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Archive for February, 2016

Shields_Before

The KAF shields, before their overhaul.

Before Storied Threads was even an idea I had, I was the costume designer for – among other shows – the King Arthur Festival produced by Pastimes Entertainment.  The show had been running for quite a few years when we decided it was time to upgrade the Knights of the Round Table. Up until then, they had been wearing surcoats and using shields that – while lovely and functional – for the most part didn’t say anything about who they were. And in the case of the shields, even “lovely” was pushing it — they’d taken so much damage from fight scenes and rehearsals over the years that they were more dent and scratch than paint.

 

So, that year, I started doing some solid research into the heraldry of the knights, as they were described in stories over the years. I also started learning how to interpret heraldic descriptions, as sometimes that was all I could find, especially in relation to some of the more obscure knights. It helped me to learn that “Or, three serpents gules, langued vert” meant three red snakes with green tongues on a gold field, for example. It also helped me to invent a device for characters based on their personality, when no historical or literary references could be found.

2005KAF_Knights

Clockwise from top left: Sir Dinadin, Sir Galahad, Dame Enid, Sir Agravine, Sir Kay

All of the knights looked pretty spiffy that year, thanks to a lot of effort by the whole cast. Not only were new surcoats made, but one of our fight directors, Cliff Allen, wrangled a team of volunteers from the cast, and together they realized my designs on all of the knights’ shields as well. The only downside was that nobody wanted to use them after that, knowing the weapons would just put a whole new collection of scratches and dings in the fresh paint!

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HogwartsCookiesI’m not much of a cook, and most of the meals in the Bailey house are made by my awesome husband, Mike. But baking? I love baking! This December, I went a little oberboard. I had just aquired some custom 3-D printed Hogwarts cookie cutters, and I was determined to use them! The project required some creativity, though — I didn’t want to just make the same cookie for every House. Instead, after much thought and polling of friends, I settled on a recipe to use for each.

Gryffindor: Spice cookies. Because they make me think of the fire of bravery…plus, all the ginger.
Hufflepuff: Cream cheese sugar cookies. A simple, trustworthy sugar cookie seemed the way to go for ‘Puffs, and the cream cheese addition gave them a perfect soft bake.
Ravenclaw: Bergamot shortbread seemed like the perfect cookie for curling up with a cup of tea and a good book.
Slytherin: Dark chocolate espresso cookies. They might seem a bit bitter, but they’ll make sure the job gets done!

Every single one of these cookies was perfect and amazing…..except the Ravenclaws. They were tasty, but I didn’t use enough bergamot for the flavor to really come through, and the shortbread was a TERRIBLE dough to work with for cutout cookies. Naturally, they would be the one cookie that requires more work, research, and refinement!

RavenclawSugarSo, earlier this week, having finally gotten the urge to back again after all the madness of the holidays, I decided to give them another try. This time, I went with a bergamot sugar cookie instead of a shortbread. The results? A much better flavor! Not only did I add a LOT more bergamot extract, but the citrus flavor complements the sweeter base of the sugar cookie really well. The cookies were still tricky to release from the cutter – I think there’s just so much small detail that there always will be. Patience is definitely required to make these cookies!

Bergamot Sugar Cookies (Ravenclaw)

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon bergamot extract
1 egg yolk
25 drops blue food coloring (optional)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, bergamot extract,  egg yolk, and food coloring. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill the dough 30 – 60 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/3 at a time to 1/8 inch thickness, refrigerating remaining dough until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light and golden brown.

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JewelryCollageWe decided recently that we were going to be discontinuing our line of chokers, in order to focus more on our stronger products. The trick, though, is that I still have a whole mess of charms and findings kicking around that hadn’t been made into anything yet. So, I laid everythign out on a table, and decided to make some much less complex jewelry, which we will be selling as one of a kind items! We will have all of these items with us at the Meet the Creators event in Lowell this Friday evening, as well as at upcoming shows until they are sold out.

The cool thing is that these are really affordable, too — the double strand necklaces are only $15 each, and the Samulet pieces are $7!

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FoxTablet1Our kawaii fox design was so popular at Arisia last month that we completely sold out of both patches and small messenger bags! Clearly, the next step was to make other bag sizes available, and with that in mind, we now have kawaii fox tablet bags listed in our Etsy shop and on our website. These bags are the perfect size to carry your iPad, Surface, or – as I recently discovered – sketch book and pencil box.

Click here to buy one!

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InvitePicWMI was trolling my old Photobucket account recently looking for something, when I came across this image. Eleven years ago or so, Mike and I were planning our wedding. We had a very small budget, and knew that a lot of what we did would be DIY. So, when it came time to figure out the wedding invitations, we bought blank printable cards, and made them ourselves — complete with artwork done by Mike.

(Obviously our invitations didn’t have a watermark on them. But this is the internet, so.)

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MillNo5Hallway

The hallway of storefronts at Mill No. 5

What: Meet the Artist
When: February 26, 2016, 6:30 PM
Where: Mill No. 5, Lowell, MA

Okay, technically this isn’t a show in the usual sense. My author husband, Michael Bailey, and I have been invited to do a “meet the artist” event at Mill No. 5 later this month, which sounds like it will be a very fun event! The Mill is where the OtherWhere Market is held a couple of times a year, and we love the location, which has a great Diagon Alley kind of feel to it, full of eclectic little stores.

Our event will be held in the Victorian Lounge, where I will have a small display of select Storied Threads products. I’ll have all my patches with me, although you’ll have to flip through bins like they were records in a vintage record store for them, as well as a selection of bags and scarves. And Mike will be there selling copies of both his Action Figures books (including, if all goes well, the new Issue 5!) as well as Strongarm and Lightfoot: Scratching a Lich.

Also, I hear there will be snacks! And maybe music? There might be music. And definitely hanging out and talking — this will be more than just a shopping event, it will also be a “come hang out and get nerdy with Mike and Veronica” event. It promises to be a really fun time!

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