Monday, August 26, 2013

You Inspire Me Week 2

Inspired by the Paris Psalter, dated around 975.

Today I purchased various colors from various brands. That was my experiment for the day. So I wanted to pick something where I could focus on the various colors and see how well they worked. So far, and I knew it was going to happen from previous experience, I am in love with the Winsor and Newton. Not a huge fan of the Bombay or the Walnut ink. Neither gives me as crisp and clean lines as I want and I feel I need to go over the color a few times before I get the hue I want. I'm also not a fan of how watery it is. Maybe they just weren't fully shook. Higgins, again, is something I have no preference with. Speedball, again, is a good stand by. I will experiment further tomorrow. Having used white ink for the first time, all I can say is... where have you been all my life!? I am so going to work on a black paper to do a few at some point. I know I have a few examples in my book. Did they dye the paper? Paint it? How did they do it?

Today's inspiration is Elizabeth Greenleaf. I have watched her work on many a scroll and have seen the final work as well. Not only is her work beautiful, but she works -at- events to get things done. Last minute scrolls, scrolls that were just pushed to the limit. And every single one looks beautiful. Sometimes she signs into an event just to sit in some back room somewhere to work because she wants to make certain that that person receiving a scroll is given something so important, so meant for them. That moment is to be completely special, and she knows that.

And through all this service and dedication, most importantly, I don't think I've ever seen her without a smile on her face. She is always welcoming, happy, hospitable, and gracious. She is a lovely and elegant woman and is certainly an inspiration for what I would like to live up to in the SCA.

Inspired by Turin-Milan Hours, dated 1380-1420.

Today I wanted to make something quick because I have a busy day ahead of me, but that doesn't mean it need be awful. Today was a lot of experimentation. I wanted to see how terribly bad the soak was on the two aforementioned inks. They tried to bleed all over. Yet both say on the side that they will not travel once placed. It makes me think maybe they need some time to dry out. Just a little. But this is also india ink as opposed to my acrylic I have been using. I also wanted to see what it was like doing one pass through and two passes through. I get a much richer color if I go over the area twice (as you can see in the Y) and a much less opaque color when I just go over it once. It makes me a little sad and I'm trying to think how I can fix these colors to make them more opaque and bleed less, if there is no fix, or if maybe I'm using the wrong paper. I still think the card came out lovely and I'm glad for the experimentation time.

Today's inspiration (and I think she would be super happy to be considered inspiration on a day of so much experimentation) is Lady Irene. She is in my shire and loves to have fun with glass and metal. Her skill is amazing, but more than that, her skill and patience teaching -and- learning is incredible. I approached her one day with a technique I wanted to try, having never done anything in the glass field before and not only did she say she would love to help me, she was also excited because she had never tried the style either. She is happy to answer any questions and yet she will never pretend she knows everything and will enjoy, just as much, to sit down at the books with you to try and figure out the answer. To have someone so filled with excitement, enthusiasm, patience, and knowledge is such a boon to my shire as well as my kingdom in a whole. I know I'm not the only person to exclaim that she is an inspiration.

Inspired by Codex Aureus of Canterbury, dated the middle of the 8th century.

I wont give up. I wont let these new inks beat me. I actually put the back end of the pen in and stirred them. A few of them are now lovely and I really enjoy them, such as the terra cotta and yellow orchre by the Bombay company. But there are some that are still so awful I am almost thinking of emailing the actual company, not where I got them from, and say 'you said it doesn't spread, and it spreads like a wildfire on a dry August night'. Especially since some from the same company are good. I'm also having some issues with the gold and silver flowing smoothly through the pen. Today I used a paintbrush, for example, on some areas out of ease. I'm actually pleased with the result and will be adding two or three of my extra fine brushes to my calligraphy kit. But today was about perseverance.

I will be the first to admit that I am not good at freehand celtic knotwork. It is something I have to plan and strive towards and then I can do some beautiful stuff. But, this was just tough so I didn't worry too much. But the thing I loved about this was the crunched and overlapped letters at the end, hence the E in ME. It wasn't a kerning issue. I just wanted to try out the crunched little letter.

Why? Because today's inspiration is a woman who wouldn't allow me to take no for an answer. In fact, she would put her arm around me and tell me not to listen to the naysayers, but to keep on doing what I love doing. But if I'm going to do it, I better be putting my whole heart in it.

eLeri was an inspiration to more than just me. More than just a Barony. More than just a Kingdom. She always held an encouraging tone, was always happy to do whatever she could to help out, and always always always had that smile on her face. She was the heart of the Kingdom. Ask anyone to tell you a story about her, and I will bet they will have a smile on their face thinking back on good times with eLeri. It doesn't end there, though. Oh no. She lives on in all of us. She is still encouraging us all, even now. She is a person that can not be forgotten and continues to inspire people inside, and out of, the SCA. This past Pennsic, there was a tourney in her honor. Those that fought, fought with chivalry and respect. People donated their hair.

To this day, she still whispers words of encouragement and inspiration to me. And that is why this card took all day. Because I had to put my entire heart into it.

Inspired by Kitab ad-Diryaq Book of Antidotes, dated 1199.

Today's card had a purpose. One of the things I love in watching other calligraphers is seeing how they can make a style of writing that feels like it belongs to another language (such as Arabic, like here) and someone make English words using that style of writing. It is fantastic. And although I don't think I did the -best- of jobs, it was a lot of fun to play and experiment. And I really liked how they had the elongated bits and I thought it would work well for some of the words and how it is interwoven into the design. Normally I steer away from these styles of calligraphy because I don't know how I will go about creating it. But I'm rather pleased.

Today's inspiration is my persona brethren in arms, Pashkalika Kanabala. I have a feeling she would approve of me trying to create the whole feel of the particular style I was trying for.

And now, for a story. My first big even in the SCA, over night wise, was War of the Roses. And I remember going to court, knowing almost no one save a few Concordians, and Kanabala was called into court. She moved with grace and beauty and was the essence of everything Hindustani. As she was given an award called an Emerald, I leaned over and asked the person next to me what it was for. Persona. It was amazing to watch her receive that award, to see the scroll she was given. I determined at that moment, she was exactly what I strived for in this society: to -be- the person, not just look like the person.

I have watched Kanabala for years now, and there are so many things that inspired me. In fact, she even put something in an A&S competition that I simply needed to know more about. I was invited to her camp to learn to make pearl flowers. And that is where my first taste of beading and, more importantly, metal working began.

There are very few people I know that are as dedicated not only to their persona, but teaching others, hospitality in making other comfortable, and keeping with the thought that 'if it isn't fun, why are you doing it?' She is another person that, even if from a distance (and closer now a days), has helped to mold me into the person I am in the SCA today.

Inspired by The Vienna Dioscorides, circa 512.

Today was an experiment in trying to do a still life from a... photo of a drawing of a still life? No, but seriously, I wanted to see how the picture would look without the bleeding of the calligraphy on the other wide, and I feel like it is missing something without having that. I also wanted to use the more scribbled notation style of font (like you can vaguely see in the upper left hand corner). I'm happy with how it came out, even if I feel it is missing something.

Todays inspiration is a constant blossoming flower in my life, and, like the medical and herbal plants, she is someone I like to have near by daily and has kept me sane because of it: Jenna Childslayer. This woman is incredible! Talented! Kind! Friendly! And one of the things I love about this woman... her addictive ability to always have hope. With everything that happened recently with her kitty, with looking for a job... she would get frustrated, she would want to give up, but she would keep striving. She would never give up hope. And people like her so full of hope, wonderful beautiful people like Jenna... they fill me with inspiration and the feeling that the world is a beautiful place. Thank you for being my sanity, Jenna!

Based on Gaston Phoebus: Book of the Hunt, circa 1405-1410.

 I'm really starting to enjoy the simple understated joy of rich colors with a soft and delicate design added via white ink. That and I feel like I'm getting better with the calligraphy. At some point I plan to work just on that. But for now, beautiful.

Today's inspiration is none other than Nutmegs and Ginger. The first time I heard this group perform, something caught in my throat at the beauty of the music along with the fun the group had. It reminded me of these amazing times I had when I was younger singing in vocal groups. I began to dream as I listened to them bring medieval music to life in such a delicate way that I craved nothing more than to be a part of it.

This past year at Pennsic I was the 'and friends' part of the Nutmegs and Ginger and Friends concert. Being given the opportunity was incredible. Feeling that feeling in my chest as harmonies hit was amazing. Realizing how beautiful medieval music could be as well as so fun and creative? Well, lets just say I have been hunting out some new pieces to play with myself.

How did they become the inspiration? I kept singing their song The Hunt is Up the whole time I was working on this piece.

Thank you, all of you, for all your inspiration in this field.

Based on Bestiary, circa 1210.

Today I really wanted to experiment, so I did nearly all of the card other than outlines and fine detail with a paintbrush. I am not quite good enough to do the fine detail with a brush yet, but I can get good detail with the pen. I also had an ink blob that ended up being part of the Y. But I think it really helped a lot. I'm still not happy with the blue or the red. I think because they aren't opaque. I prefer opaque. I think by the end of a month of these cards, I may start looking at other inking options such as gauche as has been suggested with great gusto.

This fantastical card is today inspired by a wonderful group of people: FALO. Or, I suppose, I could call them Tir Thalor. This fantastic group of people has let me be someone I really enjoy being. They embrace the silly. They smile. They are magicians in making magic happen in the world. They create not just amazing food, costumes, and ambiance, but they create a whole amazing world. It is impossible not to go to one of their events and feel incredibly inspired before you leave. Usually half way through I have a million ideas in my head of things I want to do.

So, to FALO, for making a little girl's dream come true and letting her continue to play the little girl and enjoy the sparkle and the magic that adulthood takes away... I raise my cup to you!

Based on the Carmina Burana, circa 1230-1240.

At least one person I know was surprised when I said I wanted to tackle the Carmina Burana. It has very very few illuminations in it, but they are all incredibly gorgeous and intricate. Mine is not as intricate, but I am still so very happy with it. Here I worked just in pens. Since everything was, more or less, looked to be drawn on and then either given an inner halo of color or colored in (like the sky), it was kind of fun. It was like hand drawing my own coloring book and then getting to fill it in myself.

Today's inspiration is Master John Lyttleton. I know what you are think. Carmina Burana... singing... has to be for his singing. Yes, John has an incredible voice, but that isn't why he is coming up on here. It is honestly because of his attitude in life. That positive outlook he seems to always have. And, of course, all the inspiration he gives through his teaching. He almost seems happier to watch other people grow in their performances than to perform himself. I have been to his master class at Pennsic quite a few times now, and each time I return doing better than the year previous. He has the ability to make people feel amazing about their performances and know it is all them. Something about his teaching style really resonates with me (and many others). Kind, giving, and a positive influence on so many people.

If not for John, I never would have realized why I sing. Because, like him, music is my life. If there is no music, there is no reason to live. I sing to live, and I live to sing.

John, you are loved. And you are an incredible inspiration to so very many people.

Inspired by The Black Prayer Book, circa 1466-1476.

Today's card was a major PITA, honestly. Not only did I have to mix inks, I had to prep the card (which I did last week sense I knew I wanted to do a card like this at some point) using walnut ink and then, when that wasn't dark enough, a layer of black. It specifically mentions that this style was rarely done because of how fine the pens had to be to make the gold and silver patterns. Well, I had just bought new nibs and figured, today is the day! Unfortunately, all of this was more or less down with a brush, including the calligraphy, because my metal inks do not flow at all in my pens, and I'm not sure why. This card also caused my first ever accident as, in my frustration, I forgot I hadn't closed my ink bottle and spilled about tablespoon of silver ink all over. My hands looked like I just strangled a fairy. BUT! Even with all the frustrations, I can not tell you how excited I am to try this style again when I get a little better! This card, in working on it, inspired me to want to do more. But, like in the middle ages, this style of card will also be rare in my pack. It isn't something I have the patience for every day.

Today's inspiration is Master Arden. Arden, the man of such wonderful skills that came from serious amounts of study that he can now create and it can have the feel of the middle ages. Not only is he talented, I don't think I've ever seen this muppet of a man (he sang Mah na Mah na for me at my first Dancing Fox) without a smile on his face. He is generous and gracious and he is so very very happy to teach and to let people play. Curious about an instrument? You have never met an instrument pimp like Arden (self proclaimed! I'm serious!). He will hand you his instruments with a smile if you show enough enthusiasm and curiosity and let you fiddle around, so to speak. Arden is one of those people I feel everyone should meet. So go out there! Find Rabbit Stampede or the Bhakail Branslers when he is playing with them and introduce yourself!

Friday, August 16, 2013

You Inspire Me Week 1

The continuation of the You Inspire Me project.

Inspired by the Godescalc Gospels, dated 781-783.

Today's card reminds me that not only do I need to be working on my kerning, but I also need to be working on my spacing. Hopefully tomorrow's project goes better.

Today's choice of inspiration is Konstantia Kaloethina. For those that do not know Konstantia, she is the creator of the Nobelese Largesse project, which is an A&S swap that happens th...rough out the known world. I believe there were only two Kingdoms missing last time I checked. Talk about inspiration! She inspires people across the globe to create and gift their creations to complete strangers! Beyond that, she is constantly creating things of beauty herself and never seems to stop, neither in her crafts nor in her service to her Kingdom. She is a fantastic woman and if you have not met her, I highly recommend giving her a poke as she is completely friendly. And if you aren't part of the A&S swap? What are you waiting for! It is an amazing way to meet people and really push yourself onto new paths in your own 

Inspired by the Codex Manesse, dated 1310-1340.

I found a nib I liked. This makes me happy. I also made my first smudgey oops and I think I did a good job in covering it up. If you don't know where it is, I did a good job. As another side note, I really need more colors. I can make pretty things but I would be happier with prettier AND more colorful.

Today's person of inspiration is Aislinn Chia...bach. Do you know her? With everything life has thrown at her, she has taken everything in stride with a smile on her face. Why? Because she has that 'just happy to be alive' drive that a lot of us could do better if we had. She is also incredible with her seamstress skills and I wish I could make things half as beautiful as she did. She is much loved, much adored, and I know I speak for a lot of people when I say.. You are an inspiration to me!

Inspired by The Wenceslas Bible, dated 1389-1400.

Today I really wanted to try working on something more... miniature. The last scroll I had had some of the most delicate lettering and illumination and I would love to be able to replicate it somehow. But, truth be told, I don't think I have small enough nibs for the lettering (I used a regular straight nib and tried to get the same effect as the ...angled type. Hi, I don't know terminology). But I also wanted to try sketching and drawing with my smallest nib. I think it was successful, even though there are smudges and smears and droplets and my fingers are colorful. When I get some white ink, I will try and fix and cover it up. Otherwise, I think I am quite pleased with today's product.

Today's person of inspiration is my "sister" in the SCA, Kara Longleggs. She is addictively happy and her giggles and smiles can brighten anyone's day. She is giving and helpful and an amazing and bright person. I adore her completely. But the thing that really inspires me about her is her skills in the performing arts. She can hear a song just once and already know enough of the words to be able to sing with you. She has enthusiasm through the roof. And if there is a group practicing? She will some how smuggle herself in and it will almost feel as if she was always there all along. She is incredible with her performance and she encourages and inspires me each day. Enthusiasm does that.

Inspire by the Psalter of Saint Louis, dated 1260-1270.

I've become more brave in wanting to do smaller patterning. I think these little guys came out pretty fantastic. I had to play with the color scheme and took a painstakingly long time on this piece. I went over things thee or four times, making sure the lines were a little more crisp and such. I'm actually incredibly happy with how this came... out. I even tried to make proper lines for the letters and used my ruler to make things straighter during the sketching period. I can't say the total hours this took me today, but certainly the longer it takes the happier I am. I can see why some scribes work for hours and hours. And today is the first time, I think, that I got all the illumination done, waited for that to dry, and THEN did the calligraphy. Usually I just do it whenever I have the color open I want to use. This... was more excrutiating due to the fact I was so happy with the illumination I was worried I would mess up the calligraphy and be incredibly unhappy.

Today's card is dedicated to all those who make Casa Bardicci happen. And I mean everyone. The people who spend all of the 50 week town run creating and recreating pieces of the Casa (did you see the Loggia this year?!). The people who donate their camp space to the Casa for set up. All those people who spend the first week of Pennsic not relaxing in a hammock, but building this exquisite piece of Pennsic. Those who sing or play instruments within its walls, dance within its walls, guard its walls. To those who make the food, serve the food. There are an incredible amount of people involved in the Casa. And you know what? They are some of the most amazing artisans I know. And it isn't just their skill, it is how they are constantly encouraging others to do all kinds of wonderful things: sing, sculpt, paint, build, smith, you name it. These people are amazing.

This year I shared one of my not so secret goals in the SCA. The Casa inspires me to the most amazing heights, and this year I divulged that some day I hope to create something so beautiful, so amazing... that it would be worthy to take up home in the Casa for others to enjoy.

To me, the Casa is one of those amazing period feelings. It captures the magic for me. And I strive to always put forward my best, always be all that I can be, and the Casa was one of the hands in helping lift me to that level.

Monday, August 12, 2013

You Inspire Me

This is a new project I am working on. It was inspired by a few different things. One of them being when a woman approached me at an event and did not speak a lick of English (I think she was Dutch). She tried to say something to me, but I couldn't understand her. Finally she gave a slight bow, handed me a piece of paper, and disappeared. The paper said, more or less, thank you for all the work you have done on your persona. It is very obvious you have done a lot of research. You make this event a more special place to be and you inspire me.

It was such a simple gesture on just a printed piece of paper, but I will tell you, I will never forget that moment and that well abused piece of paper is something I carry with me often so I can open it up and re-read this sentiment.

Talking to other people, it appears that many people have had a moment like that. Duchess Isabella, for example, once gave out hand calligraphied slips of paper to people whose dress impressed her. There are stories all over of these pieces of paper. And, like most people, I am still on a desperate search to think of a favor to give to someone who, it feels, just a little trinket will not suffice. This is part of the inspiration for this project.

This project is to promote three different things:
 1) I want to practice more with my calligraphy and illumination.
 2) I want to spend time dedicating a card a day to people that inspire me and why.
 3) I want to have a handful of cards to hand out to people at events.

The basis of this project is to take a 5.5 x 8.5 cm card (about the size of a traditional business card) and write and illuminate the words "You inspire me" on each card. I plan to make one a day using various sources for my inspiration. Each day I plan to post up a new card that I made and mention someone who has or does inspire me as well as a little about how I made the card if I am trying out new techniques. When I go to events I hope to give these cards to people, in person, and it will hopefully spur conversations with them and inspire them, as well, to keep their chin up. Since they are small enough to fit in a wallet and my hope is that people will keep them and give them to the next person who inspires them. I would love to see them circulated and one day to be given one back to me, unknowingly, by someone who found me to be an inspiration.

For fun, I will be writing the date, my name, which number card it is, etc on the back. I would love to hear stories of where the card has traveled and who it has seen.

As it is, each card is being inspired by someone I know (I am considering writing either the name or perhaps one of their inspiration attributes on the back) before I hand them out. So it will almost be as if each card is already a legacy card. "I just want to say, you helping out in the kitchen all day? You are amazing. Incredible. Volunteering your time like that and not even in your own barony! You remind me of this other amazing person in my life who, like you, can't seem to sit still and always wants to help in every way. It is a beautiful thing to see. Thank you. You inspire me."

This plans to be a long running project. I will probably post, once a week or so, with an update of all the cards I made. But I wanted to start this project with my first card.

Inspired by Marco Polo's Book of Wonders, 1410.

This card, being my first, was kept fairly simple. It has been awhile since I have done calligraphy and illumination, firstly. Secondly, my inks are starting to dry up. For now I'm using commercial inks, pens, and papers. I would like this to change at some point, but one step at a time.

This card is dedicated to Ysemay Sterlyng for reminding me with her daily love for artisans that I wanted to do this project. Ysemay, for those who don't know her, is not only incredibly skilled in all the crafts she takes up from costuming to middle English poetry, but she is also one of the most encouraging people I know. I have never heard Ysemay discourage someone from doing something. She is truly the perfect starting inspiration for this project.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Currie Road

Some things just write themselves:

Bardic fires, market masses
All night parties, arts and science classes
Life is old there, like Enchanted Ground
Vikings in their long ships, medieval terms expound

Currie Road, take me home
To the place I belong
Pennsic War, Cooper's Lake Shore
Take me home, Currie Road

I can see it, tents on a mud flat
Won't honk my horn, hate when people do that
Dusty parking, Sauron in the sky
Line at troll looks awful, new garage caught my eye

Currie Road, take me home
To the place I belong
Pennsic War, Cooper's Lake Shore
Take me home Currie Road

I hear the sound of the battlefields all calling me
Campfires remind me of my home far away
Middle of the spring I soon realize
I should have started sewing yesterday, yesterday

Currie Road, take me home
To the place I belong
Pennsic War, Cooper's Lake Shore
Take me home Currie Road

Currie Road, take me home
To the place I belong
Pennsic War, Cooper's Lake Shore
Take me home Currie Road

Currie Road, take me home
To the place I belong
Pennsic War, Cooper's Lake Shore
Take me home Currie Road

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pennsic Highlights

Pennsic highlights, in no specific order:

- Debuting singing in Russian at the Ginger and Nutmeg and Friends concert: I sang the Russian as my sister, Kara, sang the English translations. I think it went over very well and, although I doubted the song going over well, once we added in some lute and harp, I think it sounded beautiful.

- Getting to ting the tinger, as well as help come up with the term because calling it a tinkler was not happy: There is something about playing with words, and this was not the only instance of word play, but it was certainly my favorite as we changed the word every practice.

- 4:30 am walks through the bog during peace week with no one awake, just the mist rising off the lake: I believe it was Wednesday of peace week. Waking at 4:30 am and feeling no desire to go back to bed, wools were worn and a walk was taken. Barely anyone was awake. I think someone slurred 'good night, late night Pennsic party-ers' at me, which is not at all what I was. I was taken to Runestone Hill for the first time ever and knelt before the rune stone, touching the words. Really, the whole experience was incredible in the inky starlight pre-dawn. Returning to camp to enjoy hot earl grey tea as the birds rose before camp-mates, enjoying what felt to be like the perfect morning.

- The amber of shame (deservedly so): Hanging out at Tir Thalor where we randomly created a bardic circle out of the blue, in traipses Saba wearing... Cheetos and cheese balls around his neck as the 'amber of shame' for having dropped an entire bottle of mead outside Cooper's. Of course, in Pooka moder, I looked at him and said "Saba, you look delicious! I want to eat you!"

- Neck nibbles?!: Needing no explanation, but I found the men in camp felt the need to show off their skills. *facepalm*

- Introducing new people to the Hoity Toity party, a moment of Pennsic particularly special to me: I managed to interest three new people in seeing Bardicci in the way that I most love seeing it... at night during the biggest party of the war.

- Helping to make set up and load out go as smoothly as possible: I felt more useful during load out than set up, but once I found a groove of 'oh, no one likes doing this' I would just take over. Near the end we were working like a well oiled machine. Set up was nearly finished by the end of Sunday and load out didn't start until after dinner Friday.... yet everything was so very smooth.

- Having a very important, very long conversation with someone very special to me that needed to talk: I cried for a good hour after it was over. Hard long conversations are hard and long. But good. And needed.

- Singing with Kara to get her a free invitation to the Bardicci parties: We went down to Billy's booth and I just smiled and introduced her and asked if we could sing for him. We did and he did exactly what I expected. Told her how wonderful it was to have a young person so interested in the arts and how talented she was and 'please consider this an open invitation to any of my parties'. She was full of squee and I think it boosted her self esteem tremendously.

- Getting a free invitation token the moment I walked into the booth: Of course, I was also handed a token, which made me blush. I really need to do more for the Casa. They are an important part of my SCA life, really thoroughly grounded in a lot of things I believe in.

- Being told by almost everyone I know that they didn't get to see enough of me this war (some people, sadly, didn't get to see me at all): There is just something super amazing about having people want to spend more time with you. Perhaps because you are feeling the same way and confirmation on those thoughts and feelings rocks.

- Hanging out with Pocket Bard, Tristan, and Linette at Cafe Merheraba: Next time... we go earlier in the war. But it was a perfect way of celebrating the fact that the college meeting was over.

- Katrusha vs Katrushka in camp: I don't think I need to go into detail here, but there were antics, and it was fantastic.

- Singing duets on the lute. Hope to have many more next year: We have a list of songs that we want to work on, some I know, some he knows, and some we both know. We are loving singing together and we compliment each other really well.

- Running into Purple Katie in the marketplace: I couldn't get to the BPAL in her area due to... not even knowing where it was. But oh it was so good to see her! Highlight of war, definitely!

- Girl shopping: Where we were stopped every five feet and put bids on whether it was because of me or Linette.

- Learning to card weave (omfg, it's just math!): I had wanted to learn for awhile and I had a fantastic camp full of eager learners and eager teachers. So... we just... sat down and did it!

- OMG fur!: Oh the lushness of beaver that will make something amazing soon. It was a birthday gift. And the arctic fox? My heart melts at the idea of wearing it at Tudor Yule with, hopefully, my new black seal fur lined cashmere coat.

- BPAL meet and sniff at Bhakail with kind and generous people who I love and adore: Everyone was kind and patient and giving and wonderful and I think everyone who came left with something new that they loved and got rid of things they were not as interested in. So it was a fully win win situation.

- An earlier meet and sniff at camp addicting a few new people to the wonders of BPAL: People were curious what my 'kit' was, so I brought it out and suddenly I had a plethora of people, all wanting to try on scents, learn more, and sniff each other. Even the kids had a blast!

- FALO, I love you!: This doesn't need explanation. You people, as always, make me smile and feel incredibly loved and welcomed.

- A bed that felt like a bed. Nights of wonderful sleeping: Wow. To be coming home and not say 'I can't wait for a real bed' because you weren't sleeping on an air mattress for two weeks = bliss.

- Going to some very wonderful classes: Classes on period cooking, Russian hats, storytelling in your persona, how to get back the fun when you lost it, and even a class on heralding where I learned how they do things differently out west and... was informed it will not take much to get me to be a herald in court in the very near future.

- Meeting the King and Queen of Atlantia (and getting the Queen's card) and being informed that I have been their Russian inspiration for both reigns they have held. We talked for quite some time.

- OMG PEARLS: Another birthday gift. So many beautiful pearls. I'm going to make the most amazing hat soon. So very soon. With beaver fur and pearls.

- Going to the Hat Addicts tea party at Aethelmearc and learning some interesting ideas for hat making: A woman was describing her experience in watching a young married amish woman braid her hair and put on all her hair dressings and realizing that is how it had been for many many years. Breathtaking to watch; breathtaking to hear about.

- Finally going to Enchanted Ground (even if I couldn't get in breathing space to try and perform. Pushy crowd =P): Although I walked by in the early morning hours, actually going and seeing how the fire is run was rather lovely. I will admit that I don't think I went on a key day. Everything felt off, but the ambiance was nice, even if the stories and songs weren't period.

- Birthday at Pennsic? Awesome!: I did have my birthday last year at Pennsic. On the Saturday we arrived. And celebrated by 8 driving hours and then 4 hours in the 'parking lot'. This one was a LOT more pleasant. And there was a lot of wonderful moments. Including being informed this was not my birth-day, but my birth-year. So there was just lots of celebration and happiness. I started my new year the way I always tell other people to start theirs: surrounded by love, laughter, friends, family, joy...

- Marauderer's is still my home away from home and I love them to pieces. I really have to camp there some year: As always, I felt so at home spending time with John and the camp. It is always the best place to while away time if you are waiting inbetween classes or just to come for happy performances. Sadly, they changed how A&S was set up which made them more off the beaten path than normal, but they still had swarms of visitors.

- Marauderer's chocolate library? Tea party? Bardic circle? Love!: Self explanatory.

- Hanging out with my laurel at an event! Holy crap!!: Jeff, Jacqui, and the kids were all at Pennsic. I think the last time I remember actually hanging out with all of them together was Roses years ago when I was weaving my own apprentice belt, unbeknownst to my laurel.

- Spending lots of time with Anton. Super awesome!: Anton, Dean of the Super Hugs! It was really great getting to spend so much time with him. He's a great person and I learn something new every single time we hang out (Gilligan's Island is based on Commedia?! Can never watch ANYTHING the same way again!)

- Schmoozing about metal working with some of my favorite people: Billy, Ivan, Alaric... I love hanging out at that booth.

- OMG a sitting Russian distaff I couldn't afford: Beautiful. Simply beautiful, if six inches shorter than I would like. I wish I could have purchased it. It was truly amazing.

- The slip up of a friend saying 'make one' instead of 'buy one'. My secret is getting out that I can make things: When I said 'six inches too short' but oh I want it so bad! Instead of saying 'Then you should buy it' he said 'so you should make it!' Secret's out. I like to make things.

- Going to Duchess Branwyn's (my friend from HS) class on butter making. I learned about proper churn construction: Not to mention how nice it was to see Bethany, Talia, and Siri.

- AUNTIE ARWEN SELLS EXTRACTS OF AMAZING!!: I totally picked up a cardamom and a mango extract (gift for my mom). I also picked up saffron syrup and elderflower syrup. Loving their new selections!

- So many friends I see only at war: There are so many people that, no matter how many events I go to in their areas, I never seem to see them except at war. Now, if I could just get the rest of my friends to come to war so I can see everyone I love at war, that would be incredible!

- Spending the evening of my birthday knuckles deep in cream cheese: The conversation went like this:
Anton: Are you busy between the hours of 7 and 8 tonight?
Me: I don't think so.
Anton: Could you meet me in the little tent behind the performance pavillion?
Me: I think that could be arranged.
Anton: Oh, and do you have any kind of allergies that would make it so you can't put your fingers in cream cheese?
Me: Anton, what exactly are we going to be doing in this tent?
Anton: Something special. See you tonight!

- Kafe Mehraba meet ups: So many good times had at the new Kafe that took over for YIV.

- Spending time with friends and learnings more about them and how much we have in common: The new household I camped with was so warm and inviting. I spent all war sitting down with each person, methodically, and learning more about them all. I adore everyone in that household. So very very nice to spend time with them. Even if I don't camp there again, I'm certain I will be back to visit often.

- Buying gifts that helped Kara feel like she was going to her first Medieval Prom: A new hat, a new dress... she looked like the belle of the ball. Wulfgar teased that she isn't allowed to go out because she suddenly went from looking 15 to looking 21.

- Talking to Johann on the phone and having him say 'Can I see you laugh?': I missed my boy. Talking to him on the phone, even if for only 5 minutes, was always such a treat. He melted my heart each time.

- Having Cariadoc remember me and once again ask me to come to Enchanted Grounds: I went to one of Cariadoc's classes. He smiled the instant he saw me and when class was over he once again personally invited me to his camp. As in, everyone was in the tent and he said 'yes, we will start the fires this Saturday. I do hope you will consider coming to my fire this year' - said straight to me.

- A Pennsic where the weather made more people think they should dress like me because I was prepared for the drops: People say this is the best weather Pennsic has had in over 25 years. I was... comfortable.

- No vanilla means making french toast with vanilla rum: OMG amazing French toast.

- Martyn gave me the sweetest little gift! I love it!: A cute little matrushka doll, beautifully painted. She is simply darling.

- Teaching Three Jolly Coachmen to Kara: Of course I give her the funniest response. We sang it for her camp a few times. They seem to really enjoy it.

- Schmoopy Night: I really enjoy being part of the camp's schmoopy night where everyone gets drunk, sings music, and gets in a circle and says what their favorite moment of Pennsic was. A lot of people cry. And then Wulfgar puts everyone back to sleep so we can all awaken, next year, at home once again.

- Concert of awesome!: Oh, the concert went so well! I hear video was taken. I will try and get it up as soon as I hear of it.

- iSebstiani on my birthday: So... the cream cheese? We filled 128 tart shells with it, basically sealing them so we could then put in cherry and blueberry filling... as well as top them with yogurt. And then they were thrown. All over. Especially at Liam St Liam.

- Open Camp Night on my birthday: I got to wish my Birthday Buddy, Aranak, a happy birthday! And drink his mead! I was a little toasty that night.

- Being told by a few people that I look up to very highly as to what an inspiration I am to them: As Anton said, "You aren't used to it yet, are you?"

- Having my picture taken at the Recreating History booth with the comment of how good I look and 'people at home will never believe someone made all this themselves': For some reason, this really tickled me.

- COMMEDIA!!: It is looking like we will have people from all over for Commedia Camp. Really pushed the event at Pennsic and was handed cards by many different groups.

- Despicable Me 2 with good friends after camp was set up: Every year on the Sunday of set up, the camp goes out to dinner and then to the most recent summer blockbuster. I'm glad I saved the movie until we all got together. It was fantastic.

- Taking a class on losing the fun, how to get it back... and actually finding it incredibly useful to me: I didn't realize where I had so much burn out in the SCA, but found myself grumbling about certain things. To recognize it for what it was was pretty immense.

- Having the most amazing Pennsic ever: You have no idea.

- BACON O'CLOCK!!! 10lbs of bacon. Devoured almost as soon as it was cooked.

- Sharing music with some of the most amazing people ever. And my little bardic book grows: A book that was gifted to me for winning an A&S challenge has now become my bardic book. Lyrics to everything I know the tunes for is going in it. I already have a pretty good collection, and it continues to grow.

- Hotel for zero night? Brilliant. Hotel for load-out day/night? Decadent.

- Getting my hair braided all special like by a camp mate: She wanted to practice trying to do spiral crowns on the head and really enjoyed having such a patient practice subject.

- My shoe fell apart! But I was camping with Dru the Shoemaker. Fixed!

- Missed the SIG meeting, but I think I saw almost everyone that was looking forward to seeing me there anyway.

- Getting to strum and fiddle on a lute? Makes me want to go home and practice guitar every day for half an hour to an hour

- So many project ideas!! Chicken feet, repousse, sewing, music and stories, instruments... it is going to be a busy year