Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tsumami Kanzashi: Another Attempt and More Pictures

I made two more tsumami kansazhi accessories last Tuesday. The second attempt was a pin I made my mother, who will be testing it out for durability. I don't have pictures of that one yet. The third attempt was a hair clip (pictures below). The petals turned out better, and this was my first attempt at adding the center piece with glue. Unfortunately, I don't really like hot glue, so I'm going to try to find more information at other methods. Sewing works, but might not be best with certain centers. I also tried hot gluing the flower to the hair clip, but it didn't hold, so I ended up sewing it on. Works well, but not the "clean" product I'd have preferred.

And below are better images of the first attempt (a ponytail elastic). A coworker liked it so much that she would like me to make one for her to buy, in black and white patterned fabric. I want to get more practice in before I even consider selling these. I'm a bit picky about quality, technique, and product durability.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photos from SPWF

Just found the photos that a photographer (dvraptor) took of my husband, one of our friends, and I at the SPWF. I didn't find a couple months back when I originally was searching, but somehow stumbled on it this time. :-)

Presenting the booty:

Please do take some. I love to share. :-)

From left to right: Me, my husband, and our friend.

I honestly didn't realize how nice my outfit looked. The images here are a little small, but hopefully if you click on them, it will link to a larger version.

I also didn't realize how great I looked in that outfit! And how thin (not that I'm much of a stickler for losing weight as much as I am about being healthier). Right before I found out I was pregnant, I lost a decent amount of weight due to a few minor changes to my diet (only one or two cans of soda a week, if that, and so on). Even without the corset in the first few months of pregnancy, I looked pretty small. Then again, I also lost some weight in the first trimester because I was always feeling ill. But I would say that the outfit was a win... I just didn't have all the gizmos and guns that others were carrying around. I nice scholarly pirate lady type steampunk outfit.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tsumami Kanzashi: Attempt One

This was my first try at making a kanzashi. Tsumami kanzashi is a japanese technique of folding fabric to make petals, which are then joined together to make flowers. These are traditionally used for hair ornaments, but they are now being used in all sorts of applications. I've seen them used for pins, purse embellishments, dress embelleshments, on shoes, and more.

I've been wanting to learn how to make them for over 5 years (off and on) and researched the "how to" of them a couple years ago. Then, when I found out I that I'm pregnant with a daughter, I wanted to make her some items with these flowers on them, using baby clothes that we were given or saved but can't use (or won't use). A nice way to recycle them, especially the items that are not in good enough condition to donate. Originally, I wanted to make some for a LARP character I had, a dark fighter who wore geisha style make-up and various styles of asian clothing (in dark tones). Then I thought I'd make them to use for bellydancing and for my steampunk outfit. Wouldn't dark blue, purple, and grey ones look fabulous on a top hat?

Last night, I decided to just go ahead, brush up on what I learned that last time I looked into it, and get started. It helped that I had recently found some patterned cotton scraps my older sister gave me years ago. I remember I was going to use these scraps (rather large ones) for making a bag or being part of a gypsy style patchwork cloak, but that never happened. So I cut 7 squares off the fabric, measuring 2.5" each. I reviewed some of the "how to" sites, some being clearer than others, and jumped in. After I tied off the petals (which ended up making the base flower), I found a pearlescent button and some dark aurora beads and stitched them on top. I then stitched the flower onto a hair elastic from a packet I bought a few days ago, and voila!

It seems a lot of people use glue to attach the decorative center (and possibly to attach the base attachment, like hair clips and such). There was no way I was going to use my glue gun with my son climbing all over me and grabbing at these things. Besides, I'm not really sure where it is! *laughs*

The petals aren't holding the shape I was hoping for. either there are too many petals, the material isn't stiff enough, or the thread holding the petals together was tied too tightly. I'm thinking it's more that I didn't starch the cotton, but I chose not to for two reasons: expediency in this first attempt and also to figure out if I can stiffen the material after the flowers are made. The latter would then allow me to actually wash the items or even not worry if they get wet (in the rain or just from my daughter being goofy). Of course, if I had added a few more petals, than the unpressed look would be fine for this ponytail holder.

I have a better picture I took this morning, but I left my camera cords at home, so I'll have to add it later.

I hope to try making a few more tonight. My mother is taking my son for a few hours this evening, so it might be a good time to pick up some hair clips, cut smaller squares, find my glue gun, and try making a couple kanzashi hair clips. Same dated cloth, but hopefully it will look better on a smaller flower. (I honestly didn't think it looked dated until I decided to make it into this. Go figure!) I'm also thinking of ways to make the flower shape remain the way I want without using a starch or interfacing. Perhaps a backing, but only for ones being used on pins and such. We'll see where this all takes me.

Article mentioned in previous post

I have a few thoughts regarding this article, which are located after the article. The bolded areas are the parts where my husband was quoted (and actually given credit for the information).

* * * * *

Piscataway event celebrates the Victorian era

Grab your goggles, bustle skirts and safari jackets, jump on the next passing airship and head on over to Piscataway this weekend.

It's the Steampunk World's Fair, and it's taking place at the township's Radisson Hotel. What is Steampunk? It's a new movement which celebrates the optimism, fashion and science fiction of the Victorian era.

"I like the visual aesthetics of it,'' said (my husband), 44, of (location removed). "It harkens back to the Victorian and Edwardian styles, but it also has an understanding of science fiction when the idea of technology was a wonderful thing and it would benefit all of mankind, which kind of disappeared after World War I.''

It disappeared after 15 million were killed in World War I, thanks to all the new wonderful technology. But we digress.

The term Steampunk was first used in the late 1970s by science-fiction writer K.W. Jeter. Devotees enjoy Victorian science fiction … H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and the like … and wear the era's clothes with accessories set off by generous amounts of brass and leather along with assorted finery for the ladies.

"There are a lot of airship pirates and captains and military themes … mad scientists are big (for the guys),'' said Sarah Moody, 19, of HighlandPark. "Basically things that are sort of kooky.''
The gals wear corsets, bustle skirts and boots, along with their share of goggles, too. Moody was still deciding what to wear to the Fair when we spoke to her last month.

"I think I'm going to be a Steampunk school girl,'' said Moody, a native of Madison.

Recent movies such as "Sherlock Holmes'' and "Alice in Wonderland'' had a Steampunk air about them.

"I got involved in Steampunk a year ago, but I've been aware of aspects of it, though I never put my thumb on what was the Steampunk genre,'' (my husband) said. "For some people, the attraction is not being constantly plugged into the Internet and constantly tapping into information, but I don't see that as being a huge thing. Look at New York City in the Victorian age … they had vacuum tubes between offices for communication and they had ticker tape … it was their own version spreading information.''

(My husband) and his wife, (me), 31, will attend the Fair, which will feature music, games, vendors and Legos … Steampunks love to play with Legos … over the weekend.

Fair producer Jeff Mach of Hackensack expects more than 3,000 attendees over the weekend. He's especially keen on the world premiere of a Steampunk rock opera, "Absinthe Heroes.''

"It's a work of stunning genius,'' Mach said. "I'd like it even if I didn't write it.''

* * * * *

Now to address the issues I have with this article (and mainly Chris Jordon). There were a number of little incerpts he added that were directly from what my husband told him. This guy didn't know most of the information he gave, but then stated these items as if he did, even to the point of making it sound like he was putting down some of what my husband said. One key example is where Mr. Jordon wrote, "It disappeared after 15 million were killed in World War I, thanks to all the new wonderful technology. But we digress." He cut off my husband's quote where he actually said that the reason WW1 changed the views of technology because of how atrocious that war was, the amount of injuries and death. But by cutting off what my husband said at that point, Mr. Jordon was able to throw in that tidbit, as if it was his own... and in a manner that made my husband look naive, even though my husband is far from it (he has a Masters in History, with a primary focus on WW1 and WW2). Even the "background info" that Mr. Jordon gives, about literature, movies, and visual aesthetics aer almost word for word what my husband told him.

Also, not all steampunkers "love to play with legos", thank you very much.

Steampunk Events

I didn't realize how long it's been since I last posted here... and that I never updated about the steampunk events I attended at the time. So here's a quick update.

The Wicked Renaissance Festival (Feb. 20) was fun. I decided to wear my Olivia outfit. The treasure chest bustle topper was a hit, and I had plenty of chocolate coins. You know something is a hit when people walking by start snapping pictures of it while you are talking to others. I also got to meet some really great people, one of whom I've been keeping in decent contact with since.

After this event, I started work on an assymetric bustle skirt, but that project ended up being set aside when I learned I was pregnant. I do plan to start work on it again, when I get back to it when I'm able to wear my corset again.

About a month or so before the Steampunk Worlds Faire, my husband and I attended the second to last Clockwork event (then called Big Brass Ball). I believe this was in April. A reporter and photographer came to interview people there and take snap shots. Unfortunately, attendance was low that night, due to last minute rescheduling of the day (from Tuesday to Thursday) and some icy weather. It's too bad, because I think the photographer and reporter would have had more luck otherwise. Regardless, it was a nice evening and we got to hang out with some friends that we don't get to see very often. The reporter also took my husband's and my names and contact information to interview us later. I was feeling a bit sick when he actually called, so my husband was the only one of us two that ended up being interviewed. It was also shortly before this Clockwork event that I found out I was pregnant with my second child, so my outfit reflects that last minute change in attire... something simple, cool with the option of a jacket, and something that allowed the corset to be tied a little looser. I still had trouble catching my breath, so I decided that was the last event I'd wear my corset until after my second child was born and my body healed up. Sadly, we were unable to attend the final Big Brass Ball.

In May, there was the Steampunk Worlds Faire. Because of my lack of corset and my lack of energy, my outfit was very basic. Very few people noticed the treasure chest bustle topper, but that's not surprising, given all the nifty gadgets that everyone was trying to see (usually in the form of goggles, gizmos, and modded nerf guns... all of which were not on the back saide of a woman. *laughs*). We had a good time and met up with some of my old classmates from highschool. We've been somewhat in touch since, though we haven't hung out yet... though we hope to. It was their first Steampunk adventure, so my husband and I were basically their guides into what made steampunk... well... steampunk. My outfit had the base Olivia pieces, with a fitted vest, dark blue velvet sash (aroudn the waist) and polka dot clown pants. Hey... I gotta be playful even if it's only for me! For part of the time, I also wore a gold tone leather eye patch (with the an artistic eye hole to allow proper vision). Unfortunately, we didn't get more than just a couple pictures, and they are mainly close ups with my buddies, like the one below.

That's the last real steampunk event that my husband and I attended. We've been busy or exhausted... but we hope to attend at least one of the new monthly events in PA called something like "Dorian's Closet".

We also have started working on a new LARP, which is temporarily names "Steampunk LARP" (until we decide on something better). We've had a playtest with good results, but still have more work to do on the rules and props and such. The main thing is that we have to keep it very affordable, within legal parameters (for the parks), and get the rules scrubbed and sparkly. My husband has been working on most of that (and I really do view the LARP as his, with me as a creative influence). My main role is to come up with storylines and creatures ideas and to also help with any hurdles my husband finds himself in regarding the rules mechanics and descriptions. I'm also trying to help keep the rules simple, because honestly, I like simple formulas and such for games. Perhaps that makes me a lazy gamer... but only on the mechanics side!