Alpha Officium Viking Mix coins

Replica Viking Age coins from Alpha Officium

Replica Viking Age coins from Alpha Officium

When I posted my article about my Hammenlinna-inspired Viking Knit (Trichinopoly) necklace, I mentioned that I had ordered some replica Viking Age coins from – well they arrived not too long ago! I thought I’d share them with you, though I still have some work to do with them before stringing them on my necklace.

I had ordered the coins in mid-March, though they didn’t arrive until early June unfortunately – way too late for my competition piece, but still they’ll look great. I had asked them to be punched for stringing, and they arrived without holes unfortunately, so I’ll need to figure out how to punch them myself… in a neat way that won’t snag clothing when worn as a necklace or scratch skin. Some of them are a bit rough too, so I’ll need to find some kind of file to smooth them out and polish the edges I think… I wonder if I have a Dremmel attachment that might work? Luckily I got the mix which has WAY more coins than I’ll need, so I have a bit of wiggle and experimentation room.

I thought it was a really good price though either way, especially to get a lot of coins. I’ve seen other places selling them individually or for 2 – and for a lot, this was definitely the way to go.

The mix included:

  • 25 Dirhems
  • 25 Viking York coins – “Another Cnut type penny, unusual for its cross pattern.”
  • 25 Cnut Coins
  • 25 Eric Blood Axe coins – “A ‘King’ Of Viking York. 25 pewter ‘Silver’ pennys.”
  • 25 Tenth Century Saxon coins – “Tenth century Saxon Pennys.”

Photos from the Alpha Officium website

Omayyad Dynasty Dirhem from Alpha Officium (direct link)


Viking York “penny” from Alpha Officium (direct link)

Cnut the Great, Viking King of England coin from Alpha Officium (direct link)

Eric Blood Axe coins from Alpha Officium (direct link)

10th Century Saxon coins from Alpha Officium (direct link)

… and was $50.00 US plus shipping.

 My “horde”

My own personal "hoard" of Viking Age (replica) coins from Alpha Officium

My own personal “horde” of Viking Age (replica) coins from Alpha Officium

If you have fool-proof tips on how to punch holes in my coins for my necklace -please leave your tips and ideas in the comments below!

Update: I did end up punching holes in the coins, quite successfully using a jewelers punch and a set of needle files. A lot more work than I had intended to do with them, but a nice result!

Renaissance Fabric order

Two colourways of silk damask from Renaissance Fabrics

Two colourways of silk damask from Renaissance Fabrics

In my block-printing blocks shopping post a few weeks ago you might have noticed some super-pretty silk damask in the background of the photos… silk damask from Renaissance fabrics!

Just another show-off/shopping post today….

gold silk damask

gold silk damask

I found this silk damask (to the left) at Fabricland, on sale for $15.00/meter, in a gold/gold colourway, and picked up 10 meters of it. Later a friend showed up with some scraps in a gold/old gold colourway, and I WANTED more of it too… it’s just so pretty – simple without being plain, fancy without being ornate or gaudy… plus, I have such a weakness for silk!

Two colourways of silk damask from Renaissance Fabrics

Two colourways of silk damask from Renaissance Fabrics

One of the costume-makers on one of the Facebook groups I’m a part of showed off some in a red-gold colourway, and I was obsessed.. even better – she ordered it online, which meant a few days later after much hemming and hawing, I purchased some online too in the red/gold colourway. … at $25.00 US/Yard. (plus shipping. Plus an insane duty.. ouch)
While I was there, I also got some in the gold/purple colourway (which I like a lot less actually) and some printed silk dupioni which I think is completely gorgeous… I also got swatches of the silk damask in their gold/black colourway, which in retrospect I should have purchased instead of the gold/purple.

I am showing two photos of the damasks, because the colours shift with different light…

Shipping was nice and quick (though I still haven’t even started patterning for these fabrics… ) but the duty cost was insane… Honestly, I spent a LOT of money on these fabrics, so I suppose the duty wasn’t too high percentage-wise… but still really important to remember!

Printed silk from Renaissance Fabrics

Printed silk from Renaissance Fabrics

I’m also completely in love with their French Blue silk satin stripe (I ordered a swatch of it as well, along with a French blue silk taffeta – which isn’t a match unfortunately) but don’t have anything I’m needing anytime soon for it…  and would LOVE to work with their other red & gold silk damask but again… the project I’d want to use for that, I already have at least two other bits of fabric for first.. so I’m considering NOT getting it, admirable restraint 😉

Funny enough, when I was up in Edmonton, I found more of the silk damask at a Fabricland up there… but it was selling for regular price! $45.00/meter – no way! It was a gold/green colourway which I didn’t totally love (but I’d totally over-dye it or work with it if it had been $15.00/meter!). I was pretty disappointed, and left empty-handed…. Going to Marshall’s Discount Fabrics instead to shop! I wonder why the Calgary shops had all of these silks on sale, but the Edmonton one didn’t? It was older stock (2013), and I’d bet that of the bolt, only 2-5 meters had sold so far.. at $45.00/meter, it’s not exactly everyone’s budget! (Including mine!)

New tablet woven bands

New tablet woven bands from Etsy

New tablet woven bands from Etsy

Another super-quick shopping post today again… I promise those project posts are coming.. soon.. soon…

These are two new pieces of hand-woven tablet woven trim from a weaver in Poland – you can find her work on her Etsy shop: Kram Valgerd.

The grey trim is:

– Material: 80% wool, 20% polyamide
– Length: 410 cm
– Width: 20 mm
– Colors: light grey, black, graphite

The vine pattern seems to be a deviation of the Rams Head pattern, which as far as I know is NOT period correct for the Viking Age, but gosh it’s pretty!

While the blue is:

– Material: 100% wool
– Length: 450 cm
– Width: 17 mm
– Colors: light steel blue, navy

The design for the blue one is based on the Finnish Kaukola Kekomaki find, dated to the 10th or 11th century. (it also reminds me of one of my tattoos!)


You can follow the weaver on Facebook: and while you’re there, why not follow me and my dress diary too?

June 2015 Ipsy

On June 15 I started seeing friends on my Facebook feed posting about already getting their ipsy packages, and started to get excited to see what I’d be getting in the mail this month from them too. (I’m also waiting on a few other packages, so it’s just a constant state of being it seems…)

Since I went into ipsy to review my past orders (and with the site redesign it looks like all of my previous reviews were erased… 😦 ) I figured I’d get that sneak-peek about what to expect…

High expectations…

The sneak preview page said I’d be getting:

IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil – with a shade intended to “match all hair colours” and “cover grey perfectly” I was interested in the product, but the shade worried me. Ipsy keeps sending me shades that are either way too bright, or way too light… and a ‘universal’ shade just sounds unrealistic….

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer – I have another primer (I think it might even be from Smashbox) which I love, so I was really looking forward to this one.

BeFine Cucumber Facial Mask – Masks are cool.. I don’t use them very often, but this sounded good…

Tre’StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon – the site indicated that we’d be getting either a pink-nude/pearl, a soft gold, a classic brown, or a deep earthy green with a gold pearl. I thought I’d like the gold or the green.. but given ipsy’s habit of sending me super-light shades… I imagined I’d be getting the pink-nude instead. I do really like shadow crayons though, especially for travel or to put in my work make up kit.

J. Cat Beauty Lipitude Hydrating Lip Stain – this sounds great for summer, but the colours look lke either an orange-y pink or a bright-hot pink. Neither of which do I really love for lip stains…

What I thought about my order

Once the order actually arrived on the 16th, I was able to look at what I had received – here’s what I thought:


IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil – as I anticipated, the “universal” colour doesn’t really work with my light brows. Using even the lightest touch (and actually seeing something happening!) results in brows that are darker than I’d normally wear… but not by much, so I’m ok with this. The brush on the back is a good idea though. 5/10, with a recommendation they at least do three colours…

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer – This actually comes out of the tube looking matte, which I loved – and it feels great on the skin, very smooth. However, the matte effect isn’t strong, and I think I’ll stick with my green (colour correcting) primer instead. 7/10.

BeFine Cucumber Facial Mask – This mask has a very fresh fragrance.. but I suspect that for people who have sensitivities to scents, it might just be too strong. After having it on for just a few minutes, it was starting to annoy me more than anything – though luckily it’s not a scent that triggers a bad reaction for me. The mask goes on smooth, and since I only put on a thin layer, didn’t have that clay-mask cracking/tight feeling I usually think of with masks. It rinsed off easily and I think I could notice my skin feeling slightly softer and smoother immediately after rinsing.  6/10, with a recommendation to turn the scent down.

Tre’StiQue Mini Shadow Crayon – When I got this, I thought it was missing it’s cap – turns out the cap is just shaped like an eyeshadow pencil! Inside the cap is more of a tube with a creamy crayon rather than a pencil, which is fine, but as expected, they sent me the pink pearl colour which is so light I can barely see it on my eyelid. The crayon goes on smoothly, and it blends well. One of the challenges with crayon shadows that I’ve experienced is transfer/bleed/shifting of the product.. it tends to move around long after I’d like it to stay put if I don’t powder over top of it… I had it on for about an hour, and it hadn’t shifted yet… (but an hour isn’t a lot of time, and I was indoors at my desk, not outside in the sun or moving around a lot…) 6/10 for the formula, but 2/10 for the colour. Seriously ipsy, stop sending me champagne-colored eyeshadows!!!

J. Cat Beauty Lipitude Hydrating Lip Stain – This has a very nice applicator, but the product goes on VERY opaque, and heavy. There’s a slight, not pleasant scent.   It definitely stains, I touched up a corner with my finger, and my fingertip stained quite well. After blotting four times, I still had colour on my lips – but this time a nice stain instead of the opaque lipstick look. However… the colour…. once blotted it’s all right – a bit bright for my tastes, but ok.  But before blotting? Wow it’s bright. Far too bright for my taste or complexion I think. Its one of those “do up your whole face” colours, rather than a “throw on some lipgloss and some mascara and run for the bus” colours. 6/10 because I think it’s probably a good product, in a better colour.


oh.. and the bag..
I kind of like the bag again this month – it’s  a soft knit bag, a scuba-like fabric on the back, and an ipsy-embossed knit on the front. Just a simple bag with a top zipper, and a waterproof lining. I think it will be more useful than some of the other bags I’ve received in the past 🙂

Join in!

If you are curious to receive an assortment of make up/hair/skin samples every month, come join in. If you sign up using my link: then I’ll get 250 points towards additional samples in the future.

(oh yeah.. I’m on Instagram now too! Come follow me if you’d like – though it’s mostly travel and music photos right now 🙂 )

The continuing saga in the pursuit of white / silver / titanium hair

Titanium hair - May 2015

Titanium hair – May 2015


I visited Chatters a bit ago (to get more purple shampoo/conditioner) and a few hundred dollars later… I’d also picked up two new colour products. I thought I’d share them with you here, since my purposefully white hair  posts are some of the most-searched for posts on my blog…

Revlon Colour Crème – Platinum

First off, I tried Revlon Colour Crème in Platinum (#1002). This came in a ball-shaped pump container, and was stupid-expensive.
The swatch beside the stack of colours showed a wonderful silver-white for #1002, but I was a bit hesitant, because although it was stacked with the colourful dyes (and some of the other colours in the swatch were BRIGHT pink, orange, purple, red… just like Manic Panic and others) the labelling didn’t seem similar to the way other funky coloured dyes are often labelled. ( It was only once I got to the website that they mentioned it being a “colour treatment”, despite being stocked with “hair colour”.

(Check out Rufs & Kalufs for a full swatch of colours available to see what I mean)

The product goes on towel-dried hair, then is combed through to saturate evenly, and left on for 20 minutes or so… They say you’ll only need a few pumps of the product, but they must have meant ‘per chunk of hair’, or if you have a thin pixie cut – because it took a LOT of product to fully cover my (long) hair.

The colour of the product isn’t too different than Manic Panic’s Virgin Snow (which I reviewed previously) and it went on reasonably well – not too drippy… I left it on much longer than instructed (out of habit more than anything else!) and… well… the results….


There was no perceivable change from my freshly bleached hair to the hair after I gently rinsed the Revlon Colour Crème out. Incredibly disappointing. It did make my hair nice and soft, but no more so than a deep conditioner like TIGI BedHead Dumb Blond Reconstructor (

I strongly don’t recommend this at all if you’re trying to tone your blond hair or go from blond to white or silver as the swatch would indicate. Really disappointing. It’s just hugely overpriced conditioner as far as I’m concerned.

Joico K-PAK Colour Intensity – in Titanium

Titanium hair - May 2015

Titanium hair – May 2015

Next up, I tried Colour Intensity in the “titanium” colour. This time the swatch was a really lovely dark grey, that I figured would fade out to the silver I had in mind… and I don’t mind going bolder to start if there’s a nice fade out. (

The product is slightly drippy – more so than Manic Panic, and it’s a bit hard to get all the product out of the tube… I also found that one tube only covered about half of my (long) hair, so I ended up doing an UltraViolet (Manic Panic) + Conditioner mix on the underside of my hair, with the titanium on the top.

I left the product on for about an hour, and as was recommended treated the product with heat to get more colour deposit. I don’t know if this made any difference at all though because…..

Titanium hair - May 2015

Titanium hair – May 2015

I found that the titanium hardly took at ALL to my roots, which was really disappointing. (you can see this really clearly in the photo on the left…) The colour of the ends wasn’t nearly as dark grey as the swatch in the store had been, but it pretty much quickly went to a green-ish grey (as if the silver had a lot of blue in it on top of the blond) which I didn’t hate… but didn’t totally love either. The hair felt really nicely conditioned though, especially after using my leave-in oil treatment. After two washes it faded to a less green silver, and the transition between the roots which didn’t take as much colour and the ends that did was a nicer, softer transition… (though it makes my roots look more honey-coloured than they were before).

My thoughts… it’s ok. I think I need to bleach my roots even further (which I’m a bit hesitant to do since they’re pretty darn light already and I don’t want to burn my scalp or fry my hair) I’d say that the swatch doesn’t really represent the true colour on very, very light blond hair, but perhaps it might make a nice colour wash on top of previously toned purple hair. It seems to fade out about as quickly as the Manic Panic + conditioner colour; maybe a bit faster.

Titanium hair - May 2015

Titanium hair – May 2015

Above is a few days later I think – with Instagram filters, but you can see that the hair looks more white, less grey – but this tone only lasted perhaps 2-3 washes…

And now for something completely different

Went purple and red instead (June 2015)

Went purple and red instead (June 2015)

I was heading to a concert about 2.5 weeks after the titanium, and wanted to refresh my hair.. I ended up using Punky Colour in Poppy Red on the underside (love the colour, but my shower doesn’t… ick!) and then Manic Panic Ultraviolet on the top. Both were mixed with conditioner to bring them down a bit, but as you can see, they’re pretty intense.
I actually love having bold colour again, but I think I’ll let it fade and go back to white-blond again soon enough. I just need to get to Sally’s for some more powder bleach soon!