Icebox

At Cynaguan Coronet one of our meals drowned in the cooler. It was in a zip-top bag that ended up under the melted ice water. It filled up with water and ruined the food.

I . WAS . PISSED!

Coolers are stupid. This is so dumb. The whole setup of a cooler leads to either drowned food or contaminated ice. I hate the idea of accidentally poisoning my family while trying to keep food good. So for about a week after Coronet I mulled over the problem.

I need food to stay cold. Heat rises, cold settles. I need to keep the water from the melting ice away from the food that should be lower than the ice.

After contemplating this for a while I started looking into iceboxes, I asked Google: “how does an ice box work?” reasoning that I could take a page from history and apply that lesson to our modern medieval hobby. Eventually I settled on a solution. I presented my case to my husband and suggested that he should build me an ice box.

He countered that maybe instead we should look to buy an actual antique icebox. It turns out they actually made “apartment sized” antique iceboxes. I found a few online (far away) and then finally my husband found one in a nearby antique shop. We bought it for $150. It’s a beautiful thing, all in oak.

The top 1/2 of the box is setup to hold blocks of ice. As the blocks melt the water goes down a tube at the back of the box and exits out the bottom. The ice sits on metal which is attached to the walls/shelf in the lower portion of the box.

We used it this past week at West An Tir War. The days were in the mid 60s. Two blocks of ice kept it at about 40F in the lower portion of the box for about a day and a half. We stored raw meats and dairy up in the top portion next to the ice blocks. I view this as a total win.

Eyelet template

On my kirtles I follow Festive Attyre’s “The Zen of Spiral Lacing” guide for spiral lacing hole placement. To do that I created a quick-and-dirty template which makes marking eyelets much easier.

This is an index card which is marked in 3/4″ increments except at the end which is 1/2 that. Above these marks, 1/4″ from the edge of the card I punched holes in the card. This makes marking of eyelets much easier than trying to mark with a simple ruler.

The top awl is a commercial awl I bought from JoAnne’s. It’s nice.. but it make TINY eyelets. I suppose if I’d had a good aiglet on the laces this wouldn’t be an issue.. but I didn’t have a good aiglet and it was an issue. So my husband, who loves me very much, jimmy’d around in the garage and came up with a bigger awl for me to use to make eyelets. The new awl is a large diameter screwdriver which he ground down to a point. The eyelets on the new dress are HUGE in comparison to the old.

Organizing my fabric stash

My stash organization

My stash organization

I use 4×6 cards to track my fabric stash. Each card corresponds to one hank of fabric and allows me to see if I have enough fabric for a project without having to actually pull the fabric out. I record the fiber content, weight, color, yardage and (if I remember) how much I paid for it originally. I also staple a fabric sample to the card. As I use fabric I update the yardage to the new measurements. If I use all of a fabric then I throw away the card.

Even hand stitching

clever_stitching Clever hack to keep your stitches even.

By making 2 marks on the side of your thumb, and moving your thumb along as you work, you have a built in gauge for exact stitch length, without marking up your fabric.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT MY THUMB NOR MY IDEA. I’ve tried to find the original source to no avail. I truly would like to give credit where credit is due, but falling short of that I’ll happily share a truly clever idea.