Back to Making Costumes

Hello Gang!

After spending many weeks working on that new most essential part of our wardrobe, the protective face mask, I’m now back to work on a costuming project.  One of my ongoing customers is the San Francisco/Bay Area professional dancer Shalimar.   Over the past decade, I’ve been so pleased and blessed to have opportunities to work with Shalimar on performance costumes, dressy garments to wear to shows, and more.

Aqua Stripes Bedlah

Last winter, I made this three-piece costume ensemble that I’ve dubbed “Aqua Stripes.”  At that time, Shalimar was dancing in some closely-packed restaurants and hookah bars and required a slim skirt that wouldn’t catch on chairs and table edges.  The skirt also needed to be easily washable.  We selected this polyester/spandex blend with a holographic finish in bright aqua.

With the world in flux, Shalimar’s needs have changed.  Instead of dancing in crowded commercial spaces, she’s now performing on-line in a corner of her home. So instead of a utilitarian straight skirt, she craves a skirt with more dramatic shape and fullness at the hem.

Coordinating vs. Matching

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough of our primary fabric to cut gussets. I feel so lucky to have sourced some coordinating fabric in the same color-way but with a plain foil surface treatment.

I bought “The last on a bolt” so I am working with what I have available to convert this skirt into something that will spin beautifully.

While we can’t always predict what will happen in the future, we can always remain flexible and open to costume remodeling, upcycling, restyling, and renovation.  Take a peek in your own wardrobe and see if there’s a garment waiting for transformation into something new and fresh to wear to your next digital hafla.

I’m about to dive into the construction now, I’ll be back in a few days with a followup and “after” photos.

Take care and be well,

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
May 22, 2020


Oak Tulip-Shaped Wooden Finger Cymbals

I’m so pleased to announce that my brother Joe’s wooden finger cymbal line is expanding to include a variety of different hand-turned woods.  To help him in growing his side-business, I’m helping him make demo videos for each of the styles.  If you like the way these wooden cymbals sound, please visit his Etsy Shop for more details on size, price, wood options, and current availability.   I’m so proud and happy to be working on this project!

Wooden finger cymbals are the perfect practice instrument.  It’s good for keeping the sound down if you live in a small space like an apartment, condo, or dorm.  Because they don’t have a long ringing sustain, they are great to play around pets and people wearing hearing aids.  These oak cymbals have a beautiful finish that adds a different flavor to dance performances.  The sounds these oak cymbals make are evocative of Turkish spoons, wooden bones, and castanets.

If you would like more information about finger cymbals, their history, selection, technique, and maintenance, check out my book “Zills, Music on Your Fingertips” now available as a digital download on my Etsy Shop.

I hope you are surviving and possibly even
thriving in our current social distancing world.

~ Dawn Devine ~ Davina
April 30, 2020


Spring Flowers Coloring Meditation

Hello there!

I don’t know about you, but I found this week pretty darned stressful.  And like many of my friends, I’ve had to add more opportunities to focus and meditate to stay sharp in this disruptive time.

Coloring Meditation

One of the strategies I use for meditation is to draw, doodle, color, or scribble.  For this meditation, I focus on the space where the tip of my drawing tool hits the paper.  I focus on the stroke, on the beauty of the color, and the nature of the line.  Pre-made mandalas are great for this style of meditation because it provides a beautiful structure.  I trust that when I’m done, no matter how many times I might wander outside of the lines, I’m sure the final product will look wonderful on my refrigerator.

Use a Printable Mandala

While you can only use a coloring book design once, with a printable you can use your favorite pattern over and over again. This allows for experimentation with different types of paper and different drawing and painting mediums. I can also experiment with color combinations.  I was inspired by the color of spring, so this mandala draws from the pink and green color story of the garden.  For this coloring meditation, I choose to work on one of the motifs from page 2.  When I was laying out the book, this square motif reminded me of tiles.  So I turned them and positioned them tile-like on the page.

$5 coloring book printable of “Colored Theory with Pencils & Mandalas” 

Dual-Tipped Student-Grade Markers

Another strategy I employ is using a maker.  This is much less about the art and much more about the experience of coloring.  Although I can’t add a ton of fitness with markers, it does allow me to create a full motif in under an hour.  While I could spend hours on one pencil drawing, with colored markers I can finish an entire motif in a fraction of the time.  And I always keep in mind the notion that IF the finished design looks good, I can print another one and do it over in another medium like colored pencils – or even watercolor pencils.

Here’s a link to the affordable dual-tipped art markers by Aenartmarkers I used in the video above.

If you are feeling a little stressed out, grab a drawing implement and some paper, and focus on letting go of the feelings to focus the mind.

Best of luck to you in staying safe and healthy!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
March 26, 2020