Posts Tagged With: sewing

Going Punk (Steampunk, that is)

I’ve been invited to host a Steampunk masquerade ball on February 2. For those of you who don’t know what Steampunk is, the best explanation I’ve found is that Steampunk is where technology and romance intersect. One subset of it is Victorian sci-fi (think a modern interpretation of Jules Verne and HG Wells). Or if you remember the movie Wild, Wild West, with its steam-driven machines? That’s the steampunk aesthetic.

front of gown croppedThe ball is just part of it. In addition to dancing and music, the Circle City Aerodrome has arranged for Victorian card games, a silent auction, and—my fave—a Penny Dreadful. I’m part of this interactive mystery, which should be a blast. You can even read about my character’s backstory here.

I’ve been working on my ball gown. In true thrifting (and Punk!) fashion, I’ve created it from found objects. The basis is a 1940s wedding dress with a fabulous ruffled skirt. Unfortunately, the bodice was unbecomingly tight, plus the crew neckline (combined with the sheen of the satin) made me look incredibly busty. So I whacked the top off, turned it around, and turned it into a bolero jacket.

The bodice of the dress I replaced with a Goodwill Outlet-sourced corset top. I’ve added black lace and braid trim to cover some stains and add definition. I had to separate the over- and underskirts in order to hem the underskirt and take up the overskirt. I tell you what, this is the most complicated project I’ve done, and I’m not even building it from scratch.

back of gown hi and medSteampunk is big on PUNK; taking bits and pieces and mixing them together in a new way. It’s heavy on the DIY. Some people love to make their own costumes; others spend a huge amount of time “modding” modern technology to look as if it ran on steam.

And you know what else is big on DIY? Homesteading. The number of Steampunkers I’ve met who also keep goats, raise chickens, or practice permaculture is amazing.

Steampunk is supposed to be a big trend for retail in 2013. But anyone who goes out to buy a factory-produced clockwork necklace is missing the point. Steampunk is a chance to flex your creative muscles and let your imagination go wild.

Long live Steampunk!

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The Thrill of the Thrift

I’m thrifty by nature and nurture. My mother is a bargain hunter of the old school, and no Christmas present was complete without the game of “guess how much I paid for that!” Add to that a fascination with voluntary simplicity and a tree-hugger’s contempt of mindless consumption, and I am primed to be very deliberate with my money.

Here’s the secret, though. Thrift is not about denial. Thrift is about enjoying what you have and deciding what’s important to you. Thrift comes from the root “to thrive.”

And you know where I thrive? Thrift stores.

Ask any of my friends and family, and they’ll tell you that I am the patron saint of thrift stores. I have no horror of second-hand goods. If it can be washed in hot water or hosed down with Lysol, I’ll take it home.

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Snow Day, or, The Iceman Cometh

If you’ve turned on the television in the last week, you may have heard about the ice storm currently making its way across the Midwest. We’ve had wave one here overnight, and we’re supposed to get even more ice this afternoon. Imagine my joy.

But Ginny and I have already chipped the path free and defrosted the cars once today, so we’re in pretty good shape. Our neighbor kindly salted the walk last night, so the chipping was easier than it might have been. I’ve put tarps over the cars to make the defrost procedure easier next time. Of course, they’re paint tarps complete with the ghosts of about sixteen paint jobs on them, so the cars look like they’ve been tagged by either hippies or Jackson Pollock, but you can’t have everything. Continue reading

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Decorating Delirium

I can tell it’s winter. Well, of course, just stepping outside would confirm that, but I mean I can tell it’s winter based on my mood. I’m veering between a desire to crawl into bed and not emerge until April and a need to clean out every closet in the house and repaint half the rooms.

Yep, must be winter.
In an update to the curtain catastrophe, I am happy to report I was able to find just enough of the curtain material at the other Joann’s store to finish the second curtain. Too bad I didn’t find it before I bought enough of a completely different fabric to make another set of curtains, but you can’t have everything.
I last painted my bedroom about eight years ago. It’s a wonderful purple-blue color, and I’ve been very happy with it. But now you can see where pictures have hung (side note–why should there be dark rings around the pictures if I don’t smoke and I’ve cleaned the walls? Anyone?) and more than a few random nails. I think it’s time to repaint.
This time, I’m leaning toward one of my favorite blue-green colors. (Blue-green is my signature color. I haven’t decided on a good name. Teal? Sea glass? Bermuda blue?). The recently finished curtains would look great with it, and so would the blue bedspread. I’ll need to make a new duvet cover; white this time, I think, which would at least simplify fabric choice, since I could use sheets. I’d probably want to make lightweight white curtains for summer, too. The color would be much lighter than what I have now and lighter than the Tiffany box blue that’s in the office (which is likely to be next on my decorating hit list).
By the way, the first estimate came in for redoing the basement bathroom. It’s about five times what I had initially planned to spend. Note to self–see if bank will increase limit on home equity line. Still, it absolutely has to be done. Gin is moving in this spring, and no way am I inflicting the current bath on her. Plus one of the contractors who came out pointed to a clump of wires and said, “See that? That’s both dangerous and illegal.” Let’s hear it for the handyman from hell and the do-it-yourself projects I’m still unravelling nine years after moving in.
Updates as they occur!

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Categories: In the house | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Curtain Catastrophe

Lest you think I only talk about gardening and chickens, I want you to know that the Fraudulent Farmgirl embraces many, many subjects, among which interior decoration ranks pretty highly. Those who have seen my house will inform  you that I am allergic to beige, I get bored easily, and I do not believe in buying what I can make more cheaply.

All of these are true.
So it seemed like a good time to make some new bedroom curtains. I love the ones I currently have, which I made from white fabric embroidered with bright pink and blue flowers. They are fun and girly and quite cool. But I thought for winter I'd try long curtains, with the hope that they might block a little more of the cold. I perused two different Joann's fabric stores before settling on a pretty, quite subdued and country-vintage pattern of blue and green (bouquets of flowers? blueberry shrubs?) on a very light yellow. I planned to back them with flannel to improve their possible insulation value. The fabric was marked down to $3 a yard, and I bought all they had. (The flannel was about $5 a yard. As a side note, full-length curtains require at least an extra yard or two per window over the curtain length I tend to make. I've made A LOT of roman shades.)
I spent today watching the inaugural proceedings (so amazing–insert your own hyperbole here) while cutting and pinning. It's a long process, you know. You have to wash and dry the fabric, iron it, cut it out, pin it, sew it, spend two hours figuring out how long the tabs should be and how many of them you should use. Note: when you cut out the tabs, make sure you're cutting them from the scrap fabric and not one of the panels you were planning to use for the curtain.
Oh yes. I got one curtain finished, only to realize I had destroyed the other curtain panel by cutting the tabs from it. I ran to the fabric store hoping they had more, only to remember once there that I had purchased all they had. And as this was not a fabric I had seen at the other Joann's, I was screwed.
Oh, well. I have a very nice curtain for the remodeled bathroom. Or if Ginny hates it, I'll hang it in the laundry room.
But as I was feeling a strong need to have new curtains, and that right quick, I bought more fabric (brown toile on cream this time). It is currently in the dryer. Tomorrow, I will get these curtains done, and then I will post pictures. When I cut out the pieces, I will ensure that the cut pieces are placed somewhere far away from the work area. 
Measure twice, cut once. But make sure you're cutting the right fabric. 

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Categories: In the house | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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