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Steampunk Geekery

Steampunk Geekery

A while ago I posted a picture of a top I was working on.  Tbe plan was to customise an M & S undergarment with chainmaille and scales to make it look steampunky.  I quite fancy doing more of these because with a minimum of chainmaille you can get maximum effect, if you see what I mean.  A proper full chainmaille top can literally take weeks of work and the materials alone cost a fortune.  Customising items is quicker, plus I can get more precise sizes if the base garments are pre-chosen by the customer.

Well, that was a waffly paragraph, I’m just thinking aloud and justifying my reasons for pulling a perfectly good piece of lingerie in pieces and sewing bits of metal onto it.  Here’s how it looked the first time I blogged about this.  It looks rather different now as you can see in later photographs.

Planning Stage

Planning Stage – I decided I didn’t this in the end, so it looked very different by the time I finished.  Check out later pics!

You can see above that all the chains are pinned rather than sewn in place and that the straps are still intact.  After a lot of pondering, I changed my mind about this design. The scales looked too much and the chains on the seams would restrict the flexibility of the material.  Plus the metal rose on the bust looked like a big bobble …sooooooo  I took the straps off and attached a japanese weave choker with chains supporting the bust – added a dangling pendant with a sparkle of red beads and scales to emphasise the neckline – echoed the pendant design along the bust and finally, I sewed solid metal rings that look like studs below the bust and around the back so the design continues right along the bra line.

I was rather embarrassed to show my parents my project and had to explain over and over again, that it's not 'kinky' and that the idea is that it's worn as a body top with a long victorian fitted waist and flared skirt with a bustle in a steampunk stylee.

I was rather embarrassed to show my parents this particular project, I had to explain over and over again, that it’s not ‘kinky’ and that the idea is that it’s worn as a body top with a long victorian fitted waist and flared skirt with a bustle in a steampunk stylee.

My dad doesn’t know what steampunk is and I swear he thought it was some weird fashion to do with odd people, alternative music and steamtrains.  My mum thought it was ‘interesting’ and fekkit, I like it anyway!

Each 'stud' is sewn individually so that if one comes loose, the rest don't all fall off one by one.  It is, as you might say 'quality'.  And these little rings took ages to sew in place I might add.

Each ‘stud’ is sewn individually with double thickness thread which is looped several times so that they won’t come loose.  It is, as you might say ‘quality’. And these little rings took ages to sew in place I might add. Ages.  Ages and ages.  Did I mention that they took me ages?  Donkeys years.  

All the chains, and the outer jump rings on the japanese weave, are sewn onto the actual material with four stitches on each jump ring, in four different places on each and every ring, so that if one thread slips through the gaps in the jump rings in one place, they are still held in place by the other three stitches.  That may sound like gobbledegook.  It is in fact just common sense.  This is the sewing version of superglue.  Those goddam rings 'aint coming off in a hurry in summary.

All the chains, and the outer jump rings on the japanese weave, are sewn onto the actual material with four stitches on each jump ring, in four different places on each and every ring, so that if one thread slips through the gaps in the jump rings in one place, they are still held in place by the other three stitches. That may sound like gobbledegook. It is in fact just common sense. This is the sewing version of superglue. Those goddam rings ‘aint coming off in a hurry in summary.  They are well ‘ard.

Another pic.  I'm not very good at this newfangled photography thing.

Another pic. I’m not very good at this newfangled photography thing, but I think you have a clearer view of the bust here. 

This is for sale if anyone is interested, although you do have to be a 34B.  It is £50 plus postage and it’s completely unique. the materials are bright aluminium and they are glass beads, I think the ‘studs’ are steel, although I can’t be sure as they’re upcycled from an old bracelet.    If you think I can do any customisation for you, please do let me know.  Happy to help, any suggestions as to further projects, contacts with people or businesses who would be interested in selling things like this, anything……would be appreciated.  I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it wouldn’t do if we were all the same would it.

P.S  I’m not modelling this so don’t ask me. 😉

 

 

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Chainmaille Madness! My Most Ambitious Project EVER.

Chainmaille Madness!  My Most Ambitious Project EVER.

For once I’m actually reviewing my own product here, I’ve been spending a lot of time crafting and here’s the result.  It’s a completely hand-made chainmaille  top, made with pliers, patience and a fair amount of swearing.  Each bright aluminium link has been lovingly opened and closed and generally messed around with by me.  I’ve never made anything like this before, so this is my first attempt.  Whaddya think?  I finished it last night, took photos and bunged it on Folksy for sale so I’m, as they say, buzzing.  It would be quite useless in the face of battle, but it would be fantastic at a cocktail party or in a club, as long as there’s no-one shooting arrows at you at you.

Made from Bright Aluminium which is a surprisingly light metal, so this is comfortable to wear and won't weigh you down at all.

Made from Bright Aluminium which is a surprisingly light metal, so this is comfortable to wear and won’t weigh you down at all.

Made to my own design, so this is completely unique and a stand out piece.  The scales are made from bright aluminium too, so allt he materials match perfectly.

Made to my own design, so this is completely unique and a stand out piece. The scales are made from bright aluminium too, so the materials match perfectly.

Can be worn over a bra top, or over a camisole if you're feeling a little less extrovert.  Catches the light beautifully and drapes like a dream.

Can be worn over a bra top, or over a camisole if you’re feeling a little less extrovert. Catches the light beautifully and drapes like a dream.

Each diamond is reinforced with a 'Mobious' link, which is three rings intertwined for extra strength, and they look pretty too!

Each diamond is reinforced with a ‘Mobious’ link, which is three rings intertwined for extra strength, and they look pretty too!

Here's a close up of the weave, you can see the Mobious links more clearly here.   This will not rust by the way!  Can easily be cleaned with light detergent, warm water and a bit of a polish with a soft cloth.  No messing around with dry cleaning at all!

Here’s a close up of the weave, you can see the Mobious links more clearly here at the junction of the diamonds. This will not rust by the way! Can easily be cleaned with light detergent, warm water and a bit of a polish with a soft cloth. No messing around with dry cleaning at all!

I’m not used to this blowing my own trumpet sort of thing, but if I want to sell this, then I have to.  *blushes* Feel free to drop by my Folksy account if you’re interested or I have a ‘Bumbling Bee’ Facebook page if you prefer.  You’d be very welcome on either page and I do list other items too, which you may like.

I put a lot of time, effort and skill into my work and I’d love your feedback.  Please do drop by!  This top took me approximately a month of spending almost every available minute with a pair of pliers by the way.  You could call it knitting with metal I suppose.

Bumbling Bee Facebook page can be found HERE and my Folksy page is HERE.

I am open to negotiation by the way, especially if you mention that you discovered my work via this blog.  ;O)

Anyway, I hope you like my very new hobby, which is mostly just another really elaborate way to avoid doing the housework.  The Brink of Bedlam household looks like a bomb has dropped on it, but I do have a lovely top to show for it.

My mother does not approve and thinks I should clean the cooker rather than make chainmaille tops, but what the hell!

K & Co

Summer Style

Well, spring sprang and then it boinged back into autumn again I think.  Shucks.  After a couple of days of blazing sunshine I’m now sat in my living room staring out the window at a rain soaked street and grey skies again.  Boo, hiss, bah humbug and  other sulking noises. Ah well, maybe things will improve soon.  In the meantime I’m going to keep my hopes up.  We’re planning on spending a week in a caravan over the summer hols and perhaps thinking about preparations for that will cheer me up a little?

Both kids spent most of last year wearing jeans, jumpers, thick (odd) socks, raincoats, wellies and warm clothing.  Perhaps this year will be different?  With that in mind I’ve been browsing K & Co and their spring and summer offerings.  Maybe I’ll do a bit of home shopping and get them kitted out.  Maybe I’ll even be able to persuade Darlek to wear a dress!  If I could persuade her to wear one, I think this would be it.

Darlek is a bit of a tom-boy so frills and flounces aren't her thing at all.  I think this might suit her, I love the bright colours and the striking design.

Darlek is a bit of a tom-boy so frills and flounces aren’t her thing at all. I think this might suit her, I love the bright colours and the striking design.

I can picture us all sat around a lit BBQ on a balmy summer’s evening, swatting midges and soaking up the evening sun.  Darlek nearly always wears trainers, but if she was wearing this, she’d need sandals.  Soooo…..

They're called yellow 'Lolly Stud' girls sandals.  I'd prefer to call them 'Buttercup Sparkly's'.  But that's because I'm a hippy on the sly.

They’re called yellow ‘Lolly Stud’ girls sandals. I’d prefer to call them ‘Buttercup Sparkly’s’. But that’s because I’m a closet hippy.

That outfit, including the sandals, would cost us £28 ( I think…my maths is terrible) which is actually not that bad.  I have to admit I’ve never shopped with this company before, but after a quick browse of their pages I am actually tempted.

And now for Sausage’s summer kit.   He’s never really shown an interest in clothes so this should be easy.  Darlek has a mind of her own and will happily point blank refuse to wear anything she dislikes, but her brother is a lot easier going when it comes to fashion.  Which isn’t a surprise really, he is only 5 and prefers to spend his time thinking about Star Wars and what’s for tea. His cousin makes me laugh, he’s 6 and has already started combining long and short sleeved T’shirts so they colour co-ordinate and loves to wear shirts that show off T’shirts underneath.  I’m afraid my son seems to be following in my footsteps, we wear the first thing that falls out of the cupboard in the morning.

(Why oh why am I writing a blog post about fashion?!!!!   I’m trying so hard to sound cool and like I know what I’m on about, but I really don’t.  What are jeggings, why doesn’t red go with green, why can’t I wear my onesie on the school run, what’s wrong with jumpers with pictures of cats on? etc. etc. etc.)

Anyway *puts serious face on*.  Fashion. Boys.  Erm… Right if i could find the perfect smart, casual summer outfit for my lad I think I’d go for this ensemble.

Practical eh?  He would ADORE this.

Practical eh? He would ADORE this.  £18 and you could have your very own pirate child too!

As for footwear: if we were at the caravan there would be lots of grass around and he would probably take off his shoes and run around in his socks so they’d be pointless.  Either that or he’d pretend to have a wooden leg, hop around, lose one shoe forever in the long grass and I’d get annoyed.  So, barefoot or socked feet it is. Hope there’s not many nettles around this year.

BRING ON THE SUNSHINE, THE BBQ’S, THE SUNCREAM, THE ICE-CREAMS, THE SHORTS, THE DRESSES, THE erm…PIRATE OUTFITS!  Come on May, don’t fail us now.  We’ve had a hint of what summer could be like over the last few days and we want more!

This is a collaborative post with K&Co, although all meanderings and piratey comments are my own.   Piratey is a real word, I know that because I just typed it.

I is a Fashion Icon (in my dreams….)

I is a Fashion Icon

(in my dreams…..)

Well I’ve done the ‘Hat Thing’ now I’m going to do the ‘Fashion Thing.’  It’s spring, it’s the season of new beginnings.  I might just have to invest in some new kit.  Clothes shopping is always somewhat of a nightmare for me, I get scared by skinny clothes, bright colours and fashion in general.  That’s why I love internet shopping so much more.  I can browse at my leisure, I don’t have to scour shops on my poor little leggies, looking for clothes that look vaguely like my sort of thing and you can usually easily return what doesn’t fit.

So here’s my first attempt, a summer outfit.  What do you think?  Fashionable or Fashionfail?  I’ve been challenged to come up with an outfit combing this season’s must have trend ‘Harem Pants.’  I have to say when I initially came across the term Harem Pants, the name conjured images of awful bright pink ballooning, flappy trousers, but I was wrong.  They’re actually quite nice and genuinely do look like something I’d consider wearing.

First of all…..sandals.

Call me daft, but I think these look kind of steampunk like, a style I love.  I think it's because of the shiny strap at the back.

Call me daft, but I think these look kind of steampunk, a style I love. I think it’s because of the shiny strap at the back.

Harem pants

Harem Pants!

Harem pants is such a ridiculous name for a pair of trousers, but I think they look like such a cool summer style which I think I could live with.  They won’t cling to my lumps and bumps and they’d be so easy to mix and match with my current wardrobe.

Beautifully simple, sweet and goes with everything.  Gypsy casual boho stylee.

Beautifully simple, sweet and goes with everything. Gypsy casual boho stylee.

This top might be considered as a cop out, but I think black tops go with almost everything.  I love the gypsy style too, it has that boho feel that fits in almost anywhere.  Black can so easily be dressed up or down with accessories too.  A chunky silver necklace and matching bracelet would be perfect here.

So there you go, that’s my nice easy summer style and a very rare fashion blog from a fashion illiterate blogger.  If I did actually take the plunge and buy these items I’d definitely need a new hat to go with them.  Addicted, me?  No!

Queen of Hats!

Queen of Hats!

I admit it, I put off posting these photos.  I’m simply not photogenic.  This is me with no hair and some lovely hats and….. many instances of the ‘Slaphead’ phenomenon. I might curl up and die in a corner now, but I said I’d post these and so I shall.  If I hear you laughing I shall immediately sulk, so if you snigger at all, please have the decency to leave the room first.  Fank oo!

The elegant skinhead downing a  cup of tea look.

The elegant skinhead downing a cup of tea look.  My hair is growing back surprisingly quickly which is nice.

My lovely friend Leah gave me this hat, unfortunately this doesn't show it off so well, it has a  lovely stripe along the rim and is a multitude of green, black, blue and blended colours Love it!  I is a slaphead on here though...

My lovely friend Leah gave me this Sheepchique hat, unfortunately this doesn’t show it off so well, it has a lovely stripe along the rim and is a multitude of green, black, blue and blended colours. Love it! I is a slaphead on here though… *sighs*

You can see this hat on Sheepchique’s Facebook page if you scroll down a little.  It’s really easy to wear and snug too.  Please do bob over to her page to have a look at some of her amazing creations. Who knew keeping your head warm could be so much fun!

No slaphead here, just a spudhead instead.

No slaphead here, just a spudhead instead.

This is my lovely fluffy mohair hat, I think it looks like knitted waves on the sea.

This is my lovely fluffy mohair hat, I think it looks like knitted waves on the sea.

The Sequinned Sheep knitted this emerald green beauty.  Nice and light for all weathers.

The Sequinned Sheep knitted this emerald green beauty. Nice and light for all weathers. Alice is such a talented knitter, here’s her webpage HERE if you’d like a look at other hats.

This hat arrived in the post just last week, all wrapped in pink tissue paper and with a lovely note from my friend Julia.   Such a fabulous surprise.  It's so swish!

This hat arrived in the post just last week, all wrapped in pink tissue paper and with a lovely note from my friend Julia. Such a fabulous surprise. It’s so swish!  This one is from Mu Du, their Facebook page is HERE and their stuff is simply gorgeous.  I could spend a fortune on there.

There is one more hat, but I’ve left it at my parent’s house and I wanted to get this blog post over and done with.  If I dawdled any longer I’d have a full head of hair again and no excuse for posting this.

So there you go.  I is a fashion icon.  *kay looks sheepish*  This blog post took some publishing you know.  I don’t do posing very well at all.

You know, I actually think I’m ok with the hair do, I don’t think it looks attractive or feminine or anything, but it’s certainly low maintenance and people have all kinds of hair styles these days.  Besides, anyone who judges me on my hair style isn’t worth worrying about.  That’s what I say and I’m sticking to it. :O)

Urban Writers Bootcamp – Part 3

Urban Writers Bootcamp – Part 3

Here we go again!  I was given this title and asked to write for 15 minutes.  This one is a bit rambling. Does anyone else care to share about their favourite pair of boots / shoes / heels?  Might be interesting to read other’s shoe related memories maybe?

Are people actually reading these?  I’d hate to bore you all rigid.  Talking about shoes seems a little irrelevant and none parenting related.  Mind you, erm….desperately claws for relevance…kids wear shoes too!  They do!  And erm…so do mums, and wellies are quite nice on puddle jumping days?   Oh, I give up!  I’ll just write about shoes and hope you tolerate the randomness.  Thank you for reading. x

‘In everyone’s life, there is one unforgettable pair of shoes…’
My unforgettable pair of shoes were my huge black doc martens that I wore when I was 16 going on 17.  They were part of my slightly hippy chick era and I used to wear them with leggings an awful lot.  My mum said they made my legs look like golf clubs but I chose to ignore her and wore and loved them anyway.  I even made my own shoe laces with a system of coloured threads and weaving, I thought they looked fabulous. Some people painted their Docs, I never had enough confidence to actually go that far, I simply customised the laces – which is probably quite a good half way house between ‘Way out man!’ and ‘I’m not shouting too loudly cos if I do, I’ll look stupid’.  I wish I still had them, they were comfy as cushions on my feet and were waterproof and went with anything, or at least I thought they went with everything.  My long taselled patterned hippy skirt looked great with them (I think…..).  Mind you, when you’re young, I think it’s possible to carry almost anything off.  Now I’m getting all wistful and feeling like an old git, which I am, a little I suppose. One thing I remember very fondly about my Docs was that they hurt my feet like hell at first, but my dad quite literally sat in front of the tv massaging the leather with some sort of grease or other until the leather softened up enough so that they didn’t give me massive blisters.  Very thoughtful, and they did fit like a glove after that.  I trekked many a mile in those shoes, to friend’s houses, up and over windswept hills – in particular on a walk when a whole bunch of us stayed up all night and climbed a hill on the longest day of the year to watch the sunrise.  I remember seeing the mist lying like a sea between the higher ground bumps.  Mum once said that mist like that looks like sleeping ghosts.  I love that imagery. I suspect the boots probably cracked over time, I was never very good at keeping up with polishing them, I’m still rubbish at shoe maintainance.  They were great though, a little bit of rebellion against the very straight style I was brought up with.  One day I’ll get another pair, and then I might actually paint flowers all over them, and make funny coloured laces again.  I think I’m old enough to be undignified and not worry about it so much this time round.  Hell!  I might even dye my hair with pink streaks, like I always wanted to but never dared.  I think I might like being old and mad after all.  The self conscious years of trying to look trendy (or purposefully none-trendy) are long gone, but the old yearning for these funniosity boots still remains.
The next one was really difficult for me.  I usually write with my own voice, or a more serious version of myself if I’m required to write something that isn’t actually tongue in cheek.  This task had me writing in the style of….

Your narrator is an old man, benevolent and wise. He is not omnipresent (i.e. he can’t tell you what is in your character’s head), but sits at a distance and gives the reader a sense of feelings, etc., through physical description. He is watching tourists in a café. Write as your narrator.
It was really, really difficult and I don’t know how well it comes across really, at least I tried!  I have edited very slightly.  
The couple lean over to kiss each other, so sweet.  She is about 18 I think, although it’s hard to tell these days.  I should think the boy is a similar age, he has that fresh faced innocent look that erodes away with time.  I should know!  I look in the mirror now and the wrinkles make me look ever so tired.  I’d rather not look like that, but they are the lines of my years, like the rings on a tree.  Discreetly I sip my tea, stare at the open paper on the table in front of me, blankly – it’s not very interesting, some Hollywood woman has worn an odd dress apparently.  Probably thinks she’s being new, fresh and interesting.  I say she’s a new dog playing old tricks.  The rain patters on the window and the drops shiver in little tracks top to bottom.  The other person in the cafe looks troubled, I don’t like peering at him for fear of attracting the wrong sort of attention.  He keeps scrabbling in his bag for something that doesn’t appear to be there, no matter how many times he looks.  His phone rings a lot too, but he doesn’t answer it.  Very annoying in a relaxed place such as this.  I’d tell him to switch it off, but he’s a middle aged, stressed looking bloke and I think he’s got enough on his plate already – a fried breakfast in fact.  He’s not eating it though.  Odd that.  My eyes drift back towards the rainy street, watching the world fly by in a rush in the blink of an eye, everything passes so quickly.  My tea is going cold, I cup my hands around the base and the warmth seeps through my fingertips.