Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pantsless Gnome on a Paddle

Today's strange find at work

At work, I must keep my sense of humor in check. But since I'm not at work, let me point out that this David the Gnome look-alike isn't wearing any pants.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lumberjack pants and mysterious glass thingies

Something I've noticed about vintage clothes:
the weirder and uglier they are, the more some people are willing to pay for them. I'm talking in particular about a pair of men's vintage pants, in an eye-popping red plaid wool. I'm sure they're warm. I do like some of the detailing, like the watch pocket - how many pants do you see with watch pockets any more? There are buttons inside the waistband that will fasten to your suspenders (braces), and you don't see that much either. But the color and the elastic cuffs at the ankle? The pants would look at home on a lumberjack or a clown. I think they're for hunting, actually. The starting price on the auction is $39.99.

Now I have more mysterious glass objects! 
These were with a bunch of drink stirs, but they're thicker and heavier than any drink stir I've seen. 
They're 1.2 oz each, or 4x the weight of that Sharpie. 
It's a very purposeful shape, isn't it? 
Do they curl hair? Tatt lace? Inquiring minds want to know.

I've finished reading A Woodland Feast: Native American Foodways of the 17th & 18th Centuries, and have started reading The Pageantry of Elizabethan England. Pageantry is a very tongue-in-cheek account of Elizabeth's reign, so if you find most histories too tedious, give this one a try.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Aille Fails his Dex check

Aille fails his Dex check in 3...2...

Was thinking about the geography of the forest this morning. I don't think I've made clear that it covers a sizeable area. It can take a good while to walk from one place to another, mostly because (from the human point of view) the forest hugs the slopes of seven hills that run more or less north to south. There are "shorter ways" but they're not in good repair.

The burial mound and plague ruins lie just south of the southernmost hill. The spring where Allan met with Siloen and later Soreny is on the second-southernmost peak. It's the cleanest source of water, so it's only natural to run into people there. Between there and the fourth-from-south hill is a bit of a boggy area. It's not good for much and it's often flooded, so mostly they skirt around it or take the shorter way if in a hurry.
The river near where they are clear-cutting runs between the four southern peaks and the three northern ones, effectively cutting them off from each other.

Now from the human point of view, if you cross over the ridgeline, it's rough, marginal land, and a far ride to a civilized town. I say "human point of view" because when the Folk go to the other side of the hill there are four hills, arranged in a circle around a lake (where they were digging clay) The three northernmost hills slipped away some time ago and the fourth one is trying hard to secede; but what that will do to the lake, they're not sure. They've had other troubles to deal with.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Glass Mystery Object! What is it?

Do you recognize this mysterious glass object? 
Someone suggested it was part of an old lightning rod, but the shape isn't right. 

The mysterious part is, it's stuffed with hanks of something that resembles human hair- see third photo. 

The glass is clear with a blue color coating that's starting to flake off (this is a sign of cheap glass, and maybe 30-60 years old, give or take. Anyway, it's no 200-year-old heirloom). It smells like garden soil. It's 5" tall and the thickness of the glass makes it too heavy to be a good Christmas ornament. Maybe a light bulb cover for an old gas station or carnival ride- but what's with the hair?

Guesses? Superstitions? Is it a variation on a "witch ball?" (Not a "witch bottle"; that's something different).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'm back! Bonus picture

Spent last weekend at ConFusion in Michigan. Took me a while to get used to the horde of constantly moving people, but by Sunday I was comfortable and even talked to a few, although I'm pretty sure I babbled like an idiot. 3.5 hours is a bit of a drive, though, especially in bad weather. Next, I'm thinking about Millennicon in mid-March (only 1 hour away in Cincinnati), as I'd like to tell Jim Hines how awesome he is, but we'll have to see how things go financially.

Portrait of Allan as a boy, before he grew to be 6' tall.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The limits of friendship
Allan & Stephen are learning the limits of their friendship. What seemed simple in private takes on a whole new set of terms and conditions in a complex social setting.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Clothes shopping in the 18th century
Finding references for the inside of am 18th century tailor's proved difficult. Hopefully it isn't too different from an 18th century dry-goods store. I did see photos of several period storefronts, and let me say, bow-front windows look amazing. How did they ever go out of fashion? Oh, right, the invention of plate glass. Such a shame.

They didn't have men's ready-to-wear clothing in this time period. You couldn't just walk into a clothing store and buy something off the rack. Okay, so the tailor would cheat a bit by having suit pieces pre-cut and embroidered so they could be tailored to an average-sized customer(which Allan is not). This was because the gentleman would want his coat quickly! As in, a few days, a week perhaps. At the same time, gentlemanly pride wouldn't be content with a premade coat. Also, accessories were sold separately. Hats, shoes, wigs, lace cuffs, gloves, buttons, etc- were all specialty items in separate shops, although these could be bought off the shelf unless you wanted them made to order.

Ladies' options were a bit different. Again, clothing was not bought off the rack, but it all depended on money. A lady of high fashion with deep pockets would go to the mantua maker and have fabulously expensive garb made to order. A more typical lady would buy bolts or yards of fabric, and tell her seamstress what to make. Ladies of modest means would buy fabric and sew clothes for themselves. Any lady might buy plain hats and sew on their own ribbon and flowers, and similar creative projects.

Clothing for children was not purchased new or made to order; rather it was sewn by female relatives or family servants, as far as I can tell. Swaddling for infants, nightgown-like garments with leading strings until they're toilet trained, imitations of adult styles after that. These children were not "out" in society, so function was more important than fashion until they were near adulthood.

I'm not making much progress here lately. You can probably tell by the way the coloring's gotten so crappy. Around mid-January I'll probably need to take a week off. Or I may need to drop back to 2 pages a week for a few months. New round of medical bills this week. Worried about money, as usual, and worry kills creativity.