Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Gifts

I hope you all had a great Christmas with family and friends. Mine was wonderful, and I was spoiled with many lovely gifts. I got some great books, including these:

I am looking forward to having the chance to do a bit of embroidery and practice some calligraphy over the break.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all and wishing you the best for the New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Virgin Mary with Embroidery Sampler

The Virgin Mary with her classmates showing needlework samplers to their teacher, detail from the Altarpiece of the Virgin and St. George, c.1390-1400 (tempera on panel)

I found this image of the Virgin Mary learning embroidery and thought it was beautiful. I love the dagged sleeves of the older lady's overgown.

Image from:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Onyx pendant and pearl necklace

Here is the second pendant made up into a necklace. It is onyx, and the beads are malachite and freshwater baroque pearls strung onto tiger tail.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pearl Pendant Necklace

I have really been looking forward to making up necklaces to go with my birthday pendants, and today I finally got the chance. After quite a bit of playing around with different types of bead, I used some natural gemstone beads which have been dyed to look like coral, and some small baroque freshwater pearls. The necklace is strung on tiger tail for extra durability.

The beautiful pendants that I got as a birthday gift

Some freshwater baroque pearls that I ordered to go with the pendants (2 sizes of pearls)

The bead options for the necklaces- turquoise, amethyst, dyed coral and malachite

The completed pearl and ''coral'' necklace

Many thanks to Lord Gabriel Ziegler for arranging the mail order purchase that supplied the lovely beads, and to the Harrys for the beautiful gifts!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Subtletie Plates

After another trawl through the thrift shops, I scored some (slightly dented and tarnished) subtletie plates-

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Compleatly Dressed Anachronist Post

I had planned to post about something different today, but I just had to share this blog post with you all. I thought it was really beautiful, and gives some insight to those magical moments you find sometimes within the SCA game:
from: The Compleatly Dressed Anachronist

Monday, December 15, 2014

Starch find

Look what I found at my local Foodland/IGA! Starch for ruffs can be hard to find- and this one was only $3.43!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Renaissance Bling

An awesome gift from a very generous friend who knows how much I love Renaissance 'bling'!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marzipan Fruits

I made some marzipan fruits for a friend this week. They are fun to make; a bit like playing with Play-Doh when you were a kid. Just shape them with your fingers. I have several handy little tools to create details, but a toothpick can be used if you don't have fancy tools. Use the side to put the ridges in the leaves, and break off the sharp point to make a blunt probe to put the indents in the strawberries (for the 'seeds'). Use food colouring to paint the fruits. I have special brushes that are only kept in the kitchen, so that they are never mixed up with my illumination brushes- I don't want to accidentally poison my friends!

I use a clove for the oranges and peaches. Cloves were often used in the Renaissance as breath fresheners. Flick off the little bud at the end and snap the stem in half. Use the top half as the stalk of the fruit, and the little cross shaped piece on the bottom. Warn the recipient- not everyone likes cloves!

The unpainted fruits drying off a little bit

Partially painted fruits waiting for details and leaves to be added

Painted fruits drying in castor sugar

Finished fruits ready to eat

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thrift store find

Another lovely thrift store find. I plan to remove the chain on this one and add a long, looped pearl necklace. I might add some little tiger eye beads as well. The stone on the brooch needs a bit of a polish as it has seen some wear. I will post pictures when it is done.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Birthday gifts

Here is another birthday present - One of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received from a friend:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Costume Teasers from the new Cinderella Movie

Here is a link to some fabulously frothy costuming in the new Cinderella movie from Disney:

Images courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flashes of Flattery Blog

You may remember that I have posted previously about my talented friend Gabriel who makes the cute little rapier pins and pretty beaded pendants? Well, he now has a blog available to showcase his wares:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Some beautiful paintings to inspire some summer sewing

Isn't it easy to get distracted when you should be doing something that you don't enjoy doing? It is the last month of the academic year where I am, and I have tons to do. But all I want to do is anything else! I am thinking about tourney dresses for next year. It gets so hot in the southern parts of Australia that a gown with removable sleeves is a very practical option.
Here are some lovely portraits for you to admire-

The Fruit Seller by Vincenzo Campi - from

(I love this outfit; especially the partlet.)

Ghirlandaio's Portrait of a Girl - from

(A high neckline will reduce sunburn, and front opening is always very practical.)

Ghirlandaio's Portrait of a Woman - from

(Very similar to the portrait above. I really like the little caul that she is wearing.)

Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni by Ghialandaio - from

(This ensemble is just gorgeous; love the sleeves, love the bodice, love it all! I wish I could do that hairstyle.)

click to enlarge
Ghirlandaio's Portrait of a Woman - from

(The partlet in this one is probably ideal for the Australian sun because the back of my neck always gets toasted.)

I am no closer to actually making a decision on what style to go with for a new tourney dress, but I have a lot of options to consider.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Past pouches

I have been making some tentative plans for sewing and embroidery over the Christmas break, but there is just too much to do, and too little time! To inspire and motivate myself, I have put together a few pages of items that have been finished. Today, some pouches:

'Mouse pouch' - a Lochac children's award

'Mouse pouch' - a Lochac children's award

Lochac A&S Championship pouch

'Mouse pouch' - a Lochac children's award

A rose motif for a sweetebag

A sweete bag with fruit motifs in raised embriodery

A linen gift pouch

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

American Duchess Sale

I just heard that there will be a sale on American Duchess 'Harlow' shoes this Friday. More information at

48 Hour Sale on at November 14 at 12 pm PST

Interlaced Vine Partlet

This is a partlet that I made for a prize auction tourney in 2010. The embroidery was done in double running stitch with black linen thread. The ground fabric was also linen.

The interlaced design is taken from one of my reproduction modelbooks.(I love looking through my collection of modelbooks in the initial stages of a project!) I did not alter the pattern. In the sixteenth century, the embroiderer would probably have traced or drawn the design onto the base fabric with ink. I taped the linen to a window and traced the design on in water soluble pen. I find that water soluble ink is much more forgiving of any errors! I did a tacking stitch to mark out the edges of where the partlet collar piece should be cut.

The partlet was hand sewn. I sharpened a couple of strong decorative jewellery headpins to make pins to hold the partlet in place when being worn.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Elizabethan Whitework Coif

Some time ago I made an Elizabethan Whitework coif as a contribution to the Queen's Gift Basket.

Some extant examples of coifs from Patterns of Fashion 4 are below:

Below are some of the plates from Patterns of Fashion 4 that inspired this piece. They are a hood and a coif embroidered predominantly in chain stitch.

These are the designs that mine was adapted from. I left out the cutwork because coifs are so good
for a 'bad hair day' and having cutwork reduces their usefulness in this area!

I toyed with the idea of adding eyelet or buttonhole stitch grapes, but decided to leave it plain. This way, the coif suits people who don't like the over-the-top, more-is-more Elizabethan design ideal.

The embroidery finished and lawn lining sewn in

Flowers and leaves embroidered with silk in chain stitch on a linen ground

The coif waiting to have the knotted gather put on top

Close-up of the knotted gather that adds a 'pouf' to allow for a bun

How this piece sits varies greatly with the head of the wearer. On me, it looks like a cross between a coif and a linen hood. As it is a gift piece, that doesn't matter. But it did inspire me to change the pattern I use for making my own coifs. The next one will have the gathering tube further back at the back of the neck. Hopefully this change will mean that I can wear the new style behind my Elizabethan padded hair-do.

The hand-sewn central seam

Commercially produced lace was hand sewn into place and a line of
decorative running stitch added

Thankyou to Heather once again for the beautifully worked lucet cords.

Please see my previous coif posts for information on the background of coifs and how they were worn.