Wednesday, December 28, 2005

And the Beat Goes On

Hope everyone's holidays were happy and that the New Year will bring good health and happiness to everyone.

Sometimes the holidays just get in the way. Don't get me wrong, I love the feeling of good cheer that tends to accompany the times. It is just that there are so many little things that make life more difficult. For example, the 6 christmas gifts that didn't arrive before we left for the holiday visit. Then there were the package of spangles that didn't arrive in time for me to deliver The Project to the dressmaker before we left. Fortunately everything arrived while we were gone and so I am frantically sewing to get the project done.

Went to Disneyland for 3 days with friends. Managed to leave late, but arrived in time to check in and get some sleep before getting to the park at opening. The crowds were huge, but that first hour (8 am) you can get on most of the rides you want. Did park things for a couple hours. Ate a late breakfast. Then more park stuff like exhibits that don't have the long lines of kids with parents. Went back to the hotel for a couple hours rest then back to the park for dinner and the evening. Did Downtown Disney - shops and restraurants that don't require tickets. Did California Adventure - it lacks the depth, but then the husband reminded me that Disneyland is 50 years old and there have been lots of time to build the depth. It does have the Electric Light Parade, or at least a version of one.

The neat part about going at Xmas is that Disney does Xmas big! Small World is decorated with holiday themes from around the world and holiday music is intertwined with "It's A Small World". Also they use the front of the building as a backdrop for a fun lightshow after the "15 minutes" clock show. Haunted Mansion becomes The Nightmare Before Christmas. Each area is decorated with garlands and wreaths that reflect that area. Even the Golden Gate Bridge is decorated with gold garlands and wreaths. Then to top it off it snows in certain areas of the park at the end of the fireworks display.

The food was pretty good, if you were willing to hunt for it and pay the prices. The River Belle serves a decent breakfast. The Main St. General Store coffee includes all day refills. The Blue Bayou serves LARGE portions and reasonable quality meats. Catal was very good in Downtown Disney - I'd go back just for the Appetizers. We treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at The Vineyard. It was a 4 course dinner with wine pairings. We hadn't had the time or health to go out and celebrate the husbands big install in Nov so this was it. Dinner took about 2+ hours and then had a perfect view of the Electric Light Parade. A very nice way to end the Disney portion.

Hope to do a photo page off the personal website, but that will have to wait until after 12th Night. Saw the family, but the trip home was cut short as the husband was coming down with a nasty cold. The presents were well received and we were well "presented" in return.

With the weather, the lighting on the California foothills, on the ride home, really reminded me of the Sharon B's blog - In a Minute Ago. She was commenting on the need for artists to have a sort of reference design folder. You put in this folder things that call to you from any source - magazines, photos, etc. Linn Skinner has also commented that you find design sources everywhere you look. You just need to look with that "artist's eye".

Now back to spangles and pearls. Need to find an upbeat film to sew to today. Hm....

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Design Talk

Being sick puts a crimp on everything. The brain does want to work right. The fingers aren't as deft as usual. Food doesn't taste good. Grump! But it really puts a crimp in designing. Hard to make the creative juices flow when the rest of the brain is out of sync.

When I started "THE PROJECT" I had a design in mind. I don't draw, but had mentally sketched the piece out. Developed templates for the felt bases. Grabbed all the coral and pearl beads in related sizes and colorations I could find. Then went looking for my bead trays to try laying stuff out in patterns.

Awhile back I took a class from Joyce Lukomski on beading. As a bonus she gave us a bead tray which has stickie bits on it. It is primarily to hold small beads in place when you are traveling so you can work in odd places - hotels, coffee shops, airports... But I've found another use for it -- designing. It holds my beads in place so that I can layout some of the designs - anything 3"x3" or less. Then I can transfer the design - bead for bead to the fabric.

While this helps lots, it still doesn't always account for how something will look once it is on the fabric. I hate frogging, but at least with beads you can clip the threads. Finally have a design I like for the leaves and the rose. A lot has to do with perspective. If you plan on viewing the piece close or from across the room. In this case, it needs to meet both needs. Also, mass, seems to make a difference. Yes you can get the feel with shading the beads, but you lose the feel when you get a couple feet away. Sigh. It is also interesting that the pearls I thought would work best are actually being the ones least used. They looked good in mass, but are almost too good quality to convey the design. I've had to work down a level and use the best pearls as accents.

Adding another layer of complexity is the felt padding. I've been working on layering parts of the felt to get even more perspective. For example, you look down into the center of a rose or the center vein of a leaf.

The project is being done with beads and spangles ranging from 2 - 5 mm. It is interesting looking at the portraits. You begin to get a scale when you can see things like 5 pearls along the edge of a collar which is approximately 1 - 1.5" high. The leaves range across half the arm, but only have around 20 pearls from tip to tip.

All in all very challenging to make happen. Now if only my shipment from Benton and Johnson will arrive with the several thousand spangles. I've already had Joady at Hedgehog Handiworks send me around 700 real gold ones and I had 1000 gold colored ones from a prior shipment - fortunately.

Back to stitching. But wait my column is due is 2 weeks, and and and.... Guess no home baked goodies this year.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Thread Control and Bead Control

Been spending lots of time on my beading project. Actually it is pearls and coral bits on velvet. Some of the designs are on felt, either single layer or padded. Either way, when you are placing beads down into a design, if placement is an issue, you want them to stay. Well at least the control freak in me wants them to stay put.

Over the years I've taken lots of classes that talked about using the "cross stitch" to hold beads in place or other methods. I heard lots of horror stories about working on velvet. I've heard lots of theories about working with different threads or needles. After hearing all this I have been putting off this particular project for some time time and was approaching it with lots of trepidation.

In short, I'm finding that the real key is tension. I placed the muslin on the frame. I sewed the velvet to the muslin. Then I outlined the sewing lines for the sleeve and collar pieces in a bright colored thread. Next was placing the felt bits on the areas that needed to be built up. Then came the beading. I am using the thread doubled at all times for the main work. For the larger beads I am using a linen thread so the hole is relatively full. For the smaller beads and pearls I am using silk.

If the beads need to be done in a smooth row, they are first threaded on a strand. Then they are attached with a back stitch and couching. I sometimes go through 2 or 3 pearls then pick up the last pearl for the next 3. Periodically I will do a couching stitch to keep the "strand" in place. If the pearls or beads need to be done in a more random formation, I approach it like you would chipwork. By keeping the threads coming from different angles, I can keep a good tension going to hold the beads down. If I need to do a more "fan" formation, I may do one side, then the opposite side, then return to the original side - and so on. This allows me to have tension and place the beads closely without having the thread cut through. Using these techniques the beads are staying in place and it doesn't matter whether I am working on the velvet, single felt or padded felt.

The beading is done on the collar and about half done on the sleeve. Next come the spangles. Probably about 1000 of them. Haven't counted the coral or pearls, but there will be easily a couple thousand by the time I'm through. I'm doing some shading with the coral. Don't know if it is period, but the result is fantastic if I do say so myself. Yes I'll post pictures, but not until I'm done.

Just had to share! Now back to the beading.

PS Now I need to go buy some more movies. Of course watching 3 different versions of Pride and Prejudice back to back was interesting. And Emma. And Sense and Sensibility. And...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Time to Start the Holiday Cheer

Yesterday was the EGA installation and luncheon. Lots of good eats from all the ladies for the potluck. So now I'm it. Fortunately I have a good crew of officers and committee chair. Need to write the Presidents Column today.

After the meeting went to arrange for the next workshop. One of the ladies has an in at a quilting shop - Always Quilting. The owner is going to do a full day workshop for us - Crazy for Color. We will be doing a small pillow size crazy quilt piece as an exercise in learning more about color theory. Should be lots of fun. I've been putting off doing any crazy quilting because I know I will get hooked in and then....

Stopped on the way home to do the main holiday shopping. I'm cooking only for 4 but still need/want to do all the trimmings. Will pickup the fresh turkey this morning. Managed to get the husband to do the cranberry relish and whole berry the other night while I cooked dinner. Tried a new recipe for roasted cauliflower handpies with hazelnut and machego. They were rich, but very good.

So here is hoping you have a great holiday with friends and family!

You're a Glass of Wine!

What Type of Alcoholic Beverage Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 21, 2005

Juggling Again

Juggling the holidays.
Juggling the embroidery projects - think pearls, lots of pearls.
Juggling the business and ebay and Amazon - it is the holiday rush after all.
Juggling the needs of the organizations I belong to including being intalled tomorrow as my EGA Chapter's President.

And just to be silly:

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Would you believe this???

What Race of Middle Earth Do You Belong To?

Tired but pleased. Spent the last couple days with friends learning more about Reticella from Diane Clements. Always good to learn from a master. While I seriously doubt that I'll ever do the full sampler project, it has some pattern instruction for a couple difficult stitches. I've played with the stitches and worked on compensating bits, but she has some good directions for flow and compensation. An added plus to the class.

Now off to relax and rest the abused hands, arms, shoulder... so I can do more stitching tomorrow.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Column

Have received a couple emails about my column with questions about what magazine and the topics. So here is a list of the articles in Needlepoint Now:

Sept/Oct 2004 - Voided Work/Not Just Assisi
Project - bookmark with pattern from 1546 - long arm cross stitch - pomegranates

Nov/Dec 2004 - Needlepoint Furnishings/Canvaswork
Project - Elizabethan Oak Life Scissor Fob - tent stitch - pattern from a Hardwicke Hall cushion

Jan/Feb 2005 - Bargello
Project - Scissor Case with 2 sides - Flame Stitch and Hungarian Stitch - modified renaissance patterns

March/April 2005 - Elizabethan Slips
Project - silk gauze briar rose slip - pattern from existing slip - tent stitch

May/June 2005 - Blackwork Bands
Project - bookmark in double running from Quentel - courtesy of Linn Skinner

July/ Aug 2005 - Blackwork Filling Patterns
Project - Dragonfly Needlecase - double running stitch - patterns courtesy of Linn Skinner from historic textiles

Sept/Oct 2005 - Cross Stitch
Project - courtesy of Chris Laning - pincushion - patterns from Sens Pouch

Nov/Dec 2005 - Pattern Darning (on the stands now)
Project - altoids tin cover of Egyptian Pattern Darning - pattern from a 14th C. collar

Jan/Feb 2006 - Opus Teutonicum and other counted thread German stitching
Project - small box/ornament of Congress Cloth - 6 patterns including pattern darning and satin stitching

March/April 2006 - German Brick Stitch (tentatively)
Project - TBD

Thanks for all the support. Now back to stitching my prework for a class with Diane Clements on Reticella.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Blogging Anniversary

2 years ago I stared blogging. All credit/blame for getting me started goes to Linn Skinner. I had gotten the teaching bug and was having fun playing with new ideas in both medieval and modern needlework. She was sure I'd enjoy blogging about my experience and perhaps even be able to share the joy further than the actual classes or projects. Sure enough - 2 years later, here I am blogging about my experiences. But it is more than that, it is about growth - growing the knowledge, growing the inner strength, growing the ability to communicate, and much more.

Hope you have enjoyed the journey and will check back in often.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Stitching Festival --- very sad

Several years ago I began going to CATS/Stitching Festival when it was down in Riverside. They had 5 or 6 shows a year, with around 30-40 vendors and 50-60 different classes to choose from. As time has gone on, they have decreased the number of classes to around only 30 this year and if they had 15 different vendors I'd be surprised. They moved show locations and dates to boost numbers, but it didn't work. The industry as a whole is on a down phase, but they never did good publicity. This show was poorly attended, poorly advertised....... They are going down to 3 shows a year and the only "west coast" show will be Las Vegas in April.

All that aside, I enjoyed my class and managed to find everything I needed from the vendors booths - and well discounted. Took a class from Phyllis Maurer, Ethnic Fiber Art. She was a good teacher and had some good tips in addition to the piece she was teaching. The class was on Kogin embroidery. It is a form of Japanese pattern darning. The quilting form is Sashiko and that term may be more familiar.

Finished stitching the project for the next column. Now to photograph it and put it together. I hate charting patterns and the programs I have are difficult at best. I need to do some basic charts and then the magazine will do finals for me. I'm excited that the next issue went to the printers. Really enjoyed the project and column for it and hope you will too.

I've learned a lot about creating on demand. It really is a very different discipline. Part is opening your self to what is around you. There are design elements and clues all around. You just need to "see" them and integrate them.

Off to do more charting. The tendonitis is beginning to set in again. I'll need to allocate time between keyboard and stitching. Needless to say, the stitching for 12th Night will take priority - sorry. So please excuse if I don't blog often.

PS comments via reblogger always appreciated - it has been very quiet lately and if it wasn't for the statistics I'd think I was just talking to the ozone.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

And the Beat Goes On

Not much new to post. Working on the next column. Did the proofs on the last column and HOPE that the pictures that appeared grainy really are okay.

Saturday is CATS and I'll go to the Kogin Pillow class. It appears to be a type of pattern darning - Japanese style. At least it will be a new take on the method. Need to do a bit of shopping and hope Grip It will be there.

Friday is the 20th Anniversary of the Bay Area Regency Society's 1st ball. I was there and we will be going to the ball on Friday evening. Time flies.

Been doing more on the Icelandic pattern darning piece. Lots of fun in a counted sort of way. Fortunately there are so many double checks that it is hard to go wrong. Took the piece with me to a professional conference last friday. It was old home week since I was on the Board for 4 years. The stitching kept me sane through the meeting. There was even some good informantion to be had. They had come a long way since I was in there bitching and pitching for the organization. Growth is good.

Duplex fell through - sigh! Back to ebay and amazon for the little stuff. Will try Craig's list for some of the bigger furniture.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Catching Up - Lots of "Short" Bits

Feel like I've been running fast for ever!! whew!

First Happy New Year - yes it is time for the Jewish New Year -- that time between times. For those not familiar with the practice, from New Year's Day/eve until Yom Kippur you are to go through a process of spiritual cleansing. If you wronged someone, do what you can to make it right. If you screwed up - ask forgiveness from the source. Forgiveness comes from those you wronged, not GOD. If you can't receive forgiveness directly - acknowledge the problem and pay it forward. Ideally you pay all your bills during this time and remove all debt (mortgages and the like exempted). You also try to look at your priorities and get them back in order. Easy to say and hard to do.

Trying to buy a duplex. It is being a rocky road. Spent the weekend contemplating pulling the plug on the transaction. Using all my mediation training, I asked what was important to me - and to them. I did come up with an answer and have asked my real estate agents to convey the "new" message. We shall see how the other party responds. If no go, we pull the plug.

The Poppy Run -- looked at the wording of the competition information about a month ago, and decided that I did need to enter 8 different competitions to ensure that there was NO question about my qualifying. So spent lots of time researching bone and entered the competition at October Crown. It was fun doing the research. It was smelly boiling all the bones. It was smelly and difficult doing the grinding and sanding. Thanks muchly to the husband for putting up with the delayed meals, overseeing my working with his grown up tools (I never took shop), and running out to get files and blades, and.... Thanks to Cathy for putting up with my taking time away from her visit to write the documentation and to doing ALL the cooking for October Crown. Thanks to Anne for pointing out some more sources for me. Put my meager entry in and - surprised the hell out of me - I won :)

Left to right - pig bone pin, pig bone sewing needle, pig bone naalbinding needle, pig bone seam smoother, 2 turkey leg bone (sorry no goose) needlecases. Didn't get the cardweaving tiles done from the cow bone - ran out of time.

So for those keeping track -- I have 6 wins, 8 competitions, 10 entries. It also looks like I am the only one to complete the "run" this year. If so, then at 12th Night I will step up as Kingdom Artisan - an office, loosely defined, and doesn't come with a pavilion (per the husband - no more offices with pavilions that have to be hauled around and set up).

Really enjoyed October Crown. Lots of merchants since the An Tir merchants were stopping on their way to Great Western War. The fighting was really good and fun to watch. The Eric party was fun. After we had our dinner party, Cathy and I toured around for a bit.

Been selling lots of stuff through Amazon - books, videos, etc. It is not top dollar, but it is easy and not terribly time consuming. The extra money helps too - lets me buy more books :)

Signed up for the 5 day Goldwork class through the RSN in Perry Iowa in April 2006. Cancelled on the 3 day version this year for the cruise, but doesn't look like cruises are in our future for a bit.

Saturday was very full. First off the Regional meeting for EGA. It seems I'll be stepping up as my chapter's President - in reality co-Pres, but national only recognizes one person. It was either that or disband the chapter after 30 years. Attended the Education meeting and the "region" meeting. Then they had a Teachers Showcase. So put all my bits together in a display case and put together a hand out. About 100 people filed through with the "chapter rep" picking up the handout. Got lots of really good feedback on the Elizabethan Garden -- if I get booked for it I'll need to do a new handout (sigh) since it is 4 years old and the pattern darning pieces (the next Needlepoint Now article).

Never made it home to meet up the husband for the dinner party - it was Fleet week so the Blue Angels were flying over the bridges. No way could I drive the Bay Bridge home, so went across the San Mateo. Stopped for gas and groceries and headed over 92 home. Got most of the way before things came to a complete stop. I expected bad as it is Pumpkin hell through the area, but it was an injury/overturned car accident. Called the husband, did a u-turn and drove back to N-S freeway. Walked the husband through the what I needed for the evening (makeup, costume, jewelry, plus the basket of plateware.....) on the phone and drove to a place in Daly City where my car could sit past midnight and not look conspicuous. Met the husband, finally, for the drive back up through San Francisco since he couldn't come through 92, and back across the Bay Bridge to Oakland. Did my costume change in the car and makeup in the parking lot (sigh).

So 12 hours after I left home, I'm walking to the Lord of the Rings Dinner in Rivendell. It was lovely. The small older wooden hall with large fireplace was completely lit with candles on the tables. We were at a small table of 8 in the corner and could be a bit quieter. Half a bottle of mead, good food, friendly people, some great costumes, and seeing some old friends -- it was a good evening. Picked up my car at midnight and drove home without incident and without breaking the mood. It really felt good to do something different. If you were wondering, I wore a gown I made 20 years ago, but could have come right out of the current production of LoTR - blue velvet, with muslin underdress. I wore a silver torc, long dangling earrings that have glass disks that act like light reflectors on the bottom, and my new coronet. The husband wore his "bastard" houppeland which is a wine cotton damask. Lots of bought costume pieces, especially the jewelry. What was really fascinating, was the fact that most of the people showed no knowledge that there were prior versions of the film, had read the books, or knew of the prior music that had been done.

Off to put more stuff up on Ebay and Amazon. Then need to do my class handout and examples for Collegium this weekend - class is Buttonholes. Been thinking about 12th Night outfits and redoing my website. Always more to do.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Being Silly

Thought this one was right on target -- (big grin) -- and boy am I lucky the husband loves this side of me.
What is your sexual appeal?

brought to you by Quizilla

Sounds like me - drives some people crazy as I leap from point A to point J and nail it - or so it seems.

Greens are some of the most powerful and
intelligent people in the aura spectrum. Greens
are extremely bright. They process information
and ideas quickly; jumping from steps one to
ten. They do not like dealing with all the
steps and details in between.

What Is Your True Aura Colour?
brought to you by Quizilla

[note I don't have a live journal name, but it takes a blogger name just fine. Now are we ready to kick a__?]

Your Sci-Fi Alter Ego
Your LiveJournal Name: 
Your First Name: 
Your Lucky Number: 
Your Sci-Fi Alter Ego is 
This Quiz by GrantGould - Taken 26861 Times.
New - Kwiz.Biz Astrology

Monday, September 26, 2005

It Was a Party!!!

Just a quick note to thank all of you who came, sent messages of good will or otherwise acknowledged the BIG day. Picked up my lady friends, Cathy and the other Robin, on friday at the airport. Had done the Trader Joe's and Costco runs just before. The frozen foods arrived in dry ice via FedEx around 3 pm. We prepped the necessary foods. Took a break for dinner. Then a quick run through of the set dances. Crashed early on Friday.

Saturday started with a trip to the Farmers Market for flowers and good eats. Picked up the cake. Had to wait a few minutes as they were finishing the decoration. Chocolate cake, with ganache filling, and ganache icing.

The ladies did the flower pots. The husband packed the cars and we were off to the hall. Managed to get everything decorated and set up in 1 1/2 hours with a little help from the family. 6 pm - Start the music and the evening was off. Ate lots of good food -- all managed by Cathy and Robin. Danced lots. Laughed lots. Spent time with friends. The wine, beer and champagne flowed. Lots of fun. Several of the guests stuck around to the end and helped us take down. Out of the hall by 11:30 pm. Home - tired - happy!

Sunday we got up. Dropped Robin off at the airport. Then off to meet most of the family for Dim Sum brunch. Then home again to crash. I've been well birthday'd.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Yesterday was the "big 50" day. It came in with a gentle snuggle from the husband, cats curled up on the bed, and a lovely card. The present actually happened on Sept 10. We have a September Gem and Jewelry Show which with an anniversary and my birthday in September, works quite well. It is a lovely black opal pendant in a white gold and diamond setting made to invoke the sea, the stars and hearts. It is by our favorite jeweler - Frank Lau. His work is art and this is exquisite and a perfect gift. I've found time and again, that he has the perfect item for me (and before me my mother), even when I'm not looking.

I've been prepping the house for the big party and running all sorts of errands. Ordered the cake - Monday. Got the hair cut in San Francisco on Tuesday (can't believe I've been going to Daniel since 1983). Done all the laundry and picked up most of the den. We put in 4 bookshelves to replace all the piles on the floor. Now that I'm organized, the test will be to see if I can find anything.

Tuesday evening was making the final lists and checking them twice. The front hall is filled with the party supplies all neatly bagged or boxed (beer, wine, champagne) for loading. Ordered the food yesterday for Friday delivery since they don't do Saturday delivery. Will do the final Costco and Trader Joes runs tomorrow along with airport pickups. Think the music is handled and will do a walk through of the set dances Friday evening.

Then just to make things interesting, I put in an offer on a duplex. Will find out today if I got it (I hope). It seems that everytime I buy property I'm in the midst of doing something big. For example, I was closing on my last house the weekend I met the husband. We bought our current house on my birthday in '99. The universe is funny sometimes.

Went to see Dead Can Dance last night at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. It is a beautifully restored Art Deco movie palace. We were in nearly the last row, but at a "rock" concert, I think back is better or at least easier on the ears. Friends came down from Sacramento to join us for the show. Arrived home around midnight. Snuggled in with the husband and cats. It was a good day.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

More Bloggers

Have discovered a whole world of SCA bloggers over at Live Journal. It will be interesting to see if we managed to do any cross chat. Live Journal is a whole world within its own world. They have networks of "friends" that cross blog. Very interesting to the psychologist in me to see the cross over happening. It is also interesting to see the networks of people I have only met online and continue to interact with on a semi-regular basis. I am guessing that such networks are just the beginning of another layer of social structure that the computer is enabling. I see more Phd theses in the future.

Could not resist this "test" since I am a big fan of old movies. Unfortunately it doesn't provide code to just drop into a blog so hope this cut and paste transfers.

Katharine Hepburn

You scored 28% grit, 19% wit, 47% flair, and 23% class!
You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 50% on grit
You scored higher than 0% on wit
You scored higher than 87% on flair
You scored higher than 50% on class
If you liked my test, send it to your friends!

The Classic Dames Test

Friday, September 09, 2005

Back Home

Well mostly back home. The trip to Oertha was wonderful. The hospitality, as always, was the best! It is really very nice to be wanted. I was quite honored when I found out that I was only the 2nd person they had flown up to teach and the first was a well known (as in across ALL the Kingdoms) Duke/Laurel/teacher.

The classes went well. Felt I wasn't always "on", but everyone who took the classes eventually worked their way through the techniques. I had 3-8 students per class. The most amazing was a young lady (?13-ish) who picked up some of the stuff faster than the others. She was quite shy and quiet, but by the end was joking with the rest of us. Hope to see some of her work several years from now. She is really quite amazing.

We stayed in a very nice house, complete with cat. We were the only ones staying there and our hostess took very good care of us. Of course she did take us around on Friday to several tempting shops and yes I did spend money. The first was a yarn shop that carries QuViuk which is wool from the underbelly of a muskox. It is THE softest wool I have ever touched. You knit it lacey so that it holds air. It is extremely warm. Of course it is also VERY expensive. Ah well. The shop was in a 3 story - log cabin house out in the woods. The lady also carries a wonderful variety of products including some I'd never seen before. Very dangerous place.

Next was a stop at A Weavers Yarn. Susan who runs the shop is a delight. She is excited about new products and really works to support the interests of her eclectic customers. I left her with a list of websites and products that I was introducing to the group so she could followup if there was interest. The shop is a mix of spinning, dyeing, weaving, needlework, and other textile products. I bought a carved horn awl (local product), a couple books, and a kit on African embroidery. She gave me some silk cocoons and introduced me to some new paternayan yarn on the market. It is a bit rougher and I think will work well for our kneeling carpet projcet. She will act as procurer for us.

Then off to another shop - The Spinning Room. Marnie does beads, dyeing, spinning, and weaving classes. The shelf of threads she has dyed over the years is wonderful -- a whole dyeing history and colors that make my fingers itch for a needle. She is currently into doing the fused glass and some metalwork. The back room has several large looms and she should be very proud of the beautiful weaving she has done.

Fairbanks is large, but not. It is hard to explain. It covers miles, but it is not densely populated. There is a Lowes, Walmart, Home Depot, Michaels, JoAnns, etc. The stores are huge. It takes maybe 15-20 minutes to cross town. The air is dry so with the weather in the 50/60's it was comfortable. Nights dropped to 30's and they had had their first frost just before we arrived. The trees were turning gold and it was a lovely sight to see. Had some Northern Lights on the flight up, but just green, white, yellow. If you like open space and quiet - Fairbanks is a nice blend of civilization and edge of the universe.

Now back to reality and finishing the project portion of my column. Finished the column and submitted it before going, but didn't finish the stitching. Need to do that today, so off to stitch.

PS I'm trying to add a ticker, which I found courtesy of In a Minute Ago, to lead up to THE party.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Keeping Up to Date

Whew! Sorry not to post more often, but as you know from prior posts I've been runing fast. This will be a short report --

Purgatorio - made 4 wire brooches for the contest and won. Yes I'll post pics as soon as I can. For those keeping count, this is my 5th win. I've entered 7 contests, but since I did double entries on 2, I have qualified for the Poppy. Won't know who wins the Poppy until at least Oct Crown. Also made Spelt Bread for the Food for the Peasant. Didn't win, but the judges liked the entry. Tasted good too :)

Preparation for Oertha - Barony of Winters Gate Captaincy and Collegium continues. The classes I'm teaching are:
Entering Kingdom Level Competitions (handouts done)
Overview to 16th C. Embroidery - handout done - not a separate class, but the common jump point for each class
Lace a Slate Frame, Scroll Frame or Stretcher Bars (handout done)
Blackwork Bands (handout almost done)
Raised Stitches - Detached Buttonhole, Trellis, Hollie Point (redid Oct Crown '04 handout)
Plaited Braid and other Plaits - scanning and research done
Interlace Braids - scanning and research done
Finishing - Hemstitching and Needlelace Edgings - scanning and research done
Will try and finish the handouts today -- sigh. Will probably do the samples onsite or Friday since I have all Fri (we fly Thursday night). Probably will have large part of Saturday morning too to stitch.

Column - research done. Project charted and half way stitched. Need to focus to write which is difficult with so much else going on. A friend did up 2 examples so will scan them for the column. Due Sept 1

Plus we have tickets for Wicked on Wed afternoon (wooo hoooo!)
-- okay back to doing the handouts

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Being Silly

Needed to take a break from finally putting stuff up on ebay and amazon - whew!

Monday, August 15, 2005

My Weekend Was Hijacked

The last week was, as posted previously, spent getting handouts and classes designed for the Collegium in Fairbanks. Have 7 classes on the docket for Labor Day weekend:
Entering Kingdom Level Competitions (not a needlework class, but needed for this audience and since I've been doing just this...)
Dressing a Slate Frame (or Scroll or Stretcher Bars)
Blackwork Bands (thanks to Linn for the charts)
Elizabethan Raised Stitches - focusing on Detached Buttonhole
Plaited Braid and Trellis Braid if we have time
Corded Interlace (well they are doing Tudor)
Finishing - Hemstitching & Needlelace Edges
Did an overview of the needlework handout. Took my slate frame article and revised it to cover scroll and stretcher bars. With the charts from Linn ( did the Blackwork Bands handout. Revised my Elizabethan Raised Stitches handout. Did the research for the other handouts and designed the classes. Then even managed to chart the project for my Pattern Darning column. It was a productive week through Thursday evening. Then...

Friday we found that we needed to take our oldest cat to the vet. He had lost another of his fangs a couple weeks ago, but hadn't shown any signs of tooth issues at the time. Seems he has an abcess. So onto the oxycillin and today went in for dental work. Spent friday afternoon on the Slate Frame handout.

In the evening we had planned on going to the storage locker to get stuff out for the garage sale. It seems that with all the rain we now have mold and mildew in our downstairs locker - big time and a little bit in one of the upstairs lockers. So... took the stuff out we wanted for the garage sale -- dreading what we would find when we opened the boxes. Some of the stuff was okay and some...

Saturday morning dawned with heavy misting. We did some set up - about 1/4th of what we planned. Did manage to get rid of some stuff - especially stuff that was awkward to have around. Made about $100 and shut down around 11am since it was just too wet. Did some rearranging and packed stuff into the garage (leaving the damp stuff open to the air for now). Then down to the storage locker after lunch. Moved stuff into the 2 upper lockers and brought the worst of the stuff home. Moved the rest to lay on raised boards so air can circulate and keep it drier. Since there will always be some moisture and the warmer dry months are ahead - we left some stuff in the lower locker for now. Will make a concentrated effort on clearing enough stuff out to give up that locker before Thanksgiving. Went home 3 1/2 hours later. Boy am I glad the husband is strong and that I'm a lot stronger than I was 6 months ago... Whew!

Then back home to make dinner for husband's brother and wife whom we had invited for dinner a few short days ago. Had the husband go to the farmers market in the am after putting out the garage sale signs. With his list in hand, he had bought fresh white corn, fresh peas, rasberries for me, a frozen Ollieberry pie and Artichoke bread from Cunha's -- our local small market that has everything and supports all the local small food producing merchants. We put chicken drumettes (frozen in their marinade from the party) on the barbecue and had a wonderful dinner after a loooooooong day.

Both of us spent some time thinking about how best to deal with "stuff" - I have a lot of stuff - 5 relatively recent estates worth of stuff plus all the stuff from both sets of grandparents.

We have been wanting to do a bookcase in the kitchen but the space for it is only a scant 24" and up to now had only found a half height size which has been groaning under all the books piled on it. Yes I like cook books both for cooking and reading.

We have been wanting to replace the drop leaf table in the kitchen with a buffet/cabinet. Unfortunately it has become the place where the older cat gets his scratching and brushing time -- he has the younger cat bamboozled into believing that he can't jump up onto the table :) We have also desparately needed counter stools. In the mail on Friday was an Ikea catalog. Since they cater to the European market, they had a 60 cm = scant 24" bookcase that is 78" high in the right wood. They also had a new style buffet/cabinet that is 52" wide and 78" high and 20" deep for the lower part in a soft white and pale green. The soft white is close to the white trim on the doors/windows and moldings in the house. They also had 2 really comfy counter stools with a white duck cover in birch which will work well.

Well you guessed it - after brunch we went to Ikea. Got home 5 hours later...Boy am I glad the husband is strong. No way could I have handled the 200 pound box, much less the 100 pound one.

After dinner - husband put together the bookcase. I unpacked the old bookcase and unpacked boxes. We did a couple loads of laundry with bleach and several loads of hand wash dishes. Husband bundled cardboard to go out tonight. Good thing mold is not a major trigger for our allergies!

So tired and the house is a mess with stuff all over -- and I had just gotten everything cleaned up. Sigh. Will spend the afternoon loading some stuff on ebay and repacking some of the stuff in clean paper and boxes. Maybe by tomorrow afternoon I can get back on track.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Designing Classes for Fairbanks/Oertha

The people/ladies primarily, in Fairbanks are paying for me to come up and teach. I'm very flattered needless to say. The husband is also going and has been persuaded to "teach" 2 classes - splicing/finishing ends of ropes and the monkeys fist knot. I'm doing between 5 - 7 classes, I think.

So lots to do - design the class, do the handout, get the materials, etc. I've gotten some input and need to finalize the details. The knowledge levels are very mixed, especially in the Fairbanks area. Some of the people get to classes in Anchorage and some don't. Some know which end of the needle goes into the fabric and some do lace. Wide span to cater to as well as interests.

Back to the grind stone.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

SOOOOOOOOO very hard to choose

Between all my other projects, I'm putting together my 50th Birthday party.
Hall - reserved and paid for. We are at the one where we got married. It has a large wooden dance floor.
DJ - done. It was important to find someone who understood all the dance types.
Food - we are keeping it good but reasonably simple finger food. Between Cosco and on-line gourmet places...
Invitations -- been handing them out and am doing a mass email/pdf.
Decorations -- keep it simple. Disposable stuff (helps with clean up) and some vases of flowers.

The really hard part is the music. We are doing a dance through time and you can only play so much music in the time allotted. Been going through all my cds and old tapes to choose my favorites. Needless to say it is very hard to choose. Then again I LOVE disco. Yes I know, but I lived in NY at the height of Disco and cleared the floors with my partner. But lets be honest, not everyone likes disco. A mix of rock and disco for the last hour or so. But what to choose. So very very hard.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lots to Share

Whew! Hard to believe it was less than a week. Drove to LA on Wednesday last. Thursday - up early to go to the Tut exhibit. It was different than the prior ones in San Francisco and London. This was more from other finds and a little from Tut's tomb. It was good to learn more about that time period of Egypt's history. Just a little disappointing from the "wow" you'd expect from Tut's stuff. The gold coffin was his aunt's and not nearly as fine as his. The gold items and jewelery from Tut's tomb was VERY spectacular -- just very few items. No coffins. No headdresses. No masks. Basically as little as they could have and still call it Tut.

Then over to Linn's for lunch. As a special treat, I got to peruse The Library. After lunch off to the Getty. They were doing a couple interesting exhibits and then of course there is the store. Picked up some good books, but we were relatively conservative since we were off to Costume College. Then back to Linn's neighberhood for dinner at Dharma Ghreb. It was okay. The conversation was better than the food.

Friday - Saturday - Sunday was Costume College -- classes all day in lots of costuming areas. And the marketplace is sinful mostly for the books and little things that are hard to find -- like good buttons. The classes were mixed some good information and some where the "teacher" spouted old wives tales. We have been doing this now for MANY years and it is hard to get beyond the basic and even intermediate level classes. A couple presenters were very good, but...don't know if there is sufficient value for us to go back. The best value really was in seeing and learning from people who are out of our geographic area. Re-enactors tend to copy from one another and it was good to be exposed to new faces and new focuses of research.

Saturday evening was the Time Travelers Ball. It used to be that they did music from all eras and usually in some time related order. Not this time. Nor were there many waltzes. Lots of modern - well the last 35 years modern. Husband wore a tux since that is what fit. I wore a saphire blue velvet (silk) dress with lots of "wicca" style blue accessories. The theme was Morgana's Ball so... Fun dinner companions. Food - just okay. Ate too much all weekend, but then the bread was the best thing they offered.

Sunday evening out with friends Walter and Sheila. He runs LAHA. Husband has know them for many years and lots of iterations of reenactment. Good evening with friends.

Monday up relatively early to drive north. Stopped in San Louis Obispo to pick up a cat tree. It looks like a tree made from carpet - this one is about 5'. The top has a bucket and there are 2 large platforms as well. We have been trying to get a larger one with 2 buckets, but after waiting and not getting what we wanted, this will work. Then on to the Mom in-laws for lunch and a visit. Then home around 8 pm. The cats were happy to see us and took turns sleeping on thebed last night.

Today was catchup. I'm not yet, but... Saw this a couldn't resist. Too true. Actually - it should be a roll of cd's -- lots of information and most indepth, but... ah well.

I am:
a rolodex
Somehow this perennial data organizing device never quite succumbs to the digital age.

Which office supply are you?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I knew it varied with mood

Posted this one a few days ago, but I'm in a different mood now. Also think it depends on the moon phase. -- yes I believe in taking responsibility for ones actions, but I also think we are affected by outside sources as well as internal.

You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

Hot -- I Don't Do Hot -- alright I did do hot, but

Saturday was A&S in Gilroy. It was 104 down in the city and no telling what it was where we were up the mountain. Little shade. For the classes we used pavilions -- without the sides up except to create shade so we could take advantage of the little breeze.

We arrived early enough for the husband to partake of the excellent pancake breakfast fundraiser. Entered my 4 contests - Poem: Topic Beauty, Horse Barding, Heraldic Banner and Preserved Foods. For the preserved foods I had done Artichokes and Pickled Cheese (thank-you Cathy -- although I did it differently :). For the Heraldic Banner, I did a tournment banner for the husband - used cotton and painted it so lost some points there for fabric and machine sewing. For the Poem, I performed, at the lunch break, a Sestina that I wrote. A sestina is a form - 6 stanzas with the same last words in each of the 6 lines, but the order varies in a set pattern. Then a 3 line concluding stanza with the words used - 2 in each line also in a set pattern. For the Horse Barding I did -- see below. At least now they know I have s sense of humor :)

After lunch, I taught 2 classes back to back. Cloth covered buttons - relatively easy to do once you get the hang of it. Then another class on voided work. Half the class did the single motif and the other half were more experienced and jumped into the band. Both were VERY well attended. Yes I'll post the handouts.

I won the poem and the banner contests and the overall points. At this point I have enough points to qualify for the Poppy Run (see prior posts). Now any additional entries are attempts to increase my scores - they take the top 8 providing each category (4) are represented. My husband says I should quit beating myself up. Yes I could have done better, but I have more points now than others have had in the past and won, so....Yes I know it is the Virgo perfection thing. The judges seem to like my documentation -- I like doing the research. It is the paper writing I get fed up with, but it is a good discipline. At some point I'll put all my projects and documentation up on the website.

Now to put the house back in some sort of order after the projects and party. I seem to live in chaos, but that isn't my preferred mode. Also, it probably would be good to get more stuff up on ebay - the current batch doesn't seem to be selling (sigh).

Warped the loom last night with wool to do an inkle project. The incoming queen does inkle beautifully and I offered to make some "gifty" type things for her. I had planned on bookmarks, but the wool is very fuzzy. Bought the wool for the finger braiding class I'm taking at Costume College. Have been pushing for such classes at A&S for the prior 2 years. This year there were 3 classes. I've done basic before, but hope to do more fancy stuff.

Off to Tut, the Getty and Costume College in the am. Will see part of Will's family on this trip and a couple groups of friends too. It feels funny going to Costume College without any costumes. Maybe I'll take my middle easterns - they are comfortable and cool.

Monday, July 18, 2005

You know you are part of the needlework world when...

Between party prep, relatives, and doing the competition documentation, I've been reading Monica Ferris's Crewel Yule. I should start by saying that I was hooked on her works many years ago when she wrote Murder at the War as Mary Monica Pulver which was then reprinted as Knights Tale. I always thought she told a good tale and was very good at making you feel "there".

When Monica started the needlework mystery series several years ago, she knew nothing about needlework or it world. I knew little more, but I knew people who in turn knew people. They were kind enough to introduce me around, although I didn't know I was meeting the cream of the needlework world back then.

Crewel Yule takes place at what is obviously THE Nashvile Needlework Market. I haven't been since I'm not a production designer or shop owner. It is a fairly good read if you don't know "the people". It is really fun read if you do.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tired but happy

BBQ went well. Had too much food as usual. Final count was 29 people through the door, but I still have enough for that many more and no one went away hungry.

So back to working on the documentation for my entries. May try to do the painting on one of them this afternoon.

Short blog today, but here is a fun test. Think I'll try it again in a couple days when I'm in a different mood.

You are dignified, spiritual, and wise.
Always unsatisfied, you constantly try to better yourself.
You are also a seeker of knowledge and often buried in books.

You tend to be philosophical, looking for the big picture in life.
You dream of inner peace for yourself, your friends, and the world.
A good friend, you always give of yourself first.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Exercise in Being Creative

Been very busy the past couple weeks. Our A&S event is coming next weekend and I'm teaching 2 classes - cloth covered buttons and voided work. So spent time developing the handouts and examples. Love having an excuse to go researching. I get to spend time in my library, on the web and if I really good, I get to buy more books (big grin).

We also have a competition in our kingdom called the Golden Poppy. There are 20 arts and sciences competitions during the year. They are divided into 4 categories. You need to have qualifying entries (50% +1) in each category plus 4 more for a total of 8 to be considered. The person with the most overall points become the Poppy for that year. For the next year, they serve as Kingdom Artisan being available to teach and assist in the A&S.

You can guess where this is going. So far I have entered and won for Tinctures (Dyeing) and Underpinnings (the stockings). I've been preparing entries for A&S. There are 8 possible competitions to enter at A&S and NO I am not willing to kill myself by enering all 8. Each has to be researched in some depth and a paper written on them.

I am having lots of fun doing the research. The paper writing is WORK. Preparing the entries is both fun and work. But it is all creative. It has been good to challenge myself. I hope to have 4 categories of entries done in time for A&S. If all qualify, then I only need to do 2 more to meet the Poppy requirements. Of course if someone else qualifies, then I would need to consider more than 2 entries to get higher scores. Lots of work, but having fun.

Did 2 for the Preserved Foods category. Yes I love to do medieval cooking and these were fun. No I won't disclose them here until after A&S. Now back to doing the paper for the Heraldic Banners.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Column Done - What's Next

Finished writing the next column yesterday and submitted it. It is on Historic Cross Stitch. Thanks to my friend Chris Laning, for use of her project and stitched things. Using cross stitch is not really my thing. If it needs to be cross stitch for me, it should be long arm and usually voided work. Next column, due Sept 1st is on Pattern Darning.

Now off to prepare the handouts for the 2 classes I am giving at our A&S (Arts and Sciences) event in 3 weeks. One class is on voided work. I want to do something a bit different from what I've done in the past, so new handout and new project. Then I'm doing a new class on Finishing Touches: Buttons. Definitely a new/old topic for me Did them a loooooong time ago, but of course there is much new information out now so off to create the handout. Of course all will be posted on our website eventually.

I've been wanting to reorg the website for some time. Don't know when it will get done. This weekend is my local EGA Board meeting at my house. Next weekend is the husbands birthday BBQ - about 25 people. The following weekend is A&S. Then off to Costume College - a weekend of classes on costuming in LA. We will be going early to catch the Illumination and Textiles exhibit at the Getty and then the Tut exhibition. Then... you get the idea.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Its Coming Up Lavender

The whole house smells like lavender. I have about 15 plants - 3 different species of lavender. The Spanish just looks pretty. The French wooly lavender looks pretty, but has little aroma. The English lavender has the wonderful smell. I usually pick the English lavender and make lavender wands or sachets, but this year I decided to do something different - make a lavender wreath.

I've been pricing them in the stores and they are very expensive. In addition, many don't look very lush. So I decided to give it a try. I've made lots of wreaths before, but learned a lot making this one.

I started with a metal frame base. The inside diameter was 12". Starting Sunday afternoon, I fought the bees and picked about 1/3 of one of my large bushes. I actually just started by clipping the portion overhanging the walkway. After attaching it all, I went out after dinner on Sunday and picked another 1/3 of the bush. Spent another couple hours attaching them. Then Monday morning I went out and picked the rest of the bush. Finished attaching those stems and made several more smaller passes for lavender. Eventually after about 7-8 hours worth of work --

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Survey Time

This is a study out of MIT. They NEEEEEED people to take the survey so please log in - click below. I won't spoil it for you, but for those of us who are interested in human interaction, I think you will find the study interesting and I'm very curious about the results. The larger the pool, the better. Thanks for your time.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Monday, June 27, 2005

They Liked It!

It seems they like the project I've been working on. I didn't want to announce the project until I was sure it would be sufficiently done in time to enter the competition. The competition was Underpinnings and I won (big grin) with the project although it is not quite finished (2nd hose needs lace and foot).

The project was/is a pair of hosen (stockings). The idea came from Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlocked by Janet Arnold. They show a pair of 16th C. Italian Linen Hose with embroidery.
While I did win in a field of 7, it feels really good because all the judges were very hard and I received high scores. (Happy dance)

The ladies who did the fabulous rose pouches also like the bookmarks. I managed to finish them after the entry was submitted (and yes I was sewing until the last minute) and after the meeting. Saturday was very busy.

We topped it off with a nice quiet dinner with friends. I cooked lamb with artichokes, couscous (and rice for the none-gluten people), gilded garbanzos (saffron), and one lady made a fabulous custard pie with almond milk and dates. It was a long day after a long week, but rewarding.

Now off to do my column, prep for the 2 classes I am teaching at A&S (buttons and Voided Work), and maybe another entry or 2. Who knows :) I have 25 days after all. That does include, a garage sale, getting things posted to ebay, my local EGA Board meeting at my home, by husband's birthday party/BBQ (looks like 25 people), and hosting visiting family. July will be busy.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Process of Creative Thought

Several months ago I offered to create thank-yous for the people who are doing major projects for the Guild. I had seen and ordered silver bookmarks and wanted to do some sort of beaded tassel thingie as the decoration. Bought the bookmarks. I buy beads that fit the medieval bead look- feel - profile whenever I see good ones, so I have a stash. Then came the hard part -- the decision of what to design for the tassel thingie.

Looked at the single large bead with thread tassel. Looked at the several beads on a cord of various types with knot or no knots between. Looked at beads on a ribbon - actually lots of different ribbon styles. Finally settled on a style after lots of experimentation.

Managed to make 8 yesterday. Broke 5 #24 needles (used to thread the ribbon through the beads) in the process. Need to do 18 by Friday. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute (grin). I'll take a picture and post it of the total batch.

For now back to sewing -- yes it is also due Friday.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Explanations Not Excuses

Got back from the trip. Had cases lined up to do immediately. Then decompression. Been running fast ever since.

Yes I'm stitching, but I'm going to keep it a secret until it is finished. Then I'll share all. Needless to say it took time to research. Time to decide on the design. Time to plan the stitches and threads. Since I haven't had a lot of extra time, I've been fitting it in here and there. Fortunately (or unfortunately) it has been pledge break time on PBS. There have been some good programs to keep me company when I could find the time to stitch.

Still not all caught up from the trip. It is hard to regain the reins of so many desparate activities. Need to followup on all the (it seems like the proverbial 20 million) little things that make up daily life. Really need to get stuff back up on ebay. My store items either expired or sold while I was away. Need to finish planning my next column on historic cross stitch. Proofed the one submitted last. Hope the picture is good enough for you all to see the marvelous detail and effect of the metallic threads. It was really difficult to get a good clear picture. Need to prep for the next garage sale. I promised the husband that we would be able to park in the garage this winter......

Bought some wonderful wool and cotton threads. Wish I had time to do more inkle weaving. Managed to get one afternoon to sit and knit with a friend. I had forgotten so much (well it has been nearly 40 years since I knitted) and I needed a primer. It was a lovely relaxing afternoon -- very civilized.

Need to blog more. Need to prep for June Crown -- I'm giving a dinner party with all medieval/renaissance foods. Need to finish the beaded thank-yous for the 18 people in the Guild who are doing Rose Pouches for Pennsic. Need to get out the invites for the husband's birthday bash in July. Lots to do!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Quick Note

Just a quick note to say I'm back. Tired after getting up in Rome at 4 am for a 4:45am pickup - 3 hours at the airport before boarding - 3 hour flight to London. 3 hour layover - at least it was supposed to be but we left Rome and hour late (when they had us all boarded they spent an hour shifting luggage to balance the plane). London to SFO - immigration, customs and home. + 9 hour time change. Slept a bit and did urgent things. I have mundane work the rest of this week and we needed to do all the chore stuff from being gone so long.

Hope you have enjoyed the trip log. Will work on finishing it and loading all the other pictures in the next couple weeks. Shot over a 1000 pictures this trip.

As for needlework projects - did some of the knitting on the port days in the evening to quiet down before bed. All the relaxing time was up front and I was working on the next column piece when I wasn't participating in their craft projects. The next issue of Needlepoint Now is hitting the news stands. I'm pleased with the article.

More soon when my brain returns.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Sense of humor operating

It is hard to believe that the vacation started a week ago. Managed to get the column done but for the project itself. Brought the project with me. I also brought a couple small commercial kits for fun things, my knitting and felting project from my knitting, a small knitting project and some filet lace.

Have uploaded some trip pages to the personal website including a bit about what projects I’ve been working on. They have arts and crafts at sea. Needless to say I could not resist. I’ve done a luggage tag on 7 count plastic canvas with acrylic yarn and a small dangly bit called South American wrap, also with acrylic yarn. Fun simple stuff that can be done by all comers.

One lady who owns a shop in Laguna Beach has started a knitting and needlework circle. We meet whenever we have a “sea day” at 2 pm. They even advertise the group in the Princess Patter, the daily newsletter. It is an odd mix of people and personalities and abilities.

Now back to my column project. So far everyone has been very complimentary and I have only done the blackwork bit. Next the metal thread and overdyed portion. Don’t know when I will blog again, but check the personal website for more.
-- Sabrina (posting from the Royal Princess, Tuesday April 26, 2005 9:08 pm Rio Time)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Last Minute to dos

4 more full days until we get on a plane. So much to do. But first, last weekend was La Prova Dura -- a special event with lots of pomp and pagentry. Managed to get a few pictures and they are up on the personal website for those who want to look. It was a lot of work, but it was a good weekend.

In advance, we dyed silk banners. Here is mine and Will's is in the background. The resist didn't hold all that well on mine (sigh), but it looked nice waving in the wind. Here it looks a bit like stained glass as the picture was before all the fixative was washed off

Several people have asked about the dyeing. I'll do a web page with more details when I return. This week I did 3 20 yard skeins of walnut, 4 20 yard skeins of tumeric, and 7 20 yard skeins of copper. I'll use the copper to also do the bag construction and some of the decoration. The other dyeing is in the background so you can see the mix of colors. The brick/wine red is the wool dyed with onion skins. I swear that the current yellow onions are red onion hybrids.

Tomorrow is a local war between our Principality and the one to the north. So off we go for the day so Will can fight with his war unit. I'll be teaching a basic blackwork class. Same as a couple weeks ago, but different audience. At least with the basic class I don't have to think. Still don't have the column done, but it is roughed out and the pictures organized.

Have set up the laptop to let us put up travel logs and pictures of our trip on the personal website so you will need to check there for most of the details. Time permitting I'll try to blog also, but no promises.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


It seems I don't act my age. In fact when I invite people to my 50th birthday party in September -- they can't believe it. I take it as a compliment. Found this on blogthings via another blog -- Enjoy!

You Are 26 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Little Stuff

Worked all last week in San Francisco. I had forgotten how much time and energy it takes to commute, work a full day with a brief lunch break and commute home. Since this was an arbitration and I was the Chair, I had to listen doubly hard. First to hear the evidence and then to hear and then rule on the objections. My style is to not give clipped rulings like - "overruled", but to rather phrase the response so the lay people in the room understand the why behind the ruling. Sometimes it gets me in trouble - sigh.

Finished up doing the 2 patches for the Queen's Champion's cloak. These were wool on wool with gilded leather couched around the edge. Nothing fancy and I forgot to take pictures (bad Sabrina). The Queen was worried about having some nice patches for the Champion's cloak -- a notch above the ones being done for the Guardsmens cloaks. The Needleworkers Guild was having a class on this technique at Crown. I purchased 2 of the kits from the instructor to do the badges and the instructor was kind enough to do a badge also. So there are at least 3 nice patches. I feel a little guilty since all the members of the court are doing badges - some more than others, but still. Did roses for the Queen to give as thank-yous to her sewing team as well.

This week I need to concentrate on doing my next column and the associated project - Blackwork: Filling Patterns. I've decided to do a figure - a la Scholehouse For the Needle and then doing the filling in 2 styles - one traditional blackwork and the other with metal thread, but blackwork patterns. My target is a needlecase. You will have to wait for the magazine to come out to see the project - Needlepoint Now --- Blackwork Bands will be May/June and Blackwork Filling Patterns will be in the July/August issue.

In addition, I need to do MORE Dyeing. It seems that if I want to knit up the yarn I have and felt it for the project I have in mind, I need TWICE as much yarn as I have already dyed. Sigh! So I have some walnut left (2 oz) and can do a bit more of it. I have tumeric and can do some of it. Have ordered more materials and hope they arrive before I leave on the trip. I'd really like to take the 2 pounds of yarn and get it done up.

Then I also need to get the laptop up to speed. Load all the software, etc. We really hope to be able to upload webpages of the trip to our personal website for our friends to keep up with our adventures.

And the countdown begins.....10 days....

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

And More on Dyeing

Wooo Hooooo - I took the Sciences Award at Crown for the Walnut Dye Project. I entered all 3 - Walnut, Vine and Walnut Ink. I received lots of great feedback on the Walnut Dye. The judges were "UPSET" because I choose to make the Vine a separate project. My thinking was that while the history was very similar, the chemistry, recipe and project were different. They DISAGREED and one judge even refused to award points for the project. Any way - here is what the entries looked like at the event:

The walnut dyeing was interesting. In the 3rd dyeing round I was unable to reproduce the wonderful darkness of the prior round with pre-mordanted fibers. Only in Round 2 with the post mordant did I get true black. Very....... interesting............
Here is what all the walnut dyeing looked like:

The brick color is the iron mordant alone. The blacker browns are the round 3 with the pre-iron mordanting. Sigh!!!!

Today, just to finish off the pound of wool, I did onion skin dyeing - a brick red result. I still have a pound of undyed wool left and haven't decided what to do with it. I'm thinking of taking all the dyed yarns and knitting them up into a piece of fabric. Then felting it. Then making it up into a Viking Haversack. These have become all the rage. A pouch of about the size to hold a 3" 3-ring binder. Very useful and marginally documentable (a la what the Iceman carried). The knitting portion might make a good mindless project for the trip.

The trip is slowly taking shape and things are being ticked off the TO DO list. The rest of today is taxes so guess I'd better stop here and face the paperwork - blech!

When I return from the trip I'll get to the back log of things to web - all the dyeing and ink projects, the last round of medieval food recipes (lamb bits), several articles from the Guild newsletter -- all my articles are kept on my website so they can be updated as appropriate, new needlework projects, etc. Lots to web.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dyeing More and Having Fun

Hard to believe a week has flown by. It seems like I just blogged yesterday.

Did round 1 of walnut dyeing - and was a bit disappointed. It was suggested that I only needed to basically bring to a boil and let sit overnight. Well -- that results in light coloration. Did round 2 yesterday and got lots of wonderful color - but had the pot simmering for 8 hours. Also made a batch of walnut ink. Really it is just concentrated dye and a lovely warm brown - or black if you add iron. Yes there will be pics. Round 3 tomorrow. What is taking all the time really is the documentation that needs to accompany the Arts and Science entries. The vines is 6 pages, the walnut dye - 8 pages, and now to do the walnut ink. Thought I'd left term papers behind long ago.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Dyeing fun and more

It seems I am in a mood to do some dyeing. I've been thinking about doing it for quite awhile now. Even bought supplies when I was in Estrella to do some -- the iron and skeins of undyed or bleached wool.

On Thursday, my garden miracle worker came. She is a friend who designed my yard and has gracioiusly consented to do a lot of the hands on garden tending that husband and I have not had time to do and which you would never entrust to a mow & blow gardener. I had come across a recipe the prior day that called for dyeing with berry leaves and vine. Well I have a lot of wild blackberry that trys to invade, so I had her clip me a bucket full. Then onto the dyeing. The leaves and vines give off tannic acid. Dyeing with it alone is something a kin to tea dyeing.

I premordanted the wool skeins (10 yard lengths) and a swatch of silk with the iron. 1 skein was only done in the iron to show the color differences. Then tried the rest of the wool/silk in the dye bath from the berry vines for various length of times - 1 hour (1 sk + silk), 3 hrs (2 sk) and then overnight (2 sk). Of course I washed everything very carefully and will do so again. It didn't seem to really make a difference from the 3 hrs to overnight and very little from the 1 hr. I guess once the chemical reaction happens - it is all done but the shouting. The blotchiness on the silk is from the uneven mordanting of the fabric.

Friday the husband and I ran around in circles - or so it seemed. Actually we got a lot done - went up to San Francisco, got the hair cut (my hair dresser is very distressed that I have quit dyeing it and am letting it go white/gray - not the $$ issue, but he just really liked the fabulous affect of my skin coloring and the hair coloring - very dramatic), got all the shots for the trip, got the pictures taken for the Brazil Visa, and more little stuff. We had planned on the Yellow Fever shot, the Typhoid, Hep A, and the Tetnus, but it seems you also need a Polio booster too. So we opted for the Typhoid in pill form. Also got the Malaria perscription.

Saturday was local EGA BOD for me and the husband went off to help friends move. Since I can't sit through a meeting without something to do, I finished the wire work for the brass - 7 loop Viking Metal Braid necklace. I've included a pic with the brass work on the dowl, a test of a 5 petal and 7 petal (the shortest piece) that had been through the draw plate, and a silver piece that had been drawn and is ready for the ending bits to make it into a necklace. It is addictive.

Last night we were locally cultured -- we attended a reception at a local art gallery of photography. A friend had a piece of his chosen for the show. The show was juried with about 800 entries and 58 picked with different 44 artists. Then out to dinner. Pretty impressive photography from all over the US.

Today is catchup on all the little things before I plunge into next week. So here too is a pic of the dyeing I did last weekend. I still need to wash the silk skeins again to ensure that there is no color bleeding. You would have thought that the heat would have sufficiently set the color and the 2 washings, but I was using really concentrated color so.....

Walnut dyeing - batch 1 tomorrow.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Living Life to the Fullest

Whew!!!! Just when I thought things were on track, we took a left turn. Thursday night the husband noticed a cruise promotion - 3 weeks, The Amazon to Rome via Senegal, Morocco, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes, and other points in between. He got me out of bed and said - "looks like fun". I grumped, agreed it was interesting and went back to bed. Friday AM I asked if he was serious, because it would mean leaving in 5 weeks, my canceling the RSN class, being gone for nearly a month, getting shots, getting my passport renewed asap, and 8 days of cruising (for someone who doesn't do nothing well)..... He said yes. So....I jumped on the phone and booked the trip.

When something that is fun and special comes along - you just have to grab on with both hands and go for it. It was the first time in several years that I've seen him really excited about something (besides graduation). So we do it. I wouldn't have done the Amazon on its own, nor would I have done Senegal, but the other stops and the opportunity for a real vacation in neat places -- its a go for me too. We are still reeling from the reality, but - sometimes you just got to do it.

Now we scramble. Ordered the new laptop that I've been thinking about -- well we need a place to put all the pictures we will take. Perhaps even prepare uploads/webpages of the trip as we go. Called around for where to get shots. Yellow Fever shots are only given in certified places, so...Got the passport pics and sent it Express Mail with Express Mail return and extra fast processing request dollars. Cancelled the RSN class, the hotel and plane flight. Ordered workout clothes that I'm willing to be seen in (versus the home stuff). And then there are the million other things to do. Not to mention I need to have my next column in 2 weeks early. I will be running fast.

AND then I went off Saturday to a class on dyeing with Anne Frazier of Gloriana Threads. A fabulous class. Yes I'll post pics later this week. I had previously taken a class on dip dyeing using cotton threads and some cotton fabrics. This was all silk (threads- white, ecru, and blue, ribbon, and fabric) and included space and marbelized dyeing. I'm hooked!!!!!!!!! Lots of fun and lots to learn. It was also a good class on color theory and application.

It also just wet my appetite for what we will do in Linn's class - Wild and Wonderful on June 3rd. Endless possibilities -- the mind boggles.

For now back to work. I have to keep the nose to the grindstone if I am to get everything done in time to go away on a REAL vacation. Now I wonder what needlework project(s) I should take with me??

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Running fast these days. Did a rewrite on the pulled work column for the Guild newsletter. Eventually it will be webbed and put on the website as well -- if anyone is interested. Completed and submitted the Blackwork Bands column - the next installment for Needlepoint Now. I really like the way the project turned out. Sometime it really is Keep It Simple (grin). Many thanks to Linn for providing the charts for the project and an example of Blackwork Bands. It really is difficult to come up with enough pictures that have no museum linkage or other copyright issues to show what the **** I am talking about in the column. Pictures really are worth a thousand words; especially when my whole column is usually around 1000 words. Did the project in Dinky Dyes silks - I really love them - color and handle. Easily my favorites if I can use an overdyed.

This is my year for a makeover. I've made the decision (I think) to stop coloring my hair and let the natural color (or lack thereof) show. It will take awhile for it to grow out and I may have some frustrating moments, but I think it will be okay. When it gets a bit more out there, I'll get the hair cut and then let it regrow to shoulder length. I've also started talking Pilates classes once a week. Husband and I are also doing a class once a week for the month of March to get him started too. We are also doing more dancing. We would like to try for weekly, but it may be 2x month. In addition, I am continuing and getting more involved in getting rid of stuff -- so much stuff I'm feeling a bit bogged down in it and need to unload. So up went the ebay store. It takes forever to get the stuff uploaded, but it will happen slowly. I've already had my first customer, so have paid for the first month in 1 day. We shall see how it goes. I know the more stuff I have up the more I can get out the door. Don't worry - none of the stash is going on the auction block.

I've also developed another addiction. When I was at Estrella, I took a class in Viking Chain Weaving. It is a metal wire jewelry technique that dates to Viking times. I like it a lot and have been spending far too much time on it. I'll post pics soon.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sooooo Much to Share

Just got back from Estrella. For those not in the SCA - Estrella is a park in Goodyear (25 miles west of Pheonix) Arizona. It is also a WAR!!!! But when we go to war we have classes, war scenarios, archery, dog/hunt scenarios, rapier, merchants (lots of merchants), food merchants, entertainment, etc. The site is large and around 3000 people congregate. Most camp - we used a motel (something about possible below freezing nights and hot days -- not to mention having hot showers without waiting in line).

Drove south in 2 stages Tuesday/Wednesday. Thursday I took classes in needlelace, Viking chain knitting (I'm hooked!!!!) and taught beginning Blackwork. Friday I took Brocaded Tablet Weaving and how to make an Italian Beaded Caul (that hair net thing you see in the paintings). Saturday I taught Beginning Blackwork again. In between I shopped, ate, watched the husband on the battlefield, enjoyed the music of the wandering minstrels Wolgemut, visited with friends and made new ones. It rained. Let me say it again. It rained. We decided that it was best to pull our stuff out Saturday afternoon before the heavy rain and were glad we did. The drive home via LA was nasty at times. Even so -- it was a good war. Yes I'll post some pics on the website.

Managed to finish the article on pulled work for the Guild newsletter before we left. Long article with lots of pics. Choose the project for the column. Need to get that article written this week. Finally finished getting over THE BUG! I haven't been that sick for years.

Went to my first regional EGA meeting. I was warmly welcomed by those who have had me in as a teacher, but boy do they have some wierd ways of doing things. The meeting was supposed to be a training for new board members. They did give lots of good information on how to do the job, but NO information on the culture and philosopy of EGA. They make a very big presumption that you know the organization - wrong! If I am supposed to be its future, they need to change the "training" because otherwise it is little more than a clique and not my cup of tea.

Now to find my desk and clear it so I can write the next Needlepoint Now article - Needlework Bands

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Gold Gold and More Gold

If I wasn't already hooked on doing goldwork, I would be after last weekends workshop with Linn. We had 12 of us in my living room beta testing a new class. In the past, the classes for Goldwork were very directed toward metal thread couching and laying bullion - the traditional stuff. This one was aimed to be more of the decorative arts. We did - spangles in singles and multiples, s-ing and z-ing, trying to do s-ing on top of the spangles, broad platt, ribbled plate with beads, bits of bullion and other decorative bits, goldwork picots as edging for cutwork (very 16th C. Italian) and kid. Everyone got through the hard bits fairly quickly. The what to do with the kid was fairly free form and some opted to take it home and play there. Wonderful play time!

Monday Linn was engaged to teach at the Milpitas ANG - a pulled work class. She had 12-14 signed up for the class which is a good showing for that chapter. We also were able to finish arranging for her to do a Wild and Wonderful mixed media workshop class in June for my EGA chapter. More play time!

Spent the rest of the week trying to finish recovering from the cold from hell. The cold is long over, but the cough just keeps staying on and on. It also seems to keep the brain in a fog. Makes it hard to get work done.

Lots to do next week. I'm doing the lead article for the Guild newsletter - Pulled Work (just because I'm no longer Guild Minister does not mean I get to rest). Then need to do my next article for Needlepoint Now -- Blackwork Bands. If I have time I need to get my costumes together and perhaps make up a new underdress or two for the Estrella War over Presidents Day Weekend in Goodyear Arizona (near Phoenix). Of course I couldn't just let things be. I volunteered, much to their joy, to do 2 simple blackwork introduction classes at the Collegium part of the war.

Lots to do!

Friday, January 21, 2005

More Students Hooked

Home from Alaska with a miserable cold - I hate being sick. It was cold. Colder than expected. The weather report suggested that it would be in the 20's during the day and teens at night. I think the high was 16. Despite the cold it was a great trip. Good friends. Real interest in needlework and it was my privilege to teach and inspire a few of them.

The event was at a senior center an hour and half out of Anchorage - north out of Anchorage. We were lodged at a motel connected to a bar and semi-food place. Unfortunately they don't really have no smoking rooms -- something about a central air intake... Oh well - at least the rooms were warm and they had their own in room facilities.

The event was over 200 people and they feed us 3 meals Saturday, 3 Sunday and 2 on Monday. Evening meals were sit down feasts. Saturday was some court and the fighting. Yes outside in the snow - temperature around zero. Sunday was Lucet I and then lots of court. Unfortunately court and meetings ran over so Lucet II was put off to Monday. Fortunately Their Majesties took pity on us and let us sit in chairs behind them during the long court. Monday ran Lucet II and Pulled Work back to back. Think I've converted all my student to lucet and pulled work [insert big grin]. Came home with 3 of the 8 lucets the husband, dear husband, made up for me to teach the class. Someday I'll learn not to sell off all the teaching tools.

Sunday night was a wonderful and rare experience. The Aurora Borealis was putting on a great show. Light streaking the sky in pale yellow and green. Tornados of light. And then RED in a huge wave across part of the sky. It is really rare to see red.

Home on Tuesday evening around 8 pm - a couple hours late due to flight delays. All the bags made it up and back with us this time. Talked to some of the people from Fairbanks. They'd like to have me up for their Labor Day event to teach so we shall see what can be arranged.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

On to more teaching and learning

Managed to both survive 12th Night - 18 hours on my feet and enjoy the experience. The event went smoothly once everything was set up and underway. Stepped down from Kingdom Arts and Needleworkers Guild Minister. Of course I will still be around to help with the Arts stuff. They don't call me Arts Babe for nothing. As the former Guild Minister, I became Guild Patron. As Patron, I'll continue to help in a number of different capacities; primarily overseeing several projects. Everyone wanted to know what I was going to do with all my "free" time. Ha! What free time?????????

Off to Alaska for 5 days. It is their 20th Anniversary of becoming a Principality and I was there 20 years ago so.... They are so hungry to learn so I'm teaching 3 classes - Basic Lucet - Square and Flat Braid, Beyond Basic Lucet - 2 colors and Beads, and Pulled Work. Haven't taught the lucet classes for a year so updated the handouts. Haven't taught the pulled work class for a couple years. Took one look at the handout and said -- yuck! So have spent the last couple days frantically redoing the piece. It went from 4 pages to 8 and I chose some different stitches. I really only want to do stuff that is documentable to before 1650. Very limiting. Most of the whitework was drawn thread, cutwork or needlelace -- and then bobbin lace (not needlework so not within the Needleworkers Guild - it is Arachne's Web which is a different guild). Found enough to do a 4-6 hour workshop. Many many thanks to Linn Skinner for doing the charts for me. I don't do PC and the only stitch charting programs are PC. Should be fun. Now all I need to do is decide what I want the students to do - a design or just doodle cloth. Decisions decisions decisions.

When I come back, then we get ready to have Linn come up for a weekend and teach Advance Goldwork. I can't wait. I'm really looking forward to learning more Goldwork stuff. I've even signed up for one of the Royal School of Needlework classes in April. All I need to do now is book my flight to Des Moines.

Monday, January 03, 2005

When You Want Something Done Give it to a Virgo

Couldn't resist doing this "quiz". Several people have lately accused me of being very Virgo. Since my birthday is on the cusp, I tend to think I have some virgo, but not quite this much. Enjoy!

You are 87% Virgo

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Time Flies - Happy New Year

It is hard to believe that nearly a month has past since I last blogged. Lots of work and year end crunch. Parties with friends and Dickens Faire (yes I went in costume and won a hall costume prize). Madly scrambling to finish the holiday shopping only to find that the family events were to encompass twice as many people so scrambled for more presents. A marathon wrapping session with lots of help - both the useful kind - the husband, and the fun kind - 2 cats. Then on to prep for 12th Night.

On the needlework side, my next column for Needlepoint Now is due today and the last will hit the magazine stands this week, I hope. Writing it was easy and it is a subject I enjoy - Elizabethan Slips. A friend gave me pics of some that she had done for the visual interest. The project is an insert for a key chain fob. Since I want some detail on the flower, I think I'm going with 40 count gauze and silk. Need to stitch it today to see if my vision and chart work.

The creative process is interesting. Sometimes I start with an idea and just stitch. Other times I draft it on the computer and then stitch it. Don't know why one or the other works -- or doesn't work as the case may be. The colors will be ones I have around. Since I like doing roses, I have lots of appropriate colors in silks in my stash. I didn't really understand about stash until a couple years ago. Before I just had what I needed for projects. I did understand UFOs, but then I was raised with lots of them. But stash is different. I joined a "birthday club" of needleworkers around the world. I had fun buying stuff and getting stuff. Slowly my stash grew. One lady even shared some of her stash so I could try a particular type of silk on a project - 10 whole skeins worth! Stash is a GOOD THING.

Now down to stitching and indulgence. We received the Lord of the Rings Return of the King extended edition for Christmas. Needless to say, we need to review the other 2, in extended edition first. Our very own LOTR marathon since we don't do the bowl games. Of course we did start the year with the Rose Parade - commercial free, pancakes, sausage, and coffee - and of course 2 cats in the sun.

Hope you have a healthy happy 2005.