Sunday, September 5, 2010

More gorgeous posters

All from

New Babbage by Airship by orbitz360

Flying Machine by Steampunktees

Zeppelin technical drawing by whiteravenink

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An extra-mad tea party

I apologize for the sudden quiet here - due to family issues I had to fly out east unexpectedly on the 26th, the day we were supposed to host the Mad Tea Party.

On the positive side, the tea party is still on.  It'll just be slightly delayed.  And while I wish we could have joined everyone on the appointed day, I'm hoping it's still in the spirit of the whole event to have the Mad Tea Party on a very merry Unmad Tea Party day.

Thank you for your patience!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Craftsman Wood Screens

I want these hanging in my dining room.  You know, once we HAVE a dining room.  Or even a permanent place to live.  One day.  But back on the screens, I love their clean, simple optimism as a background for the slightly more complex steampunk element of the room.  A juxtaposition of the victorian-influenced science of the day and the new thoughts that were just emerging.  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hollywood Inspiration

It's summer, school is out, and it's far too hot to go outside when the sun's out.  So I've been catching up on roughly a decade of missed television shows.  These things happen when you're a terminal student.

Right now I'm loving Fringe, especially the great shots of Dr. Bishop's lab and, in later episodes his and Peter's very craftsman style house.  Such great eye candy.  And the actual situations, characters, and plots aren't bad either!

The WB has been very nice in putting blocks of episodes up on their website.  Right now they're showing the first ten or so episodes and will soon rotate those out and put up the next ten.  And so on.  Enjoy!  And make sure to watch the second season musical episode "Brown Betty" where the steampunk craftsman style really gets to go a little crazy.

The lab

Peter and Walter investigating - look at that window in the background.  Gorgeous.  And the wall sconces, and the wood ...

Unfortunately I can't find a picture of the Bishops' house but it alone is worth watching the show for.  Gorgeous craftsman details all over.  And, again, the show is good too, so it makes for an enjoyable way to burn some time during these lazy summer days.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Craftsman Inspiration

For your viewing pleasure, The Gamble House

The Gamble House in Pasadena, California, was designed and built for David and Mary Gamble in 1908 by Charles and Henry Green.  It's a National Historic Landmark, an excellent example of the California Craftsman design, and a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon.  Enjoy!

(all photos curtesy of their site)

The dining room window.  While not quite the same, you can incorporate the same idea into a room using stained plexiglass/regular glass, framing, and lighting.  A fantastic way to incorporate mood lighting.  Hm, must look into how to do this ...

The guest bedroom.  Look how simple it all is without looking plain or undecorated.  A slight tint of color to the walls, perfectly placed light fixtures, a single vase, and that gorgeous wood trim and window frame to make a calm, fulfilling room.

My weakness for beautiful craftsman style lights continues.

Penny Buttons

What a fantastic idea - Jen over at EPBOT (and the more famous and day-brightening Cake Wrecks) has a tutorial on how to create lovely domed buttons out of pennies.  Such a neat idea.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Steampunk victorian fabric find

I deliberately avoid Spoonflower because I'm a seamstress with a weakness for cute cottons and they have them by the boltfull.  It's just safer for us all if I don't know what I'm missing.  However I did get lured over today and look what they have --

Steampunked victorian wall paper!  Love!  And it reminds me, in a round-about way, of the wallpaper in Disney's Haunted Mansion (any of them) which at first looks all innocently like normal victorian fare and then, on closer inspection, has creeptastic faces.  Only instead of faces, here you get cogs and dials.  A good trade out for one's living room, I would guess.

For those of a more nautical bent, here's an octopus design for you -


And this --

Am I the only one who looks at that and sees hearts?  Yes?  Just me?  Ok then.

And that's just the first designs that caught my eye.  They have a whole category of steampunk, along with some fabulous vintage fabrics that I'm working hard to resist.  See, this is why I avoid Spoonflower - too much good stuff!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Virtual madness

What fun!  Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist is hosting a virtual Mad Tea Party and all are invited.  What a great excuse for a mid-summer party!

For info on hosting your own Mad Tea Party check out Vanessa's post here.

A fanciful twist on Apothecary Jars

While usually I like using apothecary jars for everyday items - q-tips, spices, paperclips - there's certainly room for some fun, mad-scientist jar decorations.

Vanessa, of A Fanciful Twist, has some fantastic ideas as well as some free jar labels in her halloween post from last year.  Troll ears, mermaid hair, and butterfly kisses are all collected by her and would look fantastic on a shelf alongside a terrarium and lab equipment.  I love the possibilities.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Beautiful Coffeemakers

Some ways to make those early mornings just a little brighter -

Hario coffee maker - $259 at Amazon

The Chemex 6-cup coffee brewer - not nearly so beautiful (though a little moding can help that) but far more affordable at $36 at Amazon.

The Northewest Glass siphon coffee maker - affordable (though, according to reviews, not terribly sturdy) at $55 via my favorite online shopping store, Amazon.  

Another beautiful siphon coffee maker from Northwest glass, this one hopefully made a little better to justify the $112 price tag.  Again at Amazon*.

And, for my favorite of favorites:

This cold-drip coffemaker (those are ice cubes in the top- they're serious about the cold part) from Coffee-Snob for the very reasonable price of $99. I love!

* I'm not affiliated, in case anyone's wondering.  I'm just someone who got on their bandwagon years ago when Jeff was still begging for support and driving a junker.  And I got to meet him at a friend's wedding and he's just a wonderfully kind and geeky guy.  Plus it's really easy to find all this stuff easily on there.  So there is that.

Nerf it up

Want to add a hint of adventuring to your room?  Display your very own personal protector in the form of a steampunked nerf gun.  Beautiful and so very fun for impromptu nerf battles.  Or are my husband I and the only adults who do that?

This is my favorite - click on the pic to see a larger version to best appreciate the meticulous care put into it.  Made by Jeremy.

For cleaning up your more troublesome experiments.  This is a modified Vulcan that can shoot 500 rounds per minute.  Niiiice.

And here's a cute little one for those times you need to conceal your intentions.  By Utini.

To see how to make your own you can check out Utini's website or go here for a tutorial.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Have you visited Venus lately?

I am in love with this series of Space Traveler vintagesque posters by some very talented artist named Steve Taylor.  No idea who he is but I want this whole line for one of my rooms.  Maybe my hypothetical future guest room - it could be decorated with these space travel posters, little tin rocketships, perhaps some "souvenirs" brought back from the different planets - how fun would that be?  And before anyone complains, yes, it's a bit more space-race than steam-punk but, hey, Verne took us to the moon and back so in that sense it's TOTALLY steampunk.  And I'm sticking with that justification.  Besides, the Venus poster has an airship in it. That's got to count for something, right?

For these, the rest of the Space Travel line, and so many other great designs, check out Steve's work at his Zazzle store.  So many pretties!

World's Fair Decor

I love the idea of the old World's Fairs.  Companies and nations from around the world gathering in one spot to show off their coolest of cool new inventions, skyways whisking you from one pavilion to another, and the pervaling optimism of a coming future utopia just makes me happy.  Plus the poster designs are just gorgeous.  So it seems natural to turn to those posters as wall decor for an optimistic, futuristic, steampunk craftsman room.

Allposters has a nice bundle of three posters from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.  Not overly futuristic (at least to 2010 eyes) but the colors and font are fantastic.

A little more 60s style than I like (not surprising as this is the 1962 World's Fair) but the futuristic travel via skyway and monorail makes up for that fault, in my book.

It's great to see that good design lives on in this Delta Technology poster.  Sadly this conference was just for project managers and analysts - a bit of a fall from the grand world's fairs of the past.  Still, beautiful poster!

And, for your viewing pleasure, some Youtube treats on the various World's Fairs:

Dawn of Tomorrow, the 1939 World's Fair
Part 1
Part 2

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lighting happiness

I love lights.  Perhaps brought on from too many years of minimal light provided by those horrid faux gold floor lamps with plastic cream accordion fold shades - you 80s children, especially those living near a Sears know what I'm talking about, no?  Horrid, horrid things.

So I love lights.  Pretty lights.  Pretty lights with clean lines, a solid, real feel to them (no faux gold!), that work as much as decoration as they do as lighting.

Lighting like this, from RiverOtterWidget's Etsy store.  This one comes with a multiple LED light that gently changes from one color to another which just makes me happy but, for those who like it to function more as a standard light, the maker has kindly added a standard light bulb socket.  So very practical.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Has no one else done this?

This gorgeous glass kitchen backsplash is from the Innoventions Dream Home in Disneyland, California.  A required visit for all steampunk-craftsman lovers, by the way.  And the backsplash looks like a managable DIY project for your own kitchen.  It's three layers, the back one of frosted glass, a layer of very thin decorative stuff (here it's thin stalks and gingko leaves), and a top layer of clear glass.  To reduce the risk of breakage you can substitute plexiglass for the glass in areas where high heat (the stove!) isn't an issue.  I'd imagine the lighter weight of the plexiglass would also be helpful.  And it's great for clean up - just spritz with windex, wipe, and it's done!  SO much better than the faux brick my parents had for a while.  Forty year old porous grout behind the stove?  SO VERY gross.  This is much better.

Back to the pretty - 

Gears, vintage postcards, mad scientists doodles, wall stickers, pressed flowers, ribbons, vintage prints, and pages from old cookbooks all make fantastic decorative layer materials.

To mix it up you can paint the glass, either with a design or one solid color for a jewel-like shine.  Or omit the back layer of glass and use fabric as the decorative layer.  

I'm not entirely sure how one would actually go about installing this but I'm on the lookout and will update if I discover anything. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crafty little bats

Ok, this is just too cute - craftsman style bats embroidered on a pillow.  Love!

From the gorgeous Paint By Thread Etsy store.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I love the idea of terrariums.  Little mini labs in wonderful glass jars - what's not to love?  As we're four weeks out from moving (eek, gotta pack!!) I think I'll hold out on discovering how I like these tiny gardens in practice (and how much they like me - I don't have the greenest of thumbs).

Window Shopping For Ideas:

Pear shaped ones from VivaTerra.  Not cheap but we're just window shopping.

A more accessible (and cuter!) batch made by blogger Courtney of Two Straight Lines from Target glass jars.  Look close - there's a t-rex in that far right jar!

A whole bunch of apothecary goodness in one picture!  This is from apartment therapy but, unfortunately, the link they give to the how-to is very broken.  Sad.  But pretty picture!

Doing It Yourself:

    • Not surprisingly, is a great resource of all things terrarium.
    • And then there's terrarium man - not as much info, more items he's selling, but some great ideas nonetheless.
    • For the plants themselves Glasshouse Works has a great list.  I'd recommend buying local, if possible, but it's great to know your options before hitting the gardening stores.  

      • Of course you can always haunt your local second hand and antique stores for great jars.  But also there's:
      • Beakers!  I love American Science and Surplus.  Love, love, love.

        Sunday, April 18, 2010

        Living Room Re-Do, part 1

        I have a soft spot for "investment opportunity" homes.  A perfect one has great bones (I think we'll avoid any foundation repairs) with plenty of room for improving.  And I feel a lot better tearing up and replacing decaying linoleum than I do ripping out fairly new tile.  Also far more eco-conscious.  And there's something neat about redeeming an overlooked and unloved place.

        This is a little series where I take a room (or picture thereof) and see what can be done with it to turn it from a repair(wo)man's special to a steampunk craftsman paradise.  Or at least a great place to come back to.

        So we start with this living room:

        Not so great.  What happened to that poor wall on the right?  And what a sad fireplace and mantle.  Not to mention that this is a very short room.  However it's got some great possibility.  Look at that gorgeous, gorgeous wood floor.  And the wood beams across the ceiling give it instant Craftsman cred.

        Our first step: reduce this to it's bones by tracing it out:

        Much nicer.  And please appreciate the wood flooring and bricks.  Those took forever.

        Coming up: the first steps towards turning this into a lovely Craftsman room.

        Saturday, April 10, 2010

        A few nice clocks

        A few gorgeous clocks designed by Cheyenne White, the guy who gives Girl Genius such wonderful color.  They're offered through Cafe Press which does make me a bit hesitant - I bought a hoodie from them back in their infant days and was less than thrilled with the quality.  However they've had quite a few years to improve and they're still going strong so it might be worth the chance to try them again.  And these are a good place to start!

        This handy device can detect minute flucuations in quantum particle waveforms and predict which of the 2,308 explored realities your sideship has touched down in (93.6% accuracy)

        As indicated, This device parabolicaly translocates temporal objects. namely, Doctor Arcane. We haven't been able to get it to work on anyother subject. Keeps good time

        Friday, April 2, 2010

        Trilobite Light

        Gorgeous trilobite(ish) lamp from The Craftsman Touch (a store I could have spent hours virtually wandering through)

        I've mentioned before that, for all my appreciation of it, I'm just not into the Nautilus side of steampunk but if I were to have a room or two decorated to harken to the deep seas and submarines this lamp would be perfect for it - I love the fluted bottom and the feel that the globe is floating in the water.  Very 20,000 leagues.

        Wednesday, March 31, 2010

        Craftsman style embroidery

        Despite traumatic childhood memories involving cross stitch I've found that embroidery can be remarkably therapeutic and enjoyable.  Standard embroidery.  Not cross stitch.  Never cross stitch.

        With that I like to collect ideas for possible embroidery designs to spice up a house or to add to clothing.  Textile Studio is an online store with some gorgeous Craftsman style designs and, bonus, you can either buy the items as a kit or admit to yourself that you really won't get around to starting, let alone finishing the kit (I'm still firmly in denial about all those unfinished objects cluttering my crafting corner) and just buy one of her finished items.

        Pretty pillows and curtains!  Plus I love that buttercup color on the wall.  Pretty.

        I just want all of this room.  The molding, the casing, the bed frame, the color, all of it.

        Of course this is all craft and no steam but doesn't this give you some wonderful ideas?  

        Other sites to explore:

        Thursday, March 25, 2010

        Instructions on installing craftsman style wood trim

        A project for all woodworkers out there - craftsman style trim for your walls and lintles.  I'm rather lacking in the tools and tablesaws frankly scare me (I have two woodworking uncles that are now down a few digits thanks to those things) but for those having the tools and lacking the fear, this is a great way to give your house that extra touch.

        For the rest of us - well, I was going to say that Home Depot and Lowe's can help but, judging from their websites, I'm not sure they can - all the mouldings and millwork they show are so fiddly and curvy and so not craftsman style.  Annoying.  I wouldn't be the least bit surprised, however, if they have a larger stock than their website shows.  To make up for it, at least a little, check out Lowe's Moulding Visualizer little interactive program.  Like the websites the moulding is all contemporary or country and anything but craftsman but it at least lets you see the amazing impact moulding can have on a room.  I love a light colored wall with dark stained trim.  So chic!

        Inspiration - Craftsman Kitchen Remodel

        Interesting article about a remodeled kitchen done craftsman style.  Nothing steampunk but it has pretty pictures.

        Papercraft decorations

        I love papercraft - it's the perfect marriage of DIY-ism, economy, miniatures, and scissors and glue. This is the sort of fun kindergarden prepared you for. I haven't done nearly enough papercraft (not having access to a color printer at the moment will do that) but I love it. Imagine how at home these would be in a nice craftsman style display case.

        Model of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car - instructions are in Japanese so maybe not for your first papercraft?

        The Black Pearl!  A zillion pieces and also in Japanese so quite the challenge.

        Time machine!  From the only Time Machine movie that I'll acknowledge.

        The Nautilus, from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  
        Plans for a display stand included.  Wouldn't this be great on a display shelf?

        Also of interest:

        • Halloween themed papercraft including various model houses, monsters, coffins, and a few games to print out and make.  And a pocket skeleton!

        • Disney themed papercraft.  Everything from Disneyland buildings and signs to movie bits and bobbles. Totally worth spending some time checking out.