Friday, 6 June 2008

Steampunk, Furzepig and Thwart

They really ought to be a firm of dubious solicitors, but they aren't! In reverse order...

Thwart #1 - after three nights without sleep and then three days of constant busy-ness, I made the mistake of thinking I could fit in a 'quick' trip to the City Centre after School yesterday. Discovered I hadn't enough money for park'n'ride, OR pay'n'display, so had to park in the [expensive] shopping centre [pay-on-exit] car park. Dashed to bank etc, and other places - got all the things on Bob's list - and car none of the ones on mine! Got back to car park within the hour. Only to discover whilst going up in lift that I had mislaid my ticket "That'll be twenty quid, luv" said cheery man beside me. Returned to car, just in case I had left it there. I hadn't. Rang Bob, feeling distressed and depressed, and he said all the right things. Went back to pay machine and spoke into the little grille. VERY KIND DISEMBODIED VOICE said "Well, I should charge you £20, full day rate, but as you say you only parked less than an hour ago, I will charge you for TWO hours as a goodwill gesture.

Thwart #2 - got home, and Bob made me a reviving cup of tea. I fed the dog, then went off to make our meal - only to discover that the meal I had planned, using leftovers in fridge wasn't going to happen. Bob was feeling better, so he had eaten a hearty lunch! Put an alternative meal together, eventually.

Thwart #3 - this morning, got up early, loaded washing machine, and got ready to go back into town [Bob had offered to take me on the bike] and couldn't find my phone. Hunted everywhere. Convinced myself I had left it in pocket of jeans. Which were in the washing machine. Had to stop machine mid-cycle, drain and empty everything out. No phone! Still couldn't find phone anywhere. Went out to get on bike - and hallelujah - it was in my car all along.

These things all seem to have taken up a lot of time, and left me feeling annoyed with myself - but looking back now, I can see that the eventual outcomes weren't that bad. The car park only cost £2.20, not £20. There was enough other food in the house for a meal. The phone wasn't undergoing total immersion and I haven't had to get a new one. Must work harder on the "Don't beat yourself up about it. Get over it. Move on" attitude. Count your blessings, Ang!

Anyway, this morning's trip into town was much more successful. And good fun too - being on the pillion means I do not have to think about driving, I can just enjoy the scenery. Recent rain has left everywhere so green and lush looking. Came back with some fur fabric and other bits and pieces.

Set up sewing machine and made a hat for Mr Toad. IM002551 The one in the props cupboard was a bit small, so I used it to cut out a paper pattern and make a larger one.

Initially I made one from a bit of old sheeting to see if it would fit.

This worked, so I decided that it would make a good lining. Made up tIM002552he whole thing and was very pleased with it. IM002553

The hat looked fine.Next thing was the driving goggles. The mother of the girl playing Toad had kindly supplied some plastic safety goggles, B&Q type. I thought with modification they IM002555 would fit  nicely on the cap.

I showed them to Bob who promptly said "I could steampunk them for you, if you like"


 IM002554It appears that the word refers to the idea of combining new technology with Victorian style. More information here.

Furthermore, if you google "Steampunk goggles" [images] you get this picture - which is great fun and there is an accompanying article on csteampunk goggleonverting new goggles into 'old-style' ones.

Typing google and goggle in the same sentence is hard!

Following the success with the millinery [I sat in front of TV to do the hand-stitching, and enjoyed watching Leslie Howard in The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Lovely old b&w version.Still prefer Richard E Grant and Martin Shaw in the recent TV production though.]

Then I began the hedgehIM002556og costumes. Charlie the Dog is moulting and Bob's been especially diligent in brushing him, because he keeps leaving clumps of fur everywhere. But that is NOTHING in comparison to the way this fabric sheds! Here is the carpet after only a few minutes trimming.

How to make a hedgehog outfit - cut two trapeziums [or trapezia - either plural is acceptable] of fabric, and sew them together to make a cylinder which will fit round the child, and reach from shoulder to knee.[about 40" x 28"]. Leave slits for hands. Sew along top for shoulders. Cut another trapezium for hood. Sew on. Drop whole thing over child's head. She should then be able to put her hands through the slits like little paws. The outfit is relatively restricting,so only allows for small scampering movements. WARNING if you are the adult who is making this costume DO NOT make the mistake of trying it on to check the effect! You will be unable to extricate yourself, and will need a helpful husband or other friend to get you out. You will get hot and bothered and your hair will get dishevelled [another form of steampunk!]IM002559

The latin name for the European hedgehog is Erinanceus Europaecus however they have a variety of regional names and these included: hedgepig, urchin, furzepig and graineog.

The costume doesn't look much pinned on the curtain, but I think it will work out OK in the end. Tomorrow I plan to experiment with PVA glue, and try to twist the fur into stiffer spines.

The kids at school are practising like mad - my colleague Claire is doing a great job with the music, teaching them the songs. It is lovely to be involved in a production like this.

sebo I have vacuumed all the fur off the carpet with my wonderful Sebo [imho much better than a Dyson] and now I shall feed the dog and get ready for the evening. Bob is definitely better, and working at double speed getting ready for Sunday. But you need to check his blog to find out about that!

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