Nostalgia For What Never Was

Steampunk has been described as “nostalgia for what never was”. Picture, if you will, the Victorian era continued.  Instead of electricity cogs and clockwork rules.  Rather well actually as space flight is pretty common and somewhat unregulated – Space Fighter Pilots are required to deal with the pirates around Mars.  More than anything though Steampunk is friendly.  About the only thing you can do wrong is call an outfit a costume – a costume suggests play whereas embracing Victorian values (the good ones!) are seen as a way of life.

At the weekend I visited The Asylum; an event where upper Lincoln is taken over by Steampunkers.  A lot of it was open to the public and it certainly made the picturesque Castle and Cathedral area more colourful. People were without fail incredibly friendly and willing to answer questions and pose for photos. 

I think next year I might even go in costume an outfit!

   

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Two incredible costumes – the gentleman’s clockwork magnifying glasses rotate automatically

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A clockwork motorbike

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Space pirates!

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Photographer Jon, who is in his Royal Dragon Corps uniform, was raising money for Refuge with naughty photos!

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I love this lady’s outfit

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Hazel made her parasol and takes commisions

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Tom and friend in front of Lincoln Castle

If you get a chance to go to a Steampunk meeting I thoroughly recommend it – colourful and friendly.  You may end up a convert!

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Eye mask- easy make!

Yesterday I had a splitting headache.  Nothing I did would get rid of it – not the usual drink, food, sleep, no sleep etc.  I remembered, eventually, an eye mask that I used to have.  I had made a few of them for other people in the past and still had some leftovers.  It took about 15 minutes all told to make and while it didn’t cure the headache it helped.  And I had a nice glow of achievement!

This isn’t a sleep mask – it will fall off if you turn your head to the side and adding straps will change the pressure points which defeats the object.  I’m afraid there aren’t sew-along pics but it really is a very simple make so I don’t think a pics are really needed.  And it is a very appreciated present- no-one need know how easy it is!

Materials

Soft fabric (I used a cut off from a pillowcase.  I have previously used satin which is good but harder to sew)
Linseeds (these are apparently the perfect weight and size)
Scissors
Thread
Needle
Sewing machine (not essential but I wouldn’t like to do it by hand)
A funnel
Template (I haven’t provided one but you can see easily the shape)

Optional

Velcro
Essential oil

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Technique

1]    Cut out two pieces of the material, using the template
2]    Pin together the fabric, right side together (the side you see)
3] Sew around the material using a straight stitch, about one centimetre in. Leave a two centimetre space. 
4]    Use zig-zag stitch around the edge of the fabric, leaving a space in the same place
5]    Using the whole that has been left turn the fabric the right way out. If you’re using velcro (so you can empty it to wash) then sew into the space
6]    Fill with linseed using the funnel.  If you lift it by one end there should be a couple of centimetres of space left at the top. Add essential oils if using. DO NOT USE MUCH!
7]   Sew up the opening/close the velcro
8]  Lie on your back, hood both side and put mask on your face. Allow it to settle and relax

I said it was easy, didn’t I?

A present and a half

I got a present yesterday.  A very nice present.  A Bernina 801 sewing machine.  I’m going to assume that half of you are now going “well that was nice I guess” and the others are going “you lucky :@{}@!”  Allow me to explain…

There are many types of sewing machine.  They come and go, although a few brands like Singer and Brother stay around (my beloved Necchi comes from a time from when they were excellent.  Then they stopped being.  As soon as they stopped being made in Italy apparently!)  Then you have Bernina.  Think Rolls Royce and you have some idea; it is the one you aspire to.

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This one was delivered 1st October 1981 so it’s over 30 years old. (Sadly we worked out that just before my great uncle died which may explain why my great aunt, who gave me this gorgeous machine, has barely used it.  Just too painful.)  It is immaculate.  The dust build up is tiny.  The motor is making some strange noises, almost certainly due to under use, and it is going to have a service before it gets used.  I don’t want to risk it.  Luckily the shop it was brought in is still going strong.

But the reason for the post is not (just) to gloat.  There are some design elements that impressed me massively and I wanted to share them.  There were two elements really, both to do with packaging. 

One is the little bit box.  Now for all I know this may be standard now but as well as the compartments there was one to hold the bobbins.  And (although it’s a little hard to see on the picture) in the lid there is a pic of the machine and several columns.  The columns show the different stitches available and their ideal settings.  Then from the columns are little arrows so there’s no mistaking which dial to change for each bit.  So simple, so clever!

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The other ingenious ting (so far) is the case itself.  It’s a butterfly case- you just put it in the middle then the sides fold up to encase it.  But the clever bit is the way everything clicks into place perfectly using every bit of space available. it’s very neat.  I say everything but in fact I still haven’t worked out where the cable goes…

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Right, off to read the manual! byeee

Food for tonight, tomorrow and the rest of the week..

I’ve had lots of upheaval at home recently but the upside of it means that I am now in charge of food.  Although I have no intention of turning vegetarian (I couldn’t when I visit relatives anyway – all confirmed carnivores) but I have found that a vegetable heavy diet seems to suit me better.  The trouble is that I can’t eat chillies and that all the recipes I fancy seem to contain more expensive vegetables.  So looking down the cheaper end – and not containing chillies- what recipes do you recommend?  And ideas gratefully received.

So it begins…

This is it.  I am finally getting around to what I have said for a long time I will do and started a blog.  It’s going to be a bit of a mish mash – things from my life, things from other people’s lives, stuff i found interesting,  craft, baking and anything else that appears.  

One thing it won’t be is in support of any political party.  That isn’t to say that I don’t have views that might fit with a party but some of my other views will fit with another.  I am very confused basically!  So if I say something it’s because I think it, not because I want to promote something.  But that will be pretty rare anyway.

There are a few things likely to crop up.  Dementia – how it effects lives. Because it really does, not just the sufferer and their carer but all those around.  And despite the best efforts of those doing the work there just aren’t the resources to go around.

Complaining!  Now please understand; I am a nice person who
doesn’t like complaining.  But it was recently hammered home to me that if companies don’t know what is wrong then they can’t improve it. So complaints (provided they’re done nicely) are actually a positive thing.  But if you do go down that path then be fair and praise the things that go right too.

Food and craft.  For me these things go together.  Both are about creating and both have loads of sites already devoted to them online.  So I think I’ll add one more.

Beyond that: who knows?  Wish me luck!