Queen of the Summer Seas Final

So today is World Ocean Day and I thought to myself, ‘this would be a great day to throwback to my Octopus Dress’. And then it hit me that I have a blog. A blog I’ve neglected. A blog I never posted the results of the costume contest on.

Um, hi guys, how y’all doing?

So anyway…

I won!

Those two little words blow my mind. I’ve simply never been lucky enough to win anything before. Also, as a writer, I feel it’s pretty easy to get used to, and expect, rejections, even if you’re upbeat and roll with the rejections and move on, you can still start to feel a bit downtrodden. Winning something, even just a costume contest, breathed a little bit of wind back into my sails.

Having won the contest I was obligated to spend both days at the Pirate Fest that had hosted it as well as appear as a guest judge for their Mermaid Pageant. I would have spent both days at the fest anyway, so that was fine, and acting as guest judge was a neat experience! I also won a big tote bag of Pirate Fest merchandise, some of it was pretty cheesy, like a a little foam pirate hat (I think I gave that to one of my dance kids) but some of it was nice, like a gift card to Hoffman’s Chocolate factory, and a huge, good quality pirate fest travel cup. I also won a professional photo shoot which took place on the second day of the festival.

It’s been so long now that I unfortunately can’t recall the photographer’s name (oops), but she was a pleasure to work with and had lots of ideas for posses and was able to guide me through them. The only thing I will say is I thought the choice of location was odd, she wanted to do the photos on the train tracks. It’s artsy and the photos did come out beautifully, but I probably would have chosen something more pirate or sea themed as a back drop. But again, no complaints, the pictures my friend took for the first photo shoot have an excellent backdrop so I don’t mind the train tracks in these ones!

Funny story though, my dance school was performing at the fest on Saturday Morning. I was supposed to walk in the parade that morning as well, in costume. I started with the parade then as soon as we went past the stage where my school was supposed to dance, I tore away from the parade and shucked off all the skirts and tentacles just in time to practice the new choreography with the group (We had a newly choreographed pirate dance drama made just that week for the show, practice was vital!). I had to keep my corset on and wear the dance top over it. After we practiced the drama a million times (ok, so probably only half a dozen), and then danced it full out during the show, I literally couldn’t breathe! I almost had my very own Elizabeth Swan moment. When I practically collapsed after the show I had to keep insisting to people that I wasn’t tired, or hurt, or out of shape, I just hadn’t been able to draw a deep breath for the last hour!

I am NOT perpetuating the myth that you can’t breathe in a corset. The corset I was wearing was fully boned, tight, sturdy and I could normally breathe just fine. Just not after dancing in it for almost two hours straight!  After the show I had to put all those layers of costume on again (and boy was I hot and sweaty by then…) but wow was it worth it! I have never in my life had so many pictures taken of me in costume. It took forever to make my way down the streets because mostly I just stood and posed with growing lines of people! It was overwhelmingly awesome. It was a fairly expensive and time consuming costume to make, but the kids who stared in awe at my tentacles and the people who wanted pictures with me made every bit of it so worth it. While a big part of what I do is for personal satisfaction there is nothing like knowing so many other people liked my work!

Anyone have a favorite costume they’ve made or worn? Link in the comments, I’d love to see!


Haunted Pirate Fest 2015-Vending!

After months of prep my first show has come and gone! I’ve always enjoyed this festival as a patron and I enjoyed the experience of spending the weekend as a vendor. So how did it go? Financially better than I expected. I’m not rolling in money but since I secretly feared I wouldn’t make a cent I’m pretty happy! And again, first show, you can only expect so much. The learning experience was the true prize, I’m full of ideas for the next show. Most of all, I had fun. My family all pitched in to help, my best friend spent the weekend with me, my booth was right next to our friends’ booth, and I got to share the event with my dance school!

Fussing with the displays.

Fussing with the displays.

I rearranged the booth several times so that the dance table and my wares got equal exposure, and also to experiment with what worked best. I somehow forgot to get a picture of the dance table so you’ll just have to believe that it’s out front!


Sue got to come out for the weekend, she seemed to enjoy the attention!



Last time I hire a pirate to help with the booth …


My main piece sold the first day!

008It’s badly displayed on a hanger, clearly some more forms are on my future shopping list.


We performed Saturday evening, leaving my mom to watch the tent for me. We pulled together a pirate themed performance to suit the occasion:

Opening reel

Opening reel

My old Ren Fair dance costumes got an upgrade.


The little girls were decked out as mermaids and danced to Pirates of the Caribbean 4’s Jolly Sailor Bold mixed with a light jig.


And my friend and I were given permission to come up with a special pirate routine using a hornpipe, He’s A Pirate, and mixing in some sword fighting!

P1020091 P1020084 We had three practices to put this together and we had a few minor flubs on stage but we covered well enough and the crowd really got a kick out of it!

The second day of the festival my friend and I were asked on stage to dance with The Craic. My family and I have always enjoyed their high energy music and it was thrilling to be part of their last show of the day. Luckily we both had our hardshoes with us! Check out their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/craicshow, they’re seriously the nicest people!

All in all a successful weekend!

Talk Like A Pirate Day and Other Things

I’ve been neglecting the blog. I apologize deeply for being a terrible blogger.

But it’s not because nothing has been happening! In my last post I mentioned my new business https://www.facebook.com/Lady-Shreds-Designs-461550964005686/timeline/ well since then I’ve landed my first show and made my first Etsy sale! Writers- don’t hate me but getting that email from Etsy was better than an agent requesting pages! (Because, let’s face it, you only have like 98% chance of that agent going for your work)

Next month I will be vending at the Boynton Beach Haunted Pirate Fest! This has been one of my favorite events since it’s inception. And it gets better, the wonderful people running the event agreed to have us dance there as well! Pirate fest-Irish dancing-my first show … yeah, I’m over the moon.

Anyway, with my first show in slightly more than a month, it’s time to crack that whip and sew, sew, sew. Seeing as today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day (I woke up to my parents having an ‘Arrrrrrgh’ off …) I threw together a quick photo shoot with a newly completed stock piece.

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I had a beach day planned in order to shoot some proper photos but the “Sunshine State”  *cough dripping sarcasm cough* didn’t feel like cooperating as we’ve had back to back rainy days. so I threw some old fabric and Halloween props together for an appropriately cheesy backdrop.

The coat/vest/bodice thing I’m wearing is actually a size or two to big for me, I relied on the belt to make it semi fit me. (This was deliberate, I’m selling it)

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Like this piece? Head over to https://www.etsy.com/shop/LadyShredsDesigns?ref=hdr_shop_menu for more pictures!


Aaaand I just realized exactly how bad a blogger I’ve been. Back in June our family acquired yet another member. Meet Molly!

Molly loves to dress up.

Molly loves to dress up.

She’s half dachshund, half miniature pinscher and all adorable. She came from a bad situation and has clearly been abused. Since we already had three dogs the last thing we needed was a fourth but… well… I mean, look at that face! She has become extremely devoted to me and fits into our household like she’s always been here. Apparently she’d been abandoned at the pound twice and was in danger of going back a third time (the boyfriend  didn’t want a dog or some nonsense ) but now she’s happy and has found her forever home.


“Oh, hi, you wanted to take a picture of me, right?”

And she’s a terrible ham…

Me and my first mate.

Me and my first mate.

Lady Shred’s Designs

Well, I’ve hinted earlier that I’ve been working on something and now I’m ready to share it!


The awesome logo, made by Charlie Buechler.

Lady Shred’s Designs is my new costuming and jewelry company. I’ve started a website, a facebook account and an etsy store. I also have plans to vend at upcoming pirate festivals!

I’d love your support, please like my page to see what I’m up to!

And check out my website, http://celticstar9288.wix.com/ladyshredsdesigns

And that’s not all I’ve been up to, some friends and I had a mini photoshoot the other day, pictures are on my facebook page, and we have a bigger shoot coming up in September, I can’t wait to share the pictures with you!

Vero Pirate Fest

I’ve been busy! We attended the Vero Beach Pirate fest this weekend, we had no idea that it was happening until precisely a week before the event. And, obviously, I couldn’t wear something old.

  So I chose to make a new pair of eighteenth century stays with a pirate twist. Okay, I can whip those up in a week. Nope, scratch that word out, life intruded on Monday and Tuesday leaving me three days. And my friend asked me to make a steampunk/pirate ruffle skirt for the festival. Well, then, full steam ahead!

I finished the stays and the skirt easily in three days but I’d forgotten that I had nothing to wear under the stays. Around ten o’clock Friday night saw me whipping together the rest of my costume. My friend slept over that night and, getting more than I little tired and silly, took a picture of me hunched over the sewing machine.


It was worth the rush though, I adore my new stays and the skirt looked fabulous!

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The stays are fully boned, seriously you could stab me and the knife would just bounce off the boning.


To give them a little pep I replaced the usual shoulder lacing with bronze hooks and rings.

But then things got a little heated and we had to duke it out,

Fan duel! En Guarde!

Fan duel! En Guarde!

 But we sorted it out and even found a stage where we performed an impromptu treble reel to the surprise of all the surrounding pirates. BONUS, our outfits, jewelry and accessories all stayed in place during the dance.

Hope to see this festival back next year!

Georgian Pirate Gown

My pile of unfinished costumes is still way too big for comfort but I’m sewing steadily on and I can cross something else off of my list. This costume is for my mother to wear to the the Haunted Pirate Fest in Boynton. She will wear this on the second day.

Here’s the mock up of the bodice. For some reason the mock up struck me as really cute, now I’m hoping I have enough left to do some sort of Victorian Christmas bustle dress.


The under garments: Full cotton skirt and shirt with appropriate pirate-esqe lace at the cuffs.


And the full gown with optional over skirt.


Obviously you are all smart enough to realize that the blue ribbon lacing up part of the bodice is temporary.

I want to bustle the skirt like the Georgian Robe a la Polonaise but I hit a bit of a SNAFU with this part. The skull fabric has a definite right way up, and I didn’t have enough of the fabric left to make it very full – or I did but the skulls would have been upside down. GRRRR. Also, the fabric just refuses to drap nicely when I bustle it. Ergo, we are not friends and I want to do away with ithe over skirt. We’ll see.


Black Ren Shirt.

 I am deep in the midst of sewing and agonizing over writing revisions but I thought I would take the time to make a quick post about the one thing I’ve actually finished. This is a super simple ren/pirate shirt. I made one in white and I’ve always meant to make a black one. 

      So if it’s so easy why did it take me years to get around to actually sewing it? Good question. Moving on.

     My current costuming project demands a black shirt, finally giving me the motivation to dig through my bins of fabric for something suitable. Surprise, the only black fabric I had was a tiny worthless smidge of cotton! I did, however, have this pair of pants that someone gave me made out of a cool, loose-weave, drape-y material.

     I present to you the shirt made out of pants.

042 Simple, easy, and perfect. I gathered the sleeves and attached them to a cuff that closes with a button.

Enourmously full sleeves.

enormously full sleeves.

Now, I have a small confession about the front. I hadn’t quite decided what sort of neck line I wanted and apparently I got a little scissor happy. Somehow I ended up with a great gap down the front of the shirt. Let’s just say it showed A Lot. Since I’m not actually making a Medieval Stripper outfit this had to be rectified. I added a strip down each side of the gap and then embroidered lacing holes for closure.

043 Thankfully all this mistake needed was a little creativity and the end result looks deliberate. Since I still can’t figure out how I managed such a dumb mistake I’m laying all the blame on my scissors. Let this be a warning to everyone! Scissors are sneaky little bastards, don’t trust them!