Tag Archives: costume

Masquerade Ball

It’s been one of my personal ambitions to attend a masquerade ball, so when I learned there was going to be one in Seattle, I twisted a friend’s arm, and we went!  It’s called “Venice is Sinking” and supports a charity, so it’s definitely a win.

For several reasons (including the fact that it goes on until 2am) we decided to stay over in Seattle one night.  I booked us a room at the lovely Warwick Hotel, and we had lots of time to get dressed and primp before the ball.

My friend Sara borrowed my 18th century pocket hoops and built herself a gown to fit over them. The pocket hoops ended up being very practical, as we smuggled in our own drinks and snacks inside them!

She decided to use this youtube tutorial for her hair.  It’s a good thing I re-familiarized myself with the tutorial before we left, because it turned out to be too difficult to do the hair ratting and pinning by herself, so Sara recruited me.  It turned out marvelously, and held up through the entire evening!

I wore my sixteenth century “Dangerous Beauty” inspired Courtesan outfit.




















It was fun ball, although the entertainment was not as non-stop as we’d been lead to believe, and the costume contest was a total bust.  I’d been assured it was a judged event, and since the prize was a $1500 couture gown, I’d decided to try for it.  However, all the ‘judging’ meant was that a person walked around and handed out five golden necklaces to the ‘best costumes’.  No offense to the winners, but they weren’t the best costumes.  I saw many ladies in attendance whose outfits were far better.  One of the necklace winners was simply wearing a simple white evening dress with a wig – not at all in the same category as a lady wearing a full (and very gorgeous) 18th century costume who did NOT get one.  I didn’t get one either, sigh…but it wouldn’t have mattered since after you got a necklace, it turned into a popularity contest after all.  The winner won based on how many friends she had screaming in the audience.  😦

The entertainment was excellent, with roving performers such as contortionists, stilt-walkers, jugglers, and acrobats.

Periodically, they had stage performers as well, from Burlesque (and those ladies had gorgeous outfits!):

to circus-style silks and hoops:

My favorite costume I saw was this guy.  He had a moon mask with an actual hanging light.

It was so awesome, I had to get a video…and then of course, I held the camera wrong and ended up with a sideways picture.  😦

Then we had fun with the ballroom lighting:

And Sara very artistically fixed her skirt:

The next morning before we came home, we spent the day in Seattle.  We discovered the Sculpture Park isn’t worth seeing, and the best pizza comes from a little hole-in-the-wall place with boardgames and quirky artwork. We also visited the Great Gum Wall at Pike’s Place Market.

Hmmm….where to put our contributions?

I think she’s found a good spot….


And yes, I found my own perfect spot as well…


For more pictures/information about my costume, you can visit my costuming site.

Bad Faeries Ball – FaerieWorlds 2010

As I’ve mentioned before, I went to FaerieWorld’s Winter Celebration this January.  It was held in Eugene OR, which is a loooong drive from where I live.  So long, in fact, that we decided to take the train.  Amtrak was late arriving (as bloody usual) making us about two hours late getting in to Eugene.  It was 7:30 when our hotel shuttle picked us up at the station, and guess what?  The Good Faeries Ball began at 7:30.  Not good.  The shuttle guy offered to drop us at the theater and take our luggage back to the hotel, but we were starved, exhausted, and not in costume.  So since none of the performers at the Good Faeries Ball were especially exciting to us (we were mostly going for the Bad Faeries Ball), we decided to skip it.

The next day, we hit the daytime Faeriewords events, which were slightly underwhelming, but I did have the whole ‘celebrity experience’ – everyone gathering around me like I was famous and wanting to take my picture, so it wasn’t a total loss!  🙂  This steampunk outfit I put together is definitely one of my most popular ever – and people adored the wings.

I call it the “Mistress of Time” aka the Time Faerie, because it has all sorts of time-y details: watches, bottles of the ‘sands of time’ and all sorts of other awesome things.  For more pictures, and a making-of, you can check out my other blog: Dragonfly Designs by Alisa.  This costume is on the page called “Black and White Steampunk”.

My brother Jon, who came with me, also had his costume.  I made the half mask and the goggles.  The goggles are ‘Captain Robert’ approved; when I met him after the show, he complimented Jon on the goggles!  I’ll be putting the half mask up for sale; if anyone who’s reading this is interested, leave me a comment!

The second evening went much better; in fact it was pure fabulous fun!  The ‘Bad Faeries Ball’ was the real reason we’d gone to Eugene in the first place.  There were two bands that performed.  The second, Beats Antique, was awesome.  I didn’t take this video (Jon forgot to bring his video camera!) but here’s the sound:

Dancing to their music was Tribal Belly Dancer, Zoe Jakes, who was awesome.  I love the tribal style, and Zoe was as good as any of the big names, like Sharon Kihara or Rachel Brice.  And since I was right up against the stage (I could not have gotten any closer) she was right there.  When she danced with a huge pair of feather fans, she touched my face!  Again, this is not my video, but here she is dancing:

But before Beats Antique, there was….Abney Park.   I could not love this band any more than I do.  Their sound is so unusual, and the member themselves are so creative.  The lead singer, “Captain Robert” not only makes all the band’s awesome steampunk’d instruments, but he also made his own striped pants with tape and spray paint!   What costumer couldn’t love a guy like that???   🙂

I met Daniel’s daughter, Lilli, before the show.  She’s so cute, and she loved my wings.  During the song where the guitarist/violinist Nathaniel needs someone to hold his violin (he trades back and forth rapidly between the two instruments) Robert pulled Lilli up onto the stage.

She (not surprisingly) was more interested in watching her dad than in watching for Nathaniel’s cues!

Afterward, she danced with Robert’s wife (keyboardist Kristina) while Robert looked on and smiled.

Then the two guitarists had a battle (Nathaniel and Daniel)….

And I think Nathaniel thinks he won….

Robert became jealous of Nathaniel’s coolness and tried a bit of air/mike guitar:

This was the first show I’d seen since their fabulous dancer/backup singer quit, so I was slightly nervous about how I’d like the new girl, Jody Ellen.  I shouldn’t have worried.  She was perfect for them, so full of energy and fun.

Robert and his family had only just returned from several weeks’ vacation, and I think he still had a bit of ‘vacation brain’ happening, because he brought along a cheat sheet of lyrics for ‘Aether Shanty’ – which has, in his words, “really long words”!  Really long words didn’t explain why he also forgot the lyrics to  “Airship Pirates”.  He stopped midsong, laughing, and asked for a volunteer from the audience to help him out.  Turns out, that the volunteer (though very excited to be on stage) didn’t know the lyrics either!  Not my video, but here’s the song as it turned out:

After the show, I met the band, got a CD signed for my friend Bonnie, and introduced myself to Robert as the fan who sculpted him in miniature.  His “action figure” as he called it!  He remembered me, said he LOVED it, and grabbed the rest of the band to tell them that “This is her!  She’s the one who made it!”

So I got a picture with him (which unfortunately didn’t turn out well – but hey, that’s only an excuse to snuggle up with him next time, right???)

All-in-all, it was a perfect night!

Steampunk Costume Video Tour

Had to share:

It’s starting to be finished…and you know what that means – I’ll shortly have time to begin working on my “Elizabeth Bennet Zombie Slayer” costume!

For more pics, and a making-of dress diary, check out my costume website:



Ebay.  What did costumers do before there was ebay?

I’ve nearly completed my first steampunk outfit (the more dressy geisha/kimono one) and now I’m thinking ahead to the second.  I’m planning on attending the first annual Steamcon, and I’ve got to have at least two outfits, seeing as how it’s a three day affair!  (With a concert by Abney Park, yay!)


So I went onto ebay in the search of some required props for my second outfit (the airship pirate).  Here’s what I found, and won:

Boots, with buckles:


I’ll totally wear these in Real Life, too.  I love them.


Here’s what the seller (from Tibet!) had to say about his product:

This is a rare occident manner crystal pocket watch. It was made of crystal and copper. You can read the time from the pointer and set time from front. But it goes well, it was made of height quality crystal and copper. This is very rare the time. Because this is very difficult to do at the time. You can see the shape of very beautiful. In time it only use rich family, Please take a close look at my pictures. If you like pocket watch, please don’t miss the chance to get it! Enjoying your Bidding!

I love descriptions by people who don’t have English as a first language.  “You can see the shape of very beautiful…” It sounds like poetry.  Also, because I don’t think this seller has ever heard of steampunk, he didn’t use it as one of his tags in the auction.  Hence, even though it is packed with gears and extremely steamy, I got it for a steal, with no one bidding against me.


This is an ancient Chinese-style lock.  It’s functional.  I’m not sure how I’ll use it yet, but it’ll fit in a costume somewhere!


I like crossbows.  I like pistols.  I think if I steampunk this up a bit, it’ll fit perfectly with my persona.  Much cooler than a modified Nerf gun, because everyone seems to have one of those!  Also, at some point (maybe Halloween?) I’m going to do a vampire hunter costume, and this would so work for that as well.  Plus, it was only $9.  And it shoots, so I can have some fun with it, before I mod it up.

Can’t wait for my parcels to start arriving….

Total Girly Post.

I don’t use colorful eye shadow, but I’ve always admired it.



I found this website that sells these totally bright, totally cool colors, and I got to thinking: This is surely the makeup that faeries and elves wear. And that made me realize I need some, to wear with my next faerie costume. So now the only decision is which colors to get! Luckily, I have almost a year to think about it….

And next we have Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs.

I’ve heard amazing things about their perfumed oils for years, but I’ve just now placed my first order for a sample pack of six “Imp’s Ears”. They have literally hundreds of different scents to choose between, and they all sound so intriguing. They even have perfumes based on Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, and yes….Neil Gaiman. (How many writers have perfumes made for the different characters in their books?) I resisted all of the Gaiman scents, though, largely because you can’t get those in samples.

Listen to a few of these descriptions:

The Sodom of the New World! — touted as the richest and wickedest city in all creation! Port Royal was the center of 17th century Caribbean commerce, a notorious safe harbor for pirates, and the site of our third flagship store, which was, sadly, destroyed in the earthquake of 1692. Spiced rum and ship’s wood mixed with the body-warmed trace of a prostitute’s perfume and a hint of salty sea air on the dry-down.


A decadent, deep perfume, lusty and luxuriant. The scent evokes images of velvet-lined Old West cathouses, tightly laced corsets, rustling petticoats and coquettish snarls of pleasure. Bawdy plum with amaretto, burgundy wine and black currant.


A brace of loaded pistols
He carried night and day;
He never robbed a poor man
Upon the king’s highway;
But what he’d taken from the rich,
Like Turpin and Black Bess,
He always did divide it
With the widow in distress.

Stand and deliver! Vetiver with gardenia, blood red rose, night-blooming jasmine, a dash of cinnamon and a faint hint of leather.

I’m honestly not sure whether these are perfumes, or adventures! Some of them are historical re-creations; they have a perfume that might have been what Catherine De Medici wore. And they have several Steampunk perfumes. It took me ages to winnow my choices down to six but here they are:

1) Hollywood Babylon

2) London

3) Blood Kiss

4) Highwayman (I couldn’t resist the description of the leather…)

5) Harlot

6) Bordello

Yes. Bordello was one of the chosen. I’m not a huge fan of pretty florals, I like my scents earthy and musky, full of spice and amber. If that means they have to be called names like “Harlot” and “Bordello”…. 😆

The Victoria Velvet Collection

Besides YouTube, I spend too much time on eBay, because I can find pretty much anything I’m looking for, plus stumble across a few thing that no one should be looking for.  I remember once I found a glass bottle someone was selling that had a preserved mouse corpse in the bottom….

But anyway, I found this new-to-me eBay seller called The Velvet Collection, and I just had to share a few pictures of the corsets she’s selling.  They are too, too fab!




It’s pink!  It has feathers!  I’m in love!

And this bottom one would be perfect for a steampunk something…




I spend too much time on Etsy.com and eBay.com just lookin’, and for a while now I’ve noticed that when I find something I think is particularly cool, it has the search tag of “steampunk” attached to it. Finally, last night, I got curious enough to google the word. What is this thing that I so obviously like?

I found a wikipedia entry first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

This partially explained my attraction, but then I stumbled across a list of words and phrases that encapsulate the steampunk alternate world:



Pocket watches

Gears and clogs

Wilson Safety Glasses

Neo Victorian dresses

Steam trains

Brass and copper

Mad scientists



Unusual inventions

This may be a sign of how truly (happily) strange I am, but I love all those things (except for the Wilson Safety Glasses…and that’s probably because I’ve never heard of them – another thing to google). And then I discovered that people actually create fabulous costumes based on the above things! At that point, I was officially lost.

It’s too late to make my own steampunk costume for Halloween – it’s going to take some serious magpie collecting to do this new culture right, but for next year? Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes! And worse still, since I enter Jacks (my dog) in the Petco Halloween Costume Contest every year, and pets can only win first place if their owners show ‘participation’ by dressing in a matching costume, Jacks is going to have her own steampunk costume as well. I visualize goggles, a pair of ‘Da Vinci’ canvas and wire and gear wings strapped to her back, and just perhaps…a little battery-operated propellor that actually propels.