A few baubles

Just dropping in to share some photos from my Faire costuming. I found these as I was sorting through a big pile of jewelry.

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Please forgive the poor lighting. Here you see a “rosary” which I am very unhappy with. The cross is broken and poorly fixed, from an old necklace.
The key is pretty simple, wrapped with a bit of wire and attached to a purchased chain. I actually wear this from time to time.
Likewise with this giant red pendant. I like the heavy chain it’s on as well.

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This was fun. I was going for a pirate look, as if I had gathered a dozen souvenirs from my adventures and strung them idly on some wire. The necklace itself is actually made with fishing tackle. The bits hanging around are a handful of random things like a pair of pretty wooden buttons, a dragonfly that broke off a hairpin, and other jewelry box detritus.
The tackle is a little uncomfortable, but I’m happy with the overall effect.

I’ve been making lots more stuff for my shop, and I’m excited to share them with you! If you’re looking for Valentines, look for a special themed shop section soon!!

A Hasty Photoshoot

As you may know, I’ve been busy with a lot of projects the past few weeks. So busy that I had to halt all of my online activity to make time for them. The biggest of these projects is a personal project – costumes for the upcoming Renaissance Faire! We’ve always loved these and have even done costumes before. We decided to really go all out this year though, with full new costumes for all three of us. I’ve been working my tail off, making all three costumes by hand!

Before I share these photos, I have some caveats: 1) it was late at night, 2) it was swelteringly hot, 3) we both felt ridiculous, 4) these photos were taken with a Blackberry. So, not the best camera or photo conditions, and not the best time or mood for taking flattering photos. In other words, we both look less than our best.

This is the bottom layer of my costume. It’s a simple square-necked muslin shift. I actually really like this pattern and the shape of the dress. Might make some similar things for actual everyday wear. This is the typical undergarment that every woman from the 15th century (or thereabouts) would wear. It wasn’t really intended to be seen, but mine will be. The neckline is a bit too wide for me, but that’s okay in this instance. I am thinking of adding some embroidery along the neckline. Blackwork would be a nice nod to Catherine of Aragon, but I’m thinking I’ll do a white-on-white border design. I am wearing some yoga pants underneath because I didn’t feel like taking them off. I have a somewhat tighter pair that I’m planning to actually wear to the faire, for comfort.

And here is the top layer! The corset is the only thing not made by me (well, except the parts of hubby’s costume that he’s made himself). We bought it a few years ago at, you guessed it, a Ren Fest. (Our favorite one, in fact.) It dictated the color of my costume; otherwise I would not have chosen a red skirt. (Red dye was too expensive for ordinary people back in the day, and also I don’t care for how I look in red.) (My corset actually is reversible but the other side is a very dark blue that looks black and that didn’t really work for me either.) If I look a bit uncomfortable, it’s because the bottom of my corset is laced too tightly, and the top is not laced tightly enough. Hey, we were not going for perfection for these photos.
The skirt is a wraparound skirt and it overlaps on the left side there by my hand. I’m planning to conceal a pouch or two in there. I don’t really have a “character” exactly, but as I’ve worked, I’ve imagined my clothing as belonging to a sort of secretly-badass innkeeper, with a knife under her skirts and taking no shit from nobody. Yeah, basically a medieval River Song because that’s how I roll. Oh and for shoes, I bought some nice grey flats from Target. They rock.

Remaining items to be made: a pouch or two, for carrying things. Possibly a wrist bracer. Decorative items like necklace and earrings. Hairpiece. I’m also thinking of making a fabric vest-like thing to wear as a substitute for the corset if I get tired later in the day.

Now for the boy! This is part one, and it’ll actually probably be a part of most of his future costumes. Yay for multitasking. I am absolutely in love with the shirt. I spent days and days on it, and I am SUPER proud of it. The blue details turned out better than I imagined. There are silver buttons at the cuffs and top of the placket, but you can’t see them here. The pants are also handmade although in the end we probably could’ve gotten some karate pants and been fine, haha.

Armor! This sword-arm construction is actually two pieces – a shoulder piece and a wrist/forearm piece. They are both made of faux leather and are custom-fit to his arm (his upper arm is several inches shorter than the pattern, for some reason). It’s backed with a feltlike stuff and is pretty dang comfortable. I’m wearing it right now actually because I got curious as to whether it’d fit me. Both pieces can be worn separately and can go on the left arm as well (but you’d need a squire to help fasten the shoulder piece since the buckles would be in the back). The wrist part took only a few hours total, but the shoulder took longer than I expected. I really enjoyed making these and I’m hoping to actually make some to put up in my Etsy shop. If you’re interested, let me know!
There is also a chainmail shirt in the works that’ll go on just under these pieces (so the buckles are on top). I started it and taught him how, and Jonathan’s been working on it steadily in his spare time for weeks. We bought all the rings from Etsy for convenience and improvised the shape, and it looks great. I’ll share a photo when it’s done.

Here are the finishing touches. The sword, well, it’s not really part of the costume. It’s a Sting (we are nothing if not nerdy) that he decided to use as a photo prop. We are hoping to purchase a proper longsword this year!
The shield has an interesting story. It began life as a metal-mesh tabletop fruit basket at Pier One. At some point, lacking a surface to set it on, we hung it on the wall and noticed that it resembled old shield displays. After months of that thought rattling around, we finally decided to try weaving some suede lacing through it. This idea yielded the final result you see here. I love the serpentine pattern of the metal and the black leather. The top section is marine vinyl with a leathery look. We ran out of suede lacing, and that stuff is expensive. I really like the finished product, with the scalloped edge. The silver accents on the top are fleurs-de-lis, originating from our heraldic arms.
There is an open-sided tunic that is about half-done, sitting on our bookshelves. It’s the same deep blue as the accents on the shirt, and I have embroidered a water bouget (another piece from our heraldry) to applique onto it. However, I improvised the shape of the tunic and I am very unhappy with how it has turned out. I’m hoping to salvage it, since the fabric was NOT cheap…

Still to do for him: not much actually. There may be a hat forthcoming, and of course the tunic if I can manage it.

Did I say three costumes? Oh yes I did. There’s also an adorable pink satin dress for our daughter, which she’ll wear over some pink pants with her (purchased the same year as the corset) fairy wings. No pictures of her since, as I mentioned, it was late. I still need to make a hairpiece for her, and possibly a necklace or some other sparkly jewelry.

I’m pretty proud of these things, and I hope you like them too. I also hope you haven’t given up on my blog. I’m still here! I’m just sooo busy. With only accessories left to make, though, I might have a bit more time to spend here! Don’t go too far!

Do you like Renaissance Faires or festivals? Do you like costumes? Let’s talk about nerdy fun!

Sneak Peeks

You may or may not know this, but my husband and I love renaissance faires. We both grew up a stone’s throw from one of the best: The Texas Renaissance Festival. We miss it a lot now that we live way up here in New York, but we console ourselves with Sterling Renaissance Faire. It’s not as big as TRF, but we had a TON of fun last year. It was the perfect size to see everything, and the shows by the Bless the Mark players were absolutely amazing. We are obviously planning to attend again this year (possibly more than once).

I shared that bit of trivia with you to introduce the stuff I’ve been working on and thinking about the last couple weeks. We’re planning to dress up in costume this year!

The last time we attended TRF, we got our “family crest” researched. This shape here is a water bouget, the central figure for the heraldry of our last name.

I embroidered this with DMC Ecru on some plain off-white fabric. I’m going to make a tunic for Jonathan and applique this onto it. I’m fairly happy with how this turned out, although I definitely feel it could be better.

We haven’t yet gotten the fabrics or patterns for any of the clothes (except for some off-white cotton gauze), but I’m planning on a deep blue for Jonathan’s tunic.

He’s also going to be armored up. His “character,” such as it is, is basically a hedge knight – non-landed, non-nobility, knighted-for-valor sort of thing.

Here you can see a six-rails wide strip of European 4-in-1 maille. We’ve been tag-teaming on this one. We’ve done about half each, at this point. I think he’s wanting to finish it himself, which is probably good since I’ve got lots of sewing to do.

This is the length of the piece. If I hold one end at my shoulder, it reaches to the floor. It’s 6-wide at one end and 4 at the other because of how Jonathan’s weaving it.

It’s going to be a shirt of mail, eventually. This long strip will hang over one shoulder. When this piece is all evened up, we’re going to start on the center part, forming the neckline and the torso. I have no idea yet how we’ll do the shoulders/sleeves. Cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’m fairly sure now that this is approximately what I’m going to make for our little fairy girl. She already has a fantastic pair of wings (which we bought at TRF in 2009). I need to sit down and have a good look at a pattern for this shirt. :) Don’t you just love how it criss-crosses in the back? Even without sparkly pink wings (because she will inevitably want them off), Charlotte will still look like a little fairy. (Photo from this post at Colette Moscrop.)

No, I haven’t mentioned what I’m going to wear, because … I don’t know. I kinda want my costume to tie in with Jonathan’s, but I’m not sure how. I’d also really love to make a Female Link costume, or a character from Game of Thrones (n0t sure who, though). Sigh.

There are things going on here aside from costuming. Not very much crafting, I’m afraid. Soooo busy. My garden is looking absolutely lovely. My house is a complete pigsty. LOL. I took a bit of a break from reading (unintentionally), but I’m still working on Dance with Dragons. Loving it! The books continue to pour in (and out) from Paperback Swap. I have a HUGE stack of new books. :)

I may be teaching a crafting tutorial at an FRG event in July. Well, I said I would, anyway. I just have to figure out what I’d like to teach! I’d love to do chainmaille, but it’d be difficult because of the “needing a million pairs of pliers” issue. So I’m leaning toward embroidery. What do you think?

We attended a Sesame Street event earlier this week! It was pretty great. I’ve got photos of it up on my facebook (sorry, random internet people, but they’re private). I made a daisy chain while we were waiting for the doors to open.

I always have hundreds of planned projects, but one that I am REALLY hoping to start on soon is this!

I’ve been jonesing after this baby for months now. There are a zillion colors in it, but I have quite a few colors already so I think I’ll finally print out the pattern, assess what I have, and make a start (and a list of colors to obtain). I even have a scroll frame now, which should make it easier to do! The pattern for this lovely thing can be found at this Sprite Stitch thread.

That’s all I can think of to share right now. :) See you in a few days with my Web roundup. In the meantime, let’s chat! What are you working on?

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