Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Musical Path

I've been rather lukewarm to the idea of creating a Facebook page for myself as a musician, always feeling it's a bit awkward, but having been told by so many people lately that I should, I've kind of given it a shot:

Ingrid Windsland

 It feels a little bit embarrassing, and yet, at the same time thrilling every time someone presses the "Like" button. In some way, it suddenly feels like I've convinced myself that I am indeed starting to take myself as a musician seriously, which is something I've sort of postponed for a long time, using arguments such as "not enough time", "not enough money" and "not enough talent". But now that I have the time and the money, and people have been giving me a constant stream of positive feedback and encouragement, I guess I've just decided to put it to my peers to judge whether I have the talent or not.

It's healthy to have a dose of self-criticism, and healthier still to allow your peers to be honest critics as well, but if you spend your life with the mindset that if you're not the absolute best in what you do, you are nothing, then you'll never get anywhere. Just because someone else is a great singer, it doesn't make you a bad one. ;)

Since I finished drama school a few years ago, I've not  really considered seriously getting into anything artistic, brushing it aside as something that was unattainable, but now I'm finding myself really wanting this, feeling that the only thing I actually want to do is music. I'm realistic enough to know that it is unlikely I'll be able to make a living out of it, but that's utterly irrelevant; I just want to sing my songs, not make tons of money on them. Don't get me wrong, if I end up making tons of money on my music, that's great, amazing even! But the point is that it would be a bonus, not the goal.

So, I'll continue working towards a bigger repertoire of self-written material, getting it recorded with proper equipment (and not just with a recording app for my mobile phone) and uploaded on SoundCloud, and hopefully one day have enough music to start doing gigs here and there.

In the meantime, though, I'll entertain myself with the insanity of my costume projects and other shenanigans! ^_^

Friday, 22 March 2013

Archery Glove

Being slightly tired of project Kíli, I felt the need to do something different, and as I'm heading out to test my new bow this weekend, I figured I might as well make something useful. So, I made an archery glove for my bow hand with protection for the arm. There is no "window" or "shelf" for the arrows to rest upon on my bow, so I needed something that could protect my hand where the arrows will be resting. I gathered up some of the excess leather and got to work!

First I cut the two main pieces and, using an awl, made holes for stitching. I proceeded with needle and thread and repeated the process on all five pieces.

 Before I stitched the last piece on, I punched holes and fastened eyelets onto one of the sides (this so that I could check that the distance between it and the opposite lacing piece would be sufficient).

 Then i stitched on the opposite lacing piece, did some adjustment cutting, stitched on the last bit that would protect the fingers, and (far too early in the morning) I was done! :)

 Although a few days earlier, I also made this little pouch for my phone!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Kíli Project - Studs

A tiny, little update! :)

Feeling up for a little break from the hard leather work, I sat down and digged out my old Fimo stuff. It's been ages since I tinkered with Fimo, so a little bit of tidying up was needed. I did so while lamenting the lack of nummies currently available in my flat. Fimo somehow always makes me think of sweeties ...
Having a better account of what I actually had available, I set myself the task of making a tester for the studs used on Kíli's vambracers, belt and over coat. Using black Fimo and silver dusting powder, this was the final result:

 I think this'll do, don't you? :)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Music Sessions and Manners

Last night, I went to the weekly Irish Music Session down at the pub as I usually do when I have the time. I love being able to play and sing and listen in the cozy atmosphere that is provided there, exchanging a few words with the friendly staff, and having a pint now and then. Last night, however, things took a quite different turn.
There were very few of us, six heads counted at the most, and it looked like it could turn into one of those slightly quiet, but intimate and positive sessions, and for a while it was. Then we got company.
Now, let it first be said that I don't mind it at all that new people join in with the session; quite the contrary! I love the freshness it brings when a new sound or voice fills the musical picture with a new hue! I also don't mind it at all when non-musicians join us to listen and enjoy our company. BUT, this is all on the condition that they understand the unwritten rules of a Music Session. You don't talk (and if you have to, you keep it low and muted) while someone is singing or playing and you don't interrupt others who have just started singing or playing because you want to sing or play or talk. Of course, everyone buggers this up from time to time, but good sessioners make a point out of trying their best to listen and observe. Yes, sometimes it can be a bit hard to get through because people get caught in the moment, and one tune leads to another, which leads to a song and then a reel and so forth, but perhaps that is the time to lean back and simply enjoy the magic happening in front of you?
Going back to last night's events, the two fellows who joined in were kind enough to buy us all a round of drinks. We all thanked them as they took a seat, although I found myself flinching a bit at their timing, because they started to distribute it while music was being played, but thought to myself that it was simply an unhappy accident. It all started out rather well, one of the fellows proclaiming his love for Irish Music and how much he enjoyed listening, but as the night progressed, it became clear that he wasn't so much interested in a live Irish Session, so much as an Irish Music jukebox, with which he could request songs and expect to have them played in return for payment in beer.
While most sessioners don't have a problem with a request or two from time to time, it becomes very tiresome when the pause between each song or tune is filled with an outsider's call for something from his Spotify playlist. The point where it tipped over was when these requests began to happen in the middle of people playing as well as in between. As some added seasoning to this particular tale, it can also be noted that the guy who did most of the talking, couldn't help himself from bragging about his income, and starting to tell people how he could fix them up with a recording studio, and then as the the crowd (all six us us :p) started to thing out as people got sick of the negative atmosphere being emitted, he started to suggest that we move "the party" to his flat (which, he made sure to point out, was over 200 sqm large ...) just asround the corner, proclaiming it in such a way that one would think it was indeed an honour to be invited to such a fine place. I believe it was at this point we all started packing the moment they had disappeared out for a fag, and made ourselves scarce. I lingered a bit behind as I needed to pick up my phone, which had been charging in the bar, and took a moment to chat with some of the staff. They had observed a lot of the goings on, and were as appalled as I.
I'm sure these two probably meant well, and I doubt they are awful human beings, they were, however, completely void of social antennas, common sense and manners, and in a matter of just a few hours, they, the chatty one in particular, had managed to insult most of the sessioners and even get the staff to raise their eyebrows. I was left with the impression of new money toffs with the mindset that anything and anyone can be bought, and it disgusted me. The fact that they ruined what could have been a lovely little session, disgusts and enrages me further.
The lesson to be learned from this, for us sessioners is, I suppose, to be outspoken about these unwritten rules when people break them, and to do at the first instance, making it clear that if they do not abide by these rules, we will, unfortunately have to ask them to sit down in another area of the bar, so that those who are actually there to enjoy it may continue to do so.
The lesson for anyone who is not a part of a Music Session, is to be humble about imposing on other people's art. If a session allows you to join them, be polite, quiet and listen. By all means contribute if you yourself are a musician, but do so on their terms, not your own. As one of my fellow musicians present last night explained, this is a place where people are allowing themselves to be very emotionally open and sensitive, baring their souls and feelings for the sake of artistic and musical passion and enjoyment. It is a very brave thing to do, and it is not just bad form, but also downright cruel to disregard that bravery.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Kíli Project - Patterned Sleeve

The half sleeves on Kíli's coat has a beautiful dwarven pattern. I don't know  for certain how they've made it, but I will assume that it's embossed or raised, which means that's what's up next!
So, before I start, I had to do a test run,  so I drew the pattern onto a piece of leather with chalk.
Once that was done and it looked relatively correct, I went over the chalk lines with a silver clothes marker to make it more clear, and not to mention, more permanent. 

From here, I proceeded to cut out the pattern, resulting in this:

As it turned out, this didn't really work, as the pattern needs to be embossed fra the inside and out, so I tried a new tactic. Finding a wooden plank and drawing the pattern onto it (a lot more precisely, this time,  mind you), I began the process of carving the pattern out.

After hours of work, this is how it turned out:

 I did a test with a piece of leather and this is how it turned out:

I'm not entirely happy, as the pattern doesn't show as well as I had hopes, but, then I didn't soak it through with water properly, nor did I work very long on the embossing process. But at least I have a stencil (and very achy hands)! Yay!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Men, Women and Communication

I love steak. Especially when it's all nice and seasoned and bloody in the middle. I also loathe the current notion of Valentine's Day, the way it is marketed today, with this twisted idea that it's all about pleasing the Woman. So, why then, do I have a problem with Steak & Blowjob Day, when obviously it was made to give the pendulum of the feminized Valentine's Day celebration a shove in the opposite direction? Because two wrongs don't make a right and because whilst Valentine's Day in itself holds no indication of neither gender, sexual preferences or dietary concerns, Steak & Blowjob Day is just one big carnivorous display of misogyny, which also manages to exclude more than just one gender.

It is also really, really cowardly and infantile. It is, quite blatantly made up by men, unhappy with the demands that their female partners have set on them for Valentine's Day, and feel the need to "get back at them" by creating a day that for them represents what they would have wanted for Valentine's Day, had they been in charge. Herein lies the problem. If this is what you would have wanted for Valentine's Day, then grow the vagina to actually communicate this to your partner, instead of grumbling discontentedly to your mates about it.

You might find that your significant other think it's amazing that you too want to celebrate Valentine's Day, and maybe even that nothing has been done for you earlier because you have not communicated your desires. Partners are rarely mind readers.

You might find that your significant other has this idea that it's all about you doing the work, in which case, and I hate to break it to you, your significant other sucks (and there are all manner of ways that you can deal with that, but I think there are books written about this which you can check out if you fall into this category).

Now, some of you might say: but what about and Cupcakes & Cunnilingus Day? Well, I have a problem with that too. Again, it's another cowardly and infantile way of trying to "get back at " the men who created Steak and Blowjob Day. And personally, I think it's just as bad for all the same reasons.

My point, I suppose, is that all relationships depend on a healthy amount of dialog and communication. And if everyone kept the following in mind every time the second month of the year approaches, then we would probably never have heard of either Steak & Blowjob Day or Cupcake & Cunnilingus Day:

Remember, if you expect your significant other to dish up lots of aesthetic, gastronomical and sexual preasure for you on Valentine's Day, it is only fair that you provide the very same thing for your significant other.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Kíli Costume - Over Coat

I've started the process of making the over coat. To do so, I had to make the suede leather look more shiny, but more importantly, giving it the right colouring for the over coat. This entailed rubbing it in with petroleum jelly and polishing it with a smooth metal surface (I simply used a shampoo tin from Lush), leaving it to dry and then repeating the process. 


After I achieved a smooth(er) result, I started with the paint. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly first to make it easier to blend the colour and rub it out, I began with the first colour (a light brown) carefully dabbing some spots of colour onto the leather and then rubbing and blending it out. 

Once I'd finished the whole piece, I rubbed it in with another layer of petroleum jelly and left it to dry over night before starting with the next colour (a light tan) the morning after. 



Rubbing it in with yet another layer of petroleum jelly, I left the finished product to dry.
So, that's one piece ready, six to go. o_O

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Kíli Project - Tunic

So, I've started on the tunic, thinking it wise to begin with the innermost layer and work myself outwards. I'm not at all happy with the material I've got for this (greyish blue cotton with a hint of lavender), so I might actually redo the whole thing on a later occasion, however, I can't really move on to the next layers without it, so for now, it'll have to make do.

First off, here's my work sketch for the tunic:
And here's the progress so far:

Measuring everything up and drawing guidelines with chalk before cutting. (lousy photo, I know)

Cutting out the second layer.

Attatching the third (and padded) layer.
Sewing everything together, securing the padding in the third layer with diagonal seams.
The two front pieces with all three layers.

Front pieces attached to back piece and sleeves.

Almost there! Just the hood, hems and front lacing left! :)

Friday, 1 March 2013

Kíli Costume - materials

So, realizing that the leather coats I got really won't make me happy in regards to making the over coat, there has been some change of plans. The over coat only has three vertical seams on the torso, and the colour is rather different than the leather coats I bought, so I started looking around for alternatives. I checked out a local leather shop, which, unsurprisingly sported very steep prices, and it didn't seem any better with other physical shops, so I went on to looking online. I found a few shops with relatively reasonable prices (approx. £6-£7 per square foot) but because of the colour being rather essential, I was reluctant to buy anything without having the opportunity to see the actual goods before paying up. I thus stumbled across this amazing guy on (which is like a Norwegian version of Craigslist) who was selling huge packages of ten whole hides for the ridiculous price of 500 NOK per package (that's about £60). It turns out he runs this fabulous shop in Oslo called La Luna which sells leather bags, belts and gorgeous masks! Take a look at the website here:

Here are some photo documentation of the awesomeness I (with the invaluable help of Rik) managed to get home with me!

With this, I will be able to make a proper over coat in leather, without any superfluous seams. I will have a suede finish, yes, but the cut and design will be better for it! Tomorrow, I will make an attempt of acquiring the materials for the greyish blue linen over tunic, and from there, I think I have most of the materials I need to get properly started with this project of mild insanity! ^_^