Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Medieval Weekend at Herstmonceux Castle (part 1)

Yesterday we had a bank holiday in the UK which meant NO WORK for me :) Yay! I have been looking forward to this for-ever! (dash added for emphasis). As every year at this time, we went to England's largest medieval festival at Herstmonceux Castle for three days and had a blast. As I have so much I want to share with you, I will post several posts (can I say that?) about the weekend.

First, let's start by giving you a general impression of the weekend itself. Herstmonceux is in south England, not too far from Brighton and Eastbourne for those of you who dont know. It is a Canadian international school and once a year they open up their grounds for the festival. The bf calls this the 'posh' festival as you dont have to camp since they also open up the dorms where you can sleep and it is walking distance from the beertent. Also v handy for the bf and great for me since I hate camping. I couldnt put up a tent to save my life!

So this is Herstmonceux Castle:

This was my 4th year here and the very first time I managed to get this picture without any people or cars...

Lovely details on this also. This pic was taken by the bf, he is less of a happy snapper and really tries to get the right angle etc.

Check us out in our lovely medieval garb :) I made my coutfit completely (except for the hat) and the bf bought his since he wont stand still when being measured. But we're both happy with what we have and it's so comfy! This is my 'management dress' as I call it as working class couldnt afford black. I just loved the fabric...

Gathering for the archery competition in the morning (registration at 8.30am and that on my day off! As I needed the contact lens I had to get up at 6.45am, yawn...)

Funny knight was also displayed, although I dont really know why but I just liked him :)

It rained once which is why there is no one in the pic but it does look peaceful this way.

My friend Birgit from Deadly Glamour at the wine stall. Yummy Beerenweine from Germany, they have fantastic cherry-elderberry mead, yumm...

Said mead, and lots of it!

Archery chat at the bowyer, which is alwasy great fun since they're Dutch and we only see them at events. Typical archers, always showing their fingers *grin*

This was just too funny not to share ;)

Very cozy atmostphere in the beertent in the evenings also

One more of me and the castle. It's a shame you dont see my shoes (or my lovely basket) as I am wearing authentic medieval shoes. I will post some more re the outfit soon. And yes, I look a little fat here compared to my usual self but there were many layers and the black hat does fatten me up a bit, the white hat is much better for that.

Getting sleepy slowly... Yet another pic by the bf, he is getting really good, I love this pic! haha

Alas, not much longer and it was time to go... Got changed and am waiting for the cab here. Sneaky bf sneaking up on my with the camera. As you can see am quite pink and am currently having a major sunburn on my face. Spent half the day putting aloe on my cheeks!

But it was such a wonderful weekend :) No noisy from mobile phones or radios or mp3 players, no cars, no tv, pretty much no electricity, it was lovely :) And only 2 dresses to choose from which made getting ready a lot easier. Am all relaxed now.... haaaa.... *happy smile*

Tomorrow I'll post pics of a woodworker who made us a dibber :) Right now I really have to get some sleep... Speak soon everyone and I hope you like the pics!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Steampunk Outfit - Top Progress

Today was an amazingly great day for creating :) Maybe that exhibition from yesterday really did do the trick! After days and days of contemplating on how to fix the skirt, today was decision-making day. After all, next weekend I wont be able to work on this outfit and after that I only have 2 more weekends. So time to get cracking.

After making some painful decisions on the skirt (more details later when I have a post named 'progress on the skirt' LOL), I started working on the top on Friday. For a pattern I used McCall's 3797, pictured here (it's not my picture, I hope no one minds):

A long long time ago, I found an eBay seller who offered 50% off shipping from the US and I bought a number of patterns. I used the pattern for the jacket in the middle. Not very steampunky I know, but with the right tweaking not so bad. I didnt want to end up with a corset that would a) take forever to make, and b) be super uncomfortable.

So I got out my fabulous gold metallic fabric (for which I have completely forgotten the name, but it's thick and plastic-y), and started cutting. I used beige poly-cotton as lining for this, since I still had lots of it after a Star Wars costume being cancelled. The gold I had bought a few years back in a cute little shop in France that sold fabric by weight instead of meter. Quite amusing and I got some great deals! I also still had some buttons that I had bought years back in Holland when I first started planning for this costume, and some gold lace that I found on a medieval festival for only £1 for 2 meters. Put everything together, edit the pattern a little, add some ruffles in the back to hide the edge of the bustle, and here we go:

The bit under the lace has two colours as I was cutting the fabric of the front bit very late at night and of course messed up and had one piece inside out. Woops... I added the darker fabric on purpose as this bit was meant to be smaller, but I think this works also. I might add something later to make the transition better. To make sure it all stays put, I also added some press studs on the inside. I didnt show the top on purpose as this is a very particular fit and it just doesnt look right on the doll.

After seeing a picture online somewhere of a jacket with lace on the sleeves, I had to do this also. Copy you say? Kind of yes, but it was just too cool :) The shirt is the one I found at the charity shop a while back. The sleeves look better with a person in them, but hopefully I will have pics when the whole thing is done more.

For the back, I added this cute corset-y detail. I still had the leather with the holes in from my second EFF costume and it matches this one perfectly. The ribbon was leftover from a fairy dress that never happened. I love the ruffles, it is just the same gold fabric, except it is not lined or anything.

The bf is also preparing his outfit, and went online for some badges etc. He loves Battlestar Galactica, and found their pins on eBay (Blue Tiger Trading, I can highly recommend them. They have any movie related patches, badges or pins you need. I got the patch for the Harry Potter cloak here also). He bought too many and as it happens, the two spares look great on my shirt :)

(when I took the picture one of them had just moved after I had adjusted something but normally they both look the same LOL). So all inn all it was a good day. I'll probably end up looking a little chubby in this outfit but it has sooo many layers, it is hard not to.

The skirt is being worked on as well, as soon as I have more progress I will post more. I just bought some chain today to add to it, the first thing I bought in a while which is great :) Watch this space!

Inspirational Day at the Joana Vasconcelos Exhibition

Someone I know from work works part-time with artists, and one of the artists he works with (Joana Vasconcelos) is currently showing an exhibition in London. I had been planning on going for a while now and last week's plans were cancelled but today was the day that we finally went. I even managed to convince the bf to come! Ok, one disastrous tube ride later (turned out I had lost my tube card somewhere so had to buy a new one) we both regretted leaving the house, but things quickly turned around at breakfast which we had at the Pain Quotidien in Notting Hill. There used to be only one branch, meaning hours of queuing, but luckily they have become a chain and are all across London. The best bread ever!! Really, if you're around you need to go check it out.

Doesnt it look yummy? Then we met my wonderful sewing friend Nada in town and tried finding the exhibition. As of course I didnt bring the map or anything else than the street name, the bf came to the rescue and found the place :) So check this out, it was very inspirational and there was obviously so much work involved!

The entrance:

Check out all the different patches and bits and fabrics used. And this thing is ginormous!

Crocheted art, my friend loved the top of the lamp below, but I think my fav is the wasp although the bull looks wicked too:

Multi-coloured fabric creature:

Black fabric creature:

Again, the details are amazing...

In the same room as this hanging thing (ALL crocheted btw and stuffed with fibrefill), the it was, the giant cupcake!!

Of course we had to have some fun with it... my friend wanted to take a bite out of it:

Which of course meant I had to do the same LOL

(yes this is me with the giant backpack)

Somehow my friend made the cupcake look bigger... anyway, one of the two of us for good measure :)

The exhibition ended with a carousel type thingy which I wanted to share also. Not at all fabric related but just a little bizarre. The bf loved it.

At the top of the stairs we say the giant thing again (turkey, octopus, insert more options here) and it looks huge! My friend said it should really be hung in a mall, a really good idea me thinks!

There was another one-room exhibition where they were showing a few cages but which did give me some cool photo ops so I also wanted to quickly show you these:

Yeah, not sure what to think about the last one, maybe you can help? I wanted to analyse this and figure it out but it is passed 1am and I am no condition for that right now LOL.

Of course our arty tour had to be completed with some cake at Caffe Concierto which was lovely also:

All in all, it was a good Saturday :)

If you liked the above, please check out Joana Vasconcelos' "I Will Survive" exhibition in London here or try to see her stuff when she is in your area. Now that I'm motivated again, I'll try to work on the steampunk garb tomorrow. So far, it is still not going anywhere... Good night everyone!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Quick Plum Tart

Wow, my 100th post!!! I was actually going to write something spectacular, but it's really early and I have to get ready for work soon. However, I wanted to share with you this super quick recipe for plum tart. I actually dont really like plums but for some reason I end up buying them. They then sit around until I remember I have them and the only choice I have is to make plum tart *naughty grin*

What you need:
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 punnet of plums
some butter
lemon juice (optional)

  1. Defrost the puff pastry (as mine is shop-bought, really need to make this from scratch once)
  2. Put the pastry in a large oven dish. Whatever size you have, I use a round quiche-form where the bottom comes out but you can also just use a flat one.
  3. Slice the plums into 6 parts. Dont make the slices too large or if will be really messy in the end.
  4. Prick a few holes in the pastry with a fork to ensure airing and puffing
  5. Place the plum slices neatly on top of the pastry. Dont overlap too much, it still needs to have a little bit of space between them.
  6. Add a few tiny pieces of butter here and there.
  7. Add a little lemon juice.
  8. Sprinkel with cinnamon and sugar.
  9. Place in the oven until golden brown and puffy at the edges. (My oven has only temperature only so I cant say what you should use really).
Once it's done, it should look something like this:

I made this one evening and didnt think about taking step by step pictures but I hope I explained it ok anyway!

Right, must get ready for work now... let me know what you think of this plum tart if you make it!
And also, a big thank you to my 43 followers for keeping up with this blog! I love it that there are so many of you :)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Steampunk Outfit - Guns As Good As Finished

After spending several hours of Gimore Girls yesterday, I actually finished another tiny part of the steampunk outfit today. I think I actually watched 20 hours of Gilmore Girls ;) With the bf away and my flu coming on slowly, it was the perfect recovery time of an awful week. The sewing didnt really happen this weekend, but I did manage to nearly complete my very steampunky guns :) I say nearl as I am considering re-applying some paint but so far am still only thinking about it. I made sure to take pics of the process (this was done over several days) to show you the difference properly.

I bought these water pistols at the 99p store. Arent they super un-steampunky?

They're black on the back as I nearly forgot to take a pic of the 'before' state and I had already dine the back. I had my heart set on the yellow one and thought that I could give the other one to the bf for his costume.

I painted the water pistols black with emulsion paint. I got a tester can for only a couple of quid at the DIY store.

Looking better already dont you think? I then disabled the pumping thingy as it was annoying me, and starting painting them with my coveted Plasti-Cote gold leaf and antique gold paints. I spent forever trying to find the gold leaf paint and on Friday I finally got it!

And now, voila, my new and improved water pistol into steampunk guns metamorphoses:

Arent they the coolest? I am extremely pleased with them, especially as the bf just came home and really liked them also and really wanted to have one of them! LOL. Technically I need to re-apply some paint once more but they're good enough for the time being. Maybe I will just add some varnish just in case. I know I really wanted to have the yellow one in the beginning, but I'm now leaning more toward what used to be the green one. Oh well, I still have a while to think about it.

Sadly, it will be impossible to get these to the venue so I think I will post these out and collect them afterwards. It seems airlines are not so keen on transporting water pistols... I read online that a flight was once delayed for 2 hours just because of a neon pink water pistol! So lets not try that...

Back to work tomorrow, so I'd better get some sleep... I hope you all had a nice weekend also!
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