Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Ceremonial Superstition

Feeling a little like mission impossible, your mission if you choose to accept it... find a tailored dress in less than 3 months time for a civil ceremony at the county courthouse... this message will self destruct in.. JK.  Since it’s unlikely I am going to lose a substantial amount of weight in a few months. Decided to go dress shopping with my youngest sister to allow the maximum time to find something and have it altered to fit. While still having my pandemic pounds still on, looking for a nice ceremony dress. Didn’t want to show up in a casual dress but didn’t want to go formal either. A civil ceremony should have a small flair of propriety but not on a formal church scale.

 Well at this stage of the game, I am not a traditional bride by most definitions. I am not going for the super light colored ball gown goodness as society seems to dictate. So here are my parameters, I want something for late fall winter that is Not white/ivory. I prefer a vintage feel in the styling and accessories, something couture is not out of the possibilities. Colors: silver, gold, champagne, nude, rose gold, green, red/ pink. Subtle beading, sequins, and floral touches are a must. I love having some color to enjoy and want to be comfortable and confident in what I am wearing. The two options that came mind were;  a knee-length 50’s style fitted dress w/ hat/veil. It’s not technically formal but with their fit from the time period it’s more formal than today’s standards. Budget is under $1k. Thankful that steady employment allows this and its been harrowing for many on the job front.

The next was a long column style dress no train, with pleated draped to accentuate the curves and hide a little tummy. I was thinking depending on accessories/ hairstyle. It could look either  40’s, 30’s or possibly 20’s inspired. Either way I wanted something with a sleeve. So many strapless dresses, I did try a strapless style but just doesn't fit the season. Most things at the shop that had a sleeve seemed to be more a matronly style. To be honest I don't want to be running around loads of skin exposed, its fall/winter its cold and especially for one who catches cold easily.

 Turns out for sizing I am floating between a 12-14, which is bigger than I like to be. I do hope to just tone a bit between now and the big day. I normally a 10/12 in the winter heavier weight or 8-10 in the summer thinner weight.  Being sedentary for months unmotivated by personal grief and a once in a century pandemic didn’t help. Just going to accept this for what it is at this point.

 Of all my years of making clothing, especially dresses. I will go over some interesting facts. It’s supposedly bad luck to make your own wedding dress, something about being presumptuous. Although someone can make one for you. Also some superstitions about touching or wearing a wedding dress before you are a bride is bad luck. Many of these scenarios seemed to be social convention around a church style wedding, with its ceremony and the like. Although we can all thank Queen Victoria for the white wedding dress situation (serious side eye). Thank you for making a color not suited to many, popular for centuries. Prior to this bridal trend blue or gold were popular wedding dress colors among royalty.  I am avoiding blue in winter due to not wanting to look like an Ice Queen.

 So to my readers, I am giving you a peak at the dress and shoes. The dress color says Latte, which its a golden taupe with floral beading at the waist and pleated draped detail that is very figure flattering. Definitely feel like a goddess in this dress, hold my self much taller, it has a full coverage back with some net. So warm and covered but the focus is on the figure.  The only drawbacks; wish it was a shade pinker but not a deal breaker, and that it had a sleeve of some sort.  Currently, I am working out the hairstyle and decoration. Since there are not any sleeves on this dress and it will be colder time of year. The dress just needed taken in at the shoulders didn’t even needed hemmed. Fits well and goes well with my shape and coloring. Plus this dress is under 1/2 of my budget. I had left over to find a coordinating wrap/cape in green velvet embroidered in gold and silver. With the cape it gives some green that I wanted to punch. I didn’t want to spend a lot on a dress, I’d wear a few times.  It looks much better on me than the hanger. 

 I must say it’s lovely to have something to look forward to in 2020, even though unexpected. Best things in life are rarely planned. Now to get the jeweler to finish their part in a timely manner. I'd like my engagement ring back please, its been 1.5 months already.  All this hurry up and wait, the theme of 2020. 

I have patience for many things, even that is not infinite.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Autumn Greetings

Working on a few outstanding projects lately. Still making cord for future and current projects. Right now a nice blue in silk 2/20 weight. I released a video on the other cord making colors and thicknesses of cord I am making. Some is filament silk while others are more of the 2/20 silk in various colors. So loads to make and when you make a few feet everyday it gets done.

Still need to do more sanding on the Dastardly Doll Project. Their hasn’t been good weather for the sanding over the last few weeks. Looking for a good dry weekend day to tackle the details. Fingers crossed. 

I am planning on attending an event for an elevation of a dear friend to the Order of the Pelican, well over due. All the social distancing and mask wearing included in these times of plague. Will not spend a lot of time but will dress up, have to decide what to wear. So something nice to look forward this weekend. 

 It looks like working from home is going to be a permanent situation. To be honest, it eases my mind to be home where I am most happy with my fuzzy coworkers. Which is fine and to be honest safer commute than a 30 minute drive over a mountain, especially on poor weather. I packed as much as I could when leaving the office in March, I think it’s just some paperwork to collect and sort. Will be very different visiting for the last time. 

Happy it’s Autumn and Halloween is coming. Although not going to be able to hand out candy safely. Not wanting to invite covid-19 in the house by a mini masked greeter. So will have to see about next year to do something neat. The community is planning a social distanced and masked outside costume contest and handing out candy, not sure that is even safe. 

 Still waiting to hear about my wedding band from the jeweler and haven’t heard about picking up my engagement ring. Not feeling the best about this situation but what else is new. 2020 hurry up and wait as usual. Taking time to enjoy the weather when it is nice, going to be a long winter.

Hang in there with me, Stay tuned.

THL Marrin O’Cadhla 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Round Noggin

Still working on the Dastardly Doll Project little bits as time allows. The current update shows we have a rounded head, more round that it was. I added a piece of wood to the top of the skull so it could be rounded off aids in extending the forehead. I have lots more sanding to reduce a joint line and smooth out the facial features.

This weeks goal is to handsand the head, hands, and feet. All to prepare the wooden surfaces for painting. I was planning on adding a panel to the back of the skull originally. I have been questioning if it is needed as of late. I have a much more rounded profile on the back of the head. The files I acquired have made a difference in making significant changes in the overall smoothness of the features on the back and forehead.

 Still working on the wood working finishing touches as the weather allows, as saw dust in the house is not the best. Losing the good weather days unfortunately, will have to find a warmer one to take advantage of soon. Now that it is official Happy Autumn!

I think this project may take up the rest of 2020. Although that is not the end of doll goals, more keep developing. In possession of the Tudor Child doll kits, the clothing is not included in those. One doll will be based on an extant portrait, as mentioned in a previous post. The other I am considering using my blackwork fabrics to make some thing unique but very close to period accurate as I can get it. A blackwork jacket with scale embroidery perhaps, ;-) Lots of time to decide on that other creation.

 I decided that the larger floral blackwork pattern I have on my embroidery stand, would have a 1/2 scale blackwork Elizabethan jacket nicely. As I have a coif that is the right size to coordinate with this also. The patterns of the jackets didn't go with the coif since they were made at different times. In period, outfits were not so matchy-matchy, fabric and materials were pricey. I love it when inspiration strikes, hit my brain like a zap of electricity.

Stay Tunes Folks!

THL Marrin O'Kealy

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Hurry up and Wait

Had a great weekend for Free Comic Book Day at Comics Metropolis LLC. I volunteer my time every year, since there is more folks coming in than on a normal day. We had lot of folks came to the shop, some did stay away but we were able to keep the crowds down to a minimum. Social distancing, mask wearing, hand-sanitizer and lots of great items to a new home. I bought some things along with free comic books, stock up for some miniature painting and a nice statue. Still waiting for several action figures I have on order to arrive, they should be sometime this month but we shall see. Its more a modern character driven doll collection, yes action figure are specific kind of doll. Argue if you like, I have the research to back it up.

I managed sometime to myself and went to the Susquehanna Spinner and Weaver's Guild, Labor Day sale as their location in Mifflinburg. Normally visit in the winter during their sale around the Christkindl Market festival. They had various books, supplies, tools and fibers for sale. Look forward to this sale every year, good way of getting nice things for reasonable prices. Walked in and smelled unwashed wool, its a unique scent, very sheepy. Many prefer to spin raw or like to wash their own fiber so there was plenty available.  During this sale, was able to procure 3 good condition wooden spindles, one that has two different interchangeable whorls. Also procured some colored fiber, a dark teal and another a celadon blue. The teal seems more marino and the celadon is more icelandic textured in nature. I wanted to get some colors for variety sake, especially for future weaving projects . Most of the fiber was in its natural colors so a bit limited for my goal. I still have the large amounts of fiber from last years Chriskindl sale from this same guild. Have some stock built up finally. So besides the Dastardly doll project to complete. I will have to find some time to get some fiber spinning done. My at home tasks could be a full time job by themselves, although it doesn't pay gives loads of joy and satisfaction. 

 This long weekend ended on a very positive note, especially life changing goodness. I am just engaged to Albert, a wonderful man I met about 7 years ago and dating for a total of 6 years. Nothing like meeting great people through table top role-playing. Never realized my life revolved around this community of movies, comic books, games till a few years ago. I wouldn't  have it any other way. Meshes well with the living history and it's research I do for fun. 

So very busy but good things,

THL Marrin O'Kealy

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Nose Knows

Making some wonderful progress on the dastardly doll project today. We have a nose, well as of today. Over the past weekend I bought some more basswood supplies for finishing, blocks to make a nose and longer flatter ones for rounding the skull. This will be the last of the woodworking part on this project if all goes well. Besides the blocks I picked up some leather making supplies to finish the leather shoes in the proper manner. Some sinew, a round hole punch tool and a 3 hold punch for lacing. Plus other odds and ends with weekly shopping.

If you know me personally I am a very deep thinker, some say an over thinker. Although as an artist, I find this trait is not bad in retrospect. Of course moderation in all things considered. Lately. I have not been happy with the lack of representation in medieval art. Race in particular, but also just finding non ideal traits represented. There are alot of blemish free people in medieval art. Appreciate holding to standard or an ideal but it really irks me. Now in the period I am referencing, that artists were working for a patron. They had to secure commissions to make a more steady income. Just as one would do now, a person had to make money to be able make more art and hopefully do better than to just survive off of their trade.  All things considered just thought there would be more art of everyday life and its beauty. Guess the market at the time had its influence.

 Life is beautiful! Everyday is not guaranteed and therefore is a gift.  So what does all this have to do with the doll, I decided I didn't want to make a small delicate appropriate nose on this doll.  I made a more bulb like nose and its just darn cute. Its not hooked so not a witchy vibe but that could be another project. I have lots more smoothing the shape, blending the edges to the face at the cheeks, blending the joint at the forehead to make this meld together better. Doesn't help this wood is a shade darker than the face but it will be all painted in the end.

I do have to adhere the wood flat blocks to the top and back of the head and round them to shape. I have a small rasp for this task to take more wood off than my files. So hoping that does not take too much time, fingers crossed. Although I am feeling much better about the head now that the eyes are carved in and just sanding all over will help blend everything together.  

The nose makes the face to be honest. For all the decades I have drawn the human form let alone faces the nose is the feature. Which I love making art of people, the possibilities are endless. I am excited in the next few projects to add ethnicity to some of my pieces because the world is not just one color of human. If variety is the spice of life, its time to put some serious spice to work in my art.

Please stay tuned for more,

THL Marrin O'Kealy 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Plants, Plans and Projects

My plants are living their best life in the new bathroom. Not the original intention of the remodel but the room was a screen in porch.  My philodendrons are just so pleased to be in a sunny window and watered once a week. I stretched the girls legs to see what length we have. They are very long and some of the leaves are enormous. So hoping they continue to put out leaves and all the happy things indoor plants do. 

 The snake plants also seem content in this room too although on the counter and not close to the window they aren't complaining. Seem to be taking the darker light well and darkening up their color a little. I do keep them drier than the philodendrons and the pothos who love their water and light consistently. Have taken to misting the between the watering to give some humidity which is not always as abundant in an air conditioned environment.  My bathroom remind me of a spa with the plants. Well guess it should be an oasis. 

The outdoor potted herbs seem to be keeping up as well as one can. This summer they were manually watered by me ever few days. So the rain is very scattered This year and hot humid as it’s is normally. They are a bit dry and aren’t as lush as one would prefer. Well they are keeping the bugs from the door well enough. Not getting any flies from the front door. Although a spider took up residence in the letter box, sent him away and put him on a herb plant. Certain he wasn’t happy with the eviction but not worth a spider bite. 

 Back on the Dastardly Doll project, still wood carving the head. On Tuesday smoothed out the jawline and cheek bones and eliminated some of the neck area made ears and a small start of a flat nose.  The next day did some more but used my courser files to start rounding out the jawline and form a chin. I eliminated the nose and will make separate one and attach it later. Rounded portions for the tops and back of the skull will be made to give proper proportion.  Still have to make eyes and lips. I am going to be making much slower progress as these require more delicate work. When it comes to the wood carving I feel I am in the home stretch. After all the shaping, glue the nose and rounded parts of the head.  A good sanding all over and some paint are in order.  So keep it here for updates and pictures.

In the mean time, I have found a doll image I greatly enjoy. I want to replicate the doll in this portrait in real life replica. Planning on using one of the dolls head and hands from my recently purchased kit from Tudor Tailor. This doll's outfit in the portrait has brighter colors and nice features as compared to some others. It is a portrait, I was having difficulty sourcing the original painting. Prior I was finding only a black and white image (see right). This portrait is from a private collection, the main subject is Herzogin Marie von Sachsen als Kind, a young noble child as painted about 2 years old.   This is a portrait from 1564 by Lucas Cranach the Younger.

 The last time this image was published in print was in Mark, H & Mossinger I -ed (2005).  Hoping you enjoy the detailed image, as much as I do. This image is from the blog of Vita Soyka and linked to the blog. I have a color source but since it has not been in a book, out of respect for the private collection it is held, I will not show it here. Although I can describe it! the under dress is a gold silk edged in a crimson trim and the outer gown is a red silk edged in gold. She has gold chains around her neck and hair. This doll also has neck ruff and cuffs that seem very transparent, possibly silk organza. Its perfect detail.  

So that is what is new with me; working on, planning new dolls, and keeping up with the plants. Exciting times in the time of Covid-19. Keep sane and safe, see you soon.

THL Marrin O'Kealy

Monday, August 24, 2020

Making all the Cord

Cord so far 

 Located 4 bundles of filament silk in my stash. This is an unspun silk gathered into a common thickness. Filament silk an be used in several applications; embroidery, fly making, cording, and other fine work.  I was planning on using for a large embroidery project. Although at this time it being crafted into - thin lucet cord of brilliant colors. Lime green, olive green, orange and bright pink. I have about 4 lucet a going on at once, not all the filament silk. Planning on buying more lucet a so I can have the filaments all set. I have a thin black silk, a wider white silk, wider black silk, and lime green filament silk. Yeah it’s definitely a trend with silk cord making. It’s very satisfying and keeps the mind and hands busy. Portable with ease as well, although I am not really going any where. Pandemic and such out there and all. 

9ct gold thimble 

 I picked up a 9ct gold thimble at local antique shop. I had some money in my pocket so I bought it. I wanted some unique notions. I have my other thimbles for normal use this if for decoration. Considering putting it on a chain or holder to wear. Looking for the right kind of hanger. It lives with my nice jewelry and pocket watches.

Lucet in progress 

 Taking a journey where the wind takes me at this time creatively. It’s been difficult to return to the Dastardly Doll Project since it was the thing I was working on, when my Mom had passed alway. Although not finishing this awesome feat of doll fashion goodness will not bring my mother back. It’s is is some ways I wish, how the universe actually worked in reality. 

I really need a mental break but won’t have one, since my vacation time is used up for caring for my mother earlier this year. Adulting is rough. The pandemic definitely has me feeling stuck in a rut into addition to grief. I would normally be all super prolific but am struggling because of being locked with my thoughts. Even though I have excellent company, it’s still tough. The issues I am addressing take time and patience. Selfish self just wants to sit and have a coffee somewhere not in my house. It took over 4 months but finally going stir crazy. 

Hoping a change of scenery in a different life capacity will help. I will tell more after some wheels are out in motion. We shall see, fingers crossed and here is to hoping. After all hope for the future is all we have at this point. Having a drink for my mom, she liked rum but it didn’t like her. So rum and coke it is. 

Hanging in there,

THL Marrin O’Kealy  

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Gathering Supplies

 Things have been quiet lately regarding life in general, as reflected in the recent gap of content in this blog. Mainly because I have been working on lucet cord and that doesn't warrant much of an explanation. I do have a video on my YouTube channel on this process. Although making daily progress on each the black and white silk colors is relaxing. 

In the meantime, I have received a few supplies and tools from The Tudor Tailor shop. The mail service is slower but that is because of the large bulk of items now floating through the system due to Covid-19. I purchased one of their doll making kits as inspiration to make a doll of their style for my collection.  Plus its nice to have their wonderful pattern on hand for reference.  Considering making a 1650 dutch doll in this size but have not made final choices on the time frame yet. I have and extra set of head and hands to use with my own on hand materials for making an additional doll. So more future dolly goodness. The tools I previously mentioned are a Printing Tool set and and the other is Pinking and Buttonhole Cutting Set. So one helps with standardized pinking decoration or standardized buttonholes and the other can be heated and stamps a pattern in fabric. I doubt I will use either of these tool sets on the doll's outfits but if carefully planned could be useful.

 Small side projects give me a rest from the large amount needed on the Dastardly Doll project. Although I have gathered some supplies for this project as well in the recent two weeks. You can see my Vintage Sewing Notions Thrift haul video on YouTube for more information on this.  

There will be some Dastardly Doll Updates soon, stay tuned.

Stay sane and safe,

THL Marrin O'Kealy.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Pie is Good

 Well I noted the countries of origin for the instances of portrait occurrences, inventory mentions and extant fashion dolls/ figurines. So for the sake of tracking /recording and charting statistics. 

Here is my first pie chart with the aforementioned counties listed. I am surprised that England had the most but it’s a combination of two paintings and two inventory notations.  France had 3 inventory notations, Scotland one inventory notation, Sweden one extant cloth doll, German two portraits and one figurine, Netherlands has 3 portraits, Spain one portrait. I am surprised that Italy didn’t make the cut with its fashion centers and trade, although who is to say about the future. New discoveries are made everyday.

 I want to make a chart about the date years of these instances in records either visual or inventory as well. More frequent as time goes on seems to be the trend. It’s more difficult to see the instances at the time since not many examples survived over time.  

Here is to the research,

THL Marrin O’Cadhla 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Spilling Some Tea

I found out some interesting information that is a little sad. Apparently typed and picture illustrated blogging is a bit old fashioned in the world of the internet. Well that is par for the course with me doing something antiquated.  I have been watching a specific part of YouTube who are part of #Costube. These lovely folks work on various types of costuming and other sundries of craftdom.  In this small niche it seems to be general information that traditional typed blogging is considered obsolete. Which some folks make fun at themselves for still indulging the need to blog. In the world of other social media platforms like YouTube with its Vlogging, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat and the olde persons Facebook. Ya, Facebook is for old people, did ya hear? 

So "old" or not, I carefully curated this space to allow those interested to view my work. Even in a planned or in progress stage, this blog has allowed me to keep track of project time in a more efficient manner. After 10 years of crafting awesomeness on the internet, we aren't stopping now! So hold on to your hats and put the kettle on, its going to be an crafty good time.

More good things to come stay tuned,

THL Marrin O'Kealy  



Tudor Q and A

What is a Tudorosity?

A mashed combination of the words Tudor and Curiosity to create the word Tudorosity. Tudorosities is the plural form and the deffinition is as follows.

Tudorosity- an desire to learn or know anything about the Tudor dynasty assocated with years 1405 through 1603.

Most people ask my why I make the Tudor garb ?

I find the clothing of this era not only beautiful but also challenging to sew. There is much more care and purpose put into making garments and wearing garments in the Tudor Era. I love the look of Tudor so much I wanted to explore the way clothes were made back then and the subtle changes in fashion and styles of time.

How did you get started in this interesting hobby?

I started with art first, I love to draw, paint, and sculpt all the traditional fine arts. So being able to draw helps me visualize the looks I want to create in my garb. History has always been a huge interest of mine and I've had a knack for sewing since I was 6 years old. It all started with doll clothes and I learned cross stitch embroidery from my grandmother when I was little. I am self taught sewer, crochet, knitting, embroidery and tatting. My methods are learned from books mainly and there is still so much more to learn.

What is my favorite outfit and why?

It would be like picking a favorite out of one of my future children, its impossible. I love all my gown creations and really like the distinct differences in all the styles clothing I make for the Tudor Era.

Do you make the whole outfit including hat, shoes, and undergarments?

I do have a goal of making a complete Tudor from the skin out. As of right now I make 80% of my gowns and accessories. The shoes, corset, stockings, and petticoats are bought online and the petticoats are a close reproduction but not made by me. Though someday I plan on making a reed corset and petticoat to wear under my gowns, as well as other accessories.

How long does it take to make a gown?

It all depends on the type of gown I plan on making and the time period and class of the design. Generally if I work on it 8 hours a day on a sewing machine it will take 3 days to get the basics and another 5 days to do finish hand-sewing details and beading. So a week to a week and a half if working on it steady for that amount of time. I work a full-time job so it does take longer than a week to complete. I put over 40-100 hours per outfit depending on its complexity, its like its own full time job of sorts.

Do you make renaissance clothing for sale or custom orders?

No, due to new employment and changes in my lifestyle. Unfortunately, I have no time to support sewing for others. Though I recommend sewing lessons for those adventurous few. There are many fine folks who make and sell historical clothing. I suggest guidance with sew from many fine historical enthusiastic costumers out on the internet.

How long have you been making these elaborate costumes?

I have been in the Society of Creative Anachronism coming up on my 10th year. Active since 2004 working at demonstrations and volunteering when I could between working and other life's distractions. I really concentrated on Tudor sewing in 2007 and worked with patterns to learn proper fabrics, techniques, fit, and silhouette. I really enjoy the eras transition from a medieval form fitting layered cotterdie to the boned Tudor kirtle and then to structured Elizabethan clothing.

Lady Willoughby

Lady Willoughby

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Peach Elizabethan Noble

Peach Elizabethan Noble

Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose

Mauve Waistcoat Elizabethan Gown

Mauve Waistcoat Elizabethan Gown

O’Kealy Heraldry

O’Kealy Heraldry