Shameless Plugs

Spending the day trying not to think about my visit to the oncologist tomorrow, I started looking at the nuts and bolts of my store on Etsy, and ways to get more clicks.

By George, I have a blog! I have only linked to my store, maybe 3 times in 15 months. While it might be a great way to get more clicks, I certainly don’t want to alienate my visitors/readers here, by shameless self-promotion…hmmmmm….what to do, what to do?

I think I will follow the lead of bookbinder & The Smallest Forest author Nat, at Stuff I’ve Made . I already have a “Stuff for Sale” category, so I can limit all my hawking of the things I have put time and passion into creating, up-doing, or finding there.

So, choose to look or not. The category is there. I won’t bombard you.

Oh, but…

Don’t forget to visit my store at:




Viking/Rus 9th-11th Century Embroidered Fur Hat Completed

Finally! I said I was going to finish up some partially finished bits of garb while I was stuck on bed rest. Since that declaration, we had to make a trip to Corpus Christi to get the last of our belongings out of storage (I should have stayed in bed), started working on a previous piece of garb I ran out of supplies for, and learned a new skill–mostly from my bed.

I had started this project after we attended Diamond Wars “The Battle of the Meats” in Arkansas, the weekend before Halloween. I thought I was going to freeze to death at that event, and came home determined to make a fur-lined hat. But what sort of persona would wear a fur-lined hat?

Currently, I am working a very loose Viking persona, and I knew the type of hat I wanted had been worn at some point in Russia. I started wondering if the Vikings were ever in Russia. Could my persona have emigrated?

What do you know? Not only are my musings plausible, they are downright probable! In 862, Novgorod, Russia, is founded by the Viking, Ulrich. In 879, just 7 short years after Harald I gains control of Norway, Rurik conquers and establishes Kiev as the center of the Rus’ Viking domains. Thirty years after the Viking chief Rollo is granted land by the Franks to found Normandy, France, Rus Vikings attack Constantinople in 941-forty years before Erik the Red discovers Greenland. At least from the early 10th century many Vikings (called by the Greeks and East Slavs by the name Varangians,) served as mercenaries in the Byzantine Army, comprising the elite Varangian Guard (the personal bodyguards of Byzantine Emperors). Eventually most of them, both in Byzantium and in Eastern Europe, were converted from paganism to Orthodox Christianity, culminating in the Christianization of Kievan Rus’ in 988. Coinciding with the general decline of the Viking Age, the influx of Scandinavians to Rus’ stopped, and Varangians were gradually assimilated by East Slavs by the late 11th century. (Info courtesy Wikipedia, So, in conclusion, the Vikings arrived in the early 8th century, conquered and prospered, and then blended into the society by 1099.

With that information in mind, I decided to create a hat that might belong to a Viking in the 8th century, one who might want to pay homage to his roots, but blend in a bit with his current homeland, too. The front of the hat has a hand-embroidered Viking-style dragon motif. The back has a Viking compass and Viking runes on it, which spell out, “Go Ye In Peace” along with my significant others’ SCA name on it (as I made the first one for him–I will start mine later.) In my wild imagination, this might be something a wife would embroider onto her husband’s hat, as a charm to bring him safely back to her when he journeyed. This is what the front of the hat looks like, with Jerry modelling it for me. (I really need a better camera and a better photographer!)



In keeping with the idea of blending in, I borrowed an embroidery design from a Russian folk wedding costume that for the life of me, I cannot find on the internet or my computer right now. It came from somewhere, I didn’t just imagine it, but I will have to add that evidence when I find it. In the meantime, here is what my version of it, looked like.



 This design was embroidered on both side pieces, facing frontwards.

The hat itself is made with a silk jacquard-type material and lined with faux sable fur backed with felt. Every bit of this piece was hand-sewn with cotton thread.It took approximately 40 hours to complete.

From a business perspective, I would certainly take up this task again, as a commissioned piece, but not as ready-to-wear, at least not until I can save up enough for an embroidery machine (which would probably completely change the nature of the entire design).  

Most importantly, Jerry says it is “toasty warm!”



Happy New Years, ehhh…

New Year’s finds me in a cranky mood. I am down with “borderline pneumonia” again, and my doc has put me on bed rest, until my follow-up appointment, because this is the 3rd time in 3 months (and 4th time this year) I have had more-serious-than-I-would-like-to-admit bronchial issues. Do I need to mention I asked for the pneumonia vaccine when I was well, and the VA refused to give it to me (after my first round of pneumonia, back in April), because I wasn’t 65? I have 17 days to “take it easy.” I am less than 24 hours in, and I am already going stir-crazy. Fortunately, we got a lot of our furniture moved into the new house 2 days before I got sick, and I spent the day before I got sick, cleaning everything and moving furniture into the appropriate places, so the house would be comfortable for my significant others’ sons’ 1 week visit. I got sick the first day he was here. Needless to say, I am not much fun right now. The significant other is even sleeping on the couch.

So, I am thinking about what I can do to while away the time between now and January 15th, without totally breaking the doctor’s orders.

I’ve decided getting up and sewing on the machine is probably pushing things right now. I am a little surprised at my lack of energy, despite my insomnia.

Princess Chaos’ blanket will not be done in time for her Christmas celebration on January 7th. (She’s with her Nana in Texas, until then.) Which is actually OK, because I can’t travel at that time, so she is going to have Christmas with me, here, the 1st weekend of February. Lucky girl gets 3 Christmas times this year-1 with Nana, 1 with Mom and Dad, and 1 with Oma (because we now all live in different states). So, I have an extra 2 weeks to work on that, once I get well. Plenty of time to finish, because I am almost done, anyway. I’ve sewn all the individual squares into strips, and just need to sew the strips into the full blanket and put on the backing. There’s 9 strips, so that’s less than a days work.

So, back to what to do, in the meantime. I recently signed up for the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA’s) Arts and Science’s 50th Anniversary Challenge. 
Fortunately, I joined SCA well after the challenge started, so every bit of garb I have created qualifies for the challenge. A lot of that garb needs to be re-worked, and most of that re-working needs to be done by hand-sewing and a few black work embroidery projects–something I could easily do in bed. Part of the challenge involves also documenting the historical accuracy of each piece, so I can catch all of that up (I should think), while on bed rest, as well. Hopefully, (and I haven’t tried this yet), I can set up a 2nd page to this blog, and use it to document my challenge pieces. I haven’t tried doing a 2nd page on WordPress yet, so wish me luck that I can get the results I want out of it. Otherwise, I will just have to create a separate category for the Challenge. However, it’s 6 am, and probably not an appropriate time to start digging around in my sewing room for stuff to work on, with my honey asleep in the living room and his son tucked in his bedroom, next to my sewing room. Perhaps a nap is in order, but I’m not feeling it, even with classical music on in the background. What I wouldn’t give to actually sleep for more than an hour at a time.