be very careful, whatever glue you use, 
not to glue the gift to the wall or base of the tin.
If you have a small enough rinpull tin,
 (I had some for chipotle chilies in adobe sauce, nummy) 

open it upside down, and glue on the disc
leaving the top with the ring pull intact, for instant gratification.
So, there you are. 

Steampunk Giftwrap.

Of course, you can print anything on the paper label; 
kids 'photos, a picture of the contents, 
a clue for a Treasure Hunt, 
a calendar with a date for it to be opened. 
You could even re-use an actual tin label, for giggles...

But you're bloggers and crafty,
 so I'm sure you'll think of all kinds of uses for this technique

If you do, please, let us all see!

Merry Christmas!