Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Guild Busy

My last update on this blog was in February and at that time I was working diligently on the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge.  As I thought was going to happen, I didn't finish any of the challenges once All-Con preparations were underway and then directly after that we had a Picnic with the Pixies.  Of course, in April Scarborough Renaissance Festival began.  Scarborough runs through Memorial day, so I was tied up there for two months.  The month of June was spent wrapping up preparations for and presenting Costumers' Lost Weekend for the DFW Costumers Guild.

Whew!  That was a lot!  No wonder I didn't get around to catching up on the HSF challenge!

I didn't get any pictures of the fun at All-Con because I was too busy having fun.  But a few pictures were taken of me at Scarborough over the run.

Picnic with the Pixies was a lot of fun.  We had some ball jointed doll enthusiasts join us to up the pixie factor.
Here I am being all kinds of silly with one of the dolls

When you're playing with dolls, you may as well let the wee ones in on the fun.  Sometimes they have better stories

 Best part about this Guild event??  Bones got to tag along!!!  
Next time he's gonna need an outfit.

Unfortunately, we thought the picnic was going to be too muddy for some of the costumes, so we repeated the picnic in April.  I wasn't able to attend because I was working Scarborough, but I saw the pics and everyone who made it out looked Fab!

Costumers' Lost Weekend was Fantastic!  We had a few out of town guests this time, which is exciting.  And we had a day of workshops this year so we had something cool to take home with us.  We also had great panels the first day, as usual.  I'm really proud of our little baby con.  Year 2 was successful.  I'm crossing my fingers everyone is on board to do it again in 2014.

Oh!, but you wanted to see pictures didn't you?

Here I am at the Masquerade Ball with my friend Gypsy James

Aren't we a lovely, group?  We had a lot of attendees who weren't able to stay for the ball and a few who had to leave shortly before this photo was taken.  We had such a great time at the ball!  

I think this is my favorite photo of the whole weekend!  
It pretty much sums up what folks missed!

 Sunday morning several of us gathered for breakfast.  
We were quite the point of interest in the dining hall.

So what's next?

Well, I have a small commission that I am working on for this week.  Then I have a small repair for a friend.  Then I have the DFWCG's Retro Bowl event to attend.  And then I get started on a big commission.  And then I start getting ready for Fall Faire season.

Yeah, I'm probably never going to pick up that HSF challenge again.

As it stands now, I think I have my pattern all picked out for the Retro Bowl.  Though I said that yesterday and I've completely changed my mind again.  I think this is the 3rd time I've promised myself I'd make some 1940s slacks for a vintage event and chickened out on them.  I had a Costumer's Freak Out today over what I was going to try to sew for this thing.  I have no confidence in my slacks sewing skills.  And I couldn't remember what vintage patterns I had at home.  So I searched and searched and searched for something to order that I liked.  And didn't really find anything in my price range that I liked.  Thankfully I looked through my recent Vintage Martini purchases when I got home and have found THE OUTFIT!  I think.  

I hope!

Now I just need to find some fabric to sew it with.  I'd sure love it if I had the right fabric in my stash!  But that room is a complete disaster, so I may chicken out on digging through the piles and just buy new fabric.  Which is terrible, but Time is Precious!!!!!!

In any case, wish me luck.  I'm certainly gonna need it!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge # 4

The Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #4 is the Embellish challenge.  For me, embellishment is not something I think about very often for my costumes.  I tend to wear middle to lower class outfits made out of sturdy materials which I can wash in my washer with ease.  If I have to dry clean something, it's never going to be worn.  Part of that reason is because I'm cheap and lazy.  The other part of that reason is because many of the outfits I make are worn for some working purpose.  For instance, all of my Renaissance Faire garb is made with the possibility that I might be wearing the outfit around the joust horses from time to time.  And let me tell you, horses can get you Very dirty, Very quickly!  I remember I used to have some really pretty white chemises and frilled shirts.  They are all stained brown and green from the horses and also from the sunscreen I wear to take care of my skin.  I also vividly remember a scene wherein my very nice lady's dress I wore for performances was picked up by my mount, Abraham, and flung back and forth in the air as a toy.  So it is impossible to maintain nice things in that arena, or in the stable.  Even now that I've moved on to retail at faire I still don't have any expectation of keeping anything nice.  Fancy fabric can get damaged during set up and tear down as well as when playing games with kids.  It's just not worth it to have to worry all the time about the pretty things on my outfit which may get ripped or damaged.

All of that said though, since I have been working at Pendragon here and there, I have become more comfortable with Small amounts of embellishment on my clothes.  And so this challenge was a challenge to myself to come up with something simple and pretty and Durable.  And did I mention simple?

In the end, my project was so simple I kind of feel like I cheated.  It took almost no time to complete and I totally copied the idea from Pendragon (who I'm sure did not invent the idea either it's so simple).  Oh well.  It was a good exercise for me to think outside of my box.  Now to put it to the test of surviving at Faire.  And surviving my laundromat.

The Challenge:  Challenge #4 Embellish

Fabric:  Metallic woven ribbon trim sewn on linen fabric.

Pattern:  None, I just sewed the ribbon to the already existing collar and cuffs on the shirt

Year:  Tudor period 

Notions:  The ribbon

How historically accurate is it?  From my knowledge, blackwork is historically accurate here - this ribbon is not.  However, the shirt is completely accurate being made from linen and made from the Tudor Tailor book.

Hours to complete:  Took me all of 5 minutes.

Total cost: $4

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

American Duchess Gibson Edwardian Shoes

American Duchess's new Edwardian shoes are almost here!  Pre-order is taking place now.  And don't forget she is now carrying leather shoe paints so you can decorate these babies however you wish.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cat Food Epiphany

Last night I prepared a lovely dinner made from fresh, local, free range chicken.  It is the first time I have ever tried my hand at butterflying a whole chicken.  I didn't do a half bad job considering I didn't have any kitchen shears and my knives are not as sharp as they should be when attempting to cut through bone.

I almost threw away the backbone, but my Poopsie cat can smell raw chicken like I can smell home made Scrabble (Texas Trash) in the oven - from a mile away!  My normally reserved and shy boy cat turned into a playful, flirty, adorable kitten right there at the smell and sight of that raw chicken.  So I gave him the back bone.  He went Crazy over it!  Of course, once that back bone hit the floor Nabisco and Roz came over to investigate.  I ended up stealing the carcass back and cutting it in half so Nabisco wouldn't incite a riot.  And initially I kept Roz away since she's got these unidentified allergies and I've been told to keep her away from chicken.  But eventually she stole Nabisco's carcass right out from under her and once she had it, I couldn't really take it away.  She was Growling at me!

After their decadent snack, those silly cats were so cute all night last night!  It was as if I was covered in catnip.  They were all over me purring and rubbing their faces and stepping all over one another to cuddle with me.  I expect that with Roz and Nabisco from time to time, but this is very out of the ordinary for the Poopsie cat.

Luckily Roz's face didn't blow up last night or this morning.  She was quite bright eyed and still full of silly energy, in fact.  So in light of Roz not having a reaction to the chicken I turned to my Google Fu to see if there was something to this difference in free range chicken rather than regular chicken.  What I found was something that should have been rather OBVIOUS to me considering how much exp[erimenting I have done with diet adjustments for health issues both in cats and dogs:

Well, DUH!  I don't know why I didn't think of that before!  So now I have another rabbit hole to find my way through.  The Stella and Chewy's dehydrated lamb I use may be grass fed, but I need to double check that.  If their chicken is free range, my solution is clear.  Dehydrated and even raw chicken is cheaper than the lamb.   I just have to decide whether I want to feed raw as a supplement or as a complete meal.  And that means I'll need to go back and refresh my memory on the latest raw diet data.  I don't mind feeding raw, I just have to have something they'll eat that I can free feed on the weekends when I start working faires and cons again this Spring.  That is the tough part!

Offensively Good Broiled Chicken

Last night I was on a mission to satisfy my craving for brown and wild rice with some veggies and chicken.  I didn't have a specific recipe, but I had a basic taste profile in mind. I had purchased everything but the chicken already at a regular grocery store, but since I have pledged to eat as much of my meat and dairy as possible locally produced I stopped by Green Grocer on my way home from work for the chicken.  I was originally planning on using chicken pieces and sauteing the whole dish, but Green Grocer only has whole chickens right now.  They are expecting their chicken suppliers to offer divided chicken meat at some point, but they are not sure when.  Even though I was not looking to cut up a whole chicken myself, after speaking with a very helpful lady who works at Green Grocer about my planned dinner, I decided to go ahead and just get a small whole fryer chicken.

And I sure am glad I changed my mind!  In our discussion about what I was planning for the chicken, the Green Grocer clerk mentioned Julia Child's Broiled Butterflied Chicken recipe and how that would be perfect for what I wanted.  She was Right!  That local grass fed little chicken was obscenely good broiled!  And I didn't even use good butter.  I used Earth Balance margarine because I still have a half a tub left of that to use up.  Also, it cooked surprisingly fast.

The broiled chicken was so moist and flavorful.  My only quibble is that I should have left it in for another 5 minutes.  I'm not very good at gauging whether chicken is cooked through or not and somehow I still don't own a meat thermometer.  Since I once got really sick from under cooked chicken I have a long track record of overcompensating for that and over cooking.  This being the first time to try this broiling method, I'm surprised that I almost got it right without a thermometer.  I was just a hair off.  My chicken was perfect on top, flavorful and juicy, but the bottom was just a tad under cooked.  I probably would have caught that had I used a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

This is what my beautiful chicken dinner looked like once it was completely finished.
I still have some tweaking to do for the veggies to be perfect.  It's missing a spice, probably more worchestershire, or an addition of soy and fresh garlic.  But as a whole this recipe is absolutely a keeper!  It's a healthy meal in under an hour.  And not too bad on the wallet either considering I used local grass fed chicken.  That fryer was around 2 lbs and just under $10.  I'm just cooking for me, so I can eat on this meal for 4-5 days.  Veggies are cheap and I cheated on the rice and used par boiled, which was still pretty cheap.  I normally wouldn't use par boiled, but I didn't have time to make rice ahead at all this weekend and my time is Very limited for cooking after work.


1 medium yellow squash
1 medium zuchinni
1/2 package sliced mushrooms
1/2 bag fresh green beans
1 2 lb fryer chicken
3 Tbs butter (divided)
3 Tbs olive oil (divided)
1 Tbs worchestershire sauce
2 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups cooked brown rice
poultry seasoning

Pre-heat broiler and butterfly chicken.  If chicken is wet from washing, pat dry.  If chicken was refrigerated, let it sit out to room temp (from comments on this broiler method, this helps the chicken cook more evenly).

Rub chicken with the 2/3 of the butter and then season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Follow instructions for Broiled Butterflied Chicken.  If the chicken is lean and there isn't much fat to baste with, drizzle a little bit of olive oil on the skin about halfway through the cooking process and turn the chicken over to smear the olive oil and juices back onto the skin.

About halfway through the chicken broiling, put the veggies in the skillet and saute to desired doneness.  Add in cooked rice and stir until rice is warmed.

Once chicken is done, place on top of veggies and rice and let sit.  Drizzle the juice from the chicken pan over the whole dish.  Serve after chicken has had time to rest.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Nabisco and the Dog Bone

This morning as I was getting ready for work I kept hearing a strange crunching sound.  Bones was huddled up in a blanket across the room so I knew it wasn't him chewing on a bone next to me.  Besides, this was a higher pitched crunching sound like that from smaller teeth.  I looked up to find the sound and it was Nabisco!  My little Niblet was gnawing away on Bones' knuckle bone!  This could, of course, be an alternate explanation to the tooth break mystery.  Maybe she didn't snag it on my clothes she was trying to remove from the hanger.  Maybe she broke it on a stinking dog bone!

The black and white cat is Luna.  Sometimes she thinks she wants to play, but my torti girls don't want to play with her and it always seems to end up in a fight.  This time she was lucky.  She's still up for adoption through Texas Pawprints by the way.  Feel free to e-mail me if you are interested.  She is a Very sweet cat!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sherwood Forest Faire Opening Weekend 2013

Since the first day Sherwood Forest Faire opened I have been dying to get to take a trip down to the Austin area to attend.  I had heard so many things about what kind of faire it was expected to be and then I heard so many rave reviews once the first season finished.  The only bummer was that half the faire run overlapped Scarborough Renaissance Festival (Scarby).  And March is always a Very busy time for me as there are several cons and festivals I participate in happening all throughout the month.  Not to mention March is my last minute preparations month for Scarby.  I was pretty convinced I would never get to attend Sherwood.  Then they moved the season up so that Sherwood concluded just before Scarby began.  And at that point my only problem was getting over camping in the cold.  I am Not a fan of cold!  And I'm no where Near prepared for it.  Lucky for me, this weekend turned out to be rather moderate.  We were expecting a deluge of rain, so the camp site was light, but we had an Amazing time anyways.  The rain gods smiled upon us and didn't really let us have it until the wee hours of the morning when everyone had pretty much decided to go to bed anyways.  The rain gods were also kind enough to stop the rain just before time for everyone to start waking up, so really the worst part was if you were a light sleeper and then you were probably worried your tent was going to fly to OZ.  I am not a light sleeper.  I didn't hear a thing.  I very well Could have landed in OZ and stayed asleep for all I knew.  Good thing it was just a storm and not an act of magical travel to an alternate dimension via a funnel cloud.

Here I am in my basic wool medieval dress.  I made this years ago for a 12th Night feast I attended with some SCA friends.  It is from the La Fleur de Lyse Woman of Medieval Romanesque Period 1060-1150 pattern.  If I remember correctly I made a bunch of adjustments to the fit as I wanted it to be plain like the peasant dress, but more fitted like the lady dress.  Now that I have worn the dress a few times, I may actually go back and let out some of those seams because I think it would look better.  I also want to go ahead and put some sort of embellishment on it so I feel like wearing it more often.  I have a feeling it will get more wear at Sherwood now, so I just want to make sure I enjoy wearing it.  I prefer plainer, lower class garments to highly embellished fussy ones, but this is a little too plain.  Even for me.  I have to say that I LOVED wearing the turban the whole day!  Holy crap that was incredible not having to worry about what my crazy curly hair was doing in all that damp.  Not to mention it is in a strange short transitional stage right now.  

In another Rennie life I sometimes work with a joust company.  I was a lady rider for New Riders of the Golden Age for a few years.  Two years at Scarby and one year at Norman Medieval Faire.  I also worked the kiddy warhorse rides.  This year the joust troupe contracted to work at Sherwood.  I was really torn between working and making Sherwood a play faire.  In the end I opted to play at Sherwood this season.  I haven't been able to properly play with my Rennie friends in quite some time and so I decided that was more important this time.  But of course I got to chat with my old joust friends and smoosh horsey faces.  And marvel at how the horse I rode last time at Scarby has grown.  The horse in the red and gold above...that's Abraham.  He was just a baby joust horse when I rode him.  He has grown Quite a Bit!  And he's a full time jousting horse now.  I'm so proud!