(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Photo Sunday: Merry Christmas

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/12/25/photo-sunday-merry-christmas/

Merry Christmas dear Reader.
Today is a family day for me; a day for sharing, eating special treats and spending family time together. My friends and family know me - chocolate, books (I now have the full Simon R Green series of Blue Moon books), games and geeky things.
After a lunch of special treats,
it was time for a cup of tea and Haighs' chocolate ...
dsc_3454_20161225111743380_20161225112442223... and a little light reading and watching Christmas movies (including Hogfather).
It was a pleasure to relax after Christmas Eve, spent gathering up the last of our Christmas supplies, avoiding frustrated Christmas shoppers (capturing a few geeky finds at the local Salvos- for under $15 total!) and watching a Doctor Who Christmas special marathon.
dsc_3400_20161222095852370I was reminded, by the Tenth Doctor, of the two words the Doctor can't refuse: "Help me." (The Next Doctor, Season 4.5)
Christmas is many things - family, gift giving, spectacular feasts. For me, Christmas is also a reminder on how we should treat others - you know, 'Good will' and all that.
This year, we shopped at Oxfam online for our presents, giving donations towards a goat and chickens for families in Mozambique, honey bees in New Guinea, empowering young people and fighting climate change in the Pacific. We have so much. We can share.
Merry Christmas to you all.
Revel in your family. Share good tidings of the season. Share the love. But, look beyond the one day. Think beyond yourself, beyond your family. Reconsider that barbed tweet or that spiteful post and share something kind instead.
Go forth and be excellent to each other.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Pre-Christmas frenzy

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/12/23/the-pre-christmas-frenzy/

This week I've swapped Photo Friday for a blog post. Photo Friday will happen on Sunday. Make sense?
Last weekend was the last book event for this year - a popup store for local indie authors at Greenlight Comics in Adelaide. Joining me were Alex James and Darren Koziol. Thanks to everyone who popped in to say hi!
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I don't know about you but I'm annoyed the shops started their Christmas push even earlier this year. Come September, and there was tinsel and Christmas bells starting to weedle it's way into the stores. Don't get me wrong; I love Christmas. I find it restores my faith in human nature (if I ignore the short-tempered shoppers stealing carparks). I get to watch schmaltzy movies, and be less embarrassed and I get to have crayfish as a special treat (it's getting very expensive these days). Sorry, I digress.
The shops. Yes, well...
I almost missed Christmas this year due to their over zealousness. Hanging decorations in hope of guilt-tripping people into spending more money definitely puts them on my naughty list. I've avoided the larger shopping centres for months now. I chose to ignore the glittery edges and the jingle-bell music. And almost missed it all together.
So this week I've tracked down my treasured Lions Christmas cakes, hung the door wreath, restocked the Christmas pantry and finalised present shopping. We finally erected the tree on Tuesday (though our outside Christmas lights are seriously lacking this year) and wrapped the presents. Oh, and ordered the crayfish to be picked up on Saturday. I'm afraid our presents and Chrissy cards will be late this year. Apologies to all.
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This arrived on Wednesday - a present from my friend Susan (the one that kicked me in the butt to write my first book). Thank you, Susan!
Dear Reader,
However you celebrate this weekend, please stay safe. I hope you find what you seek.
Merry Christmas.
Karen J.
And here's a Christmas bonus video from our recent Time Travellers' Picnic:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Steampunk Explorer Costume Diary.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/12/18/steampunk-explorer-costume-diary/

Earlier this year I scored some material on Freecyle (a local group who giveaway unwanted items so they can be recycled or reused), including brown cotton and blue polycotton offcuts. I was inspired to create a new steampunk outfit, loosely based on the character of Lara Croft. As usual, I left it til the last week to put my plan into action - for this year's Time Travellers' picnic.
The brown material seemed to be the remnants of an old sheet, left over from someone's project - wide enough to make a ruffle skirt (which would provide better circulation, hence much cooler than a pair of bloomers for a summer's afternoon). The blue cotton consisted of just under 5 metres of 48 cm wide offcuts - just wide enough to cut out waistcoat pieces.
To save time, I fished out a pattern I adapted for a previous project, and one I bought at the last Spotlight sale:
  • Butteric 3418 (skirt)
  • Simplicity 8114 (to make the waistcoat)
I use bought patterns as a starting point when time is short, using them as a sloper to adapt into something new. For this outfit I wanted a sleeveless waistcoat and a ruffled skirt with an uneven hem (longer at back).


waistcoatfitting_copyright2016karencarlisleI ignored the sleeves and used the basic waistcoat pattern as a toile, reshaping and trimming back the armholes and adding a dart to make it more fitted (with some help from a friend to reach under the arms).
I used cotton duck (in my cupboard stash) for the interlining. Cotton breathes and is cooler than synthetic iron-on interlining.
The pattern suggested plastic boning. I used 6mm metal spiral boning for the front and back side seams, and 10mm metal spiral boning for the side seams. I find this lasts better and gives better support (plus I had most of it in my cupboard).
There was just enough material to include all the body pieces and make a matching bias binding. (2) Phew!
I added brass-look buttons to give a more steampunky feel. (3)
(2) Making bias:
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(3) Bias edging and buttons to finish off.
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I wanted a shorter look to this skirt (to keep it cool to wear and reminiscent of Lara's shorts). The front hem was raised to the knee and the back raised a few inches, with the hemline curved to join up. I managed to eek the lower ruffle from the original material. But I wanted a flirtier look to the skirt - a second ruffle. I purchased 1.5 metres of complimenting polycotton and added a second ruffle. The edges were zigzagged in contrasting cotton for decoration.


My new steampunk outfit had it's debut at The Time Travellers' Picnic last Sunday - consisting of a double-ruffled skirt and blue, boned waistcoat/bodice. This was inspired by a 'Freecycle' stash of material I obtained - with blue and brown cotton-blend material. All I had to buy were buttons, some extra metal spiral boning pieces and some buttons. Total cost just under $30 (mostly for the buttons).
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Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle/ David Carlisle.
Group photo: ©2016 Neil Swaddling.
All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Photo Friday: Time Travellers' Picnic

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/12/16/photo-friday-time-travellers-picnic/

International 'Pretend to be a Time Travellers' Day' is traditionally held on 8th December each year. Last Sunday we calibrated our chronospheres, jumped in the TARDIS or appropriated a Vortex Manipulator to attend this year's picnic. It was wonderful to see members of Steampunk South Australia, Cosplay for a Cause Adelaide and Australian Costumers' Guild, as well as newcomers.
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Of course, it was a costume affair. We had steampunks, Stargate travellers, daemons. Even Batman and Wonder Woman made an appearance.
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We fed the ducks, ate cake, drank tea and enjoyed a relaxing day in the Botanic Gardens.
ducks img_5446 img_5395  img_5447  img_5409
James some gifts - geeky Christmas wreaths (our is hanging on our door).
 And I finished my latest outfit (just in time) - steampunk explorer loosely based on Lara Croft and made from a free stash of material (Huzzah).
 Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle/ David Carlisle.
Group photo ©2016 Neil Swadling.
All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My London Cheat Sheet/ Research List

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/12/11/my-london-cheat-sheet-research-list/

Australian speculative fiction writer, Narrelle Harris, recently wrote a blog post on A Cheat Sheet to London, with useful information links to aide in writing stories set in London. I've now added a few more books and websites to my 'go-to' research list. Fortunately I have visited once, albeit a flying visit. Still, writing steampunk stories based in London is a challenge for me - being a non-Londoner myself.
A big thank you to Narrelle for sharing her lists used to write her most recent Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy. Here's my list (concentrating on 19th century London) in return.

Where am I?

Though I write alternate history and fiddle with London's layout, I base my stories on maps of nineteenth century London. I use a combination of webpages and books to research the architecture and walk the streets of my London.

House and Home and Social London

Victoria and the Royal Court

Murder & Mayhem - history and technology of Crime

Share your cheat sheet/research list

Now it's your turn. What resources (books, webpages) do you recommend for the non-Londoner writing stories set in London?
Narrelle Harris is the author of Walking in the Shadows, The Opposite of Life and, more recently penned a Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy published by Improbable Press.
 Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Photo Friday: Summer in Adelaide

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/12/09/photo-friday-summer-in-adelaide/

Summer has hit with a vengeance, with sunshine, lightning storms and our first statewide fire ban day. Back in the garden, we're still doing the pre-Christmas clean up in the front yard (and getting rid of fire hazards). We're getting visitors: we spotted a baby blue tongue in the vege garden and a spider near the front door.
front-clearup spider
It won't be long til the rolling green Adelaide Hills will become the brown dry hills.
And Rose garden at Dearheart's parents' vineyard.
The jacaranda are blooming, which heralded exams when I was at school and uni.
More travels around Adelaide show some of it's historic architecture - one of my favourite things about the city.
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Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.