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 foundationsrevealed.com, 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 yourwardrobeunlockd.com 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 countryliving.com
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.