Monday, September 23, 2013

HSF Challenge #19: Wood, Metal, Bone

This is my second Victorian corset.  I made the first about 5 years ago and it hurt my lower back from the moment I put it on.  I also used slightly stretchy fabric, so needless to say, it wasn't the best.  I'm much happier with this one!  It is the first time using the TV pattern, so the gap is a little wider in the back than I'd like--I'm still learning how my body compresses in corsets.  But I'll keep getting better at it.  I did decide to use metal eyelets, this corset is meant to be more of a costume piece (thus the brown), than actual underwear, and I was on a tight schedule.

The Challenge: Wood, Metal, Bone

Fabric: Silk shantung, cotton lining

Pattern: Truly Victorian's Late Victorian Corset

Year: around 1880

Notions: Embroidery thread for the flossing, lacing, thread, metal eyelets, and all the bones...

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is good; I'm not sure about using brown as my color though.  

Hours to complete: I lost count.  4 for the flossing. :)

First worn: Last weekend as part of a Steampunk outfit.

Total cost: About $60 maybe?  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Visit to Switzerland!

Dan and I spent the first week of September in Switzerland, specifically Basel and Bern.  Dan had a conference, and I decided to tag along.

We started in Basel (that's where the airport was) and spent almost two days there--one of which was my 30th birthday.

The town hall in Basel was really beautiful (and red).  The interior courtyard was extensively painted, often with amusing trompe-l'oeil type scenes.  In the third photo, you can see a gentleman standing on a balcony with his parrot, breaking the bounds of the flat surface.

We also wandered quite a bit along the Rhine River, which divides the city.

And then we headed to Bern, which is the capital of Switzerland.  Dan started his conference, and I spent most of my time hiking along the Aare River, which surrounds the old part of town.  The water was a beautiful turquoise blue, and apparently meets European drinking standards, though I didn't try it out.

On Wednesday Dan had the afternoon off, so we climbed the "hill" south of town--the Gurten!  I put 'hill' in quotation marks not because it's so small most people wouldn't even call it a hill, but because even though the Swiss call it a hill, the rest of the world would probably call it a small mountain.  Still, it was a lovely hike up, and a full-of-wrong-turns lovely hike back down.

The view of Bern from the top.

Also, on really clear days in Bern, you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

I don't expect we'll go back to Switzerland while we're living here (it's really expensive), but I'm really glad I went.  It's amazingly beautiful--and it was sunny the entire time we were there, which is the complete opposite of the Netherlands in September.  It was also refreshing because I had almost a week in one city--there was no rush to see everything in a short time, so I could spend an entire day guilt free by the Aare River, reading, dipping my feet in, and watching swimmers float by.  It was a lovely vacation.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

my D.I.Y. in-a-pinch, not-very-good, Dress Form

One of the downsides of moving around is not having a dress form.  I had a duct tape one in California, but there was no way I could move it to Australia, and now the Netherlands.  So I've been doing without for three years.  Mostly I do okay, Dan is some help, but I really needed some sort of form to create my Steampunk outfit.  Especially the bustle.  So I came up with the following:

Start with a rather weird plant stand that already exists in your apartment.

Take out the glass thingy and stick your yoga mat in it.  Tie some ribbon around the bottom of the mat to keep it at the height you want.

Wrap some random fabric around the mat and stand to pad the metal bar a bit.  *Feel free to omit this step; it doesn't really help with anything.

Tie some lumpy couch pillows around the fabric with more ribbon.

Fit your corset around the pillows and adjust your laces to your measurements.  Aim to have the waist height of the dress form be approximately your height.

Use dress form to fit bustle.

I hope you all have options that are at least as good!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Elf Fantasy Fair - Arcen

I talked about the Elf Fantasy Fair in Utrecht last April, and this is the same thing, just further east--as in almost to Germany.

After last time I vowed we'd be dressed up, as we were definitely in the minority without costumes.  This time we were indeed dressed up (I in new duds, and Dan in some of his wedding clothes), but there were also more people this time without costumes.  Oh well, I definitely enjoyed being dressed, though by the end of the day I was ready to be back in my usual clothes.

The location was amazing!  It was at the Kasteel Arcen, which wasn't really a castle, more like a manor house, but the gardens were absolutely fit for a castle.  The whole place was huge, which helped disperse the massive amount of people, and there were probably a dozen different types of gardens to explore.  There was even a mini-golf (excellently called midgetgolf in Dutch) course tucked way back on the property.

This time, we took more photos of ourselves (mostly of me) than other people, and here are my favorites.

Oh, but first I should explain the sweater.  I originally intended to make a jacket for the event, but didn't have time.  I was going to just wear a chemise under my corset, but decided it was probably going to be too cold.  Thankfully I had a sweater that worked well enough--so you'll have to forgive my modern addition.  I did end up needing the sweater, and was really grateful to have it on.  September isn't the warmest month here--though we didn't get rained on until the walk home.

We started in the rose garden.

My gloriously large backside.

Admiring the view

There were monkeys!

Wandering around the mini-golf course.

I had a go at throwing axes at a bear.

I actually stuck an ax in his arm!

We ate a lot of meat on a stick.

Watched some Japanese archers

Saw this amazing family (check out her hat!)

Took a rest in the Italian garden.

Found a giant hut in the Asian section

Admired the vistas

and the people

and the lakes

Ope, and finally one of Dan!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1930's Shoes from American Duchess!

There's a giveaway, and I am entering, because I really want these shoes.

And I should also say that American Duchess makes gorgeous shoes and is a really great small company.  So if you want historical shoes and somehow haven't heard of them (perhaps you live under a rock), visit their site.

Aren't they lovely??

One Year in the Netherlands

Yesterday was our one year anniversary living here.  Unlike Perth, we didn't do anything special to celebrate.  But this has been a crazy year.

We hosted:
3 Australian friends, all at different times
1 cousin
2 parents

I went:
to London (briefly)
Friesland, up north to visit friends' parents for the Queen's Day Holiday
to Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan for 6 weeks
to Berlin for a few days with one of the visiting Australians

Dan went:
to Texas, Pittsburgh, New York for two weeks
to Russia for a week

We went:
to Paris for about a week
to Switzerland for a week
to Illinois and Pittsburgh for a month over Christmas

I joined a book club, a knitting (crochet) club, started a job writing content for a photography blog, took/am still taking 3 classes through Coursera, started several (and finished some) major sewing and crochet projects, and will soon be starting a volunteer position at the Amsterdam Museum.

Dan did a lot of physics.

There wasn't a single month without at least a week of our going somewhere or hosting someone, and I can pretty much guarantee that it made it harder to settle in.  I loved all the travel of this past year, but when I look forward to the year ahead, I think I'd like to slow down a bit.  Maybe only visiting Australia, Scotland, England, and the US.  And I'd really like to get to Belgium.  And take Dan to see Berlin.  And go see more of Northern France.

Maybe 'slow down' isn't the right term.

As for the future, we're hoping to be here for another 3 years; but we won't know anything until at least November.  Ah, life as a post-doc.