The Intuitive Way, and a whole lot of camping.

Well, hello! It’s been a while. I’ve taken a break from blogging – not intentionally, it’s been a strange, busy and wonderful summer, and I’ve been immersed in life. I’ve also been trying, amid the busyness, to do a little stock-taking, with the guiding hand of The Intuitive Way.

 

When I stayed at a friend’s house, I pulled it off the bookshelf for a read at bedtime. I’ve since bought three copies. I know several people who will like it…it’s thought provoking, life affirming, comforting, inspiring. Give it a try (also, dipping into your friends’ book collections).

 

So what’s been going on?

 

We camped in Shropshire. My it was a beautiful place…we had gales of laughter…we had buckets of rain…we had archery competitions and evenings around a fire pit and a blow up tent that didn’t blow up…we had a split pipe on the car…we toured Shrewsbury Prison (well worth a visit)…we admired stunning Ironbridge and learned how weak our grasp of Roman numerals is.

 

We larped. We made coats and vambraces and leg wraps and bags and cloaks and we fought undead and performed magic rituals, and ate and drank and ran around the woods in the dark, and sang songs and laughed and cried and made new friends. We went on a treasure hunt. We got muddy. We got tired. We got memories.

 

We got engaged. Whooooooohoooooooo! I didn’t take down the many congratulations cards until they got dusty…it was just so nice having them around! We’ve been given enough bubbly to launch a fleet of ships. We received hundreds of messages of love and goodwill. It’s just been amazing and wonderful and we didn’t expect it…we are so, so grateful for our friends. (Added bonus: We made limoncello and nojito for our party, which gave us a bagful of frozen lime zest to make lime cake. Yum.)

We had a day out at Rushden Lakes for a family birthday, and lunch in the lovely garden of The Wind Hover in Chapel Brampton. While my tribe were inside, I had a few minutes of pure rest in the sunshine, watching the clouds, the happy dogs and the leaves dancing in the trees. It was then that I noticed one of these signs on the adjacent corner:

 

 

 

Yes. Just that. Remember To Do That…the roller coaster of life will do its thing regardless, whether you hang on for grim death or wave your hands in the air. Give Way. Let Go. It will be okay. (I’ve been listening to Thich Naht Hahn a lot lately.)

 
We were given a day out at Wicksteed Park as a thank you for our voluntary work, and we had The Best Time with thirteen adult sized children. It’s a long time since I rode a log flume and I’ve never ever played laser quest or driven a go kart before, it was brilliant. I loved the Paratrooper. There is a point where you are going neither up nor down, and you feel completely weightless. As for the Snakes and Ladders slide…well, we couldn’t tear the grownups away from it.
 
And in between? We’ve adulted. Car insurance, MOTs, gutting the bathroom, budgeting. Laundry, dishes, this stuff doesn’t go away, so you might as well Zen it, right?
I hope you’ve had a good summer, and are enjoying the arrival of autumn and the changing colours of the goddess’s cloak. I leave you with this thought:

“Let us decide on the route that we wish to take to pass our life, and attempt to sow that route with flowers.”  Madame du Chatelet

ps. A wonderfully talented local artist is holding a fantastic exhibition of her work, if you like art and animals and find yourself in Northamptonshire I recommend you take a look. Just glorious.
 

Little larp make: Noughts and crosses game

Happy Saturday! It’s been super-busy around here lately so I’ve been a bit slow with posting. I’ll catch up…

I’ve been toying with the idea of old-looking games for a while now; they’re brilliant for live role play. We went to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and had such a good time. So much fun! There’s a lot of inspiration there too, I recommend it. It got me thinking.

We have quite a few branches stashed in our garden for slicing into rune pieces and game pieces, so I burned some and whipped up a lined bag with the game embroidered on the front.

 

Noughts and Crosses embroidered larp game

 

It works a treat, and there’s room in the bag for a deck of cards and snack too. I’ve had a few requests for Nine Men’s Morris, I’ll have to make one so I can learn how to play 🙂

Enjoy your weekend! Walk in peace.

Make 35: Embroidered Tree Surcoat

 

Paul’s been on about a tree surcoat for his larp character forever. Well, maybe about a year. There was a long debate about fabric. Many sketches ensued. He spent hours and hours getting the design right, and to his credit it’s turned out nicely. I can’t bear a tree with droopy roots…

 

surcoat-3

 

We had lots of fun and games getting the embroidery machine to play ball. We spent an entire evening tearing our hair out, wondering what was amiss. Turns out it was a dodgy spool of thread! Once that was sorted, it was onto the coat design. The basic coat shape came from a Simplicity pattern. I had made one mandarin collar before, but for a different sized coat, so it was literally back to the drawing board.

 

surcoat-1

He wanted side flares to give more swoosh (I reckon he wants to smuggle things. I think smuggle might be my favourite word). Another learning curve for me. I think most of this year has been curved 🙂

 .                     surcoat-2

 

He’s happy. I’m happy. The embroidery machine is happy. Everyone’s happy! Happy Sunday!

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Make No. 30: Medieval Mandarin Collar Coat

 

Make No. 30 is a test drive for a hand drafted coat pattern – a simple medieval coat with a Mandarin (standing) collar. I’ll be making about ten matching coats using this pattern over the next couple of months, in different sizes, some with split sides and some not. I’ve also got an order for a reversible surgeon’s apron with pockets to scratch my head over. I love this stuff, although I seem to be skirting around the edges of Actual Maths. Shudder. Surely not!

 

medieval-split-coat

 

My first challenge was the creation of a Mandarin collar, at which point my many reference books bore glorious and impressive fruit. Aaah, books…the trim, on the other hand, will have to be made from bias binding as I’d like it to run around the neckline and ordinary fabric just doesn’t have the stretch. I’ve got a big roll ordered. A very big roll.

I also wanted to enclose as many raw edges as possible, and I’ve managed it. A little French seam here, a little bias binding there, and we’re good to go.

So there we have it – a new skill acquired in the collar drafting department of my Sewing Brain, and the green light for a shedload of larp coats in the next few weeks. Eek. Bring it on.

 

Make No. 27: Larp Weapons Rack

Okay, so I finished this one in the summer…around the time of the tent organiser in fact. It just got whisked away to hold larp weapons and live among slugs and then it was muddy…and crumpled…and looking a bit sorry for itself, so I thought I’d give it a bath before it made its debut 🙂

weapons-holder

It’s handy. Very very handy. No more ruined swords, hopefully…

 

Make no. 26: Dragon Embroidery

 

You’ve heard of blue dragon…sorry, today’s make is not noodles 🙂

blue-dragon-cp

I’ve been poking around the files in our embroidery machine and found this rather magnificent fellow. Or he might be a she?

green-dragon-cp

It’s really been an experiment to find out if I like Gunold threads. I do. They have a good range of colours, they wash well, they don’t give me tangle headaches. Result. Will I be adding to my collection of 24 colours? Oh, I think so…

purple-dragon-cp

‘Cos you have to have purple.

 

pale-blue-dragon-cp

Time for a bright green one, I think…very Welsh…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make no. 25: Medieval masquerade leaf masks

Well hello! Yes, I’m still alive and kicking…but what a few weeks we’ve had. Mostly good, but with a couple of hard challenges that have taken up a lot of mental energy for me. Isn’t it funny how you’re sailing along quite happily, and something monumental comes to light that upturns your boat in the space of a day. The tranquil mind is a lifetime’s work.

We’ve also had some time away, which was wonderful. We had a weekend of larp, which inspired Make 25. Our faction is very druid-like, worshipping the land and the Goddess, protecting the natural cycle and freedoms of the people. So when we were asked to bring masks to a day of the dead masquerade to honour our fallen around the campfire, my mind immediately leapt to leaves. I made four in the end, and they did look pretty cool in the firelight. I’d really like to make a coat out of leaves, and one day I will…but that will surely take a while 🙂

 

Leaf mask

 

After our weekend of drinking mead and battling undead and werewolves, we took ourselves off to a valley in Exmoor for a few days’ holiday. I hadn’t realised how beautiful that part of the world is…steep wooded valleys (how do the trees hang on? I have no idea), a wide river that ran through the campsite and on for a three mile stretch of forest with a perfectly charming tea room at the end, a gorgeous sandy beach with hundreds of rockpools, evenings giggling around the fire and more stars that we’ve ever seen before. Exmoor National Park is a dark sky reserve, the first in Europe and the second in the world. And oh my, it was breathtaking. No TV, no internet, no phones, no radio…just birds, wild ponies, deer and a silent, voluptuous landscape, resting in its magnificence. We had one day of solid rain, during which we dozed, read books, chatted, ate, dozed, read books, chatted…and the world didn’t end. Even though the most productive thing I did all day was wash the dishes 🙂 Wonderful.

So here we are back home, all recharged and filled with inspiration – and I’m still kinda behind with my 52 makes! So I’ll be catching up with them over the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy them.

Have a wonderful day. Walk in peace.

Make no. 23: Tent Organiser

 

Hey 🙂 How are you today? It’s muggy as hell here and we’re floppy. Very floppy. But here’s a summertime camping post to make up for the last, rather unseasonal one!

Make no. 23 was a request from the very lovely Bill in our larp group. He wanted somewhere to put his washing up sponge…he got somewhere. And as it was made from excess tent that we tore away to create a canopy, which has been much enjoyed since, it matches the interior of Chez Gil-Gwaith rather well.

 

Tent Organiser

 

Suggested activities for newly-made tent canopies include having a beer with a troll.

 

Tent canopy

 

Swords got in the way a bit, so guess what I made after that…

Have a lovely afternoon. If all else fails, have an ice lolly. That’s what I say.

Make no. 21: Larp water bottle holders

Good Sunday morning to you! Oh, it’s afternoon…I’ve been up since half past six so it already feels like dinnertime…

So the Makes are 21. Old enough to do what they like! And heralding that great event are my larp water bottle holders.

 

Bottle carriers

 

 

I wanted something to disguise our usual water bottles while running about hitting orcs and demons.

 

Bottle carrier

 

It turns out I’m not alone! I made seven of them and our larp group have snapped them up in a day. Awesome. No more thirsty people on the battlefield! And you could always squirrel away a…er…squirrel. If you wanted to. Ask its permission first, though, please.

Make no. 20: Elder Futhark Rune Pendants

Hey 🙂 How’s your day going?

It’s a wet Saturday where we are, so I’m making up patchwork pieces that will be transformed into Something later. I’ll also be making the colour block top from Love Sewing…can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Today’s Make is some pendants that I made as soon as I bought a pyrography tool. The ash came from my friend’s garden, and it’s wonderful to work with. In Norse mythology, Odin hung from the ash tree Yggdrasil for nine days before giving runic wisdom to the world of men. In the Celtic ogham tradition, the ash binds the three circles of existence: past, my present and future; confusion, balance and creative force; it connects heaven and earth, the physical to the spiritual, microcosm to macrocosm.

 

Rune Pendants

 

From left to right the runes read Algiz (protection), Uruz (strength) an Othila (separation/inheritance). I finished them with Danish oil and it has brought out the colour beautifully.

Enjoy your day, whatever you’re doing!