Update on Unfinished Projects

Good news: I’ve got two completely off the list!  YAY!

Bad news: I’ve added to my list.

My list items that are now done are these.

  1. Nobelese Largesse Secret Project (blogged about here)
  2. Mar’s Quilt block (no photos, but it’s also done and I’m mostly happy with it)

I took a break to knock out some cosplay stuff because even outside of the SCA, I’m a giant nerd.

But, back to work.

  1. Lined Skjoldehamn hood (I have to take this apart, line with fabric, and then put it back together.)
  2. Cutting out several Byzantine bone box blanks in preparation for turning into Byzantine box icons
  3. Sewing up Byzantine boy garb (PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS!)
  4. Thaddeus’ Achievement of Arms
  5. Making more casual Byzantine clothing (PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS!)
  6. Heraldic banner for my significant other.
  7. Write Pelican scroll text for Jaida de Leon
  8. Create Pelican scroll for Jaida de Leon

So, back to work, and some of those items are coming down the pike faster than I know what to do with, so, yay, writing.

Updates will happen when things are done, as always.

Posted in about me, project management, SCA | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Crossed One Off the List!

So, remember my post on unfinished projects?  Well, I get to cross one off of the list!

My Noblesse Largesse project went to a lady out in Atlantia, who stated in her dossier that she liked paternosters and the colours green and red.  So, going through my beads, I decided to stretch my carving muscles and also make it a stealth medallion.  (This is not the first time I’ve created a stealth medallion as a paternoster, either.)  So, I got out my ever-faithful Dremel and did some carving into some leftover bone from my Queen’s Prize entry.  I knew I’d have problems painting the bone due to the additional calcium added to stabilize the bone, but I knew that I wouldn’t with ink.

100_7565So, I carved out a Pelican from a piece of beef shank bone, as my recipient is a member of that Order, with my Dremel.  I used a coloured pencil to make my marks, and then went a little bananas.  Once I was done with that, I added a bit of India ink, and then wiped it away, thus adding some definition and contrast between the carved and the smooth portions.  I also took a bit of acrylic ink and dropped a bit in the part where the blood-drop for the pelican had pierced her breast.


Once I had finished carving it out and had made a little hole for the silk threads to go, I made an 18 bead paternoster.  It’s not as period as I’d like, but for the amber beads that I had on hand, it would just have to work.

I am pretty happy with this particular piece, and I hope my recipient likes it.  Every time I work with bone, it surprises me, and I’m excited to see what else I can make from it.

Posted in beads, carving, later period, noblesse largesse, paternosters, prayer beads, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Snorri’s Hammer Scroll, or how to pick your battles

This is actually a project from last year (December!) that I’ve finally got some time to blog about now.

I got a scroll assignment from the Royal Scribe for Damien and Issabell and I was immediately inspired to Do Something Cool.

Plan 1: do a runestone.
I should preface this with I was on furlough from my job, so I had some time that I could have devoted to learning some new skills and building some muscle in my arms.  I was even looking at rocks on the side of the road while on the way to and from an event to use for the runestone.

Life had other plans.

Plan 2: do a Norse weathervane.
Still on furlough, I realised that I still had to do a few things for getting ready to go visit my lord in Canada.  And that’s when the idea of doing a Norse weathervane seemed far easier and faster to accomplish.  After all, at this point, I had three weeks to get it done.  So, I went down to my local home improvement store and picked up a brass kickplate (which, by the way, is a relatively cheap way to source brass for projects – if you’re okay with working around pre-drilled holes).

Sawing it out took forever.  Using my beloved Dremel helped, but then created some additional problems when cutting out the design.

Well, crap.

Plan 3: all right, that’s all failed – time for a traditional scroll!
So, by this point, it was literally a week before Kris Kinder, when Snorri was going to be getting his Hammer, I had to go into very high gear.  Thankfully, this is an artform I wasn’t learning on the fly and could take some shortcuts.  With him having a Norse persona, I totally did some Facebook stalking (sorry, Snorri!) to figure out how to bring in the personal touches into his scroll.  Chiara di Paxiti wrote an incredible scroll text, and I got a pretty good visual in my head of what I wanted to do. (Which conveniently tied into the scroll text “This was done at the thing in Forgotten Sea held on the 9th day of December, being the fifth month of the Reign and the fifty-second year of the Society, when the King and Queen did give to Snorri a quantity of glass, such that he would always have enough.“)


It was then time to go back to Plan 1.  Or at least, tap into some of the inspiration from Plan 1, which consisted of Norse picture stones, St. Patrick’s Bell Shrine, and one of the Sutton Hoo eagles (which he uses to mark his stuff).  The main shape of the art was inspired by the Bell Shrine, the monochromatic red and white and the decorative rope-look was inspired by the picture stones, and the eagles on either side of the main picture were the Sutton Hoo eagle.  I did modify the kingdom badge for the Order a bit to look a bit more like a Mjölnir I had seen for sale.

The calligraphy was my standard uncial in a combination of inks: Noodler’s Antietam (which is the most perfect blood red I’ve seen in an ink) and Liquitex’s Ink! in Vivid Red.  I went with the combination because the Vivid Red was far too vibrant, and the Antietam was a bit too dark.  In concert, the colour was perfect for matching the Royal Talens Vermillion gouache that was the main colour of the piece.  In hindsight, I probably should have used Long Branch runes, but, part of the point of the scroll is also to be able to read it.

The Sutton Hoo eagles were done using Finetec’s gold pans, which give a beautiful depth of colour, and are affordable, and better yet, replaceable when used up.  The scene of Damien and Issabell presenting Snorri glass in his workshop (which would have been a part of the runestone!) was drawn and ready for paint – I wanted to make it look a bit like carved stone, complete with subtle shadows and highlights.  Here’s where I tied in the bit from the scroll text, too.

By this point, after screwing up on the calligraphy enough (three sheets later), and determination set in, it was five days before the event, and I was full-on hatecrafting.  (Yes, it’s a thing.  Don’t judge me.)  Sometimes, bull-dogging through a project is the only way the project gets done.  I don’t recommend this for a permanent way of crafting, as it’s a way to set up for burnout.

The calligraphy was down, and all I had to do from here was fill in the rest of my pencil work.  Half a day later, the scroll was completely done.  Not counting the various mis-steps or reworking, the scroll took four days.  Counting the reworking, it took almost my allotted month.  For project management, this was not my finest work.

By the time that Kris Kinder rolled around, I’d mostly recovered from hatecrafting, and was quite a bit more bouncy, because I’m a court junkie and I love seeing my friends get recognized for the cool things they do.  And nothing is more rewarding than seeing your friend be absolutely gobsmacked, thus making the adventures in crafting more fun.

Things learned (we think)
Ambitious projects are great, but not when the turn-around time is less than a month away.
Even if the project goes horribly pear-shaped, people are appreciative of the things you make.
Hold onto your documentation for all your projects – you may still be able to use the ideas, just in a different medium.


Posted in calligraphy, calontir, illumination, influences, Norse, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unfinished Projects

Y’all. Y’all. I’m really bad at unfinished projects.

My friend Anna Plantyn had a fantastic idea for keeping on task for finishing up the projects (and I’ll blog about this, too). From her note:

Over the years I have accrued a number of unfinished projects. One of my goals for 2018 is to clear out all of my unfinished project, one way or another. To date I have 30 unfinished projects. At least that is what I have found so far. I am pretty sure there are a couple more hiding out in the house somewhere. In order to keep track of them and in a way, hold myself accountable for finishing them I’m going post them here and update as they go away.

So, here we go. I may have fewer than 30 projects, but I need to get these done and out of the way. Please help me stay accountable. If I tell you that I need help with it, please help me get it taken care of (if this means that I’m being kidnapped and coming over to your house, then this is what it means). Once they’ve been completed, I’ll bold it and mark that it’s finished.
  1. Nobelese Largesse Secret Project
  2. Mar’s Quilt block
  3. Lined Skjoldehamn hood
  4. Cutting out several Byzantine bone box blanks in preparation for turning into Byzantine box icons
  5. Sewing up Byzantine boy garb (PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS!)
  6. Thaddeus’ Achievement of Arms
  7. Making more casual Byzantine clothing (PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS!)
  8. Heraldic banner for my significant other.

I have enough projects to keep me going for the next eight months, though some will need to be done sooner (numbers 1 and 2) than the others (it would be nice to get 3, 7, and 8 done soon, as well).

I’ll be blogging about completing each project as I get to them.  It is my hope that this keeps me motivated to get those UFOs off my plate.

Posted in about me, project management | Tagged , | 6 Comments

2017 SCA Resolutions, revisited. . .

Looking back at my SCA resolutions from last year, and I got none of them done. Sigh.  Not.  A.  One.  Now, to be fair, my modern work life was in a crap-ton of flux, but I’m hoping for much smoother sailing this year.  Goals #1 (actually finish a project before taking on another one) and #5 (Find the joy) were sort of kind of mostly achieved, but I could do much better.

So, this year, I’m going to try to do the following:
Comment once a month on OSCAR (where heraldic commentary happens).
Make at least a piece of art a month and post it to 12 Months of Crafting
Be gentler with myself
Do the things in the SCA that bring me joy.

What I did do this year:
I wrote a couple of scroll texts: Elspeth’s Lily and Brigida’s Pelican
I won my barony’s A&S Championship, of which you can read more here
I entered Queen’s Prize with a project that was a long term goal to achieve
I tried out the 14th century by making my own surcote and hair pins
I better fleshed out my Rus kit by adding the details with temple rings and the like
Created a new heraldic big board for our Crown tournaments
I painted a few heraldic banners (or heraldic type banners) for friends who needed heraldry on their things (because seriously – if you have heraldry, please put it on all the things!)
I also painted several more small pennons for the Baronial Roll of Arms project, which is now at 63 completed arms (as of last night) – I also still need to blog about this, so that’s on my schedule to write about
I painted a buckler for one of Calontir’s premiers of the Order of the Masters of Defense, as well as two other combat-worthy shields
I designed preprints for the upcoming reign, as well as painted preprints for the current reign
Wrote (and published in a KWHSS proceedings) an article on volunteer management

I have so much that I want to do, but I want to go about it in a healthy sort of way, both mentally, and for my pocketbook, because my computer is old and really should be replaced soon.  So, I have a project notebook (which is ironically a Harry Potter notebook because it’s my second love) that I’ll use to write down the idea and table it for a time where I can afford to do it and keep track of the status of the project.

Below, see the photos of this year’s projects.  Onward and upward!


Posted in about me, banner, brag page, Byzantine, calligraphy, calontir, herald, heraldry, illumination, jewellery, jewelry, later period, persona, persona development, queen's prize, Retrospective, Rus, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism, temple rings, volunteer management, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Need Your Help

Hi all – I wish this was an awesome research post or a post about something I made.  Instead, I’m asking for a tiny bit of help with a bit of a modern-day problem.  I’m visiting my Diarmaid, and my computer hard drive ended up needing to be replaced.  I was able to have it replaced (and remarkably, most of my research is intact, along with my documentation).  Unfortunately, it also means that I’m also living on borrowed time.  I’m on a 5+ year old Mac, and well, computers aren’t meant to last forever.

So, I’m raising money to help get a new one.  If my research or blog posts have helped you in any way, would you mind throwing a few bucks my way?  I’d greatly appreciate it.  You can donate by going here.

The new year will bring some more work on bone and tagua carving (I need to make a couple more bone icons), and I’m hoping to do some more research on early period icons.

Posted in about me, musings | Leave a comment

Brigida’s Pelican Text

My friend Brigida had the boon begged to be admitted to the Order of the Pelican back in August.  She asked me to write her scroll text, of which I was pleased to do so.  Brigida’s persona is from 1200s Munich (hence the von München in her name!)  Tumbling down the rabbit hole that are Holy Roman Empire legal texts, I found  few: a decision of fixing the rank of children born of mixed marriages, 1282, as well as Charles IV Confers Nobility on a Doctor of Both Laws, 1360, and Frederick II Confers Nobility about 1240, all found in A Source Book for Mediæval History: Selected Documents Illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Age by Thatcher and McNeal.  It’s available as a free eBook from Google Books.

So, I cobbled together a few things.  Brigida is a middle school math teacher in the modern world, and I wanted to tie in that information into her scroll text.  I also knew that the day she was being elevated was St. Martin’s Day, which is celebrated on November 11th.  There were a couple things I had to fill in, such as the name of the church, however, most of writing this scroll text was filing off serial numbers, fitting in appropriate SCA references, and using the text as it largely was.

Damien II and Issabell II, by divine clemency emperor and empress of Calontir, the king and queen of the Heartland, is writing to inform all that while we were holding court at Deodar on Martinstag, our faithful and beloved council of the order of the Pelican were presented the following question for an official decision: If there is one teacher amongst you whose knowledge exists of both heraldic and mathematical, who teaches and serves all who shall come to her, should she be brought into your ranks as a member of the order?  And all who were present declared that one Brigida von München, scholasticus of the College of Heralds, should have this rank and be clothed in the estate of her station.

Therefore, we strictly command all princes, temporal and celestial, counts, chiefs, nobles, and all our other faithful subjects to whom this letter may come, under threat of the loss of imperial favour, to regard, hold, and treat you as such (that is, as a Pelican of the Society), in all places; and out of reverence for the holy empire to admit you to all the rights, privileges, etc., to which nobles are accustomed to enjoy.

Done by our hand this Martinmas day, Anno Societatis LII in our shire of Deodar, in Peterskirche.

Brigida was very happy to hear the text, especially after it was translated into German (which she speaks fluently) by another friend.  In period, it would have been translated into Latin, but the German felt more right.

It was a pleasure to get to participate in her very big day.  Congratulations, Meisterin Brigida!

Personal updates!

IMG_6011At Calontir’s Crown Tournament, I was made a baroness of the court of Damien and Issabell (video here) for service to the Crown with the Dirty Dozen Donation Derby contests I’ve been sponsoring to help the Crown with ensuring They have enough largesse to last through their reign.  I’m currently researching forms of address that are more period for early Byzantine personae to add to the list that Anna and I have been working on.

The coronet is easily one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever owned, and was the work of Finán mac Crimthainn.  Finán did an amazing job on it, and his sister, Ayisha bint Asad, did a phenomenal bit of work on my scroll.  Jakob Bieryage made the most perfect box for my coronet to live in.  Andrixos’ words made me cry.  I am beyond humbled, and hope to live up to expectations.

Posted in about me, calontir, herald, heraldry, SCA, scroll text, service, Society for Creative Anachronism, writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Byzantine Bone Box Icon and Queen’s Prize

I’ve been quiet lately.  Sorry about that (lots of projects on my plate, lots of items still needing to be done).

At any rate, I’ve been quiet as I’ve been working on my Queen’s Prize project.


I’ve been intrigued by this little bone icon found in Israel since its discovery in 2011, and even more so since it was found in a Byzantine mansion in the City of David dating to my persona’s time period of the 6th century.

I am happy with this piece, but I see places for improvement.  I also see room for trying out new techniques (and ways to not sand my fingertips off with a Dremel).

With this particular item being considered a “rare find,” it does remind me that being on the path of early Byzantium isn’t easy – Iconoclasm starting in the mid-eighth century and again in the early ninth century means that physical objects and representations may not exist.  A few items were kept safe, however, the lacuna of knowledge is still pretty great.  Nevertheless, finding those connections and trying out the ideas in some surprising ways is pretty fun, and adds a meaning and a context to the person I’m trying to portray.  This was the first time I worked with making my own egg tempera, as well as carving my own box out of bone.

My documentation for the bone box can be found here.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask them!

Posted in Byzantine, calontir, illumination, persona development, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

14th Century Hairpins

The upcoming reign i100_6840s a 14th c reign, with a high persona Coronation, so I’ve been working on a couple of things to augment what I do have, and being able to go as period as possible has been my aim with this particular project.  (Plus, up until this point, I had nothing that quite fit the time period, and Palaiologos dynasty Byzantine Empire is a bit too fussy for me, along with little pictorial representation of lower-ranking clothing.)

Of course, that led down a rabbit hole.  One of the Laurels in Drachenwald, whose  has a fantastic blog on 14th c life, and one of the things she made were a set of hairpins, based on a find in Finsbury Circus, London, dating back to the 14th c.  They’re pretty much hair forks with the two tines, and they’re relatively easy to make, with few supplies needed.  In fact, I had all the pieces I needed here at home.

Things you will need to make your own set of hair forks:

28 gauge non-tarnish brass wire
20 gauge brass rod, half-hard (you can also use a metal clothes hanger if you don’t have brass rod on hand, although you can purchase it for very little)
wire cutters
a cylindrical shape like a medicine bottle to use as a form
a file

100_6844Step one
Cut your brass rod to about 7″ long.  You will need two pieces for each braid.  This will be your substrate for the decorative coils, and will be the part that actually sticks into the braids on either side of the head.  If your cuts ended up on the sharp end, you can use a file to smooth them out.  Use your bottle to make a curve in the middle of the rod.  Set aside the excess rod for later use.

Step two100_6847
Use the excess rod to start making a coil with the 28 gauge wire, leaving at least a half inch of wire tail on either end.  You will need at least 5″ of coiled 28 gauge wire, taking care to keep it relatively even.  Once done, pull the coil off.  You will need two coils, one for each hair fork.

100_6853Step three
Once you’ve finished your coils, you’ll want to wrap the tail around one of your bent rods, and then, pulling the coil slightly to loosen it, wrap the coil around the rod, taking care to push the wire together 100_6856every so often.  Keep your secondary coil pushed together, and work until you’ve reached the other tail.  Work gently, twisting the wire closely together so that it interlocks with itself.  To finish, wrap the rest of the tail around the rod.  You may want to bend the pin some more so that it keeps your braid in place.

Once complete, the completed hairpins should look like the first photo, with the coiled coil wrap only covering the top portion of the pin.

Posted in hair, hairpins, how-to, jewellery, jewelry, later period, ornamentation, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism, tutorial, wire, wire wrapping | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Barony of Forgotten Sea Arts and Sciences Championship

Yesterday was the baronial arts and sciences championship, which I entered on a lark.  The only caveat to the competition is that I could not have entered a competition with it before.  You may remember the carved Pelican medallion I made a few entries ago.  After buying a jeweler’s saw and blades, I cut the back off so that it was flat (and now I have a tiny chip of tagua to play with!) and carved in a cross of Calatrava with my Dremel.  It is times like this that I really wish I had more hand tools, but that will come with time.

My next step is getting people involved with showing their work off.  The work is beginning, but so is the fun.


Posted in brag page, Byzantine, calon cross, calontir, carving, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments