Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Class Wrap Up

This blog has been a class project for a social media course I've been taking.  This post is reflection on branding and what I've learned in the past few weeks.  (I promise  after this, there will be more project postings!)

Social media is a challenging medium.  It changes quickly, it can get out of hand and you have to recognize that you only have a moderate level of control over it.  It's better if you stay authentic to yourself.  That's why I chose to focus my blog on the Society and my skill sets within it.  In my Monday through Friday daily life, I'm a mid level professional in development for the local food bank.  I love that, but I can't use my job in my social media presence.  The only other thing I spend a lot of time on is recreating the middle ages and this class gave me the opportunity to talk about that.

My personal brand in the society is "the dread mistress".  For anyone who doesn't actually know me, please understand that this is a JOKE.  I have resting b!tch face and when I'm thinking about something I can be a bit somber.  I am also a deep introvert with people I don't know (and perfectly extroverted with people who belong to me) so from the outside I look very standoffish to people who don't know me.  Please come say hi.  Have a glass of wine.  Chat a while.  I'm nice when you get to know me.

My goal for this blog is to do a lot more video.  (Don't worry, not of me talking again...ick.)  The next post out here will be sewing a pair of shoes.  Did you know that with a good sewing machine and a leather needle you can make a pair of leather slippers on your machine?  My next post will be a video showing you how to make the shoes and fit them (because leather stretches and two days after you've started wearing them they will stretch out and need refitting.  Be prepared for this.)

So, that's today.  In service,


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Back from War! Want to see?

Okay, so there were a few minor errors in my narration.  Rebecca Beaumont is a Mistress of the Pelican for Calontir, not a mere Lady!  The event happening on the Fyrdraca (the Viking ship) was not a knighting ceremony, but a vigil for another Pelican being made.  We don't all wear "plate" armor.  It is required that you cover your joints and kidneys though. 

The rest of it is all right.  The camp shown in the video is Bull Woods and we do a lot of cool projects in there.  We spent the week making slow cooked pork in wine, various meats on sticks, vegetables cooked in stock and more.  OH, and bread.  Lots of fresh made bread. 

I hope you enjoy!

SCA War of the Lilies 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Heading off to WAR!

I am getting ready to leave for war.  Want an idea of what that means?

Listen to my micro podcast!  Later, I'm off to pack the truck and find my silk banners!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Professional groups for SCA people? Not so much.

Groups for SCA members...

Well, I've been working on LinkedIn and it's not really easy to find SCA folk on LinkedIn.  Lots of individuals who have used the things they've learned in medieval re-enactment and you can find them as individuals...but not as groups.  I supposed that's realistic, since LinkedIn is a group to link professionals, usually for employment purposes...not to help find someone who can teach you to make a 15th century kirtle or the basics of your humors or astrology.

There are a lot of social media groups out there that can help you find local people, though.  FaceBook is probably my favorite medium for that, since if there is something you are interested in, there's a group for that.

My favorites:

Historical Textiles

This is mostly an archeology site.  They show off new finds in textiles which are fascinating.  The links back to museum sites and magazine articles are some of the best.

Medieval Cookery

I have friends who administer this site.  Are you looking for advice on making medieval mustard or the best fat ratio for sausage?  What about the ingredients for Roman garum (fish sauce)?  These are your people.

Age of the Cotehardie

Mistress Matilde is one of the administrators here and she is a great friend.  This group is a safe place to get advice on the fitted dresses of the 14th century.  I love cruising this group to look at people's projects.

So, these are a few great places to get some idea of how to find the best resources for medieval re-enactment work.  Okay, so now, I've got to dive back into the gown I'm currently working on!  Pictures soon...well, unless it fails entirely and I decide to throw it in a bog.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Getting Started

The clothing is the first thing that people will note when you start in the Society for Creative Anachronism.  Most people begin by borrowing clothing and accessories until they determine what kind of persona they with to have.  Before long, however, its good to have a start on your own clothing.  Clothing, not a costume.  

Most people don't recognize the difference between a "costume" and "clothing".  That's fine.  You have to trust me though, that clothing is much more comfortable and useful than a costume. I often see young women showing up in the SCA in prom type princess dresses and you can tell that they are so excited, and also hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable.  

The most basic level of medieval clothing are tunics.  Tunics aren't hard to make, can be fitted to most figures (or left loose) and work for many different time periods in Europe.  My favorite pattern is a basic geometric tunic with triangular gores running up the front and back.  Here is a great tutorial by Alianora Ravenglass. Most SCA folk can walk you through how to make one of these if you aren't comfortable doing your own sewing.

The next step is head covering.  One of my favorite video bloggers with help on this topic is Edyth Miller.  She has a great step by step video on how to put on a basic veil.  

If you've ever tried to wear a veil you can find quickly that they slide off, won't stay where you put them and can be a total pain in the...tush.  This method holds your hair and the veil in place more comfortably.  Remember to make your veil out of a breathable fabric like linen or cotton.  Silk is pretty but if it's hot outside do know that silk is an insulator and while it's lightweight it holds heat in. That's nice when it's chilly but on a hot day it's pretty miserable.

The final element you will need are shoes.  Most people are scared to make shoes and I know, because I've failed on multiple occasions.  If you think you will be participating in the long term, go to a war.  Most wars have vendors such as Bohemond's Boots who can get you outfitted with footwear.  If you want to be brave and try sewing your own, look up Marc Carlson.  He's got a ton of resources and patterns on his website.

So, this is the quick and dirty version of getting together an outfit.  Later on, we will discuss specific 14th century women's clothing and how to produce it for reenactment.  We will also eventually get to other accessories, the great veil debate, and household sundries.  I can't wait!

In Service,


Sunday, May 21, 2017

My Top Five Sites for Medieval Reenactors - Medieval Clickbait!

Good morrow!  Let us take a look at a few other blogs that are directly relative to information I intend to share.  These are blog sites that I have found incredibly useful in developing my medieval persona and accoutrements. 

First, let's look at Tasha Kelly's blog "La Cotte Simple"  This is one of the best, most comprehensive websites on 14th and early 15th century clothing reproduction.  Tasha works diligently to produce content that is relevant to people looking to do reconstruction/museum reproduction level work in costuming.  Her recent blog on fur in medieval clothing has been timely for me since I had a recent run in with trying to line a capelet with a length of vair (which is squirrel fur for those who are new to medieval fur).

Another useful site for medievalists is Dame Helen's Library.  I took Helen's class on cotehardies (the fitted, full skirted gown many people associate with "medieval princesses") back in the 90s.  It was eye opening and the first time I ever remember hearing someone talk about how many different methods there may be to achieve the same outcome.  It's helped me develop my own thoughts on medieval clothing.  If you are around any reenactors for long you will run into someone who believes in "the one true way".  Don't bother to argue with these folk, you will be unlikely to change their minds.  Just be aware that there can be many different paths to the same end result.

Clothing is only one part of reenactment life, however.  Eulalia Hath a Blogge is one of my favorites for cooking.  Since my persona is from medieval York, I find her research and insights useful for the camp cooking I do at our annual Lilies War in Smithville, Missouri. A deeper dive into her research, however, shows that she's also deeply interested in the roles of working women.  We often have a Victorian view of the middle ages, wherein women never showed their ankles or made lewd references...reality is not so simple.  While Eulalia sometimes doubts her research, I've seen with my own eyes the lists of female guild members listed at the Museum of London and know that some women were workers in their own right.

The single best resource for material sources for medieval and renaissance reenactors without a doubt is Larsdatter.  This site is unusual because while it has a blog of new sources added, it is mainly a compilation of all the different visual sources available online from various museums and online collections.  Want to look at pictures of medieval buckets?  Table settings?  Children's toys?  This is the site to start your research at.

Finally, on the philosophy of being a laurel in the SCA...Isobel of Bedingford...the Attack Laurel.  We don't see eye to eye on everything, but on many things, yes.  She is a sharp wit and someone that I find distinctly amusing.  It's not always easy to be a laurel in the society.  We are the first people look at to be the arbiters of research, style, and competence in the arts and sciences.  It doesn't matter if your laurel happens to be in 9th century metalwork, if you don't dress well, teach and present yourself well, people will not respect you or your research.  Attack laurel is someone who has a biting sense of humor about what it means to be a laurel in the SCA even if we've never personally met or if we don't live in the same kingdom.

So there are a few people who have influenced who I have become over the years in the SCA.  These are some of the most accessible for beginners (no deep dives into z-twist spun silk embroidery threads here).  I hope you enjoy these sites and find them as useful in your own 14th century research as I have.

In service,

Sunday, May 7, 2017

About Me

Well.  I give up.  I've tried to stay off the blogosphere and I find that I just can't any longer.  

I'm a long time member of a medieval reenactment group called the Society for Creative Anachronism. You can check them out here.  The Society for Creative Anachronism is an organization which researches and practices the skills of medieval Europe from 600 to 1600 A.D.  The "known world" consists of 20 different kingdoms with over 30,000 paid members.  We hold events featuring tournaments, battles, courts, feasts, dancing, cooking, classes and workshops and so much more.  My kingdom covers the state of Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and the northwest corner of Arkansas.  We are known as the Kingdom of Calontir.

This group has two hierarchies:  one based on whether or not you have been the king and queen (dukes, duchesses, counts,and countesses), and another based on fighting, service/administration, and arts - which are represented by the knights, the pelicans, and the laurels.  Knights are typically referred to as sir, while pelicans and laurels are known as master or mistress.

I'm a laurel for the arts, specifically,14th century household arts.  I do a lot of projects and we are getting ready for a major event in a which will require a bit of work on my part. In the photo above, I'm the one standing with my hands on my hips.    My persona is a woman of lower nobility from the City of York in 1365.  I'm known as Mistress Elianor de Morland in the society but my nickname is The Dread Mistress.

Since "the dread mistress" blog would probably lead a lot of people interested in bdsm or other strange things here, I'm going to stick with geek girl mayhem...since it's still true and I'm trying to help people learn how to wear a veil here, not tie people up with one.

I'm witnessing a lot of conversations happening on FaceBook about the political reality of peerage in the society and how many participants are frustrated and unhappy.  I don't like that, the SCA needs people to grow and thrive and unhappy people don't stay around.  I think this blog might help some of you gain a different perspective on how the SCA works and what the expectations are for peers and those wishing to become peers someday.

I've tried having this conversation in person, but I don't feel like I'm reaching enough of the current frustration.  So stick around to learn about the nuts and bolts of 14th century clothing, cooking, and other miscellaneous topics and possibly a little about what takes to be an "important" person in this weird group of people in the Kingdom of Calontir.

Part of this blog is also a class project, so you can expect some information to leak through for that as well.  I'm following several blogs that classmates are working on as well.

Class Wrap Up

This blog has been a class project for a social media course I've been taking.  This post is reflection on branding and what I've le...