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.

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The Barkus Pet Parade cake.

 

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Let them eat cake. Doing my best queen pose.

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Our banner carriers.

 

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One of our canine cake “walkers”.

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Even this pot bellied pig got in on the action.

 

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On the throne, appropriately dressed

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Someone had a little too much parade…

 

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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:

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

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Always watchful and peeking over her shoulder…

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

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..yet regally seductive.

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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

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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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Getting Wiggy With It and Changes

I have eight wigs, none of which of are real human hair. Now that I’m working for a costume/Halloween store full time, I have access to even more strands of colorful delight.

Last month I decided I was done with the rat race, the nine to five.  I quit a new day job I’d only had for six weeks. Although the pay was good and it was in my field,  some things I was promised at the onset didn’t evolve. I had just been through seven years of that madness in my previous employment. I’d decided I wasn’t going to go through another seven years of not being happy and broken promises.  So I quit and went full time to a fun job that will also allow me to write and create more. I was ready to make a leap of faith, ready to change.

It’s put another delay in finishing “Strax and the Widow”, but I am much happier and less stressed.

I find inspiration everywhere in the shop, in all the fun costumes and accessories.  I love the endless styles of wigs.  They too help me to change. I’m happy to share a bit of the selection here. Enjoy, I’ll keep you posted on the nifty things coming soon. And note I have reduced prices for a pre-Halloween sale in my Etsy store, so please take a gander.

CCB2BMy newest and second favorite wig, in Mardi Gras colors. A little steampunked Joker cosplay.

 

GM 9GM 4My oldest wig, over 15 years old, first worn at Cardinals games. Used most recently for a mask photo shoot.

 

 

A bit pensive.Wig test and a smile.I have to say this is now my favorite wig. I love the antique blue look and the ringlets.

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 My real hair, although heavily lightened in these two pics.

Cover of Everyone Looks Better Undead.

Cover of Everyone Looks Better Undead.

 

And then some style. Day of the Dead IndeedAnd some roses.A black wig under the veil and under the hat below.

Fire Feather Hat 1

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Doing my best Foxxy Cleopatra at the premiere of Austin Powers “Goldmember” in a fine afro.

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An Amy Winehouse bouffant black wig.

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The second use of the red bob wig. I jumped out of that coffin for three hours.

I hope you enjoyed this retrospective of my wigs. Thank you for reading,

Victoria

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

Product Details

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

-“Strax and the Widow” will debut this summer on Amazon/Kindle.

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

Jewels from the Painted Ladies

At the Lafayette Square House tour, I picked of some fabulous jewels. These aren’t the standard kind of  “jewels” you might be thinking of. Instead, they are pieces from the Victorian houses of Lafayette Square. Specifically, they are key hole plates from the locks of the doors and frames.

On my jaunt to the Lafayette House tour (mentioned in the blog before this) I wrote of running past the antique market and stopping at one certain vendor. I was stunned at the beauty of the key plates he had obtained after rehabbing many of the painted ladies in the neighborhood. I bought a few.

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I was pleasantly stunned at their detail and knew immediately I’d use them for jewelry. I found some great belt clasps at the Gypsy Caravan a couple weeks before. I suddenly had matches made in Steampunk jewelry heaven, as seen here on my drawing/craft board:

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I was particularly enraptured with dual key hole plate. It has a rotating cover that was stuck with rust, dirt and grime. After some careful cleaning and oiling, I was able to make it operational again. It became the center piece of the dual keyhole necklace below. I added some chain, gears and an antique looking time piece for a really stunning necklace. This one might be a keeper!

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Checking the lay of the chain and pieces.

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An antique belt closure I chose for the clasp.

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Time piece detail. Note, this is not an antique; I picked it up at a craft store. However, I felt like it fit the necklace perfectly.

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The amazing dual key hole plate with rotating cover.

The finished product is stunning!

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I used another, smaller, simpler plate to make a second necklace. I again paired it with an antique belt clasp, but this time I used ribbon for a more genteel look.

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Antique belt closure used for the clasp.

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The key hole plate is the centerpiece of the design.

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I added some gears and a sweet little crown trinket.

Again, the results were lovely.

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Both pieces will be available for viewing and purchase as part of the CAM Open Studios tour at The London Tea Room, 3128 Morganford on Sunday 6/29/14, from 11am-5pm. I will have many drawings, paintings and artistic gift items available as well. Some sample items starting at $1! Would love to see you there.

Please follow me on my social media and web links below.

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 available on amazon/kindle.

Product Details

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

-“Strax and the Widow” will debut this summer on Amazon/Kindle.

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

-CafePress and Fine Art America-stores coming soon

 

 

An Unexpected Start of Summer and Let Them Eat Cake Pt. 2

I can’t say my start to summer was completely unexpected, but some good and bad things happened right off the bat. Let’s get the bad out of the way first. I lost my full time job. For those that know me personally, this has been torture. It had been unreliable for a long, long time; years really. I have been buried in paperwork for insurance, job hunting, unemployment, etc. I think after almost a month of this I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, I have a roof overhead, food to eat and a lot of support.

On the good side, once this paperwork is through, I have a clean slate and I can work on my creative projects. “Strax and the Widow” is going through my beta readers now. It’s my first full fledged novel. I am so excited to finally release it soon. I am looking forward to a summer of working on its sequels and creative projects.

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I’ll be posting updates frequently on my Facebook page, The Countess Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Schultz.

I made what hopes to be my annual trip to the Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day, an annual flea market that supports the St. Louis Symphony. I found $10 on the ground right after a friend and I passed through the entry gate, which covered my entry fee. Made some neat cheap but gorgeous finds that will most likely appear on some of my upcoming millinery pieces. Please watch my Etsy store for new stuff arriving soon. Which means some old stuff will need to go, so some sales coming!

One project that’s completed and on display is my STL250 Cakeway to the West sculpture, “The Spirit of St. Louis”. It is at Soldier’s Memorial downtown. Their link is stlsoldiersmemorial.org. I was honored to attend the Memorial Day services with many veterans from the local American Legion Posts. Please visit! The museum is FREE, but they take donations. There are pictures below. This is how summer SHOULD be started.

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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.

Product Details

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

-”Strax and the Widow” will debut this summer on Amazon/Kindle.

-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, CafePress and Fine Art America-coming soon