Butterflies and sunshine

Lincoln Steampunk was brilliant again. We did not have as much time as usual wandering around the castle area due to some confusion about catching the bus to the campus to see what was going on there but saw lots of lovely costumes as always.I really loved this purple angel with working wings.There were also some beautiful and unusual costumes like the black ballgown with cogs and the book spine corset dress that had the most amazing ruffle skirt.

It was very hot so we were happy not to be doing too much walking. We spent some time at up the University campus where we bumped into a woman we recognised from last year.She had previously been wearing a Death Star dress and Millennium Falcon hat and this year she and her partner were dressed as two more characters from Star Wars, with a twist. I give you Gin Solo and Teabacca!

How brilliantly creative is that. I love the detail here with the gin bottle belt and the tea holster complete with cup and the marvelous gun.It never ceases to amaze me the ideas people come up with.

There were lots and lots of butterfly costumes and pretty flowers, these two sisters had made beautiful parasols by appliqueing flowers to plain umbrellas and I loved the butterfly head dress here.

The ladies from Lichtenstein were there again with the usual fabulous themed costumes. This year it was sewing accessories. I only managed to take one picture of them while I was at the event, so these are from their Facebook page. They are so beautiful and the detail of their accessories is amazing.

We bumped into some more friends from Steampunk, who were also wearing very brave costumes for such a hot day. Here are Fox and Sian. At least Fox is not wearing 7 stone of armour on a boiling July day as he often has been. And there were plenty of chances to stop for restorative tea which we don’t have in the 1400s!

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Ellie looked amazing, you have already seen the Worth dress but it deserves some more pictures and more of the beautiful hat which is new for this event. She is so clever and really suits the elegant Edwardian look.The hat was a plain cream one from the charity shop and I think the black lace really makes it look stunning.

We also bumped into a couple that we met at Clumber on the 1940s weekend, I love this red, white and blue ensemble. This women told us previously she had about 50 hats which I think is splendid, as I said in my last post we need more hat wearing, preferably very beautiful and ornate ones as well.

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I was very pleased with my new hat, everything stayed attached all day. I have now bought myself a glue gun so there is no stopping me now in my ability to create wondrous things!

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Lincoln - selfie

We are definitely going to go for the whole weekend next year as one day is just not enough. Of course that will mean at least 5 outfits as we would like to go to a ball as well so I really had better get cracking. I do have 3 skirts and a jacket to use as a base for a creation, as well as the tablecloth jacket but I need at least 2 more outfits really. I had better get scouring the charity shops for more bargains.

I have had a very pleasant rest of the weekend,I only worked Saturday morning so there was lots of crafting time and catching up with friends. I do love this time of year, lots of new beginnings and plans for the autumn.

Hope that you have a lovely week ahead, term starts next week so it will be very full on then so I am making the most of the lull. I will be back later in the week with pictures from Scotland. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Giveaway winner and a quick update

Just a quick update for you. I have so many wonderful pictures from Lincoln and Scotland but just wanted to pop in and tell you that the winner of the giveaway is Julia’s Creative Year. Please e-mail me at alisonmryan@yahoo.co.uk and let me know if you would like a brooch, hairslide or hair bobble and which colours you would like and I will get creating.Thanks to everyone who liked or commented on my posts.

Scotland was so beautiful, I took so many of photos of the amazing mountains and lochs. We were there partly to visit a friend who lives very near this castle at the edge of a loch and this is one of my favourite pictures with Kilchurn Castle in the distance. The weather was mostly good and the stormy skies at times just added to the atmosphere. It is an amazing country and I will have to go back there as there is so much we did not get to see in the time that we had.

Scotland 1 - Kilchurn

Lincoln was brilliant as well, as usual but so warm! I have no idea why most of my hobbies end up with me dressed so inappropriately for the weather but was very glad of the parasol. Here is a photo of my beautiful Ellie in her house of Worth dress complete with new hat. I know I am biased but she does look stunning.

Ellie at Lincoln 2019

In other exciting news Jake is in Japan 🙂 He has been there for a week now and we have been having regular chats via the miracle of the internet. He has just moved into an apartment and starts his teaching job tomorrow.

Exciting times and I am so happy for him that all his hard work has paid off. He has had time to do a little bit of sightseeing  and has been sending us pictures of some of the beautiful parks. I am really excited to go and visit him next year.

Jake Japan 1

Tomorrow will be mainly devoted to crafting as I have some stock to make for Yarndale. I have almost finished the final draft of my doctorate so will be doing that first thing and then it can be e-mailed off to my supervisors and I can relax.

It has been a busy and somewhat stressful few months finishing that and waiting for all of Jake’s things to be finalised for his job so I am looking forward to peace, quiet and tranquility for a while  🙂 Here’s hoping anyway.

I will be back soon with more pictures for you, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.

How to make a fabric teacup … should you ever need one!

I am having a very lovely and very productive weekend. The weather has been brilliant, which is great for all my friends who are at an event this weekend and we have been having a major sort of of all of Jake’s things.

He leaves for Japan in 3 weeks 🙂 so he has been getting rid of things he no longer needs as hopefully, he will love it and be able to stay for a while.We were very inspired by Ellen’s work on the kitchen last week so lots of things have been re-homed.

I have finished the tea party hat and am so pleased with it! It is exactly what I wanted and it looks so cute 🙂

Tea party hat 7

I did a quick bit of embroidery this week on some of the vintage linen I used to make the tablecloth jacket and taped that to some card to make a little sign.

Tea party hat 5

 

Tea party hat 11

The donut is probably a little small in scale but I love the way it looks and any bigger would have obscured the teacup.

Tea party hat 6

I love this little purple cake! I have a whole packet of these little ribbon roses that I bought from Spain and am planning to use some for Barbie dresses.

Tea party hat 2

Tea party hat 1

I found the little spoons from this supplier on Etsy and they are the perfect size.

Tea party hat 3

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Ironically it probably took as long to make as a new jacket would have but it was very peaceful sewing of an evening and I am so please with how all of the felt cakes turned out.It is attached to the hat by a combination of double sided foam tape and pins and seems secure. All I need now is a miniature bottle of gin (aka TEA) to go on the front.

I could not find any actual tutorials of how to make a teacup so thought it might be useful to do one here, partly to remind myself as I have plans for another teacup hat for later in the season. The doily is the one I had previously stiffened with Powertex and painted. It is more purple than it looks in this picture.

Making a tea cup1

I started with an Evian bottle and cut both top and bottom with a craft knife. I chose this bottle specifically as it had a nice rounded shape for both cup and saucer.I taped up the bottle to give it a little more stability. I cut the teacup part open for ease of sewing.

 

The patterns I made from the plastic pieces, adding extra for seaming. I cut a layer of thin wadding from these. I then put double sided tape all over the plastic so that I could stick wadding to it.

 

I fussy cut the floral fabric as I wanted to have one of the roses showing on the cup.

 

I sewed the inner fabric first to the wadding with the tea cup still open, then sewed on the outer and stitched it together. I cut a small rose motif out and used it for the cup base.

 

The saucer was done the same way with wadding stuck on first. I could not easily attach the cup to the base due to the curve of the saucer so Ellen came to the rescue with her glue gun. I am definitely going to get one of those as they are so useful for Steampunk creations.

The handle was just a piece of fabric with wadding and a short piece of garden wire to give it shape. It was quite easy to just sew that to the side of the cup. A little bit of lace from stash gives it a final elegant touch and voila, one fabric teacup!

Tea party hat 4

This is what I love about Steampunk, the creativity and the problem solving, I have seen lots of wonderful teacup hats and am so glad I now know how to make one.

I am continuing with felt flowers this afternoon but with a little twist as I am combining them with Liberty fabric. My intention is to make some pouches with them as decoration which I think may sell well at Yarndale.

I have not had much chance to make stock for that yet so will have to get cracking. I have another two weeks before the doctorate is finished and then there will be lots more time for crafting, hurrah!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend whatever you are doing. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Happy World Embroidery Day!

To be honest I didn’t know it was World Embroidery Day today until one of the textile companies I subscribe to e-mailed me about it but it is, so many happy stitching returns to you all.

I was just about to start some new embroidery this evening so that is fortuitous. I have a new project that I will share with you in a bit. If you want to know more about World Embroidery Day you can find out more here. I particularly like the part of this description that says…

‘To embroider is a peaceful occupation. It can be traditional made from a common
remembrance, drawn designs, from a pattern, or from your own imagination. You embroider for joy, beauty, decoration and for the creation of identity.’ 

I am sure that all of us who embroider share those sentiments. The lovely Karen from ‘Did You Make That’ has recently taken up embroidery and talks about the different emotions different crafts give us in this post here. I love all of my crafts for different reasons, some can bring frustration as well as joy (the black velvet jacket that never was) but mostly they bring me peace and sanity in a frantic world.

I have been doing a little bit of crafting over the last few days, mainly as respite care from the increasingly frantic work on the doctorate which is due in exactly 2 months from today!

We have had some more people leave work under our latest voluntary redundancy scheme including my very best friend.We have worked together for 15 years and shared wonderful times together. I am very, very happy for them all as they  are off to enjoy retirement or adventures travelling the world but I am very sad to see them go so I made a couple of pouches as gifts for special friends.

Liberty star bag 1

Liberty star bag 2

Liberty star bag 3

These are from some of the blocks I made last year which have been waiting to be turned into something special and details of how to make the bags can be found in this tutorial here. The beautiful lace zips come from Buddly Crafts and I shall be ordering a little restock very soon.

Liberty block bag 1

Liberty block bag 2

The embroidery is part of a new hat for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln over August Bank Holiday. I had contemplated making a new jacket but with the focus needed on the doctorate and a few minor household issues (one involving an expensive boiler repair!) decided that I needed something that would not add any stress.

So I am wearing the tablecloth jacket again but I am making a tea party hat to go with it. I had done some planning for this a while ago for another hat that I have not yet created but am well on the way with it.I loved wearing it last year with the sewing themed hat and it deserves more outings.

Steampunk event Alison 5

I will devote a whole post to the creation of the hat when it is completed but meanwhile here is a sneak preview of a very cute felt cupcake that will be part of the tea party. I have really enjoyed making these, as with the felt flowers it is a joy to work with all the lovely colours of felt and add little beads and embellishments. I used this tutorial to help me and found lots of different ideas and videos for all types of felt food.

Felt cake 1

Felt cake 2

In other exciting news with the help of my wonderful children we repainted the kitchen at the weekend and my daughter very enthusiastically Marie Kondoed the contents meaning I have far less clutter. I was very good and let lots of things go.

We also had a surprise visit from a herd of cows in the back lane. They were being escorted from a farm up the road when they made an unexpected right turn. This picture was taken as they were being escorted off the premises which is why is is a bit blurry. This is why I love living in Marsden, there is never a dull moment 🙂

Cows 1

Well I will love you and leave you and get on with some more of the hat, the embroidery is for a little sign that will say ‘everything stops for tea’ for the front. Take care, thanks for visiting and have a happy week whether you are embroidering or not.

 

Getting creative with crochet

I had a very lovely crafting time with Ellie last weekend. When we were at the Whitby Steampunk event we did a lovely free workshop with Abigail from Curiously Contrary and each made a brooch using a textile hardener medium called Powertex.

Whitby 4

Ellie and I bought a starter kit and we had our first go at this new craft.You can make some beautiful things with it, I love this bronze lace bowl in this video.

Powertex 3

The medium needs to be painted onto textiles, it is PVA glue based and is quite sticky so we were advised to pour it onto a paper plate and use fingers or a brush to work it into the textile.

Powertex crafting 5

As you know I have a lovely collection of vintage crochet and as Abigail had used some of this to decorate the items she had on her stall at Whitby we decided to use those as our starting point. Ellie wanted to decorate some notebooks that she had bought and I wanted to make a new Steampunk hat for an event later in the year.

Powertex crafting 1

Powertex crafting 2

Powertex crafting 4

Once you have soaked your textile it takes about an hour to dry, you can speed this up with a hairdryer and then you can paint it.It is very therapeutic to do and we had a great time.

Powertex crafting 6

You can use powder pigments mixed with varnish or acrylic paints.We painted the pieces the following day when they had fully hardened. Here they are at the drying stage.

Powertex crafting 8

Powertex crafting 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can then use metallic highlights either in acrylic or powders to add sparkle to your design. Ellie completed two notebooks and a scrapbook, it is amazing how they go from being a dull brown which is the Powertex colour we had to looking so fantastic and colourful.

Powertex 1

 

Powertex 2

 

I am planning to add a little fabric tea cup to the lovely silver doily that will be on top of my hat for an, ‘everything stops for tea’, hat. The little crochet flowers will be around the side of the hat and I have ordered some more flower crowns from Ebay which I will take apart to give me some lovely blooms for the hat as well.

Powertex 4

Powertex 5

Powertex 6

Powertex 7

I found some inspiration for my tea cup on Pinterest, these lovely hats have been made by Play Things who did have an Etsy shop but is not trading at the moment. I love the creativity of these little hats and intend to use some tea motif fabric that I have had in my stash for a long time for the cup and saucer.

tea cup hat 2jpg

tea cup hat

I have had a productive couple of weeks in other areas as well, I went on a wonderful writing retreat with work and finished another 15,000 words of my doctorate and have knitted two Barbie jumpers, not yet sewn together but that is one of my tasks for tomorrow along with finishing off a knitted Barbie coat.

I hope that you have had a good couple of weeks, we have had beautiful weather here as well up until today so things have been very lovely. Hopefully next week I will be able to show you some of the completed Barbie garments.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Victorian Splendour

We had a very lovely time at Whitby Steampunk last weekend. The weather was good, a touch windy on Saturday so we were literally hanging onto our hats, at an event where everyone wears very fine hats no-one wanted theirs to end up in the sea 😦

The only bad thing in the whole weekend was that at some point on Sunday afternoon I lost my camera. Ellie and James very kindly retraced our steps all the way back up to the Pavillion on the cliff to see if they could find it but it was nowhere to be seen. I had taken lots of pictures of costume as well. Luckily James and Ellie took many of the same pictures of us and the scenery so I do have some to share with you thanks to them.

Whitby 1

Whitby 2

Whitby 5

Whitby 6

Whitby is a beautiful old seaside town, famous for being the place where the explorer Captain Cook worked and for being the setting for part of the Bram Stoker Dracula novel.

So I decided on a vampire hunter theme for Saturday’s outfit, I have already shown you then holy water bottle and I decorated my hat with crosses and a mini bible and had another cross and stake in my belt.You can’t see the black skirt very well here but it worked really well with the outfit and I also decorated a cheap umbrella with the same lace as the rest of the outfit.

Whitby 12

Whitby 13

The red coat is an adaptation of one I bought some years ago for medieval re-enactment and I shortened it and cut back the sleeves and added the lace.We spent a lot of time at the market which was brilliant, the best Steampunk market we have visited and lots of gin tasting and a really interesting workshop which I will post about later.

Whitby 14

Whitby 17

It was lovely and warm and I wore the other coat I have in purple on the Sunday with my pirate hat and purple skirt. I am going to adapt this one in the same way as the large fold back sleeves are lovely but do get in the way a bit! I think it was probably when I was sorting out the sleeves that I lost the camera.

Whitby 3

We also visited a costume exhibition by a company who make stage costumes, this gorgeous Victorian morning dress in black silk was one of my favourite pieces but the silk and jewelled Marahajah costume was also stunning and James and Kerry loved the owl!

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Whitby 11

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Ellie’s Worth dress, which I have previously posted about that she made from a pair of curtains, looked fantastic and she got lots of people stopping her to take pictures as we wandered around town.She is so creative to have made the whole thing without a pattern, she is going to make a hat to go with it for the Lincoln event later in the summer.

We found a lovely gin shop with the most gorgeous display of pink gins in the window and a fantastic tea room, the Monk’s Haven, which served gluten free scones so had a fab afternoon tea both days which made Ellie and I very happy 🙂

Whitby 15

Whitby 16

A really brilliant weekend, I just love wandering round and looking at all the costumes and seeing the amazing creativity. There are lots more pictures on the Whitby Steampunk Facebook  page here

It still feels slightly strange to be at an event all dressed up and not to have to do anything specific. I think that is part of why we all love it so much as we can just wander around, eat ice cream or drink tea and gin when we want to and generally get all the fun of dressing up without any of the rules of re-enactment. We doing really love doing that as well but at Steampunk events we don’t have to hide in the tent when it is cold and wet and have sneaky cups of tea!

I am busy knitting for Barbie at the moment. I have made the shrug but cannot show you that yet as she has nothing to wear it with. I have started a jumper as well from the old pattern book.I do like knitting such small things, I finished the back of the jumper in an evening 🙂

I am really looking forward to the week ahead, I am on a writing retreat with work and so am going to be spending four days here at Gladstone’s Library working on my doctorate. I went a few years ago and not only is it lovely to have peace and quiet to write but the food is wonderful so it is like staying at a luxury hotel as well.

Gladstones museum

So I shall be lovely and relaxed when I come home and hopefully will have written lots as well!There will be very little crafting done this week as I intend to spend the evenings in the lovely local pub with my colleagues which will be very nice, we rarely get time at work to talk so am looking forward to catching up with some of my old team as well.

Hope that you have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Back to Blighty with a bump and the giveaway winner

I hope that you all had a great festive season, I got back yesterday in pretty rough weather, there was lots of turbulence and the plane was really rocking coming down but we were only slightly delayed.

I have had a fab time and have more pictures to show you later, I have put a few of my favourites below but have really just popped in to tell you that the winner of my 11th blogaversary giveaway is Kay. I have e-mailed her to let her know but thanks so much to everyone who has commented, liked and followed this blog and sorry that I can’t make you all winners!

The weather has been pretty dreadful today with howling gales and we are forecast snow at the end of the week, oh joy! I am consoling myself by looking at my lovely beach pictures. This one is on the first day when we went down to the beach for coffee and a walk and the sunlight was just so sparkly on the water.

spain beach

We had our usual picnic lunch on New Year’s Day and I even got a little sunburnt. This yacht was out again on a very calm sea.I am sure I took pictures of the same one last year.

spain beach 2

Later in the holiday we went down the coast a bit for lunch and a walk to one of the rocky beaches, we took the kids here when they were younger and Jacob loved playing on this little island. It was a cloudier day with a magnificent sky and the waves were crashing on the rocks.

spain beach 3

spain beach 4

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spain beach 5

I just love the sea in all weathers and even had a little paddle on New Year’s Day, there were a few people in the sea swimming then as well and some surfers at the rocky beach.

I had a very relaxing time, doing lots of reading, very little cooking, mainly living on delicious cheeses and soup. They even had a little Christmas selection pack of some of my favourite ones in miniature which made a lovely cheeseboard.

spain cheese

I also did a couple of puzzles, this one I bought last time I went as it is of a view that Ellie and I saw when we went to the Lake District last June, a painting of Derwentwater. Lots of pieces of sky to fit in!

spain puzzle 1

There was very little crafting done so I have nothing to show you, I am starting to put together my latest Steampunk outfit for Whitby in a few weeks. I am doing a pirate outfit for one day with my purple hat from last year and a vampire hunter outfit for the other day as both seemed appropriate themes for the venue.

The vampire hunter outfit will be a modification of a beautiful red wool evening coat that I have had for years, bought originally for re-enactment. I am taking inspiration from one of my favourite films, Van Helsing with the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale and this jacket though my coat is a lot longer as this will be February in the UK so warmth will be a priority. There will also be a top hat of course so I have been searching for inspiration for that.

vampire hunter outfit

Back to work tomorrow so it will be next weekend before anything serious can be done on that but the top hat will be started tonight.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.