And Warm Woollen Mittens

I love costuming. It all started with fantasy and Doctor Who costumes. Over the years I developed a penchant for historical re-enactment. That is joy of steampunk costuming - I get to do the intense historical research but can deviate from slavish accuracy and let my imagination run rampant.

Steampunk costuming has leaked into my everyday life. And some of my everyday life has absorbed my steampunk costuming as well.  bowler14      kraken 5 on      firefly 2014

Steampunk costuming also taps into another of my passions - recycling and reducing the carbon footprint to help our environment. Even better! Here is the tale of my costuming favourites and my upcycling successes.
Accessories:
My favourite steampunk costume items. Accessories are my passion little details make all the difference. I participated in a panel on Steampunk Costumes at Adelaide Armageddon in 2012 - my specialty? Accessories, of course! And, as fate would have it, am running an accessories workshop for the Australian Costumers' Guild next week. Discovering or making accessories to complement an outfit is the most enjoyable part of the process for me. Some of my favourite accessories are for my steampunk fairy catcher - gun, outfit, hat, fairy, net, boots and soon to be completed 'captured fairy in a bottle'. ACCESSORIES You can see more of my accessories (and some on my wishlist) on my  Pinterest Page.

Steampunk allows me to recycle - or more accurately, upcycle -  to create something both aesthetically pleasing and useful from old forgotten treasures, worn out pieces or junk. This is not unsurprising as the steampunk creed promotes individuality, creativity and usually turns its back on the throw away society and consumerism.

Upcycling:

I've been a greenie since the 1980s, when my parents attached our first solar hot water system to the roof.  (We were one of the first houses in our area to have solar electricty.) But, you say, isn't the majority of steampunk set in the Industrialised age? Yes, but look at the stories, the characters. Many fight against big corporations, conformity and strive to control their own fates...

By reusing vintage items or upcycling throwaways into something useful (and often beautiful), I strive for my own individuality and help the environment at the same time. (Okay, rant over)

Opshops, garage sales. A few weekends ago, fellow Steampunk SA members and I went on an Opshop Scavenger Hunt for a bit of a lark. While we scrounged and sifted through potental treasures, we also searched for items on a scavenger list. (Good news, my team found all but two of the items and managed to find some useful items.)

Here's a little video I made on on our opshop adventure: Hunting for Steampunk Accessories.

My Haul: I found a fur stole ($3 and in a gorgeous colour), a disney toy rotunda to respray to top a backpack contraption, future ear horn (ex-silver plated vase),  a steampunk-ish top, a fill-in 'smoking' cap and tea pot-cups sets.

stash1_dopyright2016KarenCarlislestash2

There is always tea.

#SteampunkHands Around the World Link List.

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The Adventures of Kat and the Roll Top Desk

One of my long-term dreams has been to own a roll top desk. Ideally it would be made of mahogany, with a leather topped desk area and lots of little drawers to store my writing (and drawing) paraphernalia. But honestly, I was not really that fussy - almost any roll top desk would do.

On Saturday I opened my messages to see a roll top desk being offered on Freecycle. I collect it, I get to keep it - for free!   I sent back a hopeful message. Sunday morning I got a call. It was mine!

Fortunately we own a metal canopy trailer. Perfect. The weather has been quite wet of late. We were going to need a cover so the desk would not be drowned on the way home. We (as in my hubby) hitched up the trailer and we set off on a one hour tour to collect the coveted item.

Little did we know what a saga would be involved.

Twenty-five minutes later we arrived at the it's soon-to-be-ex home.  The desk was a heavy brute. We finally got it to the trailer... It would not fit through the back gate of the trailer. Nor the side doors. The openings were four centimetres too small!

Fine - just unscrew the bolts and remove the canopy. Easy. Not.  The bolts were stuck fast. What to do? I took advantage of mobile phone technology, calling taxi truck companies. No go. They were either closed for Sunday or would cost $100 per hour, with a minimum of 4 hours hire. For a free, second-hand roll top desk? Not likely.

So it was that we lugged the desk back to the house, ensuring it was under cover; the grey clouds were gathering and the temperature had already dropped a few degrees.  We drove back home, unhooked the trailer and made our way to Bunnings (hardware store). Best news of the day? We got free trailer hire if we bought something. Well, we did need a new tarp - especially as we no longer had the canopy to protect the precious cargo from the oncoming storm. We had two hours until the trailer was due back.

Once again we started our one hour tour to collect my 'free' roll top desk. Fate was laughing at us - again. Do you know how much fun it is not  to get lost on a detour of the back streets, with malfunctioning GPS, following a total inbound road closure (three lanes) - complete with five police cars, at least one fire engine (and I think I also saw an ambulance)?

desk 1407 trailerEventually we arrived at our destination, loaded up the desk, tied down the tarp and began the final trek homeward. Yet another detour - as traffic on the main road was now backed up for kilometres on the outbound lanes as well - and we were navigating the back streets once more.

desk 1407 a writing

Home again. Only seven minutes to go until the trailer is due to be returned. Our fingers flew as we wrangled my Dear Heart's excellent knot tying skills and finally released my prize.  The trailer was just returned on time.

On Monday night my desk found its new home - in the front room Thank you Freecycle Gifter.

A one hour pickup grew into a four hour adventure. At least the hail has held off until today.

Now what to write???

desk 1407 writing

There is a Wonderful World Out There…

If only we would take some time to actually look at it!

This week I have been fascinated (gobsmacked and infuriated) at how many of us walk around, head down staring at our phones. I have been amazed at how many near misses there have been. People just don't seem to observe their surroundings any more. Maybe we don't want to acknowledge the real world? Maybe it is all too stressful, too tiring or just too boring?

This got me thinking... How observant am I?

Yesterday I had a specialist's appointment in the city. As my husband also had to go to the city, we saved petrol (and the environment) by taking just the one car. I had arranged to meet him after my appointment had finished.

I walked several city blocks to our meeting point. It was a beautiful day. A pleasant breeze tugged at my hair, bringing with it tantalising smells from the cafe across the road. While I waited I took in the sights.

Several pedestrians had their head down, texting or checking emails. (Or maybe their GPS for directions? I really had no way of knowing.) One looked up at me just in time to avoid running into me. I smiled. He looked very put out and strode off down the street.

observant

One thing I have learnt, as a writer and artist, is that there are so many potential stories to be found. Anywhere. Just standing on a street corner. I have no doubt the man who almost ran into me, will end up in one of mine.

While standing there, I spied something very unusual - not 30m from me. It made me laugh. So many ideas popped into my head. How did that get there. I took this photo - for proof.

How observant are you? What do you see in this photo? How many stories does this one picture suggest to you? (This is not photoshopped.)

Did you notice the car that ran the red light? Did you notice the red light? It was recycle rubbish day. There will be some roadworks or work on the pipes soon. There is a local election coming up. Did you notice anything else?

Let me know if you want me to post the close up!

There is a wonderful, exciting world out there. It is full of so many stories, so many opportunities. Why not take a look for yourself and enjoy it.