Poem: One. Two. Three.
I make three welds:
I have no heart that beats
But that's my pulse:
The center of my being,
The reason I exist,
And yet
It is not really what I am.

One hour each night
They stop my beating heart
To oil the gears,
To tighten all the screws.
I treasure
Every second
And I dream
Of leaving here
To see the world,
To see at all.

The people here
Complain sometimes
That work
Is not their life,
And wish they could
Go back to school
Or go to Spain
Or kiss that girl
They saw once
On the bus.
I want to tell them,
"Do those things!"
To make the choice,
To risk,
To leap,
To fly.
To have such dreams
And let them go
Would make me weep
If only
I had eyes,
For I would be content
To get to

War Cookies

I like to make these cookies to take to Pennsic because heat and humidity only makes them chewier. I usually omit the nuts and add dried cranberries or other dried fruits.

Molasses Cookies

Cook Time: 10 Minutes


1 ¼ cups sugar

½ cup shortening, melted

2 eggs

6 Tablespoons molasses

1 ¾ cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups quick oats

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup nuts

1 cup raisins


Whisk together wet ingredients in large bowl.

Mix or sift together dry ingredients in separate bowl.

Add to ingredients in large bowl.

Add raisins and nuts and mix until evenly distributed.

Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400º for 8-10 minutes


Triolet: The Royal Arms

Each time my Queen is on the field
The Royal arms are lifted high.
The ancient bloodline stands revealed
Each time my Queen is on the field.
She draws Her sword, she bears Her shield,
And goes forth, unafraid to die;
Each time my Queen is on the field
The Royal arms are lifted high!

Written in honor of HRM Sorcha Heronchaser of Meridies, and all other Queens who share the joy of the battlefield.

Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.

A Happy Announcement
Photo courtesy of Terrill Johnson

Photo courtesy of Terrill Johnson

A week ago at Menhir, I had the pleasure of announcing the impending elevation of my good friend and foster apprentice Ginevra Brembati. I can take no credit for her many talents, only for encouraging her to put them on wider display.

Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.

Terza Rima: The Door

I heard a tapping at my door
And sat quite still and silently,
As startled as a rabbit for
I had no inkling who might be
Beyond that portal, barred and locked.
What face out there, that I might see?
Who stood without and loudly knocked?
The tax man come to take his due?
The comely lass with whom I’d talked?
A noble and his retinue?
A criminal with greedy grin?
These things and more went racing through
My mind as I stayed safe within
This shuttered home, this castle keep,
Protected from what might have been.
The noise that wakened me from sleep
Was gone as fast as it had come,
Returning me to silence deep.
My nerves, they jangled, then went numb;
I watched the door, but saw no clue
Of where my visitor was from,
Or why they made the journey to
Arouse me from my evening’s rest.
The fear I felt before now flew,
My heart slowed down within my chest,
And left me only with regrets
That I’d not risen to this test.
Could I be like the man who sets
His sail to go out on the sea
And seize its bounty with his nets,
Though he knows not what there might be
Among the fish in shining heaps
With spines to prick him, stealthily?
The clutching miser only keeps
What money he had at the start,
And, since he sows not, never reaps
The rich rewards that risk imparts
To those who bravely venture out.
I sit alone and guard my heart,
With loneliness I banish doubt,
But treasures I will never find
If I have no one else about.
So safety I must leave behind,
And bet my coin on something more.
Put on my shoes, make up my mind,
And set sail for a distant shore,
As I come knocking at your door.

Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.

Sonnet: My Lady’s Heart

My lady’s heart seems to be carved from stone
Too adamant to mark with any tool;
I sweetly speak, abide by every rule,
And still, at evening’s end, I am alone.

What have I done? For what must I atone?
I give a dance, a glance, a shining jewel,
Yet though she smiles and dances, this poor fool
Has not the means to make her heart his own.

But no, it is no stone, it is the sea,
So beautiful, so boundless, and so deep.
Upon its waves a man must boldly sail
To distant lands of gilded mystery
And bring back naught but what it lets him keep;
No man can own the sea, only the tale.

Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.

Rhyme Royal: The Faith of Ants
A colony of ants has but one queen
And all the drones act only by her word;
Disloyalty is nowhere to be seen,
No grumble of complaint is ever heard.
  The faith of ant in queen is swiftly spurred
  By simple nature all throughout the hill;
  Can it be found in men who have free will?

Why should a man submit to one above
To follow orders calmly with a smile?
When ties are close, he may serve out of love,
But what about the endless rank and file?
  The lure of money may work for a while,
  But soon enough that sweet taste will go sour
  And purses will run dry that purchase power.

The ant knows in his heart the queen is true
And never would she contemplate deceit;
With such strong faith he works the whole day through
Or goes to battle, never to retreat.
  Though there are rules, a man knows he can cheat,
  And so suspects all others may as well;
  This taints his faith like poison in a well.

So what, then, is the cure for this distrust?
What balm is there to soothe the burning doubt?
The man who wishes to be followed must
In every action take the highest route.
  To earn the faith of men and gather clout
  By promises kept day by day until
  His honor grows high like the ant-queen's hill.

To lead or follow well, each is the same,
Though one is at the top and one below;
Each keeps faith and brings honor to his name,
And with each word and deed his fealty shows.
  For fealty goes both ways, as wise men know:
  The queen alone can't have her will fulfilled;
  A single ant won't know what he should build.

Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.

Pesellino Cioppa: Pleating

The yoke of the cioppa was taken straight from my farsetto pattern, expanded a bit to account for layers worn underneath and little ease to get in and out of it. Looking at the source image, I decided that the pleated section would start just under the armscye, which made things nice and simple. I guesstimated how big I wanted the final hem to be, did some math based on the number of pleats I wanted, and came up with 4″ wide finished pleats at the bottom. Since they needed to be round, I planned for them to start at 6″ wide, with the extra taken up in the tucks and the curvature. I did some similar guesswork on the width of the pleats at the top, which came out to 3″ for each of the 24 pleats. This is the same ratio I’ve used in the past, so that was reassuring. Despite the lack of precision in the design phase, everything ended up lining up exactly where I needed it to go.

If none of that pleating stuff makes sense, there’s an explanation of what I’m talking about in this handout.

Here’s a picture of one of the panels:

IMG_0841Here the edges are basted together (they will be run through the serger after the pleats are sewn), the pleats are marked out, and one of the tucks has been basted. The basting stitches along the line of the tuck keep the layers together so I don’t miss one when I sew it. The top and bottom edges have also been turned under and finished already. Once all the panels are complete, they are sewn together at the edges and stay tapes are installed:



Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.


Recipe: Wilted Lettuce
I don't know if I've posted this before, but if I did I didn't tag it properly, so here it is again.

I introduced adelavanbrugge to a lot of new foods when we got married, but she brought a few new things to the table as well. Most of them came from her Grandma Crockett's kitchen, including this one. As usual, measurements are wildly speculative.

Wilted Lettuce

1 head of lettuce, cut into bite size pieces (green leaf or romaine is good, or spinach)
1/2 lb of bacon (or more, or less)
2 green onions
1/2 t. salt
2 t. sugar
3 T vinegar (white is traditional, red wine is good, an extra splash of balsamic will not go amiss)

Fry the bacon until it is crispy. Often we will go ahead and cook up a whole pound of bacon, saving what we don't use for later sandwiches or other leftover bacon implementations.

While the bacon is frying, put the chopped greens in a large bowl. Chop up the green onions (I grew up eating the green part and throwing the white part away, she was the opposite; I say use both) and add them to the lettuce. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. These measurements especially are a guess. It's hard to put in too much sugar, but too much salt will ruin your day. You can always add more later.

Remove the bacon from the pan. Chop or crumble however much you want and add to the bowl. Remove all but a few tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pan. If you are feeling health conscious, you can supplement the bacon grease with some olive oil. Add the vinegar to the bacon grease (carefully!) and return to medium heat. Simmer the mixture for a couple of minutes until your kitchen smells like vinegar. Pour the hot dressing over the salad and toss vigorously.

This makes an excellent side dish for many things, but more often than not we just put the bowl between us and attack it with two forks, sometimes with a side of pork chops or other non-vegetable. I can't remember if it makes good leftovers, because it hasn't lasted that long in years. 

Decima: In The Garden

My lady, you are like a rose,
A bloom of scarlet at your lips
And curves upon your rosebud hips.
As any worthy gardener knows
The rose is best that upward grows
Upon a trellis strong and true
So that it will not go askew.
And so, my rose, it’s plain to see
That I was clearly made to be
Entwined forever more with you.

My lord, your gardener astute
Would know which plants are worth their weight
And which are but to decorate;
The rose is pretty, bloom to root,
But in the end, it bears no fruit.
No climbing rose am I, you see,
But rather like an apple tree.
And your strong wood may serve me most
As, say, a bench, a fence, a post;
For my part, sir, I shall stand free.

This is a decima written in response to a poetry challenge. 

Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.



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