Elven Queen Coloring Page

Since there’s lots of people stuck at home right now, I thought it might be neat for me to draw some coloring pages. I had a ton of ideas – so I posted on Facebook to get votes on which I should do first! The three choices were: Alice in Wonderland Tea Party, Elven Queen in her castle garden, and Lady Pirate in a tall ship. As you can see, the Elven Queen idea won!

I’ve never drawn a coloring page before – and I have to say, I think this was the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever drawn. Although for a while, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it in time! Virtual school started this week, and it’s been absolutely insane trying to keep up. Hopefully next week goes better.

The good thing is – when I do pencil sketches, and when I fill things in with pen and ink, it’s a major stress relief activity for me. And this week, I’ve needed the stress relief, lol!

Here’s the printable page:

Elven Queen Coloring Page

The dress the elven queen is wearing in my coloring page is a re-imagined version of this gown:

Elven Wedding Dress

I plan to make the dress from the coloring page at some point. Only the fabric will be different. I took some artistic license with the coloring page to make it more fun to fill in! Were I to replicate those designs around the edges of the gown, I’d need to either paint or embroider them on – and it would take too long, and thus make the dress cost a very impractical price. But the burnout floral velvet I plan to use to make the dress will be perfectly fancy. ^.^

If you decide to color this in, I’d absolutely LOVE to see how you finish it! And I’d love feedback on how I did – I looked up a bunch of pics online to get an idea of what adult coloring pages look like. LOL, I haven’t actually done adult coloring before (between-the-lines isn’t exactly my style in life!)

But I knew they were black and white, and I know that I love drawing with pen and ink, so I thought it was worth a go! I’ll probably draw another of these next week. If you’d like to get in on the vote for which idea I make this time, watch my Facebook page!

Steampunk Fairy Costume, Pixie Style

Steampunk… and fairies… Two very fun concepts, so why not combine them into one awesomely cute costume!

Steampunk Fairy Costume

I’ve actually had this costume sitting in my closet for at least a year now!  I made the skirt along with several other colors, so I could test my new pattern and get pictures of several at once. 

Steampunk Fairy Costume

Then, I hung up the skirt in between some other skirts in my stock closet, and since it is rather tiny, I totally forgot I’d made it!

Steampunk Fairy Costume

This fascinator isn’t posted anywhere yet – because I plan to sell it as a top hat!  One of these days, I’ll create the matching top hat bands and get that listed in my shop.

Steampunk Fairy Costume

As always, jewelry by my sister – Fantastical Treasures.  You can see this design (and many more steampunk pieces) in her etsy shop. 

Steampunk Fairy Costume
Steampunk Fairy Costume

This is a discontinued skirt.  It was one of those designs that turned out pretty, but too time consuming to make!  When I did the math, I realized I’d have to charge way too much for it.  I refuse to sell something handkerchief sized for close to $100…

…Even if it did turn out quite cute!  I’m selling the skirts below cost, and I don’t intend to make them again.  What I made is posted for sale in my shop here:

#FridayFun is starting!

The world is a crazy, crazy place right now.  I want to help – but not really sure what I can do.

I read somewhere that with kids everywhere having virtual school, classes like art were going to fall by the wayside.

And I thought, hmmm, I can easily be my kids art teacher for a few weeks – so no worries there.

And then, I had an idea!  Starting now, and every Friday, I’m going to make something fun that you can print/color/create at home.

Lol, I had this idea at exactly 6:28 this morning – so no time to make a brand new one today!  But – I happen to have made these awesome printable/papercraft steampunk goggles back in 2016.  So they’ll work great for today’s share!

To make these, you’ll need the following:

  • Card stock
  • Black and metallic markers (if you wish to decorate your goggles)
  • Black elastic – one piece 2″ long, and the other piece 14″ (adult), or 13″ (older child), or 12″ (young child)
  • Mini paper fasteners
  • 1/8″ hole punch
  • And of course, the printable files:

Instructions on how to make the goggles will be right on the page when you print them.

I decorated the goggles in my pictures, by adding dots around the edges, swirls, and steampunk gears. Gears are rather easy to draw! Here’s basic instructions. To draw a small gear, first draw a circle:

Then draw dots all the way around on the outside, like this:

To draw a large gear, draw a small circle, then a large circle around the outside, like so:

Draw spokes – lines around the outside. You can draw 3 lines, or 4 lines, or 5 lines, or 6 lines.

And draw dots around the outside:

You can leave them just like the above photo, or go one extra step, and color in a curved shape on the inside, like this:

I hope you enjoyed this little project, and I’ll be back next week with something new!

Coronavirus Update: Is it safe to shop online?

To those who have been enjoying my stick-fingers-in-ears and sing LALALA approach to the coronavirus, no worries!  Your daily dose of pretty (with no mention of scary) will resume tomorrow!

But – if I don’t at least mention SOMETHING in the midst of this national emergency, I’m kinda out of touch with reality!

So here’s my coronavirus update.  First: if you place an order anytime from now thru the next few weeks, please give me a few extra days to ship!  Next week they’re having early spring break in Rhode Island, which will be followed by tele-school.  So I’ll be effectively home-schooling my first grader, and my special needs 6th grader. I expect to be very busy!

Most events around the country are being cancelled – so my orders have shrunk to only a few wedding customers, which is scary financially, but will help me keep up!  I do still need to keep posting listings on my website (if I stop it will hurt my search engine rankings), and I don’t want to disappear on social media either.

Luckily, we just took a ton of pretty photos, and I have a few of last year’s shoots that aren’t edited yet, that will be ready to share soon.  Here’s a sneak peek!

Photos coming soon!

I also have a completely irrational fear of being one of those people who have it, but feel perfectly good, and therefore don’t know and spread it to others!  It’s silly because I really don’t leave my house much, and my friends tend to be of similar ilk (no globe-trotting wanderers here!)  

But it led to me doing some research that I wanted to share.  In addition to being an online vendor myself, I do a lot of online shopping!  So I set out to answer the following question:

Coronavirus: Is it safe to shop online?

It comes down to this: How long can coronavirus live on a surface?  AKA, on an item in a box, that is being shipped in the mail.  For a while people weren’t completely sure – there weren’t any Covid-19 specific studies, and other strains of coronavirus can last up to 9 days on surfaces!  But finally we have a Covid-19 specific study.

The scientists found that coronavirus can live for up to 3 days (72 hours) on plastic and stainless steel.  They tested other surfaces too – 24 hours on cardboard, and only 4 hours on copper.  The study has yet to be peer-reviewed, but I’m assuming they’ll get to that quickly!  I’ll update this blog post when they do.

So we should all be safe shopping online.  If you want to be extra extra safe – check when the package was shipped, and if it’s one of those super-fast Amazon packages, and it contains something that can’t be washed or disinfected, disinfect the outside once it comes into the house, and let it sit until the 3 day point.

I’m young and healthy, so if I caught it, I’d be fine.  But I very much agree with the sentiment of trying to be responsible and not spread it to those less healthy than me!  So I’ll be extra extra careful over the next few weeks – disinfecting EVERYTHING, and doing that thing they call “social distancing”, just to be safe.  I prefer relaxing in beautiful, wide open natural spaces over crowds anyway!

New England is rather pretty, even this time of year! Photo by tpsdave on Pixabay.

Blue Tudor Inspired Ball Gown

Every year, I act in a local play.  It’s a rather fun Monty Python-esque recreation of Guy Fawkes.  Typically, I wear something from my closet of random costumes.  My renaissance costumes are all from years and years ago – old fabrics that I can’t reorder, old designs that I’ve discontinued in favor of newer cuter ones, etc.

Last year, I found out at the last possible minute – that we had a chance to be on television, in costume – a quick spot on a local show to advertise the play.  And my immediate thought was, crap, I am a fashion designer, about to be on TV for the first time ever, in something I made 10 years ago and couldn’t re-create!

So I decided I’d rectify that situation, despite it being right in the middle of my busy Halloween season.  Sleep… is totally overrated.

I’m always buying random fashion corsets to check the quality and pattern, and possibly add them to my shop – and thus, I had this one in my size:

It didn’t meet the cut, because the embroidery is not gold, it’s yellow.  -.-  But to help me quickly pull a Tudor-ish dress out of my behind, for a last minute appearance on TV – it would be perfect!

Aaaaaaand here are the pictures from a quick photoshoot we did!

Blue Tudor Inspired Gown
Blue Tudor Inspired Gown Sleeves

It was the day of the Guy Fawkes play.  Anytime I’m doing a costumed event, we try to do a photoshoot on the same day – that way my time spent getting ready serves two purposes!

Blue Tudor Inspired Gown

So I got ready for the play early, and we piled into the car and headed to Harkness State park.

Normally Harkness Park is only nominally busy, but they were hosting some kind of huge marathon/track event that day. It was a challenge getting these pictures without runners in the background, and I got a lot of weird looks too!

Blue Tudor Inspired Gown Side

I know the skirt is too short!  I made it that way on purpose.  In these photos, I’m wearing a hoop skirt – because that is the version I’d make for my shop.  But for the play, I wore it with a smaller petticoat – and both petticoat and skirt needed to be ankle length, so I wouldn’t trip getting on and off the stage.  ^.^

Blue Tudor Inspired Gown Full

I don’t plan to sell this exact costume.  But I might make a lavendar and black version at some point, using this corset:

Possibly with a matching cloak!

My Pants and Garter Shorts – Behind the Scenes

I grew up in a hick-town part of central Florida, and I’ve always loved to hop on the road and have an adventure!  In my late teens I discovered that Miami was THE place to go to find some seriously amazing shopping.  I’m talking flea markets full of the most ridiculously cute clothes imported from South American countries – all affordable on an after-school-job budget.

My sister and I started to make a trip down to Miami once each year to restock our wardrobe.  And we discovered Brazilian jeans.  Brazilian jeans are amazing – with a fit that is utterly addictive.  They are butt-hugging, hip-enhancing, comfortable perfection!

When I moved to New England as an adult, I discovered that they don’t exist up here!  And eventually, all my pairs were wearing out.  I hate the way regular pants fit in the store.  They always feel like they are trying to ride down my butt in back – and then the front has the exact opposite problem – with this weird fold that makes me look like I’m packing something…

I pulled out several pairs of my Brazilian jeans, and compared them to a pair of regular pants to analyze what makes them fit so well.  Then I worked on developing my pants pattern.  I tweaked it until it felt utterly perfect (actually more comfortable than my Brazilian jeans).  

Closeup of Pants
My first pair of pants. This is the “LOOK THEY FIT!” photo I sent to my sister, lol!

Then I drafted other sizes in the pattern, made more pairs, and tried them out on my friends and family – who loved them!  Several even refused to ever buy pants in the store again.  They looked amazing on every one – in every size – but were so comfortable that everyone felt like they were wearing yoga or pajama pants.

Tribal Belly Dance Pants
My sister and I, c. 2007, being silly, and wearing my corset pants. You can see how they are ultra low rise, but still don’t ride down in the back when you bend over!

Pants used to be my most popular item!  I made them to-measure, so they’d be the perfect length for each customer.  In 2009, I designed my garter shorts.  In the beginning, they looked like this:

Garter Pants
Garter shorts used to be lower rise than today’s version, and they had bows at each tab. I later left off the bows because they can be uncomfortable to sit on!

When I transitioned to making Steampunk, Victorian, and Fantasy costumes in 2013, I wound up discontinuing my pants, along with most of the belly dance themed items I was making back then.  But garter shorts had to stay – after all, they are the perfect piece to complete so many costumes!  

Saloon Girl Skirt
A saloon girl skirt, from 2014, worn with my garter shorts.

Over the years, I’ve toyed with the thought of offering my pants for sale again.  There’s this Saturday-night effect I find at festivals – lol it’s what happens after you spend a half day on Friday, then a full day on Saturday all trussed up in corset, bustle, and possibly even wig and hoop skirt.  Saturday night comes around, and you start thinking “get this stuff off me!” but you still want to be cute, because duh!  It’s a festival…  

If I were to take all of my best ideas from back in my belly-dance-designer days – I’m talking sparkly, stretchy fabrics, metallics, glitter, possibly even some LED’s… Then I’d combine them with today’s ideas – and wind up with epic flare pants with lace insets, shrugs and tops with long flowy sleeves, and slightly more danceable versions of things from my current designs.  It would wind up being this incredibly fun blend of Rave, Steampunk, Fantasy, and Belly Dance, and it would be uber comfortable to wear, and I WANT it, lol.

Tribalista Belly Dance Costume
This is about the closest pic I can come up to give you an idea as to what I’m talking about! It’s the last belly dance costume I designed, from early 2013. Picture some of what you see here, plus some of what you see in my current costumes!

The idea’s been in the back of my head for a while – but I’ve held off because I’m not sure if it will be popular!  Also, these days, I no longer have the figure to take uncorseted photos.  😛  So I’d need to coordinate my ideas with local models – possibly find a studio I can rent for the day to be able to take the photos.  I’m hoping to make this idea a reality in time for a show I’m attending next February.

If you’d like to see it happen – drop me a line, and tell me I should get my butt moving!  😉

My First Photoshoot

How bout this for a throwback Thursday?  These pics are from my first EVER photoshoot!

Gold Renaissance Belly Dance Costume

If you have ever been curious about what I was making back in 2007 – here it is!

I made these renaissance bodices out of saris.  I had managed to find a small sari weaver in India who had a simple website with paypal buttons to sell their wares.  They had some seriously gorgeous metallic saris, for amazing prices. 

Renaissance Belly Dance Bodice

I’m not sure what became of them – sadly their website is no more.  I still have a few saris – I’ve been squirreling them away for personal projects.

Renaissance Belly Dance Costume Side
Renaissance Belly Dance Costume Front

The bodice and belt were reversible!  The other side looked like this:

Red Renaissance Belly Dance Costume

So when I switched the white skirt out for a red skirt, it became a whole new outfit.

Sitting in Red Renaissance Belly Dance Costume

I’m three months pregnant in these photos, lol.  You can kind of tell in a few of the poses, but I was really sucking it in!

Red Renaissance Bellydance costume at rocks
Belly dancer with light house

I haven’t designed anything reversible since this little renaissance vest.  I should totally bring that idea back sometime!

Renaissance Belly Dancer

Unseelie – Dark Fairy Queen Costume

Black and silver queen crown

I made this gown way back in 2015. Since then, it’s been part of my personal collection. I’ve worn it a couple times – once to a Labyrinth themed masquerade ball, and once to a fairy festival (with my sister wearing this dress, we cosplayed dark and light seelie queens.)

Black and silver queen gown

And it’s been on a couple collaborative shoots – but I hadn’t taken photos of me wearing it yet.

Black and silver queen Jacket

So when I found this burgundy wig from one of my wholesalers, I thought, let’s rectify this situation!

Black and silver queen crown

The setting in these photos is on the UCONN campus at Avery Point, in Groton CT. There’s this utterly gorgeous mansion there – Branford House, and as of yet, no one has minded me traipsing around the grounds getting photos!

Black and silver queen photoshoot

Do you like metallic fabrics? I love them! They are very difficult to work with, however! They also require special sewing techniques and extra time-spent in order to make them durable enough for my standards.

Black and silver queen back view
Black and silver queen costume

For those reasons, I have yet to make anything for sale in a metallic fabric. But – I’ve figured out some new things behind the scenes that will make metallic pretty things a possiblity for the future! Stay tuned. 😉

White and Silver Fantasy Queen

White Fantasy Queen Costume Side

Metallic fabrics… are utterly gorgeous, but an utter pain in the butt to work with!

So although I made this dress (and a black one just like it) a very long time ago, I’ve been holding off putting it for sale.

White Fantasy Queen Costume Bodice

These photos are from an event I attended way back in 2017. It was the “Emerald City” festival – Wizard of Oz themed, with a touch of inspiration from the the Emerald City show.

White Fantasy Queen Costume Front

I wore this look as my own version of Glinda the White witch. It was quite the fun cosplay!

White Fantasy Queen Costume Detail
White Fantasy Queen Costume Back

Announcing… Pre-Orders!

The face I portray to the world might be the queen of costumes – but privately, I’m a mom of two boys.  

Photo of my boys in a swing
My boys. This pic captures their personalities well – Technology obsessed Tristan, and JJ the ham!

It’s important to me to be there for them when they get out of school.  So I create all my pretty things from a home studio.

We’re looking for a house this year – but for now there is a challenge – all of my materials and in-stock costumes have to fit within a very small space!

I outgrew this space quite a while ago.  (Like, two years ago!)  I’ve been hanging on by my teeth by sewing a lot of custom orders – and trying not to have too much left over fabric and trim when I’m done with each of them.

I followed that path to its conclusion – which turned out to be very long hours, terrible hourly pay, a disorganized overstuffed workspace, and a lot of private frustration for me.

Overstuffed Stock Closet
Ikea shelving helps me fit pretty things from floor to ceiling in my cramped stock closet.

It led to me discontinuing custom orders.  But that introduced a big problem!  I can’t stock plus sizes (small studio, remember?) except on my most popular designs.

And if I had to choose my #1 priority – it would be making my pretty things available to as many people as possible.  If you are plus sized, believe me, you are the last person I want to exclude.

Also, there are some of my designs (full length skirts, for instance) that should really be made to your measurements.  The downside to using all that pretty lace at the hem, is you don’t want to be stepping on it!

I thought on it for quite a while, and came up with:

Pre-Orders

I’m working on starting an email newsletter.  That newsletter will contain (among other things) a secret link.  Each month, I’ll offer exactly one fabric and trim combination available for custom orders.  Usually it will be just one style that’s available – but I’ll offer choices in styles sometimes too.

This way I can continue to offer items made just for you – but in a way that doesn’t eat all my time!

2019 Year in Review

Do you like to set goals this time of year? I do, big time. I also like to spend some time thinking about the goals I set last year, and how well I did at accomplishing them.

And in doing so this year, I have come to the conclusion that 2019… sucked, big time!

I started 2019 on a high note – all fired up! 2019 was going to be the year that I finally figured this stuff out! Success, and dare I say, even a good hourly wage (if you know anyone who has a handmade sewing business, you know that’s the toughest part). All this would finally be at my fingertips!

Lol, I even channeled all that excitement into a bit of artwork:

Dream Big... And believe in yourself

Then came 2019, and (insert crash and burn sound here!)

If you’ve been following me for a while – you probably figured out that I’m an overwhelmingly positive person. Lol, to the point of delusional sometimes!

Therefore, I have no failures, only learning experiences. 😜

So 2019 was a great year, because I learned something important, and I even figured out how to make it happen in 2020…

So, I have bad news, and I have good news. Which do you want to hear first, lol? I’ll start with the bad news.

I am discontinuing custom orders.

If you’re one of the people who’ve been saving money for one of my custom made gowns, and planning to purchase in 2020, I’m truly sorry.

The lesson I learned in 2019 is this – if I want to add new things into my schedule – I have to cut something out! I have to stop thinking that I can just manage my time a little better or work a little harder – it doesn’t work like that. Custom orders are the most time consuming part of what I do. And even though the prices I charge seem (at least to me) rather high – when I divide it out by the time I spend on communication, ordering custom things, pattern tweaks, and sewing things one at a time – I’m earning below minimum wage on average for each custom dress. That isn’t a sustainable business model… 😬

So I’ve deactivated my custom made listings on Etsy, and I’m going thru my listings that have a custom made option one at a time, and updating them with the new information. It’ll take me a few days to finish.

Then when I’m done, I’ll be able to work on several new and exciting things. So without any further adieu, here’s the good news!

I’m starting a Youtube channel.

I’ve known this for a long time – I need to get my pretty things on video! There are so many things that can’t be captured in a photo – how things swish when you walk, the way that literally EVERY angle looks beautiful in one of my dresses, the complete head to toe transformation when we get ready for a photoshoot! And I think it will be a ton of fun too, once I figure out how to use the technology to make the videos. ^.^

Auralynne.com store coming soon!

…For real this time! I actually almost finished it last year. This year it’s HAPPENING. The store on my website will make it easier for me to keep track of what’s in stock, give you discounts when you order a full costume from me, and sell things I don’t make that all of you would love (like my corsets, and fun costume accessories.)

Newsletter coming soon!

In fact, you can sign up for it right now. I’m still working on my welcome series – and once I finish it, I’ll send it to you – and then there will also be a once-monthly newsletter from me, and a few subscriber-only perks too. You can sign up for it at the bottom of this page!

Are you excited? I’m excited. 2020 isn’t just a new year, it’s a new frigging decade! And it’s gonna be AWESOME.

Black Steampunk Costume – Huntress

Do you like hoods?  I love them – and up to this point, I have made far too few of them, lol!

You probably recognize parts of this dress.  This is my “Belladonna” skirt – which I designed and first made waaaaaaay back in 2013.  It was my first ever Steampunk clothing design!

Since then, it’s been my alltime most popular skirt.  I’ve always offered a short-sleeved Gothic Victorian shrug to match it – but I’ve been trying to design and make a wider variety of styles this year.

So here is my “Steampunk Huntress” costume!

If I made this hooded shrug as part of my regular line, I’d make two small changes.  The first would be invisible!

You know how hoods like to slide off your head?  Unless a hood is lined with velvet or suede, it does this.  In the middle of this year, I had an epic idea to fix this.  All my future hoods will be trimmed, on the inside, with a bit of black velvet ribbon.  The velvet gives the hood just a bit of grip – so it won’t slip off.

The second change would be in the sleeves.  I like the way the ones in these photos look – but I think they would be just as cute if I made the shoulder and arm from one piece of fabric (the black rose jacquard).  I would still do the striped ruffle at the bottom, and the sleeves would take much less time (and thus be cheaper) made this way.

I made just one bolero like this, in size Small.  It’s posted for sale here (in my Etsy shop.)  Then the rest of the costume is posted here.

Thanks for reading!