Weekend at the Asylum 2014 – Part Four

Sunday –

I arrived late again so I missed the parade in the castle but I decided to look around the stalls in the school again and bought these reduced patterns at a bargain price of £5 each.

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The fantabulous travelling steampunk yarnbomb was displayed again outside the school. It’s a yarnbomb that consists of various patchworks by different artists and Steampunks (including me) that have been combined together. Pieces can be continually added so that it’s always growing and changing. The yarnbomb travels up and down the country to be displayed at various events. (I did the felt octopus patch in blue and yellow)

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You can find more information on the yarnbomb here:

http://frocktopus.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-fantabulous-travelling-steampunk.html

https://www.facebook.com/groups/steampunkyarnbomb/

I then went through the castle grounds, square and up to the Assembly Rooms checking out the various stalls again. I got this bustle skirt from one of the stalls in the castle. They had loads all in different fabrics, all handmade and they are reversible too!

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When I arrived at the Assembly Rooms the Introduction to Bartitsu was in full swing. It seemed really interesting actually, I kind of wish I had chosen to attend the workshop, hopefully they run it again. Bartitsu is a type of martial art/self defence that was developed here and is famously used by character Sherlock Holmes.

I went to view the exhibition pieces in the other room before the next talk started, it was a bit awkward having them on display in the same room that talks were happening but it worked if you timed it right. Anyone attending the event can create Steampunk artwork for the exhibition. I was supposed to do a Steam Bear again like last year but everything went wrong. You can choose to simply display work or be considered to win an award in one of the various categories.

More info can be found here: http://steampunk.synthasite.com/exhibits.php

Then it was then time for the Tea Duelling National Championship.

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The talk that followed the Tea Duelling was called What’s Happening Next. I always attend this talk every year. It’s usually well attended but not many people were present this time, I think they were all over at the castle watching the Wacky Races. The Wacky Races is well worth seeing but they clashed so I had to make a choice. The What’s Happening Next talk is where you can suggest things for next year’s Asylum event or point out things that didn’t work or could be improved. This is a direct chat with one of the main organisers Major Tinker. I think it’s great that he hold’s this talk, listens to what is said and then you can all have a grown up discussion about things. You will never please everyone, but sometimes people attend events, voice all sorts of issues online and to other people and never bother to find out why things work a certain way or actually inform people in charge who may have been able to help. The organisers of the Asylum always listen to what the attendees say and try their hardest to please as many people as possible and go with what the majority want. They work extremely hard and it really is about throwing an event that the people attending will enjoy and not about money or gaining fame. Anyway, that’s all a bit of topic, basically this year rather than discussing next year’s event The Major instead told us about possibilities for other events that could happen next year as Steampunk at the Seaside isn’t happening this time. I don’t want to give information out as it’s not been publicly discussed yet, they were just ideas and I think its being announced at the end of the month anyway. One of the things coming up that was mentioned though is a UK Steampunk World Con which sounds amazing and I can’t wait for more details on that but that’s for 2016.

It was then time for the Illicit Market, this is always packed out and well attended. It’s a bit of fun, buying, selling and roleplaying all mixed together.

The full rules and more information can be found here: http://steampunk.synthasite.com/illicitmarket.php

The Closing Ceremony was the final event to take place. Awards are given out for exhibition items, tea duelling and various game winners, everyone is thanked and then the weekend is closed officially. It’s always really sad when it gets to this point, the whole weekend just goes so fast and you plan for it for so long that you feel lost and empty when it’s over. The only good thing is that you can then start planning for next year’s event.

Here are random pictures from Sunday, I didn’t take many as I spent all day attending talks etc.

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I was also talking to the artist/photographer of this wonderful project, The Imaginarium by Gary Nicholls. He is putting together a book of beautiful photographs that tells a Dickens style tale but with a Steampunk theme. It sounds amazing and the photos are stunning.

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More Info: https://www.facebook.com/GaryNichollsPhotography

This is my outfit for Sunday, again things didn’t go to plan so the bustle and overskirt were a total last minute throw together.

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I really hope that some of you have been inspired to visit, it’s a truly magical event!

Weekend at the Asylum 2014 – Part Three

Saturday –

Saturday is the main first day of the festival and it kicked off at 11am, though I didn’t arrive until nearer 11:30 so I missed the opening address unfortunately. I looked at the stalls in the school first before heading across to the castle grounds and having a look in the stalls there. Caught a little bit of the Steam Western shoot out though such a large crowd had gathered that I couldn’t really see what was happening. I then headed over to the Assembly Rooms to catch the Tea Duelling open heat. So much tension and anticipation, I love watching tea duelling and it was a full hall so it seems everyone else does too.

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You can find out all about Tea Duelling here: http://teaduel.yolasite.com/

It was then time to do some more general wondering around, chatting, taking in the atmosphere, shopping, etc before joining some of my friends for a nice afternoon punknic (Steampunk picnic).

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Then it was back to the Assembly Rooms for the Costume Competition. The competitors outfits are accompanied with a write-up about their costume/character that is read out while they are on the stage. This adds a whole extra aspect to the outfit that you can’t appreciate from the images alone.

My outfit for the Saturday:

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None of it went to plan and my corset was totally the wrong shade of green so it was a bit of a last minute throw together.

So that was Saturday daytime and then it was the burlesque, I mean Folk Singing, on the evening, I took Dmitry with me (he’s my owl bag) but don’t worry I kept his eyes covered at the really saucy parts. (It’s an in-joke about the burlesque event, they pretend that its a folk singing event as The Major would be shocked such an event was taking place, all silly and good fun). This was my outfit for the evening:

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Weekend at the Asylum 2014 – Part Two

Friday –

This year I bought a full weekend ticket like I always do and evening event tickets for the fashion show on Friday night and the Burlesque, I mean folk singing, event on Saturday night. This time when I went to collect my weekend wristband I was delighted to find out you got a free hardback book. They actually had a choice of two! This is the one I chose, who doesn’t love free books.

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You were also given a small carrier bag that included the official programme which detailed all the different events happening over the course of the weekend and offered helpful tips and general information too. There were a couple of promotional items included as well which can be seen in the image above.

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I met up with my friend on Friday evening, we collected our wristbands and then set off to witness the un-rumble which was an idea that came about due to online discussions. It was the first time this had taken place at the Asylum. The basic idea was gangs of New York, or New Lincoln in this case, so there were three large groups of Steampunks, I know one group was of the newbies but I can’t remember who the others were and then they would rush at each other but rather than fight would instead tip hats, pay each other compliments and shake hands. It was a flash mob style thing that was intended to surprise the locals, sadly not too many were around to witness it but it was great fun to see.

More info and photos here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-29173933

My friend and I then went to have a quick meal and a catch up in a local pub before heading off to the evening entertainment. Unfortunately we had both chosen different events this year. My friend and I then went to have a quick meal and a catch up in a local pub before heading off to the evening entertainment. Unfortunately we had both chosen different events this year. They have various evening entertainment on which is ticketed separately and I usually see the Soiree. In the past they had early and late events so you could go to two events, it didn’t work this way this year so the Soiree clashed with the Fashion Show and I chose the fashion show.

You were treated to a free gin cocktail (courtesy of Hendrix Gin) on the way in. I think it contained gin, rose water, raspberries and something else which I can’t remember, it was delicious! And there was also a free booklet about the designers too.

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The fashion show featured true period clothing and accurate reproductions from Karen Grover’s personal collection as well as showcasing top Steampunk designers Wise Rabbit, Prometheus Gearing, Blue Lady Couture and House of Hirudinea (though one of them sadly couldn’t make it and I can’t remember which it was). The show showcased fashion for men and women covering all sorts of styles, themes, colours and influences. They are so very talented! The last designer was Vincent Swann of Dragonswann designs but his collection was very different to the others featured. Rather than showcasing his new designs he instead wanted to show you how you could take a very simple pattern and alter it to create totally different looks and items. The idea too was that it was so simple that anyone should be able to create a wearable piece of clothing no matter their skill level and that it would take very little time. The first pattern was based on an Elizabethan style corset, it’s a basic flat corset with no boning, the instructions on how to create it were all included in the booklet but can also be found here:
http://www.elizabethancostume.net/

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The corset can be made in roughly an hour and can be adapted how you like, he even managed to use the basic pattern to create men’s armour instead. The second pattern was for a very simple blouse, it’s not the most flattering shape though so I’m not sure I will be making one. The key point to the evening though, like it say’s on the front of the booklet, is that ‘There is no wrong way to do it!’.
Photos of the show:

I also want to highlight how much I adored Lady Elsie’s dress, it’s the blue space/galaxy print one. It’s absolutely gorgeous and would almost work for lolita too!! I hope the fashion show also highlights that an outfit is not all about gadgets and goggles, a lot of it is about beautiful fabric and well constructed clothing.
Also due to one of the designers being absent they picked a few well dressed members of the audience to walk on the catwalk too. The people chosen all expressed Steampunk in very different and unique ways.

After the main show we left the hall for a brief intermission so they could have a quick change around ready for the band ‘Frenchy and the Punk’ to take the stage. During this time you could get drinks from the bar and socialise. We were then allowed back in so you could talk to the designers and models and get a closer look at what you saw on the catwalk, I missed this opportunity as I was so busy chatting to my friends. Then it was time for ‘Frenchy and the Punk’ to take to the stage.

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http://www.frenchyandthepunk.com/
https://www.facebook.com/frenchyandthepunk
I’d seen them before and they were partly the reason I chose the fashion show over the Soiree in the end as I was desperate to see them live again. I did a bit of dancing and chatting and then left when they had finished their main set as it was already quite late and I wasn’t staying in Lincoln and had a journey home.

This was my outfit for Friday:

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Weekend at the Asylum 2014 – Part One

This first post is a quick overview of the event and what it is, I’m splitting this post up in to sections as otherwise it will be massive!

Website: http://steampunk.synthasite.com/

^There’s never much on there which is why I want to cover and explain as much as I can.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned on here before about how I also love Steampunk? Well if I haven’t then I do! Steampunk, although it’s not a Japanese fashion, does share some similarities with lolita and there are a lot of brands now catering to it and using Steampunk influences so it’s not totally off topic. Sadly I think I decided that it was off topic before and so never blogged about last year’s event, I’ve decided to blog about it this time though and if you stick with my post you will understand why.
For the last 5 years I have attend this Steampunk festival and currently I intend attending all future ones too. I will try and explain why. When I went to my very first one I didn’t know much about Steampunk, I threw together a really basic outfit that I hoped would pass and I went off with my friends on a journey in to the unknown. What I experienced when I got there was a group of people who were incredibly talented, inventive, eccentric, wonderfully friendly and welcoming, intelligent, from all sorts of backgrounds, ages, beliefs etc and yet completely accepting. The whole aim of the festival is to be silly, have fun and be “splendid” to each other. The atmosphere was amazing and the outfits were incredible, not only were some really clever and inventive but the level of skill some people posses is mind blowing. It filled me with all sorts of ideas and got the creative juices flowing, it just really inspired me and was the most fun event I had ever been to.

This year’s festival was a much larger event than that very first one I went to. It keeps growing every year and now takes over the whole top part of Lincoln. Weekend at the Asylum is the largest purely Steampunk event in Europe. The outfits are bigger and better than ever, the choice of stuff to buy is endless, so many activities take place that you are totally spoilt for choice and I know so many more people than I did before so it’s a bit like going to a large family gathering. Everyone is really friendly and greets you in the street, it’s a truly wonderful experience that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

The Asylum Basics – The festival takes place in Lincoln, UK over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in September. The dates can vary, it’s not always the same weekend. It’s generally based in locations around the top part of Lincoln where the castle is located. Events that take place during the weekend include various talks, workshops, book launches, live music, gaming, an exhibition of artwork, costume competition, dance classes, races, shoot outs, picnics and all sorts of other sillyness. It’s a place to have lots of fun.

Glitzy Wonderland, Infanta Gold Playground Headbow Set – Review

Having received the Gold Playground dress from Glitzy Wonderland and having been able to check it fitted and I liked it etc I decided to order the matching headbow set from Glitzy too.
(see previous review for more info on the dress and my experience of buying from there)

Website: glitzywonderland.com/

Stock Pic:

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Infanta Gold Playground KC set : 1 big bow, 1 small bow, 1 brooch

Again, ordering was really straight forward. I ordered on the 22nd July, checked out with paypal and received a confirmation email of my order straight away. I then didn’t hear anything from them until the 12th August when I received an email saying it had shipped and gave me a tracking number. It then arrived on the 14th August (so fast). It was sent in your standard plastic postage packet and was all together in a clear packet inside.

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So here is the item:

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As you may notice, it doesn’t match the stock photo above. I don’t know if Infanta sent it out like this or if Glitzy altered it for some reason but I was sent a card and spoon clip rather than the music note bow. There was no note and nothing in any email so I think it was probably sent from Infanta this way and then Glitzy just sent it on to me. In fact it seems I was actually sent the Infanta Poker Card Brooch (see stock photo below) as part of my set.

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I didn’t inform Glitzy about the issue as I actually quite like this clip and there would have been no easy or cost effective way to correct it. It just didn’t seem worth the hassle over a small bow, plus I actually bought the matching dress to go with the poker card clip as soon after I got the clip it turned up on the UK sales lol. I’m sure I can find something else to replace the missing bow, maybe I could make something or just try and find similar ribbon.

Product review –

The set I ordered cost USD 23.30 (approx £14.50) and then I chose the free shipping. The poker card brooch would be USD 15.00 (approx £9.33) if purchased on its own.

So, the head bow itself is made of the same fabric as the dress so it’s pretty sturdy and about a medium thickness. I like the shape of the bow and the pleated detail, though unfortunately this is only really visible on the right side as its actually folded equally back on itself on the left. The bow itself is quite narrow so it doesn’t stand up-right on top of your head much. The general design of the bow is more to come down the sides of your head which looks really pretty with a full wavy or twin tails wig but doesn’t work quite as well on a sleeker/smoother hair style. The bow has two loops of thread on the back that go over the headband to allow you to move the bow around and position it better on your head which is a good feature. The music note on the front of the bow is embroidered felt and this is sewn rather than pinned to the bow but I think it’s on a thick strand of cotton that’s knotted at either end which allows you to move it around a bit too and get the position you want. The bottom end of the headband is finished with light blue fabric, I don’t fully know why unless it’s because its harder wearing? The ends have been glued together and are a bit rough and scratchy but you don’t really notice once it’s on your head. Overall I’m happy with the headbow although I feel it’s not finished to the highest standard and I’m not sure it’s worth the best part of £15 to be totally honest. I’m going to score it 3/5 as it’s ok but not amazing plus its missing part of the set.

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Now the other bow is missing so I have no idea what that should be like. The clip I got instead features embroidered felt cards, pretty blue and gold ribbon and a cute little spoon that is secured with tread rather than glue. On the back is a large hair clip that’s been stuck with a gluegun. I really love this clip, its nicely made and is really pretty. I’d give this 5/5 as it’s so cute even though its not exactly what I thought I was getting.

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Ooky Spooky!

Hello Everyone,
Don’t worry, the other blog posts I promised are still coming but as it’s October and I’m finding cool things in the shops I just wanted to share some things with you.

Firstly if like me you love spooky gothic stuff then Homesense have some awesome Halloween items in. It’s really nice stuff, not cheap Halloween party decorations but actual gothic homeware. Here are a couple of items I picked out recently.

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Snow globe (with black glitter) – £12.99

Book ends – £7.99 each

Find your local store here: http://www.homesense.com/

At the cheaper end there’s these battery powered spider fairy lights that I found in poundland, they look quite nice in the dark.

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And then, perfect for everyday creepy cute or gothic style are these items from Primark.

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Tops – £4 each
Pack of 3 pairs of socks – £2
Skeleton tights – £3

Then, if its Halloween treats you prefer there’s this little guy. Now I actually bought him in July from Cooplands labelled as a ‘Meringue Shape’ but I’m pretty sure they still do them and if not then they will have other yummy Halloween items.

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Happy shopping!! I love Halloween.