Monday, March 18, 2013

Steampunk Crafting Woes

Yes, I have not blogged for exactly a month. I shall make up for it with an amusing post which was almost entitled, "It Should Not Take An Hour To Make a Simple Hatband." This essentially sums up my evening: an attempt to take this plain little number and jazz it up with a snazzy red hatband.

My first problem is that apparently my hat was in dire need of a priest and some holy water, for it bore this label on its brim.

Hoping that merely removing the offending label and burning it was sufficient, I removed the tag and set to work crafting a simple red hatband. I had some leftover silky fabric from a blouse I chopped into a bolero and was looking forward to an easy ten minute crafting project. It started promisingly, and I was moving along quite fine...

...until I belatedly realized that my iron was set on maximum heat...

...which melted and warped the fabric, leaving the band too short to fit around the hat. Irritated but not undaunted, I sewed two pieces of red fabric together to make another band, realizing that I had sewed one inside to one outside. More irritated, I ripped out the seam, sewed the pieces together correctly, then realized...

..I had incorrectly sewn lengthwise. I muttered a few choice words, then ripped the seam out and managed to put together a decent hatband that fit all the way around the hat... 

...that sadly is not even and also has a funny lump on one side from an inside seam. However, enough decorations should cover up those minor problems. Next was time to delve into my "box 'o steampunk goodies" and dig out some gears. 

A friend of mine had given me an assorted box of steampunk odds and ends, and I was particularly happy to find a watch with a cracked face to add some nice roughness to the overall effect. Although all good steampunks should avoid the temptation to "glue some gears on it", I nevertheless reached for my superglue because my last attempts at soldering were completely ineffective, mainly because I had mistakenly grabbed my dad's woodburning kit instead of the soldering iron. 

Currently, the glue is setting and I will soon be wending my way to the local fabric store to buy a few yards of red tulle to hang off the back of the hat. Then I will have a completed costume for the next steampunk event. 

The writing process is ticking along nicely - I had a few more adjustments to make to the final chapter and some research to track down. Currently, I am searching for some specific examples of wooden ships circa 1850's and their costs for building and/or their sale costs. I tentatively set the Horizon's price at 20,000 pounds, but I have absolutely no idea if this is an accurate representation of what a comparable wooden sailing ship would cost in 1854. I also want to find some information on shipping prices during the 1850's: however, there are an abundance of variables which make it exceedingly difficult to know exactly how much one could expect to pay to send a ton of flour from England to Ireland. 

In the next few weeks, I expect to have the final draft ready for a final round of proofreading before it moves into the publishing stage. Artwork is being arranged, and then there is the fun process of setting up the manuscript via Amazon's specifications for publishing. The e-book format will not be a difficult process; however, setting it up for print copies will be challenging enough that I am seriously considering paying Amazon to do so for me. Amazon has a variety of packages for self-published writers, and if you are willing to fork over enough money, they will do much of the work for you. 

I have to admit, though, that I waver between excitement, frustration, and outright hatred of this novel of mine. Such varied feelings are perfectly normal, I am fully aware. However, there is that small but persistent voice that yowls, "Your book sucks and no one will enjoy it." On one hand, I wish I was back to writing full-time and not in the workforce. On the other hand, writing full-time means that I have to be at it hours every day. 

It will be interesting to see what kind of reception I receive post-publication. I could struggle to sell a hundred copies, or it could capture quite a bit of popularity. Since this is a series, I'm committed for the long-haul and I know my writing will develop and improve as the series progresses. We shall just have to see!


  1. I don't know if it helps at all but I recently heard excellent things about Jutoh Ebook editor.

    Also, this may help?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. As far as ship cost in the 1850's it depends on the type of ship. It could range from as little as £3,000 up to £8,000 to manufacture. For example the CITY OF HAMILTON, a 127 550 ton foot schooner built by A. HALL & Co., cost £6,509 to build.

  4. That was supposed to say 127 foot, 550 ton schooner.