Author Archives: m d b


OMG! Done! This is a huge deal, and while not perfect it’s at the point where this is now a truly valuable resource. And it means I can start adding in detail images. I have so much to say that I have not been able to due to these images being all over the place. In books, in digitized books, in image galleries, all kinds of formats.

Next step is to generate some galleries or cats based on decade.

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citing citing citing keep those digits citing

I am trying veeery hard to get my North Rhine research properly webbed. It’s taking some time to cite as I want to credit both my course and the institution and it gets a bit complex. But right now there are 511 individual images on my site! This has not been done before. I’ve not only put these in chronological order but from multiple sources online and digitised, and it’s a massive gift to the art history and costuming history communities because well you can’t get to 14 years of dedicated research and not owe a big debt to those who came before.

But these are my Nordrhein images. The Westfalen is a bit more complicated but does then lead into a nice set of sumptuary laws 🙂

These will be fully cited this week so that I can start to put images into pages of editorial stuff 🙂

I am trying to sort out a way to contact me. This is much tougher with a self hosted site than on social media so it might take a while!

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a positive turn

Yesterday I decided I’d try to start backtracking some images of my NRW files that have been listed as unknown. Where they have arms there is a chance that I can work backwards from approximate date of artwork. If the sitter is a woman her arms are that of her father and mother and not that of her husband. So I can sometimes find the sitter through her parents and if she has a daughter I can have a bit more luck as usually portraits of all kinds at this time separate by gender.

One of my query images might have been flipped, but also I think there is a panel missing. I think I know who the central figure is as he did not marry nor had children and is depicted in eccelesiastic dress, the remaining panel shows two women each wearing gowns entirely made of gold. That marks them as being very high in the ranks of nobility, I had thought princesses but they seem to be of a countess and her daughter.

It was sold at auction, the family name understood but I think I may have identified the sitters- it’s a matter of asking why it looks a bit different. But it may mean being able to hunt down the other panel at another auction.

The other two images are from stained glass windows and one of them has been restored just in Dec last year! One of the windows included the names of the sitters, but the other look a bit of searching to find a list of the paintings from the cathedral and tiny images of the full size so that I could just compare general shapes.

So that is three more figures I can add to show the difference between the very wealthy citizens of Cologne vs the nobility in the North Rhine.

Westphalia gets very interesting and very complicated very quickly. I have really just myself around the whole K-J-B duchies and how they came together. It means I can go back through each Duchy and maybe find siblings and spouses and children not in the direct line. And find depictions.


A bit of work still but I’m enjoying this folder again.

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so exciting!

I’ve been making my way through several documents across several things I need to do and am very excited that I had correct instincts.

It took a bit of backtracking and creative spelling.

But I am exhausted and am going to need to rest.

So fun that ome of what I found was through an art auction, then looking at heraldry, the other required some searches for restorers of the works being looked at.

I have now a high quality colour photo of one and the other might be around and still being worked on.

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fibro is doing a thing

Fibro is weird. Like really weird. Today I have a bit of upper back tension and fibro is sort of… doing weird things with the signals. I am getting what would normally be goose bumps but feels more like tiny little stinging hooks pulling the tiniest pinch of skin. Waves of it mostly on the top side of my arms. It’s been fairly constant with typing and now when prepping meals.

I don’t remember having this when I’m in bed so I think it’s a crossed signal thing. And my hair can brush my neck and feel like it’s a burn. And my CTR scar hurts a lot. Papery cut feeling and a bit of ache.

I think that’s all that it is in my scar, it mostly acts up when I have other fibro or RA symptoms, and my RA symptoms tend to set of fibro, so it’s kind of most likely to be that 🙂

But I got to go to my first local SCA event in a long time and it was lovely 🙂 Been doing a few practices but not going out as such. I think it may be the year though to get my cutting book just done. It is going to be hand drawn and scanned. I just can’t keep struggling with digital files. It’s enough to need to edit and format it all. I can still make it work as a colouring book and a dress up doll book and it will be much easier for me to also make a second set of patterns to help it be useful to people who appear to have different fitting concerns to me- we don’t really, but due to both fashion and cutting modern history it’s been less clear.

My system does work, but when you only have tidied up shapes from my end patterns then yes, that’s going to be unintuitive.

So I have found patterns of fitting solutions more by region and era than I have in size. And that is amazing! And wonderful. Especially when it can come across as extra work to consider plus size patterns in a line. It’s not really, but you soon learn what assumptions you have made in your system/line.

But it is so very much to sort. I have it all as hand written notes, digitised notes, line art by hand, and by at least two programs..

And my visual spatial brain gets overwhelmed trying to find a start and finish. It’s more like, but how do I not take about traded items from 200 years before when it lead to this? And I have managed to totally fail to organise my not-NRW images for the same reason. How do I sort them? Not all artists worked in one place, and portraits of women can use their father’s surname, or mother’s or birthplace, or home after marriage and it can be very confusing. I did go by city for a while. But that’s where many double ups happened as I added to them years later.

So, this is where I have been for the last while. Trying to find a linear or set of linear paths to get to where my memory library is (not quite a mind palace, but it’s very much a time and space kind of sorting system.)

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The majority of my North Rhine files are in a state I can work with. It is a bit tough scrolling through hundreds of pages at a time to see if there was a single reference to a garment but I think I have it all properly sorted.

At least enough to properly piece it back together.

I was meant to just look for the images of the nobility of NRW but I got a bit lost in the Brunswick stuff that I was very detoured. So those are now collected as well.

The Westphalia gear gets more complicated but also tends towards the Saxon style and so it really need to be collected separately.

So happy!

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overdue update

I am trying to post content or at least positive updates. So first off I had a good sleep last night so that I can’t remember my dreams- this is a lovely stay cation from my mind 😉

I have taken all my jewels off my various pieces. There are not many of the brass filligree pieces left online so I might see if I can get a few of them as well.

And I am ready to tackle the difficult task of putting in a bit more support and frame up my Cleves hat (mutzger) for the old and new pearls.

And I decided to recreate a specific pattern of pearls for a belt (perlengurtel) and a specific pattern for the borstlappe.

I keep remembering specific sources I don’t have on my site yet, and I have spotted that all my images are now also categorised when they shouldn’t be. So I still have a bit of writing to do today.

Yesterday I was overwhelmed.

It was the fourth anniversary of the passing my Kitty Boo Bear and I had to have a big time out and then I was able to got bed at a time most people manage and had a very good sleep.

So today I’ll limit myself to adding in a few easy to add images and then see if I can draw that belt pattern and see if I can work out the borstlappe pattern.

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The I’m not at Canterbury Faire post

Once I had given up hope of a miracle (and that miracle would have been 4 figures given we got a big bill right after!) I decided to dowhat I mostly try to do at events which is teach.

Yesterday I laid some washing on my dress form and I think I now have a really nifty demonstration 🙂

And I am still working my way through my old site archives with a better way of doing so. But I think I have found some tutorials I never made live, and I have some printed documentation pages for my older gear that can be updated.

And my scaled patterns are ready to tidy. So I’m not as sad as I would be. As I have needed to rebuild my articles anyway and I could dedicate a week to it.

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ouchies but progressing

I’ve started to tidy and compiled my past website builds as some of them were really fun 🙂 And as they were all hand coded in an era of tiny data storage and bandwidth they are remarkably suited to the hand held era.

I am though experiencing a lot of inflammation in my hands which is not surprising but it means I need to take breaks and meds that feel like overkill. It’s just my hands, it’s a small area of the body. But they are used for everything I do so it is worth resting more than less.

I forgot that I also have my turquise sequin fabrics for more Elsa costumes- I think I’d like to keep one as an homage to Queen Maude.

But the second dress and extra length I think could be the basic of the travel coat- layers of net over the top gradient dyed. So suddenly it’s starting to feel like an actual plan and one that won’t dip into my funds.

I do still have the super long cape I really should pass on, it’s just a matter of photographing it properly.

I am also struggling a little financially, with a number of costs coming up and some new weekly costs that I haven’t planned for.

So I am very glad that I have enough stash to keep me going, even if I still have to slow down on using it all in one go given my hands.

But that financial restriction might just mean I stay close to home for at least the first half of the year which actually helps a lot in making the decision to make All The Elsa Stuff.

The Mantua: it’s cut, the stays are cut and have boning already. The skirt seams are all done. And it’s a single layer (aside from body) so it’s really light.

This Queen Maude (of Norway…) gown. I would love to know what colour it is originally, but she had a golden sequin gown and a pale blue gown

The Mando might take a while. I’m not sure I want to have two sets of armour but I also don’t want to convert my Shae Vizla over. I worked very hard on that.

For the rest I have the opalescent sequined fabric, the turqouise, the silk chiffon with 2mm sequins… so a fair bit to play with 🙂

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All Elsa all the time

Right. Yeah no. I can’t help it. Three outfits have truly captured my heart. One just for design, the other two for emotional impact.

I am though interpreting the designs a little. Mostly in textiles.

My Ice Gown is very accurate, but I chose rhinestones over sequins for similar reasons.

In the Ice Gown the bodice is made of overlapping sheets of ice, this is best mimicked on the stand as glued, but they move over each other which allows for more movement such as breathing to be highlighted, and glue does not allow for this- and I tend to run warm and thus tend to de-glue things even on a single wearing!

I didn’t mean to stick with the rhinestones, I planned on taking them off and re-purposing, but they are a hit when I wear the gown. Kids of all ages are enchanted because they have extra depth for visual interest and they are 3D so very tactile. But they also allow my fabric base to show through and does help with the ombre effect.

So I’m going to use my sequinned fabric stash and layered over with different tulles. Usual gradient dyeing as well. The water gown and the final gown both have “illusion” necklines but I will be going for a powernet in order to avoid darts and extra seams

But first I desperately nee my portfolio to be front and center of this site now that I’m moving all the resources to my new site.

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