Sometimes it happens.  You had this fab idea for a project.  It was exciting and it really got your juices flowing.  But once you got further into it you realized that it wasn’t quite what you had had in mind when you first got started.  It’s just not making you happy any more and you find yourself wondering if it’s better to trudge through and finish it up or shelve it until it does start to make you happy again.

I’ve been feeling that way myself lately.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it may just be better to shelve a project rather than to keep working on something that is no longer bringing you the joy it once was.  Sometimes its better to shelve it and free yourself up to take on other projects that will bring you joy.  After all, isn’t the fact that they bring us happiness and some measure of joy and fulfillment the whole reason we do these projects in the first place?  Besides there is nothing that says you can’t come back to that old project at a later date.

So I’ve decided to step back from the projects that haven’t been bringing me joy so that I can focus on the things that are.

What am I putting on hold?

  1. The eBooks. Working on them and selling them through the site just hasn’t been as fun as I thought it would be so I’m shelving the project.  What will I do with the two I already have?  I’m not sure yet but I’m pondering several options.
  2. The Flanders Gown. It was so much more fun when I started it but once the fur went down hill it just wasn’t as inspiring anymore.  Since all it needs are sleeves I will probably finish it but I’ll do something more simple that I had originally planned.
  3. Commissions. I’ve enjoyed working on the commissions I’ve taken but now that my most recent one is done I’ve decided to take some time for myself for a while.  I have about 20 buttons to make and that’s it.  I’m going to finish them in the next couple weeks and then I’m going to focus on some personal projects that have really been calling to me.  The calendar will probably open up again for commissions at some point in the future but for now I’m going to focus on personal projects.

What am I still deciding on?

  1. The Etsy Shop. I just don’t know what to do about it.  On the one hand I’ve enjoyed it and I have some big ideas for changes to it but on the other I’m not sure that the things I want to produce fit in best at Etsy.  Still pondering this one.

What am I going to do more of?

  1. Fight. Fighting has been bringing me a lot of joy lately and I want to free up more time for it.
  2. Sew and Embroider for myself. I have several personal sewing projects that are calling to me.  Plus less free time has meant less time for my embroidered jacket.  I worked on it recently and it reminded me how much I’ve enjoyed this project and really want to free up more time for it.
  3. Enjoy the fresh air and warm sun. This winter was rather stressful but the thing that always made me feel better was going outside and walking around the building.  Now that its starting to warm up being outside is even more pleasurable.  I want to spend more time outside, go to fighter practice in the daylight, move my workouts outdoors, and get in a little diving.  I can’t wait for Spring.
  4. Write. I’ve really enjoyed the FR and YWU articles that I’ve written and I have several ideas for new tutorials and HMA articles that I’ve been neglecting.  I have two more FR articles in the works and I want to get started on at least one of the HMA articles after Ymir.  I might even see about teaching at summer University.

Well, I’ve postponed this post for 3 days because I wanted to have pictures to go with it but I still haven’t taken them.  I think I must be the worst costumer ever but hopefully you all will forgive me. :)

Last weekend I got a lot of work done on my Flanders gown.  I ironed all my pieces, put the bodice together, lined the skirt, attached the skirt, and even did most of the hand finishing.  In fact right now it is sitting on my dress form lacking only sleeves, a hem, and it’s front fastening.  I’ve even started the sleeve mock up although I think I still need to tweak it a bit.

Tonight I need to pack for KASF so I doubt I’ll have a chance to work on the sleeves but I am going to try to get pictures up so at least y’all will be able to see it in its current state.

Don’t forget our Tutorial BOGO Special!

We are still running a special on our tutorials through February 6th at midnight! From now through then if you purchase one of our tutorials I will email you the second tutorial for free! Please see my website for details!

Sorry there was not a practice update this week.  I was very busy with work on Thursday and unable to make it out.  Hopefully this week will be easier and I will be able to make it out.  I’ve really enjoyed the last few practices and it feels good to be out again even if it is freezing cold in NC this winter.

Not much happened with the Flanders gown this weekend.  We helped friends move into their (very beautiful) brand new house on Saturday, Saturday and Sunday I had to go into work to check on a freezer that decided to start acting up Saturday, and I spent Sunday afternoon running a low grade fever, drinking lots of juice, and working on a web design project.  I’ve been thinking though that I would really like to wear the gown to KASF in a couple of weeks (Feb 5th).  Everything is cut out and the interlining has been stiffened so I really think I could finish it up by then if I set some time aside for it.  So my plan for tonight is to make sure everything is ironed and sketch out a rough schedule for myself.

The other thing I’ve been considering over the past week is what to do about my site and my expanding costuming interests.  I’ve been branching out more and more into 19th and early 20th century fashions.  However discussing them and putting them up on “Elizabethan Mafia” seems out of place.  I’d like to continue to keep Elizabethan Mafia focused but at the same time I’d like to start discussing my other costuming endeavors.  Currently I have several options running around in my head:

  1. Just keep everything at Elizabethan Mafia.  I’ve spent six years building a following here and this is already how everyone knows me.
  2. Make a second site dedicated specifically to 18-20th Century costuming and keep my 14th-16th Century costuming and HMA research at Elizabethan Mafia.
  3. Refocus Elizabethan Mafia around my HMA research and move all my costuming to a new site.
  4. Build an entirely new site from that would cater to all my interests and redirect traffic to it from Elizabethan Mafia.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Am I over thinking it?  Am I crazy?  (Most likely but it would be nice if you all told me no.  :) )

Sorry for all the quiet last week.  With the ice storm we got last Tuesday and the holiday yesterday I’ve been completely thrown off schedule-wise.

I did make it to practice last week although sadly it appears last week was my goob practice*.  I forgot my contacts, forgot just about everything else, felt sick, etc…etc…etc.  I still fought just not particularly well.  Ah well, these things happen.  I just need to make sure that they don’t happen again this week.

I did spend some time working on my Flanders gown this weekend.  I didn’t get a lot done but I did get the remaining pieces cut out so I can finally get started on the assembly.  I also think I’ve changed my mind about the sleeves again.  I really need to get this project done just so I can stop changing my mind about it.  I also fit my shell jacket mock up.  It’s currently still up on my dress form as I debate making some other alterations to it but otherwise I’m pretty happy with it.

*goob practice:  That particular practice when coming back to regular practice from a break when a fighter seemingly forgets everything they’ve ever known.  It may be the first practice back or it may wait until practice 2 or 3 to strike.

I’ll be turning in my latest article for Foundations Revealed this evening after giving it one more review.  I’m pleased with the finished article and it’s been a lot of fun to work on.  It’s currently scheduled for publication in January and I’ll be sure to let you all know when it’s available.

This means other than getting my stockings article up I’m pretty much free through the end of the year and I’m thinking about what I want to work on next.  I have a web design project I’m working on but it doesn’t have a hard deadline.  I’m thinking about trying to finish up my Flander’s Gown by the end of the month and I’m also currently throwing around some ideas in my head for a project for a steampunk party we’re thinking of attending New Year’s Eve.  Maybe I’ll do both.

Or maybe I’ll enjoy some celebratory sushi before making any decisions.

My green linen kirtle pre-eyelets.

There are now just 19 eyelets standing between me and finishing my new green linen kirtle!  There were 34 to do when I started and I’ve finished 15 so far.  It takes me about 5-6 min to do one eyelet so I’m feeling fairly optimistic that I will have it finished in time for Midnight at the Oasis this weekend.

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Last night while doing some work on my embroidered jacket I had the mutinous thought that I could just stop with the sleeves. They really would look lovely with my Flanders Gown.  I would be done so much sooner!  Hmmmmm….

The truth is that sometimes you get part way through a project and you make the decision to change it.  It happens and it’s no big deal.  But sometimes those thoughts about changing the project are just our mind’s ways of tricking us into copping out.  In this particular case I think it’s the latter.  I’ve been working on the jacket off and on for a long time now.  I’m not as far along as I would like to be (there’s that “off and on” thing rearing its ugly head) and sometimes I think about other embroidery projects I’d like to be doing.

It’s true that I could finish the sleeves and enjoy wearing them while I finished the rest of the jacket but my fear is that if I did that I would have a much more difficult time time completing the project than if I went on the finish the rest of the embroidery.

And I really do want to finish this project.  Not just the sleeves but the whole thing.  In order to do that I need to dedicate regular time to it and banish those mutinous thoughts.  I’m back to regular embroidery sessions and I just need to keep at it.  Slow and steady may not get things done quickly but it will get them done in the end.  And I really think once I have the sleeves finished it will start to seem like it’s all down hill from there.

So I must banish my mutinous thoughts and complete project!  Even if the sleeves would look totally awesome with my Flanders Gown.  Maybe when the jacket is done I start some scarletwork sleeves for it.

Hmmmmm…scarletwork….

I’m not quite sure what the issue is but lately I’ve found that I’ve been feeling very distracted with regards to my various projects and I haven’t been feeling like I’m really getting a lot done.  Oddly I’ve been feeling like I used to be able to get so much more done than I have these past few months.  Logically though I know I must be getting something done because my FR articles are finished and free time seems to be at an even higher premium than usual.  Years ago I used to keep yearly project lists of the things I was working on, things I had finished, and projects I wanted to start over the course of that year.  I sort of stopped tracking them though in early 2009.  Why?  I have no idea.

So in an effort to really compare what I’ve been doing this year with what I had accomplished in years past I decided that I need to revive my old project lists.  So far I’ve found one from 2008 and one from 2009.  I’m fairly certain I kept ones for 2007 and 2006 as well but I’m still looking for them.

Here’s my list from 2008:

2008 Projects

Black silk suit Finished! Jan 2008
Red Wool Hood Finished! Feb 2008
Silver’s Gryps and Clozes Finished! Mar 2008
Linen GFG/Kirtle Finished! Mar 2008
Linen Surcoat Finished! Apr 2008
Second Linen Surcoat Finished! Apr 2008
Gamboised Cuisses, 2 pair Finished! May 2008
Arming Vest Finished! May 2008
Padded leather fencing doublet Linen Proof of Concept Finished! May 2008
Linen Suit Finished! June 2008
White Linen 63 Finished! July 2008
Scarletwork Coif Finished! Dec 2008
Swetnam Article One Finished! Dec 2008
Complete In Progress Silver Article Finished! Dec 2008

Not too shabby.  I finished at least one project a month except for August-November when I was focusing on my coif.  I don’t embroider very quickly.

I had to go back and use my blog to recreate most of it but in 2009 my list looked like this:

2009 Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Wool Jacket Finished! March 2009
Embroidered Jacket Started August 2009
Black Bias Cut linen Hosen Finished! March 2009
Green Bias Cut linen Hosen Finished! March 2009
Blue Linen Fencing Doublet Finished! May 2009
Scarletwork Forehead Cloth Finished! September 2009

I got some things done but I spent most of my free SCA time fencing and embroidering.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  It was really quite enjoyable. :)  But it does mean that I have finished fewer projects.  Especially since my jacket was one of the things I was spending most of my time on.

So now that I’ve had a chance to go back and look at what I accomplished of over 2008 and 2009 I needed to create a list for 2010.

2010 Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress: Started August 2009
Flander’s Gown In progress
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010 (Combined with class)
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010

Hmmm…no wonder I feel distracted.  I’ve accomplished much more than I thought I had but I have let several “In progress” projects accumulate at once.  Normally I try to keep it to one or two.  Plus three of those projects are blog series.  I should certainly be trying to limit those to one at a time.  So for now, no more new blog series!  I need to finish these first! :)  I don’t have too many sewing projects going at once, just my Flander’s Gown and my jacket but they did get pushed to the back burner while I worked on some others.  I definitely want to get back to back to work on them once my second article is turned in.  I will also probably place my Saviolo dueling series on the back burner since it’s so similar to the class that I’m working on for June Univeristy.  And I’m going to add a few more items to the planning list to start on once I’ve finished my gown and jacket.

2010 Project Plans

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress: Started August 2009
Flander’s Gown In progress
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010
Green Linen GFG (pieces cut out)
French-Cut gown
Red Silk Bodies (have fabric and boning)
A new linen suit
Natural Form Gown

Postponed Projects

(HMA)
Di Grassi Series
Di Grassi Class
Swetnam Class
Arming Garments Class

(Sewing and Embroidery)
Blackwork shirt
Red Wool Suit
1530′s Tudor gown
1530′s petticoat
1530′s Kirtle
English Hood
1605 Gown
Embroidered Night Cap
Blackwork sleeves
Blackwork partlet
Doublet and Pluderhosen
Edwardian Lingerie Gown

Last week I finally got off my bum and finished hemming my kirtle and I thought I should post some pictures.  I’m still debating what color I want to use for my guard but otherwise it’s finished!  Pictures are up in my gallery!

I spent all weekend working on my Flanders gown.  I completely finished pad stitching all the fur to the linen lining.  I cut out the new interlining.  I cartridge pleated the kirtle skirt to the bodice.  In other words I took my snowed in weekend and really made some magic.  I thought I’d be ready to start cutting out the fashion layer and assembling the gown this week!

I was soooooooo wrong.

The fulled wool padding I added to the kirtle skirt to give it a little more body worked overtime!   The skirt now stands ~4” out from the bodice.  That’s WAY too much.  I originally added the padding because the linen I was using for the kirtle lacked the body to give the skirt the fullness that I wanted.  The skirt is 180 inches in circumference and in retrospect I might not have needed to add the padding after all.  Had I made the skirt only 120 inches in circumference as I had originally considered then I expect I would have needed it. However, when I decided to add in the extra 60 inch panel I probably should have dropped the padding.  Now I will need to take the skirt off, remove the padding layer and cartridge pleat it back on again.  Ugh!

The worst part though?  When I tried on the gown bodice lining with the kirtle the fur split in several places!  I’m SO frustrated over this!  And I’m not sure what the problem is.  The fur I used for the bodice came from a coat whose skins were more delicate than the others so the problems might be with the skins themselves.  It’s possible I was too rough taking it on and off but I tried to be pretty careful so if I was too rough then I’m not sure the bodice lining as it is could stand up to regular wear like it needs to.  So I might need to rethink the way I’m doing the lining.  Whatever the reason is though I’m too frustrated with it right now to deal with it.  I’m letting it sit until tomorrow.  Hopefully by then I will be less frustrated and can better evaluate the problem and decide on the solution I want to use.

If anyone happens to have any experience with this though please feel free to let me know!

The take away message?  Sometimes even when you take your time and work carefully you will still run into problems, setbacks, and frustrations.  Life is made of setbacks.  The thing that really matter is what you do with them.  And sometimes the best thing you can do is to set the project down, distract yourself, and come back to it the next day when you can look at it again with fresh eyes.  Personally every time I have tried to power through when I was really frustrated with a project I only made it worse.  Sometimes the best thing really is to leave it until tomorrow.

But if you want to see a picture of how awesome the fur lining looked before everything blew up there’s a picture in my gallery. ;)