Feb 042017
 

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it, viewers?

We sort of had an unspoken agreement to take a break in 2016, to let ourselves recover from the chaos. But it’s 2017 and the chaos isn’t ending anytime soon. The world needs fandom and steampunk and individuality now more than ever; I can’t promise anything like a regular update schedule, but I can share what I’ve done with you all.

This project isn’t a new one. Some years ago, we purchased a pair of hand towels from ThinkGeek reading “I love you” and “I know”. (Pause here to pour one out for Carrie Fisher, forever my Disney Princess). They resided in the master bathroom for some months before I received an embroidery machine as a gift. I knew right away what I wanted to do: create more towels with interesting couples to remind me that love isn’t always songbirds and springtime.

I created the first set based on the images you see here from the game Undertale by Toby Fox. If you haven’t played it, do so; I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say that Asgore and Toriel are a divorced couple, with good reason to be, and the portrayal was nuanced enough that I don’t entirely blame either party for the split. Note that Asgore’s image does not have a background; they are a matched set.

 

 

The patterns were made for my machine: a Brother PE-770, known for its low price point and large hoop size. If your machine has a smaller hoop, you’ll need to shrink the patterns; if it’s not a Brother, you’ll need to convert them to the appropriate format. Finally, I took advantage in some places of the fact that I was embroidering them on black fabric; the pattern may not be appropriate for stitching on white or colored fabric, as some places leave the fabric to show through.

 

 

Here is the download link for Asgore, and for Toriel. Let me know if you have any issues with the files; I have many versions lying around, and I may have uploaded the wrong one.

Stay determined!

Dec 252014
 

If you follow Epbot, you’ll know they’ve been doing a Harry Potter theme this year. Since we couldn’t have a tree in our apartment by order of the fire marshall, we decided to redo our living room into the Gryffindor Common Room 🙂

 

Jan 262014
 

Guess who has two thumbs and just got a new job? This gal!

Fortunately, this job comes with a sweet-ass new laptop. Huzzah! Unfortunately, it’s friggan impossible to find a cute bag for a 17″ non-Mac laptop. (Why does Mac vs PC matter? Because the 17″ MacBook Air is super thin, and this beast is not. It’s a good inch and a half thick at least.)

What’s a stylish girl to do? Make her own messenger bag. I’ve marked this tutorial as “non-steampunk”, because the bag I made is cute and purple and totally not steamy, but I’m sure an intrepid adventurer could steampunk up this style of bag in no time. Maybe a canvas bag, with faux rivets and shiny brass buttons?

First things first: I measured the machine. The screen size is measured diagonally from corner to corner, so I needed both length and width measurements. This machine is 16.5″ long by 11″ wide, and, as mentioned before, about 1.5″ thick.

For inspiration, I took the tutorial found at Crazy Little Projects. With some space for padding and a nice deep pocket I could put notebooks and pens in, I decided to make the front flap 13″ x 20″, with the back flap 24″ x 20″ (to allow for the foldover part) and the side piece 46″ x 4″. I elected not to make a strap, instead stealing one from another bag that I already had.

I bought the following materials:

  • 2 yards outer fabric – in my case, a fashionable flower-print denim
  • 2 yards inner fabric – I chose a crushed velvet in deep purple
  • 2 yards fusible fleece interfacing
  • 2 D-rings
  • one snap or button or other fastener

2 yards turned out to be excessive; the tutorial said 1 yard, but I like to have extra for when I inevitably mess up. I could have gone with 1.5 yards easily though. I chose my outer fabric to be rugged and protective, while the inner I chose to be soft and cushioning. For a fastener, I considered a magnetic purse closure, but instead decided on a snap closure, mostly because the magnetic one I was looking at seemed awfully powerful and I didn’t want to risk erasing my hard drive. I considered a belt-style fastener too, I think that might be cute later. A button could also work if you feel comfortable stitching buttonholes.

Measuring the fabric turned out to be difficult, even for my engineer husband. I would recommend buying some poster board and making a template, as sturdy paper or cardboard won’t wiggle out from under your pencil and make your measurements wrong. If you regularly freehand patterns, though, by all means go right ahead and trace directly onto the fabric.

I fused the interfacing to the denim, because the velvet is sensitive to heat, then stitched together the two fabrics. Then, I lined up the side panel on the front flap, pinned, and stitched. Remember to leave some space sticking up on either side! I forgot, and had to make do with adding pieces to secure the D-rings instead of folding over the excess.

Stitch the back panel. If you’re like me and have no excess to secure the D-rings, take the stronger fabric (in my case, the denim) and cut out strips an inch wider than your side panel and several inches long. Press half an inch under on each side to make a nice edge, and you should probably do the same to each end too but I didn’t bother. Secure this TIGHTLY, with many stitches, to your side panels, with the D-ring looped securely in place. My first attempt ripped off as soon as I hefted the bag onto my shoulder; I suggest making a box shape with an X in the center to ensure that your threads are going different directions and thus wear easily.

Of course, if you planned ahead, you can just fold over the excess around your D-rings and stitch that in place. Again, err on the side of excess!

I hand-stitched my fastener in place so it wouldn’t show from the outside. It looks pretty awful because despite doing a ton of it in school, I never got good at hand-stitching. Feel free to add iron-on appliques or anything to help jazz up the bag; feel free to make a strap and stitch it to the D-rings, or scavenge one from another bag as I did. Voila!

Pictures!

bag_inner

Isn’t that denim pretty? You can just see a bit of the velvet

bag_outer

The outer flap

bag_side

Closeup so you can see how I stitched on the D-ring

 

me with bag

It matches my coat 🙂

 

 

Nov 262013
 

Yami, Chaos and I went to the one night only showing in theatre last night to see the 50th Anniversary showing for Doctor Who. And, okay, maybe it’s not hard-core steampunk but… one of the major plot devices (and I mean an actual doohicky, not a literary convention) was tricked out all kinds of steampunk. And a lot of the various Doctors wore sorta steam-punk-esque clothes. And… hey shut up. It’s my blog and I’ll post if I want to!

 

Anyway.

 

So, normally, I start out with a ‘what did we think’ before showing some pics and giving some details. Of course, pictures won’t exactly work in this case, what with the whole ‘illegal’ and ‘Kae would not enjoy prison time/fines’ deal but even the first part is hard to do in this case. See, while I can honestly and completely say the movie itself was everything you could want in a Doctor Who super-episode/movie, summing up the entire experience is… murky.  The plot was solid, the characters were- well, hellsfire. We had Ten and Eleven. In the same scene. A lot. Talking to each other and by talking I mean making fun of each other. So the movie was great, in and of itself. Well, most of it. I can’t be sure how good about three or four minutes in the middle of the bloody climax of the movie was… which leads us to…

 

As for the ‘total experience?’ First off- the Doctor Who fandom is full of some of the most awesome people you will ever meet. See, the theatre we went to had some technical issues come up during our viewing. After almost twenty minutes of seeing the same six minutes or so of ads, the screen goes black. Cool- it’s 7:50 for our 7:30 showing, it must be getting ready to start, right? No. Not so much start as not anything. Just black screen. In any other fandom, there would have been cursing and near riots. Instead, there were witty remarks, great ‘bad’ jokes and much whirling and humming as people tried to sonic the movie back to working right. Dam projector must have been made of wood or something… or dead-locked.  So a guy finally comes out around 8 or so to tell us they’re almost ready to start, they were just having some issues.

And it starts and things were good.  Right up until that climax I mentioned, when the sound cuts out for about ten seconds. The entire theatre, in unison, gasps and then cursed. Ten seconds later, we all start to sigh with relief as we hear something start to- wait, what? Why is- why is the Doctor advertising for freaking Adventure Time? The hell? Yeah, for a few good minutes the audio got replaced with the same ads we watched for over twenty minutes before the movie.

 

So pissed.

 

Still, they gave everyone a free ticket for later without even having to be asked, so points to them for making it right. The three of us already have plans to buy the 5oth to watch at home later- it’s entirely worth re-watching, I assure you.  Still, I’m glad we did go, technical issues aside, it was a great experience thanks to the super fans that came out to the movie.  Hope you managed to catch it yourselves- and if you haven’t… well, wait are you waiting for? Grab your fez and get started watching! Or a duster. Both are cool.

This guy. This guy is cool.

This guy. This guy is cool.

 Posted by at 6:50 pm
Jul 112013
 

This is stupidly late, but things got a little heavy for a while.  I’ve finally gone through all the Con photos, plus chased down the ones the others took (to be fair, Yami sent me the one she took less than two days after the Con. Chaos… today).  The Con itself was pretty good, though the schedulers were tricksy folk- they scattered the really interesting panels over the entire long weekend. Which is great for people that weren’t us, as we could only make the one day. Regardless, a well run and very fun Con.

 

[Note: Some of the captions at the end got lost somewhere, I’ve had to just tag the names of the characters. –Yami]

 Posted by at 8:08 pm
Jun 092013
 

Because sometimes I do things that aren’t steampunk. (…yet.) Lara Croft, from the 2013 reboot of her franchise, now wears pants! Canonically! Again! This seemed like a cause for celebration, and as I examined her character model I didn’t see much about it I couldn’t emulate easily with my body type.

The new canonical look

Seriously, a trip to the outlet mall pretty much has this covered 😀 Since I didn’t want a bra to show under the thin-strapped tank tops, I opted to spend more on the bottom tank in order to get one with a bra built-in from my favorite bra retailer, Just My Size:

Valmont Lace Trim Bra Camisole, promotional shot.

Then I took a quick trip to the local thrift shop — and I do mean quick, as it turns out they closed a half hour earlier than I thought they did so we only had fifteen minutes to shop. There’s two thrift shops on the same street near my apartment: one is the local Goodwill, which I prefer to patronize, and the other is a place called Village Discount Outlet, which has the distinction of being three times the size of the Goodwill. Their selection is usually pretty crap; they run sales regularly on their already-marked-down products, meaning they have a lot of turnover and anything particularly nice gets snatched up pretty fast, but if I’m looking for something basic enough they’ll often have it. In this case I got lucky and found three tank tops that might work. With minutes to spare before they closed, and since they have no changing room whatsoever, I decided to purchase all three, figuring I can always donate anything that doesn’t fit to the Goodwill.

shirts

One of the shirts vanished…. >.>

Side note on colors: The tank top in the model in the game is clearly, CLEARLY, grey. Maybe a faint hint of blue to it, but pretty much grey. What color is the tank top listed as on every fansite I’ve ever seen? Blue. WTF? Finally I realized why: her older model had a blue tank top. So other cosplayers are doing bright blue tank tops, disregarding the in-game model. Whatever.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any cargo pants whatsoever. Another of my favorite spots for cheap clothes is Amazon; I found the perfect pair, but balked at the price. Over $50 with shipping wasn’t cheap, but at the same time… PERFECT. I bookmarked them, deciding I’d at least try Walmart first. Thankfully, Walmart had cargo pants! Downside, they were the wrong color. Upside, they were $19 instead of fifty.

Promotional picture of the pants

Promotional picture of the pants

We thought about dying them, but we didn’t want to damage or stain our washing machine using washing-machine dyes and didn’t have a dye vat. What we did have was a stockpot, water, vinegar, and the ability to purchase coffee. So, natural dye job it was~!

pants-during

Pants, cooking in a mixture of coffee, vinegar, and water

pants-drying

Pants, drying, after dying

Notice how absolutely perfect the color is in this shot? Now see what happened after we washed them:

Pants, after washing and drying

Pants, after washing and drying

Bleeech. In person they’re even lighter than the picture seems to show, this was taken with a cellphone camera. Oh well. The final costume is below:

pose1

pose2

Jun 012013
 

Greetings, loyal fans! Today I am proud to introduce a new,very small sub-blog: Radiant Gaming.

As some of you may be aware, Radiant Vanguard started out as a tabletop gaming group, getting together to play World of Darkness. Over the year we’ve been friends, we’ve also done a good amount of computer, console, and board gaming. Radiant Gaming is a small, irregular side blog dedicated to these non-steampunk topics. There’s no set schedule, but I plan to do a weekly recap of our gaming sessions as, starting today, we’re doing a brand new campaign. I’ve encouraged the guys to, any time they feel like it, go ahead and post anything related to any sort of gaming that they feel like, so there might be posts more often, but there might not. So if you’re interested, it’s probably worth subscribing via email or RSS feed so you don’t miss any updates.

See you there!