Miscellaneous Monday: Steampunk Creations and Finds

I’ve decided that, on Mondays, I’m going to post about various other creative endeavors.  So you might see sewing projects here, or jewelry, or photography, or who knows what.

Today, I’m going to share the results of a weekend spent shopping for and making things to go with my steampunk outfit.

Saturday morning, bright and early, we (my friends Rivka, Melanie, and I) were off to the Baker Neighborhood Yard Sale.  We love yard sales in older, established neighborhoods like this; you get such a wide range of stuff at them (unlike sales in newer suburban neighborhoods, which are often mostly baby clothes and toys).

I’m going to start with one of the two best things I got all weekend. It was at one of the first sales we stopped at:

Antique Reticule and Hand Mirror

That’s it there on the left. It’s a little reticule-ish purse, about 6″ long, hanging from a cord. My rough guesstimate puts it at possibly 1920’s or ’30’s, but that’s only based on a gut feeling. Still, it’ll look smashing hanging from my steampunk “utility belt”.

Here’s what it looks like open:

The Reticule, Opened

The mirror makes me think it might have been a make-up case of some kind. It’s still really cool.

The other “big find” of the day came from a sale that was tucked away in a back-alley:

Best Buck Spent All Weekend

Just look at all that brass, and all those gears! Yes, it’s the guts of a clock, and it’s broken, so I don’t need to feel any guilt if I decide to take it apart for pieces. I paid $1 for it. Well worth it. It’s about 5″ square, and heavy.

Here’s a shot of the back side:

Clockworks & Vest Fabric

Aren’t those gears great?

Of course, I may not be able to take it apart. Beloved Husband is fascinated with it, and wants to tinker with it a bit to see if he can figure out how to make it work again.

We found other treasures as well. Behind the clock in the above shot is a chunk of fabric that will make a nice vest for Beloved Husband. Next to it is a lovely canvas messenger bag that’s perfect for a steampunk adventurer’s outfit. (I’ll post a better shot of that later.)

I also picked up some grab bags of broken/junk jewelry, some copper mugs, a really pretty lace insert, and some less steampunky things, like a battery charger and a Tupperware lunch set.

I took all my stuff home and started to go through it. The junk jewelry yielded a lot of good bits and pieces that can be used for various projects later. There was also a sparkly green choker that just needed a couple of jump rings to be wearable again, so I fixed that up and gave it to Rivka (since she wears chokers and I don’t). I glued new pin-backs onto a couple of broken pins, and took some other pieces apart with a view to making a new necklace or two.

Then yesterday, I got to looking around and realized that I had some other recent finds that just needed a little fixing up in order to be useful. For instance, this little chest:

Games chest

I picked this up at a yard sale for $1. It had originally had a strip of coppery metallic trim down the center, but the glue had started to come loose, and the–very sharp!–corners were sticking out and had the potential to cause injury. The former owners had started to peel the trim off, but got stuck when they couldn’t figure out how to get it out from under the latch.

I quickly figured out that the latch could easily be unscrewed, and if I was careful, I could screw it back on again later. So I did that, and off came the metal trim. A quick rummage through my scraps of fabric trim yielded a piece that was the perfect length and width to replace the metal trim, so I glued that in place and put the latch back on. Voila!

My intention is to use this to carry various small games around, so I can take it to picnics and such. So far, I have sets of balls-and-jacks (with actual metal jacks!) some pick-up sticks, a folding cribbage board, some decks of cards, and some small dice games to put in it.

Next, I got to tinkering around with the jewelry bits, and came up with a fun, Egyptian-themed necklace (shown here with a close-up of the lace insert):

"King Tut" necklace and lace insert

There were actually three of the “King Tut” medallions in the grab bags, but after I played with it a bit, I decided the necklace looked better with just one of them. The metallic side medallions also came in the grab bag, but the red beads and belly-dance bells came from my bead stash. I’m actually quite pleased with how it came out.

Then I’d been wanting to make up some “airship captain” medals for quite a while, so since I had all of my stuff out, I put together a few of those:

Another view

The medals are on the left. The top two were essentially Michael’s finds. One only needed a pin-back glued onto it. The other needed a little “remodeling” and the addition of some ribbon for it to dangle from (and a pin-back sewn on). The yellow ribbon came from the jewelry grab bag (wrapped around a belt buckle I’ll use for something sooner or later).

The two bottom medals were put together from scraps of junk jewelry from an earlier yard sale find. I especially like the way the green one came out.

On the right are four watch fobs I put together from various jewelry scraps. They have lobster-claw clasps so they can be attached/detached easily, and changed at whim. The chains were broken bits that came from various yard sale finds–this is a great way to use up little bits of chain!

I also made a sheath for a little pearl-handled penknife that I’ve had for a while, and which I wanted to be able to wear on a belt:

Knife sheath

I think it’ll look good with my “western steam” outfit.

In the upper right corner, you can see the back of a small round mirror, to which I glued some fabric to make it prettier. I also tied it to a ribbon with some beads, so it can also hang off of my belt.  (The front is pictured above, alongside the reticule.)

So here’s the sum-total of the weekend’s activity, pictured on top of an improbably-pink side of leather, which I found in my stash with a tag on it that said “50 cents”:

Recent finds and creations

I’m really looking forward to wearing/using some of this stuff!


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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2 Responses to Miscellaneous Monday: Steampunk Creations and Finds

  1. -Rivka says:

    The revitalized Tut necklace is looks even better than the version I saw.

    • Thanks! I’m very happy with how it turned out. Especially since I put it together out of stuff I had on hand. The red beads were left over from another project, and there weren’t enough of them to do much with, but they were perfect for this!

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