Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

I have a new place in the art world, and it’s an interesting one. Thanks to my new interest in embroidery, I have become the maker of belt ends.

Let me explain:

My husband weaves belts and trim, and he’s made a few now for “foreign” royalty. One thing he wanted was a way to end the belts that would look nice and be functional. Our solution? Tiny, 1.5-2″ embroidered coats of arms sewn into little sleeves, into which I slide the end of the belt, and then it gets sewn shut. Ta-da! Belt doesn’t unwind, and it’s personalized for the recipient.

I guess it’s been done before, but from what I understand it’s not done often…at least not that I’ve seen. And so far, the people who have received the belts have loved them–especially the embroidery.

It’s kinda cool, but a little painstaking at times. The designs I’ve done so far haven’t been too complicated to shrink down and stitch, but I wonder what I’ll do when we get a commission for a more complicated coat of arms. I want to get recognition for the work I do, but I don’t want to get to where people expect more than I can do.

I’m finally done with the commission embroidery for the meantime, though, so I can focus on A&S. I’ll be reading and embroidering and measuring and cutting and sewing and typing and…yeah. A lot of work ahead, but it’s work that should be fun. Interesting, at least.

There won’t be any progress pics here, though, because that’s part of the research paper; you have to include pictures of the process of whatever you’re doing. Once it’s all done I’ll post stuff… but that’s a few months away.


Estrella War is over, but my project list is far from completed. I’m currently about halfway through a couple of tiny embroideries for a gift for a king in another kingdom, I have a hood to make for my husband, an underdress and apron dress for me, three Arts & Sciences projects to get going, and then there’s also some mundane sewing I want to get done soon-ish.

I’m not super stressed out like I would normally be, because aside from the embroidery I don’t have any deadlines less than a few months away. This is great, because for the first time in months I feel like I can relax and take my time. Well, not relax too much. But I can breathe.

I’ve picked out the Arts & Sciences projects that I’m going to do, so since that is the next true deadline I will focus on those once the embroidery is done. I am even combining one of the above projects into the A&S stuff (but I’m not saying which one!) to kind of get a little ahead of the game. Be more efficient, I guess. Now, I need to do research in addition to the physical work, and I need to remember to take pictures as I go, but I’m getting started right away so I’m not too worried. I have most of the research materials I think I’ll need compiled, so it’s just a matter of reading it all.

Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to the research paper part of the projects. I always aced my research papers in school, so this should be a breeze. I’ll just have to dust off the ol’ “student” cap and put it on and get to typing. I even made sure I knew which format (y’know, MLA, APA, etc.) I will need to use for my citations before I got started. I’m getting kind of excited for it. Yeah, excited for three research papers. I’m such a nerd.

I also need to mentally prepare for A&S, in the sense that I know my works (written and handmade) will be subject to criticism from multiple fronts. My research papers could be metaphorically torn to shreds, or my sewing could be scoffed at. I think I’ll be okay, though.

Can’t let myself get too comfy in my sense of security when it comes to timelines. We still have to move into our house once it’s built, which is rapidly approaching, and there are more SCA events in the meantime. I can do it, though. Just gotta avoid getting to Crunch Time like I usually end up doing.

Ah, modern life. Sleep number bed. Smart thermostat. Long, hot shower.

Yeah, it’s true that I will miss being at war with my SCA family, but I am still glad to be home. I can get back to my normal routine and worry less about freezing in the middle of the night. (And yes, it can get to freezing temperatures in the desert at night.) I got a new cloak out of it though, so that’s a bonus. Reversible with cotton on one side and wool on the other. Warm.

Today is a day for recuperating before jumping back into modern life full-on. The house is still in progress, work is still there, and bills still need to get paid. Can’t run away to a camping event forever, unfortunately.

For the most part everything’s back to normal, but I’m far from done with SCA stuff. I have things to sew, research to do, swording to learn. Basically, even though I’m back in the now, there’s still plenty of the then to keep me busy for quite some time.

I haven’t found a Laurel yet, but I’ll admit I didn’t try too hard to seek them out at war. I was too busy absorbing all that Estrella War had to offer me. Tournaments, melee fighting, shopping, Grand Court, etc. I’m proud of myself for not having a freak-out with all the people around me, but I still have a long way to go before I’m comfortable enough to try approaching strangers about stuff. I may start talking to the Laurels that I know, though, to get an idea of what I need to do to get on the path to that path.

I’m already “officially” on the path to a white scarf in that a good friend of mine accepted me as her rapier student. It’s kind of exciting to be on a set path and not just swinging blindly.

Eventually I’ll get there. It’s not like I’m on a set timetable here. Some people take a decade or more to become a peer in the Society, so I don’t have to rush myself.

So I’ve finally figured out what arts I want to focus on for the SCA…now I just have to get up the nerve to talk to several different peers (Laurels specifically) so I can get to know them and hopefully find a mentor.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’ll be at Laurel level any time soon. Years. Many years. But I think I’m ready to start getting to know different Laurels and hopefully find one who will be a good fit for me. Then there’s the ask-vs-being-asked dilemma…some Laurels want you to approach them about apprenticeship, while others want to get to know you and your work and will then eventually ask you. So I have to test the waters on that a bit before diving in. Don’t want to offend a potential Laurel by being too forward.

As far as peerages go, Laurel is the most likely one I could potentially get. Yes, there’s Master of Defense for rapier, but I’m probably decades off from that one, if ever. And of course I’m not going to be a Knight (because I am too weak for hardsuit fighting), and Pelican (the service peerage) isn’t really for me. Not that I don’t mind helping people or anything, but I just don’t have the intense drive to serve that a lot of good Pelicans have.

I’ll get there eventually, but first thing’s first.

Remember that list of things I have to make before Estrella War? Well, it’s still there–and not much has changed. :/

I started on my husband’s fighting tunic, but I made the sleeves a tad too big so that has to be altered before I can put the pieces together (thankfully I assembled the lining first, so I don’t have as much undoing to do). He also wants buttons, so I have to make adjustments for that. The embroidery is coming along but slowly. His rapier hood is larger than mine, with more seams to stitch, so even though I’m nearly done there’s still a good bit of work left on it. I have to stitch the trim he made for my fighting tunic onto the garment before I finish his. I have pants to make still (not complicated, but involved). And there’s a scroll I have to complete in addition to the sewing. I’m hoping to get a good bit of the prep work on that done today between my pre-work waking up time and the scribal class this evening.

There are a couple of things I had wanted to complete that I don’t think I’ll be able to this go around. I had wanted to make a coat of some sort (Viking style, of course) to wear at Estrella, but that’s not going to happen. I won’t be able to get decent material for it prior, and it’s just going to take up too much of my time. So it’ll be a cloak to keep me warm on those cold Estrella nights, at least this war. I had also wanted to make a Viking apron dress and under dress to go with the Viking “treasure beads” I got for Christmas, but that too will take too much time. I suppose the latter is for the better though, because now I can take my time on it and use those as one of my Arts & Sciences entries.

That’s right; I still plan on entering in the A&S competition for our barony, and despite some peoples’ reservations, I plan on competing for Champion. Go big or go home, right? Besides, I have confidence in my abilities, and I have a secret 3rd project in the planning stages that I think will at the very least be interesting to the judges. It sure as hell will be interesting to me to research, and any learning is a good thing. Yeah, there’s always the chance I won’t win, and I might be judged more critically if I enter for Champion and not a couple of Novice pieces, but I don’t care about either of those. I’m in it to prove that I can do it at this point. Go ahead and naysay; there’s enough stubborn Leo in me to push on and keep working towards my goal. And if I win? It’s all cherry at that point.

I keep telling myself that things will slow down after Estrella, but who am I kidding? I’ll be busy busy busy right up until and after A&S. That’s okay, though. I can do it.

It’s getting to be that time of year: Estrella War. It will be my second major SCA war, and my first major in-kingdom war. Like, major-major.

I’m not super keen on melee rapier fighting. Too chaotic, too closed-in, too many people, just too much for me. I feel more in the way than useful. I plan on sucking it up and diving in, though, because female fighters get an award for their first time on the battlefield at Estrella. (Thanks, Sir Trudy, for being the first.) Yeah, it’s a common award and every woman who fights in melee combat at Estrella gets one, but damnit I’m gonna earn it.

This weekend is our kingdom’s “fighting collegium” and our southern war practice. My foot is still in the stupid fracture boot thanks to a random rock at Southern war (or at least that’s the podiatrist’s theory), but I’m going to go and get the most out of these classes and this practice. If I’m going to go out on the battlefield even only once, I need to try to get that in-the-way thing taken care of. Learn to make myself useful instead.

Oh, and I made a decision on the baronial Arts & Sciences competition: I’m going all-in. Aiming for Champion. Go big or go home, right? Besides, I want to prove to myself that I can do it. Compete, that is; I’m not going to be devastated if I don’t win, but hell, at least I can say I tried.


Just a few more days until Christmas! Not that I’m Christian, but I like to celebrate the spirit of gift giving this time of year. I think that giving presents to friends and family to show your appreciation of them is something I can totally get on board with, regardless of the religious reason for said gift giving.

I’m a little disappointed that I’m not going to get done sewing one present in time to mail it out, and that I wasn’t able to get to the post office to mail out another one. Then there’s the one I ordered last-minute the wasn’t on the Prime program, so it won’t arrive before Christmas. And it took me forever to figure out what I was getting my husband–so that will be late, too. Boo. None of the recipients mind that their gifts will be late, but I still feel guilty that I didn’t get everything in on time.

Despite the fact that I create an Amazon wish list every year of stuff I’d like to get, I’m not really concerned with what I end up getting. Its the spirit of the season, those friends and family that I mentioned before, that really matter. Seeing how happy they are with their gift(s) (or pretend-happy, depending on how good a job I did of selecting/making said gift) is what makes me happy, not necessarily what kind of haul I end up getting. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d even be disappointed in the slightest if I got no presents–so long as I still was able to buy/make for those I care about.

As the year draws to a close, I think back on my one “resolution”/goal for the new year: to get the first draft of my WIP in finished. I blew past that goal and even finished the first draft of the sequel, plus got a publishing deal. I’m still amazed that I accomplished that much.

This isn’t where I usually post my goals for the next year, but since I mentioned it let’s just get that post out of the way, shall we? Here goes:

  • I want to continue working out with my husband and my friends to gain strength and endurance (and hopefully lose a bit of weight)
  • don’t want to break my motherfucking foot again…or any other bones
  • I want to continue to learn and grow in my rapier practice–maybe win a small tournament? We’ll see
  • I want to get Book 2 finished enough to send it to my publisher for consideration
  • Oh yeah, I want Book 1 to be published. I want to see it in print in a bookstore. Maybe some book signings? We’ll see on that one, too. Oh, and to get at least started on Book 3 🙂
  • I want to make it through my current sewing project list and then some (that one might take up the entire year lol)
  • I want to do my hardest to push back some of this social anxiety to the point where I can enjoy SCA events more and not get overwhelmed by the number of people I don’t know that are around me
  • I want to learn a new art/craft. I’ve already started trying to embroider something, but that might be my “new” thing seeing as how I’ve only just barely started
  • I want to stand up for myself more. On those occasions where my social anxiety is not under control or for events/meetings that I don’t want to go to, I want to be able to say “Hey, honey, I don’t want to do Thing X; can I stay home/in the tent for it or maybe do Thing Y instead?”
  • I want to move into our own home and out of this freakin’ apartment

This probably isn’t a comprehensive list of goals for the coming year, but I think they’re all reasonable. Attainable.

I used to grab a 3×5 index card and jot all these goals down, sticking the card on the fridge for “motivation,” but I don’t think I’ll do that this year. I can keep a running tally in my head of things I’ve accomplished that I set out to do.

Speaking of things to do, I had better get cracking on the gift I’m currently working on. It’s taking a lot of hand sewing because I can’t figure out a good way to use the sewing machine on the weird angles without screwing it up.

Until next time!