Anywho, it was an epic convention, had a great time, enjoyed some very informative panels, ogled all the pretty costumes (because TeslaCon is an immersion convention, meaning EVERYBODY is dressed up), and had quite a few people asking for pictures of my coat... well, and of me, but mostly of the coat. Which is very encouraging, considering the long Facebook conversation I ended up having during the week before the con...
Basically, I was trying to figure out how to estimate & quantify my income from garb commissions for my ACA insurance application, and after a great deal of time poking around on the internet, I decided FB might have better answer. Somehow, this turned into a quick how-to lesson from a couple of my business-owning friends on how to start and run a business out of your house. So, sometime at the beginning of 2014, I intend to file for sole proprietorship, get a state sales tax number, and make Unpronounceable Designs an official business, rather than just an occasionally lucrative hobby. :D!
So it was extra fortuitous that among the many very, very awesome vendors at TeslaCon were the lovely ladies at Raky Press, with their beautiful antique treadle-operated flywheel printing press, making Victorian-style calling cards while you wait. I got 50 printed (picture later, maybe), and people wasted no time asking for one. It was pretty great.
In other news of the con running headlong into business-y things, El nearly bought me a $300 underbust corset (it had a map on it! It was so pretty! I forgot to ask the price before I tried it on, then I was put under its spell!), but fortunately his debit card freaked out over getting processed through an iPad that belonged to business based out of Ohio. In the time it took for the card to get reactivated after talking to customer service, we managed to calm down and realize that you could get a fairly decent sewing machine for that much (thus preventing further abuse of my 60-year-old Featherweight machine)... so, yesterday morning before garbing up and heading to the con, we looked through craigslist, and I did a quick comparison/price check on Amazon, where I discovered that this beauty (which I'd been ogling from afar for a while) was on mega-sale. It'll be at my doorstep on Wednesday, we're going to see if we can replace the craptastic old Kenmore in the sewing cabinet with it. :)
Anyways, con stuff. Even having escaped from spending way too many monies on a fancy corset (I should add that said corset was top-notch quality and probably worth every penny), or an adorable Froud-esque stuffed goblin, we still spent way too many monies at the dealer room. We got a pair of absinthe glasses and a spoon, and a three-glass tea timer (purchased because the middle sandglass is a 5-minute timer, which are strangely difficult to find, and we need one for gaming reasons), a pair of super-comfy black-and-purple-striped cotton stockings (I got a green & black pair from the same vendor last year and I <3 them), a clever folding writing box with a removable-nib dip pen and a stick of sealing wax, mocha-espresso soap for me and nice lemongrass shave soap, bay rum aftershave, and mustache wax for El (he'd been thinking of switching to straight razor for a while, and a panel on Victorian grooming gave him the final nudge. The wax he actually uses on his beard...), and the usual array of cheap posters, pins, and stickers.
The panels were great, I learned a lot of cool things, including how to shave with a straight razor, how to saberage a champagne bottle (ie, safely whack it open with a sword), how to make fully articulated wings out of a patio umbrella, and roughly how to summon a spirit of Mercury using a mash-up of Victorian ritual magic (hey, I didn't say the things I learned were useful). One of the great things about TeslaCon is that it's largely fan-sourced. The creator of the con, Lord Bobbins, is very aware that steampunk is largely a self-made fandom - it's basically inside out from a typical fandom, where someone does something awesome and then a fandom forms around it... with steampunk, the fandom formed first and then sometimes people do awesome things and become famous by drawing on it. This year Bobbins decided that we needed a little reminder of that this year (because the flame wars had gotten bad, and this was his way of telling us to play nice), and so there were a lot more roundtables, more writing workshops, and fan-sourced pretty much ALL off the panels. There were a few authors and stuff (not surprising when there's a writing workshop room that appears to have been sponsored by Tor Books), but they were all of the sort that were fans first.
That, by the way, was a segue. Although Lord Bobbins is planning on bringing a couple more celebrity-type guests back on next year, most of the panels will still be fan-sourced, as they have always been, and none of them have been booked yet - Bobbins won't even begin accepting submissions until January. Which should give El and I enough time to cobble together an outline and maybe a basic PowerPoint for the panel that we want to do. :) We're thinking that it will be something to the effect of Grownup Scissors: Demystifying the Scary Tools. Basically, it would be an encouragement/basic shop safety seminar for people who already are or would like to be crafters, etc., but are afraid to up their game because they've heard too many horror stories about people running their hands into sewing machines and table saws and whatnot. Specifics may be subject to complete revision, as we've only been talking about it for a day yet, but we're quite certain we want to do this, and it should be fun.