It just so happens that my designs make the best stinking saloon girl costume… ever! 😉
But getting saloon girl photos is rather difficult. I love outdoor photo spots, and there’s nothing near me that looks Wild West! Here in New England, we’ve got a ton of amazing natural scenery. There are spots that are perfect for woodland fantasy, nearly every historical era (while we don’t have in actual historical castles, we have reproductions!), amazingly creepy Halloween spots, gorgeous gardens, and more! But deserts and that wind-and-sun-weathered ghost town look is something you don’t really find out here.
These photos are snapped at Wilcox Park in Westerly RI. There’s a cute caretaker’s cottage there with a front porch that’s painted brick red. It’s way too much lush green for a true Victorian Wild West look – but I had to work with what I had!
And the weathered boards beneath my feet and the painted Victorian-era wooden porch at least look saloon-ish. 🙂
Usually I’m wearing my sister’s jewelry – but this time, we failed to coordinate before the shoot. So I whipped up this choker necklace with some hat and crown making supplies I had lying around. It was safety pinned together behind my neck! I think I’m going to turn it into an amazing cloak fastening later this year. ^.^
And here’s my absolute favorite photo of the day – totally getting into character in this shot!
This set is going to be one of my first designs that I can offer in all sizes – including plus sizes! I started a big batch of the skirts just before everything went crazy – and I had to prioritize everything else in life. Once things slow down, I hope to be able to complete them and add them into my store. There’s also just one left from the previous batch (a size Medium) in my Etsy shop.
For this weeks coloring page, I again sat down with sketchpad, pencil, and pens and let my imagination take me where it wanted. I wound up with this Elven Lady and unicorn!
Unicorns are my sisters favorite. I told her that was what the coloring page is going to be this week and her response was “OK, where is it? Hurry up and finish it already!”
When I went to draw this, I realized – wow, it’s been at least 15 years since I’ve drawn a horse. And I was picky about the exact direction and pose of my unicorn. So I had look up about 14 horses on Google images, and use them all to figure out how to draw the horse in this exact position! I’m quite happy with how Franken-unicorn turned out. 😉
I sat down with my sketch pad with the goal of drawing an adult coloring page featuring a Steampunk fairy… but then this happened!
Lol, I’m not sure if I had Game of Thrones on the brain, or if I just wanted to do something straight from my imagination, and a little less practical.
As I was penning in this drawing, an idea of the fantasy world in the picture was forming in my head. The lady is training the baby dragon in the photo. Eventually it will grow up (the size of the ones flying in the distance) and she’ll be able to ride it. At least in my head, it’s a land where castles are built right up into the sky, and the people all ride dragons. I’d very much like to run away to this place, given what’s going on in the real world right now!
I could make the dress my Dragon Lady is wearing in the picture. (I can make almost anything, lol!) But if I did, it wouldn’t go very well with the rest of my designs – since I specialize in corset dresses. So my “Dragon Queen” gown idea will probably remain in my imagination.
Although I have to say – I would LOVE to make that belt and that shoulder piece. While I was drawing it, I was thinking about how I’d combine scale mail, and really big/amazing filigree pieces, and chandelier drops to make it – and I want to create it and watch it take shape!
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!
The dress the elven queen is wearing in my coloring page is a re-imagined version of this gown:
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… and fairies… Two very fun concepts, so why not combine them into one awesomely cute 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.
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!
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.
As always, jewelry by my sister – Fantastical Treasures. You can see this design (and many more steampunk pieces) in her etsy shop.
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:
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:
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)
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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. ^.^
I don’t plan to sell this exact costume. But I might make a lavendar and black version at some point, using this corset:
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).
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.
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:
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!
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.
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! 😉
How bout this for a throwback Thursday? These pics are from my first EVER photoshoot!
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.
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.
The bodice and belt were reversible! The other side looked like this:
So when I switched the white skirt out for a red skirt, it became a whole new outfit.
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!
I haven’t designed anything reversible since this little renaissance vest. I should totally bring that idea back sometime!
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.)
And it’s been on a couple collaborative shoots – but I hadn’t taken photos of me wearing it yet.
So when I found this burgundy wig from one of my wholesalers, I thought, let’s rectify this situation!
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!
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.
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. 😉