Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My ingenious plan!

(Insert evil laughter here.)
Okay, so this upcoming cruise is definitely a budget buster and has severely effected my sewing/garb budget. But I think I may have come up with a solution. Did you get a chance to watch the latest The Librarian movie with Noah Wylie on Sunday night? (I tivo-ed it and just watched last night.) Did you notice the gorgeous corset the vampiress character was wearing in the scene where he meets her? Well I'm gonna need something new to wear on formal night on the cruise (while my gown from last time fits over the waist and hips just fine it is way too small in the chest) and thought Why not make the fancy new corset I want and wear it as a top for formal night?! I won't start on it 'til after Christmas to see if I receive any of the patterns or fabric store gift cards requested. In the mean time I will decide whether to go with an Elizabethan or Victorian style corset.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me!

Woohoo! I'm goin' on a cruise! No, not on Christmas but it's what Tom and I are giving each other for Christmas!
I had recieved an email about Royal Caribbean offering reduced deposits and though "Hey, we can afford to pay that!" I assumed the balance wouldn't have to be paid until after the first of the year. Well, I found a great deal on a February cruise but the catch was that it would have to be paid in full immediately and I didn't see how we could do that with our Christmas shopping not finished and the fact that we do not use credit cards. So I told myself to forget that idea. But we looked at what we had saved up for next season's renaissance festival visits and what we had in regular savings with all of the overtime Tom has been working and realized that we had enough to pay in full! This means cutting way back on Christmas gifts for each other (Don't worry, the kids are taken care of.:D ) and no out-of-state faire visits next summer but I'm okay with that if it means being on a nice warm beach in February instead of freezing my tushie off her in Michigan! LOL
We'll be doing five nights Western Caribbean with stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel. We've never been to either of those ports since our only other cruise was Eastern. I'm leaning toward doing one of the ruins shore excursions for Costa Maya then just hanging out on the beach in Cozumel (I'll more than likely be needing to recover from overexerting myself at the ruins) but would welcome any advice or opinions from people who have been there.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Twelve Tags of Christmas

is back! Tim Holtz is at it again! If you are a fan or if you just like to play with ink you have to check out his blog!
Of course I will be making my versions of his tags and posting them here again this year. :)

Hi! It's me again!

I have really been slacking on updating th blog but I just haven't been doing anything interesting to share. LOL
Thanksgiving was nice (though I was a bit disappointed that Kim arrived just in time for dinner and left as soon as we were done). We made so much food that I put the rest of the leftovers in the freezer Sunday night because we were tired of eating them! I did something that I have never done before: I cooked the pumpkins that never got carved for Halloween and made pies, cheesecake, and pumpkin bread from scratch. Everyone loved them but I think I had better be careful with this Suzy Homemaker stuff so my family doesn't come to expect it. :giggle:

Winter is here. We had a snowstorm a couple of weeks ago but that melted the next day. this time I think it is here to stay. It has been snowing since Sunday afternoon. I guess you have to be a kid to enjoy this stuff.

ScrapFreak started offering these monthly classes back in June or July and the August class was to alter a chipboard house from Maya Road. I ordered the class kit but just had too many other things going to work on it. I sat it on a shelf and didn't even open the bag of embellishments until sometime in October. I FINALLY took it down and started working on it Saturday night. this was another of my "make-it-up-as-you-go-along" projects. I started with cutting the scalloped cardstock for the roof deciding to add some Bazzill Bling in pale blue to the white then pulled the Heidi Grace paper because the color matched and went from there! I still need to figure out how to do "smoke" coming out of the chimney and I might add a snowman next to the tree.

Oh! One more thing. I got a nice little surprise Sunday morning as I was heading out to the store. Late last winter I had purchased some potted flowering spring bulbs for inside the house and once they were done blooming I had set the pots outside near the back door. We had spent some time cleaning up the yard Saturday knowing that the snow was coming but I had forgotten about the pots. They caught my eye as I was getting in the car to head to the store so I grabbed the pots to toss them into the trash and noticed that the hyacinths were growing and even had flower buds! I am so excited to see what they do now that I brought them in the house!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I have been feeling a lot better this past week or so but I don't have any projects that I can share. I've been working on Top Secret Christmas Projects! LOL Since I have a lot more time than money these days I am making most of the gifts this year.

I just haven't been in the mood to scrapbook lately. I don't have any recent photos shouting out to be scrapped. I decided yesterday that I will buy more 12x12 pages with 4x6 pockets so that I can get my old film prints out of their boxes and into my albums where they can at least be shared until they are scrapped, if they ever are. Most of my favorites have been scrapped and I just don't feel a pressing need to scrap every photo I've ever taken.

No sewing projects in progress at the moment though I do have a growing to-do list (not neccessarily in this order):
linen drawers/bloomers/calzone
green wool mid-16th century Florentine gown possibly with slashed sleeves like these

another coat/loose gown/zimarra this time with long sleeves and (faux) fur lined

a Victorian corset

a late Victorian tailored suit

the ric-rac skirt from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

a couple of generic SCA tunics for Tom
a doublet and breeches for Tom

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Long Time, No Update

So I've neglected the blog (along with a lot of other things) the last couple of weeks. I haven't been feeling well- the "normal" aches, pains, and sleepless nights but moreso.
Anyway, I did wear the zimarra coat to my second SCA event, Dun Traigh's Fall Harvest, on 10/25 and had a great time. I spent time chatting with some of the people I had met previously and getting to know them better as well as meeting some new people. I particularly enjoyed meeting Maria who is the senechal of the Rimsholt group which is the group we belong to geographically. Maria did a class/demo on pewter casting which was very interesting and gives me an idea for yet another hobby to get involved in! LOL Tom and I sat next to Maria and her husband during the feast and she was very friendly and informative especially to Tom who knows even less about the Society for Creative Anachronism than I do. Unfortunately, I think being out in the cold and damp at this event for about 10 hours is what set off this recent flare up.
I had planned to wear the coat again the following weekend for a visit to the new Mid Michigan Renaissance Festival near Frankenmuth combined with some early Christmas shopping in Frankenmuth and Birch Run but that weekend trip was cancelled because I just wasn't feeling up to it.
I haven't had the energy for any scrapbooking, cardmaking, or sewing the last couple of weeks but what I have been doing is spending time online researching steampunk and neo-victorian costumes. It started with visiting Kat's Purple Pages to see if she had anything new in her Florentine Italian costuming section and seeing pics of steampunk getups she and her husband wore to an event. I had never heard of "steampunk" before but a little googling led to a lot of information. It seems to be based on Victorian science fiction of the Jules Verne/ H.G. Wells genre (of course that is simplifying it greatly, it goes much deeper than that). I'm not sure that I buy into the whole subculture "punk" part of it but it does inspire some interesting ideas for costuming and crafting!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Sleeves

I finished the new sleeves last night and sewed them in this morning. I think they look much better than the first sleeves and look very similar to the portrait. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just eat the damn frog already! LOL

Monica at ScrapFreak posted a daily inspiration recently about "eating the frog" or doing the most important task first then moving on. I've piddled away the whole day on other projects without eating my frog by making new sleeves for the loose gown and they need to be done before Saturday! I'm torn between doing a short puff sleeve so the sleeve of the gown underneath will show or doing a long sleeve for a bit more warmth. I just can't decide! On the plus side I did go pick up the beads I was waiting for from Hobby Lobby and made a new front drop for my girdle to replace the one that was lost at the renfest Labor Day weekend. I stopped by Home Depot for a couple of paint stir sticks and added a busk pocket to my corset and slid a paint stick in. I also picked up some gray fleece that I cut into a cloak for Tom to wear with his garb when it is cold.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time to eat my words.

Okay, so a while back I posted that as much as I liked the look of Kat's zimarra and used it as the inspiration for mine I hadn't seen any examples of a short puff sleeve on a loose gown.

Look what I found today while browsing the Portrait of the Month archives at The Realm of Venus.

Domenico Riccio (Il Brusasorci), before 1567: Portrait of a Lady

Off the change those elbow length sleeves now. :D

Thursday, October 09, 2008


This etsy thing has been eating up a lot more time than I thought it would! I haven't even been making anything, just listing stuff already in my stash, but the photographing, editing the pics, and listing has been taking up a couple of hours a day! The good news is that I got my first sale yesterday and made my first purchase so I hoping that people will be more willing to buy once they see some feedback. I also was added to the list of participants in Mission Soldier Support which means that I have made a donation of handmade cards for our servicemen and women to use to send holiday greetings home and buyers may choose to donate their holiday card purchases as well. MSS info is posted in my shop welcome at www.thehappystamper.etsy.com

Thursday, October 02, 2008


My etsy shop The Happy Stamper!
Enjoy browsing my unique handmade papercrafts for the perfect card and/or gift for a friend or that unique home decor accent for yourself. But don't be surprised if you run across the occasional non-paper crafty item because I love to play with my supplies and try new things!

I make waaay more cards than I ever send out (I estimate my stash to be approximately 500 cards) and have several mini albums and altered items that I have made for classes or dt assignments but never used but I enjoy the creative process so much that I just keep on making more! I'm hoping all those people who say that they don't have time to make cards themselves will appreciate the beauty and craftmanship that goes into my handmade items and purchase them so that I don't have to get a "real job" to cover our ever increasing household expenses.

Here's a sampling of some of the items currently listed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So posting that I was going to do it didn't make it happen. LOL (See 9/15 entry) I had meant to start on the linen calzone last week but just wasn't feeling up to measuring and cutting the fabric. And, now that I've had more time to think about it, I'm thinking that I want something heavier than the "handkercheif" weight linen that I have on hand. Which means that I have to wait until I can afford more fabric. I am keeping this on my to-do list and will get around to it eventually.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Birthday Boys

I got some scrapping time in earlier this week and used the pics of Chandler for the 9/12 4 Square layout challenge and Max's pic for the 9/19 Strip layout challenge at ScrapFreak.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ribbon Slide Card

Lis asked for the directions to make ribbon slide cards for her wedding favors so I figured posting here would be the easiest way to show her and anyone else who may be interested. The idea here is that when the ribbon is pulled the insert slides up and reveals the contents which could be a simple greeting, cocoa packet, seed packet, lottery tickets, gift card, etc.

Step 1: Start with a half sheet (5 1/2" x 8 1/2") of cardstock and score it 2 1/4" from each end.
Step 2: Fold on scored lines and adhere overlap.

Step 3: Cut a cardstock insert 3 7/8" x 5 1/2"
Step 4: Slide the insert into the folded card and punch a hole at the center top through all layers.
Step 5: Slide the insert out and flip it end for end so that the punched hole is at the bottom.

Step 6: Slde the insert back in just far enough so that the holes line up and thread a length of ribbon ( approx. 15") through the holes then bring the ends up and knot them at the top of the insert.

When the insert is pushed in the ribbon will go in with it. When the ribbon is pulled the insert will slide out and reveal the contents of the card.

Decorate the card front as desired.

Birthday Boys

Last weekend was a busy one filled with birthday celebrations.

Max is one! He is still struggling with health issues and had to return to the hospital after his party on Saturday but it was good to see him happy and smiling and playing in the sun surrounded by family and friends.

On Sunday Kim and I travelled to Flint to celebrate Chandler's 6th birthday. It was a very long day leaving home about 11:30 am and not getting back home until after 9:00 pm but I'm glad I went. I don't get to see Chandler and his older siblings often enough.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Practice Run

It's a good thing that I did a practice run because I did goof up the gussets and had to fix them. I officially hate crinkle cotton. It is vile stuff to work with. I intended to do felled seams but this stuff was so awful with it's stretchy curling edges that I ended up zigzag stitching the seam allowances and calling it good enough. I also sewed the drawstring casing around the waist with a zigzag stitch since the stupid crinkle crap acted more like a knit fabric. I'm sure they will be comfortable to wear but I never want to sew that kind of fabric again.

Aren't they sexy?! LOL

Monday, September 15, 2008

Calzoni aka Italian Bloomers

I had the idea in my head that I wanted to make these with a gusseted crotch rather than using a curved seam and did some poking around on the internet and found a cutting diagram on Kat's Drawers page. After converting her measurements from centimeters to inches I thought the waist/hip measurement looked a bit too full for me. I was guessing a measurement approximately one-and-a-half times my hip measurement and two times my waist measurement would be full enough and measuring my purchased bloomers confirmed that estimate. I wasted too much time on other things today to get the fabric cut before bedtime so I'm putting that off 'til tomorrow. I'm planning to machine stitch a pair out of some crinkle cotton to make sure my measurements work out before cutting a pair out of linen to be hand stitched.

If I post it here...

it means I have to actually do it, right? I hereby accept the September Fabricaholic challenge from the R/F forums to use some of the linen in my fabric stash to make some undies. I am combining that with The Order of the Iron Hand challenge from the Margo's patterns yahoo group to completely hand sew a garment within a one month time frame. I had thought about making Margo's high-necked smock by hand but realized what I really need is more "bloomers" and there would be fewer seams to sew than a smock. While alot of the sewing of my previous projects has been by hand I did do the long straight seams on the machine so this will be my first project done entirely by hand. Off to cut the fabric!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Mail!

I got something in the mail today that I wasn't sure I would ever see: an invitation to Max's first birthday party! Continued prayers for Max and his family are much appreciated.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Scrappin' Time!

I finally have my energy and mojo back so I've been scrapping. :)
I had to document my daughter's fuschia hair. (A note to anyone thinking "How could you let her do that!??" How could I not? I have always encouraged my kids to be themselves and do what makes them happy. Does the color of her hair really have anything to do with being a responsible productive member of society? Twenty years from now is it really going to matter?)

I did these for the 9/5 card challenge at Scrap Freak.

I'm not so good at documenting the "events" so I am attempting to go back and fill in the things I've skipped over this year.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Quiet Time

I finally got a little scrappin' time in this afternoon after a very rough week. It always takes a few days for my body to recover after a weekend at the renfest but this week my period and the remnents of Gustave that blew through all piled up to put me out of comission. I finally felt back to normal today but have another busy weekend planned so I'll have to be more careful to pace myself.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


This was a very difficult layout to do. There was soooo much more that could have been said. Like how it breaks my heart when Tom talks about not knowing how much longer his mom will be alive. Or how she doesn't know who my kids are anymore. I guess the bright side is that she is nice to Kacie now because she doesn't remember that she has disabilites so she seems to have forgotten that she always treated her differently from her other grandchildren and kept her distance from her. I never went through this with my parents. My dad died of a terminal illness when he was was 26 (and I was 3) and my mother was killed in an auto accident at 50. And Tom's dad died unexpectedly following surgery before we were married. So Marie is the only grandparent my children have.

Edited 9/8 to add that Marie was hospitalized on 8/29 with a pulmonary embolism. She was released on 9/2 into her daughter's care. She was allowed to assume that living with Janet is a temporary thing while she recovers. None of her 11 kids have had the guts to tell her that she cannot live alone anymore.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I was tagged!

I was tagged by the crazy sweet La!

The rules...
(1) The winner can put the "I :heart: your blog" logo on their blog. Isn't it cute! :)
(2) Link the person you received your award from.
(3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
(4) Put links of those on yours.
(5) Leave a message on the blogs of the girls or boys you’ve nominated.

And the nominees are...
Jules - I think I want to be her when I grow up!
Lisa- We lost touch for a while but I recently found her again via her wonderful photo blog.
Diana/Artemisia - Another "novice renaissance seamstress".
Lisa - This girl is always good for a smile!
Beffy - just cuz :)
Shannon - She is so freakin' creative and the bestest mommy!
Monica - The Head Freak
(I didn't realize it would be so hard to choose!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forepart closeup

I did actually add pearls to the forepart but they don't show up in the full length photo. I plan to add them to the gold sleeves as well but there weren't enough of the correct size and color of glass pearls in stock when I made my purchase.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

MIRF 8/23/08

A couple of pics of me wearing the new dress with the gold accessories. Tom took these at the end of the day so they aren't the best. I lost the part that hung down fromm my girdle/belt and my forepart was hanging funny because the pins holding it in place had fallen out. I'll try to get some better pics tomorrow with the red accessories.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Partlet

I decided that I wouldn't be a normal Renaissance Festival-goer (Now there's an oxymoron for you! LOL) if I wasn't sewing right up 'til the last minute so I decided to make myself another partlet. I thought about doing a high-necked smock but I'm not that much of a glutton for punishment! Anyway, I decided to give this one a box-pleated ruffle on the collar. The pleats came out perfectly on the first attempt but apparently I measured incorrectly somewhere because the collar ended up a half inch or so too short. I cut another collar and started over but the pleating came out uneven at the ends. At that point I didn't care anymore and just went with it.

I gave this one button and loop closures using pearls topped with a seed bead as the "buttons" and made thread loops. I think they came out pretty well for something I've never done before.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finished Elizabethan!

Well, wearable anyway. We all know garb is never truely finished. LOL So yesterday I finished the trim on the skirt, redid the point of the bodice and boning, and bound the top of the red sleeves. I still need to buy the red patterned fabric for a forepart. I'm not toally in love with the stuff I found at Joann's so I'll probably try Field's before I make a decision. Today I made the gold forepart, caul, and sleeves. I've opted not to do tabs on the bodice waist but may very well change my mind after wearing it. And that embroidered gold fabric is just crying out for some pearls, isn't it?

Friday, August 15, 2008

(Almost) Done!

Technically the bodice is done and wearable but, as I was editing pics to post here, I see a couple of things that need to be tweaked. I spent all of Wednesday morning sewing on the hooks and eyes and, thankfully, the bodice closes without any gap so I won't need to do the stuffed tube thingies.

Yesterday I made the paned cap sleeves with the Margo Anderson pattern and instructions. I followed the advice to make one (actually two) strip then use the pattern pieces to cut them to length rather than sewing ad trimming each pane seperately and it worked well.

My poor little sewing machine wouldn't even stitch on the trim without making a mess so I knew there was no way it was going to sew the binding/cuffs on the sleeves through 10 or more layers. I sewed them by hand doing one last night and the second this morning while watching the Olympics.

I can see a couple of litle things I wish I would have done differently but overall I like how they turned out.

As for the tweaking- I cut the center front boning a smidge too long and it wants to work it's way up making the top line stick up in the center instead of being even all the way across. I've decided that I would prefer the botton center a bit less pointy so I am going to recut that and, in the process, I can cut down the boning and hope that takes care of the pointiness on the top edge.