helblonde: (Flocke and seal)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] joycebre and I made a foray into some of Giambattista della Porta's hair dying recipes (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] falzalot who provided the braid to experiment with).

We made homemade lye* and quicklime. That was cool. We tried a few abbreviated recipes, without much success. That is, the recipes went together fine, but I haven't seen any changes in hair color. The recipe with the saffron and honey smells fabulous, though. I have locks of hair soaking in just lye and just quicklime and haven't seen any changes in color despite 20 hours in the baths.

We'll be shopping before we try again, to see get some of the herbs and such we didn't have this time around**.

I have seed on the way to grow some of the plants. I have a suspicion that the fresh celandine, for instance, will give us a good hit of yellow. Who knows? Perhaps we'll find that they were putting yellow pigments atop their hair color, rather than bleaching and coloring as we do today.

Let's do some more science!

* By the way, home soapmakers, I have about a gallon of lye. If you need some, let me know.
** We'll skip the recipe that calls for Gold Litharge. It turns out that's just a fancy way of saying lead oxide. We're not keen on the saltpetre, vitriol, sal ammoniac, and cinnabar recipe, either.


Apr. 16th, 2013 11:04 pm
helblonde: (Flocke and seal)
Step by step we climb the foothill.

Before the winds really came up yesterday, I got a bunch of oak branches burnt down to ash. I did it in the Weber, thank goodness, so I could shut all the hatches and not have a patio covered in it today. The used up coco mats from the hanging planters made excellent firestarter, by the way. A little of that goes a long way.

Today, I found a ceramic pot to steep the lye in. I lined it with rocks, put in another coco mat (to act as a filter), poured the ashes in on top of the mat, and then filled it up with water. I covered it and then put it up where it should be undisturbed. I'll check the concentration on Friday.

I also found my pH strips. They work, despite their age (they were given to me as a kid). Listerine, my test fluid, is pH 4, which is frightening. Don't put that in your mouth!

I've been shopping for straw hats for my A&S class. The wholesale sites I've found have insufficient information on the hats. Fortunately, retail sites are a little more forthcoming and have better pictures of the same hats. Retail markup appears to be about 4x. I did find a site that will let me pay wholesale prices. The hats are sold by the dozen. When it gets here, I'll test out one hat to see if it'll work for the class. Hopefully, I won't be left with eleven lemons.
helblonde: (Poppy)
I've been cutting out the under branches of our* oak tree. Partly, this clears out space for walking. It also takes a bit of weight off the fence. This is my second week of filling the green bin with twigs and leaves. I expect to do this for a few weeks more.

Do any of you workers of wood want the larger diameter pieces (1.5"- 2" now,  and larger once we can get up there with the chainsaw) for knife handles or anything? Most of the pieces are gently curved or crganically straight. None goes more than a foot and a half without branching. I'm happy to save them for anyone who can use them. Otherwise, they'll be firewood for later.

I have been saving the mid-sized branches because I want to burn them for ash to make lye. I want to make lye, well, mostly because I can. But also, because [livejournal.com profile] joycebre and I have settled on a day for abusing hair in a period style. We're going to be trying out a few period recipes for hair bleaching, and lye is a component. Yes, we're trying this at home! We're using donated hair, by the way. We're enthusiastic, not crazy.

I'm going to have the samples at A&S for my "Make a 16th century hair bleaching hat" class, but it you want to check them out some other time at the event, I'm happy to play show and tell.

In other news, I took a closer look at the garlic. It was severely afflicted with rust. I trimmed off the worst-affected foliage today and sprayed the rest down with fungicide. The garlic picked up the rust from the mallow that afflicts my yard. Pleasantly, the onions, which are right next to the garlic and theoretically closer related, are completely unafflicted.

Since I was already spraying fungicide on a day clearly unsuited to it (stupid wind), I decided to go ahead and spray the nectarine tree, since that is already showing signs of leaf curl (thank you neighbors who can't be bothered to treat their heavily infected tree). I sprayed the roses, too. Mostly they are looking healthy. I only have one which had a nasty bit of rust (that I cut out mercilessly), and another which is still fighting black spot. No powdery mildew so far this year! Considering how much rain we've had this spring, and how that interferes with keeping the plants treated, I'm rather pleased.

However, if it should decide to rain in the near future, you know who to blame. Spraying the plants is rather like washing the car; Mother Nature takes it as a dare.

* Strictly speaking, it's the neighbor's tree, but it grows behind their shed where they ignore it and over the back fence, where we can enjoy its shade.
helblonde: (12th Night)
From [livejournal.com profile] broider_barones 
******Please cross post******************

There will be classes at the upcoming West AnTir War.
There will be demonstrations of arts and science stuff a the upcoming West AnTir
There will be A&S challenges at the upcoming West AnTir War.

We want everyone to come play and learn. What do you want to learn? What do you
want to teach? demonstrate?

We have 3 full days full of learning opportunities. Let us know what you want to
be doing. We have some classes already planned, but there is room for more. We
hope to begin posting soon so please let me know your ideas.

Here is what we have on the list so far:
weaving -- a couple different classes
flax - from grass to thread
pewter - demonstration on token making
needlework classes
knittting - heels
paternosters for men (women welcome)
16th C Salon with "classes"

We also will have THE FIRST EVER MEDIEVAL SOCK WARS!!!!!!!!
Onsite - make a medieval sock. We will provide pattern, needles, instructions
and wool - courtesy of Brown Sheep Wool Company for up to 20 participants. There
will be prizes for first done (only need to do 1 sock) and judges choice. Both
knitted or naalbinded socks will be accepted.

And more!!!!!

Please contact me as soon as possible with your requests for classes and offers.
helblonde: (12th Night)
First, I decided that I needed a 16th C kirtle to wear at W-A War. I thought red would be a good choice, since I have the red ropa to the wearable, yet insufficiently-bling'd stage.

Second, I went through our linen closet (linen storage in my house is bins, but still...) and discovered that I have insufficient red linen. There's a sexy natural + russet herringbone and a light blue, but no red. Oh, Yeah, I have a wool to match the herringbone. And I have the light blue wool-cashmere coating and a light blue and yellow silk cross that I had planned to make a warm ropa out of but never decided on the design for.

Third, I went to the Tudor Tailor. Nuff said.

Now I want to make a light blue kirtle and the light blue ropa. But I still can't decide on the ropa styling. It'll have long sleeves. Puffy, long sleeves. Beyond that, I'd love suggestions. I'm up for fancy or sedate, puffed, slashed, or even pinked. What do you suggest?
helblonde: (pavilion)
...which I'm sure many of you know ;-)

At the moment, though, I am disturbed by the outpouring of responses to Santiago's post, which present great mea culpas about emotional responses. Dear friends, you never need to apologise for your feelings. They are real, they are valid, and they are true.

It is how you present your emotional responses that marks the grace of your presence. Just as the fighter who storms off the field in ungracious defeat is not a person to emulate, so to is the person who takes out their irritation on a person unrelated to the ire. It is here that the call to valor is most important.

If you have given offense to a person, you have done them harm. Own it. Apologise for it. Strive to prevent such occurences in the future.

In the past few years, I have been musing on communication in the West and in the Society. It has struck me that we used to use a phrase to let someone know that they had overstepped and said something rude or hurtful. It has been a long time since I have heard the words and I wonder whether we have forgotten their power or whether it seems hokie - a taste of Ye Olde Days of the Societie - and no longer relevant to the current incarnation of the West. The phrase: "I accept".

Telling people "I accept" first gives them an immediate opportunity to apologise. I think that most people in the SCA, if they knew that they had caused offence, would be pleased to know it and be more than willing to give an apology. If the offender stands behind their words, then "I accept" is a call to action. It says to the person that they must back their words with honorable action.

I have heard a lot of complaints about this offence and that sniping comment in the past many years and I keep thinking Wow, a quick 'I accept' and you could have cleared this up. What do you say? It beats talking smack about people behind their backs.
helblonde: (pavilion)
I wonder some times how much people pay attention to the oaths that they take during the invocation of the lists. And the honor of their consort )
helblonde: (oak and acorn)

Join us in sunny Esfenn for a day of fighting and feasting on Saturday, September 12, 2009 at the Los Cerritos Community Center 3377 Alder Ave, Fremont, CA 94536

There is no site fee for the tournament or to stay and audit our entertainment. Tickets for the Feast of Fine Arts are $20 for adults and $12 for children 5-13. You may purchase tickets from the autocrats, Alys Sheffield and Johanna Ludwiger von Hertesberk, or online via Acceps (http://acceps.ansteorra.org/index.php).

We will start the day with the First Sword Tournament in the field behind the community center. Lists open at 10, and the fighting will start at 11. Martin of Rivenstar, our current First Sword, is devising a daunting day of miscellaneous melees. Bring a selection of swords you’ll get a chance to use them all!

Neighboring shire members are opening their home (showers!) to fighters who wish to freshen up before the feast.

The feast hall opens at 2 for set up. Feast-goers are welcome in the hall once everything is set. The first course will be served at 5:00. Feast courses and entertainments will alternate through the evening.

The talented Ysabella Dolfin is our head cook and will be presenting dishes from Scappi. She has been home-curing a delectable selection of meats for the feast and has a delightful selection of vegetarian dishes as well.

The hall generously allows beer and wine (mead counts!) after 5:00. No hard alcohol, please.

There will be performances by Ghislaine d’Auxerre, Bard of the Mists, Vittoria Aurelli, the Treblemakers, and many others! Lady Cyn will lead the dancing through the evening.

My Monthly

Jun. 2nd, 2009 10:17 am
helblonde: (oak and acorn)
It happens every month around this time. I'm getting jazzed up about Wednesday fighter practice and then realize we have our shire meeting on te first Wednesday of the month.

Still, all is not wasted. [livejournal.com profile] falzalot and I figured out the Acceps stuff last week, so that'll be getting sigs and getting sent out. We've put together the text for the event website.

We should have Acceps available to sell Esfenn Feast tickets pretty darn soon. I'll post here when we do.

We'll also have a few paper-in-hand tix available, too.


May. 6th, 2009 12:04 pm
helblonde: (Shadayim)
Our seneschal canceled our shire meeting, so we get to go up to Ysa's for practice tonight! Yeah!

The sleeves for the ropa are coming out pretty well. I'm pleased that this whole project is coming out of my stash. Who knew I had 20 yards of trim that matched a yellow taffeta that I have just enough of for accents? That's a win. I am, as I'm sure you've noticed, still not inspired to actually sew the dern thing.
helblonde: (pavilion)
A fine idea has been tossed around in a couple of conversations and again in the Mists Management Meeting this past Sunday. I'm really hoping that something comes of it (is that the sound of me raising a hand to see that it happens? No, I'm still typing, maybe after). To wit, the Principality could purchase and maintain an inventory of feast serving dishes.

There are a whole bunch of things that would need to be ironed out, but in concept I think this is great. Ultimately, I'll write up my suggestions to our Beloved Seneschal, but for now here are a few things that I'm mulling over.

Things to chew on )


Jan. 24th, 2009 02:21 pm
helblonde: (bear hugs)
I have a throbbing headache. The drugs aren't helping. And, to make this more surreal, I have "Christmas in Killarney" stuck in my head (with all o' the folks from home).

I'm bummed, but it's looking likely that I'll miss Crosston Ball. Apologies to the folks who were expecting me.
helblonde: (pavilion)
We had an awesome weekend!

Saturday, moriven did super well in the tournament. I think he was #5 in the day. He beat Viscountess Brin and Herzog Matthias in super cool fights. He held his ground and kicked some donkey even with Matthias all over him with his dagger. I'm so proud :) He also had an awesome fight with Sir Conall. They looked like they were having so much fun! That makes me happy.

Sunday, we went down to the races at Laguna Seca. It was my first time going to a race. It was pretty cool - especially the Porsches. I think I grinned like an idiot for most of the day because moiven was having a good time and having my honey happy makes me happy.

ETA: He was fourth in the tournament!

For the dozen people who I have not brought to my bed... I bring my bed to you! )
helblonde: (pavilion)
The war was dusty, windy, dry, and cold at night. We also had laughter, alcohol, green grass, shopping, and flipples, so it was a good war.

Despite my shopping prizes, I have failed in my one shopping goal for the year: I did not buy any period shoes. I can't believe I haven't run into a period shoe merchant all year. Does anyone have any online suggestions? Folks you would or wouldn't buy from?
helblonde: (oak and acorn)
I just did a run through the numbers from the feast with falzalot. We had 91 people at the Esfenn event! That's pretty darn good for a small shire day event.
helblonde: (pavilion)
Come to Esfenn's Ye Grande Evente, the Esfenn First Sword Tournament and Feast of Fine Arts!
September 6, 2008
Los Cerritos Community Center in Fremont, CA 
There is no site fee!
The feast is $15; tickets must be puchased in advance. We'll have tickets at Purg :)

Armor inspection is at 10am and the tournament starts shortly after. Sir Geoffrey Scott is the current First Sword and he wants to pack as much fighting into the day as possible. It's going to be an all-melee day. We will alternate tournament melees with our usual fabulous prize melees. Remember, first sword melees must be fought with some sort of sword or sword combo.

At 2:00, the hall opens for set up. Shortly after, people not engrossed in the fighting are welcome to come in and enjoy period games and fun. Some games will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Dancing may begin as soon as people are willing and able. A table will be set up for people to display their artistic efforts. Please bring what you have been working on.

After the tournament, fighters are invited to retire to a nearby shire member's house for showers!

The feast starts at 5:00. Branwen will be cooking a literature-inspired meal. Some highlights are: pork with mustard sauce, onion soup, home-baked bread, rabbit, apple fritters, and venison. Want to help? The kitchen and servers will need an extra hand or three.

Between courses, many fantastic singers will be performing: the Bard of the Mists, the Treblemakers, Vittoria, and many others. We will also have much dancing throughout the evening. Master Vincent atte Woodgate will be our dance master. There will be an open floor during parts of the evening for people who wish to share a performance piece.

 [profile] falzalot, who and what am I forgetting?
helblonde: (pavilion)
I was not ready for the war to end. That war could be a week and I would go every time. What's not to like about good weather, clean air, and good fun with new friends and old in a place of beauty? Now with showers!  

The drive there and back wasn't as expensive as we budgeted for. Of course, with a 40 gallon tank - I laugh! laugh! at all of you complaining that you're just starting to pay more than $100/tank - we can go each way on less than one tank. Cheap Oregon gas is tasty.

Signs that interested me on the drive:
"Thank you firefighters" (honestly touching) 
"[something] Antiques" with a sandwich board: "some used" (Ya think?*)
"Loleta Cheese" (I have to ask: who's milking the lolitas? Uh, yeah. My mother-in-law told us the cheese up here was good.) 

I had one good class and one that no one showed up for. Eh. C'est la guerre. 

Gianetta  found a picture of a period washstand in a new book. It looks a bit like a coatrack, and moriven and I are totally going to make it. I met a Caidan potter who is willing to make the jug and basin in exchange for persian clothes! 

I also consulted with ermine_rat about two (!) calligraphy projects. I am excited.

*Yes, I get it. Some of the furniture is not old enough to be antique. But the way people put together words interests and excites me.**
**Obviously. Else I wouldn't remember days later. Or post it in my blog.
helblonde: (pavilion)

Your result for The hardcore SCA Test...

King's Advisor

You may just be older than dirt, or a raving lunatic. You are about as involved as you could possibly be in the SCA. When you are at events you probably look like you just stepped out of a book. You're blood runs in kingdom colors, you are probably a peer, and your living room probably looks a lot like your campsite. You should probably get some help for your addiction, or see if someone will write a book about you.

Take The hardcore SCA Test at HelloQuizzy

helblonde: (pavilion)
I have been informed that I need to paint my pavilion (after the bed, after the war...). Anyone have any ideas about what I should do? Period examples? Mottoes? Really cool stuff? Favorite paint?

That's it in my userpic, by the way. The dags are outlined in blue. 

My colors are blue & white, moriven's are red, black & white, tho' we're not limited to those - I dig a nice gold here and there.
helblonde: (Will)

I have a volunteer tomato growing in the planter where I had a tomato in last year. It did surprisingly well over the winter. I think part of that is because of the neighbor's kitty, Sophia, who incubates it. I don't think I get to plant anything else there, though.

I've had a lot of photographic successes recently.

[profile] morivenhas posted two of my better shots in his LJ. (tiny aside: moriven F-locks all of his posts so that his exwife doesn't troll his blog again. **mumble mumble sorry excuse for a human being mumble mumble** He is happy to friend you if you want to keep up with his photography posts.)

I loved the afternoon light in the hall at Investiture yesterday and I got some really nice shots with it. The site was really nice and I hope we use it again. Hopefully on a day that isn't during a freak May heatwave.

The horsey shots at M-C war were really nice, too, though I wish that the other photographers had not joined me at my vantage point so that we could have gotten the cavalry charges from different angles. I have a tiny passion for seeing Alden ride. Damn, that man looks good on a horse. Zanaida looked damn fine, too.



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