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Steampunk Darq!

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CATHERINE:  As you faithful readers know, Darq was invited to a Steampunk themed Halloween Party at a castle in a faraway land. As usual, the MIB and Darq would not disclose the location to me. And when Darq learned of the bat-shapeshifting Count Dracula, who was to be there, she got the Men In Black to give her a ray-gun-stunner for the occasion (and to go with her steampunk outfit). Using the instincts and quick reflexes of a starfighter pilot, the bat didn’t have a chance. Darq zapped it. Funny thing is, the stunned bat just grinned and grinned, mumbling Happy Halloooween!

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For those that are not familiar with Steampunk, it’s a subgenre of science fiction/fantasy about machines and technology based on steam power that utilizes gears, chains, mechanical automatons, clockwork mechanisms, etc. and is usually set in a Victorian era world. Darq’s outfit includes 11 pieces (clothing and accessories) made exclusively by me from trolling Pinterest for ideas. The foundation is, of course, “unmentionables” (underwear) befitting a Victorian Lady–this is two pieces, top and “petticoat.”

10-halloween-2016-undiesNext came the taffeta blouse with mutton sleeves, metal cuff links, and a lace jabot with heart-gears-cameo worn with an overskirt with an underskirt. All cinched in with a bustier laced up the front and tied off with a large (and expensive, $7) medallion-watch-gears buckle. Dangling from the tie ends are gears. An intrepid Steampunk Victorian Heroine can never have too many throwing stars–I mean gears.

Various chains and links, a pouch (for necessities), a magnifying glass (handy for starting fires), and a blue bottle (the content is an explosive liquid).

And, yes, Darq did lament about how tight the bustier was. She also complained the weight of all that metal on her felt equal to 20 g’s.

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Keep in mind that for the dauntless heroine of the era, one of the necessities is to make a swift getaway by running away — or maybe sprinting after villainous villains. To do that means raising the skirt and petticoats, which is done with straps, loops, and chain fasteners (which hang off the bustier).

 

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The overskirt, which is heavy wool, is lifted by leather straps with stud reinforcements. The petticoat is a metallic cotton, with heavy lace, and is lifted by cotton cord.

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A swifter departure is guaranteed with comfy boots —

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The boots come with a few woman-warrior necessities. Inside that large key is a dagger. The gear is a njnja throwing star.

Are you wondering about the ray-gun that doesn’t have a holster on the busier?

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Then —

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Take a look at the hat. Note the gear-weapons, the veil that keeps her hair tidy under exertion, the feathers (lethal quills), the various ribbons (to strangle or tie up a foe). Don’t see the weapon? Look under the hat–

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Pretty elaborate steampunk weapon, right? Can you guess what it originally was before it was converted it into the ray-gun? Need a better look at it? The original size is 2.5″ long but here it is enlarged–

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To the first person (who isn’t a relative) that comes up with the identify of this common, household part, I’ll send a $5 gift certificate. Deadline is November 30th, 2016.

Here is a look at the detail of the jacket and the sleeve cuffs–and Darq’s official photo to wish you all a Happy Halloween!

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NOTE FOR SEWERS:

I broke two needles and blunted the tip of a third. The first needle broke pounding through the wad of gathers on the mutton sleeves – taffeta is one tough fabric when bunched together. The other needle broke while zigzagging through the thick Naugahyde leather of the bustier.

When hand sewing the chain trim around the jacket, despite the faux-leather being thin, soft, and supple, I bent a couple of hand sewing needles (they now look like parentheses). Doing the hand work on the leather was also hard on my old fingers.

I calculated I have over $100 in materials and 30 hours of time in making this outfit.

Don’t tell Darq, but– I HAD FUN!!

I wish you all a very Happy Halloween!

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Darq returns to the farm for Thanksgiving and will blog on December 1st.

JEWELS OF THE SKY tells Darq’s story of Survival or Extinction. Mercy or Miracle. One Woman’s Choice.

Available at most eBook outlets in hardcover and eBook.

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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I have returned!

 

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CATHERINE: Welcome back to the farm, Darq!

DARQ: It’s good to be back to visit you, Catherine.

CATHERINE: Looks like you’re traveling light. Only the trunk?

DARQ: Yes, they have put a limit on me.

CATHERINE: Why?

DARQ’s cheeks flush: Too many shoes.

CATHERINE chuckles and looks at Darq’s feet: I’m guessing there’s a new pair of shoes somewhere under those bell bottoms.

DARQ: There sure are. (She drops her purse on the floor next to the trunk, then takes off her hat, placing it on the floor with her purse.  A second later, she lifts up her pant legs to reveal her shoes):img_5176-2016-oct-1-shoes-hat-purse

CATHERINE: Not too fancy. Certainly not as fancy as your pants. Gad, woman, bell bottoms? Really?

DARQ: They’re called Boot Flare Pants on my world. They’re the current rage.(She drops her pant legs and shakes them so they flare wide and hide her shoes.

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CATHERINE hands Darq some welcome baloons: Geez, Darq, your outfit . . . 

DARQ, looking innocently at Catherine: What about my outfit?

CATHERINE: It looks familiar. I’ve seen it–oh for crying out loud, Darq! You’re wearing a Celine, a designer original. I saw the outfit in Vogue magazine a couple weeks ago.

DARQ (grinning): Okay, you got me. Yes, this is a knock-off of Celine’s design ala Vogue. I, too, saw the magazine and outfit. When I remarked how good it would look on me, the MIB liason made some connections. Now, I’m wearing it.

CATHERINE: And the bell bottom, oh, excuse me, the boot flare pants are not the rage on your planet?

DARQ: Oh, they are. That parts true. But I’m curious how you recognized these as bell bottoms.

CATHERINE: Because, my dear Darq, when I was in my early twenties, they were the rage . I sewed a number of pairs, but none with the flair yours have.

DARQ: So, bell bottoms haven’t been around all that long on your planet?

CATHERINE: Think again. If memory serves, United States navy men in 1813 first started the trend. But it wasn’t until the mid-1960’s that the pants became the rage. That was largely because of the Hippy counter culture of the day. I remember Sonny and Cher . . . a 26″ flare . . . bell bottoms were the symbol of an outlandish and colorful style.

DARQ: MX, one of the new MIB guys on my security detail called them Loon Pants.

CATHERINE giggles: They were also called Elephant Bells way back in the 1970’s. But enough about bell bottoms. You’re here for a visit. So, what’s on the agenda for this month?

DARQ: A Halloween Party with a Steampunk theme. Got any ideas on a costume for me?

CATHERINE: Never fear, I’ll come up with something!

********READERS OF THIS BLOG– What are your recollections of bell bottom pants? Your comments are welcome!

****Note to sewers: The outfit was, indeed, inspired by the Celine outfit in a recent VOGUE magazine. It’s from Celine’s winter collection 2016. I did a quick online search and  watched a model wearing the outfit strut down the runway.  Darq’s black top is crushed velour, the pants a yellow woven cotton. The purse is similar to the one in the VOGUE ad. The hat, well, that was my own idea.

****Check back on Halloween to see Darq’s steampunk costume.

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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Gone for the Summer

IMG_4650 JPEG 2016DARQ:  I’m all packed and ready to head back to my homeworld

of Wysa, to spend time with my family. I’ll be back in October,

to do another stint as my world’s ambassador to your planet

and to have a visit with Catherine. 

See you then!

NOTE TO READERS FROM CATHERINE:  This blog’s followers as well as readers and fans of the JEWELS OF THE SKY novel were asked last month to let Darq know which outfits or costumes pictured on this blog were their favorites. This input was for posting a montage for the summer (until Darq returns).  So, here they are–Shawl front

TOPPING THE LIST:

Winter Solstice, December 2012

The JEWELS OF THE SKY book had just come out (November 27, 2012) and Darq wore her native Wysotti ceremonial clothes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the Erte-inspired outfit from that took forty-some hours of hand stitching down those silver squares. It was for a 1920’s themed New Year’s Eve Party (2013)

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May 2013’s Evenora costume (after seeing the movie Oz, the Great and  Powerful) . Darq loved the bling and the glitzy shoes (par for the course for a shoe-aholoc)—

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The next one was from February (Valentine’s Day) 2015-IMG_2932 2015Valentines Pink fronttop

As to simple dresses or outfits? These were favorites

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And lastly, what everyone needs–The Ugly Christmas Sweater (but somehow Darq manages to look good in it!)

IMG_2534 2014 Darq UglySweater 01 USE

DARQ:  Until my return in October, spend your summer vacation with an enjoyable book!

Darq-Book JofS  CLICK HERE  to find other books by Catherine E. McLean

and be sure to CONNECT WITH CATHERINE

Hub Website:  http://www.CatherineEmclean.com

Women’s Starscape Fiction fan/reader group

Comments and questions always welcome!

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Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Easter 2016

CATHERINE: Who’s hiding under that Easter hat? IMG_4570 2016Easter hiding hat

DARQ:  Just little old me!

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CATHERINE: Now show everyone your Wysotti “haute-couture” outfit that you wore to the fancy Easter Breakfast and Egg Hunt on the–

DARQ: Catherine! You know you can’t divulge where I go!

CATHERINE: Sorry, wasn’t thinking. Now, stop admiring your hat and let people see what you’re wearing.

DARQ: I’d rather show off my shoes, but I know you like people to see the whole outfit, so  here it is– IMG_4558 2016 Easter

DARQ and CATHERINE:  We wish everyone who celebrates it a —

Very    Happy    Easter!

********May 1st will see Darq returning to her home planet and not returning until October. I’ll be posting a montage of her and some of her favorite outfits on May 1st. If you have a favorite outfit choice, use the comment feature of this blog and let me know.

— Catherine E. McLean

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Isn’t it time you read JEWELS OF THE SKY and met the real Darq?

Jewels of the Sky 

(a futuristic adventure novel by Catherine E. McLean

 

 

***Note to Sewers:  The photo for this post makes it look like the dress’s skirt is all one piece, but the blue polka dot fabric is an underskirt. The belt is also separate. The fabric is all cotton, from quilt squares. 

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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

A Little Irish?

DARQ: I’m wishing everyone a 

IMG_4500 03 March ditty

and showing off my newest pair of shoes.

CATHERINE (mumbling): Always the shoes!

DARQ scoffs, then smiles and points to the rock: What do you think of my piece of the Blarney Stone, Catherine?

CATHERINE: It’s not THE Blarney Stone.

DARQ: What do you mean?  The guys said they chipped it out of the backside of the Blarney Stone and made it especially for me.

CATHERINE: I think you’ve been had. That rock you have is . . . (Catherine uses a screwdrive to scrape a bit of paint off the bottom of the rock).  Yep. It’s cement.

DARQ: I’ve been had!

CATHERINE: Didn’t I just say that? Maybe you should ask for a new team of Men In Black to guard you on your trips to those undisclosed locations they whiz you off to so you can do your ambassador thing.

DARQ:  But I like the guys. And they don’t play practical jokes all that often.

CATHERINE shrugges, then says: How did the outfit go over at the dinner party last night?

DARQ: Lots of compliments on the simplicity, the fabric, the haute couture design–

CATHERINE: Whoa. That’s not haute couture. I made it from one of your Wysotti fashion plates.

DARQ grins, then says: I know that. You know that. They don’t! Now, show the folks who stop at this blog what I looked like in my Saint Patrick’s Day duds.

CATHERINE:  Readers–here she is, Darq in her “haute couture” Wysotti garb:

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and what Darq’s holding is a token that says “I’m a wee bit Irish.” So, from Darq and me–

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****Note to Sewers: The fabric is a very lightweight polyester material woven in the tiniest of herringbone weaves so it has a nap that’s like ultra-suede. This is a two piece outfit, the tunic (with long coat-like back) goes over full legged pants.

Next update will be for Easter–Darq will wear a dress, the pattern will be another Wysotti “haute couture” design.

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Happy Valentine’s Day 2016

DARQ: It’s morning, and I’m wishing all my blog fans and visitors a

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I’m holding the card I made for Catherine.

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Yes, I raided her craft stash to make it. Want to see what’s inside the card?  It’s –

IMG_4457 2016 FEB Valentine Crd Inside

I’ll be leaving the card for Catherine and going to bed. Because of the snowy weather, I didn’t get in until dawn. The Men In Black came for me yesterday, bad weather and all, and whisked me off to a fancy mansion. As usual, location undisclosed for security reasons. (Darq whispers: It was a fancy dinner party with politicians and billionaires.)

Anyway I arrived at Catherine’s farm at the crack of dawn. It’s single digit frigid outside with inches of powdery snow. Catherine and her puppy Mojee are out feeding the birds. Though Mojee, the silly puppy, has no clue what birds are!

I snapped a photo of Mojee when Catherine was on the other side of the house, where the bird feeder is.

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I’m not as good a photographer as Catherine . . . Ah, well . . .

See you next month for St. Patrick’s Day.

CATHERINE:  I got back in the house, got the accumulation of ice and snow off Mojee, and found Darq’s card, along with a note that she scribbled. She was tuckered out from the trip and the late-night dinner party, and had gone to bed.

I opened the card. While I read it, Mojee enjoyed shredding the Valentine Card’s envelope. I made the mistake of setting the envelope on the kitchen table. Mojee might be little, but she sure can jump and stretch out to swipe things off the table!

I, too, wish everyone who reads this blog and celebrates the day, a very Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Posted by on February 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Happy New Year!

A minute before midnight, Darq though she found a quiet corner just beyond the ballroom at the hacienda and Skyped a message to Catherine without the MIB (Men In Black) noticing.  Barely had Catherine and Darq exchanged greetings when the countdown to midnight began and…

the confetti and streamers were released …

IMG_4410 2015 NwYr Etre Darq

which became a deluge!

IMG_4421 2015 NwYr Darq Confetti

In the aftermath, Darq looks at the pool of streamers at her feet–

IMG_4427 2015 NwYr Darq Erte

Over the joyful cacophony of party-goers voices singing Auld Lang Syne, DARQ says:  Happy New Year, Catherine!

CATHERINE, who stifles a yawn: And the same to you my friend.

DARQ: This celebration is muy grande despite all the champagne toasts.

CATHERINE:  Enjoying yourself, are you?

DARQ: Indeed.  And the envy of more than a few senoritas.

CATHERINE: Please tell me you’re not flirting with their husbands.

DARQ: I’m not. But a few of the men have turned on the charm. After all, there’s nothing like one of your Erte-inspired gowns to turn heads and catch a half-dozen or so gentleman’s eyes.

CATHERINE: Oh, dear. I knew that neckline revealed too much cleavage!

DARQ chuckles, then says: Nothing’s spilling out. Oh– Gotta go.  El Presidente is headed this way. See you in a couple weeks. Enjoy your New Year’s day!   (The connection ends).

**NOTE TO SEWERS:

This is the Erte illustration that was the source of inspiration for Darq’s New Year’s gown–

ERTE NewYrEVE 2015

The original Erte gown was a summer dress made of white lawn with blue embroidery trim. Both the skirt and sleeves are “handkerchief hemmed” and fall in draping points. The girdle’s sash was blue with a rose at the end of the long tie-end.  Since Darq needed a winter gown, I used a lightweight, crushed panne (velvet). The white contrast of the bodice and girdle are metallic grosgrain ribbon. It took 5 yards of trim for the outfit–and I can’t imagine how many yards an adult-sized dress would have needed!  Here’s a look at the flower trim belt-end and, of course, the shoes that match the outfit–

IMG_4428 2015 NwYr Erte Shoes-flwr

** Darq will be back with a Valentine’s outfit

so stop by this blog February 14th.  **

Party Hat RED

Happy

New

Year!

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Posted by on January 1, 2016 in Uncategorized