30 October, 2014

Steam pug helmet

Things are going well, the only things I still have to do are waistcoat buttonholes and buttons and a tail on the pug costume. And do a makeup trial run as I'm going to attempt fancy eyeshadow which may prove to be outside my core area of competence! But that's what YouTube tutorials are for right? Well that and crafty things.

Here is Hazel's Steam Pug helmet, based on Doggleheim's iconic poster (available here and yes you need one)

Now we're going to have our own version sporting goggles AND a helmet. How flash. The colour has gone a bit weird, the helmet is a much richer brown in RL. 

I stupidly put everything on the helmet before I tried the goggles on top but luckily they just fit around all the tubes and ears. Phew! I've made SO many mistakes over the last few weeks I'm glad that wasn't yet another or I might have cried. 

27 October, 2014

Hallowe'en frenzy

I'm not sure why I'm doing this to myself, I really don't! Every minute of every day I'm either working on costumes or thinking about costumes and I'm starting to panic. If only I hadn't lost a couple weeks to vertigo! But I guess if I didn't secretly enjoy it all I'd just give up wouldn't I?

Here is something finished, Mat's hat and goggles. Again, feeling the love for Rub 'n Buff. 

Still to go (because I need a list to really panic me):

•Mat's waistcoat (20% done)
•Hazel's top and bottom (dying leggings and top a disaster so need to make from scratch)
•Finish my skirt (just needs waistband and D-rings attached)
•Finish my jacket (attach lining at cuffs, put on 18 buttons)
•Finish spats (60% done)

18 October, 2014

Wood you like a magnet?

Hazel has been taking part in BizKids which is a local entrepreneurial competition for young kids. She and a friend have been making magnets along with developing a business plan and other businessy things. It's a great scheme.

As with anything crafty these days, Pinterest played an integral part in product design and that's where I came across the idea for magnets using sections of a branch. They looked really neat so I thought I'd give it a go. I found a eucalyptus branch at the park and sawed it up. It was a pretty rough cut so I had to sand the heck out of them (byebye fingernails!). Then I rubbed a little oil on and followed it up with a coat of modpodge.

I'm so impressed with them, they're much cooler than I expected. I'd love to try doing them in different woods. 

13 October, 2014

Rub 'n Buff

I'm plugging away at the Hallowe'en costumes and it's going well but nothing is finished and it seems a bit endless. I thought if I could see something finished it would spur me on so I put the finishing touch on one set of goggles (nevermind that the straps aren't finished!). I've painted the craft foam with a mixture of latex and acrylic paint which was meant to make them rubbery-looking but mine look more like cast iron. Whatever, still a good look for steampunk. The finishing touch is something called Rub 'n Buff and its a mixture of waxes and pigments. You get a thin layer on your finger and rub it on and hey presto! I was a bit doubtful but OMG! 

Dinner ended up being late because I was enjoying the process so much I lost track of time. 

Enthusiasm restored!

07 October, 2014

Wonky Stars in vintage sheet fabric

I just looked back through the archives and on the 17th of September 2012 I posted about making the initial sample block for this quilt to show the Monday Modern ladies what I wanted to do for my block, and I think I bound it at the beginning of August this year, so a speedy two years! No-one in their right mind would ever accuse me of being fast at this quilting biz.


It turned out pretty much like I was hoping it would which is nice, but I'm less sure about the batting I chose and the quilting. I should hasten to add that the quilting was done by Carol Fearon and it's superb, but I didn't really know what I wanted when I took it to her, it being the first time I've had one done professionally, and I think the fact I'm a bit unsure about it means that I DID actually have an idea in my head that I didn't communicate to her properly. I took along a picture of Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' and said something along these lines please and she interpreted it really well. I think in hindsight I might have been after more the wavy horizontal lines rather than the circles. But hey, live and learn and it really is quite amazing! I also wish I'd gone for a thinner cotton batting. I used a woollen one and it's too stiff and the quilt isn't particularly snuggly. Is that because the quilting is denser than quilts that I've done myself or is it the wool batting? Or both?

Anyways, I couldn't have done it without the Monday Modern girls (ladies? women? what's the right term here?) so a big thank you to them for doing the initial lot and then a few extra when I was despairing of ever getting done. I got there in the end!

Oh, and I like the back almost as much as the front :)

Untitled Oh, and two of the fabrics in the back were from dresses I had back in the 70s - guess which ones :) A hint, they're small because I was small.

04 October, 2014

Nana chic

My friend Steph has just moved house and we're off to see the new place this afternoon. Since they've bought with her in-laws and are dealing with two house's worth of stuff, I thought maybe something edible might be a better gift than more...stuff! But an unadorned jar of lemon curd, while tasty, isn't particularly exciting given the occasion so I decided I needed to jazz it up a bit. I'd pinned these jar covers (http://www.karpstyles.com/crochet/jarlid.html#.VC8WOabXfCR) a couple months ago and figured one would do the trick. 

I ended up adapting it for a smaller jar and I added a frillier edge and did the flower separately. 

It's definitely OTT but that was kind of the point 😀

03 October, 2014

Getting back on the horse

I seem to have taken an unintentional blog holiday but I've decided I'd like to try and get back into it so here goes!

My big project at the moment is trying to come up with costumes for Hallowe'en. I can't even think how many years it's been since I dressed up properly, certainly not since I left Canada which was over 20 years ago! I miss proper Hallowe'en a lot, here in NZ it's a pretty lame affair to be honest, with very little thought or effort put into costumes and the vast majority of people ignore it completely. BUT, there has been a Hallowe'en event held at MOTAT for the past couple years that looks like it might be fun AND it looks like people put some effort into it too. Hazel and I thought we'd like to go last year but it kind of crept up on us and it was held the weekend before Hallowe'en so it slipped by. I promised her we'd go this year though. But costumes? I had an idea I'd like to try Steampunk which fascinates me for some reason, I think maybe because of the sheer inventiveness of the costumes and the concept of it. It looks like a lot of fun! Hazel decided that she wanted to be a pug. "Pugs aren't very scary though are they?" said her dad, so she suggested going as a Steampug. Also not very scary but quite amusing and it would match my costume. At this point Mat decided he might like to come too, if I would make him a top hat and a vest. Men have it a lot easier when dressing quasi-Victorian!

So, what do you need to be a Steampunk? I needed a skirt and jacket and corset of some sort. I got this pattern but have ended up buying a corset (which still hasn't arrived and I'm getting annoyed) and a blouse at an opshop. I've also drafted my own spats. I've started buying things because I've had a nasty case of vertigo due to an inner ear infection for the last two weeks and it has really stuffed up my already tight schedule!

The goggles and hat for Hazel (and me and Mat) are being made from Lost Wax's patterns here and here. The videos are worth watching just for themselves! I will also make Mat's top hat from this pattern. I was going to make one for me too but then I just bought a cheapy costume top hat from Spotlight.

Hazel's costume will probably be a white top and leggings dyed to a puggish shade of beige, with a curly tail, a flight helmet with ears sticking out the sides, goggles, and face paint. We were going to make a onesie style of costume but not unsurprisingly, that shade of beige isn't all that popular in fabrics! 

When I forced him to look at men's costume ideas on Pinterest Mat decided that he quite liked the Regency style of vest, with the high collar at the back, so I ordered the 1790 - 1850 Single-breasted Man's Waistcoat from Patterns of Time. When it came I was a little overwhelmed with the historical accuracy of the pattern instructions and method of construction so I'm really (really really) hoping that putting it together with no consideration for authenticity will make it not all that bad. I mean, it's not exactly a complicated garment! He wants View C1. At least I hope that's what he wants as View C2 has a vast quantity of buttons to sew on!
So what do I have so far? I have a helmet and goggles partly finished. The goggles need painting and antiquing still. Putting on those little circles for screws was like a comedy act, with them sticking to my fingers and then to the hand I tried to take them off with and then to each other and then to my fingers again. I'm glad no-one was there to witness it in person!


The helmet is actually too big for Hazel so I need to make another one which is a drag. I also forgot about the need for ears on hers so it won't have the vents on the sides. But how cool is it though? You'd never guess it's made from cheap old craft foam.


Today I'm starting on my skirt and tissue-fitting the jacket which will need a FBA on a princess seam, so that should be interesting!


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