Thursday, 29 October 2009


I just couldn't resist...

Although he has cogs for eyes, my steampunk pumpkin seems quite a cheery chappie...

He's got a top hat on too though you can't really see it!
And now I have lots of nice pumpkin flesh to make muffins!

MCM london Expo

Another mad and fun weekend steampunking, this time at the manga comic and movie Expo in london.

The Victorian Steampunk Society were invited to exhibit and lecture, so a small band turned out in full gorgeousness to talk about tea and tiffin (and spaceships and rayguns...)

Herr Doktor brought some of his marvelous rayguns, Kit Cox drew portraits and exhibited art. Lady elsie and Major tinker had some great costumes, while Peter Harrow set up his portable gentlemans study. I brought my steampunk jewellery bling and assorted flyers. We even kidnapped graphic novel legend Brian Talbot and forced him to sign his new steampunk book " Grandville" for us...

A very good time was had by all and we managed to entertain and inform the masses about the wonders of steam!

I narrowly escaped from Zombie Disney Princesses and hugged a Dalek (much to my husbands horror), and I even sold some steampunk jewelry to charming Warehouse 13 star Allison Scagliotti

Lady Elsie and I did a double act on steampunk costume in the little theatre too - which was great fun.

There were some awesome costumes, from pretty gothic lollitas to giant furries, lots of aliens, predators and stormtroopers too. Oh and a Doctor Who!

In fact I think there were more people dressed up than not at the Expo. It had a big manga following which was nice, lots of cosplay folk who really really loved the dressing up angle on steampunk!

How to put a busk in a corset

This is something that confuses a lot of costume makers wanting to have a go at corsetry for the first time.

Whether you're a Goth, just getting into Steampunk or a hardcore historical re-enactor or just love live roleplay, a corset is a useful thing to own, and if you've made it yourself-even better! There are loads of good patterns out there, truly victorian, reconstructing history, past patterns, mantua maker and laughing moon all publish corsetry patterns from an assortment of eras... but don't forget to make a mock up version first - you can't ever expect a bought pattern to just fit perfectly!

Anyway, to accompany my articles for Your wardrobe Unlocked and Foundations Revealed on corset and bustle making, I thought it might be useful to go over the basics ;0 One of my articles is about re-creating the corset shown on the left, moddelled beautifully by Rhona. It's a factory made corset from 1898 (ish) created by a company called Charles Bayer Corsets ltd. It's a gorgeous pattern with a very pretty engraved busk.

step 1 lay out yourfront pattern pieces with the right sides upward, place the busk the right way round on top of these pieces, with the double hook at the bottom and the studs facing up. Separate the busk and put the side with studs and it's corresponding fabric panel to one side....Cut a facing the width of one side of your busk plus 2cm seam allowance, it should be as tall as your corset center front.

step2 place the busk on the pattern piece and mark in the seam allowance, either side of the loops.

step 3 pin the facing, right sides together along the center front edge and mark with pins the gaps for the busk loops. sew along this seam, stopping and starting at each gap, leaving an opening for the busk to poke through. Stitch backwards to secure the thread at the beginning and end of each little section...

step 4 iron the seam open

step5 iron seam closed, folding the seam allowance inside.
Insert the loop side of the busk through the holes, iron the raw facing edge in to neaten.

step 6 with a zipper foot sew very closely all the way round the busk to hold it in place.

step7 cut another facing for the stud side of the busk. place it right sides together with the front fabric piece and sew all the way down the seam.

step 8 iron the seam open and then closed as before.

step9 place the two piece together as they will be when completed and mark where the busk loops cross over.

step10 using a small awl make holes in the fabric by separating the fibres (don't cut holes or the fabric will tear) just gently tease apart - use a knitting needle
too if necessary.

step 11 insert the studs from behind one at a time. If you try to make all the holes in one go, the first will close up by the time you get to the last.

step 12 sew closely round the busk as before....

Monday, 12 October 2009

My sister is the usual recipe sharerer in the family but I made some pumpkin pie muffins this weekend that were just soooooo delicious I felt I should share them with you.

They were so good I even had to eat one off my best china... The frosting was hubbys idea as I had a pot in the fridge left over from the cupcake styling on the burlesque photo shoot. I wouldn't dream of buying this type of icing normally - but oh boy!!!

I don't know what sparked my mad muffin desire - perhaps these gorgeous polymer clay cupcakes I've been seeing everywhere.. these polymer clay miniatures are from Christal Jensen and are absolutely gorgeous! She has a dvd you can buy too on how to create them ;)

But as I haven't got round to making polymer clay ones yet, and there just happened to be some pumpkin in the freezer I was defrosting.....

Anyway here's the recipie..

1 and a half pints pumpkin puree (mine was frozen in junks -I just defrosted in microwave, cooked for a minute in microwave, drained off the water and whizzed through the blender...)
1 tablespoon black treacle (mollasses) mmmmm
8 oz soft brown sugar
4 fluid oz melted butter
2 eggs
7 fluid oz milk

Mix that all together in the food processor or by hand till nice and blended - don't overdo it though.

10 oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 oz rougly chopped pecans
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinamon
1 tsp mixed spice

To finish - a bit of cinnamon sugar (optional)
Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting

Sift and mix all the dried things in a separate bowl thoroughly. then add the wet mixture and mix roughly - just blend the ingredients, don't go wild and over beat it.

Spoon into 12 large muffin cases, sprinkle a little cinamon sugar on the top and bake in a gas mark 6 (200 C) oven for 20 -25 mins

Either eat warm as they are or let cool and then swirl frosting on the top....

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Making Things

I pulled a weird muscle in my chest this week and couldn't move much, so I've been mainly writing magazine articles and experimenting with jewellery techniques. I've also had a bit of an
etsy frenzy and put a lot of new things in the shop.

Then I saw the state of the dining table and decided I really ought to have a tidy up. Whenever I'm on an artistic roll I just can't bear to put things away -one random thing will often spark up another idea, However I can never find the tool or stamp I need, as it's usually being sat on by the cat or bunny....

I tend to do most jewellery and polymer clay at home, keeping the Nottingham studio free for the big frocks and teaching, it means I can easily fit chores in around baking polyclay in the oven or waiting for glue to dry. I can also have a browse on t'internet for inspiration...

Speaking of which these are my attempts on some of Christy Friesons peppermint twist beads - I love her work so much but her swirls and things never look like octopuses, sigh... perhaps it was the blue colour...mine have come out just a little bit too like cthulu...

I had a go at some Halloween candy canes too with a steampunk edge - these are now available in my shop and I'll do a tutorial too, I used Donna Kato's candy stripe technique as a base then got a bit carried away with cogs and gears and rust. I know candy canes are christmassy too but I just felt like doing some purple and orange ones...Candy canes are such fun but I can't say I like the taste particularly, I'm more of a chocolate girl. Polymer clay ones are much better;)

I used a bit of iridescent powder and some liquid clay as glaze to make them really shine at the top swirl. The steampunky bits were dusted with metal powder and then grunged with acrylics. Then I popped them back in the oven to set.