Thursday, February 5, 2015

Moving to a new blog for a bit...

I am not sure how much people actually follow this blog, but I will be working on another one for the next few months in anticipation of when I go to Hampton Court Palace to work and learn in the kitchens.

So this blog might be a bit silent, I will try to get something up once in a while, but as you can tell with this one already, I have many dry spells.!

If you are interested in what is happening or what this is all about, please go to That blog will have most of my upcoming action! :)

Hope to see you there, and here in the future.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bad, Bad Emelote...2014 Recap Part 2!


Well as things progressed after Chicago, I was very excited to maybe get some work done on the sewing room. We needed to get the floor installed, so we took the time to do that and then start moving stuff in...we that didn't work out as well. As of today (Feb 3rd 2015) the sewing is just a storage room. :( Sadness. But I have to finish it up this week so that I can get the final pattern testing done on the Goldhaube that I have been collecting items for. Almost all the materials have been collected, just a few items here and there still need to be purchased.

but the most exciting thing to end 2014 was that I was part of an amazing activity to raise money for the Ottawa Food Bank. I was part a finalist for CBC's Radio One's All in a Day's (with Alan Neal) Project Give Food Fantasy. Listeners were encourage to send in their food fantasy, and the top 10 would be picked to get the chance to win their fantasy by raising the most money for the Ottawa Food Bank.

Lucky me, I was a finalist for the Food Fantasy contest. This is the blurb I sent to CBC in hopes of being selected a finalist.

For the past eight years, I have had the opportunity to study and cook 12th to 16th-century historical recipes and menus for a local Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) group. I have cooked feasts for over 100 people with only period recipes, and I have always wanted to cook a full Tudor feast at Hampton Court (King Henry VIII’s palace) in their still fully functioning Tudor kitchens. It is my dream to cook a 16th-century feast on 16th-century equipment in a 16th-century kitchen.

I had until 11:59pm on November 30th to raise the most money. On December 5th, they would announce the winners on the show. There were 2 corporate challenges that we had the option to do. If we won then we got $2,000 added to our fundraising total. The first challenge was a back of the cupboard recipe challenge. We had to take a picture of 3 items from the back of the cupboard and then make a recipe incorporating all of the items. A la Food network Chop style. My items were a can of Old El Paso Mild enchilada sauce, a can of mushrooms and pickled capers.

My back of the cupboard items

I really wanted to do a period inspired recipe but the tomato based enchilada sauce really didn't work out, so I thought about what could I do to get these together. Capers are period and are recommended in period sources in fish dishes, so I went with a fish cake and to bring in a medieval flare added an adapted recipe of an eggplant pickle side dish from my Medieval Arab Cookery book. [Spicy Fish Cakes with a Spicy Tomato Sauce served with Eggplant Pickle]. All recipes would be judged by Absinthe Cafe's Patrick Garland who won the 2014 Ottawa Gold Medal Plates competition. So I was sitting at my desk on the Friday they were announcing who won the challenge, I was so stressed out. lol They were talking about everyone's dish but mine, my heart was racing and finally they got to mine. Chef Garland said he was impressed on the thought that went into my recipe and that it sounded delicious considering my items. He really liked the eggplant dish too. So finally they announce the winner and it is ME!!!!!!! I got $2k for my fundraising.

CBC'a All in a day tweet.

 I couldn't believe it! Maybe I can cook! lol. The second challenge was to find 25 hard to find items that listeners sent in...has me running around all of Ottawa and surrounding area to find stuff. Not to mention Tsivia and others helping me out. Unfortunately I didn't win that one, but they two guys in our Food Fantasy 9 (as we were called) got to split the $2000. :) So I was still in the running. I hoped. We were not allowed to know how much we had fundraiser to keep the suspense for December 5th.

Strange stuff like this - Gumbo File from Chilly Chiles in Manotick

December 5th is when we found out how we placed in the Food Fantasy Challenge for CBC Ottawa's All in a day Project Give for the Ottawa Food Bank! We raised over $21,000 as a group of 9 people.

I was wonderful to see all the gifts they gave us! :) Everyone got something from their fantasy, along with many people actually getting it!

the TMNT movie fantasy - mmm - free Pizza

3rd place with $3310 - waiting my turn selfie
Talking on the Phone with Chris from Hampton Court Palace

I placed 3rd with $3310.  My prize was CBC connecting with Hampton Court Palace and getting me a day to cook in the kitchens! I didn't win, so I have to get myself there. But the hardest part is the connection.

The winner was Sharon Martinson who raised $5100 for her classroom kitchen in the Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Barrhaven, for a class of awesome individuals in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program. Ikea and a local contractor will help make that happen! :)

I was super lucky to be selected to be in this contest. I will include some sound bites in the future. :)
The wonderful thing CBC did was that every contestant regardless of what they raised, got something from their food fantasy. :) it was amazing.

So now I am starting my fundraising Campaign to get to me to HCP. I want to go the 1st weekend in August. If you are interested in following that blog - here is the link.

My fundraising site is with - my campaign is here. Please consider donating and sharing. :)


Bad, Bad Emelote.... 2014 Recap Part 1!

Greetings my blog followers!

Well 2014 came and went without me blogging. Boo!

Basement demo and construction finished in April 2014. There were so many problems with it, but we have a finished basement. It still (as of Jan 2015) needs a ceiling, trim, 2 doors in the sewing room. The new floor for the sewing room is in, now I am just trying to get it all sorted and put back together.

O. did her first SCA camping event with flying colours. :) Her mother didn't fair as was so HOT! But I think there will be lots of Camping in her future!

Spent almost all of August and September canning fruits and vegetables. I amassed quite a lot. :)

August Canning - Many pickles and Peaches
O's 2nd birthday came with 2 parties! One at Grandma and Grandpa's house and one at Nana and Fafa'. Lots of cool stuff and lots of fun too.

Rolling into the fall had some awesome experiences.

I ran my 1st 5k timed event! :) So exciting! Got to run with friends, met up with my sister (she was training/running for the Tower of Terror 10 miler at Walt Disney World in October.

Once I got home! :)
I got to go to a Tudor Tailor workshop in Chicago. I had never been to Chicago, so this was so awesome. SIL let us use her VW Diesel Golf Wagon (OMG! Awesome car!) to save on gas, unbelievable how awesome it was. We drove Thursday night to Toronto, then the second half to Chicago. It was great finally getting there. I had a lecture that night. I totally geeked out with other SCA people! :)

Friday Night

Checking out the possible wet nurse - Jane and Ninya
The Tudor Child
 I got to meet the ladies after at the wine and cheese. I also got to buy a whole bunch of awesome stuff while there too. I had a couple of glasses of wine...and really needed dinner. lol Had some great conversations with new people and got to meet one of my idols (Genoveva). She was only going to be there on the Friday and Saturday workshop, whereas I was doing the Friday and Sunday workshop.

 So after friends Kes and Menken talked about Steak n' Shake in Florida, I needed to investigate this more. There was one not far from our hotel! Yay! Also open 24hours!

Steak n' Shake - crazy prices!
Jeff and I  decided to stop at a liquor store to stock up for the weekend, and I found my vodka unicorn. BLAVOD! I have been looking for this stuff for 6 or 7 years! Stuff for Halloween this year.


We had amazing weather for end of October. We rented bikes in Chicago and enjoyed the waterfront. Saw the bean and met new people while waiting for the train to Chicago proper. (We were about 1 hour out of town). 
OMG! The weather was awesome

I got to spend the entire day in a workshop with the Tudor Tailor Ladies. It was amazing, and it was really hard to be in the workshop about fabrics, to discover that all of my wool is really not up to snuff. Met some wonderful people and discovered that I really love this stuff.

It was exciting to meet the Ladies and have discussions about how they research and how to get the right fabrics, colours, shapes, etc. It was very exciting to meet new people too. People who have worked with the ladies and are doing really awesome things in the US! I hope to maybe work with Jane on something in the future, but that is in the works now. Right now I need to get all the pictures I took onto my computer and organized for research. :)

to be continued....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Note: Wow a Draft post that never got posted! WHAT?!?! - This should have been posted back in  November 2013. Oops!

I had a wonderful Saturday this weekend. I made my way up to the renamed Fall Arts & Sciences (now Queen’s Prize Tourney) being hosted by the Canton of Ard Chreag. So this event was for “novice artisans are to be sponsored by either a Laurel or a member of the Order of Crucible with the hope that the sponsor will serve as mentor of sorts. The sponsors are also to contribute a prize to be given out at the end of the day - which means all novices who enter will receive a prize. I had nothing to enter this time, but I plan on having some items for next year. I was really there so that I could challenge into the White Wolf Fian in court before Queen Adrielle. (AND to get to geek over all the amazing works by the Kingdom – oh yes and to cheer on Dafydd ap Alan with his entry)

I have to say it has been very hard to get my stuff together for hanging out at events. With the flooded basement most if not all of my SCA items are hiding in jammed PODS in the driveway. SO I always feel like I am missing things. For Saturday I was missing my linen head scarf, so I found my plain cream pashmina, but it wasn’t the same – hot and a bit itchy. :)

So I was called up into court to get the Queen’s permission to challenge into the Fian. Here is my written challenge to the Order.

I will be recreating the Goldhaube (coif) and Barett (hat) from the painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder called a ‘A finely dressed young Lady’s’ (1530)

Lucas Cranach ArchiveI have long admire this style of dress, and it is such a complex garment, that I will really only able to do sections of it. What I love about this particular goldhaube and barett is that you can really see the blackwork embroidery, pearls and goldwork very well in this image. The barett is in such contrast to the very detailed goldhaube. I find hats very interesting and want to show off how amazing this hat/coif would be.

These particular pieces were worn by ladies in the upper class located in southern Germany (Dresden area) from the 1520s to the 1540s). They were painted by many painters, but mostly by Lucas Cranach the Elder’s (and his workshop). This particular piece has been dated to 1530 according to the portrait I am using. They often accompanied what we now call the German Saxon dress, as it was worn often by ladies from the Saxony area of Germany. Each painting has a different style or look to the goldhaube, so you can tell that it is a personal choice in how they were decorated. I am particularly interested in how such heavy beading can stay on the head (without any visible attachment). It is also noted in my research that women in Germany at the time often had false braids purchased or made for them so that they could get the correct shape to their goldhaubes. I will also be creating any necessary accessories to get the correct look.

This project is a stretch of me because I have not done blackwork embroidery or heavy beading before. I have completed hats by hand, but this detail will be new to me. I will be learning how to do detailed work and learning how to embroider/bead. I will also need to learn how blackwork patterns were created, to recreate this goldhaube perfectly. The risk of this is that I have never done blackwork before. I have done counted cross stich in the past, but this will be new for me. So I will need to take a lot of time just to perfect the pattern and my technique before I even get to put needle to expensive fabric. It will also be a true test of working on an item throughout the year and not try and finish in a weekend.

I have created elaborate hats in the past (beaded gable hood), embroidery and silk ribbon embroidery. I understand the requirements for this accessory. I have been researching this whole garment for three years, I have studied many painting and images (I did a trip to Germany so I could see as many Cranach paintings I could) with the goal of doing this for my challenge. What has changed is that I am not doing the whole garment, but just taking smaller more detailed pieces to work on. I hope to learn proper blackwork technique, how to bead on fabric and improve my hand sewing techniques. I will also hope to improve on my research skills and time management skills. I want to make this as perfect as I can.

I will be using hand sewing as my main method. For the goldhaube I would like to use a silk taffeta as the outer fabric, with a linen lining. It is possible that it may require an interlining as well, depending on the weight of the beading. I will be using black and gold silk threads for the embroidery and freshwater pearls for the beading. The beads will be strung and couched down on the fabric. For the barett, I am still deciding between wool or silk velvet for it and I need to complete my research on what feathers I will be using. I will most likely not be creating my own patterns, as there are many available at this time, which will help me concentrate on the embroidery.

I enjoy learning new techniques to better my clothing making, and I have wanted to make this for a very long time. I have made hats in the past, so the sewing is not new for me, but the beading and embroidery will be. I have been making garb and accessories for well over 15 years now, so my challenge is to recreate something and have it be very detailed.

I expect that this project will take me the full year to embroider, bead and create by hand. I have looked at what I need to do and barring any unforeseen problems this should be completed in time. Once I have completed my samples I will have a better idea on the time it will take to do the embroidery. I anticipate at least 100 hours (including sampling) to complete. I will also be keeping a detailed diary on my blog of my progress.

I feel that I don’t need to expand this challenge as I have actually taken my original challenge (to create by hand a whole German Saxon gown including all accessories) and focused it more, as it was too broad and I would not be able to complete in the allotted time. After many discussions with friends, I determined it was better for me to concentrate on the items I really loved and complete them to the best of my ability. There are still some unknown or items that need more fine tuning, but most of that will happen as I finish my research.

What I want to do here is to really start documenting my progress and process on this challenge. That alone will be a challenge for me. Here are my next steps:

1. Start collecting fabric, findings and pearls. – hope to do this black Friday.
2. Draw out and figure out the blackwork/goldwork designs on paper.
3. Start a sampler for the blackout and gold work designs.
4. Test out many types of thread (linen, silk) while working the sampler. Also this time will be used to gauge how long it will take to complete the embroidery.
5. Create a toile of the hat; see if there are any adjustments to the pattern needed. (I will be using the pattern created by Genoveva von Lubeck (German Goldhaube Cap of Silk, Gold and Pearl). I am also lucky to have her on Facebook as a reference. She is an invaluable resource, since she has already done a piece that is similar.)

I anticipate that this will take me right through to January if not February. I want to have it so that I am doing at least 4 hours a week on it.

To finish the post on the event, I was very lucky and met two ladies that have an interest in 16th century (German and Italian) garb. They both do a lot of goldwork, so I am hoping to be able to pick their brains for this project! And I got to drool over the most amazing Venetian gown I have ever seen! Garb envy to the max! lol