Blue Anne Fabrics Tuesday, Oct 20 2009 

Blue Anne Fabrics

17 October 2009

As a retailer of specialty items, it is always amazing to me how impossible it is to have what every customer really wants. No matter how wonderful what you have is, no matter how many choices you provide, someone will always want the exact something that you do not have.

That seems crazy when I put it into words, because of course it isn’t possible to have one of every possible conceivable product—the possibilities are far too infinite. But, it never seems to fail, that at least once a weekend, we’ll have the outfit of someone’s dreams, but in the wrong size. Last week it was a Courtesan outfit and Nicole is actually going to take one apart to remake it into a different size. This week it was an Anne Boleyn. Hopefully, this time we’ll have better luck with the fabric availability.

This is the photo I snapped for reference for Nicole to see what to purchase and what to sew for this new order. God Save Nicole and Pendragon Costumes!

~MB

Slash and Poof and Trim Sunday, Mar 22 2009 

Joe's Red Doublet Stomacher

21 March 2009

This is another of my current projects . . . Joe and Cindy ordered Tudor ensembles. Her outfit is primarily red with gold accents. His is a lovely black and tan brocade (always makes me think beer thoughts!) with red and gold accents. This photo shows the front of his under-doublet, with all its slash and poof and trim. And here’s a detail shot. I think it came out very well. I’ll assemble the doublet on Sunday.

~MB

Another Skirted Doublet Saturday, Mar 21 2009 

Another Skirted Doublet

18 March 2009

Another work day.  Another skirted doublet.  This one is for a friend named Joe.  We have lots of friends named Joe, it turns out.  But this Joe is getting a Tudor outfit this year, as is his wife Cindy.  And it should be noted that Joe does his own beading!  I gave him the gold diamond brocade last fall, and his photo shows how it looks as the trim on the bottom of the skirt of his doublet.

~MB

Close-up of Gold and Sparkly Sunday, Mar 15 2009 

Close-up of Gold and Sparkly

12 March 2009
Happy Birthday, John!

A few days ago, I took a photo of this doublet stomacher as I was applying trim and gold fleurs. Now, it’s all beaded and assembled, and this is a close-up of how the beading turned out—I like it! I hope Lionel will, too!

I had a sick husband today, home with me instead of at work —although he ended up working all day anyway. At least he didn’t have to get fully dressed and drive and deal with the office environment when he felt like crap. But, because he was home, it worked out really well for me to have lots of hand-sewing to do—I could be nearby if he needed me.

~MB

My cutting table on a typical evening in March Wednesday, Mar 11 2009 

My cutting table on a typical late evening in March

10 March 2009

This amuses me.  I’m on a kick right now, where I look at things and see all that they represent . . . like the kitchen window a few days ago.  Tonight, it was the cutting table in my workshop.  As I thought about calling it a night and heading for the shower and the bed, I looked at my table.  There was so much to take in that a glance didn’t do it.  I decided it was somehow photo-worthy—probably because I’m tired and lacking in good judgement! 😉

On the center of the table is the current project—the stomacher of the underdoublet that Lionel will wear in his wedding ceremony.    I am delighted with the way it is looking—I embellished tonight with diagonal rows of trim and with fleur de lis studs at the intersections.  Tomorrow, I’ll add a whole bunch of beads to each fleur de lis and assemble the garment.  You can see in a little pile just above the doublet front, the little gem sets I’m going to use as the focal bead for each fleur.  My remote control for the television that keeps me company is right there where I last laid it down.  On the far left is a stack of button boxes I had out to look through and choose the buttons that I’ll use on this order.  Behind those is the stack of Lionel’s fabrics and the bolt of the trim I’m using.  There’s a cardboard box which contains a skirt set I need to finish altering for a Pendragon customer.  The New Home sewing machine visible at the top of the photo is the very first sewing machine I ever owned—a gift from my mama and daddy my first Christmas in college.  Twenty-eight years later, I still use it on almost every project . . . it’s the best machine I have for zig zag stitching!  And of course, there are the usual tools of the trade scattered about:  magnetic pin cushion, rotary cutting wheel, scissors, spools of thread and the water bottle in the foreground isn’t for drinking, it’s the water for my iron.  The drinking happens out of that amber-coloured glass bottle in the middle of the table!

~MB

Finished for Ryan Thursday, Feb 26 2009 

Finished for Ryan

25 February 2009

After working ’til five o’clock in the morning, all that remains for my tired self to do today for Ryan, is to finish his breeches and codpiece. I will meet with him tonight for a quick fitting to verify all is well, and then I’ll set the grommets and hand sew the lining in at the waist of the outer doublet. I am very pleased with the way it all looks . . . hopefully, it will fit perfectly, and he’ll like it, too.  He is portraying George Boleyn at Scarborough Renaissance Festival this season.  It’s been a number of years since we had a “George” and I think Ryan will do a great job.  It’ll be fun for the queen to have “her brother” to play off of to entertain us!

My photo (although I realize this morning, it’s a tiny bit blurry—-what can I say, I was tired) shows fairly well, the stomacher portion of the ensemble . . . specifically that fun fabric manipulation I was working on the other day . . . I never did find my reference illustration, but, my memory seems to have served me well enough.  Amazing, that!

So, today, the morning after, my big challenge is just to stay awake long enough to get the coffee to kick in!

~MB

Crazy Details Tuesday, Feb 24 2009 

Crazy Details

23 February 2009

Almost a year ago, I found a historical portrait of Henry VIII that I hadn’t seen before, where you could plainly tell the construction method of his ornately slashed and beaded doublet.  I loved it, and sold the idea to a customer.  Now, I cannot find that portrait to save my life.    So, I’m doing my best attempt at recreating it solely from my memory.  Now that’s crazy.

Anyway,  I snapped a few shots late last night (okay, it was this morning, but my old rule kicks in) before I went to bed, of my trial attempts at spacing and such.  This one doesn’t show the overall look, but I love the details visible in the macro shot.  So, there you have it . . . crazy details.

~MB

Progress and a Happy Arlington Citizen Friday, Feb 20 2009 

Progress

19 February 2009

Work, work, work . . . dinner with dear friends, and a very late night of more work.  My photo is of the progress I’ve made on Ryan’s order.  Our fitting appointment has been scheduled for Sunday, so I’ll set his stuff aside for a day or two, now, and work on another order.

And, in response to a different kind of progress, the middle of my workday contained a rather fulfilling experience at the Arlington Police Station.  It may be remembered by some, that I found out upon returning home from our Scottish holiday, that I had been captured on film by the “powers that be” of the City of Arlington—running a red light.  I remembered the event clearly—after all I don’t do that very often!  When I went to the Police Station to inquire about the choices I had, I was told I could set my case for “hearing” and potentially explain my circumstances and receive a ruling of reduced fine or even dismissal.  In the worst case scenario, I’d be back where I was—owing the city $75.  So, I signed the form, left the building, and waited.

Faster than promised, the letter arrived assigning my hearing date.  That date was today.  I dressed nicely, arrived early and at precisely two o’clock a very well-dressed, middle-aged gentleman came through a door and called my name.  After removing my metal bracelets and allowing my purse to be checked, I was through the metal detector, down the narrow hallway of offices, and into a small, modest office with only one chair for a guest.  The man motioned toward it, and I took the seat. 

He was very pleasant, but not chatty.  He introduced himself, quickly described the nature of this hearing, explained it would be recorded, and began by reciting the docket number and today’s date and time.  He asked me to state my name and address and I did so.  Then, he asked me if I had anything I wished to say.  After clarifying  that he meant “in my defense,” I proceeded by explaining that I had chosen to continue through the intersection under a red light, based on the weather and road conditions, and only after carefully checking my surroundings to ensure that I would be the only vehicle in the intersection.  We had had freezing rain the night before, I told him, and the temperature was still hovering around the freezing mark.  I am an experienced driver in adverse conditions, and part of that experience is knowing when not to slam on the brakes.  Then, he showed me the video of my truck very clearly running the light.  He showed it a number of times (I had my own computer monitor for viewing), reversing or rewinding it each time, and playing it sometimes in slow motion.  He showed me how the video contains all sorts of information including my speed, the number of seconds the light was yellow, the number of seconds (or portions of a second— .7, in my case) after turning red before my truck crossed the line. 

I suppose someone less convinced than I, of her own righteousness might have backed down at this point.   The man told me I had a full 3.5 seconds to respond to the yellow light and reduce speed, yet, I travelled through the intersection at 39 miles per hour.  He told me there were more cars on the road than he’d expect for a bad-weather day.  He told me the bus (school bus!) behind me was too far back to have been a concern.  He told me it didn’t appear that I’d even attempted to slow down.  That’s correct, I told him!  I had carefully made the determination that the intersection was safe, and that I and those around me were safer if I did not try to stop, and therefore I did not touch my brakes.  I also told him that I did not know the intersection was governed by a camera, but that knowing that, I would still have made the same decision.  You may feel I made the wrong decision, I said.  But, I told him I believed I had made the “nobler decision” in the interest of my own, and the public safety.

He was quiet for what seemed like a couple of minutes (I’m pretty sure it was actually less than fifteen seconds) and then he said, “I’m going to find you not liable in this case.”  <blink> <blink>  My brain took a second to translate.  He continued, “I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt.  I remember the weather of the 17th and 18th of December, and I’m going to find that you made the right decision and that you are not liable.”  I believe those were his words. 

“Thank you,” I managed to say calmly enough, I think.  I was ecstatic!  He quickly and efficiently printed a page, and while he did so, I told  him that I’d be happy to go on record as saying I believe the traffic light cameras are a brilliant thing—freeing our law enforcement officers to deal with much more important things.  He signed his name on the page he’d printed and slid it toward me on his desk.  He spoke words to signify “case dismissed,” and stopped the recording.

“This is my copy?”

“Yes.”

“Then, that’s it?  I’m done?  It’s all good?”

“Yes ma’am.  As though it never happened.” 

<big sigh>  “Thank you very much.”

As I gathered that magic, exhonerating page, and picked up my purse, he seemed to morph into a chattier mode and told me that the traffic cams were a big help to the city.  He offered up that they can be a bit disturbing when they catch a fatality accident, but that ultimately, they are a very useful tool.  We spoke back and forth about it for a couple of minutes, and then I offered my hand, we shook , and I thanked him once again.  I saw myself out of the building, got in my truck and the time was 2:17.  It had taken me almost as long to get through the metal detector as it had to plead my case and walk out owing nothing.

I love a system that works.  I love the progress that brings us technological developments like traffic tickets by camera and mail, rather than manpower.  And, I love that my city is willing to treat people as people, even in an increasingly de-humanized world.  I’m afraid it might not be that way forever, but today it happened and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside because of it.  And $75 less poor!

On a completely different note:  For those of our dear readers who haven’t yet gone to see the brilliant new movie by Henry Selick, director of Nightmare Before Christmas, (and based on the book written by our friend Neil Gaiman) Coraline—-here is a fun list of things to look for when you do go. And of course, you will be going, won’t you? If you hurry, you might even still catch it in 3D!

~MB

Panes for Sleeves Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

Panes for Sleeves

18 February 2009

These are the finished panes for Ryan’s sleeves. I’m working to get his outfit done this week. No time for more writing today.

~MB

Ryan’s Velvet Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

Ryan's Velvet

17 February 2009

We’re into that portion of the year when my posts to The Daily KRuMB will be short. That’s merciful to our readers, since nearly every photo is going to be of some flavour of fabric, or trim, or combination of the two.
If you think that gets a little boring . . . welcome to my world. Sorry.

This is a photo of the beautiful chocolate brown cotton velvet that I am using for Ryan’s Tudor doublet. Together with the gold brocade fabric trim, it is quite striking. Yummy, even.

~MB

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