Deep Midnight Perfumes

Deep Midnight Perfumes

Thursday, March 20, 2014

An Interview with Ann Forseth of Romany Rapture

Hello, dear readers!  Today's interview is with Ann Forseth, clothing designer and owner of Romany Rapture:  Fun to wear, all handmade, luxurious and original Steampunk, Gothic and other Alternate History Fashion designs.  Her styles are elegant, sexy, and adorable, with many looks to choose from.  Come and read about Ann and her fantastic shop.

Ann Forseth of Romany Rapture

How did you become interested in designing clothing? 
First of all, a heartfelt Thank You to Cat for letting me share! XO 
As far back as I can remember I’ve been drawn to the exotic, colorful and highly decorated clothing of cultures and societies outside my realm and I really wanted to touch and wear them. Clothing and costumes are some of the most wide spread (world wide) forms of self expression. The cultural relevance of any sort of clothing style still intrigues me. I narrowed my focus starting in my teenage years when I began finding antique blouses, coats and dresses to buy. If they didn’t fit, I would alter them or adorn them with my own bits of found lace, ribbon, buttons, etc. When a purchased pattern wasn’t quite what I wanted my super seamstress mom would help me get it to where I envisioned it should be. That simple delight in seeing and then going on to make, (in my own way) interesting and creative clothing is probably the beginning of my interest in designing clothing from start to finish.
How long have you been designing ?

I’ve been at it about 18 years. The last 6 years more seriously.
What or who inspires your creations?
The shapes and movement of people I see every day are the most inspiring. Fabric speaks quite eloquently to me and can convince me rather quickly that I need to take it home and transform it into some other shape! I really love the Victorian and Baroque styles for the exuberant way textiles and trims were applied. So many layers and colors and textures, oh yes! The colors of India are another huge source of inspiration. I realize not everyone can be as enamored with color as I am but Indian fabric is so cheerful and utterly alive. Then there is the dark and secretive feel of black you can usually find in Gothic styles. Pure elegance there, I love it.

How do you begin your design process? 
Lots of thinking…letting my brain build something I can work with I guess. Sometimes the ideas present themselves fully formed. I then sketch out the various parts of the garment. I’m not very good at fashion illustration so I do drawings of parts rather than the whole. Then I dig around in my fabric collection to see which ones strike me as compatible, or… do I need to buy some? I love it when that happens!

Pic includes my model; Shannon Boxrz on the left, myself and author Nikki McCormack, who also has kindly modeled for me on occasion. Author Nikki McCormack
What are your favorite fabrics and or styles to work with?
I love woven fabrics. Natural fibers like silk, linen, and cotton are lovely to handle. Sometimes the fabric is so well behaved I just want to sing!! I’ll admit to my fabric addiction right now. Jackets are my most favorite garment to make. Things that are both fitted yet flow I like, also styles that allow me to add trim. I really like decorating the garments! So, Victorian, Steampunk, Gothic and my lifelong personal favorite style; Boho-Hippie-Fairy-Summer Girl.
Circus Punk Outfit   Model is Arika Thomas
What other interests and hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
Sewing and designing can be very structured so my “off”time I find myself doing things with less structure. I still sew….goodies like freeform bags and voodoo dolls. I love my camera and it goes everywhere with me. Hiking, gardening, archery, dancing, painting, screen printing, reading are a few things I enjoy when I have time. Taking a class in something new is great fun, and stirs up the brain cells! I’m starting soon in a fashion photography class and I’m very patiently teaching myself to drum, a hand drum called a djembe.
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
An earring/bracelet set my daughter made for me, in greens and blues with a silver turtle charm. And a quilt my mom made when I was 13, in the brilliant colors she knew I loved so much.
Models are Shannon Boxrz and Nikki McCormack

Where can we find your lovely clothing designs?
You can find me on Etsy
Also on my website
other places I play…
Thank you so much, Ann!  Until next time dear readers! XOXO Cat

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Hello, dear readers!  In case you have not seen the link on my blog, don't forget that Laughing Vixen Lounge is having her 4th annual 14 Nights of Valentine's Day Movie Marathon Giveaway! She does some of the most fabulous giveaways around! Make sure to stop by her main Giveaway Post and enter to win a $400+ Prize Pack full of decadent treats from 16 fabulous shops! A $30.00 gift certificate to my pefume shop is in the prize pack, as well as so many more amazing treats and goodies from some fabulous shops.  The link to the main post and rafflecopter entry box is below.  Good luck and have fun!  XOXO  Cat

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Interview with Melanie of Belle Bijou Atelier

Today I have an interview with Melanie of Belle Bijou Atelier.  Her shop is full of gorgeous and lush gemstone creations and I completely love it all, including her tagline!

"Belle Bijou Atelier: Beautiful Jewelry For Beautiful Women."

Melanie: Jewelry designer, writer, and owner of Belle Bijou Atelier

How did you become interested in designing jewelry?

Several years ago I was shopping at what was then known as Marshall Field (now known as Macy’s) and I saw a very simple beaded necklace. I believe it was about $140 which, at the time, was completely out of my price range. As I studied the necklace, I realized that I could probably make it myself. I lived not far from a bead store that I passed by all of the time, so I stopped in, purchased some materials and went to work. Within an hour or so I completed it and it looked even better than the one in Marshall Field (I thought anyway…)!

How long have you been designing?

I’ve been designing jewelry for over 15 years; however I’ve become more serious about actually selling my pieces within the past two years.

What inspires your creations?

I love color contrast! Wherever I go I gravitate toward colors. Whether it’s a bright yellow front door set against the dark brown bricks of a home in Ireland or a display of red and orange peppers in the grocery, the contrast of color really gets my creative juices flowing. I try to re-create that in my jewelry. I’ll combine Turquoise nuggets with a carved Carnelian pendant or Peridot rondels with Ruby briolettes – nothing is off limits for me!


What are your favorite materials or stones to work with?

Gemstones, gemstones, and more gemstones! I absolutely LOVE the feeling of caressing stones in my hands. I truly believe that all things hold some sort of power within them and gemstones are no exception. I’ve dabbled in Precious Metal Clay and tried my hand at creating glass beads but I get no greater joy than to sit silently at my workstation with a couple of strands of gems, feel them in my hands and allow them to tell me what they want to become.

What memories do you you have of the first piece of jewelry you created and what has been a favorite piece for you?

What I love about that first piece of jewelry that I made is the sense of accomplishment that it gave me. Not only did I make something with my own hands, people complimented me on it – what a wonderful feeling! Sadly I no longer have that necklace, (it got lost in too many moves, I guess). My favorite piece now is a bracelet created with delicate faceted Watermelon Tourmaline rounds and with Swarovski Crystal spacers strung on 14k gold filled coated wire. It has a tiny faceted Watermelon briolette hanging from the clasp. The rounds are strung on the bracelet in an Ombre effect so the stones go from pale pink, to fuchsia to dark green, much like a watermelon slice. I only had one strand of these Tourmaline rounds and, after I created the bracelet, there weren’t enough to create another. I posted to sell for a few hours before taking it down and keeping it for myself. I wear it all of the time with a bracelet created with faceted Ruby rondels of graduated sizes. They look stunning together.

What other interests and hobbies do you enjoy?

I very much enjoy writing. I’ve actually started the outline for the first of a three part series of mystery novels set l in England. The heroine of the story is an American ex-pat who owns a small string of jewelry boutiques (naturally…). I hope to self-publish by the end of the year.

What is your most treasured handmade possession?

My most treasured handmade possession is not something that I created. I have a client who purchased a pair of earrings in the Spring. After she received them she emailed me to thank me. She shared that she would have liked to have ordered more, specifically one of my pieces that had a photo of the Eiffel Tower on it, but she could not afford to. For Christmas, I surprised her by sending her the piece. She was so moved that she sent me a beautiful handmade card with a lovely note written inside and a handmade linen handkerchief lined with lace. That handkerchief means so much to me. I hope to be able to pass it down to my granddaughter when she is of age.

Where can we find your beautiful jewelry designs?

You can find my designs at I also have a Facebook page where I try to have a special or giveaway ever month .
I also have the following pages where I post regularly:
Twitter (@bellebijoujewel)
• Pinterest (Belle Bijou Atelier)
• Instagram (bellebijouatelier)

Melanie, thank you for helping us learn more about your lovely shop!
 ...until next time, dear readers!
Love, Cat