Friday, February 28

Steampunk Addie and the Vortex of Time Parasol

I am sooo excited.

Look at what my Dear Friend Ginny Weasley just posted on my Facebook page!

Addie? Are you here today or wandering the world on some great adventure?

Mum set us to ridding the curtains of doxies again at Grimmauld Place, dusty old museum of a place if you ask me. Anyway, behind the spot where the portrait of Phineas Nigellus was hanging... well apparently this has been hiding there the whole time. I'm not sure if it belonged to his wife Ursula Flint or his sister Elladora Black but either way I wondered if you might want to have a look at it and investigate?

It let off the strangest sparks when I first picked it up, but now it just looks like an old umbrella. *sigh* You never know what sort of magic is hiding within The Noble House of Black!

Thanks Jen and Ginny! It's even better than Hagrid's Pink Umbrella!

Wednesday, February 26

A force to be reckoned with

Momma and I both admire Melody Valerie Couture and were thrilled with her Fall 2013 line, Inventions in Steampunk. 

Sadly, two of the outfits (Ardith and Betsy) sold for way more than we could afford, especially Ardith, so we are thrilled to see those patterns are now available on Pixie Faire.
Ardith Dress 18" Doll Clothes

With such a wistful look on her face, she could have been the Lady of Shalott. But something in her air made one think she was made of sterner stuff than that -- something more industrial, more revolutionary. And you would have been right. Delicately attired in her dramatic evening gown, she floated across the plaza to change the world.

This stunning gown for 18” dolls is designed for ultra-soft habotai (”China silk”), with artificial leather accents at the neckline and waist. Rows upon rows of ruffles cascade down the full-length skirt, or make the short version for your favorite summer garden party. Tiny eyelets and a sturdy silk ribbon lace the dress closed in the back. Between the contrasting yoke, the cold-shoulder sleeves, and the dramatic back, embellishment opportunities abound! Try adding chain, vintage brooches, or beadwork for your own unique touch to this fabulous dress.
Betsy Dress 18" Doll Clothes

Her name on paper was simple enough: Betsy. Not very pretentious. Not very unusual. Downright ordinary, in fact. But when she arrived, her striking gown’s elegant silhouette and shimmering jewels glistening in the late evening sunlight, it was clear we had been wrong about Betsy. She was a force to be reckoned with.

“Betsy” is a luxurious soft gown in both maxi and day lengths. It features a pull-on design, a ruched bodice, optional bodice lining and petticoat, and shoulder straps that cross in the back before becoming part of the pleated skirt. We suggest using a soft knit with some body and rebound, like a jersey knit.

Now for Cadewyn and Dianne....

Tuesday, February 25

Hustle and bustle

I am rocking my new Steampunk Star Trek outfit, so I was thrilled to see Thimbles and Acorns has made a bustle to go under it.

I laughed when I read her comment when she posted a photo on Facebook yesterday:

Yes, as a foundation garment, this bustle pattern should have been finished before the bustle dress... better late than never. Hoping to have this pattern out later this week as a supplement to the "Unmentionables" pattern.
I have loved Shari Fuller's Thimbles and Acorns designs and patterns ever since she started in 2011. I thoroughly approve of her love of history and its fashions.

I also like her description of how the bustle evolved in Victorian fashion in her 1870s Bustle Dress:

Fashion is where expression meets practicality and lures it into the realm of the extreme. Though fashion trends have a tendency to push the limits, practicality always manages to bring them back into balance… at least for a time. Full skirts were the hallmark of the early Victorian era and by the 1860s they had expanded to as wide as six feet in diameter.

However, as railroads began forging paths around the world, women began to travel more and more. Full skirts and crinolines made for poor traveling companions and the boundary for this fashion trend had been reached. Still, it would be a gallant exit.

The 1870s saw a great boom in the textile industry. Hand looms were replaced by more efficient steam driven power looms which resulted in a larger supply of cloth and fancy trims at greatly reduced prices.

The great cage crinolines were shed and the surplus fabric from the full skirts was draped in elaborately decorated layers and pulled toward the back in large bustles that were reminiscent of those worn a century earlier. The fashionable silhouette had become smaller and more mobile, but what was lost in size was more than made up for with the elaborate trimming which would become the hallmark of the later Victorian Era. 

Since Momma is sewing again, maybe I can persuade her to make the bustle with one of the Unmentionables fabrics?

(Yes, it tickles my funny bone to make Unmentionables with Unmentionables.)

Monday, February 24

Doll Bones

Ooh, I love a good book and Doll Bones by Holly Black sounds exactly like my kind of book!

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.

(Doesn't the Great Queen remind you of someone you know? I bet my Dear Friend Angry Jess will like her, too.)

But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

(BTW, did you know that bone china is a type of porcelain made of bone ash?!)

Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?

I can't wait to get my hands on this one. As for you, I see you shiver with ... anticipation.

Sunday, February 23

Just dessous

MHD Designs
Now that Momma is back in seamstress mode, she is spending a lot of time looking at patterns and fabrics while letting her imagination run wild.

Her latest brainstorm?

The Unmentionables.

As you might recall, "unmentionables" was a Victorian euphemism for undergarments that weren't to be seen, let alone mentioned.

Elle a osé montrer ses dessous en plein air.
(She dared show her undies out in the open.)

Momma's vision includes MHD Designs 1850s Dessous pattern using all three of the Unmentionables by Peggy Jo Ackley fabrics by Robert Kaufman.

Can't you just picture this 1850s chemise, petticoat, pantaloons, and corset ensemble in these hilarious cotton novelty print fabrics? 

I shall be the envy of all.

This week in the Civil War: Feb 23, 1864

Confederate submarine makes history

On a moonlight night 150 years ago this month in the Civil War, the hand-cranked Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sailed from its moorings on the South Carolina coast and into the history books. It was to become the first submarine ever to sink an enemy warship. On Feb. 17, 1864, the Hunley sank the Union ship Housatonic as the Confederates desperately tried to break the Civil War blockade then strangling Charleston. While the Housatonic sank, so did the Hunley. The combat saw the submarine crew set off a black powder charge at the end of a 200-pound spar, sinking the ship before the sub itself went down. The remains of the eight-member Hunley crew would be recovered more than a century later. In April of 2004, thousands of men in Confederate gray and Union blue — as well as women in black hoop skirts and veils — walked in a procession with the crew’s coffins from Charleston’s waterfront to a cemetery in what was called the last Confederate funeral.

Saturday, February 22

Fifty shades of green

I am now, officially, a Work of Art.

If you don't believe me, I have been asked to be part of the LepreCon 40 Art Show.

Dear Artist,

We would like to invite you personally to show your art in the LepreCon 40 art show. LepreCon 40 will be May 8th-11th at the Phoenix Mesa Marriot Hotel in Mesa, Arizona.

This year our artist guest of honor will be Daniel Davis of Steam Crow, Artist Alfred Trujillo, Gail Carriger, and Cara Nicole.

Gail Carriger?! Swoon! I shall have to bring my Unusually Stout Parasol.

(I am honored to be in such excellent company. Momma's friend Jennifer Roberson was a Guest of Honor at LepreCon 12 in 1986.)

LepreCon is an annual Phoenix-area science fiction convention (Con) with an emphasis on art. It is the second oldest science fiction convention in Arizona. The first LepreCon was March 14-16, 1975,
St. Patrick's Day weekend, thus inspiring the name of the convention, a pun on leprechaun. 
Wow. First the Renaissance Faire, then Geeks Night Out, and now being asked to be a Work of Art at LepreCon 40.

Can this week get any better?

Friday, February 21

Who let the geeks out?

Geeking out at Geeks Night Out.
I am a Mini Me Dolly Diva. Thanks Dacia!
Set phasers on stunning!
My Steam Team has my back.
These are not the stormtroopers you are looking for.
At last! Another æthernet traveler!
Madness takes its toll.

Thursday, February 20

It's hip to be square

Tonight's the night! 

It's the City of Tempe's Geeks' Night Out!

Join us (including Me!) for Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives Geek Week and Geeks’ Night Out. We’re blending science, technology and fun to celebrate the Arizona SciTech Festival. Best of all, the events are free.
Tempe loves geeks. They're smart, fun and want to change the world for the better. They've cured diseases, built robots, and yes, even helped us get to Mars.  

What is Geeks' Night Out presented by Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives?
Be part of a very special Third Thursday on Mill Avenue on Feb. 20 from 4:30 to 9 p.m., themed to bring out the curiosity within. There’s science behind everything you love and we want to show you how it works. From science fiction to the business of science and everything in between, we’re celebrating smarts. Join us. It’s fun, smart and very Tempe. And best of all, it's FREE! 
The event is family-friendly. Tempe students from preschool to the university level will have several booths showing how the next generation of our workforce is using science to solve the world's problems. ASU, University of Advancing Technology, Rio Salado College, Kid Zone, Devry, Tempe Elementary School District, Tempe Union High School District and many others will be there.   
What is Geek Week presented by Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives?
One night is not enough! Geek Week extends the fun with a week of fun activities throughout Tempe schools and city facilities. Check for programs from Feb. 14-24.  

Geeks' Night Out activities:
Invade City Hall! (Or at least walk around it in your costume)

Phoenix Comicon hosts its annual Geeks' Night Out costume contest. Strut your stuff before the judging. Members of the Tempe City Council will lead the zombies, super heroes, super villians and creatures of all kinds on a walk around Tempe City Hall. Parade starts at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to participate. 
Pop Culture and Sci Fi Dr. Who?
Step into a full-size replica of Dr. Who's Tardis, which will be located at the corner of Sixth and Mill in present time, brought to you by Az Tardis.  
Phoenix Comicon Costume Contest + Photo Booth
Dress like your favorite inventor, invention, science project gone wrong, whatever. Show off your Star Trek and Star Wars gear. We want to see your favorite SciFi costume on Mill Avenue! Strut your scientific stuff in front of Tempe City Hall. Prizes! 
Comic Book and Graphic Novel Signings Pop Culture Paradise is bringing several graphic novelists to sign their goods. Their display will be located in the ground floor retail space of the City Hall Parking Garage located on Fifth Street adjacent to Tempe City Hall.
Desert Dolls Roller Derby
Desert Dolls Roller Derby will show how they can thwart gravity. Find them as they roll through our downtown. This year, their kids' division will join them.
Steampunk Addie
The exploits of this doll and her friends make for good, clean, sci-fi fun. Check out this table.
Herbie the Love Bug
Take a look at this replica of Herbie the Love Bug, built by Jeff Lewis. Learn what it takes to turn a car into a dream car.

Arizona Fun Services

Stop by this locally-owned costume and party store for free cotton candy and prizes. Talk with AZ Fun Staff to plan your next costume or fun event.
Looking for something to read? Something to watch? Something to play? Bookmans has it.

Tempe Center for the Arts
Learn about the latest Gallery exhibition, "American Pop! From Comic Books to Science Fiction ... and Beyond!" and discover how STEM is used to create art. TCA also offers an amazing online art curriculum that you may like to explore. 
Walton Sustainability Solutions Festival

Get your picture taken at the Sustainability Super Hero Photo Booth and learn how you can become a sustainability super hero. Learn about bumble bees and do a craft project using recycled materials.
Dignity Kids
Feel the power of changing acceleration or changing mass while trying to attempt to break plastic boards of different strength levels. Discover how applied physics create the explosive power of the martial artist. 
XPlore BoX 
Build and test BristleBots and learn about XPlore BoX.   
Arizona SciTech Festival
These are the people responsible for the state's festival celebrating all things STEM. Stop by to learn about other great events. 
University of Advancing Technology
Thanks to UAT for this year's fantastic Geeks' Night Out video. Learn how the special effects came to be.  
Rio Salado College
Partnering with ASU and Science Foundation Arizona, Rio Salado College will showcase the careers and science of nanotechnology. Activities will feature remote access to an electron microscope, and a hands-on demonstration of silicon wafers, polymers and dye-sensitized solar cells. 
ERIC Knows Recycling
What goes in the blue barrel and what goes in the trash? What happens to an aluminum soda can after you drop it in the recycling bin? Meet ERIC, Tempe’s mobile Educational Recycling Information Center – a 38-foot trailer filled with innovative and interactive opportunities to learn about the recycling cycle. 
Ideal Energy
Bringing it's semi-truck of energy conservation tips, the folks at Ideal Energy will be on hand to help you find ways to reduce your power bill.

Tempe High School
Students will demonstrate robotics and a SimCity-like energy game. The HOPE Sophmore Biology team will explain how food is grown and why it is important to eat organic foods. They will also have samples of foods to taste. 
McClintock High School
Students will show a sustainability project.

Desert Vista High School Engineering

See engineering projects done by students from robotics to alternative fuel and energy experiments.
Arizona Virtual Academy
Hands-on science fun for the family.
Macaroni Kid
Find new ways to have fun with the family in this publication. Meet the people who put the magazine together.
Tempe Elementary School District #3
Science and technology-inspired projects by students will be on display. 
Kid Zone Enrichment Program
The Kid Zone team will have science projects for your family to try their hands at and even some things to take home. 
Girl Scouts - Troop 951
Science rules and Troop 951 will have an experiment to share. 

Will I see you there?

Wednesday, February 19

The Wonderful Dolls of Oz

I've got the dreaded Dorothy Doll Dementia right now and wanted to discover when the first Dorothy doll was made.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published on May 17, 1900. It was followed by a popular 1902 Broadway musical and three moving picture adaptions before the 1939 version starring Judy Garland!

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)
  • Wizard of Oz (1925)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1933)

It is generally acknowledged that Oz merchandise predated the 1939 The Wizard of Oz, but I can't discover when the first dolls appeared. 

Dorothy and Oz character dolls have been produced since then including Madame Alexander, Barbie, Tonner, and the 75th Anniversary of the 1939 release has increased that production. (The Hollywood premiere was on Aug. 15, 1939, at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.)

I, of course, like the newest steampunk versions. (I've always had a thing for both the Tin Woodman and Tik-Tok.)

I'm curious, which do you prefer?

1.) Tonner's Tornado Traveler Dorothy?

or 2.) Madame Alexander's Dorothy and Toto, Steam Punk Doll?

Personally, I like aspects of both dolls (I am seriously loving M.A.'s Toto!) and I am excited to meet the newest addition in September!

Tuesday, February 18

Tell him to buy me 30 acres of land

Continuing on with the 26th Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival: the Best Part!

My Royal Press Pass - which they made me return!

At last! The Steam Pirate Airships!

I am giddy with excitement! Look at that top hat and goggles!

Ooh, the sign has a cameo like the one I gave Clementine!

I am overcome with excitement.

"You've got a friend in me."

I am the Queen of the world! Or the airship! Or the octopus! Whee!

Getting ready to see my boney prince Bobbie.

Momma making sure I look my best for Ded Bob.

"Look into my eye sockets...."

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

Watching Ded Bob flirt with other women. He is dead to Me.

Snuggle close, Ded Bob, snuggle close.

Hmm, it looks like The Tortuga Twins like The Big Bang Theory, too.

Always looking for new parasols, I'm saddened that this vendor has none my size, but this is close!

I can't wait to go again. Have you gone yet? What is your favorite part?

Click here to see the first half of my Renaissance Adventure.

Are you going to Renaissance Fair?

I am whipped - and I don't mean by the Whipmaster Adam Whip.

I want one of these parasols but they won't give me one without a subscription - even though we've had one for 39 years!

I love all the colors at the Renaissance Festival!

We have been buying perfumes and incense from The Perfumed Dragon for at least 20 years!

Yummm, chocolate samples from The Chocolate Maker!

They're correct, these Sky Chairs really do fit about everyone!

Ooh, I found one of the Wee Folk!

One of the things I love about the Ren Fest is all the sellers of snoods.

I love this booth! He has brass keychains just for Me! Decisions, decisions....

I love these tiny Under the Mango Tree journals.

My Steampunkin and I visit Isher Creations and his mummified fairies.

Resting under my Big Sister's VERY stout parasol while watching Adam Crack perform.

I make a friend with a one-eyed armored Dragon Pet.

Visiting Madison at the Storybook Castle.

At last! My very own catapult from Siege the Day!

This guy at the Queen's Kitchen didn't want to give me (Me!) a Turkey Leg! Ooh, Pippaloo....

To be continued!