Tuesday, January 29

First impressions

American Girl
Oh, dear.

Where are my manners?

I completely forgot that yesterday was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's classic, Pride and Prejudice.

First published on Jan. 28, 1813, the story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England.

Miss Austen began writing the novel, originally titled First Impressions, in 1796. Austen made significant revisions to the manuscript between 1811 and 1812 and retitled it, Pride and Prejudice.

Unfortunately, Miss Austen sold the copyright for the Pride and Prejudice for £110 which was a costly mistake. 

But happy anniversary, my dear Miss Bennet (as portrayed by my dear friend Caroline Abbott).

And Miss Austen, too, of course.


Sunday, January 27

This week in the Civil War: Jan. 27, 1863

Confederate ironclads harass Union blockade of Charleston

Two Confederate ironclad rams, the CSS Palmetto State and the CSS Chicora, unleash a surprise assault Jan. 31, 1863, on Union forces blockading Charleston, S.C., where the Civil War began in 1861. The Palmetto rammed one Union ship, firing into the vessel and disabling it. The other ironclad went for a second Union ship, showering it with enough artillery shells that it had to be towed away. After trading fire with Union foes for a while, the low-slung Confederate rams retreated to the safety of Charleston Harbor with only minor damage. The action of the Confederate vessels briefly harass the Union blockade of Charleston harbor — part of a larger effort to shut off Confederate ports from supplying themselves with arms, ammunition and other goods through the aid of blockade runners. Charleston would immediately fall back under the blockade after the attack. Also this week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Confederate newspapers crowed over the South's success in recently stopping Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside from crossing the Rappahannock River toward Richmond, Va., seat of the secessionists. Burnside's offensive bogged down in thick mud after heavy winter rains, prompting him to be sacked shortly after the abortive expedition in January 1863. "Yankee Army Stuck in the Mud," boasted one headline in the "Daily Constitutionalist" newspaper of Augusta, Ga. It added: "The Yankees were prevented from crossing the Rappahannock owing to the impassable conditions of the roads. Our correspondent says that it was impossible to draw an empty wagon through the dreadful mud. The whole army was stuck fast."

Wednesday, January 23

It's not easy to be a pioneer

One of my heroes, Elizabeth Blackwell, became the United States' first female doctor (as well as the first woman on the United Kingdom Medical Register) when she received her medical degree on Jan. 23, 1849 by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, N.Y.

Blackwell was the first openly identified woman to 
earn a medical degree in the United States. (Her sister Emily was the third openly identified woman to graduate from medical school in the United States.)

Blackwell and her sisters aided in nursing efforts when the Civil War broke out. However, Blackwell met with resistance from the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a private relief agency created to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during the Civil War. The male physicians refused to help with the nurse education plan if it involved the Blackwells.

Thankfully, she eventually proved her worth as a physician and had a long and successful career before her death in 1910.

Sunday, January 20

How far would you go?

Lantern City
Hmm, Momma and I discovered today that there is a steampunk television show in the works.

According to its Facebook page, "Lantern City, from executive producer Bruce Boxleitner, is an exciting foray into fan-inspired and fan-created television. It combines great writing and innovative production design, developing a rich world for both fans of steampunk and epic series television enthusiasts.

The show will blend science fiction with dynamic storylines, and at its heart asks the viewer two pivotal questions: how far would you go to be with the person you love and to what lengths would you go in order to survive?"

I don't know about you, but I shall be watching its development with great interest.

This week in the Civil War: Jan. 20, 1863

Aborted Union "Mud March." New commander for Army of the Potomac

Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside attempts a winter offensive in the Virginia countryside, later dubbed the "Mud March," 150 years ago during the Civil War. It would go down in failure. The abortive military campaign was intended to boost the flagging morale of the Union's Army of the Potomac and restore Burnside's reputation after his bruising defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. The offensive began in mild weather on Jan. 20, 1863, but a night of heavy rain bogged down Union attempts to place a pontoon bridge across the Rappahannock River for troops and weapons to cross. Instead, Burnside's forces found themselves bogging down in mud along the riverbank amid rebel sniper fire and the campaign had to be called off. Many in the Army of the Potomac emerged demoralized and despairing after the latest failed campaign. And the grumbling of some of Burnside's officers reached the ears of President Abraham Lincoln, then desperate to find a military leader who could smash the Confederate army. In a matter of days, Burnside would be sacked, replaced by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker at the helm of the Army of the Potomac. The Associated Press reported on Burnside's departure Jan. 26, 1863, in which he saluted his officers and troops a last time at his headquarters. . Burnside acknowledged that while victory had not been gained on his watch, his forces had shown "courage, patience and endurance." He added to the troops: "Continue to exercise these virtues, be true in your devotion to your country, and the principles you have sworn to maintain."

Saturday, January 19

Taking adventure to new lengths

I just wanted to give you a couple of teasers on the newest member of my Steam Team that Momma is working on.

Inspired by some steampunk Disney princesses found on Deviant Art, Momma decided to try her hand at creating a steampunk princess.

She chose Tonner Doll Company's
Tangled since she has the Ellowyne Wilde body that Momma likes. She removed the flowers from her hair, added a hose clamp, and gave her goggles. Momma plans to give Rapunzel hair flowers made of gears!

Momma also has this awesome pattern by MHD Designs and fabric in the same shades the dress Rapunzel came in. Stay tuned as that gets created!

And very steampunk princess needs a nobel steedof course!

Friday, January 18

Going commando

I have a fashion emergency.

I am going commando!

I received my Steampunk Soldier Skirt Set yesterday and promptly got into uniform - adding my own little touches, of course.

My shell necklace is perfect with this military look, as is the helmet Momma found for me last year.

And I had to wear my mitts because what self-respecting soldier wants to get her hands dirty?

But this look does not go well with my longer Unmentionables!

Help! I need short black bloomers ASAP!

Thursday, January 17

Stone cold style

My ghoul friends at Monster High are soo excited - Momma found Deuce Gorgon yesterday.
The ghouls of Monster High are hitting the skies for their first trip abroad together in monster style. Their destination is Scaris, the city of lights and hometown for Rochelle Goyle.  A popular destination for jet-setting ghouls, Draculaura, Abbey Bominable, Ghoulia Yelps and Deuce Gorgon meet two new friends while traveling the city: Skelita Calaveras and Jinafire Long. With their funky fashions and journaling ways, they fit right in with the Monster High crew.

Deuce is the son of Medusa and can turn people (temporarily) to stone with his stare so he usually wears sunglasses. The boy dolls are incredibly hard to find so we were royally psyched to add him to our doll family.

The only problem? There was only one - and Big Sister wants him, too!

Wednesday, January 16

Henceforward shall be free

I'm more of an email kinda gal myself, but I do like the look of this new stamp.

According to usps.com:

With the 2013 Emancipation Proclamation (Forever®) stamp, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln signed on January 1, 1863.

Lincoln's proclamation, issued nearly two years into the Civil War, declared that all slaves in the rebel states of the Confederacy “are, and henceforward shall be free.” In addition, the document authorized the recruitment of black soldiers into the Union army. Their courage in battle and contributions to the Union's ultimate victory greatly influenced the nation to adopt the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, outlawing slavery forever.

“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free,” Lincoln wrote in a message to Congress one month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation. A nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” at last began the journey toward true liberty and justice for all.

Art director Antonio Alcalá worked with graphic designer Gail Anderson of New York City to produce the stamp. To evoke the look of broadsides from the Civil War era, they employed Hatch Show Print of Nashville, Tennessee, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America.

The Emancipation Proclamation stamp is one of a civil rights set being issued in 2013. The Postal Service is issuing two other stamps in 2013 to commemorate significant anniversaries in the struggle for African-American civil rights. One of them celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks; the other has not been unveiled at the time of this writing.

The Emancipation Proclamation stamps are being issued as Forever stamps in self-adhesive sheets of 20. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.

Sunday, January 13

One of a kind

Another fabulous item combined with yesterday's score is this SteamPunk Top Hat Vintage Watch, charms American Girl doll OOAK by VintiqueDesigns.

VintiqueDesigns presents a unique, One of A Kind Steampunk hat, "Around the World!" 

We've had such fun making this hat - from the purchased felt hat form in the perfect size - to the bits and pieces we've found to complete The Look!

The vintage metal pin with a map of the continents and the brass toned metal airplane charm on a chain were our inspiration pieces, and it just grew from there! Old watch parts include a watch face, a 31 day calender of numbers, and the traditional Steampunk gears - as well as a vintage Rhinestone & Pearl piece from a 1930's showgirl's dress (which we envision from the Paris stop), on a band of antique cotton lace (from the Belgium stop) and vintage sparkly Rhinestones (from NYC), dotted with faux Pearls (from Malaysia)! A Black net & lace bow in the back, and Black & White feathers complete The Look! 

All pieces are securely glued (e-6000) and sewn to the hat form, and a decorative metal alligator clip is attached on the underneath side of the hat for easy but secure clipping to your doll's hair. 

We've used Elizabeth as our model so you can see the complete size and look on a doll! We recommend this hat for an Adult Collector only.

As we've used a variey of "found" vintage pieces, this hat cannot be replicated! Hat will be shipped in a box to prevent damage.

Now, that's a hat! 

This week in the Civil War: Jan. 13, 1863

Arkansas skirmishing persists, troop movements reported in the East

Skirmishes continue in Arkansas this week 150 years ago in the Civil War, a week after major fighting in the region. The skirmishing follows a Union victory over Confederate forces garrisoned at Fort Hindman in Arkansas during fighting Jan. 9-11, 1863. The skirmishing takes place in spots including Lick Creek and DeValls Bluff and Frog Bayou in the days after the major battle. But such small-scale engagements pose little significance in the larger scope of the war. Skirmishes would continue sporadically in Arkansas throughout the coming months of the war. Meanwhile, this week brings attention in the North to the fact that hundreds of thousands of soldiers are expected to finish their service and be eligible to leave the Union army by May. That report in Northern newspapers the second week of January prompts speculation in Richmond, Va., capital of the Confederacy, that the Union may seek to employ freed blacks for military service. Eventually in March 1863, President Abraham Lincoln will be prompted to sign his government's first Conscription Act. Also this week, Northern newspapers quote an Associated Press report as saying there are signs the Union's Army of the Potomac is again "in motion." The reports indicate Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside's troops are again afoot in northern Virginia. But details are sketchy and the report raises worries in the Confederacy that a renewed attempt may be afoot by the Union to advance toward Richmond.

Saturday, January 12

Gold standard

Best Doll Boutique
If you've got it, flaunt it.

Some people can handle the steampunk look and others can't, so who am I to argue when someone wants to bestow their couture steampunk hand-me-downs upon me.

Best Doll Boutique created this
Steampunk Victorian Style Costume for American Girl or other 18 inch doll several months ago but I missed out on it then but, since I am well known for my fabulous sense of style, it was just offered to me.

Set the scene this season in this glorious six piece steampunk costume. The excellent quality, highly unique design is simply sensational, offering a vintage Victorian style. 

The set is limited edition - only two of a kind. This costume is the last one. 

✿ The golden jacket is made of flower print brocade and is rich with details, including real front lacing, puffed sleeves, lace trimmed sleeve cuffs, and a black cotton lined interior. The black net detail on the front have attached gears and the other side of the jacket is decorated with Lady Cameo brooch and black chain.

✿ Gorgeous white lace blouse features long puffed sleeves, a stand up collar and a black lace trim. Closes with velcro on the back for easy opening..

✿ Steam punk handcrafted black velvet top hat is a fun, whimsical, and adorable, and adds charm to any outfit! It has an elastic headband attached to the bottom, a golden brocade sash around the base, two metal gears and safety pins and a black feather. The brim of the hat is decorated with a gold trim. 

✿ The two layer ruffle black lace mini skirt has an elasticized waist and golden trim on the hem. The front of the skirt is decorated with a gold chain, safety pin and gold button. 

✿ The black stretch tights are with the elastic waistband. 

✿ Front buckled two tone black & golden faux leather steam punk boots are hand-painted by me with gold paint and decorated with gears and safety pins. They have front zipper closure. This is a truly unique designer piece.

We shall see when it arrives if Clementine or I shall wear this stunning creation, but I'm thinking it looks more like Clementine. What do you think?

Friday, January 11


Isher Creations
Momma and I are thrilled that Isher Creations, creator of the cutest Steampunkins ever, is one of the official venders for the upcoming Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention II in Tucson.

Steampunkins come in sizes from 2 to 11 inches.

Momma is in the process of aquiring a Mini Steampunkin Jack O'Lantern for me. As soon as I get it I shall post photos.

Thursday, January 10

Soldier of good fortune

Cupcake Cutie Pie
 It's nice to be a fashionista and trend setter.

When Momma complimented Erin at Cupcake Cutie Pie about her new Steampunk Soldier - Skirt Set for American Girl, Erin said, "My venturing into Steampunk fashion for AG is inspired by your Steampunk Addie."

Modern and fashionable, this outfit starts with a black camisole in lace over cotton with thin cotton straps. The camisole fastens in back with buttons. The wrap skirt is made of a olive drab twill with black lace ruffled underskirt and fastens with snaps. Buttons on the skirt side with two metal chains and charms add detail. The olive drab twill cropped jacket features black piping at the banded sleeves, black top stitching and a medal applique.

And included as a bonus gift: Camouflage combat boots!

Did you know that the use of camouflage was spurred by the increasing range and accuracy of firearms in the 19th century? In particular the replacement of the inaccurate musket with the rifle made personal concealment in battle into a survival skill. Military camouflage developed rapidly, especially during World War I.

I think this outfit deserves a Gear of Approval, don't you?

Wednesday, January 9

Mwahaha like you mean it

I am just the teensy-weensiest bit jealous of the marvelous mad science lab my dear friend Francis has. 

But since no one can tell the story better than Francis and his Momma, I'm sharing it here with their permission.

So... you think you want to be a mad scientist? My name is Francis and I will help you along on your journey to madness. 
© Joan Dickhaut

The first step to becoming a mad scientist is to laugh like you're evil. Don't worry, you don't need to be evil. You just need to laugh like it. On the count of three, take a deep breath, throw your head back and laugh. 
One. Two. Three. 
© Joan Dickhaut

OK, let's try it again and this time I want to hear more maniacal laughter and less giggling. 
I want you to mwahaha like you mean it! 
Are you ready? One. Two. Three. 

© Joan Dickhaut

Ooo, that was good!  
Now, you need a laboratory... 
© Joan Dickhaut

Ack! Did you just read that as LAB-ra-tory? 
© Joan Dickhaut

Now, you must learn how to pronounce luh-BOR-uh-tor-ee
© Joan Dickhaut

Or if you prefer, luh-BOR-uh-tree.  
© Joan Dickhaut

Now scroll back through all those pictures again. But this time click on them to get a bigger view. 
© Joan Dickhaut

The next page has more photos and some basic instructions so you, too, can set up your very own (say it right!) laboratory. 
© Joan Dickhaut

Click here> How to Be a Mad Scientist: The Details

The only thing better than a mad science lab is a mobile mad science lab. I've told Momma to get busy and get my trailer similarly tricked out.

Fifteen miles of fame

The first hot air balloon flight in the United States, which was witnessed by George Washington, took place on Jan. 9, 1793. The 45 minute flight started in Philadelphia and ended in Gloucester County, N.J.

Jean-Pierre Blanchard traveled about 15 miles and even took a small dog with him.

And I was there, of course.

Sunday, January 6

This week in the Civil War: Jan. 6, 1863

Fighting in Arkansas

The week of Jan. 9-11, 1863 witnesses fighting in Arkansas. There, Confederate forces arrayed along the Mississippi River at Fort Hindman harass Union river trade and shipping on the vital waterway. As 1863 opens, Union troops land nearby in a coordinated offensive and head toward the Confederate defenses, forcing the rebels back from their initial positions in trenchworks. Union vessels launch raking artillery fire at Fort Hindman, a prelude to an infantry attack. Ultimately on Jan. 11, 1863, the Confederate command surrenders. More than 6,500 dead, wounded or missing are reported in the wake of the Union victory in Arkansas County. But the offensive does little to aid Union commanders increasingly anxious to overrun Vicksburg, Miss., and gain a greater grip on the Mississippi River corridor. The Associated Press this week reports initial accounts of the fighting in Tennessee days earlier, at the outset of the New Year. AP reports federal troops have cleared rebel forces on the roads around Murfreesboro, Tenn., after fierce fighting and what was described by one correspondent as "a terrible slaughter." The fighting at the outset of 1863 comes as the nation gets set to enter its third year of the conflict.

Friday, January 4

This should be interesting

Introducing Parnilla Ghastly - a strikingly beautiful girl with strong features and a fabulous fashion sense, straight from Paris, France! She's traveled back to her childhood home town of Ipswich to seek out her first childhood crush, a boy named Mortimer, and her long-lost cousin Evangeline - unfortunately, Evangeline has no idea she even has a cousin Parnilla. This should be interesting...

Parnilla stands 18-1/2 inches tall and is crafted of the finest vinyl and hard plastic, with green inset eyes, applied lashes, a red wig made of the highest quality fibers, and 15 points of articulation for unlimited posing possibilities. She comes dressed in her finest Parisian fashion which includes a two-piece gown of crinkled lame and net. She has golden shoes and a cloche hat with feather decoration. She is also wearing "The Blood Moon Amulet" which was her great-great-grandmother's.

Thursday, January 3

A tangled web

Wilde Imagination
The weather on the night of Evangeline's birth was as expected,
The wind was howling, the moon was full, and the doctor was unavailable.

"I was born in the attic of Barkely Manor and it's where I continue to live today. I do live alone, well, actually Mouette, my pet skunk, lives with me, too, and now my new friend Bella - I found her hanging out in the attic rafters. Barkley Manor is the ancestral home of the Ghastly family; an ancient family whose roots date back to the early 1500s. Well, that's what the woman at the Ipswich library told me. She's one of the few people in town that speaks to me, so I'm taking her word for it. I have a wonderful collection of rocks, spiders, and dust ... I'd love to show it off someday. If you're still interested in my story, I'll continue..."

A Tangled Web, this vinyl Evangeline has inset aqua eyes with applied lashes, and black wigged hair. Approximately 17 inches tall and completely ball jointed, with delicate hand painted features, she comes dressed in a sage and black matching skirt and jacket, lace-up corset, bodysuit, cape, stockings, lace-up boots, designer hat and jewelry. A new outfit for work...but will anyone notice?

Isn't she deliciously steampunky?

Wednesday, January 2

Steampunk Addie Paints the Sky

American Girl
It's here, it's here, it's really, really here!

While some might be rejoicing in American Girl's release of the 2013 Girl of the Year, Saige Copeland, I am rejoicing in her accessories.

Steampunk Addie Saige loves to soar high above the mountains with her dad! This high-flying set includes:
  • A beautiful, colorful inflatable nylon hot air balloon with a basket that's big enough for a doll to stand inside and a door that swings open
  • Faux binoculars that can hang around her neck
  • A mini map of Albuquerque to track where they're floating
  • A pilot's log book for her notes about balloon flights
  • A faux camera, for capturing beautiful memories
  • A messenger bag that's roomy enough to store everything inside

And at a whopping 49.5 inches high by 24 inches wide, it's big enough for both me and Clementine!