Saturday, December 22, 2012

I know him; Marley's Ghost!

Last year, I showed you this remarkable
Christmas Wreath

Isn't it glorious?

Well, I wanted something similar.

With less bone
more brass.
But the same notion
of capturing
the authentic flavour
of Dicken's 
Christmas Carol.

And accepting that part of Christmas;
is the telling of ghost stories
the wickedness of Krampus,
and the certain knowledge
that hearth and home
is the best place to be.

Here is my effort.

Not as glorious, I know.
But it did only cost me only $2 for the materials
(I can be a bit of a Scrooge
where crafting materials
is concerned)
and he is wearing his spectacles
on his forehead.

Bah! Humbug!

Way back in 
I wanted to enter a competition
hosted by the wonderful
Monster Kookies
whose fabulous steampunk creations

The contest was to design 
or create something
inspired by her polymer clay figures.

Well, I got sidetracked
and I made this, instead.

 just in time for Christmas
I finally finished my 
Steampunk Bird!

Inspired by
Monster Kookies

and influenced by
Russell Crow.

I made my clockwork
Nice-o-meter Finch..

On one side, a gaudy brass
clockwork finch.

On the other,
buttons  and a gauge 
to measure if you've been
naughty or nice!

(Yes, the key turns!
You have to make the
key-turning noise, though.)

It's made from one of those
little feather covered
Dollar Tree birds.
I removed the feathers,
added a new bill.
(Or beak?)
Embellished and gilded
and generally had fun with glue 
and bits and pieces.

Here he is on my tree.

Pick him up,
and he'll tell you if you've been
naughty or nice.

Want to risk it?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Magical, Mysterious Mantelpiece.

 Here, at last
is the faux fireplace
assembled in the 
Steampunk Study.

A blank space.
Nothing here but the
Ugly Wallpaper
and the 
Nasty Paint.

Then, the fireback.
Literally, a piece of drywall,
mounted with a Halloween skull
 propped against the wall.

I'm a Master Builder...

Next, the mantelpiece
and the 'cast iron' fireplace.
It can stand on its own,
but at this stage it's not
terribly stable.

The miraculous
faux fire insert.
The wooden bits are real wood
so it's not that fake.
The plastic looks like real plastic,
for instance.

Finally, the mantelshelf
made of two strips of drywall
glued together with Liquid Nail
(This is a real craftsman's job, boys and girls.)
and painted black.
It helps stabilise the whole structure,
which is good,
because otherwise the whole thing 
was going to tip over.

Hubby is thrilled with it!
I'll have to take another picture of it,
 in all its festive finery.
It's the first time I've had
a mantelpiece to decorate
for years!

For observant fans of 
yes, that is the sword from the
Highland Sextasy 
poster in the corner of the photos.
It was a gift.

Image isn't mine.
Greg Aronowitz.
Proceeds of any sales go to

Monday, December 17, 2012

Building a Christmas Mantelpiece.

 Firstly, I apologise for the sub-par level 
of some of these photographs.
My camera hates indoor shots,
and anything not in
brilliant daylight.

My camera also makes me look like
a middle-aged woman,
which can't be right.

a long time ago I showed you some images
from the on-going project
of Hubby's Steampunk Study.

Started here.
No, I'm not ashamed.

Hubby is now ensconced
in his study and loves it.
He's in there so much,
it scares the heck out of me 
and the dog
when he comes out

What he 
wanted for his study 
was a fireplace.

This house is built of wooden boards 
and plastic strips and so
doesn't have a chimney of any kind
But I found the beginnings of a fireplace
on a neighbour's dump. 


I don't know what it was, originally.

Confession time.
I do know how to do some minor woodwork.
My claim to carpentry skills is that
I used to make rocking horses.

I loved the carving and 
I loved the designing
and  planning.
I hated the sawing and 
screwing gluing.

So I used a sheet of drywall
for my basic construction.

Yes, I have worries, too.
It's really not one of the things
drywall is designed to do.

Anyway, forging ahead in blissful ignorance,
here is my basic design.
An insert, edged with 
moulding for support. 

The little ceramic shield
was a gift from my dear friend Kate.
I'd link her blog but
despite my protests.

Moulding, rondels and little heraldic device
all glued with Liquid Nail. 
This was a real craftsman's job, ladies and gentlemen.

Gluing the fireplace to the mantelpiece.
Of course, what I'm actually doing is gluing the
 PAPER of  the drywall to the mantelpiece.

Paint it black.
The black paint was magic.
It made everything fit together.
It even, (kinda, sorta)
looked like cast iron,
which was what I was going for.

Now, the worrying bit.
Even though I left this glued and drying 
for three days,
I still expected it to fall apart
when I stood it upright.


That, there, is a fake fire.
Fake as a wig,
 fake as a glass eye.
It doesn't even heat up,
it's just a red light bulb
and some split timber.

It's kitsch and tawdry
and perfect for what I needed.


It even crackles like a real fire!

I've made a mantel shelf, by gluing two
boards of the drywall together,
 leaving the finished edges at the front
so that it painted nice and smooth.

And I'm making a fireback,
otherwise the Ugly Wallpaper
will show through and rather spoil the illusion.

Why yes! That is a skull 
with a paint can on its face.
 Long story.


You'll understand my excitement
because, when this is finished,
 I get to decorate a mantelpiece
and hang stockings on a fireplace
for the first time in a decade!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Proof is in the Pudding

 Picture of my Christmas Pudding.

Yes, I made a wish.
(so did Hubby.)
No, it doesn't contain any silver charms.
Yes, I will set it on fire.

For post on the making of

It's really very easy,
and absolutely steamy.