Tuesday, August 14, 2012


During Pennsic I got the basics of a new hat started. I wanted to wear it for court, so I put it together, but I will probably be taking it apart to finish the last of what I want on it.

Based on the ideas of:

Beading and Embroidery design
Hat design

Unfortunately, I did the metal portion of the hat when away from the actual design I was using, so I'm not sure how much I like it, but I have tempting ways of fixing it to work better, such as stuffing the made "tunnel" of metal wire with a color that would match both the hat and what I will use as a veil.

This was my first time doing embroidery. It is a metal thread done in simple chain stitch. I'm pretty proud of it.

This is my first hat made with the proper stiffener inside (leather) and I'm rather proud of it. Because it is a more delicate hat with the leather and the velvet, though, it is going to be for court only.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pennsic Highlights

Here are some highlights from war:

The people that stand out most that I met this year and their stories:

Duke Haz - I spent a lot of time at Silverkeep getting to know people better and feeling accepted like family each time I entered their home. One night when I came by to enjoy some time with Sol and Kara, there was a man there and we immediately struck up a conversation. That was when I noticed the coronet on the table. "Uh oh... who does this belong to?" "Oh, that's mine.." says the man. I asked if I needed to bow or something and he laughed and said "good lord, no!" He was so relaxed and gentle and kind. And began asking me how he could go about learning Russian. I pulled out my cyrillic flash cards and we started to have an in depth conversation about the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) between he and myself and Sol. Sol even began describing the differences between now a days Spanish and medieval Spanish... in Spanish, and I completely understood what she was talking about.

We discussed Mussorgsky and I spoke with him about Baba Yaga, basically reviewing my class I teach with him. He promised next year he would bring his piano with him again and he would play me the Baba Yaga piece since, with this information, he would be able to make in much stronger now that he understood what she was all about.

He is also a gamer. He makes his own war based miniatures game. We had a lot to talk about... and I simply adored him. I am hoping we keep in contact.

Cariadoc - Now, this isn't so much a 'going to enchanted grounds' or 'sitting around and having hours long discussions', but it was a moment for me and I felt I should share. I was sitting at East Kingdom Hospitality, glancing out the door so I could call out to anyone who appeared lost or hot and offer them to come in, sit a spell, have some water and grapes and get out of the sun. As I sat there, a man appeared outside looking dazed...confused even. I called out to him with a smile, asked if he could use some water and he thanked me and came inside. He filled his cup, and just as he was about to leave, he smiled and turned to me. "Might I pay for your kindness with a story or a poem?" Certainly! And he asked if I had heard a particular story, and I said I hadn't, so he sat and told it to myself and the guards followed by another story. Then he looked at me, all dressed up in my full Russian, and asked what sources Russian's had for stories. I began telling him of the primary chronicles and he smiled brighter. He asked if there was a Russian story of birds and a burning village to which I smiled and told him the story of Olga. This made him grin and he offered me another story before telling me that I should come to his camp's bardic circle. I exclaimed that I would love to... where was it? Enchanted Grounds, he replied, and I'm certain he saw me shrink as I quietly said Enchanted Grounds scared me a little, made me nervous. He smiled and shook his head and assured me that I was the exact kind of bard that his camp wanted at their fires and then told me where it was. Just as he was about to leave, I held out my hand and introduced myself. And after he left, I looked at the guards confused. "Did that man... just say his name was Cariadoc?" The guards looked at each other and then back to me and shook their head. "Couldn't be. Cariadoc doesn't smile that much. I think we misheard him." Sadly, each night after that it rained so I didn't get to enchanted grounds... but I will certainly be going there next year... and I hope to have a repertoire to make him keep smiling at me.


Casa Bardicci - One of the most important things I wanted to do this year was to help out at Casa Bardicci. The only problem is, I wanted to help out a lot more than I did. Of course, there is always next year. I think that even though I was there for a short time, I certainly proved my worth and they will be happy to accept me back next year. Mostly I got to sit on the roof screwing with some guy. No! Seriously! When I entered, they were all sweet with their "Welcome to Casa Bardicci, lovely lady. What can we do for you?" until they learned I was there to help and the yelled out 'FRESH MEAT!' and handed me a screw gun. I got to climb up top and screw the boards that make the roof/floor down with another guy before helping to install the beam that holds the two portions in place. It was a load of fun and I hope I can do more next year. Having a kid at Pennsic can be difficult no matter when you bring them because it always interrupts something you want to do.

Sol's Vigil - I made baklava for Sol's vigil. I even got there early to help with whatever I could. The kitchen was fully staffed, so I helped set the tables and put out plates and such. I know things were really well taken care of already, but I'm grateful that what help I could offer was fully accepted.

East Kingdom Hospitality - I couldn't sign up on the schedule, but whenever I had free time during the day when things were quiet at camp and elsewhere, I went to sit in EKH to greet people and make people feel comfortable. It was quiet, but I met some really nice people there and, in general, had a lovely time. I don't know if I did as well as people wanted me to since I don't really know what I was supposed to do and the EK encampment makes me nervous to enter, but it was good all the same.

Anne of a Thousand Days - About a week or two before Pennsic, there was a desperate plea for performers for the play. Singers, specifically. And although rehearsals and the actual performance kind of killed some of my week, it was delightful being able to get together with Sol and Kara and Lianor and Lily and sing the songs for the play. There were only two and the words felt off (damn you, King Henry), but that were delightful tunes that will be stuck in my head for a year at least. Everyone enjoyed the performance and I had many people approach me and tell me I did a good job... and that they didn't recognize me in a wimple and only one layer of clothing. Awkward! I was cold. But it was all so very worth it. It is something I would like to do again.

East Kingdom College of Performers - For almost all of Peace Week, I was running between camps and all over the place trying to spur interest in people in coming to the first meeting in quite some time to revamp and breathe life into the EK college of performers. We had a really good turn out, and I know there were a lot of people that were sad they missed it, so I spent a lot of my war week running around places with the charter and notes in hand so I could tell people all about it and let people know changes that were made and how this will be different than the old college of bards. All in all, incredibly worth all the running around. I think we were really productive at the meeting. But yeesh was I tired!

Places I spent time at:

Silverkeep - So many fond memories of spending time with all the fine folk of Silverkeep. You offered me sanctuary and hospitality in such an extreme way that it made my heart swell. I don't think I could ever thank you enough for all your kindnesses, but I plan to. Being invited to some of the special moments your camp has meant a lot to me. Getting to know you all better made my Pennsic a brighter and happier one. The love you all hold for each other is tangible and beautiful. Thank you for including me... and I hope to be allowed to spend more time with you again.

Bhakail - We like people who do things... and stuff! Bhakail, you made my time at Pennsic bright as well. Having my son wake every morning and say 'kids! play with kids!' Allowing me to be part of your Court of Love. Allowing me to be a Nearly Naked Russian and enjoy 3 hours of playing with BPAL. Enjoying the merriment of singing all together in nearly five part harmony with Greensleeves. You are such a fun group. I wish desperately I could spend more time with you all.

Maguire's Marauderers - My Pennsic can't nor will it ever be complete without many stops enjoying time with the Marauderers. Everything from bardic mischief to tea and scones to just seeing what the latest thing John is sewing today. You are so much more than just a pleasant pit stop on my way other places to fill up on fluids. I'm glad you are so conveniently located that I can swing by often. And thank you so much for the use of your ovens! I hope the baklava was enjoyed.

East Kingdom Hospitality - I found I spent a lot of time hanging out at hospitality. I met interesting people. I even was able to give the King and Queen some cream puffs. It was a good time.

Things purchased:

Books - Mostly all I purchased were books. Can we say... research geek? I had no desire for stuff or fabric or trim. Well, not true. I fell in love with some trim but it was then purchased for me for my birthday, so it all worked out. So I bought books. Three books are all (more or less) period or SCA appropriate music. They are technically harping books I bought from Linette, but honestly, they can be used for singing and other instruments. Out of the rest of the books I bought, the two most memorable are my new Russian song book with text in english and cyrillic as well as my book on early russian literature. The later was worth the price for the bibliography alone. I have a feeling I will have a fantastically huge new addition to my wish list soon enough. But, really, that was all I ended up purchasing. Terribly worth it on all fronts.

Classes taken:

Brothel Games - This class is only ever offered the first week and this is the first time I had ever been at Pennsic for second week. So it was very pleasant being able to go to the class, finally. But I was, sadly, disappointed.The teacher mostly rambled and didn't invite anyone to try out the games until the end, really. He demonstrated a few with his two apprentices, but it seemed to lack... something. Probably will not go again, though it was very informative.

Master John's Bardic Masters Class: I went to this last year. In fact, it made me start to fall in love with performing again. So when I was given homework to take the Ave I had been working on to his class, I went. When I arrived the Thursday of peace week, there was only one other student, Pocket Bard. So she and I had a lot of enjoyable time with Master John. I worked with him for a good...15-20 minutes. He said I've improved drastically since last year, which meant a lot to me. It means not only did I listen to what he said last year, but I have also been learning a lot through my vocal teacher. I enjoyed the class so much I decided to drag my student sister there with me next week. He asked me to sing the Ave again before trying a new song, which I did. He said there was marked difference just in a week and he giggled with joy at seeing me use his critiques in my new song I sang for him without him having to mention it. I applied something I learned and it made him so happy! There was certainly a lot of happy with Master John, clapping and giggling. My sister had a good time also performing and getting some helpful critiques. Michael Alewright was there as was Rosalind. It was so good seeing the two of them again. Such great bards, but I don't get to hang out with many much anymore.

Memorable moments:

BPAL - I am getting the nickname in Bhakail of the Nearly Naked Russian. In fact, they are creating a drink for me. Why? Because I came to do BPAL with Sabine and I had to take off just about everything I was wearing so I actually had access to some skin to be able to do sampling on. I had to have tried on over 20 scents and we spent three hours enjoying the perfumes. It was a delightful way to spend a lazy Pennsc afternoon.

Guitar - I brought the guitar with me in hopes of a lesson in positioning/how to play. It did end up happening.There was  playing and singing together. BUT! I did learn some about how to hold the hand, finger positions, etc.

Schmoopy night - Every Pennsic, my household has a night where everyone says what the best part of Pennsic for them is. This year I was invited to Silverkeep's night of sharing. Everyone was drinking. There was a lot of love in the air. And, having never camped with fighters before, it was a very different and slightly humbling experience. It was enjoyable to hear. Different people, different thoughts on life. I'm thankful to have experienced it.

Elevation - I saw two important elevations this war. One was Sol becoming a Laurel. Although I wasn't a peer and didn't speak to her at her Vigil, I was really pressed by Duke Haz to write in her book because he felt my words would be important to her. At the elevation, hearing everyone speak for her, the love in their voice, it brought tears to my eyes. I think I was crying after the procession, as she walked into place. It was simply beautiful. The second elevation I saw was Cedric being elevated to Chiv. This is the first time I ever watched an elevation to the Chiv. It was on the battlefield and I arrived just in time to stand slightly to the side, but behind the king and queen where I could watch the last undefended blow being given by the King himself. The look on the faces of the fighters made my heart swell. This wasn't a knighting, this was a welcome home party, a welcome to the family. And as they exchanged blows and hugs, I began to weep. It was a beautiful and impressive thing to watch. I don't think there was a single dry eyed knight that stood there.

Kokoshnik lost and found - I... had just finished making my blue velvet kokoshnik that had leather inside as a stiffener. JUST FINISHED IT! And I misplaced it on my walk to a concert and was beside myself with worry and grief. But, thanks to the miracles of Pennsic and a kind soul named Alexandra of Silverwood, my hat was found and returned to the lost and found where they called me to let me know it was home.

Concert - I was invited to a 'invite only' amazingly beautiful concert with music of courtly love at Silverkeep camp. It was... gorgeous with three amazing harmonic voices and the soft sounds of tambourine, harp, and recorder. I hope, someday, I may be able to join them in making such delicate music.

Stalker - I had a stalker. Creepy guy with a bowler cap, leather vest with nothing underneath, and a sunburned pot belly. He told me I was a smoking hot pistol and he would do me in a second. Also told me he could watch me all day and night. Just gave me the willies. Put his description in at Security. Saw him once after, but quick moving traffic only allowed him a nod. Glad that was all that came of that.

Parade of Fools - So, at one point when I was helping out with EKH, the parade of fools came by. They were offering to sell us 'secret plans of the enemy'. It was an adult or three and a ton of kids. Gwenlianna ran to gather freezepops for them all and when they saw her, they started yelling 'WE LOVE EAST KINGDOM! WE LOVE YOU!' and then they got down on their knees to grovel saying 'WE LOVE GWENLIANNA! WE LOVE EAST KINGDOM!!!' She was blushing and laughing so hard. It was a fantastic moment.

Dancing - Chris was only at war for three days and I was so busy running around that we didn't do much. The only thing I seemed to get to enjoy with Chris was going to dance on Monday night. It was low key, a good group of dancers, good music, and some good set lists (though not my favorite, but that's just me). I took my sister with me and we fended off her stalker. She was super excited and enjoyed dancing with Nate and... I can't remember what Chris and I danced together. I know we did Black Alman and I did Gracca with Nate. But it was nice being fancy and going to dance for the first time ever at Pennsic.

Kara - Actually getting to spend time and get to know my sister was a blessing I will forever be grateful for. She is such a fantastic young woman and I really enjoyed spending time with her. I am hoping she enjoyed my company as much as I did hers.

Shire Social - Every year there are all these socials. This year I wondered.... is there a shire social at Pennsic? So I enquired. Everyone thought it would be a good idea. It was a low turn out, but I hope next year we get more people and do it again. With so many home brews on tap, everyone had a fantastic time. It was good visiting and getting to know people.

Storms - Oh the storms. They came and went and ripped through the lands with dire force that... well... my tent never had an issue, but when the royalty started removing their crowns at court, yeah, I was worried. But it was still fantastic! I love storms. I love walking, ducking into a camp of friends, riding out that wave of storm and heading on to the next place. It is a great way to enjoy lazy times at Pennsic since no one was going to leave for any reason.

Johann and the dirt pile - We made a raised fire pit at war. The thing is, to make a raised fire pit, you need dirt. So we asked for enough dirt from the Coopers to fill the raised pit. They, instead, dropped off a huge back hoe of dirt. Bad news: mound of dirt particularly in my walk way and close enough to the fire for slight tripping hazards. Good news: Johann got to play in the dirt many times a day with his cars and had so much fun. Of course, he also needed frequent showers. And after the showers.... he got back in the dirt.

Belt - Having gone out shopping and helping to pick out the belts and knowing the purpose of them, at schmoopy time Tristan presented belts to his two students. Purple belts (since it is Kara's favorite color). Kara was so excited and happy. She put it on instantly. It was a good feeling to be part of that.

Court of Love - I had been wanting to go to a Court of Love ever since hearing about them. Upon arriving, Sabine asked if I wanted to be 'lady-fied'. Okay... sure. So there I sat, next to Sabine, Baroness of Bhakail, for a special type of court. I was given fruits and my water was kept filled and I kept being called 'mlady'. I got to see what it looked like for... nobility. It was.. an experience I don't think I want to ever forget. It was a good time, though. I hope I can do it again. I've heard word there may be another Court of Love at Pennsic next year.

Walking around Pennsic - This year was... strange. I'm used to people stopping me and telling me they like my garb. But to have people stop me and say they have watched me the past two years and just got up the courage to talk to me? Am I that scary? But I was told I need to meet so many people. One being the Queen of Aethelmearc. She does Russian. And some other people have told me that Russian's in their camp have drooled over my garb for years now. I felt... flattered. At one point someone was taking a picture of me and noticed a loose thread. They ripped it off claiming that it was for the 'pride of the east this picture is taken' and there couldn't be a stray hair... and took the picture.

Friends - Oh all the friends I got to visit! Each visit was memorable! Each and every one of them! Thank you all for being such wonderful people. Truly. Thank you.To all those I ran into while walking, to those whose camps I searched out.. I wish we all lived so close that this could be a daily thing...instead of annual.

Freezepops - While in Master John's class the first time, a cart pulled up and asked if he would like a freezepop. he said only if he could have one for each of his two students. He then came back into the tent, handing me a freezepop and asking pocket bard which color she wanted. I put my hands on my hips and waved my freezepop and said "I find it humorous that you hand me a freezepop and then ask her which color she would like." He paused and offered me the green one. I held my coveted freezepop closer. "No no. I like my red. How could you tell I like red so much?"

Ave - So, part of the fun of the Ave from Master John's class is that it is a familiar tune to some people. Usually, though, when I sing it everyone just claps and says it is lovely. When I began singing it for him in his class, he shoved his fist in his mouth to hide his giggling. The reason? He loves the song. It was a perfect fit for my voice .It is beautiful. He was just having a difficult time not singing along with me. I couldn't look at him when I was singing because of the smirk on his face the whole time.

Drive-by gifting - While sitting in camp late at night, suddenly someone ran up, quickly dropped something, got back in their van and drove off. It was this... 2 foot high...dwarf...clown... tiki totem thing. With a lei. And wrapping paper. All I can say is.... WTF?!

Things I was sad to have missed:

Getting together with Murphy Blue
Getting together with Katya
Missing Casa Bardicci's hoity toity and the dancing on Wednesday afternoon
Missing two classes taught by someone I really respect and admire
Getting up to the B Blocks to see people in the evening
Registering my name and device
A zillion other things that just passed by me like ships on the ocean