Tag Archives: costuming

Steampunk Librarians!

So my little gang of “Coolbrarians” had so much fun at the Abney Park concert last month, that we decided to have a ‘Steampunk Fun Day” – and wear our costumes while working!

It was fun watching the patrons trying to figure us out!

Notice the weapon on my thigh holster?  During the photo-taking, it kept getting stolen by Charlene….

….because everyone loves feeling badass!

I’m not sure exactly what was going on here….

….but you can definitely tell fun was had by all!  Plus, we ended  up on American Libraries magazine website – and possibly we’ll be in the print edition as well.  We’re also going to be printed in the Washington Library Association’s July edition of Alki.  We’re officially famous now!

Awesome Website – Necromance

Rarely have I been so completely riveted by a website as I was by this one.  Seriously, it was like a trip to a museum, and is perfect for anyone with the slightest bend toward natural history, goth, steampunk, or pirates. (Um yeah, am I the only one who hits all four of those….?)

Are you curious yet?

Where else can you find exquisite lace parasols, skull buttons, coffin flasks, brass keys, edible insects, feathers, preserved genuine spiders’ webs, fans, metal birds’ feet, bones of all varieties (including a mink penis bone!), x-rays of all sorts of critters, bat and butterfly wings, tiny glass vials, shells, vintage medical instruments, kitty cat postcards, and Hitler’s postage stamps?

Where else can you find this?

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It’s an absinthe labeled business card holder! So perfect for those of the Steampunk variety!  I want one!

Or this:

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That is a genuine mouse paw, preserved in a locket.  I’m fairly certain I don’t want one, but I find it…interesting.  And who knows?  Perhaps someday there will be a costume which requires a mouse foot.  I don’t put it beyond the realm of possibility, since only a few short years ago I was scouring the internet for a preserved chicken foot.  (For a “Jack Sparrow” costume, in case you wanted to know, and yes, this website does sell preserved chicken feet – where were they when I needed them?)

How about this?

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A skeleton marionette!  Now honestly, who doesn’t want one of these?  I could so take one of these to faire as an accessory to my pirate garb….

Other things I want are the scarab poison ring (actually been looking for one of these, so I’m definitely buying it), and assorted skull beads.  I’m always looking for skull beads for my pirate costuming, and these guys have awesome ones.  I also love some of the bone jewelry, the skull pill box, the glass vials, and the feathers.  There’s also an “eye” bracelet that would be so awesome with something… either pirate or steampunk….

Go here.  Go now.  Prepare to be amazed, intrigued, and sometimes, just a tiny bit grossed out.

Me and Cool Stuff not Related to Me.

Okay, so I was doing pretty good at this blog thing for a little while there.  I was posting regularly at least!  My only excuse for failing lately with the regular posting is that I was costuming like a crazed thing.  Yup.  And for all that, I actually only completely two costumes: Elizabeth Bennet, Zombie Slayer and a steampunk outfit.  We won’t discuss the projects still laying about in various stages of completion…at least not here.  The fire has burned through, I’m in a relatively sane, quiet phase of my costuming (which means no deadlines for finishing anything until Halloween).  If you want pictures, etc, they are on my other blog.

This not to say that I’m sane, however.  What fun would that be?  It’s just that my mad-doctor focus has shifted back to my doll-making and writing.  Where it properly should be, perhaps, giving that those are the things which actually bring in some funding for the costuming.  It’s a vicious circle.  Sigh.

The dollmaking will be spoken of later, when there are pictures.  The writing, well, okay, let’s talk about that.  I’m about 13,000 words into my new novel.  It’s set in a mad, poisonous Elizabethan court in a city much like Venice (except that the water in the canals is not exactly…normal).  There are two girls, one a Queen trying to keep her throne, and the other a girl just trying to hold onto her mother’s life.  There’s a serpent/dragon, and Six Very Dangerous Men and at least Six Very Dangerous Women.  To help myself keep on track, I’m posting it chapter by chapter on Goodreads.com, right here.  You can check it out, if you wish – I adore comments, suggestions, and all feedback.  I’m trying to put at least one new chapter up a week, as I write it.  Slightly scary proposition, since I could easily write myself into a corner I can’t get out of, but it worked out okay last time…and it was fun.  And it kept me focussed, since there’s nothing like a message in my inbox, begging for a new chapter, to inspire me to write another ten pages instead of just sitting down to watch t.v.

And in the wider world of Cool Things, my deeply beloved author Scott Lynch is back from his mysterious disappearance, and is regularly blogging on his livejournal account once more.  He says he’s deep in revisions of the next Locke Lamora book, so I can finally breathe once more.  And better still, he’s posted author notes to the first chapter of Red Seas Under Red Skies, AND a first chapter of his upcoming novel, The Republic of Thieves. Right here.  I’m so conflicted.  So far I haven’t read it, because I’m one of those people who don’t read advance chapters.  Ever.  I’d rather wait and sit down with the entire book – it just feels so much more special.  But part of me just wants to make an exception.  Because it’s Scott Lynch.

BUT.  And here’s where it gets so cool I just might be about to pee myself, Scott Lynch is also writing a different, non-Lamora novel, and he’s posting it chapter by chapter on his website. For free.  Because he loves us, (and maybe he’s just a little sorry he vanished for so long?).  Go here.  Go now.  I have yet to read it, because I’m savoring the anticipation just a little bit.

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What else?  The glory of that has temporarily blocked all blood to my memory…

Oh yes.  Bloglovin’.  Ever had that feeling that you read too many blogs?  And while you keep checking your favorites over and over hoping they’ve blogged something new, other blogs just keep slipping through the tracks and you don’t remember to check them for 6 months?  Been there, done that, will never do it again: I’ve discovered Bloglovin’.  Thanks to a reader of my site who apparently has my very own blog saved to that site (the incoming address showed up, and I got curious), I’ve discovered how awesome this site is.  You simply save all the addresses of the blogs you like to this site, and it checks them for you.  As soon as one of those blogs updates, Bloglovin’ shows a link to it on your personal Bloglovin’ page.  You only have to visit one page for all your blogging needs!  And if there’s a particular blog entry you like and want to save, simply click the little red heart next to it, and Bloglovin’ saves that entry for you on a separate page.  So you will be able to find it easily and visit it whenever you wish.

Before I found this site, I was using MyYahoo to keep track of my favorite blogs, but it lists the last five posts for every blog you follow, no matter how long it’s been since the blog updated.  Bloglovin’ shows only the new posts, so you don’t have to remember if you’ve read a particular entry or not.  My most genuine thanks to the reader of this blog who inadvertantly led me to Bloglovin’!!!

And finally, here is what’s stuck inside my brain this week:

Too much eye make-up, dude, but the song’s friggin’ addictive!

My New Blog – Fabric Time Traveler

Rather than overwhelm this ‘random’ blog with costuming research and pictures of gorgeous gowns, I’m spinning off a new, more specific blog.  Don’t worry, I’m still keeping this one active, but if you share my interest in history and costuming, you might enjoy visiting my new one:

http://fabrictimetraveler.wordpress.com/

It’s very new – I just posted my first entry this morning – but there’s lots of gorgeous things to follow!

Because I haven’t posted in awhile…

…I’m going to give you a glut of goodness.  (Well, it’s a glut if you’re a fan-geek oddball like me!  🙂 )

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Yay for Easter and the new Doctor Who episode “Planet of the Dead”.  I seriously did not want to go out or celebrate Easter in any other way, I just wanted to curl up with my computer and watch my Doctor.  As with the last episode, though, it was a bittersweet pleasure.  I’m still devastated that David Tennant is leaving.

Rammstein.  I found this group because I’m researching the Columbine School Shooting.  While I was reading the shooters’ journals and writing, I also checked into their favorite films and music.  I was surprised to discover what excellent taste they had – they and I are pretty much liking the same groups and films.  Does this mean they’re more normal than I imagined, or that I’m more weird?  Not sure, but now I’m obsessing over Rammstein’s music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iguzO3OfaPk

The fact that they sing in German only adds to the allure, as I love the sound of spoken German.  Must be genetic memory; I have a heck of a lot of German ancestry.

And I sold my first artist doll/figurine overseas!  Yes, the “Steampunk Penguin” is now steampunking it over in Sweden.

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Simplicity has just released three new awesome patterns:

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How fabulous would this be for steampunk?  I’ve always wanted a driving costume…in different colors, though, I think.

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And I cannot tell you how happy I am to see Simplicity doing a fairly accurate Tudor era pattern.   A little tweaking, this could be perfect!

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With underthings to match!  Yay for corsets and bumrolls!

Lastly, I spent an hour sorting my closet, and for a lark I counted my shoes.

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Anyone care to hazard a guess?

Not counting my cosplay and costume shoes (such as my black vinyl lace-up over the knee boots with 5″ heels! Hehehe!) I own sixty-three pairs.

Sixty-three pairs of ordinary, everyday shoes.

Yeah, that just about says it all, doesn’t it?

Ebay+Steampunk+Costuming=Joy

Ebay.  What did costumers do before there was ebay?

I’ve nearly completed my first steampunk outfit (the more dressy geisha/kimono one) and now I’m thinking ahead to the second.  I’m planning on attending the first annual Steamcon, and I’ve got to have at least two outfits, seeing as how it’s a three day affair!  (With a concert by Abney Park, yay!)

http://www.steam-con.com/

So I went onto ebay in the search of some required props for my second outfit (the airship pirate).  Here’s what I found, and won:

Boots, with buckles:

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I’ll totally wear these in Real Life, too.  I love them.

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Here’s what the seller (from Tibet!) had to say about his product:

This is a rare occident manner crystal pocket watch. It was made of crystal and copper. You can read the time from the pointer and set time from front. But it goes well, it was made of height quality crystal and copper. This is very rare the time. Because this is very difficult to do at the time. You can see the shape of very beautiful. In time it only use rich family, Please take a close look at my pictures. If you like pocket watch, please don’t miss the chance to get it! Enjoying your Bidding!

I love descriptions by people who don’t have English as a first language.  “You can see the shape of very beautiful…” It sounds like poetry.  Also, because I don’t think this seller has ever heard of steampunk, he didn’t use it as one of his tags in the auction.  Hence, even though it is packed with gears and extremely steamy, I got it for a steal, with no one bidding against me.

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This is an ancient Chinese-style lock.  It’s functional.  I’m not sure how I’ll use it yet, but it’ll fit in a costume somewhere!

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I like crossbows.  I like pistols.  I think if I steampunk this up a bit, it’ll fit perfectly with my persona.  Much cooler than a modified Nerf gun, because everyone seems to have one of those!  Also, at some point (maybe Halloween?) I’m going to do a vampire hunter costume, and this would so work for that as well.  Plus, it was only $9.  And it shoots, so I can have some fun with it, before I mod it up.

Can’t wait for my parcels to start arriving….

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!

BarackPaperScissors:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2mcdS6ioo8

Go there.  You’ll love it.

I’m currently obsessed with genealogy, but even before I became obsessed with Ancestry.com, 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:

http://myworld.ebay.com/boba216/

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).

http://theartofclothes.blogspot.com/

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!

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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…

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….because let’s face it.

Ducks are basically the coolest things on the planet.

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:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Doty

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:

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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:

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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?

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq3JD52aNK0&feature=channel_page

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO_4PnO8KDM&feature=channel_page

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

http://www.koshka-the-cat.com/index.html

A Little Writing, a Little Costuming

It’s a funny thing, sometimes, when you meet a character for the first time in a story you’re writing.

I just finished posting a new chapter of my book-in-progress on Goodreads, and it was a fun chapter to write.  Not only did Pullo and Arassa get to fight (I know, I know, everyone’s waiting for that first kiss – it’s coming!), but I also got to meet my Chracian Queen.  She’s been briefly mentioned a few times, in other chapters, but this is the first time she appeared in the ink.

And she’s so completely different than who I thought she was.  I wasn’t even sure, the first few times I mentioned her in the story, that she was even going to be more than simply a character for other characters to talk about, and I envisioned her as this quiet little woman, one who doesn’t care if other people speak her story for her.  I even gave her (as a first-draft name) the name of a different woman, in a different book of mine – the name of someone who actually is a quiet little woman.

So imagine my delight in being surprised.  My main character, Arassa, might not be pleased to meet Cele, but I am.

And because that wasn’t much of post (I have Christmas gifts to wrap), I’m including these pictures.  They have zero to do with Arassa, but they’re so exceedingly cool.

For anyone who likes 18th century costuming, that is.

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Look at the embroidery on that.  So gorgeous!

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A close-up of the embroidery:

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For even more pics, see the “Inspiration!” page on my costuming website:

http://www.freewebs.com/dragonflydesignsbyalisa/