Days of Swine & Poseurs

Hat Party

...and mine is the grandest of all.
I've mentioned my fondness for hats; somewhere at the top of the 'good hat pyramid' must rest a) top hats, which I can't really make at home and b) tricornes, which proved surprisingly easy. They were a really good introduction to hand blocking, and I no longer feel intimidated by that whole subject.
Obviously 'pirate hats' have been in wider currency generally for a good few years, and it's an easy shorthand for people who don't know the word 'tricorne'. However, since 'pirate' style is popular shorthand for 'male clothing, roughly 18th century' it can get confusing. And unnecessarily limited. Tricornes weren't worn only by pirates of course; most use was probably land-based (as everyday wear, and then continuing as ceremonial getup once they became unfashionable) and tbh. since pirates were not in a position to regularly launder, repair, de-louse or otherwise care for their wearables, I prefer not to channel them.

Oddly I started off blocking with a bicorne, which I actually don't care for that much. They're not so publically recognised either, the best you can do for shorthand is 'Napoleon hat' (essential asylum wear) which has fewer pleasingly raffish associations.
Anyway, I needed a bicorne for my Fem!WarofAustrianSuccession!MilitaryPrussia cosplay (done before there was an official Nyotalia Prussia depiction, i.e. guesswork so it's going to have to be considerably tweaked, thankyou...) and I grew quite attached to it. It had to be plain black for sensibleness but with an extravagant red rose hatpin (I crocheted one), and of course some lace (pink and black rose-motif Swiss embroidered net trim, oversprayed in silver), and an extravagant brim for Gilbird to perch on. And there is nothing like striding about in a big daft hat to get your day going. It survived being a perch and a considerable amount of rain without any floppiness.

I was happy with it at the time, but now it looks lacklustre.
Like Urmston, there are two ways to block wool hats; from strip felt (felt being non-woven and therefore shapeable), or base shapes, either hoods (sort of conical), or capelines (with a basic crown and wide brim. Cartwheely). And I couldn't find these for less than about £24, which is too damn much for this tight-pocketed specimen. Strip felt can work but it's usually used for smaller, irregular shapes and is monstrously hard to get hold of (working on this). I did have some regular (woven) felted wool stored up to be used for a winter coat, so I tried that. I am quite used to shaping wool for sleeve caps etc. and this is a similar process. It didn't exactly shape like nonwoven but it assumed an approximation, then I shellacked* the hell out of it when I was satisfied.

However. You are meant to block on a wooden form which absorbs a lot of heat- and steam- related abuse. All I had was my polystyrene head. Polystyrene won't exactly melt but the head now has a slightly deformed, holey area round the forehead. Hopefully it's not too visible when I'm getting pictures of it wearing prettypretty headdresses. Also, the head is very slightly smaller than a human one- no hair, after all- and the crown ended up far too shallow. Sort of a perching hat.

This year, for my similarly !WarofAustrianSuccession!MilitaryHungary cosplay, I needed something better. It's a somewhat buckety hat, but if you put a tricorne on with the straight edge facing rather than a corner, it looks the same. And it's green, which is my favourite colour if I'm forced to choose.
End result was this:

The difference is: finally finding an affordable supplier for hat shapes! This was blocked from a capeline, obvs. You start off with this great floppy thing and end up with quite a neat hat. I used my polystyrene head again to block the crown and give an approximation of my own (scaldable) head, but you only need to round the capeline crown off a bit and not sculpt it completely, so that's simple. The brim obviously needs some work, but it's a regular shape and quite easy to work with. I'm not using an actual brim block for this- I don't have one, and you can block by hand if you're sure of what shape you want, so I just ensure all the corners are regular/symmetrical and measure it a lot. I leave it pinned up overnight or until it's dry, then varnish. I try to get a graceful swept curve to the brim, rather than just a plain triangle, so it follows the shape of the crown a bit more. It's finished with grosgrain ribbon binding. This one has green ribbon, with fancy gold lace (present from Mandi!) and a gold guipure rose motif. I might trim it up anew once I've got some cosplay pictures, but I d'know; it's quite wearable as-is.

But I needed a dedicated 'sample' hat so that I can start selling them.
Here's the latest: brown with black binding, Cluny lace edging, lacy ribbon and duchesse satin rose hatpin, and feather. My standard hat design will be the lace frill with a detatchable rose, the plume available as an extra; and maybe a plain version for minimalists. I'm looking forward to making an overly-accessorised superfancy black one, though, to show off allll the potential extras.

Also working on some mini ones, 'cos I *really* want one, but they're a little more tricky. Will update if there's any progress there.

*Used for French polishing, various lacquers, and also a good hat varnish. Made from beetle secretions.
J.Kier Hardie

Housewarming Recipes- Sandheko Something

This was reverse-engineered from a starter at the Gurkha restaurant. This is acceptable, but you should go there.

I made it with chicken, but it's even better with lamb. I did not use lamb because I can't currently find any that isn't part of a big roast or useless chops.

Sesame seeds
Cumin seeds
Red chilli, fresh or dried flakes
Meat or substitute
Cardamom pod
Lemon juice
Red onion
Green pepper
Red pepper
Green chilli (bird's eye is recommended)
Garlic chives (or just chives if that's all you have)
Coriander leaf (has to be fresh)

Pan-roast the sesame, cumin, and red chilli until it's different. Grind.
Slice the chicken quite thinly. Saute it with garlic, ginger (root), cardamom and cinnamon; remove from pan and rub the ground mixture over the chicken. (Remove the pod or it'll annoy you.) You can keep this to marinade for a while if you've time. Then fry it all until the chicken's done. Cool.
Chop up the onion, peppers and green chilli, mix it with the chicken etc. and finish with lemon juice, chives, and coriander. Coriander leaf is absolutely essential in this and even if you think it 'tastes like soap', don't leave it out. Or just don't make this recipe.
Angelic Prole


(how do you spell 'eyup, anyway?)
I back here now. Today, anyway. 'Cos I had some nifty stuff to gush about, and have already gushed it all over Facebook, but I can write about it here *at more length*.

So, I made some nifty things- I had no jewellery that matched what I currently wear, so I made some.
We're moving house (yuck; both at the process of moving, which is tiresome, and at having to- I will miss my field, which is not actually mine) so I'm getting pictures of things as I put them into boxes. Ironing isn't as bad lately, though.
Some things I won't need til winter, one being my extremely warm, overly fancy coat:

And my ribbon blouse which I've been trying to get pictures of for a while; finally happy with it. It's especially good with tartan pinafore dresses.

Here is my lilac toile set- hideously matched! I had this on for Lolita in Wonderland.

Finally, I made a ridiculous gown. Also for LiW; I had three spare days and thought I could *probably* run up a daft showpiece frock in time. I've had this vaguely 18th century design bimbling round my head for a while, and some stripy drill going spare. I keep calling it a ridiculous frock, but I do love it. I don't go much for superfancy brand OPs- given the price, they usually have several features that I really don't like and don't want to pay for, or are just far too elaborate for me to ever wear (fancy frocks are harder to co-ordinate with, and you can't put as much of your personal style into it), so most of my OPs are quite simple. Finally I have a posh one. Nope, it's not *quite* a Sleepy Hollow dress; that was an 1860s zone front gown (although no way correct for 1800, while we're counting), and this is a pseudohistorical mockery.

That's all. Mainly a 'heylookstillhere' update, but I wanted to give you something potentially diverting to look at.
J.Kier Hardie

You Have the Kettle, Make Us Some Tea

I'll tell you how it was. For me, at least. That is all I can reliably say.
This will be long and I'm not able to make it much fun, it's mostly random thoughts in rough chronology.

A summary:
*We were kettled for at least 8 hours with no toilet access, no water, and no way to keep warm.
*We were charged by police horses on at least two separate occasions.
*There was crowd violence.
*There was police violence.
*Things were smashed. 90% of the smashing occurred after containment was started.
*Out of 20000 protesters, only 17 initial arrests.
*No instructions were given, nor any indication of when we would be able to leave.
*There was absolutely no opportunity to leave. The media is reporting otherwise.
*We were held on Westminster Bridge for almost two hours. The media is not reporting this.
*The media reporting is skewed and includes some outright falsehoods. You know that, though.
*Headlines are all about the royal incident. That was absurd, but please ignore it. It is a distraction.
*We lost the vote. But you know that too.

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Muffti Party Fish

Folkin' Classics

So, yesterday. I was doing the Bed'ff Folk Festival. Full of Bed'ff folk, and me with no idea of what they might like to buy. Probably not my stuff. This thing is on every year and it's quite big, but this year there was !sno! so half of it was moved indoors. Or something. It was tres cold, and I had to wear my spectacular noo red coat indoors, which is dispiriting when you wore your fabulous hand-embroidered blouse specially. Aktually it not all bad, I am sounding mythery, but I probably won't go again. I got talked at by the Mayor, who is the smiliest man ever; he asked where my accent was from. From here, thyworshiffulness, honest. Later his lordship did get dressed up in a velvet doublet and hose, which was quite nifty. I took one of my language books so I could get some srs. studying in but it eluded me. I did get asked what I was reading/doing/making faces at the page for. I sez, I am learning [language], as you do in your spare time; pleasant lady says, 'Oh, nice. Are you English?' Well, if I wasn't, then I would be learning ESL maybe. (Do you ever get this? you are asked if you are from [homecountry] whilst in [homecountry]? You can have it.)
I do have some serious mythering though: the music. And I *like* accordians and fiddles and bashing the floor with sticks. At first I was glad of the tunes 'cos there were a couple of music stalls, and one was very carefully tuning miscellaneous stringed instruments for about three bloody hours it felt like. The noise of opera singers on fire would be a nice break, in those circumstances. Appalachian step-dancing is the coming thing, I gather. Grand for those who enjoy it, and good for them that they have found a non-generic hobby (and an actual dance which is not like made-up and trademarked)... but perhaps all the various groups could confer beforehand, txt each other and discuss who's dancing to what. Avoid repeats. Something like a limit of no more than three performances of 'Turkey in the Straw' per day, that would be nice. See, I like a lot of daft music, but most of the trad. English and yeeha American folk tunes sound... stamped from the same sheet of pastry. They all go 'Nee nee nee, nee nee nee nee nee nee *nee*' and don't have much to distinguish, not even a drum solo. At the third go of The Salesman's Happy Finger or somesuch I would have given 3cheers for a drum solo, no lie.
I like my olde/folksy tunes to come with a large slab of suffering, see. If it's based on a long and terrible journey, or involves murders or secrets or QRV/gin, that's grand.

Altogether I made 31 pounds. I took many of my seasonal maiko kanzashi to show, 'cos they are nice for folk to look at (I gather), with an explanatory paper, but no one asked about them. Many comments of 'aren't they *pretty*!' but that doesn't line your pockets, eh? Trouble is I don't know what you would ideally take to a craft fair. I didn't look around this one (I was on my own except for Ben bringing me a big sandwich) but I remember from going to them that there will be: jumpers, things of fleece, that sort; woodturning, maybe, if it's in summer; hopefully fudge, which is excellent (but there was no fudge); doll's house furniture; misc. stuff with your name on; jewellery which is handmade but fairly uninspired. Possibly dog-coats.
If I were bilocating and both visiting and selling at the craft fair, I'd be more interested in things like mine. Jumpers are great but fair ones are likely hand-knitted, which cost immense amounts (rightly so, but I can do that at home). Craft fairs seem to be the folksy semi-rural equivalent of 'vol-au-vents, chicken legs, cheesecake. One table and a shitload o'mirrors.'

Well, there it is. By 4 when it finished I was thinking, I never want to hear any accordian music ever again. But! we were then going up to Leeds to see Gogol Bordello, so you're out of luck there. But that's a different class of accordion altogether. So we go to Leeds. As you kno it's been snowy, and was all the way up to the Yorkshires at least. I hadn't been to Leeds before, and now I've only been to a tiny bit of it in the dark, but it has a lovely Union building (Warwick u suk) and the whole campus looks nice and together. Heartening to see lots of agitatey posters about the govt. cuts and associated bastardry. Anyway, I don't need to tell you that the band were spanking great, that's to be expected, and I am all glad Ben got to see them too 'cos last time I had to go on my own. And there were a few songs he'd not heard and it's quite something to be introduced to new tunes live. (Minor bother: room was very narrow, so you have to compress more to see owt, and so there was more squashing. We ended up about a 3/d of the way back but at least had room for some proper dancing.) Excellent support act also- The Skints- who were all entertaining and had great hats and a really gorgeous and multi-instrumenty singer. Good times.
I had sort of a deep thought, that it must be incredibly gratifying to get your audience singing along in a language that was once as good as outlawed.
Anyway, there it is. Tiring *afterwards*, and why aren't motorway service stations properly open late, and cats' eyes don't work in heavy frost apparently, and I am quite comfortable in snow if I wear the new coat with the fur collar, muff, and ushanka. So it is a pity that I have no toboggan.
En-pointe combat

A Space Boster

One of the most pressing idle questions, on my list of things which don't matter lots but I'd like to kno, is 'The name of that TV series about an alien befriended by kiddies, and the alien is a ball-bearing. What was that? It was definitely not dreamt, as there was a tie-in book also. I read it at skool but after the series had finished. Or it may have been a two-parter. It was on about the same time as The Snow Spider but I never got into that as it was too Old for me. And it used to eat things by melting them and ate all the electricity and went up a pylon.'
This list could use some editing, true. But some of these questions start to bother you sufficiently that when you get an answer, finally, it's like getting a stone out not merely from your shoes, but your actual foot.*

I'd netted for it a couple of times but my search terms were vague and did not dredge up any satisfactory jetsam. Until noo! I can tell you that it *was* real, it was a film (probably two-parted, as I remember A CLIFFHANGER), and it was called 'Glitterball'.
The name really, really doesn't add anything.
Some kiddies find a ball bearing (a large one, about the size of a boster marble**, resolutely unglittery) in... a location, possibly abandoned house or their clubhouse. Unsalubrious old bloke wants to Stop Them, for some reason. Motivation unclear. It absorbs energy from food and electricity, did not find cheese sufficient, chocolate good, rolling up a pylon better. The cliffhanger was about the pylon. It starts rolling up it- can defy gravity, obvs.- and Companion Child shouts 'You can't! You'll explode!' (which tbh we'd have liked to see), and in response the ball gives him what you imagine is a 'Ha, puny doubting human' look, or perhaps 'What, me worry?' (ball bearings give few clues) and goes on merrily rolling along. Eats electricity. Does not explode. Is now superpowered, perhaps the army is arriving, can't tell you what happened 'cos missed second part. Was on over xmas. Had presents to deal with.

It was made in 1977, which may explain the name, but certainly wasn't when I was watching it. I read the book in early Middle School, so would've been about 8: christ, 1990! Children's telly likes to stretch its pennies. This does however reveal an interesting quirk about how I used to view the world shown on kidTV.
Most things I watched seem to have been made in the late '70s. Certainly, most educational or safety programming, the stuff shown in Special Assembly, was. Therefore, to me: everyone on television was 10-15 years out of date, especially if it was something gritty and realistic promising horrible deaths. Yet I never noticed. Mind, there was a definite orange-flares-rainbow-stripes-feathered-hair-graininess to everything, but it did not look jarringly different to what was happening outside (which IIRC was largely shell suits, so perhaps for the best. Can shell suits be captured on film? Do they melt?) and certainly the weather and locations were the same. In a town: overcast, with much use of grey concrete. Countryside: overcast, with wet grass and bare trees. Sun not available. If you're little, when you go to town you're mainly at concrete level, so this made sense; there was variable weather, but the general condition of the sky, if you looked out while watching telly, was cloudy. I think I assumed that the process of filming made you look washed-out and dated. Plus, I lived in a not-posh area amongst not-posh people. Plenty of folk around me did look like they'd been captured on 70s film stock. The only up-to-the-minute stuff I remember watching would have been whatever was going on in the Broom Cupboard or equivalent, and who paid attention to those clowns?

So there it is. Glitterball. Not that satisfying in itself, but I've been able to mull over exactly *why* I thought everyone on telly was required to be a bit faded, and why I have more nostalgia for late-70s kidstuff which I probably never would have seen. And I did find a really spiffy time-wasting site in the course of looking for the damned ball-bearing: TV Cream. That's the page for the Children's Film Foundation, which made Glitterball, and probably other things you vaguely remember watching. Anyway, this is one of those excellent litely-sarcastic sites about British stuff with tons of entries, ideal for when you get fed up of everyone writing 'x, just x' on TVTropes. Additional spiffiness: I noticed one of the commenters was Applemask, who has the- THE!- finest lot of PFI's and olde addes on Youtube. Trenchant and humourous sometimes-political commentary also.

You can't find Glitterball online, 'least not that I've found beyond one page of searching, but that's not really the point. I don't want to watch it again, really- as much as be assured of its existence, and that it was as meagre as remembered... yet in spite of being a bit pants it kept you entertained. Or something. The main result is that you find some other quality way to eat up hours and have one less meaningless question chuvvling*** at you.

Now, on to finding out what was that Saturday series with the magic table.


*This happened. It was only a tiny stone, but still, stone. In foot. Where stones don't belong. It was in there for at least 8 months.
**We called it a Boster. Wiki sez 'bosser'; what do you call it? The ones which are big marbles, about 1"+. I have a green and white cat's eye superboster called Solomon. I haven't actually played him yet but he would ANNIHILATE the floor if used.
I like marbles.
***Chuvvling is a new word which you can translate from context, and use if you like.
Bradley Hardacre


Excuse/reason to blog, look.

So, Saturday evening I/we (perhaps not you) were at the excellent KillerQueen, which you should go to, for dancing and that. We come out at around? 3? I have no timepiece... and James is a bit woeful 'cos he feels that 10 years ago, he'd have been able to go a few more hours. I dispute this, I think you just need to prepare (conversely I am better now than then at allnighters as I have more practice). He says, 'All I want now is sleeeeep'. I suggest an improvement: 'Bacon sandwich, then sleep'. Once the issue of bacon is raised, it must be made so. But there are obstacles: James has bread but nobacon, and I have neither. (Additionally, I do have sleeping Ben and it is international LAW that you do not cook bacon whilst others sleep.) Problem 1.
Also it must be settled who is going to who's place and where. I have a wee car, but can squash folk in if they are willing to be shoehorned. If I get some petrol I can take a contingent back to Leamington. Problem 2.
We will go to Cannon Park where there is 24hr Tesco, and a petrol station. I'm not much on Tesco but they probably won't screw up bacon and I've wanted to kno how to get there for a bit, so I can go and buy Chinese groceries. Is handy.

Last time I went to Leamington I couldn't find it, at first, and now I can't find owt so have to turn round in Kenilworth (you do not want this). Then it is recalled that it's technically Sunday now, and 24hr does not extend that far due to trading laws. Awkward.

And at this point you are ready just about to go on Facebook and update to: 'damn judeochristian phallocracy are denying me BACON.' Have you had a moment like that?

OK, so we get to Cannon Park and the Tesco looks like it always does i.e. too many lights. But there's a petrol station, even if only 2 machines are allowed at this time of night/morning/ungodly hour. Folk unsquish from the car, and 3 go to see if the supermarket can be infiltrated. We have to pay with a card which I do not have but Joe is generous and we will use his. (Ta!)
On the first go it does not respond, and does not give out any fuel. Second go: it say no, not working. Does not give details. And the bacon trekkers come back with news that indeed, we can't do any shopping now. God be Praised with lack of bacon. Joe goes to see if the next machine will work, and it does, so I roll the car the 3 poxin' metres up and get fuel.
We are amused. 'You just wrote a blank cheque... to a machine!' Maybe the CCTV folk will be, too.

So now we have petrol but still no bacon and you can't eat the former. Would you want to? Is it crispy? But, Ruth & Joe have a great notion: they have bacon, and will dispense it to us. This is super. (We will also get to see their excellent cat.) In Leamington, 4 people are disgorged and swapped for bacon.
Return. Toast, grill, trough. Good times!

Conclusions: if we were married to bacon, it would be tremendously impressed by our dedicated pursuit of it and would wear no knickers around the house. I am talking more and more like Molesworth*. And at t'moment I only have Jaffa cakes to eat, and am not sure how to feel about it.

En-pointe combat

You wants to see the pretty flowers.

Doing kanzashi once more.

Kusudama, peonies, peoniesreadyfortheircloseupMrDeMille, primrose, cherry blossom, narcissus, little plum blossoms.
(Hobbies=seasonal. Embroidery in winter, kanzashi until July when I start to get cosplay-angst.)

I get most of my reference pictures from Flickr, which is also where I posts more of the above if you want to see the whole lot so far (also goony shots o'me wearing them.)
Still getting the official kanzashi site (subset of Peacockalorum) allfinished, so not linking to that yet, as it's mostly empty.
I start looking at recent maiko pictures for Research and discover 10+ new kanzashi which were not in evidence before. They were all wearing silk pine leaves in January, and there is a whole new type of daffodil. Also a little ume arrangement in pink red and blue which must be replicated. Also tracked down suitable colours of shibori (NOT making my own shibori, there are not enough knots in the world) so can make a proper pinwheel. I will never be finished with this project.
At least it will give me something to do when I am 80.