Friday, June 22, 2012

Washing wool

Travis' cousin Toby gave me a bunch of wool from his wife, Sheila's, sheep. It's from the tails and bellies, so it is short, so if I can't spin with it, I will have to learn how to felt properly. Planning to wash it tonight using directions on this site:

It seems to have good information, similar to that which I've heard from people who know what they are doing, so hopefully it turns out well! Updates later!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Experimenting in the kitchen

This post doesn't really have anything to do with food, though yes, I was in the kitchen.  I made lip balm last night, kinda sorta following this recipe:

I used the top recipe, only I used coconut oil instead of almond/jojoba/olive, and only used 3 ingredients...the oil, beeswax, and honey.  It turned out nicely, and as of today at least, it seems to be working quite well.  Better than the crappy chapstick stuff I had.

Also started some eucalyptus oil.  All of the tutorials I read said to use freshly cut eucalyptus.  As we don't have fresh eucalyptus in these parts, I used some dried stuff that I've literally just had in a vase for years.  (I decided I wanted it to be more useful than decorative.)  So, I put some in a jar, crushed the leaves up, and poured some olive oil on.  Then closed the lid, and put it in a sunny windowsill.  I need to add some more oil tonight, as I only had about 1/3 a cup.  It's supposed to be good for your skin, and soothe aches, so we'll see.

Next projects:  I need to make Travis linen pants, linen tunic, wool tunic, and my cotehardie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crafty things

Ok, so it's been awhile. I've decided I need to post the projects I begin and finish as a way to keep track of them. So, here's the first two.

First off, I learned what was called the Coptic naalbinding stitch at a class at Gulf Wars this year. It is almost stupid easy once you figure it out, and I made a very nice pouch with it. I'm quite please. Interestingly enough, it's the exact same technique for basic wire-weaving, it just starts out a little differently. The first photo is a close-up of the stitches (it looks knitted!), the second of the finished pouch, with a penny as scale reference.

Also, I made a basket a Gulf Wars this year. It's quite cute. It started out easy, then became interesting, then "oh-my-gosh-why-am-I-doing-this difficult." Luckily that stage didn't last very long, and it then became just "interesting" again! I like "interesting." Anyway, I'd like to acquire some more period materials for making more of them sometime. I was carrying the basket in the merchants that evening (for date night), and the man from the really awesome uber-period viking merchant shop, the name of which I cannot remember (any help???), said that it looked exactly like the ones that friends of his from Poland make, which are supposedly replicas of early medieval Norse baskets. How they tell that, I don't know, since I doubt any of them survived, and at least in Saxon England, precious few decent artistic renditions seem to exist. But I was pleased, and it is certainly a plausible design. Mine is made of rattan; he said they make theirs from the bark of pine root, which is supposed to be dug up at a certain time in the spring. Oh, the woman who taught the class did say that archaeologists have found slabs of clay with basketry patterns on though baskets were lined with clay to make them waterproof. I'll have to look into this, as it sounds like a really cool idea, and a good way to deduce weaving patterns. Anyway, enough of my poorly-written blather (it's late, I'm hurrying)--here's the picture of my very first basket!!

Those are the most recent projects that I'm proudest of. Hooray for learning fun, new things!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It only makes it worse...

I need to remember to stop trying to fix things. It's far better to work with what is available, than to "fix" things that I have no right to try to fix. To change the nature of things to try to make it more "useful" to myself.

And I'm not talking about darning socks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


My sort-of goal for myself this month was to read 10 books. It didn't matter what they were. And I was going to include the National Geographic magazines that I had to catch up with.

I'm not sure I'm going to make it.

The reason for making the goal in the first place was to try to fit in more time for reading. After college, it just seemed harder to actually sit down and pick up a book and focus on it. College gave me bad reading habits. I learned how to scan. I learned more in less time, but forgot it more quickly than from a slower, deeper reading.

So I'm trying to teach myself to really read again. Fiction, non-fiction, whatever. So. This month I've read:

Beowulf. I loved it. Unfortunately, I can't remember off the top of my head who did this particular translation. Oh wait...Burton Raffel. (Behold the powers of Google!) It was quite good. I think he was aiming more for poetry than historical accuracy. I appreciate poetry, but love me some history as well, so while I definitely enjoyed it, it might not be my first pick. Not to say it was inaccurate, it was just odd how he interpreted some of the names and such. Like Heorot turned to Herot, and Edgetheo turned to Egtho. I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

I also finished my 2 back-issues of the National Geographic. They're pretty much book-length anyway, so I counted them. Always fun, there were some good articles. It's interesting to see the different slants that different writers take. Nat. Geo. has a definite bias, but it can manifest itself differently in various authors...or not at all.

And I'm working my way thru "1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeaux Tapestry" by Andrew Bridgeford. I'm trying to make myself more knowledgeable about Saxon stuff in general. Of course. Because as much as I love being a Saxon in the SCA, I keep finding that there are so many basic things I don't actually know, that I should. So I'm working on it. This is actually a fascinating book, and while some of his arguments might seem a bit lacking, what he says does have sense. At least in my limited knowledge. It also has the benefit of being easy to read. :D

We'll see how far I get on my goal. I've only got 2 weeks left!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cut You Down

So I've been listening to some of my old favorites on a youtube playlist this morning: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, etc. Mostly just background, as I'm working, but I stopped to actually watch the video for one of the songs: "God's Gonna Cut You Down," by Johnny Cash. I've heard the song before, but I started wondering as I listened, because it almost sounds like an old black gospel style song. So I backed it up and watched the whole thing. (link here: ).

And the lyrics in the chorus:

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God'll cut you down
Sooner or later God'll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down

I'm really curious what the video producers had in mind when they made this video. Basically, it shows images of celebrities from ZZ Top, to Pink, to Kid Rock, to Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp, Bono, and others, mixed with Christian symbolism. Naturally, a lot of the comments on the video were about how such horrible people didn't deserve to be on the video, and that the producers completely missed the point of the song. However, I think most of the commenters missed the point.

The song isn't about God sending people to hell. It's about redemption, for everyone, no matter what you've done. It's about asking forgiveness. I think Cash thought a lot about forgiveness. He had a lot in common with many of the celebrities that we like to spurn today. He was a hard drinker, he was a drug addict, he was a womanizer. And then he found redemption. I think if you don't understand where Cash was coming from with this song, you might see it as a warning; a picture of hell to scare people into behaving. I don't think that's right.

I think it's a picture of broken people who want to be redeemed. I think it's a song for everyone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

In Retrospect...

...I should have applied for the wrangler job.

Next time I apply for a job, remind me that I want motion, interaction with the living, and variety.