¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


Goggles of Eternal Revealing

I has them! And not a moment too soon... it's nearly the New Year, a perfect time for divining intervention.

Made, of course, by the enchanting crypto-historian Fyriel of OrpheusAlchemy ~ these are spectactularly amazing. Who else but Fyriel wouldn't even blink when I requested "Gypsy Art Nouveau Industrial Victorian" goggles?

Details that make me warm inside: Arcane symbols and silver curlicues all over!

A nameplate special for me on the leather strap... and a special antique key to some unknown door to the soul...

I had the joy of meeting Fyriel while she was sporting her full warlock costume at the Steampunk Convention, in which she found interwebs fame.

Visit her shop on Etsy for more breathtaking treasures to delight and mystify you!


Drunk History

In the hallowed halls of viral web video, every once in a while there's a shining star. One that stands out from the crowd - one that makes your eyes tear up, or is milk-out-the-nose funny.

I was having a rough day at work last week when a gem from that latter category arrived in my in-box from my dear Lord Hopton (who has undeniably impeccable taste in humor, as well as everything else in life).

It's Episode Three of a series aptly titled "Drunk History," and, well, just watch it.

The brilliance originates from FunnyorDie.com, and there are four or five episodes in circulation, but this one is my favorite.

Praise you, Derek Waters. Thanks for the laugh, I needed that.


Vintage Story Postcards!

I haven't breathed a peep yet, but my love Stache has been helping me put together a Web site for Adornments for Tarts. We've got much too much work to do to post a link yet, but today he helped me make some vintage story postcards for each of my designs, and I love them too much not to share...

These will end up in the gallery of the site. See more of them on Flickr.

In my un-biased opinion, Stache is an amazing designer, as you can see at his site, Sassy Monkey Media.

His recent specialty has been creating old-timey and vintage-feel Web sites - or as he puts it, "devising captivating aether-web destinations." So if anyone is in need of such a thing, you know where to go.


Bits and Bobs

I always loved Brit colloquialisms like "bits and bobs" or "I'm well chuffed." In fact, I may single-handedly try to bring "chuffed" into the American lexicon. Who's with me?

On to the bits. First, a tease - new designs are coming for Adornments for Tarts, at last. I received some exciting bundles in the mail - new raw silk, new velvet ribbons. And there's also a winter special in the shop - free pair of earrings with the purchase of a collar!

Also, my last post on my love of cephalopods helped inspire a new group blog from select members of the Etsy Steam Team. Come visit the Cephalopod Tea Party - a blog dedicated to a love of tentacled sea creatures! We plan to scour the inter-webs for all things octopus-ish, squidly, and tentacled for your enjoyment.

And there you can find treats like this outfit. Someone beat me to making my long-desired tentacle corset...

Found via BoingBoing, from this treasure trove of fabulous couture.

In other exciting interwebs fame news, I had an image featured on Theremina's drgblz blog, where LOLs meet airships - yay for ridiculously juvenile internet memes!

Finally, in the how-many-social-networking-sites-can-Choklit-frequent category, you can now find me on Twitter and on Facebook. If you must.


Things That Please Me: Cephalopods

This probably won't be shocking, given the propensity of a certain kind of person - that is, the Ectomo-devoted, Victorian-ephemera-appreciating, underground-art-loving kind - to also have an affinity for creatures of the tentacled variety.

In fact, it might even be a bit trite. Witness the ubiquity of the Octo on Etsy. I don't know what it is, really... A much tamer interpretation of the terribly-not-safe-for-work Hokusai woodcut Dream of the Fisherman's Wife? Some sort of Jules-Verne-ian deep-sea-monster fixation?

All I know is that I'm helpless to resist all things tentacled.

Exhibit One: A gift from the much-beloved Stache - vintage dictionary illustration of an octopus, made into a striking pendant on vintage velvet ribbon, by Found & Made Designs.

Exhibit Two: This miraculous thing from UnCorked - all good things rolled into one: Octopus! Mini clipboard! Test Tube! Two keystrokes and it was mine.

Exhibit Three: On the wish list - together at last... tentacles and little Victorian girls.

It's a Moleskine journal etched with a print by Dan Hillier. Brilliant. And Modofly has these with covers by dozens of my favorite artists.

Exhibit Four: Just discovered breathtaking art by Tucson artist Chiara Bautista, also known as Milk.

I could go on, but... I'll save some tentacles for another post. I know I'm not alone on this fixation.


Finely Crafted Pop

I have to admit that I have a huge appreciation for finely crafted pop, of the Belle and Sebastian or The Shins variety. And this weekend Skyeboy and I had a little album-shopping spree at the last independent record store in our town.

Largely inspired by David Byrne's play-list for the month, we struck gold on almost all our purchases, but I just want to gush over two of them.

First, the glory that is Seattle's Fleet Foxes.

At first glance, I thought the cover was a Bosch painting, but it's actually a painting called Netherlandish Proverbs by an artist named Pieter the Elder.

Self-described as "baroque harmonic pop jams" ~ all I know is it makes me want to frolic through a beautiful renaissance forest. I'm such a pushover for beautiful harmonies. How can I not love this album?

And then, of Montreal. Strange and operatic synth-pop, with nonsensical quirky lyrics and infectious melodies - and just enough of a dose of silliness to make me happy.

I can see how this album would either make one swoon or drive one batty, depending on mood. I was definitely in need of a new music infusion, and I adored it. Forgive me if I'm a latecomer to either of these parties, but both records have gone into overdrive on my iPod, so I'm sharing.


Adornments In the Flesh

The Steampunk Convention already seems so far away. But as promised, here are a few reflections from the trenches.

The best part, no contest, was meeting some of my fellow members of the Etsy Steam Team in person. I was thrilled to see Industrial Fairytale again, and to meet Emily of Theriaca Fina and Kathleen from Figments for the first time, among others. We were all floored by Fyriel of Orpheus Alchemy - who spent the whole weekend in the most amazingly beautiful arcane bird-creature costume I've ever seen. More on Fyriel here.

I had trimmed out my table with small indulgences, causing more than one person to laugh at my predilection towards excess and lushness - going down the row - feather plumes, silk garters, and dark chocolate... musts for any well-stocked boudoir, I say.

My stripey black-and-silver corset by Louise Black finally had its debut, and I had a beautiful vacuum tube necklace by Libby of Exoskeleton Cabaret hand-delivered to me by the dashing Nathaniel of Abney Park, as he is a dear friend and neighbor of Libby's. It all came together for my Victorian Gilded Bat costume.

I did miss the Abney Park show in order to dash home for my own, where Baby Seal Club opened for Mutaytor, and then proceeded to dance our hearts out until 3am.

Back to the convention Sunday morning, bedraggled but in good spirits. I had the pleasure of meeting some lovely people - like amazing artist Suzanne Forbes, and fellow Steampunk burner Miranda V, who has promised future adventures and debauchery.

The exposure was well worth it, and the Steam Team had a moment of fame last week when the Make Blog posted about us, complete with shop links and a picture!

All in all, a splendid time, if a wee bit exhausting.


Sweetness of Home

The weekend's events were beautiful chaos, and I'll have a full report soon. In the meantime, I just wanted to share what felt like the most beautiful sight in the world when I finally got home last night from Steampowered, and three full days under florescent overhead lighting ~ this little corner of my workshop, where my love Stache had put flowers for me.

It's so very good to be home. Now I am off to sleep, since I must wake up extra early to VOTE!


Weekend Warrioress

The fast-approaching Halloween weekend is going to be madness.

First off, I'll be vending Adornments for Tarts lovelies at Steampowered, the Steampunk Convention, with my mates from the Etsy Steam Team. I'll be there all three days - October 31st, and November 1st & 2nd.

But wait! You may be wondering - doesn't Baby Seal Club open for Mutaytor at the Cirque du Sebastopol on Saturday night?

Your post-apocalyptic craftista siren is keeping impossibly busy, as ever. I'll be sneaking out of the SteamCon on Saturday night to run home and sing my heart out, and then back the next morning to keep selling my work. Sigh.

Picture from our show at the San Francisco Burning Man Decompression, courtesy of 94114photo.


Things That Please Me: Baroque Architectural Details

Yesterday I happened to be in the historic City Hall in Providence, Rhode Island. While I was supposed to be focusing on the interview at hand, all I could do was gaze at the opulent detailing around me in the 1878 building, which Google kindly informed me was in the Second Empire Baroque architectural style, popular in the late Victorian period.

I snapped a few photos surreptitiously - of the deliciously patterned walls in plaster relief...

The shamelessly decadent gilded curves on every available surface...

The ridiculously ornate lamps with frolicking plump cherubim...

Now, I'd like to think I've evolved from the Z-Gallerie fleur-de-lis wall-sconce aesthetic of my younger days, and I've sworn off Design Toscano for good - but I have to admit that cornices and crown molding still give me a thrill.

Here's the curious part. For all seven years that I lived in San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to be happily tucked into one of the more famous "Painted Ladies", reputed to be a former bordello built in the late 1890's by Francophile architect James Francis Dunn. And I just today discovered that my old house was one of the few San Francisco examples of the Second Empire Baroque style, which caused me to swoon only yesterday in Providence!

That would've been me at 19, peeking out from the second-floor balcony. You can't see the winged mermaids on the roof in this picture.

Can I help it if I'm mysteriously drawn to decadence and excess, even in architecture?


Black Cat, White Cat

I find myself melancholy, trying to write a brief tribute to my poor Nimbus, who left us for the big donut-bed in the sky over the weekend.

It's the end of a feline era. Nimbus and her sister Carolina, to whom I said goodbye last spring, were born the month I graduated high school, and kept me furry company through a parade of houses and boyfriends and jobs for, uhm, more than fifteen years.

Nimbus kindly eased our transition by keeping us up all night with her grating senile meowing for the past few months, so we were definitely ready to let her go. Didn't stop me from crying, though. My home is now kitty-less for the first time in my adult life.

Fortunately, she was forever immortalized in psychedelic cat YouTube fame in this video a few years ago, with music and imagery by the illustrious Stache.

Oh, the purr! I intend to go out and rent Emir Kusturica's Black Cat, White Cat in honor of both my dearly departeds. Perhaps a zany Balkan comedy will cheer me.

Farewell, Nimby. All the peacock feathers and pets you could wish for in heaven, my sweet!


Red Letter Day

Yesterday was an unusually lovely day for me. Not only was I recognized with an award at work, which was wonderful, but an interview with me was published on the Steam Team blog! Thanks to Hyla for letting me wax poetic about my work.

Here's me basking in my fleeting Interwebs glory. Actually, it's technically me basking in Burning Man glory, but, you know, basking is basking.

And as if that weren't enough, last night we had the pure joy overload of seeing David Byrne in concert, from the second row. Suffice to say, it was a wondrous performance, and served only to confirm to me that the man is a genius. Everyone should acquire his newest album, and soon. The only thing that could have made it better is if he had played "Burning Down the House" accompanied by the Extra Action Marching Band, which I hear he did at the San Francisco show.

And this weekend, Baby Seal Club plays at Decompression, closing out the Circus Stage. Should be brilliant, and with any luck, we'll cross paths with Fou Fou Ha and the Golden Mean again.


Huzzah for a Marvelous Day!

I'm ever so pleased to report that the Handcar Regatta was a roaring success. Over 3,000 people in attendance, many in splendid costumes, and everyone thrilled to pieces that we could put on an event of this magnitude and magic in our sleepy little suburban hamlet.

You can watch the video or read the articles in our local rags, or see tons of pictures on Flickr, but it's hard to capture the bliss of the day.

Despite the heat, everyone in attendance seemed to be bewildered and elated to find a beautiful spectacle like this unfold around them.

Many of the race entrants were breathtaking feats of engineering and beauty, especially the magnificent Lumbering Contraption by the Steampunk Treehouse Crew.

The Hennepin Crawler was brilliant when it raced, and though it didn't win for speed, the boys earned a special prize for elegance and beauty.

All of the music was amazing. Baby Seal Club
made an appearance on the Sideshow Stage, and we got a small crowd Otter Dancing. My beloved band-mates looked absolutely stunning in their finery, in my humble opinion.

In the craft show area, I had the pleasure of sharing a space with the charming and lovely Indy of Industrial Fairytale, and I was so pleased that the Adornments for Tarts booth looked luscious.

And I had the pleasure of hanging out with the fantastic crew of the Neverwas Haul, who have been heroes of mine since the first time I saw their majestic traveling house at Burning Man.

All in all, a spectacular time was had by all, and I think the event is sure to become an annual celebration.

Hearty congratulations to all my many loved ones on the organizing team!


The Regatta is Coming!!

I am once again hard at work in the Finery Sweatshop ~ making adornments as fast as I can for the looming Handcar Regatta. If you're anywhere within a 100-mile radius, this event is NOT to be missed.

Everyone has been eating, sleeping, and breathing Regatta excitement these days. Last weekend there was a photo shoot on the tracks that produced this astonishingly adorable picture from Spring, the event Queen Bee organizer... it's the Railway Children.

And shortly after, the Crawler had its first run on the tracks. Which I missed since I was hunched over the sewing machine. But the boys claim it was glorious.

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. The music, art and entertainment should be lively, the costumes splendid, and the company fabulous, as always.

I must be off, but I encourage all of you Bay Area and North Bay lovelies to come out on Sunday September 28th!


Unpaid Bills & TuTus

The aftermath of Burning Man is always challenging. How does one reconcile oneself to the capitalist treadmill, the numbness, the schedule-shuffling of the Default World after a week of hedonism and emotional joy-riding in the desert with like-minded souls?

Blissful with Lord Hopton and Cosmo, my first year at the Burn. I went through a pretty serious depression after my return that first time - sitting at a desk and staring at a computer felt like torture. I couldn't settle for the rat race after the easy-wide-open-heartedness and absolute freedom of the Playa, as evidenced by this 2006 blog entry from the archives of Cliffypop.

And here I am again, staring at the dusty piles of things yet to be cleaned and put back into place after the chaos of the Playa, the unpaid bills and tutus covering every available surface in my studio. It's amazing to see how easily the artifacts of whimsy mesh back in with the detritus of the daily grind.

But this year I think I've succeeded in escaping the doldrums of re-entry. I'm fortunate enough to live in a community surrounded by friends where I can have that kind of openness and unadulterated joy and creativity year-round, so for that I'm grateful.

We went to a party over the weekend that served as a brilliant reminder of just how much of that magic is all around me. We were thrilled to meet four of the members of Fou Fou Ha, one of my favorite performance troupes. Needless to say, we all ended up with clown make-up smudged all over us by the end of the evening. We were also treated to the most stunning hammered copper Jules-Vern hot-rod fire-antennae art car snail I've ever seen.

The snail was called the Golden Mean, and it was built by a lovely couple from Oakland, also responsible for the fabulous Boiler Bar, which I had the pleasure of seeing at the Maker Faire. All of which added up to a very happy Choklit. A little fire art, a few saucy clowns, some tequila served from a bar with a tesla coil in it, and I'm back in my happy place. Sigh.


Whiskey In The Dust

That about sums up my year at Burning Man. Lots of tiny magical moments, more whiskey than is reasonable for any lady of distinction to consume, and dust everywhere. Here are just a few of my favorite bits...

The glory that was the Hennepin Crawler. Much to our dismay we didn't make it to the Bomb Bay Tea Company even once... there's just far too much to do and see out on the Playa. But the Crawler crew received much love and adulation for their efforts.

Ecstatically dancing on the Center Camp couches to the brassy strains of March Fourth Marching Band, and later having the joy overload of hanging out with darling M4 stilter Sid Simpatico. Photo used with the kind permission of Deb.

Drifting in and out of sleep while watching the sun rise over the whimsical Basura Sagrada, from under a pile of faux fur shared with Fudo and Lord Wizzbang Hopton. Photo used with the kind permission of Erick.

Swinging in the stunning Altered State sculpture with Amber Lee. Photo used with the kind permission of M. Mendelson.

Helping Dan to navigate the mystery of a garter belt to hold up his stripey tights. Note the Aubergine Cuffs bravely making an appearance in the harsh desert climate!

Whiskey Root Beer Floats on Stache's birthday. Interpretive dance with Lord Hopton in the mysterious blue harp dome. Trying on bad Eighties prom dresses in a yurt with the lovely Sara B. Too many to count, or remember. But once again I got to learn my annual lesson in BEING IN THE MOMENT.

Deepest apologies for the long blog-silence, but sometimes life gets in the way. I'll be writing more soon.