Just call me Lady Elizabeth Beadsworth-Writingdon…

I have many  reasons for adopting such a convoluted name, so we shall start at the beginning…

Anyone who knows me, knows that I can’t stay away from shiny things… beads, crystals, silver, gold… I love it all! Except that I don’t really wear jewellery unless I am going somewhere special. My Jewellery Design Passion began when I started training as a Design Technology Teacher. I was advised that I should improve my prospects by choosing a speciality to teach.

Well, Textiles / Clothing design is fun (there are some cool techniques), but thread and I DO NOT get on and it’s more frustrating than anything else, so I threw that out. Electronics isn’t a draw for me, my graphics suffers because of my eyesight and Food Technology is only fun when I don’t have to do it… so I came down on Resistant Materials.

I really enjoy taming blocks of wood, metal and plastic to my will. It’s a strange feeling, designing something on paper, then turning it into reality with material of any sort. While I was training, I came across a DT teacher who had originally trained as a Silversmith and after talking to her, I decided to go down that route for my specialisation.

So having realised that doing a Silversmithing degree would be a little out of reach (we’re talking £9,000 just for initial fees) I started looking for another avenue. First I looked into Beading and found a world of fascinating shiny things begging to be played with and turned into beautiful designs.

I was hooked. Completely and utterly Hooked.

Fast forward to this month.

One of my favourite Beading magazines held a competition for the readers who frequented their Facebook Page. Beads and Beyond is the one magazine that I have a subscription for – it always has a variety of different and interesting techniques and is well worth the money. I look forward to it sliding through the letterbox every month.

So I entered the competition. I didn’t expect to win. But I DID!!

I was sent a wonderful collection of beads and charms – I already wrote about the pieces I made and the magazine have published it, along with the photos of my work on their blog. If you click on the picture below it will take you to my article…

 

Feel free to pop across and take a gander!

So that explains the “Beadsworth”

*Grins*

Anyone who comes here regularly knows that I’m a writer – I talk about it often enough… you have all read my books haven’t you?

*stares at the screen* Haven’t you?

So that’s the “Writingdon” explained…

…but why Lady Elizabeth Beadsworthy-Writingdon at all?

Well, for some time now I have been enamoured of the World of Steampunk. For those that aren’t aware of the culture, here’s a quick explanation via the useful Wikipedia:

Steampunk refers to a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrialsteam-powered machinery.[1][2] Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. It may, therefore, be described as neo-Victorian. Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistictechnologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-airairships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage‘s Analytical Engine.

Steampunk may also incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The term steampunk‘s first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.

Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century.[3] Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

The love affair just appears to be getting stronger, so I felt that I ought to create a persona for my forays into this World… and while I am the adventurous type, I prefer to associate with those who have time for Afternoon Tea. So Lady Elizabeth it will be.

I already have ideas for her outfits. She will have (at the outset) two ensembles. A Daytime one, combining elegance and practicality. She will carry a pen / pencil and notebook at all times, a holstered teacup and saucer (one must always be ready for Afternoon Tea, wherever in the world you are), the aforementioned tea itself, a number of practical Jewellery tools (you never know when you might need to fix your jewellery), a parasol and her wand.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Lady Elizabeth Beadsworthy-Writingdon is also a Witch, and no witch would ever leave home without her favourite wand and ritual tools. She will wear specially made magical armour which protects her while looking beautiful and being easy to wear, and her clothing will be comfortable and easy to wear, whilst retaining her modesty.
Obviously, her Evening Outfit will be wonderfully made, elegant and perfect for dancing in. She will have accessories made by her own fair hands, and carry a fan… and further than that, I will not say more!

It is entirely possible that she may appear in a future book; as yet I have much to work on until she is ready for her debut!

Melt beads, Steampunk and Bladed Fans…

I’ve spent most of the day today sorting through melt beads. These are the sort of bead that you put onto a spiky tray and then heat with a hot iron through greaseproof paper to glue them together; rather neatly utilising the thermal properties of the plastic they are created from.

finished owl

The reason I am doing this, is that the Brownie Unit I work with are doing the Woodland Wonders Challenge and the owl is one of the activities. We had some melt beads and I volunteered to attempt the project so that we know what sort of pitfalls etc that the girls might come up against.

It’s a relatively easy pattern, but, due to some errors in the pattern I ended up rejigging it so that the poor creature had a beak. It also gave me a chance to count the number of beads we were going to need.
Each owl needs 254 beads. We have approximately 20 brownies so we were going to need well over 5000 beads. After a quick consultation we decided that it would be easier just to buy the colours separately.

But sadly, my favourite crafting shop let me down. They didn’t have enough black and no orange at all! So there I was this morning, sorting through one of those tubs full of multiple colours, trying to find enough beads to cover our needs.

I managed it, but my eyes were crossing by the end of the exercise – I’m pretty certain that I’ll be seeing multicoloured dots for at least a week…

 

Book 3 of The Finishing School Series

So having bagged up the beads, I turned my attention to a birthday present.

Gail Carriger is one of my favourite authors. I have all of the Parasol Protectorate books and I am avidly collecting the Finishing School series.
Due to the current Hachette / Amazon contretemps, this particular book came via Waterstones rather than Amazon. But to be honest, I don’t really care where I buy my books from, as long as I can get my grubby mitts on a print copy of my favourites!

I devoured it in 24 hours and would normally leave a review on Amazon, but again, because I couldn’t buy it from Amazon, I cannot review it on Amazon.

*sighs*

Waistcoats & Weaponry is a wonderful, highly absorbing book for ten year olds upwards. It links neatly with a particular incident in the Parasol Protectorate books (don’t worry I won’t spoil the story) and I loved every moment of it… especially the twist in the tail!

No, I haven’t misspelt that.

Now that I’ve finished it, my son is snapping at my heels to read it. I’ve delayed him somewhat by forcing him to at least finish one of the three books he is reading (a Discworld Novel) but I saw the gleam in his eye when the book arrived and I’m not going to let him have four books on the go at once… even when one of said four is actually a series of Graphic Novels.

The weapon that appears in Waistcoats & Weaponry is the bladed fan. I am assuming a little here that Ms Carriger was inspired by the Oriental War Fan.

There are different styles of Martial Art that use the Fan; it was an easily hidden weapon for Chinese Warriors and the Samurai, and I have no doubt that techniques were taught to women as a form of self defence.

It is an elegant weapon and perfectly suited to the female Intelligencier.