Clothes, Persona, SCA Life

Planning for the future

This may come as a shock to you but I am a planner.

I plan for things that probably will never happen.  I have three separate plans for if I win the lottery depending on the amount of money I might win.  For example, when I started my stained glass class, I planned this:

My choir was learning Purcell’s Ode to St Cecilia.  The Music of the Spheres is a significant image from that piece.  I knew I wanted to make a piece based on it. I learned what I needed to do to make it.

So I plan things.  Here are some of the plans that I am working on or will be working on.


One big thing I wanted to do since I started vinegar is coming together but I still need to learn a bit more.

Plan the first: Have a tasting

This is inspired by Hrefna’s Icelandic feast she sometimes does at Pennsic. I want to do something similar with a cheese I made, drizzled with a vinegar I made, served with a cordial I made.

Make balsamic vinegar – check.  Need more though

Make cordials – check.  I have that one down.

Make cheese – need to learn that one yet

It is my hope to do a tasting for a small number of people at Pennsic 50.


Plan the second:  make medieval food cart.

When I saw the dragon bread oven that Bear and company made at Camp Dubois, I was like, “okay.  The concept of the food truck is actually pretty old.  We should be able to do this.”  I found these images.

I am not sure about transporting a bread oven around though I can see doing it.  No, I had a different idea.

Imagine a person drawn food cart.  Stained glass panels around the bed.  Silk banners flapping in the breeze.  On this cart is a trough full of ice with chilled rice noodles, chilled soba noodles, pickled vegetables, maybe some pretzels for fun, and chilled vinegar drinks.    It is a hot day on the battlefield at Pennsic.  There is a time out or something.  You wander back to the Midrealm tent on the field and this cart comes out.  I think it would be wondrous.

Avery has given me some advice but I don’t know how to do any woodworking.  So got to learn that.  I have a lot of cardboard to make mock ups with though.  It is going to take a while I fear.


Plan the third:  Clothes

To date Gertie has made all of our clothes.  But I need more and I had really good conversations this past weekend.  Time to learn to sew.

This is my inspiration.

These are parts of the Coronation outfit for Roger II, Rogerius Rex, King of Sicily.   I rag on Normans alot but Roger’s family thought differently than the typical Norman.  Norman Sicily is a fascinating place.  My third persona hangs out here.   I thought it would be really neat to try to make a heraldic outfit for me based on this.  I would need to learn to sew.

The kind people on the Library of Alexandria FB group led me here.

All the detail I was looking for.

I would do something like this.

I would do it in linen instead of silk velvet.  There is disagreement on whether the original is blue or purple.  I am looking at the Royal Blue and Juniper linen from

For the mantle, I am thinking something like this.

I would need to learn to embroider or perhaps applique.  Like the original, this would be outlined in pearls.

Here is some of the detail in the original.

I know how to tablet weave so I will have to think about what I want to do with that.  Probably silk since it will sit near my neck but cotton will be suitably soft.

On the reproduction discussed, they cut brass plates and painted them instead of cloisonne and enamel.

I would like to do some thing different.  Fused glass sewn in the cuffs.  Not sure how to do that yet.


Things to learn and work on.

  • Learn to make a hard cheese.
  • Learn to do enough woodworking to make a cart
    • make cardboard mock up
    • talk to woodworkers on engineering this for my needs (size, breakdown, transport)
  • Learn to sew
    • basic sewing
    • applique or embroider
    • how to do those cuff plate.

I have a lot to keep me busy for a while.  I will probably bothering some of you to teach me what I don’t know.





Gertie – more than she who should be obeyed

Some of you know my wife, Gertie.  The last two events she was supposed to go with me but she had to miss.

She has missed other events as well.  She has a demanding job and it doesn’t always allow her to get away.  And sometimes, the weekend is just needed for her to decompress.  That is all fair.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I can only do what I do in the SCA because of her support.

So when she needed to go to the Emergency Room recently (some of you know why), I went willingly.  And when she had to miss events due to that reason, everyone understood even if they didn’t know.

As organized as I am, I am pretty bad about dates.  I live more in a past, present, future sense of time.  I live less in a “this happened x years ago.”  I am okay with approximate dates.  And some dates I memorize, like her birthday and the kids birthday.  Apparently, you have to know the birthday to get your medicine.

All of that is a round about way to get to this.  I am pretty sure our 15th anniversary is in a week.  We were supposed to go on a small trip this year.  She has been wanting to take me to New York for a while.  New York scares me. It is very big.  I like Chicago and I like London but something about the size and thought of driving in New York frightens me.

We were supposed to go on the City of New Orleans to New Orleans too.  We love New Orleans.  I tried to shanghai a few other friends into going.  Stay up all night on the train, play games, take in some Dixieland jazz.  Perhaps someday.  But this year has seen too much money go out the door to afford trips.  Surgery, college, fire, ER, all of that adds up.

Undoubtedly, we will staying home.  And that is wonderful.  I can’t think of a better thing to do then be at home with Gertie.  I will make her coffee in the morning.  I will chatter away about something.  She will half listen.  We can be in the same room for hours, either doing something together or separately and it is glorious.

Gertie is more than she who must be obeyed; she is she who shall be cherished.  Happy Anniversary 🙂



Froderick Goes to No Man’s Land 2018

Glass, SCA Life

Making Purple Frets

At Crystal Chamfron, I started work on a project I wanted to do for a while, making award medallions.

When I received my purple fret, I got a belt favor.  It was one of my prize possessions for a while.  I am not inclined to wear a lot of regalia so I only wear my Dragon’s heart now.

But I felt that people would like a special token for their awards and the Purple Fret is both possible to do in glass and important to me.

For this project, I decided that a 2″ in diameter circle is a good size.

First, cut the glass to 2.5″ by 2.5″ squares.  As a reminder, fused glass wants to be about 1/4″ thick.  I need to cut the yellow glass for the normal background of a purple fret and another color to provide the additional thickness.  I chose white because it is cheap and I had it.


The next step is to make circles.  You can do this by hand but there are special tools to make it easier and more accurate.  For this, I used a lens cutter.


I cut all the white circles and most of the yellow circles before I ran out of yellow glass.

To do the knot part of the purple fret, I used noodles.  Glass noodles are like linguine.  They come in 16″ lengths and about 1/8″ thick.  I played around with the placement to make the knot.  I was asked, “could I make it look interweaved like the drawn image?”  The answer is “yes with a but.”  Some of those lines are pretty small and manipulating small pieces of glass is tricky.  I compromised and did the following.

The “square” of the knot is made up of 1″ lengths.  The “x” of the knot is 2″ lengths.  Here I am cutting the noodle into the smaller pieces I need.

There is specialty glass glue to temporary join the glass together.  Fusing is needed to permanently make it one piece.  But that said, plain Suave Extra Hold Hairspray actually works better than that specialty glue.  Here I am spraying the hairspray onto the yellow circles before moving the purple noodle pieces.

Since the purple pieces intersect each other, I need to build them up in layers.  I start with one of the long pieces and two short ones.  Bisect the circle with the long piece and get the short pieces half way between the long piece and the circle edge.  It will look a little like a Deadpool icon 🙂

By this point, the hairspray is going to start to get tacky.  I use my exacto blade to more precisely move the pieces around until they are where I want them.


Not shown is hitting the piece with more hairspray.  But now I am adding the cross pieces to make the square part of the knot.  Again, I use the exacto blade for precision.  Also not shown is adding the last long piece but the process is the same.  Spray more hairspray, place the long piece going perpendicular to the first long piece.  Use the exacto knife to move the piece precisely.  Then put the piece aside for the hairspray to dry.

I wrapped the pieces in paper loosely but securely.  I often have trouble going from my house to the glass store to fuse.  The “glued” pieces tend to slide around with the bumps and such on the road.  However, I was surprised by how few pieces got out of place going from basically St Louis to Champaign (~3 hour drive).

The next step hasn’t happened yet but then I will cut lengths (~1/2″) of heavy wire to be a ring for the medallion.  The wire will then be hairsprayed between the white glass back and the yellow glass front.  In the kiln, the wire will sink in the glass as it fuses and be a permanent part of the medallion.

I expect to be done in time to give these to Their Majesties by Martial RUM or Simple Day at the latest.


Finished product right to gift.

By and large, I am happy with them.  I could paint the lines on but I am not sure that would help.  I might try to replicate the knot better in the future.

Froderick, Uncategorized

Froderick goes to Crystal Chamfron 2018

SCA Life

The (bardic) circle is unbroken

So I friend started a post about her own bardic fear inspired by some blog post.  I have no idea what that blog post was but let me share this.

I have been singing probably since I learned to talk.  My mother sang.  Both of my parents played musical instruments in high school.  So I sang.

I remember how I first learned the scales.  It was either Kindergarten or 1st grade (I don’t remember which).  The teacher had a set of squeeky animals that made a pitch.  The song goes, “C I’m Candy Cat.  D I’m Derek the Dog.  E I’m Ernie the Elephant. F I’m Freddy the Frog.  G I’m Gerry Giraffe.  A I’m Adam Ant. (For the life of me I can never remember the name of that f*ing B).  And C I’m Copy Cat.”  I have never talked to anyone who learned their octave that way but I remember it (except for B) very well.  I remember some of the first songs I learned there.  There is one about Orion for instance, “Orion is arisin’. You can see his stars a blazin’. In the middle of a dark December sky.  And it’s never too surprisin’ that the stars are still amazin’ . . . ”

All through school and through college, I sang with a variety of groups, show choirs, acapella choirs, Glee Club.  I was never good enough to be in the “elite” choirs but I was usually good enough to be the understudy to people in the “elite” choirs.  I got my Varsity letter in Music and I held my own at State competitions.

The Penn State Glee Club was one of my favorite experiences.   I learned two of my all time favorite songs there, “Brothers in Song” and “Viva L’amour.”  As the Glee Club, we had to learn the fight songs and of course, everyone in the audience would join in when we sang them.  We would even invite former members of the Glee Club on stage to sing with us.   Any thought of finesse or musicality was out the window.  You sang as loud as you could with as much joy as you had.  It was glorious.

Adulthood meant I had other things to do instead of choir.  I eventually missed it and I sometimes sing with a baroque group in Champaign.  I like baroque music.  There are rules.  Lots of rules.  And wonderful times when someone like Bach will break the rules!  But we do a lot of “modern” music too and it all sounds like the soundtrack to the Planet of the Apes.

On to the SCA.  About 15 years ago or so, a friend brought us to the Festival of Maidens when it was in the Chancellor Hotel.  There was a bardic circle and I was encouraged to attend.  I had no ideas of the rules and I was not able to really figure them out.  I am pretty sure Master John was running it.  Not sure if he was a “master” at the time.  I am pretty sure Master Alexander de Seton was playing the bones in the back.  I do remember Count William of Fairhaven playing the Rocky Road to Dublin after I did a piece.

Most of what I knew were sea shanties, drinking songs, and songs about England.  I had a song book from the Poxy Boggarts and I knew the pieces I knew from listening to a bunch of Ren Faire bands.  I don’t remember much other than feeling totally inadequate.  People were doing pieces they wrote.  People were covering pieces from other people I had never heard of.  I sang maybe 3 or 4 times, probably at inappropriate times as I still couldn’t figure out how this was supposed to work.

About 5 years ago, when I came to the SCA for real, Gertie thought I should be a bard.  She loves to listen to me sing.  I always thought back to the Maidens though.  I can’t write an original song.  I can barely write a poem.  I liked listening to others though.  I would hang out and I got to know some of the musical people in the Middle.  I sing sometimes with Viento Antiqua but long distance rehearsals make that difficult.  I sang with the Known World Choir and met some more people there.  I even bounded with Jennifer Friedman (also forget your SCA name) over John Renbourn’s “Traveler’s Prayer.”

About 1 year ago or so, I sang at my first bardic circle since Maidens so long ago.  I still only really know drinking songs and sea shanties because those are what I love.  Compared to songs about this notable or that Lord, a song about tricking the Devil because Pilsner is mostly water pales greatly in comparison.  I may have sung once or twice since then.

Siobhan talks about Calontir being the Kingdom that sings.  I would love to experience that.  And it might ease some of the fear at Midrealm circles.  It seems to me that it is quite rare when people join in.  Bardic circles sometimes feel like a showcase.  A little help breaking that once in a while wouldn’t be amiss.

I should convince Lorelei to teach the 10 songs every SCAdian should know again and maybe I will even pay attention this time 🙂

I have never experienced rudeness at a Bardic; just the self-imposed feeling that I didn’t belong.  My songs were not high brow enough (yes I know Cerian’s and John’s songs aren’t high brow either).  My songs weren’t period enough.  I felt that the “established” bards could get away with it because they could write and sing a period song if they wanted to.  It was a little like those baroque rules.  You have to know the rules before you can break them.

I have a notebook and I am working on it.  But I understand this fear people have.  It isn’t performance anxiety or stage fright.  I haven’t had that in decades.  It is feeling that I am not worthy.

So this post rambled a bit and ended on a downer.  I am very happy to listen to our performers and my other hobby keeps them well lubricated 🙂  To quote the Boggarts, “we sound much better when your throat is wetter.”