anarra: (Default)
 Here is a 1997 Video of The Longship Company sailing our old ship, the Fyrdaraca.

The man identified as "Terry Neill" is actually the late James Howell (Finnr Grimulfson).

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Both my old Livejournals are now imported. Vikings and Saxons and Angles, Oh My!  Also, snow, recipes, etc.

Scroll down. Take a look. Enjoy!
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Yesterday I helped with an event.  Starting at 22:00 Friday, teams of contestants had until 18:00 Saturday to make a complete medieval garment from scratch.  OMG I was soooooo dead by the time I got home, and I did not compete!  I just helped the Event Steward!

Here are the rules

Teams could make an outfit from any time period. All three of the teams chose late period garb. No early period stuff so my judging was limited to asking the other judges questions and commenting based on very little knowledge. Sisuile, John and Elizabeth sure know their late period stuff, though!  Brava!

Here are a bunch of photos by Eloise Coulter. Sorry they're on Facebook. I think they're public, though.

And here are more photos by Dawn Carroll (also Facebook).







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Long ago and far away, my mother made a glorious chopping block. It's free-standing. The top is made from solid blocks of different kinds of wood, glued together and sawn into a large (and very heavy) cylinder. Years ago, she moved into a smaller house and gave it to me as a Birthday present. Then she moved again, had room for it, missed it terribly, and asked for it back.


She's down-sizing again and just mailed it back again. A belated re-gifted Birthday present. ;-) Fed Ex delivered two huge boxes to the front porch. Without knocking. Just dumped them there on the damp porch and left. Right in front of the door. Did I mention how heavy they are? Ana Ilevna was trapped inside the house all day. It took both of us and some tricky maneuvering to get them away from the door and into the kitchen. Thanks, Fed Ex.

My Mother is a very thorough packer. Tons of tape. It takes AGES to get into a box she's packed, not to mention a surgical tray full of knives and scissors. This time, she let Fed Ex do the packing. They may be crap at blocking you into your house, but these boxes were well packaged. And (relatively) easy to get into.

Lots of Photos below the cut.



Here are the boxes in unopened glory. Left is base, right is block.





Two (count 'em, Mom, TWO) swift slashes of the knife later, and BAM, boxes are opened.





Pull out all the endless bags of form-fitting foam, and Behold! The Base and Block.





Here we have most-but-not-all of the bags of form-fitting foam.





And here is a close-up of those bags of foam. Punch them and WHOOSH! Evidently.





Here is the base, with bonus swatch of Pendleton Wool, and the bottom of the block.






Base, all set up.





Ta Da! My mother's incredible chopping block. I'm so glad to have it back. Love it so much. Thanks, Mom!!





Bonus Cat Cave (there's Leto Purrtreides). We may never be able to get those boxes out of the kitchen, now. ;-)


Paint Job!

Oct. 23rd, 2016 06:11 pm
anarra: (VinlandJanet1)
We had some extra demos this year and so could afford to have the Skogar Þrostur professionally painted. LOOK at her! So pretty!

We hired Chrisholm Marina to do the work. They did some repairs and painted her to our specifications. We bought the exterior paint and they provided the interior and the black. The price was excellent and they did a wonderful job. We recommend them.

Janet researched the color scheme. In addition to the Bayeux Tapestry, which shows Viking style ships where the strakes are different colors, she also found a reference to 'colored ships' sailing up the Seine to sack Paris, and some illuminated manuscripts with different colored strakes. So we've taken the plunge and painted her in the same vein.


Here she is with no rigging.



It was SO WINDY today so here she is with the sail only partway up. We couldn't get the sail all the way up at all. We'll try again the next time we have her at a Demo.


And here's one with just the rigging and no sail.
anarra: (VinlandJanet1)
We went to Scanfest 2016 with our friend Bruce and this time took the Longship Company's faering the Gyrfalcon.

We have also bought a Viking Tent! Isn't it beautiful? The tent is available for all future demos at no extra cost!


The Skogar Þrostur is undergoing a facelift. Stay tuned for pictures of the colorful results!



Terry and Janet with the Gyrfalcon and the new tent.
anarra: (VinlandJanet1)
We will be at Scanfest again this year. Come and visit!


https://www.scanfest.org

Corn Bread

Mar. 29th, 2015 11:20 am
anarra: (guldguber)

There's this book called The Cornbread Gospels by (I kid you not) Crescent Dragonwagon.  If you like lots of different kinds of cornbread, I highly recommend this book.  We love it.

If you just like good, southern-style cornbread unadulturated with any sugar, then I suggest you try this recipe:

1/4 cup butter or bacon drippings melted in a large cast iron skillet in a 450 degree (F) oven.

Mix 2 cups fine corn meal (white or yellow or one day I may try blue) with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, thoroughly mix 1 egg and 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk.

When the butter is melted, take the pan out of the oven and swirl it around until the whole pan is coated.  Then mix the wet ingredients and melted butter with the dry ingredients and stir just enough to get everything wet.

Pour the batter into the frying pan and bake it in the oven for 20 or 25 minutes until the top is a golden brown and a knife comes out clean.

This is just the best bread.  And no wheat!

anarra: (guldguber)
We did finish warping the loom. We've taken it many places since and, Penelope-like, are un-weaving afterwards.  At some point we'll finish this piece and warp up another now that it's not so scary.

The photos below the cut are from the Fiber Festival of New England. Six of us did a demo on Sunday November 2 (and two of us did one the day before, but I wasn't there).  This was our first year at this Festival and we hope to be invited back next year.

The SCA group we do fiber demos with has been invited back permanently to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival. They tell us they plan to put all the demonstrators in a big tent so if it rains everyone is dry!

The Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) has also asked us back. We'll probably demo the first Saturday of the fair.

Lots of Photos below the cut! )
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Side view of the loom, with Ana Ilevna showing how it works.  That's a drop spindle sticking in one of the holes of the loom.

WWL_@_NEFF[1]

And here it is, in all it's warped glory.  Waisting bady. We're still trying to figure out how to stop that.  The soapstone loom weights were generously made by Camma an Daraich.


Ana2_@_NEFF_Demo[1]
Ana Ilevna showing some of Ælfgiva's sprang.  On the table we have sprang, embroidery, quilting, linen fibers for spinning, nålbinding, wool combs, drop spinning and lucet. We also had several tablet weaving looms set up, a wheel spinning linen, and the warp weighted loom along with a small table full of contact information for most of the SCA groups in New England.

AElfgiva_Demo_Sprang_@_NEFF[1]
Ælfgiva demonstrating sprang.

Gwenllian2_@_NEFF[1]
Gwenllian spinning with Ælfgiva nålbinding in the background.

Sarah_@_NEFF[1]
Sarah with her quilting.  Note the quilted overdress!

Henna_Linen_@_NEFF[1]
Henna dressing a distaff with linen.  She spun it all on her wheel during the demo.


I was there, too, but I was taking all the photos!
anarra: (guldguber)
It's time to replace the weaving on our Warp Weighted Loom (WWL).  The SCA has a fiber arts demo at The Big E on September 14th in the New England Center (where they sell the Cream Puffs) and we want to demo weaving on our WWL.

One wants the warps to be evenly spaced to begin the weaving. There are several ways to achieve this; but one of the best ways is to tablet weave a top band and run a supplemental weft that then turns into the warps on the
WWL.

Photos )
anarra: (Anarra)
I mostly seem to blog about the weather, lately.  But here are photos for my family (HALF of which is down in Australia enjoying the summer!) to view.

We seem to have gotten an entire year's worth of snow at once (plus extra!).  Unessential State workers were told to stay home Friday and Monday, too.  We can now get one car out of the driveway, but the other two are stuck tight and the sidewalk is piled high still.
Photos below the cut )
This is the fence along the walk up to the front door.  It's about waist high.
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Behind that boy is Janet's car.  Really.
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This is the RV.  Mind you, Janet can stand up inside this thing, it's that high.

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On Monday we gave our first School Demo with the Skogar Þrostur and it went very well!  One of the school volunteers said it was the best reenactment demo she'd seen in that school since her kids first started going there 17 years ago.  Wow!
 
The kids were great, so kudos to the teachers for class discipline.  They also asked a myriad of really good questions so kudos to the teachers again for fostering curiosity and not being afraid to ask questions.
 
The school took photos and put them up on their web site so you can see us. The tent belongs to Ann and Kurt, who have a student at the school and were the ones who contacted us and invited us to come.  We sent the kids back to class through the Viking tent so they could see the inside of it.
 
We talked about how Viking ships were built and how they sailed from Norway to Iceland to Greenland and then to Canada. We told them about Leif Ericsson who was the first known European to discover the New World.
 
We talked about New World vs. Old World foods.  That a traditional Thanksgiving feast is almost entirely made of New World foods—Turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, green beans, corn bread.  (Also maple syrup, chocolate, vanilla, peppers, chiles, tomatoes and peanuts.)  And about the Old World foods the Europeans brought to North America—Honey, apples, wheat, barley, mustard, olives….)  We gave the teachers a handout with 18 foods listed.  The kids can circle the New World foods.
 
We talked about Viking trading and passed around some furs.  We learned to do that at the end as they were quite excited about the furs.  We have martin, fox, mink, reindeer, rabbit and sheep.  We told the kids about the Lapps who farm reindeer similar to our farming cattle.
 
We also talked about clothing and how much time it takes to make.  “How many of you have more than three outfits at home?”  Every hand went up.  "Wow. I only get one new outfit a year!"  We then talked about all the work it takes to make just one yard of wool cloth—Three hours of combing to make enough roving for one hour of spinning; three hours of spinning to make enough yarn for one hour of weaving, which makes one yard of cloth.  That’s 13 hours per yard!  And that doesn’t include cleaning the wool, cutting the cloth or sewing it together by hand with a needle and thread—and you have to spin the thread, too.
 
Every class recited “Viking helmets did not have horns!” along with us. So there are at least 260 more people who now know that myth is false!
 
 
Ann and Kurt from the Home and School Association also took us out to lunch at a nearby Turkish restaurant. Yum.  There are many kids of Turkish descent at the school, they said, so our noting that Vikings lived in Turkey, too, was quite relevant (And Italy, France, England, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, Germany….)  In response to a question by one girl who said she was Turkish, we told about the Viking runes carved into the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.
The school Custodian is from the Ukraine and he wanted photos of the him with the boat and us to show to his friends.
 
 
We had a wonderful time even though we were exhausted afterwards.  But we’d do it again in a minute.  Thank you for inviting us, School #3!
anarra: (Default)

Ana Ilevna and I attended the Tir-Mara Crown Principality East Kingdom University on October 5th and 6th. We had a great time. Everyone was extremely hospitable!

For future EKUs, I would recommend that the class listing always be on a web site that is available to everyone. This class listing was not only on Facebook, it was evidently not public and so only available to people with a Facebook login ID. Not even for cool A&S classes will I create another Facebook account after the experience I had with my first one. The class list was evidently added to the EKU web site but it can't have been too much before the event because it wasn't there the last time I tried to find a class listing other than the Facebook one. Magestra Alisay did sent me a preliminary class listing when I asked for one via e-mail.

I also recommend that specific directions from the nearest freeway also be published in the Event Listing both on the EK website (GINGER) and in the Pikestaff. In this case, Mapquest more-or-less worked (aside from trying to send us *South* on Highway 55 instead of North) but having directions from the locals is always good. I e-mailed Magestra Alisay to ask; but specific directions from Highway 40 were not available. (Though a map available from the (French only!) website of the Boy Scout camp helped very much to reassure me that the Mapquest directions from Highway 40 were correct.)

The event announcement was not in the September Pikestaff. As the event was the first Saturday in October, not everyone would have received their Pikestaff even if the directions had been there. This also meant that the event was not as well publicized as it could have been, which was a shame. It was a great event and more participation would have made it even better. Not to mention, great site with beds and showers and all!

The site fees increased by $3 on *August* 15th. As the event announcement wasn't in the August Pikestaff either, we ended up paying $6 more than we could have. We volunteered to teach back in May and would have sent in our check that early had we known of the fee increase in time. As it was, when the event didn't appear in the September Pikestaff, we checked the listing on GINGER. By then it was too late to get the lower site fee.

On to the good stuff:

The classes we attended were well taught. The handouts were informative. The class kits were very well put together and the materials fees were quite reasonable given what the materials were. ($10 for everything to make a 12 signature notebook and $15 for all the fur you needed (and more!) to trim garments.) Both Canadian and American money were accepted, which was a good thing as I foolishly did not change any money before we arrived. (Having decided that all I needed was my Visa card--I utterly forgot about materials fees, silly me!)

Class hand outs were available in both French and English. We sent our handout for our Bayeux Embroidery class to Magestra Alisay de Falaise a month or so ahead of time to be translated into French. This was even more important than for many handouts as half our class is a lecture on the events of 1066 leading up to the Battle of Hastings. The how-to-embroider the Bayeux technique can be taught across a language barrier. The history not so much. There were two people in class who translated into French for the few students who did not know English so all went very well. This was my first experience teaching to students who did not speak any English and I was very happy with the results. I hope they were, too!

If any of you wish to teach in Quebec, Magestra Alisay de Falaise volunteers to translate handouts from English to French. They've evidently been trying for 15 years (!) to find a teacher for pewter casting and glass bead making. There were instructors teaching both all day Saturday and they were inundated with students! Everyone was so very friendly and welcoming that I highly recommend going up to teach. We look forward to going again.

 

I also recommend going up to learn. Baron Cristoforo Donatello dei Visconti taught a very informative class on how to sew fur and use it to trim garments. Ana Ilevna, who also does not speak any French, had no trouble learning all sorts of useful information in his class and I might now get that fur lined cap I've been wishing for all these years. She came away with a bag full of examples and extra fur.

Lady Cellach Donn inghean Mhic an Mhadaigh taught a class on making a Viking pouch with Bayeux style embroidery (that technique was also used in Scandinavia). She also felts. She won the Prince's A&S Championship with a gorgeous felted Mongolian wall hanging and the documentation (in both English and French) to go with it.

I took a class in 16th century Limp Binding (for books) from Seigneur Robin dit Dessaints. The pace of his class was well thought out. He'd done quite a bit of the hole punching and cutting out ahead of time so we could get down to the core of how to stitch it all together. I finished it all in three hours. I believe this was the same person who entered a replica plate, blackwork embroidered book cover and honey-combed gathered shirt in the A&S competition. If so he is a very well talented man! The teaching was very clear and the A&S entries were marvelous.

I cannot remember the name of the woman who won the Princess's Championship. But her entry was a from-the-sheep-up length of woven fabric. She scoured the wool, combed it, dyed it, spun it, and weaved it. Very nice stuff!

The feast was delicious, the hall was beautifully decorated. There were more kinds of muffins than I ever knew existed for both Breakfast and Lunch. (Lady Cellach Donn inghean Mhic an Mhadaigh also baked a lot of the muffins. Very talented woman!) Each of the instructors was given a block-print thank you to take home. There were lovely items for sale in the silent auction for the EK Travel Fund, and all the candlesticks on the feast tables had been hand turned to hold both a candle or a tea light and were for sale for $5 for the Travel Fund.

 

I again highly encourage anyone to consider going up to Tir-Mara to teach and also encourage Tir-Maran's, especially Francophones, to come to the States or the Anglophone areas of the Principality to both learn and teach. Magestra Alisay de Falaise and Baroness Tadea Isabetta di Bruno of l'Ile du Dragon Dormant both volunteer to translate handouts and documentation from French to English.

 

Oh, and the cost of embroidery supplies in Canada is outrageous! We had a swarm snap up every single one of our spare embroidery hoops. A skein of DMC cotton is somewhere around $2 up there! We should organize a Paternayan Airlift or Underground Threadway to get some supplies North for less money.

anarra: (Default)
Come see us at Scanfest at Vasa Park in Budd Lake New Jersey!  The Skogar Þrostur will be there in all her glory and we will also have other Norse artifacts that you can handle and ask questions about.

We will be there Sunday September 2, 2012 from 10:00am to 6:00pm.  We will tell you all about Viking ships and sailing and Norse culture!

And you can eat Swedish Pancakes, Scandinavian baked goods, pea soup and other delicious food.  Scandianavian Italian Ice, anyone?  :-)

There will be lots of Vendors selling Scandinavian merchandise and performers.

Come and have a GREAT time!

ARGH!

Apr. 9th, 2012 08:22 pm
anarra: (Default)
Well, I won't be moving to Wisconsin!

Governor Walker signs anti-abortion measure into law, violates both free speech rights and doctor/patient relationships, Wisconsin schools that teach sex education must promote marriage and stress that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and to top it all off, he signed a law repealing the state's 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court.

Obviously he doesn't want any women to vote for him in his recall election. And the lawmakers who voted for these bills ought to be tossed out of office, too.  What's up with you, Wisconsin??!
anarra: (Default)
Irene was underwhelming, at least in my neck of the state. The winds weren't very strong, even the gusts, and the rain wasn't enough to cause problems in our neighborhood. Next week we have to put the roof back on the boat shelter. That'll be the most inconvenient bit of the storm. I hope.

Elsewhere in CT, evidently anyplace that can flood has flooded, with record innundations at the coast. :-(  I hope those folks stay safe and recover well.
anarra: (Default)
The Skogar Þrostur will be in Windsor, CT on Sunday May 15, 2011 from 2 to 5 pm. The Hartford Lodge of the Sons of Norway is celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day at the Hayatt Summerfield Suites Hotel.  Here is the flier (1 page .pdf). Come see us there!

On May 21st we will be setting up a Viking encampment with friends at the Daily Life Schola at Holcomb Farm in West Granby, CT. This is an all-day event filled with classes of every day activities of medieval life, from the daily use of Viking ships (that's us!) to baking in a bee-hive oven. If you're interested, come on by!  We will have medieval clothing to loan for you to wear. Site fee is $8 (plus $5 if you are not a member of the SCA). The classes are mostly free, though some have a modest materials fee.

We will also be at the Roundhill Highland Games at Cranbury Park in Norwalk, CT on Saturday July 2, 2011 from 8am to 6pm. We'll be talking all about Vikings in Scotland.

Speaking of which, here's an article about a Viking archeology site on the Isle of Skye. This is so very, very cool.

Aerial surveys are being carried out over Skye to help archaeologists
investigate a 12th Century Viking shipbuilding site.

Boat timbers, a stone-built quay and a canal have already been
uncovered at Loch na h-Airde on Skye's Rubh an Dunain peninsula.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of
Scotland (RCAHMS) has launched the air surveys.

Staff hope to pinpoint new sites for investigation.

Working with marine archaeologists, RCAHMS also hope to find
potential dive sites for searches for the remains of ships and other artefacts.

Archaeologists now believe the loch was the focus for maritime activity
for many centuries, from the Vikings to the MacAskill and Macleod clans of Skye.


We've spent some time working on the boat.  We've scraped and scraped and will scrape again tomorrow. We plan, probably in June, to paint it in stripes!  See this illustration from an 11th century Anglo-Saxon manuscript. (Part of this article about a Viking Grave in Oxford, England in the Smithsonian Magazine.)

Also the longships on the Bayeux Embroidery are striped and there are contemporary descriptions of "colorful" Viking ships sailing up the Seine. So we decided to be colorful ourselves!  You'll see the results at the Roundhill Highland Games.

We hope to see you all!
anarra: (Default)
I saw that on a church sign on TV.  Sums up my feelings very well.

We got another 10 inches today--on top of all the rest that's been on the ground since around Christmas. This is officially the snowiest month in this state on record.

Our total:  55 inches!  That doesn't count any of the snow we got in December.

Seven storms (SEVEN!) have dropped at least six inches of snow this season. And we've got more snow forecast for Saturday and Tuesday.  I can barely see my neighbor's SUV over the snow wall between our driveways.Snowy photos below the cut. )
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We will be teaching a class in How to Rig a Viking Faering Boat at the Novice Schola SCA event in Springfield, MA on March 5, 2011.  Our friend Jeff Krug will join us.

Here is the class description:  The anatomy and rigging of a Viking or Norman ship. The Skogar Þrostur is a Viking Faering (four-oared boat) based on the Gokstad faering buried in Norway in the 9th century.  We will demonstrate standing and running rigging, explain construction techniques, steering and navigation.  Class outside (rain or shine - bring an umbrella if it looks like rain, one hour, no class limit.

We will also be teaching the Bayeux Embroidery Technique class I talk about below. 
A combination of lecture on the political and social events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the embroidered tapestry that illustrates it, plus a hands-on lesson in the stem stitch and laid couching embroidery stitches used. Embroider one of the ships from the tapestry. Two hours. Materials fee $1 plus another $1 if you want to buy the wooden embroidery hoop. Class limit 8 for the hands on embroidery portion. Unlimited people can come and listen to the talk.

Novice Schola is put on by the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) group in Springfield, MA. It's a day long series of classes in Medieval Arts, Crafts, Sciences and History. There is no fee to be on site and attend the classes, though there may be a materials fee for individual classes. 

There is a "Day Board" for no additional fee (though donations are welcome) which just means a medieval-themed buffet style lunch.  Bring your own plates and silverware.

There is also a medieval feast that evening for $8.00 but only if you pay in advance by February 25th.

The SCA is a participatory group.  All participants are required to wear a "reasonable attempt" at pre-1600 clothing.  The group in Springfield has a lot of medieval clothing available to loan for the day.  There are tubs of loaner clothing available at the check-in desk.  Just ask to borrow some!

As soon as they post a class schedule, I'll update this entry.  Classes in the past have ranged from how to make a book to beginning calligraphy to an overview of Viking Clothing.  I love this event and all it's classes.  And you really don't have to know anything about the SCA or medieval stuff to enjoy it.
anarra: (Default)
The Science Fiction publisher Tor has a very nice blog.  Lots of interesting things and varied entries by many varied authors. Lately it's been "The 12 Doctors of Christmas" and before that a fortnight of steam punk posts.  There are on-going posts by Jo Walton (re-reading Patrick O'Brian, overview of the Hugo winners) and others.

Just now, they've got a poll asking you to nominate your picks for the Best SF and Fantasy Novels of the 2000s.

My picks, in no particular order, are as follows.  I've linked to excerpts of the books, if not the entire novel, where I could find them so you can read for yourself.

See My Picks! )

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