Tag Archives: Steampunk

Latest Junkin’ Trip–the Oklahoma 100 Mile Yard Sale

I am excited to announce that Rhys and I bought our forever home. It’s a lovely traditional style house built in 1964. I promise I will post some pictures soon once we’ve got all of our boxes unpacked and our art on the walls. My mom wanted to visit us to see the house in person and any reason for me is a good reason for a visit.

Serendipitously, my mom was able to fly in from New York to Tulsa the same weekend as the 100 Mile Yard Sale in Oklahoma. I was ecstatic. I learned about the 100 mile yard sale last year on one of Rhys’ Route 66 road trips and had earmarked  it to check out this year.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but we planned the weekend out well. My mom and I rented a cargo van, packed the cab with our favorite road trip snacks, hand wipes, water, and a few of our garage sale must-haves (basic tools, a notebook and pen, measuring tape, bubble wrap, boxes, plastic bags, a checkbook, and cash).

All that was left was to pick up our first map and be on our way.

IMG_5088I loved that the maps were printed in the local newspapers. I was happy to pay my 75 cents and be able to cross off garage sales as we went.

On the first day, we had an ambitious plan…to cover half of the towns on the route. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs so to speak. We took our time and the day flew by and before we knew it, it was evening and we only made it to 2 towns–Sand Springs and Cleveland.

We found a lot of “littles” and a couple pieces of furniture for the new house: a set of vintage metal ice cream chairs and a sewing desk for my studio.

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My mom was over the moon because we’d only paid $4 for both chairs. They need a little TLC but are otherwise in crackerjack shape.

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In Cleveland, there was one sale in a field that had a whole table full of large and small sized teapots. Some were kitschy, chintzy, and others were plain, sturdy standbys. I love tea and teapots so I spent a good deal of time perusing the table. I came away with a beautiful, fun teapot shaped like a sewing machine. (It’s actually going to be a gift for my grams.)

Day Two of the 100 Mile Yard Sale was much more exciting. We got up really early and drove out to Pawnee where we started our day. Pawnee was by far our favorite stop on the 100 mile yard sale. It’s where I’ll begin every year from now on.

Everyone was friendly and in a good mood. With the Oklahoma Steam Show in town and the yard sale going on, everyone was full of pride and their beautiful town square was bustling with energy and visitors.

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At the sidewalk sale outside Red Door Antiques (a fantastic little antique mall if you are in the area), I found a set of pineapple dishes. They are fabulous and summery.

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My mom pulled a prank on me, when I went to put some of her purchases in the van, she purchased the dishes and when I came back I was crestfallen thinking that they had sold to someone else. She played it up like she didn’t see who bought them…and I later found out that she did.

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In Pawnee, we lucked upon a whole box of antique German mercury glass Christmas ornaments, some costume jewelry pieces, a few books, sewing notions–a favorite material of mine, silver thimbles, and some sweaters to upcycle into mittens.

We also found a beat up curio cabinet. The rehab has already begun and I promise a much-longer post on it later.

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We stopped in at Click’s for a bite to eat before heading down to road to Yale and Oilton where we found a cheesy record collection titled “Mood Dining” which was too tempting to pass up.

My favorite find of the whole weekend was this little picnic red and white gingham pouch filled with an old recipe for shortbread and these 3 handmade cookie stamps. The recipe card was well worn from being folded & unfolded so many times–a testament to how loved it was.

I can’t wait to bake a batch of these cookies and stamp them with lots of love. No doubt I will be folding and unfolding this recipe for many years to come.

Steampunk Mothers Day Card

More than anything I found, what I’ll treasure most is a weekend of memories made with my mom. We rode in the car singing loudly to the Golden Oldies, rummaged through house after house for treasures, and talked endlessly about our future shop together.

I am lucky to have such an inspiring, creative, kind and goofy mom. She’s my best friend and my role model. Happy Mother’s Day! 

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Steampunk Hallow’s Eve Party~Decorations (Re-blogged)

Having a Halloween party? Want to Steampunk it up? Here are a few ideas that won’t break your wallet (gotta have money for all that candy right?)!

Jars of candy are a given for any Halloween party–to add just a touch of mystery & oddness you can attach labels like the one below from VectoriaDesigns.  They are much classier than your average Halloween labels, indicating the jar’s contents are brains, zombie boogers, blood, etc. VectoriaDesign’s labels, for instance, help set a Steampunk/Sci-Fi mood with labels like: Anti-Time Tablets, Steam Engine Oil, Octopus Ink, and my favorite Time Traveler Pills to name a few.

Steampunk Apothecary Jar Labels from VectoriaDesigns on Etsy

The labels are a digital download. Total cost: $3.50 label images (15 total), $11.99 label printer paper…$15.49

Another great digital downloadable decoration for your party are Victorian style paper dolls with a Halloween & Steampunk twist. My favorite paper doll artist is RhondasOrignials. Her dolls are by far the most unique and strikingly odd. She has over 50 paper dolls for Halloween alone. These dolls make excellent centerpieces for your table or to fill up empty space on your mantle or shelves.

The Phrends~Phrenology Paper Dolls with Vintage Bat And Pumpkins by RhondasOriginals on Etsy

What makes Rhonda’s paper dolls so special is the accessories that come with each doll and the characters that she creates. You can download her dolls on her Etsy shop, click here to follow the link. Rhonda also has specials where she bundles a number of her dolls together for Halloween. The bundle costs $23.25 or you can purchase individual doll patterns for $6.00 each. The instructions on how to assemble your dolls is very easy to follow and the colors are true to how they print on your home printer. Total Cost: (for a bundle) $23.25, brads (found in your local arts & crafts store in the scrapbooking aisle)  $1.39, Aleene’s Tacky Glue $2.50…$27.14

Aside from digital downloads, hit your local flea markets, garage sales, and estate sales for old jars & bottles. You can fill these bottles & jars with an assortment of items to fit the mood of your party. Inkling for a bit of twisted romance, dry some red roses beforehand and place them in your jars for a pretty bit of decay to display or paint them black (how very Alice in Wonderland of you to do so!). Want your party to look like a Mad Scientists Laboratory, fill those jars up with an assortment of colored liquids & place glow sticks inside so that they give off an eerie luminescence. There’s also my DIY on steampunk candles–they’re perfect for a Hallow’s Eve Bash!

There are other items you can make to give your party a steampunk feel. Craft recently posted a DIY on how to make your own miniature hot air balloon.

Photo Courtesy of RuffledBlog.com

You can suspend them from the ceiling to give your party-goers the feeling that they are on an airship deck among the clouds–you can even make clouds! Click here to find out how!

Photo Courtesy of Craft

If you do not have a specific steampunk  theme in mind, you can be more general and decorate using broken machines, machine parts, clocks, and other mechanicals you may already have or ones that you can thrift. Great items to pick up: tea cups & saucers, china, clocks of any kind (you can line them all up on your mantle, table, or along your stairs), jars of light bulbs, globes or old maps, or springs (to make a garland to hang in your doorway or off your fire place).

These are just a few ideas to get you started! Stay tuned for the rest of October for my Steampunk Halloween DIY series  and get ideas on steampunkins and how  to make your own steampunk halloween costumes for adults & kids.

 

 

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DIY Steampunk Monocle Bowler

A fun DIY for Halloween! Great for a steampunk Sherlock Holmes or Watson!

shot_1373926098697This DIY is relatively simple though it can be expensive (if you can’t find a bowler for cheap). Here’s what you’ll need:

Bowler hat (preferably thrifted); Thick Chain (I used 4 inches); Safety Pin; Needle & Thread; Ribbon (mine was ribbon made to look like measuring tape); Small leather pouch; Magnifying glass; Game Spinner; Clock Gear; Jumps Rings; Pliers; Scissors, an Awl; Pins; and a medium Bike Gear (from a cassette)

Steps:

  1. Measure the amount of ribbon you’ll need to fit snugly around the base of your bowler hat. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch on each side to fold over your bike gear. Once you’ve measured the amount of ribbon you’ll need, cut it. Set aside.
  2. Pick up your leather pouch, using your scissors (or an exacto knife), cut 2 slits on the back of your pouch (about 1/4 inch from one another in the same direction–either horizontally or vertically), then thread your ribbon through the slits. Next, using your awl, poke a hole in the front of your leather pouch (so that you can affix your chain to the pouch with a jump ring). Using your flat nosed pliers, attach the chain and the magnifying glass with a jump ring. Optional, also add a game spinner and a clock gear  with jump rings for further decoration.Hat 2
  3. Next, thread your ribbon (with the right side facing up) through your bike gear’s holes on one side. Pin in place. Hold your bike gear in place (where you want it situated on your bowler hat and then wrap the ribbon around the base of your hat. Thread the end of the ribbon through the bike gear and pin in place. When you are pinning your ribbon, be sure that you are only pinning the ribbon together and not the ribbon to the hat. Hat 1
  4. Next, slide the ribbon off of the base of your bowler hat and sew the ribbon in place. Keep your stitches small and close together. Be sure to tie a sturdy knot and hide that knot on the side of the ribbon that will go against your hat (and therefore not be seen). Cut off any excess ribbon in the back. Repeat for the other side.
  5. Slide your ribbon down onto your bowler hat in place around the base. Place the magnifying glass inside the leather pouch and see how far the chain dangles off of the hat’s brim. If desired, using your safety pin, pin the chain to the opposite side of your bowler hat’s brim until you want to use the “monocle”/magnifying glass. Hat 3
  6. Wear proudly! Hat 4As always, happy crafting!

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DIY Steampunk Halloween Candelabra

I love Halloween! It’s a great excuse to go over-the-top and get a little campy. This year I made a cool Steampunk Candelabra that you could easily make for yourself. It’s easy to make, relatively inexpensive (if you’re making only one), and you can use either re-purposed materials or reproduction materials and the outcome is still impressively spooky! Perfect for any Halloween decor!IMG_9147

Materials & Tools:

  • 2 bike gears, cleaned (free)
  • 1 candelabra (I purchased mine from Michaels for 24.99)
  • 2 skeleton keys (mine are fake metal keys, also purchased from Michaels in the dollar section: 4.00)
  • Chain (1 pkg., 2.99)
  • 4 large swivel hooks (1 pkg. of 4, 1.99) *Be sure to purchase hooks that are: easy to open (like a partial split ring) and large enough to fit around your candelabra’s arm with enough space leftover to dangle your skeleton key comfortably
  • Ideology brand reproduction gears (2 pkgs., 4.99 ea.)
  • Jump rings
  • 4 candlesticks (1.00 ea.)
  • Wire cutters
  • Flat nosed pliers

Note on the materials: You can use actual gears & keys that your re-purpose, but for those looking for a cheaper version reproduction gears & keys are fine too.

Steps:

  1. Measure the amount of chain you need by taking a piece of string and configuring it to hang  in between your candelabra’s arms. Keep in mind how far down you’d like your chain to hang.  Cut and then measure against a ruler. You may even want to bring the piece of string with you to the store to purchase your chain.
  2. Cut your chain pieces using your wire cutters. You want 4 total.
  3. Once you’ve cut your chain, decorate it with your gears. To fasten a gear to a chain link, use your flat nosed pliers. Open a jump ring, load the gear onto it, and then load the chain link onto the jump ring. Close your jump ring. Do the “shake test” to make sure your jump ring is firmly closed. Repeat for all chain pieces. (I put 6 gears on each chain piece.) Once you are finished, set your chain links aside.IMG_9162
  4. Next, attach your large swivel hooks onto your candelabra’s arms.IMG_9160
  5. After all of your hooks are in place, load your skeleton keys onto your swivel hooks.IMG_9156
  6. Once your keys are in place, attach your decorated chain pieces to the swivel hook with a jump ring. You are connecting your chain to one hook  as well as the hook across from it. Repeat for each chain piece.IMG_9161
  7. Next, place your bike gears onto your candelabra. Mine fit comfortably over the middle candelabra arm and pedestal. Place yours where you like.IMG_9152IMG_9159
  8. Last, affix your candlesticks in their holders.IMG_9158IMG_9166

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Steampunk Costume Ideas for Ladies & Lil’ Ladies

The best part about making your own costume is that you have total aesthetic control. The greatest benefit to a handmade Halloween is that you are not inhibited by a limited selection (and do not have to weigh those unappealing options–like deciding between a slutty nurse  costume or a ladybug for you or your child). It seems like most costumes these days for women fall into 2 categories: hyper-sexual or infantile. This is precisely the kind of social issue that drives the Take Back Halloween project.

Take Back Halloween is a blog & website that offers up ideas on how to create costumes for women & girls that are not only imaginative, fun, and yes even macabre but empowering and inspiring. Their costumes are based on real women (a smattering of scientists, queens, explorers, and entrepreneurs) and also strong female figures from world mythologies. I’ve been a fan of their blog for some time, I find its dedication to positivity and multiculturalism refreshing and I wanted to share it with those of you who are figuring out what you’d like to be this Halloween.

Here are some Victorian women–who you could either emulate or steampunk (I offer a couple of steampunking suggestions for each lady)!

1) Ada Lovelace: Aristocrat Scientist & Daughter of Lord Byron

Steampunk Suggestions: “Nowadays she’s recognized as ‘the world’s first computer programmer,'” drawing from this fact you create a cool accessory (a fan, necklace, or pair of earrings perhaps) out of an old computer circuit board or if you feel daring–a masquerade style mask made out of computer parts!

2) Carlota of Mexico: Renowned Beauty & Empress of Mexico

Steampunk Suggestions: Carlota was famous for her jewels and in fact Take Back Halloween points out that “(They’re still famous—one of her diamonds sold at auction in 2010 for 1.7 million dollars.).” Steampunking Carlota would be simple & elegant–painting gears over crystal glass beads (which you would then use to make a pair of dangly earrings) or a pearl necklace with a cog/gear pendant & pearl dangling from the bottom. If you feel particualrly adventurous, you might even create a cog & gear crown for yourself.

3) Emma Goldman: American Anarchist & Activist, nicknamed “Red Emma”

Steampunk Suggestions: Accessorizing to look like Emma Goldman is steampunk enough! It’s be easy. Pince-Nez glasses, button up boots, & her fantastic Victorian style hats.

4) Jane Austen: Needs No Introduction! Technically she’s not Victorian, but regency costumes are fun too!

Steampunk Suggestions: Why not be Jane Austen, Vampire Hunter or Zombie Killer?! Accessorize with not only a deadly pen but a broadsword or stake!

5) Lise Meitner: Nuclear Physicist who discovered Nuclear Fission

Steampunk Suggestions: To accompany your outfit, grab tubes & bottles and fill them up with various liquids & stick a glow stick inside to give them a radioactive luminescence and goggles are a must (laboratory safety after all!).

6) Lizzie Borden: Murderess (hey, it’s Halloween!)

Steampunk Suggestions: Leg-o-mutton sleeves are a must, blood spattered spats, and an axe!

7) Madam C.J. Walker: Self-Made Millionaire & One of America’s first Female (and Female African American) Entrepeneurs

Steampunk Suggestions: My favorite picture of Madame C.J. is of her driving–such an empowering image of a mobile woman–a force to be reckoned with! I suggest some driving goggles, gloves, and a large opulent hat!

8) Susan B. Anthony: Suffragist Extraordinaire!

Steampunk Suggestions: Keep it simple–wear a Votes for Women sash or bring a sign or soap box to stand on throughout the night!

9) Queen Victoria: I’d recommend that you watch the movie The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt for good ideas

Steampunk Suggestions: This is another costume that is easy to steampunk–you hardly have to do anything or you could re-interpret Queen Victoria into your own steampunk narrative–how about a robot Queen Victoria? You could draw gears on your skin (particularly at your joints) with henna or face paint and make a huge wind up key out of cardboard and run 2 lengths of ribbon on each side of the cardboard pieces so that you could fasten to your back like a belt!

10) Annie Oakley:Nicknamed “Little Sure Shot,” Annie Oakley was a force to be reckoned with. She could hit any target no matter how small and was a part of Buffalo Bill’s traveling Wild West Show. Annie designed and sewed all of her own clothes for the show too!

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Steampunk Suggestions: A steampunk version of Annie Oakley would be fun and rather simple. You could keep the costume relatively the same, and just create a steampunk blunderbuss or rifle. Other ideas are using steampunk gear buttons, like the kind you can purchase at JoAnn Fabrics, in lieu of traditional wood or brass buttons in her costume.

11) Marie Curie: Who wouldn’t want to dress up as the first woman to win a Nobel Prize?! Marie Curie is a famous scientist, best known for discovering radiation/radium. A costume of Curie would also be simple, but there are certainly ways to steampunk it!

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Steampunk Suggestions: You could ‘punk it up with accessories like a steampunk eyeglass or monocle. Props are key–a couple of old beakers filled with glow in the dark liquids would be really cool. You could also paint your costume with glow in the dark paint for a radioactive Marie Curie. It would make the costume a bit more spooky and macabre since Curie died of radiation poisoning.

12) Queen Liliuokalani:  Liliuokalani was the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. According to Take Back Halloween, “She came to the throne in 1891 as a pro-native, pro-woman advocate for her people, and quickly found herself at odds with the American businessmen (sugar barons, pineapple planters) who wanted to annex the islands to the United States.”

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Steampunk Suggestions: Steampunk through accessories–a steampunk rhinestone necklace and sash!

Good luck brainstorming & creating your Halloween costumes! Check out Take Back Halloween for more ideas!

 

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Custom Order Spotlight:Wedding Earrings

I love custom orders, especially custom orders for weddings. I am always so honored that someone trusts me to create jewelry for their special day. It’s also a great excuse to sing sappy love songs in my studio at the top of my lungs and just have a good time making.

Besides singing “Chapel of Love” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” one of the other things I love about custom orders is the challenges they present. Fitting the jewelry to the person, their style and their personality and often keeping within certain parameters.

My latest custom wedding order came from one of my co-workers, Sarah. She had a jewelry set from her grandmother that she wanted to wear on her wedding day. The necklace and earrings were beautiful, but the earrings were posts and not the dangle-ly, long earrings that Sarah wanted for her wedding.

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Before: Sarah’s grandma’s lovely jewelry set

So, my challenge was how to turn posts into long, dangle-ly earrings. That itself is not much of a challenge, but creating temporary dangles are a different matter.

In a lot of my pieces I try my best to respect the original object, and not create new holes or altering it, and thereby keeping the original piece in tact.

To create dangle-ly earrings out of posts the answer was to build on top of filigree and essentially fasten (as you would to your ear) the earring to the filigree–keeping the earring in its original state and not altering it. Especially since Sarah will want to wear these again.

What’s fun about fastening earrings posts to filigree is that you have 2 pairs of earrings, 2 different styles, and 2 different looks that you can easily change up yourself.

Here’s the “After”:

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Sarah’s wedding earrings are made with vintage brass filigree that my mom and I found at a Paris flea market (I used some of my private stash because the metals matched perfectly!), antique gold watch chain links, clock cogs, rhinestone rondeles, brass chain links (that matched the necklace’s chain links), flat mother of pearl buttons,  pear shaped pearls, and Sarah’s grandmother’s crimson flower earrings.

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To match the earrings, I added pearls and a rhinestone rondele to the bottom of her grandmother’s necklace.

I couldn’t wait to go to work Monday morning and see Sarah’s face. She is someone with such a big heart and I am so happy that she is getting married in September. She is going to be a beautiful bride. Congratulations Sarah!

For those of you who are interested in custom orders, email me at bohemianromancejewelry@gmail.com. I’m ready for the next fun challenge!

 

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Something Old, Made New

First off, I’d like to thank my lovely friend Irina. She donated her old jewelry & accessories to me and I have been having a wonderful time re-inventing these treasured pieces. I am fortunate that many of my friends, family members, and fans will occasionally send me things to upcycle. It is the greatest kind of support & it brightens my day. And best of all, I encounter pieces that I might not otherwise come across. So thanks to anyone who’s ever donated materials to me.

I truly enjoy breathing new life into old objects–especially classic or traditional jewelry. Here’s a before & after look at one such piece.

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IMG_0304What I love about the original piece is its color contrast: the rich red against a muted silver. It’s also reminiscent of a Indian style of jewelry.

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IMG_0307In altering this piece, I wanted to stay true to the multicultural feel of the original. I added two grandfather clock gears, muted silver chain that closely matches the silver in the rest of the necklace, and the large metal cabinet decoration. In lengthening this piece, and by giving it a large textured focal point, it is more of a statement piece of jewelry. The disruption of the pattern is what really transforms this necklace into an one-of-a-kind piece. If you want to transform or update an old favorite, think about changing or even disrupting your necklace’s pattern, introducing another color or texture, or even combining two favorites together to form something new!

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