In a Mockingjay Frame of Mind

Arts & Crafts, Books & Mags, Geek out!, Movies & TV

To prep for Mockingjay – Part 2 premier, I’ve rewatched all the previous Hunger Games movies, reread Mockingjay, altered my mockingjay bag

Mockingjay Bag Alterations

…and oohed & aahed over this Effie Trinket cosplay:

Effie Trinket Morisa9 on Deviantart

Morisa9 on Deviantart.

It’s made by Morisa9 on Deviantart. The butterflies are the most stunning part – she cut, spray painted and detailed all 400 or so of them. Wow! Love it!

Bonus links to arrow motif tutorials: pencil case with embroidery by Glòria Fort Mir (Catalan and Spanish) and gold vinyl sofa pillows by Ashley Phipps at Simply Designing.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Textile History Geekery: Historical Inspiration for Amidala

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials, Movies & TV

The new Star Wars Episode VII trailer got me thinking back to the prequels and their costuming. I remember being initially impressed by Queen/Senator Amidala’s garb. Especially after Leia’s rather Spartan wardrobe, the lavish fabrics and colors on Padmé were a joy to watch.

Several Amidala’s outfits have historical inspiration, but two such forebears stand out. Other people have made the connection between Mongolian Khalkha people’s traditional wear and Queen Amidala’s Episode I Senate gown before me, but finding a gorgeous museum-preserved historical exemplar reminded me of it. In the comparison below, on the left is the museum piece and on the right Amidala’s gown, complete with headdress.

Khalkh Amidala Collage

Left: Khalkha (or Halh) garb from Mongolia; National Museum of Mongolia. Right: Queen Amidala’s Senate dress, Star Wars Episode I; Scott Shingler Photography. Collage by Eppu Jensen.

These outfits are very similar indeed. Details vary, but the general shape is the same, as is the hairdo, the braid sheaths, the chains hanging from the skull cap flanking the face, even down to the two makeup dots on the cheeks under Amidala’s eyes (not visible on the doll), and the concept of wide robe sleeve cuffs. (Rebels Haven has a side-by-side comparison of a historical photo and concept art that makes the similarities even clearer.)

The Wikipedia article on Padmé lists another historical model, this one from Episode II. A costume ball dress for Russian Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna with a kokoshnik headdress is said to have inspired Padmé’s refugee dress.

Alexandrovna Amidala Collage

Left: Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia in a 1903 costume ball outfit; Wikimedia. Right: Queen Amidala’s refugee dress, Star Wars Episode II; via Rebels Haven. Collage by Eppu Jensen.

I thought I also noticed that, in The Phantom Menace, Amidala’s costumes predicted reasonably accurately what kind of a scene she was to be in: complicated and layered meant talk, relatively pared-down and pragmatic meant action. It turned out I was wrong, but not entirely. While the two most comfortable-looking costumes – the blue and grey Tatooine outfit and the maroon battle uniform – get the most screen time and the most vigorous activity (and most pants), Padmé does do a lot of static activities (standing around and talking) in both. The elaborate, courtly dresses are reserved exclusively for scenes with discussion, or, at most, stately walk. There are fewer outfits that dominate in terms of screen time in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith; the closest match is the Geonosis arena suit.

Other Amidala outfits from Episodes II and III that make my historical-dress-Spidey-sense tingle include the blue embroidered Tatooine dress plus several of her Senatorial dresses with their corset-like bodices and wide hems and sleeves. My favorite is probably this:

Rebels Haven Amidala loyalist

Senator Amidala’s loyalist committee dress, Star Wars Episode II; via Rebels Haven.

The deep purplish-blue loyalist committee dress is seriously gorgeous. The streamlined Tudor profile is elegant, the robe sleeves nod to medieval sleeves (perhaps there’s even a hint of kimono sleeve design?) and the embellishments add to, not overwhelm, the whole.

Any favorites you’d like to mention?

Collected source info:

Subtle Steampunk Sanctuary

House Tours, Inspiration

These two photos of a loft apartment stopped me on my tracks:

SGM Photography Industrial Loft1

Scott Gabriel Morris.

SGM Photography Industrial Loft2

Scott Gabriel Morris.

The industrial elements – metal, rivets, exposed pipes and brick – plus the patina of the wood and corrugated metal, combined with chunky leather sofas and a few large plants, deliver a certain old-world sentimentality. The result contains a subtle hint of steampunk while retaining modern comforts. Beautifully done! From the residential interiors photo collection by Scott Gabriel Morris at SGM Photography; found via Desire to Inspire.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Discoveries: Miniature Paintings by Lorraine Loot

Arts & Crafts

Another great painting-related find: Lorraine Loots paints incredibly detailed miniatures. Her subjects include a wide variety of items, from everday objects and furry animals to book covers and celestial objects. For example, these paintings of The Hobbit and the Eta Carina Nebula are simply astounding:

Instagram Lorraine Loots The Hobbit

The Hobbit. Lorraine Loots.

Instagram Lorraine Loots Eta Carina Nebula

Eta Carina Nebula. Lorraine Loots.

And a little rabbit for the bunny fans:

Instagram Lorraine Loots Bunny

Bunny. Lorraine Loots.

What a steady hand and keen eye she must have, plus loads of talent. I’mm very impressed! See Lorraine’s website and Instagram account for more!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Mini Bins for Chargers

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Fabrics & Materials, My Spaces

The other day I was lamenting how tangled up my mobile device chargers were and wished I had something to organize them with. Belatedly I realized that I was in a “cobblers children have no shoes” situation: the mini cubes I sell on Etsy are the perfect size, but I hadn’t made any for myself yet.

Mini Bins for Chargers

I chose remnants of a favorite, the Marimekko Lumimarja fabric in blue, beige and brown. I used the same design as my Etsy store cubes but halved the height because there wasn’t enough of the Lumimarja, then lined the bins with coordinating greyish blue fabric. No more tangles!

Online Finds: DIY Moomin Lampshade

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Fabrics & Materials

Alicia Sivertsson re-used a remnant from an old curtain to make this impressive Moomin lampshade:

Alicia Sivertsson Moomin Lampshade

Alicia Sivertsson.

She used a permanent marker instead of a textile pen to draw the characters, and stiffened the finished shade with a couple of layers of wallpaper paste. Looks like the marker holds up just as well, and the result certainly speaks for itself!

See more photos at Alicia’s blog! (NB. The text is in Swedish.)

Tutorial: DIY Shoulder Bag with Mockingjay Felt Logo

Arts & Crafts, Books & Mags, Geek out!, Movies & TV

This week, leading up to the Mockingjay, Part 1 opening night, I’ll share some Hunger Games themed finds and materials, including tutorials for a simple mockingjay logo felt silhouette and a shoulder bag.

 

DIY Shoulder Bag with Mockingjay Felt Logo

For the bag you will need:

mockingjay logo felt silhouette (see separate tutorial)

durable fabric; webbing or sturdy ribbon for the shoulder strap

measuring tape, pins, scissors (or rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat), sewing machine (or a hand needle) and thread

optional: decorative ribbon; iron and ironing board

This tutorial is for an unlined bag.

 

To cut the fabric and webbing:

Shoulder Bag Parts

  1. Cut two rectangles from the fabric: a large rectangle for the bag body and a small, narrow one for the edge binding (to go on the bag opening). The width of your rectangles should be twice the desired width plus 1” / 2-3 cm or so for seam allowances. Optionally, you can cut only one rectangle and hem the opening (like in this ikatbag tutorial) instead of using a separate piece as edge binding. I wanted a small, purse-sized bag. My pieces were approximately 14” x 8.25” / 35 x 21 cm for the bag body and 14” x 3 1/8” / 35 x 8 cm for the edge binding. This was enough for a finished bag 7.5” / 19 cm tall, 6.5” / 16 cm wide and 1.5” / 3.5 cm deep. I used up trouser fabric leftovers, which meant on one hand that my pieces were somewhat odd shapes and sizes, but on the other that I didn’t have to buy any materials.
  2. Cut a length of webbing (or sturdy ribbon) for the shoulder strap. Again, the length depends on your preferences. I measured the strap lengths on two of my favorite shoulder bags, averaged them up and added 2”-3” / 5-8 cm to arrive at 50” / 127 cm. This was enough for a finished strap length of 46” / 117 cm.

 

To attach the logo onto the bag body:

Mockingjay Bag Attaching Logo

  1. Lay the bag body piece down, right side facing up and the future bag opening away from you, and mark the vertical center with pins. This line will become the second “side seam” and help you to place the felt silhouette and the shoulder strap symmetrically.
  2. Lay the logo down on the bag body, moving it around until you find a good spot and pin the logo in place. You can also use a measuring tape or a ruler to gauge the placement of the logo. Optional: If you want to use any additional decorations on the bag body, this is a good time to add them. I sewed on my black and gold ribbon first and only then worked on the mockingjay logo.
  3. Sew the silhouette on. Start on the inside and work towards the outside, section by section. Go slowly, especially where there are narrow parts or protrusions. It’s a good idea to use short stitches, practice on a remnant first and check after each section that the logo still sits smoothly on the fabric, repinning if necessary, before moving on to the next section. I sewed 1/16” / 1-2 mm from the edge, and it seemed to work fine. I had to add a couple of hand stitches onto my mockingjay’s beak because I didn’t quite sew far enough with the machine. Optional: Iron the bag body piece from the wrong side of the fabric or through a pressing cloth before sewing the bag.

To sew the bag:

Mockingjay Bag Construction

  1. Fold the bag body in two along the vertical center line, right sides together. Pin and sew the bottom and side seams. Cut down seam allowances to a uniform width (e.g. 1/4” / 6 mm). Zigzag to prevent unraveling. Do not turn the bag right side out yet. Fold the edge binding piece in two, right sides together. Pin and sew the side seam. Make sure the finished width of the edge binding piece matches the finished width of the body piece.
  2. Make box corners for the bag bottom: Grab the bottom corner where the side and bottom seams meet, match the seams to create a point and pin. Mark a line perpendicular to the seam; sew along the mark. My seam was roughly 0.75”-1” / 2-2.5 cm from the point, but the depth of the box corners can be varied according to your preferences. Repeat on the opposite side, using the vertical center line in place of side seam. (Or make cut-out box corners like in this sew4home tutorial.) Turn the bag right side out.
  3. Slide the edge binding over the bag body, right sides together, aligning raw edges. Match side seams and pin the edge binding in place. Use several pins and make sure that the binding sits smooth everywhere. Sew around the bag opening to combine body and binding.
  4. Pin shoulder strap in place at side seam and vertical center line. Make sure that the strap is not twisted before pinning. Attach strap by sewing right on top of the seam combining body and binding. Optional: If you’re experienced, you can pin the edge binding and the strap on at the same time and attach both with one seam. That’s what I did, but I checked and re-checked (and re-re-checked) that they would line up correctly before putting a single stitch down.
  5. Fold in the remaining raw edge of the binding piece approximately 0.5” / 1 cm. Next, fold the binding to the wrong side of the bag body. Make sure to fold beyond the seamline combining the body and binding; pin in place. Use several pins. Measure to make sure that the binding strip is of even width throughout. Sew around the bag opening from the right side. You can disguise the seam by stitching in the ditch between bag body and edge binding pieces. This way, the raw edges of the bag body and strap will be hidden inside the tube formed by the binding, and the bag opening will look neat.
  6. Pin the shoulder strap onto the top edge of the binding piece at the side seam and vertical center line. Sew a reinforcing line along the top edge to attach the strap even more firmly.

The bag is now ready!

Mockingjay Bag

The details can be varied almost infinitely to make bags of different sizes, shapes and looks. Optionally, the strap or the bag body can be decorated with ribbon, fabrics of different colors or other patches, logos or appliques. You can even make a tote by cutting the long strap into two shorter handles instead and sewing them on the middle of the back and front panels. You can also make only the logo and handsew it onto a bag, shirt, jacket or a hat you already own.

Recreating Childhood Tastes: Liverwurst Sandwich

Food & Drink, My Spaces

Recently I’ve been musing on the peculiarities of memory, and especially taste memory. Moving into another country is a full day job. Apart from the paperwork, which can be considerable, arranging for the physical move itself can take a toll. Then there’s the emotional cost and the inevitable culture shock. For me, one of the changes that struck me more than anticipated was food.

Thankfully, New England cooking resembles Nordic cooking quite a lot, just like the landscape. In most cases, I’ve been able to make do with the ingredients found here, or find substitutes. My most recent search for substitutes involves liver. I gather that many people don’t like the taste of liver. I can’t say it’s a great favorite of mine either, except for one particular brand of casserole and one particular brand of sausage I grew up with; those I quite like.

The other day I was thinking of the Finnish liverwurst I loved as a child. I especially like it on a slice of a particular type of whole grain sourdough ryebread with a thin slice or two of cheese. Although I haven’t had them in years, the thought stuck so insistently that I had to try and recreate the sandwich.

Childhood Tastes Liverwurst Sandwich

Exhibit A: My dorky breakfast from this morning – a Herodotus quote mug and geeky napkins by fellow Etsy seller Nicole Porter. The kind of ryebread I’m thinking of isn’t available in this area. Instead, I chose a slice of Wasa sourdough crispbread (Fin. näkkileipä; Swe knäckebröd), because Wasa does the sour rye taste very well without any modern humbug like caraway. The cheese is extra sharp cheddar, sliced thin with my trusty Swedish cheeseplain that I brought over with me, and the liverwurst is a brand of Braunschweiger from the supermarket.

It was close, but the taste was off enough to leave a nagging feeling; perhaps it was the bacon(!) in the sausage. The texture of this Braunschweiger is also much too coarse compared to the one I’m craving. I will need to continue the search for a liverwurst that’s closer to the Finnish brand I remember. I’m looking forward to sampling. 🙂

Any comfort foods you’d like to share?

Photo Pairings: Doctor Who

Geek out!, Stunt Double

I’m going to take a leaf out of blogger Holly Becker’s book and try photo pairings. Holly started with pictures of some floral fabrics and paired them with photos she thought were a good match to the pattern. I’ll try it with a geeky starting point.

This batch was inspired by Doctor Who. You can’t think of Doctor Who without thinking about certain iconic things like the Tardis…

Tardis Room

Left: Zir, via Wikipedia. Right: The Design Files, via decor8.

Left: Zir, via Wikipedia. Right: The Design Files, via decor8.

…the fourth Doctor’s scarf…

Doctor Who Scarf Leaf

Left: Traveling the Vortex. Right: Kent McFarland, via Audubon Guides.

Left: Traveling the Vortex. Right: Kent McFarland, via Audubon Guides.

…the other Time Lords…

Time Lords Gallifrey Room

Top: BBC, via katherine_b. Bottom: Charles Neal Interiors.

Top: BBC, via katherine_b. Bottom: Charles Neal Interiors.

…and Daleks (this one with tongue firmly in cheek):

Colored Dalek Outfits

Left: Doctor Who TV. Right: Rue Magazine Sept 2013.

Left: Doctor Who TV. Right: Rue Magazine Sept 2013.

That was fun! Anything you’d like to add?