Sunday, 30 December 2012

Inspiring homes and decor

A wall of books and a hidden doorway.

A bird gate. Wouldn't Isambard love that?

An apothecary room. I love the bottles and cabinet.

Here are the bottles I have so far:

"The Cragside House, Northumberland, England
Home of Lord Armstrong - Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius, Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power. The Free Tudor style home at one time included an astronomical observatory and a scientific laboratory. It is crammed full of ingenious gadgets - most of them still working."

Not sure of the sources of most of these, they were shared on Facebook. The last is from The Macabre and The Beautifully Grotesque on Facebook.

Isambard the Steamparakeet

I'd like to introduce you to my new baby, Isambard, named for Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He (or she, it's really hard to tell with this species) came to live with us on the 24th of December. Isambard is about 10 weeks old. He likes building nests in my hair, sleeping on my shoulder and chirping along to music. His favourite musician appears to be Agnes Obel, he also seems to like Psyche Corporation, Nox Arcana and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. He also seems to enjoy English accents and Regency House Party. He likes to eat cherries and seeds, especially sunflower seeds, but I don't want to call him Mulder. At the moment he doesn't really let me get anything done! :P

Breakfast with Isambard. He had seeds, I had toast. He is no longer allowed to eat in my hair due to the amount of seeds I have to comb out afterwards. I was shedding seeds all day.

Isambard enjoys the wingchair. He's a classy bird.

Being spooky hiding in my hair.

Listening to music from the computer. He loves to sit on my shoulder and chirrup along.

 Playing upside down in my hair. He really really loves my hair.

He also loves gnawing on the frills of this top.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Psyche Corporation Preview- Strange Machine

This beautiful song is a preview of Psyche Corporation's new album. I utterly adore it, and apparently it hasn't even been properly mastered yet!

(I think this picture is actually a previous album, this one, the fourth album, is currently nameless.)

Every window has a lock, every lock has a key, I'll tell you where to find the one that belongs to me

Outfit December 12th

I wore this when I went to have lunch with the awesome Maggie.

Brown ruffle shirt and grey skirt second hand
Clockwinder necklace by redheart13 on Etsy.
Socks from Ebay.

Post title: poetry scrap by me.

Steampunk Inspired Cat Tunnel System

This cat is so pleased with himself, look at that face! I love the tunnels! Follow the link to read the article! This is the kind of thing I want in my home in the future!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Let me wear the black velvet night like a cloak

Outfit 9th December

Still a little behind with outfit posts, and my new little friend is helping distract me. But more on that later.

Cameo necklace- costume jewellery store a long time ago.
Velvet waistcoat- second hand
Skirt- second hand

Post title- line by me, no real story connected as yet.

Christmas #3

Lots of family, lots of food. Really quite tired now.

On boxing day I also saw both The Hobbit and Les Miserables. Both were amazing. I cried so much in Les Miserables! 

Here are some of the fantastic gifts I recieved:

Beautiful watch necklace

This is actually my boyfriend's crystal skull vodka, but I am very excited about it, becasue I think the bottle goes perfectly with my mad scientist/ gothic manor decor theme I have planned.

Steampunk books! (the picture refuses to go right way up no matter how much I rotate the image)

Sewing machine!

My beautiful "Alchemical Mistress" earrings from SteamFolk on Etsy. Not a Christmas present, but they just arrived today. They match the flasks on my table. 

I love the description!
~For the girl with a penchant for the arts of metallurgy and magic! Contains a seemingly harmless mixture of chemicals, but can be broken in a pinch to create a noxious cloud, which is especially potent to the senses of the undead ~
These earrings are made from small 1 1/4" glass bottles with corks, filled with a mixture of peridot, blue topaz, and citrine, hanging from small copper gears and copper fish hook earrings. This listing is for both earrings pictured, one for each side!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas #2

Over the last couple of days, I watched The Grinch with my boyfriend, and read Dickens' a Christmas Carol. I have never seen The Grinch before (although I read the Dr Seuss book as a kid), and it was surprisingly enjoyable and heartwarming. You can find A Christmas Carol for free on Kindle on Amazon, as it is probably impossible to check out of your local library right now. There is a free edition with lovely old fashioned sketches, the same as in the picture below, only in black and white. I think both these stories will be added to my Christmas traditions from now on.

There's actually a lot of similarities between The Grinch and Scrooge, although Scrooge never actually steals Christmas.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Just to drown in a sea of delight, to tame champagne and creatures of the night

Outfit Friday 7th December

Cameo brooch at neck from costume jewellery shop
Blouse second hand
Belt off Ebay
Skirt from Shop 55
Black knee socks from Kmart
Boots from discount shoe store

My new boots!

Title from Philharmonics by Agnes Obel.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Down by the river by the boats, where everybody goes to be alone

Outfit 6th December 2012

I was dancing around the house to Agnes Obel's entrancing music, and I needed something pretty to wear.

Purple is my favourite colour at the moment, but I don't actually have a lot of purple clothes. This dusky purple/ lilac dress is quite lovely, though, and I threaded some purple paper roses into the front of the corset top. 

Necklace from costume jewellery shop
Dress from second hand shop
Corset from second hand shop
Flowers from a floral wreath

The corset is quite old and I took out the front boning because it was so bent it was stabbing me in the ribs. It's much more comfortable now, and still seems to fit OK.

This is my favourite Agnes Obel song, although I think they are all beautiful!

Blog post title, Riverside, Agnes Obel

Sunday, 16 December 2012

More Hair Experimentation

These pictures are actually from a while back, but I never got around to posting them. The first is a Frida Kahlo style 'milkmaid' braid. I can't wait until my hair is actually long enough to do this without having to hide the ends under a huge flower! (29th November)

Barrel roll Victorian inspired updo. It looks pretty good here, but I had some trouble with the left front and it looked awful, apparently I have trouble pinning the reverse curls. But I think with some more practice, it could be great! I did the curls pretty loose to give the hair more volume. I really like this look, apart from my ineptitude :P (7th December)

I also found this great tutorial on YouTube about how to use little hair rats to make your hair stand out more on the sides like in the old pictures. I tried it with some bulky hairclips (all I had at the time) and it made a difference, so I think with bigger hair rats, it would look amazing!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical

If you are a writer, this is well worth reading. Too often we assume that the roles of women in the past were insignficant, forgetting that history was mostly written by men. This article addresses the roles of both women and other races in the past, and challenges the idea of Science Fiction and Fantasy as a realm of dominant white men. There are many good links referring to important historical figures or groups that debunk the myth. Thanks to my awesome friend Maggie for sharing it!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Pompadour Hairstyle from The Gibson Girl's Guide to Glamour

Interesting ways in which the pompadour hairstyle was created including ratting, hair rats and "transformations", another word for early hair extensions. Fascinating!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Quite a few people have been doing posts about their holiday rituals. For me, Christmas is mainly about being with family, but there are a few things that make it feel like Christmas.

Aunty Betty's gingerbread. She makes what everyone agrees is the perfect gingerbread. She has has her own recipe. It is insanely addictive!

Putting up the Christmas tree.

Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. A feelgood Christmas movie with a great alternate Christmas story. Susan is just so awesome, I definitely want to dress up as her one day.

The Nightmare Before Christmas. I am going to watch this one next.

That is about all I can think of, but I am sure I will add more traditions over the years. Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Hogwarts High Tea official photos in the castle

 Here are the official photos of my friend Eleanor and I at the Hogwarts High Tea (December first). I was the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw, she was Tonks. The photographer was "Rayfy". I love how much St John's College really looks like a castle, and how great the photos look. Having someone who knows how to take photos really makes a difference!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Singed Flowers DIY

I love the idea of these singed flowers, especially the deep pinky red ones that go black and crinkly around the edges. I think they look so romantic, and would make great trim for a historically inspired gown or headpiece. I have yet to try it, and honestly, clumsy people like me shouldn't be allowed around flames anyway. Here are a couple of YouTube videos. There are also a large selection of DIY posts all over the aethernet on how to do it, so you can take your pick. Singed flowers seems a common term for them.

I especially like the way the flower in this video turns out:

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Steampunk short film: Professor Dantes and the Severin Conundrum

Professor Dantes and the Severin Conundrum is a short steampunk film, available to watch free on YouTube. Filmed in the style of a silent movie, with some conventions from the old black and white silent monster films, it tells the tale of a professor facing off against another mad professor, his rival. It has a charming sense of humour, and is very fun to watch. Well worth just under five minutes of your time.

Fabric finds!

I found all these fabric offcuts in the second hand shop today, and I got the lot for just $15. It was hard work lugging the bags around town. Most of the pieces should be large enough to make a waistcoat, maybe a blouse, or small jacket. The violet piece should be large enough for a whole dress. There are also some little pieces that might make a nice trim. Time to plan some sewing projects!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Neo- Victorian Hair Extensions Tutorial

I made these three hair extension pieces today. If you wanted to get a premade version of the big one, you would generally be paying about $25 on Ebay. I got the hair for $5 and if you already have a needle and thread, that's all it costs!

Pulling off historically inspired hairdos is hard for women living in the modern era. What we think of as fairly long hair is actually quite short, and hairpieces are very useful for creating the hairdos. I often use a "hair rat" for updos.

I had some hair extension pieces lying around the house. I had been plaiting the bigger one into my hair, but the clips were pulling out my hair, and it wasn't achieving quite the effect I desired, so I decided to make it into a roll I could pin to the top of my hair. I didn't attach any more clips, just used bobby pins, as they seem to pull my hair out less than the clips these hair extensions come with. 


Hair extension of the size you desire. (The big piece I used  is a 15cm long whole head extension piece and the littler ones are shorter and narrower single pieces. All are very cheap on Ebay, and luckily matched my hair colour very well.)
Those tiny rubber hairbands
Sewing thread in a colour that roughly matches the hair
Sewing needle
A very small amount of tulle (optional to give the roll more shape)


Get your hair piece, gently comb it out with your fingers. If you brush it too much, lots of hair will start falling out. If you like, you can carefully cut the stitches that hold the clips on. I find the clips tangle in my hair and I lose natural hair to them, which is not a good thing.

STEP 2 Fold the hair in half, leaving the bad side (that had the clips, and has all the mesh and stitching) on the inside.


Divide the hair into three fairly even sections as you would when braiding your own hair and braid it. It may help to pin it to a surface to keep it still while doing this.


When the entire piece is braided, tie off the end with one of those tiny plastic hairbands.


Start looping the plait around on itself, taking care to keep it looking nice.


Now comes the hard part. It's hard to explain, you really have to learn by doing it. Taking a needle and a thread that hopefully matches the hair fairly closely (brown or black, yellow or white for blonde hair), you will begin stictching the plait to itself as you coil it around. Remember to anchor your stiches properly by looping the thread back through itself, as otherwise it might just pull through the hair.

Keep coiling and sewing, trying to keep the stitches small and not too visible.

When you are finished, tie the thread off securely. I like to loop one end back through the hair and then quintuple knot it.


If you want to give yours more volume, you can push some tulle into the middle and sew it in. If you made yours the way I made mine, that should push it into more of a dome shape.

The little buns as part of a hairdo. Pinned on with a couple of bobby pins. (Click on image to see larger)

Big bun as part of hairstyle. (No, I am not turning into Elphaba, there was some weird green light coming through the door that I didn't notice until afterwards.)

I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own historically inspired hairstyles.