Just some off-and-on side projects in between working on the Stibbert doublet. I’m doing the length of pattern darning for fun and practice – not sure what I’m going to put on yet. The pins are just an excuse to play with glass while I wait for the bead release I ordered to come so I can start making beads.
I came across it about four years ago and always wanted to make a reproduction of it, but lack of good materials, my own lack of skill, and other pressing projects have back-burnered the idea. About a year and a half ago I lucked into some exceptionally high-quality faux suede (really, you need a magnifying glass to see that it’s fabric, and cannot tell to the touch) in the $4/lb discount upholstery scrap bin at Denver Fabric, and bought every scrap I could get my hands on. Which is JUST BARELY enough to make the doublet.
I got as far as patterning it last summer, and it went back into the UFO basket. I’m between projects now, so last night, after getting home from a VERY busy and wonderful event weekend, I put my feet up with a cocktail and Netflix and started embroidering.
People always ask how long stuff like this takes, so I’m going to keep track and do periodic writeups, and one at the end. My off-the-cuff guess: if I worked steadily (3-4 hours per night, 4-5 nights a week, and on road trips) it would take 3-4 months – call it 300 hours. I won’t work anywhere near steadily on it; like the Blackwork Shirt of Doom, which took two years, it’ll be my fun, no-stress, no-deadline project for between other things. A year and a half to two years seems likely.
Actually, I’m starting three projects this week – this, a pair of Tatar boots for myself, and Juan’s brigandine mark II. There’s a bit of a rush on the brig, we want it in service early in the spring fighter practice season, but it doesn’t have a specific target date. The boots will also be a low-pressure project; done by Battlemoor would be nice but I’m not heartset on it.
So I’ll bounce around between these three and a couple of others (camp furniture, a little basic garb – more Norse tunics and pants for Juan, more Tatar salwar and undertunics for me – a back scroll assignment, some largesse) until something with a deadline pops up. I’m also working on some non-SCA art projects. Having no deadlined projects at the moment is LOVELY and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts!
2.5 hours in
Following on this post: I actually started writing February’s post on February 3rd, but got derailed and never got back to it. So here, I’m both reflecting on February and looking forward to March.
Big projects (that won’t be finished this year but will be worked on this year)
I finished and delivered a back scroll using the February theme, which I’m delighted about.
Had a great conversation about a possible future event proposal and ongoing project that has got me inspired to start up work on Motino again.
The Great Baltic Mapping Project is a bit stalled. Maybe set aside an evening next week to figure out the next step with it.
I’m really, really ready to start on the Stibbert. I don’t want to get sucked into a big SCA project when I’m really trying to focus on non-SCA art, but maybe once the weaving is done on the new mixed-media piece but before starting the surface embellishment, take a couple of evenings to get the ball rolling, and then relegate it to a car project. There will certainly be enough traveling in March and April.
The event calendar has firmed up A LOT in the last month and a half, so there are some pretty significant adjustments to my own event planning below.
February: Taking stock
Corazon was cancelled because of a blizzard, which makes the entire month of February feel – not wasted, something beyond that: like somehow it never even happened.
KAOS is due Sunday; I have two evenings of work left, and ran short on one supply and can’t get to the craft store till tomorrow. Get as far as I can tonight, finish tomorrow evening, get it in the mail on Thursday. And that’s an end to February.
The Next Thing is Dragonsspine Candlemas/Queen’s Prize. I’ve resold the Corazon lunch to Queen’s Prize, so there’s that, but there’s very little prep to do – most of it is already sitting in my freezer. Mainly, it’s getting together my chukies and gifts and things. I picked up some post-Valentines candy, and need to go through my stash of sparklies and bits, maybe make some more.
Need to check work schedules, because I’d like to go to Crown Tournament – it’s at the magnificent, early-18th-century colonial Rancho de los Golondrinas facility, one of my favorite SCA event sites ever – but two weekends in a row is really difficult.
Also up in March: Dance Collegium in Caerthe.
Each of these three events, individually, is pretty low-prep, fun, and unstressful; but three of them in a month makes for a scheduling challenge. Probably one of the two latter ones will get dropped. Pin this down before the week is out.
April has ArtSci Collegium and Heralds and Scribes. I definitely don’t plan to put in a teaching bid at H&S, just to go and have fun and learn. I need to make a decision about ArtSci, like, yesterday. Caelainn has been moving forward with the project we kicked around in December; I haven’t had the time or energy to do anything more than read the material she sent me and not approvingly. Need to follow up and see if we’re actually ready for this thing to go live in April, or if it should wait for a summer event.
April is when fighter practice and archery practice can start in earnest. Juan and I have discussed revisions to his armor, and are going to start on those pretty much immediately – probably over the next couple of days – and I’d like to get started on mine too.
May is First Camping. In January, I wanted to pick ONE major project and work on it, and it looks like it might be a Viking bed, so maybe lumber shopping on Saturday.
June and July
The North doesn’t have anything on the calendar for July 4th weekend, and I’m not super excited about Keepers of Dry Stone. And I’m not sure we can swing Lilies, in terms of either time off or money. Al-Barran is doing Nock on Wood in late June, and a low-key archery event sounds fun, so we’ll probably do that. I’m just not sure what’s going on here. There will be more events announced in the next four to six weeks, so for now, make some beer and decide on the season’s sewing priorities, and wait and see.
Brewing and sewing – those are the things that have to be put into motion far in advance for Battlemoor to go smoothly. I know I want to do more Indian and more Central Asian, and Juan wants more Viking, and particularly a Viking coat. Start on that stuff before the end of the month, so there’s some breathing room to maybe make one party outfit for each of us once the party themes are announced.
I plan to participate in the Battlemoor scroll challenge, so maybe start sketching out the first three or four scrolls in the next few weeks, and then work on the calligraphy for all of them at once.
September & October
Corazon may be rescheduled for somewhere in here, a decision that will probably be made at populace meeting on Friday, and I also want to make a Florida trip. Sit tight and keep options open.
November & December
I have made a pretty big dent in organizing my craft supplies, and need to continue on with that. Pin ideas for 12th Night gifts, think about putting some stuff up. I have an overabundance of sugar – it might be fun to start some spiced sugars.
Just a little post to express amusement at the way SCA life and the rest of life intertwine and overlap.
I am in the last stages of recipe testing for Corazon IV (post soon!) and so I had some leftover arroz con caldo de carne (De Nola #57) in the fridge. I also had some leftover Hüenre von kriechen (Guter Spise #4) filling in the freezer from – Battlemoor? I can’t even remember. Anyway, I was casting around for lunch stuff, and I grabbed the two ziploc bags and took them to work and mixed them up. And it is magnificent, on a cold dreary Tuesday when a snowstorm’s blowing in and I have way too much work to do.
Arroz con Caldo de Carne (Rice in Meat Broth)
You must take rice and wash it with cold water or tepid water three or four times; and when it is well-washed, set it to dry on a wooden chopping block in the sun, and if there is none, near the fire; and when it is dry, clean it well of the stones and filth; then put a very clean pot on the fire with meat broth, which is fatty and well-salted, and put it on the fire; and when the broth begins to boil, cast the rice in the pot; and when the rice is more than half-cooked, cast in goat or sheep milk, and for lack of these cast in almond milk; and cook everything in the pot, stirring it from time to time with a large spoon so that it does not stick to the pot or burn; and when it is cooked, remove it from the fire and put the well-covered pot inside a pannier or basket of bran, and leave it there to rest for a while, which should be for the space of an hour or at least half. Then take egg yolks and beat them well when you wish to prepare dishes, and cast them in the pot, mixing them with the rice, and giving them a few turns with the large spoon. Then prepare dishes, and cast upon each one sugar and cinnamon.
But note one thing, as I said in the chapter on semola: that in none of these pottages, such as rice, semola, farro, and fideos, when cooked with meat broth, is it necessary to put in any kind of milk; but everything is according to the appetites of the men who eat it; and with this pottage, there is no need to cast sugar upon the dishes; however, sugar never harms the food; and the excellence is in this, that each one does according to his taste.
Make a strong stock of one or more meats (lamb, beef, pork) bones, organs, and scraps by combining 1/2 Tbsp salt and 1/2 gallon water per pound and cooking over low heat 6-8 hours or in a large crockpot overnight. Strain but do not clarify.
1 c. rice
2 c. stock OR 1 c. stock + 1 c. almond milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
Add rice to cold liquid, bring to a full rolling boil, turn down to low and cook until rice is fully cooked and liquid is fully absorbed. Stir egg yolk into rice and (if original pan is not oven safe) move rice to a casserole dish. Finish under a 400 degree broiler for 5-8 minutes or until egg is fully bound.
Hüenre von kriechen (Hens from Greece)
Diz heizzent hüenre von kyechen. Man sol hüenre braten. und ein fleische eines swines, weich gesoten und gehacket, under ein ander. und nim einen vierdunc rosen dor zu und nim yngeber und pfeffer und win oder ezzig und zucker oder honie und siede daz zu sammene. und gibs hin und versaltzez niht.
These are called Hens from Greece. One should roast hens. And the flesh of a pig, which is boiled until soft, and chopped together. And take a quarter phunt roses thereto and take ginger and pepper and wine or vinegar and sugar or honey and boil this together and give out and do not oversalt.
1 lb. shredded cooked chicken
1/3 lb. chopped cooked bacon
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp crushed rose petals
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb pastry dough of choice, chilled
1-2 qts fry oil of choice (optional)
Pre-heat oil (if frying). Roll out pastry dough. Combine remaining ingredients and make small handpies or samosas of the shape of your preference. (I generally prefer 4-cornered purses from 3 in. pastry squares, which make a nice 2-bite tidbit). Fry or bake until golden. Serve hot or cold.
These may be prepared in advance and frozen uncooked, or the filling may be made in advance and frozen.
I am inspired by the A&S 50 campaign, but uninterested in setting production goals – I’m more focused in exploring process and focusing on my quality of workmanship. And on going through my periodic project and idea lists and making sure that projects move up the list from “eventually” to “completed” in something like an orderly fashion. So, for 2014, I’ll be tracking finished projects. I’m curious to see what the year has in store. (Updated – things got a little crazy for a couple of months there, so dates are approximate.)
1. Pair of heraldic banners: for myself and Juan Osorio de Segovia. (Jan 2)
2. Viking tunic for HRM Alrik IV, as part of a group project coordinated by my Laurel for his Estrella War Court garb. ( Feb 16)
3. KAOS III: a heraldic wooden box containing a section of tablet woven trim in heraldic colors, and a pair of veil pins. (Mar 8)
4. Corazon del Leon III feast (very late 16th c. colonial New Spain). (Mar 15)
5. Curonian apron of linen with a decorative band of handwoven, bronze-embellished wool. (Apr 8)
6. Survey of platillos, cooked and presented at Kingdom A&S (late 16th c. Spain). (Apr 12)
7. Laurel vigil buffet for Duke Garick von Köpke (mid 14th c. German). (May 9)
8. Heavily blackworked men’s shirt, begun in 2010, occasional (roadtrip/at events) project for most of that time. (May 10)
9. Argent Heart scroll for Nicolaao Machado. (May 10)
10. Brown and gold silk damask doublet. (May 24)
11. Seam finishing and pearling on Sposa Dantiscana dress. Dress was left off at “done enough to wear” for Caerthan 12th Night but could not be washed until seams were finished. (June 3)
12. Late 15th/early 16th c. brigandine armor, collaborative project with Juan Osorio de Segovia. Started in 2012 but work was interrupted several times by major illness. Finished (and fought in!) (June 8)
13. Mid-16th c. linen Qipchaq entari with applique’d hem. ( Jun 19)
14. Tooled leather vambrace using the same motif as entari, above. (July)
15. Viking men’s tunic with yoke embroidery based on the bear-head post from the Oseberg ship burial. (July)
16. AoA scroll for Adelaisa Bernois (August 16)
17. 16th c. great boots, rev. 2. (August)
18. Various small jewelry pieces (August)
19. Staff and Teachers’ Dinners for Academy of Grace and Valor II, Italian first night, German second. (Sep. 12 & 13)
20. White and red silk tablet woven band based on Siksala find. Later applied to white linen skirt. (September)
21. Two new white linen underdresses: Kangasvuo A and Birka. (September)
22. Complete Letgali grave goods set: spiral crown (improved, using some components from earlier attempt and some new fabricated components); wrap-and-hook torc; cowrie-and-glass necklace; purchased extant spiral bracelet; fabricated matching spiral bracelet; extant ring; fabricated matching ring; waterfall chain with boat pendant (collaborative project with Juan); pair of ring-head pins. (October)
23. Men’s late 16th c. doubled and paned slops set. (October)
24. Pair of long camp benches with wood-burned heraldic motifs. (November 3)
25. Laurel vigil buffet for my own vigil (various, past feasts and other cooking projects). (November 7)
26. Research & adaptation of period Lithuanian fealty oaths and royal directive correspondence for SCA Laurel ceremony. (November 8)
27. Present anticuchos de corazon recipe at the December meeting of the Caerthan Cooks’ Guild (themed Blood, Guts, and Other Offal Things). (November 22)
28. Flower scroll for THL Ailinn Shadowfox (mostly worked before the new year, finished 1/1/15, presented 1/3)
I realized that one of the reasons I feel unsatisfied with 2014 is – I did so little long-view work. Everything I did was just-in-time, short-term work – from cooking to gifting to art to professional development. I did almost no brewing, fermenting, charcuterie, little in the way of ongoing research or home projects, no gardening, threw no parties except my elevation (okay, that was a big deal). I did spend the summer putting up the winter’s veg supply, and that is AWESOME. But that’s about all.
One of the projects I really wanted to tackle this year was the building up of a gifting pantry. I thought I could putter at it all year, build up a supply from whatever was in season. But I didn’t really start hitting it until August and September, and by then, everything was gone. And there are things that can be done when nothing is in season – cosmetics, spice blends, thrift shopping to stock up on supplies of pretty jars and tins. I’m going to take another swing at it.
I’m doing this in parallel at my other blog, focusing more on food, sustainability, and lifestyle stuff; this will focus specifically on the SCA. There’s certainly some overlap. As it turns out, a lot of January is about TALKING and PLANNING. Note to self: schedule a couple of times for me and Juan to do just that, uninterrupted, with notetaking implements.
Big projects (that won’t be finished this year but will be worked on this year)
I have four big, ongoing, long-view projects that I would like to at least dust off and poke with a stick every month this year: the Great Baltic Mapping Project, the Motino translation, the Stibbert doublet reproduction, and Calligraphy Bootcamp. I can find a little time for the first two in breaks from the Corazon social media campaign and website work. I have a scroll due for Twelfth Night and a scribal afternoon planned for tomorrow, so I’ll plan to start by deciding which of the three hands we’ve worked on will go onto this scroll, and practice for an hour or so before blocking out the design. The Stibbert – I really don’t want to pick up another handwork project at the moment (see below) but I might just pull the supplies together and figure out what I need to do to get started. Maybe poke at the pattern drafting a little. We’ll see.
My main big project for January is garb for Viking Vintr Vunderlandt, an event (in January! In a place called Colorado Mountain Park! Partially outdoors! Use your imagination!) at the end of the month. I am working on coats for Their Majesties, and a coat, hat, and pants for Juan. All of these things are in some degree of progress, and everything except for His Majesty’s coat are over halfway done. (That coat is patterned, and will get cut and assembly started this weekend.) At this point it’s really just keeping on pace.
February is All Corazon, All The Time. Which means that January is recipe testing, social media campaign, hall decoration projects, charcuterie and pickle dishes. Maybe start the scrolls? I owe a back scroll to last year’s champion, it just absolutely fell through the cracks, and I do not want that to happen again this year, so aim for an early start. We have a winter ale beer kit just sitting around, and if we start it in the next week or so some of it can be Corazon thank-you gifts.
KAOS is due the end of February. Most of it is travel-friendly handwork, but there’s one component that requires tabletop equipment. I have not more than five or six hours left on that stage. In breaks from the VVV garb.
I’ve decided I am starting NO more SCA handwork projects until after Corazon, and probably for a few weeks after. Once the VVV garb and KAOS are done, I’m going to take some time to do some non-SCA studio textile work.
I’m trying to keep March fairly free, partly to recover from Corazon, partly to keep some work time open for starting camping season projects. Heralds and Scribes is smack in the middle of the month, but I don’t have to prepare anything for that. It’s a daytrip in Denver, which makes a good hook for a longer getaway weekend. Maybe the main thing to do now is just talk to Juan about what else we might want to do while we’re up north.
April is ArtSci Collegium. Caelainn and I put our heads together over dinner at the beginning of this month and hatched an excellent (and currently super sekrit) plot, but haven’t had a chance to talk and develop it any further. Get that conversation started, with an eye toward having something to present at the collegium. I also think I’d like to teach – I can develop a class concept in March, but I need to have an outline to submit sooner than that.
Spring Coronation! First Camping! There’s absolutely no actually starting camping projects until after Corazon, but we really should sit down and TALK about our focus for this year. See: June, July, August. I may want new Coronation garb, but as I’m pretty steadily losing weight right now, I don’t want to try to start anything. Maybe some Pinterest research/virtual window shopping in breaks from Corazon work.
June and July
There is some talk – and it is just talk at this point – about the possibility of Lilies War. It’s really going to depend on what events are happening over Fourth of July weekend; Juan and I both have birthdays in July, and both of us have worked over our birthdays the last two years. This year, we’re staking a claim and doing SOMETHING big, and it will be either Lilies or the holiday weekend itself. Watch the kingdom calendar for developments. Discuss. Consider finances and scheduling. Can we do two wars in one summer? What infrastructure would we have to build to make that happen?
Start cordials and bitters and plan the Booze Production Line for the rest of the year.
The end of August is Battlemoor! I usually spend most of the summer sewing like mad, working on projects at an increasingly frenetic pace, falling down dead at the front gate. I did better last year, but still fell short. (Pre-warping looms for a tablet weaving class: not a thing you can say “fuck it, it can get done in camp” about and throw in the back of the truck. It will not get done in camp. Pretty much nothing gets done in camp except maintaining camp. “Fuck it, it can get done in camp” is actually a terrible thing to say ever.) Instead of outlining plans in April, outline plans NOW so that the actual WORK can start in March and April. And start mead!
September is the DOWN MONTH after Battlemoor. My goal for September: absolute freedom from major commitments. Keep an eye on the ball as the year develops.
October is mainly a leadup to fall Coronation, and there’s nothing to plan until we know who’s big day we’re celebrating, or even where it is. I am blissfully free of the need to actually put anything in motion this far in advance!
November and December
This is basically the same as what I said on the other post, about handcrafted gifts and building the Magic Pantry. Start NOW to organize and inventory my craft supplies, toss the damaged and unwanted stuff, think about what stash I want to restock over the course of the year. Start a list of gift inspirations. I made the in-town portion of the annual Outlands pilgrimage to the dollar store 75% off racks for anything green, gold, or stag-decorated this morning; I’ll hit Denver and Pueblo on the way home from New Years’ Eve. Sometime in the next few weeks, a morning combing the antique mall for interesting jars and tins. Buy totes and baskets to keep stuff organized.
The weeks between Battlemoor and Coronation were a rush and a flurry, a headlong dash down a to-do list of terrifying proportions. I didn’t have time to think, and if I had, I might have frozen up and not gotten through.
Since I came home, I’ve had nothing but time to think. I’m working on a couple of small projects, when I feel like it. Reading and sleeping a lot. Putting my house back in order. I took two weeks just to completely unload the truck.
Looking back, I realize I’ve had a lot of conversations this year that led directly to this place. What does it mean to be a Peer? What does it mean to be elevated? The always-fraught Why do you want to be a Peer?
I despise the “never say you want the cookie” framing, I think it breeds disingenuity and resentment, but this question always made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to seem insincere by disavowing the desire, but it was never about desire for me.
I always knew that elevation was a possibility, and that I have things to bring to the circle; but I also knew that it not happening was a possibility, and I was comfortable in my knowledge that I have things to bring to the game outside the circle too. Really, I just didn’t actually think about it that much.
What I thought about, much more, was living in the game, in this community of people. The opportunity to practice my art and do my research and form these relationships and have these conversations. How I could leverage whatever rank and social power I already posessed at any given moment to make the game better, more inclusive, more joyful.
It has always been about gratitude. Gratitude for a place where I felt I belonged. For people who understand me. For inspiration. For discovery. For celebration. For the wine and the firelight. For the companions on the journey, and the warm welcome at the destination.
Nothing has ever, ever come easy for me. I have never taken the well-lit path, I’ve always been the odd one out, even within the countercultures and geek communities where I’ve always made my home. The SCA – the particular intersection of research geekery, artisanship, volunteerism, creative play, storytelling, athletics, and extended found family – is the only thing I’ve ever encountered that not just made sense to me, but made sense of me. The SCA gets me. It’s the only place in my life I don’t feel like I’m fighting the current all the time.
When I ask myself, as I have over and over again in these weeks, why they made me a Laurel, I come back to this – this feeling of rightness, of being in the place I belong, doing the work I’m supposed to be doing, communicating that work to people who appreciate it, not just accepted but embraced for who I am.
Every day is paying forward that blessing.