Monday, June 8, 2015

A New Look

I was bored with my blog, so I updated it tonight. I was supposed to be writing. Oops. Blog updates count as marketing, don't they? ;-)

What do you think? Is it reasonably interesting visually? Easier to read? Or should I go back to the drawing board?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I was mentioned in the Irish Times!

Woot! I was mentioned in an article about color in the Irish Times!

To confuse buyers even further, the eccentric names given to some paints give no indication of their colour. Elephant’s Breath, the very popular colour now sold by Farrow & Ball, has actually been around in various shades for over a century and was “all the rage in 1874”, according to historian Deb Salisbury.

I'm sure they found me through the title of my book on colors in history, Elephant's Breath and London Smoke.  I found them through a Google Alert. I'm thrilled with the mention!

Do you have any news you'd like to mention?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Elephant’s Breath and London Smoke: Second Edition

My book on color as it was used in history is now in its second edition. This version has over 600 new and updated entries.

Elephant’s Breath and London Smoke:

Historical Color Names, Definitions, and Uses in Fashion, Fabric and Art

 210 pages in an 8 1/2" x 11" format. No illustrations. It costs only $12.00.

This book will tell you about color in history – the names of colors, when they were used, how they were used, what they looked like, and where they came from. There are dye recipes, paint ingredients, poetic language and general commentary – all in the words of period writers.

Along with the glossary of color names, you will learn about mourning colors, the effects of artificial light on color, advice on what colors to wear, the colors found in cosmetics and theatrical make-up, and the names of the colors of horses. You can read about symbolism in colors, heraldic colors, and complaints about the names of colors.

I have studied fashion magazines, books of dye recipes, art books, painter’s manuals, mineralogy guides, tomes on color theory, metaphysical texts, poetry and fiction, but especially period dictionaries and encyclopedias. Any resource that might give a hint on what a color looked like or how it may have been used was examined, from Chaucer to Chemistry Journals.

Most of the entries were printed in English, American, Canadian and Australian publications from around 1380 to 1922. Because, French was the language of fashion, many of the English terms are French words. I have tried to explain those colors, too.

This dictionary endeavors to define color names in the words of the English speaking people who used those colors. It is especially aimed at women’s fashion, but artists will also find it useful.

Now in its second edition, “Elephant’s Breath and London Smoke” has more than 600 new and updated entries.

If you are curious about color, you will want this book.

It's available on Amazon at:

From Createspace at:

And at my website:

Thank you for looking at my book!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Art of the Mantua-Maker: 1870 - 1879

I'm pleased to announce the release of my newest book:

The Art of the Mantua-Maker: 1870 - 1879 
Fashion, Sewing, and Clothes Care Advice
with over 740 B/W period illustrations.
Compiled and edited by Deb Salisbury,
The Mantua-Maker Historical Sewing Patterns

"Taste in dress is the sure guarantee of the lady. Nor is it mere money that makes a tasteful dress. It is principally a knowledge of the fashions, and how to adapt them to your style."
Peterson’s Magazine, November 1875

The art of the mantua-maker was practiced by every woman who wanted to create her own wardrobe. Fashion magazines were studied and dissected, scoured for details on how each effect was created, how many seams were used, and where the pleats were used. They learned why changes were made, when they went out of date, and how to recreate the styles they liked.

This book compiles sewing and fashion advice given in those books and magazines during the 1870s, given in the words of writers of that time. Each entry shows the name and date of the periodical quoted. I’ve included as many pattern sketches as I could find.

“The Art of the Mantua-Maker: 1870 - 1879 Fashion, Sewing, and Clothes Care Advice” has three sections:
1) Sewing tips and fashion advice
2) Fabric cleaning and care.
3) Bibliography of magazines and books I found useful.

I’ve included over 740 black and white period engravings to help show the details of the changing fashions of the 1870s.

The Art of the Mantua-Maker: 1870 - 1879 is intended for costume historians, Victorian re-enactors, historical writers and history buffs. It has 307 pages in an 8.5" x 11" format.

It's available in paperback, PDF, and Kindle formats. The PDF format size is about 47.5Mb.

You can find it on my website:

On Etsy:

And for Kindle at

Monday, November 3, 2014

Civil War Bathing Suit Sewing Pattern

I'm pleased to announce the release of my newest pattern:

Early Victorian Two-Piece
Bathing Suit

Victorian Bathing Suit Pattern by The Mantua-Maker
Around 1845, the two-piece bathing suit for American and English ladies came into existence – before that time most women wore a long shirt-like garment.  The earliest reference to a suit with drawers I've found was in 1838 in France, and in America in 1848.

This type of bathing dress, with the skirt and blouse made together and with separate trousers, was alarmingly avant-garde in 1838, and acceptable but old-fashioned by 1865.  It was popular during the Civil War, and still worn as late as 1875. 

Victorian Bathing Suit Pattern by The Mantua-Maker
The pattern has several variations. It may be made with a high neckline with or without a collar, or with a lower neckline.  The long or short sleeves can be enclosed in a cuff, confined with elastic, or left open in a bell shape. The blouse skirt may be made from mid-thigh to below the knee in length. A separate belt confines the waist. The trousers may be made in the wide Turkish style or normal width, from below-knee to ankle length, and also may be enclosed in a cuff, confined with elastic, or left open at the bottom.

This pattern includes 18 pages of instructions with historical tips, and 5 pattern sheets.  It is printed on bond paper, and enclosed in a reclosable plastic bag. 

All sizes Petite – Full (bust: 26" – 61") are included.
#1800-4 --- $23
See it on Etsy:
or at my website:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Victorian Needle Case Instructions

     As I work on my new book, I often run across interesting little projects. It just occurred to me that you might enjoy seeing them, and possibly making them for yourself. Here’s the instructions for a darling little needle case.

By Mrs. Jane Weaver.
     The outer part has a foundation of cardboard, covered and lined with silk; over this are little frills of silk finely pinked, plaited, and ornamented with a head in each plait. A bow of ribbon finishes the needle-book.
     The inside leaves for the needles are of fine cashmere, edged with button-hole stitch.
     Found in Peterson’s Magazine, July 1875

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered my Goodreads Giveaway for Feda's Anchor!

Congratulations to the winners -- I hope you enjoy my novel.

Your books will go out in the mail on Monday morning.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I wanted to share this cool artwork sent by T.M. Gregg for her new novel,The Tower, the Monster, and the Tree. You can see more of it on her blog, - it's the third picture down. Her novel looks like it will be a great read! I plan to enter her Goodreads Giveaway as soon as it opens up.

I sell dragons and devil's claws in one of my Etsy shops, and Ms. Gregg used some of my devil's claws in the picture. They're the scary-looking seed pods at the base of the basket.

For a closer look at devil's claws, you can see them here:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway of Feda's Anchor

I'm pleased to announce I'm giving away five copies of my new fantasy novel, Feda's Anchor. Please join in!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Feda's Anchor by D.J. Salisbury

Feda's Anchor

by D.J. Salisbury

Giveaway ends June 01, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Sixteen-year-old Denton is shocked when he’s blamed for a child’s death, and horrified by the blackmail that follows: If he doesn’t steal the ancient Blue Anchor from the temple, his family will be framed and murdered, executed by priests sworn to protect the holy relic.

Before he can decide what to do, he’s saddled with cousins he doesn’t dare confide in. Surely they can’t get into trouble when he takes them to visit a ruined castle while he figures out how do deal with the threat.

But his cousin vanishes into a tunnel beneath the ruins and becomes trapped inside a sorcerous labyrinth designed to imprison a necromancer. Denton is torn between finding her before her torch dies and rescuing his parents from the priests’ prison.

And something lives inside the maze.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Fantasy Website

Well, I've gone and done it. Scared myself a bit, too. ;-)

The website for my fantasy writing has gone live.
(How's that for a passive sentence? I'm still having trouble with the whole "blow your own horn" thing.)

Because I publish nonfiction as Deb Salisbury, I've decided to publish my novels as DJ Salisbury, in hope of being less confusing to my readers.
DJ Salisbury's Books

Please have a look. Your comments and suggestions will be greatly welcomed. As soon as Goodreads lets me, I'll set up a giveaway.