aryanhwy: (widget)
The final dates for this year's Raglan Fair (August 5-15) were announced June 2. After something of a doldrums in terms of SCA prep, this kicked me into high gear. Between June 2 and August 9 (yes, I was still sewing during the event), I:

  • Finished the doublet for Joel that I started before last Raglan, minus the buttonholes since Joel still needs to cast buttons.

  • Converted a pillowcase into a tunic for Gwen.

  • Converted a bright orange wool flanelette and a couple of silk pillowcases into a short tunic for Joel, a dress for me, and a dress for Gwen:


  • Sewed myself a new veil.

  • Converted a curtain into a court tunic for Joel so he finally has something posh.

  • Converted another curtain (from IKEA! via the charity shop) into an early Tudor kirtle/overcoat/dress thingy for me.


    (Photo courtesy of Rick Williams)

  • Cured four lamb bresaolas (all of which got eaten).

  • Mended everything that needed mended.

  • Painted and sewed a banner for someone who will be making me a leather belt in exchange; and I just realized I never got a picture of it.

  • Finished embroidering the hood I had started back in January (I think), and sewed almost all of it; the remainder is also waiting for Joel's buttons.

  • Dyed a piece of fabric that I ended up not using (yet).

  • Made a belt for Joel.

I have a stack of things on the "todo before next year", which I'll outline in another post.
aryanhwy: (widget)
This weekend was coronet tournament down at Buckden Towers. Of course I wanted to go to the event, at a wonderful site with so many couples I'd love to see on the throne entering (and I was going to get to herald to two of them!). On the other hand, I was, by the time we got en route on Friday, highly ambivalent about many things.

Back in March? April? I'd received an invitation to participate in a debate at a big music/philosophy festival held every year in Hay-on-Wye (noted for having the highest number of bookstores per capita), and I'd accepted enthusiastically, once I confirmed that it wouldn't conflict with my students' final exam. And then I checked the calendar again and had to rescind my acceptance because it was the weekend of coronet. I'd totally made the right decision, having already had agreed to serve as herald for the two couples, but I was disappointed.

May is the month of marking at Durham, what with 3rd-year dissertations arriving and needing to be marked within two weeks, followed up by final papers and final exams. Knowing this, I was pro-active, and planned my schedule very precisely, with the result that I ended up finishing my dissertations three days before the deadline and a week before my next assignments (final papers for my 2nd year class) were handed in (this Tuesday past). My plan was to mark them as quickly as possible because Friday morning was my 3rd year's final exams, and I wanted to be done before then. But Wednesday afternoon I hosted a four-hour review session for that exam, and even without that the only way I could get them done was by marking in the evening, so it was a lot of long days this week. And that review session...ended on a bit of a down note. Towards the end one of my best students balked at something I said, and we had a very spirited discussion for ten minutes or so (in the midst of me trying to answer everyone else's questions!) with the result that both of us felt like we were unable to make ourselves understood to the other. If we had had more time, I'm sure we could've come to a resolution (this isn't the first time we've butted heads about fundamental facts of logic. It's one of the things that makes him a great student, he questions everything, works out all the details, and refuses to give up until he understands 100%), but it was already the end of a long four hours and basically one day before the exam, and I think that everyone was already beginning to operate on nerves. But it was frustrating because I felt like I'd let him down in not being able to figure out what, precisely, his worry was so that I could articulate a good response to it. And then Thursday afternoon another student turned up in my office really worried about the next morning, and by the time Friday morning came around, I think I was nearly as nervous about the exam as them. This was the first time I'd ever taught this course, the first time anyone ever had taught a course like this at Durham, the first time I'd had to come up with an exam for a course like this, and with that came all the fears: Am I testing the right things? Have I been realistic about how much they can do in three hours? Have I adequately prepared them, through homeworks and seminars? Will it be appropriately discriminatory? This course had been such an amazing experience, and I really, really, really hoped (still hope!) that I had done well by them with the exam I made.

We got on the road before the exam ended, so I won't get their scripts until tomorrow (today being a holiday). Joel and I can never managed to be packed for an event more than half an hour before we go, which always results in shouting, and then I still had three more essays to mark on the train down, and even on the train I could feel the end-of-term-crud threatening to make its move. So I spent most of the trip down highly ambivalent about many things. I was tired, I was worn out, I was disappointed in myself, I was looking forward to feeding Gwen and putting her to bed, and probably putting myself to bed soon after.

But on the ride down, my module evaluations, for both courses, arrived. The evals for the 2nd year course mean less to me, because I'm not going to be on that module next year, but it was nice to see that the remarks were generally quite positive, and some students had specific and very nice things to say about me. But the 3rd year course...I really really really hoped that it was everything to them as it was to me. Even so, I was shocked. There's a number of quantitative questions, ranging from negative to positive, and the scores are aggregated for each question and for all the questions overall. My overall score for that course? 79% positive, 21% neutral, and ZERO% negative. They didn't have a single negative thing to say about the course (of course, evals are before the exam!). That was really heartening.

And then we arrived on site, and the weather was nice and friends were there, and I sat on a bench in the sun putting an insert into the sleeves of a hand-me-down so that Gwen could wear it the next day, meaning I got to say Hi to everyone as they came in, and there was good food, and then more friends, and then Gwen went to bed and I got out the lamb bresaola, and we sat with friends for court where very nice things happened, and people kept snitching more and more bits of the bresaola, and then I had a lovely conversation with one of the couples I was heralding for in the morning so that I went to bed inspired about what I wanted to say for both of them. I also had one other conversation in which a public wrong was righted privately, and more than adequately.

Saturday was all that I needed. I didn't do much, but I was surrounded by friends who were pretty much all doing what they love doing best, and that is a really happy environment to be in. It was gloriously warm and sunny, Gwen ran around barefoot playing with her friends, the tournament was really exciting to watch, and then there was good food (OMG that lasagna!), and more sitting around doing stuff with friends, and then court, where I cried when [ profile] badgersandjam was made a court baroness; I don't think I ever cried at any award I've received, but I cried at that, I am so proud of and happy for my twin. Then feast, in the overflow room because that's where the cool kids sit. We were so far below the salt, our salt was pepper. Madame [ profile] nusbacher challenged the room to song and story, with the promise of payment of silver buttons. At my suggestion, Gwen stood on her chair and sang two verses of the rose rhyme, one in modern English and one in Middle English. As much as she enjoys singing, she can still be somewhat shy about performing, so I was so proud of her that she didn't mumble or sing too quickly, and afterwards she received her two buttons, which I will save to put on a hood or a cloak. I hope she always remembers her first "professional" performance.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I love about being at the low table at Buckden Towers -- our third time there. My first thought was that it was because it was an "in persona" table, except it isn't really. And yet, it is very much a performance table: It's one great big improv theatre. One acts differently because one is acting, acting in such a way as to create laughter or to play a role. It's a battle of wits, and it is so much fun. There's about 30 people in the room, and that's about the right number; everyone has a chance to talk and play in the game. With too many more, then there's simply too much going on, the room fragments into smaller groups and there is nothing universal, except by interrupting everyone.

Afterwards I sliced up the other half of my bresaola and wandered between the two feast halls making friends. It was really gratifying how much people seemed to love it, and I've promised enough to other people that I think I need to start four new batches next weekend in order to have enough ready by early August. And then it was wandering through the warm dark drifting from conversation to conversation until heading off to bed.

So what did I do this weekend? Really, not much. I announced two couples into the tournament and also heralded some of the bouts. That's pretty much it. But I did it in the sunlight and in the company of friends who were doing exactly what they wanted to be doing, and it was amazing, and exactly what I needed. And judging from the number of people who said "better now that I'm here" when asked "How are you?", I wasn't the only one who needed it.


Feb. 26th, 2016 08:34 am
aryanhwy: (Default)
Last night's was a fun one, falling in the category of "SCA/academia mash-ups". These come in various kinds -- sometimes it's all of my SCA acquaintances showing up in garb to conferences, sometimes it's SCA events co-located with conferences, and sometimes it's bringing academic colleagues to the SCA. Last night's was of the latter kind -- I don't remember much, but I remember that all my logic seminar students were sitting in on various classes of the sort you get at University or Raglan Fair, and LOVING it. One moment stuck with me, which is why I remember the dream at all, when I looked across a room and saw one of my quieter, more reserved students with his head thrown back grinning as he learned about medieval hunting practices.

These vignettes always amuse me.
aryanhwy: (Default)
Other than making a new undertunic for Joel and a coif for me (I'll do a separate post on that), my preparation for Raglan this year consisted in: Registering, booking a hotel (which we actually did last year), and buying train tickets. When we registered, I signed Joel and I up for gate duty or registration duty when needed, but other than that...I didn't volunteer to teach a class. We were going to run a heraldic table but then there wasn't any time that there would've been sufficient manpower to run one, so that didn't happen. I didn't even look at the event schedule, much less the class descriptions, before arriving on site. So often when I go to an event, I'm always thinking about what I can/should be doing -- should I teach a class, can I find time to help in the kitchen, what should I do to keep Gwen occupied, can I herald-wrangle sufficiently, etc. But I decided that this year, Raglan was going to be about being, rather than about doing. I was going to turn up at a castle, swan around in medieval cloth and simply live, to be rather than do.

And yet, I did more this year than I have in many years (probably since 2011 when I was there 6 months pregnant). I attended the play. I went to [ profile] nusbacher's class on fealty and homage. I enjoyed [ profile] bend_gules's fascinating talk on peerage and what it is for and what it can do/has done. I heralded or organized heralds for much of the coronet tournament, and then calligraphed a scroll (on a blank I'd actually done two years previously!), complete with the recipient's arms free-hand drawn in. I sat and sewed, mending at least three torn seams, adding to the embroidery on Joel's brown tunic, and teaching Gwen how to embroider. My apron, now a couple of years old, came away from the event finally looking like it had been used, as I was around and available to wash dishes after nearly every meal (this is my contribution to the wonder that is the [ profile] jpgsawyer and [ profile] edith_hedingham meal plan, but it's been many years that I've been Gwen-free enough to be able to actually provide it). I got to watch part of the torchlight tourney (due to the wonderful wonderful wonderful loan of a wagon in the evenings, we were able to put Gwen to bed in it when she started getting tired/the sun started setting, and then she'd fall asleep and we could just wheel her back down to the town without having to worry about waking her. I haven't been able to stay out at the castle passed 7:30 or so for more than one night of the event in 4 years. It was amazing). I went to the gin tasting (in the midst of which I was heard to say "I have no idea where my child is, and I don't care!" which is not as irresponsible as it may sound as Gwen was drilled on the three ground rules -- (1) no climbing on the castle, (2) no going into people's tents without invitation, (3) no eating people's food without invitation -- and there were so many other kids of various ages, including Maria and Lily who both have experience with younger siblings and were exceedingly generous in taking it upon themselves to be the watchers of the younger ones. I knew that wherever she was, there was someone who was watching, and that everyone knew someone who knew she was mine. Raglan is the perfect event for this -- it's big enough to have enough children, but small enough that you can have children running around without designated direct adult supervision. No one fell in the moat. :) ). I sat and chatted with many friends. I discharged my duties as gate keeper and in the registration tent. And in between, I ate amazing food and simply lived in my favorite castle for five days.

It was a good holiday.

I'd post pictures here, but it can be a pain sometimes, so instead, I'll just link to this, which I whipped up this afternoon so Gwen could take some pictures in to nursery tomorrow to show off what she did on her vacation. (To wit: Helped me herald; turned the spit to roast a hare; ate plums; walked Gracie; walked Gracie again; ate cherries; received a beautiful hand-me-down dress and colored an elephant mask to match; danced to the singing that opened court; was thoroughly delighted by something; was thoroughly grumpy about something else; and walked Gracie yet again.) The ladies at nursery didn't believe her when she said she was going to go live at Raglan Castle for her holiday. Now maybe they will!
aryanhwy: (Default)
Gwen: "What are those berries, mommy?"

Me: "I don't know what they are."

Gwen: "They are for birds."

Me: "Well, yes, birds can eat them, but I don't know what kind of berries they are."

Gwen: "Orange berries."


Joel to me: "Ar[i/y] was looking for you."

Me: "Which one?"

[Only amusing if you know that I am Ary and [ profile] badgersandjam is Ari, and we are often confused with each other, such that we have decided I am Ary Bona the good twin and she is Ari Mala the bad twin. Apparently, not only can other people not tell us apart, I can't either.]


Gwen: "Mommy, mommy, mommy, do we have enough lollies?"

Me: "I don't know -- enough for what?"

Gwen: puzzled look

Me: "Enough for what? What are they for?"

Gwen: "For sucking."

Me: puzzled look

Me: "Yes, Gwen, we have enough lollies for sucking."
aryanhwy: (Default)
Raglan Ffair starts Friday, and my FB f-list is full of a flurry of last minute efforts, side-projects, distractions, packing travel plans, etc.

We're not going until Wednesday. This is mostly because 10 days at the Beaufort Arms would cost an arm AND a leg, and while we do want to collect camping supplies now that we live in the same country as the event, not this year. Maybe next. Or the year after. Or the year after that. (Personally, I think it would be nice to camp for the first 5 days, and then repair to the Beaufort for the rest of the event, because hot showers are nice, and their breakfast has become a part of the Uckelpeople Raglan Institution.)

I've basically done no preparation. When Mom and Leah visited in April, I picked up some curtains and a bed spread from charity shops, which over the course of May I started bowdlerizing for garb. I had grand plans to convert all of it, but those who know me and sewing... Even so, I need to seam a sleeve, hem two, and line a neckline, and then Joel will have a new undertunic, and in the next evening or two I'll finish the embroidery on what will be a 16th C coif for me. I'll bring along all the pinned and partially sewn pieces for a new doublet for Joel to the event and see what I can complete. My gown to match the one I made for Gwen last year is still not finished, and Joel's to match both of ours is not either, but eh.

I am just not fussed.

I know that whatever we've got we'll be more than fine with, because we had exactly the same last year and it was just fine. Further, I know that there is no way that any prep or planning for this year will compare to the stress of last year. Last year, we took the train from Heidelberg to Groningen where I spend 1.5 days at a conference before we took the Hoek van Holland -> Harwich ferry over; then, after 5 days at Raglan that ended with Gwen getting VERY sick, we spent a week up in Durham trying -- and failing -- to find a place to rent. Monday night of that week, Ayme who was house-sitting for us took Slinky to the emergency vet and a few hours later she'd been put to sleep.

So, yeah. I can put zero effort into this year's Raglan, and know that it basically cannot fail to be better than last year. (It's not that last year's event was bad: It was great. But it was bookcased by a lot of encumbrances which made the entire thing more tiring than relaxing).

And, hey, 1/3 of us will have new garb, possibly 2/3. That is far better than I average for ordinary events!
aryanhwy: (widget)
(Oh, there are so many punny titles one can get when one d[i/y]es).

My dyeing attempts yesterday were successful! I mostly followed these instructions, but used 24 cups water and 6 cups vinegar (using up all the rest of my Dutch white vinegar and all of a new bottle of English malt vinegar), and 1/2 C turmeric (Dutch and British), because I had about twice as much fabric. Over the course of the afternoon I went from this:


to this:


I've been told by those who know better that turmeric-dye isn't light fast, so this could very easily and quickly fade to a lemon-juice color, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing: (a) this is a rather garish bright yellow, I'm not sure it's especially suited for Joel's complexion, (b) I can always redye it. My goal was to have something "not white" so even if it fades, I'll have succeeded!
aryanhwy: (Default)
In my previous post I mentioned some white cotton brocade curtains I'd picked up cheaply, that I hope to dye and turn into a cotehardie for Joel. Well, not all of it. Given that one of my plans is to put together a summer-weight overdress I can wear with the underdress from my coronation garb, I need some sort of appropriate headgear to wear with it when I'm not wearing the awesome one that Anne made and [ profile] edith_hedingham embroidered for me -- something that will keep me hair under control and be suitable for washing dishes, but also be something that I could wear underneath my coronet when appropriate.

So about the time I was searching for info about dyeing, I also started looking for coif examples and patterns, such as the following (If you haven't guessed, part of what these posts are is a chance for me to clear out the 100+ tabs that I have open on my browser.):

16th & 17th C men's nightcaps (ok, not relevant for me, but worth saving for the future).
Elizabethan and Early Jacobean Embroidered Coifs
Coif, 1570-1599
Coif, last quarter 16th century
Coif, last quarter 16th century
Coif, 1575–1600
Coif and forehead cloth, 1575-1625
Coif, 1575-1625
Embroidered Coif (Unassembled), c. 1580s
Coif, England, Late 16th C
Coif, 1590-1610
Woman's Embroidered Coif
Forehead cloth, last quarter 16th century
Forehead cloth, last quarter 16th century
Coif with forehead cloth
Coif, 1600-1625
Woman's Coif, 1600-1610
Coif, 1575-1599

And, best of all from my non-sewer point of view, this excellent image from Full Coif Project. So before I dye the fabric, I'm going to cut away enough of it to make one of these.

You'll notice that many of the above are embroidered. My ability to come up with, transfer, and execute free-standing/free-form embroidery patterns is miserable, and I am not even going to try. However, as noted, the fabric is already brocaded, which means there's already a pattern on it for me to copy! I recently received some beautiful hand-dyed silver and purple silks from Felicitas, and I figure I'll "trace" over the already-present pattern with a chain stitch for some decoration.
aryanhwy: (Default)
Recently I picked up a good charity-shop haul of curtains and bedspreads, cheaply enough that I can experiment with them w.r.t. garb. Joel currently has his complete Landsknecht outfit (shirt, doublet, pants, socks), three very basic t-tunics, and one undertunic. I have rashly promised that he shall have as many undertunics/shirts as we have days at Raglan this year, which means I've got to make 4 more. The backing of one bedspread has already been partially adapted; I need to finish hemming it, cut, hem, and attach the sleeves, and do something with the neck. The best part is, that took less than 1/4 of the fabric, so I can easily make him matching ones from the rest to fill up the quota. It's cotton, so eventually we'll upgrade them to something nicer, but at least it's a natural fiber, and it's also a pleasant light mustard/golden yellow color, so it's not entirely boring.

One of the curtains I picked out is a white cotton brocade, which I was thinking of trying to make a 14th C doublet out of (whether this will be completed before Raglan depends in part on whether he has time to make buttons before then). I've long wanted to dress him a la [ profile] armillary and Master Robert, but he's always shied away from anything involving hose. However, as he does more pewter casting, he's begun to realize that if he wants to accessorize himself with 14th C accessories, he should have 14th C garb to accessorize. My patience has paid off, and here's my chance. I'm going t try to do something like this, because it doesn't involve TOO many non-straight pieces.

But, the fabric is white. White is both boring, and apt to be dirtied easily (especially if worn by Joel). So I decided this gave me a perfect opportunity to try something else I've wanted to try: Dyeing.

To date, my experience with dyeing consists of (a) tie-dyeing t-shirts, socks, and underwear as a kid, (b) watching my sister dye fake fur with tea in high school, and (c) dyeing a pair of beige pants blue after they went through the wash with a blue pen. Of course, I'd like to dye in a relatively medieval way, which means no simply going to the store and getting RIT (or whatever the British equivalent is). Googling led me to quite a bit of useful information about medieval dyeing, including:

Dye recipes from the Leyden Papyrus X, c. 300 AD
Dye recipes from the Stockholm Papyrus, c. 300-400 AD
Dye Recipes from the Mappae Clavicula
Dye Recipes from the Innsbruck Manuscript
Segreti per Colori
Allerley Mackel
Cleaning & Dyeing Recipes from
A Profitable Booke
Safflower Dye
Colors, Dyestuffs, and Mordants of the Viking Age: An Introduction
Medieval Dyeing: The Dyeing Process

...aaaannnnddd, these involve scary complicated things like Ph balances and lye and the necessity to have a well ventilated place to do it and pots dedicated to dying and not to cooking, and things like that: Not insurmountable, but rather more effort than I have headspace for.

So I thought, surely there are natural ways of dyeing that I could use as a first step. Googling for that, without the added desire for it to be strictly speaking medieval, led me to two options:

Dyeing with beets
The Beet Goes On
Natural Dyeing With Beets
Dye You Bastard
DIY Natural Dyes (also discusses onion skins and spinach)


Dyeing with turmeric
Making Natural Dyes from Plants (more than just turmeric)
DIY: Natural Turmeric-Dyed Tablecloth
Natural plant dyes: 4 ways to use turmeric

Now, beets make me ill, and Joel doesn't like them (unless they are small, and pickled with juniper and black pepper, [ profile] edith_hedingham :) ), so we don't stock them in our house. Additionally, while I tried to sell Joel on the idea of a manly pink cotehardie, he wasn't exactly thrilled. Turmeric, on the other hand...

Gwen and Joel are at the library right now, but when they get back, I think I'll see if Gwen wants to help me investigate dyeing with turmeric! Given that I spent 2GBP on the curtains, there's basically no way that I can screw them up so badly that I couldn't still do SOMETHING with the result -- even if it's not something that I'd want to clothe Joel with, I could make something for her. (I've already promised to turn the yellow crushed velvet velour portions of the bedspread into something for her...NOT for the SCA though!)
aryanhwy: (widget)
And since I’ve got an hour at Manchester Picadilly before our train back to Durham, let’s see how far I can get catching up on the last week.

Mom and Leah flew into Manchester airport and then took the train over to Durham in the morning; it was a beautiful day and Gwen and I walked over to meet them there. In the afternoon, we took a long walk down through Pelaw Woods, walking by the walled gardens and also joining in a dog rescue – two dogs had ended up in the river at a place too deep for them to swim and too steep for them to climb back out, and between another passer-by and us we were able to get both of them out safely. We then headed back into town and had tea and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam at a cafe. (This was the first time in England for both, so we wanted to make sure we hit ALL the traditional British things we could do.) In the evening, I made pizza and we watched “Frozen” – Joel’s first time.

We went to sung matins at Durham cathedral for Easter service. I’d never been to a sung matins before; there was a lot of singing, but unfortunately very little for us. Easter is one time that I miss going to my grandparent’s Lutheran church, because the Easter hymns are some of my favorite.

Our morning got off on the wrong foot when Gwen, Mom, Leah, and I headed out the door and started walking ahead of Joel because Gwen is slow and I wasn’t sure how long it would take her (she’s actually never been all the way up the bailey to the cathedral before), and then he comes pelting down the hill after us because he’s accidentally locked himself out and can he borrow my keys? Um, no. I have no pockets, so I didn’t bring mine because he always has his. Neither of us had our phones with us, either. Thankfully, we had left the window of the upper bathroom (which opens over our backyard) open a few inches to let it air out after showering, so we knew all we needed was a ladder. We know a few of our neighbors on our street, one of whom probably would have one and the other one whom probably wouldn’t. Unfortunately, it being Easter Sunday, the first neighbor wasn’t home. The second welcomed us in because Gwen needed to use the bathroom, and we hung out in her livingroom while we considered options. She suggested someone else further down the street, so Joel want to ask him; and he ended up suggesting someone else further down, and that person had a ladder. So then we had to walk down another neighbor’s driveway – where the barking of their big dog brought them out to see what was up – to climb over the fence into our back yard. Joel was wearing his nice three-piece suit, so mom, who had leggings on underneath, shucked off her skirt and did the honors of climbing in through the window.

The rest of the day was much more relaxed. It was the nicest day of the year so far – probably the nicest we’ll have until midsummer, hitting nearly 20C! We had a waffle picnic in the backyard, and an Easter egg hunt, and then the girls played outside the rest of the afternoon. We made a lamb leg for Easter dinner – Leah’s first time having lamb!

The plan was to go to Newcastle and get on a train to Carlisle, seeing the cathedral and castle there and then on the way home stop at Hexham to see their cathedral and then Corbridge to see the Roman fort and part of Hadrian’s wall. The timing worked out such that we ended up hitting Hexham first, so that we could do lunch there, and then after that only Carlisle. Leah is studying cathedrals in school this year, so we wanted to make sure she got to see a wide range of them! I particularly liked Carlisle cathedral; its ceiling has been restored so it’s painted all gorgeous blue and gold. Amazing.

We left Gwen at nursery for a few hours so that mom and Leah could go back to the cathedral for a proper visit, including a hike up the tower. I’d already been up the tower, so I sat in the sanctuary and graded essays. There are worse places to grade than in Durham cathedral!

After that we stopped in the SCR for tea before seeing the Norman chapel and then heading down to the covered market to shop. We picked up some salmon for supper, and then headed back to pick up Gwen early, because she didn’t want to miss any time playing with her cousin.

We walked down along the river around the Bailey, and then had lunch at the Dun Cow before doing some more shopping for souvenirs and gifts.

We hit a bunch of charity shops in the morning (I came away with some cotton brocade curtains, some linen curtains, and a truly ugly bedspread which one I cut away all the velour will leave me with some decent black and gold brocade (unsure of the fabric content, probably synthetic, but I can do some practice sewing with it). Joel will get a new undershirt and some breeches out of this, and possibly a doublet.

In the afternoon, Gwen and I made a birthday cake, blue with a dinosaur on it, and in the evening we belatedly celebrated Leah’s birthday. The week before, I’d picked up a couple of random books from the kids’ section of the library, and one – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Boat of Her Own Making – was so good, I kept thinking “I bet Leah would like this.” So I ordered her a copy and it arrived that day.

Friday we packed and got everything ready in the morning, and then got a taxi to the station in the afternoon so that we could head across the Penines back to near Manchester (from which they’d be flying home on Monday) where Crown Tourney was going to be held. We got in around 17:30, and there was already a good crew of people there, and it was lovely to walk in and be greeted with enthusiastic applause (well, most of it was for Gwen: Baba Tam was there and glad to see her granddaughter again).

It was a lovely and relaxed evening; supper was ready not too much later, I fed Gwen and put her to sleep, and then simply hung out and chatted until Joel got in (he took a later train so as to not have to take any time off work) around 22:30.

It was a small event; or at least, there were very few people there I didn’t know, and by the end of the weekend I think almost none. The tourney ended up with only 5 entrants, two couples having had to withdraw due to illness, unfortunately. It went incredibly quickly; Her Highness Alessandra ran the list and I heralded the entire tourney, realizing, at one point, that the last time I heralded a Crown Tourney was a long time ago, so long that when I was crying the litany, I had to bite my tongue at one point to keep from saying “Give honor to the crown of the Middle Kingdom”! After the tourney was over, I was off duty for the rest of the day – their majesties’ chamberlain is also their herald, so I had no duties regarding court, etc. I got to inspect all the things in the A&S competition, watch a bit of the archery, hang out and talk some more with people, and...I think it’s actually a good thing that I can’t remember what else I did, because it means I was relaxed and enjoying myself! The Princess of Nordmark took all the young kids “treasure hunting” (i.e., geocaching), which Gwen apparently loved. She certainly came back all muddy!

Court was short and sweet, feast was served promptly and tastily, about halfway through Gwen asked to go to bed so I took her off, and she was asleep almost before I left the room. I then turned up at the kitchen to find out what needed to be done, and Joel (the feast cook not the husband) gratefully put up his hands and said “I’ve cooked, I’m done, take over!” Leah and Alexander Kilianus turned up and were vaguely floating around, so I sent them to start clearing the hall while I started in on the dishes; later, mom, Lady Hilkke, and [ profile] gothwalk also came and got put to use. We got basically everything washed and put away except for the really nasty icky greasy dishes which needed to soak over night by about an hour after feast was over, meaning it wasn’t quite 22:00! Plenty of time to hang out, try Asbiorn’s lovely not-so-short mead, and chat before getting to bed at a decent time.

Since mom and Leah’s flight was out of Manchester on Monday, we decided to spend the night there with them so we could ensure they got onto the right train in the morning. So we had a day in Manchester, and when I was there for a workshop a few weeks ago I just missed (it opened the day after I left) a neat looking exhibit at the Manchester Museum, so I knew how we would spend our day. We went there, and got to see two Easter Island statue heads! They were smaller than I expected. The rest of the museum was a lot of fun too; they had a nature exhibit for younger kids, plus a T-rex skeleton, and a vivarium on the top floor. We all split and went our separate ways after lunch, though I did leave Gwen with mom long enough to go to see the money exhibit, which was really interesting. Then we spent an hour or so in the “Discovery Center” making sock puppets before we headed out to the apartment I’d booked through AirBnB, a nice two-bedroom place overlooking the docks and really close to the station. We ordered in pizza, I finally had time to give Gwen a bath (which she’d rather been in need of since Monday’s trip to Carlisle castle where she rolled down the grass into the moat a number of times). Joel headed back to Durham that night, and we all went to bed early.

Today we delivered Mom and Leah to the station bright and early, and then had an hour or so to hang out until our train. We’ll be back in a few hours and then Gwen will head to nursery and I’ll finishing grading essays today.
aryanhwy: (Default)
That's how it feels lately! Since the trip to London/Oxford, which I still haven't written about, we've also taken a trip to the Netherlands (my first time driving a car in Europe!), and I'm currently typing this on a bus from Göteborg to Jönköping, which, hurrah, has free wifi. Looking forward to the weekend very much: It's a recap of the Nordmark Scriptorium that I wanted to attend last year but was unable to fit into my schedule, and I'm traveling solo which means sleeping in tomorrow! And Sunday! And I got to nap on both my flights (from Frankfurt to Göteborg via Berlin)! And I could be sleeping now if I wanted! And I can relax happy in the knowledge that Joel and Gwen will probably have a pretty good time together. The weather should be nice so they can blow bubbles on the markplatz, get out Gwen's bike, maybe go to a park...she will enjoy undivided daddy time, and if he can resign himself to "not getting anything done", then I bet he'll have fun too.

Flying without Gwen has reminded me just how much I enjoy it. There are a few aspects of flying that I love now just as much as I did when flying was still a novelty to me. Exhibit one: Clouds. I just love flying above the clouds, seeing the beautiful white puffy streaky sleek slithy ethereal structures. Every time I look out over them, I can see before me a whole landscape waiting to be populated and discovered. It's the closest you ever get to fairy land. Exhibit two: Sunny flights when the beams through the windows catch the diamonds in my engagement ring and I can throw rainbows all over the seat in front of me. I love it when that happens, reminds me again how much I love the ring and what it stands for.

So, I've got another hour and a half...shall I nap? Shall I work on the <a href="><i>DMNES</i>? Shall I look over the manuscript pages I printed off for my class? Alas, I managed to leave 6 copies of my handout sitting in the printer at the office...maybe someone in the cluster will be curious to learn how to make puzzle initials. Luckily the handout isn't integral to the class. Ta ta!
aryanhwy: (widget)
In the Midrealm in the 90's (things may have changed since then), circlets made of metal were reserved for those who had received their AoAs; and even then, they could be no more than 1" thick, and have no more than 1 peak or protrusion, couldn't have strawberry leaves or pearls, or anything that would make them look like one of the coronets reserved for royalty. So when I received my AoA, slightly more than one year after joining, slightly before my 15th birthday, at the very first Bardic Madness, and from a prince whom I idolized and whose presence at a demo my Shire hosted in the summer of '95 was the cause of my joining the SCA in the first place (I wrote a poem about watching him fight. I have it somewhere. Some day I will get it out and present it at an event. For giggles), I was thrilled at becoming a lady and -- more importantly -- now having the right to a shiny thing on my head! The very next day after the event, my dad took me to the hardware store, we bought two pieces of brass stripping, and we went home and together soldered them together into a circlet.

It was supposed to be a temporary one, I always intended to upgrade someday. But over the years, it molded itself to my head, all my veils were made with it in mind, and it just always seemed to fit right in my hands putting it on and off. Still, in 2009 when I went to my very first Pennsic, I told myself that I was allowed one souvenir, and that souvenir was going to be a real circlet: I knew that amongst all the merchants at Pennsic, I'd be able to find one that was pretty and fit and was what I wanted.

And then...I didn't. I tried on a bunch, but none of them fit, they weren't the right shape, they didn't feel right in my hands, they didn't keep my veil on properly, so I ultimately didn't buy any. I decided, at this point, I like my circlet, it may not be especially beautiful, but it's mine, and by then it had almost 15 years worth of use. Someday, if I were lucky, I'd have a reason to upgrade, and then I would.

I'd always hankered after being a court baroness. A fancy title, a shiny hat, and no responsibility: It's the perfect award/rank.

And then.

And then! Suddenly, I had on the shiniest hat of them all, with the knowledge that when I took it off 6 months later, I had the right to exchange it for another one. But at the time, I didn't know any metalworkers -- at least, not in a capacity where I felt comfortable approaching them about a commission -- and beyond that, I didn't know what I wanted. I knew I didn't want a typical gold embattled county coronet. I don't really like gold jewelry, and embattled is just...boring, and a bit TSCA. So I decided that it was more important to me to have the right coronet, than to have one when I stepped down. and allowed myself some time to think about designs and to find a maker.

Knowing that there was no way to find out what type of coronet was appropriate for an 11th C Welsh countess (there being no such thing), I starting trying to find info about coronets appropriate for the 11th C, or for countesses, or for the Welsh. Having seen some of the amazing coronets made by EvaJohanna Studios, I got in touch with Johanna to see if she had any ideas. We chatted back and forth, and then she found the Llywelyn Crown:

(A 16th C image with the crown depicted on the crest of the shield).

I had picked up some amethyst roses while in Adamestor, my last event before stepping down, and they would have been perfect in place of the metal roses on the crown. It was neither a crown for a countess nor 11th C, but it was Welsh, and historically significant, and a wonderful, meaningful piece to use as inspiration. Johanna started collecting materials, drawing up sketches, sending me pictures. We talked design, we settled on a price range...

And then.

And then! I found this:

(Image from here. Another image can be seen here.)

I fell in love. And when Johanna sent me pictures of some angels that she already had, I knew the tide had turned.

We spent most of fall taking design -- how many, what type, what color of stones, gold or silver, how to incorporate the amethyst roses -- and it was so exciting, watching her conception of my crown evolve. I had some pretty definite ideas about some things that I wanted or didn't want, but for some, where I was unsure, I was happy to put the design choice back into her hands, because, after all, she's the expert.

Finally, a little after Christmas, she wrote saying that all her other commissions were completed, and mine was now at the top of the queue, and would be the focus of her attention. Progress pictures started popping up FB (and it was so thrilling to watch everyone oooh and aaahhh over it, and wonder who the lucky girl was!), and then one day in early February I got the email I'd been awaiting: The Crown was finished, and she'd be delivering it in person at Feast of Fools at the end of the month:

(Photo by EvaJohanna Studies.)

Three weeks have never lasted so long.

Wait I did, though, and I was good enough to wait even more to allow her to eat lunch after arriving on site rather than pouncing on her immediately. But as soon as she took it out of the box, I hardly even looked at it before placing it on my head and squeeing off to find a mirror (or, a door with glass in it) in which to admire myself. I then promptly continued to not take it off for the remainder of the day. I laughingly told Joel that he should expect me to wear it to bed. And one the way home the next day. And then out to work (Tuesday was Fasching, and the next instalment of a 6-session training course I'm attending. In early instalments, no one has commented once on my doing embroidery. Surely no one would comment on my crown). Monday evening when I was unpacking things from the event and took it out of its box again, Gwen sternly told me "mommy, head!" and after I put it back on, cautioned me "nein fall off", and wanted me to wear it the rest of the evening. (I indulged her, if only for a short while).

After receiving the crown, I told Johanna the story of my other circlet, how it was just two pieces of brass stripping soldered together, and she laughed and said that that wasn't so inaccurate a description of my new crown. And yet, oh, what a contrast. Wearing it, I feel like a medieval princess. Wearing it, I feel beautiful. It is amazing, and will be one of my most treasured pieces of jewelry -- heck, one of my most treasured possessions of any type -- for the rest of my life.

aryanhwy: (widget)
We went to North Yorkshire for the weekend, heading out early-ish but not insanely early Friday morning for Stuttgart airport (which took longer to get to than I remembered in comparison with Frankfurt; I thought they were more similar in travel time. Must remember this for future planning), and then my first flight with Gwen since she's been required to have her own seat. She doesn't really appreciate having to sit with her seatbelt on and the tray table up, and it's hard keeping her there since she's known for ages now how to undo the seatbelt (a new trick from this trip is getting the coordinate right to put it back together). But I pointed to the sign above and explained to her that only when the sign turned off could she take her seatbelt off, and that left a pretty strong impression with her.

The plan was that we'd make our way to Cambridge and then drive the rest of the way to Bolton Castle with Rashid, for ID's coronet tourney that [ profile] zmiya_san was entering in (and had a good chance of winning!). This plan was nearly cramped by finding out there was a tube strike in London that day, but then restored by finding a fast bus connection, and then nearly blitzed again by almost not making the connection. But we did, even with time to grab some lunch to eat on the way.

Alas, as enthusiastically as the food went down, after about an hour and a half of rather lurchy bus-driving, it all rather unenthusiastically came back up. After this weekend, we're now pretty sure that Gwen simply gets carsick -- not surprising in part because of how little we're ever actually in a car or a coach (regular busses don't seem to bother her. But even Joel and I were not feeling the greatest on this trip). Before you become a parent, you cannot fathom what would get you into a position where you would voluntarily catch vomit in your hands. After you become a parent, you realize that the reason you do this is because the alternative is so much worse. Thankfully, she had her bib on, which caught most of it, and both the person in the seat across from her and me, and the person sitting next to Joel in the seat of ahead of us, gave us plastic bags, so we mostly got everything cleaned up. (I decided the better part of valour was to throw the bib way was I going to get it clean enough to store it for a weekend before getting it home to wash it!). And I took Gwen out of her carseat and she rather unhappily slumped against me and fell asleep. Ever since she passed 2 months or so, her falling asleep in my arms has always been such a very rare occurrence, that I always cherish it. Even if the ride was long (more than an hour than it should've been due to traffic), and it took us nearly 20 minutes to traverse the last block to the bus stop. But Rashid picked us up and we stopped by his place so he could finish packing, we could clean up some, have some tea, and generally put ourselves back to sorts. We got on the road again a little after 17:00, and I tempted fate by deciding to try to skip supper with Gwen, and that turned out to be a good idea; she was asleep about an hour later and slept the rest of the way.

We made good time to the site, getting in around 8:30. I said hello to folks but didn't spend too much time socializing Friday night since I wanted to get Gwen back to bed. We were borrowing blankets and an air mattress from Rashid, and an inflatable kid's air mattress with built in blanket from Kit for Gwen, and we were lucky enough to be tucked up away in the nursery, just the three of us along with Estevana and Emily. It was great -- a huge amount of room for only five people, and the room was, unlikely much of the rest of the castle, relatively windproof and waterproof. We even had a very tiny space-heater. Nevertheless, North Yorkshire winters, even when it's not below freezing, are perhaps not the best time to be spending in an unheated castle. Gwen wasn't settling into her little bed, and I was worried that she'd be cold and wouldn't sleep well, so I eventually pulled her onto the big air mattress and crawled in next to her. She soon fell asleep, and slept mostly OK all night, while I discovered my ordinary socks were nowhere near warm enough, and I was cold all night long.

Saturday was a day where I was forcably reminded of two things: First, as much fun as re-creating the Middle Ages is, actually living in the Middle Ages would've been No Fun in winter. Even if the castle had had fires running in every room, better sealed windows and doors, and tapestries and carpets, it still would've been chilly. Thankfully the great hall had a large fire roaring continuously, and there was always plenty of hot beverages. Second, the insulative properties of wood are amazing. I had my Icelandic wool socks and my wooden clogs, and my feet were not cold. They just weren't. It was amazing. Normally they're the first to go, and that can just ruin my day. I hate having cold feet, it makes me grumpy. But the clogs kept me from out of direct contact with the stone, and wood isn't really a strong conductor, so exchange of temperature went very slowly.

I hung outside with Gwen and watched some of the tourney, but I tried to keep her indoors when I could, because despite all the layers and bundling, she simply would not keep her mittens on, and her hands were chilly ice cubes the entire weekend. I did feel a few twinges of Mom-guilt: She's had a cough for nearly a week now, and Thursday when I picked her up from daycare she had a low fever. It was gone by bedtime without medicine, and was still gone Friday morning, but still -- a good mom would not have taken a sick toddler to an unheated castle for a windy rainy weekend in February. Luckily, while she still has the cough, she doesn't appear to have gotten any sicker.

I didn't watch most of the tournament, but I did manage to get out for the final, featuring [ profile] zmiya_san's consort, so it was terribly exciting, even if he didn't win. The rest of the day was spent swapping children-watching duties with Estevana (it's so nice when there's another parent of young children around, this way one of us was always getting a bit of a break; and during court she was kind enough to watch both while Joel sat and enjoyed himself and I heralded), doing court-prep and some last minute calligraphy, and...I'm not really sure what else. For some reason, when I'm cold, I don't form memories as strongly.

Court was awesome, because the royals lined up on either side of the great fire, and then Angelica and I, as heralds, got to stand right next to the fire. By the end of court, I was *gasp* almost too warm. It was also awesome because yet again Tamara was cheerfully chatting away with her row mates when her name was called, and I got to see the tears and surprise as she sat before TRM, and because Constanza was equally surprised when she was called forward and made a member of the Panache.

But best of all was when I called Baroness Margaret forward, and their majesties barely got the words "polling" and "Pelican" out before the entire room burst into such cheers that whatever else they had to say was drowned out. I had the joy of being able to close court, "There being no further business that could possibly top this, this court is now closed!" And then later on during feast have the giddy realization that I'll get to herald the ceremony, since it'll be at Crown in April.

Unfortunately, after court I was busy with Gwen and things, and Joel was doing yet more trips to the woodpile for the fire, and next thing I noticed everyone had set up for feast and there were no spaces for us amongst our friends. :( So we were at another table, with some gaps on either side of us, for feast, but that was mostly OK; Gwen went to bed before feast started, and I think both of us just needed some quiet down-time for a bit. The food was excellent, there was beer, and I felt my spirits restoring. Towards the end of feast, we went back over to where everyone else was, and I had the honor of presenting Constanza with the first (and so far only successful) merit star that I've cast:


I was quite astonished a few months ago to discover that "A mullet ermine" was a gap in the OandA, so it's currently in submission. I intend to cast a bunch of these (you can't quite see that there's an ermine spot on the one in the photo; I still need to improve the mold a bit), and give them to my minions as well as to others whom I think have done something exceptional. Constanza got the first one because of how quickly she's adapted to writing onomastic articles.

Then there was hanging out by the fire with friends, and it was lovely and relaxing and good, and then Estevana found me because Gwen had woken up, and utterly bizarrely unlike herself was in a semi-hysteric state of crying. I figured the easiest thing to do was simply crawl in bed next to her. Amazingly, that night, what with simply keeping on my wool outer dress, plus the fleece pants which hadn't come off since Friday night, and the wool socks, I wasn't terribly cold, so I slept pretty well.

The trip back Sunday was not especially stellar, we made a detour to go to one of the bases near Harrogate so Rashid could get cheaper fuel there, only to find that they don't have diesel, and Gwen's cough combined with presumed carsickness resulted in lots, lots, lots more vomit than any of us really wanted to deal with. By the time we made it to the airport, she was down to a long-sleeved onesie and even that was somewhat soiled. Amazingly enough, it does not appear to be possible to buy children's clothes at Heathrow Terminal 5. But in the airport it wasn't terribly cold, nor on the plane, so her bare legs were no problem, and for the trip home I had a mostly clean blanket to wrap around her, so we made it back with no long term damage but, ugh, I'm going to find out what the German equivalent of dramamine is, and make sure to get some before we drive somewhere next.

I still feel like we're in a bit of a valley in terms of ease-of-traveling. Yet, I can see glimmers of improvement in the distance. In another 3 months or so, I think things will get significantly easier again, and trips won't be quite such ordeals. Nevertheless, I'm really glad we went.

ETA: Oooh, I forgot an enjoyable aspect of feast I wanted to report on. [ profile] nusbacher had issued a poetry challenge back in Dec., with any style, any authorship, any language being acceptable, and the prize being a ring from her own finger. While I may have begun my SCA career as "Aryanhwy Prytydes merch Catmael Caermyrdin", it was only a few years into university when I gracefully accepted the fact that poet I am not. But then, at the DMLBS conference in Oxford in Dec., one of the speakers had a Latin verse lamenting the death of Prince Rhys in his handout, along with an English translation (I'm not sure of the source of the latter -- perhaps the speaker himself, since I didn't find any other attribution). I read it, and it was so pathetic -- in the "pathos" sense of the term -- and it really spoke to me, in part because I am a loyal and patriotic Welshwoman at heart. :) I decided I'd read that poem for the competition. And then, Friday morning, I realized that I'd left the handout sitting on my desk at the office. I was pretty bummed about that, especially as I couldn't remember enough of the words to be able to find the translation via google (which is another reason why I suspect it was done by the speaker, and wasn't a published translation). Then it occurred to me...[ profile] silme wasn't going to be reaching site until Saturday, and she most likely had a printer, so I Mark, whom I figured would likely have his copy of the handout or even the electronic version of it, to see if he could email a copy to her to print out and bring, and, hurrah for the InterNetz, it worked! I was able to read my poem, and it was quite thrilling to do so, actually. I haven't declaimed in front of an audience in...10 years maybe? And it was long enough and affecting enough that I quieted the room by the end. I enjoyed reading it, and I enjoyed doing something I don't normally do. It's neat to have been in the SCA for so long, and still be discovering the joys of new things.
aryanhwy: (widget)
Today really turned out to be a wonderful day. I didn't have any reason to think it would be particularly great -- or particularly awful -- and it could've started off more auspiciously (yesterday, Gwen slept until 8:10. I woke up on my own, fully rested, 10 minutes before. It was great. Today, she was up at 6:35).

But after breakfast she inspected my work as I did some cutting and ironing, and then while I sat on the couch and sewed, she was happy to play on her own in the livingroom -- color at her table and chair, feed and put her babies to bed, and occasionally be read a story to. I managed to get quite a bit of work done on the 14th-C-ish capelet I hope to have finished by coronet. By midmorning the sun was shining brightly through our windows, and it was so pleasant to sit bathed in the light. I managed to get Gwen down for her nap closer to 13:00 than 14:00, and Joel and I took advantage of the free time. :) Alas, she didn't sleep much more than 45 minutes, and woke up grumpy (this has become a pattern on weekends, I don't know what to do about it), but even though it had become somewhat overcast it was still nice enough that we decided to go outside for awhile. We brought her bike down to the platz, and she very quickly discovered the wheelchair ramp outside the Rathaus. This picture sums up pretty much everything I love about getting to raise Gwen here:


At one point, another little boy, slightly older than her, on a glidebike went by with his parents, and saw her, and decided he too needed to ride his bike down the ramp. The last time before his parents called him back, the two of them lined up together and I heard the little boy go "Ein, zwei, drei", and they had a race. :)

After that, two other ladies and the young daughter of one wandered by, and stood near the stairs chatting to each other while the girl sat near the stairs. Eventually we started talking to each other -- the standard opening question of "how old is she?" -- exchanging names (Mathilda), ages (17 months), familial resemblances (like their father's parents), etc., and Gwen kindly lent her bike to Mathilda (at our suggestion, but she offered generously, and when it came time that she wanted it back, she was able to ask "bitte" and say "danke" when Mathilda returned it.) It's funny how twice in the last few weeks strangers have chatted with us to find out how old Gwen is and -- consequently -- when they can expect their children to master the skills she has mastered (hopping on two feet, in the case of Mathilda; and in the case of someone at Hamburg train station on the way to coronation, the use of a fork). I am also surprised at how strangers say such incredibly complimentary things of Gwen, after having observed for awhile -- how happy she is, how strong she is, how ... it's actually hard for me to remember the compliments, because I find it so strange for other people to offer them. I guess I don't observe other people's children as closely, and if I did, would I see something worth complimenting? Would I say something if I did? Is Gwen really so remarkable that only casual acquaintance with her is sufficient for people to remark? Of course, I think she's incredible, but I'm also the most biased person out there. Anyway, it's strange...and, I'll admit, quite flattering and reassuring. :)

We spent nearly 45 minutes out; it was about 5 C/40 F, and since I wasn't the one running around I was cold! When we got back in, we started prep for supper, and split a bottle of beer while cooking together. A few days ago, Thorvaldr had shared a photo + recipe on FB for roasted cabbage steaks, and they sounded awesome. And they were:


The other item planned for today was a beef roast with the same spice mixture that we'd used for our Christmas lamb. It's, honestly, the first time we've bought a cut of beef from the butcher shop in our grocery store, and we really didn't have any idea of what we wanted other than -- heh -- cheap. What we ended up with was half a kilo of "braten keule", essentially frying beef. I wasn't sure exactly how to adjust cooking times for a 4 kg piece to a .5 kg piece, but somehow I managed to do so perfectly to get a gorgeous medium rare:


I had thought we'd eat only a small amount and then save the rest to put into other dishes this week, but then realized -- we spent 4.00EUR on this. If we eat even half of it, this is still an incredibly cheap meal. And so, so good. I have not heard Joel rave over my cooking like this in...ever.

Afterwards, we played for an hour before Gwen went to bed (which she did easily, not even getting out once as she lately often has), and I returned to my sewing. There's a bunch of embroidery, hems, and buttons and buttonholes left to do, but the copelet is coming along nicely!


And now that I've finished writing this post, I think I'm going to go take a bath. A lovely way to end the weekend.
aryanhwy: (widget)
There was a point while working on my Ph.D. where I felt like I was just waiting, waiting for my life to begin. There was a point in the glorious year after I finished -- 2010 -- when we were both employed, I had a generous travel grant and was traveling all over, sometimes to the same conferences as Joel, and I paused and thought "This is what living is like; my life did finally start after finishing the Ph.D." And then the next year we had Gwen, and again I feel like for two years my life was on hold again. Oh, we still did things and went places, but for the most part it was a lot like the final stages of a Ph.D.: You're just surviving and the only way things will get better is to keep doing the same thing day in and day out no matter how tired you are and how sick of doing it you are, and eventually you'll finish the thing you're working on and can move on to something else.

Joel and I have both felt that it's been in the last six months or so that we've finally surfaced again and been able to doing more than work, sleep, and take care of Gwen. This weekend was another instance of a good weekend at home, which we've been having more frequently than not. Yesterday we ran errands in the morning and got/did almost everything on our list. We stopped for lunch at a Vietnamese place we'd never been to before, and the food was fast, cheap, and good. We had no major meltdowns (though more potty-training accidents than we would've liked), Gwen slept until 7:00 both mornings and took decent naps. Today she and I made a cake, and she was actually helpful: I had her stir while I measured out the dry ingredients, and she did a good enough job that I didn't have to finish up for her. And over the course of the weekend in addition to finishing off my first CPiF item, I was able to start and finish one of the things on my "things I want to do" list, namely, some 14th-C-esque headgear. A few months ago I'd found this excellent blogpost with lots of pictures, and decided to make something using two of the images there, both from the Manesse Codex, as my guide:

Manesse Manesse

I decided to do a fillet + veil like the one on the left, but then add a bit of edging to the front of the veil inspired by the embroidery on the one on the right, in order to provide a bit more framing and a bit more color, and also to try to mimic the drape/shape of the one on the right more than the one on the left. (I don't want a barbette, I find them terribly annoying).

I finished it up right before supper and thus was a bit hurried in terms of braiding up my hair and pinning everything together, so when I actually have time to do it carefully it'll look nicer, but nevertheless I'm pretty pleased:

View from the front (sadly out of focus)
View from the side
View from the back

Now I've got at least sort of appropriate headgear to wear with my cotehardies! And in time for ID coronet in a few weeks.
aryanhwy: (widget)
A list:

  • Finish up the notecards I owe [ profile] nz_bookwyrm. I have four of the five designs chosen, and most of them sketched out, so they really shouldn't take much more time. They are also sadly overdue.

  • A few blank scrolls for the Gulf Wars gift basket, one using either this O or this O.

  • Make a woollen panel hat, lined in linen, and decorated with the thick orange yarn I won in a Raglan raffle years ago. If we get back to Iowa in the summer and visit Joel's aunt and uncle, as a bonus maybe I can pick up some mink furs and make a fur lined or trimmed one. Maybe make one for the Gulf Wars gift basket, too.

  • Make more wire jewelry. I'd love to investigate necklaces and bracelets.

  • Finish my pewter mold and cast into it -- preferably before ID coronet.

  • Make a parti-colored plaid cote-hardie the ones here; a color image of the woman's dress can be found here.

  • Make a dress like the blue or pink one in the first row here -- complete with the pretty gold bandings.

  • Make a heraldic surcoat (see also here), in Drachenwald colors.

  • Make a belt like this one or this one.

  • Except that I'm not Italian, make a slitted overdress like this one.

  • Dress up like Dialectica. And maybe find an Aristotle to dispute with?

  • Make an outer layer like the one here (I can't tell for sure from the image if the white is a separate layer from the red, but it looks like it. And it would be more versatile if it were).

  • Make a dress like this (though Joel wants me to make one like this, since he says I have the figure to pull it off).

  • Make a wooden box in the manner of master Svartulvur, always remembering while doing so the useful concept of "Laurel minutes".

  • Make an embroidered copelet.

  • Make a 14th-C-esque veil/head-covering. 12-Jan-14.

  • Convert a photo of my cousin into a painting.

That's an awfully lot of sewing for someone who detests sewing as much as I do...
aryanhwy: (Default)
...and turned out to actually be rather sane.

12th Night coronation was in Sweden, about an hour and a half from Copenhagen, so we decided that the thing to do would be to go there by train. Door-to-door, it was 13.5 hours each way. And yet, it was about as smooth and relaxed as a trip with a 2 year old could be. Each direction we had two long-ish layovers at nicely appointed times for us to get something to eat, of the 11 trains we were on all were on time (amazing for Deutsche Bahn), and only one of our connections was short (8 min.), and we made that even with the hassle of needing to re-pack 6 beers half-way up an escalator. Our route took us via the train-ferry at Puttgarten, which meant another 45 minutes off the train to get some beer and something to eat, and -- lucky Gwen -- to run around in a playroom! Ferries, I have decided, really are simply the best way to travel. Who cares that they're slow, they have places where I can sit and relax while Gwen has a ball and I don't have to put much effort into supervising her. The ferry trip was about in the middle of each journey, and it was a perfect place for her to let off some steam. And to go swinging with Daddy:


We got to site about 11:00pm Friday night, and thus went straight to bed. I hadn't booked a bed for Gwen, and was not sure whether there would be space in our room for us to set up her travel bed or if she and I would be sharing a bed, so I was delighted when we went into our appointed room and I found that it was a private room for the three of us, with plenty of room on the floor for her bed. So pleasant! (For everyone involved -- I'm sure no one else is all that keen on sharing a room with a toddler).

Morning court wasn't scheduled until 10:30 so we were able to sleep in some before getting breakfast and then me meeting with their-soon-to-be-majesties for court preparation. I had been pretty nervous about morning court; despite being a herald for more than *counts* nearly 18 years (really??) this was going to be only my fourth court ever, and my third court, Yule Ball in December, had involved numerous slips of the tongue involving assigning the wrong-gendered title to assorted royalty! Thursday morning I had even had a nightmare about showing up to court without the book of ceremonies printed or my tabard. Thankfully, all my anxiety was for naught, and morning court went smoothly. I was only responsible for the Prothall-and-Cecilia half, with Efridis (whom the scroll in my previous post was for) still taking care of the Sven-and-Siobhan half. I was, however, first item of business for that half, as that was when I was inducted as Royal Artisan, complete with all sorts of shiny bling and a hood that says plainly "royal artisan", in case anyone wasn't sure. Best of all, the position came with a lovely little writ by [ profile] bend_gules, whose calligraphy I admire ardently and whose work I've long wanted to own a piece of. Now I have one!

After court ended, we sorted out lunch and I set up the table for the kingdom A&S competition and display, over which I presided as neither Jahanara nor [ profile] pogbody were able to attend. In addition to the two entries, there were a number of other items entered for display only, including some amazing hand-made paper with an Albion watermark on it by Lord Snorri. I had no idea that he was a trained paper maker, and I want to buy some off of him for scroll work! How very cool, and scary to work with, I'm sure.

Once that was set up, Gwen was getting pretty fussy, and I was tired myself, so I left Joel to keep an eye on things and took her off to bed. It took her awhile to settle down, since the room wasn't dark, but I ended up pulling her onto the bed with me, and cuddled up next to each other we both fell asleep for 1.5-2 hours, not exactly sure. On the one hand, I sort of feel bad that I missed prime socialization time at the event, but on the other hand, getting a mid-afternoon nap after the long day's travel was wonderful.

Afternoon court was quick and snappy, and went smoothly. Her Majesty is very well-organized, and I simply went down the list ticking off each item, and at the end they had nothing further to add to the agenda, so it was short and easy! The most fun part, for me, was when all the kingdom officers were called forward to receive chains of office. More bling! I'll admit, I'd always wanted to be Polaris because the great officers of Northshield have these amazing collars of state. Drachenwald had never had any until last November, when sets were commissioned and the first ones given out. Since I didn't make it to university, I didn't get mine then, and I've been awaiting it ever since! They just look so good, and feel so appropriate too!

After court, we were sitting and chatting with [ profile] kareina, Kjar, and Kristina, and since I knew the halls were being set up for feast, I was pro-active and asked if they wanted to sit with us. So often at events, everyone that I know has already made arrangements with other people that by the time I'm trying to find a seat, there's no seat left by anyone that I know, so I am trying to do better about that and make sure that I ensure that I'm sitting with people that I want to hang out with. It was absolutely lovely getting a chance to sit and talk with them all evening. I really hope that next summer (2015) the three of us can make it up to Frostheim for an event.

Gwen went to bed after the first course, after which Joel and I were free to linger over feast enjoying the food and company. I ended up going to bed around 11:00pm, and I'm not sure how late he was up. My alarm was, unfortunately, set for 7:15 the next morning, so that we'd have time to both shower, and pack, and grab breakfast, and at 8:30 our ride was waiting to bring us back to the train station where we did our journey in reverse. Napping was a bit more hit and miss on this trip -- Gwen didn't fall asleep until around 2:30 in the afternoon, despite being obviously tired much earlier, and she ended up falling asleep in Joel's arms while he read to her. Luckily, she then slept until nearly 4:00 when we had to get ready to change trains. She then didn't settle enough to put her in the stroller until after 9:00, but when we did that she was again out like a light, barely woke up when we got home and put her into bed, and then slept until 8:30 this morning (yay!) after which she cuddled quietly in bed with me for another half an hour. Today is apparently a holiday in Baden-Württemberg (I found this out when Thursday evening at daycare I told them she'd be gone on Friday but back on Monday, and one of them said, "Not Monday, it's a holiday". It's not one on my calendar of German holidays, which is why I hadn't realized.), which turned out to be really nice, since we could all sleep late, and then get almost everything unpacked, two loads of laundry done, I caught up on my email (mostly), filed my court reports, posted pictures and blog posts, and then had time to write this. Plus, Gwen's capacity for self-directed play seems to have just exploded after the two weeks at home combined with a few days away from all her toys, which means she played almost all day with minimal interaction from us. Hurrah!

A lovely weekend, and not nearly as tiring as it could've been!
aryanhwy: (widget)
In 2010, it ended up that no one entered the year-long kingdom A&S competition, which means there was, for the first time in a long time, no kingdom artisan for 2011.

In 2011, I decided to enter the competition, despite never having entered an A&S competition of any sort before. However, given the large number of entrants the previous year, I figured if I met all the qualifications (which at that time were entries in four (maybe it was three) different categories and at three different events), I had a good shot. Unfortunately, I fell at the last hurdle. I didn't time things right and so was unable to complete my final entry sufficiently -- I entered it at Kingdom University, which was the weekend Gwen was born. I was the only person who entered, so again, there was no kingdom artisan for 2012.

In 2012, I figured I'd try entering again...then in March Paul won Crown and I figured it would be a bit much to try to be queen AND try to enter the competition, so I didn't. Even though the requirements had been reduced to items in three categories at two different events. No one else entered that year either, so there was no kingdom artisan for 2013.

In 2013, I determined to enter yet again:

At 12th Night coronation, I entered Catalan nougat in the culinary arts category. Here is the documentation. I don't have a picture of this.

I didn't get anything together for Spring Crown, time just got away from me.

At Midsummer coronation, I entered:

  • In the textile arts category, I entered a 16th C men's shirt, here modeled by Joel:


    And here is the documentation.

  • In the research paper category, I entered a paper on Welsh household names

  • In the sciences category, a hoard of Anglo-Saxon and Viking wire rings, of which these were two:


    Here is the documentation, though I have not yet written up the "how-to" that I have promised some people.

  • In the fine arts category, I entered a calligraphed and illuminated scroll:


    The documentation for this is here.

I did not manage to put together a performing arts piece, otherwise I could've hit all six possible categories!

Having entered this many at 20 Year meant I didn't have to scramble to enter something at Fall Crown, which was nice. The winner was to be announced at Kingdom University, but a few days before that I got an email from Jahanara, kingdom MoAS, directed also to [ profile] hobbitomm, letting us know that we were the only two who'd met all the qualifications for entering the competition, and since neither of us where going to be there she wanted to know if we minded if the winner was announced in absentia. Therein followed a few days speculation wherein both of us were sure that the other person had won...which meant [ profile] hobbitomm was smug and complacent when he was proven right, and it was announced that I had won, and will be invested as kingdom artisan for 2014 at 12th Night Coronation.


It also later transpired that I also won the category-competitions for fine arts and research papers -- the latter I believe by default since I don't think anyone else entered one, but I think mine wasn't the only C&I entry, which means mine must've had some more merit. :)

Anyway, I promised people that while I was in the US I'd put together all my documentation to share, so now I have done so.
aryanhwy: (Default)
Nahuatl is so cool.

For the last week or so I've been working on the christening records from the parish of San José in Tula de Allende, Hildago, between 1590 and 1599. The names are so cool. I'm about halfway through transcribing the data. The vast majority of the given names are ordinary classic Spanish Christian names (the only one that I don't immediately identify so far is feminine Aboronia, which was a Spanish _word_ in 1809, though whether it was native, I don't yet know). The bynames, on the other hand, are some classic Spanish, but most, I'd say about 3/4 but I won't know for sure until I've transcribed all the data, are Nahuatl: Lots and lots of x's. And y's. And u's. Whee! I have been alternating between transcribing and sorting/entering, so there's already a draft available. I have made some small headway into identifying the bynames, and what's cool is that many of the Nahuatl bynames of the mothers appear to be literal descriptives. There are a number which mean things like 'woman', 'oldest daughter', 'last daughter', 'third daughter', etc. And then there are bynames deriving from flora and fauna, which are quite lovely.

I have found relatively little research out there on Nahuatl personal names; jstor gave up very few references and most of the papers I downloaded this afternoon have been irrelevant for my purposes. I have found an on-line translation (into English) of Bernardino de Sahagún's Nahuatl dictionary, which has certainly helped things. If I can find information about a sufficient percentage of the bynames, I'm seriously thinking of turning this into something I could submit to, say, Nomina or Onoma.


aryanhwy: (Default)

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