A Proper Mardi Gras Topper

Note: edited again to include the new YouTube link for this blog here:

Note: I made a couple edits to this blog today, 2/18/15. I had a technical issue with the link that has now been fixed and this blog has been corrected. Thank you for your patience and as always, for reading,

-Victoria

For those that follow my blog, you know that I am absolutely crazy about hats. My newly finished creation is a lovely top hat with a definite New Orleans Fleur de Lis flavor and Neo-Victorian steampunk style.

I started with a basic tall black top hat. I added fabric from a jacket I bought and actually wore to work over 15 years ago.

IMG_2559-0

IMG_2561-0

I found a nifty knob on a steep discount at a craft store. I liked the Fleur de Lis motif. I thought it would be fun to be able to pull the hat off and on by it. I choose another fleur for the backside.

IMG_2572

IMG_2574

I added wired ribbon, tulle, plumes, and an antique key as elegant touches.

IMG_2575 Continue reading

Advertisements

Mardi Gras, Pet Parade St. Louis Style 2015

Last Sunday was simply gorgeous in St. Louis and a perfect day for a parade. I marched in the Beggin’ Strips Pet Parade in the Soulard neighborhood with a bunch of cake lovers/hunters from the stl250 Cakeway to the West project. I met these lovely folks through Facebook after completing my cake sculpture for the project, “The Spirit of St. Louis” (details in my earlier blog). I got a costume from work and decided to Ren it for the parade, where the dogs are more often dressed up than the people.

Although this post is not directly steampunk related, the neighborhood in which the parade runs through was built during the Victorian era. You’ll see a hint of the era’s architecture in some of the photos. The area was founded largely by French and German settlers which make it an excellent location for Mardi Gras and any German heritage celebrations like Oktoberfest.

St. Louis celebrates the second largest Mardi Gras in the U.S. after New Orleans. Of the three parades held during the season, the pet parade is probably the most family friendly. For a $10 fee, you and your pet can walk in the pet parade and your pet is entered in the costume contest. Donations go to the Open Door Animal Sanctuary with $1 going to Petfinder Organization in St. Louis. Or you can simply watch for free. The Weiner Dog Derby is immediately afterwards, with dauchshund dogs competing for prices in an exciting short race to the finish. Relatively new, is a concert after the Derby. This year’s band was Blues Traveler who provided an excellent musical soundtrack to the street party. I hope you enjoy the pics, I got inspired to do a little vamping up (in the 2nd part of this post). The temperature got into the low 70’s, and I even got a little sunburnt. Fun was had by all two and four legged friends.

IMG_2391

The Barkus Pet Parade cake.

 

IMG_2394

Let them eat cake. Doing my best queen pose.

IMG_2400

Our banner carriers.

 

IMG_2402

One of our canine cake “walkers”.

IMG_2414

Even this pot bellied pig got in on the action.

 

IMG_2418

On the throne, appropriately dressed

IMG_2413

Someone had a little too much parade…

 

IMG_2408

Our cake “mascot”, made of balloons.

When I got home, I didn’t want to waste the use of the costume, so I went into Ren cosplay, Lady Woodbridge mode (from The Vampire’s Little Black Book series perhaps?).

First a close up of the eye make up of golds, greens and purple, then the haughty queen came out:

IMG_2446IMG_2432IMG_2444IMG_2449

IMG_2453

IMG_2511

IMG_2508

 

 

 

 

 

But knowing, with a smirk and a seductive smile. Sometimes thoughtful, even sweet.

IMG_2448IMG_2454

IMG_2486

IMG_2497IMG_2504

IMG_2555

 

Always watchful and peeking over her shoulder…

IMG_2514IMG_2515IMG_2520IMG_2521

Later at night, becoming more of a saucy wench than a lady. Strong and coy, she knows how to defeat her enemies..

IMG_2532IMG_2541IMG_2547IMG_2554

..yet regally seductive.

IMG_2557

Thank you for indulging in my Ren silliness that ended up with some great photos. I might put some in the Etsy store, speaking of which…

Please remember the sale in my Etsy store, 25% off with code LUVMASKS through Valentine’s Day.

Thank you for reading,

Victoria

______________

-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

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:

IMG_2383

IMG_2345

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.

IMG_2310

IMG_2311

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.

IMG_2315

IMG_2316

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

IMG_2357

IMG_2334

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

______________

-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

Masks I Have Worn Pt. 3

Welcome to Pt. 3 of this blog. My Mardi Gras inspired mask wasn’t ready for the big Fat Tuesday parade, but it did turn out quite nicely. The process started simply enough; I had a base mask, I added more feathers and started adding embellishments. About halfway through, I realized I needed to add more silver to balance out some of the embroidery. So I added some silver paint to the “a bit to yellow for me feathers” and some silver gears.  I was pleased with results. I sealed all the gears and paint with two coats of Polymer Medium Gloss. Those sweet pieces won’t come off unless you break them off. I finished the back side with some simple gold duct tape to protect the back side of the feathers and wiring for the lights. From the drawing board, lights on, and mask alone shoot:

GM 14GM 26GM 23GM 27GM 5

I was then ready for the real shoot. First, the standard makeup, wig and lighting tests. I did want to wear a really unusual color wig wise to make the mask stand out after testing my makeup “glam shot” style first.

GM 19GM 7GM 8

GM 20GM 12GM 9

GM 15

Tested the weight of the mask and then some silliness ensued:

GM 10GM 13GM 11

 

Then for the serious shots for my Etsy store. A first few without the wig:

GM 1GM 21

Then add the sharp contrast wit the wig:

GM 28GM 25GM 17GM 4

I really enjoyed working with this series, I hope you enjoy the photos. The next mask for Pt. 4 was previewed a bit ago and took me in a whole different direction. I’m wrapping up the final touches on it and it’s story now. Bookmark this blog for the update. 🙂

A few quick notes on some great upcoming works:

1. The whole “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series on amazon/kindle will be FREE to download this weekend, March 22-23, 2014. New adventures of Will the vampire are forthcoming, but enjoy catching up on my favorite vamp’s past. Please share with your friends. My amazon link (please copy and paste into your browser):

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-L.-Szulc/e/B00CDFDIBI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1395190463&sr=8-1

2. CORRECTION: In my “Let Them Eat Cake” blog I noted that my “Spirit of St. Louis” sculpture was going to be at Creve Coeur Lake. I was given the wrong location information unfortunately. My piece will be placed at Soldier’s Memorial in downtown St. Louis instead. I have to say, despite the error, I am actually more satisfied with this location. It’s only ten blocks from my apartment and the Memorial should make for a perfect backdrop for the photo session I have in mind.

3. Coming soon to my Fine Art America and CafePress shops, the best of my steam works on cosplay cards, tees, etc.

Thank you for your support and reading!

-Victoria

______________________________________________________________________________

The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc is now available on amazon/kindle.

Product Details

-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

-Tuumblr, CafePress and Fine Art America-coming soon

Masks I Have Worn (Well a Hat really) Pt.2

Hello and welcome to part 2 of this blog. I got pretty excited about this last hat, but I can’t keep it.  It’s available for purchase in my Etsy store. I wanted to make a matching mask in time for Mardi Gras but it’s still in creation mode. I did take a few more photos, this time with different lighting and makeup. And I did want to show off the blue wig. It’s now a favorite in my collection; how did I end up with seven wigs? That sounds like a future blog.
Anyhow, please enjoy this last set of photos, all taken selfie style with my iPhone 4s. First I did a make-up/lighting/wig test:

Eye makeup detail.Lip detail, gold gloss.Low light makeup test.Semi-low light makeup test.

Wig test and a smile. Side view wig test and another smile.

I think this group came out fairly well considering I had a bunch of pimples and a bit of a head cold. So then I brought in the hat and added some emotion:

Best shot of whole hat. Thoughtfulness. Gratitude. Baudy laughter. A bit pensive. That is one tall topper!

I hope to have this series and others from previous shoots available for purchase soon. I’ve also got some really interesting pieces in the works: volumes 9 & 10 of “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series, the aforementioned mask (an in process pic below), a serious blog on masks with yes, more pictures and a super awesome pictorial, and last but certainly not least, my first full steampunk novel, “Strax and the Widow” should go to press this summer.

The mask in process:

Gold Mask in process.

Thank you for your support and reading, Happy Mardi Gras!

-Victoria

______________________________________________________________________________

The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc is now available on amazon/kindle.

Product Details

-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
-Tuumblr, CafePress and Fine Art America-coming soon

Masks I Have Worn Pt.1

As Mardi Gras approaches, I decided it was a great time to add a hat to my Etsy store. Actually I’m a working on a few toppers and I’ll be sharing each of them in the next few weeks. This time of year also had me thinking about masks; how wearing them can not only change our looks but our inside emotions as well. I’ll go into more depth on this in a future blog.

In the meantime enjoy the creation of this Mardi Gras Top Hat. Each hat becomes a little production with its own photo shoot. I like to mix in a unique hairstyle and makeup in the photos. This can sound a little vain, taking a lot of selfies. To me, it’s art. I create a character to match the fashion. First two pics are of the initial make-up I wore to work at the costume/party shop. I found the wig (California Costume) at the shop; it was a keeper. The mask is courtesy of Johnnie Brock’s.

ImageImage

This second group was taken later that evening with the hat. The hat is really traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras opulent with a harlequin and his marching staff holding court from the top. A silver and gold mini mask sets on the front brim. An ornate fluer de lis and crown counterbalance the back side.

FrontFleur detail

Qtr View Back  Mask Detail

I touched up my makeup with kewpie doll cupid’s bow lips (OK, too much pouting on my part) and traditional Mardi Gras colors for t eyes: purple, green and gold.

ImageImage

I really enjoyed the finished product. I hope you do too!

ImageImage

Image

Pt. 2 coming soon with more fun photos. Thank you for reading,

-Victoria

______________________________________________________________________________

The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc is now available on amazon/kindle.

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

Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

Etsy-TheHauteHen