Remember the 5th of November

Ten years ago today, my mother passed away after a long battle with MS. I love an miss her every day. She supported my art and I am forever grateful. I used to watch “City of Angels” every year because it was one of her favorites.

But a few years ago, my friends at the London Tea Room started free screenings of “V for Vendetta” for Guy Fawkes night. So my tradition has changed a bit. So, the movie is tonight, and the info is here. Dress up in your V mask and join me.

  
Strax and the Widow is still on sale for $1.99 on amazon/kindle. The Vampire’s Little Black Book series will continue to be $.99 per short story until I have the compilation completed. So please, take a gander, and share it with your friends! The link is here:http://www.amazon.com/Strax-Widow-Society-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00NSENACA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444181623&sr=8-1&keywords=strax+and+the+widow

Again, you don’t have to have a kindle to download it, just the kindle app or program for your e-devices.

As always, thank you for reading.

-Victoria

Upcoming/continuing shows/events and social media links:

-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!

-Please follow at #RaisetheRoof, #RTR, #FOW for placement updates on the “Under the Sea” playhouse. 

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle. Sorry for the delay, working out a few kinks and have sooo many irons in the fire right now.

-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! My amazon author page link:

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-L.-Szulc/e/B00CDFDIBI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1428805315&sr=8-1

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

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-the Haute Hen.

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

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-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Fall 2014

I wanted to do this blog much sooner but I crammed so much into this Fall, that I am just now catching up to other things-just in time for Christmas.

The weather here was pretty much the usual. Beautiful foliage, nice days, cool evenings.
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The costume/party store was insane. But the best part of Halloween and work is dressing up. Which I did frequently:

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I also went to auburn from blond and loved the results:

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My beloved Cardinals lost another player to driving while intoxicated. My heart broke.

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But Halloween in the Central West End was the usual dose of awesome! I did Katniss to keep it simple.

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And the crowd did not disappoint:

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I did two shows in November, both great crowds at The London Tea Room and The Heavy Anchor. It snowed 3″ on the day at the Tea Room which made it so festive.

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Unwoman came to town, she was spectacular.

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I saw MockingJay on opening night. Awesome.

Ferguson erupted and the city I love went into turmoil.

Met someone who broke my heart a little. And now someone I’d like to know more.

This Fall flew by. I can’t believe Christmas is in two weeks. Good stuff is definitely coming. The Etsy store is loaded. The sequels to Strax and the Widow are well on their way. Will and Anna’s vamp adventures will continue. This coming winter may be cold, but my heart is warm.

As always, thank you for reading!

-Victoria

Coming Events

I wanted to write a great blog about how crazy my October was, but here it is halfway through November, I’m still in recovery mode and prepping for good holiday creations. Speaking of creations, as promised, Will has returned for v.10 of the Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, “The Vamp Hit List” is now available on amazon/kindle. And yes, you can download it for FREE, next Wednesday, November 19th! Please share, download, and rate on amazon and goodreads. I hope you enjoy Will’s latest adventure. More coming, but again, that is for another blog.  In the meantime, enjoy the cover of the new story.

The Vamp Hit List Final

Have you heard the first Christmas song on the radio yet? Or seen the first holiday sale commercial? Saw the first commercial on Halloween and today, two of the local radio stations switched to all holiday music. And we’re supposed to get snow this weekend in my hometown. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the two “holiday” shows I’m doing are this Sunday and Tuesday. Please support small and local businesses this holiday season. Artisans, crafters, musicians, and small shops (like myself) would all appreciate your patronage. The two small biz shows information is below (entry is FREE to both!):

Tea Room

This Sunday, 11/16, I’ll be at the London Tea Room. Please stop on by for some of the world’s best tea and wonderful vendors (including me!).

 

Heavy Anchor

On Tuesday, 11/18, I’ll be at the Heavy Anchor for their first Craft/Art Fair featuring a select group of artists. This is one of the coolest places in America (seriously). Please drop anchor for a while, have a drink and shop.

As always, thank you for reading,

-Victoria

 

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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

 

 

Tea Time and the Naughty Vicar

I’ve always been a bit of a Britophile, enjoying what the UK delivered to the US especially in terms of music. Many of my teen years were spent listening to the biggest British invasion since the Beatles during the 1980’s. My walls were plastered with Duran Duran posters and all my friends had their Brit favorites: Billy Idol, The Police, Culture Club, Wham and later New Order and the Manchester Rave scene. I wanted desperately to go to the UK and eventually spent two months in the Fall of 1990 going to school and living in London. I developed a fast friendship with a nice neighbor in my flat building and we had some interesting pub nights. I experienced some culinary errors and delights, especially chips (fries), and since then I’ve preferred eating them with mayo. I’ll touch more on this adventure another time, but it was during this experience that I was converted from drinking coffee and diet Coke to tea. Many Steampunk and Victoriana adventures talk of tea; mine included.

So I am here to sing the praises of tea. I had discovered Earl Grey in London, but essentially went back to the standard Lipton or whatever we had around the house upon returning home to the States. I then graduated to flavored bags, blueberry and the like and my mom turned me onto Celestial Seasonings. After working seasonally for a gourmet wine and cheese shop, I discovered loose leaf teas from Republic of Tea but at the time it was a little cumbersome and expensive. As I started my Steampunk journey a few months ago, it seemed proper to include my love of tea. I wanted to know more than just a few snippets from Dr. Oz about the benefits of tea. I was ready to become a tea connoisseur.

I had seen the local London Tea Room on several lifestyle shows and knew that this would be the obvious place to start. I thought I would just drop in, so I checked the hours on their website on a sunny Saturday and was pleased to find that they were having a tea class and tasting later that very week. I am lucky that they are just a few blocks away from my apartment, so I zipped on over and signed up. The staff was warm and the atmosphere was pleasant. I was starting to get the tea joneses.

This trip turned out to be a little two-fer; I stopped at Levine Hat Co. about a block down the street and found a nice Steampunkish fedora for 50% off and very affordable, the only one left, size small for my undersized melon. I went home feeling blessed by little Victorian cherubs.

When the class day arrived, I was ready to learn, mini notebook in hand and thirsty for tea goodness and warmth despite the blistering heat outside. There were about a dozen ladies who gathered promptly at 7pm at the London Tea Room. Each of us had a small cup and Tea Catalogue at the ready. The proprietors of this lovely establishment, Jackie and Anna began by educating us on the history of tea.

A brief recap here: all teas come from China, and like wines, they are affected by region, weather/climate, harvesting, and how it’s served. It spread from the ancient tea gardens to North East India. Around 700-800 during the dawn of the Samurai era, the elaborate tea ceremonies began. Tea became appreciated for its medicinal and calming benefits.

At this point in the history the tasting fun began. Anna began serving us varieties of teas in betwixt Jackie’s history and explanations. We passed around wonderfully delicate plates of the freshly steeped leaves. We tried a Jade Cloud first; it had woodsy, a spinach like smell, but tasted wonderful with no bitterness. Jackie continued by telling us that tea had become common in Britain via Indian trading posts, informing us of the botanicals of the tea bushes, about oxidized and non-oxidized teas, and how processing plays such an important role in what quality of tea you get. I don’t want to dip too far into detail here, other than to say that these ladies really know their tea and basically what you get in a grocery store tea bag is crap. They purchase the highest quality teas from organic and ecologically sustainable tea estates from reputable buyers. I have no idea how they ended up here in St. Louis, MO, but I at this point, I am sure glad that they are here.

We continued listening and tasting. We tried a White tea that was pink in color, little drier and sweet. Next was an Oolong which honestly smelt like um, the “happy weed” so to speak, but was rich in flavor and is well known for its health benefits. An Assam, the highest grade of tea followed; it’s often served with milk and honey and is a good variety for coffee drinkers. But it was the last tea we tried, the Cinnamon Plum that instantly transported me to what a Dickensian Christmas must have been like. It was sweet and spicy and my horrible Midwest allergies were soothed.

Jackie and Anna then opened the floor to questions.  We learned a bit more about steeping, why tea is better than coffee (on a caffeinated level, coffee will spike quickly and drop while tea has its own natural time release) and that tea actually can quench your thirst. For attending the class we were given a good sized sample of their Parisian Breakfast blend and also offered a 10% discount.

Enter the Naughty Vicar. As we perused the Tea Catalogue and the lovely display of pots and cups, this tea caught my eye. I decided I really didn’t need another cup or pot so I took a sniff of this tea. I had to have it. As I write this, I am sipping on a heavenly, relaxing blend of black teas, blackcurrants and vanilla that is widely believed to be an aphrodisiac. Although I am not inspired to call my boyfriend in the middle of the night for a little snogging, I am definitely in love with the Naughty Vicar and will be back to the London Tea Room for more.

If you happen to be in my fair city, you can visit them at 1520 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103 or you can order teas online www.thelondontearoom.com. Cheers!

*Just a note-I originally was going to post this on Friday July 20th, but the sad events in Colorado prompted me to blog something more fitting. For at least every other day posts, please “Like” my Facebook page The Countess.