Battle of Clontarf

I like this event. It’s small. It’s low key. It’s huge levels of fun.

This year had a small wrinkle – the head cook, Perote, fell down the stairs and was unable to walk – or attend the event.  He did have the food prepped and it arrived on site with his mom and ‘sous turned chef of the day’ Sigvaldi. Since it was my plan to help with the food, I kept that as the plan and helped Sigvaldi instead.  Roasters and crocks were plugged in and filled.  Which was how it was discovered that plugging in more than two at a time blew the circuit. A few quick adjustments were made and food again began to heat up.  The rest of the food we began to plate and set out as per direction and it worked out perfectly.

The day was a bit gray and definitely on the cool side, so we all expected the hot food to be well received – and it was. There was beer braised chicken, curried lentil soup, poached pears, unpoached pears, oranges, hard boiled eggs, pickles and pickled veggies, cheese, yogurt and marmalade, and fresh greens. It was all very yummy.

I managed to watch some of the heavy tournament – which looked awesome. Late in the afternoon I ran the Baronial Champs throwing tourney. I let everyone throw but the winner of the baldric had to be a barony resident.  I had the targets set up with labeled quarters and would call a quarter for the people to hit – without crossing the chalked lines on the target.  I had a lot of new throwers give it a try.  It was a great deal of fun. There were some truly awesome throws – with axes and knives stuck in the target itself, or handle first into the ground. We did a second round of an Aces throw – 4 aces on the target – the marshal picks a color. In the end, the highest score went to Sigvaldi – a non-resident of the Barony. The Baronial Baldric was given to Lady Juliana – a first time thrower. It was really fun to marshal a tourney again. I haven’t done so in far far too long.  It has given me all sorts of evil ideas for another one that I have coming up in the fall. Bwahhaahahaa.

Many worthy people were recognized during court and overall, I think the day went very well. I know that I had fun, and I think many others did as well.


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A little while back I posted on one of the Facebook groups “Medieval Combat: Fitness & Training” that I had developed a problem as I had lost 50 pounds and my pants had a tendency to fall to levels that were indecent.  One of the members of the group called me an inspiration and asked me to send a favor for her to wear at Pennsic.

It’s been over a week since that post and the request – and the messages back and forth… and I’m STILL absolutely gob-smacked. Me? an inspiration??  Oh. My. Goodness.

To fulfill this unexpected request I unearthed an embroidered favor I had started *mumble mumble* years ago, but put aside – as I had been making one for .. well, I don’t know why I was making one.  I didn’t have anyone I planned on gifting it to, and it had been some time since I was dating anyone… so it sat. And sat.

Well, it isn’t sitting any more. I’ve picked up my threads and needle and have been studiously stitching to have something that comes the least little fraction close to meeting the honor given to me when I was called an inspiration. See, what I have learned from this is that an inspiration can be any one for any thing. We do not get to direct how we inspire someone, just that we have the potential to do so through our words, our actions, our deeds — on and off the field, in and out of the SCA.  Others look at us and what we say or do; we lead by our examples in word and deed.  This is an awesome thing to realize and a great responsibility – and one I am honored to be the bearer of.

So, thank you Signy Heri – for the lesson. Your favor is being made and will be in your hands soon.

Embroidered favor

(I totally should have put a coin in for sizing…. Next pic I take of it, I will do so!)

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Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon

The first weekend in April was Ice Dragon this year.  This is one of my favorite events to attend as there are many people and lots of things to do.

I arrived at the hotel on Friday and then headed to site to help the folks at The Burley Badger set up their merchant space. Their new things this year were plush dragons that were absolutely adorable, and some coloring books for the kids – or the kids at heart.  Right near them was Lady Elska and her amazing scented soaps.  They smelled so good – and she makes them all completely from scratch – making her own lye and everything.  I still need to get to her class on that!  Every time it is against something that I am teaching!

We finished setting up and headed back to the hotel and then out to dinner – yummy Greek food! Then bid each other a good night – as we knew that Saturday was going to be busy from the time we woke up.

I got to the site around 8 and got in to finish any last minute set up and to get changed.  I was meeting Svana as she had a dress for me from Fenris, and I was going to have the Roman that I wore to Saturnalia pinned for some hemming as it was a good bit too long.  (Huzzah to weight loss.) I kept missing Svana in the first part of the day, so I pinned the front of the Roman up so I wouldn’t be constantly tripping and got on with doing the needful things – chatting and visiting merchants. I spent a bit of time talking to Artemis about ideas for a metal coronet.  I’m still not sure precisely what I want for it though. I’ve come up with a few things that I know I do not want – such as anything riveted onto it. I’ve spent enough time polishing coronets now to know how much of a pain cleaning properly around those are. I want my own to be a good bit easier to manage. I wandered my way up to the salons – and there I ran in to Svana!  She handed me a lovely blue dress – and I scurried away to change into it and turn over the lovely – but too long – Roman. The exchange of garb having occurred, we chatted for a bit and I was ready to continue around the salons – when I was distracted by Morning Court.

His Majesty, Tindal, arrived for court – and got down to business of sending three deserving people off to sit Vigil. (Laurel, Defense, and Chivalry). After Court was suspended, a short Curia was held to approve a new award, and then Court was opened to read in to record awards that Their Majesties had been unable to catch the people to give them personally. After this interlude, I made my way back out to the salons.

I got to the other side and gleefully stopped to hang out with family.  Highrafters and Caer Cinniuint were there with a lovely bit of space.  So, I stopped in and got hugs from my Brothers – Matt and Michael and from cousins. I have to say, one of the things I love about the SCA is that I have family here. They are not blood family, but chosen family. These are, without a doubt, the people that I would do just about anything for.  Yeah, these are the folks that I would help hide a body (unless they needed plausible deniability, in which case I’d take care of it myself). I love the family that I have found in the SCA.

While I had stopped to chat, His Majesty opened a court on the list field – and sent another worthy off to vigil for the Chivalry. I finished my tour of visiting folks and then headed downstairs for lunch and for a couple of meetings.

Lunch was nice – and the food was plentiful. My first meeting was about the changes to event announcement wording. I was particularly unclear about a couple of things going in to this meeting, but those were quickly cleared up right at the beginning. An hour had been set aside for this, but we did not need the full amount of time so I wandered back upstairs to find out that Davia had set up a Girl Scout cookie booth next to my friends.  Obviously, a box of cookies had to be acquired before my next meeting – of the Cooks Guild.

The Cooks Guild here in Æthelmearc has been a bit, not defunct, but certainly not very active. There is a movement to revitalize it, and as I have an interest in cooking I decided to attend. The meeting lasted a full hour and was well attended by Laurels all the way to folks with no awards at all. We discussed ways to be more inclusive and supportive of each other and new people who are looking to cook feasts, dayboards, or just enter A&S competitions. I left feeling that while I am certainly not ‘good’ at anything in particular, that there was definite opportunity here for me to learn and grow in both my skills as a cook, and in planning and organization – and more importantly that I do not have to do it all.  I think in some ways that has been a sticking point for me. If I don’t do all of it, then I should not do any of it.  I really need to get beyond that particular mindset. No one is perfect in every aspect of something, and I need to remember that.

I spent the remainder of the day chatting with people and having fun. Before I knew it the time had come to help pack up the booth again. I pitched in with doing so – and sadly missed court – but we were on a bit of a time table due to when the site closed and how long court was expected to run. We managed to be almost entirely packed and ready to go just after court was done. The vehicles were loaded and I headed out – in the snow.

Apparently the Ice Dragon was up for one last hurrah and was not ready to pass!  That night there was some rather horrible driving for people going home, and I was very thankful that I had opted to stay at the hotel a second night.

In all – an absolutely awesome weekend.  My one regret is that I never seem to have enough time to talk to everyone that I want to or to do everything that I want to at an event. There were people that I did not get to hug or talk to, and I didn’t get in to see the entries for the A&S Competition. Next year I will make it a point to see the entries – and talk to more people!

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College of Three Ravens

Yesterday I drove up to Thescorre (Rochester, NY) on my own to go to 3 Ravens.  This event was my first ever event – before it was 3 Ravens – so it holds a special place for me in my memory. I arrived in good time, having left the Vayle around 7 and having had to stop to fill up the gas tank on the van.

I went to part of Baron Perote’s class on a discussion of period food in the SCA. I am finding the differences over the years to be utterly fascinating when it comes to food. Most folks can immediately identify that portion sizes are different (Super Size!) or note that seeds have changed due to genetic tinkering by humans.  We tend to forget (or at least I certainly did) that the genetic tinkering, cross pollination, etc was much more wide spread and was not just seeds for fruits, vegetables, and grains. It also holds true to the animals we consume as well as things like eggs, dairy, etc. All the way down to our water. What is in our water literally impacts our food at the most basic levels. It can change the consistency and flavor of it – and not just for things like breads and beer – it goes so very much further.  It carries over into what our meat eats and drinks.  This means that the amount of variation even during the time periods we are recreating could be large. What was fed to the pigs could vary by year or season. That alone could change the flavor of the meat.  Really cool and rather mind boggling to think about. Now to convince myself that I really do not need to keep pigs here in town so I can experiment.

I didn’t take a class the second hour, and instead spent it chatting with people in the hall. That was really enjoyable. I get to sit down and chat with my SCA friends far too seldom. Quality family time was also happening, which was wonderful for my heart and soul.

A group of us then went off to a children’s class on Service for Kids in the SCA.  Holy wow.  We didn’t have many kids who wanted to participate in the class, so it sort of evolved into a round table discussion on HOW we can get kids involved in service in the SCA. Lady Elisabetta de Venetia was a wonderful moderator keeping all us adults in line. I came out with some wonderful ideas on how to get kids involved. I’m going to see about implementing some of them at the upcoming Regional Practice and Curia here in the Vayle. I don’t know how many kids we will have, but it might be good to have a few things on hand they can help out with. There are a lot of things to think about with this, but as an event steward, I have a lot better idea of where kids can help now.

One of my “Can’t Miss” classes was next – Falconry.  OMG…  Squee!  I’ve loved the idea of falconry for a super long time. Part of me has always wanted to learn, but I do not think I would be able to devote the time to it that I would need to in order to make it fair to the birds. Wonderful class with a falcon and a hawk. I learned a lot about flying these beautiful birds as well as caring for them, and the regulations and training needed to fly them. I never realized how vocal hawks were. Listening to the hawk make noise was really awesome. I was even up close and personal with the hawk while it was hooded. So cool. I still have a desire to learn more, but as I said, right now my flying raptors would be a bad idea.

The final class I took was on belly dance. I’ve wanted to learn belly dance for a very very long time. I finally got to a class on it!  Oh my goodness do my knees and legs tell me they got a work out yesterday! We learned so many steps and parts to belly dancing that I can’t even begin to recall them all or name them. What I need to do for sure, is practice them!  I have a few that I feel rather comfortable with already (thank you years of dance classes as a child!), but there are some that I do not feel at all graceful doing and expect I rather look like a deer on the ice when I do them. That being said, I have instructions, I have some experience thanks to this class, and there are books and videos to help me… as well as mirrors here in the house so I can see how things look. It is certainly a good work out, and I may just learn it for that alone – you know – aside from the fact that I was having fun.

I then got to chat with more people and watch a bunch of people receive well-deserved awards during Court.

Awesome and epic day. Knowledge shared. Friends hugged. How could it possibly be any better?




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Upcoming Elections

Local elections are coming up.

I’ve submitted my name to continue as the local Chatelaine and Thrown Weapons Marshal.

To my knowledge I am running unopposed.

We really need to get some more active members. It isn’t that I don’t want the jobs, but I think people should have a choice in who they elect to be in charge of the local group.  It has been defaulting a great deal lately to whomever is available or willing to do the job.

Hopefully we will start seeing a change soon.


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Sterlynge Schola

Saturday was the local schola hosted by Sterlynge Vayle.  Baron Perote and I were Deans of Classes.  We had a great selection of classes available and classes that I saw all seemed to be well attended.

I dusted off, added some info that I have learned over the years, and taught a class on Retaining.  The form of the class I took from one that Baroness Kate and Baroness Boudicea taught years ago. The class was very well attended and we had a bit of a round table going about what people feel a retainer’s job is, what they should have to hand, things they should know, and things to think about. I had one individual comment to me after the class that while she has been a retainer for a number of reigns, she has never considered one or two points we discussed – and how doing so could be very helpful.  This is precisely why I love to teach.  That moment that someone says “I got new information, and that is valuable to me.”  This makes me incredibly happy.

Baron Gunnar and his kitchen staff provided us a spicy chili that was very yummy (even if it did have beans – my vegetable nemesis).  My luncheon companions were delightful and humorous. There was a great deal of laughter from our table, and it was wonderful to get to know people better.

I learned a little bit about netting from speaking to Baroness Clarice.  It reminds me a bit of tatting and bobbin lace – neither of which I know how to do — yet.  I still have my great grandmother’s tatting shuttles  – and a good bit of her lace. I should really look into doing something with all of that.

I had a great chat with a fellow embroidery/cross-stitch fiend and was pointed towards two new to me websites for kits.  I will NOT allow myself to buy any more – I really have to finish some of the current projects before I begin anything else.  I really need to make up that list…

I happened into a classroom and caught some of the class on Samurai Chef — and good gracious – I HAVE to take that class the next time it is offered.  The plating just looked amazing…  The pictures that were being shown.. wow. Just wow.  From the little I saw, I really think that the teacher should expand it to a 2 hour class. It just looks like there is potentially so very much to talk about.

I took Dame Aiofe’s class on Reinventing Events.  Wow.  Just a huge topic. (Here is another one that could so easily be a two hour class!) We talked about family caps, onboard vs. offboard vs outboard, specialized events, no fee events, and in general how to make the SCA more appealing to people – and more affordable.  I left with some great suggestions of things we can do locally to make the Vayle more hospitable to visitors from other groups who come to events.

I sat in on Baron Perote’s class on food and how ‘period’ it is. Interesting discussion on genetics of food and how the standards have changed – even in just the last 25 years. We can approximate medieval foods, but they can never be quite exact as the foods themselves have changed so much with cross pollination, genetic meddling, and assorted selected breeding (and raising) practices. Really rather fascinating.

Sterlynge Schola is traditionally a small event, and this year held true to that. For once we were gifted with lovely weather instead of snow. The classes were fun and informative. There were many classes that I did not get to that I wanted to take (SCA Sign Language and On Charcoal and Lye to name two!).  I am hopeful that I will be able to catch those at a later date. I also did not get to speak to nearly as many of the people there as I wanted to either. That is something I am always sad about. There is always someone that I would have liked to talk to, but didn’t get the chance to do so.

I really love the SCA – the sharing of information and willingness to teach others is awesome. I continually amazed by these wonderful people I get to call my friends.

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Called into Court

I live in a moderate state of perpetual fear that I may be called in to court for something. Earlier during the reign of Magnus Tindal and Etain  ingen Dalaig I was called in and given a Sigil of Æthelmearc for service during Their reign.  I was then secure in the fact that I was not going to get called in again. I mean, really, I already had a Sigil.

The Imperatori are terribly sneaky. They called me before Them again last night during court at 12th Night/Saturnalia. Baron Perote escorted me in and I climbed up to Their Majesties.  From there things became a bit of a blur.  His Majesty spoke of when he first met me, and my work with demos, and helping them. He spoke to talking to my Peer – Duchess Meirwen uerch Owein. Then he noted they had reached a decision on how to recognize me – and that They were naming me a Baroness of Their Court.  From out of a magic bag somewhere a coronet came – green and white – my colors — with 6 beautiful pearls.  I’m not entirely sure how I managed to remain upright. Her Majesty placed the coronet on my head. Words were said – I wish I could recall them, but I am afraid my brain was rather like pudding by this point.

I did manage to ask for help getting down. I did not trust my steadiness to negotiate the stairs without assistance.  I made it back to my seat – somehow… and watched with glee as friends Murdoch and Rioghnach were also made Baron and Baroness of the Court.

After court so many people were coming up to congratulate me. One of whom was my Duchess. She said she was proud of me. Those words alone meant so much. I so often feel like I am failing her as her Lady-in-Waiting, and for once, I felt like I did well. I admit – I started crying. Too much emotion. It was epic.

This new title is going to take some getting used to. I expect that I will be looking behind me for who people are talking to when they say, “Your Excellency” for quite some time.  I also need to figure out what this means to me personally. I am going to continue to do what I have been, but is there anything that I feel I should do now that I have pearls? I don’t know – that is something I need to contemplate. I’ve never expected to be a Baroness, and I never thought about it. I expect that will eventually be a post of its own – at some point.

For now, I will sit here, in quiet surprise and contemplation. Thank you, everyone.

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Projects Update

I’ve been working on a number of projects, and I have actually managed to complete several, so I thought a general update would be a great idea.

Project 1 – 50 AS for AS 50 — Lucet cords for award medallions.  I turned in the last ones last night at practice.  I have now lucetted 50 cords for medallions and given them to the Royalty to use as they see fit.

Project 2 – Newcomer Quest – I scrapped my entire original idea and restructured the entire thing to be broader instead of more specific.  It is now on one page and works so very much better. I can easily hand it out – as well as the persona quest – to those folks interested.  I did add one thing to this, though. I made fabric covered quest books to hand out to those who undertake either of these quests.  Now, I can hand out the New Member Quest, the terminology list, and some suggested questions with a lovely covered composition book – with ribbon bookmark – to anyone interested.  So far they have been well received, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this works.

Project 3 – I found some ideas on Pinterest for Largesse.  One that I liked was making spice boxes. I ordered some vials and some tins. I put 6 together with spices in them including: salt, pepper, and cloves as well as two others. I lined the bottom with felt and put a label in the top noting what everything was. I passed these on to Their Majesties for Their use.  I really like this idea, and may make some more.

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Shoot in the Wyldwood

I attended Shoot in the Wyldwood this past weekend. Due to health constraints I day tripped instead of camped. Perote was kind enough to let me take over part of one of his booth spaces as a hospitality area.  It was delightful. We had lots of people stopping by to chat and sit for awhile with us.  We had plentiful food, and space for our new members to sit and relax. By all accounts they had a great time – and I know that they spent at least a bit of time shooting on the archery range, checking out the merchants, watching the monster shoot, and watching the heavy weapons combat. Huzzah for new members having fun!

I got time to spend with family that I do not get to see very often and that was wonderful.  The sometimes frustrating thing about the SCA and my family is that we DO stuff. We do not often sit in one spot and chat. We autocrat, combat scribe, cook, set up, take down, move stuff… so the opportunities to get to know people are sometimes catch-as-you-can. This weekend it was so hot and humid that we basically found shade, food, drinks and didn’t move.  This enabled me to get to know people better and have some wonderful discussions, and just plain laugh out loud hilarity.  (“I’m a level 5 SCA member!” still cracks me up. SCA Achievements…. it was wrong, but I couldn’t stop laughing and part of me wants to see if we can make it happen.)

I worked out a barter for some amazing lucets as well. (Have I mentioned how much I love the SCA? No?  Well, I do.)

Court was entertaining as usual. Schtick happened.  Davia is now the Khaleesi as she has her own covey of Dragons. Artemis has a pony that won’t try to kill him, and Fergus was gifted a blanket that shows that Friendship really is magic.

It was an awesome day, as it usually is.  I am looking forward to the next event – Summer’s End. I even have my hotel booked.

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Pennsic War – 25 — or guess what Site Booklet was found…

I’ve been helping a fellow SCAdain clean out her house of the extra stuff we all seem to accumulate over the years. For the folks who are also in the SCA you know that this can be a rather daunting task and often provides ‘gems’ of finds.

In this case, it was the site booklet for Pennsic War 25. The first thing that struck me with the Kings and Queens — and the Prince and Princess of AEthelmearc. For 25, it was Yngvar and Caryl. (insert Kermit arm flail of excitement here.)

A few pages further in is a message from the Pennsic Staff essentially telling folks to speak up about bad or impolite behavior.

The rest of the information on battles, war points, and info from the various marshals and the chirurgeonate are pretty standard from what I can see.

The listing of classes is broken into a schedule by day, with the class descriptions after that organized by topic. I skimmed through them to see what sort of things were offered at the War and saw a lot of names I recognized – some just with different titles. (Lady Alicia Langland! Tofi Kerthjalfadsson!  Solveig Throndardottir! Dona Teresa Gabriela de Montoya y Sevilla! Countess Gabrielle von Nijenrode! Duke Sir Timothy of Arindale! Lady Cori Ghora! Connor Macliam and Lady Catelin the Patient!)

It was a hoot to see what classes were being taught. Things such as Marketing an event, Developing a Signature, Candlemaking, Basic Sewing, Dance classes, Embroidery and Lace making, Spinning, Juggling, History classes, Literature, Mathematics, Metalwork, Music of all sorts, persona Development, Poetry, pottery, medieval medicines and other research classes, classes on sign language.

I found a lot to be inspired by in this. There were a number of things that have been taught previously, that I have not seen being taught in the last few years. Some things I may see if I can learn enough about to teach.  I have never taught at Pennsic, just scholas and such here locally. I am going to be going next year – come hell, high waters, tornados, tsunamis, dust storms, plagues of dogs, cats raining down, ferret infestations….  I’m going.  I will teach at least one class while I am there.

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