Saturday, October 18, 2014

1909 Hunting Liscense

My Dad passed away this year and I've been going through a lot of his papers as a result.  I came across a bunch of old family photos and ephemera and will be posting some of the ones I thin you might be interested in.  One of the most interesting to me, just because it was kind of unique, was my Great-Grandpa's hunting license from 1909.

He was chief engineer of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad, a handsome guy who loved his wife, my grandmother was his youngest daughter.  Funny how genetics work - blue eyes are recessive, he had blue eyes, his daughter (my grandmother) had blue eyes and my other grandmother had blue eyes, so I got my blue eyes in part because of him!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bits and Bobs

* Information on what average people wore is always less common than that of the rich and famous.   How wonderful for us then that Isis' Wardrobe has mined the songs Carl Michael Bellman wrote about average Swedes in the 18th Century for his descriptions of costume.  As an added bonus she has helpfully included photos of extant garments similar to those described.

* Wear When Why has another post up on the amazing beetle wing embroidered gown she's been working on.  This post includes background on historical goldwork/beetle wing embroidery as well as some pictures of her embroidery in progress, so inspiring!

* If you've ever dreamed of a Victorian wedding you will enjoy reading about the making of  A Damsel In This Dress' gorgeous bustle era wedding gown, complete with all the underpinnings and a separate evening bodice.  So lovely!  Part 1 is in the first link and she now has part 2 up here.

Silk Damask features a great piece on 18th Century "bizarre" silks complete with some rather stunning examples of this flashy fabric up on her blog.

* Have you ever wondered how some costume bloggers manage to get such wonderful portraits of themselves?  I suspect that Paper Mothball Vintage's article on "How to take self-portraits" will help.

* The Closet Historian has a great article with a myriad of beautiful photos on Ivory and French Ivory Hair Combs.  The Art Nouveau curves on the Egyptian Revival comb made me swoon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I've been steadily working on my embroidery for Cersei and have nearly finished 4 birds now.  There are 5 total - 2 on each sleeve (high and low, asymmetrical) and one CB.


I think I may actually end up making 6 birds and just use my favorites of the bunch, and maybe make a purse or pocket for myself with the left over one. They are all a bit different, which I actually like, it gives them more personality.  Some have slightly differently shaped wings, and different markings but they are all obviously the same type of bird.

I worked the most recent bird quite differently from the rest.  First of all I appliqued gold Italian mesh over the whole thing, instead of metallic aqua I'd been using, I thought that would give it a slightly warmer feel.  Then I used large, zigzagging embroidery stitches to color block large spaces with a background color.  Then I've done single thread stitching over the top.

You can see that I've just started to do this on the left wing and have blocked in the right but only barely started on the details on that wing.   I think this gives it a finer look but also makes it a little richer by having more variation on color. I also went back over the earlier birds and added a few little stitches of orange right next to where the feather is to blend it better with the rest of the bird's breast.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Instructables Halloween Roundup!

Flowerpot Head Costume
One of my favorite Halloween activities is checking out all the costume tutorials on Instructables. Pretty much any costume you could want to do for Halloween is on there, often with detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make it.  Whenever I'm in doubt as to how to put something together Instructables is my go to place for ideas.

So I thought I'd share a few of the costumes I've seen this year that I especially liked.

* Flowerpot Head.  This reminds me of Magritte's Son of Man.  I just love how simple and surreal it is.

*  Dune Sandworm.  This is brilliant, so simple and yet so effective.  Even if you're unfamiliar with Dune what's not to love about a giant worm with teeth?

* Statue Busts.  Another wonderful idea.  These are famous composers but any famous dead people will do, perfect costume for reenactors who may already have wigs for this in their closet.

* Kid's Flying Monkey.  Great example of a thrifted/repurposed costume.  All the pieces were put together from other things and yet it all looks so right.

* Kid's Thor.  Super creative amalgamation of sewn, repurposed, purchased  and thrifted bits that came together to make a really stellar Thor.  Using a thrifted doll to give his son Thor's trademark long blond locks?  Brilliant!

* The Comedian from the Watchmen.  Not a whole of of detail on exactly on what they got where but I thought this thrifted/dollar store version of the Comedian was really good.

Vanellope Von Schweetz.  This is a pretty easy and simple costume but oh so effective.

*Zoltar from Big.  I just love this, a refrigerator box, some odds and ends from around the house, a few beads and a moustache and you're in the fortune telling business.

* Zoiberg from Futurama.  I can't believe how great this looks and it tickles me no end that they used a Bart Simpson mask to create it!