stitchwhich: (Default)
We skipped going to an SCA event this weekend which means that we also missed the elevation (woo hoo!) and party for a friend... but boy did we need the relaxed time. It did not start relaxed as I had a flat tire while driving to a gas station to fill that tire this morning, so ended up buying two new ones sort of off-the-cuff, without consulting Bossman about it. We'll likely need to replace the other two also. Tires pretty much wear out after 53,000 miles, yes? Especially considering that some of those miles were 948-mile round trips to and from a campground outside of Butler, PA from our home on the Virginia coast. That is hard on a vehicle.

But after new tires were acquired I tootled down to a Walmart market to buy what seemed like one gazillion one-liter bottles of flavored water. I regret that we both like that specific brand since I'm usually a shopper who will 'vote with my bucks' and prefer to buy local stuff. But having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I'm picky about the water I drink. And I absolutely won't buy anything from Nestlé's.

I got home to an awake hubby who already knew about the tire purchase thanks to reading my entry on FB. This is good since I had posted with him in mind. I knew he was going to read his FB feed while going through his morning wake up.

After a week in bed, this morning I was full of energy so we travelled on down to a nail's salon and treated ourselves to pedicures. He loves pedicures... Never treat your man to a salon pedi unless you are willing to have him addicted. A whirlwind of grocery shopping followed, then a late lunch, and after that I slumped. A long nap ensued for both of us, but he did the dishes while I was still passed out cold. More shopping after that and that was our day.

Tomorrow we'll have our circle of 'associates' (apprentices and protégées) to play cards again. We've been sliding into modern-day games too much lately and will have to pull out the rule book to go through some of the late-period ones. We need to practice up for the gaming hell we're hosting in January.

I am two weeks away from giving a class on eating well while single-camping in the SCA and I haven't done nary a thing to prepare. I need to get on it. One of my apprentice/protégées sparked the class. She doesn't cook (how can a person reach nearly 40 years of age and be unable to feed themselves?) so is dependent on meal plans while at weekend events. I thought it'd be nice to have a class about how to batch it while camping, starting with the sorts of meals that are easy to put together without any need for cooking and then moving up to what is possible with a one-burner stove and a pan (or two). Including the rarely-considered need for cleaning up afterwards.
stitchwhich: (Default)
We need to buy a new tent, a smaller one specifically for weekends & WoW (War of the Wings, which is five days long) since our 16x16' will be the kitchen/gathering tent for the longer event. But I can't decide which type I want to get. A modern 'cabin' tent would pack down small enough to fit in our KIA Soul, which means a huge saving in gas costs to and from an event, but... modern nylon. With all of the drawbacks of that. And the cost of an acceptable one is very close to the cost of a new canvas wall tent, which would NOT pack down small enough for the Soul.

So cost being equal, I am undecided. And if I am, I hesitate to start the discussion with my other half. But there is little time between now and War of the Wings, so I'd best make up my mind and start that conversation.
stitchwhich: (Default)
I have a question for those reading this who are also in the SCA.

What would you feel about a woman who mooned (dropped her drawers and presented her bare bottom to others) a performer she knew well during a bardic circle in her baronial encampment while children were present? Would you find this amusing? Would your feelings be different if the woman was a newcomer, or a mid-level award holder, or a Peer? Would you have differing views depending upon circumstances?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Our willow is beginning to shed leaves. It hasn't hit the heavy dropping stage, just the sort of shedding that we get after a hot, hot summer and then wind moves in to usher the seasonal change. Hurricane Matthew continues to be watched. We are supposedly heading west this weekend to crash with friends who live in the country (yay, a botany major's fall harvest on the table! Yum!) and then attend a meeting in the middle of Saturday elsewhere. It will take longer to get to, or from, the meeting than the thing is scheduled to last but sadly, I must attend so I can pick up fence posts and sheet walls from the guy who'd borrowed them from me last spring. It really is tempting to throw the whole idea to the wind and simply drive to the guy's house on Monday since he lives only 90 minutes from me rather than the six hours we'll be driving to get to the meeting. We are due for heavy rainfall Friday through Sunday but Monday is pretty clear. Ah, but we'd not be visiting Ken & Jael, and missing all the storm-surge flooding in our area over the weekend. It should soak back down by the time we head home Sunday afternoon. But still - three hours on Friday, six hours on Saturday, three more hours on Sunday... I really don't feel up to all that driving just for a quick meeting, even if we get to visit friends as the better bookend part of it. Our house sitter lives where flooding is normal during storms so is more than happy to relocate to our place for the weekend. We somehow ended up with a place that is about a foot higher than the surrounding area so (knock wood) have never flooded even when our next door neighbors have water in their living rooms.

I've been painting sheet walls for the last couple of days. Just a simple badge in the upper right corner of each wall but 22 badges do make for a lot of time bending over a table. Those are done and now I'm inspired to finish a very fancy sheet that I'd started last spring and had to set aside. I should be frying up ground beef to freeze for the event but the paint, it beckons. Expect to see some photo before I fold the thing up for packing.

Stormy weather has brought on another headache. I suppose I should consult with a doc and let them diagnose 'cluster migraines' but it seems rather silly given that the main treatment medication isn't something I can use so Motrin or Tylenol will be what I can take for the pain. So why waste the doc's time with something he can't treat and I'm just going to have to tough out? Especially something as medically hazy as 'cluster migraines'?

One of my most difficult food-intolerant diners has had to back out from coming to the event. She was 'difficult' only in that her sensitivity was one I'd never heard of before and necessitated a lot of pre-cooking for things I'd normally buy ready-made. Of course, all of those are prepared now. Poor lady, though. I can't imagine living with such a restriction. (She cannot have carrageenan, which hides in 'processing' so is often not listed in the ingredient lists on food packages.) She was really looking forward to the event but her doc has nixed it.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
The problem with 'feeling better' is that one's brain starts to write cheques that one's body (or time) cannot cash.

For instance, I'm cooking for 14 or so people in a 5-day camp next month and (cheque written) need at least two new tunics or gowns. It finally occurred to me that while I have a perfectly acceptable sleeveless surcote-styled apron, what I don't have is but one gown and one tunic whose sleeves can be rolled up to stay out of dishwater or flour in a bowl. Oops. And all of my tunics are linen, nice enough that I'd rather not chance staining them while spending each day in the kitchen. So I must sew myself some new garb. I have piles of fabric in my craft room that are in the 'need to use up' category of cotton so I think a few kitchen tunics which can later be donated to Gold Key as "Men's tunics" are the ticket. They will be plain as all-get-out but sturdily made. Because I have so much free time between now and then...

I'm mulling over side dishes for the event. We will have two evenings with everyone onsite so one will feature Rolled Thin Pancakes (a Chinese/Mongolian 14th century dish) along with ham lumpia, the modern descendent of RTP. I've never served either of these with sauces or side dishes but wonder if I should. Usually people just stuff themselves until they look at the next batch with horrified longing. So maybe those don't need side dishes. But the next meal will be a selection of sausages the men (it's mostly men) can grill over my little tripod campfire while they are hanging out after the fighting and archery sessions and I should have something to go with those. I have one diabetic besides myself to consider but I think that I'll do something specific for us two and for everyone else try something like mashed parsnips & carrots with cheese. I don't know. Got a suggestion for something I can take along which won't require too much cooler space? My cooler use is going to be awful!

And there is the painting of 22 new sheet walls, three hanging baskets to fix the chains on so they can actually hang (I've not much hand strength so this is in fact a chore), a kitchen layout to map so this year's try will not be as chaotic as last year's, a hangerroc to finish hand-sewing, and things that have slipped my mind right now but which will surge back as soon as I am laying in bed trying to sleep again.

I haven't ridden my sweet trike yet. A tropical storm followed by the flu has set that back. I can't wait to get on it now. Maybe this evening after the heat of the day passes. Until then it will be the last of my camp wall sewing, a mountain of laundry, and writing my after-Pennsic deputy mayor report. Oh - and checking out amazon prime for a solar phone charger. Gotta get that charger. Oh, and get to the commissary for this week's food supplies.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
In a little while we will be going to a five-day camping event. I have to be honest - the only reason I am looking forward to the event is that I will be cooking for about 10-15 people and that makes me all squeely-happy. I've been happily contemplating my menu and my diners for months now. But I threw the invitation open to everyone in our camp (it is a small camp) and now have a couple who will be on the plan who will be camping for the first time in about 17 years. No, longer than that - Pennsic 17 was their last event. He is handicapped with fibromyalgia and diabetes complications. That doesn't affect my menu planning much at all since I, too, am diabetic. There will be plenty to eat for him and I without shorting the selections for the normal (and the food-sensitive) folks.

I am ashamed to admit that I am now dreading the event because of this couple. They are open-handed and kind folks... but he's been shut up in two rooms of their home for years now and is one lonely garrulous man. Constantly talking about himself, his past jobs, honors, and actions for hours on end. Hours. And any sign of disinterest results in smoldering rage cumulating in a dramatic flounce of some sort.

They will be there the first day, which is normally a light one, just one or two tents in camp and few in the event at all. So will I since I am the camp master for the household camp. They know only a handful of people from our baronial group, who will likely be camping in a spot too far away from him to be able to visit. Which means that I anticipate he will be sitting in my kitchen nearly full time, talking.

I understand his loneliness and his need to connect with people, to feel validated and worthy. And I can usually support that with an open ear for an hour or so. But after that I begin to want to run away... too introverted, I guess, because I end up exhausted after interacting with him.

I have no idea how to reduce the amount of time I'll be, well, subjected to his self-focused verbosity. The last time I tried to change the subject to something more up-to-date and general he went into a pet and "quit" the SCA within a half hour of walking away. That's on him, I know, and not my problem. And to be far he was going through a difficult drug withdrawal as they were experimenting with various types to try to alleviate his pain.

But how - especially as a Peer - do I create an open dining area such as I've had in the past inside our tent and at the same time divert him from spending all of his time sitting there monopolizing the conversation with bragging and 'instructing'? Politely? Got any useful phrases or actions you could suggest? I don't want to hurt his feelings or make him feel unwelcome but at the same time, I will be basically chained to my kitchen - by design - and that means I am a sitting duck.

I'm guessing that this is a time-worn problem so there has to be some coping skills in history somewhere, yes? "Garrulous old man you can't escape" has got to be fairly common in village/castle/town life?

[Edit] In the manner of things, once I'd typed this and left it to try to sleep I thought of a couple of strategies. One would be to simply be honest with the man and tell him that I am far more introverted than I appear and that I need quiet to balance out the socializing that will come at each meal. If he can be quiet around me, I could deal with him always being in the dining area. And, since our tent is divided in half with the front half the 'dining/hosting area' and the other a kitchen on one end and our sleeping area in the back, I can just pull the curtain between the kitchen and the dining area (the sleeping area's curtain is always closed) and say that I am going to rest. That I'd be doing so by sitting in a chair stitching on something is beside the point. Additionally, I plan on offering our little collapsible wagon to him & his wife so they can tote their chairs and beverages with them and send them out to visit the nearby 'village' (artisan's row), merchant area, and even the archery range. I only need that wagon once or twice a day to fetch refilled water jugs.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have acquired more stuff. On Friday we travelled to a Sam's Club out of our area so I could get a shiny red tricycle rather than the shiny gold ones available at our local store. Yeah, we checked out regular bike shops first but the price difference for the rather boring and mundane model that I wanted was huge - I'm not ready to spend a minimum for $500 for a bike when I don't even know for sure that riding it is going to be something I can maintain! So - shiny red bike came home in a box. Sunday morning, after he woke up and saw that I was desperately fighting to get to sleep, my man waited until I'd succeeded and built the bike on his own, letting me sleep for eight hours rather than waking me up to be a part of the Trike Building Team. There is now a long scratch through the paint on the support leading up to the handlebars - and I don't care. Because he sunburned the heck out of himself and sweated a few pounds, too, so I could have my new toy for this week's increase in my physical activity plan. I'll get some car paint to dab onto the scratch marks. Or maybe just by some reflective paint and decorate right over it.

Riding a trike is weird. You can't lean into a turn. In fact leaning seems to be counter-productive, as it misaligns the rider to the bike frame. That is going to take some getting used to and will likely impact any decision about buying a regular bike down the line.

I've been researching headlights and tail lights. I already know that I will most likely be riding during the night so those are quite important. I don't know how it is in your area but my little corner of suburbia has few sidewalks, if any, and we are legally required to ride out bikes on the roads... where reckless drivers can ram us on their own terms. Or so it seems. Which is one reason why I'd rather ride at night - fewer cars on the roads and bright lights on my trike will make me far more visible than I shall be during daylight cruising beside parked cars and trailers on the sides of the roads.

I am not actually required to buy a helmet. My own doctor told me that I needn't, pointing out that since helmets are normally worn to protect a rider from damage while falling and the likelihood of falling off of a tricycle is about 5%, it is not necessary for me to wear one. (He said that if I were to be riding and fall because I'd been struck by a car, then there would be a lot more to worry about than head injury. Likely he is right about that but the cautious part of me is still looking at a helmet. If I can wade through all of the ones offered online. Good gravy! It is worse than porn!

Saturday we delivered the small fridge to its new owners and came home with my 15K89 Singer sewing machine. Which does not have an operator's manual online. I shall have to use the 'generic' 15K manual. Oh, and it does come with a case. So this is what I've got now.

I haven't tried to use it yet and likely won't until I get the 22 sheet walls for our GDH camp perimeter sewn and painted. Or at least as painted as they are going to be by mid-October.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Three weeks of living in the muggy outdoors was exhausting. And yet not. For the first time I had an air mattress on my bed rather than a real one and it was a joy. The mattress predictably lost air during the first night and then stayed in that state for the rest of the time. Its softness was an awful lot like sleeping on our waterbed. For once I came home without sore shoulders and hips. And slept deeply, too, almost every night.

The Deputy Mayor job was fun. Great, even. I'm going to miss doing it next year.

I'm taking a year 'off' from the SCA. Or more specifically, from my local group. Maybe two years, I don't know. I've been very excited about my plans ever since I made the decision - projects that I had waiting are now things I am looking forward to, and I'm even planning new ones. They are all for my own satisfaction - no deadlines, mostly, and no pressure to please others or work around their expectations. So relaxing.

This break time will eliminate the time sink volunteering has had over me so I cannot use any more excuses about getting stronger and building muscles & mobility. I'm looking forward to camping next summer and being able to be useful during set-up, or rather, during unpacking and erecting the pavilion. I AM useful during set up after the pavilion is up, as I am the one who arranges all the furnishings and creates the kitchen set-up. But the heavy lifting has been done by my husband and it's not fair.

Yesterday started the 'build muscle' regime. Minorly, just one exercise done here in the house, but I feel good about it. Today I return to my food log. It was lovely to set it aside for a month (a whole month!). I ate double-stuffed Oreos last night as my celebratory farewell to unmonitored munching. It wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be - the dietary changes have modified my dining desires. I would have killed for some decent cherries instead. Alas, the season has passed.

Today I also pull out my sewing machine to put together the rest of the blank sheet walls our camp will use for War of the Wings. Or at least 'this batch' of them. I've had the fabric sitting there for a year and was never inspired to finish it up, even with a whole bag of bias tape hanging from one of the cabinets in the craft room as a 'reminder'. Now I want to do it.

After I get some sleep. It's become fugitive again so I guess the "Pennsic Recovery Period" has passed.

Sheep walls

Nov. 3rd, 2015 03:36 am
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Okay, so I made a new one. At some point I should makes something a little more classical in its depiction of sheep, but for now this one amuses me.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I'm avoiding working on a scroll - the paper I chose for the thing (Bristol) is very thick so my light-board isn't working well. I'm not an artist, can't draw worth a darn, so need the silly light-board in order to get anything done. But it is so dim on the other side of that Bristol paper that I actually took my glasses off and had my face hovering a few inches above the surface so I could squint enough to see the images shining behind. I have the bottom edge design traced out and am only needing to draft in the left edge patterning and then - OMG - do the text. Which, btw, will be traced with an extra-fine Sharpie pen and not callig'd. This is because I "wrote a cheque from an empty account". I haven't had a chance to practice any calligraphy and being a leftie means that it takes me a bit longer to get up to speed. The two scrolls are due this Saturday morning. I shouldn't have volunteered to do them but I got my time sense confused and thought I had an extra week to get them done after the camping event.

My meal plan was successful as far as the diners went. I was unhappy with the level of disorganization that I had and grateful that I had a 'memos' app on my phone so I could make a list for myself in the middle of the night, that being when solutions to problems seem to become clear and elegant. If I'd waited until morning they'd be lost forever. The biggest difficulty was my own lack of ease in getting things done. This would have been alleviated had I asked for a kitchen helper every day instead of trying to do it all myself and if I'd stored the dry goods in bins sorted by meals. Asking someone to lay out the items in a small 'breakfast' bin while I started the hot water on the stove would be such a step up from my own rooting around in a giant bin pulling out boxes and jars while folks hovered in the public area waiting for their coffee and oatmeal and the unneeded items had to be placed on any convenient surface while I found the breakfast or lunch items.

I learned that my 'food restriction' person had given me, as we suspected, a list of foods that were a blend of dangerous-to-her ones and personal dislikes. As she said on Friday when I mentioned that I might just end up scrambling everyone's eggs on Saturday, " I don't DO scrambled eggs!" I bit back the reactive "Then you can just eat oatmeal if you are lucky, b*tch" thought that immediately crossed my mind. (I was in pain and very cold, it being a little over 40 degrees, so grumpy.) Later in the day she mentioned that she had been through a three-month elimination diet with no appreciable results so I am giving her the benefit of the doubt that she may not actually know what is causing her intestinal discomfort. I imagine it must be quite frustrating to find that some foods create dire effects one day and yet not on different one, with no medical explanation of why or the common factor. Nonetheless, she will not be on my meal plan next year.

Oh, did I mention that I am already planning on doing it again next year? I did enjoy it even through the frustrations of my disorganization. It's been years since I've cooked a meal plan for more than four people. Probably a full decade, actually. And I ended up with 5 more people on it by Friday - the head of a household who'd asked after the plan just 12 hours before I was due to leave home told his shire members that they were on it. Which I learned after they arrived two-by-two from out-of-kingdom. But with the help of a person swinging by the grocery store after their trip to Lowe's, we had plenty for everyone. They loved the chawettes, they loved the lumpia, and they adored the SOS. Which made me giggle - of all things boring SOS seems to be the one that people greet with raised eyebrows and then come back to the kitchen sniffing hopefully for seconds.

It was cold at night. Just barely above freezing. We slept warm though, and shared Bossman's air mattress instead of setting up our normal two beds. I had expected that the arrangement wouldn't work - he normally sleeps catty-corner on the mattress so he can fit. But instead we fitted together just fine. I guess old habits are not ever lost. :) The mattress was difficult for me on the days he wasn't there as I could barely get off of the thing but once he got on site I was fine so long as he was in the bed while I was exiting. I needed that extra firmness to push off from! Before we left home we went to a secondhand store and bought a couple of quilted bedspreads to take with us for the bed. I'd meant to buy only one but there were two that matched and he wanted both of them. So after two thin wool blankets were laid down one quilt (King sized!) followed, then our down comforter, then the other matching quilt. They were large enough that I could tuck the ends and the foot-level bits of the sides under the mattress, which effectively kept the blankets from sliding off the mattress during the night. Those things are not designed for tucking in one's bedding. The plan was to return the quilts to the store as donations, effectively 'renting' them for the duration of the event (a whole $14us!) and keeping us from having to find new storage space for them, but he likes the ugly things so now they are packed into a vacuum-sealed bag and put away on top of the camping gear for next Pennsic.

We had brought a small but powerful propane heater with us. We never needed to use it. We did finally figure out that it was useful on Sunday morning for the gathering area while folks had their breakfast and coffee/tea though. It was nice to have that hot air blowing on us.

The Great Dark Horde camp had six brothers camping in it and eight chagua. We had a couple of Brothers have to cancel plans, durn it. I made twelve new sheet walls for the camp to go with the six I'd already made - there were no more than that there. No one else made or brought any. Luckily for my morale, I had only expected one more wall to show up, as I knew that most of thems who made walls were not going to be able to attend. I just bought more sheets to launder and cut into new walls. Hopefully if I do a set of two sheets every payday we'll have enough by next WoW. Friends of ours who live in Clarksville are going to let us store the household's camping supplies (sheetwalls and poles. Maybe a fire bowl) at their place so we can have them consolidated. Having each of us store and bring a personal set of supplies was good in theory but rotten in practice. Next week, after our Baronial Investiture event is over I shall start painting designs on the walls with the help of some of my khanate members. That will be fun.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We shipped our (ruined) brand-new pavilion back to the manufacturer a couple of days ago. Today I drafted and sent a letter to them about it basically demanding a replacement. I think that if a tent fails on the first use of it, replacement is not unwarranted. I do not, however, expect that my hopes will be met - in fact, I foresee a lot of hemming and hawing about it. The business has changed their warranty policies since the original owner passed on and they are not as good as they once were ("warranty repairs up to $50 will be made for free" - anything more involved means the tent owner pays for it, and that after shipping & handling in both directions. Which, from our place, was $148US _one way_. Our tent is now more expensive than if we'd ordered one from the Big Box suppliers like Panther.)

I included photos of the damage and the poor quality in my letter. It ended up being more in a 'chatty cathy' sort of tone - I wanted to invoke a desire to 'do right by these poor folks' sort of reaction in the manufacturer but, well - I don't expect I shall succeed. And there may be a lengthy conversation leading me to demand a full refund. We're within our bank's "shopper's support" time limit to have them take action about the charge. That sounds weird. I mean that we may have to contact the bank & Visa about them getting involved in attempting reimbursement. I sure hope not. I sincerely hope that "chatty cathy' will be enough to inspire them to make everything right with us.

In the long run, however, we can no longer recommend the small family business that once was so golden. The original owner has died and his heirs have turned it into something not worth the investment... it saddens me.

So here's what happened about halfway through Pennsic, thanks to a defective central grommet in the roof:20150804_150301

And here's the type of quality that already had me unhappy about the dags - notice the sloppy sewing on the edging? The whole thing was like that.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
My mind is on recipes for Pennsic. Or rather, on changing my view of what is and isn't 'easy' to make for two busy people (or for hosting a small set of friends).

See, after realizing that we were going to have to replace our 35-year-old Coleman camp stove, we dithered a bit and finally, thanks to the Memorial Day sale going on at Bass Pro, plunked down the extra $100 to buy a propane stove-oven rather than just a stove. Yup, I now have a camp oven to mess with. Yes, it is modern and not my beloved Viking-era kitchen stuff but I don't mind at all... I've wanted it for about three years now. Just for the idea of freshly-baked bread and cinnamon rolls to serve my man. Not to mention his idea of the Ultimate Meal - meatloaf. (Yeah, I know.) So those items are easy to consider. But I've 40 years of 'we don't really bake while camping' mindset to overcome, along with my diabetes 'shouldn't eat much grain' daily diet, so what I thought I'd be cooking if I ever got the oven - casseroles, pastries, meat pies - are now not so interesting. And I'm hard-pressed to think of what I should be putting together for this Pennsic, when he's going to be busy as usual and I'm going to be a Deputy Mayor (less busy than as Quartermaster or Head Troll, but more busy than as a general watch stander.)

There is a quick-snack item that I love to make, apple slices rolled up in cinnamon sugar covered croissant wedges, which will be nice to have on hand for guests and quick grabs, and the same concept will work for small meat pies, but beyond that - what is possible? Fast to put together yet not filled with carbs? I am going to have to do some recipe-sleuthing. After all, I must justify to the man that the extra expense and packing hassle is worth it. Although I think meatloaf and cinnamon buns will probably do the trick.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We are almost done with our baronial fundraiser. I talked to the Baroness last night and she agreed that we could close the effort in the first week of May, in time for us to present the total amount earned to the group at our business meeting that week. I'll be so glad to be done with it. I've enjoyed the days spent with various people at our table, all of us working together and chatting - that has been wonderful. A good portion of the packaging and selling for individual orders has been easy, if time consuming, but another part of it has caused me to want to throw things in a temper tantrum from the hassle of it all. One repeat customer suggested that we bring the last of the batches to an event at the end of May (Ruby Joust) because campers there would be pleased to buy us out and cook it for their dinners... but truthfully, I want to be done.

I don't even know if we'll be attending Ruby. We have only missed one Gem Joust in all the time we've been in the SCA, that being when Bossman had his heart attack two days before the event (and he was the Marshal in Charge! Our current Baron stepped in to take his place, the sweet man, and the Autocrat sent a note to Bossman saying, "you could have just said "no", which made the poor hospitalized man hurt his chest from laughing so hard.) Anyway, Gem Joust (first "Diamond" which were before we joined, then "Emerald", then "Sapphire" and now "Ruby", those being the prizes for the winners of the tournaments) is now held in an area which is sharply divided between trees & lush grass or clay soil with scant grass. Our group camps in the clay area. I've always appreciated that since the place is teeming with ticks - teeming, you can actually watch the grass under the trees and see them crawling there - so I stick to the tourney area and our campsite as they are both in the clay-and-sparse-grass section. But with the weather shifts the event has been on scorching hot days and that clay reflects the heat terribly. Thus the disinclination to attend. It's danged hot and surrounded by trees I am allergic to, and then add in the ticks. I miss our old camp, which was a BSA camp. It had copperheads but few ticks.

This fundraiser had me pulling our our vacuum sealing machine to pack people's orders so they'd be safe from sloshing water & ice in coolers at the end of a day. We had many orders that were to be delivered at various events and they'd not be headed home until after feast or at least until after court before feast. And it hit me early on (but not early enough!) that we were packing the lumpia and Rolled Thin Pancakes in regular zip-lock bags to put in our freezer, but what were we going to do about getting them safely to the event where we'd be cooking them, and storing them during the day - plus getting them home - without any water leaking into the bags? Out came the sealer again, this time to make huge ice packs that wouldn't leak. I nearly filled our chest freezer with them. Most of them were cut up and thrown away when we got home but I'd been messing around with a few of them, thinking that we'd want to keep some for ourselves since they'd be so handy. And to mark them as 'ours', I added colorful beads to the water. They made me smile. Two leaked and had to be reworked and one hasn't come home yet from the house where it ended up with some of the extra lumpia stock. But I'd already found that the scant amount of beads I'd put inside were not enough so today we went out to A. C. Moore's and bought four strands of new beads of various types. Bossman found a package of plastic lizards at Whole Foods on the way home so those are going in our bags too. I should probably post a photo at some point, eh?

If they look cool enough and amuse us enough, we may make a few to give to friends for their day-event coolers. :)

And to top a good day of relaxation (only had to deliver one order of lumpia), Whole Foods had a new stock of Skyr and I got 6 containers of them. Bliss.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
For the past two, maybe three, weeks I've been sewing for my little booth at Holiday Faire. I haven't made enough stock though, not enough to reach my goal even if it all sells. There are a lot of merchants at that event and many of them are selling garb. Oh well - I will make some money and I know that some tired and anxious parents will have clothing for their children that they won't have to try to find the time to make themselves.

But pricing has been a struggle. I know that SCA garb is almost always sold under-price compared to what would be considered normal for Renn Faires or other venues. $15-$20 a tunic/dress is the most I can reasonably charge for the majority of my wares else no one will buy them - not for clothing designed to fit infants to size 8(ish). So I know that this won't be the one-shot effort that I had imagined. I'll have to set up my booth at least once more before spring, and then suck it up and serve ramen for a while so we can afford the new pavilion. Thank goodness them suckers last a long time! I don't believe we'll need another one again. Our enthusiasm for camping is fading as the TV and chair look more and more inviting. "Hotel" events are going to be more our norm.

Just for the fun of it, behind the cut are some of my little outfits. At least, some of the ones I feel fond of. SCA clothes for little people )
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Hmmmm. RV rental from a place near the War of the Wings site would be about $237 for three days, not including distance-travelled. Nearly the same cost as a hotel room but onsite and with a kitchen & fridge.

Tempting. Very tempting. We could drive down in our gas-efficient car and pick up the rental when we're near the site. Asa is a genius.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It was actually a tough weekend. We started with a slow start from our house but settled into a comfortable drive, and stopped at "our" Dairy Queen, which is located about midpoint between our house and the turn off to Interstate 95. And there our day took a downturn since someone decided that keying our truck from the back taillight (I didn't know you could key a taillight) to the front grill would be fun. They had so much fun that they went back to the middle where the passenger doors were and swiped a couple more lines too. But our insurance company has it covered so we'll only have to pay the (minor) deductible and the truck will be repaired. The estimate is for about $1568. I hadn't expected it to be quite that high. It appears that the whole passenger side will have to be sanded and repainted. The work order even calls for removing and cleaning the little metal thingies that say "V8" and stuff like that. You know, "I'm a big important truck" decorations. I knew they'd be removing those bits but didn't expect that they'd be throwing in cleaning and polishing of them.

In the meanwhile we have a 'comparable' replacement vehicle. A Toyota Tundra stretch-cab truck that is bright cherry red. Bossman is in love with the rear camera but I miss our old truck. For one thing, it doesn't require a step stool for me to get into our own truck. This replacement one is lacking step bars. So he gets the truck this week while I get the Soul. I win!

Camping is hard on us. Too hard, I think. I do enjoy myself once we get things set up, and teardown is fairly easy, but it takes a day or two for me to stop aching after we get set up and boy, does the world seem nasty while I'm in pain. I ended up telling the Autocrat, who is a dear friend, that I hated her event. When she asked why I told her it was because we were assigned camping space on a bad slope (we were - I had to crawl up my mattress every hour or so each night) and were surrounded by cars, as if we were camping in a parking lot. That is a problem, and I know that it is one they've been working on correcting, but still - it wasn't why I hated the event. I hated the exhaustion and the pain of setting up and 'getting going'. The cure, of course, is to get back into better shape so it doesn't affect us so badly but even with that, what would make it better would be to actually attend for the length of the event instead of arriving late on Friday afternoon and leaving again before noon on Sunday. Medieval camping is a lot like moving house - and we're just getting too tired to enjoy the experience. (And I was thinking about something while we were packing out. In the 'old days', someone almost always had some sort of music playing loudly during pack out, usually a Celtic band or something not-quite-modern. But we don't do that any longer. I wonder why we lost that?)

I discussed the problem with friends, who suggested trying to switch to an RV or towable camper. That is one possibility although it 'harshes our medieval experience'. We'll have to do something because the other thing that happened over the weekend is that our tent roof ripped at one of the roof ridge grommets and the tent is now dead. It is too old to repair - while I was trying to get comfortable at night I was looking at the roof canvas and cataloguing all the spots where the fabric has worn thin enough to be nearly transparent. It is time to retire the poor thing and this C-shaped rip around the grommet just collapsed any ideas about keeping it. This too, is strange - we're down to a wall tent and a wedge tent. We haven't had so few tents in all the time we've been together.

I've been drifting around the house for the last couple of days, feeling rather lost. I keep getting the nagging "need to get to work" sensation even though I gave up my job on Saturday and no longer am facing monthly deadlines. It feels very odd. I tried to assuage the nagging feeling by going on OSCAR to help with commentary but my timing is poor and others have mostly already written what I would have said. Perhaps later today I will remember that I do have a deadline and get started back on my sewing projects for Holiday Faire. Eeep! And maybe I'll remember that I need to send in my merchant's fees!!!

Our turnover-of-office was fun - my Boss (Triton Herald) gave me a pair of penguin socks. I clutched them to my chest and squeaked, "Dobby is free!" She made me laugh. Poor Bossman missed it though. He was off getting warm outer layers for me and my protégé. Once the sun went down (and why IS it that the Royals always seem to face the populace into the sun?) it got cold fast. I thought I was prepared for it but I was quite mistaken. He also fetched out truck so I wouldn't have to walk from the court area back to our camp. I was embarrassed about that but did appreciate it. I'd been in sufficient physical distress getting to the court area across the rutted campground that I was in tears and near to collapse by the time I got there. He was concerned about me. I hate it when I make him worry. But there was no way to avoid taking the long walk at a near run - Herald's Point closed at 5:00 and we had to get all the important stuff out of it and put somewhere safe while at the same time, court was scheduled to start at 5:00 and we (my protégé and I) had to be there for the turnover ceremony. We were pushing ourselves pretty hard!

I didn't see anything but our camp and Herald's Point - missed visiting camps or going to the merchant's. I didn't see Gwenyth, darn it, or Raimond and Jaelle. But I did get to spend time with others who I usually miss just about as much and that was a pleasant surprise.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I am finally rested... and am getting back to work on Things Long Neglected. Ooofff... there are piles of paper getting the stink-eye even as I work on other stuff. (And with the sending of one email, I may be getting the stink-eye in a day or so.)

The last of the piled-up dishes are washed and put away. Laundry continues apace. The vacuum cleaner made a surprise visit and unsurprisingly, the house smells better for it. The Bossman was roused out of his chair and chivvied into a shower and street clothes, then taken to our (regular and therefore easy to judge 'I want it but will this stay where it belongs') standard restaurant for a birthday brunch. Followed by a side trip to the grocery store for supplies for tomorrow's attempt at a return to work. He is now resting bonelessly in his easy chair while I catch up on email and computer work.

I believe I have given up on the idea of purchasing a new desktop computer until autumn. I'd like to, but the budget, thanks to our co-pays for medical costs, isn't going to stretch to that as well as a new pavilion for Pennsic, and if I have any hope at all of bringing my man to Pennsic, we need the new single (combined use) tent which will replace the three we've been using for our camp. I just plain can't set up and furnish (and tear down and repack) three tents. So I am diverting my computer funds to the pavilion fund. If I'm lucky, and if I can keep my energy levels up well enough, I should be able to merchant at a couple of events this spring and finish building that fund as well as (maybe) getting a start on a computer one. We'll see.

If it turns out that he cannot handle Pennsic camping (we won't know until midMay, most likely), then I will be going alone in a 10x10 Viking A-frame. That would be challenging! I'd be camping with basically the same set up as I'd use while doing reenacting, only for two weeks rather than two-five days.
stitchwhich: (I embroider)
My summer sewing project is complete and in the hands of its owner. It nearly wasn't - after I'd overnight-expressed it to his last known address, he told me on Facebook (four days later) that he'd not gone to get it and was already packing. Boy, was I hot! Not even a 'thank you'! I learned of this when he posted on Facebook that he was looking for a piece of luggage to borrow. I asked him if he knew that I hated him right then... Later, he wrote to me to say that the clothes all fit except (go figure) the tunic with the embroidery, whose sleeves are about six inches too long. I have no idea how that happened. He didn't say how he got his clothes and I didn't ask but I'm figuring that one of the other guys in the group, who he was renting a room from, drove all the way down to the new-owner's house to deliver the clothing after he saw my response online. If so, I owe that driver some embroidery or something. Anyway it's done now, and that is all that matters. (And I got over my mad but it will be a long while before I'll be willing to sew for him again without money upfront as a regular commission job. No more 'for free just because I'm nice'.)

Having said that, I'm making a Norman tunic for another member of our re-enactment group- - - for free just because I'm nice. But I absolutely know that this guy will be quick to respond to any messages I send him, and he certainly deserves something that looks good. Heidi/Oda made his hosen for him so all he needs is a split-front tunic and an undertunic to complete his second kit. He's not going to need them soon as he's a new Second Louie in the Marine Corps and is busy with training, then expects to be shipping elsewhere for more training before he gets his real orders. He dropped by on Sunday to pick up his feast gear (I'd knitted cotton bags to store & transport them in so they would be safer as he moves around) and the linen-lined wool hood & mantle that he'd washed and dried... my fault, I've been so busy telling the guys that "this is washable and dryable" when talking about their trous and tunics for the past few years that I'm sure he completely forgot me telling them all that they should either dry clean or just wash & air dry their hoods. It was a long while ago that I'd made them. The wool shrank a bit. Not too badly, but the yarn-woven braid along the edge of the mantle puckered up and the linen lining was, of course, too large for the wool exterior. I was able to 'fix' that by creating a horizontal tuck all the way around the inside bottom of the mantle and hand-stitching it down. He's been instructed to use a steamy-but-cool iron to stretch out the wool braid when he gets a chance. It's not as though he won't have access to an iron on base!

Theoretically right now I'm prepping for the class on Viking-era Norse garb that I'll be teaching this Saturday. You can tell that I'm doing that by the fact that I'm typing an entry in here instead of hunting down my references on the web. I'm building up to it, really. Oh that reminds me - I need to find out if the school has an overhead projector I can use. One thing I'm doing for the class is hand-sewing another pair of Thorsberg trous. I want to have examples people can actually hold and play with during the class. It is giving me something to work on while we're watching TV at night. And now Bossman will have heavy trous for Ymir, something practically jeans-weight and sturdy.

I was thinking about how I could help with our need to purchase a new pavilion before Pennsic next year. The one we want, a 16x16, is between $1300-$1600 depending on which fabric treatment we opt for. Right now, with us looking at needing to buy a new car (mine bit the dust) and renew some dental work, things are looking tight. Money for something like a pavilion is going to be dear. So after some thought I've decided that I will attempt to merchant at a few events - nothing too stressful - and sell things I am comfortable making. I believe my plan at this point is children's garb and (of all things) cooler covers. Ours are made of a heavy upholstery fabric top with a soft skirt underneath. They look a bit like a ladies' boudoir stool, actually, or like a table covered with a cloth & a table carpet. The advantage is that we can get into the cooler without removing the cloth cover so it isn't too much of a modern-item jar when we use them at events. Lauren went with me to JoAnn's Fabric, where there was a very good sale, and I was able to pick up a nice selection of skirting and top fabrics. I also got a good bit of linen/cotton fabrics for kid's clothes. Not a huge amount, but enough to be a starter for the project. I plan on ploughing the profits back into the supply costs while skimming off a little each time. Even if I only earn a small amount, it will help. And of course there will be some parent out there who will be able to dress their kids comfortably and affordably without having to scramble to find the time to sew new stuff. I like that.

Anything left over can go to Gold Key in the spring. Here's our current cooler-cover. I'll be making mix-and-match sets for 'daytrip' sized coolers, and can measure & take orders for the larger ones since those are not so uniform in size and shape.

Cooler cover - small

Countdown: 239 days until I'm done with the (lifesaving) Gleevec and finish with its side effects. I thought I'd put that somewhere so I can recalculate whenever I have bad days - because the number is only going to get smaller.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I am definitely slower about posting entries but aren't we all, pretty much?

Viking demo cooking stuff )
stitchwhich: (viking snob)
I'll probably write more about his weekend later but I'm wading through five days of email messages and this is just a quick break. Brought to you by a recent message from one of the guys who was a guest in our living history demo area and who went home with a recipe I gave him for a snack I'd brought to feed the group (I was the cook for the group this time. As pretty much normal.)

So... one of our guest groups told us that they had a guy who only had a Norman kit. We changed our timeline to the early 11th century in order to allow for a Norman to be interacting with Viking Norse. And we set it at a "thynge" in the Isle of Mann, just in case we had any other suprises from either of our two guest groups. In honor of our Norman, I made a little snack from a recipe found in a book I had not actually recorded (Drat. Darn. And I need to remember to go through the various source books and find that stupid provenance). All I had at the top of my entry was "from the Norman section", which leads me to think that it may be in Jaqui Wood's latest book. Wait. I couldn't stand it and I went looking. Yes, It is on page 36 of her "Tasting the Past" book. And I made an error with it as the recipe is supposed to be dated post-Crusade, which takes it out of our era by 40 years.


Everyone who ate it loved it. Except for me, actually. And I ended up sharing the recipe with five people during the event, including one visitor who snuck a bite of it while we conspicuously looked in the other direction, who fished for a piece of paper and a pen to get me to write it down for her. Another woman, a very sweet 18th century reenactor who came to us twice to share her shortbread (yum) did the same... over the last few hours the wonder of its popularity and the rather constant raves about it keep surfacing in my mind.

Take equal parts almonds, pistachios, and (one half) dates. Crush them separately then combine the just-larger-than-meal results. Cut in the same amount of butter as you had of chopped dates, then add enough breadcrumbs to gain a stiff dough. Shape the dough into small balls and if you wish, roll those balls through a bit of fine sugar. Ta-da! Very Expensive (for the times) Norman "powerballs".* Conjectural recipe only, of course.

And apparently very, very popular. I promised the Austlandr that I'd bring it back next year - now what am I going to do, knowing that it was based on later-period wartimes?

*And even more weird for me was that I mis-read the recipe, which had a rather large amount of breadcrumbs in the list of ingredients, and combined everything, including all those crumbs, before adding in the butter. Which was in no way sufficient to bind everything. Neither was doubling the amount of butter, which led to me cussing a moment and folding in two eggs then dumping the whole mess into a shallow baking pan and baking at 325 degrees for 20 minutes until it was just starting to separate from the sides of the pan. It was still moist enough two days later to be chewy but not too sticky. We just cut it into little 'cakes' sort of like Rice Crispy Treats and served it up.
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