Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lucy Jane

Wow!  I can't believe we're at the halfway point (more or less) in the A-Z challenge!

Lucy Jane Pennybright is someone I know better than anyone else.  She's me.  She's an alter ego I created for one of my artistic ventures. (No, I'm not crazy- keep reading! lol)

I'm an extremely creative person.  From the time I was old enough to hold a crayon (and make a rainbow on the wall behind my crib between the slats!), I have been involved in one art form or another.

When I was in college (an Art/Graphic Design major, naturally), my Grandmother taught me how to sew.  She was losing her eyesight to macular degeneration and wanted to pass the skill down to me before she was completely blind.  The first thing I ever sewed "by myself with help" was a WWII era skirt and jacket to wear to a history walk event in Columbus, GA.  I had just recently learned to swing dance and if we were going to be set up and talking to people with tanks and jeeps and big band music and Lindy Hopping, then by George, I was going to look the part as much as possible!

After I made that outfit, I went on to make a blue sun dress for my best friend's wedding reception/vow renewal (only stipulation: the dress had to be blue and summery.  Other than that, we were on our own.)
Holy cow!  Lookit how skinny I was before the babies!!!!
It was about this time that I got more heavily involved in Civil War Reenacting (more about that in the 'R' post).  But being just through with my college days and about to get married, funds were rather non-existant.  At least not for the stuff I wanted.  The sutlers who sell period pieces for the reenacting public deserve every penny they charge for the work they do.  But just a ballgown ran (and has only gone up with inflation) around $300!  I didn't spend that much on my wedding dress!!!

But I'm digressing.

I sat down with my friend Marilyn and learned how to sew.  With gusto and great ambition.  My first reenacting outfit fully sewn by me was a pale pink satin ballgown with rosette trim.  Boo-yah!  After that there was no stopping me.  I sewed dresses, haversacks, kids clothes (historic and modern), stuffed toys, dolls, sachets to be filled with herbs to make the dresser smell nice, curtains, you name it and I've made it!

Recently I sewed some stuffed elephants as gifts and my Facebook connections went NUTS.
"I want one!!!!!"
Well, alright then!

I already have two active careers going with my name on them: I'm a full time Avon Representative, and I run Jenny Ray Photography as well.  Being the massively creative person that I am, I thought nothing of adding a third to the mix! :D

But I didn't want it under my own name.  I wanted a persona, a character, if you will, that I could use when I'm out at craft fairs with a booth of my wares, or on a website.  So I chose names based on some of my favorite people and got to work.

Lucy is for Lucy Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia.  She's brave and loyal, smart and honest.
Jane is for Jane Austen, of course.  Jane is witty, a brilliant storyteller, and based on letters from her life, a good friend and sister. Not to mention, my distant relation.
That left a last name.  Something pretty and cheerful.  I found a new penny in my change as I was buying groceries, so I chose Pennybright.

It's still a work in progress.  I've got a few things up on the website, but not everything.  I still have photo shoots to do and right now, Lucy Jane Pennybright's main job is a commission for a 19th century wardrobe.  You can see the work as it progresses on her blog.  Lucy Jane also has a Facebook page.

That's it for today.  I'm off to do laundry and other regular work and then to the library - hey, another 'L'!  Tonight after supper we're going to shop for a new mattress and then tomorrow my plan is to sew the day dress and hopefully get photos up by tomorrow night. :)


  1. Well, my dear friend, you KNOW you have infected me with your adventures!! Not only did you introduce me to Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Le Miserables, etc, but you also enducted me into the world of re-enacting (Lord knows how many times I borrowed your outfits before I got my own mother into it and she began sewing our dresses!).

    Then you told me of your idea to write in a psuedoname and I was hooked! (Hm, speaking of, my entire blog is under my alias, as are all of my comments!) Perhaps I should have blogged about her today...but no, I stand by my L, haha!

    You have always been the literate friend I wished to immulate, and I am proud to say that I know you!

  2. I don't know that I deserve such high praise; I only know that sharing those things which make me happy, makes me happier still. I am glad to have gotten you into all that I have. (Fun, trouble and otherwise!)

    I love seeing your writing talent flourish and grow through your blog. :)

  3. This is awesome. You picked a great name! I'm a huge Jane Austen fan and I've always loved both of those names.

    I'm so jealous of your sewing ability. I tried to learn a little, but could never quite get the hang of it. Your stuff looks amazing!

  4. Wow, that's a cute elephant! I'm so envious that you can sew. I have no talent or skill for it, though I try very hard (I swear I do).

    Happy to be a new follower!

  5. Thanks, Lisa! I've found sewing to be, in itself, a simple thing, but there are so many tiny things within it that must be mastered that I know a lot of people who don't have the patience or just find other things that they can focus on more. It's definitely not for everyone! lol Many is the hour I have spent with my seam-ripper in one hand, scissors in the other, and muttering ill-tempered threats at the fabric under my breath! ;)

    Jennifer- Just keep working at it and eventually your skills will improve! It's been a dozen years-ish since I made that WWII outfit and I STILL have issues with some of the things I'm trying to accomplish! (see above) :) Welcome to The Modest Peacock and I hope you get a kick out of my posts. :)

  6. How talented you are - making period costumes! (I wish we had more of those re-enactment groups over here -although maybe we do, but I just haven't found any!)

    Oh, and thanks for posting the link to the 'One Guitar and four hands' clip - absolutely fantastic! I've circulated it to a few musically interested friends and family! ;-)