Archive for the ‘costuming’ Category

I have a new place in the art world, and it’s an interesting one. Thanks to my new interest in embroidery, I have become the maker of belt ends.

Let me explain:

My husband weaves belts and trim, and he’s made a few now for “foreign” royalty. One thing he wanted was a way to end the belts that would look nice and be functional. Our solution? Tiny, 1.5-2″ embroidered coats of arms sewn into little sleeves, into which I slide the end of the belt, and then it gets sewn shut. Ta-da! Belt doesn’t unwind, and it’s personalized for the recipient.

I guess it’s been done before, but from what I understand it’s not done often…at least not that I’ve seen. And so far, the people who have received the belts have loved them–especially the embroidery.

It’s kinda cool, but a little painstaking at times. The designs I’ve done so far haven’t been too complicated to shrink down and stitch, but I wonder what I’ll do when we get a commission for a more complicated coat of arms. I want to get recognition for the work I do, but I don’t want to get to where people expect more than I can do.

I’m finally done with the commission embroidery for the meantime, though, so I can focus on A&S. I’ll be reading and embroidering and measuring and cutting and sewing and typing and…yeah. A lot of work ahead, but it’s work that should be fun. Interesting, at least.

There won’t be any progress pics here, though, because that’s part of the research paper; you have to include pictures of the process of whatever you’re doing. Once it’s all done I’ll post stuff… but that’s a few months away.


Estrella War is over, but my project list is far from completed. I’m currently about halfway through a couple of tiny embroideries for a gift for a king in another kingdom, I have a hood to make for my husband, an underdress and apron dress for me, three Arts & Sciences projects to get going, and then there’s also some mundane sewing I want to get done soon-ish.

I’m not super stressed out like I would normally be, because aside from the embroidery I don’t have any deadlines less than a few months away. This is great, because for the first time in months I feel like I can relax and take my time. Well, not relax too much. But I can breathe.

I’ve picked out the Arts & Sciences projects that I’m going to do, so since that is the next true deadline I will focus on those once the embroidery is done. I am even combining one of the above projects into the A&S stuff (but I’m not saying which one!) to kind of get a little ahead of the game. Be more efficient, I guess. Now, I need to do research in addition to the physical work, and I need to remember to take pictures as I go, but I’m getting started right away so I’m not too worried. I have most of the research materials I think I’ll need compiled, so it’s just a matter of reading it all.

Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to the research paper part of the projects. I always aced my research papers in school, so this should be a breeze. I’ll just have to dust off the ol’ “student” cap and put it on and get to typing. I even made sure I knew which format (y’know, MLA, APA, etc.) I will need to use for my citations before I got started. I’m getting kind of excited for it. Yeah, excited for three research papers. I’m such a nerd.

I also need to mentally prepare for A&S, in the sense that I know my works (written and handmade) will be subject to criticism from multiple fronts. My research papers could be metaphorically torn to shreds, or my sewing could be scoffed at. I think I’ll be okay, though.

Can’t let myself get too comfy in my sense of security when it comes to timelines. We still have to move into our house once it’s built, which is rapidly approaching, and there are more SCA events in the meantime. I can do it, though. Just gotta avoid getting to Crunch Time like I usually end up doing.

Ah, modern life. Sleep number bed. Smart thermostat. Long, hot shower.

Yeah, it’s true that I will miss being at war with my SCA family, but I am still glad to be home. I can get back to my normal routine and worry less about freezing in the middle of the night. (And yes, it can get to freezing temperatures in the desert at night.) I got a new cloak out of it though, so that’s a bonus. Reversible with cotton on one side and wool on the other. Warm.

Today is a day for recuperating before jumping back into modern life full-on. The house is still in progress, work is still there, and bills still need to get paid. Can’t run away to a camping event forever, unfortunately.

For the most part everything’s back to normal, but I’m far from done with SCA stuff. I have things to sew, research to do, swording to learn. Basically, even though I’m back in the now, there’s still plenty of the then to keep me busy for quite some time.

I haven’t found a Laurel yet, but I’ll admit I didn’t try too hard to seek them out at war. I was too busy absorbing all that Estrella War had to offer me. Tournaments, melee fighting, shopping, Grand Court, etc. I’m proud of myself for not having a freak-out with all the people around me, but I still have a long way to go before I’m comfortable enough to try approaching strangers about stuff. I may start talking to the Laurels that I know, though, to get an idea of what I need to do to get on the path to that path.

I’m already “officially” on the path to a white scarf in that a good friend of mine accepted me as her rapier student. It’s kind of exciting to be on a set path and not just swinging blindly.

Eventually I’ll get there. It’s not like I’m on a set timetable here. Some people take a decade or more to become a peer in the Society, so I don’t have to rush myself.

As I sip my coffee and get ready to get ready for the busy work day ahead, I am overjoyed by the fact that I managed to finish my husband’s fighting tunic on time–early, even! Okay, so it’s only a day early, but still, it’s done. Not sewing at the last minute on the drive up to war, not sewing it at war…done.

There is still some trim to get sewn onto his “Grand Court” tunic, and some minor embroidery to do on the bottom hem, but that isn’t going to be worn until Saturday night, so I have time to finish at war (and actually planned to, anyway). BUT the major major had-to-be-done-before-we-left sewing is complete. The War Crunch (the SCA version of the Con Crunch) is pretty much over with. I may even be starting to get excited about it.

The drama still looms. Less than 36 hours away…not something I want to think about. But it sits in the back of my mind, festering, and I’m sure it won’t go away until the whole mess is over.

I fear that it won’t be over, though.

I shouldn’t let that get to me though. Then the other person will have won. I should just enjoy my war and try to keep a stiff upper lip, or whatever.

Book 1’s editing has taken a back seat to other, more pressing projects, which is disappointing but something that I guess as an author working with a publishing company I just have to deal with. I can’t force everybody to my timetable–self publishing spoiled me for that, I think. I’ll wait, though. Bide my time, occupy myself with other things–maybe even get back to work on Book 2 rewrites.

Time will tell.

Well, I’m getting closer…the end is in sight! Except this one little problem: someone got a little scissor-happy when she was cutting the neckline for her husband’s tunic and now must figure out a way to add on fabric without making it look weird.

I’m sure I can do it, but not right now–not at 0100. Maybe in a few hours I will have the functional capacity to design, cut, stamp, and sew a new collar/neckline/whatever. As it is, I’m quite irritated with my body for waking me up an hour ago for no good reason. I’ve been sleeping pretty well the past several nights, but tonight it’s back to waking up around midnight wide awake and unable to drift back off.

The sad thing is, between the bipolar disorder (panic attacks or racing thoughts at bedtime if I don’t take my Klonopin) and the rheumatoid arthritis (back/shoulder aches if I don’t take my Flexeril) I take enough crap to knock out a rhino. Ok, maybe not that much…but it’s a lot for the average Joe. I also have temazepam that I can take as needed for sleep, but I’ve found that it doesn’t help me stay asleep so much as helping me fall asleep–which I generally don’t need help with. I can fall asleep just fine most nights. It’s that tricky staying asleep thing that gets me. I’ll sleep four to five hours and then wake up all energized and crap. So not fair.

Once my husband gets up and tries on the tunic (with his gorget, so I can see how much collar I need to drum up), I can get to work on it. Right now? Now I have to find something to do to alleviate the boredom until he wakes up.

Good thing I still have a couple projects pending. On to sewing trim onto a different tunic!

Finally! After weeks of waiting and rescheduling and poor timing, my sword tattoo is done! The tattoo artist’s name is Amanda Jiminez at Battleship Tattoo (to give credit where credit’s due) and here’s the outcome:


I’m ecstatic! I love it and can’t wait to show it off at Estrella War next week.

This has taken a majority of my mind off of the continuing drama, but I know it’s just a proverbial band-aid on a bullet wound. If that’s a proverb….if not, it should be. Can we coin that phrase? Let’s coin that.

I still have a few things to make/stitch, but the majority of it is done. A tunic to finish (though most of it is cut out and much of it is sewn) and some trim to stitch onto another tunic…that’s about it that I can think of right now. Oh, and some little piddly stuff to do, but that stuff is minor and less time-consuming than the above-mentioned stuff. These things also can help take my mind off of the drama things, though only temporarily, and mostly only when I have to get out the seam ripper. Gods, I hate seam ripping.

Book 1 is still in the editor’s hands, but I’m waiting patiently because I know she’s been quite sick recently. I totally understand that and have no ill feelings on it (ha! pun!). I’d like to get back to writing, but….maybe after Estrella. Right now, my time is pulled in other directions.

Two more work days until we leave for war.

Let the games begin.

Okay, I admit I should be sewing right now. I should be pinning the sleeves back onto my husband’s fighting tunic (after seam ripping them off–lining & all–because the shoulders were too tight). I should be going over the checklist of stuff for the war that we need to get finished. But I’m not.

I’m reclining in bed, feet stretched out, back propped up on some pillows, and it feels nice to take a breather. I’ve made two pairs of pants, a tunic (that I had to take apart because of fit issues), painted banners, embroidered things, mended stuff….It has been a lot these past few weeks, and the days leading up to war are tick-tick-ticking away. Time. Is. Short. Shorter and shorter.

It’s not that I’m procrastinating on purpose. I just needed to give my back and shoulder a break after some early morning sewing. I’m also taking into account the fact that I only work in the morning today, so I’ll have all afternoon and evening to work on the tunic. I think I can get it done before war, but we’ll have to see. At worst, my husband will have to deal with using the tunic he already has for fighting, though I know he doesn’t like it much. I’m not super proud of being behind like this, but I also don’t want to kill myself with pain doing all this. Because I damn near have already.

Painting banners is not comfortable. Sewing, despite my familiarity with the machine and my current “work station,” is not comfortable. Embroidery? That I can do comfortably, provided I’m, like, lying down or something. So a lot of work that has been done and has yet to be done, all of which can aggravate my RA. I’ve been trucking through so far, but now I’m losing steam on things. I have to book it. I have to get all this done.

Just a few more things, I tell myself as I prepare to go back into the craft room. Just a few more things.

I’m working as fast as I can, but I’m going so slow….