I love Halloween, so any year that I get to do more than one is awesome! In 2013, we did the usual Halloween set up, which means we had about 100 pounds of candy. Someone said 115 total. Yeah, we go all out. It was year two for Mad Science, but we couldn’t just duplicate the previous year. What fun would that be? Last time we did Steampunk Mad Science, this time we emphasized the Mad.


More after the jump. (more…)


20131026_090927It turns out that I live a few minutes from a fully restored 1890s Victorian Lighthouse, the Port San Luis Lighthouse. I had the pleasure to discover that when a friend asked if I’d like to help at a haunted house. I didn’t know where we were going or what I’d be doing. I just knew that I needed to be ready at 8am and (the night before she told me to) wear something Victorian.

The haunted house was a collaboration between the Lighthouse Keepers docent group and the Central Coast Paranormal Investigators. The CCPI did some ghost hunting in the weeks leading up to the haunted house and made their findings part of the tour experience. We had a cannibalistic fisherman’s family in residence with some gruesome victims – a girl chained to an old iron bed frame, a woman missing a limb in the basement, the White Lady, assorted ghouls and a couple zombies. And blood, lots of blood Each tour group included a plant who was attacked by the zombies. I think we got some genuine fright!


Costume-wise it was more about gore, but I wore some pseudo-Victorian wear and trailed behind the groups to reset doors, etc. I basically recycled my New Orleans Halloween 2010 costume with the newer bolero jacket I made a couple of years later. The skirt was a thrifted a-line wool, which I added a black and white stripped flounce to, a matching black and white top, my green silk waist cincher, a (surprisingly matching gray poly) bolero with black and white striped piping, and my green false top “top hat”. The only thing I didn’t make was the thrifted part of the skirt.

If you have a chance to check out the lighthouse, at Halloween or any other time of the year, it’s worth the trip. Docent led tours are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Link love and lighthouse history:

Halloween is a great time to look at and make masks. I love them. Not the icky rubbery ones that come in an identical succession from the molds, but the beautiful or haunting ones made of leather, lace or feathers, even paper. The ones that embody Venetian Carnival or the wearable artworks I found in the French Quarter. I really started to love them when I started to make them. (Don’t let me give you the impression that I’ve made a lot of masks. I’ve made some, in a handful of techniques). Just writing this post makes me want to take them up again.

Wearable Goblin Mask

The mask above is one of my favorite wearable masks. It’s light and comfortable and the interior is molded exactly to my face. The outside is decorated with cream silk (from my wedding dress – no, I did not wear this at my wedding), gold lace edging and black and gold feathers for the eyebrows.

Pit-Fired Ceramic Goblin Face

I love to make goblin faces. The more the eyes bulge and the bigger and more crooked the nose, the better!

There is no wrong way to make a mask. (more…)

Today was a day of delightfully odd “fashions”. I can’t help but share:

Runway fashion is often about high concept pieces that are later tamed and translated to tamed (no alliteration intended) down to reasonable, every-day-wear garments. I can’t imagine how this would translate…


See the entire post and more images @ Laughing Squid

And here’s an odd, long rise pant for women that was available for sale, but is sold out. (more…)

Sometimes 100 pounds of candy just isn’t enough… At least not in my neighborhood, on my favorite costume holiday of the year – Halloween. When I say there were hoards of children descending on our tea party, I am quite serious. The parents descended on and disappeared two large to-go containers of Starbucks coffee, though they kept spilling it thanks to he cup holder thing that is attached. And then it was 8pm. We were out of everything.

We had a White Rabbit (who ended up handing out much of that 100 pounds of candy as we all said, “follow the white rabbit” and pointed at her), a March Hare, Mad Hatter, Caterpillar, White Queen and me, in my slightly steampunk, could have been an adult Alice if my costume had been black, white, gray and blue instead of green, costume.

Costume-wise, we had the lazy (our Hatter wore leather hat and leather trench – only lazy because he made the hat last year), the simply but effective (our White Rabbit wore a red vest, white shirt, gloves, pants and knit hat with ears) and the clever (our Caterpillar had wings and many stripped legs made from thigh-high striped socks). My shoe heel fix was a failure. By the end of the evening I had only one tiny piece of heel left! My Eton Jacket turned out really well (additional images forthcoming); the striped turn-back cuffs and bias binding really made it.

Lessons learned?

  1. I can’t fix everything myself. I need to visit the cobbler to have my heel repaired (or create a stacked leather heel from some really thick leather – wait, didn’t I just say I can’t do everything myself?!?)
  2. Figure out how to make the coffee container less cumbersome to avoid spillage,. Buy more coffee and creamer.
  3. Find out of Costco will drop-ship candy to my house. Will 150 pounds be enough? Where does it end?

Next year’s theme? That’s right – Mad Science! I can’t wait for next year!


(White Rabbit image John Tenniel’s original illustration, via Alice-in-Wonderland.net. Mad Scientist image via Dian Kress’ blog.)

Seattle Superhero, Phoenix Jones (via BoingBoing)

Superheros are always a popular Halloween costumes with both kids and adults. I’m guessing there are more options than ever before. I know I’ve seen everything from the standard Batman and Spiderman to the Incredible Hulk and Mr. Incredible. Hmmm… that list seems awfully boy-centered, so let me mention Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, HarleeQuinn, Hit-Girl and the Powder-Puff Girls. Is it me, or do there seem to be more  female villainess’ than superheros?

Not all superheros are of the standard variety. Take Seattle’s Superhero, Phoenix Jones, who tries to fight crime in the real world, the sorta-heroes in Mystery Men, the characters from Heroes (essentially incognito heroes) and Hulu’s Misfits (whose costumes would be orange jumpsuits). I’ve never made a superhero costume, not for myself or anyone else, unless you count my character from the Mystery Men party we had years ago (and I was a super villainess). I guess I don’t have  the superhero mentality. (more…)

It’s almost Halloween – Yipee!!!!!

This year we are having a Steampunk Mad Hatter Tea Party in my front yard, complete with Hatter, Hare, tea, croquet, coffee for adults, and revolting amounts of candy for the kids.

I decided to recycle the 2009 Steampunk costume I wore in New Orleans to be a sort of adult Alice, but the costume needed some adjustments/repairs. So far I’ve fixed my smooshed top hat and repaired the heel of my granny boots. Last time around I wore a bolero jacket that looks a lot like an Eton Jacket. I’ve had it for years and it fits me just fine when worn with a long sleeve shirt. Unfortunately I didn’t remember this when I made the sleeveless top for my costume and the jacket just feels too big without sleeves inside. I thought I was going to jerry-rig a fix by adding a collar, folding back part of the front and hiding it within the structure of said collar, but that ended up sounding like way too much effort with a not terribly satisfactory result. So a new jacket it is!

Bodice of Eton Jacket, in progress

Since I don’t have a lot of time I have to go with an existing pattern (more…)