Monthly Archives: January 2009

Cool things of Sundry Description

Okay…cool things…what have I got?

Well, thanks to my friend Bonnie (who I hope is feeling better!), I have this mindboggling youtube timewaster.  Yup, that’s my favorite sort of internet thingee!


Go there.  You’ll love it.

I’m currently obsessed with genealogy, but even before I became obsessed with, I wanted to know more about my Great-Grandmother Merritt.  I’ve always felt a sort of affinity with her, even though she died before I was born.  I’ve collected several family heirlooms that were hers.  But I was never able to find out more about the Merritt family’s origins – the only thing I had was the name of her father, and I could find out nothing about him.  It was deeply frustrating.

But then I was cruising ebay, and I found this guy:

He offers 2 hours of professional genealogy research for a starting bid of $3.  You can’t beat that!  So I won my auction, and put him to work.  So far, he’s worked one hour, and traced the Merritts back five generations!  Very, very cool.  I may have to purchase some time later at his normal wage of $12 an hour and have him solve another problem that’s been bugging me.

In my own genealogy research, I’ve found I’m direct-blood related to King John I of England (he of Robin Hood infamy), King Duncan I of Scotland (he who was murdered by MacBeth), and Charlemagne.  I’ve also got a family line of Stuarts, and it turns out I’m some sort of cousin to Robert the Bruce (his daughter married my ancestor’s brother….)

What else is cool?  Oh yes.  I’m past the 100,000 word mark in Arassa!  Now I can only hope I reach the The End soon.  I don’t want to write another massive book after the last one I wrote (which was so huge I broke it up into two novels, and they were still on the longish side!)  This is the stage where I’m using lots and lots of pure determination and stubbornness.  Arassa is still fun to write, but it’s so tempting to put it aside and work on something new and different.  The Othermind isn’t helping, either, because lately I’ve been positively bombarded with images and ideas for the next book.  They sneak up on me, these ideas.  It’s a good sign that I’m reaching the end of Arassa, though.

This costumer’s blog is awesome (and cool).

She’s one of the people I want to grow up to be.  I’m so bloody envious of her hand-sewn eyelets on her new corset-in-the-making, that I am probably going to attempt some on my new corset.  And look!  I’ve got the boning for that corset!


It’s basically 5mm lengths of wooden sticks.  Technically, they’re used for basket-making, but if you want to make a really, really authentic corset…well, they didn’t have plastic boning in the 1700s, did they?

I’ll leave you with this image of two indian runner ducks…


….because let’s face it.

Ducks are basically the coolest things on the planet.

Steampunk Penguin II

So here’s my latest steampunk penguin – this one has faux articulated wings!


And psssst… he’s for sale!  😆

Now that explains everything.

It’s been a good day in genealogical research.

First my brother discovers we have a direct blood-related ancestor that came over on the Mayflower.  This guy:

He has the dubious distinction of fighting the first duel ever in America, and sounds like he was in and out of trouble a number of times.  I think I have an inkling of why he was sent far, far away from England.  😆

And then, oh joy of joys, this man is officially part of my family:


King Henry the Eighth.  How funny to discover he’s in my family tree, just as I finish watching season 2 of The Tudors on Showtime!  Since none of his children produced children of their own (at least not any of his three legimate children), the link to my family is through the sister of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Joanna “the Mad” of Castile, a queen in her own right.  My first mad relative.  So that’s where it comes from!

Here’s my ancestress, Mad Joanna:


And then, to top it all off, I discover I’m also related to another of King Henry’s wives, Anne of Cleves.  Her father, John III of Cleves, is a direct blood ancestor of mine, though my line descends through Anne’s sister, rather than Anne herself.

Some of you know a desire of mine is to find a royal ancestor and duplicate her portrait with me wearing replica of her gown.  I may have found my subject with Joanna of Castile – or I could do Isabella I.  She’s the queen who funded Christopher Columbus’ trip to find America, and she’s also directly contributed to my genes.

And since I’ve only just found this royal connection, who knows which branch of royalty I’ll end up discovering next?

Frustration, Cheer, and Poor George Boleyn

The thing that drives me quite mad about writing, is when I’m deeply into describing something, and the words are coming out so smoothly that I’m quite impressing myself, and then…I stub my toe up against a word that I can’t quite remember.  I know that it’s the perfect word, and what it means, and that it begins with an ‘e’ and there’s one or possibly more ‘m’s and ‘n’s in it, but I can’t think of the word itself.  And my laptop’s spell-check is no help, because I can’t get it spelled close enough for it to suggest helpful things.  The laptop is baffled.  I’m baffled.  And I’m thrown out of my lovely perfect nest of words, because everytime I try to skip that word and go on (knowing it will come to me later – probably late at night, when I’m in bed and the lights are out), my mind keeps jigging back to that missing word.  It’s hard being creative when the largest part of the othermind is mumbling “…eum…emi…enu…emu…”  and trying to come up with the perfect synonym, so that when I look that word up in my thesaurus, it will spit out the word I actually want.  Every word I try that doesn’t succeed, only makes me more annoyed, but I’m too stubborn to just rewrite the passage using one of these synonyms I’ve thought of.  Curse it, that ‘e’ word is perfect – I can’t settle for something mundane like ‘fleeting’.

I finally give up attempting to write altogether, and watch an episode of “The Tudors”.  Poor George Boleyn gets his head chopped off, and it’s very sad.  His father’s still in prison, and I’m hoping he survives, because he’s such a wicked, scheming plotter, and I love him.  I can’t remember, historically, if he lives, and that’s bothering me.

And that’s when it hits me.  Ephemeral.  That’s the word I wanted.  Suddenly I’m a whole lot cheerier about poor George.

And while I’m cheery, let me share a song with you I just discovered, by a singer I’ve never heard of:

Lenka’s “Don’t Let Me Fall”

Underneath the moon
underneath the stars
here’s a little heart for you
Up above the world
Up above it all
Here’s a hand to hold on to

But if i should break
if i should fall away
What am i to do
I need someone to take
A little of the weight
Or i’ll fall through…

You’re just the one that i’ve been waiting for
I’ll give you all that i have to give a more
But don’t let me fall…

Take a little time
Walk a little line
get the balance right on
Give a little love
Gimme just enough
So that i can hang on tight

We will be alright
I’ll be by your side
I won’t let you down
But i gotta know
no matter how things go
That you will be around..

…You’ll be the one that i’ll love for ever more
I’ll be here holding you high above it all
But don’t let me fall.

Sew or Die

One of the costuming blogs I follow mentioned this tshirt, and I knew it must be mine.  So I promptly bought it.


It is so me.  If I were a pirate, this would be my flag.

Fingerless Mitts and Etsy’s Alchemy

I’m dying for a pair of these:

Fingerless grey gloves, with a thumb gusset!


And better still, since I don’t knit, I found someone to make them for me. On, they have a thing they call “Alchemy”. Anyone who wants a particular thing, or even an unparticular thing, can describe what they want, and how much they want to pay for it, and handcrafters all over the world will bid for the chance to make it for you.

So I posted an add on Alchemy for these mitts, and got perhaps 10 responses, but one reponse stood out. Way out. This lady actually scoured the net looking for wool yarn of just the right color and weight, and when she was unable to find it, she offered to spin me matching wool with her own hands. How incredibly awesome is that? Of course it would have cost more for her additional time, and I decided not to take her up on that offer, but I did commission her to knit my gloves from the best match she could locate. If you ever want a knitted object, here’s the lady you want to go to:

Obama’s Buying My Chicken Coop

It comes as little surprise to me that, precisely as I predicted, Obama’s reaction to our crashing economy is to add another trillion+ in national debt by giving us another “stimulus package”.  In fact, so eager is he to further sink our economy that he can’t even wait until he’s sworn in.  How any sane person can believe these packages are a good idea is beyond me.  It’s like giving a drowning person a brick – it gives him something to hold onto, but it sends him to the bottom that much faster.  Click on the link below for real, genuine ideas to save the economy:

But until we get a president with a clue, I’ll take my check, and I’ll let Obama buy me a chicken coop.  We’re designing it right now, and planning the breeds of chickens to buy through Besides the standard-sized egglayers, we’re getting a few Silkie Bantams.  These chickens are an amazingly bizarre breed with a history – they were brought over from China by Marco Polo.

And they are so cute.  I think they look like miniature gryphons.




Real eggs, as opposed to those sickly and tasteless store-bought imitations, bug and slug control, free manure for my garden, and affectionate new pets that love to lap-sit and snuggle – you can’t deny that chickens are awesome.

So good luck to you, Mr. Obama.  Thanks for the hen house, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens once everyone realizes you’re already begun breaking your campaign promises, before you’re even in office.  That has to be some kind of record.

Change.  Remember that word, Mr. Obama?  Change means doing something different, not just to just keeping repeating the previous administration’s mistakes.  At least in my back yard, though, the results of your “stimulus” will be crap that’s actually beneficial to my garden.

Things I am Happy about at this Moment…

1) A new season of Chad Vader begins February 1st!!!!

If you don’t know who or what Chad Vader is, go to this link and be educated. Truly, Chad Vader is one of the marvels of YouTube.

2) They’ve chosen a new Doctor, and it’s no one I hate. It’s actually no one I know either, but that’s a good thing, as I am able to come into this relationship with no prior baggage. He’s young, yes, but I’ve watched this interview with him, and I’ve seen a few moments of Doctor-ness in him. He’s certainly got offbeat looks. I like that in a British actor.

However, I still grieve the passing of the 10th Doctor.

3) The new season of Lost begins in a few days, and as I’ve just had a marathon viewing of the last season on DVD, I’m primed and ready. Time travel and disappearing islands and many other things I may never understand, yay!

4) My steampunk corset is half done. And I mean literally half done. Since it laces up the front and back, when it’s unlaced, it’s in two separate pieces. One side is completed, the other half still needs its embroidery, which I’m putting off, because the first half wasn’t all that fun to embroider. I tried a new embroidery stitch, and I’m sorta regretting it. But yay – half of it looks gorgeous!

5) I’ve sold 3 steampunk penguins this month!

6) It looks like Obama plans to pay for my chicken coop I’m building this Spring. More on this later.

7) And now I’m going to watch a Jane Austen film on tv.

BPAL Update – Psyche & Masabakes

These were my two free samples that Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs threw in with my order.  I’m not a fan of either; on me, they both have a strong, cheap ‘perfume’ smell.

But overall, I’m eager to order more samples from BPAL.  I’ve discovered two samples I really love (Hollywood Babylon & Bess) so I consider that a good return, especially since the International Wenches Guild has a BPAL sample trading forum, and I’ll hopefully be able to trade the samples I don’t like for new ones.

Yes, I am a licensed wench.  You know what a wench is, right?

A Woman Entitled to Nothing but Complete Happiness


Getting Dressed in the 1800s

Here’s something interesting for all you fans of period/historical films. I’m sure you’ve been envious of a gown or two, and wondered what it would be like to live in that time and wear one like it. But maybe you’ve never thought about all the layers that go underneath, or what they all look like.

Here’s an informative youtube video showing a modern day costumer getting dressed in her lovely 1860s outfit, and demonstrating all the different layers and what they looked like.

And here’s another, showing how to get dressed in a rather complicated fashion of 1805.  This woman makes wonderfully accurate historical dresses- and they’re nearly all hand-sewn.

If you’re interested in seeing more of her work, here’s a link to her website: