About Moonsteam Design Studio

MDS is a little digital paperie (digital meaning “online only”) that I’ve been running since 2010 or so. It started on Etsy back then, and now it’s on its own (and as of 2019 it’s back on Etsy too, here)! 

I’ve been a designer for over 20 years, and many years ago I designed some fun labels for a little project that some friends & I were doing – more on that below. I then created labels for some lip balms I’d decided to make (random, I know!) & I opened an Etsy shop called Moonsteam Alchemy. I needed designs for more labels & discovered the world of digital scrapbooking…and loved it! Alas, most of the designs I found were not usable for my commercial items…so I just made my own. I then decided that if I was going to make all those digital papers, I might as well try selling some, and Moonsteam Design Studio was born.

About the name

“Moonsteam” was just a fun word that came to me many years ago when I was thinking up names for my first shop. It means being inspired late at night by the “steam” of one’s own ideas & efforts.

about The Designer

I’m Sara, a long-time web & graphic designer who also had a stint in academia; I have an M.A. in English Literature and taught college writing & lit for many years (before & after that I worked in publishing & design). I’m now a “solopreneur” doing web & graphic design full time & couldn’t be happier. I’m an utter technophile who has been making websites since 1997 (aging myself, I know), but I’m also a total nester & homebody who loves binge watching Downton Abbey, rewatching Pride & Prejudice (the Colin Firth version, of course!), and curling up with a good book. I’ve been blogging since “web logs” first came on the scene & still have a blog at Avidly Dreaming (with blog content going back to 2005). I also run a web design company at Moonsteam Design. For more about me than you probably care about, hahaha, see this page.

So about those lip balms…

Moonsteam Alchemy & Geek Bliss

So I mentioned at the top that I’d made lip balms for a fun project I was doing with friends…

Here’s that story. 🙂 

Moonsteam Alchemy lip balms
A bunch of Moonsteam Alchemy lip balms, and every time I see this pic, I want to make them again…

Moonsteam Alchemy was my line of whimsical vintage- and fandom-themed lip balms. It was created by me and I made all the balms myself & designed all the labels. MSA got started in 2009 or so & then was on Etsy in 2010. I stopped selling after a few years, though, as I pursued other things & life got in the way.

(Moonsteam Alchemy is going to return but in a totally new way – not lip balms this time, although I might eventually make a few again for old times’ sake.)

So how did I get into selling lip balms in the first place? Random, right? Here’s the story…


Back in 2009, some friends & I had an idea to start a geeky ezine around our shared interests. We came up with a bunch of ideas for the ezine, and we also came up with ideas for items to sell…and I came up with the idea to make & sell themed lip balms. I honestly can’t remember why lip balms, hahaha! But in a creative burst, I got some starter stuff & began making balms.

Everyone loved them, and I loved making them. I said hmmm, maybe I should toss ’em onto Etsy & sell them on their own, not connected to the ezine, and I came up with the name “Geek Bliss.” The shop is still technically on Etsy, although I’m not using it now. I had a lot of fun with the shop, though, and I loved coming up with ideas for different balm themes. I made them based on the TV shows & books I liked, but back then I felt my geeky interests were pretty narrow, with a small audience of like-minded people who’d even want balms based on TV shows or books, so it was just a fun little side thing. But I really loved designing the labels, even though back then I was limited to having them printed on small circles. But they actually worked out pretty well!

Here are some old images of the original Geek Bliss balms from 2009:


While in the course of coming up with ideas for Geek Bliss, I had ideas for vintage-themed balms – I’ve always been as much of, if not MORE of, a costume drama geek than anything else (one of my favorite movies is A Room With A View, which I first discovered in the early 90s & decided I wanted to be Maggie Smith or Judi Dench when I “grew up,” and that sentiment still holds – I want to be like them when I’m the age they are now: fabulous in my 80s!). I decided to do a second Etsy shop, but needed a new name. After brainstorming lots of possibilities, I came up with the idea for “Moonsteam Alchemy”…it was late at night & I was transforming stuff into new stuff & I liked steampunk…and, well, that’s what my brain came up with late that night in early 2010. 🙂

Away I went designing new labels…here are a few original ones:

The MSA shop was on Etsy for several years, and it is also technically still there, just not selling anything. When I stopped selling, people kept asking me if I was going to reopen, and I still made balms for friends, but I didn’t sell them in a shop anymore. 

Many times I’ve contemplated offering a few again…so who knows. I just miss those balms! 🙂

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