Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The End of 2013, Resolutions and a Short Story

 Well, it has been an interesting year. The highlights have been all the interesting people I met or got to know better both in real life and online, and NaNoWriMo helping me get back into some serious writing. I also got to attend my first Steampunk events this year, and hopefully next year there will be even more of them, as the popularity of Steampunk hopefully continues to grow in Australia.

My New Year's Resolutions

1. Finish writing my novel

2. Make more Victorian and Edwardian style outfits so that I can spend more of my life wearing the clothes I really love and feel most at home in. My intention is to make some things that I can wear in everyday life- blouses, jackets, skirts that don't trail on the ground, and perhaps aren't quite as voluminous, etc. and perhaps some items with a Steampunk edge. I would also like to do some more fancy hairstyles, as it is always fun and looks better than just tying it up at the back. I want to try more styles from this site: http://locksofelegance.wordpress.com/

3. Spend more time with friends. I tend to leave organising things to the last moment, which means if an event is organised by someone else, I end up going, but I am not great at organising things myself. I want to arrange more craft sessions, or just meeting up with friends.

Below is an edited version of a story I wrote back in 2009, I found it the other day and thought it would make a good story for the end of one year and the start of the next!

This Document Copyright ©2009-2013 By
Laura Morrigan  All Rights Reserved


STARS

Inspired by Ray Bradbury

It was a mild evening near the end of summer; the last rays of the setting sun lay red and golden on the grass and in the branches of the trees, and illuminated the bright hair of the women wandering the meadows in their thin summer dresses. The sun was in their eyes, the hot, slightly scorched smell of the day still hung in the air, as well as its particular taste. The air always felt fresher in the summer, whispering secrets and carrying scents from distant lands.

From far off the breeze carried the sound of laughter. Mr. and Mrs. Smith walked hand in together through the meadow, Mrs. Smith Stopping every now and then to pick daisies that nodded among the long grass like fine lords and ladies bowing to one another. Slowly, the light fell from the sky, turning it from gold, to blue, to dark blue, to black. The glittering specks of stars appeared in the night sky.

The children were home from school, waiting for them when they returned to their house. They had been given their dinner by the babysitter and were already in their pajamas. They all went onto the roof together, to where the large telescope stood, its sleek black form nearly invisible against the dark sky. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were last to climb up onto the roof, the babysitter, who was scared of heights, hanging behind, as always.

They looked up at the stars, long dead, burned out in their own universe, but still existing in our own, even if it was only as a memory. It filled them with a strange melancholy. Life was so short. Here they were, watching the stars with their children, and it seemed like only yesterday the children were babies, and not so long before that that they were still a young couple, courting, and Mrs. Smith wasn’t even Mrs. Smith yet. They thought of the years to come, when the children would grow up and leave home, the bittersweet feeling of the empty nest. Then the joy of grandchildren, perhaps, one day. Growing old together, sitting on the verandah, watching the sun set. Their children and grandchildren playing in the last of the daylight.

It was late, and time for the children to go to bed. Mrs. Smith took the daisy chain from around her neck, placing it gently around the neck of her youngest. ‘I wish they could stay young forever, I wish time could stay still forever, she murmured, leaning against her husband. He put his arm around her, pulling her close. ‘I know what you mean; everything just seems so perfect in this moment. I never want it to end. But they can't stay innocent forever. The world can't stay innocent forever. We all have to grow up.’ ‘I know’, his wife murmured, ‘I know.’ A single tear ran down her cheek, cold and shining as quicksilver and was gone in an instant. As if it never was.

Far away in the darkness of space, on some far distant planet, which Mr. and Mrs. Smith had never heard of, yet alone seen, someone looking through a telescope saw the tear glitter for a moment as it fell through the darkness of space. ‘A shooting star’, they whispered, ‘make a wish.’

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas


The weather cooled down so I got to wear my stripy socks!

Steampunk calender from my brother!



Fox mug from my boyfriend


Steampunk anthology, Unnatural Creatures anthology edited by Neil Gaiman, Tim Burton playing cards.



Skull glass! Seen here with weird foreshortening of hand.


A picnic blanket



A printed handkerchief


This wasn't a present, it was just a box I decorated recently. Apart from the bat picture which I found on Google images, and the scrollwork, which was printed on the original box, the rest of the pictures are various printable labels from DIYs on Seeing Things That Aren't Really There.




Friday, 27 December 2013

Sticky Honey- A Short Story by Laura Morrigan

I wrote this short story earlier in the month, I just edited it today. I hope you enjoy it. 

This Document Copyright ©2013 By
Laura Morrigan  All Rights Reserved


I was down in the yard one day, trimming the roses, when I saw it. An ant, trapped in a drop of honey that had fallen from a bees nest. He struggled fearfully, only getting himself further stuck. Perhaps most people would have killed him, but I was a tender young woman, as my pa always said. So it was that I hurriedly brought some water, and carefully, very carefully tipped the tiniest drops of it onto the honey, melting it, so that the ant could clean the honey off himself and be free. It was hard not to drop too much and drown him, but I was patient and slow.

Slowly, oh so slowly, the ant worked his way free. Then the strangest thing happened. He seemed to stand up on the back two of his six little legs and it seemed as if he was bowing to me. Very carefully, I got down on the ground to see him better. It was then that I heard his quiet little voice.

'Brave miss, I am eternally grateful to you for rescuing me from the trap my enemies set for me. You are beautiful as well as brave, and although you are not of our race, I would like to invite you back to my kingdom to meet my people.'

'Of course,' I whispered as gently as I could, although my breath nearly blew him down.

'Take my hand', he piped. I reached out my finger, and the tiniest little ant leg touched it. Then I seemed to be falling through space and when I opened my eyes, I stood in the strangest place.

We stood on the top of a hill, overlooking a city, the ant prince and I. Now that he was in his world, he was a person, just like me. He would explain that to me later, although I cannot remember now. It has been years, and sometimes the details grow quite fuzzy. His skin was dark, blacker than ebony, and his teeth were very white when he smiled at me. He was quite the most handsome man I ever saw. He wore a finely tailored grey wool suit with tails and a tall stovepipe hat. I barely noticed the extra set of sleeves that enclosed his second pair of arms. It all seemed so normal. We stood on the hill looking down.

'Behold my city,' he said, and we looked down at a bustling metropolis, strange dark buildings, lumpy sky scraping buildings whose like I had never seen. They were made of a rough, brown material and rather odd looking, not like the ordered brick buildings of my world, but they were so tall and magnificent, with spires and turrets, quite like fairytale castles.

'May I see more?' I begged.

He took my hand, and led me down into the city. What a novelty it was to be the size of an ant! Why my mother could never find me when she wanted me to do chores or nag me about being a spinster! It was market day, and the streets bustled with his people, women in their finest dresses walking to market, carrying a basket on one of their arms, wrangling restless children with the other three. His people were strong, and I saw many of them, in fancy red jackets, pulling rickshaws, on which other ant people sat, laughing. At market stalls, crumbs of bread were sold just like loaves in our world, and small pieces of preserved fruit. At the butcher's stall, an aproned ant sliced pieces from the body of a dead grub, smiling and joking with his customers. I had to turn away from the sight of the squishy white flesh. I let him lead me away, show me the huge cathedral that stood in the town square, with fragments of golden glass in the windows that he told me were pieces of amber.

'I have never seen such tall buildings!' I exclaimed. He smiled graciously. 'My people are wonderful architects. Do you know we built this city using dirt? No bricks and mortar for us!'

'Dirt?' I exclaimed, 'how droll! And yet, it is the most magnificent city I have ever seen!'

'Oh, there is another,' he said darkly, but turned away, and I did not press him to explain.

'And all this is yours?' I asked, awed.

'It is indeed, I am the prince of this land. The only one who can open a portal to go from here into the mortal realm. There, I am nothing, a tiny ant, here, as you see, I have everything.'

'Then why do you come across?'

'To see how our city looks to human eyes. It keeps us humble, knowing that in your realm, our city is nothing more than a pile of dirt, and our people barely specks. And there is another reason, too, we are looking for a champion.'

'A champion?'

'Yes, there was a prophecy long ago about a fair maiden from the realm of the humans that would deliver us all from our enemies. They besiege us on all sides and might soon destroy us all, destroy our glorious civilisation if nothing is done.'

'That cannot be me, I am naught by a humble girl.'

'Maybe so, but may I show you?' he asked. I nodded, wanting to see all I could of this amazing world before I was sent home to my dull life. The ant prince drew me with him, and we left the city to return to the hillside. We walked along the edge of the hill. 'Be careful,' he told me, 'for the ground drops off steeply here, and in this world, you are our size, such a fall could kill you.'

I felt some trepidation then, to realise how full of danger this little world really was. All those thoughts soon flew from my mind, however, when we reached the top of the hill, and I saw the vista that stretched out before me. Down in a valley was the most amazing city I had ever seen. More amazing, even, than the city of the ants. A glittering golden city. The prince handed me a spyglass so that I might see it more clearly. Through the spyglass, I could see the buildings. Each was made up of hexagons of a glass like material that glimmered in the sunlight.

'Honeycomb', the prince said in my ear. 'This is the home of the Bee princess, and her people, our sworn enemies.'

'Oh, but how can you be enemies?' I asked, 'you have so much in common, your small size and your brilliant cities!' I gazed through the spyglass at the city, realising now that its glimmer came from the sticky honey that dripped from the honeycomb buildings. I watched the bee people in their yellow and black coats run up and down the honeycomb, as if they were taking their morning constituional, nothing more.

'Ah, you are so naïve, it is sweet,' the prince said, smiling sadly when I looked at him, 'do you really think it is so simple? Alas, the bees see themselves as the rulers of both cities, and will not stop until we bow down to them or are destroyed. Look.'

I put my eye to the spyglass again, and followed where his finger pointed. From a dark honeycombed building, a crowd of the bee people rose, flying with delicate wings made of bent bamboo frames and soft, gauzy filaments that looked like nothing, but somehow held them in the air. They rose, a giant cloud, and made towards the ant city.

'With their clockwork wings, they are unbeatable,' the ant prince said to me, sighing. 'We are doomed.' I stared on in delight and horror. I had never realised how much these little people were like us, why even their wings were mechanical, that I had always thought they were born with. There was so much about this world that I did not understand. My ant prince told me about the bees. How they all carried curved daggers tipped with poison that could easily kill any ant they sliced with them. How they had learned the wonders of clockwork, to carve the wooden cogs that made these wings work.

'Do they really mean to kill you all?' I asked. He nodded. 'Swear to me that if I help you, if I destroy them I am doing the right thing.'

'You are,' whispered the prince, 'it is a terrible thing, but it needs to be done. And we will be eternally grateful.'

He touched my hand, then, and I was back in the garden, back to my own size again. The ant prince, an ant again, scurried into a hole, where he would be safe, while I advanced on the beehive. Filling my watering can from the tap, I walked over the the hive, ignoring the bees who milled around me, stinging at me. I was too large for their stings to kill me, although it hurt. I filled their hive with water, watched the bees that did not drown struggle out, their wings too wet to fly. I crushed each one under my foot, until they were all dead. I knocked their round little nest from the bush and stamped it to pieces. My mother had said they were pests anyway, and feared the danger they posed to my brother and I should they take it into their minds to attack.

Once I was done, I went to where I had seen the ant, my feet sticky with honey and death. He was waiting there. I bent down and he took my hand again. Again I felt that dizzy falling feeling, then I was back on the hillside, holding his hand. It felt good in mine, the skin soft, not at all how you would imagine a hard little ant's skin to feel. 'Our saviour', he whispered, going down on one knee before me, and I blushed, noticing in again how handsome he was.

He took me down into that glorious dirt city, and all who saw me cheered. I chose not to go and see the smoking ruins of that honeycomb city. He asked me to stay in his palace with him, and I agreed. Days in our world were years there, small people have small days. Time flew by for me as well as him. I lived there in that palace and fed upon dew drops and tiny crumbs, and they were the most delicious things I ever tasted. Every day, the prince and I would look at each other with more and more longing.

Even after all this time, the scent of honey had not quite died from his skin. When we kissed, the sweet taste lingered on his lips. He gathered me gently into his arms. There was no need to say what we felt for each other, yet we said it anyway, over and over again.

We were married in a grand chapel of golden soil, built especially for our wedding. All of his subjects watched and cheered us, as we were carried through the streets in a carved palanquin. We were presented with the most wonderful presents, including two pairs of clockwork wings stolen off the enemy, with which we could soar through the sky and look down on his glorious city. A city that was now mine too.

We were so happy the day I discovered I was with child, and so were his people. An ant prince is a special thing, for only he can open the portal between the worlds. And this prince would be very special, the child of their prince, and their strange but beautiful saviour, oddly attractive, even with her pale skin and only two arms.

But our happiness was not to last. One day there came a terrible earthquake. The buildings shook, the citizens of the city were milling and screaming in fear. We saw the huge feet coming towards our city. I, like the others, was terrified. I was only a few feet high, how could I defend our city now?

I watched in horror as the feet came down on a building, crushing all inside.

'Humans!' cried the prince in horror. I felt fear grip my heart. I may have thought of myself as human once, but now I was one of the ant people, and humans were the enemy.

'I can save you!' I cried, 'take me back to my world, I will be big again, I can stop it!'

My prince nodded, he took my hand, the world began to shake even harder.

I stood there, by the half ruined city, and saw my brother wantonly stomp more of my people under his feet.

'Stop!' I cried, as the royal palace crumbled under his foot. Had my husband been in there? My heart ached at the thought.

I dragged my brother away from the ant nest.

'What are you doing,' he demanded, 'these are pests, I am just dispensing with them, as you did with the bees nest!'

'No,' I cried, 'they are people like us, although tiny, they have their own lives, their own loves, their own cities! Each life you destroy is a tragedy.'

He looked at me as if I was mad, but shrugged.

'There's no need to get hysterical about it, sister, I'll leave your precious ants alone if they meant that much to you,' he wandered off, muttering that I was losing my mind.

I nearly did lose my mind after that, for, though I searched the garden, so careful not to step on any ant, I could find my husband nowhere. Finally, I noticed that a string of ants was following me. I got down to look at them. I would have recognised my husband anywhere, but none of them was him. The ants lined up in front of me, and slowly bowed. It was then that I knew for sure my husband was dead. These were only common ant people. Unlike my prince, they could not communicate with me in this world, and they could not bring me back. I was trapped in this world until another prince came along.

I locked myself in my room and cried for days, until the day when I finally received my hope. I felt the kicking inside my belly, and knew that my child was still in there. My husband's child. I knew that he, too, would be an ant prince.

Some people, my brother and mother included, think I am lying. But if I am lying, then where did this child come from, this child I gave birth to just weeks after I returned? This child with dark, dark skin and the scent of sticky honey about him.

Every day, I go down to the garden, I watch our subjects rebuild the city in readiness for us. It will be years in our time, centuries in theirs. Centuries without a prince, but I know they will keep the faith, and I will continue to visit, to give them hope. They will pass the legend down over the generations, they will be ready for us when we finally come.

I miss my lord every day. I know I shall never marry again, never love again. But I am comforted by the thought that one day our son will grow up, and he will be able to open the portal between worlds, as only an ant prince can. He will take us both back to that world, the place where we belong. Our kingdom of dirt.

Monday, 23 December 2013

SteamEngine IX: The Automated Alice

On the 6th of December I went to Steamengine IX: The Automated Alice, a Steampunk cabaret show.

Someone told me I looked v. Emily Bronte!  I was so flattered!

To see performer photos go here WARNING some contain nudity.

Dancing with my lovely friend Alice in the intermission. It is good to see her, I don't get to see her enough as she lives so far away!



My outfit
The blouse was secondhand from a Lolita shop, the brooch from a secondhand shop
Waistcoat from discount outlet
Skirt belonged to my friend Yasmin, she hemmed it for me too.



Awesome group photo with my gorgeous friends!


Jen and Ana in her amazing Jabberwocky costume!
 

With Jen


Alice and Jen
 



Emma Nemo, Ana, me, Jen and Alice.
 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

50 Theme Fashion Challenge continued

November

6. Centered around a hat:

Hat inspired by Daisy in the older Great Gatsby, movie, the one with Robert Redford. I wore this for a walk down the road, but of course, it ended up being a windy day and I had to worry about it blowing away. I hate those little elastic bands that go under your chin though, they are so uncomfortable, anyone with some good advice for keeping hats on without pins or under the thin elastic, let me know!



Hat- Discount store
Necklaces- Key was from a set of antique style keys my boyfriend had, watch necklace, and long string of black beads
Dress- Discount store
Cardi- Secondhand

5. Runway: Russian inspired outfit, I didn't really have anything designer looking, so I decided to do a themed runway piece. There have been some really nice Russian inspired pieces on the runway, I just wish I had a really nice Russian or Swedish embroidered jacket or skirt.

It's hard to tell, but I have 'Heidi' braids. (Yes, I know Heidi isn't Russian, but they wear them in Russia, too. I don't know if there's a Russian name for them.)

The weather couldn't choose between hot or cold that day, so I had to keep taking the cape on and off, I wore a black ruffled top underneath.





Cape jacket, brooch, top and skirt: Secondhand

December

7. Witchy- Witchy is always a huge inspiration for me anyway!

'We're going on an excursion... wear something black.' American Horror Story (they have the best outfits in that, even if the most horrible things happen!)


 Dress and shawl top secondhand.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Web Roundup

Finally, a very long web roundup for you! Enjoy!




These ladies could teach everyone about growing older, dressing up and enjoying life! The 87-year-olds who wear Doc Martens and mini-skirts: World's most glamorous pensioners revealed in new documentary  
I can no longer find the link for the entire show of Fabulous Fashionistas on Youtube, but the ladies are totally inspiring, it definitely gives me hope for my later years. If you want to see more of the ladies, check out some of the videos from 
 and of course, Advanced Style, which is still one of my favourite fashion blogs!



DIY




These instructions are a little unclear. I gave it a go, what I thought it might be, but it came out pretty flat. I think you need thicker hair or a hair rat.

Not all our foremothers wore taffeta and lace: an amazing photo gallery of inspiring women from the past including the Head Librarian at the State Library, right here in NSW!

During the London Blitz, a woman kept a baby elephant in her backyard to keep it safe from bombing!
 
Ghostly Meroogal; where time stands still

Because women can be beautiful and smart, the two are not mutually exclusive:

 
 
 A very melancholy and darkly mythic interpretation of Labyrinth

St Kilda Gatehouse: Love and Choices: how keeping a drop in centre for marginalised women open longer hours could save lives

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Eddie's Supper Club

On Friday the 29th of November I went to Eddie's Supper club in Newcastle with my friends Champo and Tracey. This was at Agosti Espresso, in a beautiful high ceilinged Art Deco building, although it has now moved to a different venue with a bigger dancefloor.


On the way there we passed lit shop windows with a 1920s Cinderella theme. Very appropriate for the occasion!










Some of the lovely decor of the location (Agosti Espresso, 7 Darby Street Newcastle)

Excuse the bad quality of the photos, I was eating, dancing and talking most of the time, there wasn't really time to get the best photos!








Champo and a really nice friend of theirs




Me and Tracey 

You can see a better picture of my 20s inspired dress in this post.


Please excuse the quality of the dancing photos, my camera can't really handle fast movement. It was fun to get to do some amateur swing dancing, and dance to music from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. I got to dance to Sing Sing Sing and Zoot Suit Riot.

Emma Jean, one of Champo and Tracey's friends also sang Cabaret, Minnie the Moocher and Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend. She is a very talented singer.




It was a wonderful night, and thanks to everyone involved in Eddie's Supper club for making it happen. If you are ever in Newcastle, make sure to stop in. Here is the facebook page.