Recent Finds! And 10 Years on WordPress Pt. 2

Hello Lovelies: With much gratitude, I have to say I’m happy to be here, blogging for 10 years about steampunk/vampires/science fiction/fantasy, inspiration, and my adventures. Again, during this time of the virus, I’ve continued to rework all my written pieces and go wide on multiple platforms. I hope to have the initial re-release schedule soon for “The Long Moonlight” for the Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, and the rewrite of “A Dream of Emerald Skies”. Penned Con 2020 has been moved to 2021 due to the virus. But I consider that mixed blessing that I should have my catalog completely updated plus new works done in time for the convention. So what is new? Or new to me I should say?I got a chance to do a little picking/antiquing and found a few wonderful things!
A lovely Victorian magnifying glass.
Stunning Victorian Spanish Hair Comb
Included hand to see size, it’s enormous!
Intricate Victorian Turkish Tea Set.
Beautiful Victorian photo book
Can’t wait to put steampunk photos in this!

The hair comb was a particularly awesome find. And I had a chance to use it in my last shoot for the new cover of the short story “A Stairway”. Here’s another sneak peak featuring Jacqueline Brown at the Oakland House:

More updates and blogs coming.

As always, thank you for reading!

Victoria

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The Art of the Proposal and Yes, I’m Really an Artist

Yesterday I wrapped up my last art proposal out of twelve. A couple more opportunities had popped up since my last blog and I couldn’t resist the challenge to create more art. I’ve had one refusal, but so far, three acceptances/shows, including the AKC Art Show at the Dog Show that is happening right now in Wichita, KS. I will have a weekend show at the holy grail of dog art, the AKC Museum of the Dog in July 25th and 26th, and I will again have a piece in the Stray Rescue Urban Wanderer’s show this summer. And something I’ve been working on for so long, the main reason for this blog, my steampunk art, A Midsummer’s Night Steam Steampunk Art Installation will commence on June 5th and run through the month of June at 1900 Park, Creative Space. I am so thrilled to have all kinds of my steam art available in one spot. I have begun to collect more fabric and pieces to put some great works together.

I have been chomping at the bit to get creating, but the proposals took quite a bit of my time, almost a month. Each submission had it’s own paperwork, rules, standards, ideas and formatting. My creative writing skills were well utilized, but I was really hoping to get back to the adventures of Kate Church or designing more hats. I won’t lie, I whined about it in social media more than a few times. I had to remind myself to be grateful that so many artistic possibilities were out there to begin with. Which brings me to part two of this blog.

Last year I walked away from corporate America much to the surprise of friends and family. I had already lost my full time job last spring. I found a new job in the same industry (media), but quit after a couple months. I was burnt out and my heart was screaming “do what you love”. So I decided to work part time to pay the bills which allows enough time for my art. I’ve had a website for my dog art for years and have been blogging about my steampunk art and writing for over three and half years now.

What’s funny though is I still get questions. Are you really an artist? Really? How do you find the time? Do you live in a loft? Can you make money doing that? I have to laugh at all of them. Yep, I’m an artist. I was basically a prodigy. I remember drawing before I could talk. I was gifted and had a super imagination as a kid (I still do). I’ve participated in several huge public artworks. I did move from the suburbs to the city and my view is spectacular, although it’s not exactly a loft. But I do leave the accordian door to the bedroom open which gives the apartment a nice airy feeling. Yes, I am making money, not as much as I had hoped, but things are really starting to happen. My Etsy store has over 8,000 views. I get commissions and now monthly royalties from amazon. Life is getting good.

But I have to wonder, why people ask? I mean, I have the talent, shouldn’t I use it? Maybe I don’t look like your typical female artist (whatever that is). Maybe people expect piercings and tats, a mohawk, an unconventional lifestyle? Well, I do color my hair however I like it, I wear what I want, and I am a cougar (that’s for another blog), but I pretty much have a family and buy groceries like everyone else does. I did notice that after a recent bout of eye strain and wearing glasses instead of contacts got me a lot of interesting looks and unexpected respect. I know all kinds of female artists and wonder that in the post feminism/re-charging feminism world of #HeForShe why women artists STILL aren’t taken seriously.

I recently did a small craft/art show with almost all female artists, and most of them happen to be my part time co-workers. One of the younger gals stepped away from her table for a while after her boyfriend arrived. He watched over her work so she could take a break. After she returned and they stood together, much to her chagrin, almost everyone that approached assumed that he was the artist. I confess I’d be a bit miffed too.

Beyond the feminist aspect, I also get a little angry that art isn’t taken as a serious profession. The days I’m not working the part time job, I work at home. I might post a couple posts on social media, but then it’s off to the races art wise. I can’t tell you how many times I get interrupted by all kinds of requests, general building noises, etc. I feel the pain of anyone else that works from home. I’ve gotten in the habit of turning my phone off completely when I create. Art is my passion, but it is work that I do get paid for, and it needs to be done. Sometimes there’s research and inspirational materials I need to review. And I deserve time away like everyone else. I don’t have vacation time like a corporate job, but I need a break too. Sometimes even a walk to the convenience store or a glass of wine is a small bit of heaven.

On the flip side, I leave this blog on a positive note. There is nothing like having someone see your work and marvel at it’s beauty. Or the person or client that buys a piece and doesn’t bat an eye at its price. For this, I am so grateful. And as always, thank you for reading.

-Victoria

P.S. So much good stuff coming. I am going to do many more short visual posts from my phone as I finish pieces for a Midsummer Night’s Steam. Please share and keep your eyes peeled for my vision of Victorian retro-futurism.

Mardi Gras Madness Begins

In my hometown of St. Louis, we have the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the US. Right now, the costume shop that is my “day” job, is hopping with customers ploughing through beads, masks, and decor.

I’ll be attending at least one parade, the Beggin’ Strips Pet Parade this Sunday, as long as the weather holds out. There’s also a Weiner Dog Derby race and band/party afterwards.

And I’ve added some great pieces (including the mask below) and a SALE in the Etsy store to perhaps help you celebrate. Use code LUVMASKS25 to get 25% off through 2/13 to celebrate both Valentine’s and Mardi Gras. The store link is here:

Haute Hen

So I created a new mask with some steampunk syle:

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I started with a basic plastic form (to keep the mask light weight) and painted it with copper and gold paint to give it a metallic feel.

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I added lace and my own scroll design which was hand cut before adding to the ears. I then added hand painted roses, embroidery, ribbon and gears for additional steam style.

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I was really pleased with the results and shot the pics for the store yesterday. Lipstick via Clinique, Shadows via Avon, Ben Nye.

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More goodies coming to the store soon. Thank you as always for reading!
Victoria

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-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

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-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

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Last Call for a Steam Trunk

A little over a year ago I stumbled upon a most wonderful antique-see a previous blog “Gratitude and a Steam Trunk”, link: https://mysteampunkproject.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/gratitude-and-a-steam-trunk/

I couldn’t believe my luck at this beautiful find. Yes, it needs work, but it’s a gorgeous piece of steam/Victoriana deliciousness. I debated keeping it, but put it up in my Etsy store. Well now, it’s been a year in the store and the trunk is lonely. It’s seeking a permanent home. I took it with me to a summer art show. I couldn’t help but notice it looked pretty lovely with art draped over it. And I did have space for a coffee table/storage piece in my living room….

I’ve reduced the price and have had several inquiries. So now it’s up for renewal in the store, only I won’t list it again. I had to make a decision. The trunk sells by 12/19 or I keep it and refinish it, end of story. So, if you should want to take a gander, the link is here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172315146/antique-steamer-trunk?

Trunk 1 Trunk 3 Trunk 2

Upcoming events:

-The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, v.1-10, will be FREE for one last time on December 26, 2014. Please share and comment on amazon/goodreads. The compilation of all ten stories will be available later this winter in “The First Ten Bites”.

-The Creating Anna Series spinoff is in the works and the first volumes should also appear in the New Year.

-The sequels to “Strax and the Widow” are also well underway. Be prepared for more steam adventures of Kate Church. More information and links are below.

Thank you for reading,

Victoria

The Vampire’s Little Black Book series is always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

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-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

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-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

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-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Revamping the Vamp, Get to Know Will

When I was writing my first steampunk novel “Strax and the Widow”, I got distracted by whole different genre and character. I wondered what would it be like for a modern day vampire searching for “the one” in modern times. What do you do with eternity on your hands? Could you really fall in love with one person? And if that person were human, could you avoid killing them? Would you tire of an endless life?

I know that this theme is not exactly unique, but I wanted to write a series from the view point of the vampire. Climb into his mind and share his story. And thus my character Will and “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series was born.

I like the short story format for this series. Each one is written like episodic television; a new adventure or peek into Will’s past. The first in the series “The Long Moonlight” might start off a little mushy, but read it all the way through to discover what’s at the heart of Will.

I like Will. For a vampire, he’s still pretty human. He loves women, but like most men, even after being alive over 600 years, has yet to completely figure them out. He has tremendous powers and desires. He is tempted, and sometimes can’t control his undead yearnings. Will’s made some serious mistakes and like most of us, his past still haunts him. He’s sweet, dirty, passionate, smart, dangerous, sexy, and sometimes a jerk, but always complex and charming.

I’ve just released V.1o “The Vamp Hit List”. It will be available to download for FREE on Wednesday November 19th on amazon/kindle. Remember, you don’t have to have a kindle to get the ebooks. You can download the Kindle app to almost any electronic device.

The whole FIRST ebook series will be FREE FOR THE LAST TIME EVER on 11/30, 12/1, and 12/26. After that you’ll have to purchase them or the upcoming compilation of all the stories, “The First Ten Bites”. I hope to have it available in hard copies/paperbacks by late spring.

Will is going to go away for a bit for a revamp as I wrap up my second steampunk novel in “The Society Series”, “Revenge and Machinery”. Some of the titles will have new artwork and new formatting, so be sure to download on the FREE dates. More of Will’s new adventures will arrive later in 2015.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series. Please feel free to share the free download dates and rate on amazon and goodreads. I’d love to see your comments.

As always, thank you for reading,

-Victoria

The Vampire’s Little Black Book series is always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

 

 

 

 

 

Day of the Dead 2014

It’s been an insanely busy Halloween season. I managed to squeeze in some new creations, all with a Day of the Dead/Halloween theme. My last creation first, a Dead of the Dead, Mardi Gras bunny mask, now available in TheHauteHen Etsy store.

I built this on a pre-existing black mask, a template I have used before in “The Heroine” series.

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After hot glue, some embroidered trim and roses, I got the result I wanted. A sassy bunny mask that’s perfect for any costume occasion.

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Add a little makeup…

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And let the photo fun begin…

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Then on to business…I had a great buyer in my Etsy store who bought my Day of the Dead Groom Hat with a few modifications…

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And then she commissioned a voodoo belt for her husband, which was really fun to put together. I sent her a sketch, bought some neat pieces including a beaver skull from the Etsy store (and friend) Guiditta Testa.

Voodoo 1A Voodoo 1B Voodoo 2 Voodoo 3 Voodoo 4 Voodoo 5 Voodoo 5A Voodoo 5AA Voodoo 5B Voodoo 5BB Voodoo 5C Voodoo 6

And Elizabeth Rios and her husband looked fabulous in their creations!

Rios 1 Rios 2 Rios 3

So much more happened last month, but that is for the next blog. Thank you for reading!

Victoria

And then some style. Day of the Dead Indeed

And then some style. Day of the Dead Indeed

Will has returned in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers” on amazon/kindle. Volumes 1-8 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Random Thoughts on Being Sick

This is a short one and not what I expected to blog for October. My car got broken into about a week ago, but they stole nothing, just busted a lock. I’ve been working like crazy. Hopefully the next blog will be filled with Halloween and costume happiness. Meanwhile, enjoy these random thoughts on being sick:

-I absolutely hate being sick. Period.

-I have now returned to my classic pre-summer vampire white skin.

-Of course we have two of the most wonderful Fall days in St. Louis. The Cardinals lost in the playoffs, but the Rams and Blues won this weekend. Yet I am stuck on the couch or in bed.

-Why does everything look so good on tv, yet I have no appetite?

-I wanted to at least severely reprimand the guy (an adult mind you) that picked his nose in the fitting room line. OK, I wanted to kill him, but I can’t afford to go to jail.

-The part I hate most about going to the doctor (besides cost, I don’t have health insurance), explaining my low body temp. Today at Urgent Care I checked in at a comfortable 97.7. Yep. I feel like dirt and have the temperature of a reptile that runs through it. But my neck is swollen like a chipmunk. I’ve had strep and the flu and not run a fever. OK, at least my blood pressure was awesome.

-This time it hit pretty fast. Went from a slight headache Friday afternoon, to not sleeping that night because I felt like I’d gargled with razor blades.

-Sleep is my friend at last. When I did finally fall asleep on Sat. morning I had to text in sick to work. Got some OTC meds and gatorade and went back to bed. Watched some tv and did a little work on my costume. Took another nap. More tv. Bed early. Slept ten hours. Text in sick again. Urgent Care and pharmacy about 3.5 hours. Home and another nap. As of 3:30pm today, I’ve slept almost twenty-four hours. Sad to see most of my waking hours were at the doc’s office or getting meds.

-Surreal sick moment of the day, got my windows open and wake up from nap to people yelling and stuff. Turn on the tv to see that the Rams won. Lookout to notice the happy traffic of fans and the leaves changing color on the Arch grounds. Another beautiful day wasted. Cursed flu, but at least it’s a pretty day.

-The Countess is having tea and a bit of a lie down as they say in the UK. Stupid f’n virus, as we say in the US.

OK, will stop groaning now. What’s coming up?

Will the vampire returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers”. Since I really don’t feel like doing anything else, I will be writing a bit later on. Keep a watch on my social media links for its release.

Stay healthy my friends, and thanks, as always, for reading,

Victoria

___________

Will returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers” on amazon/kindle. The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc and volumes 1-7 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-stores coming soon

Hats Off for Dia de los Muertos!

As Halloween approaches, I wanted to do a little more Dia de los Muertos style and autumnal hats. This blog celebrates those who have left us with some Day of the Dead creativity done in photo essay style. The hats and many other unique items are in my Etsy store, https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHauteHen  Please enjoy!

First off, a simple sun hat for fall festivals and wineries….

Autumn Hat 6 Autumn Hat 3 Autumn Hat 1

Next up, a classic Day of the Dead Katrina Veil. I decided to go with traditional “less perfect” sugar skull makeup for this shoot and focus on the hats.

DOD Veil 1 DOD Veil 2 DOD Veil 3 DOD Veil 4 DOD Veil 5 Veil Full

Then a beautiful bride’s top hat, complete with a long veil and light up sugar skull!

IBride Etsy 1 Bride Etsy 2 Bride Etsy 3 Bride Etsy 4 Bride Etsy 5 R Bride 1 R Bride 2 R Bride 4 R Bride 7 R Bride 9

Finally, the Groom’s hat, a sweet little topper, also with a light up sugar skull on top!

Groom Etsy 1 Groom Etsy 2 Groom Etsy 3 Groom Etsy 4 Groom R 1 Groom R 2 Groom R 3 Groom R 4 Groom R 5

Thank you for this quick little visual foray into the Day of the Dead. Thank you for reading.

Victoria

________________

Will returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red” on amazon/kindle. The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc and volumes 1-7 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-stores coming soon

To the Tower (and the Gypsy Caravan)

There is something magical about the start of summer. I rejoice in the first extended weekend of the season with the promise of bar-b-q, various unique events and of course remembering those who served our country. This year I wanted to do a few different things over the Memorial holiday; stuff that’s been on my bucket list that I didn’t accomplish due to weather, having to work, or even sheer laziness. This time I was motivated and ready for fun. I’d like to share a couple of experiences that have ignited my Steampunk creativity and some stunning photos of why you might want to try these events if you’re ever in the St. Louis area.

With work in the rearview mirror at 4pm on the first Friday night of summer, I headed to my initial destination, The Compton Hill Water Tower.  A few quick basics: it’s located at South Grand and Russell Boulevard in St. Louis, MO. Designed by architect Harvey Ellis, it was completed in 1899 to cover an unsightly water standpipe. In 1904, it was open for the World’s Fair and had over 5,000 visitors each Sunday. It stands over 700’ above sea level, surrounded by “The Naked Truth” sculpture by Wilhelm Wandschneider, a small pond, a dog park and the water reservoir and tanks. It’s a quick 198 ornate metal spiral steps to the bell shaped top. You can view historical photos at little landings along the way should you need a break on the journey. While it’s not open all the time, it is totally worth the $5 to go up on event nights.

It was a Full Moon Opening. There were food trucks, a band and a really wonderful laid back crowd. I had arrived with perfect timing at 7:15pm, paid my fee and headed up to Victorian historical nirvana.

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The 360 degree view from the observation deck is spectacular. Looking East you can see downtown with the Arch, far into Illinois, and the Anheuser Busch and Lemp Breweries. To the North you see SLU’s campus and hospital and Grand Center. In the Northwest, the New Cathedral and the stunning Chase Park Plaza Hotel are easily seen. The view South includes the Jefferson Barracks Bridge spanning over the Mississippi, located 20 minutes away in the St. Louis suburbs.

There were more historical photos and free binoculars at the top. The windows were open all around and the most fantastic breeze blew through. Not a cloud was in the sky. The sun set and bathed the circular observation deck in a golden hue just as the full moon rose. The hour I stayed at the top was simply breathtaking. The other tourists were polite and jovial. Everyone was a pleasant shutterbug.

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I finally came down and took more photos. The Tower glowed golden yellow in the deep blue of the approaching night. I’d planned to eat something, but the food trucks were almost out of everything. That was OK though; my historical and dreaming appetite had been completely sated. Another shutterbug walked me to my car. I hesitated giving out my number though. I’m kind of enjoying a bit of vagabond independent life after the end of a four and half year relationship.

Which leads me to my next adventure of the weekend; Memorial Day trinket hunting at the Gypsy Caravan. The Gypsy Caravan is the Midwest’s largest Antique and Flea Market, held every year on Memorial Day on the UMSL campus. If you can’t find it here, you didn’t look hard enough is what the regulars say. It costs $10 at the gate to get in the day of the Caravan, presale tickets are $8.50, and early birds/extreme pickers can get in for $20 two hours before the official opening. It may sound a bit steep, but all those proceeds have gone to support the St. Louis Symphony for over forty years.

The fantastic weather held up for most of this day too. It was slightly cloudy when I arrived with a huge straw hat atop my head to protect my fresh sunburn (another Memorial weekend tradition). I gratefully scored a parking space in the garage. For those who’ve resisted going due to the 10,000+ crowd, the parking is much improved, Metrolink is a stone’s throw from the gate and some of the vendors are now in one of the garages.

I was immediately entranced by the multitude of vendors and their fabulous wares.  I instantly found a fantastic antique book “Invention and Discovery”. Price? $1!  Yippee!

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I went in search of Steampunk finds and didn’t have to go far. One vendor dealt almost exclusively in watch pieces. Antique Victorian furniture was sold by at least ten booths. I found the most precious postcard reproductions mounted onto shabby chic plaques. I bought a few and got one free.

I debated heavily over several pocket watches. I found one exquisite ladies piece, but for $300, I had to pass. Had to leave behind a stunning set of Victorian opera glasses from Monaco too; $425 was not in my budget. I also passed on a $40 cross-stitch foot stool. The dealer is local though, so that will most likely be a future adventure. However, I did find a USCE compass for $20. It was marked for WWII, but upon further research, I found it was from WWI. And the same vendor threw in a decent “copy” pocket watch for free. SCORE number three for the day. NOTE: I will be giving this pocket watch away next week from my Facebook page, The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc.

I finally surrendered to an ice cold Coke and a curb for a while. I hit the last group of vendors and really wished I was wealthy enough to buy all the junk I wanted, but sanity prevailed. I sincerely debated going back for the footstool, but an approaching severe thunderstorm guaranteed the reserve of my cash. Three plus hours was enough. I went home satisfied with my purchases. Enjoy the photos!

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Squirrel, you’re drunk, go home! Courtesy of antique-oddities.com

For more information:

-The Compton Hill Water Tower, www.watertowerfoundation.org

-The Gypsy Caravan, www.stlsymphony.org