Monday, June 13, 2011

The Feedback Board: Reader Turbans!

I've been wanting to do one of these posts for some time showing off some of your results from using the tutorials that I post and the interesting spins you take. More than anything else, I've seen some pretty fancy turbans out there from some of you travelers! Some of this could do with the simplicity and versatility of the project, but it could also correlate with the hot summer weather that's rolling in a lot of our reader areas (handy tip, you can wrap cold packs and bags of ice into the turban itself). Why don't we look at a couple of fashionable examples?

First up we have Gretchen Jacobsen, a very talented costumer from Atlanta, Georgia. Gretchen sent in a couple of photos of her steampunk costume that was inspired by the Orientalist craze of the late 19th century, including a very colorful turban made using the tutorial:

As you can see, Gretchen was smart and used a soft-folding natural fiber.

Another intrepid turban-maker is Tabitha Kelley, who made this one for her little 16-month old daughter. The results are simple, but adorable:

I just broke my d'aww bone
I'm glad you ladies are enjoying your turbans. If you've done a project based off of one of the tutorials posted on the Steamer's Trunk, please send in your pictures and show them off! Creativity is the gift that keeps on giving and indeed, is what gives steampunk its steam- so keep experimenting!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FF: I Do (Love This Dress)

A pleasantly purple wedding kaftan that would have been worn by a Jewish-Turkish bride (Magnes Collection)
Until recent years (when September and October have eclipsed it, according to a poll of wedding planners) June was considered the month in which to hold a wedding in several Western countries. Many cite the mild weather and preponderance of flora, while others point their fingers at pre-Christian traditions centered around the Summer Solstice- a time of great fertility and prosperity. Personally, this blogger blames the Victorians; who seemed to imprint as many modern traditions with weddings as they did funerals (and that, my friends, is a lot). In addition to its ancient ties and clement weather, June also would have offered great conditions to embark upon a honeymoon- the modern idea of which is an invention of the (early) 19th century.

It should be noted that Miss Kagashi hates weddings- or at least mainstream American ones. The blogger will spare you all her acid concerning these travesties of consumerism unless asked, however. So why focus an entire article on weddings and dresses worn by brides around the world if I detest them so? Much like headgear and etiquette, things were just so much more nifty back then and elsewhere. If these gorgeous pieces of art can make a believer out of me- who knows, I might get some drooling out of you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mix it Up!: Real Airship Pirates- Pirates of the 19th Century

Shown: Scarier and more badass. (Also this print was done in 1909, historyaficianado's flickr)

Airship pirates. You can't go to an event or a convention and swing a cat around by its tail without hitting one. I'm not going to lie everyone, pirates are getting awfully old- particularly with Jerry Bruckheimer's quest for more money. But a lot of the Sky Pirate Popularity (and therefore staleness because nobody does anything else with it) I blame on the band Abney Park and the carefree antics of their crew on the Ophelia and their songs of adventure (that and the cartoon Talespin- Don Karnage rocks!). Now, before I engage the rant drive, I request that you consider that I do in fact listen to Abney Park. I own three of their albums and a respectable chunk of my itunes is dedicated to their music. I know full well that this won't dissuade several Abney Park fans from posting things like "NO, ur wrong! Robert is hott!" or "This is just for fun, man, stop being such an elitist!"

I know that pirates will exist; it's a natural, healthy part of any history-oriented subculture. In fact, I encourage the growth of the steampunk underworld- body smugglers, prostitutes, opium peddlers, and con artists. All I ask is what I normally desire with this blog: do it right. How do you do piracy right? Well why don't we look at some of the fine examples of rotten behavior left to us by history!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

BB: Multicultural Celebrations by Norine Dresser

You can find it used very inexpensively!
So yeah... the real reason for my recent absence from posting has been a severe inundation of real life- which as many of you know, is an unavoidable threat to every blogger or webcomic author, particularly if real life is offering you money. I assure you, it's worth it: because in two month's I will have helped birth a bouncing baby novel ("Blood in the Skies", which has been written by my friend and sometimes contributor G.D. Falksen and published by Wildside Press).

I'm kidding, the real reason why I haven't written up a post in a long time is because I was captured by a secret organization called the Build-a-Bear Group, who were after my scone recipe to use in their diabolical scheme to take over the world with a massive Teddy Bear Tea. After giving them a dummy recipe (for crumpets), I escaped: wreaking much havoc, breaking windows, and putting bananas up tailpipes of cars. After a nice, long shower I'm happy to be back to discussing multicultural steampunk and its many applications.

Today on Babbling Books I'd like to show you a wonderful book I picked up a couple of days ago that's so engaging that I haven't been able to put it down! I was hunting for more information for my Victorian etiquette panel when I found Multicultural Celebrations by Norine Dresser tucked in the 'manners' section of John K. King Books in Detroit. The book proclaims that it's a guide to "today's rules of etiquette for life's special occasions" but it's truly more than that...