Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “crafts

Elevenses: Showing The (green) Love

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen I hope you are all feeling the love this morning? The time is of course eleven o clock and we are ravenously eleven o clockish and remorselessly revved up with romance so let us see at once what our gorgeous werewolf butler has cooked up for us this morning…

IMG_1590.JPG

Absinthe ‘Show The Love’ hearts… but these devilish delights are more than just a romantic gesture from a woman with the brains and demeanour of a rabid dog; we are offering them here today to show our support for the Show The Love Campaign  …

“Hand made hearts can move worlds. Make, wear and share your green heart. It’s a beautiful way to begin a conversation about the things we love that climate change threatens, and the clean energy choices we must make to protect our world. Hand-crafting a heart is a moment to share with a loved one, with family, with friends, with your community – and beyond via #showthelove. See the amazing hearts others are already creating.  “

 

Sustainable energy is just as important to us here in The New World as it is to you in your dimension – from cream-powered landships to GORGON energy generators, we are doing our bit to help the environment.

If you’d like to get involved in this festive environmental endeavour there are several ways you can find out more…

Check out some of the fantastic blog posts from ‘Queen Of Green Hearts’ Nimue Brown who has her finger on the pulse where all things green and hearty are concerned:

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/climate-change-show-the-love/

Visit the official website and get some hearty inspiration for making your own beautiful green heart talking pieces:

http://fortheloveof.org.uk/

And if you’d like to make Klapka’s lovely absinthe green heart fondants,   here’s the recipe:

500g icing sugar, 1 beaten egg white, 1 tsp green food colour, 1 tsp absinthe (or any flavouring you like)
Mix it all together then knead it into a soft dough and roll it out, cut out your hearts and sprinkle or drizzle them with your choice of toppings. Leave for a short while in a cool place to firm up then serve.

 

 

We wish you a very splendid afternoon and do feel free to leave a link to your own #sharethelove green heart projects in the comments section…


Elevenses: Two Spurtle Gloves

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen! You find us this morning in a state of oaty bliss as we gleefully anticipate The Annual Wizmas Golden Spurtleglove Oatcake Championships (we understand you have something similar in your own dimension?) 

Of course cake is illegal here in Ire but oatcakes (those foul impostors ) are permitted ‘in moderation’ provided salt is used to flavour them and not sugar.

 If you are not sure what spurtle gloves are let us enlighten you – the spurtle glove is an oversized oven mitt used for oatcake flipping and a golden one is made in Lancaster every year and given to the contestant who can faultlessly flip the most oatcakes in six minutes.

 The judging is conducted by three highly trained oat flip observers and presided over by Lord Ashton himself but there are also smaller prizes for the most original oatcake creations and these are voted on by the general public.

 Last year some of the winners in the Innovative Oatcake Recipe section included Chorizoat Cakes, Plum Compoat and Chocoloat pudding.

 The best part by far, though, was the riot which began when the voted winner of the Oatcake Sculpture section (a truly gargantuan oatcake with a smiley face put on with raisins) was declared by Lord Ashton to be “An offensive and infantile attempt at insubordination and mob-rule.” He then proceeded to disqualify the oat face (an irony which will probably only be appreciated by our British friends) and award the prize to a detailed oatcake sculpture of Lord Battenberg, the noted explorer, instead.

 Lord Battenberg’s donations to Ashton’s extensive collection of arthropods is no secret and the furious crowds stormed the stage, seized the judges and began hurling lumps of the hated Battenberg into the River Lune. In the end Ashton had to call his man eating Liver Birds and we all fled for our lives… but it was worth it. All jolly good fun!

 It is frankly difficult to imagine a scenario that would upstage that little fiasco but we are keen to see if Penny is up to the task. In the meantime we wish you a delightfully oat-free elevenses, crammed with illicit sponge and belligerent fancies and we leave you with this little message from our festive parlour companions, the dust cats…

dustcatsspoons.jpg


Morning Cuppa: Steampunk festive cheer

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,  welcome to Max and Collin’s fabulously festive and expertly extravagant  parlour located within the spledidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, some have called it an offensively ostentatious affair, filled with frivolous flamboyancy but we consider that such individuals are tasteless and we would never consider having them for supper.

You find us this morning turning the parlour into a veritable Wizmas Wonderland…

 Apparently the final battle between Wiz and The Goddess took place on the snowy peaks of Siberia. (Having visited Siberia ourselves recently we are, to be candid, a little sceptical of this assertion.) and so it is traditional to cover one’s self and immediate surroundings in as much snow as possible throughout the Wizmas season. The more snow you are seen to sport, the more you likely to convince The Good Folk of your allegiance to our supreme ruler.

 Of course there is always the small problem that snow in The Scattered Isles is not the most common meteorological phenomenon. Still there are ways to fake snow and we have pushed the iceberg out this year on that front!

 We have carpeted the entire floor in sheets of cotton wool batting (We did try white crepe paper initially but it wasn’t nearly as messy, irritating or difficult to remove, this cotton stuff soaks up the water from the cellar floor beautifully too!).

 The strange chains (which hang from the walls and do not invite us to ask our landlord their purpose) we have piled high with a mixture of baking soda, white and blue glitter, a few drops of vanilla and peppermint oil and a tsp or two of water just to get it to hold together. As Freddy is also chained to the wall we have simply wrapped him in tissue paper to keep him out of sight.

 Upon the tea table, we have carefully sculpted a pyramid from ‘snow balls’. These were made by mixing glitter (again) with coconut flour and a little cold water.

 Sadly we no longer have any windows, this being a cellar afterall, otherwise we could have stuck baking parchment over them to make them look ‘frosted.’

 As for our own attire, we have given eachother a fairly good dusting with white glitter and talcum powder and can safely say we look perfectly abominable.

We simply can’t wait to see the look on Montmorency’s face when he sees the effort we have gone to…true it is difficult to read the facial features of a psychotic scarecrow, but we tend to guess that when his head is leaning to the left he is in a better mood than when it is leaning to the right, he looks a little friendlier like that you see.

And our furry pals the Dustcats seem to have got into the mood as well!

dustcats2ndlight

 Anyway, now that we have enough snow to infuriate our landlord we can sit back with a nice cup of tea and begin writing our Wizmas cards. Fortunately, our fabulous friends over at Hopeless Maine have brought out several sets of ‘alternative festive cards’ this year to bring a massive helping of Steampunk Splendidness to the season! ‘Steamed Pudding’ , ‘He Hears His Master’s Holiday Message’ and ‘A Hopeless Holiday’ are available from the Hopeless Maine etsy shop (click the image to go straight there) and can be bought as separate designs or as a multi-pack! So if Robins and Penguins and fat men in red suits are putting you off reminding your loved ones that you still exist and would appreciate cash or brandy this year rather than socks or arrest warrants , no more excuses eh? … 

Now all that is needed is some suitably seasonal audios to usher in the afternoon so let us tune in our Tesla Radio and ….

 

 Marvellous! We wish you all a very splendidly snow filled afternoon, and we invite you back to join us soon for more festive fabulousness. So, until then please be always,

Utterly Yourself

 


Soup of the day: With Steampunk treasures from Jamlincrow

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Joe, creator of the beautiful steampunk inspired jewellery  at Jamlincrow. Good morning Joe, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

I’m rather partial to a good vegetable soup, until recently I had always dipped lightly buttered bread in my soup. However, the other day I hollowed out the top of a baguette and filled it with cheese and shoved it in the oven as a little experiment. Hot crusty bread with lashings of melted cheese was quite the treat to accompany my soup. So that is what I have brought with me today! 🙂

 

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t we take a look at some of your lovely creations, have you brought some along to show us today?

Well, let’s see, what have we got…… ah yes I have this magical key necklace featuring some splendiferous clockwork watch mechanics from a bygone era. Also a sprinkling of Amethyst to mesmerise all that gaze upon it!

Jamlincrow-Key.jpg

 

What else can I rummage up? How about these cufflinks, with some rather special Tissot watch movements. Quite the extravagance for the discerning gentleman!

Jamlincrow-Cufflinks

 

Or maybe a tie bar would be more the ticket…

Jamlincrow-TieBar.jpg

 

A lady such as yourself would look rather fetching with a colourful dragonfly fluttering around your neck. Careful, not to dangle him in the soup though!

Jamlincrow-Dragonfly.jpg

 

They really  are  marvellous, I especially like the key and dragonfly necklaces! How long have you been in the business of making steampunk jewellery?

Thank you so much for your kind words! People do seem fond of my dragonflies and keys…. I think being able to customise by choosing their own colours adds to the attraction 🙂

I reckon I must have been steampunking around with jewellery for about 5 years now. It doesn’t feel that long, time flies when you’re working with watch parts and winged insects 😉

 

Oh yes I suppose it must! And what inspires you when you set about making a new design?

 

I’m lucky enough to have found my soulmate, who is a constant source of inspiration to me. In fact she is the reason I started my Jamlincrow journey in the first place!
So my work is often guided by insightful mutterings from my better half 🙂

 

Oh what a beautiful story! Now then, you have a lovely range of jewellery in your shop but if a customer wanted something special do you take custom orders?

 

Yes indeed! I get all sorts of requests, so people only need tap at my chamber door and ask the question…… don’t be shy.

A lot of my custom requests are for steampunk plug earrings (for people who have stretched ears). I seem to have carved out a little niche for myself making those.

Jamlincrow-Plugs.jpg

 

Goodness! Whatever next! And, where can we find your work displayed, featured or for sale?

 

Although I always have plans to get my website up and running, I would say my Etsy shop should be your first port of call for now 🙂
jamlincrow.etsy.com

I am also an official supplier to the National Maritime Museum who stock some of my items, including my watch mechanism cufflinks at The Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Jamlincrow-Cufflinks-Royal-Observatory

You can also keep an eye on what I’m up to on my Facebook page!

facebook.com/Jamlincrow

And finally, the all important question, on which the fate of the world may hang…  the kettle is sing so which is the brew that inspires you more when you are creating, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

TEA?!?! Yuck! What a disgusting thought. I’m all about the coffee 😛
Usually an Americano or two in the morning, moving on to a Cappuccino as an afternoon treat, each with 1 and a half spoons of sugar. Wow, no wonder I don’t sleep well :/

Coffee? I think I do have a little jar around somewhere, yes here we go…

Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Joe, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

Most definitely. We can’t sit around here nattering all day when their are empty bellies to feed!

 

Thankyou so much for joining us in the soup kitchen today,I hope to see you all again next week when another exciting guest will be helping me dish up some tasty soup so, until then

Blessings on your brew my dears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Morning Cuppa: A World Of Temperance

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Max and Collin’s flamboyantly flowery and lavishly leaf-laden parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster!

True, some have called it a hot house of scandal where faded blooms wilt amid the floral chintzes and vile things blossom like fungi but we consider that such people are merely inextricably stuck up their own tea spouts.

Well, as they say, there certainly is no place like home! Running from irate farmers after one has accidentally set fire to their barn used to be an easy thing apparently, a ‘merry childhood pursuit’ Max called it. Hmph. Not so in these days of weaponised automaton farm workers… we didn’t make it back to Lancaster until after the curfew and for a dreadful moment, as the flock of flesh eating Liver Birds descended, I really didn’t think Max was going to muster the strength to carry both me and our ill-gotten-gains the last few miles to safety. But luckily, he was wearing his spot-of-bother-boots which come equipped with tiny vials of super-strength lapsang for just such emergencies and with me wielding the ray gun in one tentacle and clinging to Max’s head for dear life with the other seven, we managed to escape relatively unscathed.

And so here we are, having deflowered the countryside and brought it all home to brighten up our dear little parlour, and now we are in desperate need of a splendid cup of something and some marvellous literature to accompany it… and of course we have both…

Our tea this morning is this beautiful summer flower tea from Chloe’s Helpful Herbs

And our book is one we have been eager to get our tentacles into for a while now…

world

 

Another splendid helping of steampunk insanity from mr ichabod temperance and miss Persephone plumtartt, this second adventure is even more action packed than the first with more parody, pastiche, punning and political pandemonium than you can shake your top hat at! (Max has decided to read the entire book again from the beginning and note down every hat-tip to L Frank Baum)

It took us a few pages to really get into this adventure as a lot of back story was fed into a short space but on the plus side if you have not read the first book that means you will swiftly pick up on the facts needed to enjoy this next episode.

And what an episode! The revelationary comet that sparked off episodes of genius in the human population during book one has now caused the same phenomenon in the animal kingdoms and they have decided they don,t much like being hunted into extinction and have begun to fight back, but will they decide to help or hinder our heroes in their battle to save humanity from its own evil inclinations? Another splendid steampunk romp that had us shedding tears of laughter throughout and we shall definitely be reading and reviewing the next book in the series soon.

 

Now then, our souls revived, our oracular pet is straining to be released so let us put him into his tea cup and see what his far seeing tentacles have plucked from the aether for us this morning…

 

Hm, now what is the little villain trying to insinuate? You know I really wish sometimes we had never picked it up off that beach, its sense of humour is suspicious and disturbing. Hm? What’s that? Oh… Max says it is probably trying to be helpful, well, we shall see Max, we shall see…

In the meantime we wish you all a blooming marvellous morning and hope you will join us tomorrow for elevenses when we will be finding useful things to do with all these flowers and reading a splendid steampunk short story from Amy Kuivalainen so until then please be always

utterly yourself.

 

 


Soup Of The Day: With Citadel Costumes

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Sara, creator of the marvellous larp and steampunk clothing at Citadel Costumes. Good morning Sara, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

Yes, I have my favourite homemade tomato and red pepper soup. I made it by softening a large, diced brown onion in a knob of butter. When soft, add two diced red bell peppers and several different types of sliced fresh tomatoes. My favourites are vine tomatoes and baby plums, but you can use any you like. Then add enough vegetable stock to cover the ingredients, a little salt and pepper and simmer until the tomatoes have turned into a pulp. Whilst you are waiting for that to happen put two sweet pointed peppers on a baking tray, and drizzle in a little oil, pop them in the oven at about 200 degrees, and roast them until soft and the skin is slightly blackened, drop them whole into the soup and remove from the heat. Once the soup is cooled, blend it in the pan until smooth… you can add a little single cream or natural yoghurt to make it creamier if you wish

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t we take a look at some of your lovely hats and costumes, I see you have you brought some along to show us today!

You certainly have a wide range of costumes, what inspires or influences you when you sit down to create a new costume?

It depends really, if it’s a costume from my own imagination, it can be something as simple as seeing an image or texture, I then start to think about how to translate that into fabric, which then develops into a whole character costume…If it’s for a client, generally I build on key aspects of their brief, and add my own creative spin to it. I love a challenge, so I always try to add something to the design, which will push me outside my comfort zone. Whether that’s a challenging pattern cut, or a difficult dye job, I think it adds something special to the piece, a kind of exclusivity if you will.

 Splendid! Do you usually have a particular character or setting in mind when you create each one?

Not always, but sometimes a whole costume will pop into my head; I’ll think “Sea Elf” and the whole thing will be there in colour and texture with accessories!  Other times I’ll get inspired by a fabric, like Chinese Brocade and a kimono with a bustle will pop into my head! I’ll start to make the piece and a character will form around it, I’ll begin to visualise other aspects of the costume, the accessories, hairstyle, mannerisms etc.

(this must sound mad! Hehe)

No, no my dear, that does not sound mad at all, unless, as they say, ‘We’re all mad around here’ … but tell me,  do you take part in live action role play yourself?

Yes, I’ve only been involved in it for a couple of years, but it’s an amazing hobby. I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer and I love dressing up. The role play was challenging for me, I felt rather awkward the first few events I went to, but throwing yourself into the game and the character you’re portraying is the best way forward. It’s pure escapism for me, a way to get away from work/life stress and although I come home from events exhausted, in a way, I always feel recharged too

It sounds marvellous! You have a lovely range of costumes in your shop but if a customer wanted something special do you take custom orders?

Yes I’m happy to take commissions, I find some of my best work comes from other peoples briefs, even though I’m quite whimsical, I like having guidelines too, it helps me focus!

Oh lovely! Now I know I am just longing to get one of your lovely hats! Tell me, where can we find your work displayed, featured or for sale?

Currently, I only have my Etsy store for online purchases, you can find that here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CitadelCostumes

I’m also on Facebook, where you can see what I’ve been up to, recent makes, upcoming trading events etc, that’s here:

https://www.facebook.com/citadelcostumes

And, if any of our discerning Steampunk friends attended The Chepstow Steampunk market, in south wales on the 22nd of april I was there too and may be again in the future.

Now that is a curious thing as I think some friends of ours were there as well! Now then, as the kettle is singing, the all important question, on which the fate of the world may hang…  which is the brew that inspires you more when you are creating, coffee or tea?

Oooh both really!,  a good cup of coffee, with milk, is what gets me going in a morning, and a nice cup of tea in the afternoon to pick me up when I’m flagging!

Splendid, here you are then a nice cup of tea to usher in the afternoon!

Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Sara, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

By all means

 

Lovely, thankyou all for joining us in the soup kitchen today, and I will see you again next week with another splendid steampunk guest,

Blessings on your brew my dears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Soup of the day with Steampunk Shrunk!

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since those dreadful land pirates, The Chronic Agronauts, utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning are two very special guests who have travelled all the way from the Lucerne Academy, Miss Lucy Etherington and her mechanical protégé Eve! Now do please have a seat here at the table ladies and I will put the kettle on. I hope your journey to our dimension was a good one and you had no trouble from land pirates or skyway men?

L: Thank you my dear and it’s a great delight to meet you in person, I must say.  Stalwart work you are doing here for the dear young urchins.

There were a couple of, er, incidents in our journey, I must confess, but fortunately my companion Eve, being entirely mechanical, has the strength of several steam-powered elephants, so she was able to dispatch our would-be attackers very promptly.  I suspect that our journey home will be far less eventful.

Oh dear I am sorry about that, thank the goddess that Eve was there to put them in their place! Now then, I see you have you brought some soup to share with the orphans?

L: My dear Eve made up a batch of her glorious lentil and mustard soup before we left the academy.  It travels rather well, we find, but it’s very thick and, er, robust.  You may want to water it down slightly before serving it.  Eve, dear, perhaps you’d like to share your recipe…

E: I’d be delighted.  You simply cook dried lentils in 4 times their volume of water, with a little salt for at least two hours. Add in any vegetables you have to hand (I used chopped carrot, celery and tomatoes, as I know children are sometimes put off by more exotic tastes), along with a few of tablespoons each of butter, genuine tomato ketchup and the finest mustard you can obtain.  Then cook for another hour.

Oh how clever of you, Eve! Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t you tell us a little about your work at the Academy Miss Lucy?

L: Certainly.  I was hired to teach deportment, geography and natural sciences.  I must confess, I give little attention to deportment, other than to lead by example, but the other subjects have been tremendous fun.  The board of governors was somewhat taken aback when I explained that I would need to take the girls on at least three major field trips a year.  But how is one to learn geography other than by traversing the Amazonian jungle or the Russian Steppes?  The young ladies have used their science lessons to create a veritable arsenal of ingenious defensive weapons – for use only in the direst emergency, naturally – and their latest group project has been the design and construction of a mechanical submersible vehicle, which will enable us to explore the depths of the ocean and observe the many wondrous beasts which inhabit it.

It must be marvellous to know that you are inspiring young ladies to become the inventors and explorers of the future! If only women were allowed to study here in Ire but sadly the towers of magic are only open to men.

L: That is indeed a great pity.  Perhaps we could smuggle a few of the most daring young women back to Lucerne with us.  I’m sure the Principal would never notice one or two extra girls at the Academy and our balloon’s gondola is very capacious…

Now that is an idea! But I am guessing you have not always worked at the academy, and surely Eve is not your only creation?

L: Ah no, I came to teaching quite late in life.  Before that I worked with Herr Oskar Kopp as his laboratory assistant.  He was the most brilliant man and gave me access to his facilities to enable me to develop my interest in automatons and other inventions.  Once I noticed him packing a few of them into a valise, however, to take to a symposium where he was supposed to be presenting his own latest creations, I decided to look for a position elsewhere.  I’ve brought you this photograph of my cabinet of curiosities, which contains a few of my gadgets and items I have obtained on my travels.

17692835_758541860974396_699339549_o

How marvellous! And Eve, do you help Lucy at the academy?

E: Most certainly I lend assistance where I can.  Sadly, though, there is a strong bias against mechanical persons being employed there and the governors have refused to offer me a post as a full staff member on three occasions, despite my excellent abilities.

Oh dear, how disappointing for you! But I must say my dear, you seem to be a very accomplished and capable person, surely you do not intend to remain as merely a companion, what are your aspirations for the future?

E: Well, so long as I can remain properly lubricated, I have an almost infinite existence ahead of me.  Certainly I will assist Lucy while she requires it, but I am convinced a time will come when the artificially intelligent are fully recognised and I will be able to take my rightful place amongst humans as an educator and innovator.  I should also like to engage in space travel, since I do not need to breathe.

Splendid, I am sure it will not be long before those in power realise that automatons deserve the same rights and respect  as other life forms. Ah, now the kettle is boiled, can I offer you both a hot beverage? Or perhaps some oil for Eve? What would you like and how do you take it?

E: I have been engineered to run entirely on clockwork, lubricated by camomile tea. So much more civilised than slurping oil.  Thank you for the thought, though.  It is also Lucy’s preferred beverage.

L: Indeed it is.  We both take it, obviously, without milk or sugar.  I enjoy a slice of lemon in mine, but not for Eve.  The acid is corrosive, you see.

Oh yes, how lovely! Here you are, now do tell me, where can we read more about your adventures?

L: Ah, I’m so glad you asked, my dear.  Our biographer and compiler, Jan Stone, is collecting information about ourselves, some of our pupils and various other acquaintances.  These are stored in the BLOG section at a non-physical location known as www.steampunk-shrunk.com

And I hear that our dear friend Jan Stone has made some beautiful doll versions of you both – and many other steampunk adventurers as well, could you tell us a little more about those?

L: Indeed.  Jan has long been a ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’…

E:  Lucy!  That description is of a common cut-purse, from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale.  I have it my memory files.  Surely you are not implying that our friend is a thief?

L: Of course not, Eve, dear.  I merely meant that – in true steampunk fashion – she acquires and makes use of all manner of items, in the most unlikely and ingenious fashion.  Her little dolls begin as dreary, mass-produced porcelain figures and she transforms them with oddments of cloth, wire, jewellery and watch parts into uncanny likenesses of ourselves.  The models of Eve and myself, and many others, can be found at her son Matt’s shop www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SteampunkDollsHouse .  I gather she also sells some at craft and vintage fairs and shops near her home in Glastonbury, Somerset.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wonderful! Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, my dears, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

L: I suspect their little noses will be even rosier soon; Eve used her very hottest mustard in this batch of soup.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our visit to your delightful kitchen.  With Eve to protect me from any lingering land pirates, I hope to explore more of Lancaster’s charms before our hot air balloon leaves at twilight this evening.

E: Although you may find it hard to believe that an automaton can experience feelings, Mrs Baker, let me assure you that meeting you has been a great pleasure and I will permanently store fond recollections of our conversation in my memory banks.

 

My dear Eve, having spent so much time travelling with my automaton friend Junkie I am well aware that you have the same emotional spectrum as us humans and it has been a great pleasure to have you both here today. Do enjoy the city, but be wary of the lemonade pushers, and don’t wander into a tiffin den by mistake! 

Thankyou all for joining us in the soup kitchen today, I hope you will come and join me again next week so until then,

Blessings n your brew my dears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Soup Of The Day: With Steampunk Splendidness from Terrible Mischeif

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Morrigan, creator of the amazing steampunk and cosplay accessories at Terrible Mischeif Studios. Good morning Morrigan, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

Why yes, of course I love potato soup the most at this time of year, it’s hearty and feeds a lot of your little urchins!

 

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups of peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chopped ham or turkey ham

 

  1. In a large stock pot add potatoes, celery, onion, chicken broth and parsley flakes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables become tender.
  2. In a separate bowl mix flour and milk. Once it is well blended, add to soup mixture and cook until soup becomes thick.
  3. Stir in ham and simmer to desired consistancy!

 

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t we take a look at some of your stunning creations, have you brought some along to show us today?

Of course, here are just a few examples of my work I specialise in metal wings and medals for airship pirates and captains of every stripe, but I also occasionally make jewelry, cosplay props, and art when the mood strikes me.

Your steampunk creations really are wonderful, what inspires you when you sit down to create each one?

I adore the creativity of the world of steampunk, so I try to imagine what someone who is a pirate, or an imperial merchant, or a wild free as the breeze captain might actually do in such a world of mayhem and machines, and I use bits and shinies to try and create something that that character might really wear in their everyday life, and then try to never make two pieces exactly alike so they an authenticity to them as a part of unique costume.  Of course putting on some of my favourite steampunk music from Professor Elemental, Abney Park, and Steampowered Giraffe really gets the creativity flowing!

Ah yes, my dear, I recognise some of those name as Max and Collin often have their Tesla Radio tuned in to your dimension when I visit The Parlour! Splendid! And where do you source all those amazing materials?

I try to use actual vintage clockworks and parts as much as possible, most of which I get from the Europe and also from a local clock repairman who has a shop two doors down from mine in Tacoma, which is a really lucky break for someone in my line of work!  Most of my centrepieces are just interesting things I collect up on my adventures in craft shops, bead stores, and reclaimed recycling places both on and offline, so I like to think of myself as a true scavenger!

How marvellous, you know I do think it is so important for a woman to be resourceful, especially when living in a post apocalyptic dystopia.  Tell me, do you take custom orders?

Most Definitely, I do try to find ways to make peoples experience with me a real positive interaction with a  a fellow cosplayer rather than a faceless business, so I try to accommodate in any way I can!

Wonderful! Now then, you also specialise in cosplay photography, would you like to tell us a bit about that?

I do, have actually been using photography as an art medium for several years, and I am expanding to include it in my geeky sphere as well.  Mostly because it seems that most professional photographers that are offering it are quite expensive, so I’m just trying to be a more affordable option!  Most of what I do however is professional editing of personal and candid photos people have of their cosplays, and  I offer that service at very affordable rates as well, as my way of supporting the cosplay community 🙂

That’s marvellous! And where else can we find your work displayed, featured or for sale?

We have a small etsy shop and a small brick and mortar shop in downtown Tacoma, as we sometimes frequent local shows and conventions, the info on all of our adventures can be found at our website www.terriblemischifstudios.com

Now I also hear that you are known as Captain Piper, would that be an airship you are captain of and if so do you ever use your creations to help you on your steampunk adventures?

Yes, I am officially known as Captain Aurelia Piper, I have a small independent trade ship the Mischief which I pilot around and sell my goodies,  I call it my little gypsy ship! Our little shop in Tacoma is actually decorated as a small airship to represent her , and I usually dress as Captain Piper for events, and of course I use my own goodies and props for my cosplays.

And finally, the all important question, on which the fate of the world may hang…  which is the brew that inspires you more when you are creating, coffee or tea? 

Quite important, surely, it is tea of course.  I prefer strong oriental spiced black teas myself, they keep me awake and sturdy at the helm on those long nights keeping guard against airship pirates!

Of course! Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Morrigan, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and see all your beautiful creations! I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

Of course, thank you so much for the opportunity to meet and learn from a magical creature such as, and to share my story, I do hope we can get together again soon!

Certainly! It would be a pleasure to see you again my dear, now we really must give the orphans their soup before The Good Folk start their patrol (if they find us serving home cooked soup instead of the regulation issue tinned variety, they will have our heads!) Thankyou all for joining us today and please come back next week when Nimue and Tom Brown, creators of Hopeless, Maine, will be stopping by with some rather sinister smelling stew to share with us, so, until then,

Blessings on your brew my dears!

 

 

 


Elevenses: Strolling the Frost Fair

Good morning Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are all feeling remarkably eleven o clockish because it is, indeed, eleven o’clock and hope that you will come and join us as we stroll around the Lancastrian Frost Fair, taking in the sights and looking for dainty delicacies to nibble on.

I say strolling, which implies a leisurely pace, but my Very Quiet Gentleman Friend is doing an embarrassing amount of huffing and puffing and gasping for breath which is quite off putting I can tell you and leads me, once again, to question exactly what constitutes ‘Very Quiet’ in the realm above the waves.

I say strolling, but perhaps that is a misnoma for the exercise as in fact my tentacles are all still in splints from the ice skating affair and Mrs B has kindly rustled up an old wheelchair from somewhere and we have strapped a couple of floor board planks to the wheels so that Max can push me through the snowy cobbled streets and over the icy river with ease.

Oh the joy! I cannot tell you how immeasurably more enjoyable it is to experience a winter’s walk from the cozy comfort of an armchair…there are fire eaters and jugglers, oh my goodness is that an elephant thy have over there?! It is! I’m amazed the ice does not crack! Mind you, they are roasting spit an ox with impunity over there and I am certain it is going to lead to disaster.

There are so many things for sale, most of which are double the price one would expect to pay for them because they have the word ‘souvenir’ and a date scratched onto them. Luckily Max is a bit of a Finger Smith and we manage to procure some excellent spiced buns and treacle toffee before slipping away into one of the ‘fuddling tents’. These are made of the barge sails propped up haphazardly with poles and inside you with find some of the most lethal chai-cocktails to be mixed this side of a Tiffin Den.

We sampled ‘Purl’ (a steaming black brew made with lapsang and wormwood) which the vendor told us would have a man gibbering for days, and ‘The Spiky Mother’ (A pungent Assam with chilli and dark chocolate) which had apparently already hospitalised a crowd of eight, but we must be candid and say that, even after four or five cups of each, Max still had the wherewithal to hot foot it out of the tent and away before the angry vendor could catch up with us an extract his payment.  (no mean feat pushing an octopus in a make-shift sled)

He almost cornered us but luckily Max employed a pocket full of escapological marbles (if you naive to the uses of escapological marbles to thwart a pursuer just ask the nearest five year old) and we left him cursing in the gutter.

So here we are again, back in the parlour, and after all that excitement we had better have something weird and wonderful to hum along to while we devour the rest of our frosty fayre,

 

We wish you all a very splendid afternoon and hope you will join us for more frosty fun on Thursday so, until then, please be always,

utterly yourself

 

 

 

 


Soup Of The Day: Steampunk Adventuring With Bone Shaker Boxes

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Shannon, creator of the steampunk adventure boxes at Bone Shaker Boxes. Good morning Shannon, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

Here is a simple Bean Soup made from an old Ham Bone you can get at the local butcher!

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 8 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

  • Melt bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in hot bacon grease until vegetables are slightly tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir potatoes into onion mixture; cook and stir until golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir hot water and chicken bouillon together in a large pot until bouillon is dissolved; add onion mixture, ham bone, diced tomatoes, corn, tomato sauce, black pepper, and salt.
  • Cook soup for 4 to 6 hours. Remove ham bone from soup and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from ham bone and stir meat into soup.
  • Serve hot with biscuits

 

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t we take a look at these amazing boxes that you make, have you brought some along to show us today?

Yes I did! I brought along the Tea for One box, the Radio Box, Father Mike’s Vampire Kit, and the Traveling Tea Set so we could share a pot or two, and it serves 6 so if anyone else is about they can join us!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Oh yes please a cup of tea would be marvellous and I’m sure the urchins would like some to! It is such a brilliant and original concept, do tell me, what inspires you when you begin to create a new box?

I am a very practical person and usually a need is what starts the process. An example would be the Tea for One boxes I make. When you travel, especially here in America, hotels cater to coffee drinkers and if you are a tea drinker you usually have very poor, if any, choices for teas. I decided to make a portable box that if you can get 8 oz. of water you can make a pot of tea anywhere (as long as they allow open flame), so the Tea for One box was born. It comes with its own teapot, cup, stove, and fuel. Then I have created areas to keep tea, sugar, spoons, strainer, and everything else you need to make the perfect pot of tea. Once you set the pot on the flame it takes about 10 minutes for it to reach 185° (F) or 85° (C), the perfect temperature for tea.

I have also created boxes from the story I have about Queen Victoria’s Secret Service. I create the boxes they would need to protect her and her family. The Radio Box and Father Mike’s Vampire Kit is from that series. You can read all about it and the stories that go with the boxes on my website http://www.boneshakerboxes.com/ and go the “About” section.

I try to make the boxes as practical as I can. The radio box has an MP3 player in it and you can listen through the headset or the built in external speakers. Other boxes have been portable bars, backpacks, and lap desks, just to name a few.

My boxes are usually very functional and are built to a quality standard that I expect you to use them and with a minimum of care should last you a lifetime. I want these passed down to your children so they can create their own character or use the same box they grew up watching you use.

I’m sure there are many adventurous souls out there who are already imagining the splendiferousness of toting around their very own Bone Shaker Box! Tell me, do you make each box as a custom order and, if so, how do you work with your clients to get a box that’s ‘just right’ for their Steampunk alter ego?

All of my boxes are one of kind! I will not repeat them, I built it once, why would I want to do it again? Now with that said, I will keep a good design idea (Tea for One boxes), but I always change something including the theme. So you never have to worry about someone having the same item as you. I started out making boxes for myself or for friends and now it is about 50/50 on original design (mine) or custom box for a client’s specific design/need.

I work very close with the individual, I provide pictures and feedback all through the process. Customizing the box to the individual is what makes it fun for me because it usually adds a level of complication. “How am I going to fit this into the box and make it look like it belongs there?” is a question I have asked myself many times.  It all works out in the end and I usually get to see tears when I present the finished project because the person was involved throughout the process and seeing their personal items displayed how they imagined (or close) just brings out all the emotion, and that can’t be priced into any box. Seeing the person fall in love with something that I made, is just the greatest thing.

Besides the boxes themselves, are there other Steampunk props and curios that you create?

Yes, I started out with a jewellery line as well. It was very popular and I got a bunch of complaints when I dropped it, but it was tough to get raw materials in the quality I wanted and keep pricing down. I also do leather work, and have made leather armour, belts, flask holders, restraints. I am a reasonably competent seamstress and have made a few costumes, but the boxes are my passion, I just love making them.

And besides your online store where else can we find your work displayed, featured or for sale?

I do have an Etsy shop, and I have been a featured artist at DragonCon’s Altered History Museum for the last 4 yrs. My work has been in multiple blogs and online magazines, plus I was featured in “Just Steampunk” magazine last year. I just filmed an episode of Ghost Finders (My first TV show) that will feature a new box called the Clairvoyant’s Box based on Georgiana Eagle the Queens Clairvoyant. She reportedly did upwards of nine readings with the Queen to try and contact Albert, so I made a box that she could have used during these readings.

I also travel the Southeast U.S. doing different conventions every year and just love meeting people and seeing the reactions when I show them the boxes are actually functional. Plus I have the usual social media sites as well:

https://www.facebook.com/BoneShakerBoxes/

http://boneshakerboxes.tumblr.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/boneshakerboxes/?etslf=8756&eq=bone%20shaker

 

And now the all-important question, on which the fate of the world may hang…  which do you prefer, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

I am a mood person when it comes to hot beverage. If I want to relax or I am feeling a little blue I prefer tea (English Breakfast is my favourite). However I do start every day with a cup of coffee, and both are with cream and sugar.

Splendid! Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Shannon, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

Thanyou so much for having me here and I am so glad I could help with the children. Hopefully you will have me back again and we can talk more about The Queen’s Secret Service and I may even have a tale or two for the urchins while they eat.

Oh that would be wonderful Shannon, thankyou I… but wait a minute I think… is that an octopus hurrying down the street towards us? Why yes it’s Collin! It’s not like him to leave the parlour without Max I wonder what could be the matter?

Oh dear! Collin informs me that Wizmas – the season of Witch Hunts and ill will to all women over the age of thirty  – has begun! I had no idea! I must find my toupee and false moustache at once, please excuse me, I have a lot of arrangements to make and a large bottle of brandy to buy…. 

blessings on your brew my dears!