Thursday 29 November 2012

Winter wanderings

This is just a quick post to warn you all that I'm going away this weekend. I'm off to Cardiff with my other half to do some more cemetery research =] I'll be studying Cathays Cemetery and I'll make sure to take lots of pretty pictures for you all! If I don't freeze to death that is. It's getting awfully cold to be meandering in graveyards, after this I might have to postpone further field-trips until March!

In the meantime here's a picture of some owls:

The one in the middle is called Ezio (OWLditore, can you tell my boyfriend loves Assassin's Creed? He came up with it and I thought it was genius) but I don't have names for the other 2 yet.

Suggestions anyone?

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Kids today!

This is not going to be the rant you were expecting about kid's today and how ill mannered they are blah blah blah. I'm not quite that much of a fuddy duddy just yet. I'm only 22 (even if my back feels about 80 right now...).

My only comment about kids today is:


Because when I was 15, age 15 children's clothes fitted me. OK trousers were usually too long, but that's because my legs are disproportionately tiny. Everything else was fine.

And now?

I'm wearing an entire outfit of kid's clothes and the average age is? 12. That's right TWELVE. I tried this dress on in age 14+ and it was rather too large in the chest area... =[

Still I shouldn't complain; no VAT on kid's clothes so they are really cheap!

What I'm wearing:
Spotty black dress: H&M for 9.99 (available here)
Bat leggings: New Look for 5.99 (available here)
Belt: White ribbon from my sewing box.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Officially completely batty!

I've been collecting supplies for making more chokers, but I am waiting for my local craft shop to get more extension chains in stock before I can complete them (I could order some on-line  but I like to support the shop because it's independent and the owner is such a lovely woman).

In the meantime I've been working on a few projects for myself. I think my obsession with bat prints is starting to get a little serious =P

I brought this fabric in Poundland before Halloween. It's supposed to be a Halloween scarf, the bats are velvety and the green is a gauzy type of fabric:

I do love the green but for this project I carefully cut out some of the bats and then hand-stitched them onto a skirt I got in the charity shop for 2.50. It's a pretty shade of purple but I wish I had checked the label before buying it; it's linen so it creases really easily! Still I can't too much complain because it was so cheap. Sewing the bats on took me about 6 hours, but I really love the effect!

I know that when you look closely there are tiny traces of green left but from a couple of feet away you can't tell so it don't think it matters too much =]

I might add some stripes of black velvet ribbon too when I have another 6 hours to spare!

I've also finished some sock animals I started making a while ago, well almost finished, I need to get some buttons to add to the butterflies wings. I might put them in the Etsy shop if I don't give them as Christmas presents.

Saturday 24 November 2012

A very large parcel!

So this is what 500 tiny jiffy bags looks like...

And for scale, this is me attempting to carry the parcel:

Getting that up the stairs was fun =P
It's sitting on my bedroom floor and I've not unwrapped it because I have no idea where to put one, let alone 5 boxes of 100 bags. I might just throw some pretty fabric over it and pretend it's a table =P

Thursday 22 November 2012

I need your necks my pretties...

First of all I'd like to thank everyone again for their kind comments on my last post about the ribbon chokers I've been making (the post is here).

I am going to try making some more and set up an Etsy shop to sell them. Fortunately I applied for a credit card a few months ago so that I could do that (originally I was thinking of selling my sock animal creations; I'll probably still sell a few of those too).

I need 2 things from you my dear readers:

1. Would you pay £4 (plus p+p) for a ribbon choker, possibly up to £5-6 for some of the more complicated designs I'm picturing, like the cut-throat design in my post (more expensive materials and time to make)?
In USD that's roughly $6.50 or $8-9.50 for the more detailed ones.
Postage costs are likely to be low because they are so light (60p within the UK, £1.66 within europe, £2.38 anywhere else in the world) (plus about 15p for the padded envelop)
Unless people want their items tracked/insured? Opinions about this would be appreciated. It seems silly to make postage more than the cost of the item, but I do understand that it's horrible when things get lost in the post (although it rarely happens).

And here's the really important part:

2. Could you measure your necks for me?
I need to know what sort of size range would be good to make for chokers; they seem to vary anywhere from 12" to 17" on Etsy depending on the seller and that seems a tad impractical. I will of course put extention chains on my chokers (and offer custom sizing by request) but if I have an average neck measurement to work from that would really help me (I have a feeling my own neck is not a good average =P).

Please measure the base of your neck, where you'd want the choker to sit, either with a tape measure or a piece of string (then measure the length of the string with a ruler).

You'll be helping me out enormously and have my eternal gratitude (also I will put up a special discount code for my readers when the Etsy shop opens)! I will also make a custom size choker for anyone who provides a neck measurement and would like a choker (you choose the design of course).

I'm very excited about this! Tomorrow I'm going to go shopping for more ribbon and charms (although I also have some vintage/thrifted/rescued things set aside for one-off designs) =]

*UPDATE: Oh shit I just accidently brought 500 tiny padded envelopes instead of 50 and had to pay for them... I'm so dumb... I hope I sell a lot of chokers... Either that or I'll have to sell the extra envelopes off on ebay myself*

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Bats, blood and hollow hearts.

I had an idea a few weeks ago for a necklace, inspired by Jack the Ripper, Marie Antoinette and Vampires. I ordered some bits and pieces from ebay and hunted for the exact right shade of ribbon in my local craft shops and markets.

The result was this, my cut-throat necklace:

I hope it looks like a slit throat and blood dripping down (but in a decorative way) and reminds people of the thin red ribbon Marie Antoinette wore, making the guillotine chic.

I had to buy 100 of the ribbon crimps and I had so much fun making it I've made 2 more ribbon chokers already.

This one was a present for my friend Meera, I added an extension chain because I couldn't measure her neck without spoiling the birthday surprise somewhat!

With the leftover black ribbon I made this necklace for me, just because I found the bat charm in my local craft shop and thought it was cute:

I wore it today with this outfit (sorry about the picture quality, this is the only full length mirror in my lovely boyfriend's house; men just don't see the point of them I think =P).

What I'm wearing:
Stuff you've seen before many times, with my new bat leggings (New Look kid's department for 5.99!)
I've got my boot covers and walking boot socks on ready to pull on my DM's and brave the cold!

Do you like my necklaces? Anyone have any tips for jewellery making? I seem to get the odd jump ring that stubbornly refuses to close properly, so I hope they don't fall apart!

Sunday 18 November 2012

An overdue post about a wonderful evening

I'm not sure how I forgot to post this; drafted it on the 1st November...

After my visit to Highgate Cemetery to do research and take pretty pictures I went to the theatre for a very special event (don't worry I did at least attempt to scrape the grave-dirt off my shoes first).

I went to Grimm Tales: Telling Stories to see Phillip Pullman and Neil Gaiman talk about fairytales. When I found out there would be a signing after the event I very nearly fainted! I have been a fan of Phillip Pullman since I was a kid; His Dark Materials is one of my favourite trilogies of all time and the character of Lyra was my role model, inspiration and best friend when I was 11 and had no real-life friends to help me be brave. I couldn't wait to meet him and say thank you; thank you for Lyra, thank you for writing big, important stories for children, thank you for everything. I was equally excited to meet Neil Gaiman; who I'm sure you all know I also love, although didn't discover until more recently.

I was horribly dismayed upon arriving at the theatre to find that Phillip Pullman had been taken ill and couldn't make it to the event. Instead Neil Gaiman would be speaking to Meg Rosoff; the author of How I Live Now (which I haven't read, but I should do).

The first thing to make me smile again after that dreadful news was this sign:

(The Cambridge Theatre where the event was held is where the Musical of Matilda is playing at the moment; the stage set for it looks so wonderful).

Despite the lack of Mr Pullman, the event was delightful, with Audrey Niffenegger reading one of the stories from Pullman's new adaptation of Grimm's tales and Neil and Meg talking about stories, the importance of fairy tales, why heroes in fairy tales aren't heroic and many other things (including James Bond!). It ended with Neil reading us his All Hallow's Read story; Click Clack the Rattle-Bag. It was a genuinely chilling tale!

Then we queued up for the signing; me slightly nervously clutching my copy of Coraline, purchased at the event for signing, (I was a bit disappointed there were no copies of the Graveyard book, which would have given me an excuse to say 'I am doing research at Highgate, thank you for putting the Egyptian walk into your book'). I was a little worried that I'd go all silly fan-girl and not be able to talk when I finally stood in front of Neil Gaiman.

In front of us in the queue were a couple with their little daughter, who must have been about 8 and could have easily played Matilda herself. It made me smile to see her earnestly reading her copy of Coraline, which her dad proclaimed she 'would prefer to the film, it's a bit less scary'.

When we got into the room where the signing was, when there were still about 15 people between us and the signing table Neil announced that he was going to have to stop writing personalisations and just do signatures because there were 140 more people to see in 20 minutes. I was disappointed but very glad he was doing something to ensure everyone who wanted one got a signed book.

When the little girl and her family walked forward he looked up and exclaimed 'You're the girl from the video! It's so good to meet you! I wish you'd been down earlier so we could talk more' and shook her hand, asked her name and even personalised her book (I was so happy he broke his rules for her). She gave him the script from the video and then it was my turn to get Coraline signed.

He said 'sorry about that, she's the girl from the 'because the origami' video'. Then it was my turn to exclaim because I'd seen the video and was amazed I hadn't recognised her; I told him so. Then he signed by book and I quite embarassedly said 'I've got something for you too' (other than the script, the table was bare, clearly bringing presents was not usual practice) 'It's academic proof of the cat's dream'. I handed it over and he started to open the paper to look, looked up at the line sheepishly and said 'I'll look at it later. By the way I like your hat'. I said thank you and left, floating at least 2 inches above the floor.

The wonderful video is here.

For those who don't know, this is the cat's dream. When reading for an archaeology essay I found 2 lines of text in Terry O'Connor's book 'The Archaeology of Animal Bones' that said roughly; Homo Sapiens, domesticated in 7000BP by cats as a source of food. I had photocopied the page for Neil and written the Havard reference for the book at the bottom.

I hope he did read it. I hope it made him as happy as it made me when I found it.

I didn't take an outfit photo, but in addition to my very special antique top hat I was wearing an outfit very similar to this:

What I'm wearing:
Knit Dress: H&M
Black summer dress: original cream, from H7M in the sale for a fiver; I dyed it of course.
Black lace skirt: New Look (same old, same old)

Instead of the necklaces in that photo I wore my Ankh, as a tiny nod to Death from Sandman.

I will leave you with this piece of wisdom from the first page of this edition of Coraline:

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Oh my, what delights have we here?

I've been looking on in envy at all of the wonderful halloween items available in the US this year, especially the wonderful skirts Bane at GIY made. Oh how I wanted some fabric that beautifully spooky!

I've caved in and brought some from Etsy;

This Nevermore fabric


This Ghouls Night Out fabric

There were some other pieces I really wanted, but with shipping costs on top I can't really justify spending so much money on fabric; I can't really afford the pieces I just brought even...

If I could afford it I would have brought this Tula Pink Coven fabric, which I absolutely adore, but would probably use for decor, not clothing (too colourful for me I think) and I don't have anywhere to decorate at the moment... It might be years before I have a house. This crows at the graveyard fabric which is also lovely, but I have a bag with a similar design already. I'd also like spiderwebs and these owls in an ideal world.

I can't wait until the fabric I did order arrives though! I'm not sure what I'm going to make with the fabric yet. I'm fairly proficient with a sewing machine but I've only made a few garments so I'm also worried that I'll ruin the expensive fabric. Maybe I should save it until I can afford a professional seamstress? What do you think?

Friday 2 November 2012

Under a blanket of leaves, the cemetery sleeps.

I went back to Highgate on Monday to do some more fieldwork. Oh how I have missed it. It looked beautiful with all the colours of autumn and the weather was delightfully clear and crisp.

I think it looks so peaceful with the fallen leaves lying like a duvet over everything, yet still refreshingly green because of the ivy which twines through everything there (looks lovely; is terribly damaging to the memorials, but a great habitat for wildlife, so a balance must be found).

Thursday 1 November 2012

MCM expo

I went to MCM Expo Comicon in London on Saturday, which was very exciting. There was some truly incredible cosplay and some truly horrendous queuing (2 and a 1/2 hours to get a wristband to get in!!). Although I must say the most entertaining queuing I've done in a long time; spotting costumes sure helps pass the time! As does everyone nearly fainting with cute-overload when the Kurt Kobain look-a-like walks past... And especially trying to do ninja fast photos in front of the TARDIS (and failing!). Next time I'll definitely buy an early entry ticket!

Some of my dear school friends had decided to go as Soul Eater characters. Enter Death the Kid and his weapons Liz and Patty:

Knowing I've dressed up as Blair Witch before, they suggested I re-use the costume. Which sounded great to me as I've had very little time to craft lately! Last time I dressed as Blair, I didn't have the right top (I found a suitable one a week later in a charity shop, and brought it anyway) so I had to compromise a bit, but I managed to dye my hair suitably purple. This time, I had a better costume but the Directions Violet dye I used didn't show up on my hair at all =[

How Blair should look:

My first attempt:

My costume for Expo:

I wore the purple on the tights to compensate for the lack of hair colour! These pictures are taken with some uni friends dressed as Poison Ivy, Sebastian from Black Butler and Rose Tyler (was going to be Sailor Moon, but wig didn't arrive in time =[)

The bell around my neck was pretty irritating for me, but funny for everyone else because it jingled whenever I got excited (which considering I saw a new cool costume every couple of minutes was pretty much all day!!!)

I didn't get many photos of other people's amazing costumes, because I had low camera battery (next year I'll charge them and take a spare!), but here are pictures of my 2 favourites:

Ryuk from Death Note:

And this amazing creation, the jaw of the skull even opened!

I'm already trying to think of a good costume idea for May; hard to find something which will look good and be within my skill to make!

Have any of you ever been to this kind of convention? Did you do cosplay?