8 Times More Awesome?

So I’ve been sewing lately, got on a sewing kick and did a few dolls.   Which of course means I had to spin a bunch of yarn to make doll hair.  But then sort of unexpectedly… this happened: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYep, it’s an octo-mermaid!  Or… something.  I don’t even know what inspired me, I just got the sudden urge to make an octopus-mermaid hybrid and… did! 😀  Made the ‘necklace’ with shells and beads strung onto wire.

octopusmermaidSpun the hair, almost didn’t have enough.  That’s all the gold wool I had on hand, but I’m really happy with how the style turned out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee, all 8 legs are there, honest. 😉

Of course, then my uncle had to do this…

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Sewing Bug

The Sewing Bug got me yesterday, so I plopped myself onto the couch and watched a couple of movies while I made a new bag.

Now, the history of this bag is that my brother went to Scotland and brought me back this gorgeous wool scarf in my family tartan colors.   And despite how very wonderfully soft this scarf felt to my hands, it’s still just too darn scratchy for my neck, which is apparently overly sensitive to this kind of thing.

So rather than tuck it sadly away, never to be used and possibly forgotten, I decided to turn it into something I can carry around with me all the time, even if the weather is warm!  So I made a bag!

Both sides have the wonderfully fringey flaps to them, the ‘front’ has the tag which looks really quite slick on the front there, *almost like it was meant to be*.

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The inside has two full pockets, one open, and the other closes with a zipper to keep important things from falling out.

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And if I want to close both sides, I flip the back flap all the way over!

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There’s also a secret pocket, not shown, but its hiding under the front flap on the outside of the bag.

The whole thing was made simply by folding the scarf back and forth to create pockets, then sew all around the outside to hold the edges and bottom together.

Now I’ll look right at home at the next Scottish Highland Faire 😀

Merry Christmas

© 2013 Eliza Murdock

© 2013 Eliza Murdock

So I’ve been quiet again lately, but that’s only because we’ve been working 12 hr days/6 day weeks for… weeks now.  Which sounds like I’m working 72 hr weeks, but It’s really closer to 60 because if I work 7 to 7, that’s 11 1/2 hrs because I have to take a half hour lunch, and then Saturday is always a short day, so I usually use it just to make up about 4 hours and that’s it…

But still, it leaves me utterly exhausted and entirely uncreative, except for a few doodles one of which I decided to turn into a Christmas card, above.

The scan didn’t capture all the colors, the eggs are actually brown, white, and blue, because those are the colors my sister’s chickens lay, but whatever.  At least you can tell they’re eggs!

Hope all of you are staying warm and comfortable this Holiday season, and blessings for a very happy New Year.

Hopefully I’ll be back with more creations next year! ❤

I MADE A THING!

I’m so excited right now!  (not to mention my neck is sore and my hand is cramped) but LOOK!  I MADE A THING!  I’m so proud of myself!  *dances around, pointing enthusiastically*

This is a post-card sized gouache painting in medieval illumination style. All original artwork. The figures are Odin and Frigga. The runes are transliterated English, and are a paraphrasing of a verse in the Norse Edda (the saga myths) which says "Hail the Gods and Goddesses, and all the generous earth."

This is a post-card sized gouache painting in medieval illumination style. Original artwork. © Eliza Murdock 2013

This is my first attempt to do a picture after the fashion of medieval illuminations, such as these.  I gotta admit, I’m hooked!

The figures are Odin with his two ravens, and Frigga shown spinning. The runes are transliterated English, and are a paraphrasing of a verse in the Norse Edda (the saga myths). It says “Hail the Gods and Goddesses, and all the generous earth.”

Odin, Frigga, and the overall layout are entirely original, but I did base the ship on this carving:

Found here: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/norse_ships.htm

Except for the border lines, I did this all free-hand.    Here are my ‘in work’ sketches

Pencil sketch of Odin

Pencil sketch of Odin

Pencil sketch of Frigga

Pencil sketch of Frigga

Finished sketch

Finished sketch

And when I went to ink in the lines, I realized I didn’t have a fin enough tipped pen to do it!  This is post-card scale, remember, it’s very small.  Though hey, I’ve finally found a USE for my insanely small doddle skills!  Anyway, so I had to get out the finest liner brush I had and painted the outlines in.

painted outline

painted outline

As you may be able to see, some of the details were added after the sketch, such as the extra detail in the waves, or even while I was painting, with the carvings on the ship prow and stern.

 

And now… I’m going to go take a nap!

When I wake up, I’ll make apple soda!  Seriously.

Norse Runes

I want to learn Norse. The precursor to such languages as Danish, Icelandic, and Swedish.  The two main dialects had diverged by around 1300AD or so into two main groups,  East Norse and West Norse.  East is the Danish/Swedish version and West is the Icelandic/Norwegian.

No matter which way you slice it, I’m pretty much Norse.  My mother’s side is Swedish, my Dad’s side is Scottish, but further back is Dutch, and all those came ultimately from the Norse, so I suppose if I’m going to decide to get obsessive about anything, Norse would be the most logical.

I’m hardly being obsessive for its own sake, though.  I’m trying to develop my Norse personae for the SCA, and in doing that I decided I wanted a better understanding of the language.  There are pages all over the internet where you can find the Norse “alphabet”, called the Futhark (so named after the first six letters of the language.)  This is further split into Elder Futhark and Younger Futhark, and I’m going for the Elder as it has more letters/sounds available.

Anyway, so while I can find the Runic alphabet plastered far and wide, that does nothing to understand the language itself.  So I went looking to see if there was any place to actually learn *Norse* on the internet.  Turns out, there is!  Very basic, of course.  I won’t be composing scientific dissertations in it anytime soon, but as a very rudimentary yet eloquent introduction to the language, I could hardly ask for better.

Of course, I’ve also been trying to memorize the Elder Futhark as well, which isn’t too difficult.  Many of the letters are similar enough to roman letters that it’s easy to make the association.  And I’m finding that reading them in a transliterative style isn’t all that difficult.  In fact, today during a meeting I was trying not to fall asleep in, I ended up making the following doodle:

 

list

…that’s my shopping list.

It says…

Shopping list
_____________
toothpaste
(v)inegar  [there’s actually no ‘v’ in Norse, so I used the ‘w’ instead]
dishsoap
bleach
===========
fabric dye
mustard
deep blue

It doesn’t say these things in actual Norse, of course, merely transliterating English into Norse runes.   But they say the best way to learn a new language is to make it as immersive as possible, and while I can’t exactly pack up and head to Sweden to find someone to chat Norse with me, I can practice reading and writing the letters. 🙂

I’m also doing more hand sewing again, and have sewn a populace badge for my local shire to wear on my belt.  (The SCA branches are split into several types of “chapters”, the smallest ( or one of the smallest) is called a shire. Populace badges are basically heraldry that says “I’m from here”.  Think of it as traveling to another state or country and displaying your home state/country flag as an indication of where you’re from, and that’s the general use of a populace badge in the SCA.)

It so happens that the Shire of Midhaven falls within the mundane county of Skagit in Washington State.  Among other things, we are quite well known for our tulips.  Like, we rival Holland.  Our populace badge for the Shire is, therefore, a tulip.  The tulip itself is white, on a blue background, and bordered on both sides by a white stripe then a black stripe.   I dusted off my applique skills and decided to sew up my badge.

I’m extremely proud to say that every last stitch was done by hand, and the back has a loop for passing my belt through.

Shire of Midhaven populace badge

Shire of Midhaven populace badge

Now that I’ve finished mine, I’m making two more for two of my friends who live here as well.  The second tulip looks much better than this one (it isn’t leaning) so getting better with even the small amount of practice.  The third should be just about perfect at this rate 😀

And in the grand tradition of collecting hobbies, I’m also going to be attempting scribal and illumination arts soon.  I want to take some of my more ‘medievally flavored’ poems and songs and put them onto illuminated scrolls, so more artwork and painting will be in my future, as well as learning calligraphy.  I already have a pen and ink set, so I just need to practice drawing the shapes of the letters.

For those who can’t quite picture what I’m talking about…

This was an award given me by the Baron and Baroness of Dragons Laire (a somewhat larger branch than a shire, and located not too far away.)  The date of AS 41 equates to 2006.  AS stands for ‘anno societatis’ or ‘Year of the Society’ and counts from the beginning of the SCA.

Yep.  I certainly do like collecting hobbies. 😀

What’s That Smell?

I decided to make incense.  Sort of like how I woke up one morning and decided to make paper, I decided to go around the house and pick yummy smelling things like rosemary, lemon balm, cedar, and lavender flowers and grind them up into incense.

Fresh ingredients: rosemary, lemon balm, cedar, lavender flowers

It wasn’t entirely spontaneous, I had been looking up websites for two days how to do it.   That’s not to say I exactly *followed* most of the instructions, but I did look them up.  The most helpful site (and the one I actually followed closest) was this one, but mostly I just got my mortar and pestle (I’ve always, always wanted a green marble mortar and pestle set, and I finally found one at the thrift store!  And since I don’t know what ever may have been ground it in before, I’ll use it for apothecary endeavors!)

 

Green marble mortar and pestle with dried hibiscus flowers

 

I’m making non-combustible incense (sometimes referred to as incense of the ancients) which means it isn’t shaped into sticks or cones, you can’t just light it and have it smoke.  It’s the pulverized blending of various woods and herbs and left in a semi-powdered form so it must be added to something to make it burn.  You can do this in a variety of ways, either get some incense charcoal disks, put it in an incense warmer, or sprinkle it into a fire (though the fire’s own scent will likely overpower any small amount or mild fragrance so it would take a very strong scent or a lot of it to get this method to work.)

From my beading days, I still have a handful of little sealable bags, so I can store my newly pounded, ground, pounded, ground, pounded and ground herbs, flowers, and woods.  And believe me, it takes a lot of pounding and grinding, especially the cedar bark, to get to a mostly powdered final product.  I may be developing some blisters on my hands, and no doubt my shoulder will remind me of this tomorrow.

Most of the instructions say to blend your ingredients and then wait at least two weeks before burning it for best results, so I won’t – alas – get to test the fruits of my labors for a few more weeks.

Fresh pulverized lavender flowers

 

Along with the fresh ingredients I had around the house, I also have a host of already dried herbs – such as white sage, chamomile, and green tea – or other fresh ingredients – like clover or dandelion – that I’d like to try as well.  But that will have to wait.  My hands are a little raw and I want to heal before I go pounding and grinding and pounding and grinding again.

Lavender, hibiscus, cedar, and rosemary, ready to be stored, tagged with the contents and date of bagging for future reference.

I’ll have to experiment quite a bit between the raw smells and the burning scents they produce, as they aren’t always exactly similar.  I’ll also have to do some experiments with which burn well together, and what ratios I should use, though I suppose if I were smart I’d follow the already tried-and-true recipes found on the internet.  But I like finding these things out for myself!  Besides, there’s too many things I want to try that I don’t think anyone has before.

Or they did try and it failed miserably, which is why you don’t find things like green tea and hibiscus incense.  But I’m going to make it anyway!  I can’t wait!  I hope it turns out okay…

Hand made gifts, part two

So here is my second half of the Christmas crafting creations!

First, for my nephew who is constantly carting around an armload of books, DS, games and other stuff where ever he goes, I sewed him a Avatar: The Last Airbender themed messenger bag.  The back has a pocket with embroidered patches of the 4 element symbols.

Avatar bag: back pocket

Avatar bag: back pocket

Here is the front flap with the arrow.

Avatar bag, front flap

Avatar bag, front flap

And I lined it with a wonderful wool-feeling fabric. Not sure what it really is, I picked it up at a thrift store, but it’s very soft.  I was prepared for it to be a “eh, cool.” but not really interesting to an 11 yr old, so I was rather delighted when he actually took his other gifts and stuffed them inside.  He *used* it, so that was close enough to liking it in my book!  Especially since I was up until 2 AM Christmas morning finishing it! (I ended up having to use my sister’s sewing machine, I flat ran out of time and some of the seams would have been too thick to reasonably hand sew.)

Avatar bag: inside lining

Avatar bag: inside lining

Of course, now my mom wants one, too!  And I’ll likely end up making one for my sister as well, and I really want one myself!  So I have several more projects pending, and nope, not burnt out on them yet!

For my sister and her hubby’s new house, I made them a Dream Catcher as a house warming/Christmas present.  I snipped some branches from their new willow tree and steamed them on the stove until they were nice and pliable, then wound a few into hoops.  Picking the one I liked best, I used my yarn and wove the center pattern, adding a couple of beads, then a tuft of kitty fur (one of my cats is half brother to hers.)

I also snuck out to her horses and got some of Cayenne’s mane, then bound both it and some turkey feathers with leather strips.  Added a few more beads, some shells, and a bit of bison fleece and was able to present them with this.  They were both delighted which of course made me delighted as well!

Dream Catcher

Dream Catcher

For my sister and brother-in-law’s individual gifts, I wove hand-spun yarn into bracelets and added a shell as clasp, and their two shells are halves of the same, so they fit together as a pair.  This one is his, and it’s laying on his gift bag, which he loved.  He asked if I’d make some more bags for him, their tribe gifts them to certain people at ceremonies or for doing a favor for the family or some such thing.  So I’m going to make several for him, and embroider a Lummi eagle onto each one, or some other notable Lummi animal art figure (like a frog or whale or some such).

woven bracelet with shell

woven bracelet with shell

Here is my sister’s, again the shell is the mate to the above, but I made her colors a little brighter, though there are many of the same colors in both, her base warp was white yarn, and his was a blueish gray.

woven bracelet with shell

woven bracelet with shell

All in all, everyone loved their gifts and I’m so glad I had a chance to do hand-made this year!