Sunday, November 22, 2015

I have 18 days to make 2 outfits

Pracrastination and indecision have taken their toll again. While I have been making nice progress on the stuff that has no deadline, events where I need something to wear are pointing out that they are around the corner. I have nothing that fits. Neither does my husband.  We are going to Solstice on December 12th, which also happens to be our 12th anniversary. He hasn't gone to a court event in a few years and everything he owns is at least 7 years old, worn out and sized for a man whose metabolism hadn't become acquainted with his 30's. I haven't made myself anything new in at least 2 years and have had a gastric bypass. I'm 90 pounds lighter than I was this summer and very oddly shaped. Thus, I have 18 days to make 2 outfits from the skin out.

I've considered and discarded at least 4 concepts over the last few weeks. Since I haven't jumped at doing them, I'm moving on to something else. This portrait by Bernardino del Conti caught my eye when I was searching for what to do for IRCC 5. It is kind of quirky, has high contrast color, and drips with tassels. Thus it screams my name.  I purchased 25 yards of tasseled trim in a pinky red and gold at Home Fabrics for a ridiculously good deal last spring and got some gold silk taffeta from Golden Silks when she had her taffeta and dupionis for under $5 a yard last summer. I'm reminding myself of that fact so I hopefully won't worry too much about using them and/or having any sewing accidents due to the limited time frame.

It is a pretty early dress, so I draped a short bodice. It is hard to tell how long the bodice is in the portrait, but the time period tends to demand the shorter ones. Likewise the trinzale (hair cap/scarf deelie) points to this being Milanese. I'm using this engraving of a Milanese lady to inform the patterning. There is also an amazing terracotta portrait bust by Gian Cristoforo Romano held in the Kimbell Museum in Texas that is playing a part in this.
The early look seems like it will be a lot of fun. And hopefully at least a little less fussy to make than the later heavily structured dresses. The only major stumbling block is that my husband really would prefer to wear a later men's look, so we won't be matching. Not the end of the world there either. I think I'm just going to make him something non-specific. I previously made him a doublet and Venetians using the Margo Anderson pattern (hey look, proof that his clothes are really only 4 years old, not 7.) I think knocking out another version in better materials (so I don't have the really awful gaping and cheesy gold trim) should have him looking dapper. I have a lovely red wool that should be a close enough coordinate to my dress. Red is his favorite color as well, so we can be slightly Christmassy in our choice of fabrics.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Marzipan Griffin

I'm currently in the midst of feast prep and thus continuing to be a bad blogger. So, I figured I'd let you see some of last year's feast.  I didn't get any pictures last year, but Mistress Birgit Birka snapped this one as I was starting to arrange my dessert subtlety.

I added some more "gold" to the nest before it was served, and the ramikin supporting the wings got removed as well as more mint being added, but you get the general idea.

The griffin itself is made from a honey marzipan. As it was mostly being used for sculpting and not much eating was going to happen, I used bulk almond flour rather than grinding my own. The colors were added with Wilton cake decoration dyes. The bluish things to the left are supposed to be roses. They didn't look too bad in person, but I was unhappy with the color. The queen on the throne at the time was anti-red roses. White wasn't working and the griffin was already yellow, so I tried for a pale blue hoping to have it look like a shadowed white and it just didn't work. The beak did look a great deal less ducklike and more eagleish from the side as well.

The gold (as griffins guard their nests of gold according to myth,) was candied lemons I'd made (very tasty,) purchased dates, shortbread cookies stamped with the Provincial device, candied chestnuts (soooo yummy,) and lemon curd tarts (you can just glimpse a couple of them under the mint up top.)

While I was running around like a madwoman getting feast done there was a shortage of A&S entries. Since I had documented several of the recipes for the comfits and crazy marzipan sculpting is totally period, this got entered at the last minute with a combination of verbal documentation and what I had written out for the recipes, and I won Provincial A&S Champion. My oldest daughter also did a little competing of her own and became the Province of Arrows Flight's bard.

Just to add to the crazy of the day, here's me getting my Golden Pillar (Artemisian AoA level service award.) I'm exhausted just thinking about it, and I'm just over a week out from doing another feast. Now, I better get back to making bread and prepping desserts. The weather is perfect for baking.