Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Putting things Aside

ecently I've not had the chance to ride aside. Partially due to the saddle disappointment, but more due to the pursuit of other historical equestrian activities as events hurtle toward us; it's hard to believe it's August. I've not abandoned the idea of riding aside, I've just been spending more time getting the riding garments together, chasing down a craftsman for my girdle buckle, and designing a medieval saddle, and training my mare for other aspects of the medieval hobby. So, it's just on hiatus for a little while. Most likely until after September.

I will continue to add pieces regarding books, cooking, and historical "kit".

Kit is the clothing and other assorted items that create the material aspect of a re-enactor's impression.

An impression as I understand it, is the representation or portrayal of a person's everyday life, be it a scullery maid or a high born lady, the latter is what my "aside" portrayal is all about.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Goldwork: Taking a step back

kay, I eagerly tore open my Benton and Johnson "Golden Lily" kit and decided that after reading the directions (all text, no pics), that I was in over my head a bit. I lack a familiarity with the embroidery terms and proper stitching technique. On the plus, I did manage to finally get out there and get an embroidery hoop and a proper set of needles to begin, but I needed more information on the "how to".

An earlier internet search had put me on the trail of vendors of gold and metal threads. Some of the vendors even had a selection of books. This brings me to a lovely little book that just arrived at my doorstep: Beginner's Guide to Goldwork by Ruth Chamberlin.

This little book is packed with useful tips and how to information on not just goldwork, but regular embroidery as well. It is lavishly illustrated and contains a plethora of beautiful, and richly detailed images of the author's work. Her experience in the field of ecclesiastical embroidery shows not only in her beautiful work, but in the working tips regarding patterns and making a duplicate. One for working on and one for reference. She also shows beginners how to properly stretch their working surface and how to make sure you have your design properly centered in the frame.

It is a wonderful little book and my husband is excited at the prospect of finally having an embroidered flint and steel for his livery jacket done in the proper style. But that's another project.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Medieval Cookery

his weekend, we had quite a few people descend on our house for our living history group's second drill of the summer. We've been making an effort to get people to our house or the stable at least once a month to do a group oriented activity that wasn't centered on the museum. So, we've gotten together for group activities for a march in May, and a drill in June and July.

The goal was to get my horse used to men in shiny armour and carrying medieval pole arms (glaives, bills, and spears). Phantom has had minimal close contact with these things and we figured it was about time that she "stepped up"...which she did admirably.

Part two of the Drill, was to be the Grill... and it was going to be medieval food. Yum. Bob and I had started earlier in the week picking through our medieval cookbooks and lighted on a few tasty entrées that would delight the modern palette. That Friday, we went shopping for the big items, but the market where we shopped was lacking some key ingredients: decent asparagus and leeks.

The next day started out with me out the door at 8:30 am on a Saturday to run to the grocery store to pick up a few food items that we didn't have a chance to pick up the day before. Once the grocery run was accomplished, I zipped across the river on a quest for Ale; Belgian Ale of the dessert variety. I was greatly saddened to find that our favorite place to pick up the ale was gone.

Coming round, I called Bob, who had just sat down to brekkers, and delivered the bad news and returned home with the food.

Stashing it in the fridge, Bob and I headed over to the stable to do some paddock cleaning and to say hello to the "babies". This was a quick job and hello, and we returned home to put some spit and polish on the house before our friends arrived.

After the house was tidied, Alex arrived with bread and sausage. He and Bob joined me in the kitchen and we began the prep work on the food. I diced and sliced onions, Alex chopped cabbage and leeks, and Bob whipped up a medieval wine marinade for the beef. I wanted to be sure that all the ingredients were ready when we returned so that we could get the grill started.

So here's the menu from Saturday:

    • Redwine marinaded delmonico steaks
    • Spiced mushrooms
    • Boiled cabbage in a beef broth with leeks
    • Boule bread and small rolls
    • Imported German beer
    • 2 kinds of German sausage (from a local butcher)
    • Cheese
    • Grapes

While it was on the menu, there was just so much food, that I never got around to cooking it.

    • Asparagus with saffron

The food and the company must have been a real hit. We started cooking a 5:45pm and people didn't depart for their homes until 10:45pm.

Books used for this menu:

If you decide to buy any Medieval cookbooks, I will offer a word of caution, do not purchase "Fabulous Feasts", in this bloggers opinion (from experience), the recipes are not very palatable and have no documentation proving that they are medieval.

Two other cookbooks for the offering:

Bon appetite!


Monday, July 23, 2007

A Vision in Red Silk

I was very excited this morning when I received an email from Gina. Attached were some "baby" photos of my silk girdle. It looks absolutely gorgeous. I have no doubt that this piece will be an heirloom someday.

The flash has illuminated the silk with a vermilion cast. This silk is actually more like an iron-rich blood red (has a bluish hint).

I was so ecstatic about the girdle, that I just had to share.

If you missed my previous post about the girdle please check out: Habit Forming

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

World Invitational Joust Oct 27, 2007

or those who read my blog and are interested in things Medieval, those in California, might be interested in attending a Historical Joust. This is not the same type of jousting you typically see in Hollywood films or those seen at Ren Faires, this is the high fidelity stuff of the past.

It is a recreation of a Joust of Peace. The Field of combatants hail from all around the globe. The participants are wearing historical reproductions of REAL suits of armour. It promises to be unlike any joust that the US has witnessed.

For information on the joust, location, and the field of competitors, please visit:

World Invitational Joust 2007

Tickets are available at the gate, but are also available on-line at : Historic Enterprises

Monday, July 9, 2007

Gold Work - Yay!

Well, when I walked in the door today, what should be sitting on the kitchen table? My Gold Work kit. YAY! Now all I have to do is go out and get a proper set of needles and a hoop and I'm off and running.

Current Mood: Optimistic


should have known it would happen. For the past week, I've been in a "blue funk" or malaise. I suppose it could be a minor "mid-life" or just a build up of little things. But it has brought me here. Chicken Soup for the soul is a insufficient, flavorless meal, especially when you have the "blahs".

A vacation...HAH...I laugh at the notion of a vacation, besides, I took last week off and right about then, the cloud of malaise descended. I know what started it, but just couldn't shake it.

  • The side saddle fitting not going my way left me in a down mood.
  • My farrier is MIA in the general sense, not in the actual battlefield sense.
  • My gold work kit hasn't arrived and I'd really like to get started on my embroidery project
  • My saddle and tack project is on hold.
  • Had an unpleasant meeting at work; just before vacation.
I'm in a holding pattern for too many things; so it's snowballing. This is my recipe for "the blues". Don't mean to trouble readers, just venting.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Good Time

t's been a while since Phantom and I have just had a good session in the ring where we just kicked around and worked on the really basic stuff. Just riding on the buckle and the pure use of leg and seat.

We're also working on going from direct rein to just neck reining. It was a real joy to work with her Saturday.

Today, Sunday, is Phantom's 9th birthday. To celebrate, it was a day of rest for both Phantom and her pasture-mate Normandie. No saddles, no bridles, just some grazing in the front pasture on fresh green grass and clover, and cookies, lots of Gingersnaps.

There is something very comforting to just stand in a pasture with your equine buddies and just enjoy the blue skies, mild temperature, and just live in the moment; to be.