Death-Neil Gaiman

For My Bookbinding Friends…

Back in 2010, during my visit to the Museu d’Art de Catalunya, in Barcelona, I took a large number of pictures which I never managed to post anywhere. I have the best intentions of rectifying that.  For starters,  here is a series of pics of a polychrome wood carved statue of a saint, c. 1300, by an anonymous artist, from the workshop of San Bertran de Comenge.

It is not only a beautiful sample of period art, but it has a beautiful depiction of a girdle book.  Hopefully, those of you who are into bookbinding will find this extra useful.


Originally posted at Une Robe Magnifique

Death-Neil Gaiman

Good Grief LJ! I Missed You!

Wow. I have been off LJ because for some reason, I can't access it from my office.

You see, usually I post at my lunch time. If I have no access to LJ, then the inspiration moment passes and so does the posting opportunity.

Just for a lark, I tried it today, and it's working. Go figure.

If everything checks, and if I can continue accessing it, I will be able to post again.

Death-Neil Gaiman

16th Century Mix and Match

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.  As you may have already noticed, I am a big fan of the 16th Century kirtle, that wonderful garment that features a boned bodice and which can be worn as underwear or outerwear.

Grey wool herringbone kirtle, with aubergine wool flannel sleeves.  Made its debut at Chalice of the Sun God VII - Outstaring the Medusa.  Must make doublet for it.  16th Century style.  October, 2010. The picture on the left shows that kirtle worn as outerwear.  The sleeves are removable or you can just wear them hanging.  If I wanted to wear this garment as underwear, I would wear an overdress on top of it.

I have also worn it with a green sleeveless doublet, which totally changes the look of the ensemble.  Alas, too late did I realize that I don’t have a picture of me wearing it with the doublet.  Suffice to say that it looks very similar to the lady on the right hand corner of the illustration of the Civitatis Orbis Terrarum, depicting people from Arras, France, below.

I will, at one point, take a picture of me with the kirtle and the wool doublet and post it here.  Maybe showing it side by side with the Arras picture. How about that?

But topping your kirtle with a doublet is not the only way to wear this garment.  You can also ditch the doublet and wear it with a coat.

In this case, I chose a short-sleeved coat: The Tudor Tailor’s English fitted gown pattern.

I must say that I loved that pattern.  It is flattering, easy to construct, and incredibly practical.  The fact that it takes less fabric than other, bulkier coats, is also a plus.  I basically used the leftover fabric that I had from the construction of a compass cloak that I had made for a friend’s Pelican ceremony.

Then again, I usually order too much fabric for all my projects, but I am quite happy when I can get two garments for the price of one.  Hooray for leftovers!

Oh, and did I mention that I lined it with assorted leftover linen from other projects?  Only the visible parts of the lining are black linen and match the outer wool.  If you look inside, it looks like the coat of many colors.  Surprise! A fine and venerable period practice.  No scrap left behind!

At any rate, another interesting feature of this type of coat is that you can either outfit it with pockets, or simply put slits instead.  Why slits?  Because you can carry a pouch underneath your coat and you simply reach it through the slit.

In this case, I decided to go for the slit.  Why?  Because I found it intriguing, and I thought it would be cool to simply pull my pouch from underneath as opposed to having a pocket.

Is it a better option? Well, that depends on what you want to do.  Both options are great.  I just thought that this one was a bit more unusual.

So I am including the three pictures below, showing what you can do with this:

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I am hoping that this illustrates the versatility of this garment, and why I am addicted to boned kirtles.

Last but not least, you can always plop a hat on your head, leave the sleeves hanging, and go for a cup of coffee with your friends at your favorite establishment, as you can see in the picture below.

See how different it looks?

And this is why I am in love with the 16th Century boned kirtle.

Mix and match baby! Mix and match!

I hope that this has inspired you to make your own boned kirtle!  What are you waiting for?  Join the club!

Originally posted at Une Robe Magnifique


Dancing with the Stars: Predictions

Finally! An DWTS entry! Woot!

I haven't been doing any posting on Dancing with the Stars, or at all, for that matters. I swear that work has been eating my brains. However, there is no reason that I can't post my handicap for the dancers that are left at this stage of the game.

That, and a little survey.

So here goes:

  • Maria and Derek: So far, my favorites. Which is weird because I was never a Derek fan. However, as time goes by, the boy does grow on me. I swear that he is a genious choreographer and an incredible teacher. If he danced with a broom, the broom would be in the finals. And Maria Menounos ain't no broom.

    They will make it to the finals because: They are awesome. Maria is in top shape, what with being a pro wrestler as well as a tv host. She can dance, has musicality, has charisma and, most importantly, can emote. Derek is incredibly original in his choroeography.

    They will *not* make it to the finals because: Len keeps underscoring them. Derek tends to break the rules for originality's sake. He's a love him or hate him dancer. She is injured and she could choke at the last minute.

  • Peta and Donald: Peta is also a genius teacher and choreographer who is coming to her own in this second season.

    They will make it to the finals because: They are consistently good and are building a solid fan base. He's very athletic and has the musicality and the stamina. They really want to win.

    They will *not* make it to the finals because: Although his lines are very clean, he does tend to hunch a little bit. Len won't give them a 10 if his life depended on him. How strong their fan base is, remains to be seen.

  • Katherine and Mark: She is soooo beautiful and talented!

    They will make it to the finals because: She is probably the most charismatic of all the current contestants. She is a natural dancer and can accomplish anything. Mark is an awesome choreographer. She is adorable. She is paired with Mark Ballas.

    They will *not* make it to the finals because: She has trouble conveying any emotion other than cheerfulness. This is great in the case of a samba, but not in a tango. There is something that not always balances between her and Mark, especially when he gets frantic. She is paired with Mark Ballas.

  • Melissa and Maks: I love them because they won't leave no matter how much the judges rig the system to get rid of the couples that are underperforming. Go M&M!

    They will make it to the finals because: They evidently have a fan base who will pull them through. She is paired with Maks and we all love Maks no matter how bad the producers make him look. The fans will take them all the way.

    They will *not make it to the finals because: They are not dancing that well. Melissa is probably the one dancer left that is struggling the most. Eventually the judges scores will bring them down.

  • Roshon and Chelsy: They've been holding on for dear life, after being in the bottom 3 times.

    They will make it to the finals because: Roshon has been improving every week and he and Chelsy are just too cute. The judges like them and have done everything they can to keep them on board.

    They will *not* make it to the finals because: They've been on the bottom three times. How many times can you go there and not go home?

  • William and Cheryl: Oh, William! We are all in love with your hotness and your Significant Stares (TM)!!!

    They will make it to the finals because: He's got musicality, can dance, and he's hot as hell. Cheryl really knows how to choreograph to his strengths.

    They will *not* make it to the finals because: He's sort of a hot and cold dancer. He does great in the latin dances (duh!), but not so great in the ones in which he has to emote. I mean, more than just significant stares. That could be his downfall.

    So who are you rooting for? (It can be more than one!)

    Poll #1839098 Who are you rooting for in DWTS?

    Who are you rooting for?

    Maria and Derek
    Katherine and Mark
    Melissa and Maks
    Roshon and Chelsy
    Donald and Peta
    William and Cheryl
  • Death-Neil Gaiman

    Fun times in Fortaleza and Brasilia

    Two weeks ago, when I mentioned to my friends that I would be going for work to Brasilia, everyone told me, "Take plenty of pics!"

    Well, the thing is that it rained every day and I couldn't take any decent pictures. However, since this was not my first trip to Brasilia, I will share with you my adventures and images from the first time around.

    The story so far:

    As luck would have it we had an 8 hour layover in the beach town of Fortaleza. So what do you do when you have 8 hours to kill before your next flight? Go to the beach of course! (It sure beats warming up your seat for most of the day in a dull, gray airport!)

    So we headed off for sunny Playa Futuro. Collapse )
    Death-Neil Gaiman

    Vizard Masks

    Good news.  I have been meaning to update my document “Gloves and Muffs and Masks, Oh My!” for a while.  The thing is, when I wrote it back in 2005, no extant masks had been found.  Nevertheless, in 2010, a vizard mask was found walled in a building in England, and this has changed the name of the game.

    Pictures and information can be found at the site of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, affiliated with the British Museum.  This means that my document desperately needs to be updated.

    So why has it taken me so long?  Among other things, I could not find the original Word document of my article since my old Toshiba died, and I switched computers twice.

    True, I could have recreated the PDF document back into Word, but I just didn’t have the time.  Lame excuse, I know, but I have a full time job that takes up a lot of my time and I just didn’t get around to it.

    But today, lo and behold!  The document was hiding in the old Toshiba drive, which I had mounted to a slider given that the aforementioned laptop died long time ago never to be able to be booted again.  To make matters worse, it was misfiled under a folder with a name that had nothing to do with this article.  (Why do I do these things to myself?  Sigh.)

    But the file that was lost has now been found, and I intend to update it as soon as I can.  Moreover, I need to a) write another document with the additional information that I have dug out in the meantime (Spanish masks anyone?); and b) make another mask given that I can no longer document the technique that I used in the old one and  that is currently part of my website.

    I am so happy…

    Stay tuned.

    Originally posted at Une Robe Magnifique

    Silver Screen-Dietrich Can't Have

    Hi, I am Mac...

    So yesterday I bought myself a new Mac Netbook Pro. I had been coveting one for years, and saving for it, so I finally went ahead and took the plunge.

    Yes, I have another Mac. In 2009, after my trusty Toshiba died, I went on and bought an iMac. It was the base model, and it gave me the most bang for my buck as far as my budget at the time allowed. Especially since I needed some decent capabilities since the machine would be used for photo editing and website management.

    Well, the good news is that the iMac gave me that and more. The bad news is that it being a desktop, I was forced to go downstairs and pretty much lock myself for hours if I wanted to do something with my photos or my website. Given that I pretty much run around the house all the time, and don't have the patience to stay in one place for hours, my productivity declined instead of going up.

    Hence the Netbook.

    Of course, once I got home with the Netbook I started fretting over the fact that now I had two machines with which I wanted to do pretty much the same thing. And as much as I adore the 21.5 monitor of the iMac, I suspected that it was going to spend more time gathering dust than doing anything else.

    My heart sank with guilt.

    I hate to waste good technology.

    Enter Mac Recycling Program. Heck, I didn't even know it existed. However, once I got home, I got an email from them asking "Have you thought what to do with your old computer? Join our recycling program!" It also contained a link whereas you put your machine's information in and they give you an estimate on how much they will pay you for it. Mac then provides the shipping box, materials, etc., and eveb pays for shipping. And once they're done with auditing the machine, they send you a gift certificate. How's that for easy?

    Even better, the amount that I would get (store credit of course), would provide a good chunk of the price of an iPad, which I have been coveting for years but I've been too cheap to buy.

    So yes. An iPad is far less expensive than a computer, but then, it's a used computer with what is now outmoded technology. So it's okay. It will go to a good home, and I will get my new iPad.

    I am liking this.

    Could I sell my iMac for more privately? Possibly, but then I would have to deal with people, advertising, etc., not to mention fretting over information that may or may not have stayed stuck inside the darned machine. I'd rather sell it to Apple and be done with it. I think I can trust them more than I can a private buyer.

    So right now, my two Macs are chattering happily amongst themselves and transferring all the info from one to the other. Loving the Mac transfer feature! Even a dork like me can do it successfully!

    So yeah, I've become a Mac enthusiast. Who would have thunk?

    I can't wait to go home and play with my toy.

    But before I can do that, I need to finish what I'm doing here.

    Story of my life.

    Belfebe out.
    El Kabong

    The Mystery of the Imaginary Magical Genes

    For the first time in months, I had to pick some alternate exercises to my usual routine due to equipment being used by other gym goers. I found this particularly peculiar. It is not often that I find not one, but three, different machines that I want to use occupied at the same time. Then it hit me: But of course! It's the beginning of the year and a lot of folks are following through in their New Year resolutions of adopting a healthier life style.

    Lucky for me, I know enough at this time that I can quickly pick a different exercise that works the same muscles so I don't have to stand in line to wait for anything. Furthemore, fortunately for me (and unfortunately for them) this rush will not last as most people won't follow through for too long. Before we know it, it will be back to our regularly scheduled routine.

    I feel that the latter is unfortunate. Once you discover what you can do with your mind and body as a result of proper nutrition and exercise, you become almost evangelical about it and wish that everyone would reap the benefits of such discovery. At that point, you wake up one day to discover that you have become Constable Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphplets and that you are at risk of annoying the crap out of your friends and relations with your unbridled promotion of a healthy lifestyle. That's when you realize that not everyone is ready for this sort of thing, and that the most reasonable thing to do is just leave it alone.

    When people decide to take that step, they will.

    And if they want your input, they will ask for it even if it is just to ignore it.

    In the meantime, you do your thing and lead by example. And that's that.

    Which brings us to our next topic: Magical Genes.

    Magical genes? I knew they existed! Good things happen to other people's bodies! They must have magical genes! I don't have them, therefore, good changes will never happen to me!

    Errr... I hate to bring this up, but there is no such thing as a magical gene.

    You see, when I first started working out, I was incredibly excited about the changes I was seeing in my body. Then, I had one of the most discouraging things happen to me: discovering the idea of magical genes, and the fact that I didn't have them. As a result, I almost gave up on my goals and stalled for quite a while.

    And how did that happen? Well, one day I was basking in the glory of having people telling me how great I looked, and me telling them that I was going to the gym, when all of a sudden someone pointed out the gym adventures of a common acquaintance.

    "Yes," my friend says. "Mr. Green* goes every day to the gym too!"

    "He does?" I say, in sudden horror, as Mr. Green is one of the most out of shape people I know.

    "Oh, yes!" she says. "He's been doing it for years!"

    "Ohhhhh, noooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    *Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

    It was the most discouraging thing I've ever heard in my entire life.

    Like I said. As a result, I stopped believing in myself since I got convinced that, with my luck, I most likely had been born with a total lack of magical genes. Good changes happened to other people. Those with magical genes. As for me and Mr. Green, we were both doomed. Doomed!!!

    As time went by, I realized that there is exercise, and there's exercise. And that no matter how much you exercise, if you don't properly feed the machine, you will plateau and won't see the results that you wanted to see as was the case of Mr. Green.

    Eventually, I went ahead and educated myself on both matters, and finally saw the results I wanted and kept them up too!

    So when people tell me Gee, you must have special genes. You only have to look at those weights and you put muscle on!, I can safely respond "No. I have no special genes. I just eat clean and exercise. I can do it and so can you."

    As for where to start, there are two programs that I recommend: Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution by Chris Powell (just came out at the end of December); and Body for Life by Bill Phillips. I may decide to do a review of both books in another entry. But those two are really, really good.

    And that's it for today. I am back at work, and stuff needs to happen.

    Stay healthy my friends.

    ~Belfebe out