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helwen: (Due Consideration)

Includes some conventions which Steampunks attend but are not SP events as a focus, like Arisia.
helwen: (Steam)
Video of all sorts of warm-air-powered engines (Sterling variants):


Things of beauty.

On a practical note, there are a few places that use a Sterling engine to make use of waste heat from manufacturing to do things like heat the building.
helwen: (Steam)
My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] calygrey for sharing this on her journal:


I'd do something rather different, but just the idea of this kind of cake is interesting. Also, the page mentions the tea salon in NY that inspired this version of the mille crêpes cake.

And there's a link to more pages on tea and goodies near the bottom of the page.


I'm imagining this with buckwheat flour for the crepes, and powdered maple sugar on top...
helwen: (me1)
L and I were talking about cultural appropriation this morning, after I read a friend's post on the wonderful conference she's at and the cultural experiences she's had so far (including one that's an incredible mix of cultures musically), and I was thinking then of the Native American issues that have come up this year with people wearing feathers and bonnets at parties, etc. Of course it's possible to buy a lot of these special things, so the modern (western?) mind might say "I bought it, I can do what I want with it!" As a person who has been mistaken for belonging to one of the tribes I've had my own journey in this regard -- as a young person I wanted to be an Indian because being Eurasian was difficult to figure out, with so few people like me around. In America I was Chinese to other people; in Hong Kong, I was White. Eurasian wasn't its own culture, so there was nothing to read about it. There was plenty to read about on different tribes though, and I even went to some pow pows, although I never claimed to be something I wasn't. One guy was pretty cool though, when we were talking about it, because he had tried to guess what tribe I was from -- he said "Your people just didn't cross the bridge, that's all".

Another time I was talking to a vendor about the beautiful buckskin dresses, but wasn't sure about getting one and she said as long as it was worn respectfully, she didn't see my not being of the tribes as a problem. I ended up not getting one, but more for financial reasons at the time. Still, I'm glad I asked.

In Steampunk, cultural appropriation comes up, as well. I think it's an important part of Steampunk, because people doing Steampunk aren't trying to rule the world, or tell people that their culture is superior to everyone else's, so there needs to be some thought about what you're doing/making/wearing. Also, I think unless one is British, then dressing up as a Victorian British person is also kind of a cultural appropriation, even though we normally think of this concept in terms of "minority" cultures. But all people have a culture, so it bears consideration.

And that's one of the things about "culture" -- there isn't a "White" culture, any more than there is a "Native American", "Chinese", "Hispanic", etc. culture. Each of these can be broken down into different smaller groups -- and then there's social status, etc. You can't just look at a person and tell exactly who they are -- you need to get to know them. Our social structure is such that we're trained to categorize, label, and pigeonhole, when that really doesn't work on people. Statistics can be a tool, but we should never forget that they are only tools, only as useful as the care with which they are constructed.

I was also thinking this morning that one of the reasons people wear things from other cultures is because it's different, new-to-them, exotic; maybe they crave new experiences or maybe they think their own culture (if they know anything about it) is boring. (I'm talking about people who do this without really thinking about it, not people who have spent time doing the research and learning about another culture, and who can then do/make/display/wear things with respect to that people).

I think it's worth really exploring the history of a people -- any people. You will learn wonderful things. You will learn about things that are strange (to you). You will learn about similarities between different peoples. You will also learn terrible things, and that may or may not stop your desire to learn.

Because the more you learn, the more you will realize that in certain ways, all people are intrinsically the same. We all have art, music, stories, technology; we have heroes and villains, good deeds and shameful ones. And that's important to remember; there is no people anywhere in place or time with a history that is unmarked, for good or ill. There are historians, textbook writers/editors/publishers, "news" media, and politicians who are always re-writing history to make this or that person/group look better, blame someone else, etc. Currently there are textbook people trying to write slavery out of U.S. American history, for instance.

The martial arts instructor did not start out knowing how to walk, nevermind knowing martial arts. The published author first had to learn how to form words and sentences. We cannot learn from history if we willfully ignore it or erase it.

And we ourselves may be helping to erase the truth, in the things we choose to share in public forums and social spaces, if we choose to post black and white memes -- memes that posit that there are only two sides to anything, and that one side is obviously good and/or smart and the other is obviously evil and/or stupid (Dem vs Rep, Men vs. Women, etc). Most of us want to be "smart" and "good"; most of us will bridle or take outright offense at being labeled "evil" or "stupid". Some people say "Well, I'll respect them when they respect me." I want to be better than that. I'll be honest, there are some people I just don't talk to -- but I try to be better than that. Because I need to be able to respect myself.

Food for thought.
helwen: (MacGyver)
Found the pics from when I was documenting how I made the lower half of the sleeves from the floral dress into flowers, so I thought I'd post them here.

Should be mostly self-explanatory, I think. I left the buttons on as sort of like stamen/pistil bits. Near the end of the pics you'll see that I made a stem/calyx/base, because I wanted the flowers to stand up a bit and face outward, not upward. It's kind of hard to explain exactly what I did in some places, but I essentially created the petal effect by gathering and folding in a puff, then twisting the fabric to create the folds I wanted, and then stitched them into place.


On the detachable mini-bustle

I didn't take pics of the construction for that, unfortunately, but I'll take a couple pics it and the attachment system at some point.


Mar. 20th, 2014 11:44 am
helwen: (MacGyver)
Tuesday I finished attaching rings to the lavender floral dress, and um, something else but I forget what it was...

Tuesday and Wednesday I did a quick spritz of coating on the bat girl comb. Back and hip are being more bothersome than usual, so not too much activity on any front, although I did do a little research on netsuke, inro, ojime, etc. because I wasn't sure how to use the bat netsuke. I'd forgotten all about inro, actually -- not sure I'll have one or go with a soft container, which I've also seen. Yes, it's for a costume, not re-enactment, but modeling things on actual Japanese stuff will give a better feel to the total "look" -- and Batgirl does need to have a "utility belt" ;)

Soaked in the tub yesterday and will do so again today; still working on making that a more regular thing, as I really should...

Had L take some pics of the re-vamped dress; will work on posting pics, not only of that but some from the development of the dress as well. Going to see if a friend has any pictures of me in the dress as I originally made it...


Mar. 11th, 2014 11:47 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Not a lot over the weekend, but I did cut out the bat for my Bat Girl hair comb from gold Japanese paper (not sure it's washi, but it's an art paper) and decoupage it onto a piece of black mat board. Have a few layers of decoupage glue on it; doesn't look bad. Still need to put fasteners on it to stick it into the wig.

Did a little bit of embroidering around the edge of the t-shirt I'm turning into a bag.

Pulled the floral Steampunk dress out of the closet to work on finally -- working with the personal trainer, I've changed shape and am currently a wee bit to muscular in the mid/upper back to fit in the dress. The waist still works, which makes adjusting the dress a little easier. If that had changed as well I would have had to move the snaps for the mini-bustle, which snaps onto the dress across the back opening. Took out the zipper and put in a fabric panel, and have started sewing on rings for lacing. This is the dress that was originally a bridesmaid dress, that I re-vamped for SP. This is actually the third revision, as my first revision was fitted too far down the hips...I liked the look but it was impossible to sit in without compromising the boning and/or stabbing myself in the underarms.

So now it will be better able to adapt to my changing silhouette :)
helwen: (Due Consideration)

- Patching/mending pile (mostly pants)
Patched two pair of pants, fixed a couple of seams on the new-to-me pink tiered skirt
- Finish ends of lace trim on curtains for radiant and pantry rooms
- Marinus Blackwork
Two more small squares of this done (30x30 squares)
- Finished the neck opening on a dress I started earlier in the year, since it was sitting on top of the mending

Still to do:

Make/attach ruffle onto pink linen skirt
Make/attach ruffle on wine linen skirt
Finish edge trim and hangers on wall hanging for dining room
Sew on bits and bobs on blue/multi scarf

Also found a project I started ages ago, of turning a tea towel into two towels with a hanger bit at the top, and found some scrap to use for the hangers
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Thinking about making something to carry just a small amount of various spices/herbs. Found a site that sells little vials with (I think) screw-on caps. Sort of a Steampunk idea, but inspired by the fact that I like having ginger in my tea in the morning but, for some strange reason, restaurants don't have ginger on their tables :D

So far, I'm thinking of having ginger, cinnamon, dill, turmeric, salt, and pepper in the kit. The last two are for in case I'm on a picnic. Any other spices or herbs that folks think would be nice to jazz up a restaurant meal? I'm not sure on the turmeric though...that's mostly for medicinal purposes (aside from curry), so maybe garlic instead.... yes, all dry and/or powdered.


May. 23rd, 2012 07:19 am
helwen: (Default)
Think I got most of the 'hitch' in my hip worked out... did something wrong this past weekend that kinked it :P

L and I are officially registered for Saturday-only at Steampunk Revolution (Nashua, NH), June 10. Not a lot of time for time-off, but gotta do it once in a while! I'd wanted to register for the weekend but niece B and nephew C are having their baby christened on Sunday so we're assuming they'll be too busy with family to take care of L's chickens while we'd be away. And of course, now we want to get back on Sunday in time for the ceremony.

Meantime, herbal class today!


Nov. 9th, 2011 03:36 pm
helwen: (Steam)
NOTE HERE because I don't have my address book handy:

The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition will be held in CT in 2012.


Still looking for a few more vendors...
helwen: (Steam)
Do Chinese Eat Rats? Article from 1883

The web site's name uses the F* word, so be aware. Great Victorian site shared by Danabren on her LJ the other day, with all sorts of more unusual Victorian photos and information.
helwen: (Woodsy)
Realizing all of my ideas for Steampunk outfits are nature-inspired, decided to re-visit depictions of druids in the 18th-19th c.

Found this:Wikipedia entry on Druids (meh), but has some pics from Victorian era

And these:
A Druidess 1868, by Alexandre Cabanel, and The Druidess, by Armand LaRoche (19th c)

This is my favorite, but is unfortunately not available:
A Young Druidess, by Carl Haag (1878) This is an etching based on his original, a painting. Cannot find the painting anywhere online, nor at which museum it is located.

And, not like the one in the etching but still kinda cool, a laurel wreath. (Thanks Danabren!)
helwen: (Default)
Good time at NRWC this past weekend; got to hang with quite a few different friends, and had a meeting with TRM.

Also got to try out making a vade mecum -- hands-on is better than just reading, at least for me. We'll be trying it again with a different threading pattern, to see if it's easier (two needles instead of one).

Drive was long each way, but we actually spent more time at the event than on the road, so that was nice. Got home at ~1:15a.m., which wasn't so nice -- took a couple of days to recover from that, LOL

Garden is going along, most things are coming up. Some squash didn't, so I'll have to see if there's any leftovers at the hardware store tomorrow. Finally finished thinning the corn in the lower garden, and planted broad beans.

Have re-packed some clothing and fabric.... some has gone into giveaway, and also I found some almost-finished projects amongst the boxes of fabric, most of which are getting finished now, so they can go be with the clothing. One square appliqued former-window shade is going to become an altar cloth (sans batting).

Need more of the tan/green bins.

Ancient stone structures of New England, a slideshow and talk by Jim Viera, was so popular last week that people were turned away. Nan at Elmer's has arranged to have him do it again this Thursday; we have reservations this time :D

We are registered for The Greater New England Steampunk Exhibition, in September. Happily we'll be staying with a friend who lives near where it's being held, which will save many $$. Also, it will be nice to hang with her :)

Staying at the hotel would have been convenient in some ways, except that I don't like hotel air. So far, getting into this stuff has been like getting into the SCA years ago. Very DIY and bootstrap, and crashing with friends. I like it.

It's sunny again, so L is out haying, when he isn't mowing, feeding the chickens, or.... oh yeah, he has that job on the computer :D Poor guy. Plus need to make a trip to the bank, but it should rain later this week, so I suggested we wait until then to go.

Eep! Gotta finish this and call my mom -- work on the book today. Later than usual, as she tired herself out and needed a nap.

Anyway, just a post of stuff, so y'all know I'm still alive. Hope all are well!
helwen: (Xena)
Literally, at least in part. Slightly under 1/4 of the field has been baled. Waiting for more sun.

L's work has been no fun at all this week. Missed kung fu Monday between that and the haying, and likely to miss class again today because of work.

One of my MIL's closest friends has bad news on the health front. We all know her, a lovely and lively lady. We'll see what happens.

Getting physically stronger in some ways, and realizing just how fragile some things are in other ways. Continuing to learn to manage things.

Still trying to work on getting more sleep, more regularly. That seems to be the next key ingredient in losing more weight and getting in better shape.

Learned a teaser bit of spear Wednesday in class -- taxing at the end, but fun!

Trying to remember to make deadlines. Not always succeeding. Been that kind of year. One deadline will be met today or tomorrow (date is tomorrow, we may be able to drop off the paperwork today). Another deadline is end of month, I'm just trying to finalize what the heck I'm doing for Fall Festival this year.

Most of summer planting is done. Might plant some broad beans on Monday, if the ground and weather permit. Debating lettuces, even though it's late for summer and early for fall, because of the type of weather we've been getting....

Need to get my butt in gear and back on the big projects. Steampunk has been good for getting the creative energy going again, but cannot spend all my energy on just that :P
helwen: (Steam)
And excellent weekend, overall :)

Made the decision to leave all but the underskirt of the pink and mulberry outfit at home - just too much to do to make it more than just merely wearable. Pre-ordered another shirt and another pair of pants for L, and a pair of the knitted spats from Reconstructing History, which we picked up at the event.

Finished L's vest on the way down; drive was uneventful, yay!

Minuses were: lack of variety of food available at hotel, and lack of space and a cantankerous fire marshal (someone got on his wrong side), which resulted in vendors being scattered throughout the main floor, even in the two restaurant areas, and the space available for classes being far too small. We didn't make it into a couple of sessions because of that.

Pluses: staying with friends, hanging out with friends, making new acquaintances, some good finds while shopping, getting a better understanding of the range of Steampunk (very wide), seeing cool stuff people made, not having to worry about most responsibilities for a few days, and of course, last but not least, getting to all three of the Bartitsu workshops.

Oh! Also, there was a tremendous amount of music there. Had no idea. Picked up a CD of the group Copal. Will be looking for Eliza Rickman online as well, as I didn't have time/energy to find if she had a table or not - beautiful voice, and played a tinkle piano.

We also caught a bit of this crazy fellow, Professor Elemental. What a riot! And he really knows how to work a crowd, too.

Had a lovely picnic with friends on Saturday. Miraculously the sun came out and the lawn was dry enough for us to be out of doors. Plenty of lovely delicious food there, and everyone could eat nearly everything there!

We never feared to starve at our friends' home either, with wonderful chicken one night, and probably the best meatloaf I've ever had :)

Poor Caitlin's car died on the way down (tranny). AAA+ took care of getting the car home, then Sunday night she crashed with us at our friends' house, and we took her home. A bit of traffic here and there on the way home, but a new CD I'd bought and having another person with us made the time pass pleasantly enough :)

For those who'd like to know more about Bartitsu, go here: Bartitsu Society

Please note there is a two day workshop in July, in NYC. L and I shall be making plans to attend.

There will be another Steampunk event nearer to home, in Fitchburg, in September:
The Greater New England Steampunk Exhibition

Continued working on clothing last night after we settled in for the night... took the padding out of the shoulders of one of L's jackets, and worked on a few of the box pleats on the pink bodice. And happily, the frogs for the bodice arrived in the mail while we were away, so now I can have the method of closure I wanted on this project.

Well, that's enough of that for now. Need to get ready to go get chicken feed in G'fld. Back to real life!
helwen: (Default)
Have found a solution for the lack of white shoes/boots for the weekend. Getting the knitted white spats from Reconstructing History. I'd found a couple of nice pairs of lace-up shoes in brown and black, which I'd bought because they looked good and were comfy and on clearance. So now I can wear those with the spats and it will be tolerable.

Found a white hat at Target's on the way home from kung fu last night. A bit floppy so I still have to reinforce/stiffen it.... wire with trim over it, I'm guessing.

Found my buttonholer, but not until I'd started the button holes on L's vest. Still, I can use it on the shirt, so that's good.

Still need to hem two pair of pants for L, preferably at home. Still hoping to re-vamp an old bridesmaid dress for a second outfit (HA!) -- I have the boning, so we'll see....

Bodice is coming along -- still lots to do, but it's all hand work, so I can work on it in the car on the way down to NJ if need be.

Overskirt is cut out, skirt still needs to be cut out, and both need to be assembled.

It's been quite the test of my determination, creativity and endurance, but I think it's helping me to get back to my creative self.


helwen: (Default)

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