Wooden Practice Finger Cymbals from Wicked Mojo Designs

Hello gang!

Today I want to share with you a little story about how I now am the proud owner of two pairs of wooden practice cymbals. My brother, Joe Devine, owner of Wicked Mojo Designs on Etsy, is a precision machinist by day, and an avid woodturner by night.  He’s made me many beautiful wooden objects like candle holders and bud vases, to really plain and functional items like wooden storage boxes.

Seam Rippers

A few years ago my mum and I challenged him to make hand-turned seam rippers. We are both dressmakers and our older hands are always searching for tools that are more ergonomic and easy to hold.  Jax the Seam Ripper was born!

My mum got the first one, I got the second, and we persuaded him to make more for other sewists who are interested in having a hand-crafted, ergonomic tool.  Lately, he’s been offering a two-ended Jax with an awl option which adds another level of functionality.  I finally got ahold of the awl attachment and I use it to guide finicky fabrics through the feed dogs.

Wooden Finger Cymbals

So, fast forward in time to December of 2019 when I was invited to be the monthly featured instructor over on the Belly Dance Business Academy.  One of the co-owners of the BDBA is also one of my co-authors, Sara Shrapnell author of Teaching Belly Dance.  So Sara and I had an absolute blast in our live talk “On Finger cymbals.”   The talk is still available and is totally free, just “enroll” (that’s code for sign up for the mailing list.)

During this talk, a lightbulb went off in my head.  If you watch this talk, you can spot the moment. When I thought, “Hey, I bet JOE could make wooden finger cymbals!”  At that moment, I jokingly challenged him to make me a set. Honestly, I didn’t think he would ever SEE that talk, so I didn’t expect him to know that I threw down the gauntlet.

But someone on Facebook mentioned it in a post.  Joe went and watched the talk with Sara, and next thing I know, he’s in his shop just whipping up a set of finger cymbals!  So I got the first-ever Wicked Mojo Designs hand-crafted wooden finger cymbals!  He wasn’t sure what “style” would be best, so I got the second pair too!   After doing some research on the Saroyan Mastercrafts, makers of my favorite zills, Joe crafted a set with a curved bell, and a pair with more of a cone shape.

Hear the Sound

Joe was up for a visit over the weekend and we did a “quick” Facebook live video. At 45 minutes, this is NOT a short video, but we were having so much fun we lost track of time. So unless you have a beverage, a lot of time and like watching goofy people, Enjoy!

Aside: Could FB have chosen a worse image for me for the video cover?  *laughs*  The mind BOGGLES.

However, if you just want to hear the sound of these cymbals, check out my Instagram feed for some shorter sound clips.

Coming Soon!

After our Facebook Live video, my brother knows that others are interested in these wooden practice finger cymbals. so he’s now running some production studies, sourcing materials, and making his first batch.

Interested in picking up a set of these wooden practice cymbals? Visit the Wicked Mojo Designs Etsy store and like the store.  Then when the zills are available, you will receive a notification directly via the Etsy store.  You can also subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram or Facebook. I’m having so much fun playing with these.  I now think of these two sets as prototypes for more to come!

What a way to start the year!
Talk to you again soon,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Feb 4, 2020


Permalink: https://www.davina.us/blog/2020/02/wooden-practice-finger-cymbals-from-wicked-mojo-designs/

Needles for making Belly Dance Bras

Belly Dance Bra made of Vintage Assiut from Studio Davina - Dawn DevineHello Gang!

I recently made a lovely vintage assiut bedlah set and I shared images of the process over in my Studio Davina Facebook group.  During the construction process, I got a bunch of nuts-and-bolts questions that I thought I would share here on the blog. The most frequently asked question is, “What needles are you using?”

Needle Style of Choice – Milliners

For my current technique, which uses buckram, grosgrain ribbon, and fleece, I like to use milliners needles. Hat making utilizes many of the same materials, so needles made for this purpose work very well for constructing bras.

Milliners needles are long, strong, and flexible. This style of needle is thicker in the middle and tapers to a sharp point. They flex, rather than break when working around wires. Over time, the shape of my grip appears in the needle.

Sewing through multiple layers of buckram and fabric to attach cups and bands.

John James Milliners Needles

Because I spend a lot of time sewing, I choose to invest in high-quality hand sewing needles.  Many years ago during a time of experimentation, I found John James MIlliners needles and it was love at first sewing project.  Unfortunately, John James needles can be difficult to find in my local stores so I now get them via Amazon.

Because there are times when I require smaller, finer needles, I also keep one of the John James needle collections in my kit.  Aside from the biggest and bulky craft needles, I might pull for very specialized purposes. This one kit holds them all.  I do a lot of hand sewing, so the extra cost pays off in longer-lasting tools.

Slip Stop Thimble

I keep a wardrobe of thimbles available for different hand sewing needs.  When working on belly dance bras, I like to wear a Dritz Slip Stop Thimble.  What I love about this thimble is that it has ridged sides that help catch and hold the eye-end of the needle.  It also has a lip at the top that I find very useful for helping me guide and control the direction and angle of the needle.

Thimbles are one of those items that are best bought at a store.  Although I have ladies XL hands, I have very slender tapered fingers. My fingertips are quite tiny, so I wear a size small thimble.  Visit your local fabric store and use the circle punched into the packaging to calculate the proper fit for your hands.

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
January 24, 2020




Permalink: https://www.davina.us/blog/2020/01/millinery-needles/

50 Fascinating Facts about Finger Cymbals – Digital Workshop Feb 16, 2020

Hello Gang!

I’m so pleased to announce an upcoming digital workshop, “50 Fascinating Facts Finger Cymbals” on Sunday, February 16, 2020, at 1:00 pm PST.  When I wrote the book, Zills: Music on Your Finger Tips, I included a lot of information.  But no single book can contain all of the information I dug up about the origins, history, and manufacture of finger cymbals.  So in this talk, I’ll be taking a deeper dive into this information and sharing loads of primary source imagery.  

50 Fascinating Facts About Finger Cymbals

With Davina aka Dawn Devine (That’s me!)
author of “Zills, Music on Your Finger Tips

Join us live for an hour-long informative slideshow with Q&A
Sunday, February 16th
1:00 PM PST / 4:00 PM EST

plus stream anytime for 30 days!

$15 before February 3rd / $20 after

Learn More or REGISTER NOW

Workshop Format

This is an hour-long slide-show discussion about finger cymbals covering the manufacturing, origins, history, selection, care, practice and performance techniques.  Then, we have reserved extra time to answer your questions in a Q&A segment.  Plan on an hour-and-a-half so bring your favorite beverage, a notebook, and let’s have some fun!

Our Hostess Mahin

This workshop is hosted by Phonex based dancer/entrepreneur Mahin.  She is the mastermind behind the amazing mailing list “Belly Dance Quickies.”  Her belly dance demos are informative and fun to follow.  She also offers online-classes so you can study with her at your convenience.  

Zills: Music on Your Fingertips

Do you have a copy of my book on finger cymbals?  If you still need to pick up your copy, it’s available directly from me on my Etsy store or from Amazon.  If you are an international shopper, Amazon has the best deals on shipping worldwide. 

I love giving slide lectures and I look forward to seeing you on February 16!

Dawn Devine
January 21, 2020

Permalink: https://www.davina.us/blog/2020/01/finger-cymbal-workshop-2-16-2020/