Category Archives: Art

New Zealand Scrapbook

The Hobbiton page in my scrapbook

As I mentioned in my last post, I made a scrapbook for our New Zealand trip. My arts & crafts projects tend to lean more into making Steampunk accessories and jewellery, so this was a new experience for me. I didn’t want to throw away all the mementoes I had collected, and this seemed to be the perfect way to preserve them. It would be a way to relive the trip, I thought – and even putting it together gave me a great deal of satisfaction.

I had some problems getting an actual scrapbook. Spotlight had all the gear for scrapbooking except for the actual books! I thought about ordering online, but ended up popping into Target on the off chance they would have any. They did! Just ONE! But one was all I needed.

Double-sided tape is the scrapbooker’s friend. So are really sharp scissors. I had bought these in preparation. I decided the sensible thing would to be set out the scrapbook to follow our day to day adventures. And off I went.

We went to Zealandia and the Cable Car Museum on the same day.
The Larnach Castle Page

Items too bulky for the scrapbook were put through the photocopier, such as the Larnach Castle Christmas ornament and my patches from Lumsden and the Steampunk Headquarters. I included several coins in New Zealand currency for a bit of bling; they were thin enough not to cause any issues. I also photocopied a few photos to add colour and backgrounds to some pages. As I haven’t taken any scrapbooking classes, I have no idea if I was doing anything the right way. I just arranged things to my liking.

The Steampunk Headquarters, Oamaru, page in the scrapbook.

It took me a week to complete the scrapbook, working about an hour a day after dinner. When it was finished, I gave it to my husband to flick through. his comment: ‘I wouldn’t have thought this would have turned out so well. I didn’t think we kept so many souvenirs. How did we get all of this home?’ ‘The magic of saving mainly flat items like brochures and maps,’ I replied.

My next goal is convert my handwritten diary into a computer file. That way, I can add in details that I may have skipped while travelling.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art

More Thoughts About New Zealand

The view out to sea from Larnach Castle, Dunedin

I’ve made a scrapbook from the paperwork, brochures, pamphlets, and other bits-and-pieces I collected while in New Zealand. It was a rather pleasant experience, being both a creative endeavour and another way to relive our travels. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, but if we ever get to travel overseas again, I plan on doing it again. I kept a travel diary as well. You think you will never, ever forget such wonders, but human beings are forgetful beasts. Memories fade, particularly when piled up on top of each other.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, Dunedin, New Zealand, Personal experience

Leaving New Zealand

Artwork at The George, Christchurch.

Our last day in New Zealand was spent running errands and packing. We wanted to mail my snow gear home since it took up so much room in my suitcase. This way, I had room for the souvenirs and presents I had bought, and I wasn’t lugging around the extra weight. Our concierge found us a box to pack everything in, and then wrapped it in tape for us. If you are ever looking for a nice place to stay in Christchurch, I can’t recommend The George highly enough. The staff are the best, the art is inspiring, and they even gave us George, a sweet little bear to take with us on our travels.

The courtyard on the way to the Library at The George. This display is made of plates that survived the earthquake, out of sets that were destroyed.

We popped out to the post office. and had an early lunch at a café – you know the food is good when a place is packed even though there are plenty of eateries close by. Then we went back to the George for a nap. We had to get up at 3AM.

Dinner was at The George’s restaurant. I had the duck and I still have daydreams about that duck.

George – now in Australia – sitting with Esme, the Fashionista bear.

In the wee hours of the morning, we set off to the airport. We were so early, the QANTAS lounge wasn’t yet open. So we set up on the seat next to the door. There were robots in a glass room! Alas, it was closed and wouldn’t be open until well after we had flown out. (And it was for children, but that’s never stopped me before.) When the lounge did open, we had breakfast. (Then we were given meals on both flights back to Brisbane, New Zealand-to-Sydney, and Sydney-to-Brisbane.)

Every minute or so, it would shift into a new pose. Those anime eyes!
The second robot, ready to play soccer.

We left just as the sky was brightening. My last glimpse of New Zealand were snow-topped mountains just starting to glow in the pre-dawn light. I found the trip home tiresome, as I was both tired and still feeling ill. And I was already missing New Zealand.

Once home, I went straight to bed. And I spent nearly two weeks there, with antibiotics. I had developed secondary infections in my ears and throat. So it was my throat that was causing all the coughing, not my lungs, which was a surprise. During my convalescence, both mail parcels got home safely.

Over the next few posts, I’ll add in details about the trip and what I’ve done with some of our souvenirs.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, Christchurch, New Zealand, Personal experience, The George

Steampunk Headquarters, Oamaru

The pinnacle of Steampunk artistry.

I was sorry to leave Larnach Castle and Dunedin; there was so much more we could have seen and done. Visiting New Zealand was beginning to feel like a European tour; the fjords of Scandinavia, the snowy peaks of Switzerland, Scottish moors, English farmlands, with the extra excitement of its unique wildlife. Our next stop was going to be another highpoint of the trip: Steampunk Headquarters in Oamaru. The drive was as scenic as anything we’d experienced previously, with rocky tors looming along the ridgelines.

On the trip between Dunedin and Oamaru, I expected to see the Orcs or the Rohirrim, when I caught sight of these rocky tors.

I was still burdened with my cold, but the excitement of seeing Steampunk Headquarters burnt a lot of my discomfort away. Adrenaline is great stuff! When I caught sight of iconic train outside the Headquarters, I squealed with delight. My husband rolled his eyes, he isn’t a Steampunk Enthusiast. This outing was for my benefit only.

The Airship

When I walked into the entry, I immediately started blabbing about being Steampunk Sunday, Queensland, Australia on Facebook. The lass had heard of me! She was going to wave the entry fee for both me and my hubby, but my hubby insisted on paying. Then it was a walk into Steampunk heaven.

The Mega-Galactic Pipe Organ
One of the numerous Steampunk vehicles on display.
When you need to cross a lava-hot terrain.
Another vehicle in the process of being constructed.

I could easily share the dozens of photos I took, but my drooling over everything would get boring. Then again, this IS originally a Steampunk blog. We also spent some time in the gift shop.

The Tank
One of the cosplay outfits on display.

We spent a couple of hours in the Headquarters, then we headed off to Christchurch, our last stop in New Zealand.

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Filed under Adventures, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art, Steampunk Genre, Steampunk Headquarters, Steampunk Sunday

Wedding Anniversary in New Zealand

Exhibit at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. And a wonderful view of my rotundity.

This was the day of our 27th wedding anniversary – and my husband’s birthday. So, we did out favourite thing and visited the museum across the road from where were staying: The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. We ended up spending six hours there, including meal breaks. We didn’t take many photos; most exhibits requested no photography.

The museum is also an art gallery. We started in the portrait gallery, which has a computer set up to explain who the people were in all the portraits. It also gave random facts about the restoration of the paintings, some of the meanings and symbology within the paintings, and historical context. Brilliant stuff. There was also a gallery showing by Robyn White.

The more traditional exhibits were about indigenous animals, the Maori way of life, the tectonics of New Zealand, and a tribute to the ANZACs with large human sculptures done by Weta Workshop.

We also visited the Wellington Museum, about four blocks away on the same street. It is a much smaller museum, set into an old wool storehouse. My favourite piece there was the memento mori wreath made from the hair of scores of people – very Victorian era; my Steampunk persona was fascinated by its complexity. Most hair used in this manner was preserved in lockets, brooches, and rings. There was a clever use of the hair colours to pick out the details in the wreath.

Human hair woven into a floral wreath.

There was an exhibit about the wreck of the ferry, Wahini, which made me cry due to so many little bodies lined up on the beach afterwards. Later on, I remembered we were taking a ferry to Picton and had anxiety over that. I kept checking the weather apps on my phone.

They also had an exhibit about the UFO panic of the late 1950s. Wellington has been paranormal for decades, it appears.

Victorian era baby carriage at the Wellington Museum.

After being on our feet for hours and hours, we headed back to the hotel for a nap. There was sparkling white wine on ice and little cakes waiting for us … the staff knew it was our anniversary. That night, we had a romantic dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. I love my husband more every day, and was pleased he had a fun day for his birthday.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Art, The Museums of Wellington, Victorian Era, Victorian-era Fashion, Wellington

Wellington Street Art

Even the manhole covers are art in Wellington.

The road trip from Rotorua to Wellington was the most interesting, scenery wise. We went from hot springs, through a rural paradise, through the ‘desert’ (it was very well covered in vegetation for a desert), into a modern city. The highpoint for me was seeing a snowy mountain. As a Queenslander born and bred, I’ve managed to miss seeing snow for sixty years.

Geothermal chimneys look remarkably like nuclear power plants.
My very first glimpse of snow.

We arrived in Wellington at night, so we didn’t get a good view of the city until the next morning. My word, the city is gorgeous. It has so much street art, it deserves a post all of its own.

The cat lady in the alley behind our hotel.
The bollards made to look like uncurling fern fronds.
A bridge just down from our hotel.

We spent four days in Wellington and I will share those adventures over the next few days.

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Filed under Art, New Zealand, Personal experience, Wellington

Weta Workshop, Auckland – Weta Unleashed

One of the suits of armour on display at Weta Unleashed.

The Weta Unleashed tour is in the building across the road from the Sky Tower. This was convenient, as we went straight from the Sky Tower to our tour, across a sky bridge. We looked around the shopping cave first, and took photos of the statues of trolls and orcs lurking in the corridor outside.

Once inside the touring area, our first stop was a ‘reception’ area with animatronic Kevin, an orc. Kevin was the result of Disney wanting a fortune – AND YEARS – to create this sort of robot. Weta decided to do it themselves. And they managed to be quicker and cheaper. I prophesise that Disney will be trying to buy Weta in the near future. My favourite room was the Pinnie Gigs room, where Guinea Pigs were the overarching theme. They were part of the stained class, and there was a board that had sketches of LOTR characters as guinea pigs. My next favourite room was the miniatures room. The details were amazing. If I could work for Weta, this would be my jam.

Of course, I got to play with a sword and helmet and a throne.

This kingdom is MINE.

If you get a chance to go to Auckland, don’t pass up the opportunity to see the Weta Workshop. It is inspiring for writers and Steampunk enthusiasts.

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Filed under Auckland, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk Art, Steampunk Technology, Weta Unleashed Auckland

Our First Night In New Zealand

Auckland by night, from the Sky Tower

It seemed to take all day to get from Brisbane to Auckland, since we lost two hours in the trip over. But my husband, Brian, didn’t want to waste time in seeing the sights. So, that night, we had dinner at the Sky Tower.

I wasn’t expecting to see much, with the sky overcast and no moon, but was presently surprised to be wrong. The restaurant revolves slowly, so that you get a view of the entire 360 degrees while dining. The highlights were a lime green crane, the dancing lights on the main bridge, the port with its red eyes all over, and the general fairy lights of the city. And the food was great.

View from the Sky Tower by day.

The next day. we went back to the Sky Tower. Auckland is a beautiful city, with it’s water views. I also did a virtual ride with a roller coaster set on top of the Sky Tower. That was delightful, because it gives you several ‘free fall’ moments while experiencing the ride.

The view through the glass floor of the Sky Tower.

I watched as a toddler wandered over the glass floor with no fear, until he looked down. Then he plopped onto his bottom and wailed. However, his mother was suffering from vertigo (I used to get it when my own children looked to be doing something dangerous) and couldn’t bear to step onto the see-through flooring. She tried to call her little one over to her, and was getting quite distraught. I was about to help when he was rescued by his sister, a girl about four, who had no qualms about bouncing on those see-through panels.

After the Sky Tower, we went to the Weta Workshop! I’ll save that for tomorrow’s blog.

Where we were staying was a place called the Fable, which felt rather posh.

The tea set in our room at the Fable.

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Filed under Art, Auckland, New Zealand, Personal experience

Tomas Barcelo’s Steampunk Cannon

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the-cannon-ball

Seriously, one of the best gadgets I’ve seen in a long time.

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Filed under Art, Gadgets, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Uncategorized

Ghost in a Crinoline

Cirenaica Moreira From the series Metalica: La Industrial, Lavanderia Habana Gelatin silver print, 1998

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This image has inspired me to write a short story.

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