Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Coming off the Halloween frenzy and starting the Christmas knitting.  I'm hoping to avoid the Christmas frenzy this year.  I hate the post *insert holiday name here* crafting burn out.  If I had posted yesterday about the best you would have gotten out of me would have been shambling and zombie sounds.

I was going to sew some of the Christmas gifts.  Problem is that half way through the Halloween costume sewing my sewing machine up and died.  I don't know if I will be able to get it into the shop to find out if it can be fixed before Christmas, so, I am working up a plan B.  If all goes well my starting the Christmas knitting a month earlier then any other year will put me in a good position.  I am starting with the most repetitive items that I just happen to have the yarn on hand for.

The day before Halloween I got to give my wonderful niece little Miss K her birthday present.   I forgot to take pictures of what I managed to get together for her.  The rest will be added to the Christmas gift.  I will be asking my sister in law for a picture or two

In the meantime I am going to shamble off with my fried brain and head cold combo.

-The head Wench.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mad genius!

The weekend was a blur and in said blur I forgot to abscond with a certain gentleman's camera.  I will have to make up for lost time tonight I think.

Though in the blur I did get a chance to sit down and poke around at a a name I have run into a couple of times at, to read most of the articles at the site you will need a membership.  It is well worth it if you are into any form of costuming or sewing for yourself.  The sister site is equally worth it.

Emile Savoye was, in my opinion, a mad genius!  Two of his corset patents/patterns have been written about at Foundations Revealed along with information about taking them from paper concept to working corset.  (I won't get into the rumored evils of corsets right now as I think that is best saved for a separate post.)

I will however expand on why I think that Mr Savoye was a mad genius.

There are three patents that I have seen.  The first is dated from 1903, it also has a article that touches on some of his other patent work at FR.
The second is dated from 1905, and also has a article on FR.
The third is dated from 1907, and has a cameo in the first article.

I have fallen in love with the 1903 and 1907 corset designs that are open for everyone to look at.

Emile Savoye obviously knew how to think outside the normal rules of straight lines.  As we all know, no two ladies have the exact same figure or curves.  From my poking around those who have gotten past the immense complexity you first see when looking at one of Savoye's patterns have found a insanely simple and easily adjustable design.

Long story short Savoye's designs hit me where I love it the most.  Walking outside the norm, thumbing your nose at doing things the way that everyone else does.  He was doing what he seems to do best.  He was being original.

-The head Wench.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sad news, progress, and teasing

The children and I were very sad to find out yesterday, after I posted about the Redwall amigurumi, that the author of the series Brian Jacques had passed away in February of this year.

I will admit that Miss B and I cried briefly over the news.  In the close to four years that we have been reading the books I have heard nothing but good things about Brian Jacques.  His passing on touches many people.

Once we finish the current stack of books to read at bedtime, the kids and I have agreed that we should read through the Redwall books we have so far.  When I get a chance I will be picking up the three we don't have to add to our library.

On a lighter note I just finished slamming out Miss M's skirt and part of her bustle for her Halloween costume.  I'll finish wailing on it tomorrow and put up pictures tomorrow as well.  The gentleman of the house will be home and I will have access to his camera for such mischief.

Until then I am working on knitting the birthday presents for my wonderful niece little Miss K.  I'm getting my knitting fix for her in now as I have some sewing plans for her Christmas presents.

I figure I want to keep some semblance of surprise, horribly mysterious as I am, but that doesn't mean I can't show progress.  Once the gifts have been given I'll put pictures of the finished objects.

-The head Wench

Friday, October 14, 2011


We are going to be going through a massive shifting of 'stuff'.  As we do that we will be seeing how much we can get rid of that we don't need, don't use, and/or have outgrown.

After that is done I would love to follow this wonderful lady's lead and make a set of Redwall critters for Miss M, Miss B, and Mr H.

We love the books and highly recommend them to those who want something imaginative that doesn't talk down to the reader.  Brian Jacques does a wonderful job telling a story that leads the reader along with action that can grip even the imagination of an adult to hook them into a story they just can't put down.  I should know I resemble that statement.

-The head Wench.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two steps forward one step back

Between the decorating and the battery charger for the camera going missing (we won't get into the household falling ill) it's been a lot of fun (for lack of a polite word) trying to figure out how to put up pictures for my blog posts.

Currently we have bats decorating the wall of the living room.  Miss B and I saw them on pinterest.  The original idea comes from
This is their picture, not mine.

You can find the template for the bats here.  You will need adobe or other such program to open the pdf file for printing.  The whole thing is insanely simple and easy to pull off.  As soon as I can I will put up pictures of our little indoor display of bats flying along the wall looking as if they had been roosting in our season tree.

-The head Wench.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Irons and details

As I finish prepping the fabric for the Halloween costumes the girls will be wearing I am trying to work our the last of the details on how things will go together.

In this case let's give three cheers for period fashion plates!

Both of the girls will be wearing skirts.  Which I must say was a bit of a shock from Miss B as she will do everything in her power to make it very clear at every turn that she is not in any way shape or form a 'girly girl'.

Miss B's hemline will be longer than Miss M's as would be the custom with children's clothing in the past.  If a woman's skirt or dress hem line was at the ankle the youngest girls would have their hemline closer to the knee and as they grew older and closer to being called a adult the closer the hem line would get to where a proper lady's would be.

Miss B would like to have a shirt and vest, as would be more fitting for her Halloween persona, with a cape or cloak for warmth (if the temps drop again).  Every available fold and possible hiding space on her costume will be used to stash 'easy' access tools of the trade for her monster hunter.

I must admit to being slightly stumped on how to work the upper portion of Miss M's costume.  I think she and I need to do more poking around at that little detail.

-The head Wench

Friday, October 7, 2011

I will never look at store pumpkins the same.

This beautiful squash is a French pumpkin.  I don't think that I will use much of anything else for my pumpkin needs ever again if given a choice.
This one was the largest available and only cost $5 at the farmer's market.  Bonus points that it came from the family I spent a good portion of my childhood neighboring at the farmer's market when I mother set up shop there.  So when I was told by the grandmother of the group that it wasn't just a good cooking pumpkin, that it was in fact a awe inspiring cooking pumpkin, I knew I could take her word for it.
The new tip I had found online for not only removing the seeds, and to also scoop the flesh after it had been cooked, was to use a ice cream scoop.  That little tip turned out to be one of those really good bit of info you can get from the internet.  Worked as smooth as a hot knife through butter on both counts.
The pumpkin was big enough I could only steam about a quarter of it at a time.  I kept a rotation of pumpkin in the steaming pot until it was done.  For steaming I used my largest stock pot and a steaming insert.
The lovely soft flesh was scooped into a second pot to be given a once over with the potato masher.  At this point I took a quick taste test to see what kind of pumpkin flavor I was going to be working with in the future.  Let me tell you it was sweet enough to eat right there and then straight out of the pot.  If my self control hadn't been as firm as it is I wouldn't have had any to put up in the freezer for later.
A little over three quarters of the mashed pumpkin was packed into storage bags then laid flat in the freezer for space saving and easy storage.  The rest of the pumpkin was simmered to  brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice to taste to cook off a little more of the extra liquid and to make a lovely pumpkin butter.  Most of the pumpkin butter was then packed into storage bags in one cup lots and stacked into the freezer with the rest of the pumpkin.  I put about a cup and a half that I scrapped out of the bottom of the pan into a jar and stashed it in the refrigerator for personal use.

If you can get your hands on a lovely french pumpkin I suggest you try it for flavor.  So far it is the best large pumpkin I have found for flavor.

-The head Wench

Monday, October 3, 2011

A little of this, a little of that.

Last night I decided to try and take the drapery panels apart, to run the raw edges through the surger, before washing them.  Some of them were already coming apart at the seams.

Not a big deals right?  Just park my rear in a seat and have at it.

I really wish it had been so simple.  The drapes are a little sweet smelling so I  don't know if they were washed in a perfumed soap, or they could have possibly been sprayed with a Febreeze like spray before being put out to sale.  Certain perfumes and I don't play well together.  Pretty sure that there was at least one allergen, be it dust, smoke, or some other breathable that doesn't play well with me either.  I cranked through taking apart one of the striped double panels and one of the large black panels.  Then my hands started itching, one of them is still itching today. We won't talk about the unholy hoard my sinuses became...... and still are still rampaging...

It's not pretty.

I cranked the pieces I had taken apart through the surger this morning.  They are in the next in line for the washer and dryer.

In the mean time I give you a cat.  And it should have been my first sign that there would be issues when she claimed the fabric for a bed as soon as it came in the house.  She never gets that interested in things that won't cause me problems.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Actually getting a head start!

Every year, save one, I have made Halloween costumes for the kids.  After Halloween is over the kids get to add their costumes to the dress up bin and The gentleman of the house and I talk about how we need to get a better jump on the whole process the next year.  We won't talk about how as they get older the costumes get more complex.

Well this year fate seems to have smiled on us.  Yesterday after announcing on Google+ that it was the first of October and time to start on the costumes I found 'old' drapery panels at the garage sale next door.  $10 for the whole stack of them.

The striped curtain sections are about two and a half feet wide and almost five feet long.  The top panel that has two curtain curtains attached to it is about five feet long and about two feet wide.  This is a stack of four matching  sets with the curtain ties.  Bonus points that the curtain ties are the right size for the waist band for Miss M, my wenchy knock off.  
The black curtains are two separate pieces measuring int at about four feet wide and about six feet long.  No curtain ties with these two but a lot of nice fabric to work with. 

Thus far, Miss M has called dibs on the cream and black fabric from the top of the black drapes.  Miss B has laid claim claim to the black fabric.  Some of the fabric from the top portion of the striped curtains will most likely go to part of Miss B's costume and part to mine.  The striped fabric it seems the young ladies have decided should go to my costume which is fine by me.  I might not be able to take part in the double period project at Your warderobe unlock'd yet again but I am thrilled to be getting a steampunk ensemble for future use so it balances out in my book.  I can always try for next year's run.

The gentleman of the house is a bit sad to see this fabric turned into costumes but the combination of no curtain rods in the house to put them on and the fact that this sure beats our usual runs to the fabric store for the cheapest broadcloth that we can find at this time of year means that even he admits the costumes will last longer for the girls to play with.  The way I see it when they out grow the dresses and bustles they want for this year's costumes I can pass them down to my niece a budding little miss K.  That last thought brings much joy to my heart.  Passing on the joy of play and imagination with pieces that will last.

-The head Wench.

Friday, September 30, 2011

It could be worse...

So a week ago today I broke a toe.  Not the first time I have don'e so, by a long shot, and I doubt that it will be the last.  Add to it I have had to explain how I managed to do so while trying to bring pots (large very heavy pots) of plants in, and it not involving any of said pots falling or dropping in any way, to the gentleman of the house three times.  I need to pick my crafting and other projects back up.  And It is driving me nuts that I can't focus enough to do so.  The issues is that I am the type of person who needs to run through spurts of energy at different points int he day.  As anyone who has broken a toe or  bone below the, let's play it safe and say, knee there is no such thing as 'running' through any sort of physical energy for a good stint.  Previous experience says that I'm looking at two to three more weeks of taking it easy, also know as going blinking stir crazy, before I can start doing anything that might resemble a normal spurt.

So, there has been *LOTS* of blog reading with my wenchy knock off.

I have started to come up with some projects that I can do sitting still, like these wonderful book covers we saw on design*sponge.   Paper leather bound books and vintage style dust covers, you can't tell me that these aren't some smart looking and fairly simple dress ups for a book shelf.

I'm hoping that the possibility of meeting up with or local knitting wenches will get my fingers going again since I only have three projects on the needles.  It is a perfect project to keep the mind and hands busy when the feet can't be.  I just hate being in a funk, it drives me nuts.

So here is to thinking happy thoughts about some stitching and witching with local wenches.

-The head Wench.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday running

Yesterday the girls' and I found a good starter stick for our season tree.  It is the living room and partly decorated.
Now you will notice that the ghosts look like they have tags.  My wenchy knock off decided that there should be a ghost for each member of the family.  She put name tags on them and for Halloween has dubbed our season tree the "our dead family tree".  This morning it seems my 'ghost' had fallen off the tree over night and a certain young one started making 'I've fallen and can't get up' jokes.

This morning we went to the farmer's market.  A giant head of cabbage and a giant french pumpkin begged to come home with us.
Like I said, they are seriously big!  That is my littlest, Miss M, in the picture just to show size.  She is seven.  The head of cabbage is actually bigger around than her head.

I had to take part of the cabbage's head off to fit it into the veggie drawer.  What I cut off I have started an attempt at sauerkraut.  Hopefully it will ferment well.  The gentleman of the house and I love our sauerkraut.

The pumpkin has me a little stumped past making some pumpkin butter.  I would do pies and such if it wasn't for the lack of gluten free flour in the house.  I'll figure it all out.

-The head Wench.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The girl's and I made these pumpkins yesterday.  They were fun to put together.  I ran across the tutorial for them at Craftaholics anonymous.

Our original plan was to make a garland with them and some ghosts, bats, etc.

The plan has since changed slightly.  My wenchy knock off (older Dd) and I have seen some really neat ideas for seasonal 'trees'.  The one that really caught our eyes was the use of paper snowflakes on Jenn's from Frugal Upstate.

In the Mean time I have taken a page out of her DIY/upcycling book with using old bottles to keep my potted plants watered.  I'll post pickers once I have everything in place and the rest of my plants inside for the winter.  her is a link to her DIY plant watering globes.  I find it funny to think I am turning my plants into lushes... in true wench style.

Next step is having the gentleman of the house build some led grow lights for all my plants.  I've passed him this schematic.  And some pictures of a variation where they are more like a string of Christmas lights instead of a 'spike'.  I'm hoping for herbs to make it through the winter between the two potential improvements.

-The Head Wench.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


With the cool air of a approaching autumn and the internet working consistently again I thought that I would pop up and start writing again.

So in the immortal words of the hysterically awesome Monty Python's Holy grail...

"I'm not dead yet!"

Recently Urban threads posted a short list of iPod apps for crafters.  One of those links was craftgawker.  I would love to hug (as I don't think that a certain gentleman would approve of kissing) the person (or folks) responsible for that site.  If you are in need of crafting candy or inspiration go there now or get their (free) iPod app.

With the cool air I have candles and Halloween on the brain.

I love this weeks tutorial from Urban threads for a lace votive.

And a piece that I am working on..... with out a pattern.  *gulp*

This is version 1.4 I'm hoping with a bit of Frankensteining (when I run out of my current yarn) to make it big enough to use as a shawl.  It is flat knit from the center out without seams.  We will see how this goes.

-The head Wench.