Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Who was Jane Morris? A lecture at Columbia University, NYC from Kimberly Eve Musings of a Writer

This lecture sounds amazing and I wish I could have attended! I also wish I could own the book, but at about $140 the book is a distant dream! I love the idea of looking into the lives of women who history has relegated to merely lovers, and not people in their own right. Only very recently, I have become interested in Lady Caroline Lamb, and plan to try and find out more about her. When I can afford some books. While some seem to view her as crazy and hysterical lover of Byron, she was very intelligent. She wrote her own novels, and is said to have parodied Byron's works rather well! I think a lot more has been written about her than Jane Morris.

Thought of the day

Perhaps the faeries take me to dance in my sleep for I never feel refreshed.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Veronica Varlow's Danger Diary: The Circle of Seven

Check out this fascinating article about getting inspiration for your creative endeavors!

I Made Veggie Triangles!

Today (Sunday 24th March) I made veggie triangles. I've made them once before but I think I really got the size and filling to pastry ratio right for them to taste great! It's great to make them myself as they don't have any preservatives or additives in the filling. Also it's really hard to get ones without cheese, and I can't eat cheese.

Don't they look yummy?


Puff pastry

Filling (boiled first)

red cabbage
zuchini (not sure if that works, might take it out next time)


Set the pastry out to defrost while you boil the veggies
Also preheat oven to whatever the pastry box says
Once the veggies are done, cut the pastry into four squares
Put a little filling in the middle of each (too much will split them)
Fold the squares into triangles and push down the edge to seal
Brush with oil and put on oven tray that is either covered in foil or brushed with oil
Depending on your oven they should be ready to turn in approx 20 min
After that, depending on the oven again, they should be ready in about 10 min. Make sure to check as you go.
Take out of oven and leave to cool a bit, the filling stays very hot.
Put on foil in

For an average sized sheet of pastry quartered, you should get four mini veggie triangles. About two make a good lunch.

Gala Darling: I'm A Witch!

"Magic is all around us, next to our skin, closer than our breath but we close our eyes to it. The Celts would have looked out of their roundhouses and seen the spirits in the trees and the Goddess flowing through the streams as clearly as they saw their fire pit or the trees themselves. "

This article is very inspiring. I always like to see the magic hidden in everyday life. I also have a Welsh heritage, and really want to visit Wales and reconnect with all that history!

Read the full article here:

Thursday, 21 March 2013

World Poetry Day # 3 The Highwayman

The Highwayman, Alfred Noyes




THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.


He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.


Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—


'One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.'


He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.



He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George's men came matching, up to the old inn-door.


They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.


They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
'Now, keep good watch!' and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!


She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!


The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain .


Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!


Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.


He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.


Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.


Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

World Poetry Day #2 The Lady of Shalott

 The Lady of Shalott, Alfred Lord Tennyson

Part I

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by
            To many-towered Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
            The island of Shalott.1

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
            Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
            The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veiled
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
Skimming down to Camelot:
            But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?             25
Or is she known in all the land,
            The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
            Down to towered Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
            Lady of Shalott."

Part II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
            To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
            The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
            Winding down to Camelot:  50
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the curly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
            Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-haired page in crimson clad,
            Goes by to towered Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
            The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
            And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half sick of shadows," said
            The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling through the leaves,  75
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
            Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneeled
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
            Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
            As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazoned baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
            Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
            As he rode down to Camelot.
As often through the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
            Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;   100
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
            As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lira," by the river
            Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
            She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
            The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
            Over towered Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote  125
            The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance —
With a glassy countenance
            Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right —
The leaves upon her falling light —
Through the noises of the night
            She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
            Turned to towered Camelot.
For ere she reached upon the tide  150
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
            Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
            All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
            The Lady of Shalott."

World Poetry Day #1 Ode to a Nightingale

Here is one of my favourite poems of all time. One of my other favourites is The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but it's a bit long to post here!

John Keats. 1795–1821
624. Ode to a Nightingale
MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
  One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,         5
  But being too happy in thine happiness,
    That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees,
          In some melodious plot
  Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.  10

O for a draught of vintage! that hath been
  Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
  Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South!  15
  Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
    With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
          And purple-stainèd mouth;
  That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
    And with thee fade away into the forest dim:  20

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
  What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
  Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs,  25
  Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
    Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
          And leaden-eyed despairs;
  Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
    Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.  30

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
  Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
  Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,  35
  And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
    Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays
          But here there is no light,
  Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
    Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.  40

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
  Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
  Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;  45
  White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
    Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
          And mid-May's eldest child,
  The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.  50

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
  I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,
  To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,  55
  To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
          In such an ecstasy!
  Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
    To thy high requiem become a sod.  60

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
  No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
  In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path  65
  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
    She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
          The same that ofttimes hath
  Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.  70

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
  To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
  As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades  75
  Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
    Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
          In the next valley-glades:
  Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?  80

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

ManBehindTheCurtain: Strange Hotel

TommyTopHat, one of the most talented bloggers I have ever read, dedicated this blog post to me! Check out his blog, it is so inspiring!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Recent Outfits

This dress reminded me of Pre-Raphaelite William Morris's wallpaper and graphic designs.

I wore this to University. black Victorian-esque dress, cameo and knee stockings. The dress was from a sale shop. Velvet cardi secondhand.

I went to see Beautiful Creatures- (Tuesday 12th March) and had the whole cinema to myself as it was the second last day of screening, and in the middle of the day. I wore this blue dress with black polkadots that my boyfriend's mum found for $8!

The Victorianachronists: Tear Catchers

“A tear catcher, also called a Tear Bottle, is typically an ornamental vase piece, made from blown glass and dyed appropriately to the creator’s taste. There is an attached glass fixture at the opening of the stem that is formed to your eye.”

Read the fascinating article at the link below!

Steampunk Machine in Lost Girl

I just watched Lost Girl Season 3 Episode 8 (Fae-ge Against the Machine) and was pleased to notice this rather Steampunk looking machine. I don't want to ruin it for those of you who haven't seen it yet, but the cogs rotate, the lenses and levers move and it plays a rather important part in the episode.

 Switching the machine on by turning the cog at the front, steam comes out, stuff lights up

 The horizontal cogs below the lenses rotate, turning them. The round bits below the lenses have levers you pull downwards.

The machine ready to do... whatever it does. I won't give it away.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Blouse from Murdoch Mysteries

I was excited to see that the blouse Miss Pierce wears in the latest episode of Murdoch Mysteries is the exact Vintage Gunne Saxe blouse I own. I wore it to the last Newcastle Steampunk Picnic.

Every single satin ribbon and piece of lace is identical! I love the details on this, it's the most beautiful of my Vintage blouses, really amazing!

Miss Sanderson and the Womanly Art of Parasol Self-Defence

Miss Sanderson was an Edwardian self-defence instructor who demonstrated an ability to throroughly trounce an attacker with nothing more than a ladies' parasol. An extremely useful skill I would say!

Read the short but fascinating article here:

Friday, 8 March 2013

Picnic at Hanging Rock with Darcy Soc

 Friday 8th March 2013

Today Darcy Soc, the University of Sydney Period Drama society had a picnic. It ended up being indoors in one of the castle looking buildings, as the skies were very grey. In the end, the day lightened up, but it was a nice room anyway and probably cooler in the shade. I forgot to take any pictures of the food, I am afraid, but it was lovely! Scones with jam and cream, various muffins and cupcakes! I even had an Earl Grey cupcake with pale green icing! Delicious!

Everyone is really nice, and it's always great to make friends with people you have interests in common with.

I didn't end up taking any pictures, I spent most of the time chatting to people, but I did get some nice photos taken of me. The dress was a lucky op shop find.

Monday, 4 March 2013

DIY Adaptation: Knit dress to knitted tailcoat

 Started with a plain jumper dress that I didn't really like the fit of. The pockets made it bulge in a funny way, and it was too tight, I like my skirts to flare and flounce!

1. I cut off the front at just below waist level, making sure I left a bit extra around the side seams.

 2. I took the raw edges, folded them over twice as if hemming them, and then sewed them down with a needle and thread.

It's not perfectly neat, but I want this to look a bit distressed, anyway.

3. Moving onto the back, I want it to have tails, so I slit it down the middle of the back. I folded it in half and cut along the middle.

The picture refuses to go the right way up!

4. Hem the back the same way as you did the front.

 5. Now you need some oversized buttons. Sew them onto the back at about lower back height, or wherever you want them.

and there is is! The knitted tailcoat!

You can add more trim to the front if you like, like buttons or fake lapels, but I decided I wanted mine simple. I am wearing now as I type on the computer. If I was going out I would probably wear my clockwinder necklace with it, which would add detail.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Indoor Steampunk Picnic

Saturday 23rd Februrary 2013

(Image heavy post)

Due to bad weather and some last minute planning, our picnic was taken indoors, which was great as it was rainging and the wind was howling all day. The house was amazing, it was made out of bits of other buildings that were destroyed in the 1989 earthquake, it had amazing stained glass church windows and a bit of a balustrade in one of the walls. I met some new people, and saw other people again, and there were even Steampunk families! It was wonderful!

The cake I made, it has honey and dark sugar in it.

Stacey's fried honey puffs. She is such an amazing cook! She also made Biscotti, but I forgot to photograph it.

Me with someone's awesome gun!

Me and Stacey

Yasmin and Stacey

Even the hats were making friends: