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!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Steampunk on Sunday: Invitation to the Ball

We all want to go to the Ball because we all know we're Cinderella. We're all left with the dirty work while others go off and have fun and sometimes, we want to dress up pretty, to be Transformed and enjoy ourselves, too.

So, you have your invite to a Masquerade, a Steampunk Ball, a Dickensian Christmas or a Vampire LARP and you want to know what to wear. You start here. It's rather long, but it does have everything you need and I've tried to locate all the mentioned links for you.

For the amazing hats, you need  Topsy Turvy Designs on Etsy.  

 and the bustle dresses are here.
This lovely photo I found on LuLu  Kellogg's'
wonderful blog

Corsets, you say?
Like this one I found at Plush Possum Studio?

How about these?
I know!
 But imagine if you did wear one?
What a wonderful day that would be!

Even if you're not having a Steampunk Sunday, dress up, dress pretty. 
That's the best part of the Cinderella story.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Steampunk on Sunday: Noble Studios Ltd

Violette Noble, at Noble Studios was my introduction to blogging. I didn't even know blogs existed, except as a way to keep track of family events and for the single minded to rant on their own issues in public privacy. But I found Noble Studio's Steampunk inspired jewellery and that led me to blogging and, here I am. 

 I was entranced by Violette's carefully wrought pieces, by her imaginative approach and by her generosity of spirit. She was one of my first followers, you see, when there wasn't really anything of me  to follow. 

Here, let me show you what she makes.

Isn't it divine? Very wearable and different and eye-catching

Here's another

Vintage and patinated and quite lovely.

Not inclined to wear brooches? How about a pendant?

All these lovely gems are from her Etsy shop, where she sells all kinds of good things and wraps them all up prettily.  An interesting idea for the coming season, no?

There's not just the lovely jewellery on her blog.  There's hats, too!

For Gentlemen and Ladies.

She also posts free tutorials. For these absolutely sumptuous items.

Aren't they gorgeous? Don't you just want to pick them up and examine them?

Violette has three very full and detailed tutorials on using resin. She not only explains it fully, but makes you feel that you could do it, too.
 Working with Resin Parts I  II and III

Please pop along over to her blog and take a stroll around her Etsy shop. Both are full of good things from a very sweet person.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Box

So, Hubby's Birthday Card?

Well, I'm still working on the box, 
I have my phial graphics from  wonderful Miss Possum at Plush Possum Studio and I have the basic concept from the amazing Polish The Stars
And I have my box.

Cue photo of the box.

I got mine from Hobby Lobby with their 40% off coupon . Dear me, how lovely those little coupons are. 
And I bought it on-line, as that is how I shop.

It was a very nice box. One of three similar, graduated in size. But it was a bit shiny new. 
I was looking at ways to make it look old. 
Old and well used, with a shellac-type finish that was heavily patinated.
Like this, in fact

Better, right? Or, at least, better suited to a vampire-killing kit. How did I do it? 
I had a tin of Minwax Gel Stain in antique maple, which I bought at a dollar store. I'd never heard of Minwax and wasn't sure about the colour but I thought a tin of wood stain for a dollar was a pretty good deal. I've stored it for about five years so it was rather lumpy on opening.
 I also bought (same dollar store) a book called Glue Gun Decor. which had the very handy tip of using 
Kiwi shoe polish on wood, instead of paint. Yes, really. In fact, you can see it here, where I painted the scuffed surface of a chest of drawers with shoe polish. Behind the Steampunk ray gun...

So, this box is patinated with two rubbed layers of the gel stain, 
and then a rubbed layer of black liquid shoe polish. Like this.

 I'm now sealing and spray varnishing it before finishing the inside.

When the box has its mouth open you can see how orange the gel stain was 
before darkening it with a layer of shoe polish. Not attractive at all  

I can recommend this method, if you ever need an antiqued wooden surface. It's relatively quick and, if you already have the supplies, pretty cheap. Wear gloves, though. Gel stain is a bugger to wash off your hands.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Steam Tea Travels

Why don't we pause for a spot of tea?

Head on over to Steam Tea Travels aboard the Airship Viola,
 for tea,  linky party, steampunk amd more tea..

Steampunk on Sunday : The Mechanical Secretary

Or, if you will, the modded computer.

Now, before you settle down;  the Airship Viola is ready to take you on a daring voyage to Paris. Set your clocks back to the 19 th century, put on your hat and  goggles and  head over to Steam Tea Travels  brought to you by those wonderful marsupials at Plush Possum Studios.  Bring your links with you, for tea recipes, cake and cookies, your steampunk art and artefacts and your pretty Victorian and  Frenchified objet d'arts. It will be here all week, before departing for other shores.

Now, if your home is all sleek and Ikea, like, say, the Cullens' (and what self-respecting vampire shops at Ikea, I ask...) a modern PC will look fine. A modern, stylish mac would look even better. 

Remember these? I always thought they were so CUTE!

 I've probably just alienated my target audience, haven't I?

However, ( she says, carrying on with fortitude,)  if you have a desire for things past, a weakness for decoration, the Pre-Raphaelites or costume drama, you may find the average home computer a bit of an eyesore. A lumpy, greige eyesore that looks out of place on your polished desk. If you like warm colours, flourishes and acanthus leaves or are a proper, (non-glittery) vampire, you'll find modern computer design a bit lacking in, well, design.

Perhaps you'd  like something more like this...

I thought maybe you'd like that. Now, these are all modded computers, which means you can't waltz into Target or John Lewis and buy one. These are made by Steampunk enthusiasts and artisans the world over. I'm going to show just a few here, and ask you why Apple and Dell don't get on board and offer their products in polished burr walnut cases with ormolu decoration.

I'm beginning with the amazing  Datamancer. otherwise known as Richard "Doc' Nagy.  He makes extraordinarily beautiful objects from bog-standard laptops and keyboards. Like this

Looks like a wonderful music box, right? A key, those cogs, all that shiny brass in a pretty wooden shadowbox. And when you open it, it look like this.

I know! Beautiful isn't it? It look like it has function and capability. Bold and solid. What it doesn't look like is yet another boring laptop. A big thank you to Dee at A Lapin Life for 
putting me onto the video of this laptop, which you can see in action here.

There's more from Datamancer.

This looks like a book full of maps and secrets and wonder.
 Open it, and it's a scanner. See?  Gorgeous. No grey plastic in sight.

Datamancer offers basic parts on his website, so please pop over and have a look.
where he's featuring a serious giveaway. Have a peek at his  facebook page, too.

 I hope to be featuring Datamancer in his own Steampunk on Sunday, as he has a wide range of modded treasures, but for now, here some other extraordinary machines from artisans around the world.

From the Steampunk Workshop we have this modded monitor. made by Jake Von Slatt

 The dressing-table looking glass would seem to be the inspiration for this charming object. It pivots between two gas lamp arms and stands firm on its marbled base. The maker's trick for marbling might interest one or two of you.

And please note, the keyboard.. Here is his walkthrough on how he changed this

into THIS!

Please, pop over and see The Steampunk Workshop. Right now he's featuring a Dalek Dress. I didn't linger long to look at it. I'm TERRIFIED of Daleks and have been since I was four.

I'm a little scared of this, too. This is the glorious Telecalculograph Mk II, also known as Damnation, was made by Jake (of all trades) Hildebrant,  to celebrate the release of the Steampunk Western game, Damnation.

 Here's the front. Just look at those gauges!

Now, I'm in the mood for a spot of tea and I'm sure you'd like to join me. So, get yourself over and join us all for the Steampunk, Victorian Linky Extravaganza at Steam Tea Travels