Archive for the ‘Flashback Friday’ Category

Once upon a time, I was involved with a theater company called Pastimes, which put on these awesome renaissance faire-type shows in the North Shore area (that’s north of Boston, for non-Massachusetts residents). I started out as a supporting cast member and later because a regular performer and the cast costumer.

The first show I ever did with Pastimes was the King Arthur Festival at Hammond Castle in Gloucester, and it grew to be one of my favorite as a costumer because it was the first show that I got to design an entire look for. I did research on the characters and how they looked according to legend, combined that with some research into historical heraldry, and exercised some creative license with the occasional character created specifically for our interpretation of the legend. Every costume told a story about the character, and to this day I consider my KAF costuming work my proudest achievement as a theatrical costumer.


You can get a good idea of what the end product looked like in this photo above, a cool widescreen shot of the core cast for our final KAF production, which told the story of the Fall of Camelot. What’s missing are the shields we made to match the various knights’ colors and devices.

Even though the show is gone, I’m fortunate that I still count many of the talented people I worked with on that faire as my friends.


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Flashback Friday: Arisia

This weekend is Arisia in Boston, and it’ll be something of a bittersweet show for us, because it’ll be my first Arisia in four years as a plain old patron.

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My first time vending Arisia was in 2013, and as you can see from the photo at right, my setup was a LOT smaller than it was by the end of my run (bottom photo). We had a much smaller catalog of items and, as you can tell, my arrangement was a little weird, but we did all right that first year, and Arisia quickly became one of my most reliable shows.

Sunday at Arisia, in my vendor space.

I briefly toyed with the idea of using Arisia 2017 to bring my time as a faire and convention vendor to an end for that reason, but decided to make a clean break with the New Year. So if you see me at Arisia, I’ll be wandering around and enjoying the panels, demonstrations, and yes, the merchants area as an attendee, but I won’t hold it against you if you stop me and say hello šŸ™‚

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Last week I appeared before a Worcester Chamber of Commerce B2B group that promotes its members to other businesses they deal with day to day. I had to prepare a brief presentation on Storied Threads, and I included in that presentation a picture of my first embroidery machine.j350e

It was a Janome 350e, and Iā€™d originally bought it for the purpose of adding embroidery to my clothing designs, but then I came up with my Doctor Who Awareness Ribbon patch and began the transition to an all-embroidery company.

The original machine was ill-suited for making patches and embroidering designs on scarves, pirate sashes, and bags as it had only one needle, which meant I had to spend time manually changing thread colors, and that slowed the process down a LOT. I remember bringing that machine, some pre-cut templates, and my various threads with me to the Robin Hood Springtime Festival so I could make new stock after each show day. If I was lucky, I could make two patches before bedtime ā€” and I stress, IF I was lucky.

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vhornsHalloween is only 10 days away, so here is a photo of me dressing a bit gothy for the occasion, and wearing horns to work at Harvard University. I’m not sure exactly what year this was, but I’m going to guess somewhere around ten years ago!

I’m not going to lie…I kind of wish I still had that jacket, and have no idea when or how it left my closet.

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my-shackIt was 8 years ago that I vended at my very first Connecticut Renaissance Faire. That was back when I thought I would be a garb and clothing vendor, and hadn’t yet made my first patch. I had an embroidery machine, but I didn’t do much with it other than embroidering some pirate sashes. This here? This was my booth, set up in one of the wooden open shack spaces that were on the old faire site. Who ever would have guessed that from those beginnings Storied Threads would become the business it is today?

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Photo by Jamie Tarbell

This photo was taken at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire back in 2014, when I first made these fantastic Marvel-inspired surcoats. I’m hoping very much that they’ll make a showing again this year on Time Traveler’s Weekend, October 15 aned 16!

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FirstBagsAges and ages ago, I had just bought my first embroidery machine. I was using it to make fancy pirate sashes, mostly. Occasionally an embroidered waistcoat or something for a show that I was costuming. I hadn’t yet learned how to make patches, and Storied Threads was still every inch a costume and garb company. It would be a year still before I took the first steps towards becoming the embroidery based company I am now.

FirstScarvesWhen we started approaching the holiday season that year, Mike and I had the idea to make some awesome embroidered gifts for friends and family — and so I drafted my first patterns for messenger bags and for scarves, and these were the results.

My designs have come a long way since then. My bags are a completely different design, and their construction is much more solid and functional. And my scarves are made from flannel instead of fleece, and have lost the fringe ends for a cleaner, less bulky design.

But this was the beginning. The first baby step on a road to awesome, hand made, embroidered accessories for all!

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