Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some new listings for tomorrow

Brand new devices and delights coming tomorrow

--Bottled abomination larva and eggs
--Unidentified specimen in bottle
--Pocket chronometric locator with built in homing beacon
--Pocket gyroscopic aetherimeter
....and a watercolor ACEO


Thursday, September 15, 2011

ACEO Mania, or Why I'm Not Making Gear

I realize there's been a serious lack of tech for a blog that's supposed to be about gear and gadgets, but I've realized that no matter how much you love doing something, you occasionally need to take a break, and let your creativity rest.

I was getting in a rut with my gear, making the same thing over and over rather than innovating and producing really unique pieces I could be proud of.  One of the things I love about gear making is creating items that are really and truly one of a kind, nothing like anything else I've made.  I wasn't content that I was doing that.

So I'm taking a little break.  I have a bunch of supplies waiting for me when it's time to go back, including two fantastic gun bases, a couple alarm clocks, and several camera lenses. But....I want to do them justice.

Because of all this, I'm going back to collage making for at least a couple weeks, focused particularly on ACEOs.  I love the format, and I love making them, because I can do some really silly things in such a compact space. 

It's been great to clear my palate, so to speak, with something different. 

One of my Etsy teams (the Time Travelers Team) is doing a Halloween contest, and it's been fascinating to see the different styles of cards that the different members create.  Each very much has its own flavor, unique to the creator, but you're very much able to tell whose is whose based on their style.  It's been interesting to to see how many people make digital cards and prints.

I feel like I could have done more with my entries, but overall I'm pleased, if only because they're a little (or a lot) silly. 

Hearth and Home
Anabelle Lee


I'm a little worried the witch and cat one will be interpreted as some sort of Never Again the Burning Times thing, which is....well, not what I'm going for, to say the least.  And yes, I really did reference and RPG. 

I also did three for myself, that I'm really quite pleased with, though two of them are very, very silly.

Apple Trees
The Devil His Due

The lyrics on Apple Trees comes from "Apple Trees" by Ozma.  Also, I'm seriously hoping that the translations of "fork" are all correct.  If not, blame babelfish

Hopefully in a few weeks we'll be back to our regularly scheduled Steampunk accessories and costuming, but I'll wait till I'm pleased with the quality of my work.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ACEOs and ATCs

"La Belle Dame sans Merci"
Through the Time Travelers Team on Etsy, I've discovered ACEOs and ATCs.  The abbreviations stand for Art Cards Editions and Originals and Artist Trading cards.

They're 3.5 x 2.5 (the size of a Magic card) pieces of artwork designed to be sold, traded, and collected.

Since I'm a collage artist in my other incarnation, these things are amazing. I've got the bug, big time, and I've been making them all day.  A lot of people do digital collage, and produce multiples of the same card, or make prints.  I've decided to do just originals, because by the time I finished embellishing a print it'd be an original anyway, so why bother?

Only two are finished so far, the rest are either drying or in various stages of assembly.  These will probably be entered in the TTT Halloween ACEO contest, but I might make others.

"I Loved Alone"
Either way, this is a brilliant way to make smaller, more cohesive and brief artistic statements.  I feel like I can express a single thought, instead of composing an epic about something.  It's forcing me to be brief, and narrow my scope, which is something I have trouble doing.  Plus, it's a way to use all the lovely little bits and pieces I've gathered but haven't really been able to work into a full collage.  

Now to find a way to display them....and to start collecting myself....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Contest! Official Rules for the Young Adult Lit Treasury Challenge

I'm running a silly little contest, combining two things I love, playing around on Etsy and young adult fiction.

The treasury below is a puzzle.  Each item represents one YA book that I think is fantastic. Between now and Sept 24 guess which book fits which item, email it to me on Etsy, and the person with the most correct answers will win a prize from Merriweather Tech. (In case of a tie, I'll select a winner at random.)

Since some of the books are fairly obscure, and it's hard to get a whole book from just one image, I'll be offering clues along the way.

I will accept early guesses, and tell you how many you've gotten correct, but not which ones the right ones are. You're welcome to submit guesses as often as you like. When you are happy with your answers, send me a mail titled "contest official submission."  I'll post the winner here, and do a little feature on their shop.

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I'm in a bit of a lull right now, because all my creative energy is going toward working on my husband's 15th century fencing gear. (Which I'll show off as soon as it's finished.)  It's a fun project, but because I'm basically doing everything from photos of how it should look, with no real reference, it's been a little annoying.

But I realized I haven't properly introduced myself, Samantha Merriweather, and Merriweather Techology. Thought I'd take the time now to do so.

I'm Samantha, a 29 year old geek who actually gets paid to make art and write. I do a little bit of everything when it comes to creative pursuits, right now I mostly focus on gun and gear designs and mixed media assemblage and collage, but I also mess around with painting, jewelry making, and sewing.  I'm currently abut 1/2 way through my first novel (young adult cyberpunk, thank you for asking.)

I got into steam punk mostly through the table top RPG Unhallowed Metropoliswhich is set in a a Neo-Victorian London that could be/could have been.  After falling in love with it, I found out there was actually an entire subculture devoted to all this, and it escalated from there.

I'm a serious nerd, and do a lot of gaming, both table top with dice, and the kind where you play dress up and walk around.  Gear making really comes from this. I ran my first Unahllowed LARP at KublaCon 2007, and will be running my latest at Dundracon this year.  Everyone knows LARPs need cool props. I started designing gear as a way to make those props I needed a lot more cheaply than I could buy them.  Next thing I knew, I was being offered money for them.

The Samantha Merriweather persona is actually derived from a character in that first LARP.  She was the current president of the Society for Man and His Rational Capacities, a collection of the finest scientific minds in the world, all devoted to inventive pursuits. She's evolved since then into a sort of mad scientist type, upper class, but willing to get her hands dirty in the name of Science!  It gives me a lot of costuming options, and some seriously fun excuses to deck myself out in all sorts of bits of tech.

Merriweather Technology is the flavor text for the gear. It's the frame I use to turn what I make from cool little guns into pieces with deep histories and their own voice.

There is, of course, my outlook on steampunk, and my theories about the subculture, from literature to fashion, but we won't go there today.
And since blogs are boring without photos.....

pew pew pew

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clothes for Miss Merriweather

I spend most of my time making costumes for other people.  I thought for my birthday this week, it was time to get something made for myself.  To that end, I've commissioned a costume made by a seamstress I know.

The Samantha Merriweather persona is one I'm rather fond of.  She's down to earth, focused on her gear and on what she can make.  As such, her clothing needs to be simple, and functional.  Still, she's upper class, so they can't be too much that of a workingman.

So, I'll be getting this skirt and jacket made:
I've been told it's a fairly common pattern, and that I'll see a lot like it. Ah well.  I have a feeling most of them will be far higher up the class scale than mine will be, and I think accessories can make or break a costume, and that's my department after all.

It's shown in fancy fabric, which absolutely won't work for Miss Merriweather.  Mine will be a little different-- jacket made in sturdy brown courderoy, lined with spring green cotton.  The skirt will be made in tan muslin, and designed to be worn over several petticoats. It will have chain details, and buttons that are Victorian reproductions. Lower class, yes, but with enough fine details to make it count.

It's made to be worn over a corset, but while that might be appropriate, it's certainly not practical for the modern-minded Woman.  We'll be altering the pattern to allow it to be worn over a shirtwaist.

Then of course, the fun part--accessories.  I own these wristlettes  and this choker (in a lovely chocolate brown) from the fabulous Scarletrabbit (on Etsy here)

Then I get to make my very own guns. I'm also thinking about putting together a gear-maker's tool bandoleer.
Suggestions and advice always appreciated, and I'll be updating with in-progress pictures.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Merriweather Tech at Celesticon

I won't get to be there, but Merriweather Tech guns and gear will be sold at Celesticon via Game Kastle.

Looks to be a fun convention too, so if you're in the SF Bay Area you might check it out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Airship Crew Cuffs

I've been working on a set of cuffs for the crew of the modern Airship.  First came the Green Fairy, a chemical weapon cuff designed for use in an explosive enviornment.  Next, the Captain's Cuff for keeping track of, and maintaining all the complex systems of a large airship. Finally, the Navigator's cuff, for the individual charged with keeping the way ahead clear.

Overall, I'm incredibly pleased. They're each a very unique pieces, with their own bits of moving parts, and everything from electronics to tubes full of liquid.  They were a lot of fun to make, though they required the kind of patience I don't usually have, mostly waiting for glue to dry -fully- before moving on to something else.

They're by far the most detailed work I've ever produced.

Upcoming? The Midshipman's Cuff.  Trying to figure out what the Middie of an Airship would need...

Available for purchase here:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Field Alchemist's Guide, pg 15--Proper Attire for Field Alchemy

If one intends to seriously pursue field Alchemy, and the quest for Truth and the conversion of Gold from Base metals, then one must go forward properly attired.

Trousers or skirts, of sturdy hempen or linen canvas, of a dark color so as not to show stains, reinforced at the seams.

Shirt of good weave, of suitable quality for one's station, for even that field Alchemist is not a workingman.

Apron of heavy leather, pocketed to hold tools.

Thick leather boots, again of appropriate design for one's station, lacking hobnails, but with leather or rubber soles, given the use of electricity in many modern laboratories.

Eye covering such as goggles or glasses, smoked lenses are highly advised.

Alchemist's supply cuff, of heavy copper, holding necessary chemicals for field Preparations.  Labeled with personal markings, see Chapter 9. For further details on building one's own cuff and outfitting it, see Chapter 14

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Real as Patent Medicine

I had two projects fall apart on me this week, so I've decided to give up gear manufacturing in exchange for selling snake oil.

Pandemonium's Patent Preparation, and the Pandemonium Machine are the latest, best interpretation of an age-old cure, known only to certain monks high in the Himalayas, and brought to the Western World by Professor Pandemonium himself, purveyor of all things fine and fortifying.

Suffer from bouts of gout? Ill humor? Demon Possession? Never again! With Pandemonium's Preparation, taken daily, you will never know the ills of the body, mind, or spirit!

Available only through Merriweather Technology, one little bottle can cure anything that ails you!


This has been a fun device to work on, because it combines everything I love to do. I've gotten to do some image editing for the logos, some decoupage and painting for the box, and of course gear assemblage for the device itself.  Plus, a bit of creative problem solving to make a device that "works."  When I'm done, you'll be able to attach the inhalation tube to the device, and mock-breathe the fumes (of course everything is sealed up properly, but the effect is there.)

Plus, I've done some research into patent medicine. (Some fun information and a good bibilography can be found here)I knew about using cocaine, hashish, and heroin, but hadn't realize just how many potentially fatal thing were used as medicine. Electricity in a bottle, anyone?

I'll leave you with the bare bones of the Pandemonium Machine

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ghost Hunter's Snub Rifle with Banishing and Exorcism Kit

From the journal of John T. Waterman, Ghost Hunter and Traveling Exorcist

Spiritus beam and refractor crystal
August 10-
We weren't expecting any trouble.  It was a routine putting to rest of a restless spirit.  I had brought the lamp oil and flint and steel to burn the bones, Johnson the holy symbols and salt.  We had been told it was a simple haunting, by a spirit that took the form of a beautiful woman.

This was not the case.

The spirit came at us without warning, incorporeal but sweeping over us like a great, malevolent wave.  I pulled my rifle automatically, activated the Spiritus beam, revealing a woman in a tattered white dress, hands like claws.

Banishing supplies always at hand
When the beam caught her, she was rendered motionless. She screeched, but did not come closer.  I shook some salt out of the rifle's compartment, unable to reach my other packs.  When the salt struck her, she shrieked like a banshee, but did not disappear.

I took a handful of vervain, sprinkled it with Holy Water, and whispered the Solomon's Oath, scatting the holy vervain at her feet.  She dematerialized with a scream like to wake the dead.

After she vanished, we salted and burned her bones, dispersing her ghost forever.

If it were not for the rifle, our lives surely would have been lost.
The Merriweather Technology Ghost Hunter's Rifle with Banishing Kit
~Grand Adventuring!~

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reversible Silk Messenger Bag

I don't do a lot of sewing for other people, but a customer offered me a chance to work with some really gorgeous silk dupioni.

He's going to Blizzcon in October and wants to dress as a human form Worgen. Since it's a gaming con, though, he needs a bag to carry his junk around, and a standard, canvas bag really wouldn't do.

And because I can't help but make things more complicated, I offered to make the bag reversible, so it was wearable with more things.

I found this excellent tutorial  Which I then tweaked till it worked for a reversible bag. Because the silk was thin, I lined both sides in heavy fusible interfacing, which really stabilized everything.  I also added a line of stitching around the top of the bag and the flap to keep it in place, even after some hard use.

I had some trouble with the strap.  I didn't quite have enough black silk left to make a 1 piece strap, and the idea of making it particolored offended my sensibilities.  My customer was ok with it being made of two pieces, but I think I'm going to keep an eye out for something to replace the fabric strap with.

Still.....I'm quite pleased with the outcome.

~Grand Adventuring!~

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ghost Hunter's Handgun, in progress

In the spirit of Halloween, I'm currently working on the Ghost Hunter's hangun, complete with Spiritus Beam and aether refracting crystal.

It's painted, and I'm starting on the embellishment.

The paint job and the Spiritus beam

A closeup of the aetheric refractor crystal

There's still a long way to go before it's worthy of the seasoned ghost hunter, but I'll keep updating as it progresses.

~Grand adventuring!~