Who is Beverly?

Barony of Sun Dragon, Kingdom of Atenveldt, United States

10 March 2010

Converting existing mundane vest to SCA acceptable vest

Years ago, my mother made a lot of vests for me.  It was my style at the time, and she used to be a master seamstress before arthritis took that from her.  This vest, made from a lovely tapestry fabric, never had fasteners on it; it was designed to be worn open.  However, I saw that the vest had potential as one that I could wear as SCA garb, with a simple addition: eyelets.

Now, I know metal eyelets aren't exactly period.  Well, the It's Not Period Police will just have to give me a pass on this, because the use of metal eyelets and grommets is an accepted practice in the SCA.

Here is the vest, before altering:

Photo by Delphia Janiszeski, 2010

There are several things to consider before adding eyelets (or grommets) to any article of clothing:

  • Type of fabric: Will the metal cause the material to run and fray, therefore ruining the garment?
  • Thickness of fabric:  If it's too thin, the eyelet will rip out; if it's too thick, the eyelet cannot be fitted together.
  • Type of eyelets:  The finer and fancier the fabric, the lighter you want the eyelet; if it's thick or heavy-duty material, you need grommets.
  • Number of eyelets: How many eyelets will be needed in order to close the gap properly, without too much or too little space between them?
  • Work surface:  Keep in mind that you're hitting something metal; protect your table or whatever you're using (make sure it's stable) so you don't have dents or scratches in the surface.
In measuring the area with which I had to work, I settled on 7 eyelets.  Visually it is appealing, being an odd number, and functionally the eyelets evenly cover the area which needs to be laced together, without gaps or puckers.  Seven eyelets mean 14, since you have to do the same on both sides of the opening.

To begin, measure and mark the placement of the eyelets.  I use the old carpenter's adage, "Measure thrice, cut once."  Measure, measure, measure!  Do not cut until you are sure the placement is correct.  Fixing a bad eyelet is a lot of work, especially on tapestry fabrics.

Vest, placement marked

Photo by Delphia Janiszeski, 2010

Next, you need to cut a hole in the material to allow the top part of the eyelet through.  The hole has to be a little smaller than the size of the shank of the eyelet, or you will end up with a lose and torn out eyelet.  I find it easiest to use an X-Acto knife to make the first small "x" in the fabric, then center the top part of the eyelet over the hole, and from the WRONG SIDE of the fabric, carefully make the hole just big enough to get the shank through.

Once you have the top half in, it's time to set the eyelet to the bottom.  Depending on the style of the eyelet, the shape of the setting tool might be slightly different.  Be sure you are using the correct setter for the style.  Set the bottom part of the eyelet, shank up, in the setter block.  

Setting tool

Photo by Delphia Janiszeski, 2010

Line up the top half of the eyelet, which is in the material, with the setter block; place the setter in the hole, give it a couple of good (but not too hard) taps to set the eyelet.  Check your work carefully; if you don't hit it hard enough, it won't work; if you hit it too hard, you will warp the eyelet and have to take it out and do it over.  On this project, I messed up 4 eyelets because I hit it too hard.  It MUST BE LINED UP correctly!  This will cause problems too, and you won't like the way it looks when it's finished.

Setting the eyelet

Photo by Delphia Janiszeski, 2010

Once you've set the eyelet, gently check to make sure it doesn't pop apart.  It's pretty annoying to wear your garment for the first time, and have the eyelet pop off while you're trying to lace it up!  

First eyelet finished

Photo by Delphia Janiszeski, 2010

Continue on in this manner until you have all the eyelets set.  If some of them don't come out exactly right, or exactly lined up....well, such is life.  You can either be a perfectionist about it and take out the offender(s), or accept that things aren't always perfect, and move on with your life.  Such is the case for me and my now-SCA-acceptable vest.

Finished vest

Photo by Delphia Janiszeski, 2010

I hope you've enjoyed this little piece.  I hope to be documenting the construction of my new, Norman style, dress soon!

-- Beverly

21 February 2010

Estrella War XXVI


My first EW ever!  All the years I played in the SCA in the Outlands, and all the time I’ve lived in Atenveldt, I’ve never gone until now.  Now that I have returned, I ask myself, “WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?!?”

I couldn’t sleep the night before, and I was meeting my good friends, Lord Starri and Lady Valdis, at their house to caravan (two trucks and a car) down with them at 0230.   After a Benny-Hill-esque freeway exit and two missed turns, we arrived on site at about 0430.  Lord Starri’s experience was that there would be over 100 cars in line by then, at least, but there were only about 15 ahead of us.  I tried to snooze in the front seat of my truck, but it was damn cold and I was too excited.  So, I got up, figured out where to check in and at what time, relayed the info to Starri & Valdis, and stood by the Troll Booth fire until 7, when I checked in and got my first-ever EW site token.

Now, for those of you who have gone, the site token might seem “usual” to you; but I was quite surprised to find that it was cast pewter.  This made it feel like jewelry to me, something more precious than just a site token.   And I panicked once when I forget my token in my tent when I went to the showers, thinking I had lost it (I was still fuzzy from sleep) – not just because I’d have to get another one, but because it meant something to me.

Estrella War 26 site token
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

After being let in 30 minutes early because we were, after all, already ready already, we drove around until we found our spot.  I was a bit confused, having never been to the site before, and only had the land-allocation map for reference.  We found our spot, and began the task of laying out the individual plots for our encampment (I was camped with House Nunya).  Following that, it was time to unload our mountains of stuff and get set up.  I had a tent for sleeping and one for gear (thanks to my best friend Jody for letting me borrow it and some other camping essentials).

My two tents, in front
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

After we were done, TE Baron Robert and Baroness Theresa arrived.  I helped unload their truck and trailer, and dug a pathway in the berm so we would not kill ourselves tripping over it (read: so I wouldn’t trip on it and kill myself).  That evening, TE B&B were still setting up their camp, hadn’t even got their bed together, so I offered to get dinner made, since we were hosting the EMTs Paul & Bob from Wilderness Medics Inc.  The way I saw it, I already had my bed set up, it was getting dark and cold, they still needed theirs setup and I wasn’t doing anything else.  HE Baroness Theresa had made a stew that tasted almost exactly like my mother’s Mulligan stew.  Everyone enjoyed it, and several had more than one helping, including me. 

After dinner, I decided to go in search of Unser Hafen’s (UH) camp.  That was my barony (along with Caerthe) in the Outlands, and even though it’s been over 13 years since I played there, I thought perhaps someone I knew might be there.  Well…after tromping around the foot-high alfalfa, 2+ foot-high berms, and NO FLASHLIGHT (because I’m smart that way), in shoes which were now soaking wet, I found that no one knew where they were camping because no one from UH was there yet.  I warmed myself by a few fires, had a couple of nice chats with total strangers, and then finally came across a couple of gentleman who questioned why I was wandering around on my own unescorted.  I told them that I was just used to it – being a latchkey kid, and not having a car until I was 25, I went places by myself all the time – and it was fine.  Well they would have none of that, a lady walking around by herself in the dark.  So a nice young man named James escorted me to other camps where drummers were playing, and I enjoyed a nice evening.

When I finally made it back to my camp, and crawled into my many blankets, I discovered that my bedding was highly insufficient.  I had egg crate foam, a quilt, a down comforter and a sheet under me, but I felt like the Princess and the Pea.  Except that the “peas” were big rocks embedded in the concrete-hard furrow I managed to lay my bed upon.  Yeah, so that needs to be changed next year.

It also was very cold that night; it froze in areas of the site.  In the morning, I discovered that the condensation from the dew was so heavy that it created a low spot in the top of my tent where it had collected, and it was dripping inside -- about a foot from my head.  Alfalfa is a pretty moist leafy plant, so basically we had all camped upon water collectors/emitters.  In the morning, Starri and Yakob helped me put a tarp over that end of my tent, and I had no further problems.  With the dew, anyway.

I think this was the night I saw the first shooting star of the week.  I made a wish – I don’t remember what, now – and was pleased to be out away from the city lights, where I could actually see a meteor falling and the billions of stars in the sky.

Ok so here’s where things start getting fuzzy.  Running on exhaustion but unable to sleep, sore and bruised and freezing my ass off, my brain sort of stopped recording things very well the rest of the week. 
I do remember the following things happening on specific days, but the rest I can’t swear to!

One of my campmates, Yakob, and I wandered around Merchants Row one of the days.  I saw the effect the recent economy has had on everyone in the prices the merchants had set.  I was on a very limited budget, and I knew what I was going to get at EW already, so that helped me resist temptation on several occasions.  But I hope to have at least a little bit of money to spend for next year!

One evening, I went to a camp where a professional band of musicians was playing.  They’re called Wine and Alchemy, and they are wonderful!  The lead singer, Roxanne, is a well-trained belly dancer, too.  They play all sorts of world instruments, including a harmonium!  A harmonium, if you don’t know, is like a horizontal accordion without all the buttons.  When they played an excellent version of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, I resolved to buy their CD when I got home.  Which I did – it should be here soon!

One morning, my friend Anabel and I went to Herald's Point to have our submissions reviewed.  She turned hers in there; I forgot a piece of documentation for my name, so had to wait.  
On Tuesday, I took the class “Silk Banner Making” with Lady Isabelle de Charpentier.  Sadly, she left all her silk fans (which we were going to use to learn the technique) at home, so the class ended up being lecture-only.  However, I do now have good information and a few resources, and of course I can take her class another time, as we are in the same Barony (Go Sun Dragon!).

After class, I checked in at Volunteer Point (VP) to see where I could help out.  She sent me to the Troll Booth, where I worked the Pre-Registration table for 2 hours.  It was interesting, to see the different people coming in – some in garb, some not – and I was pleased to learn that all the manila envelopes that held each person’s sheet, and the little plastic bags the tokens were in, were being recycled for future use!  I also helped alphabetize a stack of registration forms.  It wasn’t rocket science, and it was only 2 hours, but it felt good to help the event be successful; especially since it was my first time there!  I took my volunteer time slip to VP to enter into the day’s raffle, which would be held the next day.  This year, all the volunteers received small “silk” banners to wear or display to show the Knowne World that s/he had given time to the event.  I had met more new people, had some hot chocolate, and felt good about helping make the process go smoothly for everyone.  I’ve always enjoyed volunteering, and while it is about giving your time to others, no one can say they don’t enjoy the feeling they get when doing something for someone else.

Estrella War 26 Volunteer Banner
picture by Delphia Janiszeski 

On Wednesday, it was gloomy and rained but I survived The rain wasn’t torrential, in fact it wasn’t terrible, but that kind of weather affects me both physically and mentally, so it wasn’t my best day.  Luckily, it was the only day it rained.  I was so thankful for the hot showers that day. 

That night, my Barony hosted the Barons’ & Baroness’ dinner.  Lady Valdis, my dear friend, worked her fingers to the bone that day.  It took several people and a lot of work to decorate the Baronial pavilion in the Luau theme (I know, not period, but so what? It was fun!).  I washed probably 25 or more plastic pineapple cups to get them nice and clean for them all to use.  The hot water felt good on my hands, stiff and sore from the day’s weather. 

I was going to volunteer for server duty, but a call went out that the Troll Booth was without staff, and would people please go help until 7 pm.  When I got there, and said that I was there to help in response to the urgent call, they kind of chuckled.  I guess there had been a miscommunication; there were probably ten people working the tables already.  I said, well here I am put me to work, so they did; I worked the Non-Registered table with a lovely girl whose name I can’t recall (Elizabeth?).  Sorry, I just don’t remember things like I used to.  At one point, a mother came in with her children in tow, and she paid the site fee for her son, who apparently had lost his site token.  She told him, “If you lose it again, I’m going to beat you with a rubber chicken!”  I just knew that I had found a perfect Quotable Quote to post on my household’s forum (House Iron Bear)!  I collected my volunteer slip, and turned it in the next day. 

I think this was the night I saw the second meteor of the week.  I felt truly amazed that I got to see not one, but two, shooting stars in one week!

Thursday morning, all of the hard suit and rapier fighters, along with many of the rest of us, assembled for a Grand Parade, with King Eduoard leading us on a march to the battlefield.  Sun Dragon’s banners were carried proudly – banners hand-painted by members of our populace – along with the banners for other baronies in the Kingdom of Atenveldt, and of course the Kingdom’s own banners.  There were many of us, and I had a difficult time getting good pictures.  I was a bit distracted, too; all of this was new to me, and I was really just enjoying taking it all in.  I was thinking about how the people must have felt back in the Middle Ages when they saw their monarch marching through town, all the pageantry and banners and flags.  After milling around, trying to get a picture of the King’s face (he always seems to be on his way somewhere when I’m trying to get his picture), I went back to camp.

Some of the Sun Dragon fighters, with TE Baron Robert & Baroness Theresa
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

One of the new Sun Dragon banners
 picture by Delphia Janiszeski

That afternoon, I watched the Hound Coursing.  It was so much fun, the dogs REALLY enjoyed it and my good doggie friend, Shiner, got to run the course.  After running the course, she decided not to go back to her mom, my friend Lady Christmas Albanach, and instead go running off into the battlefield filled with hard suit fighters.  It was kind of funny, watching the fighters all just suddenly stop moving and watch this Boston terrier tromping around among them.  One of the fighters managed to catch Shiner and she was reunited with a winded but relieved parent.

Shiner, a Boston terrier, runs the lure course
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

After the lure coursing, I stopped by VP to see if I had won anything in the raffle.  I had!  I was so excited!  I won a clay bell, made and donated by Denecker Pottery.  I was quite pleased!  On Friday, I went to her booth in Merchant’s Row and thanked her. When I got home, I sent her an email, thanking her for donating the bell to the Volunteer Raffle and sent her this picture of the bell hanging on my back porch:

Volunteer raffle bell, donated by Denecker Pottery
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

Thursday evening, I attended the Rehearsal for Grand Ball, where we practiced the dance set list for the next evening’s event.  I really enjoy the country dances, so lively and everyone laughs and is happy, even when they have no idea what to do.  Like me!  It doesn’t matter if you’ve got two left feet or are Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers reincarnated; EVERYONE can do these dances!  If I see you standing around watching, beware: I just might drag you into the dance! Trust me, you’ll have fun  J

On Friday, I had a pretty slow start to the day.  The night before I had too much mead and was feeling sluggish.  Now, “too much” for me is about 2 glasses – small ones, at that.  I have a very low tolerance, and it affects my chronic pain condition, so I rarely drink.  It’s not like I was face down in the alfalfa, totally plastered!  So I missed that morning’s parade with the King – which, this time, included the horses.  I was on my way to the showers, camera-less, when they were all assembling.  Luckily, Jenifer Yoxall took a picture: the horses looked just magnificent!

Horses mustering for the parade
picture by Jenifer Yoxall

In the afternoon, my friend Epaul Fischer arrived to setup his booth.  He owns Gryphon Song Gems, and crafts etched-copper buttons, belt buckles and medallions, carved-gemstone signet rings and other items.  I babysat his Corgi, Buster, while he unloaded his stuff and, with several other friends, setup the pavilion. We then all helped him set up his displays.  Later on, I fetched something for him to eat because he forgets to do that for himself.  It’s true! :)

Epaul and Buster
picture by Melissa McCollum

That evening, after the usual group dinner with my campmates, I went to Grand Ball.  Sadly, my feet and back were hurting, so I only went for the last hour or so, and only participated in one dance.  But I still had fun!

On Saturday, my friend and SCA protégé, Megan, and her parents, June and Jim, came to the war for the day.  They got to see a piece of our Modern Medieval Life in action.  We had some lunch (thanks, June!) and then I took Megan to Sage’s Emporium to get a dress.  I had bought a dress from her a couple of days before, a nice chemise and light surcoat, and she gave me a good deal, so I thought it would be a good place to start.  And it was!  Megan got a chemise and surcoat, a nice light aqua color with metallic trim, for $15 less than her budget!  The surcoat needs to be hemmed, but June can do that.  Right, June? Heehee!  Megan bought me ice cream as a thank you, which was awesome!

Beverly and Megan
picture by June Weimer

After this success, and introducing Megan to honey sticks (mmm….honey sticks…), we all went up and watched the battles from the hill for a while.  I was getting pretty tired, though, so I said my goodbyes and went back to camp to rest for a bit.   After a nap, it was time for our Baronial court.

I arrived late to court because I slept longer than I intended, and I still had to put the laces in my court dress.  The holes are small and tight, and I had brought leather lacing which fit in the holes but I had to work at it; I discovered that there were flaws in the leather lace which caused it to break apart at varying intervals, so I had to use three pieces – and I arrived at court without them tightened or even tied, but luckily a young lady did that for me while I was standing in the back.  You can see in the picture that I’m looking into the sun, and had gotten a bit sunburned that day – my sunblock didn’t work as well as I had hoped it would.  That’s Yakob standing next to me. I don't look very happy, but I was still kind of waking up from my nap is all.

Yakob and Beverly at Baronial Court
picture by Christi Martin

Court was, well, court.  Several people got awards of some kind, and there was much laughing, applauding, and “huzzahs”.  After Baronial court, my encampment and I gathered for dinner – spaghetti, courtesy of Lady Valdis who stayed behind to make it for us – when HE Baroness Theresa said that someone needed to go save seats for everyone at Grand Court.  I suffer from a condition known in the SCA as “helium hand” – I just kind of automatically say “I’ll do it.”  So, I ate my dinner quickly and ran over to the Grand Court Pavilion and staked out our seats. 

Each kingdom present at EW had its monarch(s) seated at the head of the hall, all the elaborately carved thrones lined up in a row – such beautiful craftsmanship!  I had been in such a hurry to save our seats that I forgot to bring my camera, so I didn’t get any pictures.  When it was time to begin, each kingdom made a spectacular entrance, preceded by its herald, standard-bearers and the monarchs’ retinue.  Three hours – and one very cold and sore rear end later – Grand Court closed.  So many awards were given, to the winners of the battles and so forth, and there was much mirth and merriment.  But everyone was glad when it was over.  It had gotten quite chilly, and the breeze blowing through the pavilion (which is actually a hay barn) was nearly Arctic-cold – or at least if felt like it was to me.
After Grand Court, the Kingdom of Atenveldt hosted The Party on the Hill.  I made an appearance, but for some reason, I didn’t feel like I belonged there.  I can’t explain it, really, I just wasn’t comfortable.  So, one final night of camp-crawling, instead; this time I settled into a pirate camp and warmed myself by their fire for a few hours and enjoyed a lot of great conversation.

Finally, I made my way back “home” to my horrible bed, and was glad that I was going home the next day: home to my memory foam mattress; home to my non-water-saving showerhead; home to my “kids” and my husband.

I didn’t sleep well at all, and woke after only a few hours.  I went leisurely about having some hot cocoa to warm me up and started packing.  After getting my gear tent taken care of, I went off to give Epaul a break so he could take Buster for a walk and get something to eat.  Then, back to camp to finish my packing, did a quick round of trash pickup in our encampment, and loaded my truck.  HE Baron Robert and Ivarr both helped me finish packing, and Ivarr and Emm helped me load my truck.  At last, it was time to say my goodbyes, and head home.  It was a quick and uneventful drive home, with a gorgeous sunset, and while I was already missing my friends, the camaraderie, and the wonder of Estrella War, I knew it was time to be home.

Sunset, returning home
picture by Delphia Janiszeski

Oh, but I am definitely hooked – I got a nice round of chuckles and big grins when I asked my campmates, “So, how many days until Estrella War 27?” 

06 February 2010

Countdown to Estrella War XXVI

In just over 24 hours, I am going to meet Starr & Jonna, known in the SCA as Lord Starri Rouda Bjornsson and Lady Valdis Eriksdottir, at their house to caravan with them to Estrella War.

Starri and Valdis are the leaders of House Iron Bear, of which I am happy to say I am a member.  They welcomed me and befriended me the very first fighter practice I attended upon my return into this Modern Medieval Life.  Very sweet people, both of them, with a long history in the SCA both individually and together.

So, very very early in the morning on Monday I am going to meet at their house.  I'm very excited to be going to EW, my first time there!  The weather is sure to be not terrific at least one day (read: rain and therefore lots of mud), but I'm bringing muckboots and an umbrella.

I'm hoping to take at least one class, volunteer with the chirugeon and/or waterbearers, meet new people, sit around fires, talk, nap, laugh and generally enjoy being among 3500 of my closest companions!

30 January 2010

Getting ready for Estrella War XXVI

I have never been to Estrella War.  I've wanted to go, back when I was still living in the Outlands, and after I moved to Atenveldt (where EW is held)...but various things got in the way.  

Well, last year for my birthday, I gave myself an SCA membership and set my sights on rejoining the group, making new friends, and heading off to War!

Luckily, I already have some camping equipment, but I was able to borrow some things like a camp stove, and extra tent, egg-crate foam sleeping pads.  I've made several things for war, too.  

I'm not a great seamstress.  My mother was a master, and she tried to teach me and get me interested, but I just wasn't interested.  Not everything she said to me went in one ear and out the other, however; several years ago I bought a basic sewing machine, and it's definitely gotten good use these last few months!  I was lucky that, after over 10 years, several of the outfits she had made for me still fit, but I needed to add a few things to my wardrobe for this cold-weather event.

First off, our current King & Queen, TRMs Edouard and Asa, are Viking personas.  Many people have Viking garb, and I had a big chunk of material that I thought would be perfect as an apron dress to wear over a nice underdress my mother had made.  So, I found a pattern online, Mom helped me modify the pattern, and made the apron dress!

The Viking Apron Dress

picture by Delphia Janiszeski (C) 2009

Once the overdress was sewn, I finished it by adding a pair of pewter-tone buttons with a zoomorphic Celtic design on them, and a sting of glass and copper beads.  The string of beads are attached by toggle-and-loop clasps to the dress, so that they can be removed for washing.

Buttons & Bead String with Toggle Clasp Attachments

                                                      pictures by Delphia Janiszeski (C) 2010

I've been attending the Arts & Sciences nights when I can, and I've enjoyed being able to work on projects, or get ideas for new ones. After making the Viking dress, I decided to make myself a Mongolian-style hat to wear at War, since it will be chilly and I have no warm hats, especially none that would fit in at the event!

So, I got the pattern for a six-sided hat from one of the talented ladies at A&S, and I made one.  It was a pain in the butt, and I don't know if I ever want to do another one -- but I did make it, I do like the result, I know what NOT to do if there is another one, and most importantly......my mother said it was very good and beautiful! 

The Blasted Mongolian Hat

picture by Delphia Janiszeski (C) 2010

In addition to these, I found a nice-sized chunk of monk's cloth in the remnants at Joann's, and made myself a shawl.  I hand-knotted the sides to prevent unraveling, and sewed a random pattern of straight lines on the selvedges in sage green pearl cotton.

I also made a pair of drink covers: doilies with beads or other weighted objects sewn on the edges to keep the doily from flying off in the wind, which protects your drink from insects and debris.

Finally, I made a small chatelaine for my really cool scissors which were the site token for the last Coronation.  I took a small scrap of tapestry, made a pocket, sewed a chain onto it, and then finished off with a pewter dove charm.  (Being a wild bird rehabilitator, I have a lot of bird-themed stuff; also, I am hoping to have a mourning dove on my device.)  [Picture to be inserted later]

I've got most of my camping gear put together, and non-perishable food items in a tub in the kitchen so that I can add to it as I get nearer to War.  I'll borrow a cooler from my mom for things that need to remain cold, but I intend to have very little of that, as I don't want to have to buy ice too often while there (if I can?).

Now....if I can just get it all in my truck!