Sunday, December 23, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I was tagged by Sarah from Romantic History for the Liebster Blog Award. (Thank you Sarah! I feel honored) So here goes.

The Rules

1. You must post eleven random facts about yourself.
2. You must also answer the eleven questions the awarder has given you and make up eleven questions for your awardees to answer in turn.
3. Tag eleven fellow bloggers.
4. Notify them that you've awarded them.
5. No tagging back.
6. The eleven blogs you tag must have less than 200 followers.

Merry Christmas from AZ!!!

Eleven Random Facts about myself

#1 I am half Korean. My mother's family came here in the 70's when she was a teenager, to flee a rumored re-invasion by North Korea and a restart of the Korean War. Her father giving up a position of authority in the military to start a little wig store in North Philadelphia, he literally went from commanding men to taking orders from little old ladies how to style their wigs. He did it for his kids, it was hard on him. He was a great man, I miss him.

#2 When I was a tender child, I had a book in which Sleeping Beauty was portrayed with floor length brown hair. I have been trying to grow it out ever since.

#3  I want to wear Medival clothes and LOTR movie inspired dresses and Regency dresses for everyday life. I don't go to enough reenacting events to wear the clothes I really like, so why not dress the way really want to now? Still working on the courage to go shopping etc. in them...

#4 I have 8 siblings, and they are AWESOME

#5 I love Lord of the Rings (in case you were wondering...). My dad read it to me and my siblings every night when I was 8-10 (yes it took a year and a half), and it gave me a picture of  heroism and that indefinable beauty of holiness. Narnia too, it shaped so much of how I see the world. In real life "Its like in Narnia when Digory went through the door to get the fruit, but the witch climbed over the matters HOW you do it as much that you do it..." etc.

#6  Kids tv cartoon shows terrify me. (the kinds that were produced very fast, to fill a timeslot and never seen again) As a child they would scare me, and they still do.

#7 I want to write children's books, and teenager books. They shape how kids see the world (see #2 # 5), and as such can give children a framework of beauty and truth.

#8 I have 2 kids, Isaiah (17 mos) and Jehanne (3 mos), and they are the cutest kids ever born into this world.

#9 Jehanne is named after Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc is awesome!!! I did a lot of research on her, and she is so so so awesome. Read primary sources or books by the historian Regine Pernoud for a good introduction to her awesomeness.

#10 One day I will make a movie of Joan of Arc. I already am working on a screenplay. I just need lots and lots of plate armor, 2000 extras, actors, and access to French cathedrals. But its going to happen....

#11 I love America (see #1), their intervention in "The Forgotten War" is what saved my grandparents lives. My mom says, 'The Americans came like angels, these tall men from far away to help us.' That doesn't mean I think anything America does is great (Lord have mercy on us) but I am very grateful for what they have done in the past.

Now to Answer Sarah's questions

1. What is your favorite era of fashion and why? (sorry, had to ask this, I always want to know this about everyone I meet!) Medieval. Because its the most LOTR-ish, and because its so practical (nursing in kirtles) and beautiful, and its cool to think you are wearing something that so many women before you (including Joan of Arc..) wore. And men's medieval clothes (knee length tunic, leggings, belt, cloak etc) is how I always imagined the Elves dressed. I like Regency too, its nice feeling pretty when pregnant...

2. What is the worst hair cut you have ever received? Hmm...this is a tough one. I was 12 and went on a shower strike, telling my mom she was too obsessed with cleanliness, and what's wrong with greasy hair? Its natural! After 2 weeks she responded by cutting off a foot of it.
The worst executed hair cut was probably when I asked my husband to give me post baby hair loss hair cut, and he just grabbed it in a pony tail and confidently chopped with one stroke...I turned around asking him if he was done, and he was holding the pony tail in his hand.

3. If you could afford anything, would you have your clothes made or would you prefer to sew them yourself? I would make them. And I would buy a lot of cloth :)

4. What has been the happiest moment of your life? It was a dark night, on a mountain road through Virginia. My family's car had rolled over 2x in the dark, smashing out the windows, crushing the roof, and sending all our luggage littered across the side of the road. When the car came too, the scariest moment was calling out each siblings name, to see if they answered. When they all eventually did, that was the happiest moment of my life, it felt like overflowing and abundant love. The doctors at the hospital kept telling us it was a miracle. We were doing 70mph and slammed into the mountain. It was a miracle. I knew we shouldn't all be alive. And yet we were. It felt like receiving this huge huge huge gift, my life and the lives of all my sibs and parents all at once.

5. What is your greatest inspiration for daily living? My kids smiling at me. Knowing God loves me like a Daddy, and as one very wise friend tells me 'bears the brunt of the pain on Himself, and only gives us what is necessary.'

6. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would that be? It depends on by whom....If by my family, it would be someone who loved them. If the of Arc Movie???

7. What is your favorite season and why?
Spring. Flowers, Sparrows singing where it once was cold and silent, the white petals of the Azaleas covered in dew....the pale blue sky with the dawn through the new leaves on the high high branches of the trees, the wind cool and sweet and full of adventure on your face, and the birds singing.....

8. What scares you? Gollum. All my life. Since 8 yrs old to this day. I am praying about it. Seriously.

9. What small item do you use on a daily basis and would horribly miss if it were gone? (for me, this is chapstick - I use it all the time!) Cell phone. It enables me to talk to my sibs every day, even though most of them are hundreds of miles away...

10. What is your favorite Christmas treat? Homemade caramel popcorn balls!

11. If you had a million dollars plopped in your lap, what would you do with it?
   Pay off my parents mortgage, and after that...JOAN OF ARC MOVIE!!! :)

Tagged Personages (not quite 11...)
 Its a good think I put 'my sibs are AWESOME #4 in my random facts....

Binky at

Chubbic at

SophieLein at

and I am afraid that's all I can think of right now....all the other blogs I follow have already gotten the award....

11 Questions for the Tagged Personages

#1 What is your favorite poem and why?

#2 If you could live in any age (and ignoring the theological ramifications of this question) which would it be?

#3 What is your favorite poem you have written? Please share.

#4 If you ever wrote a book, what would it be about?

#5 If you could force the whole world to read 1 paragraph you have written, what would it say?

#6 What is your favorite book and why?

#7 What is your favorite music, and why?

#8 Who is your favorite President of America and why?

#9 Who is your favorite King (on earth!) and why?

#10 Who is your favorite heroic figure (on earth) and why?

#11 What do you think is one of the best ideas understood in the past (pre 1600) and forgotten today, and likewise, what is one of the best ideas understood  now that was not in the past?

That was fun. I am unashamedly asking for some soapboxing :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Josh's Ranger Outfit 1.0 first pictures

So, these are not the best pictures of his Ranger outfit 1.0 ("Practice" from an old 70's leather jacket and clearance fabric deals, as well as lacing rings made from an old hanger)

 As you can see, these are not the best pictures.
As you can see, these are not the best pictures, and he is just wearing his regular work khakis with it (I ran out of time, and didn't get to make the pants or the boots. But I am still planning to work on the pants, and a quilted shirt. As well as a new hauberk (when I have the $ for real leather...). His hauberk was a hideous 70's leather coat, reddish thin leather and very very shiny. I took a lot of the shine off with rubbing alcohol, but the flash makes it see still pretty shiny. Oh well. I can't really complain since it was free.

Here we are as a whole family. I am wearing a bad dye job of my fist attempt at a medieval kirtle (except it has no sleeves, and is actually cotton canvas, its a mockup). Jehanne is wearing her shieldmaiden dress in a previous blog. Isaiah is wearing a quick-costume version of a Tower Guard. I confess I made a stencil from cardboard and spray painted on to the fabric. Only the sleeves are hand embroidered. In his real tower guard outfit I will embroider the tree, or do something more authentically Lord of the Rings-ish.

I also am working on a shieldmaiden outfit (obviously not the dress above). I haven't taken any of the finished corset on me yet, those will be coming when I get back to it and we are back in Philadelphia after Christmas.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Its so cool watching him learn how things work and fit into each other.


Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Make 'Moroccan' Lamps (and what not to do...)

Rivendell had lanterns. I wonder what they looked like. I kind of imagine them like Moroccan Lanterns, they look so Elven to me..

I had some old lamps in my house, and I was frustrated by their shades blocking a lot of light, focusing most of the light downwards. I wanted them to diffuse the light more. (When there is not enough light in a room, I start going crazy.) So I saw their cloth-covered lampshades (although cream colored) as culprits blocking my light.
So I tore them off. I have no idea how old these lamps are, I got them at a thrift store, but the glue that held the cloth onto the shades was easy to break apart.
(I didn't think of taking a 'before' pic till after I tore off the cloth, hence I had to hold them on for the pic)

all ripped off, and ready for painting!

And I think this pleated cloth will work well for this Medieval hat....

Next I had to clean the gunk off the plastic lamp shade. I did this with Windex.

I was inspired by these 'Moroccan Lanterns' made from jars and gold. Tutorial found here.
I like the dots of the gold paint on the one on the left.

See! Aren't they pretty?!

I had some gold paint, so I fired ahead. The first problem I encountered was the bottle my gold paint was in has a big opening in a great flat headed bottle top. Not like the nice fine-nosed squeeze bottles that Katie used.

So I would not be able to squeeze out delicate little poky things right next to each other.

At this point, I should have waited till I could go to the store and buy a fine-nosed paint tube (could I reuse it by cutting open the bottom of it, refilling, and holding it shut with a paper clamp?) This would have made the process WAY easier, and the paint lines would have looked so much more professional.
But, undaunted I decided to use a paint brush and dab on dots. (I also added a little bit of water to the paint, to make it a consistency I could use with the paint brush)

I had a little trouble with the dots. A lot of trouble. I found that a nice plump dot bled down (since I was painting a vertical surface). A non-plump dot had an ugly scrape from the brush in the middle. So the ideal was something in between, if that in between really exists. And my brush did not make beautiful circular dots.

They are more like ovals. But I used this in the design a little, it was kind of pretty.

And this is what I got.

As you can see, with the lamp off, the mistakes and differences in paint consistency and brush strokes are not as noticeable. With the lamp on and the light shining through it, there is no room for error. Everything shows.

(Here is where using a brush is not a good idea. Because the lamp shade is slippery plastic, the paint doesn't adhere thickly, and no matter how you try, there are brush strokes. often just pushing the paint out to the edges of your stroke)

To cover up the awful brush-strokey-borders, I used (blue) painter's tape, and spray paint. It covered over the messy borders a little. I also added a few more dots to the design.

But, I was still undaunted. I began ripping the fabric off my second lamp.
It totally deconstructed the lampshade, the top spider and the bottom ring falling off. I freaked out. Then I rejoiced, realizing I could solve the paint dots running by painting on a flat surface.
I lay the plastic down on the table, and since I was able to lay it flat I could scrub it with a plastic scrubber and hot water. The gunk came right off, very easily.

Next, I penciled out radial lines, 5" apart at the top, and the beginnings of my designs.
Next, I painted it. It was way easier to paint a flat surface. However, the brush pushing paint away on my stroked remained a problem (making it hard to get a nice thick narrow again, a tiny-nosed squeeze bottle would have been wonderful)
Here it is with the light on, shining through and showing the mistakes

I took my inspiration from henna designs.

Then I had to reassemble the thing. I should have saved the cloth tape, and just put rubber cement on it to freshen up the stickiness.
Instead I used a combination of duct tape and scotch. Then I spray painted the top edge. I found it hard to get the painter's tape to make a nice smooth edge since I am essentially putting a line on a curved surface. I tried to use many pieces, and get the uneveness as part of the design.
Next time, I will trace out the curve when it is still flat, and cut a paper to tape on when it is reassembled. That way the border will be even. I will also paint the border first.

Here is the final thing

Here it is, lights off.

As you can see, still brush-issues and paint thickness issues.

-use squeeze bottle!!
-totally deconstruct shade from beginning, save cloth tape
-stencil basic design lines for eveness
-stencil the curves of the top and bottom for spray painting. Spray paint first
- paint the art and dry flat
-reassemble with cloth tape and rubber cement.

Also, next time, I think I want to try this design on a lamp....

 I must get some paint squeeze bottles...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jehanne Shieldmaiden

I cut apart a brown shirt I had, and sewed it into a little dress.

 Then I embroidered it in an attempt to make it look more like this


I didn't bother with the corset though. I thought that would look ridiculous on a baby.
I also didn't get round to making the flowing silk chemise, so the long sleeved white onesie had to do....


She's so cute...

I also made a Minas Tirith Tower Guard outfit for Isaiah, but I didn't get a good picture of it, because he was running around too much, and wouldn't sit still for the camera. I will soon though, and with pictures of Josh's complete Ranger Outfit 1.0

coming soon...

Friday, September 28, 2012

What I have been busy with...

 I've had to take a break from making the Faramir outfit because of this...

God is so good. Her middle name is Mercy, because God is merciful. Born 13.5 months after my c-section, by VBAC.
Healthy, 7 lb 10 oz. 20 inches long.
God is so incredibly good.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ideas for making Faramir's Quiver, Pants, Shirt, and Bow...


Quilted Shirt
Cotton or linen. Use batting of some natural sort in sleeves? high cut mandarin collar like neck, split and laced up at front. Make sure to make the roomy, gussety sleeves.

 Josh thinks the lacing all the way up under the arms may be overkill. I want to lace from the elbow to the wrist though...kind of like the buttons on a cotehardie. I like how it comes down and covers the back of his hand.

Buy beat up real leather belts at thrift stores, keep my eyes open :)

Simple, if I can learn to make a good fitting pants for active wear on Josh. Just need to use a decent all natural fiber, cotton or linen. (I don't think I'll make him suffer in wool pants).

Possibly make this out of black leather? Depending on the after-shooting coloring of the film, the vambrances can look anywhere from brown to grey to brown-black.

Also, I suspect the shade varied a little on the multiple makings of it.

pictures from here
and here
and here

 I think black vambrances look very Gondor-ish. Leather on Leather. Buckles from clue. I think I might try to use my brother's wood burning iron on the leather to tool it (I think thats what entropyhouse did  they look pretty awesome)
From the alleyscratch pictures of Boromir's it seems that the top diamond part is blacker, with quilted softer leather beneath. I think I would make the quilted part out of canvas or something, I'm not quite that good to quilt leather yet...
I'd scrounge buckles off belts or something.
This being a more armor like project, I feel Elijah's input or Josh's would be valuable here, I may end up on
I need to learn how to tool leather, but cheaply, and with already finished leather (the old motorcycle coats). My sister says she found a comparitively cheap seller of new leather on etsy, if it was just for the vambrances perhaps I could splurge on new leather.

necessary. Perhaps make the quiver straps from a couple belts and a cloth covered something? Or leather covered something? I don't want just a costume level, cardboard covered something. I want something that will survive all night in the woods, in the rain....
Here's a tutorial for one from a PVC pipe
few instructions for a cloth one
but I kinda want to make one Faramir might have owned....
From the pictures I've scrounged (alleyscratch and the gryphonsmith website mention earlier), its kind of hard to tell whats going on

It seems like some kind of weathered green leather with gold(?) trim on it, as a case, with an open hole on it, in which a cloth bag for the actual arrows is inserted.
Here are some general 'medieval looking' quivers pulled off the internet (their website is in the screen shot)

So it looks like a rectangle of leather, folded around some kind of cylindrical frame, with a belt attached.
Then there's this one, less bag like, more cylindrical

Right now I am leaning toward making something more along the lines of the rectangular leather bag like one, of some weathered brown leather, with perhaps some tree of Gondor faded on it. The shape looks more 'authentic' to me somehow, even though I know its not historical or anything. Faramir's quiver in the movie seems to me too open, just a holder for the canvas bag. I don't know, I'll get Josh's feedback on this, I am sure he has preferences about this sort of thing.


Must have. There's our engagement pictures with Josh in an Elven cloak, and his sneakers sticking out at the bottom somehow detract from the impression :)
I could make moccasin boots like my extremely talented sister, but I want something Josh can go through the woods in, something with tough soles. I saw a beautiful pair of knee high leather boots with buckles that a stylish girl was wearing. I wish they made those things for men, but cool, not cute....
All the LARP/SCA boots I've seen on the internet are either cartoonish or way out of my price range.
I want something with decent (preferably modern rubber) soles, sturdy base, and come up almost to the knee. I have a few options here
  1. Make boots from scratch. Its been done by SCA types before, and they have tutorials. Drawbacks, its probably expensive and requires a lot of practice.
  2. Buy them. Look through discount shoe stores, Thrift stores, etc. and pray for Ranger boots.
  3. Something between the two. Find decent men's leather boots, and possibly extend them somehow up higher to the knee with more leather, and put on decorative leather lacing....or really any buckled brown leather boots that were tall enough would work...
We'll see what I can find and learn to do...

These are so important. For just walking around, a decent fresh bit of oiled wood from the forest with some twine on it can shoot arrows through pizza boxes (as Elijah has shown), but something with beauty, and with true aim.... Perhaps I can start learning from Elijah now, and over time make something really bow worthy. Perhaps a good long bow (or recurve??) might be worth paying good money for. We'll see.
I DEFINITELY want to learn how to make arrows. If Robin Hood could do it at 13, if all those hunters in the middle ages made them at home, I think I can learn how to as well, with dowels from Lowes, and feathers (I'll never forget trying to carry home a dead bird because Elijah wanted to use the feathers for his arrows...) bought in bulk (Bekah got a bunch for Micah's Hussar outfit) and the arrowheads....we'll see. Elijah made his from tin cans. They're functional (to kill pizza boxes) but not beautiful. Maybe I can find someone who sells arroheads. Maybe I can make arrowheads one day...I always wanted to smelt metal :)
If I'll ever be any good at archery, I need to make my own arrows anyway, eventually...

But for now, we could just get a reasonably priced modern set, and try to paint them so they wouldn't be bright orange, etc.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Faramir Ranger Outfit Part 1

I've learned a lot about sewing through leather. And drafting a pattern on someone not myself :)

This post will be edited with pictures and a lot more instructions to come.

  • Overall nice fit
  • don't overdo it on the 'flare' it becomes skirt like, and don't overcompensate by cutting flare out of the front opening (keep the front opening straight seamed) and don't make it too long (I think a tiny bit shorter than Faramir's in the movie, so just below knee length, looks best. Unless this garment was made for a which case...)
  • mark the ties with a tape measure BEFORE sewing anything on...
  • line the neck so it stays on, or put a little tie or clasp in it...
  • don't make the tie covers too big, and best to make them out of the same material as the overtunic. Possibly respace them or put on 4....


  • -Don't wash cut canvas. You will lose 1/4 inch atleast all around. Wash/dye canvas BEFORE cutting it out. 
  • -Dye things longer than you think. It will always look MUCH darker when its wet. Also, wash right after in COLD water, not hot.-
  • Sewing leather isn't so bad, if its thin, coat-type leather. Use the good needle (cannot be emphasized enough. Often can't tell which is the good needle without testing it. Take good care of your good needle and only poke through leather one hole at a time, in the end much faster...) Maintain good tension so as much of your force is perpendicular to the leather as possible (trying to force it through 2 places may not in the long run save time) Butter helps :) A good needle helps. Thimbles help. Do hard work on a table and brace against the table. Running stitches wrinkle later, so do running stitches with a back stitch every now and again, and another set of running stitches between those.
  • Good idea 1,  lining the canvas with the tarp material really helped give it  more body than canvas. Ideally this part would be leather too...
  • Good idea 2, alter the  strip a little at the shoulder, to make thicker, so it emphasizes the shouler, because that looks cool...
  • Good idea 3, making the rings out of hangers worked SO WELL.

Overall nice pattern, with alterations.
  • Cut Back narrower, (possibly front a tad narrower??) so more room for side panels with the lacing
  • Cut the shoulders much wider at the top (atleast 2" wider than my first draft) so they stand out nicely, and make almost "cap sleeve" look with the almost straight cut inset.
  • I ended up narrowing the leather hauberk inset a little, esp at the top so its not quite as tapered. I realized the tapered look comes more from the gap (the inset is almost straight)  *put this alteration onto the pattern*
  • possibly shorten the entire thing by an inch or two, to be more like Faramir's in the movie.
  • possibly make the leather strips a tad thicker, because they look cool.
  • possibly make the bottom angle of the inset steeper V, to be more like Faramir's in the movie.
  • possibly paint the rings to look more brass like...

After experimenting with more economical cuts (using squares and rectangles, came to the conclusion Faramir's half circle cloak is still way cooler. And its not as un-historical as I thought at first, as some medieval examples show (not so stagey, even though its somewhat wasteful on the cutting...perhaps they did other things with the scraps...Also, I think I might piece it, but still do the half circle shape. SO 2 1/2 yards is not enough. I'm just going to splurge and get 4 yards next time I come across good olive green cloak fabric. The hood being a rectangle with enough room to come out at least 2" beyond the face worked well (wayyy better then the disastrous half circle hood--too much fabric to gather, and it still ended up being to tight on the top with too much fabric in other places. And Micah felt like it was a woman's hood.)  Also, the rectangular hood needs to be self lined, or perhaps just hemmed so the edge is soft, like in this picture

probably a square folded over to a rectangle, with a bit of extra room above the head so it doesn't pull down. I love how his hood drapes, and how it comes out at least 2" beyond his face.

 pictures from here

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Preliminary Attempts at Decorating

Here are quick snapshots at my preliminary attempts at house-decorating. I never was good at house decoration, mostly just the dorm style of cramming as many snapshots of my family and pictures of Jesus as a wall could hold, interspersed with my favorite Bible quotes written on pieces of computer paper taped up to the walls.

Now, for the first time, I feel like I really have an idea of what I want my house to look like, something between medieval, and Rivendell, and some Hebrew thrown in.

I'm in an apartment, and have to deal with the colors the walls were already, very dark maroon in our bedroom, and dark brown in the hallway/kitchen/living room area. I crave light. I get depressed when there isn't enough light, more accurately, I get frantic. At least I had the energy to repaint the very dark turquoise living room light yellow before the babies came. The moment of futility of painting a rental hit me when after much work, I found a paint chip of almost the exact same yellow under the dark turquoise and dark brown. So after we leave (which is also very uncertain) who knows if the next renters will paint it turquoise again...

SO, I decided a better way to break up the dark wall was with wall hangings that reflected at least some light. I've found the dark colors work well to frame medieval looking hangings. Here are my preliminary attempts.

The border to Psalm 27 is copied basically from the border around illuminations of a Medieval Bible (I think Late Antiquity era, the pictures looked kinda like the Utrecht psalter, but with color) that I saw on the internet. I used gold foil from ALDI's chocolate wrappers fro the gilding, and a razored sharpee marker for the writing. (also a bottle of gold acrylic paint that Walmart sells for around 2 bucks. Its good to live in an age when creative things are easy to come by)

This one is Psalm 121, and the picture below is from the artist/writer Michael D O'Brien at Its a picture of the original which was sold, and to the best of my knowledge he doesn't sell prints, so my twin printed this out in college and we had it on our wall. Its Joseph holding baby Jesus while the Holy Spirit hovers over. I love his books too.
Here are my first attempts at wall hanging on the hallway wall, which sticks into the Living Area. There's alot more dark wall to cover up, but I was trying to miss the mess. I need to clean the house.
And a close up.
Paints also from Walmart. I am looking forward to getting up the other wall hangings, and I have some scrap wood and black paint and old L brackets I hope to turn into candle holders on the walls....