Archive for the 'Blogroll' Category

Blackadder – the costume(s)

In 2000 I made Chad an Elizabethan costume. It was based on the BBC series, Black Adder. I only did it because Chad foolishly said, “if you make that, I’ll wear it.” Pffft. Challenge accepted.

My resources to replicate said costume were:

  1. Grainy VHS tape that was probably a copy of a copy
  2. Some photo copied & self-published books about how to make men’s Elizabethan costumes
  3. A few costuming web sites
  4. Some sketches I made from said VHS tape while it was on pause
  5. Janome sewing machine
  6. Babylock serger that scared the hell out of me

Surprisingly, the costume turned out OK. I’m not saying this to humble-brag. I’m saying this because my level of costuming skill at the time would rank as pretty darn low and technically lacking. I was self-taught – both sewing in general and definitely costume in particular, had no idea how to properly scale up or down a pattern, and was recreating from blurry photos. Let’s be honestly, I was mostly winging that mother.

 

The next year, I made a few modifications and updates. The slops got better for sure. Although I still had (or currently have) no real idea how I’m supposed to use that serger. 

Over Halloween our headless horseman was brazenly stolen off the porch. He was wearing the jerkin, doublet and sleeves – the most integral pieces of the costume.  

I was livid.

And yet, by then I’d made Chad a newer, fancier, slightly better gold Elizabethan costume.

It was no Black Adder, but it was pretty nice. And had been very time consuming.

Several years later with some more costuming experience, I decided to start from scratch. Historical garment resources had come a long way in 11 years. I decided the best place to start was a new chemise, which was the easy part. Although I still sucked at scaling patterns and dealing with fitment issues. I was, however, much better at muddling through via mock-ups in cheap muslin! A hard earned lesson, believe me.

Chemise done, a new set of neck and wrist ruffs were in order. There was a lot of conflicting and confusing info out there regarding construction. So I picked what seemed to make sense (having already gone through several different ways of making them) and machine embellished the 260 inches of fabric. At the very least, it was gonna be a huge upgrade from his original ruff. 

At which point I stopped,  pinned the ruffs into sections, put it aside “for a few days” and there it lay. Forgotten in a corner, a distraction for a different day.

Eight years later I decided it was time to review my costuming closet, make some alterations and perhaps see about that Black Adder costume again.  After all, costuming references had gotten a lot better since 2011!

I was off to the races – the turtle races.

Step 1: Locate and wash ruff material

Step 2: Find newer, better reference – a 44 page .pdf with photos and diagrams!

Step 3: Spend unnecessary amount of time on Pinterest looking up Black Adder

Step 4: Spend a week going back and forth about adding black trim to ruff material (see above)

Step 5: Spend 2 days searching craft stores for appropriate trim

Step 6: Start hand stitching trim to 260 inches of ruff material

 

To be continued, in hopefully less than 8 years.

chris on June 14th 2019 in Blogroll, Creativity

There’s No Rain, Until There’s Rain

On Thursday the forecast for the next several days was dry, dry, dry and hot, hot hot, culminating in temps reaching hotter than the surface of the sun on Monday.

So, it seemed like no big deal to leave the Edmund the Jeep’s sunrider top flipped open and the side windows laying in the backseat. It would give Edmund an opportunity to air out. Plus, I’m lazy and even putting the brand new trail cover on seemed like excessive effort, considering the forecast.

Saturday morning found me sweating like a beast, fighting poison ivy vines and shouting loud, nasty things at Mother Nature for even allowing it to exist. It was hot. It was dry. I was sweating like a maniac. There were no clouds in the sky. It was a lovely shade of blue. 

We spent the afternoon and evening at the Tri-Stage Wing Off in Cumberland, eating wings and enjoying some fine live bands. It was hot, but with a lovely little breeze; even after dark the temps were still up. Hot and dry.

Sunday morning I staggered out of bed much later than usual. Between being out in the heat for most of the day and staying up way later than usual, I was not moving too fast. I noticed the pond capstones looked damp. And then I saw that the firepit was full of water. Huh, it rained. HUH? IT RAINED? OH SHIT!

More rain was suddenly in the forecast. More? I’d obviously missed the earlier bulletin that rain was even a possibility. Probably should at least put the top up and windows back in. Not really thinking, I grabbed the top and flipped it forward…water cascaded from the happy little pouch formed by the top, what didn’t drench me poured into the jeep. Of course it did.

Prior to the top drenching, a brief peek inside revealed puddles in both the front floor pans and one back floor pan. Seriously. Not just some dampness, but so much water that I could not drive without the water going over the top of my shoes when getting in. It was a lot of water.

Lesson learned. Next time, use the fancy new trail cover or just put the damn top back up.

Today’s episode brought to you by #firstworldproblems!

chris on June 17th 2018 in Blogroll, Vehicles

Geowoodstock Day 2 – wherein it is insanely hot still

Our plans for Sunday were simple. Obligatory early wake up, thanks to the transparency nature of our tent, grab a snack and head to our kayak put in of choice – labeled as a Public Access site on the map.  We’d drop Keith’s Jeep there and then head to the put in up river, saving ourselves the livery costs for the trip.

Except…while the Public Access spot did indeed lead to the river, it wasn’t exactly watercraft friendly. Not even for our kayaks!  Or to be more accurate, you could probably ride a kayak down the mud flume trail right into the river, but you’d be hard pressed to get yourself, let alone yourself and your kayak out!

Therefore, Plan A was a no go. On to Plan B.  Go back past the campground to a public access boat ramp on East Fork Lake in the WMA section of the park. Then take a long rambling drive to another boat ramp to put in. It was then 11:00 am and insanely hot & humid. Needless to say, by the time we finished paddling, we were hot, grubby, tired and hungry.  

 

It was a quiet afternoon in the campground. Mostly it involved sitting and sweating. So much sweating. And possibly falling asleep in chairs.

 

chris on May 27th 2018 in Blogroll, Geocaching, Travel

Graylight

Daylight. More like graylight. I chuckled, drifting back to sleep, burrowed snugly in bed. The window had some brightness to it. But nothing that could rightly pass for daylight. The clouds had hung heavy in the sky for so long that the idea of daylight was merely one of opposites. It wasn’t night. It was day. Therefore, it was daylight. More aptly graylight, my sleep befuddled brain declared.

I awoke that morning, in the mind-numbing haze with which I greet every morning. I glanced at the window and had a vague feeling I’d come up with some clever play on words. What it was, I could not trick from my subconscious.

Two days later I stared out the window watching the rain soak everything, foolishly attempting to be optimistic that “at least it wasn’t snow”. So gray. Suddenly I blurted out, “Graylight!” grinning as my word turn was rescued from all-encompassing brain fog.

Graylight.

Morgantown’s perpetual Winter day sky. 

chris on March 27th 2018 in Blogroll, Uncategorized