What is Steampunk? The answer might surprise you!

What is Steampunk, really? I’ve seen a lot of definitions out there. And, for at least 5 years, all of them left me thinking that Steampunk wasn’t for me – until I finally attended a Steampunk festival. It converted me –  instantly – into a raging (let’s face it, rabid) Steampunker!

The thing is, I’d seen so much “Steampunk” over the years – and all that brown and all those gears – well, yes, it’s Steampunk, but it’s not REALLY Steampunk.  It’s not all there is to Steampunk.

Stereotypical Steampunk
Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

Let me explain, lol. If I’m hanging out with someone brand new to Steampunk, and I’m asked to define it, here’s what I say:

“Have you ever been to a Renaissance Festival? Do you know how, at a Ren Fest, you see people in historical costumes, but you also see fairies and elves, because, why not? And you see Medieval and pirates and belly dancers and all sorts of things because it’s all about having fun!

Now imagine that, but replace the Renaissance with Victorian.

It started with books. Sci Fi books with these amazing worlds based on the question, what would the world be like if the Age of Steam never ended?

People read these books, and their imaginations were so captivated that they wanted to see it! And so they created it, in magical pop up events around the world.

That is Steampunk.”

For years, I thought Steampunk was all gears and industrial looking accents, and all in shades of brown and ivory. And sure, that is your stereotypically Steampunk look. But – what Steampunk really IS, is this amazing community of artists that are all inspired by the Victorian Era, by steam powered technology, or just generally like to create cool looking things that fit in in a steam powered, Victorian inspired world! You can be a Steampunk, and have a wardrobe that does not contain a single item in any shade of brown. You can be a Steampunk, and have a massive collection of props that do not contain one single gear.

My first ever Steampunk convention was in 2014.  I wore this:

And I thought I was going to stick out like a sore thumb!  I was shocked when I realized that I fit right in.

The truth about Steampunk is, as far as inspiration goes, it’s very nearly a free for all!  The Victorian era lasted for quite a long time (1837-1901) – and most Steampunks also include the Edwardian era (1901-1910).  Aaaaand most people agree that Lovecraftian (H. P. Lovecraft, horror author and inventor of Cthulhu, the winged tentacled ancient god/alien being) ideas belong in a Steampunk universe – and those didn’t come out until the 1920’s!

That’s rather a lot of history – a lot of fashion, a lot of inventions, a lot of styles – to draw from, and combine with things from your own imagination.

What is Steampunk?  It’s a community.  That’s truly the best answer.  And communities are made of people, and we vary!  So while some of us are going to follow the ivory and brown exposed gears aesthetic – not all of us will!

So if you’ve been holding out on Steampunk because you like Victorian things but aren’t fond of the “Stereotypical Steampunk” you see everywhere – stop holding out and come join us!  😉 We’d love to have you!

Halloween Swag 2017

Halloween – oh lovely beautiful Halloween!  It’s that wonderful time of the year when all the stores become full of skulls, black lace, and other sorts of darkly delightful things, and I’m suddenly not a weirdo anymore…

Okay, maybe not that last one.  It’s kind of fun being a weirdo! 😉

This also happens to be the time of year when all good costume designers become attached to sewing machine via ball and chain!  But I managed to eke out enough time to scrounge thru the local stores to see the swag… the Halloween swag!  And pick out a few of my very own treasures.

These are totally impulse purchases – mostly from Michael’s.  I thought the skull could make a very cute display for headdresses at shows (it’s lifesize), and the miniature furniture matched so I couldn’t resist.  Oh evil 75% off sales!

Five words.  Black Crystal Chandelier String Lights.

Need I say more?

I found these first at, used the locator tool to figure out which store had them still in stock, and made that my chosen Halloween shopping city.  Lol you won’t find any of these in Warwick, RI.  All of them went home with me!

Hey look, it’s Lady Death:

Those of you who were with me since the beginning will remember when I used to make earrings that looked practically identical to this wall hanging.  My sister, after taking on the jewelry portion of my business, has yet to add the exact “Lady Death” style to her shop (going to have to keep /poking her about things like that!) but she does offer an awesome similar style here.

I had to get it just for nostalgia’s sake.

It had a black frame originally, but I painted it silver so that it can claim a place in the studio I plan to eventually have all decorated with gothy-chic cuteness – and ready for indoor photography.  Right now it will need to be squeezed into the stuffed to-the-max photo props corner in my current too-small studio!  Aaah the dreams, the dreams…  Lady Death was scored from AC Moore.

But the category in which I feel like I most hit the jackpot was socks – oh the epic Halloween socks!  I thought I was purchasing knee highs each time, so you can imagine my delight when I opened the packages at home and found they were actually thigh high!  And wearable with my garter shorts, of course.

The first two pair of cheesy halloween goodness came from Joanns, and the grey stripe were from Walmart, of all places!

If your local stores aren’t yet sold out, you may be able to snag a few pairs for yourself.

And last but not least, OMG these shoes:

They cost me all of $10 at a random Halloween pop up store (Spooky-Town).  I had to ask both a store employee, and the checkout lady “Are you sure these are really $10?” because they bear such a striking resemblance to the shoes I’ve been lusting over at shows and at sinister soles, but hadn’t yet shelled out around $70 to purchase…

Did you score some amazing Halloween swag this year too?  I’d love to hear about it!

SPWF 2016 – A Delightful Disaster

Anyone who has been following my Facebook would know that this was my first year as a vendor at Steampunk World’s Fair.  I was super excited to be there vending my wares in the midway – a parking-lot-turned-vending-space between the two hotels that house the Eastern Coast’s biggest Steampunk Festival.

I had a ton of hats made up and ready, all the ones pictured below in this Stack-O-Hats, and more!

Stack-O-Hats! by auralynne

And I also brought a smattering of the custom made clothing you see in my etsy shop – photo shoot samples, and a new line of ready-to-wear items that you’ll all see in the opening of my website store soon.

I arrived late Friday afternoon via rift in the space time continuom (AKA the strange route Google Maps took me when the Tappan Zee Bridge was closed), a bit later than I had hoped.  And I got a taste of Mother Nature and Murphy’s Law working in cahoots – which I hoped was the last for the weekend – drizzling rain, and a completely wet vending space/table/chairs.

But that’s what paper towels are for, right?  I did succeed in setting up my popup vending tent, did my best at drying things off inside it, and then proceeded to do my best at getting all the things I had brought inside the tent without drenching them…

I was mostly successful at setting things up by early Friday evening – and the fun started then.  I’m a work at home Mom – so most of my interaction either happens with young children, a computer screen, or a sewing machine.  So getting to vend my wares in person and actually talk to customers is a delight.

Things continued in that enjoyable fashion until Saturday afternoon – when Mother Nature came back, with a vengeance!  The wind picked up to crazy gusty levels, and I discovered that vending tents, even when weighted down, work very similar to the sails on a sailboat.  The strength of this wind was such that, it managed to even drag ME across the parking lot, shoes slipping on the asphalt as I attempted to hold on to my billowing tent!

Every vendor in the Midway had to tear down, or at least lower their tent, in order not to be completely blown away.  In the mess, about half of my hats and fascinators turned into parking lot tumbleweeds.  Another vendor jokingly made this statement – which pretty much sums things up: “Looks like someone forgot to close the circle when they made the sacrifice to the vendor gods…”

There was good, there was bad, and there was the ugly.  The ugly was the damage sustained by my tent – a bent frame, and the hats-turned-tumbleweeds that had bent and broken feathers.  The bad was Sunday’s weather forecast.  More wind.  Impossible to safely set back up outside with a bent tent frame.  But there was good too – I was struck by how awesome everyone was – customers, event staff, and better-prepared vendors alike jumped in to help both me and my sister (vending her jewelry next to me) when our tents did their sailboat-impression.  They ran after tumbleweed hats, and held down the fort long enough for me to scramble across the hotel parking lot to grab my car.

It was a disastrous experience, of course, but it was also amazing to see how supportive our steampunk community really is.

The next day the awesome vendor staff at the fair managed to find a spot inside a hotel hallway to squeeze some of the unfortunate Midway vendors.  Since a good portion of my stuff needed repairs, I chose to let the full-table slots go to other vendors, and I set things up at a corner of my sister’s table and around her stuff – a few of my fascinators that had miraculously survived with no damage.

And beyond that, I made it my mission to enjoy the rest of the fair!  I went klepto on a couple of my photo shoot sample outfits,  as “consolation prizes” – and enjoyed the attention and requests for pictures that I always get while wearing my fanciest designs.

A quick cellphone shot of consolation prize #1.  Isn't the Embassy terrarium gorgeous? :D
A quick cellphone shot of consolation prize #1. Isn’t the Embassy terrarium gorgeous? 😀

I’m looking forward to/hoping for next year – if there is room for me inside, I’ll be again vending.  I consider this to be a learning experience – humidity, wind, and feathers do NOT mix – apparently my designs are not conducive to outside vending!

To everyone who shopped and/or chatted with me at the Fair, it was great meeting you, and I hope to see you again next year!

Auralynne is now Mobile!

I’ve spent the last few days with my nose glued to my monitor, performing a much-needed update to my website.  I’m now responsive – meaning my website should work on most mobile devices and tablets!

I know a bit of internet coding – and now that geekdom is cool, it’s my claim to geekdom!  Lol…  I’m self-taught from back in the day when html was just html.  Nowadays it’s gotten so complex – it’s different KINDS of html, and you should let the browser know which you are using so it doesn’t get confused.

Which causes me to scratch my head and say wait, which kind am I using?

But I think I’ve succeeded – mostly!  You can actually see what I did in this browser window.  If you resize it to narrower the look will totally change.  I had finished mostly with the layout last night, and was totally stoked and sharing my dorky stoked-ness with my husband.

I show him the full layout, which looks like this on the homepage:


Then I drag the window in, resizing it so that the mobile layout will engage, and it pops into place like this:


And since the awesome layout poppage totally deserves a sound effect, I say “Boing!”

And I can’t resist dragging the window out and in several times, and say “Boing!” each time the layout changes from mobile to normal and back again.

My husband gives me a nonplussed look and says, “Wow, you are a dork.”

And I say, “Nuh-uh, I am the girl who makes the website that goes…”


A New Direction

This post has been a long time coming. I apologize for my long silence, but it’s been hard to come up with the gumption to make this announcement, especially since so many of you have been with me for so long that you feel more like friends than customers. The short of it is, I’m shifting the focus of my business away from belly dance costumes.

You guys don’t know this, but for a long time, I’ve felt like I’m floundering every time I make a new pretty thing. The issue is, I’m not dancing anymore. I used to call myself a “living room dancer” because I would at least practice, but kids, life, and waning interests have made it so that I can’t even say that anymore.

Because I’m not dancing, I wonder if the things I make are still even on target for what dancers will like. And because I’m not dancing, I’ve lost that private, personal motivation that comes from designing and making pretties that I get to prance around in eventually. And finally, because I’m not dancing, and I’m a rather obsessive personality, not having something creative in my life to obsess over has also given me a floundering feeling.

In February, on a whim, I went to a local gaming convention. Our family, and our entire group of friends are major geeks, so I knew it would be a fun outing. What I didn’t know, is that our local big “retrofuturistic” gaming convention (Templecon in Warwick, RI) is also the biggest steampunk event around.

A fact about me: I’m a Victorian era obsessed nut. I’ve never gotten into steampunk though, because the cogs and gears and stuff just aren’t me. Because I’m a Victorian era obsessed nut, I had several gorgeous gowns prior to the convention, this one for example:

Yes, dork-girl made it for herself because she dreamed it and WANTED it even though she had no clue where or if she’d ever wear it. There was a “Neo-Victorian High Tea” at the convention. I saw it and realized, holy crap, I get to wear my teal gown somewhere.

Templecon shocked me, because apparently I’m not the only Neo-Victorian nut that isn’t into cogs and gears. The event was full of gorgeously dressed women, and I’d say at least half of them were more taffeta-lace-confection than clockwork. My teal gown fit right in at the high tea.

I’d already started shifting focus a bit before the event. I wasn’t sure what the new focus would be, but these two gowns aren’t really belly dance and they were debuted in my shop already:


The steampunk convention cemented it in my head that there IS a market for the new things I want to make, and my dream of creating gorgeous gowns, and even getting to prance around in some of them myself on occasion, is totally feasible! I’m uber excited, and I’ve been having way too much fun playing with new shiny non-stretch fabrics in between re-stocking my shop of it’s belly dance things.

I’m not going exclusively Neo-Victorian/Steampunk. There will still be belly dance items, for as long as you guys keep loving on them. I also have a lot of ideas for crossover items. My belladonna skirt is a perfect example. When worn with flared garter leggings and cut to just brush the floor in the back, it makes an AMAZING belly dance skirt. When worn with a corset, thigh highs and boots, it’s Neo-Victorian all the way.


So that I can focus on my sewn items, my sister is coming on board to first help with my jewelry creations, and eventually take them over. I’ll post more about her later, but you’ll LOVE working with her. Those of you who have been my customers a while know that I am a nit picky perfectionist, which is bad for my sanity, but great for my pretties. My sister is actually more of a perfectionist than I am. I have to keep reminding her that customers will not be scrutinizing her product under a spot light with 20/40 vision, complaining about something not being perfectly aligned, or a small smudge on a bead!

To everyone who’s been with me so far in my lace filled journey, thank you so much, and I hope to continue to create things that delight you. I’ll close this off with a teaser – here is a sketch of some of the gown designs I hope to craft and debut this year (you might recognize the center top as the blue gown my sister is modeling in my recent facebook post):