Monday, May 28, 2018

Egils 44

in which our plucky heroine channels her inner cucumber*...

The Egil Skallagrimsson Memorial Tournament happens every year in Adiantum, and is one of my favorite SCA events. This year my dear friend Tullia married her sweetheart Caius in a Roman-style wedding ceremony.


This year was also the first Egils for my Mud Bay pals baby girl Kestrel, who is a much beloved child. I just had to take some small bits of linen and ribbon and make her a new gown... which will, of course, be outgrown in a few weeks at the rate she is growing

There were all sorts of old friends that turned up who I rarely see and who mostly don't attend camping events, so it was an extra special chance to collect hugs and hellos. There were, as well, the usual shenanigans that happen when the folks of Caer Lutris get together, with stories round the central fire at night, and people scattering during the day to various activities and event tasks. William Bjornson took Farbjorn as a metalsmithing apprentice, and Julia Sempronia took Vestia as an apprentice as well, and it was great to be able to witness their oaths of connection.

Although my cranky leg was indeed quite grumpy, it was no worse than it would have been had I stayed home. There was resting in the afternoon, and even some napping inside my tiny Viking tent home away from home. Buying a camp bed (sturdy on taller legs) and better camping bedding (3 1/2" thermarest + memory foam topper) has really made a big difference in comfortable sleep in the outdoors. My days of sleeping on the ground may be done, but I can still enjoy camping with friends. Every year I try and make some simple upgrade(s) to my camping life; this year I acquired inflatable solar camping lanterns. While not in the least historical, they work a treat! Give out lots of soft light, and have a handle so that they can either be hung up from a tent frame, or carried in hand to give a good light for those middle of the night runs to the necessary. What I particularly like is that the light is directed downwards, which means you don't blind any other nightwalkers, but can clearly see any ups/downs/diversions in the path...

* as much as I love eventing, it is inherently a highly stressful activity, as we basically set up the equivalent of a small medieval village and then take it all back down again a few days later. This year Thora and Isabel both commented that I seemed to be as cool as a cucumber, and not being off balanced by things that in the past would have involved fuss and bother. Therefor the motto for the weekend was "I am a cucumber on the wind.... watch me roll..."

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

something in my eyes...

in which our plucky heroine remembers that humans and dogs have a contract that goes way way back

...and as much as I long to be with her own Darling Self when my own time in the bright world comes to an end, I know what choice she would have made...

(from Reddit, by someone named Euthenios) -

The last thing I remember is My Person bringing me to the Sharp Place.
I never understood why My Person would bring me to the Sharp Place. The smells were sharp, and they poked me with sharp things. That's why I called it the Sharp Place. It was a bad place. I didn't like it.
I don't know why My Person brought me there, that day of all days. I already hadn't been feeling good. I'd been throwing up, and my hips hurt and my paws hurt. Even eating grass didn't help. And then My Person brought me to the Sharp Place. I tried to be mad at him, but he seemed so sad about something, so I tried to wag my tail to cheer him up. I didn't even really notice when the Sharp Man poked me.
Then my eyes got heavy and that was the last thing I remember.
Buddy, a voice said. Buddy, wake up.
I opened my eyes and got to my feet, and I realized my paws didn't hurt anymore. I tried a wag, and that was fine, too. I sniffed the air. It smelled like the Play Park and like Our Home and the Car Window. I liked it a lot.
Welcome, Buddy, came the voice again, from behind me.
I turned around, and there was a person there. He wasn't My Person, but he was all safe and good smells, so I trusted him.
Where am I? I said.
You're in the place that Good Boys go, the person said.
I was a Good Boy? I said.
You were a Very Good Boy, he told me.
That was good. I always tried to be a Good Boy. Where's My Person? I asked.
He's still down there, the person said. And he waved his arm and all of a sudden we were in Our Home, and My Person was sitting on the Forbidden Chair and looking sad. Every so often, he'd look over at the Okay Couch, where I was allowed so sit, and his breath would catch because he was very sad. I tried to nuzzle him, but my nose just passed through his hand.
What's happening? I don't understand, I said.
The person sighed. You can't be with him right now, Buddy. I'm sorry. It's the way of things.
I thought about this. So it's like My Person is on the Person Bed, and I'm not allowed there? I said.
Exactly like that, the person said. But he can be with you someday. If you choose to wait for him.
Of course I want to wait for him! I said. Not wait for My Person? Who did this person think he was talking to?
Hold on, Buddy, the person said. He seemed sad about this for some reason. It's not that simple. You have a choice. He got down on one knee and he looked into my eyes. There are bad things in this world, Buddy. Very bad things.
Like Neighbor Cat?
So much worse than her, Buddy. He waved his hand, and I saw what he was talking about. He showed me dark things, that were like snakes and rats, only worse. Worse than the Sucking Machine. Worse than the Sharp Place. They smelled evil.
These are the things that want to hurt him, Buddy. They want to hurt everybody. So you can wait for him, or you can keep him safe. But if you choose to keep him safe, then you can't see him again.
What, never? I said.
The person nodded. Never, Buddy. I'm sorry. Those are the Rules. It's a terrible choice.
I looked at my paws. I didn't want to not see My Person ever again. But I wanted to keep him safe even more.
I know what I have to do, I said, and the person waved his hand, and all of a sudden we were in a place with there were as many dogs as I have every seen before. More, even.
These are all the Good Boys who chose to keep Their People safe, the person said.
I looked at them all. I couldn't believe it, still. But there's so many of us! I said. How many Good Boys are here?
The person looked down at me. He smiled, but I could tell he was also partly very sad. All of you, Buddy. Every single one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

transmogrifcation

IN which our plucky heroine changes a gown into a coat...

My friend Maeva wanted her older wool SCA gown turned into an Anglo-Saxon coat, which I agreed to do.  The original gown, cut down the center front, had strips of blue and white diamond twill wool added to each side of the front opening*. I also shortened the original gown from floor length to calf length and used the cut pieces to both add a bit of width to the center back*, and to patch assorted moth and campfire spark holes that had occurred over the years, as well as to strengthen the gore points
All the burgundy wool edge binding, after being machined in place on the wrong side, was folded over the raw edges and then hand stitched in place on the right side, for a clean on two sides finish

The front neckline overlap, which will be fastened, when worn, with some suitable Anglo- Saxon brooches

The coat sleeve cuffs, which clearly show both the wool tablet weaving, and the block printed trim, as well as the diamond twill wool used on the cuffs and center front
* coats, being worn over assorted layers of clothing, need of necessity to be at least a little bit more spacious, hence the need to add just a bit more width to the coat-to-be

My hope is that this transformation will allow the garment to have a new and useful life for many years to come...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 four dot stamp alter Gigi shirts-
2 tiny block w handle tree water buckets-
3 printed trimmove chooks -
4 Maeva coat
- -
5 heraldic drawingsx -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Great Chalk Highway...

IN which our plucky heroine discovers local transportation system upgrades..

Much to my surprise, there were some unexpected alterations in my usual route home... the local transportation system had been repainted and partially re-routed, and the signage had all been carefully replaced!
The local authorities are very thoughtful about the botanical specimens that may impinge on the right of way...
As I approached my house, it was obvious that traffic flow was really important, as were services to travelers, since a new gas station had been added in my formerly unused driveway ramp
Gas pumping station adjacent to but out of the traffic flow...
The new larger roundabout, with gas station, turn out along my front walkway for the fire department, and my favorite part, the landscaped central island...
See... the island in the middle of the roundabout has been carefully landscaped with two large conifers
At the other end of the local road, a smaller rotary includes bakery parking, and a sign beyond which travel is not recommended...

I love my neighborhood!!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

elderflowers

in which our plucky heroine is full of hope...

The European Black Elder, though still not even up to my shoulders, is covered in clusters of buds; a few of them have already started blooming. Not sure why this one has both white and pink flowers in the same cluster though... very odd.
Still, I am hoping that there will be elderberries to harvest later in the year. Not sure, as the online information says that while it is partially self-fertile, it gives a larger harvest with a pollinator buddy... My long range goal is to have enough to make up some sambucus syrup to store in the pantry, for use as immune support.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine is pleased with progress...

Earlier this week one morning while the sun was still low in the east, there were these mushrooms in my front lawn... they only last a day, if that, but their delicate tracery is very beautiful:

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Effort continues on Maeva's coat. Am now on the final step, binding the raw edges with narrow strips of burgundy red wool twill. As with all the rest of this, there is a combination of hand stitchery and machine sewing. My goal has been to not have a lot of visible machine stitching, so while the bindings etc get sewn down on the wrong side by machine, I am then folding them to the right side and stitching it down by hand, using wool thread.

It has been quite the challenging project, primarily because of how much mental effort it takes to suss out how to effect the transformation. Making a garment entirely is much simpler, and indeed the next sewing project will be a simple Anglo-Saxon style gown. That will (hopefully) go a lot faster, since she provided me with a dress length of finely woven striped wool, which then went off to Marya to be dipped in the indigo vat. All I will need to do is to cut out the parts and sew it up. The only hand stitching on the gown will be around the neckline and cuff ends.
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Chook habitat has been moved to the slightly shaded side of the backyard. This was the most important task this weekend, as soon enough it will be full on summer heat; we've already had a few days over 80F. It feels like true spring gets shorter every year. The hens are quite pleased with their new "digs"...

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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 four dot stamp alter Gigi shirts-
2 tiny block w handle tree water buckets-
3 printed trimmove chooks -
4 x - -
5 xx -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Friday, May 4, 2018

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine continues to be busy...

May 4th is not just a day for silly film memes, which are currently dominating my social media... In 1970 on this date, the National Guard fired on Kent State students protesting against the US involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia , and four unarmed students were killed, and others badly injured. That was the world I was growing into... For those of you on Facebook, go check out Dan Rathers post about May 4th and Kent State, there is a good 15 minute documentary, which, unfortunately, I can not figure out how to post here...
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Yesterday I began creating water buckets for the baby trees. It will likely be a long hot summer, since the heat is already beginning to break through the pleasant if short springtime, and they will need supplemental water to make it through long enough to establish a good root system. By placing buckets, with a small hole drilled in the bottom, a rock or brick inside to keep them from blowing away, and skeeter-netting attached to the top, so as to not allow the pesky biting bugs a place to breed, I should be able to add a few gallons each week from water salvaged from the house. The other trees have been here long enough to not need the extra help, though the persimmon and rhubarb do better if also given a hand during the reign of the evil daystar.
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Good progress is happening on Maeva's coat - so far I've stitched back panel in place, added cuffs to sleeves and stitched block printed trim and tablet weaving on cuffs. Next will be reconfiguring the neckline, adding fabric to the center front edges and stitching more block printed trim in place to match the cuff extensionsm and finally binding the raw edges with burgundy wool twill...

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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 four dot stamp alter Gigi shirts-
2 tiny block w handle tree water buckets-
3 printed trim- -
4 x - -
5 xx -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

well begun but not half done...


in which our plucky heroine keeps busy ...

Deciding to lie down for a short nap before cooking dinner is a bad idea. Now it is too late to eat dinner. Oh well, at least I am rested now, and can tackle the project planned for after dinner with a clear head, if a hungry middle...
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I'm currently up to the gunnels with custom commission sewing projects. Earlier this week I finished altering three shirts for my little sister. (RTW alteration is a labor of love I do only for family members)

My most current sewing project is much more complex and interesting. The bluegrey fabric, formerly a well loved SCA gown, will be transformed into an Anglo-Saxon style coat. Adding some wool tablet woven bands at the wrist, block printed trim bands at wrist and center front, and extending the front and wrists with the blue/white diamond twill. Edge bindings will be in burgundy wool.

First I trimmed a strip off the bottom of the gown. Those fabric pieces were used to for reinforcing the gore tops and patching any holes, and then to piece in a panel in the center back, as a coat needs to be at least a little wider than a gown, so it can be worn as an outer garment. My next step is block printing the additional trim bands, so earlier this week I also made a tiny block, and a four dot stamp. The tiny block was made as usual, but I epoxied it to a wooden backing, which I have discovered makes the tiny blocks easier to handle, and me less likely to get my fingers daubed with textile paint.

Making the four dot block was more interesting... I took four salvaged chopsticks, cut them in half, and bound them together with the other chopstick bits, using some bitsy hair ties as lashing, and then liberally sticking the whole thing together with yellow wood glue. Leaving that to dry overnight, I then trimmed down the crossing sticks, and had planned on also removing the hair ties, but since they were solidly glued in place, I left them there (can always add additional lashing in the future if they give way) A bit of time smoothing down the rough ends of the bamboo, and careful sanding to ensure the working end was flat, and Voila...
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The new four dot stamp works a treat, even better and easier than I had imagined, and the lashed reinforcement makes it easy to hold...
Several yards of red/blue shot cotton is printed in navy, and after sitting for 24 hours, will be heat set and ready to trim the coat. The actual size of the printed motif is just over 1" wide

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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 four dot stamp alter Gigi shirts-
2 tiny block w handle --
3 printed trim- -
4 x - -
5 xx -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x