Quote from D. Gackenbach

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oysters for Days!

Well as usual it has been WAY too long since my last post.  But, in my defense the month of November is out to get me... seriously this month has it in for me and I can't wait until it ends!  I will spare you all the gory details and leave you instead with these lovely pictures of the Taylor Shellfish Farm and one of the beautiful oyster dishes we cooked after visiting them last week.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All Hallow's Eve

I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!!  Yep, I am yelling at you, but I must to emphasize my love...
It is a well known fact (if you know me) that Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I do enjoy Thanksgiving, and Christmas gifting is cool, but I friggin' LOVE Halloween!

I love costumes, scary movies, and spooky decor.  Oh, and did I mention my husband and I met on Halloween?  We vaguely know when we got married and make an attempt to mark that anniversary, but in reality we celebrate the day that we met, and this All Hallow's Eve marks our 14th anniversary! We will be decorating, dressing up, and trick-or-treating with our son, 'cause that is how we roll.  So, I thought I would share a sneak peek at our preparations this year.

I've been working on my embalming techniques...

and doing a little tinkering...

now to hide the body, in plain sight!

P.S. to make that wonderfully spooky mummy head I started with the instructions given by everybody's gal pal, Martha (watch the video, she is funnier than I thought).  I made a few changes, first off, I used cheesecloth strips instead of paper towels because I had about a yard in my stash.  Secondly, I didn't glue it, my mummy can be completely unwrapped if I want to save the head (since I use my mannequin for displaying my crafts).  And, finally, I sewed up the eyes and mouth with black yarn and added some plastic flies. 

This is a great centerpiece and I like it so much I think I will sacrifice the mannequin head and spray the entire thing with adhesive to keep it for years to come.  What do you think? 

I will share more pictures of our scary decor and maybe even some costume shots next week.


I love the change of seasons (I am pretty sure I've said that before) and watching the leaves turn and fall is one of my favorite things.  I have been soaking up all of the beautiful autumnal goodness around me, but I have been so busy I have neglected my diary!  So to catch myself up:  I have enjoyed the crisp weather, played in the woods, ridden my bike around town, visited friends, mourned friends passing, knitted, thrifted rad new sweaters and a flannel, visited the pumpkin patch, walked in a corn maze, eaten oysters for the first time, sipped tea, and generally reveled in all things fall.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Making Faces

Taking pictures of myself always seems like such a weird thing to do.  But it is fun, and I see that I am not alone here in the blogosphere, heh heh heh.  I suppose you could make an argument that we are all just a bunch of narcissists, but I would rather think of myself as a creative girl without a model.  So bear with this creative girl a moment...

I've noticed I find it hard to look at, or rather hard to like, pictures of myself that are not "pretty."  After a lifetime of hearing praise for your looks (which you don't really have any control over, thank you mom and dad) it is hard to let people see you looking "ugly."  I certainly don't look amazing all the time, in fact I wake up looking a wreck most days.  But I digress.  In preparation for Halloween I have been thinking about costumes and today I decided to play with some hair and accessories to get my costuming fix for the day.  I took a couple of really beautiful shots that made me feel sexy and glamorous, but then I decided to make some scary faces for a mummy costume idea.  I am so glad I did.  It is fun to see myself this way, I may not be pretty but I like the look of these anyway.  It feels good.  Go make faces, it feels good, that is all.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some Autumn Things

Well summer has finally come to an end.  I am actually glad to see it go, I am ready for a new season and new things.  I love the fall, I enjoy leaves changing, pumpkins fattening, apples falling, and boots!  I adore sweaters and hot beverages by the bonfire.  I even enjoy all the rain I know is headed my way.  But I am getting ahead of myself, for now I will enjoy the early autumn activities of picking blackberries, making pies, and nestling in to my cozy home.

I have been so busy this summer that these first few days of back-to-school feel like just the thing to rejuvenate this mommy.  I have started the final deep cleaning before the cold sets in (it is hard to do this when it gets wet here in Washington, so winter isn't the time to clean).  I rearranged my living space yesterday.  The light is terrible this morning, but here are some pictures anyway.

Last night I lit all the candles and we ate dinner by their light, it was so lovely we decided to let them burn for another hour after we finished our meal.  Perfect way to spend an evening with my boys.

Before I moved to Washington 2 years ago my son attended a Waldorf school.  I try to incorporate ideas from that tradition into our home life because he attends a public school now.  One thing I have been wanting to do is a nature table, but it took reading this great blog post from Tinker Lab to get my butt in gear!  Thank you ladies.  My son is nine, so we can have a wonderful variety of items on our table, including things he has collected (he is really big on rocks).  And underneath I can store some of our games, which seem to have expanded beyond the cabinets ability to hold them recently.

 Along the same lines I also try to keep my son interested in the fiber arts.  He learned to knit and crochet a couple years ago, but it is difficult to keep him interested in these activities.  A few days ago he discovered the Coco the Cat series in Crochet Today magazine, he thought she was the cutest thing ever.  He wanted one so bad I made her up while he was in school Tuesday.  He crocheted her scarf that evening (with much complaining about the difficulty, he was very rusty).  He is very excited about her and wants her to have 100 dresses!  The boy even had the audacity to tell me I should make her a dress a week since I wasn't working on my sweater a month anymore!  From the mouths of babes... so be on the look out for my next sweater, I have a couple that need to be written up, and then I better get back on track for the one a month, I'm being watched!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to School

This week I have been working on some alterations for my daughter.  I love vintage, and felt it was time she worked a few pieces into her wardrobe (she is beginning her Senior year in less than a month).  She usually wears the usual teenage girl's uniform of jeans and a tank top so this is a stretch for her, but I hope the tailoring helps her see you can make a vintage piece look and feel like it was made for you.

Vintage lace added to the hem of a cute printed skirt
A cute wool skirt taken up to become a mini
And the most amazing pair of vintage Italian jeans!
The skirts were very basic changes, the first one I simply added the vintage lace to the hem with my machine, done in less than 10 minutes.  The wool skirt I took about 6" off the hem and then gave it a new hand-sewn rolled hem, this one took longer, but still used very basic sewing skills.  Both of these skirts could be done by a beginning level sewer.  The jeans required lowering the waist and tapering the legs, but they were so worth the effort.  I think these may be the most rockin' pair of pants ever.  It doesn't hurt that the jeans cost about $5 and then we found $2 in the pocket!  I also did up a pair of skinny purple jeans and a cute little black vest for her, having items tailored to fit you just right makes all the difference in bringing new things into your fashion repertoire- it is hard not to feel comfortable when things fit "just right."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Amazing Green Salad

So, as usual I don't have an actual "recipe" for you, just a suggestion.  I have a new favorite salad, it is delicious, and crunchy, and beautiful to boot!  It requires very fresh iceberg lettuce, English cucumber slices, fresh green peas (mine are straight from the garden), sliced green onion, and fresh organic nasturtium blossoms.  Assemble salad, top with ranch (no, really, USE ranch dressing, trust me) and add some fresh cracked pepper.  Serve immediately, and prepare to be amazed.  This is so crunchy and refreshing, with just a hint of floral when you go in to bite it, and then you get hit with the subtle spice of the flowers and onions and the sweetness of the peas...  I literally couldn't talk to my dinner "date" until I was done eating this salad.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Lazy Days of Summer

Wow!  I just realized it has been almost a month since my last blog post, time flies when you are having fun.  This summer has been incredibly lazy, so I guess I just don't have much to share.  Projects have been few and far between, and honestly most of the things I have started have languished the moment the sun peeks out and beckons me back to play.

My children and I made a trip to Utah to visit with family.  That was fun.  My mother's garden is beautiful and full of life, my parents are both pretty darn good company, my son caught his first fish, and my dad served us deep fried bacon... what more can I say.

Here at home we have been lucky enough to enjoy long sunny days at a nearby lake, fireworks, a carnival, some good books, vintage video games galore, and even a 10th wedding anniversary.  It has been sweet.  But as Autumn approaches and real life looms large (school, work, etc.) I will cling to these last few weeks of freedom.  There is still time for blackberries and the beach, one last ferry ride, and just a little more swimming, heck I might even talk myself into one more bonfire and s'mores.  Enjoy these long days, I know I will.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Buff Chick Pizza

I have been holding onto this one for a week, things have just been so busy!  But here is a recipe for the Buffalo wing lovers.

Buff Chick Pizza requires: your favorite pizza dough, pizza sauce, 1 1/2 cups grated jack cheese, 20+ chicken nuggets, Frank's Red Hot Sauce or similar, 1/4 cup sliced green onions, 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles.  Prepare your dough, while it rises bake the chicken nuggets according to package directions, set adside.  Adjust oven temp and prebake crust 4-5 minutes at 425 degrees.  Toss chicken with hot sauce to coat, add more or less to suit your own tastes.  Layer sauce, jack cheese, chicken, green onions and blue cheese on crust and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned.  Serve with celery sticks and beer.  Cheers!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SCA Tent?

My husband and I have been discussing the many possible options for a decent, somewhat medieval looking tent for weeks.  There are so many really amazing images of tents floating around the internet that it can become difficult to make any kind of firm decision on a direction to take.  There are custom pavilions selling for hundreds, to thousands of dollars, there are army surplus tents in the same price range, there are instructions for DIY tents, bell tents, A-frames, Viking, Ottoman... it can be a bit overwhelming. 

For us the options can be cut down based on price; we simply cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a tent that we will use briefly each summer.  Because of this we decided to go with a DIY approach.  There are all kinds of wonderful plans available online, SCAdians are great about sharing what works and what  doesn't, but we are taking a slightly different route.  Consider this the first installment of the lazy man's guide (okay, lazy woman's guide if you prefer) to a medivalish family encampment.  We are planning to purchase a 10x20 carport to use as the basic structure of our tent.  These carports can be purchased for around $100.00 and for us this is a very reasonable starting point.  It is the material needed for the conversion that can be very expensive. 

Marine grade canvas, Sunbrella, and similar fabrics can be very pricey.  I have heard about people getting them for as low as $5 a yard, but I haven't seen any myself.  I was planning to save up for a few months to get enough duck canvas, an inexpensive marine option, to create the necessary side panels for our tent.  We basically want to enclose ten feet of the carport to create our sleeping space, and then leave the other ten foot section open on the sides (perhaps with the option of closing in two more sides in foul weather) to serve as a sitting area.  Now, I use the past tense here because that plan changed with a little good luck. 

I found a crazy, amazing, stupid cheap deal on what appears to be marine-grade vinyl.  I say, "appears to be," because this fabric has no information on content, or thickness, or anything, but it was so cheap I didn't really care.  "How cheap?" you ask.  Brace yourself...

I paid ten cents a yard for 150 yards of this stuff, yep $15.00 plus tax. 

That roll weighs so much my husband had a hard time carrying it inside, and we are pretty sure it is one continuous cut, which is crazy.  It is a woven synthetic of some sort, it is bright yellow (the red stripes are just the tape holding the roll), and it is 46" wide.  I can make an entire matching encampment with this stuff!  I am super stoked.  Stay tuned for more pics and info as we start putting this baby together.  I hope to be camping in it by our big September event so I better get cracking!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SCA (Soggy Camping Association)

This past weekend was our very first SCA camping event.  We had a few crazy logistical issues to deal with, but manged (with the help of some great friends) to get ourselves on site, set-up, and ready to rock Friday evening.  The site was gorgeous, the company was great, and we went to bed happy campers... Then around 5:45 am the rain started, and it just kept coming all weekend long.

At one point a staff member at the campground (who has worked this event for the past three years) told me she has renamed the Society for Creative Anachronism the "Soggy Campers Association."  But honestly a wonderful, wet, time was had by all.  I imagine we will have even more fun when we do this in good weather.

If nothing else we looked fabulous! 

Maybe today I will finish drying out and stowing the last of our wet gear...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The 10 Foot Rule

I just completed my "cooler cooler" project!  I love it.  It is homely and slightly inconvenient, but from 10' away it looks like a million bucks! And in the SCA that is good enough (for most people).  A big thank you to the folks over at Honor Before Victory for yet another awesome idea.  This is basically a cooler covered in brown paper and varnish.  My cooler was a slightly different model from Gregor and Genoveva's so I made a few modifications.

First, I had a weird lip on my cooler that made it so the top didn't actually come down to meet the sides.  I decided to use a strip of faux leather to hide this after it was all covered in the paper.  It actually worked pretty well, my only complaint is the fabric has enough stretch to conform to the shape of the lid so it got a little tight on the sides, but it looks great (you just have to be careful the cooler seals properly when you close it).  The faux leather was just a scrap I had lying around from Halloween so it wasn't quite long enough and I had to use two pieces to wrap around the lid, if I had my preference I would have used one continuous piece. 

Secondly, my cooler did not have handles, but it did have weird holes in the edges of the lid, go figure.  I have no clue what these hole are for, maybe you can lock the cooler to keep out Fish and Game? (kidding)   So, instead of wrapped handles I decided to put a braided cord on either end to make it easier to lift the lid (this is especially helpful because I covered the lip intended for use in raising the lid).  Finally, my cooler had cup holders in the lid, this is the most obvious non-period detail about the whole thing and I will probably cover it with a cutting board most of the time... but I know we will want to use those cup holders so I didn't want to cover them permanently. 

We will debut this bad boy at Boar's Hunt this weekend, with a little luck it will keep everything cold AND look good enough to pass peer scrutiny!  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Oh, The Irony

Either I am painting my room...

I have a million things to do inside today... So the sun finally came out...WTF!?

Or, I am painting myself, not sure which

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Purple Princess Progress

bodice fitting

front detail

back detail

I have been working on some other projects for the past week, but I did manage to get the eyelets done in the back of this dress today.  I also braided the laces for the dress and the bodice straps.  I still need to make the bodice a front lace and get the sleeve gathers done, not to mention the other half of the bodice embroidery (at least I got the layout done, I hate that part), but I think there is time. 

I tried the bodice on with a spare corset lace I had lying around, it fits great.  I also tried the dress on today and it fits very well, something is a little crooked, but I can't decide if it is me or the dress, so I may have to make some minor adjustments after the final fitting.  I suppose cutlets are not period, tee hee hee.

If everything comes together right I will be ready to wear this outfit at Boar's Hunt in one week.  I am also making a nice ivory hood to wear because it will be cold, and I am adding a couple of gores of black fleece to my existing cape for added width and warmth, because it will be cold, and I am making a new wool tunic for my son because it will be cold...  Do you see the pattern here? I am worried about camping in the cold! 

I would also like to finish a cooler project, and a cot project, plus I am helping with the construction of eleven child sized tabards (although those will be done tomorrow)  I think it will be a busy week!  Maybe I will even get my house clean before we leave for the weekend, I hate coming home to a messy house! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bad Garb part II

Work in progress on the "purple princess" dress.  I will be gathering the bottom section of the sleeves, adding the back closure (approximately 50 eyelets), then the bottom hem, and voilá a dress fit for a time-traveling-multi-cultural-LARP-princess!

When Bad Garb Happens to Good People

It is amazing how a project can take on a life of it's own.  In a recent post I mentioned the initial idea for my embroidered bodice was basically a medieval bra.  I honestly had something like an Ace bandage in mind when I first started.  Well the bodice became something entirely different, and as I have already mentioned became an object that I am scorning as I make it.  I keep thinking, "this is sooooo much work for something I will be embarrassed to wear in public."  Well instead of finding a way to make this project better, I have actually found a way to make it even less period and more time consuming! What is wrong with me? 

Now don't get me wrong, this is a fabulous looking project, I am in love with the way it is turning out on some levels, however I am now at a point where I have literally thought to myself, "you might as well just be a LARPer!"  No offense to the LARPing community, I just don't have what it takes to play like that, I lack imagination.  But this "garb" is fit for a fairy princess.  I don't know what is happening but I don't seem to be able to stop the process at this point.

So anyway,  I found some nice neutral woven fabric the other day for $2.99 at a craft store.  I decided to dye it with some purple RIT I had lying around to see if it would work for the simple dress I imagined wearing under this embroidered bodice.  I also threw some of the fabric I used for the bodice into the dye bath because I knew I wouldn't have quite enough for a long sleeved dress without it.  The fabric took the dye beautifully and I ended up with a really nice light purple for the main garment and a lavender to trim it with.  Next I took a quick look at some kirtle patterns, including Mistress Cori's great tutorial.  I laid everything out, cut the pattern, screwed up, redid, and ended up with a nicely fitted, less than perfect purple kirtle.  I used the lavender to make a yoke and then used a combination of the two fabrics to make nice long sleeves.

I've been wanting to try an insertion stitch join so I did that on the sleeves and then I used some embroidery stitches to attach/decorate the yoke.  I have spent roughly 12 hours on this dress in the past two days.  It looks amazing, but the problem is the complete and utter lack of historical accuracy.  This outfit will be a mish-mash of centuries and cultures.  I am filled with costume shame, and yet it is so pretty I know I will have to wear it **sigh**  Who picked this hobby?  Ah well, I'll take some more pictures when it is all completed.  Then maybe we can LARP together.